Monday, April 26, 2021

The Epistle of Jesus #1: Behold The Coming King Revelation 1

The Epistle of Jesus #1: Behold The Coming King

Key Verse: Revelation 1:8 I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the ending, saith the Lord, which is, and which was, and which is to come, the Almighty.

PowerPoint Link

Video Link
Doc Link



A old-time preacher was into this message about heaven. He was getting excited as he came to the conclusion and then called out in a fervent voice to the congregation. “How many of you want to go to heaven?” Of course everybody in that small church raised their hand high except one old guy who usually slept through the sermon. He didn’t raise his hand and so the pastor called out again, “How many here today want to go to heaven? There were amens and hallelujahs from all those with their hands raised, but not the old guy, who just set there, kind of bewildered at all the hands raised around him. Finally, the pastor got personal, called the man by name and asked him, “Brother don’t you want to go to heaven when you die?” The broke into a smile of relief and he said, “Well of course I do, but the way you was a preaching I thought you were trying to get up a group and leave this minute.”

Sometimes preaching or studying the book of Revelation can be like that. We look at the symbols, the warnings and the times we are in and begin to think we’re leaving right this minute. I believe in the immanent return of Christ meaning He can come back at anytime, but I don’t want to be looking for signs and events and then think His return is immediate. Immanent means at any time and that what we need to believe, but immediate can make you fearful or foolish and that is not what we need.

I’m praying for a different perspective and outcome as we go through the book of Revelation.

Greeting -  Revelation 1:1-4

The Revelation of Jesus Christ, which God gave unto him, to shew unto his servants things which must shortly come to pass; and he sent and signified it by his angel unto his servant John: 2  Who bare record of the word of God, and of the testimony of Jesus Christ, and of all things that he saw. 3  Blessed is he that readeth, and they that hear the words of this prophecy, and keep those things which are written therein: for the time is at hand. 4  John to the seven churches which are in Asia: Grace be unto you, and peace, from him which is, and which was, and which is to come; and from the seven Spirits which are before his throne;

Purpose Revealing of Jesus

In the very first verse, John writes, that this is, “the Revelation of Jesus Christ.” The word revelation is the Greek Word: ἀποκάλυψις, which is transliterated for us today as, apocalypse. It does not mean end of the world, cataclysm, or dooms day. It simply means the revealing or the unveiling. And so, John is saying that this epistle is the revealing of Jesus Christ. That is its first and primary purpose.

To really benefit from the Book of Revelation you need to understand and keep in the uppermost of your mind that purpose. The book of Revelation, the apocalypse, was not written to give us details of the future or help us name the anti-christ. (Hint: it wasn’t Donald Trump or Barack Obama. Nor was it one of the Roman Emperors or one of the popes, Mohammad or Hitler.) Revelation was not written so we could know the future, but it was written that we might know Him who holds the future. It was not written to know when the Lord is coming back but to know and rejoice in Him who is coming back.

It was written to give hope to those in John’s time suffering under the persecutions of the Jews, and the Roman emperors. It is also written for us when we go through persecution, pain and sorrow that we will know this is not the end, for Jesus is Lord and has the keys of death and hell. He will come and all pain and sorrow will be conquered. Finally, Revelation was especially written for those who will be caught in the Great Tribulation, those who put their faith in Jesus after the rapture, and specifically to the Old Covenant people of God, the believers of Israel, who will then recognize their coming Messiah, was truly the long rejected Jesus of Nazareth. This letter from Jesus to them will give hope and they will know that this time is not the end of the world but only the beginning of eternity.

John writes that the letter was “sent and signified by his angel (his messenger) unto his servant John” The word signified means “to show by a sign.” That’s important because John is saying, this vision is signified, proven with the things John saw, beginning with his vision of Jesus.

John as amanuensis for Jesus, Jesus’ epistle to the churches

I have entitled this series, The Epistle of Jesus, to focus on its purpose, to reveal Jesus the returning King. It was recorded by John in a sense writing as Jesus’ amanuensis, his scribe. In Revelation 1:11 Jesus commands, “What thou seest, write in a book, and send it unto the seven churches.” And the Jesus proceeds to supernaturally show in a vision, the Revelation you now hold in your hand.  This is the only time Jesus told any of the New Testament writers to write. The Gospels, Acts, the Epistles and personal letters that make up the New Testament were inspired and supervised by the Holy Spirit but this book, this is the epistle of Jesus, given to John directly by the Lord.

John wrote while he was on the island of Patmos around 96 AD, which at that time was a Roman penal colony, a rocky, hot, volcanic island prison. It served the same purpose as Alcatraz or Devil’s island would centuries later. The members of the early church of Jesus had undergone persecution from the Jews in Palestine and anywhere the Sanhedrin had authority, then the church had to endure the persecution of the full power and authority of the Roman empire, under Nero, who blamed the new sect called Christians for the burring of Rome in 64 AD. Under Nero’s authority, both Peter and Paul were executed.

Now in 96 AD another emperor descended from the same family that had destroyed the Temple in Jerusalem, begins to persecute the people of God. Emperor Titus Flavius Caesar Domitianus Augustus; usually called Domitian. He deified himself and began referring to himself as Dominus et Deus (“Lord and God”). This of course put the followers of Jesus, those who would only name Jesus as Lord and God, in direct conflict with the emperor. The book of Revelation was written during this very dangerous and dark time.

It was dark for all the people of God but it was especially dark for the last apostle of Jesus, John. John now around 100 years old was the most important living person of the still young Christian faith. It was John who testified in his first epistle, 1 John 1:1-2,  “That which was from the beginning, which we have heard, which we have seen with our eyes, which we have looked upon, and our hands have handled, of the Word of life; 2 (For the life was manifested, and we have seen it, and bear witness, and shew unto you that eternal life, which was with the Father, and was manifested unto us;)

To control the Christians, Domitian, needed to shut up John and so he was sent to the rocky island prison of Patmos, hopefully to die but definitely to be shut up. But oh, my what a different outcome came from that island of isolation. Instead of controlling the last apostle, Domitian, unleashed the coming eternal King, Jesus. Domitian wanted worship as deserving a god, but instead he was killed the same year John wrote this epistle. Domitian wanted others to believe he was eternal, instead his life was measured in just months and John from that island prison revealed the only true eternal one, Jesus God’s own Son.


Lets go to verse 5 and we are going to see, listen and experience with John, Jesus Who was, Jesus He is and Jesus Who is To come.

Jesus Who Was - Revelation 1:5-8

5  And from Jesus Christ, who is the faithful witness, and the first begotten of the dead, and the prince of the kings of the earth. Unto him that loved us, and washed us from our sins in his own blood, 6  And hath made us kings and priests unto God and his Father; to him be glory and dominion for ever and ever. Amen. 7  Behold, he cometh with clouds; and every eye shall see him, and they also which pierced him: and all kindreds of the earth shall wail because of him. Even so, Amen. 8  I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the ending, saith the Lord, which is, and which was, and which is to come, the Almighty.

