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Sermon #43 — 1st John Series
Title: “Three Facts
About Faith in Christ”
Text: 1 John 5:1-5
Subject: Faith in Christ
Date: Tuesday Evening — September 24, 2013
Tape# 1st John #42
Readings: Bob Duff and Dave Burge
The title of my message is “Three Facts about Faith in Christ.” My text is 1st John 5:1-5. — “Three Facts about Faith in Christ.”
1 John 5:1-5 Whosoever believeth that Jesus is the Christ is born of God: and every one that loveth him that begat loveth him also that is begotten of him. 2 By this we know that we love the children of God, when we love God, and keep his commandments. 3 For this is the love of God, that we keep his commandments: and his commandments are not grievous. 4 For whatsoever is born of God overcometh the world: and this is the victory that overcometh the world, even our faith. 5 Who is he that overcometh the world, but he that believeth that Jesus is the Son of God?
In his epistle to the Galatians, the Apostle Paul said, “In Christ Jesus neither circumcision availeth anything, nor uncircumcision; but faith which worketh by love” (Galatians 5:6). The book of First John seems to almost be a commentary on that one verse. Throughout these five short chapters, John has a twofold theme, which occurs over and over again: — Saving faith and brotherly love. John shows what faith is; then he gives us a test by which we may know if we have faith. The test question is — “Do we love the brethren?” He shows us what brotherly love is; then he gives us a test by which we must determine if we love the brotherhood of God’s elect. The test question is — “Do we believe on the Son of God?”
In this fifth chapter, the Apostle continues to press this same theme before us. He wants us ever to remember that true faith works by love. All of God’s people possess these two graces. Wherever there is a true saving faith in Christ, there is a genuine and sincere love for the brethren. And wherever there is a true love for the brethren, there is also saving faith. In the verses before us this evening, John shows us the nature and fruit of saving faith. And he shows us again how that these two things go together. Faith and love cannot be separated.
In Galatians 5:6 the Spirit of God tells us that these are the only two things that will avail us of anything spiritual and eternal. There is no advantage to the circumcision. That is to say, God does not have any regard for a man’s observance of His law, either moral or ceremonial. And there is no advantage to the uncircumcision. That is to say, God has no regard for those who feel that they are free from the law. In other words, God is no respecter of persons. He is neither Pro-Semitic nor Anti-Semitic. He is not partial to either blacks or whites, Jews or Gentiles, males or females, bond or free. God deals with all men upon one ground, and that is the finished work of his Son, the Lord Jesus Christ. And God accepts all men upon one condition, and that is “faith which worketh by love.” — “Without faith, it is impossible to please Him.”
· Our religious knowledge may be great and extensive; but without faith, it is vain.
· Our religious experiences may be wonderful, and even miraculous; but without faith in Christ, it is all vain.
· We may reform our outward lives and be diligent in the performance of religious activities; but without faith in Christ, all is vain.
· We may make great sacrifices and perform many noble deeds; but without faith, a personal, living, heart faith in Christ, all is vain. It is sinful.
· Without faith in Christ, all that we are and all that we do is an abomination in the sight of God. Our righteousnesses are as filthy rags, and the plowing of our gardens is an abomination before God, if we have no faith in the Son of God.
· And that faith that is true and genuine, it works by love.
Proposition: In our text this evening, John tells us that Christ alone is the Object of faith; and that true faith is a fruitful and powerful grace in the hearts of God’s elect.
Divisions: Looking at these five verses, I want to show you Three Facts About True Faith.
Saving faith is not an idle, dormant, and lifeless mental assent to a religious creed. It is a living, powerful, vital, and essential principle of life in God’s elect.
Jesus the Christ
This is the first thing that John tells us — True faith is a confidence of the heart in the Lord Jesus as the anointed One of God.
1 John 5:1 Whosoever believeth that Jesus is the Christ is born of God: and every one that loveth him that begat loveth him also that is begotten of him.
Saving faith has Jesus Christ as it’s only Object. Christ alone is the foundation and center of our faith. And, if our faith is true and genuine, it rests entirely upon the revelation of God concerning His Son.
This is the essence of faith — We believe that Jesus is the Christ. The word “Christ” means Anointed. And this is the fundamental essence of faith. Faith rests in Christ as that One who was sent and anointed of God as our Savior and Redeemer. (The Eunuch – Acts 8:37)
Acts 8:37 And Philip said, If thou believest with all thine heart, thou mayest. And he answered and said, I believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God.
We believe that Jesus Christ, the Son of Mary and Joseph, is the Messiah. Every prophecy of the Old Testament concerning the Messiah was fulfilled by Christ.
· Virgin Birth
· Perfect Obedience to the Law
· Vicarious Atonement
· Ascension to the Throne of Glory
· The Outpouring of the Holy Spirit
To believe that Jesus is the Christ is to trust Him in all His glorious offices.
This faith is much more than a mere mental assent to undeniable facts. It is to believe with the heart (Luke 4:41; Romans 10:9-10).
Romans 9:31-33 Israel, which followed after the law of righteousness, hath not attained to the law of righteousness. 32 Wherefore? Because they sought it not by faith, but as it were by the works of the law. For they stumbled at that stumbling stone; 33 As it is written, Behold, I lay in Sion a stumbling stone and rock of offence: and whosoever believeth on him shall not be ashamed.
Romans 10:1-17 Brethren, my heart's desire and prayer to God for Israel is, that they might be saved. 2 For I bear them record that they have a zeal of God, but not according to knowledge. 3 For they being ignorant of God's righteousness, and going about to establish their own righteousness, have not submitted themselves unto the righteousness of God. 4 For Christ is the end of the law for righteousness to every one that believeth. 5 For Moses describeth the righteousness which is of the law, That the man which doeth those things shall live by them. 6 But the righteousness which is of faith speaketh on this wise, Say not in thine heart, Who shall ascend into heaven? (that is, to bring Christ down from above:) 7 Or, Who shall descend into the deep? (that is, to bring up Christ again from the dead.) 8 But what saith it? The word is nigh thee, even in thy mouth, and in thy heart: that is, the word of faith, which we preach; 9 That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved. 10 For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation. 11 For the scripture saith, Whosoever believeth on him shall not be ashamed. 12 For there is no difference between the Jew and the Greek: for the same Lord over all is rich unto all that call upon him. 13 For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved. 14 How then shall they call on him in whom they have not believed? and how shall they believe in him of whom they have not heard? and how shall they hear without a preacher? 15 And how shall they preach, except they be sent? as it is written, How beautiful are the feet of them that preach the gospel of peace, and bring glad tidings of good things! 16 But they have not all obeyed the gospel. For Esaias saith, Lord, who hath believed our report? 17 So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.
This faith is the gift of God. It is beyond the reach of human understanding. Faith is the result of regeneration and the new birth. No man can have faith except God give him faith. (John 6:44-45).
John 6:37-40 All that the Father giveth me shall come to me; and him that cometh to me I will in no wise cast out. 38 For I came down from heaven, not to do mine own will, but the will of him that sent me. 39 And this is the Father's will which hath sent me, that of all which he hath given me I should lose nothing, but should raise it up again at the last day. 40 And this is the will of him that sent me, that every one which seeth the Son, and believeth on him, may have everlasting life: and I will raise him up at the last day.
John 6:44-45 No man can come to me, except the Father which hath sent me draw him: and I will raise him up at the last day. 45 It is written in the prophets, And they shall be all taught of God. Every man therefore that hath heard, and hath learned of the Father, cometh unto me.
Those, and only those, who have this faith are born of God. Regeneration is not the result of the sinner’s free-will. It is the result of the mighty power of God.
Eternal Spirit, heavenly Wind,
Breathe on Your slain (These dead in sin!),
Bid the dry scattered bones revive,
And make the dead in sin alive.
Behold how cold and dead we lie,
Send quick’ning unction from on high;
The dead in sin can never live,
Till You the breath of life shall give!
