Christian Idols. Idols vs. Heroes.

What must the church do to guard itself from idolatrous worship of its leaders? Please understand that it is idolatry to worship the musicians, authors, pastors, evangelists or conference speakers instead of the One, True God these evangelical leaders represent. It is wrong to idolize men and women of God who humbly seek to serve the Lord with their God given gifts and want no part of the slippery slope of hero worship.

Additionally, what must church leaders do to guard themselves from becoming objects of idolatrous worship? How do leaders protect themselves the intoxicating attraction of popularity?

While it is wrong to worship church leaders, it is not wrong to have heroes who happen to be church leaders. The difference between idols and heroes is that we tend to not worship our heroes, but rather respect them and appreciate them for their gifts and talents. At least that is what we should do regarding the men and women, both past and present, who we recognized have been uniquely gifted by God.

My heroes from the past include the Apostle Paul, Martin Luther, John Calvin, Jonathan Edwards and the Puritans. I have also appreciated such recent leaders such as J. Gresham Machen, Jerry Bridges, William Hendrickson, R.C. Sproul and John MacArthur. However, I believe that I have never worshiped them, nor would they seek such adulation from me or anyone else for that matter. As you can probably tell, there exists a fine line between idolatry and heroism.

What must church leaders do to guard themselves from becoming objects of idolatrous worship? How do leaders protect themselves the intoxicating attraction of popularity?  I Peter 5:1-5 is a good place to begin.

So I exhort the elders among you, as a fellow elder and a witness of the sufferings of Christ, as well as a partaker in the glory that is going to be revealed: shepherd the flock of God that is among you, exercising oversight, not under compulsion, but willingly, as God would have you; not for shameful gain, but eagerly; not domineering over those in your charge, but being examples to the flock. And when the chief Shepherd appears, you will receive the unfading crown of glory.Likewise, you who are younger, be subject to the elders. Clothe yourselves, all of you, with humility toward one another, for “God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble.”

Peter, under the leading of the Holy Spirit, commands church leaders and elders to figuratively dress themselves with the character of humility. This means to have a lack of arrogance and to esteem others as better than themselves (Philippians 2:1-4).

The Prophet Micah expressed it this way, “He has told you, O man, what is good; and what does the Lord require of you but to do justice, and to love kindness,
and to walk humbly with your God?”

Deuteronomy 17:14-20 says, 14 When you come to the land that the Lord your God is giving you, and you possess it and dwell in it and then say, ‘I will set a king over me, like all the nations that are around me,’ 15 you may indeed set a king over you whom the Lord your God will choose. One from among your brothers you shall set as king over you. You may not put a foreigner over you, who is not your brother. 16 Only he must not acquire many horses for himself or cause the people to return to Egypt in order to acquire many horses, since the Lord has said to you, ‘You shall never return that way again.’ 17 And he shall not acquire many wives for himself, lest his heart turn away, nor shall he acquire for himself excessive silver and gold.

18 “And when he sits on the throne of his kingdom, he shall write for himself in a book a copy of this law, approved by] the Levitical priests.19 And it shall be with him, and he shall read in it all the days of his life, that he may learn to fear the Lord his God by keeping all the words of this law and these statutes, and doing them, 20 that his heart may not be lifted up above his brothers, and that he may not turn aside from the commandment, either to the right hand or to the left, so that he may continue long in his kingdom, he and his children, in Israel.”

Have many within the evangelical community exalted men to the same level, if not above, God? Rather than cast criticisms, l encourage each of us to examine our own hearts to see if there is this tendency to worship the leader rather than the One, True God who leads. At the same time, leaders need to make sure they are seeking to not only walk humbly before the Lord, but also before the congregations of which they are God’s stewards.

Only as the church achieves this delicate balance will fame and honor be directed to where it truly belongs and upon whom it truly belongs: the Lord.

May the Lord’s truth and grace be found here.

Soli deo Gloria!

                                                                                    

Christian Idols: The Cult of Personalities.

21 Little children, keep yourselves from idols.” (I John 5:21)

You may be wondering why I’ve cited I John 5:21 for today’s biblical text? Didn’t we just finish our study of I John?

