Skip to comments."God's Testimony: Eternal Life in His Son" (Sermon for the Seventh Sunday of Easter; 1 John 5:9-15)
Posted on 05/12/2018 8:49:38 PM PDT by Charles Henrickson
Gods Testimony: Eternal Life in His Son (1 John 5:9-15)
This week the Epistle reading once again is from First John. This has been the Epistle featured throughout this Easter season, and for good reason. The author, St. John, was an eyewitness of the risen Lord Jesus, and in this letter John bears witness concerning the life God has given us through the death and resurrection of his Son. John opened this letter by saying: The life was made manifest, and we have seen it, and testify to it and proclaim to you the eternal life. Now as we come to the end of this letter, John makes it clear that the eternal life he is bearing witness to is not just a matter of his or any mans testimony. Indeed, it is Gods own testimony.
John writes: If we receive the testimony of men, the testimony of God is greater, for this is the testimony of God that he has borne concerning his Son. Whoever believes in the Son of God has the testimony in himself. Whoever does not believe God has made him a liar, because he has not believed in the testimony that God has borne concerning his Son. And this is the testimony, that God gave us eternal life, and this life is in his Son. And so our theme this morning: Gods Testimony: Eternal Life in His Son.
Testimony is really a key word here, isnt it? It jumps out at you, John uses the word so many times in just a short span of verses. Testimony has to do with a solemn telling of the truth in a very important matter. Thats how we use the word even in civil affairs. A person is called upon to give testimony in a court of law, when an important matter is at stake. The person is sworn to tell the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth. And when that persons testimony is then borne out by two or three other witnesses, all saying the same thing, we accept that testimony as true.
How much more, then, when it comes to the testimony of God! Thats how John runs his argument in our text: If we receive the testimony of men, the testimony of God is greater, for this is the testimony of God that he has borne concerning his Son. You see, this is not just the testimony of this or that man. Its the testimony of God himself. And the testimony concerns not some trivial matter or even a matter of relative importance for the affairs of this life. Rather, it is Gods testimony concerning his Son. That makes this testimony of the utmost importance to everyone who hears it, including you who hear God speaking to you today.
Gods testimony concerning his Son. And God has borne this testimony in multiple forms. Last week we heard John tell us, in the verses before our text, of a threefold testimony: For there are three that testify: the Spirit and the water and the blood; and these three agree. The Spirit, the water, and the blood, three witnesses, all confirming the same thing: that the man Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God. He came down from heaven, in the flesh. He was attested to as the Christ, the Spirit-anointed Messiah, and as Gods beloved Son, at his baptism in the water of the Jordan. And he accomplished his messianic mission by his sacrificial death on the cross, shedding his holy blood as the price that sets us free, free from sin and death. The Spirit then bears witness to this saving truth through the preaching of the gospel. That, in sum, is Gods testimony, confirmed by the three witnesses of the Spirit, the water, and the blood.
Now you who believe in Christ, who trust in him as your Savior--you have had this testimony internalized in you. As John says, Whoever believes in the Son of God has the testimony in himself. You have heard Gods testimony concerning his Son, and you have received it. This is the work of the Holy Spirit, who creates and nurtures faith in your heart. You can say, in the words of the Catechism: The Holy Spirit has called me by the gospel, enlightened me with his gifts, sanctified and kept me in the true faith. You have Gods testimony within you, telling you that this word is the truth.
But not all have believed this word: Whoever does not believe God has made him a liar, because he has not believed in the testimony that God has borne concerning his Son. This describes our world. We are surrounded by unbelief on every side. God gives his testimony, the message concerning his Son, and men reject it. In so doing, they are calling God a liar. Its not just the word of a preacher theyre rejecting, it is the word of God. When men have Gods testimony come into their ears, telling them to repent and to believe in Christ for the forgiveness of sins, telling them they need Gods Son more than anything else--when people are given this testimony and they reject it, when they say, No thanks, God, I dont need what youre giving me, however nice they may say it, however nice those people seem--in reality, they are shaking their fist at God and calling him a liar. They think they know better than God!
