That We May Know Him
1 John 5:13-20
I need to back up for a few minutes to last weeks passage. Look at 1 John 5:10-11 again.
1 John 5:
10 Anyone who believes in the Son of God has this testimony in his heart. Anyone who does not believe God has made him out to be a liar, because he has not believed the testimony God has given about his Son. 11 And this is the testimony: God has given us eternal life, and this life is in his Son. (NIV)
What is John saying? Anyone who does not believe God’s testimony has made God out to be a liar. John said earlier that this is the spirit of the anti-christ.
Refusing to believe the message that God gives you is the same as calling God a liar. His message is simply this: He (God) has given us eternal life, and this life is in His Son.
Accepting this as true brings to you the gift of eternal life that God is offering to the world. Have you accepted the gift? Have you accepted truth? If so, you are born again, you have experienced the second birth as Jesus explained it to Nicodemus. If you believe that Jesus is the Son of God and that the Father sent the Son to bring life to you, you are born again. You are connected to the life-giving presence of God Almighty!
To refuse this gift is the same as calling God a liar. You have rejected what God’s Spirit has spoken to your heart and you are lost and you do not have eternal life. You are spiritually dead.
In Mark 3:28-29 Jesus said: "Truly I say to you, all sins shall be forgiven the sons of men, and whatever blasphemies they utter; 29 but whoever blasphemes against the Holy Spirit never has forgiveness, but is guilty of an eternal sin.” (NASB)
Blaspheme means to speak against. God communicates to us through His Holy Spirit. If we refuse to accept what He says to us and refuse the gift that His Spirit tells us about, we cut ourselves off from the grace, the gift, that God wants to give us.
Picking up with verse 12 back in 1 John 5, John repeats what he has been saying:
12 He who has the Son has life; he who does not have the Son of God does not have life.
13 I write these things to you who believe in the name of the Son of God so that you may know that you have eternal life. 14 This is the confidence we have in approaching God: that if we ask anything according to his will, he hears us. 15 And if we know that he hears us — whatever we ask — we know that we have what we asked of him.
16 If anyone sees his brother commit a sin that does not lead to death, he should pray and God will give him life. I refer to those whose sin does not lead to death. There is a sin that leads to death. I am not saying that he should pray about that. 17 All wrongdoing is sin, and there is sin that does not lead to death. (NIV)
Let me ask you, what is the opposite of life? Death, of course! Not believing the truth that God has told us produces death. Believing, accepting, receiving the truth that God’s Spirit speaks to you about His Son, Jesus, gives us life.
What sin kills? What sin leads to death? Refusing to believe the truth that God gives life through His Son, Jesus Christ.
What is the sin that leads to death? Calling God a liar, refusing to believe the truth that He has spoken by His Spirit into your heart. Refusing to believe His message that He loves you and that He is the Lord of your life is the sin that cannot be forgiven because we have rejected the gift that gives us life; we have cut ourselves off from His life-giving presence.
18 We know that anyone born of God does not continue to sin; the one who was born of God keeps him safe, and the evil one cannot harm him. 19 We know that we are children of God, and that the whole world is under the control of the evil one. 20 We know also that the Son of God has come and has given us understanding, so that we may know him who is true. And we are in him who is true — even in his Son Jesus Christ. He is the true God and eternal life. (NIV)
Anyone who is born of God does not continue to sin. Those who believe that God gave us eternal life through His Son, also believe that He loves us and that He is our Lord. Our lives are centered in the truth and we begin living out of gratitude for the life we have been given. We begin to obey God because we love Him. This relationship becomes the focus of our lives.
This is all God wants. This is the greatest commandment: to love Him with our whole being.
Anything we do that is not motivated by love for God is sin. All our sins grow out of this one sin.
How do you love God? You obey His commandments. Why? Because He is God, because He is Lord, because He loves you. We love Him, we obey Him because He first loved us and gave us the gift of life.
As we live in this relationship with God, He is moving us ever closer to what He wants us to be. His plan is that we become more and more like Christ. We continue to fight against those things that move us away from God. This is what our relationship with Him is about. We are learning to love Him more and more, to become better at walking in obedience that is motivated by love for Him. As we live in this relationship with God we are moving further and further from the selfishness that is at the heart of our sinfulness.
The Christian life is about moving from an immature love for God to a more mature love for Him. Remember those verses earlier in 1 John about perfect love or mature love?
An immature love is focused on ourselves. A mature love, loves for the right reasons. When we first come to Christ we obey as young children obey their parents, out of fear of punishment. As we mature we begin to love out of love for our parents.
Loving God with all of our heart, mind, soul, and strength, is the direction we are moving. This is what God wants for us. We are to be seeking Him and walking with Him because He first loved us. We are learning to obey Him because we love Him, not just to avoid His chastisement.
Our Lord said we are to deny ourselves and take up our cross daily. The writer to the Hebrews said we are to lay aside every weight and sin that hinders us from running with God, that prevents us from walking in the Spirit.
The name “Israel”. Why did God give the name Israel to Jacob? Because he wrestled with God. The name Israel means one who wrestles with God.
If you are living in a relationship with God, you are going to wrestle with Him. This is how we learn to love Him. We hear what He says and we wrestle with Him until He convinces us to do whatever it is He is asking us to do. Just like Jonah.
God knows what we need. He will lead us to what we need if we will listen.
Living the Christian life is about knowing God. He is the source of life. John says He IS life.
Death is living apart from Him. Life is living in a relationship with Him.
I have been less than honest with some of you this week. I told a few of you that this week has been a very emotional week. This was true. To a few I said I did not know why. That was not true. I have been wrestling with God. Some of the things that I have been wrestling with Him about have come to a head. This is why I have had a very emotional week.
Here is something God used to speak to me this week.
(More Loved Than You Can Imagine – Sermon Jam with John Piper)
When you wrestle with God there is really only one good outcome. You must surrender your will to His. If you do not surrender to His will, you are not living with Him as Lord of your life. He is God and we are not. He must be Lord of our life.
Disciples follow Jesus. He is the Master. We are the servants. He is the Father, we are the children. He is the vine, we are the branches. Life flows from Him to us and we must not cut ourselves off from the source of life by refusing to live in this relationship with Him.
When His Spirit speaks to you, you must accept what He says. Do not call Him a liar. Do not reject His testimony that He has given us the gift of eternal life. Hold on to this truth. Cling to this truth with all that is in you.
If you wrestle with God, you have a relationship with Him, you have life. If you never struggle in your relationship with God you may want to ask yourself if you have been born again.
Relationships are messy. Sometimes our relationship with God is messy. There is only one way to get through it and grow in your relationship with Him. Figure out what He is saying and submit to whatever it is He is asking you to do. Confess that you have questioned what He has said and submit to Him.