1 John; That you may know-11/22/2020

Message Title: ‘That you may know’                      Text: 1 John 5:11-21

Introduction: Don’t you hate not knowing something that you think you should know?

  • Kathy and I were exposed to COVID. Do you know I couldn’t find one place from here to Brooklyn to get an appointment to get tested until at least. this was Friday. Then I would have to wait 3 days to get the results. Being positive or negative for COVID is something I needed to know. By the way we tested negative, thanks to a take home rapid test from Soul Focus in Eatontown.
  • The same’s true for just about any medical test you get that you have to wait for. AND the more serious the test, the more you need to know the results. Right?

It’s… an.. insecurity, uncertainty, a lack of confidence. And it’s running rampant today.

Although we’ve heard this so much that we’re sick of it… we are living in very uncertain times.

 COVID-19: People who have never, generally, lived in the neighborhood of fear or anxiety, have built a home there.

  • Schools are closing or on remote learning. Travel is banned in some places.
  • We’re being asked to forgo family Thanksgiving dinner. Greater restrictions are being placed on churches and even how many people you can have in your home on any given day.
  • Will there be any toilet paper, paper towels and antibacterial cleaners when I need them?
  • Will my company close and leave me w/o a job to provide for my family? How long will unemployment go? Will I get another government stimulus check?
  • Should I get the COVID vaccine? Just how safe is it? What if we hear this in say 2025 ‘If you received the COVID-19 vaccine in 2020-2021 and have lost your sense of smell, do you have a fungus growing between your fingers, has your ear fallen off or are you are now colorblind, you may be eligible to receive financial compensation from the ‘COVID-19 Vaccination Fund.’

 The election: Is the US coming to an end because a democrat is the president elect and his VP has a  socialist agenda? What will happen to my 401K? Will the 1st/2nd Amendments to our Constitution be compromised?

Will the Supreme Court be packed and the Electoral College eliminated?

Uncertainty leads to fear and worry about the kind of life we’ll have in our future.

  • There’s just so much we don’t know right now and it’s driving many … either crazy or sending them into a deep depression.

But… as followers of Jesus Christ, that’s not how God wants us to live. In fact, the Book of 1 John can be summarized into one, 4 letter phrase.

  • That you may know.

ILL: Some of you might be old enough to remember a song by Bill Withers. In it he used the phrase ‘I know’ 26 times in a row in the song ‘Ain’t No Sunshine.’ Now, that’s a man who is absolutely certain, he knows, that when his woman is gone, there ain’t no sunshine in his life.

John is also very certain about what we can know about or walk of faith. In fact, John uses the word know about 36 times in 1 John.

  • You see, while there is much in the physical world around us that we just can’t know,
  • When it comes to our walk with God, our relationship with Jesus and with each other as Christians, there’s an abundance of truths we can know for certain.

The apostle John, as he ends this letter, will remind us of 6 of those wonderful and amazing truths that we can know

  • that will not only encourage us on our journey of faith,
  • but will help us stand against the lies propagated by the sinful world around us.

Transition: So, open your Bibles to 1 John 5:11 where we’ll find the first thing John wants us to know, is that we have eternal life in Jesus.

  1. 1 John 5:11-13 I have eternal life in Jesus

And this is the testimony, that God gave us eternal life, and this life is in His Son. Whoever has the Son has life; whoever does not have the Son of God does not have life. I write these things to you who believe in the name of the Son of God, that you may know that you have eternal life.

  • How can I know that I have eternal life is the question?
  • The answer is, God has told you how in the testimony, the evidence… of Jesus.

Then He reminds us…Whoever has the Son has life.

John Piper commenting on this writes:

  • When you HAVE something, it does its thing for you. If you have a dollar, it buys a dollar’s worth for you.

If you have a cold, it makes your nose run. If you have a lawyer, he stands in for you. Having something means that it does its thing for you.

So, what thing does Jesus do for those who have Him as their Savior? Life, Jesus gives us eternal life. John writes: Whoever has the Son has life.