This unbelief can come in many forms. A blatant example would be the atheist, who proudly defies God and denies his word. Also blatant are the heretics who claim to be Christian but deny the deity of Christ, groups like the Mormons and the Jehovahs Witnesses. Here the words of our text apply: Whoever has the Son has life; whoever does not have the Son of God does not have life. If a group does not confess Christ Jesus as the divine, eternal Son of God in the flesh, they do not have life. They are a dead, false, heretical religion.
But there are more subtle forms of distancing oneself from Gods testimony. For example, there are lots of people who pay lip-service to God but keep him and his word at arms length. They do not want to hear the message that God wants to tell them. That includes people in our day who talk about spirituality, saying that theyre spiritual but not religious. But that is a spirituality without the Holy Spirit, who always bears witness to Jesus. These folks say they dont need the church and what she has to offer. But that is impossible. God has committed the testimony concerning his Son to the church. So without the church, you dont get Gods testimony. For the gospel testimony is delivered through preaching and the sacraments. This is Gods plan, and there is no Plan B.
Another subtle form of getting away from Gods testimony is when churches change their practice to fit popular desires. They mute the message that God wants to have ringing clear as a bell. Christ crucified is simply assumed and taken for granted. The message of the cross becomes a side note instead of the centerpiece. This is pop Christianity, Christianity Lite, with peppy performances and plenty of programs, but not much of the real Jesus. They think that the historic practice of the church, in preaching, liturgy, and hymnody--they think all that stuff is outmoded and boring, and what youve got to have instead is cutting-edge coolness. But that sort of thinking only leads people away from the truth of Gods testimony.
So we always come back to the truth, the true testimony that God wants us to receive and to build our lives on. John writes: And this is the testimony, that God gave us eternal life, and this life is in his Son. Whoever has the Son has life; whoever does not have the Son of God does not have life. This is why it is so important that we receive Gods testimony concerning his Son: because there is eternal life in him and in no other. Nothing else will save you from your sins. No one else can rescue you from the grave. Will your goodness do it? Will your spirituality? No, the law of God requires you to love God with your whole heart and to love your neighbor as yourself. And none of us do that well enough. Gods law therefore convicts you and condemns you to death. You need help, from outside yourself.
You need the one, all-encompassing help that God himself has provided. And that is the eternal life God has given us in his Son. God loved you so much that, in spite of your sins and trying to be your own God--in spite of that, God, out of the abundance of his mercy, sent his own Son to win for you eternal life. Christ Jesus took all your sins into his body and died on the cross as your substitute, paying the price you could never pay. What a gift! Christs righteousness, in exchange for your sin! His death gives you life, even when you were dead in your trespasses and sins. His life is given to you as a gift. It is Christs resurrection life, life that conquers the grave, Easter life, everlasting, eternal life. This life is in Gods Son, and so where Christ is, you will be. And risen from the dead, Christ now has ascended into heaven, to live and reign forevermore. So therefore you will join him. For your life has been joined to Jesus, all you who have been baptized into Christ and believe in him. The eternal life he gives you will be life freed from sorrow and filled with joy forever.
Eternal life in his Son--this is the gift God has provided for us and for the whole world. This is the testimony that God gives to all men in the one saving gospel. It is the one and only truth that can give life to mortal sinners. You know, in reality, there are only two religions in the world, one true and one false. There is true Christianity, the gospel of Gods Son, Jesus Christ, the Savior of the world. And then there is everything else, all the other religions and so-called spiritualities. They are all variations on the same theme. It is the Big Lie that we can be our own god and save ourselves. You see, contrary to popular belief, there are not many roads that lead to God. There is only one. It is the path Christ blazed when he went the way of the cross, rose from the dead, and ascended into heaven. I am the way and the truth and the life, says the Lord Jesus. No one comes to the Father except through me. Its really this simple: Whoever has the Son has life; whoever does not have the Son of God does not have life.
