Dr. Jim McGowan
Beholding the Lord Through His Word – Part 3
6-25-17 John 1:1-4
Good morning and welcome to Sugar Land Bible Church, it’s just a delight to have everyone here. I love looking out and seeing the smiling faces so everybody smile at me. Oh, I feel so much better now. We’d like to also thank those of you that are listening in by way of live stream, we appreciate you, we want you to know that we pray for you regularly; we pray that these broadcasts are a blessing to you too.
Could we go to the Lord in prayer this morning: Heavenly Father, what a delight and a privilege and a blessing it is to have the opportunity to stand before Your people with Your message and Father, to be able to together glorify You and worship You. And Father, we just thank You because we know that You’re in charge. And Father on my part, my prayer this morning is that we all might be able to eat the chicken and spit out the bones. And Father, I just thank You for that. We also want to pray for our pastor who’s currently in Australia delivering the Word of God, Father God, and we’re so pleased to be a part of that process and that ministry there and we pray for that body of believers there who have called him to speak to them. Thank You for that. And Lord, I might also add I thank you for the main service that’s ahead and ask your blessing upon Brother Gabe as he comes and shares from his heart. So Father, with that said we just come to You now, we give you the glory; be pleased and delighted in everything we say and do. We pray in Christ’s name, Amen.
All right, well, I’m always excited to have the opportunity to come and speak with you and so what we’re doing is we’re continuing, this is our third session in a study that we’ve entitled Beholding the Lord In His Word and if we wanted to give it a subtitle here we could say that we’re seeing the living Word in the written Word of God. And if you haven’t gone back and seen the previous two messages I would encourage you to go back out to our website, they are there archived for your benefit and hopefully for your blessing.
In our very first lesson we talked about 2 Corinthians 3:18 and we focused on this phrase “But we all beholding the glory of the Lord,” and we took quite a bit of time breaking that verse apart. Then in our last session, which was session 2, we looked at John 1:1-18 and I know that I’m just amazed and it was just a profound thing that I got through 18 verses in about 45 minutes or so and I will endeavor to do that again today, fortunately we don’t have as many verses. Last time we focused on that and we talked about “we saw His glory” that is the Lord Jesus, “full of grace and truth.”
So this morning in session 3 we’re going to look at 1 John 1:1-4 if you’d like to go ahead and turn there, and we’re going to put special emphasis on verse 3 where it says we have seen with our eyes the Word of Life. That’s where we’re headed. In our next session we’ll be covering Hebrews 12:1-2 and we will be focusing on fixing our eyes on Jesus. All of these verses we’re covering with the intent of seeing again the living Word in the written Word of God.
So if you have your Bibles if you’d like to go ahead and turn to 1 John 1:1-4 and I’ll read there and if you don’t have your Bible with you, you can read along with me on the screen. And this is what the Apostle 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—  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.”
Here’s a brief outline showing what it is we’re going to do this morning. I have just a couple of preliminary observations I’d like to bring out about this passage. And then we’ll get into the verses, we’ll look at verse 1 by itself, verse 2 by itself and then finally we’re going to combine verses 3-4.
So preliminary observations—one of the things we’re going to notice here in this particular section is the use of references to physical senses and we’re going to see this word “we” a lot also. And then we’re going to also notice that there are actions based on the response of the physical senses. We’ll see the apostles reasons for writing and then we’ll notice his consistency in stating his purpose in his writings.
So here I’ve highlighted some of the verses for you, rather some of the phrases, what we have heard, what we have seen, what we’ve looked at, touched, and then again what we have seen and what we’ve seen and heard. One of the things that we see here in this passage is the repeated use of the pronoun “we” and then we see these physical senses that are mentioned. We’re going to talk more about that but it’s important that we recognize, and we’re going to identify in just a minute, who this “we” is and how these physical senses are important to our understanding.
The second observation is actions based upon the response to the physical senses that we just looked at. And so if we come back into our verse here, verses I’ve highlighted for you, notice the words here: testify, proclaim, then we proclaim and we write. So what is it that the Apostle John and the other apostles going to do in response to the things that they had seen and heard? Well, John the apostle said here that there’s several different responses and it’s testifying, proclaiming and writing. And then he comes in and expresses to us what is his reason for writing and again I’ve highlighted that for you. So the Apostle John gives the reason why he, and I might add the other apostles, why they wrote these things and he specifically in verses 3 and 4. Notice what he says: “so that you too may have fellowship with us;” and then he adds, [4b] “so that our joy may be made complete.” And again we’ll be talking quite a bit more about that in just a moment.