Like rushing wind Your power controls, —
Your still small voice can comfort souls:
Oh, breathe upon our souls today,
In grace Your sov’reignty display!
Awake, O Wind, and raise the dead!
Bring grace from Christ, our Covenant Head,
Refresh the trees of righteousness,
And all God’s saints with comfort bless!
Love and Obedience
In the second place, true faith is loving and obedient. Here is the test. If our faith is true, if we are made partakers of the Divine nature, our faith produces within us a loving obedience to our God.
Those who are born of God love the whole family of God (v. 1).
· Every true believer loves Christ, the only begotten of the Father (John 8:42).
· And every true believer loves the children of God (1 John 4:7, 12, 20).
1 John 4:7 Beloved, let us love one another: for love is of God; and every one that loveth is born of God, and knoweth God.
1 John 4:12 No man hath seen God at any time. If we love one another, God dwelleth in us, and his love is perfected in us.
1 John 4:20 If a man say, I love God, and hateth his brother, he is a liar: for he that loveth not his brother whom he hath seen, how can he love God whom he hath not seen?
Now, watch this, — John tells us the nature of true love (vv. 2-3).
1 John 5:2-3 By this we know that we love the children of God, when we love God, and keep his commandments. 3 For this is the love of God, that we keep his commandments: and his commandments are not grievous.
True love for the brethren arises from a true love for God. True brotherly love does not arise from carnal relationships. It arises from our relation to God in Christ.
· Love for the brethren arises from supreme affection for the Lord.
· If we love God, we keep his commandments (1 John 3:23).
· The commandments of God are not burdensome to those who love Him (Matthew 11:28-30; Romans 7:21-24; Psalm 17:15).
This is the third characteristic of faith — True faith is victorious faith (vv. 4-5; Hebrews 11:33-34; 1 Corinthians 15:57; Romans 8:37; Ephesians 6:10-24). How could it be anything else? True faith is faith in Christ, the Victor!
1 John 5:4-5 For whatsoever is born of God overcometh the world: and this is the victory that overcometh the world, even our faith. 5 Who is he that overcometh the world, but he that believeth that Jesus is the Son of God?
In these verses we discover where the strength of God’s Church lies, we discover where our strength lies. It is in Christ! In Christ alone we find victory through grace! It is Christ, the Object of our faith, God our Savior, who gives us victory through grace.
That is what it is to overcome the world, and to have a real soul cheering faith, in the assured conviction, that Jesus is the Son of God!
Hebrews 11:33-34 Who through faith subdued kingdoms, wrought righteousness, obtained promises, stopped the mouths of lions, 34 Quenched the violence of fire, escaped the edge of the sword, out of weakness were made strong, waxed valiant in fight, turned to flight the armies of the aliens.
1 Corinthians 15:57 But thanks be to God, which giveth us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.
Romans 8:37 Nay, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him that loved us.
Ephesians 6:10-24 Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord, and in the power of his might. 11 Put on the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. 12 For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places. 13 Wherefore take unto you the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand. 14 Stand therefore, having your loins girt about with truth, and having on the breastplate of righteousness; 15 And your feet shod with the preparation of the gospel of peace; 16 Above all, taking the shield of faith, wherewith ye shall be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked. 17 And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God: 18 Praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, and watching thereunto with all perseverance and supplication for all saints; 19 And for me, that utterance may be given unto me, that I may open my mouth boldly, to make known the mystery of the gospel, 20 For which I am an ambassador in bonds: that therein I may speak boldly, as I ought to speak. 21 But that ye also may know my affairs, and how I do, Tychicus, a beloved brother and faithful minister in the Lord, shall make known to you all things: 22 Whom I have sent unto you for the same purpose, that ye might know our affairs, and that he might comfort your hearts. 23 Peace be to the brethren, and love with faith, from God the Father and the Lord Jesus Christ. 24 Grace be with all them that love our Lord Jesus Christ in sincerity.
True, God-given, saving faith…
1. Trusts Jesus, the Christ!
2. Is Loving and Obedient!
3. Is Victorious!
O, may God the Holy Spirit give you faith in Christ by the power of His grace!