The Results Of Godliness
Tim Temple

Introduction

In this letter of I John, we find him examining the theme of love, which is undoubtedly the most talked about subject in the world today. The language of psychologists and psychiatrists are certainly filled with references to love. Even among those who do not name Christ as Savior, there is talk about loving other people and even loving the trees and loving the whales and all kinds of love of all kinds of things. From Hollywood, we encounter their version of love in enormous quantities of technicolor and surround-sound passion. Love is all around us. It is easily the most talked about subject in all of humanity, I think. Yet it is easy to see that although the world–believers and unbelievers alike—continues to talk about love, the world actually seems to grow more and more loveless and filled with hate. It seems like the less we know of love, the more inclined we are to talk about it.

Yet the Bible has a great deal to say about love in the genuine sense of the word, and in the first part of I John, chapter 3, we have been seeing that John, in order to teach us about love, has been contrasting the themes of love and hate. Hate is self-centered and love is self-giving. Hate originates with the Devil, he says; love comes only from God. Hate results in deception and destruction; love results in helping and healing. Hate is something that is the twisting of what God wants us to have of His love by our enemy the Devil.

As we come to the last verses of the chapter, John is stressing the importance of the acts of love, the deeds that come from love. Love must result sooner or later, he says, in action, in something that you do or something that you say. We saw in our last study that love is not simply talking about love; it is not in word or in tongue, but in fact, it is in deed and in truth. Sooner or later love must act. Love must be demonstrated; it is more than just an intention of the heart or a warm thought that we have about someone else. In fact, John said, “This is the essence of godliness.”

John is now going to tell us that when love becomes a deed, when love becomes fact, it results in three very valuable and important things for us, three results of godliness. These results of godliness are first, the reassurance. An act of love, a life that is involved in expressing love, gives reassurance to a doubting heart. Second, it gives boldness and effectiveness and reception of our prayers. Third, it gives evidence of the rest that comes from a Spirit-filled life. These are at least three results of this essence of godliness. These are the three things that John develops now in these latter verses of chapter 3.

Reassurance—A Result Of Godliness

Let's begin our study of this passage by looking at this reassurance that John describes in verses 19-20:

I John 3:

19And hereby we know that we are of the truth, and shall assure our hearts before him.
20For if our heart condemn us, God is greater than our heart, and knoweth all things.

If you are reading those verses for the first time or for the first time in a long time, you may feel that they don't really make very much sense. I think the reason for that is that this translation out of the original Greek is not as clear as it could be. Oddly enough, the Revised Standard Version , which is a version that usually takes a more liberal stance on things and is really not overall an acceptable translation except for perhaps studying certain verses such as this one, comes closer in this particular case of catching the thought of the original language. It translates these verses this way: “By this we shall know that we are of the truth and reassure our hearts before Him whenever our hearts condemn us. For God is greater than our hearts, and He knows everything.”

A Condemning Heart

Notice that phrase, “whenever our hearts condemn us…” In that phrase, John recognizes a problem that many Christians face from time to time, the problem of a condemning heart. That is the term that John uses to describe this problem. We might think of it as a condemning conscience. We might even sometimes think of it as a depression or something that we can't quite understand, but most of us, if not all of us, have at some time during our Christian life had trouble with a bad conscience or, as John calls it here, a condemning heart .

Sometimes this is based on the fact that we just ate too much before we went to bed the night before. Sometimes it is because of some other individual thing that we might be able to put our finger on. Sometimes it is because we are out of fellowship with the Lord because there is some sin in our lives that we haven't dealt with. We need to also face the fact that sometimes this condemning heart can be an attack of Satan, the evil one, our enemy, who goes about as a roaring lion seeking whom he may devour, who looks for every opportunity, every chink in our armor, every little place where he might come in and draw us away from our relationship with Jesus Christ. The worst thing that can happen to Satan is for a person to accept Jesus Christ as personal Savior. All of Satan's efforts in this world today are directed at keeping people from coming to know Jesus Christ as Savior. All of his efforts when Christ was on the earth were to keep Him from dying as our sacrifice. He tried to kill Him in other ways. He tried to tempt Him to have the Kingdom from Satan. He tried every way he could to keep Christ from dying for us.

