"These Things I Have Written..." 1 John 1:1-4
Have you ever tried to settle a dispute between two “passionate” people?
Tricia and I have had a dispute for years… What the A/C/Heater temperature needs to be set on and if the television should be on all night or not. There are certain arguments that are clearly worth dying for and in my opinion, this is one of them. Maybe your argument in your home has to do with the position of the toilet seat or the proper placement of toilet paper. Some people prefer beans in their chili. I call those people unAmerican or at least unTexan.
Disputes have been around for years. While I’m speaking of light hearted disputes, you and I both know that disputes have led to friendships ending, marriages falling apart, and countries going to war.
In terms of spirituality, disputes have led to some of the most terrible moments recorded in history. Jesus was placed a cross because of dispute.
How do Christians learn to build their own assurance of faith in the eyes of dispute? If you are following Christ today, you are aware of the tension that surrounds your way of life.
There’s are choices you face as a Christian today:
Stay out of it completely.
I believe that the book of first John gives you the ability to lean into our culture and understand how to best engage it.
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 is considered a letter like the other letters of the NT, but it does not have the same form.
Doesn’t identify a sender and reciever.
It doesn’t wish for health of the recipient.
Not a normal conclusion.
It is better described as a “tract”. (Pamphlet)
Written around the same time as John’s gospel.
The Jewish Christian community was being expelled from the synagogue as heretics. There was a split between the Jewish community.
1 John was intended to confront a group that interpreted tradition of scripture and Jesus as the messiah incorrectly.
The reader is encouraged to hold fast to the correct interpretation of the tradition.
We will hit many different subjects throughout the next few weeks but today, we are going to focus on the prologue and do our best to understand the apostle Johns meaning and intention to begin this letter.
John has a purpose for every reader in this writing.
1. Jesus is Pre-existent and Historical.
1. Jesus is Pre-existent and Historical.
In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.
In Him was life, and the life was the Light of men.
John is clear in his beginning. In a parallel to & 4, he begins his letter by stating that Jesus is pre-existent just like His father.
He doesn’t ever say that Jesus “began to be,” but that he was essentially around before He was ever manifested on the earth. He was set up from everlasting, from the beginning, before the earth ever was.
John announces this to the people through his writing so that they can understand what has always been true.
He wasn’t only from the beginning, but He was also with the Father the entire time.
God did not enjoy solitude by Himself but he had conscious, continuous, intimate communion as with His Son.
Jesus then entered history through the physical realm.
heard … seen … looked upon … handled
Hearing and Seeing emphasizes that one has had a direct, personal experience in a marvelous way.
“looked upon” we beheld Him. Not in terms of a vision upon Him, but understanding that He entered history and made special witnesses.
“handled” Not handling that gives us the ability to mold. Handling that is allowed. John himself leaned on Jesus at the last supper.
As a result, Jesus became an audible, visible, and tangible appearance of what has been around from the beginning.
He made it possible for human beings to know the nature of God. We could not have seen the one who was eternally with the Father unless he had taken the initiative to deliberately show Himself to people.
Humans can only know what God is pleased to make known.
“The Word of Life” (Nowhere else in the Bible) - The whole message from God to man, which tells of life, or perhaps, out of which life springs, which beginning to be spoken by the prophets, was at last fully proclaimed by one who was His son.
The descriptive title of the eternal Son Jesus Christ.
John declares the reality of Jesus to people that apposed His ability.
The whole message from God to man, which tells of life, or perhaps, out of which life springs, which beginning to be spoken by the prophets, was at last fully proclaimed by one who was His son.
Announcing a track meet or a football game. My job is to declare the results of what the athletes have done. I’m not doing anything. The athletes accomplishments are the result of the work done by the coach to prepare athletes for competition.
- A good coach is a relationship builder.
- As announcer, I’m called to speak on what I see.
As followers of God, we trust in Savior who was around from the very beginning. He entered history and manifested God’s love for people.
It’s so simple and yet so profound.
You are were not pardoned by the new savior on the block. He has been involved in pre-existence, creation, the Old Testament, The New Testament, and is present now.
He understands everything
You can have assurance of your Savior this morning.
2. Jesus was visible to everyone.
2. Jesus was visible to everyone.
Jesus was a revelation given to the few for the sake of the many. They were to declare it to the world.
While John pointed out the pre-existence of Jesus in history, he then presented different aspects of the same truth.
“The Word became flesh” - the historic fact of His incarnation.
“The life was manifested” - the unfolding of that fact in the operations of life.
One shows the process in which He became human and the other explains how He was recieved.
John brings up three ideas from this message
experience - The disciples spent considerable time with Jesus in His ministry giving them experience with Him.
testimony - As a result, the disciples were given a story.
announcement - The disciples had a story that they were called to announce to all people.