Jesus as John Knew Him

John in his greeting to the seven churches, address it from himself and from Jesus Christ. He then begins to describe and praise his Lord and Savior. In this opening section, John remembers the Jesus who was, the Jesus he knew, loved and has served for over 70 years.

Take note of the Jesus John knew and praises.

John says, He is the faithful witness. By this he means that Jesus was God the Father’s witness, the word witness is martyr in the Greek and it here is especially means that Jesus gave the ultimate testimony, his own life to be a witness of God’s truth and love.

 John’s praise continues as he says that Jesus is the first begotten of the dead, a phrase which means the He is the first above all others who have been or will be resurrected from the dead. Jesus is above all. Jesus was not the first to come back to life, but He is and always will be the only one who in his own power conquered and overcame death.

He is the prince, the ruler of Kings of the earth. Many kings are seen in the book of Revelation, but just as Jesus is above all those who are resurrected, he is also above all kings and rulers. He is King of Kings and Lord of Lords.

John praises Jesus for the three-fold work that He accomplished upon the cross: He loved us, washed us from our sins in his own blood, and made us kings and priests.   A way of saying he has made us a kingdom of priests. (There is a three point sermon outline in just that phrase and by the time we are finished we all might wish I had just gone with it.)

John’s praise then crescendos, reaches its climax with “To Him be glory and dominion forever and ever. Amen!

Also, take note that the Jesus John knew, had promised to return.

John says, “Behold, he comes with clouds and every eye shall see him and they also which pierced Him and all the kindreds of earth shall wail.”  

He finishes his thought with Even, so Amen, a doubly assurance, written in both Greek, the even so and Hebrew, the amen. Even so, Amen means it is doubly sure, doubly true to both the new and old covenant people of God. It is also a prayer to God.   Even though his coming will cause many to wail, and others to have such aching regrets, even so, let it be.

Then John quotes the Jesus he knew. Revelation 1:8 I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the ending, saith the Lord, which is, and which was, and which is to come, the Almighty. Three times in this opening passage Jesus will claim the title of Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the end.

In just the first 4 verses we are given a powerful, praiseworthy picture of Jesus from the apostle who know Him best and had served him longest.

And as we consider the Jesus John knew we must consider …

Do We Know This Jesus?

Do we know Jesus as the faithful witness who died on the cross for the truth of God’s promises? Do we know Jesus who went to the cross to prove his love for us, to wash away our sin with his shed blood and do we know Him who has made us a kingdom of priests through His death on the cross.

Do you know this Jesus, because if you do not then you will be one of those who instead of saying Even so, Come Lord Jesus, will be among those wailing when they think of Him coming in the clouds.

You must know Him as John did, as one who has had his sin washed in his blood or you will know Him as one who is guilty of His blood. Know him as Savior or know Him as judge. Know him as King of Kings and Lord of Lords or know him as the avenging captain of the Lord’s host, carrying the sword of God’s wrath.

Do you know Jesus today because waiting until he comes in the clouds will be too late.

Illustration: The Man Born Blind (?)

Do you remember the story of the man born blind that Jesus healed? It is one of the longest accounts of any of the miracles of Jesus. It begins with the apostles asking Jesus why was this man born blind. Jesus heals him in answer to their question. “This man’s blindness is an opportunity for God’s work to be revealed in him.”

Jesus then heals him, but he does not tell the man who he is. The man is sent by Jesus to wash eyes in the pool of Siloam and he can see. It is such a miracle and because it happened on the Sabbath, the Pharisees question and man, reject his explanations and kick him out of the synagogue. When Jesus hears this, he goes in search of the man and when he finds him, asks him. Do you believe in the Son of God? What a question! It is perhaps the most direct invitation Jesus ever gave to an individual. The man in utter sincerity says, “Lord, Who is He?” and Jesus answers you have seen him he is talking with you now.” And he said, “Lord, I believe.”

In a sense that story is true for everyone, The Holy Spirit through God’s word asks, “Do you believe in the Son of God? Do you know Jesus?” That man came to know Jesus and much more important than his sight being restored, his soul was saved. Today could be the day that if you don’t know Him, then he will show himself to you, through His word and my prayer would be that you would answer, “Lord I believe.”


Now John brings us into the events as there were happening to him. And he shows us Jesus in the present that day with him. He shows us the …

 Jesus Who Is - Revelation 1:9-11

9  I John, who also am your brother, and companion in tribulation, and in the kingdom and patience of Jesus Christ, was in the isle that is called Patmos, for the word of God, and for the testimony of Jesus Christ. 10  I was in the Spirit on the Lord's day, and heard behind me a great voice, as of a trumpet, 11  Saying, I am Alpha and Omega, the first and the last: and, What thou seest, write in a book, and send it unto the seven churches which are in Asia; unto Ephesus, and unto Smyrna, and unto Pergamos, and unto Thyatira, and unto Sardis, and unto Philadelphia, and unto Laodicea.

(This is) Jesus As John Heard Him

John calls himself their brother and companion in tribulation and in the kingdom and patience of Jesus Christ. He is with them in the family of God, with them in suffering for God and with them in the work of the Kingdom or heaven and waiting for Jesus Christ.

He relates to them, “I was in the spirit on the Lord’s day.” Do you know what John was doing when Jesus gave him the greatest vision ever given to any one man? He was in church. He was worshipping God on Sunday, the Lord’s day. What an appropriate time to hear from Jesus. And that is exactly what happened.

John says I heard behind me a great voice as of a trumpet, saying I am Alpha and Omega, the first and the last.

He is then commissioned by Jesus to write the epistle of Jesus. He is to send this epistle to the seven church in Asia, to Ephesus, Smyrna, Pergamos Thyatira, Sardis, Philadelphia and Laodicea.

John heard the voice of Christ as a trumpet, a voice you could not ignore, a sound you could not mistake. What a fitting sound for the voice of the returning King. Trumpets are thought the book of Revelation; in 4:1, the trumpet calls John up to heaven, in 8:2ff, trumpets signal that the wrath of God poured out on an unrepentant world. The trumpets of the Old Testament assembled God’s people to the tabernacle, proclaimed war, and announced the feasts and holy days of God. In 1 Thessalonians 4:16 we read 16  For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise. In Matthew 24:31 it is another trumpet that sounds to bring Israel home to their God, 31  And he shall send his angels with a great sound of a trumpet, and they shall gather together his elect from the four winds, from one end of heaven to the other.

And now John hears Jesus speak in a voice like a trumpet and commissions him to write this book and send it to the churches who were suffering under the persecution of a pagan emperor who wanted to be god and was willing to murder any who would deny him the title.

