1 John 5 (13-21)

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We Know

A sermon on 1 John 5:13-21 given in Christ the King Church on June 18, 2006

Prayer:  Father, we give you the praise and the glory for all you have given us in Christ.  And we thank you for the revelation of your Word in Scripture.  Teach us by it this day.  We pray in Jesus’ name.  Amen.


Introduction:  It is a strange day in which we live, where doubt is deemed a virtue, where skepticism is hallowed as humility, and where absolute truth is viewed as absolutely false.  About a decade ago, reflective of this trend, a chaplain at a nearby college (traditionally viewed as a Christian college) held what he called, a Festival of Doubt.[1]   He held a Festival of Doubt, where various lectures were given which both underscored religious uncertainty and ridiculed ‘fundamentalists’ who still held to the fundamentals of Christianity.

Well, I hardly have to tell you that the spirit of our age is so different than the Spirit of God and what He teaches us in the Word of God.  For here in First John, from the beginning to the end of chapter five, the apostle John holds a “Festival of Faith,” a festival which crescendos and concludes with certainty!  “I write these things to you who believe in the name of the Son of God that you may know that you have eternal life.” 

Now, this call to confidence (in v.13) only escalates, as we read vv.14-21.  For look at the phrase repeated most, the phrase “we know.”  It is repeated five times (twice in v.15, and then once in v.18, 19 and 20).  Also notice the phrase “that you may know” is used in v.13 and the phrase “that we may know” in v.20.  That’s seven ‘knows’ in nine verses!  So, if there is one thing we are to know about this passage it is that we are to know!  We are to know God hears our prayers.  We are to know Jesus protects us from sin and the evil one.  And we are to know Jesus is the true God and in Him we have eternal life.  If you are taking notes or filling out the Kingdom Kids, I’ll say that again:  We are to know God hears our prayers.  We are to know Jesus protects us from sin and the evil one.  And we are to know Jesus is the true God and in Him we have eternal life.       

We Know God Hears Our Prayers (vv.14-17)


Genuine Christians, those who have been born of God, can and ought to have confidence that God will hear our prayers.  This is what is addressed in vv.14-17.  Let’s start with vv.14-15.  Read along with me:  “And this is the confidence that we have toward him [toward God], that if we ask anything [pray] according to his will he hears us.  And if we know that he hears us in whatever we ask, we know that we have the requests that we have asked of him.” 

Allow me to make three observations.  First, note the recipient of our prayers.  It is God.  That’s easy enough to see.  So, why illuminate the obvious?  Well, because this simple fact (that prayer is to be directed to God and to Him alone) has not always been so obvious to Christians.  In fact, still today some pray to beings and/or persons other than God.  Such a procedure is nowhere to be found in the Bible, and (as a point of interest) nowhere found in the writings of the Apostolic Fathers, who lived the generation after the apostles.  In both Scripture and in the earliest Christian tradition, it is God alone to whom prayers and petitions are offered. 

My second observation is that prayer offered to God is offered with confidence.  “And this is the confidence that we have toward him….” If we can stand with confidence before God in view of the final judgment, as taught in 1 John 2:28 and 4:17, well then surely we can come with confidence to God in prayer. 

There is a false humility that thinks Christians are too innately sinful to stand before God.  And so we ought never come to Him with boldness.  We ought never to come to Him as a loving Father, but rather is a harsh but fair Judge.  This was the mentality so prevalent in the medieval church.  But again, what does Scripture teach?  Scripture teaches that we can “draw near the throne of grace,” with confidence, confidence that “we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need” (Hebrews 4:16).

Now, this confidence, this boldness, this freedom is, however, not to be abused.  God’s Word does not allow us “an unbridled liberty,” as one commentator puts it, to ask for whatever comes into our heads.[2]  God is not our indentured servant.  Neither is He our butler, chasing after our ever whim.  No, what does v.14 say?  Here’s my third observation.  It says we can have confidence that God will hear our prayer (that is, answer it) “if”- “if we ask anything according to his will.”  We can ask “anything” of God, absolutely anything, “anything according to his will.” 