“Eternal life” - A life in its quality of not being measured by time. It’s a quality of life with the father. I divine life.
“With the Father” - Since Jesus was with the father from the beginning, salvation with him unites all believers with the Father.
Life, that was broken by sin returns a redeemed world back to Him.
A newspaper report, television program, or documentary will never be able to see an event better than your own two eyes. Ranger game walk-off, Dirk Nowitzki buzzer beater, or a Hail Mary pass is better seen live.
John had seen and experienced the Savior personally. He was at the foot of the cross whenever Jesus died. He was a key witness to Jesus. If anyone was able to say that Jesus wasn’t the Savior, it could have been John.
He had a message to share to the people for a purpose.
The disputes of his lifetime led John to share the simple, but profound words with the people.
What he seems to be saying here is: “Our own eyes have seen, and our own hands have touched him. We have heard and looked at him for ourselves. Or, to put it otherwise, the very life itself (with which our message is concerned), the eternal life which was eternally with the Father, appeared to us, and we saw it. So we testify to it. Our announcement is a testimony.”
What he seems to be saying here is: ‘In our proclamation concerning the message of life in Christ we concentrate on the historical appearance of the eternal. We do this partly because we are uniquely qualified to be witnesses to the incarnation. Our own eyes have seen, and our own hands have touched him. We have heard and looked at him for ourselves. Or, to put it otherwise, the very life itself (with which our message is concerned), the eternal life which was eternally with the Father, appeared to us, and we saw it. So we testify to it. Our announcement is a testimony. We also make this our particular emphasis because of the false teaching of the heretics who deny the truth of the incarnation either by affirming that the body of Jesus was not real (the docetists) or by distinguishing the divine Logos or Spirit or Christ from the man Jesus upon whom he came at the baptism and from whom he departed before the cross. In contradiction of these errors we stress that his body was real (because we heard, saw and touched him) and that this historical Jesus was the same person as the eternal Word.’
We also make this our particular emphasis because of the false teaching of the heretics who deny the truth of the incarnation either by affirming that the body of Jesus was not real (the docetists) or by distinguishing the divine Logos or Spirit or Christ from the man Jesus upon whom he came at the baptism and from whom he departed before the cross. In contradiction of these errors we stress that his body was real (because we heard, saw and touched him) and that this historical Jesus was the same person as the eternal Word.’
There is a narcissistic attitude of the age towards Jesus and many are sure that He is not who He said He was. They will speak confidently against your assertions.
John’s testimony is clear. “We saw him, touched, and experienced Him. You can believe without worry.”
3. Jesus provided fellowship and joy.
3. Jesus provided fellowship and joy.
John is clear the the purpose of the gospel proclamation was not simply for salvation alone, but for fellowship.
A proper understanding of fellowship is salvation in its widest embrace. People are given reconciliation to God in Christ.
Fellowship - to be made a partner, to be a partaker of. Expresses the enjoyment or realization of fellowship. “The sharing of activities or privileges of an intimate association or group: especially used of Christians and churches.”
He Himself is ours; He in us and we in Him. “Through Christ, God closes up the chasm that separated Him from the human race, and imparts Himself to them in the communion of divine life.”
Fellowship with other people is impossible without the fellowship with the Father and the Son.
Fellowship and joy are both to be common possessions that we have have.
The immediate purpose of the gospel proclamation is the establishment of fellowship and the ultimate purpose is the completion of joy.
Full joy - “The peace of reconciliation, the blessed consciousness of sonship, the happy growth in holiness, the bright prospect of future completion and glory,—all these are but simple details of that which, in all its length and breadth is embraced by one word, Eternal Life, the real possession of which is the immediate source of our joy. We have joy, Christ’s joy, because we are blessed, because we have life itself in Christ”
“The peace of reconciliation, the blessed consciousness of sonship, the happy growth in holiness, the bright prospect of future completion and glory,—all these are but simple details of that which, in all its length and breadth is embraced by one word, Eternal Life, the real possession of which is the immediate source of our joy. We have joy, Christ’s joy, because we are blessed, because we have life itself in Christ”
John tells the reader “these things we write unto you”
“ I announce this message to you. We write this so that your joy may be full..”
“You see how the old testimonies are confirmed by fresh ones, and the support of the new preaching is given to the ancient prophecy. The one predicted that He whom he announced as man, would be God Most High: the other asserts that He whom he showed to have been handled by men, was ever God in the beginning.” John Cassian 1894
Jesus embodied reconciliation and union between man and God.
How often we encounter people that have 1/4, 1/2, 3/4, or no joy? We have learned to live our lives this way. Often it’s because we allow people to make us feel this way.
We have so much in Christ:
New Life to the full.
Intimacy with the Father.
Praying in God’s will.
The message of the gospel is jam packed with history. You have a Father in Heaven who desires fellowship with you and wants to provide you eternal joy.