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1722. An Introduction to I John Pt. 2

The Daily Platform / Bob Jones University
The Truth Network Radio
March 5, 2024 10:40 pm

1722. An Introduction to I John Pt. 2

The Daily Platform / Bob Jones University

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March 5, 2024 10:40 pm

Dr. Steve Pettit continues a discipleship series entitled “Truth and Love” from 1 John.

The post 1722. An Introduction to I John Pt. 2 appeared first on THE DAILY PLATFORM.


Welcome to The Daily Platform from Bob Jones University in Greenville, South Carolina. The school was founded in 1927 by the evangelist Dr. Bob Jones, Sr. His intent was to make a school where Christ would be the center of everything so he established daily chapel services.

Today, that tradition continues with fervent biblical preaching from the University Chapel platform. Today on The Daily Platform, Dr. Steve Pettit is continuing a study series entitled Truth and Love, which is a study of the book of 1 John. Take your Bibles and turn with me please to 1 John chapter 1. Last week we started out with a basic introductory ideas of 1 John. Who was John? Why do we believe he was the one that wrote this particular letter of five chapters?

And what was his primary reason for writing it? So we call that introductory material. Today, I'd like to do my second introductory message to 1 John, but today it's very different and that is it's actually going to be along the style of the way that John writes. And that is that we're going to try to get the big picture of the book. So before we even delve into it, before we look into it, we're going to kind of step back and try to understand, okay, why did John write this? What is the big picture behind it so that when we now go to read it, it makes the difference?

And so today we'll look at that big picture. And one of the things that you immediately notice when you read John's letters and compare them, for example, to the letters of the Apostle Paul, like Romans, Galatians, Ephesians, Colossians, and so on, you find that the style of writing is very, very different. So what is that difference?

What's the difference between John and Paul? Well Paul's style, which is the way most of the New Testament letters are written, is very linear. It's like a road that is being constructed one section at a time. You've probably seen this many times as you travel on the interstate.

For example, if you live in Michigan, there's two seasons in Michigan. There's 4th of July and the rest of the year they're trying to reconstruct the roads. And like you build a road, you're building it with a goal of arriving at a particular destination.

You start here, you're trying to get here. That's called linear. It's like traveling on a one-way trip. You're going to drive, for example, from Greenville to Atlanta.

Or you can drive from Greenville to Charleston. So we can say that Paul's approach is very linear or a straight line. And Paul almost always follows a very logical thought. That's why we like reading his letters. Because he lays out, first of all, his points of doctrine. That is what we believe.

And then he proceeds to lay out practical applications. How we are to behave. So, for example, if you take the book of Ephesians, there's six chapters. The first three chapters we call it the wealth of the believer. The riches in Jesus. Then chapters 4 and 5 in the first half of chapter 6 is the walk of the believer.

And he uses the word walk over and over. And then the last part of the book is the warfare of the believer. It's very logical. When you read the book of Romans, there's 16 chapters.

But it's logical. The first 8 chapters are doctrinal. The next three chapters, chapters 9 through 11, are historical. And the last chapters, 12 to 16, are practical.

So we read Paul's letters and we understand very clearly how he's writing. But when we look at John's approach, we find it very, very different. Instead of being linear, it's much more circular. It doesn't mean he's going around in circles. It's a little bit more like taking a trip where you start and you finish in the same place.

I mean, we do that. For example, here in Greenville, we have a lot of wonderful places to go. One of those is up into the Smoky Mountains. And so it'd be like taking a day trip up to the mountains where you start out and you look at the mountains.

You're driving up. You see the big panoramic view of the mountains. And then you drive up and you get into the mountains. And you understand that once you get into the mountains, it looks very different than it is when you start out. And maybe you stop at varying points and you get vistas and you see all kinds of beautiful views. And then maybe you stop and you take a hike up into the mountains or you stop at a place to eat. And then you come back in the later afternoon and when you return home, you come back to the place you started. But this time, you think of the mountains differently because you see them differently. You now have a better understanding of what they look like. So what we see in John's letter is that he is taking us on a journey and he wants us to see some things. So think of it that way. And in order to get the big picture of what John is all about, you have to understand that there is a big problem.

