1 John 1:1-4 What Have You Heard?
- 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;
- (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;)
- 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.
- And these things write we unto you, that your joy may be full.
John was so overwhelmed with the importance of his message that he dispensed with normal salutations and introductions what would normally arrive in such a letter. During the time of the writing of this epistle the church was being influenced with by the acceptance of Gnosticism.
The Gnostics were marked with a philosophy that had a variety of views, one such basic view is that the spirit is good and matter is inherently evil, and the two constantly war against one another. So then the one who is more knowledgeable or of a strong enough will, could overcome the weaknesses of the flesh. As a result Gnosticism held two major thoughts on Christ.
Docetic Gnosticism held that the humanity of Christ was ethereal, and that he only appeared to have a body. That is that Jesus was just a phantom force, which appeared and had no real physical substance.
Cerinthus Gnosticism held that the man Jesus, the son of Joseph and Mary was not the “Christ” until is was bestowed upon him at his baptism and then the Spirit empowered his ministry, and then it left him before the crucifixion.
Now you may ask, who cares if they believed this? What does it matter? Well either view of Jesus in this manner removes the incarnation of Christ, and the atonement of his sacrifice. The word “incarnation” simply means “the act of being made flesh”. In other words, Jesus was indeed the Son of God and became man through his divine intervention and as such remained both God and man.
The Gospel of John puts it this way. “In the beginning was the Word (Jesus), and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. The same was in the beginning with God. All things were made by him; and without him was not anything made that was made.” (John 1:1).
If Jesus was not “Christ” from before his birth, through his death, and resurrection then he would have been just a man. As a man, he could not have escaped the original sin of Adam. Jesus could not have brought atonement because he would have had sin. It doesn’t matter how enlightened he may have been. Knowledge does not relieve us of sin, knowledge exposes sin.
You see Adam (man) was created by God. In fact man was singled out from all of God’s creation to be made in the likeness of God. As part of this likeness of God man was created with a free will. When man was created and set in the world he was given dominion over all the earth and man was without sin. In fact when God finished creation He looked at it and said that it was “good”.
But man rebelled against God, of his own free will, and then sin entered into man, and a curse has since followed man. Now that man was in sin and darkness, he was separated from God, because God is pure and righteous. His presence would destroy man. Romans 5:12 tells us, “Wherefore, as by one man sin entered in to the world, and death by sin; and so death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned”.
So you see a man cannot save man, because he is already tainted with sin. Only God can save man, through a sinless sacrifice that would only be made once, one that could cover all of man’s sin, past, present and future. There could only be one way to bridge the gap between man (creation) and God (Creator), God would have to provide the sacrifice. This shows the necessity of God becoming man.
God had compassion on man. God in his grace, had a plan to redeem man, from the very beginning.
The whole bible from beginning to end is a revelation of God’s plan of salvation in Jesus Christ. In Genesis 3:15 God tells the serpent that deceived Adam and Eve into rebellion that, “I will put enmity between thee and the woman, and between thy seed and her seed; it shall bruise thy head, and thou shalt bruise his heel.”
This is the first prophecy concerning the salvation that would come through Jesus. There are over 300 prophecies that were fulfilled by Jesus in his short life here on earth, and there are still more prophecies yet to be fulfilled upon his return.
The author of this letter claims to be an eye witness to the ministry of Christ. This makes the author and authority on who Jesus is and what he is doing. We must not ever forget the importance of having a witness. John is telling his readers of this epistle that the things that they have been taught concerning Jesus is the truth and has been witnesses by them. The witnesses are in what they have heard, both in the scriptures and in the words of Jesus.
- Your testimony of what Jesus has done in your life is your witness of the truth of Jesus.
- No one else can stand up and proclaim what you have seen and what you have heard from God.
- No one else can explain how the love of Jesus has changed your heart.
- No one else can explain the release of the guilt and the shame that you have suffered.
There is an old saying that people love to use. “Who are you to judge me?” This is a true statement. Who are you? To many Christians get saved and in their enthusiasm to have others convert, forget that they were once lost and in rebellion. They forget that it took someone who in genuine concern reached out and connected with them.
And you know how they did that?
- They shared who they were, and who they are now.
- They shared how Jesus made that difference and they shared the love that was given to them – freely.
It does not matter how much time we spend in church, Sunday school, or in memorizing bible scriptures. It doesn’t even matter if we speak in tongues, or if we can heal others at a touch. What matters is if we can reach out in love. We have to love others enough to overcome the fear and insecurity of sharing our testimony.
Jesus said, “By this shall all men know that ye are my disciples, if ye love one to another.” (John 13:35). He also said that I speak that which I have heard of the father. Jesus led by example.
He didn’t talk about things he didn’t know.
- He talked about things of heaven.
- He explained the things that pertained to the Kingdom of God.
- He gave examples and illustrations.
- He testified of things he knew, that he had seen, and he had heard.
- Because he is God.
- He existed before creation.
- He was the creator.
So what do you know? What have you seen? What have you heard?
You know the truth
- Jesus is the Son of God
- Jesus is faithful
- Jesus loves you
- Jesus forgave you
- Jesus provided atonement for you
- Jesus released you from your bondage
- From sexual immortality
- From lies
- From disease
- From the bondage of sin
- Jesus gave you a choice again
- You are no longer a slave
- You have eternal life
These are the things that are in your testimony. Henry Clay Trumbull (1830-1903) is considered one of God’s pioneers in soul-winning evangelism. In fact he wrote the first books ever devoted strictly to the principles of personal evangelism. He was a renowned expositor of scripture, missionary, organizer and lecturer. He was the editor of the Civil War era publication. “The Sunday School Times”. He was the author of 38 books in total. He lectured at Yale University and traveled relentlessly spreading and teaching the gospel. Yet here is what he said concerning personal evangelism.
“Looking back upon my work in all these years I can see more direct results of good through my individual efforts with individuals that I can know of through all my spoken words to thousands upon thousands of persons in religious assemblies, or all my written words on the pages of periodicals or of books. Reaching one person at a time is the BEST way of reaching all the world in time.”
When Jesus said no man lights a candle and puts it under a table, but he puts in on top of the table so that all who enter the house can see the light, he was talking about you. You are the light of Christ! Don’t put it under a table and hide it! Tell somebody what Jesus has done for you. –Amen!