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1 John 1: 1-18 1 John 2: 1-17 1 John 2: 18-29 1 John 3: 4-24
  1st John 4:4-21 1st John 5:1-21  
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1st John 5:1-21

 

1st John 5:1-21, "Whosoever believeth that Jesus is the Christ is born of God: and every one that loveth him that begat loveth him also that is begotten of him.  By this we know that we love the children of God, when we love God and keep his commandments.  For this is the love of God, that we keep his commandments: and his commandments are not grievous.  For whoever is born of God overcometh the world: and this is the victory that overcometh the world, even our faith.  Who is he that overcometh the world, but he that believeth that Jesus is the Son of God?  This is he that came by water and blood, even Jesus; not by water only, but by water and blood.  And it is the Spirit that beareth witness, because the Spirit is truth.  [I have excluded verse 7 from the King James because it is  a corruption carried over from the Vulgate, which doesn't appear in the original Greek.]  And there are three that bear witness in earth, the Spirit, and the water, and the blood: and these three agree in one.  If we receive the witness of men, the witness of God is greater: for this is the witness of God which he hath testified of his Son.  He that believeth on the Son of God hath the witness in himself: he that believeth not God hath made him a liar; because he believeth not the record that God gave of his Son.  And this is the record, that God hath given to us eternal life, and this life is in his Son.  He that hath the Son hath life: and he that hath not the Son of God hath not life.  These things have I written unto you that believe on the name of the Son of God; that ye may know that ye have eternal life, and that ye may believe on the name of the Son of God.  And this is the confidence that we have in him, that, if we ask any thing according to his will, he heareth us: And if we know that he hear us, whatsoever we ask, we know that we have the petitions that we desired of him.  If any man see his brother sin a sin which is not unto death, he shall ask, and he shall give him life for them that sin not unto death.  There is a sin unto death:  I do not say he shall pray for it.  All unrighteousness is sin [cf. 1 John 3:4, "sin is the transgression of the law."  The law of God defines unrighteousness.]: and there is a sin not unto death.  We know that whosoever is born of God sinneth not; but he that is begotten of God keepeth himself, and that wicked one toucheth him not.  And we know that we are of God, and the whole world lieth in wickedness.  And we know that the Son of God is come, and hath given us an understanding, that we may know him that is true, and we are in him that is true, even in his Son Jesus Christ.  This is the true God, and eternal life.  Little children, keep yourselves from idols." (KJV)

 

"1st John chapter 5 is really a continuation built upon the finishing thoughts, obviously 1st John chapter 4 where it says that we love him because he first loved us.  "If any man say I love God and hate his brother, he is a liar, for he that loveth not his brother whom he hath seen, how can he love God whom he hath not seen. And this commandment have we from him, that he who loveth God love his brother also." (1st John 4:20-21) 

