In preparing for today’s sermon, I was taken back many years to the time I applied for my first job. Do you remember when you applied for one?
What was even more exciting was when the boss called me and said I had the job, but that wasn’t the best part it was that first payday, and the money was there.
OH What a feeling (Sorry to the ad makers for Toyota) I had the feeling before they used it.
While the journey was good for me from applying for the job then into the interview and getting the phone call from the boss, it really became real when I was at work and confirmed when that pay check came through. Even today when I look at my bank account I know that I’m still employed by the fact that every so often there is a bit more money in the account.
As we turn to today’s readings there is a connection, or flow in the journey that John is leading us. In John 20:31 we read “these (words) are written that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that by believing you may have life in his name.”
It is like an ad for a job. It gives the details of what is needed such as John 3:16 "For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life” What is required of the applicant, that is to believe in Jesus and the wages, so to say is eternal life.
John also adds some of the benefits such as Peace we have in Jesus 20:19 and to have a life in abundance 10:10 and a life not only in this world but for all time in the resurrection John 11:25 we will have that resurrection life for all eternity.
So John’s gospel is the ad while 1 John is about the assurance that we have the job. 1 John 5:13 “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.” John 13:35
In the first 2 chapters of 1 John we looked at out fellowship with Jesus. The dark and the light – where do we live in the darkness of evil or in the pure light of Jesus. Last week we looked at how we live is different families. Living lives with all the tools we need, all the advice, just simply everything needed for success, yet there are some families that simply ignore the support they have and do it there way instead of God’s way The problem with the that is we are in danger of losing out on the life Jesus has offered to us.
In chapters 3 to 5 there are many reasons or motivations to continue in the light and for loving Jesus such as God’s Love, Christ’s return, the cross, the new nature, the witness of the Holy Spirit.
In chapter 5 we have the certainties of our relationship with Jesus, the so called
WE KNOW point that we are truly sons and daughters of GOD.
What are the marks of someone born into the kingdom? What is the evidence that we are part of that eternity? What is our assurance that we will live in the father’s house forever at the foot of Jesus? These are some of the questions that John answers in these few verses
In verse 1 Christians believe in Jesus. Certainly not in the same way that we might believe in Capt. Cook. While he was a historical figure and you can visit any number of monuments such as at Kurnell in the Sydney area, such a belief is not the same saving faith that a Christian has in Jesus. No one ever has found eternal life in Capt. Cook while in Jesus we have that life.
The verse also speaks of love for others. This is a family trait for all who are Christians. We all can think of families that just don’t work together. Some example of people who just will not talk with other family members. I think of a mother I buried a few years ago. It was a sad affair, and I do mean sad beyond comprehension. At the funeral were 6 people. Two funeral directors, an organist, a singer, myself and a daughter or the woman. The woman had several living children and in fact she was a grandmother. But the daughter, because of her anger toward the family did not even tell the siblings of the death and the funeral. I ask you, what does such a picture tell us about love within the family?
In our churches even if we do not agree or like someone, it is the out pouring of the love of Jesus to others that identifies a Christian as one of Jesus’. I’m not saying we need to agree with or like what a person does, but we need to love them with the same love that Jesus should to us when we were yet sinners, rebels against God died for us to satisfy the justice and righteousness of God and to give us an example of what it means to be a true servant, taking our cross up and following Jesus.
I know that there are times when we do offend others by doing wrong things. It is these times we need to come before others and ask for forgiveness for what we did. In a family this should never separate us from others but if we do not forgiver others or maybe even ourselves we risk family unity and end up without the love and support we should find in a true family.
I am saddened and question the relationship people have with Jesus when they claim to have a faith, yet will not meet regularly with the family. John would suggest that such people are walking in the dark, in blindness leading to separation rather that walking in the loving light of Jesus
In Verse 2 a Christian test is that we love God. And in loving God a Christian will follow God loving commands. In 1 John 3:18 John is calling us to word and action for both are needed. They go together like the old song says like a horse and carriage. How can we know God’s command? Some quick examples:
1) read the love letters from God. The 66 books of what is the Bible.
