One Sided Conversation
ONE SIDED CONVERSATION
1 John 5: 1-12
This morning I want to try something with you that may possibly help you to understand what John is saying in this passage of scripture.
But first, to understand why John wrote, not only this chapter but the whole letter, you have to understand that John is dealing with some false teachings that were circulating in the first century; more specifically the teachings of the Gnostics.
- The Gnostics considered themselves to be “in the know”; they thought they were privy to the mysteries of God and they defied and disputed a lot of what the Bible said about Jesus and who He was, and what He came to do.
- What they wanted to do is conform Jesus into their way of thinking. They had all their pagan beliefs and when they encountered Christianity as it spread throughout the different regions, instead of turning from those pagan beliefs and following Christ, they tried to fit Jesus into their ideologies.
- So, that is why John writes this whole letter, to confirm who Jesus is, and to dispute the false teachings of the Gnostics.
Now here in chapter 5 we have what John says, but what makes this a little difficult to understand is, reading this is much like listening to a one-sided phone conversation.
- You only hear one side without knowing what the person on the other end of the phone says; but even though you only hear one side you can pretty well tell what the other person is saying or has said.
- For example, if I am talking on the phone and I say, “No, she is not here. She ran into town”, what did the person on the other end of the phone say or ask? (Is Anita home?)
- If you hear me say, “I am doing well. Thank you.” What did the person on the other end of the phone say or ask?
- You don’t get to hear what they say, but from what I say you can tell what they said!
Well, that is very similar to what we have here in these verses.
- All we hear in these verses is John’s side of the conversation; he doesn’t tell us what is being said on the other end of the conversation
- But we can tell from what John says the gist of what the false teachers were teaching.
- And apparently what they say is not that important; we don’t need to bother ourselves too much with that.
- What we need to hear is what John says. So, look at vs. 1.
Whoever believes that Jesus (human-Savior) is the Christ (Messiah) is born of God; and whoever loves the Father loves the child born of Him.
- Now, from what John says we get an idea of what the Gnostics were teaching.
- Remember, they are trying to conform Jesus to their way of thinking.
- But what John says here is what is important.
First, John says, “Whoever believes” – that is a present indicative verb- that means “ongoing action” – it is a present, continuing faith that maintains the “new birth” status.
- The concept today that so many have is that a man can have a right relationship with God because he believed years ago even though he has drifted away from that belief and never returned is contradictory to what John says here.
- If you do not have a present continuing faith in Jesus (human) as the Messiah you have lost your “new birth” status or your relationship with God.
And look at the second part of the verse: and whoever loves the Father loves the child born of Him.
- That is not hard to understand is it?
- IF you love God then you will love His children.
Look at vs. 2: By this we know that we love the children of God when we love God and observe His commandments.
- And in this context what is God’s commandment? “Love my children.”
Look at vs. 3: For this is the love of God, that we keep His commandments; and His commandments are not burdensome.
- You cannot keep His commandments and despise, have animosity toward; be hateful to your brothers.
- And commandment keeping should never cause us grief. To do what God says should never be a burden to us.
- We do what God commands out of our love for Him.
Again, this is John’s side of the conversation. What were the false teachers saying?
Apparently the Gnostics said they were born of God but they denied Jesus as being a man, they denied Him as the only Savior, they denied Him as being the Messiah, (they wanted to separate Him from the O.T. prophets) and they denied Him as being the Son of God…or deity.
- And, they didn’t keep His commandment to love those born of God…and so they were claiming “We are born of God” but John says, “No you’re not!
- And if any of us do what they were doing…if we deny who Christ is (that He is the Savior, the Messiah, and the Son of God) and if we don’t love each other and if we don’t keep His commandments, regardless of what we might claim, we aren’t born of God either.
And if you or I say, “I guess I will do what God says but I really don’t want to”…you and I might want to reevaluate our love for God.
Now, look what John says in vs. 4: For whatever (in vs. 1 John says, “whoever.” Here he says “whatever) is born of God overcomes the world; and this is the victory that has overcome the world– our faith. 5 And who is the one who overcomes the world, but he who believes that Jesus is the Son of God?
- The world with its lies, and temptations; and its wickedness; and its snares is an obstacle in our way to heaven. (1 John 2:15-17)
- But the efforts of the world to keep us from heaven is defeated by our faith…faith in Jesus; faith that He alone is the Savior; faith that He is the Messiah; faith that He is the Son of God.
- Any faith that denies any part of this is not adequate for victory.
The victory over the world is not achieved by any other means; not by magical charms, or mystic séances, or by human performance.
