© Charles A. Clough 2013
Charles A. Clough
1 John Series
Lesson 8 – Preamble: Daily Interaction with the Triune God
03 Nov 2013
Fellowship Chapel, Jarrettsville, MD
On the handout you’ll see a quick review of what we’ve done in the first four verses of the epistle. The top part of the handout gives you 1 John 1:1–4 and 1 John 1:5–2:11. Those are the two sections. What we’re trying to do here is follow the research that has approached this epistle that has been so hard historically to outline.
This has been one of the hardest epistles over the years for people to kind of get the argument because John doesn’t appear to have an argument. The work that Zane Hodges did at Dallas Seminary pointed out that these epistles were read. They were written to be read to illiterates.
If we follow a rhetorical outline, how did … when letters were written to be read, how were they structured? The structure was that there would be an extensive prologue or preamble. So, what we’ve done from 1 John 1:1 down to 1 John 2:11 appears to be the introduction. This appears to be the set up for John’s argument.
But before he gets to the argument, he’s going to have this preamble. It’s important that we kind of quickly go over that. The approach that I’m using here is with a kind of framework.
I handed those pamphlets out the last time we met. The Framework approach works like this. You basically look at the text of Scripture as a description of historic reality. This is not some literary figment of an author’s imagination. We’re talking about real history here.
I emphasize real history because the problem is all of us—very few of you have been trained in Christian school or have been brought up in home school where you’ve had a biblically based curriculum. The result of that kind of education that you’ve been exposed to, treats the Bible as a religious storybook and treats history as something other than the Scriptures. We have to bridge that. The Scriptures are as much historical as any other piece of work that’s studied as history. So that’s the first layer.
The second layer is that if God has done these works in history, God has not left us to guess how to interpret those works; but He has also verbally revealed Himself so we can see how to interpret those works. So we can say that history is God’s show and tell. God shows us with His acts, then He tells us how to think about those acts. If He didn’t tell us how to think about the acts, then we could not correctly interpret those actions, those things that have happened in history.
Then in the Framework approach we go to a third level. That is once we’ve done that, then we say, “Okay to respect the authority of Scripture we use the ideas of Scripture (the content of Scripture) to repent—that is to change our thinking about every area of life.” So in thinking we always remember 2 Timothy 3.
NKJ 2 Timothy 3:16, “All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness,
NKJ 2 Timothy 3:17, “that the man of God may be complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work.”
So the Scriptures have a sufficiency about them. We have to hold to that because there’s a tendency even increasingly in evangelical circles that the Scriptures may be necessary; but they’re not sufficient.
“You have to supplement the Scriptures with something else.”
Pastors, therefore, instead of using Scriptures to counsel, have to resort to secular psychological processes to counsel. The Scriptures are sufficient.
Then we said in the first four verses. This would be what we call the prologue to the epistle. The emphasis in verse 1 is that John has heard; he has looked upon; he has seen with his eyes; his hands have handled concerning the LOGOS of life.
We are looking here [Slide 2]—this is a little diagram that I’ve done I show when I teach the Framework proper. That is, the response to the virgin birth or the incarnation is predetermined by your presuppositions of God, man, and nature. You can’t properly interpret the virgin birth or the incarnation if you don’t hold to the fact that there is a Creator/creature distinction, that God is at sovereign work in history, and that He can because He designed man in His image He can therefore incarnate Himself in man.
If the Creation account isn’t true; then the incarnation can’t also be true. So you have to go—both hold together. This marks the difference between the biblical God and the pagan gods. In paganism, the gods show up in zoomorphic forms. YHWH God of the Bible never shows up in zoomorphic forms. His metaphors are animals, but He never incarnates Himself in an animal.
Then we have the next one. We have the life of Christ. The life of Christ is a revelation over many years. Men like John spent years with Jesus. They learned at least that three-year period, they learned a lot about revelation; but it can’t be revelation if you don’t come to that with a biblical worldview, because the basic secular worldview is there is no such thing as divine revelation. What we’re reading in the Scriptures is just Jewish autobiography. But if we hold to the fact that God has created the universe, He has created us in His image, He spoke the universe into existence and therefore He can speak to us. So all that’s very important.
Then it says here. It talks about 1 John 1:2. That’s so critical because here’s the first time John develops the word life, l-i-f-e. He says:
NKJ 1 John 1:2, “the life was manifested, and we have seen, and bear witness, and declare to you that eternal life”
Then he concludes. This is the first time he uses the term “eternal life.” Since this is the first time in the epistle you need to look carefully at the context. He said:
“which was with the Father and was manifested to us—”
We made the point then and this is so important biblically, that the God of Scripture is a personal God. He can’t be a personal God if He’s a solitary being. Allah is a solitary being. A solitary being is alone. A person can’t fully be a person alone. He has to have a social dimension.
