He is the True God and Eternal Life (1 John 5:1-21)

By June 24, 2012 Sermons One Comment

We know also that the Son of God has come and has given us understanding, so that we may know him who is true. And we are in him who is true—even in his Son Jesus Christ. He is the true God and eternal life. (1 John 5:20)

[Click here for Bible study materials based on this passage.]

The world we live in is flooded with so much information that many times we are confused. One day I heard coffee is not good for health because of caffeine in it. Then sometime later they say coffee is good if you drink proper amount. Another day people say aspirin is not good. Then later they say it is good especially for heart. Some say ‘red meat is bad for health but there are people who say ‘we must eat red meat.’ So these days when I heard this kind of information I am hesitant to practice it right away because it may change. So it is true that we are surrounded by so much information that we do not know which one is true.

It is the same with Jesus Christ. There is so much false information about Jesus Christ in the world that Apostle John had to defend his true identity in his book. Now in chapter 5, the final chapter, he reveals who Jesus is as the conclusion of his book. So we would like to know who Jesus is through today’s passage.

Part I. Everyone who believes that Jesus is the Christ (v.1-5)

Part I teaches us two main points. The first one is ‘everyone who believes that Jesus is the Christ is born of God’, and the second one is ‘everyone who believes that Jesus is the Christ overcomes the world.”

First, “every who believes that Jesus is the Christ” is born of God. Let us read verses 1-3a.
“1 Everyone who believes that Jesus is the Christ is born of God, and everyone who loves the father loves his child as well. 2 This is how we know that we love the children of God: by loving God and carrying out his commands. 3 This is love for God: to obey his commands.”
So far the idea about ‘born of God’ is presented twice in the book of 1 John. Two evidences were presented for one who is born of God. They are “not to continue to sin’ and ‘to love one another’.

1 John 3:9 reads, “No one who is born of God will continue to sin, because God’s seed remains in him; he cannot go on sinning, because he has been born of God.”

1 John 4:7 reads, “Dear friends, let us love one another, for love comes from God. Everyone who loves has been born of God and knows God.”

Now in today’s passage the author talks about another evidence about ‘born of God’, and it is ‘to believe that Jesus is the Christ.’ The word “Christ” means “the anointed One”. God anointed Jesus for his divine mission and it is to take away man’s sin. So to believe Jesus as the Christ is to believe Jesus is the Savior. No one can believe that Jesus died for our sin unless he is born of God. Such revelation is only available for one who is born of God. When a man is born of God he develops natural love for God and the children of God.

Second, “everyone who believes that Jesus is the Christ” overcomes the world.
Let us read verses 3b-5.
“And his commands are not burdensome, 4 for everyone born of God overcomes the world. This is the victory that has overcome the world, even our faith. 5 Who is it that overcomes the world? Only he who believes that Jesus is the Son of God.”
Here is another evidence for one who believes that Jesus is the Christ. It is overcoming the world. The world is every evil, evil men, and system, and the devil is the prince of the world. Now overcoming the world is the major spiritual battle for all believers. But the bible says ‘everyone born of God overcomes the world.” And he can experience the victory. The victory has been given to everyone who believes in Jesus Christ.

But many Christians are frustrated by their weaknesses. They may feel that they are not overcoming the world but they are overcome by the world. In fact if that is not the case why does the author keep talking that we must love God by obeying his commands? But how can we say that everyone born of God overcomes the world? We say it because every believer has possibility to overcome the world. It does not mean that we overcome the world all the time in our practical life. But we are able to overcome the world because Jesus Christ whom we believe has overcome the world.

Jesus said in John 16:33. “I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.” Jesus knew his disciples will have trouble. Believers have troubles common for all human being. In addition they have extra trouble which is persecution and hatred from the world. But Jesus did not exempt his disciples from the trouble of the world. But he asked them to take heart. Why? Because he has overcome the world. Jesus Christ who has overcome the world is in us when we believe that he is the Son of God. So every believer has complete possibility to overcome the world through faith in Jesus. That does not mean possibility is always reality. Sometimes we may be successful. Other times we may miserably fail. Sometimes I overcome my hatred toward my brother, and other times I fail. But it is absolutely true that overcoming the world is the victory we have through faith in Jesus Christ. So the author says “This is the victory that has overcome the world – even our faith.” Our faith in Jesus enables us to overcome the world and we can become “overcomer”. “Overcoming’ means ‘there is challenge, but we overcome it and we experience ‘victory’ in Jesus Christ.

