Vital Signs Series:
Introduction and Opening Words
1 John 1:1-4
Pastor Ron Johnson
Vital signs are signs of life.
When life begins to dwindle or even disappear altogether, vital signs change dramatically (breathing changes, blood pressure & heart rate drop etc.).
I share these things because we're about to start a series in the book of 1 John and one of the things I love most about the book is that the author tells us very specifically WHY he wrote it.
Turn with me if you would to 1 John 5:13 where the author declares “I write these things (all he had written in the letter) to you who believe in the name of the Son of God, that (purpose) you may ________ that you ________ ____________ _______.”
And when he speaks of knowing you have eternal life, he has in mind primarily that he wants those who say they believe in the name of Jesus to be CERTAIN they have a true relationship with God through Jesus Christ and are really saved.
The book of 1 John was written so that you might be able to check your _________ _______ _________. It was written that you might be ___________ you know Jesus and have eternal life.
And just as the presence of the spiritual vital signs we’ll discover in 1 John are indicators someone truly knows God, the absence of the same spiritual vital signs say something too. Namely, a person whose life does not possess these indicators does NOT know God and does NOT have eternal life.
Are you ready to check your own spiritual vital signs? This is a very good and wise thing for you and I to do.
Did you know the Apostle Paul told those who questioned his Apostleship in 2 Cor 13:5 Examine yourselves, to see whether you are in the faith… Test yourselves… Or do you not realize this about yourselves, that Jesus Christ is in you?—unless indeed you fail to meet the test (not approved)!
The book of 1 John was written by John (the very same disciple of JC) who wrote the gospel of John and the gospel of John was written (according to John himself) that people might hear what he had written about Christ and __________ while the book of 1John was written that believers might be certain or __________ they believe.
Consider how in 1 John 2:19 John referred to those who
...went out from us, but they were not of us; for if they had been of us, they would have continued with us. But they went out, that it might become plain that they all are not of us.
We should understand John as referring to professing believers here who went out from the letters recipients and even abandoned true fellowship altogether.
As we journey through this book together, I want you to keep in mind that John didn't list these spiritual vital signs so we could use them to harshly judge others. He wrote the
them in order that you might not be ___________ about your own faith, perhaps thinking you know Christ and sadly one day discovering you never did.
This morning’s passage
1 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— 2 the life was made manifest, and we have seen it, and testify to it and proclaim to you the eternal life, which was with the Father and was made manifest to us— 3 that which we have seen and heard we proclaim also to you, so that you too may have fellowship with us; and indeed our fellowship is with the Father and with his Son Jesus Christ. 4 And we are writing these things so that our joy may be complete.
We believe the same John who wrote the Gospel of John wrote 1 John because 1) vv 1-3 make it pretty clear the author was an ______ ____________ of Jesus and the events recorded in the gospels 2) The recipients of the letter understood the author to be someone with ____________ (like John possessed as an Apostle) and finally 3) The author wrote with a __________ and ____________ that is strikingly similar to the gospel of John.
The letters recipients should be understood as a community of believers who professed faith in Jesus and appeared to be cared for by him as a shepherd in some capacity
In vv 1-4 he offers encouragement that the message of Jesus or Christianity as a faith is _______ and that the eternal life offered in Jesus is _________!
In short, John wants his readers to understand that as an apostle, he personally witnessed Jesus and His ministry. In fact, John (along with Peter and James) was 1 of 3 Apostles who were probably closer to Jesus than any other.
John didn’t merely know stories that had been passed down about Jesus, he actually saw and ate with Him regularly, served with Him, learned from Him, witnessed his crucifixion and even saw the resurrected Christ with his own eyes and he's declaring to the letter's recipients as well as to you and I today... the message of Jesus as the incarnate Son of God is real! You’re talking to an eye witness here!
And because the message and person of Jesus are true, John and others _________ Christ as eternal life.
According to John, Jesus (the one on whom the reliability of the entire Christian faith rests) is real and He’s so real, he considers it his business, privilege and duty to proclaim Him!
Is He that real to you? If so, are you proclaiming Him to others?
John expresses in v 4 that one of his goals for the letter is also to bring joy to his readers and the idea appears to be something like this… Proclaiming a TRUE Gospel and A TRUE Jesus brings about a genuine fellowship in eternal life which results in JOY.
Come ready to check your spiritual vitals next week!