  • And this is not just quantity of life… forever in heaven.
  • It’s also quality of life here and now.

That means this new kind of life through faith in Jesus, comes with all the promises of God to those who are His, who are born of God.

How do we come to have Jesus? How do we come to have eternal life? John tells us

  • those who believe in the name of the Son of God.

To believe, means to trust to the point of making it what guides your life, that you believe Jesus is the Son of God.

In Johns Gospel we read: that you might believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God; and that believing you may have life in His name. (John 20:31)

Add that to what we’ve already found in 1st John and you get this. To believe in the name of the Son of God means

  • You believe that Jesus is God, in the flesh.

Fully human and fully God.

  • The promised Messiah.
  • The one who will save His people from their sins, as John the Baptist declared.
  • The One who gives us eternal life when we repent of our sin, ask for forgiveness and receive Him as our Savior.

Here’s something important: I write these things to you who believe in the name of the Son of God, that you may know that you have eternal life.

  • You don’t know you have eternal life because of some experience, some feeling you have.
  • You know it because of what God has said.

John already told us that our feelings can deceive us… we place our trust and we act, not on how we feel, but on what God has told us in His Word, the Bible.

John also wants us to know something equally as important… whoever does not have the Son of God does not have life.

Remember, John was combatting the lies of the false teachers of his.. and our day, that say it really doesn’t matter what you think about Jesus as long as you do…this and that. (whatever this and that is to them)

  • They will say Jesus is part of it all, sure, but not, all, of it.

John disagreed strongly when he wrote: and this life is in His Son. In Johns Gospel we find Jesus declaring: I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me. (John 14:6)

  • You see, Jesus is the source of eternal life. It is all about Jesus.
  • It’s not Jesus and… works or anything else.
  • It’s just Jesus! He is the source of eternal life and the only source.

Look, life especially today, is full of disappointment, uncertainly and empty promises…. But eternal life in Jesus isn’t one of them.

  • You can know for certain, that you have eternal life. When you have Jesus.
  1. 1 John 5:14-17 I can speak to God
  2. 1 John 5:14-15 I ask, God hears

And this is the confidence that we have toward Him, that if we ask anything according to His will He hears us. And if we know that He hears us in whatever we ask, we know that we have the requests that we have asked of Him.

So… can I ask? do you believe in prayer? Really believe in prayer?

  • What about when you don’t get the answer you expected, or asked for?
  • What about when you don’t get an answer at all?

Do you still believe in prayer?

John’s telling us that because we have eternal life in Jesus, we can know that God not only hears us when we pray, but answers us as well.

First, John declares this is the confidence that we have toward Him. Confidence refers to the fact that as followers of Jesus, as children of God, we can come, into the very presence of God in prayer.

  • Have toward Him means to come close to God to be in His presence.

He then tells us if we ask anything. When we come before God we can talk to Him, pray, ask anything that’s on our hearts. That’s important,

  • We can pour our imperfect hearts out to God.
  • We can say things that might not make sense.

God wants us to tell Him everything that’s on our minds and hearts. BUT… there is a condition placed on how He answers our prayers…it’s according to His will. That’s the kicker. It’s always the reason we fail to either hear back from God or get an answer we don’t like.

Simply put, prayer is not trying to get God to change His mind about what we want, it’s about God changing our mind about what He wants.

  • To put it in Jesus’ own words as He prayed to the Father: Not My will but Your will be done.

Christian, when you pray according to the will of God, John tells us, you can know that He will always hear and answer.

How can you know what God’s will is in any given situation? Good question and that’s a sermon all to itself.

Let me just give you 1 absolute truth about knowing God’s will:

  • It will NEVER go against what He has given to us in the Bible. Never. Did I say NEVER?

God’s Word, the Bible is the first place you go to understand God’s will.

John’s point here is that as children of God, He is always ready to hear and answer the prayer requests of His children.

