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1 John   •  Sermon  •  Submitted
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When we are born of God we will believe Jesus is the Christ, love God, love those born of God, we wil obey the commandments of God, we will overcome the world by our faith in Christ.

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Why?

Have you ever wondered why? Every kid does. Why do I have to go to bed at 8? Why do I have to eat my peas? Why is the sky blue? Why, why, why? When I look at the things that are going on in this world I wonder why. Why did Raechel make chili instead of stew? Why are you and I going through the trials we are going through right now? Why is it going to rain tomorrow instead of today? Why is the corona virus moving across the globe right now? Even though we ask that question; “why?” we don’t always have a good answer. For our struggles we know the general “why” is because God is using it to train us, to sanctify us to be like Christ but why now and why this way, we just can’t know; at least right now. It’s like this, I may know how Raechel is going to respond in most situations but I don’t, for the life of me, know why.
Today we are going to look at . John is going to tell us why there are certain things that go on in the life of the believer and by that we can know why those same things do not go on in the life of the unbeliever. Let’s pray then we will look at .
1Whoever believes that Jesus is the Christ is born of God, and everyone who loves Him who begot also loves him who is begotten of Him. 2 By this we know that we love the children of God, when we love God and keep His commandments. 3 For this is the love of God, that we keep His commandments. And His commandments are not burdensome. 4 For whatever is born of God overcomes the world. And this is the victory that has overcome the world—our faith. 5 Who is he who overcomes the world, but he who believes that Jesus is the Son of God?[1]
The key to understanding “why” is found here in verse 1 of this passage so let’s take another look at it. 1Whoever believes that Jesus is the Christ is born of God, and everyone who loves Him who begot also loves him who is begotten of Him. When you read over that very quickly in this translation it sounds as if you become born of God or saved because of what you did on your own, you saved yourself by what you decided to do; believe Jesus is the Christ. But we know from our study of where Jesus said that no one comes to Him unless the Father who sent Him draws them and where Paul explains that we were adopted before the foundation of the world and where we see that we were dead in our trespasses and sin but God raised us up together by His grace to be seated in the heavenlies with Christ by faith. By that we know that salvation is a work of God not a work of man. So let’s look at the first part of this verse a little more deeply by looking at it in the English Standard Version. 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.[2]
Everyone who believes that Jesus is the Christ has been born of God. Believing is a consequence of being born again not the cause of it. In the Greek John wrote the word for “believes” in the present tense while he wrote the words for “born of God” in the perfect tense which would be understood as “has been born of God”. What John is telling us here is that believing that Jesus is the Christ and continuing to believe is a direct consequence of being born of God or being born again. Remember that because it ties into everything else we will look at today.
John goes on here and make it clear that if you are born again (born of God) and thereby believe that Jesus is the Christ then you will also love God and all of those born of God. In we read last week that we only love God because He first loved us and He loved us in this way: He sent His Son to be our atoning sacrifice (propitiation). tells us that outside of being in Christ we are enemies of God but being born of God we now love God. We talked about this love for those born of God last week as well. This is not at all talking about emotions or our feelings in any way. You are not going to get all mushy when I walk into the room the way I do when I see Raechel. Your heart is not going to go pitter patter when you see me and I know this is life shattering but my heart doesn’t go pitter patter for you either. I have said this before and I will probably say it a few more times before we finish 1st, 2nd, and 3rd John. This love we are talking about is sacrificial action on behalf of one another. And like I mentioned last week there is often a disconnect between what we know about loving one another and what we do about loving one another and we need to seek a way or ways to bridge that disconnect. If you are born again and believe that Jesus is the Christ then you will love God and seek ways to love all of His children. tells us that we are to present ourselves as living sacrifices holy and acceptable to God which our reasonable act of worship. If you are born of God you will believe that Jesus is the Christ, you will love God and all those who are born of God.
Let’s look at verses 2-3: 2 By this we know that we love the children of God, when we love God and keep His commandments. 3 For this is the love of God, that we keep His commandments. And His commandments are not burdensome.
