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12 Commandments for Christians
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PEOPLE ARE ASKED IF they are going to heaven, a common response is, "I hope I'm going to heaven...nobody knows for sure."

Can we know and be 100% certain that we are headed for heaven right now? According to the Apostle John we can know with absolute certainty that we have eternal life (going to heaven) and that we can believe on the name of the Son of God (know we have a personal relationship with Jesus). This is what John wrote in 1 John 5:13:

 "These things have I written unto you that believe on the name of the Son of God; that ye may know that ye have eternal life, and that ye may believe on the name of the Son of God."

The book of First John was written to those who have chosen to believe on Jesus.  He was writing to explain how they might know without a doubt that they have eternal life and to strengthen their belief in Jesus (1 John 5:13).  We must keep in mind that these were new Christians who had a lot of baggage brought over from their old life.  John is explaining what it means to live with God in them contrasted with how they’ve always lived life.

In our twenty-first century, when it’s hard to distinguish God’s people from those without God, we must reexamine our faith and ask ourselves if we have become a Christian in name and appearance only, without actually being a Christian (2 Timothy 3:5).  We are warned by the Apostle Paul that in the last days there will be a great departure of the church from God, though they will look and sound like the church (2 Thessalonians 2:3).  We must not think that we are so strong in our faith that it couldn’t happen to us.  We are warned: “Wherefore let him that thinks he stands take heed lest he fall.” (1 Corinthians 10:12)  We must reexamine our faith to determine if we are actually God’s child (2 Corinthians 13:5).  Jesus warned that the deception will be so great in the last days—our days—that even the strongest of God’s people will be greatly tempted to compromise (Matthew 24:24).  We are living in such a dangerous and deceptive time when our Christian faith is constantly living with compromise that we must reevaluate our faith to see if we are actually in the faith.

I like the book of First John because it is straightforward about what a Christian is and what a Christian is not.  He is so straightforward that I have titled this study, “The Twelve Commandments.”  Whereas the Ten Commandments given by Moses lead us to recognize our sin and need for Christ, the Twelve Commandments lead us to recognize our lack of power in living the Christian life and our need for God to live within us through His Holy Spirit.  In these last of the last days, when the Holy Spirit’s light has greatly dimmed, we must ask ourselves if we are truly living our life in step with Him..

To get the most out of this study, I encourage you to find a quiet place, leave your preconceived ideas behind you, read through the entire book of First John, and then read First John again chapter by chapter with our study notes.

May God bless you in your journey.

THE TWELVE COMMANDMENTS

I.

YOU SHALL NOT WALK IN DARKNESS

II.

YOU SHALL ACKNOWLEDGE YOUR SIN

III.

YOU SHALL KEEP THE COMMANDMENTS OF JESUS & GOD

IV.

YOU SHALL LOVE FELLOW CHRISTIANS

V.

YOU SHALL NOT LOVE THE WORLD

VI.

YOU MUST HAVE THE HOLY SPIRIT

VII.

YOU MUST ACKNOWLEDGE THAT JESUS IS THE CHRIST

VIII.

YOU SHALL HOPE IN JESUS

IX.

YOU MUST ABIDE IN JESUS

X.

YOU WILL SUFFER PERSECUTION

XI.

YOU SHALL TAKE CARE OF FELLOW CHRISTIANS

XII.

YOU SHALL CONFESS THAT JESUS IS THE SON OF GOD 

THE TWELVE COMMANDMENTS
COMMENTARY

I.

YOU SHALL NOT WALK IN DARKNESS
1 John 1:6-7 - To walk in darkness is to continue to live with sin in your life.  For a list of a variety of sins, read Romans 1:29-32, Galatians 5:19-21, Revelation 21:8, and in Galatians 5:22-23 the opposite of the fruit of the Holy Spirit would also be to walk in darkness.  Notice that John is strong when he says that if we claim to live as a Christian, yet continue to live with sin, we lie and do not the truth.

DARKNESS:   Adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lasciviousness, idolatry, witchcraft, hatred, variance, emulations, wrath, strife, sedition, heresies, envying, murders, drunkenness, reveling the fearful, unbelieving, the abominable, murderers, whoremongers, sorcerers,  liars, and such like.

LIGHT:  love, joy, peace, patience, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, and temperance.
 

