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                      "THE FIRST EPISTLE OF JOHN"

                       Life In The Son (5:11-13)

INTRODUCTION

1. We saw in the previous lesson that the word "witness" was used eight
   times in one form or another - cf. 1Jn 5:6-10

2. A form of the word is used again in verses 11-13, translated as 
   "testimony" in the NKJV ("record" in the KJV)

3. In these verses, John reviews the "testimony" that God has given 
   about His Son...
   a. In this case, it does not appear to be the "evidence" God has 
      offered (that was covered in verses 6-10)
   b. Rather, it is the "content" of the testimony which the evidence 
      supports

[What is the "content" of God's testimony concerning His Son?  What has
God declared?  And what does John say about these things?

In this lesson, entitled "Life In The Son", we shall examine verses
11-13 to see what we can learn.  For example, we are first told
that...]

I. GOD HAS GIVEN US ETERNAL LIFE (11a)

   A. ETERNAL LIFE:  A PRESENT POSSESSION, OR A FUTURE HOPE?
      1. John writes of "eternal life" as a present possession...
         a. "God has given us (not will give us) eternal life" - 1Jn 
            5:11
         b. "He who has the Son has (not will have) eternal life" -
            1Jn 5:12
         c. "...that you may know that you have (not will have) eternal
            life"- 1Jn 5:13
      2. Yet Paul wrote of "eternal life" as a future hope...
         a. "who will render to each one according to his deeds:
            eternal life to those..." - Ro 2:6-7
         b. "...you have your fruit to holiness, and the end, 
            everlasting life" - Ro 6:22
         c. "in hope of eternal life..." - Tit 1:2
      --Which then is it?  A present possession, or a future hope?

   B. ETERNAL LIFE:  BOTH A PRESENT POSSESSION AND A FUTURE HOPE!
      1. I believe it is "both", not one or the other
      2. This is a case where the same term (eternal life) is used by 
         different authors to describe different concepts
         a. Paul normally uses the term to describe that which begins 
            after the judgment...
            1) The same way Jesus uses it in Mt 25:46
            2) And again in Jn 12:25
         b. Whereas John uses the term to describe the life we now have
            in Christ because of the fellowship we enjoy with the 
            Father and the Son...
            1) Jesus defined "eternal life" as knowing the Father and 
               His Son - Jn 17:1-3
            2) John defines it similarly in 1Jn 5:20
      3. We must be careful, therefore, and allow the immediate context
         to determine the proper meaning by a particular author

   C. THE MEANING OF ETERNAL LIFE IN OUR TEXT...
      1. John began his epistle by referring to Jesus as "that eternal
         life" - 1Jn 1:2
      2. He ends his epistle by describing eternal life as knowing Him 
         who is true and being in Him who is true (i.e., in Jesus) - 
         1Jn 5:20
      3. This leads me to conclude that John uses "eternal life" in the
         same way Jesus did in Jn 17:3
      4. I.e., a quality of life that comes from having true fellowship
         with Deity...
         a. Which begins upon our conversion from "death" to "life" - 
            cf. 1Jn 3:14-15
         b. Which comes from knowing God and Jesus (the term "knowing"
            suggesting a close and personal relationship, not a casual
            awareness)
         c. Because God and Jesus are "eternal life" (cf. 1Jn 1:2),
            those in fellowship with them have life that is best 
            described as "eternal" (in quality, though potentially in
            quantity)

[So the testimony of God is first this:  He has given us "eternal 
life", a quality of life based upon fellowship with Deity!

But where does one find this "eternal life"?  The testimony of God 
continues...]

II. ETERNAL LIFE IS IN HIS SON (11b,12)

   A. HE WHO HAS THE SON HAS LIFE...
      1. We saw where Jesus defined "eternal life" as knowing God and 
         Himself - cf. Jn 17:3
      2. Jesus also taught that He came that we might have "abundant 
         life" - Jn 10:10
      3. As confessed by Peter, only Jesus truly has "the words of 
         eternal life" - Jn 6:68
      4. Paul wrote that all spiritual blessings (of which eternal life
         is one) are found in Jesus Christ - Ep 1:3
      -- The conclusion should be fairly obvious:  it is only in Jesus
         that eternal life can be found, and if we wish to have eternal
         life, we must be in Jesus!

   B. HE WHO DOES NOT HAVE THE SON OF GOD DOES NOT HAVE LIFE...
      1. This sounds rather exclusive, but no more so than Jesus' own
         words in Jn 14:6
      2. Peter also made it clear that salvation (life) is found only
         in Jesus - Ac 4:12
      -- Therefore, one who remains outside of Christ has no hope for
         eternal life (in either sense of term)

[Of course, it is not the will of God than any perish (cf. 2Pe 3:9; 
1Ti 2:3-4).  Therefore, through His Spirit He inspired John to write
so we might know whether or not we have the Son.

Or in other words...]

III. WE MAY KNOW THAT WE HAVE ETERNAL LIFE (13)

   A. JOHN HAS WRITTEN THAT WE MIGHT KNOW...
      1. That has been the purpose of this particular epistle
      2. His desire is that we "know" we are saved, not just hope that
         we are...
         a. "Now by this we know that we know Him..." - 1Jn 2:3
         b. "By this we know that we are in Him." - 1Jn 2:5b
         c. "We know we have passed from death to life..." - 1Jn 3:14a
         d. "And by this we know that we are of the truth..." - 1Jn 
            3:19a
         e. "And by this we know that He abides in us..." - 1Jn 3:24b
         f. "By this we know that we abide in Him, and He in us..." - 
            1Jn 4:13a
      3. Thus, throughout his epistle he has been giving us 
         "benchmarks" by which we can know whether we have eternal life
         in us

   B. WHEN DOES ONE "KNOW" THEY HAVE ETERNAL LIFE?
      1. When they keep the commandments of Jesus - 1Jn 2:3-4
      2. Whey they keep His words - 1Jn 2:5
      3. When they love the brethren - 1Jn 3:14
      4. When they believe what the Spirit has revealed about such 
         things - 1Jn 3:24; 4:13
      5. When they confess Jesus to be the Son of God - 1Jn 4:15
      6. When they believe that Jesus is the Christ - 1Jn 5:1
      -- Taken together, these "benchmarks" reveal that one truly 
         "knows" the Lord, and thereby has "eternal life" - cf. 1Jn 
         5:20

CONCLUSION

1. John's desire was that his readers would continue to believe in the
   name of the Son of God - 1Jn 5:13c
   a. That is my desire also, and I pray that in some small way that I
      have encouraged you to remain strong in your faith in Jesus 
      Christ
   b. If you do not yet believe, or your faith is weak, I commend to 
      you the Gospel of John - cf. Jn 20:30-31
 
2. Dear friend, do you truly have "eternal life"?
   a. Do you believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, who came
      in the flesh and died for our sins? - cf. Jn 8:24
   b. Are you keeping the commands of Jesus?
      1) Such as His command to be baptized? - cf. Mt 28:18-20; Mk 16:
         15-16
      2) Which we learn from His apostles is the means by which we 
         receive Christ? - cf. Ga 3:26-27
   c. Do you love the brethren? - cf. Jn 13:34-35

May this First Epistle of John encourage you to examine whether you 
really "know" Jesus Christ, and thereby have "eternal life" in Him!
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