Text: 1 John 5:6-8
Summary: We are washed at baptism. We are washed by Jesus’ word (rhema). And we are washed by the blood. Pray this: Jesus, meet me, help me to believe that I’m clean, I pray that you will cleanse me fully by Your blood.
Father, we’re so thankful that you give us brothers and sisters in Christ and family together at a time like this. Thank you that we can connect through technology. Thank you for being with us yesterday. In the midst of global shutdown, your will was not thwarted in any way. And we could celebrate before you and before many witnesses the marriage and the union between Peter and Bekah.
We are so happy for them. We bless them in Jesus Name. We pray for every heavenly blessing to be poured out upon them. We pray for your love, Father, to be perfected in them. We pray for the perfect love of the Father to cast out all of our fears. Lord, as we wrap up 1 John today, we pray that you would anoint the preaching of your word. We pray that you’d give us soft hearts and good hearts to receive your word. And we pray for much fruit to be born through this teaching. Thank you, Lord. In Jesus Name, Amen
We’re gonna be wrapping up 1 John today. And if you’re following along and you want to read ahead, you can read the book of Revelation. So we were covering all of Apostle John’s teaching. For today, I have a prayer that I encourage everyone to pray as often as you can remember. The prayer goes like this — Jesus meet me. Help me to believe that I’m clean. I pray that you will cleanse me fully by your blood.
I was very curious at the beginning of the week why the Lord was leading me to Ephesians 5 as one of the texts that I was meditating on. And now it makes full sense because of Peter and Bekah’s wedding. What an adventure that we can. God knows the future. And so God already knew that the wedding was going to happen on Saturday. And so today, in a sense is part two of what I covered yesterday.
1 John 5
6 This is he who came by water and blood—Jesus Christ; not by the water only but by the water and the blood. And the Spirit is the one who testifies, because the Spirit is the truth. 7 For there are three that testify: 8 the Spirit and the water and the blood; and these three agree.
And there are three witnesses that testify about Jesus. The first one is the Spirit, and that is an internal witness. If you’ve been born again, the Spirit resides in you. You know with confidence that you are saved and you know who your Savior is — Jesus Christ. The Holy Spirit is an internal witness.
And it talks about the water. And I think this is speaking of baptism, which signifies the beginning of our spiritual journey. Even Jesus to fulfill all righteousness allowed Himself to be baptized by John the Baptist.
And during that first baptism ceremony of Jesus, the Father’s voice thundered from heaven. And there were many witnesses who heard that voice. Likewise, when we get baptized, we do it before God, of course, and before many witnesses.
The Spirit is an internal witness. The waters of our baptism ceremony is before many external witnesses. And the blood of Jesus is the third witness. And I think the blood reveals to us that we are the witness, and I’ll get to that at the end. 3 witnesses.
There also 3 washings. And yesterday at the wedding I talked about one of the washings — when Jesus washes us by the word. I’ll recap that quickly, but the first washing that I want to talk about is the washing that we received at baptism.
1 Peter 3
21 Baptism, which corresponds to this, now saves you, not as a removal of dirt from the body but as an appeal to God for a good conscience, through the resurrection of Jesus Christ…
I always struggled with the meaning of having a good conscience. There are places like in 1 Timothy 4:1-2, you read about those who used to be believers, and then they departed from the faith. And they became false believers because they got deceived by evil spirits. And it talks about their consciences being seared with a hot iron.
And so I thought a good conscience must be just a conscience that is functioning. It tells you when you’re sinning and when you’re not sinning. But I realized that’s not actually the correct interpretation.
To understand the word “good” in the Bible, there is not much information. “Good” in the Greek means intrinsically good. There’s not much more revelation given to us in the Greek. So what was helpful for me was to read about what an “evil” conscience is? And did you know the Bible actually talks about an evil conscience in Hebrews 10?
19 Therefore, brothers, since we have confidence to enter the holy places by the blood of Jesus, 20 by the new and living way that he opened for us through the curtain, that is, through his flesh, 21 and since we have a great priest over the house of God, 22 let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith, with our hearts sprinkled clean from an evil conscience and our bodies washed with pure water.
Here, it’s talking about confidence to approach God. It is talking about having full assurance of faith. Somebody who knows I might have sins, but God is not angry with me. He is not disappointed in me. Every time they come to God, do I have to wonder whether I can actually approach the throne of grace with confidence, or maybe I should enter through the backdoor because perhaps He is upset with me.
When it talks about an “evil” conscience, the word for “evil” is pain-ridden. It speaks of a conscience that is troubled. It’s somebody who thinks they’re a sinner and is wondering, am I clean? And God’s word to us is that we are clean.