John in the depths of his darkness, in the sorrow of his separation, in the blackness of his banishment, hears the voice of Jesus sounding a call of faith and hope. Just when he needed it Jesus called out and John heard that unmistakable powerful voice filling the emptiness of that desolate place, “I am the Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the end. I have not forgotten you, I have not left you alone and once more, I have a task for you. John, write what you will see and send it to others that they will know I have not forgotten them.

Do We Hear Jesus Now?

I wonder do we hear Jesus today? Do we hear Him in the depths of our sorrow, the isolation of our loneliest nights and the pain of our most hurtful days? When John had lost all that he had, his family, his friends, his church and was near to losing his life, he heard the voice of Jesus sounding behind him like a trumpet call of hope.

I have never spent time on the island of Patmos, I’ve never been imprisoned or banished but I have found myself alone, I have felt bound in cares and worries and cut off from those I love. It is at those times when I’ve most clearly heard the voice of Jesus calling.

When as a young foolish teenager I found myself stranded on a cliff face, I heard Jesus saying, “I will never leave you nor forsake you.” On the day my heart literally failed and I collapsed, I heard the words of Jesus reassuring me that He held me in His hand and no man could take me from Him. Before my surgery to repair that heart, I took my little visitation Bible and put tabs on every scripture where God spoke of His love, care and protection. When I went into open heart surgery, I had LeeOra write Psalm 27 on my wrist. Psalm 27:11 The LORD is my light and my salvation; whom shall I fear? The LORD is the strength of my life; of whom shall I be afraid? I wanted the voice of my Lord and God to be the last thing I thought of when I went under and the first thing I could read as I woke up. Of course when I did wake up and looked at my wrist it was wrapped completely in tape and an IV neatly punctured the writing. But it didn’t matter. That was only ink written on my wrist, but God’s word, Jesus’ promise was written on my heart and just like the trumpet of Jesus’ voice when John needed to hear it, I heard it that day. For the child of God, it will always be that way.

Let me tell you without hesitation and without equivocation, that if you are God’s child and you are hurting, alone or afraid then listen. Listen because Jesus’ voice is calling out to you in assurance and strength. “I am the first and the last, the Almighty God, turn from your fear and hear to my voice.

Illustration: I hear the Voice of Jesus say

The wonderful hymn “I heard the Voice of Jesus Say” was written in 1846 by Horatius Bonar, a Scotts Presbyterian Preacher. The Third Verse says.


I heard the voice of Jesus say,
“I am this dark world’s Light;
Look unto Me, thy morn shall rise,
And all thy day be bright.”
I looked to Jesus, and I found
In Him my Star, my Sun;
And in that light of life I’ll walk,
Till trav’ling days are done.

Jesus voice still calls, we just need to listen and turn toward Him.


John on that incredible Sunday, worshipped the Lord he had known and in the midst of his worship, he heard His call and turned and then he saw the…


 Jesus Who is To Come - Revelation 1:12-19

12  And I turned to see the voice that spake with me. And being turned, I saw seven golden candlesticks; 13  And in the midst of the seven candlesticks one like unto the Son of man, clothed with a garment down to the foot, and girt about the paps with a golden girdle. 14  His head and his hairs were white like wool, as white as snow; and his eyes were as a flame of fire; 15  And his feet like unto fine brass, as if they burned in a furnace; and his voice as the sound of many waters. 16  And he had in his right hand seven stars: and out of his mouth went a sharp twoedged sword: and his countenance was as the sun shineth in his strength. 17  And when I saw him, I fell at his feet as dead. And he laid his right hand upon me, saying unto me, Fear not; I am the first and the last: 18 I am he that liveth, and was dead; and, behold, I am alive for evermore, Amen; and have the keys of hell and of death. 19  Write the things which thou hast seen, and the things which are, and the things which shall be hereafter;

Jesus As John Saw Him

John turns and the Jesus he sees is the Jesus that will one day return to this earth. He does not see a wandering rabbi. He does not see a man of obscurity; he does not see a condemned man dying on a cross. No those were the Jesus that was, but this, this is the Jesus who is coming back.

Let’s look with John at that Jesus.

First John sees Jesus standing in the midst of seven golden candlesticks, seven oil lamps on long stands and in the middle of those seven lamps, he sees one like unto the Son of man. Not a son of man, but the Son of Man, put a capital letter on those words because this is Jesus’ title. John recognizes him for who he is but just as it was for Mary when Jesus appeared to her so unexpectedly that first Sunday morning, this Jesus is different.

John looks and he sees that Jesus is wearing a long robe, down to his feet, and wrapped about his chest and down to his waist is a golden girdle or sash.

His head and hair are as white as combed wool, white as snow, John says. And his eyes were as a flame of fire; And his feet like fine, pure, polished brass, glowing as if they had just come from the refining of a furnace. This shows Jesus as pure, holy, righteous and victorious.

John listens again and now the voice of Jesus is like the sound of a great, rushing waterfall, so intense that nothing else can be heard.

John looks and sees that Jesus holds seven stars in his right hand, seven stars that are the angels, the messengers, the pastors of those seven churches represented by those golden lamps. Then perhaps strangest of all, John sees a sharp two-edged sword going from the mouth of the Lord as he speaks. In these we see Jesus as the one who hold in protection and in judgment his own churches and with them the messengers of those churches. In love he holds them and protects them or in judgment corrects them out. They are His completely and absolutely.

His overall appearance, his countenance, John says,  was as like the sun shining at noonday, in all its strength, power and glory. Again this shows Jesus in all his righteous, purity and holiness, darkness cannot stay in His presence.

This isn’t the Jesus, John had known 70 years ago, this was Jesus as he would return to take what was rightfully His as Creator, King and Judge.

John hears and sees the glory of the coming King of Kings and he falls at the Lord’s feet like as if he were struck dead. He is overcome, overloaded and overawed by what his eyes behold. He has seen the Sun in the Son of Man,  in all his glory, all His power, all His purity, prepared as a captain of war to return for one final terrible battle and John’s senses can’t take it all in. Even greater than Moses at the burning bush, or Isaiah in the temple, or Ezekiel seeing the chariot of God, greater because now Jesus is fully revealed, this is the apocalypse, this is the revelation, it is Jesus no longer hidden in a stable, no longer obscured in a tiny village called Nazareth, or a tiny country called Israel. No this is Jesus coming in the clouds, this is Jesus that every eye shall see, this is Jesus that will cause all the people on the earth to cry out and wail. This is the Jesus John sees and he falls at the returning King’s feet.

And what does Jesus do, when he sees John fall? He is clothed in power, glory and splendor, he is arrayed for war, yet he reaches out and gently lays his right hand on John, His faithful servant, His loyal friend, His loving disciple. John feels Jesus touch and he hears Jesus’ voice say, “Fear not; I am the first and the last: 18  I am he that liveth, and was dead; and, behold, I am alive for evermore, Amen; and have the keys of hell and of death.”

