Grab your notes for this episode by completing the form
and we will send you the link to all our notes.
God has a very different definition of love. We see it in his character when he became a man and took the punishment for our sin in our place. The challenge then is to practise love with the help of God’s Holy Spirit.
Hi everyone and welcome to Training for Life Redeemed. I am here as always with my father, Dr. David Jackson , who is going through the first letter that John wrote to our church in Colossi, Ephesus, the whole kind of region of churches, they’re having a split. They’re going through things. we’re going to find out how we actually know who’s on the right side. So, Dad, when I read this section, it basically says that if I confess Jesus is Christ who came in the flesh, that’s all I got to do.
I know that might be a little bit out of context, . Yeah. Because we’re following a theme and not going through systematically. Yeah. But it does have that element in there of, you know, there’s a lot of Yeah. You have to believe that Jesus is the Christ born of God. You got to confess stuff about him being, you know, Jesus, God in the flesh type stuff. Yeah. and that is what he says is like the mark of a true believer. and then obviously you go from there into Yeah. The other bits that we talked about last week about loving your brother and loving. . Yeah. so can you help us out with this bit? Like, if, if it talks about confessing Jesus is the Christ, is that all I’ve got to do? Or quite frankly, is there anything I have to do? Let’s be honest. .
John is right into a specific setting and a bunch of people where half the church has followed a bunch of false teachers, false prophets, and they’ve got into a big argument, I gather. They’ve said a lot of cruel things because love is a big issue here, and hate and so on. they’ve gone out from us because they’re not of us. So these are not Christians. They’re not born again. If they call themselves Christians, they’re lying. John’s very clear about that, but throughout the letter, he, he’ll give you a list of things and they’re the things that his opponents don’t believe. And if, if anything on that list you don’t believe, then you are with them. You’re not part of us. You’re not a believer. Yeah. You’re not in Christ. So the things that they, we can pick out the things that they denied, but that’s
Jesus being the Christ who came in the flesh. Yeah.
So, Jesus being the Christ came the flesh. So that tells us that these people are Jewish. Yeah. To start. So the people who’ve left this church probably would not be Gentiles. Gentiles couldn’t care less who the Christ is. That’s a Jewish thing. the Christ is the anointed king in David’s line who’s going to rule Israel. and in this context, in the late six, middle sixties, if you are fighting over who is the Christ, over there in Palestine, in Israel, Judea Galilee, people are gearing up for a war with Rome to reestablish a Davidic kingdom. So there’s lots of politics going on in the background of this, and you’ve got to get it straight. Are you looking for a Christ who is going to be, a military leader who will drive out the Romans? Mm-hmm. ? Or are you looking for a Christ?
Are you looking for a Christ? Who’s an angel? Who’s going to drop outta heaven? the Essenes over there in, Judea, were chasing around with talk about two Messiahs, a priest and a king that would suddenly appear. and they had angels coming to rescue. They had a whole other plan. So who is the Christ? If it isn’t Jesus, then you’re on the wrong side. Yeah. Now, who is Jesus? What’s your problem with Jesus? Your problem with Jesus is that Jesus is God and Jesus is a man. And if that doesn’t scramble your brain, you know, nothing will,
Just add that he died as well. And,
And that he died as well. So we’ve we’re all geared up. That, that brings us to one of the, the most difficult passages in John, actually. we’re all geared up for this big debate about who is Jesus and so on. So I think l l let’s go to the, the, the toughest passage, I think in the book is one John five, seven, and eight. So,
Water, blood, water, spirit,
Water, blood and spirit. Right? So you go there, what’s this thing with the water? And the blood are witnesses. So if you’re expecting the Christ, you are expecting, let’s, let’s go with the bad guys on the other side. You’re expecting a Davidic king to turn up and be anointed. And if you’re expecting God to turn up, he will lead the people to be consecrated ready to meet God. So if you go back to Moses, when Yahweh appeared on the top of Mount Sinai, he told everybody to go home. Spend three days getting clean. Yep. Have a bath, wash your clothes. Don’t make love to your wife. Yeah. And then you can come to the fence, and then you can come to the fence and stand there. Don’t
Touch them out.
, this 80-year-old Moses is going to run up and down the hill seven times to come down and tell you don’t cross the fence, or you’re dead 80 years old. Anyway, there’s hope for us. so, here’s our problem. We’re going to get, you’re looking for a Messiah who’s going to be consecrated, ready to lead us before the presence of God. Consecration is a bath. Yeah. Jesus had that bath to fulfill all righteousness. Now, that part of a messiah, these people could accept. Not a problem. The bit they couldn’t accept was him dying on, a messiah that dies on a cross. So you’ve got all these, the disciples struggled with it. you know, Peter immediately said, no, no, Lord, it’s not going to happen. Get behind me. Satan. they, they didn’t process this until after Pentecost, even though he’d died and he’d risen, they’re still standing there saying, saying, are you going to set up the kingdom?
