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Scripture Reading: 1 John 4:1-6
A Faithful Church
1. Local church will only be as strong as its members.
2. A faithful Christian cannot expect to live a life free of trouble and trials. Likewise, a sound, faithful church is not one that never has problems, Rev. 2:8-11 (Smyrna).
3. It is one that addresses problems and the trouble of sin and error in righteous ways, cf. Acts 6:1-6; 15:1-6; 2 Cor. 7:11.
4. 1 John gives a snapshot of faithful Christians and hence, what constitutes a faithful church. Our exhortation is to be of this sort.
I. A WALKING CHURCH.
A. Christians Who Practice the Truth, 1 Jno. 1:6-7.
1. Practice righteousness, 1 Jno. 3:6-10.
2. Jesus leads the way, Heb. 5:7-9.
B. Christians Who Confess Sins, 1 Jno. 1:8-10.
1. Contrite, humble hearts, cf. Psa. 51:16-17 (4).
2. Choose not to let sin rule over us, 1 Jno. 3:4-5, 8; 5:18.
3. Overcome wicked one, 1 Jno. 2:13-14. Through Christ, 4:4, 19.
C. Christians Who are Obedient to Jesus, 1 Jno. 2:3-6; 3:24.
II. A TESTING CHURCH, 1 Jno. 4:1-6.
A. Why Tests are Necessary, 4:1.
1. Error is deceptive. We need and have an objective standard to test what we are taught. Scripture supplies the objective test, 1 Jno. 4:5-6 (apostles); 2 Tim. 3:16-17.
a. Examples, Jno. 5:39-40; Acts 17:2-4, 11-12.
b. "By this you know...", 1 Jno. 4:2-3.
2. False prophets are still prevalent. cf. 1 Cor. 12:3.
a. Ravenous wolves who slip in secretly, cf. Jude 4; Matt. 7:15.
b. Secretly bring in destructive heresies, 2 Pet. 2:1-3. Both their motives and their message are false and destructive.
c. Commended for testing, Rev. 2:2-3.
3. Apostolic truth is necessary in order to know God, 1 Jno. 4:6.
B. When a Church does not Test All Things, 1 Thess. 5:21-22.
1. Sin and error creeps into hearts and lives.
2. Complacency toward sin grows, 1 Cor. 5:6 (2 Cor. 11:4).
3. Love for the truth grows cold, cf. Matt. 24:10-13.
4. The faithful Christians are discouraged, Rev. 2:24-25.
5. Fellowship with sinners becomes the norm, 2 Jno. 9-11.
6. Christ is not pleased, Rev. 2:20.
III. A LOVING CHURCH.
A. The Obedient, Testing Church is also a Loving Church.
1. Keeping the word is a mark of mature love, 1 Jno. 2:5.
2. Loving the brethren includes the tests needed to insure truth is taught and practiced, 1 Jno. 3:14-24 (4:1).
B. Loving One Another includes Holding Each Other Accountable to God, 1 Jno. 4:7-11.
1. God holds us accountable for our sins even as He gave His Son to die for our sins, 4:9.
a. Love includes discipline that corrects, Heb. 12:5-8.
b. Love does not refuse to denounce sin.
2. Love sacrifices in order to help each other "live" in Christ.
3. Worldly say you love people when you "live and let live".
4. Jesus says we love people when we teach them the truth and refuse error and sin, 1 Jno. 5:1-3.
1. Our fellowship and approval with Jesus is at stake, Rev. 2:5.
2. For a church to be faithful its members must be faithful and true to Christ, 1 Jno. 5:20-21.
3. Walk in the light of truth, test all what we are taught and love our brethren enough to "speak the truth in love" (Eph. 4:15).
By: Joe R. Price
Posted: August 11, 2015