1 John 5:10-13

Wednesday Evening Bible Study

May 20, 1998

Introduction

If you were to die tonight, do you know if youíd go to heaven?

Are you sure? Do you ever question your salvation?

This is one of those basic issues of Christian maturity that we all need to come to grips with. That is, if we want to keep growing in the Lord.

:10-13 Assurance in Salvation

:10 He that believeth on the Son of God hath the witness in himself

John is talking about the Holy Spirit, whom he was just referring to in verse 8 Ė

(1 John 5:8 KJV) And there are three that bear witness in earth, the Spirit, and the water, and the blood: and these three agree in one.

Paul also talked about how the Holy Spirit was a witness inside of us:

Rom 8:9-17 But ye are not in the flesh, but in the Spirit, if so be that the Spirit of God dwell in you. Now if any man have not the Spirit of Christ, he is none of his. {10} And if Christ be in you, the body is dead because of sin; but the Spirit is life because of righteousness. {11} But if the Spirit of him that raised up Jesus from the dead dwell in you, he that raised up Christ from the dead shall also quicken your mortal bodies by his Spirit that dwelleth in you. {12} Therefore, brethren, we are debtors, not to the flesh, to live after the flesh. {13} For if ye live after the flesh, ye shall die: but if ye through the Spirit do mortify the deeds of the body, ye shall live. {14} For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, they are the sons of God. {15} For ye have not received the spirit of bondage again to fear; but ye have received the Spirit of adoption, whereby we cry, Abba, Father. {16} The Spirit itself beareth witness with our spirit, that we are the children of God: {17} And if children, then heirs; heirs of God, and joint-heirs with Christ; if so be that we suffer with him, that we may be also glorified together.

There ought to be a time in our lives when we recognize that the Holy Spirit is in us, giving us confirmation that we are indeed Godís children.

The difficulty with this is that this can be a very subjective, feeling kind of a thing. And sometimes we arenít always too good at understanding our feelings. I might be depressed because I havenít gotten a good sleep in a week, and then conclude that because Iím depressed, that the Holy Spirit isnít in my life. Weíll talk more about feelings later Ö

:10 he that believeth not God hath made him a liar

the record that God gave Ė literally, "the witness that God witnessed"

The Greek word for "witness" (martureo, and itís various forms) appears three times in this verse, as well as again in verse 11 ("record").

The picture is that of a courtroom, with God up on the witness stand.

God begins to tell the courtroom that Jesus was His Son, and that Jesus was sent to be the Savior of the world. You stand up and object, "Your honor, the witness is not telling the truth!"

How absurd.

When a person looks at all the evidences and witnesses of who Jesus is, and then rejects them as false, they are in turn calling God a liar.

:10 because he believeth not the record that God gave of his Son

What is the witness God has made concerning His Son? I can think of four of them.

1) The Holy Spirit

As He lives in us. (Rom. 8:16)

2) Prophetic fulfillment.

Jesus was not fluke. Long before He showed up on planet earth, God had whispered into the ears of the prophets, and they had recorded much about the coming Messiah.

There were over 300 specific prophecies fulfilled by Jesusí first coming to earth. Details such as His genealogy, His place of birth, what His ministry would be about, descriptions of His death, burial, and resurrection.

Science Speaks ( Peter Stoner, Moody Press, 1963) references the fulfilling of 8 prophecies.

"We find that the chance that any man might have lived down to the present time and fulfilled all eight prophecies is 1 in 1017." That is 1 in 100,000,000,000,000,000. Mr. Stoner then illustrated the probability by supposing that "we take 1017 silver dollars and lay them on the face of Texas. They will cover all of the state two feet deep. Now mark one of these silver dollars and stir the whole mass thoroughly, all over the state. Blindfold a man and tell him that he can travel as far as he wishes, but he must pick up one silver dollar and say that this is the right one. What chance would he have of getting the right one? Just the same chance that the prophets would have had of writing these eight prophecies and having them all come true in any one man, from their day to the present time, providing they wrote them in their own wisdom."

Mr. Stoner considered 48 prophecies ... " 1 in 10157". "This is a really large number and it represents an extremely small chance. Let us try to visualize it. The silver dollar, which we have been using, is entirely too large. We must select a smaller object. The electron is about as small an object as we know of. It is so small that it will take 2.5 times 1015 of them laid side by side to make a line, single file, one inch long. If we were going to count electrons in this line one inch long, and we counted 250 each minute, and if we counted day and night, it would take us 19,000,000 years to count just the one inch of electrons. If we had a cubic inch of these electrons and we tried to count them it would take us, counting steadily 250 each minute, 19,000,000 times 19,000,000 times 19,000,000 years or 6.9 times 1021 years." "With this introduction, let us go back to our chance of 1 in 10157. Let us suppose that we are talking this number of electrons, marking one, and thoroughly stir whole mass, then blindfolding a man and letting him try to find the right one. What chance has he of finding the right one? What kind of a pile will this number of electrons make? They make an inconceivably large volume."