          "Whosoever believeth that Jesus is the Christ"-the Messiah-"is born of God:  and every one that loveth him that begat loveth him also that is begotten of him [God]."  (verse 1)  If we love the begetter, we love the begotten.  What it's saying to us is, we love him because he first loved us.  He initiated the program.  God in his relationship with man is always the initiator.  In many places in the church there is great emphasis laid upon the requirements on the life of the believer, there is great emphasis laid upon your performance.  In the Bible, it seems it lays the greater emphasis on God as the initiator, and man is the responder to his incredible grace.  And that as we understand what he has accomplished on our behalf, that should draw a response from our hearts.  And again, I believe you will serve him for one of two reasons.  You will serve him either because you think it is the right thing to do, and it is, and you are trying to be a Christian, but we can do that simply in the mode of performance, performing a Christian behavior.  And if that is your approach to God, trying to earn his approval, you will burn out.  You will fail and you will falter, and you will disintegrate, and you will be left sitting there looking to heaven once again realizing that the reason we should serve him is because he has loved us and he has washed us and he has cleansed us, and that we do not have to perform to please him, because Christ performed to please him for us 2,000 years ago, and all of our sins were then judged once and for all.  And as the Father looks at us this evening he sees Jesus, he sees the righteousness of Christ.  And that should blow our minds.  No one has ever loved us like that before, and we should love him because he has first loved us.  And the natural result of that should be that we love those that are around us.  If we are honest about ourselves, and we go home, and we look in the mirror, we know the one whose there, we know the one who is inside there, and we know the one we have to shave or to wash every day, and we know the one down inside that needs to be washed and cleansed every day, and we know what goes on in our own hearts and we know what a marvel it is that he ever loved us as individuals in the first place.  And we know the greater marvel that with all of our failings, he continues to love us.  And if he loves us that way, how could we ever begrudge loving anyone else.  How could we ever deny anyone else his grace and his forgiveness if we are recipients of it?  And the idea is, him loving us, and us understanding that and believing that, and embracing that, then draws from within the believer a response to God that overflows.  It says 'the love of Christ is shed abroad then from our hearts to those around us.'  So it says 'If we love God who we have not seen, and we don't love our brother who we have seen, that we're a liar, we're not telling truth.  This commandment we have from him, that whoever loves God love his brother also.'  And it is interesting as we go through, we mentioned before, that this agape love is always it seems, framed in the idea of commandment.  It is a choice that you will make to love often as you look around you, there is the unction of God, it tells us in the 2nd chapter, upon your heart.  There will be those who grate upon you, that rub you the wrong way, and that is when longsuffering, meekness, temperance, patience and the fruit of the Spirit come into play, and there is an intelligent decision, and not necessarily a feeling, at that moment to obey a commandment and to respond to those people around us as Christ would respond-that is agape love.   This is the commandment of God, that we love one another, and if we say we love God then we keep his commandments, they are intertwined, the commandments of God and the love of God, because it is an act of the will, God has given us by his Spirit an unction [anointing] and a power to live above the fallen nature, and the forces that surround us, and to make godly decisions even when our feelings are not in line with those things.  And that is the power of the Holy Spirit.  "Whosoever believeth that Jesus is the Messiah is born of God:"-to believe upon, to lean upon, to trust on, to have given your life to-"and every one that loveth him that begat loveth him also that is begotten of him."(verse 1)-i.e. the brethren.    "By this we know that we love the children of God, when we love God, and keep his commandments." (verse 2)  Jesus said, 'If you love me, you will keep my commandments.'  The evidence that we love God is that we keep his commandments.  And this is how we know that we love the children of God, if we love God and keep his commandments, he says.  "For this is the love of God, that we keep his commandments: and his commandments are not grievous." (verse 3)  And again, I think that we are a little repulsed when we hear the word "commandment", and yet I think as we grow in Christ, we realize that all of God's commandments are provisions for our safety.  [And I think he's referring to both versions of God's commandments, Old Testament and New, minus the Holy Days, Sabbath, which have been made optional, the days of worship a believer chooses to keep being his or her choice (cf. Romans 14, the whole chapter).]  He has given all of his commandments to us for our benefit.  'You can eat from every tree of the garden, there is but one tree in the midst of the garden you shall not eat of it, for in the day you eat thereof, you shall surely die.'  That commandment was given for the benefit of man.  Now the commandments of God that surround us also are for our benefit and for our well-being, and we have to understand that.  As parents, my children at home, there are rules that we have in our home, and the form of love that they are born out of is an inferior form of love, but certainly a parental love.  And I expect certain things of them, that they to tow the line in certain areas for the benefit of their lives-because there are certain things that I understand, just because I am older and wiser, that they do not understand.  Ah, the young ones, if I let them do whatever they want to do, they would eat chocolate chip cookies in place of string beans.  Do you understand?-they would give themselves a diet that would kill them.  They would enjoy as they're dying, but it would be no good for them.  I understand, this is for your health, this is for your well being, this is when you should go to sleep so you're rested, this is what needs to be in your diet, take your Flintstone vitamins, do this, do that, you know.  There is genuine love and concern that overrides all of that on their behalf.  [Here's where "grace oriented" churches meet Torah-observant ones, right smack in the middle, where Pastor Joe seems to be standing right here-wow, what a breath of fresh air.]  Now the amazing thing about our Father in heaven is, he is the One that is, and was, and is to come-his advice is invaluable because he can see tomorrow, and he can see next week, and he can see next month.  And next week when we run into a problem because we did not listen to him this week, he will say to us then, 'That's why I told you last week to listen to me then, because I was already here and knew this is where you would get to.'  Of course, the remarkable thing is, that he knows those failings that are still ahead of us, even in areas where we feel confident as Christians and mature, that will shock us as we fall into them, and we will realize afresh our infirmity and our dependence upon him.  And yet even knowing those things, he has chosen us.  And we will be surprised by them, but he is not surprised by them.  He bore them 2,000 years ago.  He knows them.  So the commandments, then, take into consideration our past present and future, and are there for our well-being, and they are a signature of his love towards us.  And there is a rebellious and fallen part of our nature that is repulsed by the idea of commandment, but as we grow in Christ and love him, his Word to me is not grievous, to seek him early and to sit with the Scripture and to read and to have him speak to me is worth more than anything else that happens in my life.  And it says here, ultimately, "his commandments are not grievous" to us, they become to us, the law of God is a good thing, it is enduring, it keeps us, it cleans us [i.e. it's our spiritual mirror, the Holy Spirit being the cleansing water, of course], it preserves us, and we learn then to walk in those things.  [There are two versions of the law of God, which the believer has the option or choice of choosing to adhere to and have the Lord 'write upon his heart and in his mind' (cf. Jer. 31:31-34; Hebr. 8:6-13), the OT 10 Commandment law of God, including Sabbath and Holy Days of Leviticus 23, or the NT law of Christ, spelled out in all the NT Scriptures.  Sabbatarians choose the former, and most Sunday observing Christians choose the latter, and non-Torah observant Messianic Jewish believers choose to keep the Holy Days and Sabbath while adhering to the rest of the non-Torah observant law of Christ in the NT.  Sounds complicated, but really is not.  The NT law of Christ is merely 9 of the 10 Commandments (brought to their spiritual intent by Christ in Matthew 5), minus the Sabbath/Holy Day commandments.  Paul in Romans 14 spells out the New Testament freedom in Christ we all have to choose in the area of "days of worship", whether to adhere to the old or keep some other days for worship.  This freedom extends from the period in Acts 15 to the 2nd coming of Jesus Christ.  Then upon establishment of his Kingdom of God upon earth, the whole OT law of God will be re-instituted, with the Matthew 5 and NT spirit of the law added to it, magnifying it to its spiritual intent-which is one of the things the Messiah came to do.  For an interesting expose' on this theme, log onto http://www.unityinchrist.com/kingdomofgod/kog.htm .  It points out in Romans 8:7-8 "The carnal (unconverted, without the Holy Spirit) mind is enmity against God: for it is not subject to the law of God, neither indeed can be.  So they that are in the flesh cannot please God."  With the Holy Spirit indwelling us, our minds are no longer at enmity with God or his laws.  David throughout the psalms praised and showered his love upon God's law, calling it good for the believer (read Psalm 119).  Some Christian denominations preach against God's law, the super grace oriented churches.  And this is wrong, and not the Biblical balance, but an extreme misinterpretation of God's Word.  Others on the other extreme preach that we have to adhere to God's law no matter what-almost as it were, all on our own.  This is wrong too, for the entire history of ancient Israel taught us that man cannot keep God's law all on his own power, without the Holy Spirit.  The whole wording and purpose of the new covenant spelled out for Israel in the Millennium and for Christians today shouts to us by its very wording that God has taken over the initiative, that it is he who will write his laws upon our hearts and in our minds.  That doesn't sound like the law is being done away with to me.  And the apostle Paul re-iterated that same new covenant in Hebrews 8:6-13.  What confuses people is the "optional clause" given to believers during the Church Age, from Acts 15 to the 2nd coming of Jesus Christ.  This clause gives believers the choice of choosing which days of worship they want to adhere to, based on their Christian or Messianic Jewish conscience.  Lack of understanding in this area has caused great division within the body of Christ, and it's high  time that came to an end.  Way too many "Christians" beat up upon their Sabbatarian brothers and sisters, simply because they have choosen the days of worship their Christian conscience guides them to choose. When the Bible gives them that freedom, we seem to want to deny them that freedom and call them heretics.  Let's not forget the sad church history that 1700 years ago the Gentile church residing in Rome killed off and snuffed out the whole  Messianic Jewish branch of the body of Christ, making Sabbath and Holy Day observance illegal, with infractions bringing the pain of death.]