That’s why the Trinity is so critical. Without the Trinity you’re going to have a very hard time holding to a personal god because the question you have to answer if you hold to a solitary god (solitary being) is then you have to hold—where is the object for Him to exercise love? There isn’t any object outside a solitary being.
That’s why Allah’s attributes do not include love. Muslim theology does not have of a love attribute of Allah. It’s consistent. It’s self-consistent. Love means you love somebody, not yourself. You love something external to yourself.
So this is why we keep going over the Trinity. You’ll see that John does that immediately in the section we are going to deal with this morning. John starts with the Trinity.
Then the third thing we said that comes out of the prologue is that he says:
NKJ 1 John 1:3, “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.”
This argues for the authority of Scripture. You can’t come to know God outside of revelation; and you can’t get to the revelation apart from the apostolic canonical writings.
So much for the other thing that is invading evangelical circles is contemplative prayer—a lot of the Buddhist techniques, light candles, smell incense, and contemplate your naval. This is supposed to have fellowship with God. That’s not fellowship with God. That’s nothing more than Buddhism coming over with a Christian vocabulary.
When we get into 1 John 4 or 5 we’ll get into the life and the blood is the question; but John also develops that explicitly here. So let me take that in context. The life that John is talking about, and this is a powerful idea. Real life, real eternal life, preexisted matter. Therefore, life in its highest form is not material. Life in its highest form was that which described the internal relationship between Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. That is eternal life. Somehow we share that when we are born again that we have Christ. That’s what he says.
“with the Father and with His Son Jesus Christ.”
“… but has now been manifested in us.” In other words, it’s something internal to the Trinity that has now been revealed.
So we have then go to the next chunk of Scripture which we’ll try to get done today is from 1 John 1:5 to 2:22. You’ll see in your handout that it’s part of the larger context from 1 John 2:11, and that is daily interaction with the triune God.
I’ve labeled it that way because there is a progression that occurs in the text here. John starts with our relationship with the Father then he moves to our relationship with the Son. Then he moves to our relationship with each other; but doesn’t call it our relationship with the Holy Spirit right away. So we want to start that sweep starting in 1 John 1:5 moving to 2:11.
Today we’ll just do the section where he’s dealing with the Father. Watch the difference. This is kind of interesting. Watch the difference in how he describes God from the standpoint of God the Father when he switches to describing God as God the Son. There’s a shift in his imagery. There’s a shift in his attention.
We start with 1 John 1:5 and right here we have an idea approaching it from the Framework. We’re looking for ideas, doctrines of the Scriptures. We’re not just confining it to a religious ghetto. We’re using the ideas of Scripture to develop a critique of all ideas in every area of life. So watch what happens when we get to verse 5.
NKJ 1 John 1:5, “This is the message which we have heard from Him and declare to you,”
Notice he no longer uses the verb to see. Now it’s only the verb to hear. The reason is that the image here has switched from the historic incarnation to the message that Jesus taught.
“that God is light and in Him is no darkness at all.”
The Greek is emphatic here. We literally translate it “in Him there is light and no darkness, no none at all.”
The question is—is he writing to an audience that would include the Gentile pagan idea that light and darkness go together. The diagram will show that in a little bit here. But that’s always the feature of paganism. Think about it. If you were an unbeliever, do you believe in the Fall? Do unbelievers believe in the Fall? No.
Do unbelievers believe in a final judgment that separates good and evil? Do unbelievers believe that? If you don’t believe in the Fall and you don’t believe in the final judgment, what is your view of good and evil? They have to coexist forever. There never was a time without evil and there will never be a time in the future without evil.
So on an unbelieving basis, you can’t bracket evil. God does. So here God Himself has no darkness whatsoever. This is a radical idea—a tremendously radical idea. There is no evil at all. This immediately sets us up for problem with our culture in the postmodern era, particularly in the postmodern culture in which you and I now live.
If you go to the next slide [Slide 5] … Here we go. Relativism—everyone is enraptured with this idea. So let me show you two slides. The first slide is the justification for relativism. What is relativism? Everything is whatever you think it is.
“That’s evil for you; but that’s not evil for me.”