Now in Acts chapter one, it takes a while to get the message through. This is a different kind of kingdom. This is a kingdom that is going to bring peace. we’re not here to do all that other stuff. We’re here to change people, not political boundaries. So can you take a Christ who is human, who is God, who is consecrated holy, and then who turns around and dies on a cross for you, rises again. If you don’t believe in this Christ, you’ve got the wrong one. You’ve got an anti-Christ, a substitute Christ. Yeah. And in that case, you’re going to hell, you can’t go anywhere, anywhere else except through Jesus. Yeah. Now you can break that doctrine down into lots of other things, but if what you’re believing about Jesus is not who he is, you might just take one of those things out. The rest all fall with it. Yeah. You can’t have all of Jesus, but not the God bit or all of Jesus, but not the dying bit. It, it’s a package. It’s all or nothing. And so when we define our doctrine, , which is not a popular word, you do go to hell if what you believe is wrong. And that’s John is adamant you have to get it right. You have to know the truth, and believe the truth, and not just make up your own wishful thinking. Yeah.
But John’s not giving us a list of this is all that’s required. What he is actually saying is this will tell you if you are with the church or if you’re one of the people in the group that left. Yeah.
In each, in each generation, some element of the truth is going to be challenged. Yeah. And in each generation we get tested in a different way. The first 400 years of the church, it was all about the trinity. Yeah. You know, in the last part of the last 200 years, it is the Bible, the word of God. is the Bible true or is it myth or whatever. Yeah. that’s been a huge battle of the Bible thing. we are now facing another generational challenge over things like gender. Yeah. and sexuality and lifestyle. Meanwhile, we’ve got another battle. Is there such a thing as truth? each culture is going to throw something at us. In John’s time, these were the questions Yeah. In our time. And, and he, he leads us into this in chapter four when he says, don’t believe everything. Test the spirits . And my my first reaction was whiskey, scotch, or brandy, you know, . But test the spirits isn’t about, you know, getting your ghostbuster kit out and checking on the ghost in the wall, or, you know, reading some of those novels that I read a few years ago, that tell stories about demons in your roof and all sorts of oogly, googlies, territorial demons. He’s not talking about that. The word demon means breath, spirit.
Spirit means breath. Breath. Yeah. Spirit means breath.
Demons a bit different,
I think. Yeah. No, sorry. Yeah. So pneuma, we have pneumatic tires, pneumatic drills. It’s, they’re done with air pressure. Yeah. He’s talking about the wind, like the Holy Spirit. He moves like the wind. You won’t see it, you’ll just see the leaves move. Same thing happens in what I would call the spirit of the age. Yeah. The, you know, the, the winds of doctrine don’t be around, blown around by every wind of doctrine.
Go with the tides and Yeah. In a canoe without a paddle.
. Yeah. We’re, we’re Christians tend to be people who are nice who don’t confront, and we go with the flow. We don’t realize that you live in a culture that communicates lies, lies or fake truth. Not by actually presenting their story or presenting their argument. They do it, what’s the word? It’s just subtly done through little things. We normalize, for example, homosexuality by putting homosexual couples in an ad. We don’t say anything. We don’t advocate for it. They’re just there. We take something that is biblical, a rainbow, and we turn that into a symbol for a whole other set of doctrine. and when we go into our schools and that we raise our kids, the world is building this framework around the way they’re allowed to think. And it’s not a conspiracy, it’s just the wind of how the culture responds to different circumstances. Hmm. And when that happens, John is saying, test it. Take your, take all your assumptions and your beliefs and your culture and put ’em on the table and ask, is this biblical? Is this of the character of God? Is it true?
Yeah. And John does say a fair bit in here about going back to even, you know, the stuff that he has seen, you know, that these testimonies and stuff is like, it’s what we’ve told you. It’s what’s come through us as like the kind of the apostles bringing it.
We’re, we’re not making this stuff up
. That’s right. And so, Dad, as we kind of bring this to the end, the purpose of one John is so that we may know that we have eternal life.
Five 13. Great Verse.
Nicely underlined there for me. , can you just bring this all together for us? Yeah. By showing us how this really helps us as believers to know that we have eternal life.
