THESE THINGS WRITE WE
1 John 1:1 That which was from the beginning, which we have heard, which we have seen with our eyes, which we have looked upon, and our hands have handled, of the Word of life;2 (For the life was manifested, and we have seen it, and bear witness, and shew unto you that eternal life, which was with the Father, and was manifested unto us;) 3 That which we have seen and heard declare we unto you, that ye also may have fellowship with us: and truly our fellowship is with the Father, and with his Son Jesus Christ. 4 And these things write we unto you, that your joy may be full.
People get all excited if an old letter is discovered written by Napoleon, or George Washington, or some other by-gone person of notoriety. The frantic bidding starts as the greedy collectors scramble to own it. And it sometimes doesn’t stop until it reaches to the millions of dollars, or more. But no one even gets interested in a single book which contains writings from ancient penmen, scattered over the ages.
But there is no other book like the Bible. It is not only that it’s 66 separate books, were written over a period of 1600 years by 60 distinct authors, but that it is to reveal the Person of God the Son. John 5:39 Search the scriptures; for in them ye think ye have eternal life: and they are they which testify of me.
Luke 24:25 Then he said unto them, O fools, and slow of heart to believe all that the prophets have spoken: 26 Ought not Christ to have suffered these things, and to enter into his glory? 27 And beginning at Moses and all the prophets, he expounded unto them in all the scriptures the things concerning himself.
Luke 24:44 And he said unto them, These are the words which I spake unto you, while I was yet with you, that all things must be fulfilled, which were written in the law of Moses, and in the prophets, and in the psalms, concerning me. 45 Then opened he their understanding, that they might understand the scriptures, 46 And said unto them, Thus it is written, and thus it behoved Christ to suffer, and to rise from the dead the third day: 47 And that repentance and remission of sins should be preached in his name among all nations, beginning at Jerusalem.
And it is a uniquely different book from any other book in the world. For if the Lord “opens” the scriptures to one’s understanding, it, by the Holy Spirit’s application, will lead unto eternal life. For it is not a book of history, although it is historically accurate. But it is a book of the history of divine redemption. John 20:30 And many other signs truly did Jesus in the presence of his disciples, which are not written in this book: 31 But these are written, that ye might believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God; and that believing ye might have life through his name. John 21:25 And there are also many other things which Jesus did, the which, if they should be written every one, I suppose that even the world itself could not contain the books that should be written. Amen.
The Ethiopian eunuch was reading the Book of Isaiah, from which Philip “preached to him Jesus.” And the Holy Spirit opened his heart to receive the Person of the Living Word from the preaching of the written word! Acts 8:30 And Philip ran thither to him, and heard him read the prophet Esaias, and said, Understandest thou what thou readest? 31 And he said, How can I, except some man should guide me? And he desired Philip that he would come up and sit with him. 32 The place of the scripture which he read was this, He was led as a sheep to the slaughter; and like a lamb dumb before his shearer, so opened he not his mouth: 33 In his humiliation his judgment was taken away: and who shall declare his generation? for his life is taken from the earth. 34 And the eunuch answered Philip, and said, I pray thee, of whom speaketh the prophet this? of himself, or of some other man? 35 Then Philip opened his mouth, and began at the same scripture, and preached unto him Jesus.
Acts 8:36 And as they went on their way, they came unto a certain water: and the eunuch said, See, here is water; what doth hinder me to be baptized? 37 And Philip said, If thou believest with all thine heart, thou mayest. And he answered and said, I believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God.
AND! – It is the Lord God who not only authorized it’s being written, but who also wrote Himself! Exodus 31:18 And he gave unto Moses, when he had made an end of communing with him upon mount Sinai, two tables of testimony, tables of stone, written with the finger of God. 32:16 And the tables were the work of God, and the writing was the writing of God, graven upon the tables. And God’s writings bring conviction even to those who think to have eternal life by adhering to religious practice. John 8:6 This they said, tempting him, that they might have to accuse him. But Jesus stooped down, and with his finger wrote on the ground, as though he heard them not. 7 So when they continued asking him, he lifted up himself, and said unto them, He that is without sin among you, let him first cast a stone at her. 8 And again he stooped down, and wrote on the ground. 9 And they which heard it, being convicted by their own conscience, went out one by one, beginning at the eldest, even unto the last: and Jesus was left alone, and the woman standing in the midst.
And to Isaiah he gives some explanation as to the purpose for writing His word. Isaiah 30:8 Now go, write it before them in a table, and note it in a book, that it may be for the time to come for ever and ever: So John instructs us that it was written for our belief in Jesus Christ. And here Isaiah is instructed that these writing are to preserve God’s words for the time to come for ever and ever. Matthew 24:35 Heaven and earth shall pass away, but my words shall not pass away.
And no other book comes with a warning from God concerning the preservation of its content. Revelation 22:18 For I testify unto every man that heareth the words of the prophecy of this book, If any man shall add unto these things, God shall add unto him the plagues that are written in this book: 19 And if any man shall take away from the words of the book of this prophecy, God shall take away his part out of the book of life, and out of the holy city, and from the things which are written in this book. Therefore we should not only be very attentive to this unique of all books, but we should take every care not to admit of ‘translations’ of interpretations which diminish the force and spirit of its content! 2 Corinthians 3:6 Who also hath made us able ministers of the new testament; not of the letter, but of the spirit: for the letter killeth, but the spirit giveth life.
