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1 John 1:1-4 New England Series
1 John 1:5-7 New England series
1 John 1:8-10 New England series
1 John 2:1-2 1 John 2:3-6
1 John 2:7-11
1 John 2:12-17
1 John 2:18-27
1 John 3:1-9 1John 3: 10-23
1 John 3:24 to 4:6
1 John 4:7-16
1st John 4:17-21
1st John 5:4-13 1st John 5:14-15
  1 John 5:16-17   1 John 5:18-21  
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1st John 5:4-13

 

“For whatsoever 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 Christ; not by water only, but by water and blood.  And it is the Spirit that beareth witness, because the Spirit is truth.  [Verse 7, Vulgate corruption: “For there are three that bear record in heaven, the Father, the Word, and the Holy Ghost: and these three are one.”]  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 I have 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” (1 John 5:4-13).

 

“As you were reminded in the announcements August the 24th, a few Sundays from now, we’ll have The Potter’s Field with us.  And that is a really wonderful opportunity to maybe bring somebody to church that you’ve been wanting to invite, and maybe that’s a way to just open that door and invite ‘em.  It’s a really neat production.  We’re having it, this is the first time we’ve done something like that, we’re going to have it on Sunday morning, and then that same Sunday evening….that will be on the 24th.  I’d ask you again to continue to pray for the Christian radio here that we’re part of, because it’s such an important thing, and I just keep mentioning it to you, I mentioned it on Wednesday nights, it’s really a vital time for us to be praying.  Potentially it’s just an incredible opportunity ahead for us in radio, but there also could be some hindrances and changes that we may not desire.  So it’s really a time to be praying about radio.  You heard about the Calvary Chapel Magazine also, check it out, see the India trip, as you heard there’s going to be an India trip later this year, and I know if there is interest as there was last time, we’ll have a team that goes.  You’ll see different things about it.  As a church we continue to, you know we started an orphans and widows ministry last fall, we continue to do that.  [This website supports a Christian orphans and widows ministry in Bapatla, India, the Blessi Orphan Home.  Be sure to check it out at http://www.unityinchrist.com/evangelism/sisterchurches/BlessiOrphanHome.htm.]  And we started out really aggressively, we slowed down a little bit, the Lord led us to slow down a little bit for the season, before we really get to the levels that we intend to be.  We intend to some day, 50 percent of our budgets put aside for missions, orphans and widows….we already give significantly to missions, and we started this orphans and widows budget….  [This site recommends a simple plan for supporting similar missions and international evangelistic organizations at http://www.unityinchrist.com/missionstatement.htm, a simple $5.00 a week, giving the body of Christ collective muscle across denominational lines.]….May the Lord open your eyes all the more to what it means to reach out in this age that we live in, not only locally, but around the world.