I couldn’t help but be reminded as to the many self-imposed idols the church adopts from time to time, from season to season. I’m not referring to stone statues or totem poles made of wood. I am referring to Christian personalities that we often tend to elevate to a stature they should never occupy. It’s bad enough when these so-called leaders and rock-star pastors personally seek the limelight, but it is another thing when believers place these individuals on pedestals as objects of praise.

As I am writing this article, a popular Christian author has recently announced that he has left his wife, refuted what he has previously written in his bestselling book on Christian non-dating while at the same time renouncing his faith in Jesus Christ. I could not help but remember how many in the church sang this man’s praises regarding his written thoughts. It seemed to me and others that he began to replace the Scriptures as the primary, if not the sole, authority on biblical relationships.

This evangelical hero-worship is not new. Well over twenty years ago, R. C. Sproul Jr. wrote an article about evangelical fame. He said, “There is nothing wrong with appreciating God’s gifts. We are to be thankful for those He (God) has gifted for His church. He has graced us with some outstanding men and women. Too often, though, it goes too far. We want not teachers and artists, but superstars. Our appreciation for the gift causes us to overlook the Giver.”

I have been a believer in Jesus Christ for over 40 years. During that time I have witnessed many evangelical superstars come and go. Some were musicians, authors, pastors, evangelists or conference speakers. They resembled modern day Diotrephes, who loved to put himself first (3 John 9). And for those who didn’t seek such significance, there were many of their followers who were willing to seek it for them.

Like July 4th fireworks, they lit up the Christian culture with dazzling pyrotechnics: real and spiritual. However, just like fireworks, which are brilliant and blazing for the moment, they soon disappeared and faded into the darkness of obscurity. Some became involved in moral failures, while others simply drifted away because they no longer were relevant. Their fame, and perhaps fortune, lasted only for the moment. Most, if not all, denied fundamental truths of the Scriptures.

Christian author and Pastor Gordon MacDonald once commented that, “The loyalty of a leader’s constituency is a heady thing. If effective, the leader receives the praise of people, the fellowship of generous donors, and introductions and invitations to privileges and opportunities not usually available to the common person. And leaders tend to know the minute that loyalty starts ‘going south,’ as they say. Reread the narrative (I Samuel 18:5-16) that describes Saul’s reaction when the person on the street began to notice David. The loss of loyalty can be devastating.”

What must the church do to guard from such idolatrous worship? Make no mistake, it is idolatry to worship the musicians, authors, pastors, evangelists or conference speakers instead of the One, True God these evangelical superstars presumably represent. It is also wrong to idolize men and women of God who humbly seek to serve the Lord with their God given gifts and want no part of the slippery slope of hero worship.

Additionally, what must church leaders do to guard themselves from becoming objects of idolatrous worship? How do leaders protect themselves from the intoxicating attraction of popularity?

We will seek to answer these questions when next we meet.

Until then, may the Lord’s truth and grace be found here.

Soli deo Gloria!   

I John: A Final Warning.

21 Little children, keep yourselves from idols.” (I John 5:21)

It is a curious thing when observing the conclusion of a biblical book. Perhaps we are accustomed to a closing like the Great Commission (Matthew 28:19-20), a Pauline Doxology such as “to the only wise God be glory forevermore through Jesus Christ! Amen.” (Romans 16:27), or even from the Apostle John who wrote, 20 He who testifies to these things says, “Surely I am coming soon.” Amen. Come, Lord Jesus! 21 The grace of the Lord Jesus be with all. Amen.” (Revelation 22:20-21).

However, in the Epistle of I John the apostle, under the direction of the Holy Spirit, wrote a terse, brief, and abrupt statement of warning to all within the church.  21 Little children, keep yourselves from idols.” Certainly, a verse which is easy to memorize but perhaps difficult to observe. Let’s break it down.

“Little children.” The phrase little children (Τεκνία; teknia) is again a loving term of endearment which John has expressed several times in this epistle. The phrase can refer to a person of any age for whom there is a special relationship of affection and association. It may mean my child, my dear friend, my dear man, my dear one, my dear lad.