  1. 1 John 5:16-17 I can talk to God for others

If anyone sees his brother committing a sin not leading to death, he shall ask, and God will give him life—to those who commit sins that do not lead to death. There is sin that leads to death; I do not say that one should pray for that. All wrongdoing is sin, but there is sin that does not lead to death.

John begins by assuring us that not only can we go to God in prayer for those things in our lives that concern us, we can approach God with the concerns we have for others.

  • If anyone sees his brother committing a sin not leading to death, he shall ask, and God will give him life

Just a few things to note.

  • First, all prayer, even prayer for others, must be in accordance to God’s will. What we want, what our friend/family member wants, might not be what God wants.
  • Second, John says to those who commit sins that do not lead to death. OK, more on that in a few.
  • Third, John tells us that when you see your brother/sister sin, we should pray for them to repent. The erring Christian, when they repent will be forgiven by God.

So, we have the privilege of praying for our wayward brothers and sisters knowing that God will hear our prayer.

But, what he says next is…well, odd. There is sin that leads to death; I do not say that one should pray for that. To be honest, most scholars do not come down hard on any one way to explain this. Let me give you two likely ways to explain the sin that leads to death.

 First: This is the unbeliever who ‘practices sin’ makes a habit of sin, loves sin. So much so that they  reject Jesus and His offer of forgiveness for sin. This is a ‘spiritual’ death.

Second: This is the Christian who becomes rebellious and bitter in their walk of faith. They sin and don’t repent. This Christian who repeatedly walks ‘according to the flesh’ has lost their usefulness to the Lord and is called home by ‘physical’ death. NOTE: they do not lose their salvation. Examples in the Bible are:

  • Moses (numbers 20)
  • Ananias/Sapphira (Acts 5)
  • Drunken, selfish Christians (1 Corinthians 11)

Johns’ point seems to be if we see a Christian who is so connected to the world, who is unrepented, there’s nothing we can do to help them.

  • God will either be patient with mild discipline or take them home to be with Him.

Sidebar: Look, I don’t think this is saying not to pray for them. God always wants us to pray for our brothers and sisters in Christ. I think we our pray for  their repentance and God’s patience.

Finally, John adds All wrongdoing is sin, but there is sin that does not lead to death. John wants us to know that sin… is sin, no matter what sin it is.

  • God takes our sin very seriously, so should we.
  1. 1 John 5:18 I am kept by Jesus

We know that everyone who has been born of God does not keep on sinning, but He who was born of God protects him, and the evil one does not touch him.

Right off the bat, John’s not saying that Christians don’t sin. He already dealt with this earlier.

  • He is saying that Christians are no longer under the power of sin.
  • So they have the ability(through the indwelling Holy Spirit) to choose not to sin at any given moment.

The idea is they will not choose to ‘practice sin’, to make sin an ongoing habit.

But, that’s not all he says. He gives us a wonderful assurance that as children of God, Jesus keeps us from the worst that the devil can send our way.

ILL: The Sunday school teacher was describing how Lot’s wife looked back and suddenly turned into a pillar of salt. Little Johnny piped and said, “Hey, my mother looked back while she was driving and turned into a telephone pole.” Sometimes we are not always alert when we are driving. (Steve Shepherd)

Even when life distracts us and we’re perhaps not as keen on what Satan is doing around us, John’s shouting that Jesus has our back… and front, and side and top and bottom. He’s Got Us!

John adds: He who was born of God protects him, and the evil one does not touch him.

  • He (capital H Jesus) who was born of God protects him (small h, the Christian), and the evil one (Satan, the devil) does not touch him (small h, the Christian.)

Now, that doesn’t mean Satan and his demons can’t tempt us or try to influence us in any way. It’s a promise from God that because we are His children  through faith in Jesus,

  • we’re kept by Jesus from power of Satan in the world to steal us from God’s family.

In Johns Gospel, Jesus declared: I give them eternal life, and they will never perish, and no one will snatch them out of My hand. My Father, who has given them to Me, is greater than all, and no one is able to snatch them out of the Father’s hand. (Jn 10:28–29) 

  1. 1 John 5:19 I am in a relationship with God

We know that we are from God, and the whole world lies in the power of the evil one.

