It's All About Jesus Christ

Good morning! If you are visiting with us today, I want to welcome you once again to Grace Bible Fellowship Church. It‘s an honor to be worshiping with you today.

We will be returning to 1 John today where John has given us so much truth, foundational doctrine, and hope. He has also given us tests to determine true Christians, those who claim to be Christians. But, today, John is going to remind us that it is all about Jesus Christ. He is going to highlight three different aspects of God the Father’s witness of Jesus Christ His Son. John will also reveal the purpose of that testimony. And finally, John illustrates the power of that testimony. In 1 John 5:6-12, John says….

6 This is the One who came by water and blood, Jesus Christ; not with the water only, but with the water and with the blood. It is the Spirit 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 the three are in agreement. 9 If we receive the testimony of men, the testimony of God is greater; for the testimony of God is this, that He has testified concerning His Son. 10 The one who believes in the Son of God has the testimony in himself; the one who does not believe God has made Him a liar, because he has not believed in the testimony that God has given concerning His Son. 11 And the testimony is this that God has given us eternal life, and this life is in His Son. 12 He who has the Son has the life; he who does not have the Son of God does not have the life. (1 John 5:6-12)

Throughout this letter, John has consistently and persistently hammered home this truth; a correct view of the Lord Jesus Christ is essential to salvation. This has been John’s theme from the very beginning of this letter. Just look at how John starts the letter in verses 1 – 4.

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—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. These things we write, so that our joy may be made complete. (1 John. 1:1–4)

But, he doesn’t stop there. In 2:22 he rhetorically asked,

Who is the liar but the one who denies that Jesus is the Christ? This is the antichrist, the one who denies the Father and the Son. (1 John 2:22)

In 3:23 John wrote…

This is His commandment, that we believe in the name of His Son Jesus Christ, and love one another, just as He commanded us. (1 John 3:23)

In 4:1–2 John warned us against false teachers who deny the truth about Jesus Christ:

Beloved, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God, because many false prophets have gone out into the world. By this you know the Spirit of God: every spirit that confesses that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is from God. (1 John 4:1-2)

A few verses later, in verses 9 and 10 John declares that

By this the love of God was manifested in us, that God has sent His only begotten Son into the world so that we might live through Him. In this is love, not that we loved God, but that He loved us and sent His Son to be the propitiation for our sins. (1 John 4:9-10)

In 5:1 John reminds us that only the one who,

believes that Jesus is the Christ is born of God. (1 John 5:1)

And again in verse 13 is the key to the entire letter:

These things I have written to you who believe in the name of the Son of God, so that you may know that you have eternal life. (1 John 5:13)

And finally in verse 20, John writes.

And we know that the Son of God has come, and has given us understanding so that we may know Him who is true; and we are in Him who is true, in His Son Jesus Christ. This is the true God and eternal life. (1 John 5:20)

Is there any doubt in your mind that Jesus Christ is and has always been the focal point of redemptive history! Well, I hope not nor should this be anything new to us because God the Father has repeatedly testified that He is the Messiah, Savior, Redeemer, and King. This truth of who Jesus Christ is, what He has done and what He will do, is where our great hope is found. After sin entered the world through Adam and Eve, God revealed the redeemer. God’s curse on mankind also came with the promise of a deliverer. In Genesis 3:15, Scripture says…

"I will put enmity between you and the woman", God told the serpent (Satan), "and between your seed and her seed; He shall bruise you on the head, and you shall bruise him on the heel." (Gen 3:15)

Later in Genesis 49:10, God reiterated His promise to send His Son, who would rule as King:

The scepter shall not depart from Judah, nor the ruler’s staff from between his feet, until Shiloh (referring to the Messiah) comes, and to him shall be the obedience of the peoples. (Gen 49:10)

The Old Testament predicted the precise details of Jesus’ life. Isaiah prophesied that He would be born of a virgin (7:14). Micah prophesied that He would be born in Bethlehem (5:2). Hosea prophesied that He would be called out of Egypt (11:1). Malachi prophesied the forerunner (John the Baptist) who would prepare the way for Him (4:5–6). Psalm 41:9 predicts His betrayal by a close friend, Psalm 22 delineates the details of His crucifixion, Isaiah 53 explains the theological significance of His death, and Psalm 16 foresees His resurrection.

The Old Testament points explicitly and distinctly to Jesus Christ as the Messiah! As such, we have no excuse for not recognizing Him as the one and only Messiah. In Luke 24, the Lord rebuked His followers for their ignorance in the face of overwhelming evidence. In verses 25-27, and 44-47 it says…

O foolish men and slow of heart to believe in all that the prophets have spoken! Was it not necessary for the Christ to suffer these things and to enter into His glory?