2) Talk to God in times of prayer. Find a still quiet place where you can come into the presence of God. John and Charles Westley’s mother is said to have sat in her busy kitchen with her apron over her head to signal she was not to be disturbed while praying. Jesus would take himself off to a secluded place. Whatever the situation it is making the time to find and use a special prayer closet to hear the voice of God
3) Meeting with people and sharing the love of Jesus. Small groups, bible studies, even a cuppa with someone and sharing the truth of Jesus and what he is doing through the Holy Spirit in lives
4) Reach out to others and share the good news, the great news of Jesus with others. Invite them into the light, like in a few weeks times we will celebrate Back to Church Sunday. What a gift you can give to someone else. They may refuse, but the offer is ours to make and for others to accept or reject
It is by knowing and growing in the truth of Jesus based upon the words of life in the Bible, empowered by the Spirit that we can in the words of
Verse 3 Obey His commands.
As we walk in the light we will want to do what is right in the eyes of the Father. Think of a small child, face gleaming, eyes wide open doing something that his parents asked him to do. He will do it out of instinctive love and a desire to please the parents. How much more will Christians want to please and honour God if they do it for parents that are not perfect and not all loving?
Such actions are not burdensome yet at times we may face difficulties. In Verse 4 and 5 we can see the impact that the world has on every person in the world. There are many stumbling blocks and rough roads we all journey on. Sometimes they are our own making and other times we walk through the devil’s playground: greed, lust, jealousy, envy and the like. As a Christian we are not immune from such attacks, but in Christ covered by the Holy Spirit we do not have to stumble because of such worldly actions. Someone recently said that when they fall down, more often than not they had not put on the full armour of God (Ephesians 6)
In verse 5 Christians are given a huge solid foundation stone. One that will not and cannot be shaken. John poses the rhetorical question Who can possible over come the world? All that darkness and heaviness. All those trial and tribulations, All the hurt and fear? His answer is simply the one we need to hold tight to as Christians for this is our one foundation is Jesus Christ, the one who died upon the cross, the one who rose from the dead, the one who is the beginning and the end of all things. He is one who shows us, no, the one who is the one and only way to the Father for all eternity.
How can we be so sure, look at verses 6-10.
The proof is in the evidence we have in the Spirit, water and the blood
The water speaks of Jesus’ baptism where he identified himself fully with mankind, that is our humanity and sinful fallen nature. While he did not sin, he still identified with us in a very real and visible way, that is in water of baptism.
When John writes about the witness of the blood, he is speaking of the crucifixion of Jesus. The real loss of life. Not some trick or imaginary happening, but the real death and separation Jesus knew when he breathed his last upon the cross.
The testimony of the Spirit is the Holy Spirit. The same Spirit that is here today living in all who are Christians. Not only is He here to help us pray, he is also here to empower us and sustain us in our journey.
When someone is on trial, there is a need for witnesses to come forward and tell what they saw to those who were not there. Some 2000 years ago 2 or three witnesses were required to bring a charge against someone. Here we have 3, but there is something even more powerful and important going on, which is God himself, is testifying to the truth.
There is a warning for those who are not Christians and that is found in verse 10 and the result in verse 12. Simply it could be put into words on an advertising sign
No Christ, No Life
Know Christ, Know Life
That is without Christ there is no hope into all eternity, while accepting Christ and what he did assures of a life in Christ now and for all of eternity.
If there is any here who do not know Christ in their own lives, have a talk with me or some other Christian and find out what it means to follow and accept Jesus.
For those who are in Christ, let me encourage you, no challenge you to grow closer to him by 1% in the next year.
1% more time reading his love letters in the bible, 1% more time praying and listening to God, 1% more in fellowship with Christians at church and small groups and 1% more in sharing Christ with others and inviting them as a guest to a service here at Oxley Vale.
Imagine what a change that would make in our own Christian journey and in the journey we share with others in this place and others throughout the world.