So finally, our fourth preliminary observation is the apostle’s consistency in stating his purpose in his writings. So stating his purpose in his writings was one of the Apostle John’s consistent patterns and you will recall that we have seen this in the Gospel of John, chapter 20, verses 30-31 and you’ll notice what he wrote there again, that these things that he wrote in his Gospel he says were “so that you may believe and that believing you may have life in his name.” If we come back to our passage we notice that what he says here is what? He says again his purpose, and he shows us a two-fold purpose here, it’s “so that you too may have fellowship with us and so that our joy may be made complete.”
We are going to talk quite a bit about that here in just a minute but let me just add this comment here: spiritually speaking what John is saying here is if you have and enjoy this fellowship, he says then we’re happy and our joy has been made complete. And that’s exactly what the Apostle John is wanting to happen.
So let’s get into the exegesis and exposition of verse 1. Here it is; he says, “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—“ You will remember, no doubt, that John started off his Gospel with a similar expression; he said, “In the beginning” and just like that…. We also find that in Genesis 1:1 and you recall that from last time we got together. He says, “In the beginning” here, but there’s a distinction being made here. What is the distinction that’s being made? Here he says “what was from the beginning” and in Genesis 1:1 and John 1 he says “in the beginning,” a slight difference here. So what he’s saying here in these two verses, he’s referring here to the original creation, isn’t he? “In the beginning” of what? The original creation, when God created all things.
But when we come here to 1 John 1:1 notice the slight change in wording again, “What was from the beginning” and what I want you to suggest to you here this morning is that this is a reference back to the introduction that he made in the Gospel of John in chapter 1, specifically verses 14-18.
[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.  John testified about Him and cried out, saying, “This was He of whom I said, ‘He who comes after me has a higher rank than I, for He existed before me.’”  For of His fullness we have all received, and grace upon grace.  For the Law was given through Moses; grace and truth were realized through Jesus Christ.  No one has seen God at any time; the only begotten God who is in the bosom of the Father, He has explained Him.”]
So the fact that John is emphasizing this point of his introduction back in John is confirmed by the use of the same phrase in 1 John 2:7. Notice what he says here: “Beloved, I am not writing a new commandment to you, but an old commandment which you have had from the beginning;” now is he talking about the beginning of creation here? No, he’s talking about another beginning; the beginning he’s referring to is the beginning of the manifestation of the Son of God, when Jesus was brought forth to public attention which John goes into in his Gospel in chapter 1, verses 14-18.
But that’s not the only place where John uses this expression. He says in [1 John 2] verses 13-14 here, “I am writing you fathers, because you know Him who has been from the beginning. I am writing to you, young men, because you have overcome the evil one. I have written to you, children, because you know the Father.  I have written to you, fathers, because you know Him who has been from the beginning.” But that’s not the only verse, there’s another one. Look at 1 John 2:24, he 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.”
And then also in 1 John 3:11, he says, “For this is the message which you have heard from the beginning, that we should love one another.” So John makes it very clear in his writings here in 1 John that the beginning he’s referring to is not creation, he’s talking about the beginning of the ministry, the active public ministry of the Lord Jesus Christ.
He also says here in 1 John 5:13, notice what he says, “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.” This is a fascinating passage. He makes it very clear here, doesn’t he, that he’s speaking to believers. Right? Why is that important Jim? Well, there is a segment of Christendom that wants to tell us that the Book of 1 John is not based on fellowship but relationship which is a significantly different issue altogether. If he’s talking to believers, believers do they not already have a relationship? And the answer is of course yes. So he’s not discussing relationship here.
But notice what he says, “These things I have written to you who believe…” and why has he written it, “so that you may know that you have eternal life.” And just for fun I decided I’d put up my little train here because there are many people who struggle with the issue of the assurance of their salvation. I can remember a time in my life as a young believer where I regularly questioned, well, am I really saved; if I’m really saved why am I acting the way I am acting. I see some heads nodding out there. Right, yeah, if I’m really a Christian why am I doing the things I’m doing and thinking the things I’m thinking and these kind of things. Of course who’s right there to condemn us and to advocate against us? It’s the enemy of our soul, the devil. Right?
