First John 5:13-21
The True God, Eternal Life

Authored By Rev. Shigeru Matsubara, Assistant Pastor, Osaka Nozomi Church, Osaka, Japan

1.  John writes the purpose for which he wrote this epistle at the beginning of the epistle in chapter one and verses three and four.  It was so that we would have fellowship, like John and the personal disciples of Christ had, with the true living God in Jesus Christ the son of God and so that we would be filled with the joy they had.

2.  In chapter five and verse thirteen which we are studying today, it says, "The reason I wrote these things to you who believe on the name of the son of God is I want to make you realize that you are obtaining eternal life", and it makes another purpose [of this epistle] plain to us.  In John chapter twenty and verse thirty-one, the purpose of The Gospel Of John is recorded as "These things were written so that you would believe that Jesus is the messiah, the son of God, and in believing you would receive life from the name of Jesus."

3.  [In] chapter five and verse thirteen, the people, who are addressed with the emphasis "to you who believe on the name of the son of God," are all Christians.  The purpose for which John had written this epistle was "so that we (they) would be filled with joy to overflowing."  Those who believe Jesus is the son of God and the Christ, those who rely entirely on his character and works and depend on him, those who entrust themselves over to him as Lord and Savior have eternal life.  John was trying to give them an unwavering confidence in this matter.

4.  In chapter one and verse two, John said that he saw "eternal life" and he said that "the eternal life that was with the Father has been revealed to us."  This "eternal life" became a man and is Jesus Christ, the son of God that had come into the world.  In 5:11 we studied last month, it reads that "Eternal life is in Jesus Christ the son of God.

5.  "Eternal life" means God's life.  By faith we are adjoined to the Lord Jesus Christ and take part in the life of God.  In this way, while we are joined to the Lord Jesus Christ and in a world that evil rules and will be destroyed, we are fit as victorious believers who constantly overcome the world, and we are fervent in knowing Christ more and more through his word, and it is important that we serve the Lord without tiring.  And it is promised in 3:2 that "when the son appears, we will be like him."

6.  Even though the knowledge we have in knowing Christ is partial, even though it is a small faith in Christ [that we might have], please never lose hope.  Our prayers are heard.  Let's give thanks that we are already obtaining eternal life in the name of Jesus Christ.  John says the following to believers that he might give them unwavering confidence and a conviction which is connected to the son.  He states, "If we request anything that suits the will of God, God will grant it for us.  This is our confidence."

7.  "Our confidence in God" (5:14), this phrase has the same meaning as the phrase "If our hearts blame us we can have confidence before God and whatever we request to God will be granted," (3:21).  Whenever we look at the little me in our daily selves or we have seen in this world the wind and waves storming and spreading under our feet, we experience without thinking a feeling of "I'm gonna drown."  At that time, we cry out to the Lord Jesus who comes to us right in front of our eyes, "Help me, Lord!," and holding out [his hand to us] we are grabbed by the hand of Jesus.  If we seek anything in prayer that suits the will of God, let's have confidence that he will answer whatever that request might be and let's petition him boldly.

8.  Then, it says next in the text about "the sin unto death," and "the sin that is not unto death."  In verses sixteen and seventeen, it is written regarding the intercessory prayer for a brother.  "If you see a brother committing a sin that is not unto death, petition God on his behalf. ...  All unrighteousness is sin," it says.  We usually recite the Lord's prayer.  We say, "As we forgive those who sin against us, grant us forgiveness for our sins."  John is exhorting us, including us personally, to give intercessory prayers for the brother who sins.

9.  God hears the requests of we who believe in God's love and seek our petitions with submission to his love.  We pray in church for the salvation of the brothers and the sisters who sin a sin that is not unto death.  John teaches us the importance as the body of Christ and in the fellowship of the brethren in Christ that we continue in intercessory prayer as a church with all of our hearts joined together as one for the salvation of the entire body.

10.  Let's not overlook our brothers and sisters who have been redeemed by the precious blood of Christ but are wasting away before our eyes, but let's go boldly into God's presence and pray on behalf of their deliverance.  If we petition anything according to God's will and the way of the Lord, God, who will grant that petition, will hear our petition on behalf of the brothers and the sisters who sin a sin that is not unto death, and as he "gives life" to them and delivers them from destruction he will lead them on to life.

11.  We studied chapter two and verse nine.  It says there, "While claiming that they 'are in the light,' those who hate their brother are still in the darkness even now."  If you see a brother sin but don't pray that he return to the Lord, then you have abandoned him.  It teaches us that intercessory prayer on behalf of a brother is the very figure we ought to have as persons in Jesus Christ..  [It is the way Christians are supposed to be.]