Since Christ did die for us, now he makes every effort to keep people from finding out about that, and he orchestrates elaborate false worship systems for false religions, and he keeps attacking people who have the gospel in every way he can to keep people from accepting Christ as Savior. If he loses on that round (He has already lost the first round at the Cross.) and someone accepts Christ as Savior, then his intention becomes to do everything he can to keep that person from having the love and the joy and the peace that God gives with salvation. If he can't keep you from getting saved, he will keep you from being happy as a Christian.

So there are many times when this condemning heart that John is going to talk about in a moment comes from an attack of Satan, and we should be realistic enough to realize that. In this age when we think scientifically and when things can always be explained away and nothing supernatural is really acceptable to us, we need to recognize that the truth of the Word of God is that Satan is still alive and active and operative in the lives of believers, at least to the extent that he can keep us from the things that God has given us.

That is the problem that John is dealing with in this passage. You might be surprised how common it is and how frequently it occurs if you talk to the people around you. But when it occurs, it is usually the result of one of these three things that we have just talked about. Let me go over them again. It occurs because we have committed some sin that we are prone to, and let's face it, we all have our areas of weakness, don't we? The things that are a temptation to me are not the same things that are a temptation to you. The things that are a temptation to you may not be the things that are a temptation to someone else, but Satan knows our weaknesses. He knows the weaknesses of humans in general. He knows the weaknesses that you and I have because we display them openly often enough. It is possible for every one of us to fall into sin sometimes before we even realize it because we do such a good job of explaining those things away and calling them something else, but sooner or later we lose our temper or we indulge in some lustful thinking or we give way to the urge to gossip or to be judgmental or maybe even to physically injure another person and certainly to emotionally damage someone else. These things in our lives that we know to be wrong, we do them. As Christians, if we fall into these experiences, if we know the Lord as our Savior, we are bound to immediately suffer from a guilty conscience. The Spirit of God is very quick to make us feel guilty about those things that are out of line with what He wants to provide for us.

John has already told us how to handle the problem back in chapter 1. If we have a guilty heart because of committing some sin, there is only one way to solve that problem. John says back in chapter 1, verse 9, to confess your sin. Agree with God about it and call it what it is. When you do, he says, our God is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and cleanse us from all unrighteousnesses. There is only one thing to do when we are conscious of having done something wrong which produces a sense of guilt or condemnation and that is to confess that sin, to agree with God about it, to verbally tell Him that we have done wrong. The cleansing that God has already provided in Jesus Christ will wash away that sense of guilt.

A Sense Of Resentment Or Failure Or Misunderstandings

That is the first problem that can make our hearts condemn us, and any time we have this uneasiness, this depression, whatever name we might call it, the first thing that we should say is, “Is there some sin I have committed that is causing me to feel this way?”

In this passage, there are two other conditions which can cause this problem, and these are much more subtle and hard to detect. There are those times when we have a sense of guilt or condemnation because maybe we have been ignored or misunderstood. Who among us has not had this experience? Maybe you are suffering from it right now. Maybe you have a sense of resentment or a sense of failure because of something you have done and worked hard on and nobody has paid any attention to it. Nobody even seems to notice all the work you have done. You have worked so hard and now you are being ignored. You feel that you are not being properly appreciated and that brings a sense of condemnation in your spirit. Satan notices those kinds of things, and he can make you feel depressed and condemned because of that.

Perhaps you did something, on the other hand, of a perfectly honest and open motive, something in which you meant well. Perhaps you intended to help somebody else, but they misunderstood and instead of being grateful to you, they became angry with you and maybe even accused you of some less acceptable motive in doing what you did. You feel depressed and anxious over that. Here you are appalled by the reaction this other person has had and you have been hurt by that. You have been crushed by that. At a time like that, you are tempted to believe some of those accusations. Satan can make us think at a time like that, that they are right. Maybe we were motivated by the wrong things. Maybe I wasn't doing this for them or maybe I was selfish in this. How do I know my heart was right? We thought it was, but perhaps other people see it another way. We can become very down with those kinds of condemning thoughts because the enemy is quick to use this kind of thing to bring condemnation if he can. That is the kind of thing John is talking about here.

