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1721. An Introduction to I John Pt. 1

The Daily Platform / Bob Jones University
The Truth Network Radio
March 4, 2024 10:35 pm

1721. An Introduction to I John Pt. 1

The Daily Platform / Bob Jones University

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March 4, 2024 10:35 pm

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

The post 1721. An Introduction to I John Pt. 1 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 will begin a study series entitled Truth and Love, which is a study of the book of 1 John. Well, I'm going to ask you to take your Bibles and turn with me, if you will, please, this morning to 1 John. 1 John in the New Testament.

If you're not sure where it is, it's right before 2 John, if that helps you this morning. If you've ever spent any time traveling, you cannot help but be impressed in our country with the diversity of the beauty of the United States of America. Whether you swim in the crystal clear waters of South Florida, or you meander through the Smoky Mountains, or you shop in the quaint villages of New England, or you drive across the vast open plains of the Midwest, or you stand in awe of a rocky mountain vista, or you travel the whole state of California that seems to have it all, the compelling beauty of the USA is found in its diversity. And diversity is also what we discover in the writing styles of the New Testament authors. That is, men like Paul, and Peter, and James, and Jude, and John. This semester we're going to see the diversity of one of our New Testament writers, that is John, as we spend time studying one of his writings. Now the Apostle John wrote five New Testament books. Do you know what they are? The first one is the Gospel According to John.

We're doing good so far. The second one is the last book of the New Testament. That's what? The Revelation. And then John's three letters called John's Epistles. First John, Second John, and Third John. So you can look at it this way, John wrote at the beginning of our faith, that's his Gospel, at the end of our faith, that's the book of the Revelation, and the life of faith in between his epistles. In this semester we're going to take time to study the fourth chapter of John's first epistle. So what is an epistle? Someone has said that an epistle is the wife of an apostle.

Well if that's the case, then John had three wives. First epistle, second epistle, and third epistle. You guys are not even laughing, it's supposed to be funny. It's kind of a bad joke, but anyway.

We always have mockers in the crowd, thank you. So we're going to study John's first letter, his first epistle, and this week and next week are going to be introductory messages. The purpose of it is to set up the study in First John chapter four.

So today we'll take time to grasp three things. Number one, John as a person, who was he? Number two, why do we believe that he wrote this letter? And then number three, what was the purpose behind the writing? What was, if we could say, what was going on in that day that allows us as we read it to get a better look at the letter in and of itself? And then next week we'll try to understand John's big idea.

What is it that he's trying to communicate to us? So let's begin this morning, first of all, with John as a person. What do we know about him when we look into the New Testament? Well first of all, John and his brother James were two of Jesus' twelve disciples. They were both fishermen.

They worked for their father, whose name was Zebedee, in his fishing business on the Sea of Galilee. And when Jesus called these two brothers to be his disciples, they immediately left their nets and the Bible says they followed Jesus. Secondly, John was Jesus' dearly beloved friend.

We could say he was his best friend. We read in John chapter 21 and verse 20 that he is called the disciple whom Jesus loved. John was a part of the inner circle of the twelve disciples because there were three disciples particularly that stood out. Peter, James, and John. And these three amigos, you could say, were in a sense exclusively permitted to be with Jesus and three key events of Jesus' life that no other disciples were with them.

The first event was the transfiguration of Jesus on the mountain when he began to shine as bright as the sun. The second was when he went into the home of Jairus' daughter and raised her from the dead. And the third is when Jesus was suffering in the Garden of Gethsemane and he was praying and Peter, James, and John were with him there.

Someone has suggested that these three men were uniquely permitted, number one, to know Jesus, the transfiguration, the power of his resurrection, Jairus' daughter, and the fellowship of his sufferings in the Garden of Gethsemane. Jesus was so close to John that when he was dying on the cross, Jesus asked John to take care of his mother. That request he fulfilled as we read it in John chapter 19. And history tells us that John cared for Mary until she died and she was buried in Ephesus in Turkey where John ministered. So it appears that Jesus had no closer friend on earth than John. And there's no surprise that John is known as the apostle of love and that the theme of love is weaved throughout all of his letters.

