You Can Be Certain of Your Savior
You can know you are saved. The greatest questions mankind has revolve around God’s existence and our relationship with him. Thankfully, we have the evidence to be certain of God’s existence and we also have reason to trust in the Savior. Unfortunately, many live in a mental limbo wondering if there is a God and wondering about the possibility of salvation. 1 John is written so that the Christian can know he is saved. John’s thesis statement is recorded in 1 John 5:13, “I write these things to you who believe in the name of the Son of God that you may know you have eternal life.” You can know there is a God and you can be certain of salvation because of Jesus. 1 John 1 is a reminder of the spiritual security Christians enjoy because of the physical reality of Jesus. “This Epistle is altogether worthy of the spirit of that disciple who, above others, was loved by Christ, that he might exhibit him as a friend to us.”
CERTAINTY ABOUT JESUS—1 JOHN 1:1-4
Certainty does not spring from the Christian. Instead the Christian’s certainty is founded in Jesus. So John begins his letter by telling us that we can be certain about Jesus. “Let us then bear in mind, that this doctrine of the Gospel is here declared, that he who in the flesh really proved himself to be the Son of God, and was acknowledged to be the Son of God, was always God’s invisible Word, for he does not refer here to the beginning of the world, but ascends much higher. Many had begun to think of Jesus as fiction. This “fictional Jesus” isn’t so far removed from our thinking today. Many still try to tell us that Jesus was not a real person or that he was just a real person and not truly divine. Even Christians, at times, behave as if Jesus is a ficitional character in a beloved but neglected book rather than the Creator of the world, Head of the church, Savior of the body, and Judge of all the world.
In the ancient world there were those who believed that Jesus did not really have flesh but was just a spirit. This is important because of how many times God has told us that the Messiah’s physical body is important. 1 Peter 3:18 describes Jesus’s sacrifice as a physical reality. Peter wrote: “Because Christ also suffered for sins once, the righteous for the unrighteous, that he might bring us to God; being put to death in the flesh, but made alive in the spirit.” 1 Peter 4:1 says, “Forasmuch then as Christ suffered in the flesh, arm ye yourselves also with the same mind; for he that hath suffered in the flesh hath ceased from sin; (1 Peter 4:1). Through this physical sacrifice, Jesus has inaugurated his new covenant described as the new and living way (Hebrews 10:20). Jesus had a physical body. Jesus did live a real life. Jesus died a real death. Jesus physically rose from the dead.
To remind us that Jesus really did live and that the Gospel is real, John tells us we can be certain that Jesus really did exist in the flesh. John wrote: “That which was from the beginning, that which we have heard, that which we have seen with our eyes, that which we beheld, and our hands handled, concerning the Word of life” (1 John 1:1 ASV). In this one verse, the Holy Spirit has inspired John to say a lot about Jesus. First, we see an illusion to Jesus’s eternal existence. Then, John presents us with the physical reality of Jesus during his life on earth. Finally, John reminds us of Jesus’s essential nature—the Word of life.
Jesus is eternal. Just as John’s Gospel begins in dramatic fashion, the letter known as 1 John does as well. In John’s Gospel we see an echo of Genesis 1:1, “In the beginning God” and “In the beginning was the Word.” Here in 1 John 1:1, we have “That which was from the beginning.” In all three places, the emphasis is upon Jesus eternality or how he existed as a part of the Trinity before physical time and space began. Jesus is the Alpha and the Omega, he is the First and the Last, he is “That which was from the beginning” (1 John 1:1).
The eternal nature of deity and the trinitarian nature of God is one of the most difficult concepts to grasp. One fifth century document, called “The Athanasian Creed,” does a good job of summarizing the eternal nature of the Godhead and how the Trinity relates to one another.
That we worship one God in Trinity, and Trinity in Unity; Neither confounding the persons nor dividing the substance. For there is one person of the Father, another of the Son, and another of the Holy Spirit.