“Keep Yourselves.” The word “keep” (φυλάξατε; phylaxate) means to keep away from and to closely guard. The word is a command. It is not optional. What is to be guarded are “yourselves” (ἑαυτὰ; heauta) meaning the church, believers or followers of Jesus Christ.

From “what” are these little children to guard against? From idols (ἀπὸ εἰδώλων; apo eidolon)! An idol is a false god. It is an unreal supernatural being. It may even be that which seems to be a god but in reality is not.

The Prophet Isaiah wrote these piercing words in Isaiah 44:9-20. Consider them closely in light of the Apostle John’s conclusion.

9 “All who fashion idols are nothing, and the things they delight in do not profit. Their witnesses neither see nor know, that they may be put to shame. 10 Who fashions a god or casts an idol that is profitable for nothing? 11 Behold, all his companions shall be put to shame, and the craftsmen are only human. Let them all assemble, let them stand forth. They shall be terrified; they shall be put to shame together.”

12 “The ironsmith takes a cutting tool and works it over the coals. He fashions it with hammers and works it with his strong arm. He becomes hungry, and his strength fails; he drinks no water and is faint. 13 The carpenter stretches a line; he marks it out with a pencil. He shapes it with planes and marks it with a compass. He shapes it into the figure of a man, with the beauty of a man, to dwell in a house. 14 He cuts down cedars, or he chooses a cypress tree or an oak and lets it grow strong among the trees of the forest. He plants a cedar and the rain nourishes it. 15 Then it becomes fuel for a man. He takes a part of it and warms himself; he kindles a fire and bakes bread. Also he makes a god and worships it; he makes it an idol and falls down before it. 16 Half of it he burns in the fire. Over the half he eats meat; he roasts it and is satisfied. Also he warms himself and says, “Aha, I am warm, I have seen the fire!” 17 And the rest of it he makes into a god, his idol, and falls down to it and worships it. He prays to it and says, ‘Deliver me, for you are my god’!”

18 “They know not, nor do they discern, for he has shut their eyes, so that they cannot see, and their hearts, so that they cannot understand. 19 No one considers, nor is there knowledge or discernment to say, “Half of it I burned in the fire; I also baked bread on its coals; I roasted meat and have eaten. And shall I make the rest of it an abomination? Shall I fall down before a block of wood?” 20 He feeds on ashes; a deluded heart has led him astray, and he cannot deliver himself or say, ‘Is there not a lie in my right hand’?”

However, the idols John has in mind may be more in human form. They are the false teachers of which the apostle called “Antichrists.”

Dr. John MacArthur states that, John contrasts the term “idols” with “the true God” of v. 20. He has reference here to the false teachers who withdrew from the brotherhood with which they had been formerly associated (2:19). Their false beliefs and practices are the idols from which the readers are commanded to protect themselves. The false teachers upheld the world’s philosophy as superior to God’s revelation as demonstrated in their perversion of basic Christian teaching (faith, love, and obedience). In closing, John once again highlights the importance of adherence to the fundamentals of the faith.”

From the Apostle John, to all of us, let each of us be on our guard from the idolatrous individuals and philosophies seeking to infiltrate the church.

May the Lord’s truth and grace be found here.

Soli deo Gloria!

 

 

 

I John: What We also Know.

18 We know that everyone who has been born of God does not keep on sinning, but he who was born of God protects him, and the evil one does not touch him. 19 We know that we are from God, and the whole world lies in the power of the evil one. 20 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.” (I John 5:18-20)

When the Apostle John concluded this first epistle which bears his name, the Holy Spirit led him to reveal three things He wanted the church to know, understand and remember.

The Spirit wanted the church to know that those who are truly converted do not make sinning a normal practice in their everyday lives. Yes, believers in Christ do sin, but rather than enjoy it they hate it and are grieved by it.

The Spirit also wanted the church to know that since believers belong to God, the Devil cannot harm them. Believers in Christ are no longer under the power of the evil one (I John 4:4).