When I was unbeliever I secretly admired believers and even envied them because their lives were victorious. They overcome the world and achieve something ordinary unbelievers cannot do. I just did not know how they could do it at that time. But I know the secret is ‘Jesus Christ who has overcome the world’, and he is the one they believe.

Part II. Testimony about Jesus Christ (v.6-17)
There are two testimonies about Jesus Christ in part II. The first testimony is that Jesus Christ came by water and blood. The second testimony is that eternal life is in the Son of God.

First, Jesus Christ came by water and blood.

Let us read verses 6-8. 1 John 5:6-8
“6 This is the one who came by water and blood–Jesus Christ. He did not come by water only, but by water and blood. And it is the Spirit who testifies, because the Spirit is the truth. 7 For there are three that testify: 8 the Spirit, the water and the blood; and the three are in agreement.”
Well, what does it mean “Jesus came by water and blood?” It probably refers to ‘Jesus came in human flesh from the beginning of his life to the end of his life.” Jesus came as man like you and me. Some antichrist believe that Jesus came by water but not by blood. It means the body that was crucified was not human body of Jesus. But Jesus came in human body from the beginning of his life to the end of his life, and he was crucified in man’s body. This is the testimony of the Spirit, the water and the blood.

Now, there is another testimony about Jesus Christ.

Second, the another testimony about Jesus Christ is “eternal life is in the Son of God”
Let us read verses 9-11.
“9 We accept man’s testimony, but God’s testimony is greater because it is the testimony of God, which he has given about his Son. 10 Anyone who believes in the Son of God has this testimony in his heart. Anyone who does not believe God has made him out to be a liar, because he has not believed the testimony God has given about his Son. 11 And this is the testimony: God has given us eternal life, and this life is in his Son.”

Both God and men have testimony about the Son of God. What is their testimony? Look at verse 11. Let us read this verse once more. “11 And this is the testimony: God has given us eternal life, and this life is in his Son.” The emphasis of the testimony is ‘eternal life is in his Son’.

The world is full of death. Someone says ‘the whole world is moving toward the tomb step by step slowly except one. There is only one living thing in the whole world. What is it? “The Bible”. So we all want life. “But where is the life?” This is a good question. We all know ‘where is death.’ We experience overflowing death here and there: violence, anger, hatred, lustful desires everywhere. But ‘where is life?” Life is “In the Son of God”, Jesus Christ.

Usually people believe that life is in ‘wealth’ and ‘easy going life’. There is one story that tells about this.

Luke 12:16-20 reads, “[16] And he told them this parable: “The ground of a certain rich man produced a good crop. [17] He thought to himself, ‘What shall I do? I have no place to store my crops.’ [18] “Then he said, ‘This is what I’ll do. I will tear down my barns and build bigger ones, and there I will store all my grain and my goods. [19] And I’ll say to myself, “You have plenty of good things laid up for many years. Take life easy; eat, drink and be merry.” ‘ [20] “But God said to him, ‘You fool! This very night your life will be demanded from you. Then who will get what you have prepared for yourself?”

This man thought that life is in ‘easy going life’. So he worked hard and accumulated a lot of money and he says “Wow! Finally now I can take life easy. I can eat, drink and be merry!” But life was not there! His life was demanded at the very night.

I know one CPA who was my boss a long time ago when I worked in a company. He worked hard as CPA for 50 years and he earned sufficient amount of money and he retired. He thought that he could enjoy life, going fishing, traveling anywhere, and meeting whomever he wanted. So he started to enjoy his retired life. But two years later he came back to work. He said, “I enjoyed fishing for two years. Then I became bored and my memory was going away. And that was not good life. So I came back to work.” So this man came back to work not for money but for work. So I really enjoyed working under him. He gave me work to do and if I did not finish it he just took it away and did it by himself because he was not working for money but for work. Surely he realized that the retired life is not the life he was seeking. I don’t know where the knew the life God wants to give him. God wants to give eternal life to all men and this eternal life is ‘in Jesus Christ.’ It is not in ‘money’ or ‘pleasure’ or ‘easy going life.’