In our text the Apostle John expresses to us that he is setting forth the Word of life who was from the beginning. And he is doing so in writing. And that writing is incorporated in the Holy Scriptures. Therefore the word which alone causes the entrance of redeeming faith to the soul, involves the scriptures, but is only effectually given as Christ, the Word is received. Romans 10:17 So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.
That verse has been thrown around by the barkers of religion all to casually for many years. These who herald such a mental assent to the verses of the Bible, have caused the deception of thousands of souls. For if we but place other writings of the Apostle John with that much abused verse, we come to realize that it is not a mere mental ascent to bible facts, but the entrance of the Spirit of Christ into the heart of man which is necessary.
Consider these verses of John which define the Word as being God the Son. John 1:1 In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. 2 The same was in the beginning with God. 14 And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, (and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father,) full of grace and truth. Therefore we clearly understand that Jesus Christ is that Word of life, which John and the other apostles saw and heard. He is the Word which their eyes had seen and their hands had handled who is being declared to us. – Ah! Far more valuable than a letter signed by George Washington!
And just one of those benefits is mentioned in verse four. 1 John 1:4 And these things write we unto you, that your joy may be full. For he writes to convey to us of that which the Word of life had spoken to them! John 15:11 These things have I spoken unto you, that my joy might remain in you, and that your joy might be full.
Thomas had the privilege of seeing, touching and handling that Word of life in the physical realm. But John presents Him to us in his written word for our faith! John 20:26 And after eight days again his disciples were within, and Thomas with them: then came Jesus, the doors being shut, and stood in the midst, and said, Peace be unto you. 27 Then saith he to Thomas, Reach hither thy finger, and behold my hands; and reach hither thy hand, and thrust it into my side: and be not faithless, but believing. 28 And Thomas answered and said unto him, My Lord and my God. 29 Jesus saith unto him, Thomas, because thou hast seen me, thou hast believed: blessed are they that have not seen, and yet have believed.
And just how is this belief to be extended throughout the world? Romans 1:15 So, as much as in me is, I am ready to preach the gospel to you that are at Rome also. 16 For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ: for it is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth; to the Jew first, and also to the Greek. 17 For therein is the righteousness of God revealed from faith to faith: as it is written, The just shall live by faith.
The Apostle Paul preaches the gospel by which he has himself experienced faith. And he states that the preaching of that Word of life is declared by those having saving faith to those instantly granted faith as the Eternal Word is revealed in them. It is revealed from faith to faith.
Two people are sitting on the same bench in the same church building, hearing the same preacher preach the same message. One goes home bored thinking he has wasted his time. The other goes home, having received that Word of life into his heart, as a new citizen of the kingdom of God. John 3:8 The wind bloweth where it listeth, and thou hearest the sound thereof, but canst not tell whence it cometh, and whither it goeth: so is every one that is born of the Spirit.
And that is the answer of Judas’ (not Iscariot) dilemma as how the Lord was going to exclusively reveal himself to only his disciples! John 14:22 Judas saith unto him, not Iscariot, Lord, how is it that thou wilt manifest thyself unto us, and not unto the world? Jesus’ answer was that only those who received the love of God within their hearts would hear and keep his word. John 14:23 Jesus answered and said unto him, If a man love me, he will keep my words: and my Father will love him, and we will come unto him, and make our abode with him. 24 He that loveth me not keepeth not my sayings: and the word which ye hear is not mine, but the Father’s which sent me.
For it is only he that doeth truth who comes to the light. Those who do evil hate the light. John 3:18 He that believeth on him is not condemned: but he that believeth not is condemned already, because he hath not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God. 19 And this is the condemnation, that light is come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil. 20 For every one that doeth evil hateth the light, neither cometh to the light, lest his deeds should be reproved. 21 But he that doeth truth cometh to the light, that his deeds may be made manifest, that they are wrought in God.
John 7:17 If any man will do his will, he shall know of the doctrine, whether it be of God, or whether I speak of myself.
Now in John’s writings we read of a seemingly contradictory passage. For we read, 1 John 2:7 Brethren, I write no new commandment unto you, but an old commandment which ye had from the beginning. The old commandment is the word which ye have heard from the beginning. 8 Again, a new commandment I write unto you, which thing is true in him and in you: because the darkness is past, and the true light now shineth. At first reading, it does seem that there is a contradiction. But when we understand he is not stating that we should love others, but he is referring us to who it is that we are to love.
For the Lord Jesus had stated this very thing. John 13:34 A new commandment I give unto you, That ye love one another; as I have loved you, that ye also love one another. 35 By this shall all men know that ye are my disciples, if ye have love one to another.
The commandment of old was through Moses’ law that we should love our neighbor. And it was on this and on our love of God which the entire law hung. Matthew 22:39 And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. 40 On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets.
But now the Lord Jesus states that the special love of redeemed believers is the evidence to the world of our discipleship. John therefore states that it is the sure evidence of our redemption. 1 John 3:14 We know that we have passed from death unto life, because we love the brethren. He that loveth not his brother abideth in death.
God provides rain and sunshine on the just and the unjust in a fatherly concern for the human race. But there is that special, redeeming love for his elect. And this is echoed in the instructions to the true church. Galatians 6:10 As we have therefore opportunity, let us do good unto all men, especially unto them who are of the household of faith.
Pastor Gene Breed
June 27, 2018