25 Husbands, love your wives, as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her, 26 that he might sanctify her, having cleansed her by the washing of water with the word…
And so what is that word through which we are clean? And Jesus gives us that word amazingly in John 13 while He’s washing His disciples feet.
10 Jesus said to him, “The one who has bathed does not need to wash, except for his feet, but is completely clean. And you are clean, but not every one of you.” 11 For he knew who was to betray him; that was why he said, “Not all of you are clean.”
And so Jesus when He’s gathering with this with His disciples, this is prior to Calvary, He already declares that 11 out of 12 disciples are clean. And it’s just an amazing thing to consider that Jesus, knowing that Peter would deny Him three times, Jesus already declares about Peter that he’s clean.
It’s like if I took a bath and I went outside with sandals and I stepped in mud, would I take an entire bath all over again? Or would I just clean my feet? And Jesus is saying, basically, we’ve all been bathed. We are clean. Our feet will still get dirty. So therefore, there is more cleansing to be done to be sure. But we are clean.
It’s helpful to take the two washings together — the washing occurred at baptism and the washing that Jesus gives through His word when He declares that we are clean. You have to look at these two washings together.
What kind of cleansing did we exactly receive when we were first saved? While we testified before the world that I repent of my sins and I declared Jesus as my personal Savior and Lord? And while we testified that now I’m living for Jesus I’m following Jesus? And you did this before external witnesses.
Spiritually, you’re asking for a good conscience. You’re asking for a conscience that is not just functional, but is the opposite of an evil conscience. An evil conscience thinks God is upset with me. Even though I’ve repented, I sinned again the 10th time this week. And so God, He must be frustrated. If I am disciplining my kids as an evil father, I might be frustrated when they disobeyed me the 10th time this week.
But does our Heavenly Father look at us that way? Is He upset with us? Is He the kind of Father who has a stick in His hand, and He’s ready to discipline and to beat us every time we make a mistake?
If you want to understand the heart of the Father, you look at places like Luke 15 where the Prodigal Son returns home and the Father sees him from a distance and runs toward him. He doesn’t lecture him. He didn’t say, I got to teach this boy a lesson. He wasted all of my money. He’s going to serve as a servant for the first couple years and earn status and merit my love and forgiveness. No, He runs after him, a total failure of a son, and embraces him and throws him a party. That is the heart of our Father.
So when Jesus says, you’re clean, He’s saying, this conscience that is guilt-ridden has been cleansed. This conscience that makes you feel like you need to perform because there’s a religious spirit that says, you’re clean, but actually, you’re not really clean because there’s so much dirt in you. And so it’s almost like a bait and switch because when we first received the gospel, wasn’t it the greatest news? That Jesus died for my sins and I have a Father who loves me unconditionally.
There’s no performance, there’s no meriting love. Just by receiving the offer of salvation through faith, I am clean and accepted. I am fully loved unconditionally. Wasn’t this the salvation moment? And somehow, as a new believer, the church might leave you alone for a year. But after a second year, third year, you start serving at a church, and you start feeling a weight of performance. A religious spirit kind of latches onto you. And you think, well, I was clean in the beginning and people loved me and accepted me how I was, and now that I’m supposedly more mature a few years into walking with Jesus, now there’s all this expectation that has been placed on me. So I don’t really feel clean anymore.
Because shouldn’t I be further along in my journey? And of course, there is truth to us needing our feet washed continuously. We still need to be cleansed. But this evil conscience has been cleansed in Jesus Name. And He has already cleansed us by His word when he declared prior to Peter denying Him, prior to dying on a cross, He declared to 11 in the room, you are clean because you put your faith in me.
There’s only one who is unclean — the one who has stopped believing in Jesus and was ready to betray him, Judas Iscariot. And so I want to declare it to you as Jesus has declared to all believers, if you have repented of your sins and if you have received the offer of salvation and you believe Jesus’ word that you’re clean, I declare to you that you have already been cleansed.
I don’t want to get ahead of myself because repentance, the first washing, is so critical. The confession that you declared before many witnesses is so critical, because in a sense, before repentance, there is no spiritual life. Before repentance, there is no faith. Before repentance, the offer of Jesus that you’re clean does not apply to you.
Everything starts with repentance. And if you think about it, even in salvation history, John the Baptist came before Jesus. He paved the way for Jesus. And Jesus explains in Luke 3 that John’s ministry is a ministry of repentance.