3) Godís witness during Jesusí earthly ministry

Several times during Jesusí ministry, God the Father gave an audible witness to who Jesus was.

(Mat 3:16-17 KJV) And Jesus, when he was baptized, went up straightway out of the water: and, lo, the heavens were opened unto him, and he saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove, and lighting upon him: {17} And lo a voice from heaven, saying, This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased.

(Mat 17:5 KJV) While he yet spake, behold, a bright cloud overshadowed them: and behold a voice out of the cloud, which said, This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased; hear ye him.

(John 12:27-28 KJV) Now is my soul troubled; and what shall I say? Father, save me from this hour: but for this cause came I unto this hour. {28} Father, glorify thy name. Then came there a voice from heaven, saying, I have both glorified it, and will glorify it again.

4) The resurrection

This was what Peterís sermon was all about on the Day of Pentecost, as he was preaching Jesus to be the Messiah:

Ac 2:36 Therefore let all the house of Israel know assuredly, that God hath made that same Jesus, whom ye have crucified, both Lord and Christ.

4) The message of the apostles

This is the message that John is giving right now. God is speaking through the apostles to the people.

The person who does not want to believe these "witnesses" about Jesus from the Father, are calling God a liar.

:11 And this is the record

or, "this is the witness" (marturia)

:11 that God hath given to us eternal life

eternal Ė aionios Ė without beginning and end, that which always has been and always will be; gives prominence to the immeasurableness of eternity

Someone was telling me the other day that they came across a web site that was talking about what this word "eternal" meant. They claimed that the original Greek word meant a set period of time, all leading up to the point of saying that the Lake of Fire was only for a thousand years, and then everyone in there just disappears.

The word means eternal.

The Lake of Fire is eternal. But so is our Eternal Life.

life Ė zoe Ė life; the state of one who is possessed of vitality or is animate; the focus isnít on how we live (which is bios, "biology"), but on the fact of existence. Itís opposite is death.

:11 this life is in his Son.

The kind of life weíre talking about is found on in Jesus.

It is not found in Mohammed, Buddha or Krishna.

It is not found in drugs, pleasure, or intellectual pursuits.

It is not found in meditation, eastern mysticism, or contacting the dead.

It is found in Jesus.

This sounds kind of narrow-minded to some. It may be, but itís the truth.

Sometimes itís good to be narrow-minded. After last weekís pastorsí conference, my friend Steve Santos flew home to Hawaii. Suppose the captain of the plane gets on the intercom and announces, "Well folks, I donít want to be such a narrow minded person, so weíre just going to head the plane out that-a-ways, and fly off into the sunset. Iím sure weíll get to Hawaii." Just being off one degree on your course to Hawaii will take you hundreds of miles off course, and youíll never find the tiny islands in the middle of the Pacific.

Thereís a reason why God is so narrow minded.

This is not simply a matter of "because I said so", but thereís a real reason to this.

Lesson:

Only Jesus pays for sins.

There is no other path that even claims to take care of your sins.

And yet the truth is, this is what is keeping us from God.

Even in the Old Testament, we clearly see the sign posts Ė

(Isa 59:1-2 KJV) Behold, the LORD'S hand is not shortened, that it cannot save; neither his ear heavy, that it cannot hear: {2} But your iniquities have separated between you and your God, and your sins have hid his face from you, that he will not hear.

(Ezek 18:20 KJV) The soul that sinneth, it shall dieÖ

The price involved in paying for our sins involves death, substituting one death for another.

But when Jesus came to pay for our sins, He didnít simply lay down a single human life to pay for anotherís sins. He was God in the flesh, and when He laid down His life, He laid down an eternal life, paying for an infinite amount of sins.

This is why the life is in the Son.

There is no other way.

:12 He that hath the Son hath life; and he that hath not the Son of God hath not life.

This is what salvation is all about. Do you have Jesus?

Eternal life is simply a matter of "having the Son".

Now John is going to remind us how to "have the Son".

:13 These things have I written unto you that believe on the name of the Son of God

believe on Ė

This is to me an interesting phrase and has always kind of stuck out to me in the Greek.

This "believe on" isnít just a matter of acknowledging the existence of someone.

(James 2:19 KJV) Thou believest that there is one God; thou doest well: the devils also believe, and tremble.

And I can tell you now, that devils arenít saved!