Finally, the Holy Spirit wanted the church to know, understand and remember that the Son of God, Jesus Christ, has truly come in the flesh. He is the incarnate God. He is reality. He is true and He is truth.

As such, believers in Christ are joined to Christ in a secure and eternal union. This results in a quality of life that is found only in God. Jesus Christ is this God and the only source of eternal life.

Dr. John MacArthur concludes that, “This verse constitutes the summation of John’s whole letter. The greatest certainty of all, the Incarnation, guarantees the certainty of the rest. This is the doctrinal foundation, out of which comes love and obedience.”

Do you know Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior? I trust you do, but if not, repent of your sin and receive Him today as your righteousness, holy God and Savior.

May the Lord’s truth and grace be found here.

Soli deo Gloria!

 

 

 

 

I John: What We Know.

18 We know that everyone who has been born of God does not keep on sinning, but he who was born of God protects him, and the evil one does not touch him. 19 We know that we are from God, and the whole world lies in the power of the evil one.” (I John 5:18-19).

Salvation is not only deliverance from the penalty of sin, but also from the power of sin and eventually from the very presence of sin when the believer enters into heaven. As the Apostle John concludes his letter to the church, he reminds believers of some essential truths when dealing with the power of sin.

First, John wants believers to know that those born of God or regenerated (John 3:1-3) do not keep on sinning (I John 3:9). A believer’s new nature is inherently sinless. It is the believers remaining “flesh,” or the remnant of his sinful nature, that continues to battle with his new nature (Galatians 5:16-23).

Second, the apostle wants believers to know that God protects and keeps those who belong to Him. Those who are regenerated, God actively and continuously guards.

Third, John wants the church to know that the evil one cannot lay hold of the believer in Christ. To “touch” (ἅπτεται; haptetai) means too continuously, personally and seriously harm the Christian.

Finally, the apostle wants those in union with Christ to realize that they belong to God. While the fallen world lies within the power of the Devil, the Christian does not.

Notice how many times John uses the personal pronoun “we.” Rather than just referring to himself and the other apostles, he is referring to all believers in Christ.

As one commentator explains, John was seeking in these summarizing statements to reinforce the readers’ consciousness that they are distinct from the satanically controlled world system and basically free from its power. They need not listen to the worldly ideas advanced by the antichrists (3:7–8). Nor need they succumb to worldly desires (cf. 2:15–17).”

Also take notice that twice John uses the expression, “we know.” He will use it once more in I John 5:20. It means to continuously and actively understand and remember what we have, and what we are, in Christ.

Therefore, understand and remember what you are in Christ. You do not have to continuously sin, and shouldn’t. The Devil cannot harm you. You are no longer under his power because you belong to God.

Thank you Lord for your precious promises.

May the Lord’s truth and grace be found here.

Soli deo Gloria!

 

 

 

 

I John: Sin and Death.

16 If anyone sees his brother committing a sin not leading to death, he shall ask, and God will give him life—to those who commit sins that do not lead to death. There is sin that leads to death; I do not say that one should pray for that. 17 All wrongdoing is sin, but there is sin that does not lead to death.” (I John 5:16-17)

Well, to say we have some work to do with these two verses is an understatement. What exactly is John referring to when he says there is sin not leading to death and at the same time a sin that leads to death? Is he contradicting himself? What does he mean and how do these verses apply to believers today?

Let us review the definition of sin. Sin (ἁμαρτίαν; hamartian) means to engage in wrongdoing. It is to do that which is contrary to will and the law of God. Sin is committing and being evil.  

One of Dr. R. C. Sproul’s most often quoted statements is, “Sin is cosmic treason.” He elaborates by also saying, “Sin is treason against a perfectly pure Sovereign. It is an act of supreme ingratitude toward the One to whom we owe everything, to the One who has given us life itself. Have you ever considered the deeper implications of the slightest sin, of the most minute peccadillo? What are we saying to our Creator when we disobey Him at the slightest point? We are saying no to the righteousness of God. We are saying, ‘God Your law is not good. My judgement is better than Yours. Your authority does not apply to me. I am above and beyond Your jurisdiction. I have the right to do what I want to do, not what You command me to do’.”

