Maintaining the unity we all share as a result of the gospel of Jesus Christ is a more powerful witness to a watching world than any gimmick or scheme many churches are concocting today, but what does this unity look like? How can we ensure we’re taking strides towards this unity together as a local assembly of believers? Philippians 2:1-5 provides the answers to these questions, and by God’s grace will help us reorient our lives towards Christ-honoring fellowship that reflects the glorious gospel of Jesus Christ.
Ultimately, the point of this section is to help people recognize authentic faith. To do so, John repeats his three test: (1) belief, (2) obedience, and (3) love. We saw these same tests in chapters 2, 3, and 4. We see them again now in chapter 5. These tests were meant to help the true believers in John's churches to spot the false believers/antichrists/dissidents and to gain assurance of their own salvation. And so today, they help us answer the question of how are we able to distinguish between people who think they are Christians but aren't' from people who truly are Christians.
What a day this is for the Christian church! It is on this day that Christians for centuries have celebrated the resurrection of Jesus Christ. There are at least three unimaginably significant reasons to celebrate Jesus' rising from the dead. First, as Paul tells us in 1 Corinthians 15 (verses 14 and 17), all of Christianity rises or falls on this day. Second, we can be united with Jesus in his resurrection by grace, through faith in Jesus, the savior of the world. And third, that Jesus rose from the dead proves beyond doubt that everything else that Jesus said and did was true. Let's pray now that God's story would stir something new in our minds and hearts today and that it would fuel our celebrations today.
If you were here last week you may have noticed that in my sermon on verses 13-21 I skipped verse 18. That was because in v.18 John introduced a new idea that I want to draw your attention to today. To be clear, it's not entirely new. In fact, it's primarily a negative wording of v.17 which is primarily a restatement of . And yet in v.18 there is a new twist that's worthy of our consideration. Please pray with me that God would be pleased to perfect his love in us and therein cast out all fear from us.
As I mentioned last week, much of the rest of this letter is a review of things John has already said. However, as I mentioned last week, because God inspired John to repeat himself, I will too. Evidentially God means for us to hear these things more than once. And yet, as I also mentioned last week our pace is going to pick up a bit—slowing down only when John brings in something new. 1 John 4:13-21, our text for this morning, is almost entirely filled with repeated ideas (several are repeated word for word). This morning, then, we're going to see the glory of God again! Please pray that God would grant us all a great love for our great God whose truths are so great that we can never hear them enough.