Summary: Have you ever wondered if you have it right?

1 John 5 February 4, 2007

Proof for your Faith

Do you every wonder if all this Christianity stuff is right and true? Do you ever think, maybe I’ve got it all wrong and I should be following something else, or just getting on with the life of making money and putting food on the table?

You are not alone – the people in the church that John writes too have the same questions.

I know that those of you who have been here for every sermon on first John might be a little tired of hearing about the context of the letter, but for those who are new, let me say it again. John is in prison on the Isle of Patmos, and the church that he writes to in Ephesus is feeling embattled and beat up. There was a group in the church that we teaching that Jesus not God made human, and not the Christ, although the divine Christ had been upon him in his ministry. This group had left the church, leaving the Christians behind. They were feeling discouraged and wondering whether or not they had the truth. Much of John’s letter is encouraging them that, yes they do have the truth.

Read 1 John 5:1-12

This passage repeats what he has already said, but like any conclusion, it says it more succinctly, and like John always does, he adds a few things.

John reminds his people and us that we can know that we know the truth from God, and that we are on God’s side by three proofs. He has dealt with them separately already, now he integrates them.

1) Belief

1 Everyone who believes that Jesus is the Messiah is born of God, and everyone who loves the father loves his child as well.

The first proof that John gives is that we believe in Jesus: We believe that Jesus is the Messiah, the Christ: the divine Son of God.

The connection between the Son and the Father:

John 8:19 Jesus replied. "If you knew me, you would know my Father also."

John 8:42 Jesus said to them, "If God were your Father, you would love me, for I came from God and now am here. I have not come on my own; but he sent me.

1 John 2:23 No one who denies the Son has the Father; whoever acknowledges the Son has the Father also.

John 1:18 No one has ever seen God, but the one and only [Son], who is himself God and is in closest relationship with the Father, has made him known.

But believing “in” is much more than believing “about.” You could believe that Jesus is God’s Son and do nothing about it. A poll said that 84% of Americans believe that Jesus is God’s Son, but no where near that number believes “in” him.

To believe in someone is to trust them. I understand that when they were translating the Bible for the Inuit they had a hard time finding a word for “believe.” One day, when the ice was just thick enough to walk on, the translator was going for a walk with one of the young men. The young man stepped out on the ice and bounced a little to see if it would hold him. The translator asked what he called walking on the ice, and he found his word – to place one whole weight on. This is what it means to believe in Jesus. It is not to just give metal assent to the truth about him. It is to place the whole weight of your life on him.

2) Love

This is how we know that we love the children of God: by loving God…

Once again John tells us that we cannot separate the love that we have for God with the love that we have for his people. He says “how can you say you love God whom you have not seen and hate your brother or sister who you can see?

The love for God and his people are so intertwined that he comes at it from the other angle in this passage – instead of saying that we love God by loving his people, he says that we love his people by loving him, and obeying him. The truth is that much of the things that God wants us to obey him in are about loving his people!

Last week we looked at how this love is to be like God’s love for us: practical, sacrificial, and intimate.

3) Obedience

… and carrying out his commands. 3 In fact, this is love for God: to keep his commands. And his commands are not burdensome, 4 for everyone born of God overcomes the world. This is the victory that has overcome the world, even our faith.

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