         

         

 

 

 

          "For whatsoever is born of God overcometh"-is continually in the condition of overcoming-"the world:  and this is the victory that overcometh the world, even our faith. Who is he that overcometh the world, but he that believeth that Jesus is the Son of God?" (verses 4-5)  Now, by the way, in the tenses, you have to understand that you are already overcomers, you have overcome.  And it's interesting in Revelation chapter 12, verse 11 it says that Satan had accused them day and night before the throne of God, without ceasing, he doesn't take a day off, he is the accuser of the brethren, he is the one who gets us to point our finger at other Christians and accuse them.  And it is interesting, by the way, the accuser there categorizo, we get category from it, and we kind of like to measure our spirituality that way 'Well, I'm doing good in this category, but this category still needs work'.  You know, Jesus said if you've even lusted you deserve to go to hell, there's no categories in that sense.  But he loves to accuse that way.  But it says we have overcome, have overcome, all of us, by the blood of the Lamb and by the word of our testimony.  We are this evening in the state of overcomers because of his sufficiency and not because of our own.  So, we are continually overcoming the world, 'and this is the victory that overcomes the world, even our faith.'  What does it mean to have faith?  Here it is, "Who is he that overcometh the world, but he that believeth that Jesus is the Son of God?  This is he that came by water and blood, even Jesus Christ; not by water only, but by water and blood.  And it is the Spirit that beareth witness, because the Spirit is truth." (verses 5-6)

 

The Holy Spirit internally bears witness within us

 

          So he says, 'this is he that came by water and blood, the one that we believe in, even Jesus Christ, not by water only, but by water and blood, and it is the Spirit that beareth witness, because the Spirit is truth.'  And again, John is dealing with the Arian heresy, Gnosticism and particularly with a spiritual leader, evidently in Ephesus at that time named Cerinthis, who taught that Jesus was not really mortal, that he was not in flesh, but that Jesus, the Messiah, the Christ was an anointing that came on a man named Jesus, Joshua [Yeshua in modern Hebrew], and that when he was baptized in the river Jordan the Spirit descending like a dove, that is when the Christ Spirit came on him, and that before he died on the cross and the sin of the world came on him, that the Christ Spirit left him, and that he was only Christ while this Christ Spirit was on him.  That was a heresy that John was facing.  That's why he says that any spirit that does not confess that Jesus is come in the flesh, speaking of the incarnation, the emphasis is come into flesh from somewhere else, it affirms his Deity, and he says "This is the one who has not come by water only"-yes he was baptized, yes the Spirit descended, yes testimony was given, 'this is my Son in whom I am well pleased'-"but by water and blood"-as he hung on the cross and he paid for our sins, the Christ Spirit had not departed, and that is obvious.  The sky turned black when Jesus gave up the ghost, he said tutelisti, it is finished, there was an earthquake and the rocks were torn and the veil in the temple was rent from top to bottom, and on the third day he rose again.  There is a testimony in water and in blood of his reality, that he has taken on humanity as it were.at the right hand of the Father now there is a blue-collar worker, once and for all there who has paid for the sins of all humanity.  And it says, you and I have the testimony or the witness in ourselves.  Now, by the way, as we go through these verses, "testimony," "witness," "it is a record", it is the same word throughout, speaking of the witness or the testimony.  We have the testimony in ourselves, the idea is, we were not there when Jesus was baptized at the river Jordan.  We were not there physically, with our visible eyes, to witness his crucifixion and his resurrection.  But the Spirit who indwells us, who gives us witness, was there.  And in the Bible it says it was the Spirit after his baptism that drove him into the wilderness to be tempted of the devil.  It says he was offered by the eternal Spirit.  That same Spirit now indwells us and makes all of those things real to us.  Though we were not there as eye-witnesses, the remarkable thing is, here we sit 2,000 years later in a renovated meter factory, thousands of us, and we believe that Jesus [Yeshua] was real, is real, and is coming again in reality.  We believe that he came into flesh in the incarnation, born of a virgin, we believe that he died on the cross for our sins, and he was raised on the third day, and that he is returning.  That is a remarkable thing that has happened within us.  Again, I remember before I was a Christian, in the world, taking LSD, I remember people telling me, and one of the guys who used to witness to me, he comes here on Sunday mornings, that led me to Christ, and he said 'Hey, man, it isn't that man, it isn't church man, it's not religion, man, it's Jesus, man.  You know, it's a relationship.  He's real, he came, he walked among us, he took the children, he blessed them, he opened the eyes of the blind, this is all real stuff, man.  And he died for us, and he's coming back, the heavens are gonna split open, the sun's gonna go dark, the moon's gonna turn to blood, his vesture's gonna be dipped in blood, he's gonna ride on a white horse and we're all coming back and taking over the earth.'  And I'm thinking, 'Man, I thought LDS was good, whatever this guy's on is better than what I have!' [laughter]  And here we are, here we are, and the world may consider us insane, because those things are real to us.  "Eye hath not seen, ear hath not heard, neither has it entered into the mind of man the things that God has prepared for those who love him, but by his Spirit he hath made those things known to us, because it is his Spirit that searches the deep things within man." (1 Corinthians 2:9-10) The Bible again, tells us that the natural man, the carnal man, suchikos, the soul-ish man, does not discern the things of God [1 Corinthians 2:11-12], but the spiritual man, the neumaticos, the man who is spiritual, those things are spiritually discerned.  It's not with the eye or the ear, or the taste or the smell or the touch, it is something that is born within us, and there is this witness now whereby we are partakers of those things, they are discerned.  And the Bible says, again, "Taste and see that the Lord is good."  That is to us as spiritual beings, it's not with our tongue, it's not with the palette, there is something within us that tastes and sees, not with the eyes, but with the inner man that the Lord is good.  We are to take hold of the promises of God, not with our physical hand, but with that which is within us.  That you and I have the savor of life unto those who are living, and the savor of death [unto those who are dying, Romans], it's not a physical smell.  Aren't you glad? [laughter]  But it is a spiritual truth, that we hear the Lord speaking to us, not with the physical ear.  It is something that is spiritually discerned that the natural man does not understand.  [Verse 11 of 1 Corinthians 2 says "For what man knoweth the things of a man, save the spirit of man which is in him?"  This verse, along with a few others scattered throughout God's Word shows that God has placed a human spirit in the minds of all men, which grants physical intelligence, knowledge of the physical to each person.  Imagine trying to teach a cow, or even a chimpanzee Algebra, physics, astronomy, history, literature, electronics-just can't be done.  In the same way, verse 12 of this same passage shows the ordinary man with this human spirit, but without God's indwelling Holy Spirit, is just as ignorant of spiritual knowledge as the cow or chimp is of the physical knowledge mankind in general can comprehend.  Mankind without the indwelling Holy Spirit is blind to the things of God, for they are spiritually discerned.  God must call individuals to himself and Jesus, as Jesus stated in John 6:44,65.  Then as Jesus said in John 3 to Nicodemus, a spiritual birth must take place, when the Holy Spirit enters and indwells a person.  This is where the term born again comes from, John 3. What a lot of Christian denominations call the "soul" is really this spirit in man or spirit of man, which God places in each human, probably at conception. This spirit in man does not comprehend spiritual things of God all on its own, without the Holy Spirit combining with it, which Romans 8:16 shows happens to believers.]   And you and I, John says, we have the witness within us, because of the remarkable work of being born-again of God's Holy Spirit, made members of the Church of Jesus Christ [Synagogue of Yeshua haMeshiach for our Messianic believers], not by joining, but by being born into the family.  I got four kids at home, none of them joined, they were all born into the family.  Nobody joins.  I already have enough.  We have the witness in ourselves, and the Spirit is truth.

