I John


I. Introduction

A. Three times in our Epistle, John tells us why it was written

1. I John 1:4 - We write unto you that your joy may be full
2. I John 2:1 - These things I write to you that ye sin not
3. I John 5:13 - I have written that you may know that you have eternal life

B. Our inquiry will be into the last of these - that you may know ye have eternal life

1. Just what are the tests or the proofs of the possession of eternal life

II. First test is Obedience (2:3-6)

A. The first test of knowing God is obeying Him

1. It is a life in which there is a willingness to follow God where His word directs
2. This obedience is obedience to a person - not simply to commandments
a. Christianity after all, is not just a set of rules
b. Christianity is fellowship with a Person - God
c. When you are in fellowship with the Lord it is not difficult to keep His commandments

B. There should be a similarity between our life and His life, between what we do and what He says we should do.

III. Second Test is Love (3:14-19; 4:7-12)

A. This is the loftiest test of eternal life because love is the highest, noblest and greatest virtue of life (I Cor. 13:13)

1. The test of loving God is found in the fact that we love our fellow believer
2. This kind of love proves that God's life is in us and His love as a result exudes from us

B. Several things will demonstrate the reality of this love within us.

1. There will be an absence of hatred (3;15)

a. hatred in the heart is the equivalent of murder of the soul for he who hates wishes his brother ill
b. he who loves cannot hate

2. There will be the Presence of Benevolence (3:16)

a. God loved and as a result gave
b. we are to love and as a result give as well
c. we are not responsible for giving life but we are responsible for maintaining it (3:17)
d. the possession of eternal life creates a reservoir of divine helpfulness and benevolence
e. these things are all virtues of the Christian life

IV. Third test of life is Truth (4:1-6)

A. Truth is in a Person - the Lord Jesus Christ (John 14:6)

1. How can anyone have eternal life when they deny the very source of life
2. The incarnation of Christ is the very source of eternal life

a. the person who denies that truth is attacking the very foundation of our faith
b. If Jesus did not come in the flesh, He could not atone for our sin nor could He provide for us a life which is eternal

B. There is a "spirit of Truth" and "a spirit of error"

1. We are told to test the spirits to see which are of the truth
2. One way we are told to judge them is by their attitude toward Jesus Christ
3. Who is He? what is He to me?
4. This is the infallible test of the possession of eternal life

V. Fourth Test is the Holy Spirit (3:24; 4:13)

A. Dwelling in is proved by God dwelling in His own through His Holy Spirit who makes our bodies His Temple (I Cor. 6:17-20; II Cor. 6:16)

1. The test of eternal life is not whether we can find God in a temple or a cathedral but whether we can find God in
2. Men try to associate God with buildings but God associates Himself with bodies (Acts 17:24)

B. The presence and possession of the Holy Spirit is the test of eternal life

1. It says in I John 4:13 - We know that He dwells in us because He has given us of His Spirit
2. The only reason we know we have eternal life is because we have His Spirit

VI. Fifth Test is the inner Witness (5:9-13)

A. God doesn't authenticate our salvation through church councils or religious denominations.

1. It is an individual matter therefore, it is an inner authentication.
2. Every believer has this witness in himself

a. if you wish to know whether you are a Christian, find out within (5:10)
b. this inner witness brings two things:

VII. Assurance of Salvation

a) when you want to know whether a bill is paid, where do you look? Well you can consult your feelings, but your feelings may be gratuitous and will always want all the bills paid and they may deceive you.
b) you can consult your memory, but your memory may be faulty and it may fail you. Or you can consult the bill itself and if it is receipted or if you have a supporting check you know the bill is paid and that paid and receipted bill is the witness in itself and it will satisfy your memory and stimulate your feelings (the Holy Spirit has receipted the bill with His Sealing).

2. Peace of Mind

a) peace with God (Rom. 5:1) is the fruit of having this inner witness
b) peace is something that comes from within and is conditioned on our relationship with God

VIII. Conclusion

A. These tests of eternal life are God's, not mine

1. They are the tests of God's Word
2. Happy are the people who can pass these tests
3. Can you pass them? Do you pass this morning?

Are you obedient to God?
Do you love other believers?
Do you know Him who is truth?
Do you have the witness of the Spirit within?
Has the Holy Spirit taken up residence in your life.?

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