Inter-Community Church of God
May 2, 2021 Service
      • Psalm 22:25–31HCSB

  • The Results of God’s Love

    Today is part 4 of this study in 1 John. We spoke of God meeting our deepest needs in Christ at the Cross; then about Knowing God; last week our gerund was Loving like God’s Children, today it is Believing like God’s Children, and next week on Mother’s Day it will be Behaving like God’s Children.
    >>>I am using this sub-theme of “Like God’s Children” based on the marvelous statement in
    1 John 3:1 CSB
    1 See what great love the Father has given us that we should be called God’s children—and we are! The reason the world does not know us is that it didn’t know him.
    I do hope you have had some time to read through 1 John. It is an incredible book, a kind of condensation of the themes in the Gospel of John, but a more personal gift from the Apostle John to help us in our daily living.
    So that is my aim as well, to help us in our daily living through these messages from the Epistle of 1 John.
    >>>Let’s get to today’s theme,

    Believing Like God’s Children

    Now, what I am about to say is not true of everyone’s experience, because our world is pretty messed up. Some of us weren’t safe when we should have been safe. Some of us were neglected when we should have been cared for. Some of us were ignored when we should have been encouraged. I get that. It is part of my own story. So if what I am about to say is what you hope for instead of what you have, or if this is what should have been instead of what was, I hope you can hear and understand what the good plan of God is for our families.
    Now, for most kids, believing in their parents comes naturally. After all, for the first few years of life, no one us more important than your own parents, or if you are lucky, your parents and grandparents, maybe a sister or a brother. They are just there. You believe them to be strong, and able, and besides, they feed you and spend time with you. It’s easy to believe that your own mom is the greatest mom there is, or that your dad is the best. We don’t think at all about what it means to believe in them, or what to believe about them. It comes from our experience. It comes from our close contact with them. It comes from our enjoyment of them, what they teach us, how they correct us, how they train us, and how they forgive us and restore us to our place in the family.
    >>> John has kind of adopted those who have become believers in his sphere of influence. He thinks of them lovingly, and I can hear the encouragement in his words even as he is speaking about what needs attention or what changes should happen. So for the message today, I am starting with some words of encouragement and training John speaks to his spiritual family.

