KNOW FOR SURE: John does not want there to be any doubt amongst the churches about their salvation. Notice how many times in this short letter he's written something along the lines of so that you may know, including twice here in chapter 5 (v2 & 13). If your salvation was based on you doing enough good things to counteract the bad things you've done, you'd never really know if you've done enough. But that's not how salvation works, and the reason that it's so important for you to read God's Word each day is "so that you may know that you have eternal life (v13)."
WATER, BLOOD, AND LOTS OF INK: Verses 6-8 are some of the trickiest in the New Testament to understand, so lots of ink has been spilled over the last two thousand years trying to figure it out. This is the kind of passage that you need a good study Bible for. Two of my favorites are available online for free: The Reformation Study Bible and the Faithlife Study Bible both have good entries on this that have differing conclusions, showing how even good, solid Christians can interpret passages differently at times (you'll need to create a free account to use the Faithlife Study Bible, but it's worth it). No matter how we interpret the specifics of these verses, the main concept is that Jesus Christ was both God and and actual living, breathing person whose sacrificial death made eternal life possible for all who believe.
DON'T WORRY... YOU'RE STILL A CHRISTIAN: Verse 18 has caused many believers over the years to wonder if they truly were a Christian. It says that "anyone born of God does not continue to sin," so you might be led to think that because there's still sin in your life, you're not really born of God. As we've seen in the preceding chapters, this isn't what John means; if that were the case, there would be nobody who could claim they were born of God. What he means is that a true Christian will repent of his sin and strive to not repeat it. To knowingly and unrepentantly continue to sin is a sign of a major problem with a person's faith.
Communion Preparation For Sunday, 9/27/20
Heidelberg Catechism QA 79
Q. Why then does Christ call the bread his body and the cup his blood, or the new covenant in his blood, and Paul use the words, a sharing in Christ’s body and blood?
A. Christ has good reason for these words. He wants to teach us that just as bread and wine nourish the temporal life, so too his crucified body and poured-out blood are the true food and drink of our souls for eternal life. But more important, he wants to assure us, by this visible sign and pledge, that we, through the Holy Spirit’s work, share in his true body and blood as surely as our mouths receive these holy signs in his remembrance, and that all of his suffering and obedience are as definitely ours as if we personally had suffered and made satisfaction for our sins.
Follow the AAA Prayer Pattern:
ACKNOWLEDGE WHO GOD IS: God, who has given you eternal life through His Son (v11)
ALIGN YOUR LIFE WITH GOD'S WILL: This is the confidence we have in approaching God - that if we ask anything according to his will, he hears us (v14).
ASK GOD FOR WHAT YOU NEED: