|Scripture: 1 John 1:1-2||Speaker: Mark White||Date: January 23, 2011|
1 What was from the beginning, what we have heard, what we have seen with our eyes, what we have looked at and touched with our hands, concerning the Word of Life— 2 and the life was manifested, and we have seen and testify and proclaim to you the eternal life, which was with the Father and was manifested to us— 3 what we have seen and heard we proclaim to you also, so that you too may have fellowship with us; and indeed our fellowship is with the Father, and with His Son Jesus Christ. 4 These things we write, so that our joy may be made complete. (1 John 1:1-4)
Here in John’s first epistle, he is writing about the Word of Life and John says he is writing from personal experience so that you would know. No less than three times John affirms that he is a first-hand eyewitness to the truth concerning the Word of Life so that the readers would have great confidence in what John is writing. John says that the Word of Life who was with the Father has come to earth incarnate in human flesh, and has brought eternal life to those who believe. It is a message of God’s revelation of Jesus Christ – the true revelation of God in the incarnate and written Word. From the very first verse, John starts out by saying he is going to write about the Word of Life; the incarnate Word of Life.
Just how important is the Word? The Word of Life alone provides eternal life, and this eternal life is the most necessary thing that exists, for it is absolute truth. Since this is inarguably true, the greatest evil is anything that is contrary to the truth. Therefore, anything invented by man or demons, raised up against the Word, constitutes the greatest threat in existence. Consequently, all faithful servants of God throughout all of redemptive history have been given the responsibility to proclaim and defend the truth. Why? Because the lies of Satan, his demons, and man have always opposed the truth. It is therefore the particular responsibility of the servant of God to proclaim the truth and to point out anything that threatens the truth.
John takes this to heart. He is so bold and confident in defending the truth that he leaves little room for interpretation, for he is defending the truth and wants to provide clarity to the readers of this first epistle. John is direct in his writing— black and white; with no shades of grey. He pens this letter authoritatively and dogmatically, exactly when the church needed clarity, recalling them to the very basic truths of the Christian faith.
John wastes no time getting to the heart of the issue. He doesn’t provide a formal introduction, in fact there is no introduction or greeting at all; he just jumps in with both feet because of the urgent need to combat heresy in the church with the truth. John writes:
What was from the beginning, what we have heard, what we have seen with our eyes, what we have looked at and touched with our hands, concerning the Word of Life— (1 John 1:1)
This letter was intended ultimately for the warning and instruction of the whole church, past, present, and future. Its timeless truths are richly applicable to every Christian throughout history. John gently, lovingly, compassionately, with unquestionable authority, sent this letter to the early churches to impede the spreading heretical plague which had slithered its way into the church. We would be wise to heed John’s warnings, for the epidemic onslaught of false doctrine is an ever-present enemy of Christianity today.
Just who is this enemy that John is combating in the early church? Much like the church today, many members of the early church were significantly influenced by the prevailing philosophy of the day. While some of the New Testament was being written, the church in Asia Minor was being threatened by Gnosticism, a philosophy which became the second major opponent of the gospel in the early church.
The first assault on the Word came from Jewish legalism, which is the primary assault we see Paul battling in the books of Romans, and Galatians. Legalism is the issue that is battled throughout the book of Acts as the Apostle Paul in particular goes into Jewish synagogues and confronts their damning philosophy and points to grace and salvation in Jesus Christ alone. The legalists of Judaism refused to believe that Jesus was God and refused to abandon their religious system of self-righteousness. So the first heresy, the first great battle that Christianity fought, had to do primarily with legalism. The enemies of the truth were unbelieving Jews.
The second great battle for the truth is what John engaged here at the end of the first century in writing his first epistle. So, John writes this letter to affirm the truth and combat the assault of Gnosticism. Truth should always be used to overcome lies. John is reaffirming the congregation in life-changing truth, truth that sanctifies, and at the same time he is equipping them to be able to discern the things that threaten the truth.
Both legalism and Gnosticism are so powerful that these opponents of the truth have survived centuries and are still prevalent today. They don’t go away; they come and stay and just tend to mutate themselves into new lies throughout history. Here at the end of the first century, these enemies of the truth are professing Christians who have been led astray by false teachers. Be on guard, the truth has enemies everywhere, outside and inside the church.