In other words, it’s relative to whom you are talking to. It’s all over the place out there. So we look at this. Ethical judgments merely express an individual’s emotions or attitudes toward an action or object. The arguments for it and you see it all through the media, all through the culture today—TV, commentators—circumstances in generational experience differ from person to person.
Well, is that true? Yes. Just because generations differ, does that mean standards of right and wrong differ? Because generations differ, do two and two now equal 5.3? If there are such things as truth and standards, that is illegitimate. I don’t care whether circumstances in generations experience differ. That is irrelevant to an ethical judgment—period.
But this is part of the culture. People disagree and say ethics come out—each generation has its own views. Well, each generation does have its own views; but that doesn’t change the standard, if there is a standard.
Then the second argument is one that is very much in vogue today. It is it’s intolerant to impose one’s view on others. Notice I’ve italicized one’s. Articulating a biblical frame of reference if God is light and in Him is no darkness at all, is that one’s view?
Let’s think about this. This comes up in conversations all the time. This goes on over and over and over today—that it’s intolerant to impose your views on others. What is going to be your answer if somebody says that to you, “It’s not one’s view, is it”? That’s the whole point.
In other words, this begs the whole question doesn’t it? If you’re saying you’re imposing one’s view, that assumes the view comes out of subjective man. But that’s the whole question at stake. Does it come out of man or is it derived from God in whom there is no darkness? That’s the point of the discussions. So saying that, “I don’t want to impose my view on others,” that begs the question. This is not one’s view, is it?
Take another analogy. Because your math teacher in school taught you that two plus two is four—was he imposing his views on you? Why is that not a case of him imposing his views on you? Because two plus two is four is universal. So these are two very common things. If you listen to the media, observe this. I’ll show you why in just a moment. Observe and be sensitive to this kind of thinking.
Now let’s go to the next slide [Slide 6]. Here are the problems. There are at least three problems—three major problems with relativism. All of this comes out of the fact in 1 John 1:5 it is saying:
NKJ 1 John 1:5, “… in Him is no darkness at all.”
John in 1 John 1:5 is making God’s character the standard of right and wrong. So it’s not that the standard is derived from Joe three doors down articulating his view of what is right or wrong. It doesn’t emanate either from you or from me. This emanates from God’s character. The problem here is that if it’s really true that whatever is right or wrong is how you feel about it, versus what you feel about it, versus what you feel about it [he points to different individuals]—if that’s the case, none of our feelings have anything to do objectively with the act.
Let’s say we’ve seen a murder here. Maybe we’re at the LA airport two days ago. We see a TSA agent shot on the floor. We look at the TSA agent and say, “I think that’s evil.”
Somebody else says, “Well, I don’t think so. You got it coming.”
Well now, have those two views said anything about this? What have those two views said? What people thought about it. So you haven’t articulated a thing about objective evil. All you’ve given is a plopped out your opinion, which is fine. You have a right to do that. I have a right to do that. But plopping out an opinion isn’t talking about that. It’s talking about our opinion. So that means that on a relativistic basis ethical judgments … and, by the way, in speech how do you recognize an ethical judgment is being made? What do you look for in a sentence? “Should” or “ought”—those are the signals when you’re listening. When you hear should or ought—bingo—ethical judgment’s being made. That’s when the wheels ought to start turning.
“Gee, I wonder what standard they’re using here if we’re interested in talking about the Lord.”
I’ll get the question in just a minute.
It is self-refuting. Why is it self-refuting? Because, no one can live that way. If the cash turns out to be counterfeit that you give to a drug dealer, does the drug dealer say to himself, “Well I think it’s wrong?” Or, does he really believe it’s wrong? He believes it’s wrong. A relativist can never consistently live with his own relativism. When you short-circuit him or her, boy, all of a sudden now they’re not talking about their opinion. They’re talking about you were wrong—objectively wrong.
“You cheated me.”
“O gee, I cheated you. I thought you just felt that you were cheated.”
“No, I was really cheated.”
They become a standard. The problem is they’re not infinite. A finite god has a problem. He’s okay until he meets another finite god. You have two finite gods on the same conversation, you have a little problem. So that’s what happens when you get relativists.
Now let’s look at the third level. Watch the third problem. It’s even more serious. Not only is it self-refuting, but it leads to totalitarian politics. Why does relativism lead to totalitarianism? Think about it. If everyone is for himself, what kind of a society does that create? Chaos! People will not tolerate chaos. They will prefer total loss of their freedom in order to have order.
