Living a Balanced Life Week 18 (Teaching Outline)

Living a Balanced Life

(An In-Depth Study of First John)

Week 18

Commentary

Final Things

1 John 5:18-21

 Outline

As John’s letter to the church comes to a close the question of how to live a more balanced life comes into clear focus. John never addresses the clock or the calendar. He never offers self-help type advice toward dividing your time between family and career. As we have discovered through our journey of First John, true meaningful change in our lives together can never be achieved without addressing the Son of God; the Gospel.

John taught us that balance begins with the truth. Without the truth we never deal with reality. Those who had left the church did so because they strayed from what they heard from the very beginning; the apostolic doctrine regarding Christ.  Without the truth, these individuals found themselves in the wrong place at all the wrong times. If we live without the truth we too will be out of balance with no hope, no matter how much we tinker with our calendars and attitudes.

Establishing that foundation, John utilizes the rest of the letter laying the track on which a balanced life, like a train, moves forward. Like parallel rails fit for a locomotive, two rails run all the way though this letter; assurance and vigilance. John offers absolute assurance to everyone who is found walking in the light. The main idea of First John can be summed up like this: Assurance of eternal life—based on obedience—empowered by love for God. “These things I have written to you who believe in the name of the Son of God, in order that you may know that you have eternal life” (5:13). “We know that we have passed out of death into life because we love the brethren” (3:14). “By this we know that we love the children of God, when we love God and observe his commandments; for this is the love of God, that we keep his commandments. And his commandments are not burdensome” (5:2, 3). John’s threefold thrust is assurance of eternal life, conditioned upon obedience, empowered by love for God.

Love for God, allegiance to God, trust in God is the heartbeat of this great letter, and balance for life is found only in these things. God’s commandments are not burdensome to obey if you love him. If you delight in his promises to do you good and trust that he is real and genuine toward you, then doing what he commands will be the very thing you want to do. Being sure of this, we trust that he will never command us to do anything that will be for our ruin. He only commands us to do what is best for us. A recurring theme that weaves its way throughout Scripture from Genesis to Revelation goes like this, “You shall walk in all the way which the Lord your God has commanded you, that you may live, and that it maybe well with you” (Deuteronomy 5:33). If you love God, if you trust that it will be well with you, obeying God’s commandments will not be burdensome, but the very thing you want to do.

So it is no surprise after all this, John would leave these words ringing in his readers ears: “Little children, keep yourselves from idols.” There are mighty strokes of assurance as we close this letter. There are also stern warnings to remain vigilant in a world under the control of the evil one.

God Our Rescue (vs 18)

Foundation :

  • Eden (Genesis 3:16)
  • Noah and the Ark (Genesis 7:1)
  • Exodus (Exodus 2:23-25)
  • God’s Name (Proverbs 18:10)
  • Job (Job 19:25)

The Child of God:

  • Protected by Jesus
  • Does not continue in sin
  • Satan cannot touch

Two Kingdoms (vs 19)

The Kingdom of God

  • God is greater (1 John 4:4)
  • Victory is already won (John 12:31)

The Kingdom of Satan

  • Satan blinds the minds of unbelievers (2 Cor. 4:3-4)
  • Satan snatches the Word away from hearers (Matthew 13:4-19)
  • Satan does deceptive signs and wonders (Matthew 24:24)

Assurance Grounded in Christ (vs 20)

Given us understanding

We know the truth 

Reject Falsehood (vs 21)

Idolatry – Valuing any thing or person more than God.

LIFE APPLICATION

Balance is achieved by changing values

Values change only when the heart changes

Only the touch of God changes a heart

Living a Balanced Life Week 17 (Teaching Outline)

Living a Balanced Life

(An In-Depth Study of First John)

Week 17

Commentary

Abundant Life, Prayer and the Word

1 John 5:14-17

 Outline

During one of Jesus’ conversations with the religious leaders in Jerusalem he presented them with this purpose statement: “I came that they may have life and have it abundantly.”  (John 10:10b) Eternal and abundant life is a profound promise. In order to live this life Jesus called abundant, one must be certain about the status of their relationship with the Savior.

In the verses just prior to this week’s text, John delivers the good news of the certainty of eternal life. If you are a child of God you are certain of eternal life. If your life is being lived in the light, in the likeness of Christ, loving unconditionally and giving sacrificially you can be certain that your real home, your eternal home is the Kingdom of God!

