************ Sermon on 1 John 5:18-21 ************


By: Rev. Adrian Dieleman


This sermon was preached on June 14, 2020


1 John 5:18-21
"We Know (3)"

Introduction
Throughout the years I have subscribed to and cancelled TIME Magazine, Newsweek, U.S News & World Report, and a news magazine out of Canada. It used to be they delivered mostly news with a couple of opinion pieces. Now, it is mostly opinion pieces with very little news. That's the world. The world lives by opinions but Christians live by facts. The world lives by ideas that change and adapt and adjust and conform but Christians live by absolutes. The world is filled with uncertainty but Christians are certain. Christians are sure. Christians know.

What do we know? Verse 13 - we know we have eternal life. Verse 14-15 - we know God hears and answers prayer. Today, we see that John ends his letter with three more certainties, three more things we know.

I Victory Over Sinful Pattern of Life
A The first certainty we are looking at today is victory over a sinful pattern of life:
(1 Jn 5:18) We know that anyone born of God does not continue to sin; the one who was born of God keeps him safe, and the evil one cannot harm him.
We know. We know what? We know Christians have victory over a sinful and depraved lifestyle.

"We know that anyone born of God does not continue to sin." Notice that word "continue." So their life was one of sin. Sin was their master and they were its slaves. All they ever wanted to do was obey this master. But no longer if they are a Christian.

"We know that anyone born of God does not continue to sin." It is the unbelieving, the unconverted, who continue in a life of sin. They do nothing but sin. They are dead in their transgressions and sins (Eph 2:1). They are in a constant state of rebellion against God and the lordship of Jesus Christ.

Do you hear what John is saying? He is saying men are slaves to sin and Satan until they are born of God. But once you are born of God you are no longer a slave of sin. When you become a Christian you have a new master and you become a slave of righteousness.

How do you know someone is a Christian? How do you know someone is a believer? Believers do not live in an unbroken, constant pattern of sin. "We know that anyone born of God does not continue to sin." We aren't talking perfection here. Because, other than Jesus, no one is this life and on this earth and in this flesh is perfect or can be perfect. As John put it earlier,
(1 Jn 1:8) If we claim to be without sin, we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us.
What we are talking about is lifestyle, the pattern of life, the direction of life.

B According to 1 John 3, there are four reasons why there is this change in direction, change in lifestyle.

First, when a person becomes a Christian, their pattern of life is obedience to the Law. That's what sinners don't do -- they break the law (1 Jn 3:4). But those who have been changed live according to the Law and say with the psalmist, "Oh, how I love your law!" (Ps 119:97).

Second, when a person becomes a Christian, Jesus works in them to take away sin.
(1 Jn 3:5) But you know that he appeared so that he might take away our sins. And in him is no sin.
Jesus was born, Jesus suffered, Jesus died, Jesus arose. Why? To take away your sin. Which means if Jesus is at work in you, then your lifestyle of sin, your pattern of sin, is taken away at some level. An ongoing, unbroken, continuous pattern of sin contradicts the work of Christ.

Third, when a person becomes a Christian, Jesus rescues them from the power of Satan. The one who lives a life of sin is of the devil. But Jesus came to destroy the work of the devil.
(1 Jn 3:8) He who does what is sinful is of the devil, because the devil has been sinning from the beginning. The reason the Son of God appeared was to destroy the devil's work.
If you are a Christian, your way of life, your pattern of life, the direction of your life, shows you are of Christ and not of Satan.

Fourth, when a person becomes a Christian, the new life of the Spirit is planted in them.
(1 Jn 3:9) No one who is born of God will continue to sin, because God's seed remains in him; he cannot go on sinning, because he has been born of God.
No one born again or regenerated, no one given a new nature, no one converted, no one transformed by the Spirit of God, continues in a life of sin.

C "We know that anyone born of God does not continue to sin." There are those in the church who think sin in their life is no big deal. They think they can be Christian and live with their boyfriend or girlfriend. They think they can be Christian and be addicted to pornography. They think they can be Christian and live a homosexual lifestyle. They think they can be Christian and be abusive to their spouse or children. They think they can be Christian and misuse drugs and alcohol. They think they can be Christian and be full of rage and anger. They think they can be Christian and lie, cheat, and steal. They think they can be Christian and have a bitter and unforgiving spirit. Absolutely not, says John. "We know that anyone born of God does not continue to sin."

D Did you notice the guarantee? Or, maybe I should say the guarantor -- that is, the person who makes the guarantee.
(1 Jn 5:18) We know that anyone born of God does not continue to sin; the one who was born of God keeps him safe, and the evil one cannot harm him.
"The one who was born of God keeps him safe." Another translation uses the word "begotten." "The begotten of God keeps him safe." Who keeps us safe? Who guards us and protects us from the attacks of Satan? The "begotten of God." -- which can only be Christ Jesus.

