Tonight I want to close out our series on the first epistle of John. The theme of this book has been "True Fellowship". We have looked at the conditions for fellowship, conduct in fellowship, characteristics of fellowship, cautions of fellowship, and tonight we will see the consequences or benefits of fellowship.
I. Love for the Brethren. 5:1-3
A. Most people do not really know what a Christian is.
1. Religious works.
2. Good intentions.
3. Dependence upon the energy of the flesh.
B. God says a Christian is one who has been born again.
Note: The birthmarks of the child of God, some of which we have already observed.
1. He practices righteousness. 2:29
2. He doesnít practice sin. 3:9
3. He loves other Christians. 4:7
4. He loves God and the brethren. 5:1
5. He overcomes the world. 5:4
6. He keeps himself from Satan. 5:18
C. True tests of sonship are love, obedience, and truth.
1. The love that a believer has will lead to obedience.
2. That obedience isnít burdensome or grievous.
John 14:21, "He that hath my commandments, and keepeth them, he it is that loveth me: and he that loveth me shall be loved of my Father, and I will love him, and will manifest myself to him."
II. Victory over the World. 5:4-5
A. A Christian is an "overcomer".
1. He overcomes the world.
2. He overcomes the devil. 2:13-14
3. He overcomes the false teachers. 4:4
B. He is an overcomer by faith in Christ, not by wisdom or power.
III. Verification of Christís Credentials. 5:6-12
A. The witness of Christ. v6
1. Jesus Christís ministry was authenti- cated by God at His baptism of water.
Matthew 3:17, "And lo a voice from heaven, saying, This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased."
2. He was also verified through His baptism of death on the cross and the shedding of blood.
Mark 10:38, "But Jesus said unto them, Ye know not what ye ask: can ye drink of the cup that I drink of? and be baptized with the baptism that I am baptized with?"
3. The Spirit of God witnessed to the fact that Jesus is the Son of God. Consider:
a. The credibility of the Spiritís witness: "the Spirit of Truth"
b. The continuation of the Spiritís witness: "beareth witness" is in the present tense indicating continuation.
c. The center of the witness: Christ.
John 15:26, "But when the Comforter is come, whom I will send unto you from the Father, even the Spirit of truth, which proceedeth from the Father, he shall testify of me:"
B. The three-fold testimony of the deity of Christ. v7-8
1. The Trinity in heaven.
a. The Father
b. The Word (Jesus Christ)
c. The Holy Ghost
2. The testimony on earth.
a. The Spirit of God.
b. The Water (Baptism of Christ)
c. The Blood (Crucifixion of Christ)
C. The Witness of the Father. v9
1. Compared to the witness of men, which we readily accept, Godís witness is far superior.
2. He has testified of His Son.
a. At His baptism. cf Mt. 3:17
b. At Christís transfiguration. cf Mt.17:5
c. At Christís crucifixion. cf Mk. 15:38-39
D. The Witness within the Believer. v10-12
1. The source: God
2. The possessor: he that believeth on the Son of God.
3. The location: within the believer
4. The substance: the record that god hath given to us eternal life and this life is in His Son.
5. There is no life apart from the Son.
IV. Assurance of Eternal Life. 5:13
A. Note: the people addressed.
1. "You that believe on the name of the Son of God."
2. Since faith is essential to salvation, only those who believe can have this assurance.
3. The basis for salvation and assurance is the same, faith in Jesus Christ.
B. The Assurance Given.
1. "That ye may know that ye have eternal life"
2. Johnís gospel was written that we might have eternal life.
John 20:31, "But these are written, that ye might believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God; and that believing ye might have life through his name."
3. This first epistle was written that we might know that we have eternal life.
C. The result of that assurance.
1. Continued faith in Jesus Christ.
2. Doubts about an individualís salvation hinders spiritual growth, robs him of joy, and limits his usefulness.
3. Faith and assurance leads to continued faith and spiritual growth.
V. Guidance in Prayer. 5:14-17
A. True prayer is not overcoming Godís reluctance to answer our prayers, but it is laying hold of His willingness to answer.
B. If we know Godís will, we can pray with boldness.
1. Having the inward witness of the Holy Spirit.
Jude 20, "But ye, beloved, building up yourselves on your most holy faith, praying in the Holy Ghost,"
2. Having the outward witness of His Word.
1 John 3:22, "And whatsoever we ask, we receive of him, because we keep his commandments, and do those things that are pleasing in his sight."
C. We are to pray for a brother who sins.
D. We are not to make intercession for one who has committed sin unto death.
1. Sin unto death = the climax of persistent rebellion of a believer.
1 Corinthians 11:30, "For this cause many are weak and sickly among you, and many sleep."
Hebrews 12:9, "Furthermore we have had fathers of our flesh which corrected us, and we gave them reverence: shall we not much rather be in subjection unto the Father of spirits, and live?"
2. This is not the same as the unpardon- able sin of Mt. 12:31 which is committed by an unbeliever.
Matthew 12:31, "Wherefore I say unto you, All manner of sin and blasphemy shall be forgiven unto men: but the blasphemy against the Holy Ghost shall not be forgiven unto men."
VI. Freedom from Habitual Sin. 5:18-21
A. Understanding sin. v18
1. The privilege of sonship also involves an obligation.
2. "Sinneth not" = does not practice sin in his lifestyle.
3. He is protected from Satanís control.
4. Satan may attack or tempt, but he cannot lay hold of the believer.
B. Understanding salvation. v19
1. The source of the believer = "we are of God".
2. The setting of the world = "lieth in wickedness".
a. The Ďworldí is in contrast to Ďweí.
b. Here the Ďworldí refers to all the unsaved.
c. They are in the sphere of wickedness controlled by that wicked one.
d. There is no neutral position: either we are of God or we are of the devil.
C. Understanding the Son. v20-21
1. The Son of God is Truth.
a. We know Him.
b. We know that we are in Him.
2. The Son of God is Eternal Life.
3. We know the Truth, we donít need lies!
a. Ignorance leads to idolatry.
b. Idolatry leads to immorality.
We enjoy many benefits from God as believers. When we are in true fellowship with God, we enjoy a love for the brethren, victory over the world, verification of Christís credentials, assurance of eternal life, guidance in prayer, and freedom from habitual sin. Are we enjoying these benefits? Are we in fellowship with Christ? Come tonight, whatever your need may be.