Then beginning with Moses and with all the prophets, He explained to them the things concerning Himself in all the Scriptures.… Now He said to them,

These are My words which I spoke to you while I was still with you, that all things which are written about Me in the Law of Moses and the Prophets and the Psalms must be fulfilled.

Then He opened their minds to understand the Scriptures, and He said to them,

Thus it is written, that the Christ would suffer and rise again from the dead the third day, and that repentance for forgiveness of sins would be proclaimed in His name to all the nations, beginning from Jerusalem. (Luke 24:25-27, 44-47)

In John 5:39, He also rebuked the hostile Jewish leaders for failing to heed the Old Testament’s witness of Him:

You search the Scriptures, because you think that in them you have eternal life; it is these that testify about Me. (John 5:39)

The issue was not that the Old Testament’s testimony to Jesus was unclear, or confusing, in verse 40, it says they were

...unwilling to come to [Him] so that [they might] have life. (John 5:40)

In this portion of 1 John, he actually elaborates on the theme of his gospel, which was

written so that [people] may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God; and that believing [they] may have life in His name (John 20:31).

The gospel of John records that the Father witnessed to the deity of Christ from a variety of sources including:

  • Scripture (5:39–40)
  • John the Baptist (1:6–8, 34)
  • the disciples (15:27)
  • Christ’s words (8:14, 18; 18:37)
  • His works (5:36; 10:25, 38)
  • the Holy Spirit (15:26)
  • the Father Himself (5:37; 8:18)

However, the key to this section is the word "testify", which appears (in both noun and verb form) nine times in verses 6–12. The root word however is a common word that appears nearly 175 times in its various forms in the New Testament. It has the basic meaning of remembering something and testifying concerning it. That testimony could be either in a legal setting or in the general sense of recounting firsthand knowledge.

In the Old Testament, God called the people of Israel to be witnesses that He alone is God and to testify of this truth. But, the New Testament is supremely God’s witness to His Son. The Gospels record the story of Christ’s life, death, and resurrection; the book of Acts describes the initial spread of the truth about Him into the world; the epistles unpack the rich theological meaning of His life, death, resurrection, ascension, and second coming; the book of Revelation reveals the consummation of God’s redemptive purpose in Him.

In keeping with the biblical command that every fact is to be confirmed by the testimony of two or three witnesses (2 Cor. 13:1), John is going to present three aspects of God’s witness to Jesus Christ, reveal the purpose of that testimony, and, finally, illustrates its power. Let’s begin where John highlights…

THE SPECIFICS OF GOD’S TESTIMONY

This is the One who came by water and blood, Jesus Christ; not with the water only, but with the water and with the blood. It is the Spirit who testifies, because the Spirit is the truth. For there are three that testify: the Spirit and the water and the blood; and the three are in agreement. If we receive the testimony of men, the testimony of God is greater; for the testimony of God is this, that He has testified concerning His Son. ( 1 John 5:6–9)

If you recall, in verses 1–5 from the previous sermon, John described the joys and blessings of overcomers; those who believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God. However, John knew that many would ask why they should believe that Jesus is who John claimed Him to be. After all, Israel rejected Him according to John 1:11;

He came to His own, and those who were His own did not receive Him. (1 John 1:11)

The Jews scornfully referred to Him as a lying deceiver, guilty of leading the people astray and of provoking an insurrection against Rome. They even blasphemously accused Him of being a glutton and a drunkard, of being insane, and, most heinous of all, of being demon-possessed. Because of their murderous hatred of Jesus, they called for His crucifixion. In light of Israel’s rejection, why should anyone believe that Jesus Christ is the Messiah, God incarnate in human flesh, the only Savior of sinners? John tells us why! Because of the infallible, unquestionable, incontrovertible testimony of God Himself.

"This is the One" John says. This "One" and no other is God the Son, who came into the world. We know from John’s Gospel 1:1-2 that Jesus Christ’s life did not begin when He was born; He had existed from all eternity. Therefore, the New Testament speaks of Jesus coming into this world, not of His coming into existence. In the incarnation the eternally existing "Word became flesh, and dwelt among us" (John 1:14) according to John 1:14. And in John 16:28 Jesus declared,

"I came forth from the Father and have come into the world; I am leaving the world again and going to the Father." (John 16:28)

In 1 John 3:8, John wrote,

The Son of God appeared for this purpose, to destroy the works of the devil. (1 John 3:8)

John did not say Jesus was created, but instead, he said, Jesus Christ appeared.