 

Questionable verses

          Now I'll read verses seven and eight.  How many of you are reading the NIV this evening?  How many of you are reading the Revised Standard?  Ah, a few of you.  How many of you are using the New American Standard?  Let's see.  OK.  Things are worse than I thought.  [laughter]  How many of you are using the King James or the New King James?  Alright, listen.  Ah, you don't have to pay attention to me, I'm biased, but we can have a good argument, because we have all different versions here.  That's good.  We'll have a good fight while we're here.  You know, it's interesting, we need new translations, you know, we need to make the gospel simple, to make the Bible easier to understand, we need to.  You know, we have had so many hundreds of translations and have produced the most wicked society this country has ever seen.  We have in these verses [7 & 8] what scholars call the Julanian Comma.  As I read through it, some of you are looking around, saying 'What the heck is he readin'?'  In the King James, from the Byzantine, from the Textus Receptus, it includes this clause, I'll read it, verses 7 and 8 here, "For there are three that bear record", now starting here there is a part of the text that some of your Bibles say 'This is not included in the best manuscripts".  And it starts right here, ".in heaven the Father, the Word and the Holy Ghost, these three are one.  And there are three that bear witness in earth"-that's  where it's over-"the Spirit, the water and the blood, these three agree."  So some of your Bibles read 'There are three that bear record, the Spirit, the water and the blood, these three agree" and that whole other part is omitted, or maybe there's a note there saying that is should not be there.  Ah, the thing that does bother me about that, is someone will say that there was not evidence before the sixteenth century, some will so there was no evidence before the 14th century.  I think that the Jehovah's Witness Bible that was based on the Vatic Diaglog, which is something they blew dust off and pulled out of the Vatican basement about a hundred years ago, says that's there's no evidence for it before the 5th or 6th century, which is really more honest.  It's not true, but it's more honest.  Of course, they don't want any testimony to the Trinity at all in their Bible.  But just for your own information, some of you can snooze if you don't care about any of this, but I have the mike so you'll hear it anyway.  It is true, by the way, that the some of the oldest Greek manuscripts do not have the this portion included.  But to say there was no record of it before the 15th or 14th century or 12th or 5th century is naivety.  It was quoted at Carthage by Ciprian in 250 AD, that goes pretty far back, it was quoted in 385 AD by two Spanish bishops, Pricilian and Idacius Clarus, it was quoted in the 5th century by two African bishops that were arguing against the Arian heresy that says that Jesus is not God.  It is cited by Casiadorus in Italy in the 4th century, that's four-hundred and something.  It is found in Manuscript R, an old Latin manuscript, the old Latin manuscript has interesting evidence going back to possibly the 1st or 2nd century.  It is in Codex Revianus manuscript number 61, in case you're interested, and the margin of manuscripts 88 and 629.  The idea is, I wouldn't throw your King James Bible out.  Do we need those verses to prove the Trinity?  No.  There's so much other evidence in the Bible.  Do we, is it supposed to be there?  I don't know.  All I'm saying is, you find these notes in your Bibles, like "the original manuscript says." and that always bothers me, because nobody has ever seen an original manuscript, there is not a signature.  We do not have the signature of John.  There are some scholars that point to the axolikus papyran that the John Rylon's papyran, they say they feel that in some of the papyrus there may be, professor Gan that's at Princeton, we contacted him, he never gave us any evidence.  But because there are no original manuscripts, does that mean that we do not have the Word of God.  That is ridiculous, because the God who inspired his Word has also preserved his Word.  And it is a wonder that we can all sit here this evening and study his Word together.  By the way, for those of you who are the studious type, there's also a problem if you leave this phrase out in the Greek grammar, there has to be corresponding genders between the words, and it does not work without the Julanian Comma.  The masculine and feminine genders do not match.  When it is included, then it runs smooth throughout.  So, in or out, back to the Bible study, turn your brains back on, here we go.  I'll just read them again [verses 7 & 8], "For there are three that bear record in heaven, the Father, the Word"-that's Jesus-"and the Holy Ghost"-the Trinity, plainly pointed to-"these three are one.  There are three that bear witness in earth, the Spirit, the water, and the blood.  These three agree in one."