And I think it's appropriate for us, even in our tagline here at school, to make that an emphasis, learn, love, and lead. And then number three, after Jesus ascended into Heaven, John became a very important witness to the resurrection of Jesus. According to what John writes in his Gospel chapter 20, he was the first disciple to believe in the resurrection. You remember Jesus said repeatedly to his disciples he was going to be crucified and he would rise from the dead.

We could say it this way, it didn't click for them. They didn't get it until after the resurrection and John was the first one to believe it. Let me read to you beginning in verse one of John 20 and we'll see this. Now on the first day of the week Mary Magdalene came to the tomb early while it was still dark and saw that the stone had been taken away from the tomb. So she ran and went to Simon Peter and the other disciple, the one whom Jesus loved. By the way, John never mentions his name in his Gospel.

He always mentions him as the other disciple. And she said to them, they have taken the Lord out of the tomb and we do not know where they have laid him. So Peter went out with the other disciple and they were going toward the tomb and both of them were running together. But the other disciple outran Peter and reached the tomb first. And stooping to look in he saw the linen clothes lying there, but he did not go in. Then Simon Peter came following him and went into the tomb.

He saw the linen clothes lying there and the face cloth, which had been on Jesus' head, not lying with the linen cloths but folded up in a place by itself. And then the other disciple who reached the tomb first also went in and he saw and believed. John was the first disciple to believe in the resurrection. And then number four, from history we have learned that John eventually pastored in Ephesus.

Ephesus is in Turkey on the far eastern side of the country. He outlived all the other apostles because we know that all of the disciples of Jesus except for John died a martyr's death. John died as an old man. He wrote his Gospel, his three letters and the book of the Revelation in the last decade or towards the end of the first century and he died in Ephesus in the late 90s AD. So how do we know then, which leads to the second question, that John actually wrote this letter? Or maybe I should say it this way, why would we even question John's authorship of these letters? Well we know this, that almost every New Testament letter begins with the author introducing himself. So if you read Paul's letters, he doesn't sign his name at the end.

He begins by introducing himself, Paul, an apostle. We know this is true of Peter's letters. We know this is true of James.

We know this is true of Jude. But this is not true of John. So if John never identifies himself, how can we be certain that he wrote this letter?

In two ways. Number one, first of all, we have internal evidence. That is, as we look at the letter and we compare it to other things, it's clear that John is the author. For example, whoever the author is who wrote 1 John, he made it clear that he was an eyewitness of Jesus' earthly ministry and he knew Jesus personally. Let me read to you 1 John chapter 1 verse 1. That which was from the beginning, 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. For the life was manifested and we have seen it.

An apostle was one who had seen Jesus, had served with Jesus, and they were sent out by Jesus. So whoever wrote 1 John obviously had seen Jesus. But we also can look at the general themes of John's gospel and John's epistle and we see how that they parallel and they link with each other in various things. For example, we find that there's the emphasis of the devil and the beginning. Let me read to you John 8 44. You are of your father the devil and the lust of your father you will do.

He was a murderer from the beginning. Listen to 1 John 3 8. He that committeth sin is of the devil for the devil sinneth from the beginning.

In other words, same language. We also see this in his emphasis on walking in darkness. 1 John 1 6. If we say that we have fellowship with him and walk in darkness we lie and do not the truth. John 8 12. I am the light of the world. He that followeth me shall not walk in darkness but shall have the light of life.

In other words, it's the same language. And then we find this in his emphasis on being born again. John chapter 1 verse 13. Which were born not of blood nor the will of the flesh nor the will of man but of God. And then 1 John 2 29.

If you know that he is righteous you know that everyone that doeth righteousness is born of him. So what we find are we find these unique phrases in both books that you don't find in Paul's writing and you don't find in Peter's writings. However, the most compelling evidence is actually found in the purpose statements of John's gospel and John's first epistle.