Now John gives us a look at another major aspect of our abundant life in Christ; God hears our prayers! To many American Christians, prayer is much like a Christmas list. Like letters to Santa, their prayers are simply lists of stuff they ‘know’ will make life better. They treat prayer as if it were the little bell one uses to call the butler to come fluff their pillow. Prayer never informs God. It is never the case that something is happening in our lives that God is to busy or distracted to see. Jesus taught us that God knows what we need even before we ask. (Matthew 6:8)

On rare occasions, we see accounts of people praying and God changing the course of their lives. Examples include Hezekiah’s prayer by which God extended his life by 15 years. (Isaiah 38:5) Jesus taught His disciples to pray and not give up. (Luke 18:1-8) However, the overwhelming conclusion one sees in all of Scripture regarding prayer is that prayer changes us. When John states that we receive whatever we ask in prayer he doesn’t leave us with the understanding that sinful requests will be delivered. There is a condition in this promise. If we ask ‘according to His will’ God hears us. (vs 14) And we can only ask according to His will if our will comes into alignment with God’s. This is one of the most amazing results of prayer. As we pray, we begin to hear and understand God’s will. In other words, prayer is less like a bell to call for the butler, and more like a war-time walkie-talkie. When the sergeant radios headquarters to report that the battle is getting intense, he is strengthened and renewed when he hears the General’s reply; “Stand firm, we almost have them surrounded, victory is minutes away!” Prayer changes us.

Prayer is Confidence (vs 14-15) 

  • Intimate relationship (1 John 4:16)
  • Our wills align (with God)
  • Members of the Family doing the will of the Father

Prayer is Power (vs 16-17)

  • Prayer is to the Christian as Spinach is to Popeye (Joshua 1:6)
  • Importance of Family [Body of Christ]
  • Prayer’s power over a Brother’s sin
  • Don’t waste prayer? [on sin that leads to death]
  • ALL wrongdoing is sin [sin is not defined by government or culture]

LIFE APPLICATION

Life Balance is always attained by Truth

Prayer and the Word is the ONLY source of Truth

The ONLY way not to live dirty and stupid is Prayer and the Word

Prayer and the Word is a means of Grace obtained in private AND in corporate

Living a Balanced Life Week 16 (Teaching Outline)

Living a Balanced Life

(An In-Depth Study of First John)

Week 16

Commentary

Testimony

1 John 5:6-13

 Outline

What do you believe? This question is common. It is nearly always asked during every religious conversation. Whether the question is focused on the existence of God, or what really matters about a relationship with God, or how God fits in popular culture, people are curious about your opinion. In every case, you give testimony regarding what you believe to be true. Most Christians I know are eager to share the Gospel just as we are instructed by the Great Commission.

However, receiving the opinion of fellow humans should only be valued by the limited knowledge from which they were formed. Case in point: My grandson is four. He loves trucks. He can tell you a great many facts about trucks. He spends a great deal of his time each day at play with a whole fleet of them; fire trucks, dump trucks, semi trucks, and many, many more. He knows what they are used for and what type of people drive them. If I were going to start a construction company and wanted to purchase an excavator, I wouldn’t ask my grandson’s opinion as to which excavator to buy. He has no ‘real’ experience with excavators. His opinion will most likely be based on very limited and bias facts.

I think it is safe to say that most opinions about God held by those around us, of which we ask opinion of, are nearly as limited and bias as my grandson’s opinion of excavators. That being said, I think a better question than… “What do you believe?” …would be… “What does God say about Himself?”  An exciting thought about responding to a friend’s inquiry about God is the fact that God does give testimony about Himself. In our text, John records the testimony of God regarding His Son. There is not only one witness regarding Jesus, but three; the Water, the Blood, and the Spirit. These three witnesses are not only completely reliable but they are in total agreement.

As a Christian, this understanding of God’s testimony about His Son enables me to give the best answer possible to the question “what do you believe?” After all, I never need rely on my opinion. I never have to answer that question by beginning, “I think”…  The point of our text is to give every Christian the proper testimony about God and His Son. God loves us and has revealed Himself to us through His Word. God states clearly and to the point about having a proper relationship with Him (the Father) through Jesus (the Son).

John has again stressed the importance of believing in Jesus as the Son of God, the Messiah. Eternal life is not possible apart from such belief. The words of Jesus once again ring true, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me” (John 14:6).

Testimony Concerning the Son of God (vs 6-8)

Water – Jesus’ Baptism (Matthew 3:16, Mark 1:10, Luke 3:22, John 1:32)

Blood – Jesus’ Crucifixion (Matthew 27:50-54)

Spirit – Pentecost (Acts 2:22-33)

Testimony of Men and God (vs 9-10)

  • Testimony of God is greater
  • Testimony of God is the only truth
  • To accept another testimony is to call God a liar

Eternal Life (vs 11-13)

  • God’s testimony is eternal life through the Son
  • One way of Redemption (Salvation) (John 14:6)
  • God’s testimony offers assurance

LIFE APPLICATION

God testifies for Himself perfectly, no need for “I think” attitude

Our assurance rests on the testimony of God the Father toward the Son of God

Goal of the Son of God:

Liberate His people

Glorify His name