I. Introduction

A. John reverts to an idea which is never far from the surface of his mind

a. He is saying, Obedience is the only proof of love

2. We cannot prove our love to our families other than by seeking to please them and bring them joy

a. then quite suddenly he says a most surprising thing - he says, God's Commandments are not heavy (grievous)

b. New Scofield has changed "grievous" to "burdensome" - God's commandments are not burdensome

c. but the literal translation is heavy

B. There are two things to be noted

1. He certainly does not mean that obedience to God's commandments is easy to achieve

2. Christian love is never easy, it is most often costly

a. it is never easy to love people we don't like

b. we don't like people who hurt our feelings or injure us in any fashion

3. It is never easy to solve the problem of getting along and living together harmoniously

a. we have to be aware of that and work at it

b. the reason John could say His commandments are not burdensome is because the Christian already has the desire - the want

to please God

C. There is a contrast implied

I. Jesus spoke of the Scribes and Pharisee as "binding heavy burdens on men's shoulders" Matt. 23:4

2. The Pharisaic mass of rules and regulations would be an intolerable burden on anyone shoulders

a. there is no doubt in my mind but that John is remembering Jesus words, "My yoke is easy and my burden is light" Matt. 11:30

b. how then can it be said that the demands of Jesus are not heavy burdens

3. There are three answers to that question.

II. God never lays a commandment on anyone without also giving the strength to carry it out

A. With the call comes the enablement, with the need comes the strength

1. God does not give us His commandments and then walk away to leave us to ourselves

2. He is in us to enable us to carry out what He has commanded

B. What is impossible for us is possible with God

III. Our Response to God must be one of love

A. For love, no duty is too hard and no task to great

1. What would be an impossible demand if a stranger asks, becomes a willing gift when love calls for it

2. There is an old parable that illustrates this:

a. someone met a lad going to school carrying another smaller boy on his back who was crippled

b. fellow asked, Do you carry him to school everyday?

c. yes, I do, said the boy

d. isn't that an awfully heavy burden for you to bear?

e. he's no burden, said the boy, He's my brother

B. Love turned the burden into no burden at all

1. It is to be so with us and Christ

2. His commandments are not a burden but a privilege and an opportunity to show our love

3. Christ never laid a commandment on anyone without giving him the strength to bear it

4. And love never found a commandment that it could not carry out.

IV. There is something (Someone) in the Christian which makes him able to conquer the world (5:4-5)

A. That which makes us able to conquer the world is our faith

1. John defines the conquering faith as the belief that Jesus is the Son of God

2. It is our belief in the Incarnation that makes us overcomes. Why should that be so?

a. if we believe in the incarnation we believe that God entered our world and partook of human life

b. if that is the case - and it is, it means He cared enough for man to take upon Himself the limitations of our humanity

c. if God did that it means that He shares in all the difficulties and temptations of living

d. it means that everything that happen to us is fully understood by God and that He is in us to meet and bear the problem.

B. Faith in the incarnation is the conviction that God shares and He cares

1. If we really believe that, then we are aware of the presence of Jesus Christ ever with us

2. If we believe in the incarnation we believe in a God who went through all the sorrows and disappointments of life, therefore, He can succor those who are experiencing the same thing

a. Heb. 2:18 - He is able to succor them that are tempted

b. succor means - to come to the help of; aid, assist, help

C. Faith in the incarnation gives us the~pe of a final victory

1. The World did it's worse to Jesus

a. it slandered Him, branded Him a heretic

b. It judged Him, curcified Him, buried Him, after which it sighed and said we're done with Him.

c. it did everything possible to eliminate Him, to blot out His name from history

d. but it failed

2. After Cross came the Resurrection

a. after the shame came the glory

b. that is the Jesus who is with us and the one who offers to share His victory with us.

3. If we believe that Jesus is the Son of God

a. then we have with us and in us the Victor who can make us victorious

b. we are more than conquerors through Him that loved us.