And it is clear that they both have the same intentions but one statement builds on top of the other. What was the purpose statement of the gospel of John? John 20 verse 31. But these are written that you might believe that Jesus is the Christ, the son of God and that believing you might have life through his name. What's the purpose statement of 1 John 5 verse 13? These things have I written unto you that believe on the name of the son of God that you may know that you have eternal life and that you may believe on the name of the son of God. In other words, when you look at them and put them together it's clear that the same person that wrote John's gospel is the author of John's letter. So it becomes very clear that John wrote this letter. So that's the internal evidence.

But what about external evidence? Can we look at church history and discover what others believed? Well when we go back and we see this we can look at the early church fathers. Who are the early church fathers? These were recognized church leaders who lived in the first and the second century A.D. That is they would have either lived during the time of the apostles or they would have been taught by those who had been taught by the apostles. For example, when I was a student here at Bob Jones I was taught preaching or I was taught expository preaching by a man named Dr. Stewart Custer. So he taught me and I'm teaching you. And in one way we have people who were taught by John who taught others and the others were writing about that.

It's the same type thing. So for example, one was known as Clement of Alexandria. He lived from 150 to 215 and in his writings he attributed this letter to John. Another was a man named Irenus.

He died in 202 A.D. He was a church leader in France. In his writings he quoted from 1 John as he wrote against the heresies of his day.

In the fourth century the famous church historian Eusebius quotes another man who lived during the time of John. His name was Papias. Papias was called a hearer of John and a companion of a man named Polycarp.

Have you ever heard of Polycarp? He was a disciple of John. He lived in Turkey in a town called Hierapolis.

I've had the privilege of going there. And Eusebius writes that Papias used testimonies from the first epistle of John. So as we look at both the internal and the external evidence we see that the early church fathers believed that the letter was God's inspired words penned by the Apostle John. Now that leads me to the third and my last point. And that is, what is it that motivated John to write this letter?

And this is really, really important for our day. We've already noted that John wrote his Gospel with the purpose of leading his readers to saving faith. But his letter was slightly different. We would say it's more pastoral. And when we say something is pastoral that means it is more for the believers of the church.

Not the outsiders, but primarily the insiders. And the primary reason John wrote this letter was to help the churches in his time through a very troubling issue. You know, some people have the idea that churches shouldn't have problems. Well, if you don't want to join a church with problems, then definitely you shouldn't join it.

Because if you join it, you're going to mess it up. Because churches always have problems. Paul wrote his letters to deal with issues. Remember, we are saved sinners. And because of that, we're in the process of being sanctified and growing. So what was the issue in John's day?

Think with me. John was writing to an established Christian congregation in the city of Ephesus. When he wrote, that church was probably somewhere around 40 years old. That was the age of the church. This letter would have been circulated to all the churches in that area. And we know that according to the book of the Revelation, it was written to seven churches in that region of Turkey known as Asia. And so we know that those churches had issues.

They had problems. So to give you an idea of the age of churches, I was thinking of the churches in the greater Greenville area where many of you go to church. Listen to the ages of these churches, okay? Morningside Baptist is 65 years old. Mount Calvary Baptist is 60 years old. Faith Baptist Church is 55 years old. Heritage Bible Church is 47 years old. Faith Free Presbyterian is 45 years old. Community Baptist is 36.

Calvary and Simpsonville is 35. Cornerstone Baptist is 20 years old. Grace Baptist Fellowship is 13 years old.

Palmetto Baptist Church is 11 years old. Then we have many more denominational churches in Greenville that are much older than that. But the point I want to say is that this gives you the idea that the Church of Ephesus would have been similar to one of the churches that you are attending in its age. And the churches in the book of Revelation were facing what all churches face in every Christian age, and that is there is a tendency to drift. A drift towards spiritual apathy.

A slow decline in brotherly love, in passion, so that the church in time can become formal, it can become half-hearted, and it can become nominal. And we know this is true because John writes to the seven churches in Asia, and when he writes to the Church of Ephesus, he condemns them because they left their first love. This happens oftentimes in Christian families. My wife and I are first-generation Christians. In other words, I'm the first Christian in my family, and my wife was one of the first Christians in her family.