The phrase in Greek appears 32 times in the New Testament, 29 of those times being used by John in either his gospel or 1John. (verses are listed at end of notes)

The thing that has always stuck out is that the word "on" (Greek eis), usually carries the idea of "into". This little preposition is found 1774 times in the NT, and in the King James is usually translated "into", "to", or "unto" over a 1,000 of those times, and only 58 times as "on" (of which 32 times are these "believe on" verses).

Itís the idea of "trusting in" someone, counting on them.

When we encourage someone to do a particularly hard task, we often say to them, "Go ahead, you can do it, I believe in you". When someone lets us down, we might say, "Iím so hurt, I was counting on you, I believed in you".

In fact, this phrase in the Greek was in the verse we started with (1John 5:10), and could be translated this way Ė

"The that is counting on the Son of God has the witness in himself: He that does not believe God has made Him a liar; because he has not counted on the record that God gave of His Son."

Lesson:

Are you counting on Jesus?

Are you counting on Him to pay for your sins?

Are you counting on Him to give you eternal life?

:13 that ye may know that ye have eternal life

know Ė eido Ė to see; to know; knowledge not focused on experience, but knowledge focused on understanding

God desires that you understand, that you know that you have eternal life.

Itís not a matter of wishful thinking, itís a matter of knowing.

Lesson:

The importance of Assurance / Acceptance

Knowing once and for all whether or now youíre going to heaven is one of those milestones that every Christian needs to pass if they are going to grow and be effective in their Christian life.

I think this is a problem that many people have, in that they struggle for a feeling of acceptance.

For some of you, you feel like you were never totally accepted by your parents, and youíre still working very hard to be loved, accepted, and approved by them.

For some of you, youíve somehow gotten the idea that you need to earn peopleís respect and love. So much of what you do in life is aimed at getting people to like you. Whenever youíre in a group of people, you feel like youíre on stage, and have to perform just right, or somebody might reject you.

Illustration

In "The Whisper Test," Mary Ann Bird writes: I grew up knowing I was different, and I hated it. I was born with a cleft palate, and when I started school, my classmates made it clear to me how I looked to others: a little girl with a misshapen lip, crooked nose, lopsided teeth, and garbled speech.

When schoolmates asked, "What happened to your lip?" I'd tell them I'd fallen and cut it on a piece of glass. Somehow it seemed more acceptable to have suffered an accident than to have been born different. I was convinced that no one outside my family could love me.

There was, however, a teacher in the second grade whom we all adored--Mrs. Leonard by name. She was short, round, happy--a sparkling lady.

Annually we had a hearing test. ... Mrs. Leonard gave the test to everyone in the class, and finally it was my turn. I knew from past years that as we stood against the door and covered one ear, the teacher sitting at her desk would whisper something, and we would have to repeat it back--things like "The sky is blue" or "Do you have new shoes?" I waited there for those words that God must have put into her mouth, those seven words that changed my life. Mrs. Leonard said, in her whisper, "I wish you were my little girl."

God says to every person deformed by sin, "I wish you were my son" or "I wish you were my daughter."

Lesson:

Get your acceptance from God.

We have a need for acceptance. But thereís only one true source that can give us the acceptance we need. Thatís the Lord.

This is what the issue of assurance is all about. Does God accept me? Will He continue to accept me?

God considers it finished business. Itís not even in question as far as Heís concerned.

(Eph 1:3-7 KJV) Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who hath blessed us with all spiritual blessings in heavenly places in Christ: {4} According as he hath chosen us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before him in love: {5} Having predestinated us unto the adoption of children by Jesus Christ to himself, according to the good pleasure of his will, {6} To the praise of the glory of his grace, wherein he hath made us accepted in the beloved. {7} In whom we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of his grace;

God has made us "accepted" in Jesus Christ. Itís in Jesus that we find Godís acceptance and Godís love.

How much of our lives would be changed if we really, really knew deep down inside that we no longer had to "perform" for people in order to be "accepted"?

When we realize we are accepted completely by the Lord, we can take our eyes off of ourselves, and learn to give to others, being more concerned about their needs than our own.

Personal example: I can work hard to prepare and deliver a really neat Bible Study so you will all like me. Or I can work hard to prepare and deliver a good Bible Study because you need one to grow in the Lord.

Lesson:

Trusting His Word - The Basis for Assurance.

This is what it all boils down to, do I really believe that I can trust God, and what He promises in His word?

My assurance should depend on what God says.

He says that if you have the Son, you have the Life.

He says that if you are counting on the Son, then you have the Son.

My assurance should not rest upon feelings.

They can be as fickle as what you ate last night for dinner.

