Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Wednesday, January 16th

Today's passage from the Bible In a Year Reading Plan is Genesis 31-32, Psalm 12, Matthew 12
Today's scripture focus is 1 John 1:1
John MacArthur's sermon: The Certainties of the Word of Life (Part 1)

That which was from the beginning, which we have heard, which we have seen with our eyes, which we have looked at and our hands have touched—this we proclaim concerning the Word of life. (NIV 1984)

That which was from the beginning, which we have heard, which we have seen with our eyes, which we looked upon and have touched with our hands, concerning the word of life— (ESV)

I thoroughly enjoyed our study of Esther and learned an incredible amount from a book I thought I knew because I had simply read it (not studied it!) numerous times.  I'm looking forward to digging into 1 John together!

John's letter is both sermon-like and conversational - it doesn't follow an outline that flows from one point to the next.  John shares with the believers truths that he wants them (and us!) to know with absolute certainty.

MacArthur points out some of the differences between the Gospel of John and this, the first of John's three letters.

The gospel is evangelistic and written to nonbelievers so that they might believe.
The epistle is pastoral and written to believers so that they might have assurance in their faith and confidence in the work of Christ.

The gospel was written with the hope that unbelievers might receive life.
The epistle was written with the hope that believers might enjoy the life they had received.

In the gospel, the enemies of truth are unbelieving, legalistic Jews.
In the epistle, the enemies of truth are those who profess Christ but are actually false teachers or being led astray by false teachers.

In his epistle, John tells us that we need to believe in Jesus Christ, love one another and obey God's moral laws. He also tells us to be aware of false teachers - those.....
who attack the person of Christ, attack the reality of human sinfulness, attack the commandment to love. We want to be able to discern the terrible heresies that strike at the truth. We want to be the people of the truth and faithful to that truth.

John wants us to increase our joy, our holiness and our assurance.

And, just like he did in the gospel, in this letter he begins in the beginning.

From the beginning....."I am".   Jesus existed before the beginning of time, He continued to exist from the beginning of time and physically He existed from His birth here on earth.  He is both God and man.   He was a living, breathing human being.

My ESV Study Bible says...
John was an eyewitness to the physical and historical reality of Jesus' life on earth.  His message is not based on an ecstatic vision, grand idea, or mere human religious conviction.

It's based on fact.  On certainty.

From the beginning, Jesus.

It's always, only, all about Him.

Tomorrow's scripture focus: 1 John 1:2-4
Tomorrow's Bible In a Year Passage passage: Genesis 33-34, Psalm 13, Matthew 13


TammyIsBlessed said...

One question I had about our NT reading.....
Jesus describes the scene from the OT where David eats the bread of the Presence, and Scripture does not condemn David for eating this bread. And yet God strikes Uzzah dead for trying to prevent the ark from falling and possibly breaking. Why the one and not the other? Is it simply a matter of God showing grace/mercy as He chooses, or am I missing some significance?

Miriam said...

I loved the statements in the post about what the purpose of 1 John is as compared to the Gospel of John. Thanks for that info.

Pamela said...

Great introduction to this book and I, like Miriam, appreciated the purpose of 1 John compared to the Gospel of John.

TammyIsBlessed said...

I just found Mark Driscoll's series on 1 John and have been listening to it, and I really love it.

One thing he brought up in his first sermon was all the reasons why we believe in Jesus Christ as God.

1. Jesus said He was God. Very very few credible people have ever claimed to be God. In fact, Christianity is the only religion founded by someone who claims to be God.
2. Jesus said He was from heaven. He came from heaven, came here and went back. He's the only One who knows how to get back there.
3. Jesus said He was sinless. Nobody has ever claimed that because somebody will always be there to refute that in .5 seconds. The fact that His mother and brothers worshiped Him as God is concrete proof of this. Your family sees you at your worst the way no one else does. If anybody knew whether or not Jesus was sinless it was His brothers.
4. Jesus forgives sin.
5. Jesus said He was the only way to heaven. He is the path, the only path.
6. He confirmed to others that He was God. The first point was that He said He was God. But this point makes it clear that other people realized that's what He was saying, questioned Him to be sure that's what He was saying, and He confirmed that's what He was saying. Ultimately they crucified Him because of this claim.
7. Jesus accepted worship as God. People worshiped Him as God and He allowed and encouraged them to. This means that He either is God, or He is a lunatic, or He is a cult leader. The option of good person or good teacher is not left open to us.
8. Jesus performed miracles, the greatest of which was raising other people from the dead and raising Himself from the dead. Incredible spiritual power.
9. Jesus knew the future, verbally predicted the future specifically, and was 100% right.

And then Mark explains that John gives us the reasons why we should listen to him, why we should trust him. John is an eyewitness. He was there for the first miracle, the first sermon, the special occasions - everything!

There are people these days, or even hundreds of years ago, that try to contradict eyewitness testimony - that's ludicrous! People 2000 yrs later writing books about things that they didn't even see. Whose testimony is more credible? How could you possibly accept anybody's testimony as more credible than John's?

It was a great sermon!