    Reasons to Believe Based On Experience

    These verses I am sharing from 1 John chapter 2 all have a similar structure: John says,
    “I am writing to you”, then he names the group he is calling out, then he gives a “because” or a “since” something has been done by God, and he names that. So let’s find out what he is saying to a few different sets of people who will be reading or hearing this letter.
    1 John 2:12 CSB
    12 I am writing to you, little children, since your sins have been forgiven on account of his name.
    First he writes to “little children”, but this does not mean just pre-teens. This really means his whole audience, because he has already called his readers or listeners “Dear children” or “little children” in 1 John 2:1, when he says he is writing to them so they may not sin.
    In the beginning of this chorus of reasons to believe, he tells them that he is writing because their sins are forgiven on account of Jesus’, or God’s name. The forgiveness of sins was purchased for us by the perfect atoning blood of Jesus Christ on the Cross, by the eternal plan of God the Father, Son and Holy Spirit.
    The first reason to believe correctly about God and his Son Jesus is because your sins are forgiven. This is no longer a past-tense idea because of living in the first century. This is a present reality for each of us who are Christians because of the shed blood of Jesus Christ who call our own names when he said “Father, forgive them.”
    1 John 2:13 CSB
    13 I am writing to you, fathers, because you have come to know the one who is from the beginning. I am writing to you, young men, because you have conquered the evil one.
    Now, in verse 13, there are 3 named groups, but of course, most of what he says applies to all. If the ones who added the verse numbers to the New Testament writings had been consistent, we would have 3 verses here, but instead we will just speak of each of the sentences by themselves.
    John writes to fathers: these are spiritual fathers, those with a history of faith, and we know that because John says “you know Him who is from the beginning.” This implies a solid faith in who God the True Father is; it also creeps in on the second person of the Trinity, Jesus Christ, for John already told us in his Gospel, John 1:1, that Jesus, or the Word, with with God in the beginning, and helped in creation.
    These spiritual fathers has the reason of their own faith history to believe and what to believe. The well of knowledge runs deep among the faithful ones.
    Next John writes to the young men. These are the brash, the know-it-alls, the tried-it-alls, the “been there, done that, bought the T-shirt” group. Although most of us think we know more at 16 than our parents ever did, and grow to be 25, glad we lived long enough to REALLY learn everything, we haven’t yet obtained the wisdom to put it into practice. Which is one reason why you have to be at least 35 years old to be President of the United States.
    But these young men have an important experience that gives them reason to believe: John says it is because “you have overcome the evil one.” The strength and courage and sometimes pig-headed stubbornness of a young man will put him face to face with the strongest foe. In Jesus Christ, those who have been forgiven for the sake of His name, discover the power to put down Satan’s attacks and move away from the temptations of the world.
    Then the third group he mentions in this verse is again “children,” and the reason to believe is the simplest reason to believe: The children know the Father. When we put ourselves in the category of God’s children, we will know him. No big qualifiers, no deep instructions, no reading assignments or essays to write. Children simply know their father. It is true of the Children of God as well.
    1 John 2:14 CSB
    14 I have written to you, children, because you have come to know the Father. I have written to you, fathers, because you have come to know the one who is from the beginning. I have written to you, young men, because you are strong, God’s word remains in you, and you have conquered the evil one.
    This verse of reasons to believe from personal experience repeats the first part of this section, except the tense of the verb has changed to a past tense. John is using a pattern that is familiar from some of the Psalms and the Prophets: After you have said something, say it again with a little difference. In other words, repeat the idea to let it sink in, but not exactly word-for-word so it doesn’t drone on in your mind.
    So first, John had used a present tense—”I am writing because” and then a past perfect tense: “I have written because”. And John changes the detail of the “because” in the sentence.
    So, children, I am writing to you since your sins have been forgiven; I have written because you have come to know the Father. These spiritual children, these descendants of faith, have been forgiven and that has led to them coming to know the the Father. The barrier is taken down; there is no separation of guilt, and since that forgiveness has become real, these children have come to know the Father. No worries, no guilt, no hiding, but able to come out of the shadows and be with the Father of lights, the Father of love, the Father of life.
    Then John goes on. So, fathers, I am writing to you because you have come to know the one who is from the beginning, and I have written you because of the same thing—you have come to know the one who is from the beginning. This is a direct repeat of the confidence John has in the spiritual fathers of the community of faith, only different from John’s stating that the present reality has a foundation in the same past reality. “I am, I have written you” because you have come to know the ever-living God.
    The young men, they get a little different affirmation: at first, John said “I am writing to you because you have conquered the evil one”. Now, John says he has written because of the same reason, but he adds some bits of information to let these young men know that he knows how they conquered the evil one.
    This is important for us to discover too. We don’t conquer the evil one because we think we are so smart of we think we are so tough. John gives the reminder that, as young adults in faith, we have conquered the evil one because of the strength we have gotten hold of, because—and this is the important addition—we know the strength that comes from having the living, active, powerful word of God in our hearts.
    God’s word in us is what we have learned and been taught by our spiritual fathers; God’s word in us is what we have been taught and learned through prayer. God’s word in us is what we have been taught is true when we engage the enemy with the power and promises of God’s word in us.
    Don’t try to fight Satan on your own strength. Did you hear me? Don’t try to fight Satan with only your own strength. It can be tempting, when it seems like you can conquer anything. But if we try to overcome the evil one with only human ability, we will fail. Oh, at first we will think we have done it. But if our victory comes through our own tactics, we will discover that winning the skirmish only wounded the enemy and set him on the path of vengeance. That doesn’t work out very well. We end up in a worst state than where we began, overrun by our enemy that we thought we were so tough we could do it on our own.
    When the Word of God becomes our strength, when the Word of God becomes our ammunition, when the Word of God becomes our shield, then we have what it takes to face the evil one and come out victors—because we do it in God’s power and for God’s purposes.
    A result of God’s love is the open door to move from our life of selfish sin into the life of God-powered holiness. That open door become more obvious to us when we realize that all our experience is about what God has done in us and for us and through us, teaching us to believe in God the Father, God the Son, God the Holy Spirit because of his faithfulness, because his word rings true in our hearts, because victory in Jesus, our Savior forever, is because he sought me and bought me with his redeeming blood. It is that truth of Jesus the Son of God that is an important part of believing in God like his own children. Jesus didn’t have to think about that much. His life through all eternity is about knowing God. As the son of God; as the first-born Son of God.
    >>>Those simple ideas are important context for the more challenging realities we continue to face day by day as we strive to live out the peace and power of God against the enemy of our souls. For, in our lives, in our times, as in all times, John reminds us that. . .