What John needed at the lowest place in all his long life, was to hear the loving voice of Jesus and to feel his gentle touch. He needed to hear his Lord say, “Fear not.”

Are We Ready for the Jesus Who Will Come?

As I prepared this message, my goal was not to explain all the symbols, or give you all their Old Testament associations. We will come to those things as we preach this series, but my goal, was for us to see Jesus in a small way as John saw him that day. To grasp the purpose of this epistle, that it is not to know more of the future, but it is to know more of Jesus.

For us to know Him as the one who died for us and washed our sins in his own blood shed on calvary, for each of us in the times of pain and hurt to listen for that voice that calls out to us and tells us to turn from our sorrow and turn to our Savior. My prayer and hope was for all of us to see the Jesus that is coming back, no longer hidden by the centuries of time that has passed or by my own familiarity with church and religion, but to see Jesus, King of Kings, Lord of Lord, Prince of Peace and Captain of the Lord’s Host.  

In our lives we need our own apocalypse, something that strips away the veils of rut, routine and religion and lets us see the revealed King of Glory.

You and I will never share the experience of what John saw that day but this one thing we can share with him. When I have collapsed, when I’ve fallen then just like John I need to feel the touch of Christ. I need to hear the voice of Jesus, saying “Fear not. I am the first and the last. I am the one you trusted in, I lived, I died but now I live forever. I hold the keys of hell and death. Don’t fear because even the power of hell and death are under my authority.”


Yesterday, I heard that a close friend, a man I have spent untold hours with talking about life, God’s word and the Lord’s church, lost his wife in a terrible car wreck. I’m praying that he will feel the touch of his Savior and hear His loving voice.

I’m praying for my family in the loss of my mother, I’m praying for your family in the loss of those you loved and cared for, I’m praying for Jesus gentle touch on your shoulder and Jesus loving voice in your heart. As a pastor all I have are weak words of encouragement but I know Jesus and his words, and his touch are never weak or wavering.


 Years ago when I was pastoring in the Houston area, I had a church member named Annie Champion. She was up in years and down in health. We were in and out of the hospital time and time again with her. And she was afraid, she knew the Lord but she was afraid of being alone. Once as I visited her in the hospital she told how she felt and I held her hand and prayed. I prayed for Miss Annie and asked the Lord to be with her when her family or I couldn’t be there. I prayed that she would know that Jesus was in the room even when the heart monitors were going off and the doctors rushed in to pound on her chest. I prayed that just as she could feel my hand right then, she would feel Jesus hand holding on to her.

The next time we visited she couldn’t wait to tell me what had happened, how that her heart had stopped and the doctors rushed to get it beating again, Then she smiled behind these big old glasses that magnified the joy she was sharing. She said, “Bro. Kris. He was here.” I didn’t know who she was talking about, I though she meant one of the good looking doctors she was always flirting with. “Who was here, Miss Annie?” She looked at me in surprise and she said, “He was here. Just like you prayed. Jesus was here and he held my hand, while they were beating on my chest.” I had forgotten but she hadn’t forgotten and when she needed it Jesus took her hand and gave her strength. “Fear not, he told her. Fear not.” When she passed away back in her home. I know Jesus came to her once again, said, “Don’t be afraid, Annie Champion. Then He put out his hand and led her home.

This morning are you ready for Jesus to come to you? Have you know Him in the past as your savior, do you hear his voice now in the present and are you prepared his return as King of Kings and Lord of Lords. Perhaps this is your time, this is the place to come to know him. Or perhaps it is a time and a place where you just need to feel the touch of Jesus, just as John did worshiping the Lord on that long ago Sunday. He’s here in the midst of His church and He ready to reach out.  


Friday, April 23, 2021

Life With Christ: Walking with Those Who Walked With Christ. Lesson 2 John The Baptist

Life With Christ: Walking with Those Who Walked With Christ.

Lesson 2 John The Baptist  

Power Point Link
Video Link
MS Word Doc Link

Map of Lesson


Harmony of the Gospel Passages

 John the Baptist (In the wilderness of Judea, and on the banks of the Jordan)  Mt 3:1-12 Mr 1:1-8 Lu 3:1-18

 Jesus Baptized by John in the Jordan (Jordan east of Jericho at Bethabara)  Mt 3:13-17 Mr 1:9-11 Lu 3:21,22

 John's First Testimony to Jesus (Bethany beyond Jordan)  Joh 1:19-34, Ac 13:25, Ac 19:4

 The Baptist's Imprisonment by Herod (In Machaerus, east of the Dead Sea) Luke 3:19-20,

 The Baptist's Inquiry and Jesus' Eulogy of John (Galilee)  Mt 11:2-30 Lu 7:18-35

 The Baptist's martyrdom by Herod & Herodias  Mark 6:17-29, Matthew 14:2-12


Text: Matthew 3:1-17, John 3:22-36, Mark 6:17-29

Background:  Jesus and John the Baptist were first cousins by their mothers.  Elizabeth, John's mother and Mary, Jesus' mother were sisters.  The Bible records John leaping in his mother's womb when Elizabeth and Mary met while they were both with child. ( Lu 1:41,44 )  John must have been aware of his aunt's child even if they never met as children, though I believe it is very possible that they did, though not often.  At some point in his life probably about the age of 30 John left for the wilderness and took up the mantle as the last prophet of the Old Testament and the first of the new.  Some say he became an Essene, a group of  Jews which withdrew from society and studied the scriptures in preparation of the coming Messiah.  (This group wrote and hid the Dead Seas Scrolls.)  His job and name were given to him by God.  He was to prepare the nation of Israel for the appearance of the Messiah.  His ministry like Jesus was quite short, perhaps only a few months to a few years.  Jesus' public ministry began at His baptism by John, and his full disclosure to the nation of Israel began about the time John was throw into prison.


John and Jesus' Baptism Read Matthew 3:13-17

In verse 15 Jesus said, " Suffer it to be so now, for thus it becometh us to fulfill all righteousness."



What prompted him to say this? 

Jesus was the Messiah, the one who he was sent to prepare the way.


Who were "us?" 

John and Jesus but also as a general principle all those who follow God.

What was John's reaction to the statement?

He baptized Jesus.


What did Jesus mean then by it "becometh us to fulfill all righteousness?"

That there is no part of obedience or doctrine or truth that is not important. Baptism was the sign of those who would follow Messiah it wrong to deny is importance.




Do the words of Christ and his example of being baptized mean something to "us" today?



In vss. 16 and 17 notice the appearance of all three persons of the Godhead at this time. 


Read vss. 16-17 Did anything ever occur like this before or after?

No only once in the sight of man is the Father, Son and Spirit seen.


What does this signify about this event?

It’s importance to God.




What of  our own baptism?  How important is it in light of Christ statement and the appearance of the Trinity?

John and Jesus' Prominence Read John 3:22-36



Why was "much water needed?"