Understanding the picture, you have to get an idea of the problem. So what's the problem in 1 John? Well, when John wrote this letter, he was very old. The fact is he was the last surviving apostle. He's the lone survivor. When he wrote this, it was some 60 years after Jesus had died and resurrected from the dead, and he was the only one left.

The others, they died martyr's deaths. And so here he is, and he is an elder, a pastor in the church of Ephesus, which is on the eastern side of Turkey. He has already written his Gospel, the Gospel according to John. He wrote that somewhere around 85 AD. And when he wrote the Gospel, the purpose of it is for evangelism. He was wanting to lead his readers to faith in Jesus Christ. So when he writes this letter, he's writing it not so much to people who are unbelievers, to understand Jesus, but he's actually writing to believers to understand their faith. And there was a big, big problem that had arisen in the church, and what was it?

It was this. There were false teachers who had arisen from within the church. Understand this, that the conflicts the church face are always external, that is pressure coming from the outside in generally by the world, but there's also internal problems. And in many cases, it's people on the inside who are professing believers who are not really Christians. And we know that when we see the disciples of Jesus, because there were 12 apostles, and one of them, Jesus said, was the devil. His name was Judas. So we have to understand the threat of the outside and the threat of the inside. And what had happened is, within the church, there were a group of teachers who began to advocate a kind of Christianity that was very different from what John had been teaching.

You could call it a shift, or you could call it a drift. You could say there's the old school, John, and then there's the new school. So the question is, what did these false teachers believe and propagate? Well, let me be honest with you, it's a bit complicated.

So I'm going to make it as simple as possible. Most writers call these false teachers gnostics. Have you ever heard of the gnostics?

G-N-O-S-T-I-C-S. That is a word that is actually taken from the Greek and turned into an English word. The word gnostic comes from the Greek word gnosis, which means knowledge. So what did the gnostics teach? Their fundamental belief was this, and this is foundational. They taught that the spirit, the spiritual part of man, is good, and that matter, or the physical side, is inherently evil.

Let me say it again. The spirit is good, and matter is evil. We call this dualism, a division of us as people, our bodies and our spirits. So there was a divide between immediately what is spiritual and what is material.

Now when you make that statement some of you should be sitting here going, okay, that doesn't sound right to me. And the reason it doesn't sound right to you is that when you understand creation, God, who is a spirit, creating a physical world, everything he made before the fall of Adam he said was what? He said it was good, including the creation of man in a physical body. Now since human beings live in a material body, the gnostics believed that the human spirit was trapped in the body, and deliverance was to be only experienced through a superior, higher knowledge, or what we call the gnosis. And therefore, the gnostics believed that salvation was not from sin, but salvation was from spiritual ignorance. You needed to be enlightened. The problem you had was in the realm of your understanding, and the ignorance is dispelled by knowledge or gnosis. That's why they're called gnostics. So, how did you get the knowledge?

Where do you come to get that knowledge? Well, the knowledge or the gnosis was brought by a messenger of light. Somebody had to come and bring you the message. And who was the main messenger? The main messenger was the Messiah, Jesus Christ. What did John call Jesus in John 1 and verse 1? In the beginning was the what?

Was the word, or the logos. And so he brings the word of the true God. Therefore, the gnostics did not believe that Jesus was a savior from sin, but rather he is a revealer of knowledge. So now you can begin to understand when you look at John 1 verse 1, when he says, in the beginning was the word, the word was with God, the word was God. And what does he say in John 1 and verse 14?

And the word became what? Human flesh, and he lived among us. And when we read the book of John, God is revealing Himself through His Son Jesus Christ, through His miracles, through His messages, and ultimately through His purpose of coming by dying on a cross so that we can have a relationship with God. Now, since the gnostics believed that deliverance was through spiritual knowledge, what did they reject? They rejected the incarnation of Christ, that is God becoming human flesh. And secondly, they rejected the atonement of Christ, that is God dying physically on a cross. And because this knowledge was received by a select number, the gnostics then had an attitude, you understand this, of intellectual elitism.

And those that were unenlightened, the members of the church, the ones who hadn't seen it yet, were held into contempt. And by the way, contempt is very powerful in a shame culture. In the United States of America, we don't live in a shame culture, we live in a guilt culture. And guilt culture is based upon individual responsibilities. You need to do this, this, this, and this, and if you don't, it's wrong.