The Apostle John explains to the church that if a brother in Christ observes another believer committing a sin not immediately leading to physical death that he should pray for that brother who is engaged in sin. In so doing, the promise is given that God will spare the willful, sinning believer.

The phrase, a sin that does not lead to death, means not punished by death. The distinction John makes is between sins for which physical death is a rapid consequence and sins for which it is not.

Dr. John Walvoord explains, “Verses 16–17 have been much discussed. But they should not have occasioned as much difficulty as they have. Sometimes a Christian may sin so seriously that God judges that sin with swift physical death: “a sin that leads to death.” Ananias and Sapphira are cases in point (Acts 5:1–11). But most of the sins which one sees a Christian brother commit are not of such a nature, as their common occurrence shows. For these, a believer ought to pray, knowing that any sin—if continued in long enough—is a threat to a fellow Christian’s life (cf. James 5:19–20; also cf. Prov. 10:27; 11:19; 13:14; 19:16). Thus the restoration of a brother may secure a prolonging of his physical life.”

Just because the Apostle John makes a distinction between sin which does not lead to death, and that which does, should not make any believer come to the conclusion they may sin with impunity. We must remember that sin, whether it results in immediate physical death or not, is cosmic treason.

Dr. John MacArthur concludes our devotional this morning by explaining that, “John illustrates praying according to God’s will with the specific example of the “sin that leads to death.” Such a sin could be any premeditated and unconfessed sin that causes the Lord to determine to end a believer’s life. It is not one particular sin like homosexuality or lying, but whatever sin is the final one in the tolerance of God. Failure to repent of and forsake sin may eventually lead to physical death as a judgment of God (Acts 5:1–111 Cor. 5:5; 11:30). No intercessory prayer will be effective for those who have committed such deliberate high-handed sin, i.e., God’s discipline with physical death is inevitable in such cases as he seeks to preserve the purity of his church.”

 May the Lord’s truth and grace be found here.

Soli deo Gloria!

 

I John: Confident Prayer.

14 And this is the confidence that we have toward him, that if we ask anything according to his will he hears us. 15 And if we know that he hears us in whatever we ask, we know that we have the requests that we have asked of him.” (I John 5:14-15)

What does it mean to have confidence in one’s prayer life? In other words, what does it mean to pray confidently?

The word confidence (παρρησία; parresia) means to have boldness or courage. This implies intimidating circumstances which require the believer to be bold and courageous. Synonyms include the words nerve, valor, daring, resolve and guts.

Within the context of today’s text, the believer in Christ may possess a boldness and courage when approaching God in prayer. This confidence is “that if we ask anything according to his will he hears us.”

To ask (αἰτώμεθα; aitometha) means to ask with urgency even to the point of demanding. It means to plead. The Apostle John writes that the believer in Christ has a boldness and a confidence to plead with God, even to the point of demanding, for what they need.

However, the caveat, or qualification, in such bold and confident prayer is that the believer is to ask according to the Lord’s will. This basic perspective in prayer is not new. Jesus taught the same principle in Matthew 6. Remember the phrase, “Thy will be done?”

The word will (θέλημα; thelema) refers to God’s intent, purpose and plan. Therefore, the individual who boldly and confidently prays to God must do so with an attitude of submission to the will of God. Man has a will and so does God. However, God’s will always is greater and more authoritative that the will of man.

The result of praying in such a manner is the promise that God hears our prayer. To hear (ἀκούει; akouei) means to listen and to respond. In other words, God pays attention to our prayers when we boldly and confidently approach Him in submission to His will and purpose. God always hears and responds to our prayers, even though His response will always be in accordance to His sovereign will for our lives.

Dr. John MacArthur writes, Christians can know with absolute confidence that God answers prayer when they approach the throne of grace (Heb. 4:16). This phrase (according to his will) constitutes a strategic key to answered prayer. To pray according to God’s will is to pray in accord with what he would want, not what we would desire or insist that he do for us (John 14:13–14). John already specified that answered prayer also depends on obedience to God’s commandments and avoidance of sin (1 John 3:21Ps. 66:18John 15:71 Pet. 3:7). Since genuine believers know God’s word (i.e., his will) and practice those things that are pleasing to him, they never insist on their own will, but supremely seek God’s desires (Matt. 26:39–42).”

