Summary: When John writes of the “love of God” he is literally referring to one’s “love for God. “Love for God” is expressed when one keeps God’s commands.
A police officer pulled over a driver and informed him that he was speeding. Just then, his wife, who was seated next to him, said, “I told you; you have to drive slowly until you get a license!” The policeman, surprised, exclaimed, “Were you driving without a license?”
His daughter, trying to defend her father, “Officer, please consider my dad. He gets excited when he’s drunk.” The policeman stunned, stammered, “You were driving without a license while intoxicated?”
His son in the back seat, shouted out, “I knew we wouldn’t get far in this stolen car!” The father had three unwanted witnesses. In today’s sermon we will learn about a true witness, a desired witness, a much to be heeded to witness—not a human witness, but God himself.
In 1st John chapter five, John continues to refute the Gnostic heresy that he has been countering since the beginning of his letter.
1 John 5:1 Whoever believes that Jesus is the Christ is born of God; and whoever loves the Father loves the child born of Him.
* Believes – not mere intellectual assent but heart acceptance of the incarnation.
* Christ – Christos, “Messiah,” “the Anointed One.”
* Born – in the perfect tense (a past act having present results.)
John is referring to the person who has more than a belief in the facts concerning the incarnation. He believes and accepts in his heart that Jesus is God in the flesh and came to earth to die for our sins.
This person’s belief that Jesus is the Christ has the present result of making him one who is born of God.
1 John 5:2 By this we know that we love the children of God, when we love God and observe His commandments.
* Love – agape, a sacrificial love, a divine love. This is the love of God that is produced in the heart of the yielded believer by the Holy Spirit.
* Observe/keep – tereo – “to attend to carefully;” “a jealous safe keeping of God’s commandments.”
* When – literally, “whenever”
John is saying in verse two that you can tell those who sacrificially, selflessly love the children of God—whenever they sacrificially and selflessly love God and carefully attend to keeping his commandments.
1 John 5:3 For this is the love of God, that we keep His commandments; and His commandments are not burdensome.
When John writes of the “love of God” he is literally referring to one’s “love for God (NIV). “Love for God” is expressed when one keeps God’s commands. It is not what we “say” or “sing” about the love of God, it is what we do.
And for the person who truly loves God, His commandments, John says, are not burdensome or grievous. The word, burdensome or grievous means, “Heavy.” The word speaks of that which is severe, stern, violent, cruel, and unsparing.
If you are not saved do not even think about trying to keep God’s commands. Going to church, serving in a ministry, giving your tithes and offerings, living a morally pure life will be a “drag;” it will be a burden. The Christian life for you will be “cruel and unusual punishment.”
This is why so many people go AWOL (Absent Without Leave) after making a commitment to leave a life of sin and start coming to church. This is not what God is calling them to. God is calling all people, everywhere to turn away from their sins and come (not to church) but come to Jesus.
John’s point is that when you love God, the keeping of His commandments becomes a delight rather than a burden.
1 John 5:4 For whatever is born of God overcomes the world; and this is the victory that has overcome the world-- our faith.
The Christian is fighting an ongoing battle against the world, the flesh and the devil. We know this from John’s choice of the word nikao that is translated into our English word, overcome.
The forces of the devil, the flesh (our totally depraved nature) and the world (kosmos) system under the leadership of the devil surround the believer and incessantly wage war against him trying to ruin his Christian life and testimony.
John says in verse four that the Christian overcomes the world. The first occurrence of the word overcome is in the present tense in the Greek which tells us that the Christian is “constantly overcoming the world.” In other words, victory over the word is the norm for the Christian—defeat, though it sometimes happens, is the exception, not the rule.
The second occurrence of the word overcome in verse 4 is used in the aorist tense. The aorist tense is a snapshot of something has occurred in the past.
John is saying at the end of verse four that “this is the victory that overcame the world…our faith.” In other words, our faith in Christ has made the victory over the world, the flesh and the devil a done deal.