This morning Carmel's Young Adult Pastor Kenny Klinect taught from the book of 1 John. This book is a letter or sermon that John writes as a testimony about what he and the other apostles saw, heard and touched, and how people can be certain that if they believe in Jesus Christ they have eternal life here and now.
When Jesus began His earthly ministry in the region of Galilee he went around proclaiming the gospel of God saying, "the time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at had; repent and believe the gospel (Mark 1:14-15). Jesus was speaking of Himself being the good news of the Kingdom of God, and that this Kingdom was not an earthly kingdom, but one where God's rule would be over the people's hearts and lives.
1 John answers several questions about the Kingdom of God, like:
How do you enter the Kingdom of God?
Can you enjoy eternal life in this Kingdom now, while here on earth, or do you have to wait until some time in the future?
How are we to live today in God's Kingdom?
How can you know for certain that you have eternal life?
As if in a courtroom setting, John testifies that the Eternal Life (Jesus) came in the flesh and that through faith in Him you can have eternal life now and experience fellowship with God and other Christians (1 John 1:1-4). Then John tells about God's testimony concerning His Son Jesus in chapter 5, verses 9-13, and confirms that eternal life in the Kingdom of God is something to be experienced now while still here on earth.
There are 3 specific evidences that assure a believer that they have eternal life:
1. Theological Evidence-the evidence of true belief
That Jesus is God. That He came in the flesh and lived a sinless life and took on Himself the punishment that we deserved. Therefore, by believing in Jesus we have eternal life, the forgiveness of our sins and we are reconciled to God (See 1 John 2:1-2, 2:21-25, 4:1-3 and 5:20)
2. Moral Evidence-the evidence of true obedience
As Christians, we not only believe what is true, but our attitudes, actions and lifestyle prove we truly believe it (See 1 John 1:5-9, 2:3-6 and 3:4-6).
3. Social Evidence-the evidence of true love
True belief and true obedience are demonstrated by the way we love one another. It's an active love (See 1 John3:16-18 and 4:11-12). In relating to one another, if we have truth and God's commands without love it leads to the rejection of, and rebellion to, the truth. However, when we love one another the way God loves us, God's love is perfected in us, "reaches its intended goal," in that it reveals God to those who don't yet know and believe in Him.
Finally, the only way these evidences can become clear and conclusive in our lives, compelling others to want to know how they can have eternal life and enter God's Kingdom is through abiding in God and allowing the Holy Spirit to empower us.
1 John 3:23-24 says, "And this is his commandment, that we believe in the name of his Son Jesus Christ and love one another, just as he has commanded us. Whoever keeps his commandments abides in God, and God in him. And by this we know he abides in us, by the Spirit whom he has given us."
Questions to Consider:
Do I truly believe what is true about Jesus? How do you know?
Does my behavior match my belief? How do I treat God's commands, as suggestions to follow if it's convenient, or actually as commands to be obeyed?
Do I actively love others the way God loves me? Does the way I love others compel non-Christians to want to experience eternal life in the Kingdom of God?