Vs. 4, “We see John testifying of the magnificent truth about Jesus in the first section of this chapter. Jesus was and is as real to John now just as Jesus was real when He was with John on earth. Though our lives are filled with sorrow & trails, God also wants us to have that eternal joy in having that relationship with Him (Vs. 4). But, John also challenges us to have a “honest” relationship with Jesus (Vs. 6)…we must confess ours sins and come humbly before the Lord. This means “walking in the light” and dealing honestly with our failures. Salvation is a matter of life or death, but fellowship with God is a matter of light or darkness. If you lie to God, to others, and to yourself…you will undoubtedly lose that fellowship with the Lord. A godly person cannot grow living in darkness.
Vs. 5, “Who is it that overcomes the world? Only he who believes that Jesus is the Son of God.” What a great rallying call! Question: Who are Christians? They are people who love & obey God’s commands (Vs. 1-5). Most people in this world do not know who Christians are. As Christians, we know who we are, because the Spirit testifies to it (vs. 6-13). We have that very testimony in our hearts (Vs. 10). How much more than should we testify who Jesus is to the world? We can pray to God and approach Him with confidence (Vs. 14-17). When we know God’s testimony, we can pray with boldness! We know how Christians should live (vs. 18) and we cannot ever deny that we don’t know the truth (Vs. 20)…for God has given it to us. We are without excuse for God has given us this wonderful knowledge!
Regarding application…Burdensome. Vs. 3, “This is love for God: to obey his commands. And his commands are not burdensome.” Question: Why? From the world’s point of view…it can be a very burdensome thing to be a Christian. As Christians we shouldn’t do that and we shouldn’t do this (a big book of rules). No one likes rules. But ask a parent if working hard so their children can have a good education and wonderful opportunties…and there job is never burdensome…Why? Because they love them. God’s laws and commands should never be burdensome. Yet many Christians fall into the trap that Adam & Eve fell into from the very beginning. Satan challenges us to think that God’s laws are burdensome and too hard to handle. Therefore, we break them and not follow them because life is easier. But a Christian who looks to God’s commands as burdensome is a person who does not know the meaning of love. Love is not selfish, but it is selfless. Re-read I Cor. 13 or remember that when we follow Jesus, He gives us rest from this weary world (Matthew 11:28-30). We follow & obey God because we love Him. That is why this world is not a burdensome place to live in.
Vs. 19, “We love because he first loved us.” I mentioned this verse to the CTC Youth this past weekend. True believers will love each other…it’s that simple folks. John goes on to mention about testing spirits….remember that the New Testament had not yet been completeted…so these young Christians would know if someone was false by what they claimed regarding Jesus. But the true sheep will recoginze the loving voice of their Shepherd. John also reminds us of the fact that we should never forget…Jesus died for us (vs. 9-11). When we remember this fact, God’s Holy Spirit can reside in us and His love fills us (Vs. 12-16). And when we live this kind of love, we need to never fear the final day of judgment…because love drives out fear (Vs. 18-19).
Regarding application…Loving Others = Command. Vs. 21, “And he has given us this command: Whoever loves God must also love his brother.” This is not God pleading or hoping that we love. God is not politely asking us to love others. God is commanding us to love. It is shameful to bear the name of Christ in our lives if we are discriminately choosing who we love and who we ignore or even hate in our lives. People may say, “I tried…I just can’t love him or her because of what they did to me.” And the key word to that comment is “I”. When we try to love, it is impossible to love others. But when we surrender our lives over to the Lord, His love is so powerful and great that it will overflow in our lives. If Jesus thought the same way so many of us have…then none of us would be alive today. Question: Who do you need to show God’s love to? Go forth and love deeply in the name of Jesus!
Vs. 1, “How great is the love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God! And that is what we are…” Love is indeed is one of the greatest motivations in this world! If we truly love & understand God’s love for us…then we cannot help but desire to obey. One day Jesus will return, and that is all the more reason we should live as if He will today (Vs. 2-3). As Christans we have the “new nature”, the Holy Spirit guiding us in our lives. Jesus set the perfect example and as He died for us, we ought to be willing to die for others too (Vs. 16)…what a powerful verse! But our hearts and the Holy Spirit can and does condemn us (Vs. 19-20) when we have failed to love others. We can come before God with confidence (Vs. 21), God is able to show the full extent of His love in our lives because of the Holy Spirit He gave us (Vs. 24).