- That is what the Gnostics taught.
- But, what John says is what is important and John says the victory over the world is only won by faith in Jesus, the Son of God.
Vs. 6 This is the one who came by water and blood, Jesus Christ; not with the water only, but with the water and with the blood.
Here in this verse John is dealing with the Cerenthian or Apollonarian Gnostic.
- The Cerenthian or Apollonarian Gnostic taught the “adoptionist concept.”
- They said that “Jesus was a child born to Joseph and Mary..
- There was no miraculous virgin birth.
- And Jesus lived for 28 years as an ordinary man working in a carpenters shop.
- Then about his 28th year, when he was baptized, the H.S. descended on him and took over his body…and for 3 years the life, mind, and will of Jesus, were suspended; those things were all put in suspended animation.
- But then about the time that he is nailed to the cross the Holy Spirit leaves him and Jesus the man comes out of the coma; He doesn’t have the foggiest idea how he got there…he doesn’t know why they are crucifying him.
- And so all that died that day on the cross was simply a man named Jesus.
- This idea all came about because the Cerenthian Gnostics said that “deity cannot die” so the one who died on the cross could not have been deity.
- And today, there are groups who teach this same thing.
Well, in this verse John refutes that thinking. What John is saying is, Jesus Christ was human, He was deity and Messiah before, during and after baptism…and He was human, deity, and Messiah before, during and after the cross.
- Jesus and all that He was didn’t just go through baptism.
- And the one that believes all the elements of Jesus is the one who has overcome the world; his faith has given him the victory.
Now, how do you know that Jesus is the Savior, the Messiah, and the Son of God? Well, look at vs. 7: And it is the Spirit who bears witness, because the Spirit is the truth.
- The Spirit was involved in everything that Jesus did.
- The Holy Spirit gave prophecies telling of the coming of Jesus.
- Jesus was conceived through the Holy Spirit.
- He was protected by the Holy Spirit.
- He performed miracles by the Holy Spirit (raised dead by the Holy Spirit).
- What He taught came from Holy Spirit…Everything He did the Holy Spirit testified to.
8 For there are three that bear witness, the Spirit and the water and the blood; and the three are in agreement.
- The water – His baptism said he was human as well as deity.
- Jesus came to fulfill all righteousness…obedient in human form.
- Holy Spirit descended and what did God say? (This is my beloved Son in whom I am well pleased).
And the blood or the cross bears witness of who Christ was…a man (he died)…the Messiah (sent from God-sky turned dark at noon day)…Deity…(he rose from the grave. – Romans 1:4)
- These three, the Spirit, baptism, and the cross confirm one basic theology…Jesus was deity, human, and the Messiah.
9 If we receive the witness of men, the witness of God is greater; for the witness of God is this, that He has borne witness concerning His Son.
Look at these words of Jesus found in John 5:33-37 “You have sent to John, and he has borne witness to the truth. 34 “But the witness which I receive is not from man, but I say these things that you may be saved. 35 “He (John) was the lamp that was burning and was shining and you were willing to rejoice for a while in his light. 36 “But the witness which I have is greater than that of John; for the works which the Father has given Me to accomplish, the very works that I do, bear witness of Me, that the Father has sent Me. 37 “And the Father who sent Me, He has borne witness of Me.
- God has born witness to Jesus through all the miracles.
- Through all the resurrections…not just Jesus’ but all.
- Through the Fathers words…verbally.
- Past prophets…and those living at the time (John).
There is no doubt who Jesus is!
1 John 5:10 The one who believes in the Son of God has the witness in himself; the one who does not believe God has made Him a liar, because he has not believed in the witness that God has borne concerning His Son.
- You accept God’s witness about Jesus, you get God’s witness about yourself.
- God says as He points to Jesus, “This is my beloved Son”
- If you believe that, God will turn around and give that same witness about you.
- And the fact that God says that about Jesus gives you the same reasons for believing that you are God’s child too.
- All these things give confirmation to your “son-ship.”
But the one who denies what God has said about Jesus; that person has made “God a liar.”
Now, look at vs. 11 And the witness (or testimony) is this, that God has given us eternal life, and this life is in His Son (No where or in nothing else). 12 He who has the Son has the life; he who does not have the Son of God does not have life.
- So we have heard both sides of the conversation: John’s and to some extent, what the Gnostics believed. Now, after hearing both sides we must choose which one we want: Jesus and eternal life, or do we want to make God a liar and be lost forever?
© Sunset Ridge Church of Christ 2024