Read verses 1-5
Q: Do you think that most people in the world know what a Christian is or how they can become a Christian?
A: Although they may have their own ideas or labels, it’s almost certain that no one understands what a Christian is according to biblical standards.
Q: What do you suppose are the characteristics the world identifies in their own false standard of what a Christian is?
A: It’s probably things which depend on the energy of the flesh such as religious works or good intentions.
Q: But how does God define it?
A: A Christian is someone who is born again.
Point: It is faith in the whole and complete work of Christ which transforms a child of disobedience into a child of God.
But as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, even to those who believe in His name, who were born, not of blood nor of the will of the flesh nor of the will of man, but of God.
— John 1:12-13
In the exercise of His will He brought us forth by the word of truth, so that we would be a kind of first fruits among His creatures.
— James 1:18
Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who according to His great mercy has caused us to be born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead,
— 1 Peter 1:3
Q: John uses the phrase “born of God” seven times in this epistle. How does each one describe a kind of “birthmark” for believers?
- 2:29 – They practice righteousness.
- 3:9 – They do not practice sin. (“Born again” is used twice in this verse.)
- 4:7 – They love one another.
- 5:1 – They believe Jesus is the Messiah.
- 5:4 – They overcome the world.
- 5:18 – They keep themselves from Satan.
Application: How might these characteristics speak to the fact that a Christian is proved by doing much more than merely believing in something? [Answer: It’s putting it into practice.]
Q: How does John here emphasize that the true test of sonship is found in one’s love, obedience, and truth?
- It begins with love. (v.1-2)
- If we have God as our Father and love Him, then we’ll love His other children.
This love leads to obedience. (v.3)
- We keep His commandments, forsaking the ways of the world for His ways alone.
Christians are overcomers of the devil, the world, and false teachers. (v.4-5)
- By faith in God’s Word – the truth – true children prove they love not the world but God alone.
Sermon Point #1: True children of God know what a Christian is.