Dear friends, you have life, you have eternal life, because you have Gods Son! Or rather, he has you! Christ Jesus your Savior has you in the palm of his hand, and he will never let you go. By Gods grace you believe in Christ, you trust in him for your eternal salvation. This sure and certain Easter hope will sustain you all your days, even though all the world around you believes the lie. You know the truth. Gods word is the truth, and the truth will set you free. This is what St. John has been telling us in his letter. This is what he wants you to know: I write these things to you who believe in the name of the Son of God that you may know that you have eternal life. This is Gods testimony. He wants you to know--to know with confidence and joy and a spring in your step--that you have eternal life in his Son!
If we receive the testimony of men, the testimony of God is greater, for this is the testimony of God that he has borne concerning his Son. Whoever believes in the Son of God has the testimony in himself. Whoever does not believe God has made him a liar, because he has not believed in the testimony that God has borne concerning his Son. And this is the testimony, that God gave us eternal life, and this life is in his Son. Whoever has the Son has life; whoever does not have the Son of God does not have life.
I write these things to you who believe in the name of the Son of God that you may know that you have eternal life. And this is the confidence that we have toward him, that if we ask anything according to his will he hears us. And if we know that he hears us in whatever we ask, we know that we have the requests that we have asked of him.
How can you agree or disagree when you have no knowledge re the subject? What you proffered was ridiculous. Educate yourself, come back and provide a reasoned argument to include the number of Sacraments. Knee-jerk is no way to go through life.
EliRoom8: I can't agree. Sounds too much like the false RC dogma of transubstantiation. Post #4)
How the Gospel is to be delivered was illustrated on the day of the formation of the first prototype ekklesia, where:
(1) Simon Peter, standing in the delegated authority of Christ and the presence of the elders, preached the message inviting hearers to be saved by belief on Jesus The Messiah;
(2) ordered the new believer to undergo the rite of induction as a disciple on the basis of one's profession;
(3) those who would commit themselves thus were baptized into membership of the local church, the body of Christ; and
(4) they participated in the functioning of the church by allowing the apostles to have fellowship with and teach them, by breaking bread in the Remembrance Supper, praying together, and sharing their food and resources with those in need of it.
The problem is that those who see it necessary to institutionalize this Way of Life have insisted on defining procedures of interacting with God, and making inanimate objects necessary to the functioning of it, as in themselves having attained a state of holiness through reverencing the procedures and objects in a way not at all demanded by the Lord's teaching and example. But it is by this obsequious gratuitous treatment that such procedures and objects have been identified as "sacraments," a humanistic definition for which one finds no precedent in Scripture.
So, EliRoom8, for you and I the elements from the Passover supper, the common bread and grape juice, singled out by Jesus to be emblems of His Cross-death, and ordained to be objects to call the remembrance of it to His disciples, are just that: Bread and grape juice. But the practicioners of a humanly created religiosity have elevated these common, plain food items to the point where participants' attention has come to focus on these objects, these "sacraments." and the procedure of distributing them, rather than on the Lord. He Who gave them only proposed as a way to draw the believers together for a moment of remembering Him, not on the tokens that signify His Passion.
It is the strategy of creating a class of religiously inclined celebrants who alone hold the exact methods of conduct, a "priesthood" so to speak, who then can have power over credulous numbers of uninitiated adherents (a "lay" class) and thus gain power over them. I say, this is not at all what the Lord Jesus meant for the moment to humbly share the simple formula for humans to gain access to their Creator through acknowledging the self-sacrifice of their Master and His Blood that flowed to wash away the sins that kept them from coummuning with their Heavenly Father.
The bread and grape juice are not holy, they are just food objects, and believers are summoned together to rehearse and speak of the moments of Jesus' sufferings, death, and resurrection in their place; often enough that the unsaved, watching, surrounding last dregs of humanity will not forget it, either. I do not believe the His Purpose for it was to make of this a grossly ornamented, holified caricature of the moment in history that opened the gates of God's Heaven to everyone who would desire to know their Creator on His terms through Jesus The Christ--through belief in Him alone.
No "transubsantiation," no "consubstantiation," nothing but common digestible food objects that symbolized His humanity taken on willingly, and life given up freely, that God's Righteous Wrath might be propitiated, anger slaked, and friendship extended to all those intimate servants of His Son, without partiality.