So it’s important that we understand this little train here, that biblical fact plus safe in God’s Word equals spiritual victory. What happens if at any point in that formula there we run off the track? What if we don’t have the facts? Well, are we going to have spiritual victory? No! What if we are not applying faith to the facts that we know? Are we going to have spiritual victory? No! So we need both facts AND faith is the point here. So that’s what John is providing for his readers here, those who are believers, facts and faith so that they might walk in spiritual victory. Now that was a freebie, that actually wasn’t entirely in my notes so you just go ahead and mark that down “freebie” on your notes there.
As we keep going here let’s look at the poetic form of verse 1. We have that here, “What was from the beginning,” and again notice the tenses here, “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— ” There are at least three physical senses introduced here and so the thing that we need to understand is in verse 1 John is not yet introducing a spiritual element. He’s speaking from the physical right now.
Then the next thing that we want to note are the pronouns here, “we.” He says “we have heard,” “we have seen,” “we have looked,” so maybe the question we should ask our self is who are the “we”? Who are the “we” that John is talking about here? Well, the “we” that we’re talking about here refers to the apostles themselves. And they are the ones, because they are the ones who walked with the Lord, day by day, and John is including himself as one of those apostles. So the apostles are the ones who what? Had “heard,” they had “seen,” they had “looked at,” they had “touched,” and what was it that they saw and heard and looked at and touched? It was the things “concerning the Word of Life.” And who is “the Word of Life”? The Lord Jesus, isn’t it.
John says we’re not telling you the gospel account by rumor. I hope you’re getting this; it isn’t just a nice rumor, he says no, we’re personally, we were personally right there; we heard, personally, we saw, personally, we looked at personally, we touched Him personally! We were right there! We were firsthand eye witnesses is what John is saying here. Notice again how John is engaging all of these senses. He says heard and seen again. What I’d like to point out to you here is if you notice in the English we have “have heard” etc. So we have a little clue here. This is actually in the Greek perfect tense, so what he’s saying here is “So having heard and having seen” which are completed actions in the past time, but that’s not all, they have ongoing results that carry on into the future so what is he saying? He’s saying well, we saw, we touched, we heard, etc. and it happened at a point in time but it didn’t just end there. The effects, the results, the influence of that carries forward even to the present time.
So these actions were completed because Christ had ascended and seated Himself at the right hand of the Father. But the hearing and the seeing while they were over from a physical standpoint they continued to be present in their lives by impacting them because the hearing and the seeing wasn’t over yet. And the point we want to make here is that this impact is still not over. Yes, the Lord Jesus is currently sitting at the right hand of the Father; He’s ascended and seated isn’t He? But is the impact of what John says here over and done with? Absolutely not! Why not? Because you and I are reading about it. The impact is still present, even though the hearing and the seeing is long ago and done.
So what John was saying is that what Jesus had said was still ringing in their ears. The question I’d ask you this morning is have you ever had an experience or something happen in your life that really impacted you? Perhaps somebody said something to you that really stuck with you. That’s what John is saying here. We can’t get this out of our mind; we can’t stop hearing it. It’s as if He was right here talking to us.
John refers to the three senses again, we said hearing, seeing and touching. Notice that he’s very physical when he says “with our eyes” and “with our hands.” That’s very emphatic; he could have just said we have seen Him, we have looked at Him, we have touched Him. But he didn’t, he added the expression “with our eyes” and “with our hands.”
If I could just share with you this verb “seen” here, where he says “we have seen with our eyes,” is the verb horáō, and this implies not the mere act of seeing but also the actual perception. It means to actively behold, to look with intent but also to understand the significance of what it is you’re looking at. So what is John saying. John is saying that he deliberately listened and saw and touched and he actively beheld as he looked intently, understanding the significance of what he heard and saw and looked at and touched. It wasn’t just a casual glance. John is very consistent and he’s emphatic in his use of words and we saw this in our last session.
If you look at John 1:14 you see what he says here, “And the Word became flesh, and dwelt among us,” and what’d he say there, “we saw His glory, glory as of the only begotten from the Father, full of grace and truth.” Then we come down to our verse today and look what he says: “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.”
The reason that I have these highlighted for you or embolden is because they’re the very same word in the Greek. The expression “we saw” and the expression “we have looked at” both come from the verb theáomai, which is very interesting. It’s actually better translated… are you ready for this, the King James Version because the King James Version uses the expression “we beheld” and that’s a better translation.