          "If we receive the witness of men, the witness of God is greater: for this is the witness of God which he hath testified of his Son." (verse 9)  Now, let me read this to you so you understand, there's a nice force to this.  Verse 9 says "If", and only the Greeks could do this, they have an "if", and it's probably not an "if", and maybe it is, and an "if" which definitely it is, and the condition here is since, that is, "if" and it is, is the way that the class condition is here.  So this should read, verse 9, "Since we"-and present perfect-"continually receive the witness of men, the witness of God is greater."  What he's saying is, 'We are in the habit of continually receiving the witness of men, well the witness of God is greater.'  You listen to the witness of men, I mean, you read the bulletin, that's why you're going to come to the Craft Show next Saturday, because you receive the witness of men.  You turn on the news before you go to work in the morning and watch the weatherman and you receive the witness of men, and they're wrong half the time.  We continually receive the witness of men.  When you listen to the news, one of the remarkable things about the media these days is the great hold that they have on the minds of Americans, and so many things are so biased.  And we continually receive, as a people, and as Christians, the testimony of men.  Well, he says, the testimony, the witness of God is to be received because it is greater.  ": for this is the witness of God which he hath testified of his Son." (verse 9)  "He that believeth on the Son of God hath the witness in himself: he that believeth not God hath made him a liar; because he believeth not the record that God gave of his Son."  (verse 10)  Very important, you know John has a lot to say about eternal life, who are the beneficiaries, the recipients of eternal life-those who believe.  Those who believe what?  Because we kind of live in that soup-pot world.  Again, we read an article, and we'll look at it again when we get into Revelation, that the Roman Catholic Church is drafting the Catechism of the Universal Church, which will include all faiths under one roof, and it will be an all roads lead to God kind of a thing, which is true in this sense-all roads lead to God, but some of those roads lead to the Great White Throne, and you don't want to end up there.  The Hodos, the Way, I am the Way, the Truth and the Light-that is the only road that leads to forgiveness and eternal life.  The other road, all the other roads lead to damnation  and eternal life. But you are eternal, you are a spiritual being.  When you dream at night, your eyes are closed, the lights are out-in your dream you are experiencing.  There's light in your dream.  You know what it's like trying to get away from a monster in a dream, you're running, you're going two miles and hour, you're sweating, the monster, he can always go fifty miles and hour.  But in a dream you're experiencing, you're afraid, you know, you wake up and your heart's going Thump, thump, thump.  And that is a reality.  And the idea is that we are spiritual beings.  [This gets into the subject of "the spirit in man" or the "spirit of man", the human spirit which Paul shows in 1 Corinthians 2:11-13 gives us our far superior intelligence and human intellect as human beings, sentient beings, able to think and process thought light years above even the smartest animals on earth.  Solomon said when we die, it is our human spirit that rises and goes back to heaven and the One who bestowed it upon us.]  And we will either spend eternity in the presence of the true and living God, enjoying his forgiveness and love, or we will spend eternity separated from Him, because we were not forgiven while we were alive.  [Some Christian fellowships and denominations have different interpretations of what hell is and whether it is eternal, or whether the lives of those in it are just snuffed out, and they cease to be, not going on into eternity, but merciful death, termed in Revelation 20 as "the second death."  To view and find reference works to those various beliefs, log onto that link I just gave above.]  And while you were alive in your physical body, the Bible says during that time you must ask Christ to forgive your sins.  You have to be born twice, once of the flesh, and once of the Spirit [cf. John 3].  If you're born once, you will die twice, born twice, die once.  Born of the flesh, born of the Spirit, you will suffer physical death, but not spiritual death.  Born twice, die once.  Born once, die twice.  If you are only born one time, from your mother's womb, you will die a physical death, and you will die a spiritual eternal death.  And all of that is changed by you coming to Jesus Christ and asking for forgiveness of sins.  He will not violate your will.  And again, the question is asked, as a God of love, why does he send people to hell?  He doesn't.  He lets them pick.  The question is, why are people so crazy they would pick hell?  That's the question.  Two doors, one leads to forgiveness and eternal life through the blood of Jesus Christ, the other one leads to eternal separation and darkness and damnation.  And you know what, if you're here this evening and you don't know Christ personally, all of this has a rewind button on it.  And when you stand in front of God and say I didn't know, they're gonna push the rewind button. And he's going to say, 'That's funny, here you are in a service this evening hearing that you needed to make a choice.  Don't say to me, What about the guy on the island?  I know you don't lose sleep about the guy on the island, you're looking for loop-holes.'  God is more gracious, we'll let him love that guy on the island.  You worry about you.  [Considering the earth has 4,000 years of history without Jesus Christ and anyone knowing of him, and today 2/3rds of the world isn't even Christian, they're Islamic or Hindu or something else, with their minds blinded by Satan, there is more to this question than any one pastor or denomination knows about what God's solution to this problem about the "unsaved dead" is.  It will be interesting to see what Jesus has to say about it when he returns.  Some fellowships and denominations feel they have come closer to answering that eternal, age-old question, while others don't know what to say.  But even if there is a merciful solution and answer to this question, why would you want to go on any longer in this life without Jesus Christ in your life and take that chance that it could all end in spiritual disaster later?  You say, 'I'll take my chance with the broad majority.'  That's not always the best choice, like the Jews in Germany just before WWII that had a chance to leave and didn't take it.]  Pilot said, 'What shall I do with this man named Christ?'  That's your choice.  Once you hear, then have the decision to make.  And I encourage you, it's as simple as that.  Owning up to your sin and asking him to forgive and grant eternal life.  That's what John says, 'we continually receive the testimony of men on a regular basis, and since we do that, we should receive the testimony of God which is greater.'  And it is completely for our benefit.  We listen to salesmen who try to sell us for their benefit.  Here's God trying to give free to us eternal life at his own cost, with the blood of his Son, and he is not the beneficiary, you are the beneficiary.  He loves you and desires your presence with him eternally in his Kingdom.  He says that.  But it is believing God's testimony concerning his Son, not everybody else's testimony concerning his Son.  John is pointed, he is in the twilight of his life, things have clarified in his mind.  It doesn't matter that people tell you, 'Oh yes, Jesus was a great teacher, Jesus was an ascended master, ah, Jesus was an avatar, he walked on the ground and didn't leave footprints, you know.  No, none of that's true.  What is says here is we have to believe God's testimony concerning his Son, God's record concerning his Son.  That is the record that matters, because he says, 'This is the Messiah of the world, the Saviour that I have given, to us a child is born, a Son is given-that was eternity's side, on our side we saw a child born in a manger.  On eternity's side, a Son was given.  A child is born, a Son is given.  God has the record, and that is, 'If we believe that Christ died for our sins, and rose again from the dead, that if we ask forgiveness we have eternal life.'  That's what he says here.

 

The witness within us

 