Here John once again assures us that we BELONG to God… We know that we are from God. Christian, you belong to God.

And because you belong to God you have a worldview that is radically opposed to that of the unsaved world around you. The unsaved world, all of it and all of the people in it, are not like you.

  • You live by the power of God.
  • The unsaved world lives by the power of Satan.

Once again John makes a huge comparison. There are only 2 choices.

  • Live under the power of God your Father by faith in Jesus. Or
  • Live under the power of your father, Satan, by rejecting Jesus.

Scripture speaks clearly of this:

  • He has delivered us from the domain of darkness and transferred us to the kingdom of His beloved Son (Colossians 1:13)

Child of God, know that you are not of the world… you have a relationship with Almighty God through faith in Jesus

  1. 1 John 5:20 I have insight into the things of God

And we know that the Son of God has come and has given us understanding, so that we may know Him who is true; and we are in Him who is true, in His Son Jesus Christ. He is the true God and eternal life.

This new kind of life through faith in Jesus helps us understand what it means to be a Christian. Here, it gives us 5 truths we can know.

And we know that the Son of God has come

  • We can know that Jesus has come.
  • He is the promised Messiah. We need not wait for anyone else.

so that we may know Him.

  • We can know God.
  • God is not aloof, God does not hide Himself from us. We can know God, the Creator and Sustainer of all that is. We can know Him personally and intimately.

so that we may know Him who is true.

  • We can know that God is Truth.
  • Contrary to what the world teaches, there is absolute truth and it comes from God who is, in His very nature, absolute truth.

and we are in Him who is true, in His Son Jesus Christ.

  • We can know that we are in Jesus, who is Truth.
  • Jesus Himself said I am the way, and the truth, and the life. (John 14:6) Christian you are in Him who is true, in His Son Jesus Christ.
  • You are intimately and eternally connected to, forever a part of who Jesus is.

The apostle Paul writing to assure the Christian in Colossae said:

  • For you have died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God. (Colossians 3:3)

Christian, when God looks at you… He sees Jesus.

He is the true God and eternal life.

  • We can know that Jesus is the True God and source of eternal life.
  • Jesus is God, the One True and Ever Living God. And in Jesus is life, eternal life to all who believe.
  1. 1 John 5:21 I have power over idols

Little children, keep yourselves from idols.

Wow… where did this come from? John hasn’t mentioned idols in this whole book… or has he?

Let’s look at 1 John 2:16  For all that is in the world, the desires of the flesh and the desires of the eyes and pride of life, is not from the Father but is from the world. That’s the general concept of idol worship…

  • If we desire it (whatever it is) over God

It’s an idol.

And that’s why John said this in verse 15 of chapter 2 Do not love the world or the things in the world.

  • Anything you love that competes with your love for God… is an idol.

Look, we all know that an idol is not something carved in wood/metal or stone. It was at one time and in some places around the world it still is. But the idols John is referring to are those things, even good things,

  • that distract us, that lure us away, that become something we desire/need to have rather than what God has given to us, that keeps us from obeying God.

Anything and anyone, can become an idol to us.

John’ s saying look, Christian, make this new kind of life through faith in Jesus, your most valued possession.

Conclusion: Wow… we are done 1 John.

  • I hope that you have found great encouragement and many challenges to live your lives for the glory of God.
  • I hope that our study of 1 John has shored up some of what might have been confusing about your walk of faith.

Friends, we’re in the midst of a season of great heartache, in so many ways, of wondering where God is in all of this.

  • It’s my hope that our exploration of 1 John has given you some tools to help you successfully navigate through the hardships and challenges you face.

If I can take two verses that I think sum up what John wants us to know it would be these two:

  • Little children… He who is in you is greater than he who is in the world. (1 John 4:4)
  • I write these things to you who believe in the name of the Son of God, that you may know that you have eternal life. (1 John 5:13)

Let’s pray.