The incarnation of Jesus Christ is the glorious central truth of redemptive history and the foundation of our Christian faith. The Father testifies in this passage today of the coming of His Son and to His deity. John gives three elements of that authoritative testimony:

  • the water
  • the blood
  • and the Spirit

There are various attempts to connect the phrase "water and blood" with Jesus’ death, when one of the soldiers pierced His side with a spear, and immediately blood and water came out. But there is no reason to assume that John had that incident in mind. Others see in these terms a reference to baptism and the Lord’s Supper. But again, there is no exegetical or contextual reason to associate John’s reference to water and blood with those ordinances. It is best to see the "water" here as a reference to Christ’s baptism and the "blood" as a reference to His death. Those two notable events bracketed the Lord’s earthly ministry, and in both of them the Father testified concerning His Son.

At the beginning of Christ’s earthly ministry, God the Father gave testimony to Jesus at the "water" when He was baptized. Matthew 3:13 records that

Jesus arrived from Galilee at the Jordan coming to John, to be baptized by him. (Matt 3:13)

As the forerunner of the Messiah, John the Baptist proclaimed a "baptism of repentance" (Matt. 3:11). He called on the people of Israel to prepare their hearts for the coming of the Messiah by confessing and repenting of their sin, and asking God to cleanse them. John knew that baptism was a public affirmation of repentance from sin and as such, it is an external act symbolizing an internal reality.

However, John the Baptist knew the spotless Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world had no sin to repent of and hence no need to be baptized. Therefore, John tried to prevent Him from being baptized by saying, I have need to be baptized by You, and do You come to me? (Matt. 3:14). John was shocked and amazed by the reversal of what he knew to be true. He was the sinner, Jesus the sinless one.

Although Jesus was without sin, it was still necessary for Jesus to be baptized so He could publicly identified with sinners. Therefore He told John,

Permit it at this time; for in this way it is fitting for us to fulfill all righteousness (Matt. 3:15).

Jesus always performed what God required of His people. His perfect obedience made Him the sinless sacrifice whose death made atonement for sin.

Matthew 3:16 says after John baptized Him,

Jesus came up immediately from the water; and behold, the heavens were opened, and he saw the Spirit of God descending as a dove and lighting on Him. (Matt 3:16)

This physical manifestation of the Holy Spirit’s presence provided visible evidence of the Father’s testimony to the Son, especially to John the Baptist. John declared,

I have seen the Spirit descending as a dove out of heaven, and He remained upon Him. I did not recognize Him, but He who sent me to baptize in water said to me, He upon whom you see the Spirit descending and remaining upon Him, this is the One who baptizes in the Holy Spirit. I myself have seen, and have testified that this is the Son of God. (John 1:32–34)

After the Father’s visual testimony by the Spirit to Jesus, then came His explicit declaration,

This is My beloved Son, in whom I am well-pleased (Matt. 3:17).

Those words expressed the Father’s approval of the Son, and His confirmation of Jesus Christ as the true Messiah.

John then introduces a second witness, the "blood", representing Christ’s death. As He had at His baptism, God the Father gave striking testimony to Jesus in the miraculous events surrounding His crucifixion. Matthew 27:45 records that "from the sixth hour darkness fell upon all the land until the ninth hour." (Matt 27:45) In the middle of the day came a supernatural darkness, symbolizing the Father’s forsaking of the Son as the sin-bearing sacrifice.

About the ninth hour Jesus cried out with a loud voice, saying, ‘Eli, Eli, lama sabachthani?’ that is, ‘My God, my God, why have You forsaken Me?’ (Matt. 27:46)

At the moment of Jesus’ death there was another astonishing miracle as "the veil of the temple was torn in two from top to bottom" (Mt. 27:51). That curtain, separating the Most Holy Place from the Holy Place, was far too large and heavy for men to tear, especially from the top to the bottom. The Father’s act symbolized His acceptance of Jesus’ sacrifice and the way into His presence was opened. Our direct access to the Father was established.

Another amazing miracle occurred;

the earth shook and the rocks were split. The tombs were opened, and many bodies of the saints who had fallen asleep were raised; and coming out of the tombs after His resurrection they entered the holy city and appeared to many. (Matt. 27:51b–53)

Their appearance in bodily form was such an overwhelming and miraculous testimony to Jesus that a Roman centurion who witnessed it cried out, "Truly this was the Son of God!" (Matt. 27:54).

The Father’s testimony to Jesus also appears in the Old Testament prophecies that His death fulfilled, most notably in Psalm 22 and Isaiah 53. We will not read those today but, I encourage you to read those chapters this week to see God’s testimony of His Son.

