August 21, 2016

Believing in the Son of God

Believing in Jesus means much more than mere agreement or acknowledgement of Him for John states that only those who have the Son have life.

Scripture: 1 John 5:6-12

Sermon Notes:

  1. This letter emphasises two main themes: love and life.
  2. God’s love comforts us, confirming and strengthening us in our faith and casting out fear (1 Jn. 4:18).
  3. In this passage John resumes the theme of life. This is the summary reason for writing the letter (v. 13).
  4. God’s Spirit is the one that bears testimony to the genuineness of our love and life.
  5. We love one another because God’s Spirit is within us, and by this love we know that we have passed from death to life.
  6. References to “testimony” and “testify” appear ten times in this brief passage.
  7. The testimony that the Spirit testifies is that God has given us eternal life (1 Jn. 5:6, 12).
  8. We testify to this life by bearing witness. The life that has the Spirit’s testimony is marked by obedience to and imitation of Christ Jesus.
  9. Scripture is clear and accessible, but also full of deep meaning. Gregory the Great provided an image of Scripture as “a stream in which the elephant may swim and the lamb may wade.”
  10. In addition to the Spirit, the water and the blood also testify to God’s gift of eternal life. This is a reference to Jesus’ baptism and crucifixion.
  11. It was difficult for first-century Christians to think of God bearing the shame and humiliation of the cross, but it is only in Jesus’ incarnation and death that He is able to take the penalty for sin.
  12. Jesus’ baptism and crucifixion reinforce the point that He came to us as fully man.
  13. John’s use of the word “flesh” (Jn. 1:14) refers not just to humanity, but fallen humanity.
  14. At the cross, water and blood flow from Christ’s side, symbolic of the Spirit flowing from Him to us (Jn. 19:34).
  15. The apostles’ testimony recorded for us in the Bible is not their own autonomous reflections, but the revealed truth about Jesus. The testimony of Scripture is God’s testimony to us, the very Word of God.
  16. There is a great difference between theoretical knowledge and the taste or experience of something. The testimony of Scripture invites us to taste and see that the Lord is good (Ps. 34:8).
  17. Question 21 of the Heidelberg Catechism tells us that true faith is not only a sure knowledge of the truth of God’s Word, but also a wholehearted confidence in His eternal life, as testified by the Holy Spirit.
  18. Eternal life is the promise to those who have the Son, but the opposite warning is also true: whoever does not have the Son does not have life, because eternal life is life with God.

Application Questions:

  1. How do we live in and exemplify eternal life here and now?
  2. What is the only basis of our salvation, and how can we be assured of it?
  3. How do we know that we can trust God’s Word?
  4. Why is it difficult for some people to accept the reality of the crucifixion?
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