Although we have discussed legalism and Gnosticism as the enemy, let’s be very clear who our real enemy is as Christians – the enemy of the saints is neither Jew nor Gentile – it is antichrists. That is why in 1 John 2:18, they are called antichrists — the one who denies the Father and the Son. Anyone who denies the truth of God and/or His Son, is an antichrist. Right from the beginning of this epistle (1:6, 7; 2:3-5), John sharply distinguishes between the real Christian and the false ones.
We briefly discussed legalism, so what is Gnosticism? The term “Gnosticism” comes from the Greek word gnosis, meaning “to know.” Gnosticism is a philosophy which centers on a search for higher knowledge. The Gnostics taught that this knowledge was not intellectual knowledge, but a knowledge which the ordinary Christian was incapable of attaining. However, once a believer came into possession of this extraordinary knowledge, according to the Gnostic thought, he had “salvation.”
So, Gnosticism is the opposite of agnosticism. Agnosticism holds that the reality of God is unknown and probably unknowable. Charles Spurgeon said, “Agnostic is but the Greek word for the Latin ignoramus. So one might say, “I don’t believe the Bible, because I am an ignoramus!” The agnostic says, “I do not know.” The Gnostic says, “I do know.”
The core of the Gnostic philosophy contains two tenants which were basic to the teaching. The first major tenant was the supremacy of knowledge. Certain pnuematikos—“enlighted ones” or “spiritual ones” claimed to have special knowledge of the truth. They claimed a superior, private knowledge over and above that of the Bible. They considered themselves super-duper saints, knowing more than anyone else. Thus “ordinary” Christians did not or could not possess this secret of higher knowledge.
The second major tenant was the separation of spirit and matter. All matter was considered to be evil and the source of evil. The spirit was considered to be good and impervious to the defilement by anything the body did. After all, the body is evil matter and the spirit is a separate good.
Many Gnostics allegorized the Old Testament and did not interpret its teachings literally. They strayed from the veracity of the Word which would have exposed their erroneous teaching regarding creation, sin, and the restoration of all things. They failed to see how a supreme God, pure in spirit and essentially good, could create a universe of matter which they considered evil.
When the Gnostics embraced Christianity, they split into factions on the subject of Christ’s deity. The Docetic Gnostics denied the actual humanity of Jesus Christ. The word “docetic” comes from the Greek word dokeo, meaning “to seem.” This group argued that our Lord had only “seemed” to have a body, not a real physical body. According to the Docetists, it was impossible for God, who was spirit and thus good, to become fleshly matter, which was evil. Therefore it was impossible for Jesus to possess a real flesh-and-blood body. Can you imagine the look on John’s face when he first heard this heresy? “You have got to be kidding! I was there! I heard Him! I saw Him! I touched Him with own hands! He was real.” John stressed the fact that he and his fellow apostles had personal, experiential knowledge of the humanity of Jesus through the senses of hearing, seeing, and touching. John asserts a frontal attack and directly combats this doctrinal error of Docetism.
The Cerinthian Gnostics separated the man Jesus from the power of Christ. This specific heresy negated the incarnate birth of Jesus Christ and supported the position that Jesus had not been begotten by a virgin, but had been born of a man, Joseph, and a woman, Mary, just like any other son would have been born into this world. Jesus just happened to have become more righteous and prudent and wise than any other son. They believed that when the dove came to Jesus at His baptism, the power of Christ came down from Heaven and rested upon the man Jesus. After this, Jesus proclaimed the gospel and accomplished many mighty works. However, Christ’s power departed from the man Jesus before His death on the cross. So, it was simply the “man” Jesus who died, not Jesus Christ, God incarnate in human flesh. This heresy was a distinct separation between the human Jesus and the divine Christ.
