Authentic Christianity (17): Sermons on the New Testament letter of 1 John.
Reading: 1 John 5:13-21
If “the whole world lies in the power of the evil one” were the only words in this closing section of John’s letter it would be a depressing ending. However these words are found in a section underlining why believers can have certainty in the midst of a world under the sway of the evil one. Certainty in an uncertain world! We can know we have eternal life, we can know confidence in prayer, we can know victory over sin & Divine protection from the evil one, we can know we belong to God & we can know truth in Christ so that we can know the true God. This is the note the Apostle John signs his first letter off on.
Authentic Christianity (15): Sermons on the New Testament letter of 1 John.
Reading: 1 John 5:1-5
Throughout this letter the Apostle John has highlighted 3 traits of authentic Christianity – belief, obedience & love. In these verses he ties these together tightly. Yet he also shows that authentic Christianity does not start with any of these three things. It begins when a person “has been born of God”. Belief, obedience & are the result of being born of God. John then introduces the theme of victory over the world & shows us it also is a certain result of being born of God. John touches on all these with great clarity in these verses in order to show they are the overlapping realities of authentic Christianity.
Authentic Christianity (14): Sermons on the New Testament letter of 1 John.
Reading: 1 John 4:7-21.
What does God want us to be consistently committed to? Why did he send his Son to die & rise again? Why has he given us his Spirit? Why is knowing & believing God's love for us so important? The Apostle John answers these questions. He desires Christians to be consistently committed to loving one another & he desires us to be free from fear of punishment! When we truly know & believe the love of God displayed on the cross we are left with nothing but confidence for the day of judgement yet it is at this same cross that we also hear Jesus' inescapable call to commit to loving one another within Christianity community.
Authentic Christianity (13): Sermons on the New Testament letter of 1 John.
Reading: 1 John 4:7-12
On June 25, 1967, more than 400 million people in 26 countries watched the Beatles perform the song “All You Need Is Love.” They had been asked to come up with a simple song that could be understood by all the nations. The song is very close to the truth & is certainly something we can resonate with. There is a cry for love in the human soul! Yet the apostle John would add just one little clause. He would say “All You Need Is [God Who Is] Love.” He teaches us that love flows from God. In these verses we learn where love comes from, what love looks like & why Christians ought to love one another.
Authentic Christianity (12): Sermons on the New Testament letter of 1 John.
Reading: 1 John 4:1-6
There is a need for critical examination in the Christian life. We are not being cynical when we do not believe every spirit, we are being obedient. It is good, healthy and obedient to test spirits & ideas, to ask questions & use our minds in the light of Biblical truth. We should not just go along with everything but test everything so we can discern when God is at work. For not everything supernatural is Divine. John basically tells us to test the spirits & stick with the Apostles.
Authentic Christianity (11): Sermons on the New Testament letter of 1 John.
Reading: 1 John 3:19-24
The human heart is a funny thing. It can be moved by empathy or envy. It can be fragile, changeable & complex. With this in mind can statements like “always trust your heart” really be considered good advice? The Bible instead teaches us that our heart needs both reasurance & leadership! John teaches us how our heart can find both of these by trusting in the God who is greater than our heart -- trusting in his commandments, trusting in the name of his Son & trusting in the abiding presense of his Spirit.
Authentic Christianity (10): Sermons on the New Testament letter of 1 John.
Reading: 1 John 3:11-18
In order to help us understand our call to love one another as Christians the apostle John contrasts the way of Cain with the way of Christ. John loves his contrasts – darkness/light, denying sin/confessing sin, antichrists/Christ, children of the devil/children of God etc & now it's loving one’s brother or hating him. To bring this home he contrasts Cain with Christ. His basic point being that hatred for brothers & sisters in Christ cannot coexist with the eternal kind of life which produces Christlike love for one another.
Authentic Christianity (9): Sermons on the New Testament letter of 1 John.
Reading: 1 John 2:28-3:10
This challenging section of John's letter does not open with the words “try harder” or “live better” but with the words “abide in him.” In fact this is the only thing we're actually told to do in this section, everything else is descriptive. This is so important to see, for as challenging as the following verses are it is clear at each point that John want us to see that Christ is the great worker & not us. It is hope in Christ that makes us holy, it is Christ that changes our habits & It is new birth into him that makes us righteous. All which can be summed up under the words "abide in him" for these verses show us the fruit of truly abiding in Christ.