          We’re in 1st John, so open your Bibles to 1st John chapter 5.  This is, man there’s some great verses.  John writes in a way that he convicts us, and exhorts us, makes us feel a little uncomfortable maybe, but then comes back and he encourages us, all in the end this is a letter to encourage us as born-again believers in Jesus Christ.  But also to help us if we’re not born-again, to see that we’re not born-again.  That’s a crucial thrust for us to understand, are we born-again?  So he lays these things out for us.  But as we see some of the things that we’ll read today in chapter 5, we begin with verse 4, he just says statements, man, that they can just mean so much in our lives the more we just meditate on those things.  We could do lots of Bible studies on some of these words and verses.  I think as we get started of my experience with my wife on our honeymoon, we went to Nova Scotia in 1991, August ’91 and spent twelve days there.  On one of our days we had been driving around the Province of Nova Scotia, and we came to the Bay of Fundy.  Of course, the Bay of Fundy is this incredible bay in the sense of tide, the tide changes drastically.  And as we were on this side of the Bay of Fundy we stopped by a place to get a sandwich in a little house, they didn’t have restaurants in that area, a very small not densely populated area.  And we stopped by a house where they had a little window, take-out window, and we got a sandwich.  And the lady there told us, ‘Hey, you ought to go to the bay right now because there’s some whales that are trying to beach themselves.  So we drove over there and there was a group of people watching these whales and they had little boats out and this little community trying to get these pilot whales going in the right direction out of the bay, because that area of the bay, a very large area, was soon to completely empty of water.  The water was deep enough so the whales could swim in, but in a  matter of hours it was going to be completely empty and just be mud.  And these whales had come up further than they had seen them in years come up, and they were in danger, and it looked like, it didn’t look very good for this group of whales, they were going to potentially, it seemed pretty clearly beach themselves.  Now the Bay of Fundy has this tremendous tide, and they say, there’s areas of it where the water level will change vertically sixty feet.  I mean, just imagine that.  You can be standing in a plain that’s completely mud and in a number of hours be in water well over your head.  That’s really incredible.  In fact the tide change near New Brunswick, there’s certain areas where it’s so great that they get a tidal bore, that is a wave that comes with the tide as it comes in, a six foot wave at times, a wave with the tide, six feet.  The magnitude, the force.  So it can be an area that’s fairly dangerous, you can just imagine being in the wrong place at the wrong time, how that could put your life in danger.  So this force in the Bay of Fundy, this tide-change.  I start with that because I can’t help but think of just the word “tide” and “force” as I look around in our culture, and I see, I mean just daily this tide that seems to be coming in, this “force” that’s just sweeping over our culture.  It seems to be so quickly moving, the recent Supreme Court decision for the United States, the pending Supreme Court decision, I don’t know if they’ve made it or not in this State, I haven’t heard, this decision that’s going to be made on same sex marriage.  Talking with pastors from the Episcopal Church right now, the Episcopal Church is going through re-evaluating the same sex marriage, and they very well might make a decision to approve that.  Of course there’s other things in here, I even heard recently that there’s legislation in our state that it would be a hate crime to say anything negative about homosexuality, and of course the Bible doesn’t say anything negative about a homosexual, the Bible says that God loves homosexuals, but the Bible says that homosexuality is a sin.  To say that, there could be legislation coming through in our state that would make that a hate-crime, and with a significant penalty.  But these things are moving so quickly, you know.  And then violence, and of course the things we see and hear on the TV’s and radios and reading in magazines and newspapers.  You know, I was having a conversation recently with my wife, and this happens so often, we’ll get talking and say “I can’t believe I saw what I saw on TV this week”, I mean I don’t know how many times I said that.  [just clicking on http://www.foxnews.com for a week or two and seeing all the killings, murders and sexual crimes being committed, the frequency just appears to be going up.  And this pastor was preaching this in 2003!  It’s just continuing to get worse and worse.]  I’m stunned at the level, and just a short time later I see something else, and I can’t believe I saw that on the television.  Just is so quickly moving, this tide.  Now it’s got this sense to it, and it’s possible, you know, you’re watching the TV, and you may start to think ‘Who can possibly withstand this force, this tide that’s coming in, this flood that’s coming in?’  Even as Christians maybe at times we can get a sense of hopelessness as we look around and see what’s happening in our country.  But even though the TV may give that kind of message, and I think it does, even though there might be political lobbying groups that want us to have that understanding that there’s no way you can stop this, this is where we’re going, and this is what’s going to happen, you don’t stand a chance.  Even though that may be the case, even though they say statistically there’s an increasing change in the percentages of our population going from what would be a conservative side to a liberal side, more and more they’re saying within our culture people, entire percentages are approving things that they didn’t used to approve of.  But even with all that, the Word of God, as we see today has a very different meaning to the Christian.  And the world may say ‘You can’t withstand this, you can’t stop this.’  But then the Bible shows that you and I as Christians, you can withstand these forces.  Not only can you withstand this great tide, as we’ll see here in 1st John chapter 5, John says you can more than withstand, because you will overcome, you will overcome.  Man, that is a great word, isn’t it?  In this day and age, just to be reminded of that this morning, we as Christians will overcome.  Let’s say a word of prayer, and we’ll get started.  “Lord, I thank you that we can look at these Scriptures and verses together, and we so much need you, we so much need you in our lives, Lord.  It is all about you, we are so weak, you are so strong.  We are so finite, you are infinite.  We look around and we see indeed this moving and this changing, this flow in our culture towards greater darkness.  And it seems that it’s picking up speed, and that we have all these increasing pressures and things against us as Christians.  Some of us have come here this week, and had just a sense of that pressure and the battle within and the battle around us.  But I thank you Lord that we can come to your Word, and be reminded about the truth about everything, and the truth is about what we are in Christ and where we stand in Christ, and it makes all the difference.  I thank you Lord.  I ask Holy Spirit in your grace that you’d be upon all of us, and even upon myself as we go through your Word now, in Jesus name, Amen.’ 