That is step one of salvation history. You could say step two, in some sense is John 13, where Jesus declares before Calvary to a roomful of disciples, 11 out of 12 of you are clean. And then Jesus died a cross, and that is a third washing through His blood.
When I was saved, I had lived 19 years of my life just for myself. I lived for parents’ approval. I lived for pleasure. I lived for praise of man. And when I got to college, for year one, I went crazy. I went to fraternity parties, I drank, I smoked. I went to dance clubs, I wore silk shirts, I wore leather jackets, I tried to look cool. And I was looking for love. And I just lived life however I wanted. I tried living for parents’ approval, but it was not enough. During my college years, I wanted to live for myself and pleasure.
And Jesus met me as a sophomore in college. And my main repentance was not in terms of sinning because of the way I was acting — getting drunk and doing all kinds of sinful acts. No, my main repentance was Lord Jesus, I’ve lived for 19 years for myself. I lived not even believing in God and not believing that there was a will of God, and that God had called me for a different life. And so my main repentance was saying, I was a sinner living apart from God and doing life my way.
And every believer needs to have a point that you remember when you repented of that sin. I don’t live for myself anymore. I am living for the will of God. I am following Jesus Christ. He is my Savior. The baptism ceremony when you got immersed in water was your declaration to the world before God and many witnesses that I am now following Jesus Christ.
The same way that we had a wedding yesterday. It was before God and before witnesses. This repentance / baptism when you declared before God and witnesses, I repent of my sin, and I commit my life to Jesus, and I’m going to live for the Lord Jesus Christ and I will follow him all the days of my life — that is when spiritual life begins.
I pray all of us can have this testimony of beginning with this baptism of repentance. And part of that baptism of repentance is very closely connected with the washing of Jesus’ word that you’re clean and you have been gifted with a good conscience. That’s why Peter says in 1 Peter 3, you’re appealing to God for a good conscience. Not an evil conscience, not a guilt-ridden conscience, not wondering, am I acceptable in God’s sight?
No, you’ve been bathed if you receive Jesus’ word that you’re clean, you’ve been fully bathed, and so you can approach God with confidence. These two critical washings — you’ve been washed through the baptismal waters and you’ve been washed by Jesus’ word that you’re clean — that happens at the beginning of our spiritual journey. In faith, we receive Jesus’ word that we are clean. These two washings go together.
1 John 3
19 By this we shall know that we are of the truth and reassure our heart before him; 20 for whenever our heart condemns us, God is greater than our heart, and he knows everything. 21 Beloved, if our heart does not condemn us, we have confidence before God…
We know that even though we may take Jesus at His word that we are clean, we will still sin. Our feet still have to be washed. And let’s not think of this as a proportion. Jesus is not saying, since we’ve been bathed and only our feet are dirty, it’s a small issue because our feet are a small percentage of our entire body. That’s not the metaphor.
The metaphor is — you have to receive the word that you’re clean. And that assures your heart in the midst of many future cleansings that you’re not condemned. You can approach God confidently.
When I’m disciplining my boys, when they give excuse after excuse, then the lecture just continues and it gets longer and longer and longer. But the moment they say, I’m sorry, Dad, I’m sorry, Mom — in that moment, the conversation ends and grace is given.
The reason why it tends to be long is because the words — I’m sorry — doesn’t come out of the lips naturally for the boys yet. If you’re the kind of person who can come before God and say, sorry, I am sorry, Lord. Lord, I’ve made a mistake. Then, know that you’re clean. You don’t have to feel condemned. You don’t have to do a week of penance and fasting.
I’m ready to approach God confidently with full assurance in our hearts, with a good conscience. And with your faith that received Jesus’ word that says, you’re clean, you can approach God confidently because your heart is assured.
1 John 4
15 Whoever confesses that Jesus is the Son of God, God abides in him, and he in God. 16 So we have come to know and to believe the love that God has for us. God is love, and whoever abides in love abides in God, and God abides in him. 17 By this is love perfected with us, so that we may have confidence for the day of judgment, because as he is so also are we in this world. 18 There is no fear in love, but perfect love casts out fear. For fear has to do with punishment, and whoever fears has not been perfected in love.
Again, John is speaking about confidence. Of course, God disciplines us, but He does not do this with anger. He’s doing this to set us free. He’s doing this to break a chain. He’s doing this because there is a more abundant life that He wants us to experience. He’s not upset.
And so when you are repenting of your sins, we can approach God with confidence. And the more you are convinced of this fact that God loves you, you’re being perfected in love. And you know that there is no punishment when you come into His presence.
God may discipline you, maybe because you’re not aware of your sin, because maybe you’re not repenting. But if you come before God in repentance, there is no fear of a stick that He’s got behind His back.