Okay. So John grounds our eternal life in Jesus. And he says, I was there. I saw, I heard, I touched, it happened. And I’m not the only witness. Hmm. He talks about, we, we are bringing you this message because we were there. Saw it, heard it, touched it. So this is history, and it’s real. And if you wanna argue, you know, why doesn’t God come into the world and show us? He did. You missed it. There’s the eyewitnesses. Read them. Yeah. So our grounding is Jesus God in history, working to save his people. If I know that that is true, then I know I’m saved. But then I’m going to have some doubts because I’m going to do some stupid things. I’m going to find out that some of the stuff I believe was wrong. Yep. I’m a learner and learning means, sorry, being wrong and being corrected.
so I go back to my little year seven student that looked me in the eye and said, but that’s the way I spell it. . That’s not how you react to Jesus. , I got it wrong. So in the last 10 years, this is the spirit of the age going to students in class and saying, sorry, that’s wrong. And the response isn’t, oh, okay, what do I do to get it right? The response is, I’m confused. You can’t tell me it’s wrong. There’s there, there is no wrong. What do you mean wrong? It’s, it’s the way I do it. So we’ve got to come to this idea that I’m going to learn by correcting error in my thinking, in what I believe. I’m going to check everything, test the spirits and go back and say, oh, that was wrong. Yeah. I need to rethink that. So that’s the first thing.
When I get things wrong, that might make me doubt whether I’m really a Christian. And that’s particularly when it’s doctrine about Jesus and stuff. so John says, Uh no. If you are learning and you’re following Jesus and you get something wrong and you correct it, test the spirits. You are obeying God. You are obeying him by believing the truth that he’s revealed to you. Mm. That’s obedience as well as learning. So doctrine, my lifestyle, everybody knows you do something sinful and wicked that creates doubts. Yeah. Am I a Christian? Can you be a Christian and and sin and sin? And John says, no, you can’t . And you go, well, I did. Does that mean I’m not saved? And John says, no, it doesn’t. . No it doesn’t. Go back and confess your sin. And he’s faithful just to forgiveness, sin. Let’s get back on the horse.
And you’re going, good for you for knowing. But you say, yeah, there’s your go and fix that . You’ve just experienced something that reassures you, that you really are a believer. You repented. Yep. Unbelievers don’t do that. No. So you’ve gone back to Christ, you’re always going back to Christ with your issues. Back to the Bible, back to Jesus. Third thing, and this is, I I think a particularly interesting area. If you’re a, if you’re a believer who, you know, wants to get their doctrine right and is living an obedient life, it’s really easy to be nasty to people who aren’t as good as you are. . and if there’s an argument over doctrine or an argument over lifestyle, we can be pretty nasty about that. And we can be like the Pharisees, you know, I’m, I’m not a sinner like him them. So he hits you with the love test. Are you going to love him or are you just going to be better than they are? are you going to push them away because they’re not as good as you? Now there’s three legs on the stool and they’re like three barometers if one’s, have you ever tried to level a three-legged stool in carpentry? I’ll take a little bit off that leg. Whoops. No need to take that one off.
Turn the table into a stool, isn’t
It? Yeah. It ends up doing a little, you know, cutting board . but that, that’s what he’s doing. He’s saying, look at, look at your life. Those three things are the measure of how you feel about your assurance. They’re not the measure of whether you’re saved. Yeah. you’re only not saved if one of those things is out the window. so we’ve got to go back and say, I’m being built up in Christ. So those legs are getting stronger. I’m being built up in Christ because I’m being built on the foundation of who Jesus is and what he did. And I know about that because he’s given me his words in writing and the Holy Spirit to help me get it right. And if I look around, there’s a whole bunch of other people out there who can help me too. . there’s, there’s your assurance. The people who walk away from that, well, we’re going to pray for them. Hmm. And the only time we’re going to stop praying for them is
When they’re dead or are dead
When they’re dead. . Yeah. We stop praying for them. The prayer, you know, don’t pray for the sin that is unto death. That means keep praying for ’em until they’re dead.
Well Dad, that does bring us to the end of this episode to the end of John one, John. Mm-hmm. , if you would like to come and get the study notes for today’s episode, please head over to trainingforliferedeemeemed.com/97, almost up to a hundred, Dad. and that is it for this little series on the first letter of John. in fact, we’ve done all the letters of John now cuz we started at the back and worked our way to the front
and we’re going to take a little break over Christmas.
Oh, for sure. Definitely. so we hope that you guys do hear the subscribe button. Make sure you get the study notes so you’re getting our emails and stuff as well. That way you won’t miss out when we come back again in January. Thank you so much for joining us for the year, for learning from God’s words, and hopefully growing with us. And we wish you all the best for Christmas and New Year’s.
See you next year. .