Okay? That's guilt culture. Shame culture is very different, and the Middle East was a shame culture. Those of you that grow up in an Asian culture, you understand exactly what it is.

It is your connection to individuals, where you have a sense of responsibility to your family, group, tribe, or people group. And in this culture, shame was very, very powerful. By the way, when Jesus died on the cross, the book of Hebrews tells us that Jesus died in public, in shame, and yet he despised the shame. The very contempt that came to him, he held it in contempt because of his relationship with his Father.

So what does this do? These false teachers then denied three fundamental truths of the Gospel. Doctrinally, they denied the deed of Jesus and his sacrifice on the cross. Secondly, they denied morally the sinful depravity of man, and man's problem is not his sinful actions, but it is actually his lack of understanding. And thirdly, they did not practice love towards genuine believers, and so they were deficient relationally. In other words, the atmosphere was not an atmosphere of love, but it was more of an atmosphere of elitism and pride. One writer said these false teachers were perverted in their Christology, and they were deficient in their morality.

So here's the big problem. These people arose within the church, they began to teach something that was opposite of what John was teaching, and what did the false teachers do? They didn't stay in the church, they left the church. They separated themselves from the church, and what did they do?

Did they quit what they were doing? No, they went out and they started their own churches. They started their own ministries. And the problem was they were still in contact with the former church members. So you can imagine, if you're a church member believing the writings of John, believing what John taught, believing the apostles' doctrine, and suddenly within your own congregation rises up these people in a very slow and a very subtle way, teaching something that was different from John to the point that it brought contention in the church, and they ended up leaving, going out, starting their own churches. And here was even a bigger problem, because if you read it carefully in 1 John, it says they went out from among us because they were not a part of us, and people began to flock to their churches because of their message. For their message did not bring conviction, their message did not bring conversion.

It allowed people to live in their sin and believe in God, and as a result, it brought all kinds of instability and uncertainty among the people of God. You can only imagine the questions that Christians were asking. Are they right? Are we really in the truth? Do we really know God?

Who is Jesus? Have we really experienced eternal life? I mean, we've been taught that if we believe, we will have eternal life.

Do we really have eternal life? So why did John write this letter? Because of this problem. And he is combating error with truth. And he is reassuring the believers, those who are truly saved, with understanding what it means to be a true Christian. So what was John's approach in writing this letter?

What is the big picture? Let's go back and look at 1 John chapter 1 and verse 1, and let me read to you the first four verses. We call this the introduction or the prologue, and right here we get an understanding, a sense since we understand the background.

Now we can see it with clear eyes. Notice what he says. That which was from the beginning, he's speaking of Jesus, which we have heard, which we have seen with our eyes, which we have looked upon, and our hands have handled, of the word of life.

Think about what I've just told you. That Jesus is the messenger with the word of life, but they were teaching something very different. Here, the emphasis is on the body, the physical body of Jesus. Notice he says, for the life was manifested, and we have seen it and bear witness and show unto you that eternal life, which was with the Father and was manifested in us, that which we have seen and heard declare we unto you that you also may have fellowship with us. He's talking about those believers in the church who are true believers in Jesus, who are having true fellowship with God. He says, and truly our fellowship is with the Father and with His Son Jesus Christ. We are in the truth, truth and love. And these things we write unto you that your joy may be full. In other words, instead of being unstable and being confused, he's writing that they will be at peace, that they will know that they are true believers. So John begins his letter by stating that the word of life, the logos, the true knowledge of what life is all about, is found in a person.

It's found in a human being, Jesus Christ. This human was the eternal God who took on human flesh. And John says this person is someone he saw, someone he spoke to, and somebody he physically touched. The word of life has a real human body made of flesh and bones and blood. And John says this is the one through whom we can have eternal life and through whom we can experience life in its fullness.

Jesus said, I've come that you might have life and have it more abundantly. So he is saying here that 1 John is written almost like if you could take a pyramid and flip it upside down so that the apex or the high point is at the very start, the beginning. He starts at the high point. Jesus Christ, God, became a human being. And from there he expands outward like a funnel or a spiral going upward, explaining what this life looks like. So he starts with Jesus and he explains it going up. And the rest of the letter explains what it looks like when somebody has a relationship with Jesus.