Authentic Christianity (8): Sermons on the New Testament letter of 1 John.
Reading: 1 John 2:18-27
The Apostle John speaks of both the antichrist & antichrists in his letter. The word antichrist basically means opposed to, rival to or counterfeit to Christ. One Study Bible (NIV ZSB) comments; “The coming of an antichrist figure was part of early Christian teaching. It distinguished between the great antichrist figure that would appear near the end of the age & lesser antichrist figures whose influence was already being felt.” John's concern here is the present effect of "many antichrists" on believers. Therefore he identifies 3 characteristics of antichrists & points believers to two safeguards to ensure they abide in the true Christ.
Authentic Christianity (7): Sermons on the New Testament letter of 1 John.
Reading: 1 John 2:15-17
The Christian is not to be shaped by the world they are sent into, but by the word they are sent with! We need to deeply understand that the whole system of this world is characterised by the vision & values of the evil one. This is why John says; "If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him.” For we cannot do the will of God while living by the value system of this world anymore than we can simultaneously walk in two opposite directions. It is only those who truly love the Father that beat this worlds system.
Authentic Christianity (6): Sermons on the New Testament letter of 1 John.
Reading: 1 John 2:12-14
John has been dealing with the claims of counterfeit Christians. Yet he doing so for the purpose of assuring authentic Christians. So they don’t get fooled by the false claims of false prophets. He is writing to assure them they have the real thing, how they can know they have the real thing & why they don’t need anything beyond the real thing. In light of this in these verses John has 1. An encouraging word for all Christians. 2. An encouraging word for seasoned Christians. 3. An encouraging word for young Christians.
Authentic Christianity (5): Sermons on the New Testament letter of 1 John.
Reading: 1 John 2:7-11
Having introduced the obedience test regarding keeping Christ’s commandments, John now focuses on a specific commandment of Christ. With this John also introduces the third test of Authentic Christianity – the love test. John says the specific commandment he is now writing about is old yet at the same time new. This message looks at how the commandment to love is both old & new & also why it is such a vital mark of Authentic Christianity. The call to obey this commandment, & others, is something all potential disciples should hear from the beginning.
Authentic Christianity (4): Sermons on the New Testament letter of 1 John.
Reading: 1 John 2:1-6
There are two inseparable sides to Authentic Christianity: trusting in the atoning blood of Christ & obeying his commandments. One is the solid foundation of our salvation & the other is the solid evidence of our salvation. John teaches us three things which help as know if we truly know & love Jesus: 1. A heart that knows him keeps his commandments. 2. A heart that loves him keeps his word. 3. A heart that abides in him follows his example. The Authentic Christian accepts "a whole Christ with a whole heart." In other words we either know & love him as Saviour & Lord (as Prophet, Priest & King) or we do not know him at all.
Authentic Christianity (3): Sermons on the New Testament letter of 1 John.
Reading: 1 John 1:5-2:2
According to John the message he & the other apostles heard & declared started with God, dealt with sin & ended with the good news about Jesus. This is the message we also need to hear & declare today. It's a message which causes us to face reality - the reality of God & of our true selves. And it's a message that points us to Jesus. In these verses John addresses three false claims regarding sin & throughout this message we are asked if we are walking in reality - the reality of God, the reality regarding sin & the reality of the Good News of Jesus.
Authentic Christianity (2): Sermons on the New Testament letter of 1 John.
Reading: 1 John 1:1-4
As the last living Apostle of Christ John sees danger. There are false prophets trying to lead believers astray with 'higher knowledge' which included denying essential truths of the Gospel. A group of professing Christians thought they had gained some kind of higher revelation beyond the teaching of the Apostles. Essentially John wants his readers to trust the only reliable source of revelation there is concerning Christ & Christianity! That of himself & the other apostles - the only source that goes all the way back to the historical incarnate Jesus himself. We also need to make sure we are trusting the right souce so we can discern if we have Authentic Christianity.
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