So what is he saying here? Well, first of all what’s the definition of this word, theáomai? It literally means to behold, to view attentively, but that’s not all, it means to contemplate what you’re saying, indicating the sense of a wondering consideration involving a careful and deliberate vision which interprets its object. It’s not just looking, oh yeah, that looks good. It’s like WOW, it’s engaging it with your eyes, with your ears, with your mind, with every part of your being. You’re beholding it. How could you just casually behold the glory of the Lord? Right, oh, that’s nice, there’s a little glory there. NO! NO! You’d be captivated by it, wouldn’t you. That’s what he’s saying here.
John’s saying what we looked at, it wasn’t just a casual happen to glance or happen to see it. No, John is saying emphatically we actively looked and we saw and beheld and the beholding was so profound in our lives that we can’t forget it; it has captivated us. Wow! When you understand a little of the background of the words and what they mean it kind of brings a whole different view to the passage, doesn’t it?
The next expression in this verse, verse 1, he says, “the word of life.” Now you recall that John has used this idea of the word before. If you notice here, we see in John 1:1 in the Gospel, notice what did he say? He refers to Jesus as “the Word,” “the Word was with God” then again in verse 14 he says “the Word became flesh,” and then finally in Revelation 19 he talks about the fact that Jesus’ name is called “the Word of God.” John is very unique in this use of this expression, “the Word.”
Why does John repeatedly call Christ “the Word”? Well the reason is because John wants to convey, now catch this, that Jesus Christ is THE message from God. He is THE message from God! Jesus Christ is “the Word,” the message which comes in the form of a person. Isn’t that fascinating? Christ is “the Word of God.” Here it comes; get ready—God’s deliberate message to lost humanity! Oh but Jim, there are all kinds of way to get to God, right? I mean, you just pick the way you want and good luck with it, right? NO! If Jesus is THE message of God, from God, then we’d better listen to it, hadn’t we? Amen… I’ll say amen to that.
All right, John was very clear about the character of the Word of Life, Jesus Christ. He and the others who were in close company with the Word of Life, that would be the apostles, they lived alongside Jesus Christ. They witnessed firsthand Christ’s death, His burial, His resurrection, and ascension into the heavenlies. John is also very emphatic that his experience with the Word of Life was real; it was not just a dream that he had. You know, you Christians, you all eat too much pizza, you have all these bad dreams and then you try to make everybody believe that, you know, what you’re saying is true; you just got a bad pepperoni. NO! NOT AT ALL! This again was not merely a rumor that he heard. NO, it was real. Again look what he said: We touched Him, we saw Him, we heard Him, this isn’t a dream of a hallucination; this is real John is saying.
So you remember what happened with Thomas. I just have it here for you, you remember the story, we’ll talk a little bit more about this in a minute but they were all gathered together, everybody was there except for Thomas and Jesus appeared and then they told Jesus and you know, Thomas being the great man of faith that he was, like us, right, well, you know what [can’t understand word] here, look here, he says if I can’t stick my finger in the wounds, etc. then I’m not going to believe and then Jesus appears later and what does He say to him? Reach here with your finger, and see My hands; and reach here your hand and put it in My side; and do not be unbelieving, but believing.” [John 20:27]
I have a question for you. Did Thomas touch the Lord Jesus Christ? Do you think he remembered touching the Lord Jesus? Do you think that the rest of the apostles that were gathered together at that event saw, they beheld, they witnessed what was transpiring. Was that just something casual? Oh, you know, it was nice, Jesus, that was really nice of you to let Thomas do that. Not at all! Do you think that was engrained into the very fiber of their being for the rest of their lives? Absolutely; absolutely! Hallelujah!
What I’ve done here is I’ve taken the verse in the English and given you the Greek because I know there’s some Greek fanatics in the congregation that would enjoy this kind of thing, like me. But really I had an ulterior motive for doing it. What I want you to see here is what I have highlighted for you. In the English we see the Word of Life and that’s a profound statement. But it becomes even more profound when we break it down and see it in the actual Greek here. John is emphasizing in the way he puts it in the Greek he’s emphasizing, the phrase “the Word of life,” and the way he does that is by putting it at the end of the sentence. But that’s not all he does; he even makes or gives even greater emphasis because he adds the definite pronouns here and in the Greek verse there the blue that I have highlighted [Ὃ ἦν ἀπ̓ ἀρχῆς, ὃ ἀκηκόαμεν, ὃ ἑωράκαμεν τοῖς ὀφθαλμοῖς ἡμῶν, ὃ ἐθεασάμεθα καὶ αἱ χεῖρες ἡμῶν ἐψηλάφησαν περὶ τοῦ λόγου τῆς ζωῆς-] that’s the definite article for each of the nouns. So literally what he’s saying here is “the Word of the life,” now again, Jim, okay, great, thanks for the Greek lesson, how is that going to help me.
