Exploring 1 John Session 32 1 John 5:18-21

 

Exploring 1 John Session 32  1 John 5:18-21

We are wrapping up our exploration of the letter of 1 John.  In these closing verses John is going to reinforce what he has revealed to us throughout his letter and give us a final warning against the Gnostic Christians.  We are going to revisit the incredible empowerment of the Holy Spirit that makes it possible for you to avoid willful sin.  We are going to reexamine how God has a firm grip on His children and how the one John calls the Evil one grips those of a Jesus denying world. We are going to again embrace that Jesus is eternal life.  What you can walk away with today is that a believer walks in the light, so you need to make sure that nothing draws you off the path of following Jesus.

 1 John 5:18-21 (MSG)

18 We know that none of the God-begotten makes a practice of sin—fatal sin. The God-begotten are also the God-protected. The Evil One can't lay a hand on them. 19 We know that we are held firm by God; it's only the people of the world who continue in the grip of the Evil One. 20 And we know that the Son of God came so we could recognize and understand the truth of God—what a gift!—and we are living in the Truth itself, in God's Son, Jesus Christ. This Jesus is both True God and Real Life. 21 Dear children, be on guard against all clever facsimiles.

 Those “walking in the light as Jesus is in the light” are constantly being purged from all sin.  That doesn’t mean that disciples live sinless lives, what it does mean is that the empowerment of the indwelling Holy Spirit is so great that you can overcome temptation.  When you are given a choice, and every temptation gives you a choice, you can choose to deny yourself and be a lover (1 Corinthians 10:13).  Christians do not make a practice of sin.  You know the will of God, John has spelled it out for us time and time again, when some behavior is revealed to you as sin, you do not habituate it, you do not embrace it with a lasses faire attitude.  You see sin as a disrupter of relationship so you partner with God for deliverance. 

 A Christ-follower is set free from the law, from sin, and from death (Romans 8:2).  Christians are empowered to live devout and holy lives (1 Peter 1:16).  Those committed to discipleship are God’s ambassadors to the Jesus denying world (2 Corinthians 5:20).

 Philippians 2:15 (MSG)

Go out into the world uncorrupted, a breath of fresh air in this squalid and polluted society. Provide people with a glimpse of good living and of the living God. Carry the light-giving Message into the night

Sin is an anomaly which the Child of God avoids.  This is not legalism, this is simply doing the things that increase your intimacy with God and others, and refraining from behaviors that deter, damage, or even destroy your relationship.  .  The fatal sin which John warns us against is apostasy, a renunciation, a rejection, a repudiation, of the faith you once publically proclaimed.  Any sin is potentially lethal (Romans 6:23).  Be on guard from it.  When the Holy Spirit reveals the error of your ways, immediately deal with the issue.  Refuse to give sin a foothold in your life (Ephesians 4:27). 

 Hebrews 2:1 (NIV)

We must pay more careful attention, therefore, to what we have heard, so that we do not drift away.

 God has got a hold of you believer, while the evil one has a hold on those of the Jesus denying world.  When you first acknowledged your need for a Savior believed that gospel revelation that Jesus is the Savior you need, subsequently committed yourself to adopt a holy lifestyle, when you asked God to save you, the scripture indicates that you were sealed with the Holy Spirit (Ephesians 1:13).  In the ancient world, a seal would be placed on goods being shipped.  The seal indicated where the goods had come from, to whom they belonged.  Being sealed within by the Holy Spirit indicates that you belong to God.

 Are you sealed with the Holy Spirit?  If not you may think you a running your life, but you are not.  If you are not sealed with the spirit you may think you are in control of your life, but you are not.  If you are not sealed with the Holy Spirit you may think you are free, think you are wise, that you are oh so clever, but you are in the grip of an insidious and invisible prison warden, whom John calls the evil one (2 Corinthians 4:4).  The evil one has a hold on you. The hold the evil one has on the citizens of the Jesus denying world is egoism (Galatians 5:17).  Egoism is just naturally doing what you want to do with no concern for others.  Like Eve who saw that the apple was good for food and gaining wisdom, rejecting God’s prohibition, she did what she wanted, ate the forbidden fruit with Adam in compliance.  Egoism sets you up as the only authority you need to heed, you are the rule maker, you are the rule breaker.  Egoism sets you up as the arbitrator of morality, you decide what is right, what is wrong, you determine what is good and what is evil.  That may sound good, but the scripture reveals otherwise.

 Proverbs 14:12 (NLT)

There is a path before each person that seems right, but it ends in death.

 God has made it possible for you to escape the prison of egoism, to break the grip of the evil one (2 Corinthians 3:17).  In a plan never imagined, God incarnates, is the man named Jesus, Jesus fully God, fully human, lives a life of obedience, glorifying the One He called Father and by willingly sacrificing Himself made it possible to leave the iron grip and the dark prison of the evil one (John 8:36).  Do you want God to have a hold of you?  Then ask God to set you free.  Acknowledging egoism, believing that Jesus has made it possible to be free, committing yourself to a lifestyle of self-denying love, ask.  Ask and God will set you free, make you spiritually alive, seal you with the Holy Spirit, God will set you on a righteous path, God will have a hold of you.  If that is what you want ask for it now, don’t wait, and then tell me, I want to help you live in your inheritance.