There’s no fear of punishment. We can approach God confidently. The more we’re perfected in this truth that we’re clean, and we have a good conscience which allows us to approach God with any sin, even if you’ve done it 100 times, you can approach Him with confidence.
Not only are we cleansed when we were first baptized and we repented of our sins (first washing), and we declared that we’re following Jesus before Heavenly Father and before many witnesses, and in faith, we received Jesus’ word that He declares that you’re clean and we actually believe Him (second washing), the third washing is the most significant. It is the washing by the blood.
1 John 1
8 If we say we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. 9 If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.
Again, Jesus says, you’ve been bathed. Jesus declares through His word that we’re clean. Our feet are still dirty because we still have a sinful nature. We are not of this world, but we’re still in this world. We still bump up against sin. We’re still tempted by the evil one. Our feet still get dirty as we move about in this world. And that is why we need the blood of Jesus. And if you bring all of your sins to Jesus, He will cleanse you of every sin and all unrighteousness.
And there is a promise of total victory that is possible through the blood of Jesus.
1 John 3
8 Whoever makes a practice of sinning is of the devil, for the devil has been sinning from the beginning. The reason the Son of God appeared was to destroy the works of the devil. 9 No one born of God makes a practice of sinning, for God’s seed abides in him; and he cannot keep on sinning, because he has been born of God.
When Jesus says, we’re clean, He does this to relieve us of guilt in our conscience, so that we keep on coming to Jesus over and over again without feeling condemned. Because if you’re condemned, you lack confidence and you will retreat.
But when Jesus says, you’re clean, that’s not to say then that we’re victorious over sin. Victory requires the blood of Jesus. And Jesus’ blood removes all sin, and all unrighteousness.
1 John 3
8 …The reason the Son of God appeared was to destroy the works of the devil.
Because of Jesus’ appearance, the pattern of sinning can end. And so if there are patterns of sin in your life, these are the sins you bring before Jesus. And that’s why we pray this prayer. Pray this everyday. Jesus, meet me. Help me to believe that I’m clean.
Because if you’ve been struggling with a sin, or an addiction, or a habit, or a character flaw, after you’ve sin for the hundredth time, it is hard to believe that you’re clean. It’s hard to have confidence to keep coming before Heavenly Father and to ask Jesus for His blood.
Believe that you’re clean. Ask for a good conscience. Keep coming to the Father. Keep coming to the cross. Keep coming to Jesus and ask Jesus through His blood to cleanse you of all sin and all unrighteousness.
1 John 5
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.
Why are we victorious? We go to Jesus. We believe that we’re clean because He said that we’re clean. Our conscience has been cleaned. We have a good conscience, not an evil conscience. And we keep coming to Jesus. The one who was born of God, the one who has begotten of God, the Son of God — Jesus Himself will protect you from the evil one. And the evil one cannot even touch you.
And you can live in victory over sin, and even sinning. Not only will your body be clean, even your feet will be clean. Everything in our body, from head to toe can be cleansed by the blood of Jesus. That is why I’m encouraging you to pray this prayer. Lord Jesus, meet me. Help me to believe that I’m clean. Lord Jesus, cleanse me fully by your blood.
And as a foreshadowing of what we will cover in Revelation, I want to end with Revelation 12.
9 And the great dragon was thrown down, that ancient serpent, who is called the devil and Satan, the deceiver of the whole world—he was thrown down to the earth, and his angels were thrown down with him. 10 And I heard a loud voice in heaven, saying, “Now the salvation and the power and the kingdom of our God and the authority of his Christ have come, for the accuser of our brothers has been thrown down, who accuses them day and night before our God. 11 And they have conquered him by the blood of the Lamb and by the word of their testimony, for they loved not their lives even unto death.
Remember I said in the beginning, there are three witnesses. We have the Spirit, who is the internal witness. You have the water, which you were cleansed by at baptism when you declared before many external witnesses, including our Heavenly Father. And the third witness, according to Revelation 12, is you and me. We overcome Satan, all of his attacks, all of his deceptions, all of his flaming darts, we overcome by the blood of the Lamb and the word of our testimony.
We have the internal Spirit that testifies about Jesus — He is our internal witness. We have our baptism, the ceremony that we declared to the world before Heavenly Father and many witnesses. And then over time, through the blood of Jesus, we become the witness. And we declare with our mouth total victory in Jesus Christ and total victory over Satan. All of his accusations. They have no hold on me. They don’t come in and derail me. The deception just falls off of me because the blood of Jesus has covered me.