But the Godhead of the Father, of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit is all one, the glory equal, the majesty coeternal. Such as the Father is, such is the Son, and such is the Holy Spirit. The Father uncreated, the Son uncreated, and the Holy Spirit uncreated. The Father incomprehensible, the Son incomprehensible, and the Holy Spirit incomprehensible. The Father eternal, the Son eternal, and the Holy Spirit eternal.
This is a message which John was concerned with as well. We need to know who Jesus is to trust him as our Savior. Jesus can be the Savior of all because he existed before all and independently of all.
Jesus took up residence on earth with his people. After glancing at Jesus’s eternality, John reminds his readers of the incarnation. John wrote: “that which we have heard, that which we have seen with our eyes, that which we beheld, and our hands handled.” John wants us to remember that “the Word became flesh and dwelt among us” (John 1:14). The implications of the incarnation are incomprehensible. The incarnation displays Jesus’s love for humanity (John 3:16), his humility (Philippians 2:5), his willingness empathize with mankind (Hebrews 4:15), his vicarious death on behalf of mankind (Isaiah 53:5); and his defeat of death (1 Corinthians 15:23).
John is reminding Christians that Christ really happened. The Greek myths told of fanciful events and outrageous characters, but no one ever saw them, heard them, or touched them. This is not the case with Jesus. His life is verifiable. The message which was preached is what really happened. Christianity isn’t based upon a mere philosophy. Christianity is not simply a religion inspired by an amazing life of a super hero. Christianity is not based upon a system of works whereby mankind can become divine. Instead, Christianity is founded upon the fact that God put on flesh to live a physical life and die a physical death.
Jesus is presented as the Divine Spokesman—he is “that which we have heard.” That God may be heard is incredible. It reminds us of the time when Adam and Eve “heard the voice of Jehovah God walking in the Garden in the cool of the day” (Genesis 3:8). It reminds us of God speaking from Sinai. It reminds us of the great admonition of Deuteronomy 6:4, “Hear, O Israel.” Now God has been heard again for the final time in Jesus’s words. Hebrews 1:1-2 says, “God, having of old time spoken unto the fathers in the prophets by divers portions and in divers manners, 2hath at the end of these days spoken unto us in his Son.” When we think of “that which we have heard,” we should remember the five sermons in Matthew’s Gospel, the seven interviews of Jesus in John’s Gospel, the Great Commission, and the great promise— “I come quickly, Amen” Revelation 22:20.
Furthermore, Jesus is the visible representation of God. He is “that which we have seen with our eyes, that which we beheld.” The message of Christianity is based upon eye witness testimony. “This is supported by the fact that all but one of the 91 uses of expressions combining forms of the verb ‘to see’ and the words ‘with the eyes’ in the LXX imply sense perception, that is, a direct personal acquaintance with the object said to have been seen.” The facts concerning Jesus are based upon Jesus’s own works (John 5:36); the Father’s testimony (John 5:37); the Scriptures (John 5:39); and the disciples themselves.
The disciples did not simply “see” Jesus, they also “beheld” him. The word “beheld” is defined as “to have an intent look at someth., to take someth. in with one’s eyes, with implication that one is especially impressed… to perceive someth. above and beyond what is merely seen with the eye, see, behold, perceive.” The disciples marveled at Jesus. Peter preached that God had confirmed Jesus as the Christ by “mighty works, wonders, and signs” (Acts 2:22). They saw Jesus and understood who he is.
Jesus is also “that which we have handled.” You can study Jesus. He was heard, he was seen, and he was touched. We are reminded again of the evidence of Jesus—the God who was touched by mankind. It is incredible to imagine what it must have been like for Mary and Joseph to touch the newborn Jesus for the first time. We wonder how Mary must have embraced him when they found him in the temple after being lost for three days. We remember Jesus touching the leper, touching the blind, touching the sinners. We remember the woman with an issue of blood touching just the hem of his garment.
We need to remember how Jesus’s body was touched by the Romans as they beat him and nailed him to the cross. We also must consider how the men touched Jesus’s body as they loosed it from the cross. We must remember how the body was hurriedly but lovingly carried to the tomb and placed on the cold slab.