Jesus keeps us safe. Jesus needs to keep us safe because we are unable to protect ourselves. We are helpless and hopeless on our own.

Christians need to be kept safe. We need protection. We need guarding. Do you know why? Because Satan tempts us, Satan lures us, Satan dangles sinful attractions before us, Satan caters to our cravings and addictions. Satan's goal is to bring us back to the life of sin, the pattern of sin, that we once had. Just like there is rejoicing in heaven over every sinner who repents, so there is rejoicing in the halls of Satan over every Christian who takes up a life of sin.

Jesus keeps us safe. But, realize this doesn't mean Satan doesn't attack us. Jesus doesn't keep us safe from being attacked. Rather, Jesus keeps us safe while being attacked. Think of this in terms of Simon Peter. Jesus permitted Satan to sift Simon Peter (Lk 22:31). You know what happened: Peter denied knowing the Lord, he repented, he was restored, he became a leader in the church. Jesus kept him safe. Think of Job. Job's faith was tested. Job's righteousness was questioned. But Jesus kept him. Or, think of Paul. Remember what the Lord permitted in Paul's life? A thorn in the flesh, a messenger of Satan, to torment him (2 Cor 12:7). But Jesus kept him. "The begotten of God keeps him safe."

E Jesus keeps us. Yet, we all know of church members who slip and fall and disappear into their old ways of sin and deny the faith. How do we explain this? Do you remember what John said back in chapter 2?
(1 Jn 2:19) They went out from us, but they did not really belong to us. For if they had belonged to us, they would have remained with us; but their going showed that none of them belonged to us.
If you have been born again, if Jesus died for you, then the only begotten Son keeps you. But if you aren't born again, then Satan will find a way to keep you.

II We Belong to God
Here is the next certainty: "We know that we are children of God, and that the whole world is under the control of the evil one" (1 Jn 5:19).

John mentions two choices, two options: either we are children of God or we are part of the world which is under the control of the evil one. There is the world and there is the people of God.

As God's children, we know we belong to God. I can't say this without reciting Q & A 1 of the Catechism:
I am not my own,
but belong --
body and soul,
in life and in death --
to my faithful Savior Jesus Christ.
We are His. We belong to Him. He bought us with a price. From eternity we belong to Him.

Be certain of this, dear people: you belong to God. You are His beloved child.

III Christ is True God
A We know we have eternal life. We know prayer is answered. We know Christians don't sin. We know we belong to Jesus. Here is the last certainty:
(1 Jn 5:20) We know also that the Son of God has come and has given us understanding, so that we may know him who is true. And we are in him who is true--even in his Son Jesus Christ. He is the true God and eternal life.
"We know the Son of God has come." Let me emphasize the phrase "has come." That's how John started his letter -- with Him who has come, with Him we have heard and seen and looked at and touched. We know He has come. He has come. Conceived by the Spirit. Born of the virgin Mary. Lived a perfect life. Died an atoning death. Rose from the grave. Ascended into heaven. Seated at the right hand of God where He intercedes for us. Someday will return to judge the living and the dead. He has come!

"We know the Son of God has come." This is the first and great certainty that makes every other certainty possible. He has come. We know. We are certain. We are sure.

B Who is He who has come? What do we know about Him? We know He is the "Son of God." We know He is "the true God and eternal life." What a great and wonderful statement against the Gnostics, JWs, Mormons, and all other heretics. We know. We are sure. We are positive. There is no if, but, or maybe about this.

C John says Jesus "has given us understanding, so that we may know him who is true." He is true -- which means authentic, real. True, not false like the lying and false spirits mentioned in chapter 4. True, not false like the idol gods of the heathen. He truly is the Son of God. He truly is God. He truly is eternal life.

Do you realize what this means? It means, as our last verse puts it, that you understand you "keep yourselves from idols." Don't worship any other god. Don't fall for any idol. All other gods are imposters. All other gods are false. Jesus is true God and in Him alone is eternal life. Jesus is the God we worship. To Him we sing the song with which we started worship this morning: "Holy, Holy, Holy! Lord God Almighty."

John writes to a church that is mostly centered in Ephesus. Ephesus was known for its idols, its idolatry: the Temple of Artemis, the massive statue of Diana measuring 420 feet by 250 feet. The Christians of Ephesus were surrounded by all this idolatry. "Dear children, keep yourselves from idols." Because you know, you know and understand Jesus is the true God and eternal life.

Conclusion
We know. We know we have eternal life. We know prayer is answered. We know we have victory over sin. We know we belong to God. We know Jesus Christ is the one true God and eternal life. We know whom we have believed.

Conclusion
We know. We know we have eternal life. We know prayer is answered. We know we have victory over sin. We know we belong to God. We know Jesus Christ is the one true God and eternal life. We know whom we have believed.
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