John’s first letter was sent to combat Gnostic teaching which was leading people astray. Today, there are many people who adapt the gospel to suit themselves or to gain power in the church, and we must be constantly on our guard.
Do not let anyone lead you astray. (1 John 3:7)
Have you allowed anyone to confuse you or change what you believe?
Anyone would rush to save a child from touching a fire. This letter is the same.
This tells us how we belong to God: Everyone who believes that Jesus is the Christ has been born of God, and everyone who loves the Father loves whoever has been born of him. (1 John 5:1)
After a disagreement, a young man went to storm out of the room, but his father asked him to come back and talk things over. This is our Father calling us to resolve our differences with him and come back to a loving relationship.
We need to know who we are: If we receive the testimony of men, the testimony of God is greater, for this is the testimony of God that he has borne concerning his Son. Whoever believes in the Son of God has the testimony in himself. Whoever does not believe God has made him a liar, because he has not believed in the testimony that God has borne concerning his Son. (1 John 5:9,10)
It matters what we believe. It matters that we listen to the Holy Spirit. If you don’t listen one day he will be silent.
This gives us assurance: I write these things to you who believe in the name of the Son of God that you may know that you have eternal life. And this is the confidence that we have toward him, that if we ask anything according to his will he hears us. (1 John 5:13,14)
We know we have hope because Jesus died for us, and it’s natural that we want others to have that hope too. It raises concern in us to pray for those Christians who are sinning – a backslider is a Christian waiting to come back. Jesus came that you and I might know true freedom.
In Psalm 51 David cries out for forgiveness:
Create in me a clean heart, O God, and renew a right spirit within me. Cast me not away from your presence, and take not your Holy Spirit from me. Restore to me the joy of your salvation, and uphold me with a willing spirit. (Psalm 51:10-12)
And we know 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, in his Son Jesus Christ. He is the true God and eternal life. (1 John 5:20)
[Adapted from a sermon by Uzo Iwobi at Pantygwydr Baptist Church]