LINK: 1 John 5
When I think of this letter of John certain shorthand phrases pop into my mind. This letter is more devotional than Paul's and less linear. John uses simple language here, and yet writes with consistency and insight. So over and over the same themes are repeated: we love Him because He first loved us, belief in God=love for Him, abiding in Him, obedience to Him, loving other believers, Jesus=God=life. Love and obedience go hand in hand.
Chapter 5 continues many of the themes established earlier in the book. In fact the main theme of the book is reiterated here at the end: " 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." (ESV)
If ever you wondered if the Bible says that Jesus is God, wonder no more! It says it right here. Jesus is the true God and eternal life.
Earlier in the chapter, John cites the evidence that Jesus is God (vv 6-12). The Holy Spirit (like a dove from heaven), Jesus' baptism (water)which includes God's voice from heaven (Mark 1: 10-11), and Jesus' death (blood). We ourselves have the evidence in us! We have evidence as Christians of Jesus being God/Man! Our faith is based on evidence; it's not superstition.
If we know that Jesus is God that will change what we focus on, the way we live. If He is true, then the way He tells us to live is true. We will pray, wanting his will. His will is revealed in the Word. It's not some mystery, but is stated clearly. What we pray for should be in accordance with His revealed will, what He tells us in the Bible.
Our prayers matter. We are here to pray for each other, especially when we see our brothers and sisters sinning. God is the judge, not us.
The chapter closes with this sentence, "Little children, keep yourselves from idols." Most of us don't bow down to little statues, but that doesn't mean we don't have idols.
Near the end of a sermon that I found online, Kenny Stokes laid out thirteen questions, adapted from an old Puritan sermon, to help us identify the idols of our hearts. I think they reveal a lot.
- What do you most highly value?
- What do you think about by default?
- What is your highest goal?
- To what or whom are you most committed?
- Who or what do you love the most?
- Who or what do you trust or depend upon the most?
- Who or what do you fear the most?
- Who or what do you hope in and hope for most?
- Who or what do you desire the most? Or, what desire makes you most angry or makes you despair when it is not satisfied?
- Who or what do you most delight in or hold as your greatest joy and treasure?
- Who or what captures your greatest zeal?
- To whom or for what are you most thankful?
- For whom or what great purpose do you work?
We thank you, Lord for clearly stating that Jesus is the true God. Help us to follow your truth. Give us hearts of love to pray for each other. You alone are worthy of worship. Open our eyes to see if we worship something other than you.