Yeah. This is countercultural love . It’s, yeah, I think it’s the exact opposite of what of the way we use the word love. We use the word love pretty much to say I enjoy, so I love my job. I love my dog. I love my new car. I love chocolate biscuits. I love my wife. Yeah.
All things that make me feel good.
All the things that make me feel good. And it’s all about me. Whereas biblical love is exactly the opposite. I was very privileged to listen to a sermon by a fellow called Jay Adams half a century ago. when we were newly married, he preached a pass, preached on the Ephesians five passage about, husbands love your wives as Christ loved the church, and gave himself for her. And that’s the definition of love. It’s, total commitment to another person, at whatever cost. so they, they’re the object. They’re the, they’re the main game. He described it as, you know, loving somebody who is unlovely, unlovable, unloving. You know, it, it’s a, it’s a commitment that doesn’t look for a reward. Mm-hmm. , it looks to the good of the other. Yeah. And that’s exactly the opposite of the way I think we use the word.
Yeah. I think the, the idea too of it being about the good of the other. Yeah. if you’re a parent and you’re listening to this, you’ll have a kind of more of an idea of what that means,
To be committed to something that, you know, or someone who doesn’t necessarily make you feel good all the time. . Yeah. But you are committed to them and for their good. So even though what you’re doing, they’re not enjoying or, you know, it’s not what they want, but it is for their good. Yeah. And you as the parent, have that kind of greater sight. And I think that’s part of what comes into this too, is when John talks about loving your brother and, you know, God loved us and all those types of things, they’re, he’s actually saying, yeah, God wanted what was best for you, not necessarily what you wanted. Yeah. and it doesn’t always feel good, but it is what you need, to really make you more like Christ essentially and bring you into new creation. All those things that we are looking forward to. And so then when Paul, well Paul, when John starts to talk to the church here, Dad and says, you know, you guys need to love one another. Jesus loved us. God loved us through Jesus, Jesus abides in us, therefore love abides in us and we abide in love. It’s just this kind of lovely little dance if you
Feel totally immersed of
Words that goes on where you’re just like, so God is love and Jesus is love, and we are love and we are in love and . Yep.
What do we do with, like, it’s, I, I feel like as I read it, I’m kind of like, well sure John, like we should love one another and we should be committed to each other. Yeah. And helping each other to become more like Christ. You know, it’s about for the other person’s good and me giving up stuff to help you become more like Christ and know where is that more evident If you have, you know, two Christians getting married and they’re like, you know, you really do need to get better Yep. , because suddenly all your sin is exposed. so what, what is this going to look like? How, how do you, I dunno, bring all this stuff together. Cuz there’s elements in here that talk about how we perfect God’s love, which or something like that. . Yeah.
There’s, there’s a sequence. So you, you’ve got this wonderful statement that God is love. Yeah. And that, that is God is love in, I think in Greek it’s four words and all of a sudden you’ve just exploded your understanding of who God is. and it’s far more complicated than, oh, he’s a nice guy and he looks after us. Yeah. If God is, if he is love, not just He does love, then he is love is his nature. So take, stop and think about God before there was anything other than God. Hmm. How do you be God is love. If there is nothing other than God question who is he loving? And the answer is the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit. Yeah.
All loving each other. It
It you. And this changes our whole understanding of who God is. He is not some individual being that is living for himself alone because God is three persons in one God and they are held together in unity by love. everything that he does creates designs is an expression of his character. And so when we tell him to go jump in the lake, we do the opposite. We become selfish, we replace God with me. And then what’s God’s response to that? He takes human flesh steps into the world, takes the punishment that I deserve. Hmm. And why did he do that? Because his agenda is love. And in order for that love to work, he has to bring us back onto God’s side, love us, and then teach us how, how to love one another. And the end result of that is you have this lovely sequence in one John, God is love.
He sent Jesus into the world to love us by dying in our place and taking the anger of God. Mm-hmm. and then love is perfected in us when we do it. Yeah. With one another. So that transforms the culture. You go from, he, he contrasts Cain and Abel, Satan was a murderer from the beginning. So right at the beginning, you say no to God, next thing you know, your kids are killing each other and you whoa. Jesus comes into the world, dies in the place of the murderer and brings us back onto God’s side where we can get it right again. And that’s why we’ve called this whole thing training for life redeemed. We’ve got a redeemed life now we’ve got to learn to do it. Hmm. And the first part of that is that means I’ve got to love these people . And sometimes that’s hard.
Be very hard. Yeah.