Sounds like ‘get institutionalized’ doesn’t it? There is a common error of conflation of the institutional church, and the Ekklesia, the CHURCH, the body of all believers in Him as their Savior, across time and in and out of denominations.
That is not an uncommon opinion. But to certify it as a genuine one, let's look at some Scriptures:
For the entry of a priest of God into his duties:
Moses baptizes Aaron as High Priest, and Aaron's sons:
Exodus 40:12 (AV):
12And thou shalt bring Aaron and his sons unto the door of the tabernacle of the congregation, and wash them with water.
Ritual cleansing of the High Priest to make atonement of blood:
Leviticus 16:4 (AV) (cf. verses 24, 26) 4He shall put on the holy linen coat, and he shall have the linen breeches upon his flesh, and shall be girded with a linen girdle,
and with the linen mitre shall he be attired: these are holy garments; therefore shall he wash his flesh in water,
and so put them on.
The preparation of Jesus for His public ministry:
The Baptism of Jesus by John:
Matthew 3:13-17 (AV): 13 Then cometh Jesus from Galilee to Jordan unto John, to be baptized of him.
14 But John forbad him, saying, I have need to be baptized of thee, and comest thou to me?
15 And Jesus answering said unto him,
Suffer it to be so now: for thus it becometh us to fulfil all righteousness.Then he suffered him.
This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased.
The witness of The Spirit:
John 1:29-34 (AV):
29 The next day John seeth Jesus coming unto him, and saith, Behold the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world.
30 This is he of whom I said, After me cometh a man which is preferred before me: for he was before me.
31 And I knew him not: but that he should be made manifest to Israel, therefore am I come baptizing with water.
32 And John bare record, saying, I saw the Spirit descending from heaven like a dove, and it abode upon him.
33 And I knew him not: but he that sent me to baptize with water, the same said unto me,
Upon whom thou shalt see the Spirit descending, and remaining on him, the same is he which baptizeth with the Holy Ghost.34 And I saw, and bare record that this is the Son of God.
The Witness of the Tree, Spirit, Water, and The Blood agreeing:
1 John 5:6,7,8 renderings:
A. John N. Darby's Version:
6 This is he that came by water and blood, Jesus the Christ; not by water only, but by water and blood.
And it is the Spirit that bears witness, for the Spirit is the truth.
7 For they that bear witness are three:
8 the Spirit, and the water, and the blood; and the three agree in one.
B. Douay-Rheims Version: 6 This is he that came by water and blood, Jesus Christ: not by water only but by water and blood.
And it is the Spirit which testifieth that Christ is the truth.
7 And there are Three who give testimony *in heaven, the Father, the Word, and the Holy Ghost.
And these three are one. 8 And there are three that give testimony on earth**
: the spirit and the water and the blood. And these three are one.
C. King James/Authorized Version:
6 This is he that came by water and blood, even Jesus Christ; not by water only, but by water and blood.
And it is the Spirit that beareth witness, because the Spirit is truth.
7 For there are three that bear record *in heaven, the Father, the Word, and the Holy Ghost: and these three are one. 8 And there are three that bear witness in earth, the Spirit, and the water, and the blood**
: and these three agree in one.
Note: The portion between * and ** is persent in the Vulgate and in the Textus Receptus, but Erasmus added these words in Greek only under duress, since they are present in none of the Byzantine collection save one or at most two MSS, which in themselves are contested.
Regarding the discussion of the meaning of "water" in verses 6 and 8, each commentator shows that not all others are in agreement, but none are so positive in their outlook that no other approach can be absolutely eliminated.
To avoid a lengthy argument here, just let me say a few things.
The first is that a Christ-follower is convinced to demonstrate that the purpose of God's incarnation is to show that the Perfect Second Adam can fulfill the specifications set out by Jehovah in the Mosaic and Davidic Covenants such that the way to re-establishing intimate fellowship with The Mighty God and Heavenly Father is within the reach of a perfectly-behaved human.