This is how dictators rise. This is how totalitarian states arise. They always arise when you have moral relativistic anarchy going. This is why we’ve learned something—haven’t we?—in the Middle East. Dictators are necessary in a society that thinks that way. You can’t knock off a dictator and then you say … “Gee we have a mess here.”
Right, because guess who was holding it together. The dictator. Dictators are necessary if you are going to have a misbehaving society—period. You can’t have it any other way.
What Nate’s getting at is people are shy about overtly saying good and should. The problem is what we are having is semantic manipulation. There are rhetorical tools that we use. Historically this happened with the Greeks. This is why you can learn from history. These aren’t new ideas. This is not something that came out in the 2000s. In the ancient world when philosophy began to fall apart at a certain period of time there arose a group called the Sophists. The Sophists believed in relativistic truth. What Sophist teachers did for their students was teach them rhetoric. That’s where the word rhetoric came from.
They taught their students how to manipulate words to get results. It did not matter what the salesman was selling. It did not matter the value, the absolute value, of what was being sold. What mattered was whether you made the sale. That was the origin of rhetorical manipulation.
The society is loaded with it. The whole homosexual agenda since 1987 when the homosexual strategist wrote a book on how to do it—a six-point strategy and they’ve executed the six-point strategy perfectly. They used manipulative logic.
In other words, use words like “fair” without defining them. Use words like “discriminate” without defining them. Use words like “equal” without defining them. If you don’t define it, people don’t notice what you’re doing with the word. This is called rhetoric.
It is slippery, slimy conversation and it really requires attention to focus energy to decode this manipulation that goes on. It makes real conversation very, very difficult. This is why it is becoming increasingly hard to share the gospel of Christ. This is a very, very difficult mission field here because of the rhetorical manipulation that goes on with words—the use of love, tolerance …
Think about the word “tolerance” for a moment. Do you tolerate? Is tolerance necessary if there are no differences? If everyone is the same, is tolerance necessary? The very fact that we’re talking about tolerance admits that what exists? Differences. But then they want to eliminate the differences. So when they use the words “you’re intolerant”, what they’re really doing is decoding the word. What they’re saying is you’re different from me; and I don’t like it. So therefore, your tolerance means that you are intolerant toward these differences. It’s a complete inversion of the word.
What Mike’s bringing up here and I’m glad you did because this introduces sanctification. Part of our sanctification is growing more and more comfortable with our God’s holiness.
We looked at verse 5 today.
NKJ 1 John 1:5, “This is the message which we have heard from Him and declare to you, that God is light and in Him is no darkness at all.”
Now think about what we just talked about. That separates this from all paganism. They’re incompatible. You can’t harmonize all religions to believe the same thing. No, they don’t as a matter of fact. And if they don’t, then at least one of them is wrong. So here God is with no darkness at all … and here the pagan view is that good and evil coexist eternally.
Those aren’t two of the same ideas. Those are different, and you have to choose between one or the other. The problem we have with verse 5 though, as Christians, is none of us is as pure as God is. So now what do we do? That’s why John brings it up. This is God’s nature.
Remember when we talked about the Trinity, I said one of the tri-unities that Dr. Nathan Woods did back in the 1930s was pointing to human beings. He said there is a nature behind us. There is the person we see and there’s the personality which is that person’s influence. In some sort of very finite way there are some analogies here.
When John speaks of the Father he’s not talking about God incarnate; he’s talking about God the Father and His nature. He says God the Father is love. He’s going to do that. Here he’s going to say that God the Father is light. Interestingly, he only says this twice in the epistle. One is that God is light. The other is that God is love. Our present world cannot get those two together. Only the gospel brings those two qualities together. Today we love to say God is love. But it is very uncomfortable to say God is light in whom is no darkness at all. Those two truths go together in this epistle. That creates tension in sanctification.
So let’s look now at something else [Slide 7]. Here is a question that Joel brought up. This is the idea that good and evil are eternally together. That’s the pagan view. The biblical view is here. See the difference? You maintain the foundational good of God from eternity to eternity because in Him is no darkness at all. That’s a study.
NKJ Hebrews 13:8, “Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever.”
Immutability. Below it however in the creation and remember we said before, we said always think of the Creator/creature distinction. See you can’t get away from it. Here we go again. The Creator is different from the creation. The creation—He starts out the creation perfect. Then there’s the Fall. Then evil and good coexist up until the judgment. Then what we have here is eternal quarantine. So only in the Christian position is evil bracketed. That’s tremendous.
When Gary went to Honduras he showed that bottom diagram to one of the teenage girls. The expression on her face was what? Hope. A gal living in poverty, living in a fallen world and Gary shows them that chart and her face lights up with hope because “I don’t have to live this way forever and ever.” So this is the hope.
