SINGING>> Blessed be the Lord God almighty, who reigns for evermore.
ROBERT >> How is your connection with God?
Is your connection with God kind of an off and on thing?
Has your connection with God been broken for a while? Or would you say your connection with God is just as good as ever?
I know when I lose my internet service, I can test the connection for any problems.
Well, there’s a book in the Bible, 1 John, that was especially written to help us test our connection with God. And I want you to notice how the letter can be broken down into 10 questions, 10 questions that will help us to see if we’re really connected. And how you answer these questions will determine your connection with God.
We want to look at just the first of those questions this morning. And the question is this: What do you think about Jesus?
What do you think about Jesus?
This is what John writes about in the beginning of his letter.
Let’s read 1 John 1:1-4. Here’s what the Bible says. “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, concerning the Word of life. The life was manifested, and we have seen, and bear witness, and declare to you that eternal life which was with the Father and was manifested to us. That which we have seen and heard we declare to you, that you also may have fellowship with us; and truly our fellowship is with the Father and with His Son Jesus Christ. And these things we write to you that your joy may be full.”
What do you think about Jesus?
In this passage, John tells us a number of things about him. I want you to notice already how that we have learned that John tells us that he was from the beginning. He says here that he was the word of life, eternal life, and that he was with the Father.
If you’ll turn with me over to the gospel of John, John 1:1 and 4, we’ll read there how John begins the gospel much like he began this letter of 1 John talking about the nature of Jesus Christ and who he was.
In this passage in John chapter 1 he refers to him as the Word, because he was the very expression of who God is.
He says here,”In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. All things were made through Him, and without Him nothing was made that was made. In Him was life, and the life was the light of men.”
So you see here in John chapter 1 how that the word, Jesus Christ, was in fact God, and that through him everything was created, and that in him was life. Jesus Christ is that one who dwelt with the Father in eternity and that one who is God.
Let’s read 1 John 5:20.
If you go to the end of John’s letter, you’ll see him repeat this same idea about who Jesus Christ really is.
Here the Bible says, “And we know that the Son of God has come and has given us an understanding, 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. So as we think about who Jesus is, John tells us that he is God; that he is that one who was with the Father, that he is that eternal life; that word of life.
Now I want you to notice a second thing from these first verses of 1 John.
He was manifested to John and to others who heard him, who saw him, who looked upon him, and who handled him. The idea being manifested is to show one’s self. It’s to reveal. It’s to appear.
So if you were God, how would you go about revealing yourself?
How would you go about showing yourself to mankind?
Well, God chose to become a man.
One of the best verses that help us to see how this came about is Philippians 2:5-7. In this passage it speaks how Jesus Christ became one of us. In verse 5 the Bible teaches us, “Let this mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus, who, being in the form of God, did not consider it robbery to be equal with God, but He made Himself of no reputation, taking the form of a bondservant, and coming in the likeness of men. And being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself and became obedient to the point of death, even the death of the cross.”
So you see here this one, Christ Jesus, who was in the form of God, who was on an equality with God, did not think that something to be grasped or to be held onto, but he emptied himself of that power, of those positions, of the many great prerogatives that he had with God and as God. And he became one of us.
He took the form of a bondservant. He came in the likeness of men. He was found in appearance as a man. God chose to become a man.
1 Timothy 3:16 simply says “that God manifested himself in the flesh.”
You see the same thing in John 1:14.
Again we go back to the gospel of John, where we read about the Word who was with God and who was God and how in him was life, but then he goes on to say in John 1:14 that that Word, that one became flesh and dwelt among us, and we beheld His glory, glory as of the only begotten of the Father.
Jesus Christ was God in the flesh.
Now, there were many false teachers that denied this in the first century when John was writing his letter. And so John spends some time in this letter warning the people not to listen to the lies of these false teachers.
I want to just read a couple of passages from 1 John. Look at chapter 2 and verse 22. Here it says, “Who is a liar but he who denies that Jesus is the Christ? He is antichrist who denies the Father and the Son.”
Look at another warning in chapter 4, verse 2 and 3. “By this you know the Spirit of God: Every spirit that confesses that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is of God, and every spirit that does not confess that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is not of God. And this is the spirit of the antichrist which you have heard was coming, and is now already in the world.”
So you see, these many false teachers were denying the clear fact that this one, the Word who was God, became flesh and dwelt among us. And so they needed to be warned.
And we need to be warned today, because there are also false teachers among us who want to tell us that Jesus was not really the Son of God, he was not really with God, he was not really God, deity, divine, that eternal being.