Then, if so, the behavior of that human must never depart from rightness in any way. Furthermore, if the course of establishing that way is by a human representing man, he is necessarily an intermediate, and thus a Law-ordained Priest fulfilling that function. By the Law, a priest entering upon his ministerial duties must first be ritually cleansed in living water. And if that is what is meant by the reference to water in the passage under consideration, that could be the baptism administered by John, not unto repentance as for other humans, but as the first step of entering into the task of fulfilling all the righteousness demanded by the Law by which Jehovah's Righteous Demands can be satisfied.
Furthermore, there conceivably would come some point at which, under the Law, those Demands would be fully fulfilled, and the unilaterally negotiated result achieved, marking the end of that process of fulfillment.
However, under the Law, it is necessary that for the debt of sins committed be paid, the payment is to be in the Blood of the man who committed them, OR in that of an innocent unblemished male lamb be substituted in place of that man's blood. But whereas in the past the blood of bulls and goats (and lamb) animals could not utterly remove sins, they could be only covered for a time, with punishment allayed, until the next episode of human sinning started the cycle all over again.
BUT, if it was the Blood of a perfect human offered as required for the sin debt to be completely paid, the Law satisfying the debt with genuine, incorruptible currency would be completed, fully fulfilled. But that is exactly what happened when the Lamb of God, a human having lived a perfect birth, life, and substitutionary sacrificial punishment, dipped into the Lake of Fire, came to the point of physical dissociation of His Soul (to Paradise) and Spirit (to the care of His Father), and His Body (to the Grave), exultantly shouted, "Tetelestai!"--"It stands finished, completed, fully fulfilled, never to be repeated but with the effects continuing forever!"
That is when the public ministry, begun with the ritual cleansing of the Perfect Priest, Teacher, Lamb of God by Baptism unto the task of fulfilling all righteousness demanded by the Law, continued until its finality of completion, whence the Victor proclaimed for all, "TETELESTAI!"
So, ER8 and CH, that is what I propose that the issue of the water in unity with The Spirit, as a witness of the Deity of Jesus, The Christ, is all about.
In 1John 5, John is speaking of what he witnessed at the cross.
First the spirit departing from Yeshua so that he could die, then the water and blood pouring out of the wound in his side, and down through the crack onto the mercy seat on the Ark in Jeremiah’s grotto below.
You forget the priesthood of all believers. I believe Jesus is present Body and Blood in His supper, in with and under the bread and the wine. God created the physical universe and He knows we are physical creatures. Communion is grace = grace we can see, feel, smell and taste. It is important that our Lord comes to His physical creatures in a physical way.
Does that mean we worship the elements? Of course not. The focus is not on the elements or who distributes them. The focus is on the Lord who is truly present in His Supper = just as He said. I do not entirely understand how this happens, but then I don’t expect to entirely understand God with my limited understanding. I can however simply believe and come to His Table as He commands.
It is far worse than that: how is it explained that a practicing sexual degenerate who is Biblically identified as an abomination can administer these ‘critical sacraments’ with efficacy? Satan comes with all signs and lying wonders. To deceive even the elect if it were possible. Stay vigilant my FRiend.
The “Last Supper” was not a passover meal (seder), it was wine and a barley loaf if one is to believe the Greek texts. (IOW a routine meal for a group of Jewish men)
He asked that we eat every such meal in remembrance of him.
Nowhere did I state I believed the erroneous RC doctrine that Christ is continually sacrificed in the celebration of communion. He was sacrificed once for all. However I find it interesting that many serious Christians can accept all the miracles and teachings of Christ except what Christ Himself says about His Supper. He did not say this represents my Body, He said This IS My Body - emphatically so. There are many Protestants that believe what Christ said without attaching all the extra biblical teachings of the RC Church. You have your belief and I have mine, but I think you are missing out on the fullness of the Sacrament Christ gives His people.
Of which tree was the wood that JESUS said He is. Remember? ‘I am the door. If any man will open I will come in’ ... does that ring one of the literal bells or a simile? If Jesus was giving His blood to drink, do you see that such would contradict what He set as a commandment to not do, for ALL the generations? Is that not a stumbling point which you ought reconcile by consulting the rest of the texts?
That’s one of the opinions. I don’t think it makes too much sense because that could have happened to anyone. As a courtroom-type witness? not to the observer.
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