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April 4, 2004 PM

1 JNO 5:20,21

INTRO: While we often think of the apostle Paul as a prolific writer of New Testament documents, we must not overlook the fact that the apostle John, too, wrote several of the books of the New Testament. I thoroughly love and appreciate all five of the books which he authored by the inspiration of the Holy Spirit. The book we call 1 John has a very special emphasis for disciples of Christ. The emphasis is upon that which we can know. Many suppose that Johns first letter is a response to the Gnosticism of his day and to its insistence that knowledge was its special province ... and that common folks just could not know. Well, John certainly takes issue with that notion and lays down numerous significant things we (ordinary Christian folks) can know.

1. We know that Jesus, the Word, really lived in the flesh - 1:1-4

a. Johns use of the Word of life here is truly significant

b. recall Jno 1:1-5,14 - clearly, John affirms that Jesus in the flesh is Deity

c. it is that fleshly Jesus Whom they saw and touched Who is the Word

d. anything less than this belief is the spirit of antichrist!

e. 1 Jno 5:20 - Jesus is the true God, and eternal life

2. We know that God forgives the sins of penitent Christians - 1:7-10

a. having been cleansed by Jesus blood in baptism, what happens if I sin?

b. here is a question which has troubled many contemplating baptism

c. there is a key stipulation ... confessing sins ... that we have sinned

d. assurance! ...he is faithful and just to forgive our sins...

e. even more assurance is in 1 Jno 2:1 - if we sin, Jesus is our Advocate!

3. We know that if we keep His commandments we know Him - 2:3

a. now, I want to stress something in Rom 6:17 - ...from the heart...

b. and, perhaps, we need to remember Jno 14:15

c. keeping commandments slavishly is not helpful, relational

d. John is most assuredly referring to commandments kept by the motivation of love for Christ and from a willing heart

e. 2:4-6 are certainly excellent commentary

4. We know that people who do righteousness are born of God - 2:29

a. it was John who recorded Jno 3:3-5 and the new birth

b. so, how does one know that one is born of God? obviously, baptism is a visible action to which one submits to be born of water and of the Spirit

c. but John gives us more here ... one must do righteousness

d. according to Ps 119:172, the commandments of God are righteousness

e. so, to do righteousness one keeps the commandments of God - this defines in a practical way the sons of God (1 Jno 3:1)

5. We know that righteous people do not choose to sin - 3:4-9

a. from what is said in chapter 1 it is clear that John is not saying it is impossible for a Christian to sin!

b. John is speaking of the settled habit of ones life ... does not keep sinning

c. Paul, in Rom 6:11.12, is in perfect agreement with what John says

d. Christians are abiding in Christ (1 Jno 3:6) ... not in sin and sinfulness

e. of the seed remaineth in him there is must discussion ... I am inclined to the idea that the seed is (as in other places) the word of God ... and that the indwelling of the word of God prohibits sin (Ps 119:11)

6. We know that if we love in deed & truth we are of the truth - 3:18,19

a. here is another test of our discipleship

b. earlier, we saw that keeping His commandments is such a test of genuineness

c. now, John refers to genuine love - 1 Jno 2:9-11

d. at 3:17 gives the commentary describing loving in deed and truth

e. if we keep His commandments, if we love as we should, our hearts are assured before Him

7. We know that God hears and answers prayer - 5:14,15

a. this confidence is based on all that has gone before

b. we have every reason to know that we are the children of God

c. thus, we have every confidence that the Father hears & answers prayers

d. notice, however, that John does recall a very important condition: if we ask anything according to his will

e. He always hears the prayers of righteous people ... and always answers them in keeping with His will ... this is our confidence!

CLOSE: With our thoughts we have just scratched the surface of the great assurances of 1 John. I am convinced that Christians need to immerse themselves in this book ... for the confidence it will instill in us in our relationship with God. 1 Jno 5:13 - These things have I written unto you that believe...

Cecil A. Hutson

04 April 2004

God's Plan of Salvation

You must hear the gospel and then understand and recognize that you are lost without Jesus Christ no matter who you are and no matter what your background is. The Bible tells us that “all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God.” (Romans 3:23) Before you can be saved, you must understand that you are lost and that the only way to be saved is by obedience to the gospel of Jesus Christ. (2 Thessalonians 1:8) Jesus said, “I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.” (John 14:6) “Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved.” (Acts 4:12) "So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God." (Romans 10:17)

You must believe and have faith in God because “without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him.” (Hebrews 11:6) But neither belief alone nor faith alone is sufficient to save. (James 2:19; James 2:24; Matthew 7:21)

You must repent of your sins. (Acts 3:19) But repentance alone is not enough. The so-called “Sinner’s Prayer” that you hear so much about today from denominational preachers does not appear anywhere in the Bible. Indeed, nowhere in the Bible was anyone ever told to pray the “Sinner’s Prayer” to be saved. By contrast, there are numerous examples showing that prayer alone does not save. Saul, for example, prayed following his meeting with Jesus on the road to Damascus (Acts 9:11), but Saul was still in his sins when Ananias met him three days later (Acts 22:16). Cornelius prayed to God always, and yet there was something else he needed to do to be saved (Acts 10:2, 6, 33, 48). If prayer alone did not save Saul or Cornelius, prayer alone will not save you. You must obey the gospel. (2 Thess. 1:8)

You must confess that Jesus Christ is the Son of God. (Romans 10:9-10) Note that you do NOT need to make Jesus “Lord of your life.” Why? Because Jesus is already Lord of your life whether or not you have obeyed his gospel. Indeed, we obey him, not to make him Lord, but because he already is Lord. (Acts 2:36) Also, no one in the Bible was ever told to just “accept Jesus as your personal savior.” We must confess that Jesus is the Son of God, but, as with faith and repentance, confession alone does not save. (Matthew 7:21)

Having believed, repented, and confessed that Jesus is the Son of God, you must be baptized for the remission of your sins. (Acts 2:38) It is at this point (and not before) that your sins are forgiven. (Acts 22:16) It is impossible to proclaim the gospel of Jesus Christ without teaching the absolute necessity of baptism for salvation. (Acts 8:35-36; Romans 6:3-4; 1 Peter 3:21) Anyone who responds to the question in Acts 2:37 with an answer that contradicts Acts 2:38 is NOT proclaiming the gospel of Jesus Christ!

Once you are saved, God adds you to his church and writes your name in the Book of Life. (Acts 2:47; Philippians 4:3) To continue in God’s grace, you must continue to serve God faithfully until death. Unless they remain faithful, those who are in God’s grace will fall from grace, and those whose names are in the Book of Life will have their names blotted out of that book. (Revelation 2:10; Revelation 3:5; Galatians 5:4)