Well, I’ll just remind you again there are those people who want to say that there are many roads to God, many roads to God! Is that what this says right here. It says concerning “the Word of the life.” Anyone that heard this in the original language, they wouldn’t have mistaken that expression. They would have understood exactly what he was saying. When the Greek uses the definite article in this manner it indicates specificity therefore it’s “the Word” and literally you can go so far as to say it’s “the Word, the one Word,” there is no other. John is saying there are no other messages of God like this one; this one is unique.
So we could say this, Christ is the singular expression of God Himself who is also the source of spiritual life, true life, and we can even say He’s the real thing! You like how I did that? I remember years ago, it might have been back in the 70’s somebody was advertising like that and they actually had a Coke bottle with that on it. Jesus is the real thing, He really is. He is THE WORD, He’s THE WORD of THE LIFE.
So what was John talking about when he used this expression here that “we have touched with our hands concerning the Word of Life.” What does he mean when he says we “touched with our hands”? Well, you might recall the fact that Jesus washed the feet of the disciples. Was there some physical contact there? Or was Jesus standing back and going oh feet be washed? NO, that’s not what happened. There was actual physical contact there. And do you think that impacted their lives in any way, shape or form. Oh, you know, that’s a nice thing to do. No, NO! Imagine, they were all thinking the same thing that Peter was thinking, Lord, You’re not going to wash my feet. Right? Just because it doesn’t record it I promise you they were thinking the same thing. I would have been thinking the same thing. Whoa, wait a minute, You’re going to wash my feet… yeah, that impacted them big time.
Let’s go back to John, chapter 20 again for just a moment, back to this story about Thomas and look what it says here. “So when it was evening on that day, the first day of the week,” this was after the resurrection, “and when the doors were shut where the disciples were, for fear of the Jews,” mighty men of God, “Jesus came and stood in their midst and said to them, ‘Peace be with you.’  And when He had said this, He showed them both His hands and His side. The disciples then rejoiced when they saw the Lord.”  “But Thomas, one of the twelve, called Didymus was not with them when Jesus came.  So the other disciples were saying to him, ‘We have seen the Lord!’ But he said to them, ‘Unless I see in His hands the imprint of the nails, and put my finger into the place of the nails, and put my hand into His side, I will not believe.’” “I will not believe.”  “After eight days His disciples were again inside, and Thomas with them. Jesus came, the doors having been shut, and stood in their midst and said, ‘Peace be with you.”
Side note, if we were having a party at my house and someone suddenly manifested themselves into my room and said “Peace be with you” I’m not sure there would have been any peace to have. How about you? Do you think this impacted the apostles? Do you think this changed them? Do you think this was something that was on their mind the rest of their life. You’d better believe it.
 “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.’  Thomas answered and said to Him, ‘My Lord and my God!’  Jesus said to him, Because you have seen Me, have you believed? Blessed are they who did not see, and yet believed.”’
I find it just fascinating here, especially when you take into consideration all those individuals who want to say that Jesus never claimed to be God. You know, there’s more than one way to claim to be God. One is by declaring outright “I am God.” Another way is to not correct people who say you are God, ever think about that. Do you notice that Jesus did not correct Thomas here. Why is that significant. Why is there a significance here? Well, let’s remember just for a minute; what is the religious and ethnicity of this group of people? They were Jews, right? They followed Judaism and what do we know about Judaism? “Thou shalt have no other gods before Me.” So if a man came along claiming to be God what were they going to do? Well, we find that actually in the Gospels, don’t we; on multiple occasions they attempted to stone Jesus.
So for a Jewish person to make this statement, “My Lord and My God” and Jesus doesn’t correct him is very significant. I would say to you you might want to make a note in your Bible here that next time somebody says to you that Jesus never claimed to be God just say well let’s go look at John chapter 28 here and we’ll look at verse 28, and explain that one to me. Hallelujah!