Psalm 34:15-17 says, 15 The eyes of the Lord are toward the righteous and his ears toward their cry. 16 The face of the Lord is against those who do evil, to cut off the memory of them from the earth. 17 When the righteous cry for help, the Lord hears and delivers them out of all their troubles.”

An additional promise is found in vs. 15: “And if we know that he hears us in whatever we ask, we know that we have the requests that we have asked of him.”  The believer will receive what they ask God for because they are asking in light of God’s will in their lives. They want what God wants. What could be better. 

Our Lord hears our prayers. Therefore, we can boldly approach His throne of grace and find help in our time of need (Hebrews 4:15-16). Pray in such a way today.

May the Lord’s truth and grace be found here.

Soli deo Gloria!

   

 

I John: The Purpose of the Epistle.

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. (I John 5:13)

Each book of the Bible has a particular purpose or theme. It may be joy (Philippians), the church (Ephesians) or forgiveness and reconciliation between fellow believers (Philemon).

The Apostle John clearly sets forth the Holy Spirit inspired theme of his first epistle. John writes, “I write these things to you.” This refers us to everything he has thus far stated. Even though he has more to say, he did not want the church to forget what he had previously written.

When He wrote, ““I write these things to you,” the apostle clarified who exactly the “you” he had in mind. His intended audience then, and now were those, “who believe in the name of the Son of God.” They are those who have placed their personal trust in, commitment to, dependence upon and worship and honor in Jesus Christ solely as Savior and Lord.

What does John want these believers to know? The purpose clause is stated at the conclusion of the sentence. “That you may know that you have eternal life.

 Again, the personal pronoun “you” are believers in Christ. To know (εἰδῆτε; eidete) means to not just possess knowledge about eternal life, but also to understand, to remember and to honor the Savior who provides the eternal life the believer possesses. This knowledge began at the point of conversion and has a continuing impact in the believer.

To have (ἔχετε; echete) means to presently and actively possess and to hold on to eternal life in Jesus Christ. Eternal life in Christ is not something the believer has to grasp as if just out of reach, but rather to possess as a gracious gift given by God which can never be lost or stolen.

Dr. John MacArthur writes, “Assurance of eternal life constitutes the first Christian certainty. While John wrote his Gospel to bring unbelievers to faith (John 20:31), he wrote the epistle to give believers confidence that they possessed eternal life. The false brethren’s departure left John’s congregations shaken (1 John 2:19). He assured those who remained that since they adhered to the fundamentals of the faith (a proper view of Christ, obedience, love), their salvation was sure. Eternal life does not refer primarily to a period of time but a person (5:20John 17:3). Eternal life is a relationship with the person of Jesus Christ and possessing his nature (as in 1 John 5:11–12).”

Meditate upon these wonderful words by the lyricist Fanny Crosby.

Blessed assurance, Jesus is mine
O what a foretaste of glory divine
Heir of salvation, purchase of God
Born of His Spirit, washed in His blood.

Perfect submission, all is at rest
I in my Savior am happy and blessed
Watching and waiting, looking above
Filled with His goodness, lost in His love.

This is my story, this is my song
Praising my Savior all the day long
This is my story, this is my song
Praising my Savior all the day long.

May the Lord’s truth and grace be found here.

Sol deo Gloria!

 

I John: Six Witnesses. Part 6.

11 And this is the testimony that God gave us eternal life, and this life is in his Son. 12 Whoever has the Son has life; whoever does not have the Son of God does not have life.” (I John 5:11-12)

John sets forth in I John 5:6-12 six evidences that Jesus Christ is the Son of God. The first four evidences are the Spirit, the water, the blood and God the Father. The fifth evidence to the identity of Jesus Christ is the believer’s own testimony of conversion. The sixth and final witness is the testimony of eternal life.