Regarding application…Deliberately Sinning. Vs. 9, “No one who is born of God will continue to sin, because God’s seed remains in him; he cannot go on sinning, because he has been born of God.” When we truly abide in Christ, we will not consciencely make an effor to deliberately sin. Of course we fall short of the glory of God…and we sometimes choose to willingly disobey the Lord. But what John is getting at is this: No true Christan will continue to repeatedly time and time again deliberately sin on and on with no remorse. This is a very serious topic and one that is not easy to discuss. Take the prodigal son…He did repeatedly sin, but in his heart of hearts…he was still a son. He realized he did not belong with the pigs…he belonged with his Father. Deep down in the deepest recesses of our hearts is the desire to please the Lord. We only have that because when the Holy Spirit came into our lives, a new nature formed in our hardened hearts.
Question: Is it possible to deliberately sin and still go to Heaven? Yes, because perhaps you are a procrastinator and in your heart of hearts, you meant to turn back to the Lord but maybe you died before you had the chance in a car wreck. For the prodigal son, if he had died before turning back to his father, he still would have been a part of that family. But, sadly…it is not and should not ever be our desire to deliberately sin. It is like saying, “God, I have no remorse about what I am doing and I don’t care if it hurts you and others.” Many times, we as children of God will disobey Him, but we do it with guilt and remorse. However, it is God’s will that we turn from the sinful nature and strive to live holy all the days of our lives.
Vs. 15, “Do not love the world or anything in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him.” I like John’s style of explaining things…this chapter focuses now on our relationship with Christ. There are many things that can keep us from the Love of Christ…the hatred of others, the love of the world, the false teachings of others, the denial of God in our life… Jesus is our advocate, Jesus is our example and Jesus is our commander. He helps us against our enemies and Jesus is the source of our hope!
Regarding application…Walking. Vs. 6, “Whoever claims to live in him must walk as Jesus did.” Before there were planes, trains & automobiles =)…there was walking. It still is the main source of how we get from point “A” to point “B”. Imagine if you didn’t have the ability to walk. We truly take the simple act of walking for granted. Yet, I believe we take the our Spiritual walk for granted even more. For Christians…there is no denying it…We claim to be “In Christ!” Yet..talking the talk vs. walking the walk are two very different things. Why is it that Christians complain and cry out “Woe is me” when trials and tough times come? Why is that these trials make us question God’s love? Because…we don’t know God’s word! If we truly did…we would realize that the walk Jesus took was filled with joys & trials.
Remember the movie “Forrest Gump”? There was a time in the life of Forrest that he could not walk well…and as he got older and went back home…he decided to not only start walking but jogging across America. It became a phenomon in the movie as many followers began to run with Forrest. But when asked where he was going or why he was doing it…Forrest didn’t really have an answer…he just did it. But we don’t just walk for no reason. We walk with deliberation and conviction. We are called to go down the path less traveled. We must walk with Jesus. You must walk with Jesus. Why? Because He lives in us!
This letter was composed sometime around 85-90 A.D. with the intent to remove doubts and resssure young Christians about who Jesus was. John is the same author who wrote the Gospel of John…and he was older now and perhaps the only surviving apostle at this time. This is the same John that would walk & talk with Jesus, watch Jesus die, met Jesus after He rose from the dead and saw Jesus go up to Heaven. It’s safe to say that John knew who the Lord was…and that love would convey itself in this letter. John also wrote this letter to counter false teachers.
Vs. 9, “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.” What a great verse to memorize…all Christians should have this verse memoried and written on our minds & hearts. We see John testifying of the magnificent truth about Jesus in the first section of this chapter. Jesus was and is as real to John now just as Jesus was real when He was with John on earth. Though our lives at times are filled with sorrow & trials, God also wants us to have that eternal joy in having that relationship with Him (Vs. 4). But, John also challenges us to have a “honest” relationship with Jesus (Vs. 6)
Regarding application…Test of Obedience. Vs. 6, “If we claim to have fellowship with him yet walk in the darkness, we lie and do not live by the truth.” Question: Are you in true fellowship with Jesus? This past Sunday, I spoke on Mary’s love to Jesus with the anointing of oil. Fellowship with Jesus is loving him and love others. But, deceit began in the Garden of Eden has been a constant enemy in our lives. Deceit is part of this whole thing we can sin. It’s not that real Christians don’t sin…sin in the life of a believer can break our fellowship with Jesus, but it does not break our eternal salvation! When you get in a heated argument with your parent…our relationship can suffer for awhile, but it doesn’t mean that they are going to no longer call you their child. We are saved from the consequences of sin by Jesus’ death…and yet we are saved daily from their power of sin because of Jesus’ life in us (Holy Spirit & Jesus’ Intercession). As we grow & mature in the Lord, we realize that we want to make “Every effort” to not sin for it grieves the Lord so. Thankfully, it is not by what we do that saves us…it is what Jesus did! God’s Love is truly Amazing!