You are probably asking yourself, “Where did this belief come from anyway? What is the revelation that brought that belief to man?” When you think for about a minute, it’s pretty simple. Mankind wants to live as rotten as he can possibly live and feel good about himself, so he contrived a complex, mystical, and very distorted religious belief system that sounded like a less harsh Christianity. Pretty easy to see, isn’t it? If you love darkness rather than light, and you wanted to sin “to the max” but you wanted to feel good about doing it in order to alleviate your guilt, you invent, concoct, a very sophisticated religious system that says inside, “I am really a good person. In fact, inside, I am God! The real problem is that I am stuck in this physical, material body that is always bad and I can’t do anything but be bad. So, let it be bad because it has no effect on my good spirit within.” Wow, isn’t that a convenient justification.
So the error here in First John is like almost every false belief at its roots; these false teachers were teaching against the Word of Life – the Word incarnate in the person of Jesus Christ and the gospel written about him. The false teachers whom John was confronting had a basic error that began with and focused squarely on the person of Jesus Christ. False prophets always want to deny who Jesus Christ is because if they can get you to believe in the wrong Christ, you will be led further and further away from the truth. And so, false teachers assault the very nature of Jesus Christ. This heresy has not changed from its original tenants but has subtly changed its focus to various other forms to be more palatable to a modern society. Consider the New Age movement regarding mysticism and other religions that contort and twist the truth that Jesus Christ is the Word of Life and that He is God incarnate in human flesh.
Heresies against the truth seem to always start with an assault on the nature of Jesus Christ. Therefore those who create and support these heresies are always antichrist. Here in the early church, the attacks are no different than those of today’s antichrists. Pervert the truth by attacking the nature of the Word of Life—Jesus Christ.
So much for a short introduction. However, with this fuller understanding of the heresies that John is battling, let’s take a look at three points that John makes and see how we can apply these truths to our lives today.
1. Jesus Christ has always existed – from the beginning
2. Jesus Christ has proven who He is – God incarnate in human flesh
3. Jesus Christ has revealed who He is – the Word of Life
Jesus Christ has always existed – from the beginning:
1 John 1:1 – “What was from the beginning, what we have heard, what we have seen with our eyes, what we have looked at and touched with our hands, concerning the Word of Life—”
“What was” refers to the proclamation of the gospel that centers in Christ’s person, words, and works as contained in apostolic testimony. “Was” is the verb of being — in the Greek text it means “to be,” not, “to become.” It is in the imperfect tense which speaks of an abiding state in past time. Thus, John has reference to those things that were true of our Lord since the beginning.
“What was from the beginning”- what beginning is John talking about? There are three beginnings in the Bible, two of which we are very familiar with. The first is found in Genesis 1:1: “In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth.” That is an undated beginning for we do not know when God created the heaven and the earth. Although many well-meaning scientists and theologians have attempted to pin-point the date of creation, no one knows when Genesis 1:1 really happened, and the best estimate we can surmise would be about 6,000 years ago. Honestly the date is irrelevant! All that the first verse in Genesis declares is that God created the heaven and the earth and until you are ready to accept that fact, you are not prepared to read very much further in the Word of God.
You may be asking yourself, “Did God create this universe or did it come into existence by happenstance or even after a big explosion?” Edwin Conklin might give you some insight to his thoughts when he says, “The probability of life originating by accident is comparable to the probability of the unabridged dictionary originating from an explosion in a print shop.” God created the heaven and the earth and He did it for a purpose. When God recorded His act of creation, He wasn’t trying to give us a study in geology nor was he trying to super-impose our human time and space continuum on His eternality. He created so we could live.
