Newborn Lord (1John)

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–          One of the great things about living in Maryland is you can change scenery in less than 2 hours. The ocean is on one side of the state, there’s also life on the Eastern Shore, then there is suburban & city life of Baltimore and Annapolis. Then there are also mountains and rural Western MD. EVEN MORE, Maryland experiences the quick changes of weather seasons with one week in the 70’s and the next few days there is snow and freezing temperatures.

Indeed, we are changing seasons and scenery the next few months. Today’s message will finish the Christmas season about the meaning of the birth of Jesus. The Apostle John doesn’t just speak of Jesus’ birth but also of the new-birth experience in walking with Him and living out the Christian faith. So far we have seen that Jesus is our life, our light, our love and today we complete the series with Jesus is our Lord.

In closing the Christmas season, many of us will be cleaning up the house from all the company and traveling (some of us feel like we live out of suitcases), taking down decorations and refreshing new scenery around the house. In all, it’s a good time to assess and re-evaluate our relationship with Jesus. Last week’s message mentioned viewing Jesus solely in terms of a cuddly infant at Christmas but we must also remember the incarnation led to the cross and then the resurrection. Jesus is not just life, light and love but He is also Lord. Loving and living for Jesus requires complete change and surrender to His commands. He is our King, our God, our Lord. If we do not understand Jesus’ lordship then we miss Jesus’ love and fellowship.

1John_Newborn_logo

EXAMINE   Newborn        Jesus is our Lord                 1John 5

As mentioned in the last message, John provides proofs or trademarks for those belonging to the faith. Just as every Nike shirt has a swoosh or every Vera Bradley has its signature design, so does every believer have characteristic evidence [fruit; “By this my Father is glorified that you bear much fruit and so prove to be my disciples” (John 15:8)] for their salvation.

John’s proofs are throughout his letter. In fact, 9+ times in this letter are conditional statements to examine our salvation and expose false faith. These statements are meant to probe our hearts and prod us to true saving faith.

1:6 False Association “If we say that we have fellowship with Him and walk in darkness, we lie.”

1:8 False Integrity “If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us.”

1:10 False Righteousness “If we say that we have not sinned, we make Him a liar, and His word is not in us.”

2:4 False Relationship “He who says I know Him, but does not keep his commandments is a liar.”

2:6 False Living “He who says he abides in Jesus ought to walk the same way in which he walked.”

2:9 False Love to others “He who says he is in the light, and hates his brother, is in the darkness.”

2:15 False Allegiance If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him.”

4:20 False Love to God “If someone says I love God; and hates his brother, he is a liar.

5:12 False Deity Whoever has the Son has life; whoever does not have the Son of God does not have life.”

John’s writings point us to see faith as not just mental assent but as a life aim. Saving faith believes in right knowledge that Jesus is the Christ, but such faith also has right behavior accordance with that knowledge by loving God and loving people. This is what it means to be newborn (born of God).

So, we cannot proclaim with our lips one agenda and promote with our lives another agenda. Our lips and our lives must unite for a clear and compelling vision – – – > growing godly generations.

You see, the majority of Americans, 4 out of 5 say they believe in God, and most of them say they have a personal relationship with Jesus Christ. Yet, large percentages of these self-identifying Christians do not attend church, do not serve or volunteer in a ministry, do not read the Bible other than when attending church or much more, even believe the Bible is accurate in its moral principles.[1] Something is amiss with today’s Christianity.

The last chapter of 1John offers a summary truth in understanding what it truly means to be newborn of Jesus. It is this: Jesus’ lordship is reflected in our present posture (1John 5:1-5)

1John 5:1-5,

–          Believe that Jesus is the Christ

  • This is an exclusive claim.
    • Acts 4:12 “And there is salvation in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved.”
    • à Are you all in on Jesus? Is Jesus your only hope or have you hedged bets elsewhere?
      • – – – > salvation is a promise of grace from God and a posture of humble faith
      • If you are all in… are you all in for others or are you hoping there’s another route or backdoor entrance for them? There isn’t, so we must receive Jesus and reflect Jesus to others.

–          Beliefs result into behaviors of loving God and loving others – especially the people of God.

  • Love = obedience
    • John 15:10 “If you keep my commandments, you will abide in my love”
    • à If Jesus were before you, where would he call out your disobedience? Do you realize His Spirit is doing this at this very moment?
  • Love = opportunity of shared lives
    • Hebrews 10:24-25 “And let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works, not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day drawing near.”
    • à What holds you back from participation in our Bible Groups? What is the excuse…
      • 9:30am is too early, if this is you contact us and we’ll start an evening group
      • Don’t know anyone, if this is you ask the person next to you if you can join their group… do it right now!
      • Don’t think it necessary, your pastor says differently since this is the main emphasis SPBC has in connecting people to love others and love God in Bible study.
    • Mike McKinley, Am I Really A Christian? (pp.38-39, 72)

I can’t stress enough that this important process of examination can only be properly be done in the context of a local church. You need other Christians who are committed to your spiritual well-being. They are the ones who will be able to get to know you and identify the fruit of the new birth in your life… We are not good judges of our own hearts. Some people are entirely too easy on themselves. They imagine that they give evidence of genuine regret and repentance for their sin when in reality there is none. Others with a tender conscience are far too hard on themselves. They take every weakness and failure as evidence that they are hypocrites and false Christians. Being involved in a local church is immensely helpful for both kinds of people.

The verbs “believe”, “love” and “obey” are all in the present tense indicating continuous action and sustained allegiance to the Lordship of Jesus. Further, such action and allegiance to Jesus is not burdensome [βάρος: weighty, demanding or taxing of resources]. Living under Jesus’ lordship is not a duty but a delight. When you have been newborn, obedience does not have to be forced upon you but is a simple characteristic of what it means to you in your relationship of following Jesus. Newborn changes your appetite for sin and spiritual growth; Christians do not sin less and grow spiritually because they have superior self-will but because they have newborn supernatural nature from the Spirit of God.

–          Like the child who won’t eat vegetable of corn but when it’s corn on the cob they do. It’s the same food but different presentation.

1John 5:6-13

–          The evidence of Jesus’ truthfulness was verified at His baptism (water) & crucifixion (blood) by the Spirit of God. Both these events have continuing significance in Jesus’ life to verify His identity, and likewise for the believer to verify their identity.

  • Many church goers view their salvation relationship with God in terms of an event. Indeed, salvation occurs in a moment. But salvation is more than a past event of saying a prayer and moving away from that event. Instead, salvation is verified by a continual present posture of faith in and following Jesus.
    • the Spirit, the water and the blood
      • Spirit: The Spirit was with Jesus and so with His followers.
        à Are you praying and relating to the Spirit of God?
      • Water: Jesus was baptized not for his own sins but for those of humanity.
        à Have you repented of sin and turned to Jesus?
        à Were you baptized and continue walking in obedience to newborn life?
        If Jesus is our advocate in heaven then we must be His ambassadors on earth.
      • Blood: Jesus fully died and paid finally the debt of our sin.
        à How are you keeping the gospel at the forefront of your life – family, job/school, relationships, goals, etc.?

 

APPLY/THINK

Jesus is seeking a present posture of humble faith.

à        Humble: Confess our need for saving from sin. Confess our need for daily worship.

 

à        Faith: Commit to honoring God by treasuring Him above all and trusting Him in all.

 

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