So, how about my foolish requests?  How about my sinful requests?  My friends, those petitions fly like arrows against a brick wall.  You see just as prayer is hindered by unbelief and wickedness, so prayers that are contrary to God’s will never (metaphorically speaking) reach His ears.  It is not that God cannot hear.  It is that He refuses to hear.       

Now, thankfully in the Bible, we are given examples of people praying and of ‘answered’ and ‘unanswered’ prayer.  And while we could go through the list of answered prayers and those who prayed them, instead we will start and stay at the top.  There was but one man who’s every prayer was answered, and that was the perfect man, our Lord Jesus Christ.  


Listen to how Jesus is portrayed in John’s Gospel.  We are told in 4:24 that Jesus’ will was always one with the Father; in 6:38-40 that Jesus always did His Father’s works; in 3:34, 8:55, 14:10, and 17:8 that Jesus always spoke what the Father wished Him to say.  And then in Matthew’s Gospel, as Jesus taught His disciples to pray, “Our Father, who art in heaven, hallowed be thy name, thy kingdom come, thy will be done, on earth as it is in heaven,” so He also embodied that last petition at Gethsemane, when He “fell on his face and prayed... ‘My Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from me; nevertheless, not as I will, but as you will” (26:39).

I think in a lot of people’s minds prayer is the means by which we change God’s mind.  But such a view is wrong.  In fact, if taken too far it is dangerous, such as the proponents of, what is called, the Openness of God, have done.  No, Jesus teaches us that proper prayer is not we changing God’s mind to accept our will, but rather the opposite, it is God changing our minds to accept His will.[3]  And the best and surest way for us to know God’s will is through Scripture.  

When I was in college, there was a little event that God used to change my comprehension and practice of prayer.  At a question and answer time on the Christian life in the living room of my college pastor’s house, a visiting pastor was asked the question, “How do you pray?”  Here’s how he answered.  He said, “Each morning, I read my Bible.  When I come to an area addressed in a passage in which I feel I need prayer, I simply pray there and then.”  Now, that simple instruction has been so helpful for my prayer life.  And I hope it can be for yours as well. 

So, of course, we should read and pray through the Lord’s Prayer, and read and pray through Paul’s many prayers, and read and pray the Psalms (the prayer book of the Bible), but we should also read and pray through any part of Scripture we take before our eyes.  So, if you, like me, having been reading through First John, why not offer up a petition like this:  “Lord, help me to have assurance.  So Lord, help me to love you more and to love others more.  Help me, O God, to keep your commandments.  Help me to trust in Jesus.”  Those are the prayers that God delights to hear, prayers that are according to His revealed will.

Now, the apostle John, interestingly enough, gives us his own example of prayer, an example perhaps very different than we expected. 

Here it is in vv.16-17.  “If anyone sees his brother committing a sin not leading to death, he shall ask, and God will give him [this struggling Christian] life- to those who commit sins that do not lead to death.  There is sin that leads to death; I do not say that one should pray for that.  All wrongdoing is sin, but there is sin that does not lead to death.”     

Now, we will get to “the sin that leads to death” in just a moment.  Let’s not miss the forest for the trees.  Let’s not let that issue side track us from the main path John wants us all to travel down.  Here is an example of the kind of prayer God will answer.  It is a prayer for a fellow Christian.  It is a prayer for a fellow Christian who has fallen into sin. 

I have a friend who upon his family room wall has an intriguing object hanging.  It is an oblong artifact that has mixed in it various letters.  Noticeably in the middle of this clay-like mold there is the letter “T” and “H” and “E” and “R” and “S.”  At first glance I thought it had something to do with a woman, as I made out the word HERS.  But, what then was that “T” doing?  Well, after some study, I honestly couldn’t see what it said.  And so, my host graciously pointed out to me what should have been the most obvious letter, the letter “O” which was used as the border of the whole piece:  O-T-H-E-R-S.  “Others” is what this artwork said! 