          "He that believeth on the Son of God has the witness in himself."  And you know what, isn't it remarkable to watch a life changed, in such a remarkable way.  Again, my dear Mom, boy what she put up with.  And I remember going to Colorado State University, quit there, worked at the Navy Yard, quit there, worked for a tree surgeon, quit there, played music, quit there, you know, one thing to another.  You know, God was letting me quit everything until I got in the right place, that's the way I look at it now.  But just shaking their heads, and then, one thing to another, you know, drugs and insanity and then-all of sudden it was Jesus-from mediation [transcendental, that is] to Jesus.  And they looked at me and they thought, 'Flying Saucer's is all that's left.   That's what'll be next.'  [subdued laughter]  But you know the interesting thing is, as the years went on from the 1970s when Christ saved me, they saw something, you know, my Mom would finally come to me and say "I saw something that stuck.  I saw the change in your life."  I mean, the drastic change that she saw right away, I mean, the last three years before I got saved, I don't know if Harris is here, Harris and I spent those three years, ah, meditating, doing Yoga, we didn't eat any white flour and any white sugar, any white rice, any milk, ah, we lived in the mountains, we went out and cut fresh milk-weed, sprouts out of the field and fried weed and ate herbs.  We were hippies, we were out of our minds.  You know, like, we had gallons of soy oil and brown rice, and man, we were out there, I'll tell you.  And all of a sudden she saw me eating hot dogs and ham again, and she knew there was a dramatic change in my life.  When I got saved, and I thought, I must be crazy eating this stuff when I can say grace, and it's sanctified and I can enjoy this good stuff here, and so there was a dramatic change.  There was a visible change, but as the years went on, here from 1972 onward I'm witnessing to my Mom, and I'm witnessing to my Dad, and really just you know, interesting, because they weren't sure what to do with it all.  And every year onward from 1983 on, asking them, 'Why don't you go to Israel with us, why don't you go to Israel with us?'  'Aa, I'm not gonna go to Israel.'  And all of a sudden, 1991, here they are signing up their name on the Israel trip.  And I said, "OK Lord, I'm not gonna mess with it.  If I say something I'll blow it.  I'll keep my hands off of it, you get 'em there.  Oh, Lord, please."  And remarkably, my parents come on the trip, and the most remarkable thing happened, about the 5th day into the trip we baptized in the River Jordan, Chuck Smith has built a baptismal site there, and it's an emotional trip, obviously everybody we're baptizing, most of them had been baptized before, but it's a time of recommitment and rededication, the hearts are stirred, they're softened by being at the Sea of Galilee, sitting in the Temple in Capernaum, and being where he walked, and seeing the sites. And there were about 100 people from church and we're baptizing, and all of a sudden here comes my Mom out of the dressing room with a bathing suit on and gets in line to be baptized, and Bill Gallatin and I, the other Pastor there are baptizing, people are weeping, they're asking praying for this, 'I want to give this up, this has been eating me, I'm so stirred.'  It finally takes about half an hour, my legs are freezing, fish are biting at my legs, and here she comes out, and stands between us, and I said "Mom, what can I pray for you?"  And she just broke down crying, and she said "You know, I want to be close to the Lord, but I feel so far away."  And I said, "You need to pray this prayer with me."  And I led my Mom in the sinners prayer standing in the Jordan River.  And she prayed that prayer with me, and she got saved, and I baptized her.  It was really cool.  It was so cool, I said, "Lord I can't believe I've been griping for 20 years, you had something better planned all along."  But it was interesting to hear her the next day talking to some of the other women on the trip, she was saying "I'm so blessed, I'm so blessed, my Joey's been telling me this all along, now I know what he's talking about."  Just to see the change, and as it says here, "the witness is within us", you know, all the witnessing that took place outside, you can witness to someone till you're blue in the face, but it isn't until they come to Christ themselves, because he's alive and he's risen, they ask, and then he moves within their being, then the witness, the Holy Spirit has indwelt, the Christ has indwelt us, and at that point in time the witness is within.  And just to see the change, the change in the countenance, the change in a life, the change that no rehabilitation program or rehab center could bring about.  To see the changes within us, it is the most remarkable thing, and that change is an eternal change.  The healing of a cancer is a temporary change, the healing of a physical problem or a financial problem [is temporary], but the healing of an eternal being and the removing of the penalty and the guilt of sin, and the changing of an eternal being from the inside out is the most remarkable thing that can take place.  And John says that when we believe we have the witness within ourselves. 

          "He that believeth not God hath made him a liar; because he believeth not the record that God gave of his Son." (verse 10)  "And this is the record, that God hath given us eternal life, and this life is in his Son."  (verse 11)  "He that hath the Son hath ["the"-definite articles here in the Greek] life; and he that hath not the Son of God hath not ["the"] life." (verse 12)  What is says, is if you've asked Jesus Christ into your heart, you have eternal life this evening.  It isn't something that you're going to have when you go to heaven, you now have age-abiding life indwelling your being.  And it effects the quality of your life, now partially, "but it has not yet appeared what we shall be, John says.  When we see him, we shall be like him for we shall see him as he is." (1 John 3:1-2).  There will be that time when it will burst forth from within us like Christ was metamorphosized on the Mount of Transfiguration.  Right now dwelling within our being is age abiding life, we possess it this evening.  "For God so love the world that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever should believe in him should not perish, but have eternal life."  But you have-and you have it when you get saved, age-abiding life, eternal life.  It is in you now.  The problem with it manifesting fully is corruption needs to put on incorruption and this mortal needs to put on immortality, that will happen in the twinkling of an eye, and then we shall shine forth like the stars of heaven [cf. Daniel 12:1-3; 1 Cor. 15:49-54] the Bible says, shining in the countenance of heaven.   And you possess that now.  It is the power within you of eternal life, at the cost of heaven.  "He that hath the Son hath life; and he that hath not the Son of God hath not life." (verse 12)

          "These things have I written unto you that believe on the name of the Son of God; that ye may know that ye have eternal life, and that ye may believe on the name of the Son of God." (verse 13)  I'll read it to you again, "These things have I written unto you that believe on the name of the Son of God; that ye may know that ye have eternal life, and that ye may believe on the name of the Son of God."  Now take note, when he finished his gospel [the Gospel of John], he said "there were many things that I could have written to you about the Son of God that are not written here, but the things that are written, are written that you might believe on the name of the Son of God, and that by believing you might have life through his name."  So he says he wrote his gospel so that we might believe and have life.  He says he wrote the first epistle to those who already believe, that they might have assurance.  "I'm writing to you that believe on the Son of God, that you might know"-oeda, have a full spiritual supernatural knowledge-"that you have eternal life, and that you may continue to believe on the name of the Son of God."  Now let me say this, we should and can have that assurance, it is there for us.  We can know beyond a shadow of a doubt that we have eternal life.  Charles Spurgeon said, "It is not essential in the life of a child of God that he has assurance to be saved, but is essential if we will be effective and fruitful for the kingdom of God."  The sad thing is there are many Christians, who are saved and washed in the blood, who are not enjoying the assurance of their salvation for one reason or another.  John says the reason he wrote this epistle to those of you who believe is so that you would know in your hearts that you have eternal life, that your sins are forgiven.  And you can know that.  My encouragement to you is, at the end of this evening as we stand to sing and finish the evening, those of you who struggle still with assurance, that find yourself performing so much of the time to earn God's love, you know, you need to go to him as his child and say, "Lord, mow me over with this Lord, let it finally overwhelm my heart."  I think of my own life as a Christian, 15 years or so, and one evening finally reading 2nd Peter, where it says "there are given to us great and precious promises whereby we may be made partakers of the divine nature."  And it was in reading that text, that God finally said to me "Do you expect me to give you promises superior to the promises I gave to Peter and to Paul and to James and to John?"  I said "No Lord."  And he said, "If my promises were good enough for them, my promises are good enough for you."  "And by the promises I have given you, you have been made partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption of the world through lust."  We can know, it overwhelmed me.  We can know that we have eternal life, and that we are forgiven.  We can look forward to heaven [being in the kingdom of heaven] without fearing death.  And I am not afraid to die.  The dying bothers me.  Dying itself does not bother me, how it happens I probably have some preferences.  Trumpet blast first, obviously. [laughter]