Oh, no. He was a creation of God, maybe a high angel, but not God; and that he didn’t really come in the flesh, that he didn’t really suffer among us, that he didn’t really die upon the cross, that he wasn’t really raised from the grave the third day. That all really didn’t happen. It just seemed to happen.
And so we need to be warned. And we need to take a close look at what John has to say here, because John wants us to know, and he proves beyond a shadow of a doubt that Jesus is who he claimed to be, the Christ, the Son of God, God come in the flesh.
I want you to notice some of the evidence that John gives us here at the beginning of his letter in 1 John chapter 1 so that we can know that Jesus was real, that he really was among them.
He said,”We have heard.” We heard him with our own ears.
He was a living being that spoke from his mouth. He was heard by John, he was heard by the other apostles.
I remember that occasion in John chapter 6 when Jesus was teaching among the apostles, and it was Peter that spoke up in John 6:68, and he said,” Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life.”
So the apostles heard him many times teach the people, speak to the people, talk to them personally and in crowds. They knew that he was real.
Not only did they hear him with their ears, but John says, “We have seen him with our eyes.” More than an audible experience, there was a visible appearance. He not only spoke to them, he appeared before them. They could see him with their own eyes. The apostles were eyewitnesses to Jesus Christ.
They’re not just telling us something that somebody else said about somebody long ago.
They were there. And they tell us, we saw him with our own eyes.
Not only that, but John says, “We beheld him.” We looked upon him closely and carefully.
We were able to observe him day in and day out for three years. For three and more years they were walking and they were talking with him. They sat down and they would eat with him. They worked together. They saw Jesus performing miracles, and they saw him sleeping and praying to God. They could check it out.
They could say this is a real person. This is not just some ghost floating around. We heard him, we saw him, we looked upon him. All of this time he was with us.
Not only that, John says “our hands handled him.” They touched his body. I don’t know, maybe they held hands in prayer. Perhaps they hugged one another.
Maybe they planted a holy kiss upon the cheek of Jesus out of love and reverence for him.
I do know of an occasion where Peter’s faith was tested, and you may remember how that he began to sink.
Jesus had called him to come and walk to him upon the water, but when Peter saw the waves and the wind and all the storm about him, he began to sink in the water. And Jesus reached out and lifted him up out of that water. That was a real hand that took hold of Peter and that Peter took hold of in order to be rescued that day. You can’t tell Peter that Jesus didn’t really exist in the flesh.
He washed the disciples’ feet. You remember that occasion in John chapter 13 when they were all gathered for that last Passover over meal before his death? Nobody had washed their feet, and Jesus gets up and he takes a towel and girds it around his waist, and then he goes from one apostle to another, washing the dirt off of their feet.
He really was there. They not only saw him and heard him and looked upon him, but they touched his body.
I remember at that same meal when John, who wrote this very letter, he reclined in Jesus’ bosom there at the last Passover.
Jesus is real.
He really did come in the flesh, John says. The evidence is here. We’re telling you what we saw, what we beheld, what we know.
Understand that these facts about Jesus Christ are not mere hearsay. It’s something that they were able to investigate, that Jesus was a real, living, breathing, thinking, acting person.
But now there’s a third thing that John wants us to know about Jesus Christ.
Yes, he is that one who was God, that eternal life, that word of life, and yes, he did come in the flesh. He really did become one of us and live among us and die and was raised again that third day.
But John wants us to know this: That they bore witness to him and they declared him.
Those to whom John wrote, like us, they had not been with Jesus. They never heard him speak and they never saw him or touched him; but you see, John and these apostles had declared him to them.
In Acts 1:8, Jesus told his apostles before going back into heaven after his resurrection that the Holy Spirit would come upon them with power, and that when that happened they would become his witnesses in Jerusalem, in Judea, Samaria, to the uttermost parts of the earth.
It was these inspired witnesses that preserved for us in the Bible what we know about Jesus Christ.
They gave us their eyewitness testimony. They gave us this testimony that was revealed and inspired to them by God.
We read the book of Matthew and Mark and John about the life of Jesus Christ, all the way from his virgin birth by Mary and by the power of the Holy Spirit, throughout his childhood.
We read some of that in Luke’s account, who was able to investigate by interviewing and talking with those who actually saw Jesus. On through his ministry, from the beginning of that ministry all the way to the end, including his death, burial and resurrection, and his ascension back into heaven. So we read Matthew and Mark and John.
We read about the sermons of Peter and Paul in the book of Acts as they went around from Jerusalem to Judea, to Samaria, to the uttermost parts of the earth. We see their great sermons, especially their emphasis upon the fact that that Jesus is still alive and well, that he’s no longer in the grave, that he’s been raised up to live forever.
We read their letters in the New Testament, the letters of these great apostles who were with him, including 1 John that we’re looking at this morning.