    Believing Truth Keeps Us From Deceit

    Now, the verses I am about to share from John, the beloved Apostle, who was closer to Jesus during his days on earth than anyone else, tell us the truth about the dreaded antichrist.
    Even though it is John the Apostle whose book of Revelation has driven so much speculation about the great antichrist to come, John the Apostle in the present tense tells us that what we face now, and what we will continue to face day by day until Jesus returns is nothing less than antichrist.
    >>>John opens up this idea to us from his own long experience of believing as a child of God and facing the realities of a world still in the grips of Satan’s deceit, saying, . . .
    1 John 2:18 ESV
    18 Children, it is the last hour, and as you have heard that antichrist is coming, so now many antichrists have come. Therefore we know that it is the last hour.
    Hear that again: as you have heart that antichrist is coming, ALREADY many antichrists have come.
    We don’t have to wait for the great antichrist, for we face all the offspring of the evil one every day. It is not some great red horned beast that blocks our way to God’s perfect eternity. It is the little voices of doubt and fear and diversion that are in our path every day. Many antichrists have come. Since Christ himself has already appeared, and Christ himself has overcome sin and death and Hell for us, we must continue believing the truth of Christ.
    >>>We have to guard against anything that is not of God the Father. John is all too familiar with the reality that. . .
    1 John 2:19 ESV
    19 They went out from us, but they were not of us; for if they had been of us, they would have continued with us. But they went out, that it might become plain that they all are not of us.
    Yes, John says that the antichrists we face come not only from the outside forces of the enemy of our souls. It’s much worse than fearing something that we don’t face now and in fact we don’t face down in the future—that’s the role of Jesus the Conquering King, not us—but what we face every day is the doubters, the deceived deceivers, the ones whom we have known and we thought were with us.
    “They went out from us” means that the antichrists we continue to face sometimes come from within the church. But not the true church. They are not the called-out congregation of faith but the crowd of wannabes that infiltrate the faithful. “they were not of us—or they would have stayed true.”
    >>>Our greatest tests come not in some future where the flames of hell are lapping at our heels while the noise and confusion of battle ring out among us as the enemy roars and the blood runs deep. No, John tells us . . .

    The Antichrists are Already Here

    and we don’t have to wait for anything. we face those who are against Christ every day.
    The deceivers are the deceived. Satan has kept hold of their souls as they have accepted Christ as an idea but not as a living Lord. They have wanted to be part of those who are Christians by faith, but they have never really wrapped their hearts and minds around what it is to truly know Christ as Redeemer, Savior and Lord.
    And since they are the deceived, they have tried to use their own experience to tell us what to believe. Remember John said, “if they had been part of us, they would have stayed. But now we know their true stripes. The wolves in sheep’s clothing have worked havoc in the church and in the minds of those who thought they were faithful since the beginning of the church. The antichrists are already here, because Satan himself is the great antichrist, and he doesn’t like defeat.
    Satan will continue to use every opportunity to turn people from a pure and sure faith in the work of Christ for our souls. He will start with some bits of truth and start to throw in lies and doubt and fear.
    >>>But we are not powerless in the presence of the persecutors of our souls, because . . .

    God’s Children Are Anointed With Truth

    which is really good news.
    We have no cause to live in fear; truth will, in the end, always win out. But along the way it might look like the battle is lost. The deceivers take a little truth and turn it into a big lie.
    I heard one of those this week. A climate study commissioned by the United Kingdom had a little part of it that made some forecasts about how a reduction in cattle production for human consumption might affect the future of greenhouse gases that threaten to drive up our world’s average temperature. The study made a bold prediction about what might happen if human beef consumption would be cut by 90%. Now, I hope you can see already that this is a purely hypothetical assumption about consumption of beef. No way anyone believes this will actually happen. The scientists who wrote this don’t believe it will actually happen. They just wanted to make an illustration of what could happen in one of the issues of climate change where humans had some influence. And remember, this is a UK study, not a US study, and not a Democrat’s study.
    Well, some anti-Paris Climate Accord commentators heard a piece of the report, linked it to support of the climate control objectives of our current president, and broadcast a lie that was picked up by many and became viral on social media. The way it goes is this: The UK commissioned a study on climate change. A piece of that study made a prediction of what might happen if the unthinkable were achieved, a huge and drastic reduction in eating beef. Because feed lots and our huge herds of cattle produce a lot of methane gas, which can be a part of warming the atmosphere.
    Anyway, since less beef means less greenhouse gas and the Democrat’s position is that we should do all we can as a nation to reduce greenhouse gasses that warm the atmosphere, then that means that President Joe Biden wants to take beef of the grill for our Fourth of July celebrations of American Independence. A little truth, in a scientific proposition, turned into a big lie for political purposes.
    Well, well, well. It’s the stuff of the deceiver that makes that happen. And it starts in the arenas of faith. What do we believe?
    >>>As the children of God, believing relies on this:
    1 John 2:20–21 ESV
    20 But you have been anointed by the Holy One, and you all have knowledge. 21 I write to you, not because you do not know the truth, but because you know it, and because no lie is of the truth.
    The anointing of God’s Holy Spirit leads us to truth, not lies. That’s where the knowledge is in this verse. Not in encyclopedic memories of everything we learned in school and church, but instead the knowledge of what is true compared to what is a lie.
    When we hear an outrageous claim, it should sound like a lie immediately, and we need to remember that “no lie is of the truth.” Knowing the truth is as much about discerning what is a lie as it is about knowing chapter and verse about what the truth is.
    Kinda like a meme on Bobbi’s calendar that says “If we aren’t supposed to eat at night, why is there a light in the refrigerator?” That’s making a little fun of how we turn things around. The light in the fridge should cause you to doubt the idea that we shouldn’t add calories after dark.
    John says to us as fellow believers, if we truly are, “You know the truth. Don’t settle for a lie.”
    >>>We need to know that