One of the most remarkable events involving Jesus’s body is when Thomas is invited to inspect the evidence of crucifixions before being convinced of the resurrection. John 20:27-29 records, “Then saith he to Thomas, Reach hither thy finger, and see my hands; and reach hither thy hand, and put it into my side: and be not faithless, but believing. Thomas answered and said unto him, My Lord and my God. Jesus saith unto him, Because thou hast seen me, thou hast believed: blessed are they that have not seen, and yet have believed.
All these descriptions of Jesus come to a crescendo at the end of the verse as John describes his essential character—“the Word of Life.”
“In him was life,” John 1:4. “This is the true God and eternal life,” 1 John 5:20. “I am … the life,” John 14:6; “the resurrection and the life,” 11:25. Absolutely and in himself he is “the Logos of the Life” (John 5:26). This “Life” is not a mere idea, an abstraction such as we get by induction or deduction when we study living creatures. It is the divine essence itself in its personality and its activity. Yet “the Logos became flesh” (John 1:14), “the life was manifested,” in the fulness of time the Son was born of a woman (Gal. 4:4, 5).
Jesus is therefore the real reason for everything—the Word of life.
The Word of life is summarized this way by Paul:
“He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of all creation. For by him all things were created, in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities—all things were created through him and for him. And he is before all things, and in him all things hold together. And he is the head of the body, the church. He is the beginning, the firstborn of the dead, that in everything he might be preeminent. For in him all the fullness of God was pleased to dwell, and through him to reconcile to himself all things, whether on earth or in heaven, making peace by the blood of his cross” (Colossians 1:15-20).
Perhaps we sang about Jesus as the Word of life when we said, “He is my everything. He is my all. He is my everything both great and small. He gave his life for me, made everything new. He is my everything, now how bout you?”
 William Arndt et al., A Greek-English Lexicon of the New Testament and Other Early Christian Literature (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2000), 445.
 R. C. H. Lenski, The Interpretation of the Epistles of St. Peter, St. John and St. Jude (Minneapolis, MN: Augsburg Publishing House, 1966), 372.
Count Your Blessings
Having been banished, Cyprian suffered martyrdom in Carthage in 258. When the sentence of death was read to him he said, “I heartily thank Almighty God who is pleased to set me free from the chains of the body.”
“Receive every day as a resurrection from death, as a new enjoyment of life; meet every rising sun with such sentiments of God’s goodness, as if you had seen it, and all things, new-created upon your account: and under the sense of so great a blessing, let your joyful heart praise and magnify so good and glorious a Creator.” ~ William Law
“I would maintain that thanks are the highest form of thought; and that gratitude is happiness doubled by wonder.” ~ G.K. Chesterton
“Praise be to you, O LORD,
God of our father Israel,
everlasting to everlasting.
Yours, O LORD, is the greatness and the power
and the glory and the majesty and the splendor,
for everything in heaven and earth is yours.
Yours, O LORD, is the kingdom;
you are exalted as head over all.
Wealth and honor come from you;
you are the ruler of all things.
In your hands are strength and power
to exalt and give strength to all.
Now, our God, we give you thanks,
and praise your glorious name.”
1 Chronicles 29: 10 – 13
- Count your blessings. See what God hath done.
- Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation or shadow due to change. James 1:17.
- If in his gifts and benefits [God] were more sparing and close-handed, we should learn to be thankful.… The greater God’s gifts and works, the less they are regarded.—Martin Luther, in Table Talk
- Thankfulness is vital to Christianity.
- Redemption leads inevitably to thankfulness–Romans 7.24-25
- Life in Christ leads to thankfulness–I Corinthians 15.57
- Thankfulness is a part of God’s will for our lives–I Thessalonians 5.16-18
- Unthankfulness led to apostasy–Romans 1.21; however, thankfulness characterizes the Christian life–Colossians 3.17
- Thankfulness has replaced sinful thinking–Ephesians 5.4
- Thankfulness has replaced anxiety–Philippians 4.6
- We could spend the rest of our lives gathering a brief list of all the blessings God shares with us.