We noted last week that our love for God was revealed in the way we love one another. But here John reverses this and says that our love for one another reveals our love for God. Simply enough we cannot claim to love God and not love His children nor can we claim to love one another and not love God and that love is demonstrated by our obedience. All the way through the Old Testament God, through Moses and the prophets, made it clear that our love for God, our creator and deliverer, is revealed by our obedience to His commandments. When we get to the Gospels Jesus said in “If you love Me, keep My commandments.” Again back to being a living sacrifice is our reasonable act of worship and true worship is obedience to God, or whatever it may be that you worship. You cannot worship God outside of obedience to His commandments. But if you idea of keeping the commandments of God is; “Oh man I can’t do this and I can’t do that” then take a look at how John describes keeping the commandments of God; His commandments are not burdensome. Since the commandments of God are not burdensome that means they are “a piece of cake”, maybe even strawberry shortcake and there is no problem for us in keeping the commandments of God and we will never, never sin again; right? If that were true then the world would not be in the shape it is in. Adam and Eve just had one commandment and it was so difficult to keep that they didn’t keep it and all humanity fell. So if John is not talking about the commandments of God being easy or difficult then what does he mean by “not burdensome”? When you were a child most likely your parents caught you, at some point, jumping on the bed and they made it clear to you that jumping on the bed was not acceptable. If you were like most kids that get rules put before them, you thought to yourself; “all my parents want to do is stop me from having any fun, rules, rules, rules”. Of course this applied to jumping on the bed but as you got a little older you thought the same thing about any rule that any adult placed on your behavior. All anyone in authority wanted to do was ruin your life and stop you from enjoying yourself. All of their “commandments” were burdensome; they were restrictive from your perspective and caused you to want to rebel all the more. But when you got older and more mature you realized that there were good reasons for not jumping on the bed. You could have gotten hurt badly or you could have torn up your bed and wouldn’t have a place to sleep. You even matured enough to realize that staying out until 4:00 in the morning on a work or school night was not burdensome or restrictive but protective because as my father used to say; nothing good happens after midnight and you will suffer the consequences the next day, or month or year, or even lifetime. So the child of God, those who are born again are like that more mature you. You realize that the commandments of God are not for the purpose of restricting you but for the purpose of placing you within the bounds of God’s protection. The commandments of God are not burdensome they are instead a joy of protection. But that does not make them easy to keep. Let’s face it, if keeping the commandments of God were easy John would not have to keep on telling us to love one another. Sometimes even that is difficult, but it is a difficult joy. Let me make this clear though; the world sees the commandments of God as burdensome, irksome, restrictive but not so for us who are born again and let me show you why that is in verses 4 and 5.
4 For whatever is born of God overcomes the world. And this is the victory that has overcome the world—our faith. 5 Who is he who overcomes the world, but he who believes that Jesus is the Son of God?[3]
I need to make sure you understand this; confidence or faith in the divine-human person of Jesus is the one weapon against which neither error, nor evil, nor the force of the world can prevail over us and that is all because of the fact that we are born of God. It is the power of God that overcomes the world and those born of God reap the benefit as more than conquerors. It is not us that that causes the overcoming but our rebirth that conquers. 13He has delivered us from the power of darkness and conveyed us into the kingdom of the Son of His love, 14in whom we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins. He has delivered us, He has overcome and we become overcomers based on Him and His work. The spell of the old life, the power of darkness, has been broken (overcome), the fascination of the world has lost its appeal, because we believe that Jesus is the Son of God based on the fact that we are born of God, we are born again and we keep the commandments of God based on that faith. Jesus, after telling His disciples that they would be hated by the culture, that some of them would be killed by people who believed they were doing God a service and that He was leaving them but sending the Holy Spirit, told His disciples in 33These things I have spoken to you, that in Me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation; but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world.” Who is it that overcomes the world? It is those who are born of God and thereby believe that Jesus is the Son of God.
We have to some degree unpacked these verses so now let me see if I can put all of this in a succinct statement: Those who believe that Jesus is the Christ are those who have been born of God (born again). Those who are born of God will love God and all those born of God. We know we love those who are born of God when we love God and keep the commandments of God (which is a result of being born of God). His commandments are not irksome because we have been changed and the commandments of God are joyful protections (and we know this because we are born of God). Those who are born of God overcome the world (not purposely breaking the commandments of God) because of their faith in Christ Jesus (and that is because they are born of God, born again).
So this brings us back to the beginning; Why? Why do we believe that Jesus is the Christ and that He is our atoning sacrifice? Why do we love God? Why do we love those born of God? Why do we obey the commandments of God not out of compulsion but out of joy? Why do we realize that the commandments of God are not a restriction on us but a protective joy? Why do we overcome the world which at one time was so strong at drawing us away? Why? Does anyone want to tell me? Why? Because we are born of God; we are born again. says: 22Since you have purified your souls in obeying the truth £through the Spirit in sincere love of the brethren, love one another fervently with a pure heart, 23having been born again, not of corruptible seed but incorruptible, through the word of God which lives and abides £forever,
But we have to remember this; those who are not born of God may give lip service to believing that Jesus is the Christ but they do not put their faith in Him as their atoning sacrifice so they do not overcome the world (in fact they look just like the world) and the commandments of God are irksome or burdensome, they are restrictive on their behavior. They do not love God because they are enemies of God and it is demonstrated by their lack of love for those who are born of God and one day they will be judged not by their Savior but by the One who is an enemy. If they are not born of God and do not love God then they do not love those who are born of God. Why? Because they are not born of God, they are not born again.
So, what do we do about that information? I’m talking to those who are born again, what do we do about that knowledge that there are those who have never been born again. Do we just stay away from them and ostracize them, do we avoid them like the plague so their lostness doesn’t rub off on us? After all they are not a part of us. Now this is the place where the televangelist will tell you to send him money so that he could go out into the world and spread the gospel. But I am not a televangelist. I will tell you plainly there is only one thing for us to do. Go where the lost are, next door, down the road, in your living room, and tell them how they can believe in the Savior who came to save all who will believe. Preach Christ crucified and risen. Let’s pray.
[1] The New King James Version. (1982). (). Nashville: Thomas Nelson.
[2] The Holy Bible: English Standard Version. (2016). (). Wheaton, IL: Crossway Bibles.
[3] The New King James Version. (1982). (). Nashville: Thomas Nelson.
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