 When God makes you His child you are written into His Will.  His will is that none should perish (2 Peter 3:9).  His will is that you look forward to a future we call eternal life (John 10:28-30; 1 John 5:11).  What is eternal life?  Frankly, I am not sure, for the scripture reveals:

 1 Corinthians 2:9 (NIV)

"No eye has seen, no ear has heard, no mind has conceived what God has prepared for those who love him…"

 It is God’s will that Physical death is not the end of you.  That’s a future hope that empowers you to endure in the present.  Until that future happens, it is God’s will that you live your life to the full (John 10:10).  That right now, today, you know that you are loved by those in the family of God and in turn are loving others.  You know that you are accepted, warts and all, because you belong, you are part of the family, That knowledge open up doors to contentment and joy.  You get to be used by God to introduce those outside in the Jesus denying world to the family with the gifts and graces the Holy Spirit has given to you (1 Corinthians 12:7).  Now your life takes on great significance.  That’s all in God’s will. 

 Romans 8:15-17 (NIV)

For you did not receive a spirit that makes you a slave again to fear, but you received the Spirit of sonship. And by him we cry, "Abba, Father." 16 The Spirit himself testifies with our spirit that we are God's children. 17 Now if we are children, then we are heirs--heirs of God and co-heirs with Christ…

When you are a co-heir with Christ there is another blessing God wants to give you.  The scripture reveals that even when we acknowledge, believe, commit and ask, and our request is answered that there is egoism that remains in the life of the believer (Wesley’s the Sin that Remains).  The Apostle Paul describes the situation as the battle between two desires, which he refers to as a conflict between the Spirit and egoism which he calls the Sin Nature or sinful self. 

 Galatians 5:17 (NIV)

For the sinful nature desires what is contrary to the Spirit, and the Spirit what is contrary to the sinful nature. They are in conflict with each other, so that you do not do what you want.

 We find our best intentions being hijacked at times by the sin nature.  The situation causes so much frustration.  We want to be a lover of God and a lover of others, but we find ourselves not living up to our own expectations.  If you have experienced this tug of war it is God’s will that the war end and you be set free from the power of canceled sin to hijack your best intentions.

1 Thessalonians 5:23 (MSG)

May God himself, the God who makes everything holy and whole, make you holy and whole, put you together—spirit, soul, and body—and keep you fit for the coming of our Master, Jesus Christ.

 Making you holy and whole is what we call in our congregation entire sanctification.  Once you recognize the problem and hate it enough to want it to come to an end, you repent, in other words, you don’t want to ever have your best intentions hijacked again by the ways of egoism, then in the sincerity of heart and mind, you dedicate the rest of your life as a living sacrifice to God.  You want His way always, you want to be a lover in all you think, say, and do.  So you present yourself asking God to do this second work of grace in your life.

 1 Thessalonians 5:24 (MSG)

The One who called you is completely dependable. If he said it, he'll do it!

 The power of egoism to hijack your best intentions is completely broken.  Now you are free to choose what you will do to serve, what you will do when tempted, what you will do to demonstrate your love for God and love for others.  No longer can the Devil make you do it, you are free in Christ. 

We have discovered in our exploration of 1 John that believers do not make a practice of sin.  A practice of sin is when you know a certain behavior is wrong but you give in to it, not seeking deliverance, but just succumbing to selfishness.  Believers that are co-heirs with Christ do not practice sin.  They fight against it, they seek deliverance from it, they do things that break the habit, the attachment, or the addiction.  That’s never done in secret, by the way, that’s why the family of God is so important, we need others to pray for us, to intercede, and to hold us accountable, to encourage us in our attempts to live a devout and holy life. We have learned that if we do sin, and all of us fall short of perfection, that we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus our Lord and Savior that makes forgiveness and restoration a reality, accompanied by the power to purify us from the sin. (1 John 1:9 & 2:1). 

We have discovered that there is such a thing as fatal sin.  The Gnostic Christians fell into it, repudiating the truth that Jesus is fully God and fully human.  John warns us to be on guard because there are clever facsimiles of the gospel abounding in our world, mixing just enough error into the truth that we can be swayed from the original message, of John’s good news, and succumb to a belief that is really no belief at all that puts you the path of salvation (2 Corinthians 11:14). 

 Colossians 2:8 (MSG)

Watch out for people who try to dazzle you with big words and intellectual double-talk. They want to drag you off into endless arguments that never amount to anything. They spread their ideas through the empty traditions of human beings and the empty superstitions of spirit beings. But that's not the way of Christ.

 Our culture abounds in ways to deceive you.  Don’t be swayed into a practice or belief about Christianity which is in the light of truth no Christianity at all.  John has told us the way of love safeguards us from committing fatal sin.  Loving God with all our heart, mind, soul, and strength as demonstrated by our obedience to His revelation is our primary safeguard. The second is like it, loving others, treating everyone we come in contact with respectfully, and seeking to meet the needs of others even at the cost of our personal sacrifice.  Loving God and loving Others keeps you walking in the light as Jesus is in the light. The result will be joy.

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