Let’s go to verse 2, 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—” here’s the poetic form again, I have highlighted “manifested” there; this isn’t the first and only time that we see this expression “manifested.” You’ll notice here in John 1:2 we have it but then notice John 21:1, Jesus says here that, “After these things Jesus manifested Himself again to the disciples at the Sea of Tiberias, [and He manifested Himself in this way.]” This is very interesting. We’ll just make a side note here that Jesus repeatedly manifested Himself, which means He showed Himself. It comes from this verb which is ephanerō [ἐφανέρω], to make apparent, to manifest, to make known, to show openly… to show openly!
Notice what else he says here in this verse; he didn’t just manifest himself, or the life wasn’t manifested but it also says, John again speaking says, “we have seen” and notice what happens, the seen, the hearing, the looking at, the touching, has caused some action to take place here. He says “testify,” we “testify and proclaim you the eternal life, which was with the Father and was manifested to us.” Have you stopped when you read this passage; have you ever stopped and asked yourself well why did he say “testify and proclaim”? That sort of sounds like the same thing. The Apostle John, I would offer to you, was so overwhelmed by what he and the other apostles had witnessed, both before the resurrection and after that he says again, what we have seen, what we have heard, what we have touched, he goes on and he says we do what? He says we “testify” and we “proclaim.” Why again both? Because both refer to verbal and written expressions AND also he wanted to be redundant. Do you think that’s what it was? He wasn’t careful in choosing his words? You know, they were slow listeners so He thought he had to repeat Himself. No!
Why did he use both words? Because, actually the reason is because “testify,” (you might want to make a note of this) means to tell the truth about something, to “testify” while “proclaim” to “proclaim” means to make the message public. All right, let me say that again: “testify” means to tell the truth about something, but to “proclaim” means to make the message public. So think about that for a minute; here they are, they’ve seen, they’ve touched, they’ve heard, they’ve listened, all of this, it’s such a profound experience that what are they going to do? They’re going to tell the truth about it, but that’s not enough, it’s such an overwhelming experience that they just can’t hold it in. They have to tell somebody.
There was a great song back in the 70’s I think, by a guy who’s got to tell somebody, a great song. They had to tell somebody. John is saying here I don’t just testify to the truth, I also proclaim it. He says I’m letting everyone know because this is not something you can keep secret. And you might recall that that’s exactly what the Apostles did here in Acts. What does it say? That they immediately, and immediately saw and began to do what? Proclaim Jesus in the synagogue. He got real public about it. Right? 1 John 4:14 says what we have seen we testify, we’re testifying that the Father has sent the Son to be the Savior of the world. [1 John 4:14, “We have seen and testify that the Father has sent the Son to be the Savior of the world.”]
Then we notice this expression again, “the life” and “the eternal life,” and if you recall we encountered this last time, John’s use of this expression, “the life” and “the eternal life.” The Greek text has at the end of the second line, it says “the life, the eternal,” “the life, the eternal.” Why would John express it that way? John wrote about the life over a dozen times in this first letter and he recognized the unfathomable value of the real life.
By the way, we don’t deserve real life, do we, but we’re given it freely by God’s grace, and everyone should be saying amen, thank You Lord Jesus. When John says Christ is “the eternal life” his meaning goes beyond just infinite in time to convey that Christ is real, enduring, and changeless life. Christ, then is a changeless certain absolute fixed hope, in other words, a certain hope. Isn’t that good to know in a life where everything is so uncertain Christ is a certain hope.
So we’re going to keep seeing this expression “the life” and you know what? We can tie it right in with Colossians 3:3-4 here, where the Apostle Paul wrote, “For you have died” and notice how this is expressed here, “For you have died and your life” and in the Greek it’s literally “the life of you is hidden with Christ in God.  When Christ, who is our life,” or literally “the life of us,” when He “is revealed, then you also will be revealed with Him in glory.” WHOOOO, man, is that going to be something, when Christ is made manifest at the rapture, what’s going to happen? We’re going to go up and meet Him in the air, we’re going to drop off these old nasty bodies we’re carrying around. Isn’t that going to be great. We’re going to get rid of that sin nature that plagues us and we’re going to be revealed with Him in glory. Wow! Won’t that be awesome! I think it is.
So now I can come to this slide. If all of this is true, if Jesus is an unchanging real hope why would we worry? You know, why would we carry around stress and anxiety and tension? Why would we be nervous? Why would we get angry? Well, it’s because we’re operating out of the old sin nature, aren’t we? Anybody have a sin nature? Don’t raise your hand, I’ll raise my hand for you. Yeah, we all have a sin nature, don’t we?