The Father also testified to the Son through the ministry of the Spirit, who is the truth. The Holy Spirit is the Spirit of truth in that He is true and, therefore, the source and revealer of divine truth, particularly about Jesus Christ (John 15:26). The Spirit was involved at Jesus’ conception, baptism, temptation, and throughout His ministry. In Acts 10:38, Peter said to those gathered in Cornelius’s house,

You know of Jesus of Nazareth, how God anointed Him with the Holy Spirit and with power, and how He went about doing good and healing all who were oppressed by the devil, for God was with Him.

Jesus always did the will of the Father in the power of the Spirit.

The witness of the "three that testify: the Spirit and the water and the blood" is in perfect "agreement" and convincingly demonstrates that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God. How foolish to "receive the testimony of men" about matters of far less significance while rejecting the infinitely "greater … testimony of God … that He has testified concerning His Son." Jesus Christ is the Son of God!

John then moves on to verse 11 to tell us…

And the testimony is this, that God has given us eternal life, and this life is in His Son. (5:11)

The purpose of God’s testimony through the water, the blood, and the Spirit is that sinners might receive eternal life. Eternal life involves far more than merely living forever. The essence of eternal life is the believer’s participation in the blessed everlasting life of Christ through their union with Him. Jesus defined it in His High Priestly Prayer to the Father in John 17:3 where He says…

This is eternal life, that they may know You, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom You have sent.

It is the life of the age to come. It is where believers will most fully experience the perfect, unending glory, holiness, and joy of heaven as we relish in perfect unity with God the Father and His Son Jesus Christ.

The eternal life promised by God in the Old Testament and sought by the Jews of Jesus’ day comes only to those who believe God’s testimony and place their faith in His Son. God says the gospel is exclusive! There are not many ways to God. There is only one! In John 14:6 Jesus declared,

I am the way, and the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father but through Me.

In Acts 4:12, Peter added,

And there is salvation in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven that has been given among men by which we must be saved.

So the purpose of God’s testimony of the Son is an affirmation that all who have been truly believe will live eternally with Him.

John now moves on to his last point found in verses 10 and 12 where he highlights…

The one who believes in the Son of God has the testimony in himself; the one who does not believe God has made Him a liar, because he has not believed in the testimony that God has given concerning His Son.… He who has the Son has the life; he who does not have the Son of God does not have the life. (5:10, 12)

It is what people do with God’s testimony of Jesus Christ that determines their eternal destiny. There are only two possible responses: to believe God’s testimony or to reject it. No one can remain neutral, for as Jesus said,

He who is not with Me is against Me (Matt. 12:30)

"The one who believes in the Son of God has the testimony in himself." Saving faith in Jesus Christ results in a lifelong hold on eternal life. As we have discussed in previous sermons, true faith perseveres. So, those who turn away from the gospel reveal that they were never saved in the first place. They never had a hold on eternal life.

On the other hand, "the one who does not believe God, has made Him a liar". To deny that Jesus Christ is who God said He is, to refuse to believe "in the testimony that God has given concerning His Son", makes God a liar. What an incredulous blasphemy of God!!! We know God is perfect truth and cannot lie. Rejecting God’s witness concerning His Son is not something to be pitied, or overlooked in the name of tolerance or political correctness. It is a heinous, damning sin and an affront to God’s holy nature.

John now sets out the eternal results of the only two possible responses to God’s testimony of Jesus Christ:

He who has the Son has the life; he who does not have the Son of God does not have the life.

Here again the exclusivity of the gospel is evident. Only those who believe the Father’s witness to the Son and acknowledge Jesus as Lord and Savior have eternal life. All who refuse to do so do not have the Son do not have eternal life.

All Christians, true believers, should have great hope today. The glorious promise to those who believe God’s testimony is that

as many as received [Jesus], to them He gave the right to become children of God, even to those who believe in His name. (John 1:12)

However, for all unbelievers, there is a sobering warning,

How will [you] escape if [you] neglect so great a salvation? (Heb. 2:3)

If you have not accepted Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior, I hope you heard the testimony of God the Father today regarding His beloved Son. He is the Messiah! He is the one and only way to the Father! He is the only way to eternal life in Heaven!

John says….

6 This is the One who came by water and blood, Jesus Christ; not with the water only, but with the water and with the blood. It is the Spirit 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 the three are in agreement. 9 If we receive the testimony of men, the testimony of God is greater; for the testimony of God is this, that He has testified concerning His Son. 10 The one who believes in the Son of God has the testimony in himself; the one who does not believe God has made Him a liar, because he has not believed in the testimony that God has given concerning His Son. 11 And the testimony is this that God has given us eternal life, and this life is in His Son. 12 He who has the Son has the life; he who does not have the Son of God does not have the life. (1 John 5:6-12)

Let’s pray.