Inactivity As A Christian

The third reason that we may come to this place of the condemning heart is when for one reason or another we have been inactive as a Christian. Maybe it is because of something as simple as having been sick for a while and not being able to do those things that we love to do to serve the Lord and to relate to other people. Maybe you have been on vacation and during that time you really haven't taken the time to try to serve the Lord as you normally would. Here again, the enemy is very quick to step in and try to twist this into a sense of condemnation. He says, “You know the trouble with you is you don't care any more. The reason you don't care is that you are not the Christian you ought to be. You are not what you ought to be. You have grown lazy in your Christian life. Look how useless you are. How can you call yourself a Christian and be this lazy?” On and on like that he can accuse us, and he can condemn us.

You probably don't recognize this as the voice of Satan. It just comes across as our own thinking usually. You think that it is your own heart speaking to you and so you feel a sense of condemnation about that and a sense of guilt.

We Are Of The Truth

What is the remedy for these kinds of feelings? Look at what John says in verse 19: He says:

I John 3:

19And hereby we know that we are of the truth, and shall assure our hearts before him.

When we feel this condemnation, or whatever term we want to use for it, when we find ourselves in that place, we must re-establish the fact of our relationship with Jesus Christ. We must remember and re-establish our thinking that we are standing in God's presence not because of our own righteousness, not because of our own activities, but simply because of the righteousness of the Son of God. We need to re-establish in our thinking the truth of God's Word that we are, as Paul calls it, accepted in the Beloved because we are in Jesus Christ. Paul tells us in Romans, chapter 8, verse 1:

Romans 8:

1There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus…

We must not let ourselves be condemned by anything that would seem to be other than that. If we are going to silence the doubts of our hearts, we must know that we are of the truth and that is the place to begin. Go back to the basics of the truth of God's Word about our relationship with Christ because our emotions are so easily subject to discouragement and to gloom and to despair, but John says, “We are of the truth and our hearts can be re-established in that.” It is by the mind's knowledge that the heart's doubts are silenced. There is an aspect of our relationship to Christ that is solidly reasonable. There certainly is that aspect of our relationship with Christ that is emotional and those two things work together. We cannot reason our way into salvation. We do not become God's children because of our intellectual attainment, because we figure it out and somehow are able to attain salvation, because we can understand it and achieve it mentally.

At the same time, that emotional part, that joy and that hope and that confidence and that thrill of knowing Jesus Christ, can be overcome by the reasoning ability of our minds. Our minds and our hearts go together in our relationship with Christ. John says that when we come to that place where our heart is condemning us, we must use our mind; we must use our rational understanding of what God has revealed to us in His written Word to overcome the doubts of our hearts. Part of what the Word reveals is that truth of the confession of sin. Part of what the Word reveals is the truth of our standing in God's sight because of Christ.

How do we do that? Notice what else he says in verse 19:

I John 3:

19And hereby we know that we are of the truth, and shall assure our hearts before him.

By what do we know that we are of the truth? Well, remember the context. In any verse of Scripture, it is always important to remember the context. It is a most important concept of Bible study. What was just before this? What did we talk about in the verse just before this? In verse 18, he said:

I John 3:

18My little children, let us not love in word, neither in tongue; but in deed and in truth.

In this particular context, John says, “This is how we reassure our hearts that we are of the truth”—by obedience to verse 18. What he is talking about here is deliberately, with specific intent, doing some kind and helpful deed or some encouraging word to one who is discouraged or maybe even in the case that we have been talking about—speaking a word of forgiveness to that one who has wronged us and hurt us. It is those acts and deeds of love that reassure us that we are of the Lord—in fact, returning good for evil in some cases. This is what Jesus Himself said in Matthew, chapter 5, verse 44:

Matthew 5:

44But I say unto you, Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you;

Maybe our heart is condemning us because, as I said earlier, we have been misunderstood. Someone has taken something that we said or did with the best of intentions in the wrong way and now we are upset with them and we are upset with ourselves. There comes that place for forgiveness. There comes that place for reconciliation, and that is a deed of love, not just in word, but in deed. That is radical in the world's terms, if you stop and think about it. Even though we Christians talk about it a lot, we find it very difficult to do, and unsaved people don't even like to talk about it. We reject it as Christians for the most part because it is so awkward and so difficult, and it goes against the grain of what we want to do. That is why, for some of us, so much of our time is spent under a sense of condemnation. When we do that, John says, there immediately comes a sense of peace, a sense of reassurance. The Spirit within us reassures us that we really are the children of God—we indeed are the sons and daughters of the Father Who is kind to the ungrateful and to the selfish, Jesus said. When we forgive someone or when we just go and do some act of kindness to another person, when we love in deed and in truth, we reassure ourselves that we are God's children because we are demonstrating the character of the One to whom we really belong. It brings reassurance to love in deed and in truth.