This is why when Paul talks about dying in his epistles:
NKJ 1 Thessalonians 4:13, “… lest you sorrow as others who have no hope.”
That’s what he means. Death is a threatening situation. If you don’t have this view; you can’t have hope in this life. So these are the structures, the powerful truths of Scripture on which we can build our lives.
I want you see now if you’ll turn in the epistle. I want to take you on some verse chains to show you how “God is light” is anchored at several points here and creates tension in how we interpret some of these texts because we all know that we’re not “light in whom there is no darkness”, So how do we mix our unsanctified state having fellowship with a God who is holy? Look how John does this. Look at 1 John 2:1. I’m going to show you. These are listed in your outline. I want you to see the vocabulary and how he uses this and how this pops up in this text.
In 1 John 2:1:
NKJ 1 John 2:1, “My little children, these things I write to you, so that you may not sin. And if anyone sins, we have an Advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ”
There we go. He can be an advocate because He shares the same nature as the Father.
NKJ 1 John 1:5, “… that God is light and in Him is no darkness at all.”
That’s how He can be an advocate.
But we say our Advocate has perfect fellowship from all eternity with the Father.
Let’s turn to 1 John 2:29. This is another example of how the uses the word.
NKJ 1 John 2:29, “If you know that He is righteous,”
“you know that everyone who practices righteousness is born of Him.”
So if you see righteousness, the kind of righteousness compatible with Him, emerging in the behavior of somebody then you know that person is born again.
In 1 John 3:3 he says:
NKJ 1 John 3:3, “And everyone who has this hope in Him purifies himself, just as He is pure.”
These are strong statements. You see, that’s why I want to emphasize here 1 John 1:5 because as we get into these verses—what is this?
NKJ 1 John 3:3, “And everyone who has this hope in Him purifies himself, just as He is pure.”
Then we have verse 5.
NKJ 1 John 3:5, “And you know that He was manifested to take away our sins, and in Him there is no sin.”
Affirmation again in Him, in Christ, is no sin. It appears from these texts that John is fighting something. There is something he is worried about in these Christians to whom he is writing that somehow they maybe seduced you by this Greek belief that matter … you know, you don’t have to sweat too much.
“Matter is evil anyway, so it doesn’t matter how we live.”
He’s doing something. He doesn’t tell us exactly what kind of target he’s shooting at here. But he’s shooting at something because this is the prologue that sets up the argument that’s going to come.
Let’s look at 1 John 1:6–7. That’s all we’re going to get to this morning; but that’s okay. It’s better to understand what we’re doing than to go speedy.
NKJ 1 John 1:6, “If we say that we have fellowship with Him, and walk in darkness, we lie and do not practice the truth.
NKJ 1 John 1:7, “But if we walk in the light as He is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus Christ His Son cleanses us from all sin.”
Now here we encounter a feature of Johannine literature. Next slide [Slide 8]. John writes antithetically. You see this again and again in this epistle. First there’s a positive statement. Then there’s a negative statement. Then there’s a positive statement. Then there’s a negative statement. Then there is a positive statement. Then a negative statement. This goes on through the whole epistle. We have to get used to this. This is how John expresses himself.
So we’re looking here at a verse. First there is the light, the perfection of God. Then in verse 6 he’s talking about the talk versus the walk, darkness. Then verse 7, the light or the cleansing in fellowship. Observe this as you roll through the text. You’ll see first one side then the other side, one side then the other side. Keep in mind this epistle was read to congregations. So probably when it was read so people could hear it, the person reading it would emphasize his voice on the positive and then maybe in a different tone the next verse would sound differently because that was the “bad” verse.
Let’s look then “if we walk in the light” … if we say we have fellowship. This is something John also does. He contrasts the walk and the talk. Evidently, he’s also coping here with false teachers who have come in and spoken these words. Now what he’s doing is refuting them by a standard of behavior compatible with a holy God.
So he says:
NKJ 1 John 1:6, “If we say that we have fellowship with Him, and walk in darkness, we lie and do not practice the truth.”
Now that introduces us to another noun that John uses over and over. So if you’ll look at 1 John 1:8. This is the word aletheia, the word for truth. Here’s how he uses it. I mention this because we sometimes think of truth as just an abstract. It’s not the way John uses truth. This is how he looks at truth. Every time he uses that word, this is what he’s thinking of. In 1 John 1:8—notice what he says there. And notice how he speaks of the relationship of truth. Notice in verse 6 that we just read.