John 14:1-6, I’ve decided I’m just going to get my liquid paper and liquid paper this out of my Bible so I won’t come under conviction, right? What does it say? John 14:-6, “Do not let your heart be troubled;” I’m already convicted, I’m done, I can’t go any further, right? “Do not let your heart be troubled; believe in God, believe also in Me. [2, “In My Father’s house are many dwelling places; if it were not so, I would have told you; for I go to prepare a place for you.  If I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and receive you to Myself, that where I am, there you may be also.  And you know the way where I am going.”  Thomas said to Him, “Lord, we do not know where You are going, how do we know the way?”]
Drop down to the bottom,  “Jesus said to him” Thomas, “‘I am the way, and the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father but through Me.” It gives us certain hope, let that one sink in for a minute. Have you ever wished that somebody had posted a warning sign. I bet they did. Well guess what? John is also issuing a warning to us and it’s a critical issue in this passage. Look what John is saying here. John is declaring that saying that Christ is not actual and real is a spiritual dead end. He’s emphatic that what he saw and heard and touched is all real. John is addressing the error of some who were saying that Jesus wasn’t a real, physical human being but merely some sort of spiritual ethereal being. Others were saying that Christ is only spiritually or mystically true. And both of these errors lead to a spiritual dead end.
Do you remember the crucifixion? Who was at the crucifixion? Wasn’t John there? He was there, wasn’t he; Jesus is hanging on the cross and He looks down and he saw His momma, it says, [John 19:26] “When He saw His mother, and the disciple whom He loved” that’s John, “standing nearby, He said to His mother, ‘Woman, behold, your son!’”  “Then He said to the disciple, ‘Behold, your mother!’ From that hour the disciple took her into his own household.” Wow! Was Jesus real to John? Was He just a mystical presence? Was He just a spook or a ghost? No, not at all. John was there. John was so close that Jesus could tell him to take care of His own mother. That’s something. Did that impact John? Did that influence him? Was that ringing in his ears the rest of his life? I think probably so.
But John is also addressing other errors; he’s addressing the error of some that say that Christ didn’t actually die and resurrect physically in a real body. That too is a spiritual dead end. He’s also addressing the error of some who say that we can find life in anyone or anything else, and that too is a spiritual dead end.
If you didn’t know it let me just tell you that the world and the sin nature are trying to sell you on the idea that you can find life anywhere else and they don’t really care where you try to find it as long as you don’t try to find it in Christ. Let that sink in! The world and the sin nature tell you that if you just had this cell phone you’d be happy; if you just bought this car you’d be happy; if you’d just dump your husband or your wife and get the latest model you’ll be happy. Right? But the reality is that the life, “THE LIFE,” the real life is only found in Christ.
That brings us finally to our last two verses, verses 3 and 4, He says here, “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.”
Here’s the poetic structure of that, notice what he says here, “we proclaim” at the beginning and “we write.” What did we say “proclaim” meant? That meant to be public about it, “we proclaim.” Why do we do that? “So that.” Why do we write? “So that.” He says, “what we have seen and heard we proclaim to you also,” and “These things we write.” The phrases here reflect the responses that the apostles had to the things that they saw and heard and touched. These words also summarize the first two verses, telling us why are we doing these things. The why are we doing this questions are addressed in the rest of verses 3 and 4 and that comes under the “so that;” “so that” what? “so that you too may have fellowship,” so that what? “so that our joy may be made complete.”
Notice that John’s purpose in proclaiming all these things is for fellowship among those who believe. John is inviting you and he’s inviting me to join in the very same fellowship that the apostles themselves had with each other through knowing Christ. He says I want you to join me; I want you to have that kind of fellowship, the fellowship that we had. That’s profound! It’s also that we may experience in joint fellowship with Christ and the Father. Notice that. You can have fellowship with us but you can have Fellowship with the Father also. The fellowship that John invited us to experience is not only among humans but also with the father and with Jesus Christ His Son in whom we are. We are intimately connected by being “in Christ” and He in us.” Why? For fellowship!
But that’s not all; it’s so that, John says, “our joy may be made complete.” The result of this fellowship that John is talking about is to be a full and total joy, full on full out joy. Spiritually speaking John is now saying if you have and enjoy this fellowship then we’re happy, we, the apostles, and our joy has been made complete. And that’s exactly what he wanted.
