Von Jovi Armamento
Text: 1 John 1:1-4
“That which from the beginning, which we have heard, which we have seen with our eyes, which we have looked upon and have touched with our hands, concerning the word of life—the life was made manifest, and we have seen it, and testify to it and proclaim to you the eternal life, which was with the Father and was made manifest to us—that which we have seen and heard we proclaim also to you, so that you too may have fellowship with us; and indeed our fellowship is with the Father and with Son Jesus Christ. And we are writing these things so that our joy may be complete.”
The Book of First John is filled with rich doctrinal and practical truths that relates to its very roots—the Deity and Humanity of Jesus Christ. Sadly, some preachers tend to focus ONLY to the practical teachings of the book and miss the fundamental truth or reason behind why it was written. By reading this book, we should focus not just on WHAT WE SHOUL DO but more importantly on WHAT WE SHOULD KNOW about who Jesus Christ, because it “OUR BELIEF DETERMINES OUR BEHAVIOR.” It is my goal today that I disclose to you clearly both the doctrinal and practical truths from this particular book.
John wrote this epistle sometime in the late 1st century between A.D. 85-95. It was during the time when the early Christians were being persecuted by those who deny Jesus Christ. And on the other downside, it was not only those who deny Jesus Christ was the problem, but the unawareness of the early Christians of the heretical teachings that spouses the denial of the humanity of Christ, which was entering into some churches. And the dilemma was that it could affect the way of the early Christians live.
Therefore, the Apostle John took the opportunity without hesitation, but with full of conviction, of bringing them back to the truth of Christ and Christian living by writing this letter. He urges readers to refine their theological understanding, sharpen their ethical rigor, and heighten their devotional intensity.
In this book we see that John reaffirmed the core of Christianity, saying that either we evidence the sound doctrine, obedience, and love that characterize all Christians, or else we are not true Christians.
There are two underlying truths that the Apostle John is giving us in this book:
a. Your knowledge about God determines what you do. (What you BELIEVE drives how you LIVE.)
b. Your obedience to God is the evidence of the existence of God.
It was written to…
a. Address some issues concerning the antichrists (2:18-25; 4:1-2)
b. Affirm the core of Christianity (1:1-4; 4:7-5:5)
c. Assure of their salvation (1:5-2:6)
d. Align the believer’s actions from the sound belief—God’s love shared to others (2:28-3:24; 4:7-21)
Nowadays, many different worldviews, or point of views, are being held by every individual. A ‘worldview’ is a truth claim that a person holds, or a belief that by which determines an individual’s doings. The Christian worldview is one of those worldviews—a worldview that affirms God’s existence and His redemptive work in history, through Christ, for His people.
A truth claim, or a belief, is very fundamental for one’s life, for it determines the action of a person.
In this individualistic-pluralistic-skeptic-antagonistic world, there lies a question—how do we know the truth? Where do you find the truth? And how do we cater others to the truth? That is what we are going to find out by going through the Book of First John in this series which is entitled, “PROVE IT!”
The Apostle John started the letter by building a ground for his authority and credibility, and laying down the very purpose of why John was writing the letter. It is important that we consider the purpose of the Book of First John, thus we need to take a careful look and understanding on this first part of his letter.
Propositional statement: Brothers and sisters in Christ, we should be aware of the importance of the humanity and divinity of Jesus Christ for it is the core belief for our obedience, conduct and behavior which are incorporated with LOVE.
There are Scriptural truths that we should consider as we read the first four verses of the book.
I. Jesus is REAL (v. 1)
“That which from the beginning, which we have heard, which we have seen with our eyes, which we looked upon and have touched with our hands, concerning the word of life…”
Looking at the verses, John was obviously referring to his experience that Jesus Christ was real, and that He was a person.
But there was a problem that concerns to the humanity and deity of Jesus Christ. Apostle John wrote the letter not just to urge the children of faith to live accordingly in obedience and love for God and others. He wrote this book to contend for the faith. There was a heresy that denies the humanity of Jesus Christ, which somehow affected early Christians in the late 1st Century and early 2nd century. They were affected not just doctrinally but practically.
Here are some famous heresies in the late 1st Century that concerning the humanity and deity of Jesus.
Docetism – The teaching in the 1st Century that denies the humanity of Jesus Christ; that Jesus only seemed or appeared to be a human.
Gnosticism – The teaching that regard the human Jesus as a ghost. All matter is evil and the spirit if good, therefore God cannot be the subject of feelings or human experiences.
Ceritnthianism – The teaching that regards the dual personality of Jesus Christ, that there are times that He is divine and times that He is just human; that the two nature is separable and cannot appear at the same time.
Apollinarianism – The teaching in the 4th Century that argued that Jesus had a human body and soul, but said that the divine LOGOS replaced the human spirit.
Eutychianism – The teaching that the humanity and the divinity of Christ merged to form a third, compound nature.
Now just considering those dangerous teachings, you can just imagine how Apostle John felt. So there he goes mentioning an empirical argument that they had heard, seen, looked upon, and touched. He was saying that, “it’s real! In fact we have had an experience! We did not just have an informational-intellectual knowledge about Jesus, we had an experiential encounter with the God-man Jesus!”
The world today would not claim a belief unless it is validated with empirical reasoning—if it indeed exists through your senses. And hey, John did. In fact, he was one of His disciples, and called him, “the beloved disciple” (John 21:20-24). He walked with Him, he did ministry with Him, and He stood at the foot of the cross when Jesus was crucified (John 19:26-27), and along with the other disciples, they witnessed Christ when He was risen from the grave; they talked to Him and ate breakfast with him (John 20:2-10). The Apostle John encountered Jesus Christ, and so did the early Christians. And you can see and know that Jesus is real too!