          Verses 4-5, “For whatever is born of God overcomes the world: and this has the victory that overcomes the world, our faith.  Who is he that overcomes the world but he who believes that Jesus is the Son of God.”   Last week you may remember, you know John reminded us, he said “God’s commandments are not burdensome, not grievous.”  This we said had a lot to do with the attitude of our heart as we looked at verse 3 in just the whole context of that word “love”, you know.  We made mention, his commands are not burdensome, they’re not grievous because when you love to do something, you desire to do something, it’s easy to do that, it’s much easier to do something that you love to do.  So his commands for that reason, in that context, are not burdensome because I love God and I want to obey God.  And because I love God I want to obey him, that makes his commands a lot easier to do.  But now we see here, John goes from that thought here in verse 3 then into verse 4.  The thoughts are connected, and he gives us even more insight.  He says that his commands are not burdensome, also because of what’s taken place in our lives as believers, and that is we’re now born-again.  We have become what the Bible describes as “a new creation”, and now we have the means and the power to obey.  [Log onto http://www.unityinchrist.com/romans/Romans6-1-5page1.htm and study this series on Romans to better understand this concept Paul revealed in the book of Romans, if you haven’t already done so.]  Now it’s one thing to desire to do what’s right, it’s one thing to desire it, but it’s a whole another to have the power and the means to do it.  That’s what Paul describes in Romans 7 and 8, the men have been studying this on Wednesday morning, and it is amazing to me how often the studies we have here in a week all seem to tie together.  But without God’s intervention, just having the desire is one thing, but we would be in what Paul describes in Romans 7, just having of a desire and without God helping us, man we would be in a challenge.  Paul says this in Romans 7, verse 15, “For what I am doing I do not understand, for what I will to do, that I do not practice, but what I hate that I do.  If I do what I will not to do, I agree with the law that it is good, but now it is no longer I who do it, but sin that dwells in me, for I know that in me, that is in my flesh, nothing good dwells, for to will is present in me, but how to perform what is good I do not find, for the good that I will to do, I do not do, but the evil I will not to do, I practice.”  He says ‘I desire to do what’s right, but I don’t do it.  I do what I don’t want to do.’  That’s a lousy predicament to be in, you know.  Sometimes we feel like that.  But Paul doesn’t stop there, he goes on to Romans 8, and he says ‘you’re born-again, that means you’re a new creation, that means you have the Holy Spirit in your life.  So it’s more than just being someone who desires to do what is right, you then have the means and the power to do it.  As he says in Romans chapter 8, verse 4, “But the righteous requirement of the law might be fulfilled in us who do not walk according to the flesh, but according to the Spirit.”  He says we can actually fulfill the Law, that is, we can obey all of God’s Law, all of his commands.  That is, we have victory through the Spirit.  And so John here is saying a similar thing, he says “His commandments are not burdensome….for whatever is born of God overcomes the world.”  He’s speaking of victory right there, meaning being born-again, having the Holy Spirit within you, having the power of God within you.  Without his power, without the Spirit, man, it is impossible to obey.  But with his Spirit now in us, his commands are not burdensome because we have the means to do it.  Not burdensome.  You know, we can say that, but we need to balance it out.  If you keep stressing ‘It’s easy to obey God, some of us will walk away discouraged, because, man at times so often in my life it’s the last thing it seems, that it’s easy.  Right?  Sometimes is seems so difficult.  Though the truth is, it  is easy.  It is not a walk in the park, it’s not just walking along whistling, picking daisies, that’s for sure, because at the same time balancing the Scriptures, the Bible says it’s a war.  It’s an absolute war.  Ephesians chapter 6, verse 12, “For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this age, against spiritual hosts of wickedness in heavenly places.”  So yes, his commandments are not burdensome, yes, I have the means to do it, but yes the Bible also says I’m in a war.  But, then verse 4, John says, yes, we’re in a war, but yet we overcome.  We need to remember that too.  We also have victory.  I think of this war that we were in, in Iraq.  They say the war’s over, but then the war isn’t over.  Right?  For all intense purposes the United States has won the war, in one sense the war is over.  But as you see the newscasts, as you hear the reports through the radio, man if you were to talk to some of the soldiers, they have intense battles.  They have intense moments.  There’s times their lives are on the line.  There’s times that some of them even die.  There’s still a real enemy out there, there’s still a battle going on.  So in one sense the war is not over, and that is the truth for you and I as born-again believers in Jesus Christ.  In one sense the war is over, Jesus Christ has already conquered Death, Hades and the Devil, that happened almost 2,000 years ago at the cross.  But in another sense, there’s still this subduing of the land, this cleaning up that goes on.  In another sense the war is still happening and it’s very real, a war between good and evil, between light and dark, between God’s kids and the powers of the dark forces.  It’s the same picture that we’ve also been studying in the book of Joshua on Wednesday nights.  Joshua, the leader of Israel taking the people into the Promised Land.  God said to them, when they were to cross the Jordan River, this miraculous happening, this miraculous event would be a sign to them that as they go over the Jordan River they would have victory in the Promised Land, they would conquer all the cities, all the enemies there within the Promised Land were defeated eventually.  Joshua chapter 3, verse 10, “By this you shall know, that the living God is among you, and that he will without fail drive out from before you the Canaanites, the Hittites, the Hivites, the Perizites, the Girgashites, the Amorites and the Jebusites.’  But as we’ve been studying Joshua it’s been one battle after another.  And there’s struggles, there’s battles within, there’s battles without.  There’s times when there seems to be failure.  There’s times where they’re struggling with faith and trusting God.  You see within the book of Joshua compromise.  There’s all these things going on, there’s people dying, there’s blood, there’s guts, there’s still a battle.  Yet they crossed the Jordan River and God said ‘this is a sign that these guys are defeated.’  So, in the same way as Christians today, the Jordan River [which miraculously dried up as they crossed it, and then started to flow again once they were crossed over] to us is the cross, the cross says ‘Yes, the enemy is defeated.’  [The actual physical defeat doesn’t come until Revelation 19:8-21, when the Beast empire with it’s leaders are defeated in actual battle in Jerusalem at the 2nd coming of Jesus Christ, and Revelation 20:1-3, when Satan and all his demons are looked away.  Then for us, as believers, the war is over, the enemy totally vanquished.  For more on this see http://www.unityinchrist.com/kingdomofgod/kog.htm.  A better analogy would be our defeat of the Japanese fleet at Midway Island.  We had successfully defeated the Japanese super carrier strike force, sunk it at Midway.  The rest of the war was essentially a mop-up action.  A very bloody and costly mop-up action that took three more years to accomplish.  But without that carrier strike force, their ability to wage offensive war was over.]  The battle’s over, but yet the battle’s still going on.  Practically speaking there’s still this war ahead.  Well, with that then, these words so vital to you and I “For whatever is born of God overcomes the world.”  