II.

YOU SHALL ACKNOWLEDGE YOUR SIN
1 John 1:8-10 - The Bible is clear that all people have sin (Romans 3:23; 5:12) and that a Christian cannot continue in sin while choosing to be a Christian (1 John 1:6-7).  Yet many Christians will claim that they have not sinned and that their present sin is not sin.  Yet John is clear that If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. 
 

III.

YOU SHALL KEEP THE COMMANDMENTS OF JESUS & GOD
1 John 2:3-6, 22-24; 5:3 - When Jesus walked upon the earth he taught many things, instructing us on the things of God.  His words are not idle, but are living (1 Peter 1:23), the very words of God (1 Thessalonians 2:13).  If we say we are Christian, but do not obey God’s words, we are liars, without truth in us.  When we keep the commandments and teaching of Jesus God answers our prayers and remains with us.  God’s love to us and our love toward God is revealed through our obeying Him. 
 

IV.

YOU SHALL LOVE FELLOW CHRISTIANS
1 John 2:9-11; 4:16-21 - John is clear that if you do not love fellow Christians—mom, dad, brothers, sisters, friends, acquaintances, strangers, members of your gathering—you continue to live without God, without power over sin, and without guidance.  Christ came to bring a new understanding of an old concept: to love even our enemies.  Love also lets us know that God is actually with us because God is love. Our love for God is revealed through our love for our fellow Christians.  If we cannot love those around us who we can see, we are not able to love God who we cannot see. Love makes us worthy to stand before God in the judgment without any fear that we will enter hell. As a Christian we never have to wonder if or think that we might go to heaven—we can know with 100% certainty that we will be there.
   

V.

YOU SHALL NOT LOVE THE WORLD
1 John 2:15-17 - The great battle of the ages is between the world (the things we can see, hear, and touch) and the things of God (the things we can not see, hear, and touch).  This was Eve’s great battle when she saw that the fruit was good for food, pleasant to the eyes, and a tree desired to make one wise (Genesis 3:6).  There can be no merging of the two nor can we be neutral—we must be either hot or cold toward one or the other, there can be no middle ground of compromise (Matthew 6:24; Revelation 3:15-16). 
 

VI.

YOU MUST HAVE THE HOLY SPIRIT
1 John 2:20, 24-29; 4:13 - The Holy Spirit is an actual part of God that lives in us.  Through him we have an actual, living relationship with God.  This is how we know that God is in us and we are in God—He can be known even as we can know any living creature that is near to us.  There is nothing that John writes of in First John that can be accomplished without the Holy Spirit.  Have you received the Holy Spirit since you believed in Christ? (Acts 19:2)  Does your Christianity consist of an appearance of being God’s people without having the power that marks us as God’s people (2 Timothy 3:5). 
 

VII.

YOU MUST ACKNOWLEDGE THAT JESUS IS THE CHRIST
 1 John 2:21-23; 4:2-3, 15; 5:1 - To acknowledge that Jesus is the Christ is to acknowledge that Jesus is the Messiah of the Jews.  It is to acknowledge that he is God who came to the earth to visit His people.  To deny that Jesus is the Messiah is to be without a relationship with God. 
 

VIII.

YOU SHALL HOPE IN JESUS
1 John 3:1-3 - The Holy Spirit in us gives understanding about the things of God (1 John 2:20, 27; 1 Corinthians 2:11).  He teaches that we will one day be like Jesus: what he is we will become.  This hope means that one day we will be joint heirs and fellow citizens with Christ (Romans 8:17; Ephesians 2:19; 3:6).  When we have this hope, we will then be participants in the fulfillment of this hope when Christ returns (1 Corinthians 9:10).  When we live our lives focused on the incredible things that God will give to us, sin will not be an option.  It is this hope that purifies us to be like Jesus. 
 

IX.

YOU MUST ABIDE IN JESUS
1 John 3:4-10 - Jesus died upon the cross to take away our sin.  It is through him and him alone that we have any possibility of not sinning.  As long as we abide in him—have the Holy Spirit and align our lives to his teachings—then it is impossible to sin.  We make the choice to either do sin or do righteousness, but we cannot do both.  It is your choice whom you will serve—sin or Christ.  It is possible never to sin when we always choose to obey Christ.  To remain in Christ is a choice.  Determine to choose Christ no matter how much you might want, desire, like, love that which is opposite to God. 
 

