Lesson 1 - Witnessing to the Word of Life

Lesson 1 - Witnessing to the Word of Life

 (1 John 1:1-4)

Unlike other New Testament epistles John's first letter does not begin with the usual format, consisting of the name of the author, the recipient of the letter, and a salutation.  If John had followed the custom of his day, he possibly would have written, "John, an apostle of Jesus Christ, to my dear children in the faith, love from God the Father and His Son."  This, of course, is speculation.  Two basic facts about 1 John are (1) John wrote the letter, and (2) it was written to believers.

As in his gospel, John begins at the beginning.  The opening verse of the Gospel of John says, "In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God."  This is a reference to Jesus Christ.  He is the Word.  Similarly in this letter he starts out, "That which was from the beginning...."  Worldly philosophers begin with the unknown.  John focused on the eternal Son of God.

He speaks of Jesus in three ways in the first two verses: (1) "the Word of life," (2) "the life," and (3) "that eternal life."  John's emphasis is on life.  In his gospel he wrote, "In Him (Jesus Christ) was life, and the life was the light of men."  John 1:3.  Apart from the Lord Jesus Christ there is no life.  Human beings are not a biological accident.  All life comes from Him.

Jesus Christ was and is for real.  Gnostic teachers had entered the church, teaching that Christ was a disembodied spirit.  They taught that all flesh is evil, so Jesus could not have possessed a human body.  John states twice in the second verse that the life "was manifested."  Christ was there physically for all to see.

The editor of U. S. News published a letter he had received from an unbeliever, who wrote in part, "We continue to die, like every other living thing, with not a speck of evidence that we continue on afterward.  Yet we persist in our fables about a place of eternal bliss."

Pardon me!  We have more than "a speck of evidence" regarding eternal life.  There were eyewitnesses of the life that was manifested.  The apostle John was one who testified of that "which we have heard, which we have seen with our eyes, which we have looked upon, and our hands have handled."  John was so close to Jesus that he could have heard the heartbeat of the Son of God, as he leaned back on Jesus' chest.  See John 13:25.  For three years he was a close disciple of Christ, hearing the profound teaching of the Lord, and seeing the supernatural miracles that He performed.  He was also present on the mount of transfiguration, when he got a glimpse of the brightness of the glory of Jesus Christ.  See Matthew 17:1-8.  John was also a witness of His resurrection, and actually ate with the Lord after He rose again from the dead.  John 21:1-14.

A contemporary of John wrote, "For we did not follow cunningly devised fables when we made known to you the power and coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, but were eyewitnesses of His majesty."  2 Peter 1:16.

The apostles were more than eyewitnesses.  They boldly testified of the Lord.  John wrote, "We have seen, and bear witness, and declare to you...."  John bore witness to the Word of life, Jesus Christ.

John had a two-fold purpose in bearing witness to the Word of life: (1) He wanted the believers to enter into "fellowship" with him, his companions, the Father, and the Son, and (2) he also wrote "that your (or our) joy may be full."

Do you want to walk with God?  He wants you to tell others about Jesus Christ in your life.  A witness doesn't make up sermons.  He simply tells the truth about his experience with the Lord.  Witnessing has its own price.  The word "witness" in Acts 1:8 is translated "martyr" in Acts 22:20.  Will you speak up for Jesus?


Lesson 2 - Walking in the Light



All About God

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