And by His blood, I have become an overcomer. Not only am I cleansed in my body, even my feet, every inch of me — my body, my soul, my spirit, my mind, my will, my emotions — bring every part of you and ask the blood of Jesus to cleanse you.
Some of us, we have things in our body that are broken and we ask Jesus to meet us to heal us and to cleanse our body with the blood of Jesus.
Some of us, the main problem is not our body, it’s our mind. Our mind has certain patterns of thought that cannot be broken. We keep thinking a certain way and it’s like a stronghold. We still feel condemned. We still feel we’re not loved. We still feel we’re not clean in God’s sight. It is a problem with our thinking. Ask for the blood of Jesus to cleanse your mind.
Some of us, it’s our emotions. Your emotions are out of control. We don’t have self-control of our emotions. We are so up and down in our emotions. Ask for the blood of Jesus to cleanse your emotions. Ask to be cleansed — every part of your body, your soul, your spirit, your mind, your will, your emotions.
Bring every part of you before the Lord Jesus Christ. Ask for the blood of Jesus to cleanse you of all of your sins, and He will cleanse you of all sin and unrighteousness.
There are three washings. The washing we already received at baptism. Some of us need our consciences to be washed again so that in faith we can take Jesus at His word that we are clean.
Jesus saves the best washing for last. It is the washing that came at Calvary. His blood not only covers our sin, but it also cleanses our sin. It removes our sin, it takes away our sin, it conquers our sin. And then, we have the Spirit internally testifying about Jesus. We have the Father and many witnesses before whom we testified about Jesus. And then, we become the living testimony when we declare to the world that Jesus, not only forgives you, but He also gives you victory in His name and through His blood.
Father, we’re so thankful that you’ve connected many dots today. In salvation history, John the Baptist’s ministry paved the way for Jesus. It was a baptism of repentance. And the first word that you preached was repent. I pray for anyone here who has never been baptized, who has never repented. I pray, Lord, that you would save them. I pray, Lord, that you would meet them. I pray that they would have a clear beginning with you when they repent of their sins.
And the main sin that they would repent of is that they just lived for themselves. They just lived however they wanted. They lived for this world. They lived to be praised by men. They lived for pleasure. I pray, Lord, that today would be the beginning for some of us, when we repent of our sins. And we declare, through a baptism ceremony before many witnesses, that I want to live for Jesus, my Savior and my Lord. I turn from all the other things that I was chasing after. Now I follow Jesus.
I pray for those of us who are not saved, who have not been baptized. I pray, Lord, that you would save them. Meet them. I pray that as an act of obedience that they will get baptized before you and before many witnesses.
I pray for some of us who are struggling, wondering, am I clean? Am I accepted? I pray for those with an evil conscience, those with a dysfunctional conscience, those who are condemned and guilty all the time. I pray that in faith this would be the beginning of our consciences being healed in Jesus Name.
I pray for that word that you declared to be 11 disciples. I pray that Jesus, that you would speak over all the disciples here who are gathered in your Name that we are clean because of your word. We’ve been washed by your word.
And most significantly, we thank you for your sacrifice at Calvary. Your blood not only covers over our sin, it cleanses us from our sin. Not only cleanses us, but by your blood, we become overcomers and we become victorious over sin and the evil one.
I pray that over time, it would be said of us that not just our body is clean and not just our feet, but I pray that when people look at us, they can see that our bodies are clean, our souls are clean, our spirits are clean, our minds are clean, our wills are clean, our emotions are clean, every part of who we are has been cleansed by the blood of Jesus.
So I pray and I plead this blood over every person who is listening. I pray that you would cleanse our body, soul, spirit, mind, will, and emotion. I pray that your blood would cover us from head to toe, every square inch, every cell in our body.
I pray that you cleanse us by your blood. I pray over time that we would have many testimonies through your blood. I pray that we would experience victory after victory after victory. Not only do we have the Spirit as an internal witness, not only do we have external witnesses, I pray that over time we can become witnesses. That by your blood, we have overcome everything and become just like Jesus in every way. Thank you, Lord.
I pray that you would be with us as we end this call. We pray that you would stop this coronavirus in its tracks. I pray that the truth would come out. I pray that all of us can return to normal activities. We’re praying for Easter Sunday. I pray that would be the Sunday that all the churches of God can gather and celebrate your victory over coronavirus, over deception, over fear, over all the schemes and the plans of the evil one that he had planned, but he was not victorious over the Church.
I pray that we can gather together again on Easter Sunday. And as we’re physically gathered together, we want to proclaim that Jesus has given us victory. Thank you, Lord. In Jesus Name, Amen