- Just for a moment, let us count our blessings so that we may be thankful:
- GOD’S MERCY–TITUS 3.5
- GODS’ SON–JOHN 3.16
- GOD’S SPIRIT–ROMANS 8.10-11, 26
- GOD’S CHURCH–MATTHEW 16.18; ACTS 20.28
- GOD’S WORK–ROMANS 1.15
- GOD’S WORD–2 TIMOTHY 3.16
- GOD’S GIFT OF FAMILY–PSALM 127
- GOD’S GIFT OF SALVATION–ACTS 2.38
- GOD’S PROMISE OF HEAVEN THAT WAITS–REVELATION 21.1-8
Have you returned thanks? I saw a show on television about two friends who were exchanging Christmas presents. One friend was very worried about giving a gift equal to the one he had received. So he devised a plan to buy several gifts so that he could give his friend the appropriate gift and return the rest. With all the blessings God has given us, what is the appropriate gift for Him?—Romans 12.1
Count Your Blessings in the Church
On January 6, 1822, the wife of a poor German pastor had a son, never dreaming that he would one day achieve world renown and great wealth. When Heinrich Schliemann was seven years old, a picture of ancient Troy in flames captured his imagination. Contrary to what many people believed, Heinrich argued that Homer’s great poems, the Iliad and the Odyssey, were based on historic facts and he set out to prove it. In 1873, he uncovered the ancient site of Troy, along with some fabulous treasure which he smuggled out of the country, much to the anger of the Turkish government. Schliemann became a famous, wealthy man because he dared to believe an ancient record and act on his faith.
We discovered that we were “born rich” when we trusted Christ. But this is not enough, for we must grow in our understanding of our riches if we are ever going to use them to the glory of God. (Warren W. Wiersbe, The Bible Exposition Commentary (vol. 2; Wheaton, IL: Victor Books, 1996), 14.)
God wants us to understand how richly blessed we are in Christ and how those blessings change our lives.
- Prayer for understanding Ephesians 1:15-18
- Appreciation for where they were–1.15-16
- They had learned to have faith–Romans 10:17
- They had learned to have love–1 Cor. 16:14, let all that you do be done in love.
- Expectation of where they could go–17
- Information comes from the Holy Spirit
- 2 Timothy 3:16
- John 14:25, These things I have spoken to you while being present with you. 26 But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in My name, He will teach you all things, and bring to your remembrance all things that I said to you.
- 2 Peter 1:20-21, knowing this first of all, that no prophecy of Scripture comes from someone’s own interpretation. 21 For no prophecy was ever produced by the will of man, but men spoke from God as they were carried along by the Holy Spirit.
- 1 Corinthians 2:9-12, “But as it is written:“Eye has not seen, nor ear heard, Nor have entered into the heart of man The things which God has prepared for those who love Him.”10 But God has revealed them to us through His Spirit. For the Spirit searches all things, yes, the deep things of God. 11 For what man knows the things of a man except the spirit of the man which is in him? Even so no one knows the things of God except the Spirit of God. 12 Now we have received, not the spirit of the world, but the Spirit who is from God, that we might know the things that have been freely given to us by God.”
- Information comes to the heart of the believer
- Psalm 119:18, “Open my eyes, that I may see Wondrous things from Your law.
- 1 Corinthians 2:14-16, “The natural person does not accept the things of the Spirit of God, for they are folly to him, and he is not able to understand them because they are spiritually discerned. 15 The spiritual person judges all things, but is himself to be judged by no one. 16 “For who has understood the mind of the Lord so as to instruct him?” But we have the mind of Christ.”
- Information comes from the Holy Spirit
- Information for how to proceed–18
- There is always more to learn:
- learn more about the hope of his calling—Paul never tired of testifying that God called him “by His grace” (Gal. 1:15); and he reminded Timothy that the believer has a “holy calling” (2 Tim. 1:9). We have been “called out of darkness into His marvelous light” (1 Peter 2:9), and have even been “called to glory” (1 Peter 5:10).Warren W. Wiersbe, The Bible Exposition Commentary (vol. 2; Wheaton, IL: Victor Books, 1996), 15.