12.  [In] chapter five, verses fourteen and fifteen, John states, "If you petition anything that suits the will of God.  God will grant whatever you have asked for.  And we also understand that he has already granted it."  God, who hears whatever we seek in petition of him, will grant even the prayer of intercession for the sinning brother.

13.  Also, "the sin not unto death" and "the sin unto death," which are spoken of in this text, are not to be weighed by human measurements.  Romans 6:2 has it that, "The wages that sin pays is death."  On top of that, take a look at the Bible verse in Hebrews chapter six and verses four through six for a word for us to consider concerning "the sin unto death."  "Although once enlightened by the light, having tasted gifts from heaven, having come to share in the Holy Spirit, and experiencing the wonderful word of God and the power of the world to come, in the case of a person who has afterwards fallen back, he cannot be returned to repentance again; for, he crucifies by his own hand the son of God again and is in contempt of Him."

14.  "Everyone born of God does not sin," (5:18).  The devil is always chasing after every opportunity against us and is viciously attacking us.  "Be watchful and wake up.  Your enemy the devil, like a roaring lion, is going around seeking to eat up anyone," (First Peter 5:8).  In order to drag us in and destroy us, Satan is pressing upon us.  But, "He who was born of God" is guarding "the person who is born of God."  If we were trying to guard by ourselves the salvation given to us, it would be difficult defending against the spirit of evil as we only keep a miserable and meager guard going.  We do battle with the evil one to protect ourselves from sin by being protected by Him who was born of God.

15.  The boy David with the five pebbles he picked up knocked down Goliath, (First Samuel chapter seven).  When David fought against the enemy with a small weapon, God fought the battle with great power.  It was really God who brought Goliath down to defeat.  We do battle against sin to protect ourselves from sin by being in the safeguard of "the One who was born from God."  As "the One who was born of God" protects us, the devil can never inflict injury upon us to bring death upon us.  Because when it says "All those born of God do not sin," (5:18) it means "the One who was born of God" preserves us.

16.  We can not be faultless in a battle with the devil.  We bear battle wounds on a daily basis.  Because we have the protection of Jesus Christ the son of God who holds absolute power way beyond the devil, we will not fall into the fatal sin even though we receive wounds in battle that come from the devil.  The victory of the Christian lies in being kept preserved by Christ the son.

17.  "We belong to God, but this whole world is under the control of the evil one," (5:19).  Jesus said, "I am the true vine."  We are connected to this true vine (eternal life).  Therefore, even though all of society is under the control of evil ones, we know that we are connected to life, the vine.

18.  "Our citizenship is in heaven," (Philippians 3:20).  As for the call to spreading the gospel of true salvation, we can't do evangelism unless we make a clear distinction between the world and the church.  Verse nineteen clearly defines those boundaries of the world as an entity under the control of Satan and of us as people born of God and followers of Christ.  Here we are shown the reason we must give the gospel of salvation to our neighbors:  The whole world is under the control of the devil.  The Bible clearly states that we have been invited to God through Jesus Christ out of this world.

19.  The problem for today's Christian lies in that the distinction between the world and God is becoming blurred.  "He who belongs to God hears the word of God.  The reason you don't hear is you don't belong to God," (John 8:47).  The church on this earth is made by God to keep a clear distinction from the temporary world.

20.  "We know:  The son of God has come and has given us power to know the true One.  We are in the true One and we are in his son Christ.  This One truly is the true God, eternal life," (5:20).  "The word was God," he, the son of God, took on flesh and as Jesus Christ, as God the Son, came among us, (John 1:1-18).  And as we see God in Jesus Christ and can know God in Jesus Christ, he gives spiritual wisdom to our intelligence.

21.  There are some that deny that Jesus Christ is God.  It's not just the world.  There are even some among so called Christians.  In this epistle John calls such people antichrists and impostors or liars.  We see God the Father in Jesus Christ and know God the Creator, are brought into fellowship with the Lord God and are obtaining eternal life.  We cannot truly know God in making Jesus Christ something else, nor will we know him.  Although there are so many things being called "God" in this world today, there is no God but the God revealed and concealed by Jesus Christ.  We have now become persons who know that through John.  The Lord Jesus Christ is truly "the true God, eternal life," (5:20) and so John boldly tells us this in concluding the message of The Epistle Of John.

22.  Then, there is for the last word of this epistle, "O children, avoid idols," (5:21).  In the scriptures it says that idol worship is adultery.  Jeremiah, Hosea, and Ezekiel harshly denounce idol worship.  "Go to the whole world (this temporary world that keeps committing the sin of idol worship) and proclaim the gospel to every thing created," (Mark 16:15).

23.  "Worship God!," (Revelation 19:10; 22:9).

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