Baptism was by immersion only.


Why were John's disciples asking this question?  What was happening to John's ministry and status? vs 25

It was dwindling down as Christ was rising up.


What did John's response reveal about himself  vs 27

He understood his place in the plan of God.


What was John's view of his role with Christ?  vs 29

He saw him as God as the one he served, the best man to the bridegroom.


What was John's view of his relationship with Christ vs 30-31

Jesus was preeminent over all.


What was John's view of Christ's relationship with God? vs 32-35

He was sent from God, spoke for God and was equal to God


What was John's view of Christ relationship with us? vs 36

Eternal life was conditional upon belief in Jesus.



What must the goal of my own life in the light of  John 3:30-31?

Is there any area of my life which I can rightfully say Christ should not be over?


What are some areas of life where Christ must increase and I must decrease?


Following John's example how can I make Christ over all in my life?  What did John understand that his disciples did not?

John and Jesus' Calling - Mark 6:17-29




What quality or characteristic of John put him in prison?

Obedience to God’s principles and word at all cost.


How had John's understanding of God and of the Christ brought him to this moment?

He believed that his purpose in life was to prepare others for the kingdom of God, the coming of the Messiah. This was his role in the plan of God. He would not retreat from this even if it meant death.




Based on John's example, how should we regard or own calling by God?


How should we handle God's truth even if confronted by those who are negative to it?



For Further Study of John the Baptist.


General Scripture References - Isa 40:3; Mt 11:14; Lu 1:13,57,60,76,80 3:2; Mt 3:1,13; Joh 1:15,29; 3:26; 1:19; 5:33; Mr 1:14; Mt 4:12; 11:2,7,11; Mt 14:3,10; Mr 6:29


Characteristics of John the Baptist


Self Denial, Mt 3:4; Courage Mt 3:7 14:4; Obedience  Mt 3:15; Powerful preacher  Mr 1:5; Humility Mr 1:7,  Joh 1:19-23; Holiness  Mr 6:20; Burning zeal  Joh 5:35; Honored by Christ; Mt 11:11, Lu 7:24-27; Did no miracle,  Joh 10:41; Suffered martyrdom,  Mt 14:10


               1.  What marked the beginning of Jesus' public ministry?

               2.   How are the years of Jesus' earthly ministry labeled?

               3.  John was also known as the forerunner because he did what?

               4.  Why was Jesus baptized?

               5.  Why should we be baptized?

               6.  What event occurred at Jesus baptism that has never been seen before or since?

               7.  What had upset John's disciples?

               8.  What was John's view of himself in light of Jesus Christ?

               9.  Who put John in prison? Why?

               10.  What was John's family relationship to Jesus?


Trivia / Bonus

               Jesus was related to two of John the Baptist disciples, who later became Jesus' disciples who were they?


I believe we do not give enough time or honor to the life of John The Baptist. He was a prophet like no other before him and only the end of the age will see others fill the same role and even then will be seen in his shadow.

John’s message was fire, judgment, repentance and preparation. His preparing the way of the Lord resulted in thousand of people be receptive to the message of Jesus. His disciples were the first building blocks of Jesus church and the foundation of Christianity.

Yet for us, her and now, perhaps his most profound statement is what he said about himself and Jesus, “He must increase but I must decrease.” For John it was the reality of his life and calling, for us it must be our goal and life’s focus.


Monday, April 19, 2021

The Fellowship of God 4: Walk Worthy 1 John 3

The Fellowship of God 4: Walk Worthy 1 John 3

Power Point Link

Video Link
MS Word Link


The Person of Christ and the Purpose of the Letter 1:1-4
Fellowship's Code:Walk In The Light, confess sin 1:5-2:2
Fellowship's Conduct:Walk In Obedience, keep His commandments 2:3-6; Walk In Love, the superseding commandment 2:7-17
Fellowships Creed, Jesus is the Christ 2:18-19.
Fellowship’s Characteristics. 3:1-24.
Fellowship’s Cautions. 4:1-21.
Fellowship’s Cause. 5:1-21.  -  Modified from The Wycliffe Bible Commentary.

Now it is natural for us when we are studying or preaching, to outline a passage by looking for themes and key words but don’t get hung up on the outline. I doubt that John wrote his letter according to an outline, any more than you would write a letter today according to an outline. Instead he had some concerns on his heart, there was some encouragement he wanted to share and some warnings he wanted to give, and he wrote as these things came to mind. The main difference between John’s epistle and our writing a letter is that he was inspired and guided by the Holy Spirit in a way you and I will never be. Our unction as John said last week, our anointing, is in understanding and receiving the message John sent to them and to us.


We get a good idea of John’s heart when we look not so much for an outline, that he didn’t have, but instead look for the phrases that tell us why he was writing. These things have I written… 1:3 that ye also may have fellowship with us.

In 1:4 that your joy may be full. Then in chapter 2:1–2 that ye sin not. Later in the same chapter 2:26 These things have I written unto you concerning them that seduce you. Finally, in 5:13  ..that ye may know that ye have eternal life, and that ye may believe on the name of the Son of God.

At the end of chapter 2, after John expresses his confidence in who they are and that they will abide in Christ he goes on and gives the characteristics of those in the Fellowship of God. I had I had a tough time getting chapter 3 into a format, I could preach, for its more than just a list of characteristics for Christians. It’s also about encouragement and warnings,  about to live and what they believe. Even though John doesn’t use the word, what he is describing we would understand as our Christian walk. And he is encouraging them to walk worthy, to live and act in a manner that befits and show who they are and who they serve.

So let me tell you an almost forgotten story of a once very famous Christian walker, who took literally walked the Christian walk, his name was John Chapman, if that doesn’t sound familiar that’s because you might have heard him called Johnny Appleseed. 

A monument in Dexter City, Ohio has inscribed:

Without a hope of recompense,
    Without a thought of pride,
    John Chapman planted apple trees,
    Preached and lived and died.

Johnny Appleseed collected seeds from apple cider presses in western Pennsylvania and using those seeds, he planted orchards and nurseries from the Alleghenies to central Ohio, West Virginia, Indiana, Illinois. He also gave thousands of seedlings to westward-bound pioneers. Johnny Appleseed lived a nomadic life at harmony with all those he met, including the Indians tribes he came across. He told people he met, “I have traveled more than 4,000 miles about this country, and I have never met with one single insolent Native American.”

He brought them medicinal plants he foraged during his miles of walking. Even hostile Native Americans considered him touched by the Great Spirit, and many hearing his preaching were converted to believe in Johnny’s Savior.

Every description of him notes that he always carried the Bible, which he knew cover to cover. One of his favorite verses was “Blessed are the pure of heart.” He called an apple blossom a “living sermon from God” and often quoted the Sermon on the Mount by heart.