And because of that, I got saved at 19, my wife got saved as a younger girl. We grow up differently. We don't grow up in a Christian family, we grow up in the world. And to us, the world is really clear. But you know what? I've got children now and grandchildren who grow up very differently.

And we talk about that. And so sometimes you're first-generation Christians are much more fiery and much more fervent. And then the children, it's not that they don't believe, they believe, but it's just different.

And as time goes along, it is very easy to lose your first love, or to leave your first love, I should say. And the church begins to decline, and when the church declines, it becomes more susceptible to two things. Number one, the seductive power of the world, worldliness. And secondly, a philosophy of life that is foreign to the Christian faith.

In other words, we would say a mixture with the world. And this was the atmosphere in which an issue arose within the Christian community to which John is writing. And what was it? Well, it appears like an unnamed group within the church, you can read this, began to advocate an understanding of Christianity that was different from what had been taught by John and the apostles. It was internal within the church. And these people denied the fundamental truths of the Gospel in three areas. Number one, doctrinally, they denied the deity of Jesus and his atoning sacrifice. Number two, they began to change their viewpoint on morality.

And they started to reject the inherent sinful depravity of man. And then thirdly, relationally, they stopped practicing love towards genuine believers. And because of their rejection of the teaching of the apostles, they left, or they separated themselves from the church.

We could say this way, they were defectors, they went out. But just because they left the church did not mean that their influence ceased. For these who went out actually started their own churches.

They sent out their own traveling ministers. And as a result, they began to impact the true church in three ways. Number one, they were drawing away naive and gullible believers. When a believer is immature, he is immature because he doesn't know doctrine. And number two, he's not committed to living his life for God.

He's not committed to holiness. One of the great issues in the church has always been believers who are susceptible to error because of ignorance and because of a lack of personal self-denial. Secondly, these churches began to gather a following from the world. The world was being attracted to the church. But when they came to the church, it was not necessarily to be converted.

And let me just say this to all of us here. The problem of designing a church to attract unbelievers is destructive to the church. You don't reach the world by becoming like the world. You reach the world by being different from the world, by loving them, by serving them, and preaching the gospel to them. The nature of the church is always different from the world. Therefore, this should be reflected in both our message, what we're saying, and in the way in which we worship. We worship God differently than from the world. And when an unbeliever comes to the church, he should not come and feel, he can feel loved, but that doesn't mean he feels comfortable.

He should come and be convinced, convinced that God is among us and be convinced of the truth of the gospel and that he needs to be saved. And so these churches were gathering a following from the world without being genuinely converted. And then finally, let me say that these false teachers were producing confusion and uncertainty in the minds of the believers who remained loyal to John, who was an apostle, and who stayed within the church.

In other words, the people within the church were being confused. And that was the overall attitude that had come amongst the believers. So why did John write this letter? We often say John writes this letter for the assurance of our salvation, and that is true, but it's more than that. It was to fortify the faith of these true believers who were being faithful and to bolster their assurance and their confidence of salvation. First John 5, 13, these things have I written unto you that believe on the name of the Son of God. That is to those of you that are believers that you may know, you may be confident, you may be convinced that you have eternal life and that you may believe on the name of the Son of God. So why study First John, especially chapter four? Because in this chapter, John unfolds the essence of a true Christian life. We live in truth and we walk in love.

That's the way we're to live. We live in the truth and we walk in love. And that's why our theme this semester is truth and love. And may God help us to be both in our life that we are walking in love and we are living in truth. Lord, we thank you for your word and we pray that you'll bless this semester together as we study your word, as we learn it and help us to grow in it. In Jesus name. Amen. You've been listening to a sermon from the book of First John by Dr. Steve Pettit. Thanks again for listening. Join us again tomorrow as we continue the study in First John on The Daily Platform.
Whisper: medium.en / 2024-03-06 00:30:22 / 2024-03-06 00:39:24 / 9

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