The Apostles...Who Were Always Sure
I John 5:13
One of the outstanding details concerning the New Testament preachers was the certainty with which they delivered their message. They lived in an age when all kinds of doctrines were expounded, but nothing could shake the positive features of the message enunciated by the men who began the task of world evangelism. The verb to know, with its derivatives, was used over thirty times in John's three epistles, but Paul mentioned it even more in his letters to the churches. There was nothing uncertain in the ministry of the earliest Christians; they were sure of their facts and never hesitated to say so.
A Constant Assurance
We know that we have passed from death unto life, because we love the brethren. He that loveth not his brother abideth in death. (1 John 3:14)
Writing to the Corinthian Christians, Paul said, "Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new" (2 Cor. 5:17). After his conversion, the apostle discovered that the people he was determined to destroy were to become his greatest friends. He was astonished when one of those people addressed him as "Brother Saul" (see Acts 9:17).
Like Paul, John knew the transforming power of Christ. John was one of two men known as "The Sons of Thunder." His fiery temperament was unpredictable; if one were to annoy him, some kind of verbal abuse was inevitable. When the Lord was journeying toward Jerusalem, He paused at a Samaritan village, but unfortunately the attitude of the local people left much to be desired: "And they [the Samaritans] did not receive him, because his face was as though he would go to Jerusalem. And when his disciples James and John saw this, they said, Lord, wilt thou that we command fire to come down from heaven, and consume them, even as Elias did?" (Luke 9:53-54). Under certain circumstances it was easier for John to hate people than to love them. That ...
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