 

Getting the petitions we ask for

 

          Verse 14-15 says, "And this is the confidence that we have in him, that, if we ask any thing according to his will, he heareth us: and if we know that he hear us, whatsoever we ask, we know that we have the petitions that we desired of him."  Take note of what it says there.  'This is the confidence that we have in him, that, if we ask any thing"-here's the qualifying phrase-"according to his will, he heareth us."  And we know this.  "And if we know that he hear us, whatsoever we ask, we know that we have the petitions that we desired of him."  But the thing that you have to understand here, is even Jesus said, "Not my will, but thy will be done."  "Thy kingdom come, thy will be done."  Prayer is not something that God instituted so you can accomplish your own purposes.  Prayer is ours so that we can pray in accordance with the will of God, and see those things accomplished in our lives.  Jesus said 'Seek ye first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and everything else will be added to you, if you're seeking first the kingdom, the furtherance of the kingdom, the King of the kingdom, the love of the King of that kingdom, the righteousness that should characterize our lives thereby, all other things then will be ours.'  But if we set our desires on those things, all the other things in our lives will fall into line.  So it isn't as many in the church make it today, where God is the magic genie in the lamp, and if you confess it three times, you know-they have all these secrets of confessing it and praising him.   I think there are some sincere Christians that experience particular things in their lives, but the problem is, then they wrote books and put them in tape form, and it has to work for everybody else, and it doesn't go that way.  The Bible doesn't say "Praise God" for everything.  When somebody smashes into my car I do not praise God for that, I praise God that they aren't gonna be driving in heaven.  [laughter]  I can praise God in all things, not necessarily for all things.  Smash my thumb with a hammer, I do not say "Oh thank you Father, Oh, this pain, Oh Lord thank you."  I say, "Thank you Lord, I don't have to build nothing in heaven, it's done, it's there, you been building it."  And prayer is not something where we figure out this secret formula like, 'God's in heaven saying 'that's it, you're getting closer, you're getting warm, you're getting warm, now say it this way, now hidden in Ezekiel is a secret passage, and if you find that, OK, you're getting warm, you're getting warm.'  No that's not it.  That's not it at all.  He sent his Son into the world to die for us, to show us his love, to take away our sins-it is his good pleasure to give us the Kingdom.  He is saying, 'If we pray according to his will, he's listening to us, he's hearing us.'  And we know if he hears us, we will have the petitions then that we ask of him. 

 

Seeing a brother in sin

 

          "If any man see his brother sin a sin which is not unto death, he shall ask, and he shall give him life for them that sin not unto death.  There is a sin unto death: I do not say that he shall pray for it." (verse 16)  Difficult passage, ah, don't believe me, study it for yourself.  "If any man see his brother sin a sin which is not unto death, he shall ask, and he shall"-God shall-"give him life for them that sin not unto death.  There is a sin unto death: I do not say that he shall pray for it."  "All unrighteousness is sin: and there is a sin not unto death." (verse 17)  Difficult passage.  It either means one of two things.  It's either talking about the fact that if you see a brother sinning a sin that is not unto death, pray for that man.  There is a sin unto death, for the unbeliever, there is a sin that is unpardonable-for the unbeliever.  That sin is rejecting Jesus Christ [or the call of God the Father through the Holy Spirit, drawing a person to Jesus Christ, cf. John 6:44].  That is the unpardonable sin.  Jesus, in one of the gospels, says to the Pharisees and Sadducees, "You are coming close to blaspheming the Spirit."  Because the [Holy] Spirit was telling them, 'This is the One who is to come, to open the eyes of the blind, to cleanse the lepers, to raise the dead, to preach good news to the captives, to set free those that are bound.'  They had that testimony in their hearts, and they were refusing, and in that they were blaspheming the witness of the [Holy] Spirit, and if you do that too, and you die physically, there is no forgiveness.  There is no pardon for that sin.  Sin, if you try to understand what I'm saying, does not send someone to hell, refusing Jesus Christ sends people to hell.  I know, because I'm a sinner, and I'm saved, I got some sin, and I'm going to heaven-because I'm washed and cleansed, I am a sinner saved by grace.  Don't get upset, I didn't say I am practicing sin, there isn't anything secret going on you don't know about.  The idea is, my record, I'm glad, is blotted out.  But there is a sin that is unpardonable, that is rejecting Christ.  There's no forgiveness for that sin.  If a man passes out of this physical world into eternity, or a woman, and they have not accepted Christ, there is no longer forgiveness available in any way for that person.  So it possibly is that what he is speaking of, because he said 'There were those who were among us, they went out from us, when they did, they proved they were not of us.'  So if you see someone who appears to be a brother, sin a sin which is not unto death, you pray for that person.  "There is a sin unto death, I do not say you should pray for it."

          The other interpretation is this, and it's the one I lean towards.  And who am I?  "If a man see his Christian brother, a believer, sin a sin which is not unto death, in sin, backsliding, he shall ask, and he shall give him life-to pray for that person that sins not unto death.  There is a sin unto death.  I do not say you shall pray for it."  There were those in the Church in Corinth who were coming to the communion table drunk, they were suing one another, they were guilty of sin, not discerning the body.  Paul says many are sickly and weak among you, and many sleep, passed into death because they don't discern the body.  There is a time when there is a Nadab and Abihu, as Aaron's sons came to the Ark of the Covenant and offered strange fire, and they were struck down.  There is a time when there is an Ananias and Sapphira that are struck down.  It doesn't tell us they were lost, we don't know.  But they certainly, God brought his judgment upon them for the well-being of the body.  So, it seems to me as believers, there's two reasons we die.  One is, we finish our Course, the other reason is, we get in the way.  And there is a time when there is a sheep in the fold who is so infectious and damaging to the rest of the flock, spreading a disease, that a good shepherd will then take that infection out.  There is a time when a surgeon will take a cancer out of a body so the rest of the body can remain healthy.  And I do believe there is a time when God removes a believing child from this world for his well-being and the well-being of those around him.  And there is a sin unto death, and he says, "I do not say you should pray for it.  All unrighteousness is sin, but there is a sin not unto death."  There is a time when God judges.

 

Wicked one toucheth us not

 

          "We know that whosoever is born of God sinneth not; but he that is begotten of God keepeth himself, and that wicked one toucheth him not." (verse 18)  "Sinneth not"-does not continually practice sin-"but he that is begotten of God keepeth himself"-and this should be wonderful news to all of you-"and that wicked one toucheth him not."  There is a mountain of nonsense in the body of Christ today about Christians that are born-again and filled with the Spirit being possessed by demons.  I don't find anywhere in the Scripture that indicates God is into time-sharing with the devil.  [laughter]  You are sealed with the Spirit of promise.  It is the same Greek word "sealed" when Satan is bound for a thousand years and "sealed" in the bottomless pit, same word.  And he cannot break that seal, and he can't break the seal that's on you.  You can play into his hands, he can mess with your mind.  By God's permission he may be able to inflict sickness, [but] he cannot possess your soul [cf. Job 1-2, Satan was allowed to afflict Job, but could not possess his soul.]  You're blood bought.  The simple way to remember, is that our Dad can beat their dad.  And you're foolish if you make it any more complicated than that.  You hear all these people "binding the devil".  You know, you don't want to mess with him without Dad.  You always want to keep the Lord between you and the devil.  Even Michael the archangel said "Satan, the Lord rebuke thee."  So, deliverance ministries, I send them down the street.  We want to sing and study the Word of God.  At one time we had a woman come to the church, and she was a little bit, she was only half there.  The lights were on, nobody was home.  And, ah, she said she had a demon.  She didn't have one.  And she said she was a Christian, and she wanted to  have the demon cast out.  I mean, there was no demon.  She was in there talking with us, we said 'No, you don't have a demon.'  And she was arguing with us, and then she wanted to fight.  So Frank and Jeff got on the phone and found a church down the street that believed Christians can be demon possessed, and dropped her off there.  [laughter]  There's a place for everybody.  "The wicked one toucheth him not."  "And we know that we are of God, and the whole world lieth in wickedness." (verse 19)  By the way, in both places, it is poneros.  There are two words in the New Testament that speak of wickedness or evil.  One is cackos, which means to be intrinsically evil.  There may be a guy who lives next do to you, we used to live next door to a guy like this, and he was just miserable.  To me he was cackos, he was just intrinsically evil.  You know, if the kid's ball went on his lawn, he chopped it up and put it in the trashcan.  He kicked dogs.  He turned his light out on the holidays.  He just was a miserable guy.  Just evil in himself.  But there is another word, evil, poneros, and that is an evil that is not content unless it is sucking others to destruction with it.  It is an evil that is not content unless it is infecting others and damaging them.  And when Paul speaks of this present evil age, it is this present poneros age, that is not content.  You look at the morals, you look at the media, you look at what's going on, there is a design there to take the souls of men and of women.  "The wicked one does not touch us.  And we know that we are of God, and the whole world lieth in wickedness." (verse 18b and 19)  "And we know that the Son of God is come, and hath given us an understanding,"-that's what unbeliever's don't have-"that we may know him that is true, and we are in him that is true, even in his Son Jesus Christ.  This is the true God, and eternal life." (verse 20)  "Little children, keep yourselves from idols.  Amen" (verse 21)  Keep yourselves from idols.  John begins this letter saying to us "That which we have seen, that which we have gazed upon, studied, that which we have handled, that which we have heard of the Word of Life, that which was from the beginning was made manifest and we have seen him."  John leaned upon his breast [during that fateful Passover meal].  He said, "That is what we're desiring to communicate to you, that your fellowship may be with us, and truly our fellowship is with God the Father through his Son Jesus Christ."  And he ends by saying, 'We know, this is the true God, this is true life.  Little children, keep yourself from idols, false gods.'  And your idol can be your Ferrari, it can be your career, it can be a relationship, it can be your child.  For me, Calvary Chapel can be idolatry, if I become so absorbed in my identity and what's going on here, instead of finding my identity in my personal relationship with Jesus Christ, this can become idolatry.  And the idea is, when the Lord says 'I am the Lord thy God, I will have no other gods before me', it is not speaking of a line of gods, #1 god, #2 god, #3 god, #4 god.  That's not what he means when he says "I will have no other gods before me."  The word "before" means "in my presence."  "I  am the Lord thy God, I will have no other gods in my sight, in my field of vision, in my presence", and he sees everywhere.  And the idea is, he's the One and true Living God.  John so desired to communicate to a church that had not seen him with their own eyes, or heard him with their ears, or leaned upon his breast.  And he said "That which was from the beginning, that Eternal Life, is what we desire to communicate to you.  And the testimony of God is true.  And he hath given an understanding to us, he has given us an unction [anointing].  We believe, supernaturally, so keep yourself from idols."  [transcript of a sermon given by Pastor Joe Focht on 1st John 5, © Calvary Chapel of Philadelphia, 13500 Philmont Avenue, Philadelphia, PA  19116.]  

 

 

"If a man say, I love God, and hateth his brother, he is a liar: for he that loveth not his brother whom he hath seen, how can he love God whom he hath not seen?.this commandment we have from him, That he who loveth God love his brother also." (1st John 4:20-21)  And as Pastor Joe said, "for us to say that we are "in Christ" and "Christ is in us" and that "we have a relationship" and not to manifest love one to another is a denial in demonstration of the reality of our relationship with him [God].this is to me where the rubber meets the road.real genuine spiritual Christian love is where the rubber meets the road.  And that means helping each other out, that means cutting somebody's lawn, that means sacrificing of yourself."  One of the overriding themes brought out in this study of 1st John is that one who truly loves God will also be loving others, and especially the brethren, other members within the body of Christ.  There are two categories of brethren, and while it is easy for us to see the first category as we fellowship in our local church, the other is often never seen and thus overlooked and ignored.  This second category is made up of that vast number of people around the world whom God intends to call-by and through our efforts, i.e. international evangelism.  God wants us to pay attention to loving both groups, not just those we can see.  And if we did this in a unified manner, even though we all hail from differing parts of the body of Christ, we would add a whole new dimension of unity to the major evangelistic efforts the body of Christ is involved in.  This unity would transcend all our denominational barriers, causing the body to act more as a single entity in purpose and actions.  If you truly are a member of the body of Christ, and maturing spiritually in the manner John has shown us here in his epistle, your desire will be to help this "other" group.  I have outlined a very simple method for covering this "unseen" group God wants us to care for, the future members of the body of Christ.  It is described as the 2nd purpose in the Mission Statement found on the Homepage.  It does not overtax the participating Christian, but if followed by sufficient numbers, will create a unified flow of funding for major international evangelistic organizations.  Time may be short, and the Lord wants this group brought into the body as soon as possible.  So log onto the Mission Statement at http://www.unityinchrist.com/missionstatement.htm and lend a hand in doing what the Lord would have us be doing to love "the future members of the body of Christ, our future Brethren."

 
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