In verse 20, John gives us an explanation of why this works because he says:

I John 3:

20…God is greater than our heart, and knoweth all things.

How do we have the reassurance that comes from loving in deed and in truth? Because God knows that that kind of self-giving love is not a natural thing for the human heart. That is not the way we would normally operate if we did not have the truth of God's Word and the reminder of the Spirit within us. It is not natural to respond in kindness to someone who has misunderstood us or even someone who has done evil to us. That is not natural. We can't do that as humans, but God knows and He wants us to know that the accusations of the hearts are wrong. When we can look at the fact that we have done this supernatural thing of forgiving another person or doing a kindness to another person, or of being unselfish, that is what God uses to reassure our hearts that we are of the truth. We are of the truth, and that is why we can forgive another person. That is why we can bless another person's heart; that is why we can minister in grace to another person—because we are of the truth.

When we go out of our way to speak some word of kindness or to do something on a bigger scale, that great underlying truth which God knows, but which it is easy for us to temporarily forget, comes and reassures our hearts that we are of the truth and that He is pleased with us. “By this we shall know that we are of the truth and reassure our hearts before Him,” John says.

There is a great English Bible scholar by the name of John R.W. Stott. In his commentary on I John, he says about this verse: “Stronger than any chemical tranquilizer is trust in our all-knowing God.” What this passage really is saying is that most of the problems that we as Christians have of anxiety or restlessness or guilt would be very greatly alleviated, if not completely eliminated, by some deliberate active expression of self-giving love or just by remembering a time when we have done something like that. If we are not in the position right now to do some specific act of love for someone else, think about those things that God has enabled you to do in the past. If you can't think of something that God has enabled you to do in the past, then you have got a bigger problem. You need to begin to obey the Word of God and love in deed and in truth, not as you may have been doing in word and in tongue.

Reception Of Our Prayers

Remember, we are talking about the results of exercising this kind of love, and reassurance, John says, is the first result of that. But there are two other results in the remainder of the chapter. The first of these is what I am calling reception in verses 21-23. Look at verse 21:

I John 3:

21Beloved, if our heart condemn us not, then have we confidence toward God.
22And whatsoever we ask, we receive of him, because we keep his commandments, and do those things that are pleasing in his sight.
23And this is his commandment, That we should believe on the name of his Son Jesus Christ, and love one another, as he gave us commandment.

Here is the other side of the coin of what we have just been talking about. This is the case in which our hearts do not condemn us. Maybe we have had that condemning heart, but we have confessed that sin or we have stopped and remembered some acts and deeds of love that we have done or we have gone out and done some deed or act of love, and then our hearts are reassured. Our hearts are not condemning us. This is the case that John writes about now. This is the person who solved the problem of the condemning heart and has been reassured that he is of the faith. John says, “If our heart does not condemn us, what happens?” That is what he wants to talk about.

First, he says, in verse 21, “We have confidence before God.” Then he says, “The result of that is that we will receive anything that we ask Him for in prayer.” Of course, at this point, you may be asking, “Well, what is the connection here? How does it work that if we reassure ourselves that we are of Him, either through a confession of sin or remembering an act of kindness or doing an act of kindness, how does that mean we will have confidence that anything that we ask of Him He will give it to us?”

Let's think about that. First, notice the context of this kind of prayer. In verse 21, he says, “We have confidence toward God.” That word translated “confidence” could actually be translated “boldness.” It is a little stronger word in the Greek than our English word confidence . We have boldness before Him.

If we have boldness in someone's presence, it implies that we know that we have a right to come into their presence, doesn't it? We know that we are not interrupting or disturbing them or that at the very least, if we are interrupting them, it is okay with them for us to do that. If we have boldness with a person, it is because of our relationship with them—a close relationship with them. So to have confidence with God, as he talks about here, implies that you and God both know that you have a right to be there asking Him to do something for you.

The Lord Jesus was the same way when He was here on earth. Jesus prayed so often during those years that He was here on earth. For example, in John, chapter 11, verse 42, He said: “Father, I know that you always hear me because I always do those things which are pleasing in your sight.” That is the context out of which the prayer that John is talking about here comes. Remember what he is talking about—loving in deed, not just in word, doing those things that are pleasing in His sight. John says that when we are doing that, we can have confidence before Him because that kind of thing comes out of a close relationship with Him, out of a realization that we are His children. Along with that, John says, comes boldness. We can come to the Father in that kind of context just as Jesus did and say just as Jesus did, “I know that You hear me because I do those things which are pleasing in Your sight.”