He traveled thousands of miles barefoot and wore a cooking pan as a hat over his uncut, long hair. On his back he slung an old coffee sack as his necessaries bag. Johnny Appleseed had an unconventional and unique devotion to nature and the Bible.

Harper’s New Monthly Magazine, 1871, printed a story in of an itinerant missionary who exhorted in an open-air meeting in Mansfield, Ohio: “All should be living the simple life, getting solely what ye need from He who is your God. … Where now is there a man who, like the primitive Christians, is traveling to heaven barefooted and clad in coarse raiment?” Johnny walked up and put his bare foot on the stump the preacher had as a podium and said: “Here’s your primitive Christian!”

At seventy years old, he was still walking and preaching. One day he decided to visit his old friend William Worth. His friend fed him and offered a place to sleep. He drank some milk and ate some bread. Then he read out loud to William from the Bible. Then tired from all his lifetime of journeys, he laid down on the floor to sleep and woke up in heaven. He died on March 18, 1845.

Upon hearing news of his death, General Sam Houston, one of the first U.S. Senators from Texas, addressed Congress: “This old man was one of the most useful citizens of the world in his humble way. He has made a greater contribution to our civilization than we realize. He has left a place that never can be filled. Farewell, dear old eccentric heart, your labor has been a labor of love and generations, yet unborn, will rise up and call you blessed.”

Now Johnny Appleseed’s barefoot 4-thousand-mile walk was his way of walking worthy of God’s calling. His exact walk is not your exact walk, but all of God’s Children are called to walk worthy of the One who saved and called us as His children. John, the last living apostle, is encouraging the children of God to bear in mind the characteristics that mark them as followers of God, to live their life in the three elements of light, love and truth and to guard against any that would draw them away. In this chapter he gives four reasons to walk worthy of our calling and of our heavenly spiritual fellowship. Walk worthy of who you are, walk worthy of your new nature, walk worthy in love and walk worthy in deed.

Walk Worthy Of Who You Are - 1 John 2:28–3:3

28 And now, little children, abide in him; that, when he shall appear, we may have confidence, and not be ashamed before him at his coming. 29 If ye know that he is righteous, ye know that every one that doeth righteousness is born of him. 1 Behold, what manner of love the Father hath bestowed upon us, that we should be called the sons of God: therefore the world knoweth us not, because it knew him not. 2 Beloved, now are we the sons of God, and it doth not yet appear what we shall be: but we know that, when he shall appear, we shall be like him; for we shall see him as he is. 3 And every man that hath this hope in him purifieth himself, even as he is pure.

Be What You Are, A Child of God

This portion of John’s epistle bears a strong resemblance to the same chapter in his gospel. Here John says, “everyone that does righteousness is born of him.” Reminding the child of God that he entered into this family not a natural process but by supernatural one, not by an physical birth but by a spiritual rebirth. You are a child of God, live your life in the knowledge, power and standards of who you are.

When Nicodemus came by night to talk to Jesus, Jesus told him, “You must be born again.” Reborn, born from above. John 3:3-8 3  Jesus answered and said unto him, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God. 4  Nicodemus saith unto him, How can a man be born when he is old? can he enter the second time into his mother's womb, and be born? 5  Jesus answered, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God. 6  That which is born of the flesh is flesh; and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit. 7  Marvel not that I said unto thee, Ye must be born again. 8  The wind bloweth where it listeth, and thou hearest the sound thereof, but canst not tell whence it cometh, and whither it goeth: so is every one that is born of the Spirit.

John, even at almost 100 years of age is still amazed at this rebirth and the change it makes, says, “Behold, what manner of love the Father hath bestowed upon us, that we should be called the sons of God:” The idea here, if I could paraphrase is, “How incredible, how supernatural, how unbelievable is the love that God poured out on us that we have been made the children of God and yet that is exactly who we are!”

We are so much the children of God that when He is revealed, we shall be like Him. We shall see Him as He is, not as Moses did shielded by the cleft in the rock, but we will look directly upon our Father’s face.

This is such an overwhelming reality that John finishes that thought with “Everyone who has this hope in Him, purifies himself, just as He is pure.” And that is the point. If you are a child of God, if you have been reborn, if you have been changed by the supernatural love of God then that hope, empowers, enables you, inspires you to live according to your new family heritage.

Walk Worthy As A Child of God.

Peter, sounded the same theme as his former fishing partner John, in 1 Peter 1:22-23 22 Seeing ye have purified your souls in obeying the truth through the Spirit unto unfeigned love of the brethren, see that ye love one another with a pure heart fervently: 23 Being born again, not of corruptible seed, but of incorruptible, by the word of God, which liveth and abideth for ever.

You and I as children of God can’t walk the way we used to walk, we can’t talk the same way, we can’t think the same way. We have been reborn and are no longer the children of this world, but children of our Heavenly Father.

​Paul says it this way in Ephesians 2:1-61 And you hath he quickened (made alive), who were dead in trespasses and sins; 2 Wherein in time past ye walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that now worketh in the children of disobedience: 3 Among whom also we all had our conversation (the way we lived) in times past in the lusts of our flesh, fulfilling the desires of the flesh and of the mind; and were by nature the children of wrath, even as others. 4 But God, who is rich in mercy, for his great love wherewith he loved us, 5 Even when we were dead in sins, hath quickened us together with Christ, (by grace ye are saved;) 6 And hath raised us up together, and made us sit together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus:

You know who is sitting right now in heavenly place in Jesus Christ? This guy! And if you have been reborn then that is where you sit as well.

Now how can people who are called by God’s name, born of God’s love and sit in God’s presence not walk in a manner worthy of such grace and such an honor? In truth you can’t. You just can’t, not if you are truly who you are supposed to be.

Illustration: Oswald Chambers was the author of the most popular devotional book of all time, “My Utmost For His Highest” even though he never wrote a word in it. He died before it was ever written and his wife “Biddy” who had faithfully taken all of his sermons, lectures and lessons down by shorthand, wrote the book late at night as a widow trying to raise their only child. Chambers knew how important an understanding of our new birth was.

In My Utmost For His Highest, he wrote, “The answer to the question “How can a man be born when he is old?” is—When he is old enough to die—to die right out to his ‘rag rights,’ to his virtues, to his religion, to everything, and to receive into himself the life which never was there before. The new life manifests itself in conscious repentance and unconscious holiness - Oswald Chambers, My Utmost for His Highest.

Being born again of the Spirit is an unmistakable work of God, as mysterious as the wind, as surprising as God Himself… Being born again from above is a perennial, perpetual and eternal beginning, a freshness all the time in thinking and in talking and in living, the continual surprise of the life of God. - Oswald Chambers, My Utmost for His Highest:

Transition: John starts the worthy walk of those in the Fellowship of God with the new birth and then builds on that birth by encouraging us to walk worthy of our new nature.

