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. 1 John 5:13.
If I was asked when I became a Christian, my mind would fly back to a little boy aged about four. I’d grown up in a Christian home. I knew about Jesus and God and heaven and hell. And I desperately wanted to be sure I was going to heaven. So one day, I was in the bedroom with my big sister Valerie and I asked her “Valerie how do you know if you are going to heaven?”. She said “You just ask Jesus into your heart.” So I bobbed down next to her bed and said “Dear Lord Jesus please come into my heart. Amen.” And I got up and said, “Do you think he’s in?” And she said “Sure he is.”
That helped. But the worries didn’t go away I remember playing outside in my sandbox. Suddenly I noticed how quiet it was. The birds had stopped. No traffic noise. A terrible thought came to my mind. What if Jesus has come back and taken all the Christians and I’ve been left behind? Something of a panic seized me. I ran inside and into the kitchen and there was my mother at the sink peeling potatoes. Phew! What a relief. I knew if Jesus came back he’d be sure to take her.
As I grew and tried to grow in Jesus and get to know him and serve him, the niggling doubt was always there. Am I really a Christian? Am I really going to heaven? People tried to reassure me but their answers always seemed to have holes in them. They said things like “You know you’re going to heaven because Jesus died on the cross.” But by that logic everyone would be going to heaven and I knew that wasn’t right.
Is there some diagnostic test I can apply to know for certain that I’m one of the ones who is saved? Am I being paranoid? Is it possible to know for certain that you’re going to heaven?
The answer is YES. And it’s in 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.
Hallelujah! I find that tremendously encouraging on two fronts.
1 It tells me that it is possible to know for certain that I am saved. I’m a Christian I’m going to heaven.
2 It also reassures me that I’m not silly for asking the question. The fact that John puts it in his letter says that there are other people who are worried about this too. In fact John says he wrote the letter just so that people could know that they really are Christians.
John’s letter gives me several diagnostic tests that will tell me whether I’m a Christian or not. Over the next 3 weeks, we are going to look at three of them.
The first one is 4:15. If anyone acknowledges that Jesus is the Son of God, God lives in him and he in God. So it’s about what we believe. No surprises there. But it’s not just that you believe in God. It’s not even that you believe in Jesus. What does it say? That you believe that Jesus is the Son of God. This assertion is the foundation of Christianity that Jesus is the Son of God which of course means he is God. The son of a horse is a horse the son of an eagle is an eagle.
It’s easy to say, but It’s not that easy to believe because it’s so preposterous. So it's a clear demarcation between insiders and outsiders. There will be plenty of people who think nice things about Jesus but they will stop short of saying that he is the son of God. Because once you acknowledge that Jesus is the Son of God, you have to get out of the drivers seat. You can’t stand in judgment over the Bible. You have to let the Bible judge you. You can’t alter the Bible you have to let the Bible alter you.
It’s not surprising that people come right up to the line but don’t cross it because it’s when we cross the line and say “yes Jesus is the eternal son of God and I submit to all He says” that we come into God’s eternal family.
All through the new Testament we find the message of the preachers was trying to convince people that Jesus was the Messiah the son of God.
- we get it in John 20:21. These 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.
We get it in Peter’s sermon at Pentecost in Acts 2: let all Israel be assured of this God has made this Jesus whom you crucified both Lord and Christ.
In Acts 18:5 we find that Paul devoted himself exclusively to preaching, testifying to the Jews that Jesus was the Christ.
So what do you believe about Jesus? When you picture Jesus what do you see? A baby? A preacher? A Saviour on the cross? Some 10 years after John wrote this letter he wrote another letter as an old man describing an encounter he had with Jesus in a vision. But it wasn’t Jesus the baby or carpenter or preacher or even Saviour. in Revelation 5:6 to 13, He saw Jesus as He is now.
6 Then I saw a Lamb, looking as if it had been slain, standing at the centre of the throne, encircled by the four living creatures and the elders. The Lamb had seven horns and seven eyes, which are the seven spirits[a] of God sent out into all the earth. 7 He went and took the scroll from the right hand of him who sat on the throne. 8 And when he had taken it, the four living creatures and the twenty-four elders fell down before the Lamb. Each one had a harp and they were holding golden bowls full of incense, which are the prayers of God’s people. 9 And they sang a new song, saying:
“You are worthy to take the scroll
and to open its seals,
because you were slain,
and with your blood you purchased for God
persons from every tribe and language and people and nation.
10 You have made them to be a kingdom and priests to serve our God,
and they will reign[b] on the earth.”
11 Then I looked and heard the voice of many angels, numbering thousands upon thousands, and ten thousand times ten thousand. They encircled the throne and the living creatures and the elders. 12 In a loud voice they were saying:
“Worthy is the Lamb, who was slain,
to receive power and wealth and wisdom and strength
and honor and glory and praise!”
13 Then I heard every creature in heaven and on earth and under the earth and on the sea, and all that is in them, saying:
“To him who sits on the throne and to the Lamb
be praise and honor and glory and power,
for ever and ever!”
This is our Jesus. Believe that and you are saved.