Before we leave this lesson today, I want us to consider two reasons why John wrote this letter for us.
One of those reasons is fellowship.
Did you notice here in 1 John 1:3 where he said, “That He may have fellowship with us, and truly our fellowship is with the Father and His Son, Jesus Christ?”
The idea of fellowship, this idea of having something in common, partaking of something together. Someone described fellowship as two people being in one ship. Fellowship.
Now me, I like to golf, so I can relate to that if I’ll say two in one golf cart. You know, I may go out golfing one day, and I meet somebody that I’d never known before, we’ll get in the same golf cart, and we’ll go golfing, and we’ll have a great time. We have a lot to talk about because we have something in common. We love the game of golf.
Fellowship is when we have Christ in common. We talk about him, we love him, and so we share that. And that’s what draws us together. That’s that perfect bond that holds us together.
And there is also this vertical fellowship with God. You see, if we have this fellowship with one another because of Jesus Christ, it’s evidence that we have this vertical fellowship with God. And if we’re connected with God, then we’re going to be connected with one another.
But that connection is only possible if we accept the fact that Jesus is the Son of God come in the flesh. That he lived the perfect life, that he truly did pay for our sins by dying on the cross of Calvary, that he really did rise up from the grave that third day. Without this, there’s no forgiveness, there’s no way to the Father.
As Jesus himself said, “I am the way, the truth, and the life, and no one comes unto the Father but by Me.”
But notice also a second reason for writing this letter. Not only that we might have fellowship with God and with one another through Jesus Christ, but also that we might have joy.
In 1 John 1:4,” And these things we write to you that your joy may be full.”
Full of joy is what God wants for us, that comes to us through our fellowship with him through Jesus Christ and with one another. Knowing that God would break out of heaven, that he would come into this world of evil, that he would live and die as a man for me, “that God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believes on Him should not perish, but have everlasting life;”
“that God demonstrated His love toward us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us, Romans 5:8;
that this one, though we have not seen him, we know that he came for us.
Let me read this to you from 1 Peter 1:8-9. “Whom having not seen you love. Though now you do not see Him, yet believing, you rejoice with joy inexpressible and full of glory, receiving the end of your faith, the salvation of your souls.”
I look out today, and I know that there is not a lot of joy out there.
I look into so many eyes that are hollow, scared, or lonely, filled with anxiety.
But we as Christians who know the Lord Jesus Christ today, we rejoice. I love singing that song together with God’s people, When We All Get To Heaven.
But I know that there are no such songs, no such songs of rejoicing for those who are lost.
They never sing with joy, When We All Get To Hell.
But because of Jesus Christ, none of us have to go there.
So what do you think about Jesus Christ?
Is he God come in the flesh?
Did he really die for you and rise from the dead?
Will you believe the witnesses of Jesus?
Your answer will determine your connection with God.
If you believe that Jesus is the Son of God, will you trust him to save you, turning from your sins and giving yourself to him in baptism?
Jesus said, “He that believes and is baptized will be saved; he that disbelieves will be condemned.”
And Peter tells us in Acts 2:38, “Repent, that is, turn away from your sins, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins.”
When we turn away and give ourselves to live for him in baptism, our sins are forgiven.
And you can begin that new life today.
Have you lost faith?
Then come back home to God. Come back to his church.
And let us know here at The Truth In Love how we can help you towards heaven today.
SINGING>> Be with me, Lord, I cannot live without thee.
I dare not try to take one step alone.
I cannot bear the loads of life unaided.
I need thy strength to lean myself upon.
Be with me, Lord, and then if dangers threaten,
if storms of trial burst above my head,
if lashing seas leap everywhere about me,
they cannot harm or make my heart afraid.
Be with me, Lord, no other gift or blessing
thou couldst bestow could with this one compare,
a constant sense of thy abiding presence,
where’er I am, to feel that thou art near.
Be with me Lord, when loneliness o’ertakes me,
when I must weep amid the fires of pain.
And when shall come the hour of my departure for worlds unknown,
oh Lord, be with me then.
SINGING>> Nearer, still nearer, close to thy heart draw me my savior, so precious thou art.
Fold me, oh fold me close to thy breast.
Shelter me safe in that haven of rest.
Shelter me safe in that haven of rest.
ROBERT >> Thank you so much for watching our program today.
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SINGING>> The Lord bless you and keep you.
The Lord lift his countenance upon you, and give you peace,
and give you peace, and give you peace, and give you peace;
the Lord make his face to shine upon you, and be gracious unto you, and be gracious;
the Lord be gracious, gracious unto you. Amen, amen, amen, amen.