He is real, and He has been revealed.
II. Jesus is REVEALED (v.2)
“concerning the word of life—the life was made manifest, and we have seen and testify to it, and proclaim to you the eternal life, which was with the Father and was made manifest to us”
John continued with a strong claim, that the life was manifested to them. What is this life? Who is this life? It is Jesus! He is the LIFE who lived on the earth to bring eternal life to His people. He is the manifesting life.
The word ‘manifest’ means ‘able to be seen,’ ‘clearly shown or visible.’ Jesus was publicly seen and known. The repetition of “made manifest” stresses the revelatory nature of Christ’s coming: he was sent from and revealed by God (ESV Study Bible: footnotes, v.2)
Jesus took a form of a human—He was incarnated.
John 1:14, “The Word became flesh.”
Hebrews 1:3, “He is the radiance of the glory of God and the exact imprint of His nature…”
Here are some scriptural bases for Christ’s humanity, that He was revealed.
Jesus had… (Norman Geisler and Ron Rhodes, Conviction without Compromise, pp. 61-67)
Human Parents – He had a biological mother (Matthew 1:18-19)
Human Birth – He was born of a virgin woman and Mary had a normal 9-months pregnancy (Matthew 1:23; Luke 1:24, 26, 31; Luke 2:6-7, 22-23; Galatians 4:4)
Human Growth – From an embryo to a fetus, and later from a baby to a young child, and grew and became strong (Luke 2:16; Matthew 2:11; Luke 2:40, 52)
Human Ethnicity – He was a Jewish from the tribe of Judah (Genesis 49:10; Hebrews 7:14; Galatians 4:4; Matthew 27:46; John 4:9)
Human Relatives – According to the Bible, He had brothers and sisters, and that He is even related to John the Baptist (John 7:5; Mark 6:3; Luke 1:36)
Human Emotions – He wept, He had the desire not to go to the cross but still submitted on the Father’s will, and He had offered prayers and supplications with vehement cries and tears (Matthew 26:39; John 11:35; Hebrews 5:7)
Human Hunger and Thirst – He was hungry after He fasted for forty days, and got thirsty along His journey through Samaria and when He was on the cross (Luke 4:2; John13:1-2; John 4:1-7; 19:28)
Human Fatigue – (John 4:6; Mark 6:31)
Human Pain – He felt the pain of the nails, the pain of suffering and separation from the Father (Mark 15:25-34; John 19:28; Matthew 27:46)
Human Death – What could be more human than to experience human death? He did not just died just like any other death but a cruel death, that the marks of the crucifixion He bore up to His resurrected body (Acts 2:24; Luke 24:40; John 20:27)
Human Temptation – (Matthew 4:1-11; Hebrews 4:15)
Human Spirit – When He died on the cross, He gave up His spirit to the Father (John 12:27; 13:21; 19:30)
Now having all that mentioned, we see how the Bible supports the teaching that Jesus was human in nature and yet lived a perfect sinful life.
He had life here on earth and revealed as to be the God-man ultimate Life-giver. He revealed Himself as a person, a person who could RELATE on to us in all aspects because He loves us.
III. Jesus is RELATIONAL (v.3-4)
“that which we have seen and heard we proclaim also to you, so that you too may have fellowship with us; and indeed our fellowship is with the Father and with His Son Jesus Christ. And we are writing these things so that our joy may be complete.”
After John laid down his testimony—his experiential knowledge with the fundamental doctrine of Christ’s humanity—he proceeded by mentioning the very reason why he was writing the letter, that is, for the believers that time would have fellowship with them whose fellowship was with the Father and the Son, and in that fellowship is where the real JOY could only be found.
*Reconciliation (Romans 5:10)
So how is your relationship with God very important in your Christian life? Because your VERTICAL ALIGNMENT determines your HORIZONTAL ASSIGNMENT which is to show love to everyone.
Your relationship with Jesus and your knowledge of Him would determine the way how you live.
Apart from the relationship with God in Christ, we would not be able to love others.
Love, Joy, and Peace can only be found in Christ.
There was a phrase that I remember which reads, “Your knowledge about God determines what you do.” And yes, it does! If Jesus was not human, Salvation would have not been possible; and we would have not had a model of love and obedience to follow—to share to other people.
Apostle Paul, as he was exhorting about Jesus as an example of humility, quoted,
“who, though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, but made himself nothing, taking the very form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men. And being found in human, he humbled himself by becoming OBEDIENT to the point of death, even death on the cross.” (Philippians 2:6-8)
Why is it so important for us to know and understand the humanity and deity of Jesus?
• Jesus’ humanity was fundamentally significant for the mediation be made possible between the Father and the sinners.
• Jesus’ life here on earth as a God-man (Divine and Human) was to serve as an example for as to follow of how weshould live—in love, obedience, submission, and holy life.
• Jesus’ humanity assures us that He could empathize and sympathize with us—He is a PERSONAL God.
“Jesus’ HUMANITY compels man’s RESPONSIBILITY to love and live as He lived.”
*End with a short story about Lee Strobel’s conversation.
So can you prove that God exists? Yes! You can prove it!
“Your obedience is the evidence of the existence of God.”
Christ lived in love, holy living, submission, and obedience, therefore we should also walk as he walked (1 John2:6).