In our prayer lives, we can be so preoccupied with ourselves and our own affairs, that we fail to see and do the obvious, pray for others.  But, how interesting that it is prayer for others that occupies John’s mind.  I suppose it shouldn’t really come as a surprise, for throughout his letter others come first.  I don’t know how many times John talks about loving others (I didn’t count), but it is safe to say that it makes his top three themes.  What is surprising, however, is that John (who has held out this other theme of holiness so high) asks us to pray for one who presently holds holiness so low, to pray for the person struggling with sin.     

Which I’m sure is what we all naturally do anyway, right?  When we see or hear about some brother or sister who has entangled him or herself in iniquity, we aren’t tempted to gossip first, are we?  No, the first words out of our mouths are never, “Oh, did you hear about so and so and what she got herself into.  Well, it serves her right.”  Gossip comes very natural to me.  And so the first impulse when I see or hear of someone’s sin is to spread it like the plague.  Do you have that same temptation?  Perhaps you do.  Well, the Word teaches us this morning, to tame the tongue, to get that little body part under control so that it might offer petitions up to God, petitions for those who are too weak, too heavy laden to lift their own heads to heaven.  Can you think of someone like this?  Most of us can.  Pray for this person.  Pray even now.  Pray (in the language of Jude) that God would “have mercy on those who doubt,” pray that God would save them “snatching them out of the fire” (Jude 22-23).

So, prayer for struggling brethren is a petition acceptable in God’s sight.  It is a prayer He is pleased to answer.  But this wideness of God’s mercy, we are told, has its limits.  And that’s what John goes on to say.  John makes clear there are two categories of sin:  sin that does not lead to death, and sin that does lead to death.  We are to pray for the former, but not the later. 

Now, these two categories can be called venial and mortal, as the Roman Catholics do, as long as we change their definition.  In traditional Catholic theology (but not so much anymore), following the teaching handed down by Tertullian and Aquinas and others, sins like fornication and adultery classify as mortal sins.[4]  Now, from the context, we know that these are very likely not the sins John had in mind.  Moreover, from the context of the whole of Scripture, we know that each and every “wrongdoing,” our everyday faults (what Catholics call venial sins)[5] lead to death.  As Romans 6:23 says, “The wages of sin is death.” 


So, what then is this sin that leads to death, this “sin to which no hope of forgiveness if left”?[6]  There are, of course, many opinions.  I will give you the one I think is the best.  The sin that leads to death is a heretical denial of the faith.  Bruce Barton summarizes it this way:  “The sin that ends in death includes both the act of deliberately denying that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and the state of spiritual death that deliberately rejects Christ, destroying faith and love.”[7]  You see, if you cut and paste together all the characteristics of the false teachers John is combating, the scenario is this:  A man is ‘converted’ to Christ.  He professes to believe all that the apostles teach about Jesus (that Jesus is the incarnate Son of God, that His death atoned for our sins, etc).  Then, this person denies the faith and leaves the fellowship, the body of Christ.  But, he doesn’t stop there.  No, he becomes an exponent of error.  He shares his testimony of disbelief and disobedience, hoping to lead many souls away from the true God and of out the true Church.[8]  I think that person and that scenario is the mortal sin John is talking about.