Now since ‘eternal life’ is ‘in the Son of God’, we have ‘assurance of eternal life’ if we believe in the Son of God. This assurance is mentioned in verses 12-15.

Let’s read verse 12 first. “12 He who has the Son has life; he who does not have the Son of God does not have life.” This is the first assurance.

Then let us read verse 13. “13 I write these things to you who believe in the name of the Son of God so that you may know that you have eternal life.” This is the second assurance.

I know there are people who teach that we should be baptized in order to have eternal life. They think our faith in Jesus is not sufficient to have eternal life. But that is not true. We do not need any other things such as ‘good deeds’ or ‘holy life’ to have eternal life. So the author says, “I write these things to you who believe in the name of the Son of God so that you may know that you have eternal life.”

Now verses 14-15 is another assurance of eternal life. Let us read verses 14-15. “14 This is the confidence we have in approaching God: that if we ask anything according to his will, he hears us. 15 And if we know that he hears us–whatever we ask–we know that we have what we asked of him.”
God’s will is to give eternal life through faith in his Son. So when we pray for ‘eternal life’ through faith in Jesus it is as if we have eternal life because if we ask anything according to God’s will he hears us.

Let’s read verses 16-17. 1 John 5:16-17 reads, “If anyone sees his brother commit a sin that does not lead to death, he should pray and God will give him life. I refer to those whose sin does not lead to death. There is a sin that leads to death. I am not saying that he should pray about that. [17] All wrongdoing is sin, and there is sin that does not lead to death.”
These verses is a kind of difficult to understand because it suddenly talks about intercessory prayer and ‘sin that does not lead to death’ and ‘sin that leads to death.’ But I think according to the context ‘the sin that leads to death’ probably refers to ‘the sin’ that is blasphemy against the Holy Spirit.

Jesus mentioned about ‘unforgivable sin’ in Matthew 12:31-32. Matthew 12:31-32 “And so I tell you, every sin and blasphemy will be forgiven men, but the blasphemy against the Spirit will not be forgiven. [32] Anyone who speaks a word against the Son of Man will be forgiven, but anyone who speaks against the Holy Spirit will not be forgiven, either in this age or in the age to come.”

Jesus said the above verses against the Pharisees who said “It is only by Beelzebub, the prince of demons, that this fellow drives out demons” when Jesus drove out a demon out of a blind and mute man by the power of the Spirit.

Now in today’s passage the Spirit testified two things. First, Jesus Christ came by water and blood. Second, eternal life is in the Son of God. So if somebody says in an intentional rebellion against God, “Oh, the Spirit tells lies. Jesus did not come by water and blood. And eternal life is not in the Son of God” he commits sin that leads to death.

Part III. Final conclusion about Jesus Christ (v.18-21)

These parts teach us two main points. They are “Jesus Christ revealed the true God” and “Jesus Christ is the true God and eternal life.”

First, Jesus Christ revealed the true God.
Let us read verses 18-20a.
“18 We know that anyone born of God does not continue to sin; the one who was born of God keeps him safe, and the evil one cannot harm him. 19 We know that we are children of God, and that the whole world is under the control of the evil one. 20 We know also that the Son of God has come and has given us understanding, so that we may know him who is true.”

In these verses, the word ‘know’ is repeated 4 times. They are a series of ‘know’ statements. We have already talked about ‘anyone who is born of God does not continue to sin’. The one ‘who was born of God’ could be a believer. And ‘the evil one cannot harm him’ because he is already born of God. The evil one cannot cancel ‘the born of God’.

“Now we are children of God and at the same time, the ‘whole’ world is under the control of the evil one.” What does the evil one do when it control the whole world? It deceives because “the evil one’ is ‘father of lies’ according to Jesus. John 8:44.

“You belong to your father, the devil, and you want to carry out your father’s desire. He was a murderer from the beginning, not holding to the truth, for there is no truth in him. When he lies, he speaks his native language, for he is a liar and the father of lies.”
So the evil one controls the whole world to deceive so that people may not know the true God. It deceives so that men cannot believe that Jesus came by water and blood and eternal life is in the Son of God. How can we get out such deception? Through the Son of God. Verse 20a says, “20 We know also that the Son of God has come and has given us understanding, so that we may know him who is true.” The Son of God has come. Some people do not believe that the Son of God has come. The Jews still do not believe this and they are still waiting for another Son of God, but he will never come. But we know that the Son of God has come. What did he do when he came? He ‘has given us understanding, so that we may know him who is true.’ So the Son of God revealed the true God.