Conditions For Prayer

That takes us to the next thing John says about prayer. In verse 22, he says:

I John 3:

22And whatsoever we ask, we receive of him, because we keep his commandments, and do those things that are pleasing in his sight.

Here are the conditions for prayer. God always gives all of His prayer promises on the basis of certain very clearly defined conditions. That is easy to overlook. It is easy for us to pick some prayer promise out and without looking at the conditions in which it is given, claim that promise and then be disappointed and get upset with God when He doesn't do what we ask Him to do. Notice very carefully the conditions for prayer. Praying according to the will of God reminds me of that old saying, “If all else fails, read the directions.” Here are the directions for prayer in this promise. He hears our prayers. “We receive from Him because we keep His commandments and do those things which are pleasing in His sight.”

Someone says, “Well, that's elemental. That's basic.” There are a lot of people who misread this verse very badly. They read this verse as though it says, “If you go to church and read your Bible and witness to people about Christ, He will answer your prayers.” Our trouble is that it is easy for us to read into a verse our definition of terms, terms that God has expressed. What we need to understand is what God's definitions of His terms are, not just what our definitions are, because that is not what this verse is saying. It is not saying that if we are busy doing religious kinds of things, God will hear and answer our prayers. Activity of any kind is not necessarily pleasing to God. This is the mistake the Israelites made in the Old Testament. They thought if they just went through the motions of bringing all of those sacrifices and all of those offerings, they were pleasing to God, no matter how they lived or what their heart attitude was. But in Isaiah, chapter 3, verse 24, He said, “Your sweet smelling incense stinks in my nostrils.” Why? They were doing what He said. They were doing those things that were pleasing in His sight. God went on to speak through Isaiah to say that it is because their hearts were not right with Him.

See, it is not what you do, but why you do it and how you do it that pleases God. God is not so primarily interested in whatever the action may be. It is in what motivates that action. John makes that very clear in verse 23. where he says:

I John 3:

23And this is his commandment, That we should believe on the name of his Son Jesus Christ, and love one another, as he gave us commandment.

Verse 22 talks about doing those things that are pleasing in His sight and receiving what we ask from Him; verse 23 defines what those things are that are pleasing in His sight—that we should believe on His Son Jesus Christ and love one another. There is nothing there about Bible reading and prayer and devotional life and all these kinds of things that we might read into. Those things may be part of that, but you see what God's focus is—that we should believe on the name of His Son Jesus Christ and love one another. That encompasses probably everything else that we might do, any other action that we might take. Someone says, “Believing on the name of His Son Jesus Christ is a reference to being saved.” Well, it is, but that is only the starting point because this verb believe is written in the Greek which could be translated “keep on believing in the name of His Son Jesus Christ.” John is saying that the condition by which prayer is answered is that we make repeated and decisive acts of believing in Jesus Christ for the strength and the ability to do those things that are not natural to us.

What are those things? Look at the next line: “…love one another.” I will tell you a secret. I know that it is hard for some of you to love me. I will tell you another secret. It is hard for me to love some of you. We shouldn't be embarrassed about that because we are humans. Some of you are so different from me, and I am so different from some of you. It is just hard for me to love you, and it is hard for you to love me. We could extrapolate that far beyond the walls of this room. It is tough to love one another in deed and in truth, not just in word and in tongue.

In this context, God says through John that we should keep on believing in the name of His Son Jesus Christ; and as we do that, step by step, repeated acts by repeated acts, decisively, deliberately with the strength God gives, treat each other in the right way. Love one another.

I think God knows that the hardest area of obedience for most of us is loving one another. It is not too hard to obey those commandments that have to do with loving Him, but when it comes to loving one another, that gets more difficult. Believing on the name of the Son of God is counting on His power to be able to take those kinds of actions, and the results of those kinds of actions is that everything you do is pleasing to God. If everything you do is done by believing on the name of the Lord Jesus Christ, that is pleasing to God. For that reason, it makes no difference to Him whether it is a little action or a big action, whether it is a cup of cold water given in His name or thousands of dollars invested in some important Christian project. A kind word spoken to a hurting heart, no matter how big or how small it is, is all pleasing to Him because it is what the motive is that prompts whatever action it is. It is the attitude with which it is done that makes all the difference, the difference in the way God looks at our actions and the way we normally look at them. It is the things done by faith, counting on the living God within us to make it possible, that are pleasing to Him.