Now, with this said, we ought not to be rash in our judgment as to who fits into this category, nor are we to be less merciful than God Himself.  Yet, we ought to heed this teaching, for it is true, as is said here and is said in places like Hebrews 6:4-6 that one can “fall away” in such a way that (quote) “it is impossible to restore [him or her] to repentance.”  Like Dr. Faustus, in Christopher Marlowe’s tragedy of that title (or Pharaoh in Exodus, for that matter), some do experience an irreversibility of fate, and as Faustus did in that play, they in essence cry out, “My heart’s so hardened I cannot repent.”[9]    


We Know Christ Protects Us from Sin and the Evil One (vv.18-19)

Now, it is such a thought (a reality) that should lead us naturally to fear.  And there is some value in that, for a healthy fear of falling, a healthy fear of the fragility of our faith can bring us to the place God wants us, and to which John now takes us.  Look with me at vv.18-19.  Here we learn that we must find refuge from our fear in our Savior.  “We know that everyone who has been born of God does not keep on sinning [sin is no longer the primary pattern of one’s life], but he who was born [or begotten] of God [referring to Jesus] protects him, and the evil one does not touch him.  We know that we are from God, and the whole world lies in the power of the evil one.” 


One of the things I respect most about my older brother is that when we were kids, no matter how much we might have fought against each other, if anyone picked on me or pushed me or hit me, my older brother was immediately there to defend and protect me.  It is good feeling to know that someone is there to protect you, to protect you from the mean neighbor or school bully.  Well, for Christians, Christ, in a very real way, is our protector, even our brother--our big brother (if you will allow me such language).  In a fight between two schoolboys, it is still probably common practice to threaten the other child, saying, “My big brother is bigger than your big brother.” 

Well, in the world of spiritual warfare, the place where we fight our daily battles, it is good to know that our heavenly big brother is bigger and stronger than the prince of this world (2 Corinthians 4:4), who is the Devil or “the evil one.”

From a mythological perspective, envision this.  Imagine we are enchained in the Dragon’s castle.  The chains are our sins, the Dragon is the Devil, and the castle is the world, this fallen and sinful world.  Suddenly, a mighty warrior, our Lord Jesus, comes to our rescue.  He fights off the beast, breaks our chains, frees us from this castle, and commands us to run forevermore to safety.  That’s the story of our salvation! 

We have been rescued and freed.  But, the dragon, as of yet has not been slain.  And so, the battle continues, and we must resist the devil and sin, knowing Christ is there to help.  You see, just because we know Christ will protect us, it does not mean we play dead until the battle is over.  No, we are, as Paul so memorably illustrated, “to take up the whole armor of God” (Ephesians 6:13).  Having fastened on the belt of truth, having put on the breastplate of righteousness, and the readiness of our gospel shoes, and then taking up the shield of faith, the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, we can trust that the enemy’s flaming darts will not penetrate the heart.[10]  

We know that we are from God if (to borrow again from Ephesians 6) we are “strong in the Lord and in the strength of His might” (Ephesians 6:10).  New birth results in new behavior.[11]  Sin and Satan no longer has dominion over us.  And this is because Christ’s protection and His power, working within us.          

We know Jesus is the true God and in Him we have eternal life (v.13, vv.20-21)

So, as Christians, what do we know?  We know God hears our prayers, we know Jesus protects us from sin and from the evil one, and finally, we know Jesus is the true God and in Him we have eternal life.  This is what we saw in v.13, but now also in v.20.  “And we know that the Son of God has come and has given us understanding, so that we may know him who is true; and we are in him who is true, in his Son Jesus Christ.  He is the true God and eternal life.”


Throughout John’s writings, he promotes and defends the full divinity of Jesus.[12]  And nowhere is this more plainly stated that at the end of v.20:  “He [Jesus] is the true God.”  In the language of one of the earliest Christian creeds, the Nicene Creed, Jesus is hailed as “God of God, Light of Light, very God of very God.”  That’s precisely the idea here. 