Man, that is just wonderful to know.  That is just encouraging words.  You know, John has been telling us what it means to be a Christian, it’s something very radical, there’s a radical transformation.  It isn’t just being a religious person, there’s something supernatural that happens.  Just taking that word born of God, and looking at it so far in 1st John, in 1st John chapter 3, verse 9 he says ‘Somebody who is born of God does not continue in a lifestyle of sin, does not continue in a lifestyle of sin’, meaning in time they will repent.  They will change, they can’t stay in a lifestyle of sin.  That doesn’t mean we don’t stumble, that doesn’t mean we don’t stumble, but it does mean we won’t continue in sin.  I heard recently of a religious leader, a Christian leader in another State that is outwardly professing homosexuality and has actually been elected to a significant position in the denomination [Episcopal] and I heard another Christian who is a Godly man describing this individual as someone he believes is a Christian, but yet I was thinking, John here, there’s a problem here.  He’s outwardly declaring that this is what he is [homosexual], that’s just who he is and that’s fine, but yet John says you can’t continue in a lifestyle of sin and be born-again.  It doesn’t mean you won’t struggle, it doesn’t mean you won’t stumble, but just to say ‘This is what I am and this is how I’m going to live’, and yet be a Christian, there’s a problem there.  There’s a problem there.  John says that to be born of God means you won’t continue in a lifestyle of sin, you’ll want to live differently.  But also in 1st John chapter 4, verse 7 he said to be born of God, that phrase is in the context of loving others, meaning when you’re born of God you’ll love people.  Also in 1st John chapter 4, verse 7 he says somebody who’s born-again is somebody who knows God, has a personal relationship with him.  Then we have here in chapter 5, ‘Somebody who’s born of God is somebody who overcomes the world.’  In fact, in verse 1 of chapter 5 he also uses the term “born of God”, he says ‘Somebody who is born of God is somebody who believes in Jesus as the Christ, as the Messiah, as the Divine One.’  And he’ll use that term one more time in the end of the chapter, he’ll say “But he who has been born of God keeps himself, and the wicked one does not touch him.”  That’s just a statement again of overcoming.  So when he talks about being born of God as he says here, it is not just being religious, man, it is a transformation, it’s a radical change, it’s a radical life.  But what great words of encouragement, to know that as a believer in Jesus Christ I have been changed, there is something that has effected me, this being born again, it’s so changed me that I am told here that I have overcome the world.  When I look around and I see the overwhelming tide and the flood of darkness, and all these pressures, I can say ‘I have overcome, I have overcome.’  I can look out there and say ‘I have overcome, I have overcome this world.’  That is why Paul tells the church in Rome, he says “Yet in all things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us.”  What does it mean to be more than a conqueror?  I read this story recently.  ‘When Lord Nelson reported to the British admirals of his great victory over the French fleet in the battle of the Nile, he said “that victory was not a large enough word to describe what had taken place.”’  So then this person that writes this little note says ‘when Paul spoke of the victory through Jesus Christ, he had won over all the ills and adversaries, temptations and woes of life, that the greatest of all words ‘Conqueror’ was not sufficient to describe it, and therefore he said “More than conquerors for him that loves us.”  I can look and say ‘I’ve overcome, I am more than a conqueror.’  What’s more than a conqueror?  It’s more than a conqueror, more than a conqueror.  There is this great battle around us, there is this great battle within us, there’s the ever-increasing pressures to diverge, to partake in this or that, to satisfy this or that carnal desire, to head down the road hand in hand with the world in this direction, to just kind of go with the flow, following the Pied Piper, but John says that I’m born-again, and I have victory.  Paul says to the church in Rome “I’m no longer a slave of the flesh of the world, I have been set free, I have been set free and I now have the means to do what is right and follow God.”  Like Noah, though one day 99.999999 percent of the world becomes part of the statistic ‘Well, they’ve gone there, they’re following this standard, the standard of darkness,’ though one day it becomes like that in our culture, if it does, the Bible says as a Christian I yet overcome, I overcome, just like Noah.  I stand there.  God will look down and say ‘Look at that guy there, he’s righteous, he’s a righteous man, just like Noah, blameless among the people of his time, he walks with God.  Look at that gal, blameless, walking with the Lord, though 99.99999 percent of the population is doing something else.’  The Bible says, as a born-again believer, something radical has happened to me, and I have overcome, I am more than a conqueror, more than a conqueror.  Though at times I may stumble, though in moments and seasons I may struggle with trusting God,  I may find myself outwitted at times by the enemy, I may find myself being caught off guard and make a foolish decision, I may wake up some morning ashamed that this is where I’ve been, this is what I’ve done, I may just be burdened I haven’t glorified Christ in the way I should have, I may grieve because I let the ‘Old Man’ get the best of me, no matter how lousy yesterday may have been for me, or the week before, the month before, the year before, I can stand on the Bible and say ‘I have overcome, I have overcome, I am more than a conqueror.’  Man, that is great.  That is great news, man.  Because as a Christian I can confess my sin to God.  John has already told me, I can confess my sin and he is faithful and just to forgive me of my sin and cleanse me from all unrighteousness.  That means that even when I stumble, I get back up, and I just get right back into the race.  To stumble means that the race is not over, man, it is not even close, get up, run, run the race.  John said in 1st John chapter 2, verse 1, “My little children, these things I write to you so that you may not sin.  And if any one sins”, we’ve already studied this, “we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the Righteous, and he himself is the propitiation for our sins and not for ours only, but also for the whole world.”  So I have overcome the world.  I will overcome, I do overcome.  And that is because, as John has already told me, 1st John chapter 4, verse 4, “He who is in me is greater than he that is in the world.”  You know, sometimes that television box says “Wow, you don’t stand a chance, look at all these lobbying groups, look at Hollywood, man, they got the buttons, they got the TV cameras, they’re just working this deal.  But the Bible says “Greater is he that is in me than he that is in the world.”  I think of this story, years ago in a certain city of Texas, visited by the evangelist Francis E. Willard.  In that area, the leader of the saloon and the bars, those representing that interest, this one particular leader made a speech, there was this thing going on in the community.  He says “We are bound to win, we have the drinking men on our side, we have the foreigners on our side, we have money on our side, and money is a power, and don’t you forget it, man, you guys don’t stand a chance, we got bucks.”  The following evening in the same city, Francis Willard closed an eloquent public appeal for the community with these words, he says “We are bound to win, we have the sober men on our side, we have the women on our side, we have God on our side, and God is a power, and don’t you forget it.”  Now that doesn’t mean we are going to win the political battle, things may go a certain way in Massachusetts and may just keep on going, but we’ve got God on our side, and greater is he that is in me than he that is in the world.  I will overcome.  I am more than a conqueror in Jesus Christ. 

