As long as we live on this earth, we are engaged in a spiritual battle; a battle for our faith, the allegiance of our hearts, even our very souls. Scripture speaks frequently and directly about the spiritual battle we are engaged in. And John specifically encourages and instructs the church how to overcome the world.
Assurance of salvation is a blessed gift. And God wants his children to have assurance not only of His love, but also of their eternal, righteous standing before him; lest they fear the coming Day of Judgment. We can live in peace and indeed eager expectation of the coming of the Lord and have confidence for the Day of Judgment if we examine our hearts and find evidence of the work of the Holy Spirit. If we are in Christ, when we examine our life, we should see the indwelling presence and effect of the Holy Spirit, a sincere confession that Jesus is the Son of God and a heart that is full of love for our brothers and sisters in Christ.
God has first loved us and He has dealt with our sins in and through Jesus Christ. By His grace and mercy, our sins have been taken away. His love should arouse in us a wonder at the magnitude of his generosity such that we can’t do anything else but love one another. God's love generates love in us for others. No one having seen the cross and received God’s immeasurable and unmerited love displayed there can go back to a life of selfishness.
Being loved by God is the greatest gift in the world. God loves us with a perfect love. As objects of his love, we are completely undeserving. The supreme manifestation of the love of God towards us is not our present circumstances, but rather the immovable, eternal work of Christ sacrificing his life on behalf of sinners. In doing so, Jesus secured for us not only forgiveness, but righteousness and eternal life.
We live in an age of confusion and falsehood. False teachers and prophets all claim to be from God or speak for God and seek to lead many astray. John teaches the church that we must be discerning. We should not believe every one who claims a revelation from God, but rather we should test their words and their confession. The Holy Spirit aids us in our discernment and enables us to know truth from error.
Having been born again and come to faith in Christ, Christians are commanded to love one another. Within the household of faith, there are to be bonds of unity, commitment and self-sacrificial love. Just as our nature has been transformed by being born again by the Holy Spirit, so too our relationships are to be transformed following the example of Christ. Our love for our fellow brothers and sisters in Christ cannot be cheap, flimsy and fake. Rather, genuine love is distinguished by its concern for the welfare of others. Love means readiness to do anything for other people, even being prepared to give up one’s own life in order that others may live.
Jesus appeared to take away our sins and destroy the works of the devil. Through Jesus' perfect record of obedience, his substitutionary and atoning death and his triumph over death through his resurrection, Jesus has taken away our sin. Furthermore, those that are in Christ are born of God. God works and wills in his children to be sanctified, progressively putting sin to death in their lives and conforming to Christ in all areas of their lives. Jesus' conquering over sin and Satan is total, complete. Satan is defeated and even his works are coming to an end.
All human fatherhood should be modeled after God's divine Fatherhood over us. Christian fathers should actively seek to encourage their children, not dealing with them harshly and teach them to place their hope in God. The ability to be an encouraging, hope-filling, courageous child comes not from instinct or innate ability, but from the regeneration and sanctification of the Holy Spirit.
This morning as we finish celebrating 10 years of God's faithfulness to Journey Church, we examine Moses' final words to the nation of Israel. Moses commands the people to remember the Lord: his leadership of them as a people, his salvation and his provision. Remembering these things will preserve and sustain God's people all their days. And the same is true for us.
Since the resurrection of Jesus, a new age has dawned. The Kingdom of God is growing and spreading through Jesus' disciples in the hearts of all who believe in Christ. Hence, the present age is passing away and as it does, many false teachers and prophets have and will arise. In his letter, John warns his readers not to be deceived by these false teachers. They are instructed to insulate themselves from being deceived by remaining in the Word of God and the Holy Spirit that they received.