So what's John's big picture? We see this in the keyword that's used in John in his letter here 37 times. 37 times he uses this word. And what is the word? It's the word no. It's the word gnosis.

It's actually going directly against the gnostics. 1 John 5 13, I write these things to you who believe in the name of the Son of God that you may know that you have eternal life. He is saying the word no means an experiential relationship. When you get married, you may not know your spouse very well before you get married, but when you say I do and she says I do and the preacher says you're done, you're getting ready to know somebody.

It's experiential. John writes this letter so that you will experientially and relationally know that you have eternal life. Brindley said something this morning in her testimony that is important.

And it's true of the vast percentage of most of you sitting here. That is you've grown up in a Christian home. And you've had the knowledge of Jesus more or less most of your life. Fact is you've probably asked Jesus to save you more than once. How many of you have ever asked Jesus to save you?

Raise your hand. How many of you have ever asked Jesus to save you more than once? You know, if I didn't mean it then, I mean it now. You understand, okay? I get that. I've got four kids that grew up in a Christian home, and they grew up in a home of an evangelist, and they went to church every night.

And yet my kids are like your kids. When did you get saved? Well, I think I got saved now at this particular time, but deep in my heart I may not know that.

And why was 1 John written? So that you will experientially and relationally know that you have eternal life. I accepted the Lord as a 19-year-old freshman in college. I remember when I got saved.

I remember the message I heard. I remember the pastor or the preacher calling for people to respond, and on that day I asked Jesus to save me. But I was a new Christian, and I would sometimes commit sins that I would feel guilty about, and I would come back to God and ask His forgiveness, and I would say, God saved me. I want to be saved.

It's like I was very sincere. I wanted God to deliver me. And deep in my heart I knew I had accepted Jesus, but I really was not fully assured 100% that I really was saved. Until my sophomore year of college, I went to a Bible study on our campus, and I walked in and the teacher said, I'm going to talk to you about the evidences of salvation. In other words, when you get saved, here's what happens in the life of a person who's truly a child of God, the evidences. And what did he teach from? He taught from 1 John. And after that Bible study, when he went through the whole book, the funnel approach, the broader approach, after he went through the evidences of salvation, for the first time in my life, I knew, I knew, I knew that I had eternal life.

I knew it. And I remember walking out of that Bible study in the darkness of night with this incredible sense of peace, that I really knew the Lord, and most importantly, the Lord knew me in the sense that He chose me and He saved me. My hope this semester is we work through 1 John, which is the big picture, understanding it, that he wrote it, that we would experientially and relationally know that we have eternal life, that our faith will be solidified and strengthened, and we will have a stronger assurance and confidence that we are children of God. I hope that you'll experience that and that you'll be able to testify of that. Lord, we thank you for your word and we thank you that we can know you. We pray, Lord, for these that are here that are not really deep in their heart, confident that they're children of God.

And Lord, I know that that makes them very susceptible to false teaching. Father, I pray that you will bless and protect. I pray that there will be people in this room that will truly pursue after the knowledge this experiential understanding that they will know that they have eternal life. And we ask these things in Jesus' name.

Amen. You've been listening to a sermon from the book of 1 John by Dr. Steve Pettit. If you would like more information about how the biblical principles of creation, fall, and redemption are applied in Christian education, we would like to make you aware of the textbook division of Bob Jones University called BJU Press. BJU Press produces textbooks and educational materials for preschool through 12th grade, and the textbooks are filled with biblical worldview integration, not just in the Bible course textbooks, but in all academic subjects. As stated on their website, we shape each subject according to the lens of Scripture. Each discipline takes on a new meaning when we apply the themes of creation, fall, and redemption. If you would like more information about BJU Press for both Christian schools and home schools, go to slash about, where you can find out more about how biblical worldview, academic rigor, and critical thinking is integrated into all of their textbooks and classroom material. Once again, that's slash about. Thanks again for listening. Join us again tomorrow as we continue the study in 1 John on The Daily Platform.
Whisper: medium.en / 2024-03-06 00:39:25 / 2024-03-06 00:48:39 / 9

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