    Satan’s Big Lie Doubts Christ

    You know the truth, so don’t settle for a lie.
    Those who can’t put themselves under the grace of Christ,
    1 John 2:22 ESV
    22 Who is the liar but he who denies that Jesus is the Christ? This is the antichrist, he who denies the Father and the Son.

    Believing Means Confessing Christ

    1 John 2:23–24 ESV
    23 No one who denies the Son has the Father. Whoever confesses the Son has the Father also. 24 Let what you heard from the beginning abide in you. If what you heard from the beginning abides in you, then you too will abide in the Son and in the Father.

    Believing Like God’s Children Is Life

    1 John 2:25–26 ESV
    25 And this is the promise that he made to us—eternal life. 26 I write these things to you about those who are trying to deceive you.
    1 John 2:18–26 ESV
    18 Children, it is the last hour, and as you have heard that antichrist is coming, so now many antichrists have come. Therefore we know that it is the last hour. 19 They went out from us, but they were not of us; for if they had been of us, they would have continued with us. But they went out, that it might become plain that they all are not of us. 20 But you have been anointed by the Holy One, and you all have knowledge. 21 I write to you, not because you do not know the truth, but because you know it, and because no lie is of the truth. 22 Who is the liar but he who denies that Jesus is the Christ? This is the antichrist, he who denies the Father and the Son. 23 No one who denies the Son has the Father. Whoever confesses the Son has the Father also. 24 Let what you heard from the beginning abide in you. If what you heard from the beginning abides in you, then you too will abide in the Son and in the Father. 25 And this is the promise that he made to us—eternal life. 26 I write these things to you about those who are trying to deceive you.

    Believing Truth Protects our Hearts

    1 John 3:19–20 ESV
    19 By this we shall know that we are of the truth and reassure our heart before him; 20 for whenever our heart condemns us, God is greater than our heart, and he knows everything.

    Confidence Before God Is Believing Truth

    1 John 3:21–22 ESV
    21 Beloved, if our heart does not condemn us, we have confidence before God; 22 and whatever we ask we receive from him, because we keep his commandments and do what pleases him.

    Believing Like God’s Children Is Abiding In Him

    1 John 3:23–24 ESV
    23 And this is his commandment, that we believe in the name of his Son Jesus Christ and love one another, just as he has commanded us. 24 Whoever keeps his commandments abides in God, and God in him. And by this we know that he abides in us, by the Spirit whom he has given us.
      • 1 John 3:1GS-NETBIBLE

      • 1 John 2:12GS-NETBIBLE

      • 1 John 2:13GS-NETBIBLE

      • 1 John 2:14GS-NETBIBLE

      • 1 John 2:18GS-NETBIBLE

      • 1 John 2:19GS-NETBIBLE

      • 1 John 2:20–21GS-NETBIBLE

      • 1 John 2:22GS-NETBIBLE

      • 1 John 2:23–24GS-NETBIBLE

      • 1 John 2:25–26GS-NETBIBLE

      • 1 John 2:18–26GS-NETBIBLE

      • 1 John 3:19–20GS-NETBIBLE

      • 1 John 3:21–22GS-NETBIBLE

      • 1 John 3:23–24GS-NETBIBLE

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