          Now, how exactly do we overcome?  Well John gives us that there in verse 4, he says that we overcome by faith.  Right?  He says “For whatever is born of God overcomes the world, and this is the victory that has overcome the world, our faith.”  Our faith.  Faith, specifically, he says in verse 5, “he who overcomes is he who believes in Jesus Christ the Son of God.”   I overcome by faith in Jesus Christ the Son of God.  That’s important.  It’s interesting in verse 4, when he says “and this is the victory”, and the word “victory” there is in the continuous sense, so there is a continuous victory, this is the continuous victory, and it is in the Greek tense of the indicative, the present indicative tense.  And the Greek word is the word nikao, from the Greek word nike, which is spelled nike, the word Nike, or as it is pronounced in Greek, NeeKay.  Nike, so the word victory is Nike.  Of course, you know, you think of the tennis shoe [I think of our old Nike-Zues anti-aircraft missile we had back in the late 1950s, which actually in the Greek meant Victory-Zeus, Zeus being the Greek god of lightning]….This is what the Bible says, is the nike that you need, man, and that’s faith in Jesus Christ.  That outdoes any “Air-Jordan” Nike sneaker.  That is good stuff.  That is really good stuff.  In fact, it’s also interesting that that word in the Greek was the same word the Greek’s used for their goddess of victory, Nike.  Evidently, in our country too, in our military arsenal we have a missile [had, it’s now outdated] named Nike, so that word just means man, victory, arsenal, overcoming.  But the Bible says this is really where it’s found.  And this victory over the world, this is the great victory, this is the victory over the cosmos.  When he says cosmos there, he means everything evil, everything that’s against God, everything that seeks to come against us to keep us from glorifying God, all the things that go on within us, all the things that go on without us, all of that, he says “this is the victory that has overcome the world, our faith, and it’s our faith in Jesus Christ the Son of God.”  And that is because, Jesus said earlier in John chapter 16, verse 33, “These things I have spoken to you, that in me you may have peace.  In the world [cosmos] you will have tribulation, but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world.”  So, it’s faith in him, because he has overcome the world.  He has defeated the enemy.  So, in faith, when my eyes see Jesus [Yeshua] for who he is, I begin to see things now with a new outlook, I have a new understanding, I also have a new source of power, there’s a work that goes on in me, I understand that Jesus Christ has defeated Satan, and that Jesus is in me and I am in him.  I also understand the Scriptures that Jesus right now at this moment is seated at the right hand of the Father in the heavenlies, meaning he’s had complete victory.  But also, positionally, understand from Ephesians, that I am also seated with him, there in the heavenlies, already.  Positionally, I’m there.  So in faith in Jesus Christ, as my eyes are opened all the more, I indeed have victory.  I have victory.  And I experience it practically on a day to day basis, as I through faith allow him to live through me.  Galatians 2:20, “I have been crucified with Christ, it is no longer I who live but Christ lives in me, and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God who loved me and gave himself for me.”  When I look in the wilderness there, Jesus being tempted, 40 days without eating, 40 days without drinking, I couldn’t imagine being so vulnerable and so weak, and then Satan himself showing up, and mocking him, seeking to tempt him, to allure him.   He could say ‘Satan, you’re not fighting fair, man.’  But Jesus stood strong.  He didn’t for a moment give in, he stood, he lived perfectly, he did not sin.  The Bible says this is my Jesus, and he is in me.  So I have victory as I understand what he has done at the cross, but I understand practically, he wants to live through me.  So in faith, I allow him, I yield to him, I let him live through me.  And when he’s living through me, man, you can be sure that I’m walking in victory.  The more I understand that he’s working in and through me, the more I’m going to draw on his means, on his power for victory.  The more too I will see that without him, Romans 7, I am completely hopeless, that he, as the Bible says, he is my strong tower that I run to, he is where there is safety from the storm, the more I’m going to run to him and rest in him, Hebrews 4, and just work out my faith practically, too, man just letting him live through me.  In that I will overcome.  That’s what we read about in Hebrews chapter 11, the hall there of faith, these people lived by faith, they were overcomers, and there was that sense of just trusting in God, walking with God, seeing Jesus for who he is, and allowing him to just really minister in and through him.  Even in the Old Testament [the Tenakh for our Jewish Messianic believers], as Hebrews 11 says “the just shall live by faith.”  By faith we overcome, and he says “this is the victory that has overcome the world, our faith,” this is the victory, our faith, it’s completely faith, it is nothing else.  And I see that, you know, the world, all it’s power, it’s destiny, all that’s represented there.  Then you look at the thief on the cross next to Jesus, all he did was believe, and he had complete victory.  All he did was believe, and when his world was headed to destruction, he just believed and he completely had victory over….and was then moved over to the Kingdom of Jesus Christ.  I now live there, I’m under his authority, under his rule.  Yes, presently the darkness is still across the street, there’s the taunting and persecution, maybe they’re throwing rocks, there’s a battle, but I have overcome, I’m now in a whole new place.  I’m with Jesus, man, man I’m in his kingdom.  [In his Kingdom in the sense that the Holy Spirit indwells us, but not yet literally in his Kingdom, which will return to earth with Jesus at his 2nd coming.  We must be careful to differentiate between the spiritual reality and the coming physical reality, when Satan’s evil kingdom is banished along with him (cf. Revelation 20:1-3) and Jesus’ Kingdom is established (cf. Revelation 20:4, 6).]  As we go on, I have eternal life, as the writer here, John says.  So, by faith, the victory is faith, man.  That’s how Paul lived practically from day to day, man.  He lived in faith that Jesus was living in him and through him, and he just yielded to that.  So he was in the Word, was in prayer practically allowing Jesus, seeking Jesus, and it was all about Jesus, allowing him to live through him.  I read recently too of this great musician, Georg Frederich Handel.  This great musician went through a season where he lost his health, was paralyzed on his right side, his money was gone, his creditors seized and threatened to imprison him.  Handel was so disheartened by this tragic experience that he almost despaired for a brief time, but then the story says his faith prevailed, his faith in Jesus Christ, and he composed his greatest work, the Hallelujah Chorus, which is part of the great Messiah.  You could say he was down for the count, but he had faith in Jesus Christ, and in it, man, he just proved he was an overcomer.  And we see the plays, we here the music, even today, so beautiful, so powerful.  This man was an overcomer, in Jesus Christ.  So it’s faith, faith in Jesus, that’s how I overcome.  It happened to me positionally when I put my faith in him and was saved, but practically now in this experience of a Christian, this daily experience I have victory by faith, yielding to the Spirit, yielding to the Lord of my life.  So it’s by faith in the Son of God.  That is key.  He says “He who believes that Jesus is the Son of God”, that is the only way to be saved, that is the only way to have victory.  It takes the Son of God.  It doesn’t take a nice man, it doesn’t take a great prophet, it doesn’t take some marvelous teacher, it takes the Son of God to work that in my life. 

 

Why we believe Jesus is the Son of God

 

          Verse 6, well he says all these things, that we overcome, therefore his commandments are not burdensome.  How do we overcome?  It’s through faith, faith in Jesus the Son of God, and from verse 6 to 13 now he gives lots of reasons why we should believe that Jesus is the Son of God.  Verse 6, “This is he who came by water and blood, Jesus Christ; not only by water, but by water and blood.  And it is the Spirit who bears witness because the Spirit is truth.”  [verse 7 in the King James, what he is about to read, is a corruption carried over from the Vulgate and is not considered part of the Authorized text in the Greek, and so I will not transcribe it here.]….But he now says, as you see,  this belief that Jesus is the Son of God.  That’s what it’s all about, and then he goes on to say there’s plenty of witness, there’s plenty of evidence, plenty of testimony for you and I, for anyone to believe that Jesus is the Son of God, especially in verse 6 because of the Holy Spirit who bears witness.  There is witness in my heart as a Christian [or Messianic Jewish believer] ministering to my heart.  But also in the world, the Holy Spirit is convicting people of judgment and of sin and of righteousness.  And speaking to their hearts about Jesus and about who he is.  So there’s every reason to believe, the Spirit is especially bearing witness, and he is the Spirit of truth.  John chapter 16, verse 13, about the Holy Spirit, Jesus said “However when he the Spirit of truth is come, he will guide you into all truth, for he will not speak on his own authority, but whatever he hears he will speak, and will tell you of things to come.”  But he’s the Spirit of truth, and guides in truth.  He speaks truth.  And the Holy Spirit’s at work in our hearts as Christians, but he’s also at work in the world, convicting hearts and pricking hearts and speaking to hearts.  [for a more complete study of Jesus’ Messiahship and who he is, log onto http://www.unityinchrist.com/prophecies/1stcoming.htm.]  So, there’s plenty of reasons, especially because of the Holy Spirit, but also as it says here in verse 6 there is this witness, this evidence, Jesus he came by water and blood, this is he who came by water and blood, Jesus Christ, not only by water but by water and blood.  What does that mean, what is he saying “by water and blood”?  I’ll be honest with you, as you study different commentaries and things, you’ll find it rendered a little bit differently.  The water could mean his physical birth, his blood his death, so meaning he came by water, meaning he came, he was incarnate, came from heaven the Son of God, and then he died on the cross.  It could mean that.  The water could also mean the baptism, his baptism.  [The Holy Spirit was “in” Jesus from birth, or perhaps even from conception, but came “upon him” (perhaps marking the beginning of his ministry) at his baptism.]  You remember his ministry started there with his baptism, it’s when he presented himself to the world as the Messiah, it started at that point when the Spirit came upon him, it could refer to the baptism.  I think most would agree the blood means his death.  And I personally believe water here is referring to his baptism, the start of his ministry.  And of course, the Father spoke from heaven at that point, that “This is my Son in whom I am well pleased.”  So I believe the water there is his baptism, the physical baptism of Jesus, and the blood is his death.  But also when you think of water and blood you think of John chapter 19, verse 34, maybe it all just signifies his death because we’re told there when Jesus was on the cross and he died that the soldier came up and drove his spear into his side, and we’re told in John chapter 19, verse 34 “But one of the soldiers pierced his side with his spear and immediately blood and water came out”, signifying that his died, and he probably died of a ruptured broken heart.  So, “this is he who came”, that word “came” in the Greek tense, means he came voluntarily, as you look at the words, he came on his own accord, he came voluntarily, “he came by water and blood.”  “And it is the Spirit who testifies to this, and the Spirit is truth.”