NKJ 1 John 1:6, “If we say that we have fellowship with Him, and walk in darkness, we lie and do not practice the truth.”
That is an expression we don’t use in our language. You don’t hear people saying, “I do the truth.” You think the truth; I’m impressed with the truth; but we usually don’t say I do the truth. What does John mean when he says, “we practice the truth?” It sounds to me like it’s a way of living.
Then he says in verse 8—notice this.
NKJ 1 John 1:8, “If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us.”
That locative thing—he uses the location preposition. He uses that for abiding in Christ. Now at first glance you would look at verse 8 and think to yourself, “Gee, this person must be unsaved. There is no truth in him.” But since he’s saying if he is saying we have no sin, he includes himself here.
He says, “I as an apostle can do this. If I do this then the truth is not in me.”
Well, what does he mean by “in me?” John looks at behavior. He looks at the outward thing—what we observe, what we hear, what we see. The best way of understanding this use of in (the truth is not in us) is to think that John is thinking of the personae, the projection of the person, what the person manifests Him to be. There is nothing in the manifestation. The truth isn’t in the manifestation. He’s not arguing that the person doesn’t know the truth; he’s saying the truth isn’t in his appearance.
Look at 1 John 2:4—another example of how he uses this.
NKJ 1 John 2:4, “He who says, ‘I know Him,’ and does not keep His commandments, is a liar, and the truth is not in him.”
It’s not in the way this person looks to me from the outside. In 1 John 2:21 he says:
NKJ 1 John 2:21, “I have not written to you because you do not know the truth, but because you know it, and that no lie is of the truth.”
He clearly expects his people to know the truth. He’s going to say later on, “I know that you know the truth, but I want to point out something.”
There is an inconsistency here with the false teachers, and you people having known the truth should understand this. It should be immediately apparent to you that these people are false teachers because you do know the truth.
Then in 1 John 3:18:
NKJ 1 John 3:18, “My little children, let us not love in word or in tongue, but in deed and in truth.”
See how he uses it there? That gets back to the word aletheia as doing the truth. He’s talking about behavior here.
“let us not love in word or in tongue, but in deed and in truth.”
See the word between the walk and the talk? See, here it is again popping up.
Let’s look now at 1 John 4:6. He’s talking here. This is a major section on how to spot false doctrine or false teachers. He’s identifying himself as the apostolic authority.
NKJ 1 John 4:6, “We are of God.”
This would be totally arrogant to a postmodern person. Think of this sentence. Watch this sentence and think of your contemporaries and think how someone well educated in our contemporary society would look at this and gag. Look at the claim.
“He who knows God hears us; he who is not of God does not hear us. By this we know the spirit of truth and the spirit of error.”
What an arrogant statement in today’s culture.
“If you don’t hear me; you’re not of God.”
Now clearly this is a vigorous portrayal of apostolic authority. This is offensive. But remember what we said. If God is the Creator and we are the creatures and He has revealed Himself through the Apostle John, why should I be offended if he says this? I’m not offended if my algebra teacher corrects my equations, am I? Am I feeling persecuted because the solution to my equation is different? No, I don’t take that personally. That’s objectively the case.
So finally, one more, 1 John 5:6. This gets back to the section. I’m going to eventually come back to Mike’s question about blood and life.
NKJ 1 John 5:6, “This is He who came by water and blood—Jesus Christ; not only by water, but by water and blood. And it is the Spirit who bears witness, because the Spirit is truth.”
Again, now we get the third person of the Trinity coming into the case here. We are running out of time today so we only got down to verse 6. I haven’t finished that yet; but I really think it’s more important that we get a flavor for this guy rather than just whipping through it.
Mike again bringing up the fact that we all in our flesh rebel against this sort of thing particularly the places we all rebel in our flesh is where God’s correcting us. It’s exactly the place where we’re sloppy, we’re sinful that God works to correct us. That’s the place we eat. We don’t like that so we kind of back off from that situation. Be encouraged that God is gracious and God does love us and takes care of those things.
One concluding question—practical question. Keep in your mind to ask people that you might be asking to open a gospel conversation with. This is a diagnostic question that has to be asked very carefully lest somebody’s defenses go up. So you have to wait in the conversation for an opportunity to say this in a gracious way.
But here’s the diagnostic question based on 1 John 1:5. Do you think that some things are right and wrong for everyone throughout all of history? Why? Whatever answer they give you ask them for why. You are listening to where they’re coming from as far as an ethical standard.