The second beginning we find in God’s Word is found in the first two verses of John’s gospel: John 1:1–2. “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God.” Go back as far as you can think? Millions (6 zeros)? Perhaps Billions (9 zeros)? Maybe even Trillions (12 zeros)? Let’s go back to one Centillion years ago (303 zeros) and out of eternity past comes the Lord Jesus Christ. Daniel 7:9 refers to Jesus Christ as the Ancient of Days. In other words, this is a beginning that doesn’t even have a beginning because He had no beginning. Beyond when time began, Christ existed. He was living and had always been living. He pre-existed. He possessed life and was life. He was the very being and essence of life, the very embodiment of life. Jesus did not have a beginning; He was not created. He was “from the beginning.” Psalms 90:2 – “Before the mountains were born Or You gave birth to the earth and the world, Even from everlasting to everlasting, You are God.” Proverbs 8:23 -“From everlasting I was established, From the beginning, from the earliest times of the earth.” John 17:5 – “Now, Father, glorify Me together with Yourself, with the glory which I had with You before the world was.” John 6:62; “What then if you see the Son of Man ascending to where He was before?” John 8:56–58; “Your father Abraham rejoiced to see My day, and he saw it and was glad.” So the Jews said to Him, “You are not yet fifty years old, and have You seen Abraham?” Jesus said to them, “Truly, truly, I say to you, before Abraham was born, I am.” Jesus “was from the beginning”— not “began to be,” “not about to begin,” He was from the beginning.
The third beginning is the one we see here in 1 John 1:1—“What was from the beginning” refers to the time Christ began preaching His gospel – when the readers first heard about Jesus. 1 John 2:7 says, “Beloved, I am not writing a new commandment to you, but an old commandment which you have had from the beginning; the old commandment is the word which you have heard.” 1 John 2:24 says, “As for you, let that abide in you which you heard from the beginning. If what you heard from the beginning abides in you, you also will abide in the Son and in the Father.” In the context of these additional verses, this third beginning refers to the beginning of Jesus Christ’s earthly ministry. John is referring to the proclamation of the gospel that centers in Jesus Christ’s person, words, and works as contained in apostolic testimony. John reminds them and brings them back to the beginnings of the gospel preaching when the readers first heard about Jesus.
Jesus Christ proved who He is – God incarnate in human flesh
1 John 1:2 – “and the life was manifested, and we have seen and testify and proclaim to you the eternal life, which was with the Father and was manifested to us-”
The first verse of the epistle affirms the tangible reality of the incarnation of Christ; Jesus Christ’s having come “in the flesh” to be fully God and fully man. Although Jesus Christ existed from the beginning, it is when Jesus is born “in the flesh” that I can now understand His human beginning. Jesus’ incarnation was prophesied in Isaiah 7:14, “Therefore the Lord Himself will give you a sign: Behold, a virgin will be with child and bear a son, and she will call His name Immanuel.” John describes the incarnation as “becoming flesh” in John 1:14, “And the Word became flesh, and dwelt among us, and we saw His glory, glory as of the only begotten from the Father, full of grace and truth.” Paul described the incarnation as “appearing in flesh” in 1 Tim. 3:16, “By common confession, great is the mystery of godliness: He who was revealed in the flesh, Was vindicated in the Spirit, Seen by angels, Proclaimed among the nations, Believed on in the world, Taken up in glory.” There is no doubt who Jesus Christ is – God incarnate in human flesh.
As we read this epistle, we will discover that John enjoys using certain words, and the word “manifest” is one of them. “Manifested” comes from the Latin manifestus which means “readily perceived by the senses and especially by the sight” “easily understood or recognized by the mind,” “to make evident or certain by showing or displaying.” So, John specifically uses the word “manifest” to remove all doubt that Jesus made Himself physically known and was easily recognized. Jesus Christ was not hidden so that we have to search for Him and hope to find Him. No, He manifested himself to us—revealed openly for all to see!
God has certainly revealed Himself in creation. Romans 1:20 says, “For since the creation of the world His invisible attributes, His eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly seen, being understood through what has been made, so that they are without excuse.” But creation alone could never tell us the story of God’s love for us. Therefore, God revealed Himself much more fully in His Word, the Bible. But God’s final and most complete revelation is in His Son, Jesus Christ. Jesus said, “He that hath seen Me hath seen the Father” (John 14:9). Jesus choose to manifest Himself to us so we would know that He is God’s Son, The Word of Life, incarnate in human flesh.
John provides four evidences or proofs for us and the original readers to grasp and affirm the reality of the incarnation – the evidence and proof of Jesus’ humanity. Each piece of evidence builds and provides more assurance of Jesus’ existence here on earth. Seeing is a more convincing proof than hearing; touching, than even seeing. There were sufficient demonstrations of Jesus’ physical presence here on earth. Jesus evidenced himself to us using the very senses of men that He created.