Now, we know that the issue of Jesus’ divinity was a big issue in John’s day, as it was in the fourth century, when the Nicene Creed was written.  But, in the Christian Church today, it is (thankfully so) not an issue we debate over much.  Let me put it this way:  I would be utterly surprised to discover this morning anyone here today who does not believe that Jesus is the Son of God (true God of true God).  So, I won’t belabor this point.  What I will focus on, however, is John’s next statement, which is not some random ending, but rather a thought or exhortation that aligns perfectly with the notion of Jesus being “the true God.”  Look at v.21, that unconventional and somewhat abrupt ending!  “Little children, keep yourselves from idols.”


The logic here is this.  If you believe Jesus is “the true God” that means you stop playing with idols, that is, you stop making Jesus into your image and you stop worshipping other people, places, or things.  You see, just because we know Jesus is God, does not mean we are to “luxuriate in the bubble bath of Christian assurance.”  That’s how David Jackman puts it.  And he’s exactly right.  Because we worship Jesus as God, we are to work hard at avoiding idols.

I love of the language of Calvin here.  I know I quote him a lot, but he is such a good Bible commentator, it is hard to refrain from doing so.  Listen to what he says, “[The apostle] intimates that the worship of God cannot continue uncorrupted and pure whenever people begin to be in love with idols and images, for superstition is so innate in us that the least occasion will infect us with it [infection].  Dry wood when coals are put under it will not burn as easily as idolatry lays hold on and engrosses our minds when it is given the chance.  And who does not see that images are sparks or rather torches, that are sufficient to set the whole world on fire?”[13]

Here Calvin is talking about idols and images as artifacts (wood or stone or metal carved and shaped by a craftsman’s hands), that is, statues and other religious objects.  Now, I believe John, the apostle, given his context of living in the Roman world, had some of that in mind.  But, I also believe he had a broader perspective than that, giving idolatry a more “elastic” application,[14] as Paul does in Ephesians 5:5 and Colossians 3:5, where idolatry is “viewed symbolically as anything that competes with God.”[15]  In fact, given the context of the letter, idols probably refer more specifically to “false teachings that present false images of Jesus Christ.”[16]

Now, what exactly does such idolatry look like?  Well, let me give you a modern example.  At the end of 1994, the World Council of Churches held a conference that called for a “Second Reformation,” a reformation that would not only give the church a much need facelift, but also radically remove from the body of Christ what were once deemed vital organs.  Its stated purpose was to re-image God.  So, God’s testimony through the Spirit about Jesus was removed, and replaced by the goddess Sophia (I’m not making this up), the female psyche that (quote) “takes a historic, particularistic form, but appears in many ways and in many spiritual traditions.”[17]

So bold were these re-imagers that they not only neglected Christ and His cross, but instead they attacked it.  Delores Williams, one of the speakers, said this, “I don’t think we need a theory of atonement at all.  I don’t think we need folks hanging on crosses and blood dripping and weird stuff [like that]….  We just need to listen to the god within.” 

Now, while this should strike you as deeply unorthodox, it should also strike you as highly ironic.  This ‘Christian’ group wanted nothing to do with that bloody Jesus, that man who hung upon a cross for sins.  No, they claimed to worship the god or goddess within, to worship Sophia, which is the Greek word for wisdom.  What is ironic is this.  What did Paul have to say about wisdom? 

Didn’t he write in the first chapter of 1 Corinthians, “We preach Christ crucified, a stumbling block to Jews and foolishness to Greeks, but to those who are being called … Christ is the power of God and the wisdom of God?” (1:23-24).  The cross is foolish to unbelievers, but to believers, to those who have been born of God, the cross is the very wisdom of God on display, the very show of Sophia


Now, at first what happened at this World Council of Churches conference seems so eccentric and so far removed that it is of little significance, that is, until one realizes that this very event was attended by over 2,000 people, and that it was underwritten by five Protestant ‘evangelical’ (or once evangelical) denominations.[18]  My brothers and sisters in Christ, idolatry is everywhere, it is everywhere in the Church.  And so John warns the early church as he does the contemporary church to beware of wolves in sheep’s clothing, beware of teachers, who work under the guise of Christian ministry, who remove Christ from the center of Christianity.  “Little children, keep yourselves from idols.” 