          And then he goes on and he says the Holy Spirit is one of the witnesses in heaven, he says that there’s three witnesses in heaven, ‘For there’s three that bear witness in heaven, the Father, the Word and the Holy Spirit, and these three are one.’  [that verse and statement there is a corruption taken from the Vulgate, and isn’t in the original Greek text.]  Now you may have the NIV or other translation and you may say ‘wait a minute, what are you reading there, some of these things you stated aren’t in my translation.  In fact this passage is a bit shorter when you look in the NIV, and the reason is, is some of these statements are not in the older texts.  In fact some of these statements [verse 7 of the King James], the oldest text that we have with these statements [verse 7] in it is about the 16th century.  So there’s a debate.  And some, like the NIV, doesn’t even include some of these statements [specifically verse 7].  For instance, “There are three that bear witness in heaven”, you may look at your Bible and say ‘I don’t even have that statement, I just have ‘the three are one [verse 6], and the three agree, and then verse 8, it’s much shorter.’  But even if it did or didn’t [i.e. even if verse 7 is included or not included] you get the same message.  Although I would say it probably belongs [I disagree], because the message there agrees with the rest of the Bible.  There is a statement in verse 7, if that is indeed an authentic statement, ‘for there are three that bear witness in heaven, the Father, the Word and the Holy Spirit’, the Father, God the Father, the Word, the Logos, Jesus, the Holy Spirit, there’s a sense of the trinity there, the witness there, the three agree, so there is that sense in the verse.  So, the Holy Spirit bearing witness, the Father, the Word.  [Now non-Trinitarians, who are believers also, regardless of what some apologists teach, think this verse was inserted to try to prove the Trinity doctrine, and have traced it as a corruption from the Vulgate Latin translation.  When a verse is called into question like this, one must never use it as a central proof for a doctrine.  One must never rely on a single verse to form a doctrine anyway.]

          Then verse 8, “There are three that bear witness on earth, the Spirit, and the water, and the blood: and these three agree in one.”  Which includes the Holy Spirit, interesting.  The Holy Spirit bears witness on earth, the Holy Spirit also was the only one that was there when Jesus died, was born, and died.  He is the only one that is here presently, he’s the only one [almost] 2,000 years later that can bear witness on this earth, because he knows.  He was there.  “But there are three that bear witness on earth, the Spirit, the water and the blood.”  What does he mean here by the water and the blood?  Again there are those that take it a little bit differently, meaning the water, his birth.  Some would say the water, meaning cleansing from sin.  I personally believe that the water there is Jesus’ baptism, and the blood is his death.  That’s what I personally believe.