John said, “We have heard.” John is not giving his opinion nor speculation. He is talking about the fact that he heard the Lord Jesus with his own ears. He heard Jesus’ voice and when John listened to Him, he listened to God. With his ears he heard Him speak. John not only heard of Him, but heard Him. John and his fellow disciples heard Jesus speak in a human voice for a period of about 3 ½ years as Jesus ministered throughout Judea, Samaria and Galilee. John heard Jesus preach public sermons and heard Him as He taught the apostles privately. John heard the Lord speak on numerous occasions at various topics and had heard Jesus’ voice over and over again. John was obviously amazed at what Jesus spoke for no man had ever spoken with such authority and truth before or since. Jesus Christ employed the ear as a means to prove his humanity.
For further proof of our Lord’s actual humanity, John turns to the sense of vision. John said, “we have seen with our eyes.” Not only had John heard Him speak, but he also had seen Him with his own eyes. Jesus Christ was seen publicly, privately, and at a distance. John, and many others, saw him in his life and ministry, saw him in his transfiguration on the mount, saw him hanging, bleeding, dying, and dead upon the cross, and saw him after his return from the grave and resurrection from the dead.
John was an eyewitness of Jesus’ physical existence. An eyewitness is one who bears witness by giving a personal report of what he has seen. 2 Pet. 1:16 says, “For we did not follow cleverly devised tales when we made known to you the power and coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, but we were eyewitnesses of His majesty.” The apostles did not receive the gospel secondhand but “were eyewitnesses of the word” (Luke 1:2) that they received personally from Jesus Christ.
The particular Greek word John used, for the act of seeing, assures his readers that he not only had the sensory impressions on his retinae, but he understood what he was looking at. He says he saw the events in the Lord’s life “with his eyes.” John felt it necessary to mention the fact that he saw Jesus with his eyes in order to be absolutely sure that his readers understood him to be referring to sensory impressions from Jesus’ actual human body. They were actual, discerning impressions, not an optical illusion nor a hallucination. Jesus was physically here on earth in human flesh!
John now turns to our internal senses – the eyes of our mind. This is distinguished from the foregoing evidence, seeing with the eyes. John said, “we have looked at.” The word looked is from the Greek word theaomai which means to “gaze intently upon,” “to behold,” “view attentively,” or “contemplate.” We get our English word theatre from this Greek word. When we are at the theatre we don’t just have a passing glance at the actors, we are intently gazing for a couple of hours and as we are gazing we contemplate, discern, and evaluate what we have seen. This word is not applied to the actual seeing of the eye, but to what was rationally collected and composed from what John saw.
John has spent three plus years gazing upon Jesus. In John 3:14, John writes, “And as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of man be lifted up” During the wilderness march, the people who had been bitten by the serpents were to look for healing to that brass serpent which had been lifted up on a pole. John is applying that to the Lord Jesus and saying that we are to look to Him in faith for salvation. And then we are to gaze upon Him as He sanctifies us. John had beheld Jesus’ glory, the glory as of the only-begotten of the Father. He had looked upon Jesus – spent time gazing upon Him, discerning what he said, contemplating, and evaluating Christ in his mind and meditating on what he had seen. John is highlighting how the senses are the informers of the mind. An expanded version of what John said might sound something like this: “What we have well discerned, contemplated, and viewed, what we have well known of this Word of life, we report to you.”
After establishing evidence of Jesus’ humanity through the senses of hearing and sight, John turns to the sense of touch. John says, “and touched with our hands.” Touched means to “handle,” “feel,” or “grasp,” Or “to handle with a view to investigate.” John says that they did more than merely gaze upon Him; they handled Him. The same word is used in the Old Testament when blind Isaac felt the hands of Jacob in Genesis 27:22. Isaac was puzzled at the voice of Jacob so he handled his hands with a view to investigating whether the speaker was really Esau.