Second, the final conclusion about Jesus Christ is: Jesus Christ is the true God and eternal life.
Let us read verses 20b. “And we are in him who is true–even in his Son Jesus Christ. He is the true God and eternal life.”

How can ‘the Son of God’ be the God himself? Good question. But think about this way. Let’s assume there is someone who can represent you perfectly. There is someone who is the exact representation of your being. There is no difference between that person and you at all. “Who can that person be?” There is no such a person except one exception. That is ‘that person’ is ‘you’. The Bible says Jesus is ‘the exact representation of God’s being” and there is no difference between God and Jesus. Jesus is ‘in God’ and God is in him, and they are one. Then who is Jesus? He is the true God.

One missionary told me a story. One day she became curious about what was wrong with “Jehovah’s witness”. So she read what they wrote. She was very surprised to find that Jehovah’s witnesses believed that Jesus is the Savior and Jesus is the Son of God. But they do not believe that Jesus is the true God.

“Who is Jesus’ is one of the most controversial topics, and ‘to know Jesus personally’ is probably one of the most important prayer topics for all Christians.

“To know Jesus more personally” has been a long prayer topic for me as well.
I married in June 8th, 1984. When I wrote this testimony I realized “Oh, my God! I totally forgot about our marriage anniversary.” So in embarrassment I immediately called Maria and said, “I am very sorry. But I forgot our marriage anniversary completely this year!” Don’t follow my example, though. Anyhow when I married in Korea and came back to Los Angeles, I found one postcard put in our board of the center which was a two bedroom apartment. It was sent from shepherdess Anna Yang to msn Isaac Kim. I remember one of her lines. She said, “I pray that msn John Kwon may know Jesus continually”. You know ‘continually’ is one of UBF favorite words. And I remember that prayer topic very clearly because it was a kind of strange and interesting prayer topic. I thought at that time “Didn’t I know Jesus? Wasn’t I born again through the word of Jesus?” “But why does she have to say “I have to know Jesus more?” Well, because of the prayer topic I began to question myself from time to time, “Do I know Jesus personally?” My honest answer was “No. God is very personal to me but Jesus is not that personal to me.” “Why? What’s wrong with me?” So I began to pray from time to time to know Jesus personally. And that prayer topic was always at the back of my mind. 28 years have passed since that time.

When I read today’s key verse “he is the true God” I realized that God answered my prayer. When I heard ‘he is the true God’ I was reminded of Jesus revealed in the four gospels.

Jesus had such power to feed 5,000 people. But he never used his power for himself. That is why he was hungry even to the last days of his life on earth. Few days before he was crucified he was hungry in the morning. So he was looking for figs for his breakfast. He lived poorly among men after he was born in a manger. He also did not argue with religious leaders about who was right but he stood as a man who was wrong and was crucified. Why did he go through such trouble and suffering? It is to have fellowship with us. It is to understand us and take away our sins. The bible says Jesus went through all our troubles and sufferings. Do you have trouble? I know you do. Jesus is very near you because he has been there!

Jesus went through all these troubles in order to give us eternal life. And he is eternal life.

1 John 1:2 says, “The life appeared; we have seen it and testify to it, and we proclaim to you the eternal life, which was with the Father and has appeared to us.”

So Jesus is the true God and eternal life.

Finally, verse 21 reads, “Dear children, keep yourselves from idols.” Anyone and anything other than Jesus, who is the true God, is idol. So the author says, “Dear children, keep yourselves from idols.”

In conclusion, my message has three parts and each part has two main points.

Part I. Everyone who believes that Jesus is the Christ (v.1-5)
1) He is born of God
2) He overcomes the world.

Part II. Testimony about Jesus Christ (v.6-17)
Jesus Christ came by water and blood.
Eternal life is in the Son of God, Jesus Christ.

Part III. Final conclusion about Jesus Christ (v.18-21)
Jesus Christ revealed the true God.
Jesus Christ is the true God and eternal life.

One word: Jesus Christ is the true God and eternal life.

One Comment

  • KIM YOUNGSUK says:

    Thank you for your sermons. you are passionable person. Those make me happy.
    watch your health. Be happy!!

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