- learn more about the riches of the glory of his inheritance in the saints. This truth suggests to us that Christ will not enter into His promised glory until the church is there to share it with Him. He prayed for this before He died, and this prayer will be answered (John 17:24). Christ will be glorified in us (2 Thes. 1:10), and we will be glorified in Him (Col. 3:4). Knowing this should lead the believer into a life of dedication and devotion to the Lord.Warren W. Wiersbe, The Bible Exposition Commentary (vol. 2; Wheaton, IL: Victor Books, 1996), 16.
- “The more you know”
- Knowledge is power
- Knowledge is potential.
- Knowledge is motivational.
- There is always more to learn:
- Appreciation for where they were–1.15-16
- Plan for Gods Church 1.19-22
- His great power at work
- the Gospel is God’s power–Romans 1:16
- to be a new creature in Christ Jesus–2 Corinthians 5:17
- to be raised on the last day–Romans 6:5
- His great ascension at work
- Verified the Christian Faith
- Inspired Christians work of Love
- Empowers Christian Enduring Hope
- The great implication for work
- After all, what good is it to have wealth if you are too weak to use it? Or if you are so afraid of robbers that you cannot really enjoy it? John D. Rockefeller was the world’s first billionaire. It is said that for many years, he lived on crackers and milk because of stomach troubles caused by worrying about his wealth. He rarely had a good night’s sleep, and guards stood constantly at his door. Wealthy—but miserable! When he began to share his wealth with others in great philanthropic endeavors, his health improved considerably and he lived to be an old man. Warren W. Wiersbe, The Bible Exposition Commentary (vol. 2; Wheaton, IL: Victor Books, 1996), 16.
- Live Christianity to the fullest–1 Corinthians 15:58!
- His great power at work
Life Application from the Scriptures
- The greatest power shortage today is not a lack of gas, oil, or coal. It is a lack of faith.
- When we see how God has blessed his church with incredible wealth, we surely could not avoid membership and service in his church.
REDEEMED AND REJOICING
Congressional Medal of Honor Recipient 1st Lieutenant John Robert Fox was directing artillery fire in the Italian town of Sommocolonia to stall a German advance. While Fox was directing fire, a large German force moved in on his position. Realizing that this force was a huge threat to his men, Fox called a final artillery strike—on himself. When his men eventually retook the position, Fox’s body was found next to approximately 100 dead German troops and a medal was placed neatly on his chest.
When Air Florida Flight 90 smashed into a frozen lake in the middle of a snowstorm, all but six passengers were killed. Some 20 minutes later, a helicopter arrived to rescue the survivors. After getting one man to safety, the helicopter threw a life-ring to Arland Williams… who immediately gave it to the passenger next to him. When the helicopter came back for a third time, he did the same thing again. And again. When the helicopter came back a final time, Arland was dead. He’d used his last ounce of strength to save a complete stranger.
What would it be like to be one of those saved people? Surely we would have gone on our way rejoicing. In the Bible’s history of conversions, we this common pattern. People are saved and then go their way rejoicing. When Philip and the Eunuch came up out of the water, the Spirit of the Lord caught away Philip; and the eunuch saw him no more, for he went on his way rejoicing. Having been justified by faith, we must go on our way rejoicing.
WE REJOICE IN GOD–Romans 5:1-2
We rejoice in God because we have been justified.
We rejoice in God because we have access to him in the grace in which we stand.
We rejoice in hope of the glory of God.
Habakkuk 3:17-18, “Though the fig tree should not blossom, nor fruit be on the vines, the produce of the olive fail and the fields yield no food, the flock be cut off from the fold and there be no herd in the stalls, yet I will rejoice in the LORD; I will take joy in the God of my salvation.
“There is not one blade of grass, there is no color in this world that is not intended to make us rejoice.”
“Joy is flag that flies over the castle of our hearts announcing that the king is in residence today.”
WE REJOICE IN SUFFERING–Romans 5:3-5
We are able to rejoice in tribulations.
We are able to rejoice in growth.
We are able to rejoice in God’s sympathy.