Jesus speaking to the apostles after His resurrection, said, “Behold my hands and my feet, that it is I myself. handle me, and see; for a spirit hath not flesh and bones, as ye see me have. And when he had thus spoken, he showed them his hands and his feet.” (Luke 24:39–40). John must have felt Jesus’ hands and touched the nail scares which convinced him that Jesus was indeed man, the Word made flesh, God manifest in the flesh. Jesus made sure that Thomas was not left out, John 20:27 says, “Then He said to Thomas, “Reach here with your finger, and see My hands; and reach here your hand and put it into My side; and do not be unbelieving, but believing.” The apostles had touched and felt with their own hands the body of Jesus.
Even with all of this evidence, we have an added advantage over John; we have the rest of the Holy Scripture. We can see that Jesus manifested Himself in many other ways in the Scriptures. He hungered in Matthew 4:2. He thirsted in John 19:28. He was weary in John 4:6. He slept in Matthew 8:44. He suffered in Luke 22:44. He died in John 19:30. He was buried in Matthew 27:59, 60. He was resurrected in Luke 24:39. And He was touched in 1 John 1:1, 2. Is there any doubt that Jesus Christ was here in human flesh?
If we were to take all of the evident that John has provided and expanded these verses to include the expanded translation it would read something like this. “That which was from the beginning, Jesus and the gospel, that which we have heard repeatedly on numerous occasions and numerous situations with our own ears, that which we have seen as eyewitnesses the actual, discerning impressions of Jesus, that which we gazed upon intently, contemplated, evaluated in our minds, and our hands handled and touched to investigate, concerning Jesus Christ, the Word of Life.” Is there any doubt?
Jesus Christ has revealed who He is – the Word of Life
1 John 1:1-2 – “What was from the beginning, what we have heard, what we have seen with our eyes, what we have looked at and touched with our hands, concerning the Word of Life-and the life was manifested, and we have seen and testify and proclaim to you the eternal life, which was with the Father and was manifested to us-”
The word “logos” is John’s particular designation of our Lord. Logos comes from legō which means “to speak.” Our Lord is the Logos of God in the sense that He is God seen through a human flesh – His humanity consisting of His human body, His human limitations, and His human life lived on earth in the power of the Holy Spirit. John calls Him here, “the Word of Life.” This is not any general life, but the particular life that God has revealed through the humanity of Jesus Christ – the Word of life.
In John’s gospel these two truths are disjoined, and He is called first the Word. John 1:1 says, “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.” Afterwards He is called Life. John 1:4 says, “In him was life, and that life was the light of men.” And in John 1:14, “And the Word became flesh, and dwelt among us, and we saw His glory, glory as of the only begotten from the Father, full of grace and truth.” Here in First John the words are conjoined: The Word of Life – the living Word. In that Jesus Christ is the Word, He is therefore the Word of some person – and that person is God the Father. Jesus is the Word of Life— the Word of God.
Why does Jesus Christ have this name? Because Christ is to us what our words are to others. Our words reveal to others just what we think and how we feel. Jesus Christ, the Word of Life, reveals to us the mind and heart of God. He is the living means of communication between God and men. Romans 8:34 says, “…Christ Jesus is He who died, yes, rather who was raised, who is at the right hand of God, who also intercedes for us.” Jesus is our means of communicating with God. In John 14:6 Jesus says, “…I am the way, and the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father but through Me.” Jesus in not only our means of communication, He is much more— To know Jesus Christ is to know God! John 14:7, “If you had known Me, you would have known My Father also; from now on you know Him, and have seen Him.”
The name for Jesus is the “Word of Life” but it also refers to the proclamation of His gospel. We know that Jesus Christ Himself is the Word, but God has given us much more than words in the Holy Scriptures. God has given us Jesus Christ, the Word. As the Word, Jesus Christ is the picture, the expression, the pattern, the very image of what God wants to say to man. He is the perfect expression of all that God wants man to be. He is the Word who came to earth to show us that the very essence of life is in God and in God alone. God’s promise of salvation was mediated through Jesus Christ, and His cross would become the method through which sins were forgiven and new life was given. Therefore, if a person wants to truly live, he must trust and depend upon the Word of Life. For it is through trusting in Jesus Christ that God has explained that all life begins, exists and ends through Him.