X.

YOU WILL SUFFER PERSECUTION
1 John 3:11-16 - Jesus told us that in this world his disciples will have troubles (John 16:33).  The Apostle Paul informed us that we will enter God’s kingdom through many troubles (Acts 14:22) and that as a follower of Christ we will experience persecution (Philippians 1:29; 2 Timothy 3:12).  Persecutions are guaranteed to us as followers of Christ (Mark 10:30).  That is because we live in the enemy’s territory.  Satan is the god—the ruler—of this world (2 Corinthians 4:4) and he works hard to steal, kill, and destroy our hope and salvation in Christ (John 10:10).

Even though those without God persecute and cause many troubles for God’s people, we are not to be a source of trouble for our fellow brothers and sisters in Christ.  If we treat fellow Christians wrongly, we have not entered into the life of God and these acts are considered hatred toward them, actually making us a murderer and unqualified for receiving eternal life. 
 

XI.

YOU SHALL TAKE CARE OF FELLOW CHRISTIANS
1 John 3:17-21 - Here’s the scoop.  All God’s people are pilgrims and strangers upon this earth (Hebrews 11:13).  All God’s people will one day receive eternal life, enter God’s kingdom, and become kings and priests in God’s eternal kingdom.  In the meantime, we all are in the enemy’s territory.  Like good soldiers fighting a battle,  we must watch out for and take care of one another.  If we have more of the things of this world than a fellow pilgrim in need we must help them in their journey through this life.  John tells us that the love of God is not in us if we do not assist our fellow kings.  In the book of Acts, the reason the early disciples sold their possessions and land was so that none of God’s people would lack any necessities (Acts 2:45).  Our purpose for working is so that we might have to give to our fellow Christians who are in need (Ephesians 4:28). 
 

XII.

YOU SHALL CONFESS THAT JESUS IS THE SON OF GOD
1 John 4:14-15; 5:5-12, 20 - To confess that Jesus is the Son of God is more than confessing that he is a Son of God.  All God’s people are considered sons of God (John 1:12; Romans 8:14; 1 John 3:1,2).  The difference here is that by confessing Jesus is the son of God we acknowledge that he is the only son of God that has come out from God—he is begotten from God (John 1:14,18; 3:16,18; 1 John 4:9).  Having come out from God, his claim to being the son of God means that he claims to be the messiah and equal to God (Matthew 26:63-65; John 5:18).  Understanding this can only take place through the Holy Spirit (Matthew 16:16,17), who is God living in us.  Having this discernment of those things that are true but we cannot yet see is what allows us to overcome all the temptations that impact us: the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life.  To not believe that Jesus is the Son of God is to make God a liar. 

 

IN CLOSING...
A main focus in this book is abiding, remaining, and living with the Holy Spirit actually in us.  The Holy Spirit is God’s actual Spirit and lives in God's people.  He is given as a guarantee that everything else that God has promised will be given to us when Christ returns (2 Corinthians 1:22; 5:5; Ephesians 1:13,14).  In our present life we are in relationship with God through His Spirit; when Christ returns we will then be in relationship with God face-to-face, eyeball-to-eyeball (Revelation 21:3).  It is the Holy Spirit that gives us the power to not sin and to live with God’s character in us (Galatians 5:16, 25).  To receive the Holy Spirit you must ask God for Him (Luke 11:11-13).  Normally, the first step to becoming a Christian is to believe the historical account of Jesus recorded in the gospels of Matthew, Mark, or Luke.  Then we need to repent, recognize our sin, and realign our lives to the teachings of Jesus.  It is his teachings that make us clean and prepare us to receive the Holy Spirit (John 15:3).  As we are cleaned by the word of Christ, Jesus will then ask God the Father to give the Holy Spirit to you (John14: 15-16).  Without the Holy Spirit (God in us), it is impossible to be a Christian.  The Holy Spirit in us is what distinguishes Christians from other religions and those who do not follow Christ.  Take away the Holy Spirit and you have people claiming to be a Christian indistinguishable from those who are not Christian. We must examine ourselves with a critical eye to see if we measure up to John’s marks of a Christian outlined in this first book of John.  To not do so could lead to horrible eternal consequences.