Someone else wanted us to have joy. Do you remember the Lord Jesus, what He prayed in John 17:13? He’s talking to the Father, He says, “But now I come to You; and these things I speak in the world so that they” He’s talking about His disciples, “may have My joy made full in themselves.”
This joy to which John is inviting us is not simply a modest improvement; he wasn’t looking for some slight improvement in our joy. Rather, it is full, he wants it to be full and total and complete and he wants it to be not from any earthly circumstances. It comes from the relationship and fellowship we have with the Lord. He’s not talking about slight improvement in our spiritual condition here. He’s talking about a radical improvement.
What’s the point of all this: Jim, get to the point, time’s about out. The Apostle Paul wrote that as we behold the Lord through His written Word we are changed from glory to glory. Remember that?
2 Corinthians 3:18, [“But we all, with unveiled face, beholding as in a mirror the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from glory to glory, just as from the Lord, the Spirit.”] As we behold the Lord through His written Word WE are changed “from glory to glory,” we’re transformed. So God’s written Word… are you ready for this? God’s written Word is His glory growth tool. Isn’t that fun? It’s your glory growth tool! I have a lot of tools in my tool box, I have some I never use. Do you have any like that; they were really great, they looked so good in a magazine, when I saw them online, I’ve just got to have that, and it’s in my tool box and it doesn’t ever get used. Is God’s glory growth tool sitting in your tool box unused? I have to confess sometimes in my life it’s not being used like it should be.
John wrote that when Christ walked this earth he and the apostles beheld Christ’s glory. They beheld that same glory from which we also grow. We are therefore changed from glory to glory as we read and hear of John’s beholding of Christ, both in his Gospel and here in 1 John. You recall we mentioned this last time: the marvelous experiences that we can share, if you will, in the apostle John’s experience as he relates what he says here about touching and looking and feeling and knowing and hearing as he talks about these things we can enter into that same fellowship. We can behold the Lord, spiritually speaking, through His Word and we can enter into and enjoy that very same joy that he experienced.
So in conclusion, where does this all end, or does it? I don’t know, I think… is that the road that Ed takes up there in Alaska, it looks kind of like it. What are we saying here? In today’s passage that we’ve just covered we’re finding that John’s beholding, touching and hearing of Christ who is alive, the eternal one, is a continuously open invitation for us to join in fellowship. It’s a fellowship that the apostles shared with one another and also with the Father of Glory and with Jesus Christ, His glorious Son. That is not a joy that disappoints; it’s full, complete and total and it’s eternal because it’s from the life… the life. Do you need joy this morning.
I guess my question to you would be how’s your fellowship? How’s your fellowship with the Lord. Do you have anything impeding that fellowship? You know, we’re very fortunate, we should give glory to God and praise Him for 1 John 1:9. When we sin what do we have to do? Do we have to get on our hands and knees and crawl on the hard surface of the ground to some shrine? Do we have to make a [can’t understand word] and whip ourselves to show that we’re repentant? We don’t have to do any of those things do we? I guess we have to stay down there and wallow in that self-pity pool don’t we, I’m just such a bad person. Is that what the Lord wants in your life? NO!
1 John 1:9, “If we confess our sins,” what does “confess” mean, it means to say the same thing, Father, Your Word says, and it’s always true, and I blew it, I did just the opposite, You’re right. Now what do we do? “If we confess our sins” what does it say, “He is faithful and just” to keep a detailed record of that sin and bring it up later when you’re really down, and kick you? Is that what it says? NO! “He is faithful and just” in the instant that you confess you sin “He is faithful and just to forgive you and to” do what? “cleanse you from” some unrighteousness? NO!, “all unrighteousness,” … ALL unrighteousness, isn’t that wonderful. Do you take advantage of that? I really believe in keeping short accounts with God. Do you? Short accounts, when I blow I try to get out 1 John 1:9 and bring it out of my tool box and use it. How about you?
Let’s close in prayer, shall we. Abba Father, we just love You and we thank You so much for these marvelous and amazing things that You have spelled out for us through 1 John and these verses. And Lord as we contemplate and mediate on having the real life and on having full and complete and total fellowship with the One who created the entire universe, the one who brought it into existence, as we ponder on what it means to have fellowship with the One who paid the price for us all and who made these things possible, Abba Father, we are overwhelmed and we’re motivated to express our gratitude by praising and extolling Your majesty. Thank You, Father, for the Lord Jesus; thank You for the written Word and that we can behold the Living Word in the Written Word. In Jesus name… and everyone said Amen. God bless you.