Living By Loving Is Rest

We have seen that the first result of living by this principle of godliness is reassurance, and the second one is reception of our prayers, and now in verse 24, notice how he wraps it all up. Here he says that living by that principle of loving, not just in word, but in deed and in truth, is rest. Verse 24:

I John 3:

24And he that keepeth his commandments dwelleth in him, and he in him. And hereby we know that he abideth in us, by the Spirit which he hath given us.

Notice that phrase, hereby we know. This is the second time we have seen this in this short paragraph. He is referring to everything that has gone before. He is speaking of the reassurance that comes from knowing that we are loving Him and loving the people around us genuinely as he described in verses 19-21. He is speaking of the power in prayer that comes from living that way in verses 22-23, and by this we have reassurance that He lives within us in the person of the Holy Spirit. Notice again in verse 24, where we read, “…by the Spirit which he hath given us.” We could easily read that and say it is the Holy Spirit Who gives us that assurance, but what he is saying is, “By all of these things that we have been talking about in verses 19-23, we have the assurance that He abides in us, and He abides in us by the Spirit Who lives within us.”

This is one of the great verses that teaches us that it is God the Holy Spirit Who indwells us, and we know that because of the things that He enables us to do that we would otherwise not be able to do. That gives us great rest and great confidence. We look at the things the Scripture tells us to do and we think, “How could anybody do those things?” But we step out by faith and we do those things. We forgive another person; we do something that is not self-serving, but serving others. We do those things, and the Word of God says that brings great reassurance that He lives within us because otherwise, we could not have done those things.

What is the purpose of knowing that? Why does John focus in on that and why are we deliberating on it today? Because God wants us to know that you cannot bottle up the Holy Spirit within you for your own enjoyment. You see, God did not give us the Holy Spirit just for our own enjoyment. There are many blessings that come because we have the Holy Spirit, but that is not the whole purpose in having the Holy Spirit within us. There are people today, and I guess there always have been, who are deeply desiring to receive the Holy Spirit in the first place because with the Holy Spirit comes these gifts that they can rely on. They will have health and wealth and prosperity if they have the Holy Spirit. There are people today, who are saying that if the Holy Spirit has revealed something to them, then it is applicable to everybody else in the Body of Christ; and if others don't do things the way they do and have the same preferences they have, then there is something wrong with them.

Listen, you can't use the Holy Spirit that way. God didn't give you and me the Holy Spirit primarily for us. He gave us the Holy Spirit to enable us to reach out to others. He gave us the Holy Spirit to be a conduit for God's love into us and out through us to other people. How does God take care of the needs of people in the world today? Does He still drop manna on the ground? He did that in one era of history, but we know He doesn't do that any more. Occasionally, someone finds a bank bag that is dropped out of an armored truck on the way to the bank, but that is really not the way God normally supplies; and if you take that as God's supply, you usually are going to be in trouble.

How does God supply? He supplies by pouring His love into your heart, and it comes out of your heart in expression to me or to some other Christian, out of my heart in expression to you. That is how God supplies in the world today. That is why we have the Holy Spirit. Otherwise, we could not do those kinds of things for each other. If we did not have the Holy Spirit, we would not know what God wanted us to do. Shame on us for thinking that the only purpose of the Holy Spirit in our hearts is those abundant blessings, which He does give us that are applicable to us personally. That is only a very small part of God's purpose in giving us the Holy Spirit.

Conclusion

Jesus said the Spirit would be like a spring of water welling up and flowing out of our hearts into service for Him. Peter said in his first epistle that the result of being born of the Spirit is love that flows out from us to others unless we dam it up and keep it from flowing out to others. If you try to keep Him all to yourself, your Christian life is going to stagnate and become dull and sterile and lifeless; and if that is where you are in the Christian life today, you need to go back over this passage very carefully. But if you and I will let Him flow out through us to others, ministering to others in His name by His power, we will have a refreshed and a fruitful and attractive life, a life in which our prayers are answered and which others are drawn to Jesus Christ to the testimony of our lives and our deeds.


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