Conclusion:  Martin Luther once wrote, “Nothing is more familiar or characteristic among Christians than assertion.  Take away assertions, and you take away Christianity.”[19]  Well, as we have learned this morning, the apostle John asserts the same, saying in essence, “If you take away knowledge from Christianity, you take away Christianity.”  As Christians we are not to be know-it-alls, but we are to know this:  We are to know that God hears our prayers.  We are to know that our Lord protects us from sin and from the devil.  And we are to know that Jesus is the true God and in Him we have eternal life.  Amen. 

Prayer:  Father, we thank you for the knowledge you have given us in Christ, a knowledge that even a child can understand, a knowledge that helps us persevere in our Christian walk, knowing that no matter what trials and temptations betake us, we can cling to you in prayer, and come to you for protection, knowing that it is our Lord Jesus, true God and true man, who can sympathize with us and lead us to victory.  Bless us, O Lord, through your Word, this day.  In Christ’s name.  Amen.





Benediction:  Now receive the benediction.  It comes from Paul’s prayer in Ephesians 3.     According to the riches of his glory, may God grant you to be strengthened with power through his Spirit in your inner being, so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith- that you, being rooted and grounded in love, may have the strength to comprehend with all the saints what is the breadth and length and height and depth, and to know the love of Christ that surpasses knowledge, that you may be filled with all the fullness of God. 



·       Illustration:  Praying to Father/Son/Mary- the three candles

·       Was I sincere?  Absolutely!  Did this idolatry effect how I thought about God?  Absolutely!

When I was converted:  I stopped praying through Mary, and I stopped praying with images


As one writer attests, “The barbarians are not simply at the gate; they have entered the church narthex.”[20]  “And this is the testimony: that God gave us eternal life, and this life is in his Son.  Whoever has the Son has life; whoever does not have the Son of God does not have life.”  We must take those words to heart. 

13 I write these things to you who believe in the name of the Son of God that you may know that you have eternal life. 

14 And this is the confidence that we have toward him, that if we ask anything according to his will he hears us.  15 And if we know that he hears us in whatever we ask, we know that we have the requests that we have asked of him.  16 If anyone sees his brother committing a sin not leading to death, he shall ask, and God will give him life- to those who commit sins that do not lead to death. There is sin that leads to death; I do not say that one should pray for that.  17 All wrongdoing is sin, but there is sin that does not lead to death.  

18 We know that everyone who has been born of God does not keep on sinning, but he who was born of God protects him, and the evil one does not touch him.  19 We know that we are from God, and the whole world lies in the power of the evil one. 

20 And we know that the Son of God has come and has given us understanding, so that we may know him who is true; and we are in him who is true, in his Son Jesus Christ. He is the true God and eternal life.  21 Little children, keep yourselves from idols. 