Walk Worthy Of Your New Nature, 1 John 3:4–9

4 Whosoever committeth sin transgresseth also the law: for sin is the transgression of the law. 5 And ye know that he was manifested to take away our sins; and in him is no sin. 6 Whosoever abideth in him sinneth not: whosoever sinneth hath not seen him, neither known him. 7 Little children, let no man deceive you: he that doeth righteousness is righteous, even as he is righteous. 8 He that committeth sin is of the devil; for the devil sinneth from the beginning. For this purpose the Son of God was manifested, that he might destroy the works of the devil. 9 Whosoever is born of God doth not commit sin; for his seed remaineth in him: and he cannot sin, because he is born of God.

Be Aware Of the New You

John says flatly and plainly, Jesus was revealed to take away our sin, in Him there is no sin. Therefore, anyone living in sin, dwelling in sin, can’t know Christ. He adamantly says that the person who commits sin is of the devil. Just as Jesus was manifested to take away or sin, the sones of God were manifested, revealed that Jesus might destroy the works of the devil. That is our salvation. What Satan began in the Garden of Eden with Adam has been destroyed by what Jesus finished on the Calvary.

Now this principle of walking in our new nature, isn’t hard to understand in its overall meaning but the detail can sometimes leave us with questions. Exactly, what does John mean when he says, “whoever sins hath not seen or known Jesus or he that commits sin is of the devil? Does this mean, like some say that we must reach a state of sinless perfection? A spiritual nirvana where sin can’t touch me? No, of course not. Remember what he has already written earlier in 1 John 1:8–10 8 If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. 9 If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. 10 If we say that we have not sinned, we make him a liar, and his word is not in us. He is not contradicting himself just a few paragraphs later.

No, he is not talking about sinless perfection, he is building on what he has already said about being the children of God and about our new spiritual nature, not our old physical body.

The key is in 1 John 3:9 9 Whosoever is born of God doth not commit sin; for his seed remaineth in him: and he cannot sin, because he is born of God. Both here and in verse 6 these are absolute statements. One who is born of God does not sin because God’s seed remains in him, and he cannot sin because he has been born of God. “God’s seed” has produced His new nature, that nature received at salvation.

John 1:13 13 Which were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God

2 Peter 1:4 4 Whereby are given unto us exceeding great and precious promises: that by these ye might be partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust.

We are the children of God and as children we partake and share in the nature of our Heavenly Father. That part of us, that spiritual part of us, that part of us that is the true and eternal part, can’t be touched by sin. In God’s eyes, because of that new nature we will not face the judgment of wrath, nor ever be at risk of losing our salvation. God’s seed remains in us and sin cannot touch that part of us. If that wasn’t true then none of us would have any hope of heaven, because just one sin, would bring us right back to being under God’s wrath.

Walk Worthy Of Your Incorruptible Nature

What this means to us is that we should understand the truth of our new nature on the inside and walk worthy of that nature on the outside. It is not a license to sin, as those who don’t have the faith in God’s word to believe in His power to save eternally, often accuse us of.

Nor does it mean I shouldn’t be concerned about sin in my day to day life, thinking that doesn’t matter because is only on the outside. What it means, in the way John is using it, is a means to walk away from dominating, the practice of sin. If I believe in my new nature, then sin no longer has the power to control me.

​ Look at these verses from Romans 6:1-14 1 What shall we say then? Shall we continue in sin, that grace may abound? 2 God forbid. How shall we, that are dead to sin, live any longer therein? … 6 Knowing this, that our old man is crucified with him, that the body of sin might be destroyed, that henceforth we should not serve sin. 7 For he that is dead is freed from sin. …12 Let not sin therefore reign in your mortal body, that ye should obey it in the lusts thereof. 13 Neither yield ye your members as instruments of unrighteousness unto sin: but yield yourselves unto God, as those that are alive from the dead, and your members as instruments of righteousness unto God. 14 For sin shall not have dominion over you: for ye are not under the law, but under grace.

It’s about the control of sin, the power of sin, the desire for sin that has all changed because of your new nature, but it’s not about the total absence of sin. Remember what John said, “If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us.”

Illustration: Let me give you a real-life illustration as best I can remember it. My Grandfather Van George was also a preacher and he had a little mission right on the square in Cooper, Texas in an old condemned movie theater. Probably the only time my Grandfather ever went into a movie house was when he started that mission. This is around 1980 or so. In that mission was a lady who faithfully pushed her wheelchair bound husband at least 4 or 5 blocks to come to services every Sunday. I wish I could remember her name, but I can’t, so let’s just call her Sister Spraggins, because that is the name of the first really old person I remember when I was about 3 or 4 in Altus, Oklahoma. To me as a very young child, she seemed really ancient, but she was probably only about 60 or so. So, let’s take her name and use it in this now not as true as it was before story.

Our now renamed, Mrs. Spraggins believed in sinless perfection, that a Christian could reach a state where they no longer sinned, at…all, …never, …not even once. She and my Grandfather would often discuss this especially after church outside on the square.

She would say, “Well, Bro. George, I do believe I don’t sin anymore. It’s probably been 20 or 30 years since I committed any sin.”

Granddad would answer, “Now sister Spraggins, I saw you get very upset and lose your temper just last Sunday when that car almost hit you and your husband on the way home. And what about what John said about he that says he has not sin is deceiving themselves.”

Sister Spraggins countered with, “That was just a reaction last Sunday and anyway you can’t expect me to believe like you Baptists that I can do anything I like and not sin.”

Bro. George smiled and said, “That’s exactly right. You can do anything you like.”

“Bro. George that’s almost heresy”

“Well tell me Sister, do you want to commit adultery? Or rob a bank or murder somebody?”

At this point Mrs Spraggins was getting upset again. (Sorry, I meant she was have a reaction.) “Why Brother George that is offensive. Who do you think I am? I’m a Christian. I don’t want to do those things. I want to come to church and serve the Lord. Just like you do.”

Granddad’s smile got even bigger and he said, “That’s exactly right. You do what you want to do, because if you’re a child of God, what you want to do is what He wants you to do.”

Grandad’s point was made on me if not on Sister Spraggins. If you are a child of God you don’t want to sin, you want to live righteously because that is who you are now.

Transition: Next John is going to return to his favorite subject in this letter, Loving one another.


Walk Worthy By Loving One Another - 1 John 3:10–17

10 In this the children of God are manifest, and the children of the devil: whosoever doeth not righteousness is not of God, neither he that loveth not his brother. 11 For this is the message that ye heard from the beginning, that we should love one another. 12 Not as Cain, who was of that wicked one, and slew his brother. And wherefore slew he him? Because his own works were evil, and his brother’s righteous. 13 Marvel not, my brethren, if the world hate you. 14 We know that we have passed from death unto life, because we love the brethren. He that loveth not his brother abideth in death. 15 Whosoever hateth his brother is a murderer: and ye know that no murderer hath eternal life abiding in him. 16 Hereby perceive we the love of God, because he laid down his life for us: and we ought to lay down our lives for the brethren. 17 But whoso hath this world’s good, and seeth his brother have need, and shutteth up his bowels of compassion from him, how dwelleth the love of God in him?

