Believe in One Who is Greater
1 John 3:19-4:6
When John writes to the church, he is exhorting them to allegiance and fidelity to Jesus whom he has known FOR SURE and he is absolutely convinced of the power of Jesus death and resurrection for salvation: the complete transformation of lives at the cross.
John’s gospel uses the phrase ‘born again’ and it is into that new birth that we find the death of our old self shaken off in pursuit of Christ and all things holy.
John reminds the church that Jesus is God and that the clever philosophers are wrong. As a parent, its so scary to think that your child might not make it as a Christian - that they might fall for the subtle ploys of the evil one to lure them away from worship and fellowship. When I was that child, my mother would say - and I can’t fully remember whether it was to me or my brothers; “would your grandad believe anything that was not true?”
It didn’t need much thought - he had some dodgy views on what the best football team might be. Some strong views on ‘townies’ which were mostly to do with people trying to drive at a reasonable rate - ie faster than a horse and cart along country roads. But in the essentials of faith, as he lit up with radiant joy at every opportunity to talk about his Saviour or to Pray to his Lord, the answer was obvious.
Of course he wouldn’t believe something that wasn’t true.
I think the convincing proof of his assurance was less in the expounding in King James English of every text at any opportunity, but that it was guileless. As John writes in this letter, Jesus is in him. And I was convinced.
The belief we have in God is part of the toolkit of our faith, even our life. We are living the life that God planned for us because we have set our hearts on him.
Now, to set your heart on something is to desire it until it is achieved and then to treasure it. This could be a spouse or a - lets be honest here, new car, piece of furniture, new job or piece of jewellery or comfy pair of shoes … it could be a position or a piece of art. The setting of the heart on something is to create an altar for it to exist upon …and once we start using the word ‘altar’, we have to be careful. Are we honouring God in our hearts desires?
Who sits above them all??
And once this is answered with “Christ Alone,” we have permission to enjoy the gifts and pursuits that he has set within our reach…
We are not alone.
Our faith is in Jesus and Jesus is in us. Look again at verse 24. Faith only makes sense if it is more than an assertion of belief, but is the the profession of a reality. My life transformed at the cross of Jesus is the reality. His steadfast love keeping me and guarding my heart is the outworking. My loyalty to the faith is the strength I have in the hard and complicated times.
A little later on it says ‘test everything’ and again, John is wanting the purity of faith to be the priority for the church. Is what you are desiring within God’s goodness and character?
Look at 1 John 4:1. This is not for the faint hearted.
There will be people that try to change and evolve the doctrines of Jesus, but we are to remain in Christ and test the stuff. Doubt, fear, guilt and shame have no place within the new life.
God takes care of them.
Can they truly wear the Lordship of Jesus over them or are they things he died to conquer? God has taken care of these too - they need our surrender.
There are also the spirits that are not of God.
The spirits that are demonic and destructive. These have no place in life and deny fullness of life. If these are speaking to you, then a trusted and faithful, praying friend will help you.