13 Tau/ta e;graya u`mi/n i[na eivdh/te o[ti zwh.n e;cete aivw,nion( toi/j pisteu,ousin eivj to. o;noma tou/ ui`ou/ tou/ qeou/Å 14 kai. au[th evsti.n h` parrhsi,a h]n e;comen pro.j auvto,n o[ti eva,n ti aivtw,meqa kata. to. qe,lhma auvtou/ avkou,ei h`mw/nÅ 15 kai. eva.n oi;damen o[ti avkou,ei h`mw/n o] eva.n aivtw,meqa( oi;damen o[ti e;comen ta. aivth,mata a] hv|th,kamen avpV auvtou/Å 16 VEa,n tij i;dh| to.n avdelfo.n auvtou/ a`marta,nonta a`marti,an mh. pro.j qa,naton( aivth,sei kai. dw,sei auvtw/| zwh,n( toi/j a`marta,nousin mh. pro.j qa,natonÅ e;stin a`marti,a pro.j qa,naton\ ouv peri. evkei,nhj le,gw i[na evrwth,sh|Å 17 pa/sa avdiki,a a`marti,a evsti,n( kai. e;stin a`marti,a ouv pro.j qa,natonÅ 18 Oi;damen o[ti pa/j o` gegennhme,noj evk tou/ qeou/ ouvc a`marta,nei( avllV o` gennhqei.j evk tou/ qeou/ threi/ auvto.n kai. o` ponhro.j ouvc a[ptetai auvtou/Å 19 oi;damen o[ti evk tou/ qeou/ evsmen kai. o` ko,smoj o[loj evn tw/| ponhrw/| kei/taiÅ 20 oi;damen de. o[ti o` ui`o.j tou/ qeou/ h[kei kai. de,dwken h`mi/n dia,noian i[na ginw,skwmen to.n avlhqino,n( kai. evsme.n evn tw/| avlhqinw/|( evn tw/| ui`w/| auvtou/ VIhsou/ Cristw/|Å ou-to,j evstin o` avlhqino.j qeo.j kai. zwh. aivw,niojÅ 21 Tekni,a( fula,xate e`auta. avpo. tw/n eivdw,lwnÅ

5:16 (see Tertullian, On Purity, 59f, 114-115, and 116-117, illustration of clean house)

Illustration:  Elisha in 2 Kings 2; Daniel 12; John in Revelation (what is unseen)

We need to recognize that we live in enemy territory (C.S. Lewis):  “This means that the world is certainly not sympathetic to what Christians believe, nor is it even neutral when in comes to spiritual matters.  Knowingly or not, every institution, political system, or philosophy that does not seek to honor Christ plays right into the hands of the evil one.   

John 10:28-30- “no one can snatch”


Illustration:  Toplady poem (in Jackman, 168)

“Here, as in 3:4-10, the verbs are in the present tense, indicating habitual or continuous action.  So the statement is not that the Christian cannot fall into sin; indeed, he can and does.  Rather it is that, while he may fall into sin, he cannot continue in it indefinitely.  In other words, if the individual is truly born of God, the new birth will result in new behavior” (Boice, 145)


[1] See Burge, 222.

[2] Calvin, 98.

[3] Boice, 139.

[4] See Tertullian, On Purity, 59ff, 114-115, and 116-117.

[5] Catechism of the Catholic Church: 1458.

[6] Calvin, 101.

[7] Barton, 118.

[8] Someone like Joseph Smith, who founded the Mormon church, would perfectly fit this description.       

[9] In Jackman, 165; cf. Pharaoh in Exodus 10:27

[10] Ephesians 6:10-20 10 Finally, be strong in the Lord and in the strength of his might.  11 Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the schemes of the devil.  12 For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places.  13 Therefore take up the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand firm.  14 Stand therefore, having fastened on the belt of truth, and having put on the breastplate of righteousness, 15 and, as shoes for your feet, having put on the readiness given by the gospel of peace.  16 In all circumstances take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming darts of the evil one; 17 and take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God, 18 praying at all times in the Spirit, with all prayer and supplication. To that end keep alert with all perseverance, making supplication for all the saints, 19 and also for me, that words may be given to me in opening my mouth boldly to proclaim the mystery of the gospel, 20 for which I am an ambassador in chains, that I may declare it boldly, as I ought to speak.

[11] Boice, 145.

[12] See Burge, 219; cf. John 1:1,18; 20:28; Romans 9:5; Titus 2:13; 2 Peter 1:1.

[13] Calvin, 105.

[14] Jackman, 171.

[15] Burge, 218. 

[16] Barton, 121; cf. Jackman, 171.

[17] Burge, 207.

[18] Amazingly the Presbyterian Church- USA, the American Baptist Church, the United Church of Christ, the Evangelical Lutheran Church of America, and the United Methodist Church even underwrote this in large part.

[19] In Boice, 145

[20] Burge, 208.

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