Be True To God’s Love

John returns once again to this great concern he has for those he is writing and for those who would follow decades and centuries later, “this is the message that ye heard from the beginning, that we should love one another.”

John had seen the bickering between the apostles while Jesus was still on the earth. He was there when Judas betrayed his Lord, and now at over 90 years old he had seen a lifetime of division, acrimony, bitterness, and recriminations that any church member sees between so called brother and sisters in God’s family. Now once again we read his heartfelt plea, “Love one another!”

The last apostle has lost his family, his friends, his brother James, his pastor Peter and oh so many others of that first generation of Christians. How it must have broken his heart to see this next generation turn on each other. He feels so strongly that he says its as bad as what Cain did to Abel. He says that if you hate your brother or sister in Christ then you are a murderer and there is nothing of eternal life in you.

John says, this is THE commandment, the new commandment of Jesus and it so important to John, that he states this is the way we can know we have eternal life, if we love our brothers and sister in Christ.

“By this we know what love is, He laid down his life for us, and we ought to be willing to lay down our lives for each other.” That’s love, that’s self-giving, self-sacrificing, agape love that can only be possible through our new birth and our new nature. What Jesus did for us we are now able to do for others. As it was in His nature as our Savior, it is now in our nature because that is the new you through Jesus Christ.

Transition: John has one final encouragement for this generation of Christians in vss. 18-23. He wants them to understand walking worthy of who means we actually do some walking, some work, some deeds.

 Walk Worthy In Deed - 1 John 3:18–23

18 My little children, let us not love in word, neither in tongue; but in deed and in truth. 19 And hereby we know that we are of the truth, and shall assure our hearts before him. 20 For if our heart condemn us, God is greater than our heart, and knoweth all things. 21 Beloved, if our heart condemn us not, then have we confidence toward God. 22 And whatsoever we ask, we receive of him, because we keep his commandments, and do those things that are pleasing in his sight. 23 And this is his commandment, That we should believe on the name of his Son Jesus Christ, and love one another, as he gave us commandment.

Be Obedient And Act

John tells them to make sure your walk is more than just an abstract, esoteric, philosophical walk. John tells them, when you walk as a child of God, you need to be doing something tangible. You need to be doing the deeds and working the works of God. It is not just a belief it in your head, it needs to be felt in your heart and it needs to show in your hands.

You know when you work hard on a house or property and it’s called sweat equity? Well this is sweat theology. John once again says this is a test. “herby we know that we are of the truth” In the same way that you can know you are a child of God because you love one another, here and by the same application you can know you are in the fellowship of God because your love isn’t just in words but it is in deeds.

John says this is part of walking worthy, an extension of loving our family in the Lord and it is vital because it give us assurance, confidence before Him.

Now listen to this next verse. I think it is one of the most important verses in the Bible when it comes to dealing with doubt and fear. In vs. 20 For if our heart condemn us, God is greater than our heart, and knoweth all things.

John is telling them that if you are true to your heavenly family, true to your new nature, true to loving and forgiving one another, true to doing the deed, walking the walking, and working the work of the real Christian life, then we can have assurance, we can grade our own test paper and see that yes we pass.

But what happens when you don’t feel like you are aren’t passing? What happens when the doubts about salvation, eternal life, or the Bible creep in? Then John has this answer for them, for you and for me. “God is greater than your doubting heart. He knows all things. He knows you put your faith in His Son. He knows that you are His child. He knows your own doubting heart and He knows that one day the doubts will pass like clouds after a storm. God is greater than your doubts, God knows all things and He knows He has you in the palm of his hand even when you aren’t sure.

Hear this promise from Jesus as John heard it all those years ago. In John 10:28-29  And I give unto them eternal life; and they shall never perish, neither shall any man pluck them out of my hand.  My Father, which gave them me, is greater than all; and no man is able to pluck them out of my Father's hand.

Do you remember the questions that Jesus asked Peter at the last supper by the sea? Three times he asked him Do you love? Twice Peter replied, I love you. The third time Jesus changed the word from agape to phileo, it was like asking do you really love me at all, Peter? Peter’s heart is broken and the only answer he can give is “Lord, You know all things; You know that I love You” (John 21:17)

Perhaps John might have been thinking back to an event that happened early in the disciple following of Jesus, when they were still more fishers of fish instead of fishers of men.

Illustration: Jesus stills the storm and the fear of the disciples

Mark 4:37-41 And there arose a great storm of wind, and the waves beat into the ship, so that it was now full. And he was in the hinder part of the ship, asleep on a pillow: and they awake him, and say unto him, Master, carest thou not that we perish? And he arose, and rebuked the wind, and said unto the sea, Peace, be still. And the wind ceased, and there was a great calm. And he said unto them, Why are ye so fearful? how is it that ye have no faith? And they feared exceedingly, and said one to another, What manner of man is this, that even the wind and the sea obey him?

If Jesus stilled the storm on the Sea even when the apostles thought they were going to die, He will still the storms in your life, even if doubts and fear seem certain to take you down. God is greater.

That phrase in Mark 4:41, “What manner of man is this” is the same phrase John used to begin this chapter “Behold, what manner of love.” In Mark’s Gospel, John who was in that boat, was exceedingly afraid not of the storm but of the power of Jesus. After the storm he was astounded by the Lord’s power, but now in this letter, after a life of trusting and following Jesus, John is astounded by something even more amazing, His love.

Even though God is greater than our doubts, John says there is a good reason to overcome them and have confidence in God. 1 John 3:21-22 Beloved, if our heart condemn us not, then have we confidence toward God. And whatsoever we ask, we receive of him, because we keep his commandments, and do those things that are pleasing in his sight.

Walk worthy and you will have the confidence of being in God’s will and anything that you ask according to that obedient life God will give. One of the greatest hindrances to answered pray is not asking according to His will or asking with a heart filled with doubt. Confidence in God means confidence in prayer and that confidence comes from walking worthy as the child of God that you are.  


We are going to use vs 23 as our conclusion.

After telling them confidence comes from following the Lord, John sums it up in 1 John 3:23 And this is his commandment, That we should believe on the name of his Son Jesus Christ, and love one another, as he gave us commandment.

Isn’t that a comforting truth? It’s not difficult to walk the Christian walk. It really just requires two things, the same two things that brought us to Christ in the first place, Faith and love. Faith in believing what Christ did for, in and through us and love the same kind of love that carried Jesus to the cross, the same love that rolled back the stone, the same love that sent the good news around the world, is the love we must have for each other.

If we just hold to Faith and Love, we will walk worthy for our Heavenly Father and our Lord Jesus Christ.