Lesson Eight
1 John 5

Communication is so complicated. "No it's not! Just say what you mean and mean what you say." That's the trouble. Words we use in common do not mean the same thing to each of us. Rarely do two people have the same concepts. We always interpret another person's words by our own concepts.

1 John 5 contains three things. First it contains powerful encouragement. Second, it contains some of the most difficult statements found in the New Testament. Third, it contains some key Christian concepts. There is no way we could address all three this evening.

  1. In 1 John 5:1,2, John emphasizes some key concepts found throughout the book.
    1. Key concept #1: Believing that Jesus is the Christ.
      1. Chapter 2:22 -- The antichrists do not believe Jesus is the Christ.
      2. Chapter 3:23 -- Believing Jesus is the Christ is a basic commandment, and this faith and obedience results in Christians loving each other.
      3. Chapter 4:2,3 -- Believing that Jesus is the Christ is a basic proof that a spirit comes from God.
      4. Chapter 4:15 -- Believing that Jesus is the Christ is key evidence that one continually lives in God.
      5. Chapter 5:1 -- Believing that Jesus is the Christ is basic evidence that the person is born of God.
    2. Key concept #2: the born of God.
      1. Chapter 2:29 -- The born of God practice righteousness.
      2. Chapter 3:9 -- The born of God will not practice sin.
      3. Chapter 4:7 -- The born of God love.
      4. Chapter 5:4 -- The born of God overcome the world.
      5. Chapter 5:18 -- The born of God are kept by God.
    3. Concept #3: Love the children of God (Christians love Christians).
      1. Chapter 2:10,11 -- Christians loving Christians is essential to if a Christian is to continually live in the light.
      2. Chapter 3:11 -- Christians loving Christians is the original message.
      3. Chapter 4:7 -- Christians loving Christians is the proof that we belong to God.
      4. Chapter 4:11 -- Christians ought to love each other because God loves all of us.
      5. Chapter 4:21 -- Christians love Christians because God commanded us to love each other.
    4. Concept #4: Keeping the commandments.
      1. Chapter 2:3 -- We know that we know God if we keep the commandments.
      2. Chapter 3:22 -- God responds to us because we keep the commandments.
      3. Chapter 3:24 -- Keeping the commandments is necessary for there to be mutual indwelling.
      4. Chapter 5:3 -- Keeping the commandments is the proof that we love God.

  2. Please focus on some of the basic understandings of Chapter 5.
    1. Understanding #1: "If you love the parent, you love the child" (5:1).
      1. This concept is basic to the meaning of obedience, loving Christians, and inseparable bond.
      2. Understanding obedience:
        1. Obedience is not a matter of making a list of commandments and doing them.
        2. Obedience is not making a deal with God that obligates God.
        3. Because I love my father I am devoted to pleasing him.
        4. Obedience is not a matter of making a deal with God; it's a matter of being devoted to God.
      3. Christians loving Christians.
        1. We do not love Christians because we are easy to love.
        2. The truth is, none of us are that easy to love.
        3. We love Christians because we love the parent of Christians.
      4. The inseparable link exists between love and obedience.
        1. This is one of the basic truths of "love the parent, love the child."
        2. Because we love the parent, we love his children.
        3. Because we love the parent, we obey the parent.
        4. It is impossible to love God and refuse to love Christians.
        5. It is impossible to love God and refuse to obey God.
    2. Understanding #2: Keeping God's commandments is not burdensome (5:3).
      1. The Pharisees were the proof that humans can make obeying God very burdensome.
        1. They are also the proof that this distorts the purposes of God.
        2. They are also the proof that when we do this we deep displease God.
      2. In Matthew 11:28-30, Jesus said, "My yoke is easy, and my load is light."
        1. Obeying God by surrendering to Jesus destroys burdens.
        2. It rests the soul, not exhausts the soul.
      3. Obedience may not be easy, but it is not burdensome.
        1. The greater our love for God the easier obedience becomes.
        2. When Christianity is by nature burdensome, it is not what Christ gave us.
    3. Understanding #3: It is our faith that gives us victory over the world (5:4).
      1. By our faith, John means that we place our trust in Jesus who is the Christ.
      2. We need to see John's picture clearly.
        1. His picture is not of a world under the immediate control of God with Satan invading it.
        2. His picture is of a world under the immediate control of evil being invaded by God through Christ.
      3. The person who overcomes the world is the Christian who places his absolute trust in Jesus as the Christ.

  3. Observation: Verses 6-8 are some of the most difficult verses in the New Testament to understand.
    1. John's point and thought flow are not obvious.
    2. Many serious scholars have come to very different conclusions about the meaning of these verses.
    3. It is not my purpose tonight to examine those conclusions.

  4. Finally, I want you to focus on the assurances.
    1. Assurance #1: God has given Christians eternal life, and that life is found in Jesus Christ (5:11,12).
      1. Please note it does not say that God will give us eternal life.
      2. For every person in Christ, God has given him or her eternal life.
      3. We can chose to forfeit it, but it is ours if we chose to remain in Christ.
    2. Assurance #2: We place our confidence in eternal life (5:13).
      1. It is not a "maybe" proposition.
      2. It is a definite promise.
    3. Assurance #3: God hears our requests (5:15).
      1. The person who loves God and shows his love in devotion through obedience is committed to the will of God.
      2. Any request this person makes will be in full respect of God's will.
      3. When in surrender to the will of God we make a request, God hears our request and responds to it.
    4. Assurance #4: When Christians pray for God to forgive Christians of mistakes that they have made, God will extend that forgiveness.
      1. There are some sins that produce spiritual death.
      2. There are some sins that do not result in spiritual death.
      3. For those sins, God will hear the prayer for forgiveness of one Christian prayed for another Christian .

Pay special attention to Chapter 5:19. John plainly said that the whole world lies in the power of the evil one. The only way we can keep the evil one from touching us is to be born of God. God keeps those who are born of Him from being touched by the evil one. This happens because those born of God place their unquestioning trust in His son, Jesus Christ. God can invade the control of the evil one because He is the true God that has eternal life.

John cautioned them against idolatry. Idolatry replaced the true God with a false god. We need the same caution. We must not replace the true God with any worldly power. All worldly powers come from the evil one, not from God.

David Chadwell

West-Ark Church of Christ, Fort Smith, AR
Evening Sermon, 18 April 1999
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