Bible Commentaries
1 John 5

Bell's Commentary on the BibleBell's Commentary

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  1. INTRO:
    1. The story is told of a wealthy man who lost his wife when their only child was young. A housekeeper was hired to take care of the boy, who lived only into his teens. Heartbroken from this second loss, the father died a short time later. No will could be found; and since there were no relatives, it looked as if the state would get his fortune. The man’s personal belongings, including his mansion, were put up for sale. The old housekeeper had very little money, but there was one thing she wanted. It was a picture that had hung on a wall in the house - a photo of the boy she had loved and nurtured. When the items were sold, nobody else wanted the picture, so she bought it for just a few pennies. Taking it home, she began to clean it and polish the glass. As she took it apart, a paper fell out. It was the man’s will, and in it he stated that all his wealth should go to the one who loved his son enough to buy that picture.
      1. Vs.11 And this is the testimony: that God has given us eternal life, and this life is in His Son.
      2. Prayer: On Christ the solid Rock I stand, all else is sinking sand…
      3. This sure footing gives us confidence in our prayers; confidence against the evil one; confidence against world forces; in helping others out of sin.
    2. Whenever John wrote he was always writing regarding 4 basic stages of Christian life:
      [1] A witness is given to them. [2] They believe. [3] They receive eternal life. [4] They gain assurance in their status of eternal life.
      1. Here John will once again, shore up their hearts toward assurance.
    3. John says if you’re Born of God then you’re: Born to Love; Born to Win; Born to
      Assurance; Born to talk to your Father; & Born Secure.
    1. ​​​​​​​BORN TO LOVE! (1-3)
    2. If you’re born of God, then you’re Born to Love!
    3. The Father gave you life & the Son gave His life...for you.
    4. (2) When you love the Father, you’ll love his children as well!
    5. BORN TO WIN! (4,5)
    6. If you’re born of God, then you’re Born to Win!
    7. Your 1st birth made you a sinner & a loser, but your 2nd birth makes you a conqueror.
      1. The world wants to entice you(2:15-17); The devil wants to seduce you(Gen.3:6); But Christ will give you the victory you need if you trust Him. (Warren Wiersbe; With the Word; pg.840)
        1. The new birth provides the power continually to win victory over the world & its evil powers.
    8. John has already warned us about the subtle attraction of the world(2:15-17); now he reveals how the world may be conquered!
    9. (4) Who overcomes? & by what means? Born again believers, by their faith.
    10. BORN TO ASSURANCE! (6-13)
    11. If you’re born of God, then you’re Born to Assurance!
    12. (6-8) Explain this “addition” is not found nor supported in any Greek manuscript prior to the 4th century. [not needed. i.e. Trinity can be proved in many other places]
    13. Spirit, water, blood? Can refer to:
      1. Baptism & Lord’s supper.
      2. Symbolic of water & blood spilt from Jesus side.
      3. Water refers to His baptism & blood refers to His death.
        1. I prefer the 3rd interpretation. The context is the witness that Jesus is in fact God.
          1. God voiced His approval of Jesus at His baptism (Mt.3:16,17).
          2. He also voiced it again before Jesus’ death (Jn.12:27-30).
    14. (7-11) A faith that can effect such great results must be well attested.
      1. What is the 5-fold witness: spirit, water, blood(8); God(9); eternal life(11).
      2. You may hear witnesses/testimony, truth, life, confidence,...that’s Christianity.
    15. On the other hand you’re not even allowed to critique the Koran. Only Christianity?
      1. In the West our religion can be ridiculed, in the East their religion is protected
      2. Debate the Koran? How, they say, “The Koran says it, I believe it.”
      3. You dare not decry Islam in Saudi Arabia; You dare not denounce Hinduism in India; You dare not deprecate Buddhism in Thailand; You dare not despise Naturalism in the Academy.
        1. The only worldview that’s open to this kind of assault & can take it on the chin is the Judaeo/Christian worldview.
        2. Truth is bulletproof...we have nothing to worry about.
        3. In 1966, China, Mao Zedong said, “Christianity is permanently buried & will never rise again. It has been expunged from our culture.”
          1. Today over 100,000 claim to follow Christ!
          2. 10 years later(1976) Mao Zedong was the one that was buried, & he will 1 day rise stand in judgment for trying to withhold Christianity from a billion people.
    16. (13) You know that you can have eternal life. (1 of my fav verses)
      1. That you may know not always feel!
      2. A man once came to D. L. Moody and said he was worried because he didn’t feel saved. Moody asked, “Was Noah safe in the ark?” “Certainly he was,” the man replied. “Well, what made him safe, his feeling or the ark?”
    18. If you’re born of God, then you’re Born to talk to your Father!
    19. You are born to talk to your Father in prayer & receive from Him what you need.
      1. It has well been said that prayer is not a way of overcoming God’s reluctance but laying hold of His willingness.2
    20. (16) Mortal sin - i.e. The deliberate, purposeful choice of darkness in preference to light.
      1. ​​​​​​​Sometimes a Christian may sin so seriously that God judges that sin with swift physical death: “a sin that leads to death.”
        1. ​​​​​​​Ananias & Sapphira are cases in point (Acts 5:1-11).
        2. Some believers at Corinth died because of the way they had acted at the Lord’s Supper (1 Cor. 11:30).
        3. 1 Corin. 5 suggests that a certain offender would have died had he not repented and confessed his sin (2 Cor. 2:6-8).
      2. But most of the sins which one sees a Christian brother commit are not of such a nature.
        1. For these, a believer ought to pray, knowing that any sin - if continued in long enough - is a threat to a fellow Christian’s life.
        2. Thus the restoration of a brother may secure a prolonging of his physical life.
    21. BORN SECURE! (18-21)
    22. If you’re born of God, then you’re Born Secure!
    23. Born secure so the evil one cannot harm you.
    24. Wow 6 great certainties - “know” (13,15,18,19,20a&b)
    25. You do not keep yourself saved, for the Father does that! (Jude 24).
      1. 1. keep yourself from the clutches of the wicked one.
    26. Abide in Christ & experience His love & care.
    27. AA.If I can add one, that John missed here, yet I think its inferred, we’re Born to be Wild!
      1. ​​​​​​​Wild means undomesticated. So many Christians have been so domesticated.
      2. Domesticare(L.) = tame, belonging to the house (mama’s boy).
      3. John desired raw & untamed faith waiting to be unleashed.
      4. I think later that’s what John meant in his Revelation, about leaving their 1st love. They left their primal faith! A life fueled by His presence.
        1. The way of Jesus is far too savage for too many folks: “sacrifice, blood, guts, a cross, a call to die daily?”
        2. 2 invisible kingdoms duke-ing it out for the very hearts & lives of every human walking on the face of this planet.
        3. Jesus is being lost in a religion bearing His name. :(
        4. As Christians I think it is the combo of being fully aware of your inadequacies & yet knowing your extraordinary potential in Christ.​​​​​​​
          1. Domesticated faith or out finding adventure?
    28. BB.(21) In the meanwhile...Keep yourselves from idols!
      1. ​​​​​​​Carved figures? Probably broader term. Anything in the Christian’s life that elbows God out of center place in our lives.
        1. ​​​​​​​Any cardboard cut-out substitutes for the living & true God.
          1. Like, the pocket-sized God of over-familiarity, whom you can predict his every move, even condition his responses!
          2. Or, the unapproachable scary fly-off-the-handle God.
      2. I’ll let our last song speak to the rest of that.
Bibliographical Information
Bell, Brian. "Commentary on 1 John 5". "Bell's Commentary". 2017.