Joseph learned to appreciate suffering as well as anyone could. He said, “As for you, you meant evil against me, but God meant it for good, to bring it about that many people should be kept alive, as they are today….Thus he comforted them and spoke kindly to them” (Gen. 52:20:21).
A little piece of wood once complained bitterly because its owner kept whittling away at it, cutting it, and filling it with holes, but the one who was cutting it so remorselessly paid no attention to its complaining. He was making a flute and was too wise to stop shaping the wood into something great. My cutting you is the making of you, for only thus can you be a blessing in the world
WE REJOICE IN RECONCILIATION–Romans 5:6-11
We see God’s love demonstrated by the depth to which his love was willing to reach out to us.
We see God’s love in the continued verdict of justification through the blood of Jesus.
We see God’s love in the beauty of reconciliation.
The word “reconciliation” is from katallage which originally referred to the exchange of coins for others of equal value. Therefore, it is as if we have been “exchanged” or traded places with Jesus himself (5:10).
Two brothers lived on adjacent farms, but they had a deep quarrel. There was nothing but bitterness between them. One brother hired a man with a bulldozer to creat a creek where the meadow used to be. The other brother was indignant and hired a carpenter to build a wall so that he would never have to see his brother again. So he worked all day, and when it came time to inspect the work there was no wall. Instead the carpenter had built a bridge over the creek. Both brothers were so moved by the bridge that they met in the middle and embraced. The carpenter said that he had togo build other bridges for other people. When Jesus hung on the cross, he formed a bridge between man and God.
This morning our invitation song will be “Redeemed By the Blood of the Lamb”. It is a time to seriously consider your life. Are you indeed washed in the blood of the Lamb and following his footsteps?
1 Thessalonians 5
In times of trial, we need positives upon which to focus. These are things or activities which give hope, comfort, and peace.
FOCUS ON THE DAY OF THE LORD
2 Corinthians 4:16-18
The day of The Lord will be both expected and unexpected–1 Thess. 5:1-3; Matt. 24:36.
The day of The Lord demands readiness–1 Thess. 5:4-8; 2 Pet. 3:8-15.
The day of The Lord is intended for hope–1 Thess. 5:9-11.
FOCUS ON THE WORK OF THE LORD
Staying active is key to a healthy physical, psychological, and spiritual life.
The work of The Lord is to be respected–1 Thess. 5:12-13; 1 Cor. 16:15-16.
The work of The Lord is patiently helpful–1 Thess. 5:14-15; Gal. 6:1-10.
The work of The Lord is one of personal dedication–1 Thess. 5:16-22; Rev. 1:5-6
The work of The Lord is the Lord’s work– 1Thess. 5:23-24; Phil. 2:12-13
Keep your focus.
Some people when they go on vacation, they get to the hotel room and they unpack everything. They take it all out of the suitcase and put it into those bureaus. I think I did that once when I was staying in the same place for three weeks. But if I’m only going to be around for a week or a few days, I don’t even bother to unpack. I just leave everything in the suitcase and when I need it, I just take it out. I couldn’t be bothered to get everything settled, because I know that very soon, I’m going to have to pack it all up again. Well, you may agree or disagree with my vacationing habits—that’s up to you. However, we must have this sort of way of thinking when it comes to life. Now we may be here 80 or 100 years, but compared with eternity, that’s just a weekend trip. Stay focused on Heaven, nothing else matters.
Jesus said, “Behold, I come quickly and my reward is with me” (Revelation 22:12). Haven’t you wandered about that reward?
THINK ABOUT THE SIGNIFICANCE OF THE ONE WHO BRINGS THE REWARD–REVELATION 3:7
He is Holy
He is True
He has the Key of David as the King of kings
THINK ABOUT THE REASONS FOR REWARD–REVELATION 3:8-10
THINK ABOUT THE REWARD ITSELF–REVELATION 3:11-12
A crown from Jesus
A place in Jesus’ temple
A new name from Jesus
When at last we stand before the Judge of all the earth, what will be our reward?
*An hour is coming when all who are in the tombs will hear his voice and come out, those who have done good to the resurrection of life, and those who have done evil to the resurrection of judgment—John 5:28-29.*