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Sermon #44 — 1st John Series
Title: “Whosoever Believeth”
Text: 1 John 5:1-3
Subject: Faith in Christ
Date: Tuesday Evening — September 24, 2013
Tape# 1st John #44
Readings: Bob Duff and Dave Burge
The title of my message is “Whosoever Believeth.” My text is 1st John 5:1-3. — “Whosoever Believeth.”
(1 John 5:1-3) 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.
Notice first that John does not say, “Whosoever believeth that Jesus is the Christ shall be born of God,” as if to suggest that the new birth is caused by our faith in Christ. Oh, no! God the Holy Ghost inspired the Apostle to say precisely the opposite. — “Whosoever believeth that Jesus is the Christ IS born of God!”
“The new life is not implanted because man perceives the truth, but he perceives the truth because the new life is implanted. A man is not regenerated because he has first believed in Christ, but he believes in Christ because he has been regenerated. He is not regenerated because he first repents, but he repents because he has been regenerated.” — William G.T. Shedd
Faith in Christ is the fruit and evidence of the new birth, not the cause.
We shall stumble at the very threshold of this Chapter, and have but very imperfect ideas of what the Holy Ghost intended to teach the Church by this belief, unless we first consider the scriptural grounds of true faith, I have often thought, that if we were to calculate faith upon the standard of creeds, in prayer-books, and the rehearsal of them in the congregations, one after another, as horses in team; we might suppose that the whole were believers. But, if we were to examine such persons, upon the principles of the doctrines they profess to believe, perhaps not one in a score could be able to give an answer to any enquiry of the hope that is in them.
It is not the mere lip service of the acknowledgement of God, that implies a real belief in the existence of God, either in those that take up upon trust the scriptural testimony, that in this Being of God, there exists a plurality of persons; do we anymore discover in them a knowledge of Him. So it will follow, that there may be a confession of all that those creeds drawn up by men declare; and yet the heart all the while remain perfectly unacquainted with any saving knowledge of God in Christ. Reader! remember what all the way through I have been observing, that the regeneration of the heart, or being born again, is the only security for the real knowledge of God, Until that the child of God is regenerated and made a new creature in Christ, he hath no real heartfelt knowledge of the Lord. An entrance into Christ's kingdom in grace, as well as an entrance hereafter into Christ's kingdom in glory, can be accomplished no other way. Ye must be born again; Joh_3:7.
The Holy Ghost by the Apostle opens this Chapter in shewing the blessed effects which arise out of this new birth. He believeth that Jesus is the Son of God. And how is this wrought? No man (saith the Apostle Paul) can say that Jesus is the Lord but by the Holy Ghost; 1Co_12:3. But, when the Holy Ghost by regeneration hath opened the eyes of the understanding, in the knowledge of the mystery of God, and of the Father, and of Christ; he then sees, that in Christ are hid all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge; and that in Him dwelleth all the fulness of the Godhead bodily: and, like one of old, taught by the same Almighty Teacher, he crieth out to Jesus, Rabbi! thou art the Son of God! thou art the King of Israel! Col_2:2-10; Joh_1:49. Hence in this belief; arising from regeneration, and the teaching of God the Holy Ghost, the knowledge of Jesus as the Christ, that is, the Sent, the Sealed, the Anointed of the Father; implies, all the precious and blessed things included in that high administration. I mean, the apprehension, according to scriptural testimony, of the glorious doctrine of the Holy Three in One, which bear record in heaven; the union of God and Man in the Person of Christ atonement by his blood; justification in his righteousness; the Person, work, and ministry of God the Holy Ghost; together with all those great things connected with a life of grace here, for the Church of God, and the assurance of everlasting happiness in, and through Christ, in the life to come. Hence, whosoever hath these blessed views concerning Christ and his Church, and from the heart led by divine teaching is thus made acquainted with Christ, and believeth that Jesus is the Christ, this man hath the Spirit bearing witness with his spirit, that he is born of God. Reader! what say you to these things?
The Holy Ghost is graciously pleased to add, by way of further evidence, that the child of God may have a further, collateral testimony, to the assurance of faith wherein he stands; that everyone who loveth Christ, loveth also the people of Christ. And, as the love of the brethren, when that love is formed for Christ's sake, becomes another sweet testimony that we love the Lord of those brethren, when we love them because they are his; so, a desire of obedience, and conformity to what Jesus hath enjoined, on his account, will uniformly mark the pool of God as his whose they are, and whom they serve in the Gospel of God's dear Son. Reader! it is a sweet testimony, when, not from bondage-frames, but from real heartfelt affection, we follow the commandments and ordinances of the Lord blameless; Luk_1:6.