(2 Cor 5:7 KJV) (For we walk by faith, not by sight:)

We need to learn to not live our lives based upon what our senses tell us (like feelings, circumstances, etc.), but based upon what we believe, what we are counting on.

:13 and that ye may believe on the name of the Son of God.

This last phrase does not seem to appear in the best manuscripts. But that doesnít bother us, because God has already told us this!

(John 20:31 KJV) But these are written, that ye might believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God; and that believing ye might have life through his name.

 

Extra:

"Believe on" verses

John 1:12 But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe <4100> on <1519> his name:

John 2:11 This beginning of miracles did Jesus in Cana of Galilee, and manifested forth his glory; and his disciples believed <4100> on <1519> him.

John 3:18 He that believeth <4100> on <1519> him is not condemned: but he that believeth <4100> not is condemned already, because he hath <4100> not believed <4100> in the name of the only begotten Son of God.

John 3:36 He that believeth <4100> on <1519> the Son hath everlasting life: and he that believeth not the Son shall not see life; but the wrath of God abideth on him.

John 4:39 And many of the Samaritans of that city believed <4100> on <1519> him for the saying of the woman, which testified, He told me all that ever I did.

John 6:29 Jesus answered and said unto them, This is the work of God, that ye believe <4100> on <1519> him whom he hath sent.

John 6:35 And Jesus said unto them, I am the bread of life: he that cometh to me shall never hunger; and he that believeth <4100> on <1519> me shall never thirst.

John 6:40 And this is the will of him that sent me, that every one which seeth the Son, and believeth <4100> on <1519> him, may have everlasting life: and I will raise him up at the last day.

John 6:47 Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that believeth <4100> on <1519> me hath everlasting life.

John 7:31 And many of the people believed <4100> on <1519> him, and said, When Christ cometh, will he do more miracles than these which this man hath done?

John 7:38 He that believeth <4100> on <1519> me, as the scripture hath said, out of his belly shall flow rivers of living water.

John 7:39 (But this spake he of the Spirit, which they that believe <4100> on <1519> him should receive: for the Holy Ghost was not yet given; because that Jesus was not yet glorified.)

John 7:48 Have any of the rulers or of the Pharisees believed <4100> on <1519> him?

John 8:30 As he spake these words, many believed <4100> on <1519> him.

John 9:35 ∂ Jesus heard that they had cast him out; and when he had found him, he said unto him, Dost <4100> thou believe <4100> on <1519> the Son of God?

John 9:36 He answered and said, Who is he, Lord, that I might believe <4100> on <1519> him?

John 10:42 And many believed <4100> on <1519> him there.

John 11:45 ∂ Then many of the Jews which came to Mary, and had seen the things which Jesus did, believed <4100> on <1519> him.

John 11:48 If we let him thus alone, all men will believe <4100> on <1519> him: and the Romans shall come and take away both our place and nation.

John 12:11 Because that by reason of him many of the Jews went away, and believed <4100> on <1519> Jesus.

John 12:37 ∂ But though he had done so many miracles before them, yet they believed <4100> not on <1519> him:

John 12:42 ∂ Nevertheless among the chief rulers also many believed <4100> on <1519> him; but because of the Pharisees they did not confess him, lest they should be put out of the synagogue:

John 12:44 ∂ Jesus cried and said, He that believeth <4100> on <1519> me, believeth <4100> not on <1519> me, but on <1519> him that sent me.

John 12:46 I am come a light into the world, that whosoever believeth <4100> on <1519> me should not abide in darkness.

John 14:12 ∂ Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that believeth <4100> on <1519> me, the works that I do shall he do also; and greater works than these shall he do; because I go unto my Father.

John 16:9 Of sin, because they believe <4100> not on <1519> me;

John 17:20 ∂ Neither pray I for these alone, but for them also which shall believe <4100> on <1519> me through their word;

Acts 14:23 And when they had ordained them elders in every church, and had prayed with fasting, they commended them to the Lord, on <1519> whom they believed <4100>.

Acts 19:4 Then said Paul, John verily baptized with the baptism of repentance, saying unto the people, that they should believe <4100> on <1519> him which should come after him, that is, on <1519> Christ Jesus.

Philippians 1:29 For unto you it is given in the behalf of Christ, not only to believe <4100> on <1519> him, but also to suffer for his sake;

1 John 5:10 ∂ He that believeth <4100> on <1519> the Son of God hath the witness in himself: he that believeth <4100> not God hath made him a liar; because he believeth <4100> not the record that God gave of his Son.

1 John 5:13 These things have I written unto you that believe <4100> on <1519> the name of the Son of God; that ye may know that ye have eternal life, and that ye may believe <4100> on <1519> the name of the Son of God.