This sixth witness is not only tied to the first four, but also intricately to the fifth. The witness of eternal life corresponds to the Apostle John’s repeated emphasis about loving God and keeping His commandments.

Eternal life is not only a never-ending duration of life but also a unique quality of life. It is a holy life lived in the believer’s knowledge and awareness of God’s presence. It is seeking to be separate from sin’s power as God has delivered the sinner from sin’s penalty and will ultimately deliver the believer from sin’s presence.

Eternal life is centered in the person and work of Jesus Christ. It is the believer’s by grace alone, through God-given faith alone in Christ alone for the glory of God alone.

Dr. James M. Boice writes that, “Eternal life is not merely unending life. It is the very life of God. What we are promised in Christ is a participation in the life of the One who bears this testimony. This life is not to be enjoyed by everyone, however. This life is in Christ. Consequently, it is impossible to have (eternal) life without having Christ as it is impossible to have Christ without at the same time possessing eternal life.”

John 1:1-5 says, “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. All things were made through him, and without him was not anything made that was made. In him was life, and the life was the light of men. The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.”

I John 1:1-5 says, “That which was from the beginning, which we have heard, which we have seen with our eyes, which we looked upon and have touched with our hands, concerning the word of life— the life was made manifest, and we have seen it, and testify to it and proclaim to you the eternal life, which was with the Father and was made manifest to us— that which we have seen and heard we proclaim also to you, so that you too may have fellowship with us; and indeed our fellowship is with the Father and with his Son Jesus Christ. And we are writing these things so that our joy may be complete.”

John 14:1-6 says, Let not your hearts be troubled. Believe in God; believe also in me. In my Father’s house are many rooms. If it were not so, would I have told you that I go to prepare a place for you? And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and will take you to myself, that where I am you may be also. And you know the way to where I am going.” Thomas said to him, “Lord, we do not know where you are going. How can we know the way?” Jesus said to him, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.

Eternal life is solely in Christ.

May the Lord’s truth and grace be found here.

Soli deo Gloria!    

I John: Six Witnesses. Part 5.

10 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. (I John 5:10)

John sets forth in I John 5:6-12 six evidences that Jesus Christ is the Son of God. The first four evidences are the Spirit, the water, the blood and God the Father.

The fifth evidence to the identity of Jesus Christ is the believer’s own testimony of conversion. This fifth witness is distinctively different from the previous four because it is an internal witness. It is the witness by the Holy Spirit within the heart or soul of the converted sinner.

When once the sinner rejected Christ, the converted praises and confesses Christ as Savior and Lord. Additionally, the believer seeks to live and be obedient to Christ. This occurs only by a supernatural new-birth or regeneration (John 1:1-3; Titus 3).

Romans 8:16 says, The Spirit himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God.”

Romans 10:9-10 says, because, if you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved.10 For with the heart one believes and is justified, and with the mouth one confesses and is saved.

Galatians 4:6 says, And because you are sons, God has sent the Spirit of his Son into our hearts, crying, “Abba! Father!”

Dr. John MacArthur explains that, “It is the Holy Spirit’s work to confirm to believers their adoption as God’s children (see note on Rom. 8:15). Assurance of salvation is a gracious work of the Holy Spirit and does not come from any human source. Abba! Is an Aramaic term of endearment, used by young children to speak to their fathers; the equivalent of the word “Daddy.”

The Apostle John is not just pointing to historical evidence regarding the identity of Jesus Christ, but also of the believer’s present testimony of conversion. Both are necessary.

But what about the individual who can’t remember a particular point in time when they trusted Christ as their Savior and Lord. To them, they have always known Christ.

One commentator explains that, “Not knowing the exact moment you were converted does not mean you are not saved. A past experience can be helpful, but it is present-day testimony that provides confirmation and assurance that God wants you to enjoy and that your soul longs to have.”

Are you believing in Jesus Christ and only in Christ as your Savior and Lord? This confession becomes a blessed means of assurance that results in you proclaiming that Jesus is the Son of God.

May the Lord’s truth and grace be found here.

Soli deo Gloria!