          Verses 9-12, “If we receive the witness of men, the witness of God is greater: for this is the witness of God which he has testified of his Son.  He who believes on the Son of God has the witness in himself: he who does not believe God, has made him a liar, because he has not believed the testimony that God has given of his Son.  And this is the testimony, the God has given us eternal life, and this life is in his Son.  He who has the Son has life, he who does not have the Son of God does not have life.”  So here, he says this is the witness, he lays it out, Jesus is the Son of God, there’s plenty of evidence, even the Holy Spirit testifying to hearts.  And then he says in verse 9 there’s even the witness of men, but the witness of God is greater.  Of course we have the witness of John the Baptist, we have the witness of all the Prophets of the Old Testament [the Tenakh], all the Church leaders throughout Church history [and don’t forget the 12 apostles, 12 eye witnesses.]  We have the witnesses of men, but the witness of God is greater, much greater, infinitely greater. [see http://unityinchrist.com/prophecies/1stcoming.htm ]. And this is the witness of God, which he testifies of his own Son.  In verse 10, “He that believeth on the Son of god hath the witness in himself”, the Holy Spirit bearing witness to our hearts, that yes, Jesus is indeed the Son of God, but “he that believeth not God hath made him a liar: because he believeth not the record that God gave of his Son.”  He who does not believe is making God out to be a liar.  I believe that a person that denies Jesus Christ [Yeshua haMeshiach for our Messianic Jewish believers] is rejecting the Holy Spirit, and they’re rejecting the truth.  Meaning the Holy Spirit’s coming and saying to their heart, maybe you’re here today without Jesus Christ, and in your heart you’re hearing these Scriptures, and the Bible says to reject Jesus Christ is to reject the truth, because the Holy Spirit even comes and speaks to your heart.  He says, ‘This is the truth’, bears witness of the truth, pricks your heart, reveals to you in a way that you are rejecting God when you reject the gospel.  And when you do that, you’re making him out to be a liar because this is what Jesus says to your heart.  This is what the Spirit says, ‘Jesus Christ is the Son of God and you are in need of him to be your Savior.’  So, “he who believes has this witness, but he who does not makes God out to be a liar.”  And the words there in the Greek, it makes it very clear that this believing or unbelieving is a personal decision, just by the Greek words that are used, it’s completely a personal responsibility, God doesn’t make people not believe [but Satan does deceive, and the Bible shows in a number of places, that Satan has the whole world deceived (cf. Revelation 12:9).]  The Bible doesn’t teach that, it’s a personal decision.  And then it makes it very clear here, even to deny, it’s a terrible thing, it makes God out to be a liar, there’s no greater thing you can do against God but to not believe.  That’s what the Bible says is blasphemy of the Holy Spirit, the only sin that God will not forgive, is to continue to deny Jesus Christ until you die. [This fellowship believes that if a person dies unsaved, they go to ever-burning hell, or at least, eternal separation from God.  That is where this pastor is taking this, the direction he’s going in.  But as shown in this fine article written about the subject of hell written by Keith Stump, there are many differing interpretations as to what hell is and who goes there.  And where so much disagreement within the body of Christ exists, this makes it a secondary doctrine at best, no matter who says what from the pulpit.  Be sure to log onto http://www.unityinchrist.com/plaintruth/battle.htm to read about this fascinating subject that so many disagree on.]  Verses 11-12, “And this is the testimony, that God has given us eternal life, and this life is in his Son.  He who has the Son has life”---very clearly, it’s a radical life, being a Christian is having life within me, it’s having eternal life, but the way the words are, it’s also having life presently, eternal life is for the here and now, it’s for the future, but also the here and now, when I have Jesus, I have life, I have life within me.  I have power.  I have victory.  I am an overcomer---“He who has the Son has life, but he who does not have the Son of God does not have life.”  So, people may believe one thing, but to not have Christ, to not put faith in Jesus Christ is to not have eternal life.  That is what the Bible says.  The world says all sorts of ways will lead you to heaven.  In our culture more and more it’s just the political correctness to say that ‘Yes, that way is fine, yes, this god is fine, all these things are the same.’  But the Bible comes up and says ‘No way, man.  Without Jesus you do not have life, without Jesus the Son of God.’  He who does not have Jesus, the Son of God, in his heart, Lord and Saviour, does not have life, does not have eternal life, meaning they will not go to heaven [or be granted eternal life in the 1st resurrection to immortality and ushered into the literal kingdom of God upon return of Jesus Christ, as some interpret the Scriptures to reveal].  Clear truth of the Bible.  So to be without him is to be without life.  It’s by faith, man, faith in him, that’s how I take hold of this life. 

          Finally, verse 13, as we come to the end.  “These things I have written to you who believe in the name of the Son of God, that you may know that you have eternal life, and that you may believe on the name of the Son of God.”  These things are written to encourage us, these things are written to remind me, that yes, indeed man, I am born-again, and to remind me that I have eternal life, I am an overcomer.  That last part of that verse, “and that you may continue to believe in the name of the Son of God.”  That last part of that verse is not in all the translations again, but I believe it’s certainly true of the heart of what John is saying, ‘these things are written that you may know that you have eternal life, but also to encourage us to keep pressing on, man.’  There’s victory, there’s hope, man.  Christ is in you, you’re born-again, you have eternity awaiting for you.  When John ended, he says these things I have written, so he’s just about to conclude his Epistle.  We’ll read the last verses next week.  But when he concluded John, his Gospel of John, he wrote similar things, John chapter 20, verse 31, “But these things are written that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ [The Messiah, Hebrew: haMeshiach]  the Son of God, and that believing you may have life in his name.”  He says ‘I wrote all this to show you that Jesus is the Son of God, and that you would believe in him and put your faith in him, and have life in his name.’  John ends this Epistle the same way, ‘I have written these things so that you know that you believe,’ he’s writing especially to the Church, but also declaring to non-Christians, man, it’s life in Jesus Christ, and it’s only in Jesus Christ [Yeshua haMeshiach] that we may have life.  Let’s close in prayer….[transcript of 1st John 5:4-13, given somewhere in New England]

 

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