1 John 5:6-12.
Testimony concerning Jesus:The outer objective events & the inner subjective experience.
Review Background: Gnosticism [in its early stages]
Q> What are the main teachings of gnostic thinking?
– matter is evil
– spiritual is good
Q> What implications does that have for the Christians?
-esp. regarding the person of Jesus Christ
– Christ not really human
– Jesus not really divine
cf. 4v2; 2Jnv7. ” Acknowledging Christ come in the flesh”
1. THE OUTER, OBJECTIVE EVENTS TESTIFYING ABOUT JESUS. [v6-9]
6 This is the one who came by water and blood — Jesus Christ. He did not come by water only, but by water and blood.
Q> How can water and blood be a testimony about who Jesus is?
– three possible explanations:-
1) the sacraments – water ref.to Baptism
– blood reference to Communion
[difficulty is no ref. to body].
2) blood and water from the side of Jesus on the cross [Jn 19v35]
Q> What does this signify? – water=cleansing / blood=sacrifice
But the context in which John is writing – we must bear in mind the ‘gnostic’ problem – the distinction they made between Jesus and Christ. Cerinthian Gnostics – Jesus natural child of Joseph and Mary upon whom Christ descended at his baptism and left before his crucifixion.
3) Water – signifying his baptism – not where he became “Christ” but where he was Declared to be “Son of God” – commissioned and empowered
Blood – reference to his death.
[The heretics would have agreed that Jesus was Christ at his baptism but NOT at his death (Christ supposedly having left him)] John therefore emphasizes He is Christ at his death also!! Thus v6 “This IS he……” [present tense] HE is both the man Jesus and the Christ of God.
Q> Why is this so important?
– If Jesus is not the Son of God and if he did not die for our sins then he CAN’T reconcile us to God.
So these are outer objestive historical witnesses.
Q> Is there a sense in which these to symbols are also present witnesses?
– water to cleanse from all pollution – sin…
– blood to atone for all guilt
SPIRIT – And it is the Spirit who testifies, because the Spirit is the truth.
Q> Who is this Spirit [cf. 4v2]
Q> What does the fact that the Spirit ‘testifies tells us?
– that the Spirit is a person not and “it”
26 “When the Counsellor comes, whom I will send to you from the Father, the Spirit of truth who goes out from the Father, he will testify about me. (NIV)
12 “I have much more to say to you, more than you can now bear. 13 But when he, the Spirit of truth, comes, he will guide you into all truth. He will not speak on his own; he will speak only what he hears, and he will tell you what is yet to come. 14 He will bring glory to me by taking from what is mine and making it known to you. 15 All that belongs to the Father is mine. That is why I said the Spirit will take from what is mine and make it known to you.
Q> What is the major function of the Spirit?
– to bear witness to and glorify Christ!!
Q> Is the Spirit’s witness historical??
– Yes = he came at Pentecoste
BUT also subjective and inward.
2. THE INNER SUBJECTIVE EXPERIENCE TESTIFYING ABOUT JESUS.
Q> How does the Spirit bear witness?
– 1 Corinthians 12:3 3 Therefore I tell you that no-one who is speaking by the Spirit of God says, “Jesus be cursed,” and no-one can say, “Jesus is Lord,” except by the Holy Spirit. (NIV)
1 John 3:24 24 Those who obey his commands live in him, and he in them. And this is how we know that he lives in us: We know it by the Spirit he gave us. (NIV)
Q> What verse in Ephesians 1 tells us about the Spirit’s witness?
– Ephesians 1:13-14…………. Having believed, you were marked in him with a seal, the promised Holy Spirit, 14 who is a deposit guaranteeing our inheritance until the redemption of those who are God’s possession — to the praise of his glory. (NIV)
God bore witness to His Son in History and he bears witness to him today by his Spirit in our hearts.
This is God’s testimony about Jesus –IF we accept man’s testimony how much more should we accept God’s!!
3. THE PURPOSE OF THE TESTIMONY ABOUT JESUS.
10 Anyone who believes in the Son of God has this testimony in his heart. Anyone who does not believe God has made him out to be a liar, because he has not believed the testimony God has given about his Son.
God helps us to understand WHAT we believe – Q> What else does the first part of v.10 tells us about the witness in us??
– THAT we believe!!
Q> What is the ultimate witness that God gives to testify to the fact that Jesus is the Christ the Son of God??
– v.11 – 11 And this is the testimony: God has given us eternal life, and this life is in his Son.
– eternal life itself !!!
Vs. 11-12 tell us three important things about eternal life –
Q> Can you spot these three things
i) it is a gift
ii) it is through Christ alone – God gave his Son [historically] and now gives Him [as people turn to him for salvation].
iii) it is now and to come [life of the age]
There are two issues that John is dealing with in this passage. [vs.6-12]
Q> Can you identify them – broad catergories?
– Christology – who Jesus is.
– Soteriology – where salvation and eternal life are to be found!!
If you believe in Jesus you have eternal life – if you have eternal life it is because you believe in Jesus!
Eternal life begins now but will continue in a more wonderful way after this life!
John Newton about heaven
“When I get to heaven I shall see three wonders there – the first wonder will be to see many people there whom I did not expect to see; the second wonder will be to miss many people whom I did expect to see there; and the third and greatest wonder of all will be to find myself there”