It is very interesting to see that John does not deal in his first epistle with the preincarnate life of our Lord, which he merely mentions in the words “that which was from the beginning.” But when he refers to His incarnation, he goes into careful detail as to His humanity. B.F. Westcott put it this way, “John wrote his Gospel to prove the deity of our Lord, assuming His humanity, whereas he wrote his first epistle to prove His humanity, assuming His deity.”
How are we supposed to apply what John is reaffirming here in his first epistle?
John reminds the readers of their first encounter with Jesus Christ and the gospel He preached. “What was from the beginning…? Do you remember your beginning – when you first encountered the gospel of Jesus Christ? Do you remember when you had a decision to make? “Will I follow Christ or will I reject the truth?” Thankfully, many of you accepted Jesus as your Lord and Savior and began an eternal life as a Christian.
But, how about your sanctification? Have you been growing and changing into the image of Jesus Christ? Are you living in a manner that exemplifies your desire to follow Him? Jesus wants us to have a just and right view of Him and have a deeper understanding of our profession by living a holy, obedient and consistent Christian walk.
Jesus Christ absolutely proved who He is – God incarnate in human flesh. He used the senses He created in us to prove that He was physically very real. John first said he heard Jesus Christ. John was so obviously amazed at what Jesus spoke for it was with such authority and truth that the truth compelled him to listen. Today, we cannot audibly hear Jesus Christ with our ears but we are to be listening for the voice of the Holy Spirit speaking to our conscience; guiding and directing our thoughts and actions. We should also hear the Word speak as we read the Scriptures. We should hear Him speak as the Scriptures are preached and taught. We may not hear Jesus audibly speak to us but we should hear the sound of His voice loud and clear.
In our day we cannot see Jesus Christ with our physical eyes, we can see Him with the eye of faith. 1 Peter 1:8 says, “Whom having not seen, ye love; in whom, though now ye see him not, yet believing, ye rejoice with joy unspeakable and full of glory.” John 20:29 says, “Blessed are they that have not seen, and yet have believed.” We today are walking by, faith, and the Lord Jesus Christ can be made just as real to us today as He was to the apostle John.
Referring to Jesus, it has been said, “To look saves; to gaze, sanctifies.” John wrote in his gospel, John 1:14, “And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, (and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father,) full of grace and truth.” We need to do more than simply look to Him for salvation. We need to spend more time gazing upon Him in order to grow and change as we progress in our sanctification. We need to study, pray, and serve as God molds and shapes us into the image of Jesus Christ.
Just as we cannot audibly hear Jesus with our ears nor see Him visibly with our eyes, we cannot physically touch Jesus with our hands. However, Jesus places people and circumstances in our life so we can feel Him working in and through us. We need to be willing to open our lives up to other Christians to build transparent relationships that allow us to feel the joy and victory of our walk with Christ. I challenge all of us to build some close relationships this year with people in our Church body that will help us to grow and change.
Jesus Christ did everything He could to show man that the Son of God had come to earth—that He had come to save man, to deliver man from this corruptible world of sin and death—that He had come to give man eternal life and the glorious privilege of living in Heaven with God forever and ever!
With all the evidences and convictive assurances that John and the apostles had of Jesus’ presence in this world, we can be assured that Jesus Christ is the Word of Life. There were sufficient demonstrations of the reality of his abiding here on earth, and of the excellencies and dignity of His person. The Word, the Word of life, the eternal life, was seen and felt—He was manifested to us. The Word of Life was clothed with human flesh, put on the state of human nature, and as such gave sensible proof of His existence and transactions here. The Word of Life presented Himself to the very senses of the apostles.
From a very personal viewpoint, we are going to find out whether we are the real thing through the study of this epistle. We will be taken back to the very black and white realities of what it means to be a Christian. Throughout this epistle, there is a note of certainty that rings loudly and a foundation that is reaffirmed. One of the words we are going to hear often, is the word “know.” Thirty-six times John used this phrase… “by this we know” …not we think, we hope, we wish, we feel….”we know.” This is an epistle of certainty, assurance and confirmation! We need to study this epistle so that we will know.
Go back to 1 John