Very hard. Adams used to tell a story, which I, you know, doesn’t do the rounds. Much couple came in for counseling with their minister. They made the mistake of coming to Jay Adams who doesn’t muck around. and the husband, they’re saying, you know, they’ve described their terrible marriage and all the horrible things they’ve done to each other. And so it’s all got to end, end of story. And he says, well, you both believers in Christ, how does this work? You know, two believers, you’re supposed to, you’ve been loved, you’re supposed to love. I can’t love her. He says, and Adams says, you know, there’s the command. Husbands love you. I can’t love her, is my wife. Oh, well let’s go to this Bible passage. Love her is your neighbor. She’s your nearest neighbor, Na na. I can’t do that. Can’t do that. Can’t stand up. that’s no good.
How about this one? Love your enemy. Doesn’t leave you a lot of wiggle room for getting outta that one does it? it’s a com And this is the other thing. It’s a command. It’s not a suggestion. Hmm. And if you call Jesus Lord, you obey it. Yeah. It might not be fun. It might not be pleasant. It might not be attractive. Yeah. But it changes the world. Yeah. and that’s, that’s the agenda that God has when he sends Jesus into the world, is to create a place where we learn to be according to God’s character. And we put back all of the stuff we broke.
Yeah. And it’s a called love. Like it’s not a call to like everyone . You know, you have to like the person that you’re loving.
that comes later because love changes people.
It does. Yeah.
Yeah. Yeah. I like the stuff in here where it says, love casts out fear. Hmm. And I think, you know, we live in a generation that is full of fear. I mean this week illustrates it perfectly. You’ve got three people in Queensland who are conspiracy theories living in fear, and they’ve surrounded their house with, they’ve gone into the bush, done all the survival stuff, put all their panji pits or whatever, you know, and the police come on the property and they shoot two young people dead. And their next door neighbor who comes to put out the bush fire because they’re afraid. And you go into that world, Jesus stands there and takes the bullet so that people like that who are still alive, they aren’t, can get life back. he, he’s here to turn a hateful world, a selfish world, a scared world into a world of peace.
When I was in, I worked in a special school for a while and a lot of our kids were, they had been violated physically, sexually, all sorts of ways. And they were scared little rabbits. and you end up with some pretty violent kids. So for a few years there it was, there was nothing to have to wrestle a kid to the ground so that he would be safe and the person next to him would be safe. there were some pretty terrible things happening. But you look at that and you go, all right, here is fear. And if you’re afraid, that produces violence. If you’re frustrated, that produces violence. If you are just enjoying violence, it produces violence cuz it gives you pleasure. That’s the definition of a bully. And you go, let’s put love into that thing and see whether that, see how that transforms and the Holy Spirit goes to work and does that.
So John’s group are in a terrible place. All of their, a lot of their friends, their members of their church have ripped into them, told ’em they’re all going to hell and marched out of the church and spat the dummy big time. How do you respond to that? Can you still love them when they’re being so unloving to you? And that’s the challenge. and John’s writing to them to say, you may have your doctrine right, and you may be, you know, obeying God and everything else try. You got to obey God in this one love. Mm-hmm. And you go, oh, .
And he says, you know, Jay Adams thing with a husband and wife too. You’re like, I was waiting for you to say, and then he took him to this verse where it says that if you don’t love, you’re a liar and you’re actually not a Christian. That’s right. . And he’s like, you know, this whole thing about, you know, God is love. He saves us. God shows his love. He loved us so much, he said he one only son type thing. And then he also loved us so much that he came and abides in us. Yeah. And when it talks about, you know, we abide and love and love abides in us. We have the Holy Spirit, we are empowered to be able to Love
We can do this as Christ. Yeah. We can do this. We can, you might have to grit your teeth, but yeah. , we can do this. And it is so transformative. you know, I, my personal growing up, was in a, yeah. In a place where very loud and very angry words were said, and actions followed. And so you learn to be aggressive. you learn to, you know, get in there and, and deal with it. But it’s amazing when you stand there and you look somebody in the eye and you say, oh, you know, I’m not going to raise a hand against you. I’m not going to hit you. I love you. do what you got to do and just watch the impact of that. it, it’s, it’s the gospel that brings that peace and the Holy Spirit that drives it home. Sometimes , sometimes you just get a punch in the face, but . But
Jesus said to do that too.
Well, yeah. That’s your best shot. Go
. Well, that beats us to the end of this episode. If you would like to come and grab the study notes that go along with this episode, you can head over to training for life redeem.com/ 96. We hope that you also hit the subscribe button. Come and join us again next week. We’ll finish off John, next week. We’re going to follow another theme. This week was Love. Next week is like theology and bring in, you know, your head knowledge and stuff together with your hands and your heart and your attitude and all that kind of stuff.
Let’s put the package together.
Yeah. So come and join us next week as we finish off. John. Have a great week.