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November 30, 2020 7:00 pm
BJU President Steve Pettit begins a discipleship series entitled “Truth and Love” from 1 John 1
Welcome to The Daily Platform sponsored by Bob Jones University today Dr. Steve Pettit, president of BJ you begins a series entitled truth and love from the book of first John like to invite your attention this morning to the book of first John and I give you a few moments to get there. If you're not sure where it is. It's right before second John, if that helps you this morning were going to begin our series on truth and love.
If you don't have your book with you. I would encourage you that you bring that. That way you can keep notes in your book and also there things that you can go back to later own. If you've ever spent any time traveling throughout the United States. You cannot help but be impressed with the good with the diversity of the beauty of our country. Whether you swim in the crystal clear waters of South Florida or you meander through the Smoky Mountains or you shop in a quaint village in New England. Or maybe you've driven across the open plains of the Midwest or perhaps you stood and out and all is you look at the Rocky Mount Vista. Or maybe you visited the whole state of California which is just diversity everywhere. The compelling beauty of the United States of America is seen in its diversity and this is actually true. When we read the New Testament because we see the diversity of the writing styles of the New Testament authors, for example, most of us are used to the style of the apostle Paul in the way that he writes, but there were other writers like Peter, James, Jude, and John and all of them are quite different and this semester we will see this diversity as we spend time studying one of the writings of the apostle John that John actually wrote five New Testament books only Paul wrote more than John. These books include the gospel according to John, the book of the Revelation and John's three epistles. Someone said he wrote in the blink he rewrote on the beginning of faith the end of faith in the life of faith in between. This semester were going to spend our time studying the fourth chapter of John's first epistle. So what is an epistle. Someone said that an epistle is the wife of an apostle.
Well, if that's true then there's a problem because John had three wives first epistle, second epistle and third epistle what is an epistle. It is a letter and this this morning and beginning over the semester, we are going to study par a part of John's first letter this week and next week we will be introductory messages today were going to seek to get a better grasp on John as a person why we believe he wrote this letter and what was his main purpose in writing what was the motivation behind and next week we will seek to understand the big idea of John.
That is what is it that John is trying to communicate and say and then the rest of the semester will be looking at the fourth chapter.
So let's begin this morning with John as a person. What we know about him, we know first of all, that John had a brother whose name was James and the two of them both were one word were two of the 12 disciples of Jesus.
They were both fishermen.
They work with their father Zebedee. He had a fishing business on the Sea of Galilee when Jesus called these two brothers to be his disciples. They both immediately (not their nets and they followed Jesus. One of the things that they were also called by Jesus almost as a nickname is the Sons of thunder. Why because they were very zealous and passionate in following Christ. John was also Jesus is dearly beloved friend John said of himself that he was the disciple whom Jesus loved Summit suggested that this was Jesus's best friend. I think that's interesting. It gives us that you met humanity of our Lord that he had in John a best friend John was a part of the inner circle of Jesus that included Peter James and John.
These three disciples were exclusively permitted to be with Jesus in three key events in his life. The first was the Mount of Transfiguration, where his body began to shine with brilliant light. The second was in the raising of gyrus's daughter from the dead, and the third was that these three men were with Jesus exclusively in the garden of Gethsemane.
As he prayed in agony. Someone is said that these three men were uniquely permitted to know Jesus and the power of his resurrection and the fellowship of his suffering. Jesus was so close to John that when he was dying on the cross. He asked John to do something for him to remember what it was.
He asked John to take care of his mother.
He said to his mother, woman, behold thy son is not speaking of himself. He was speaking of John and then he said to John, behold, thy mother what he was sit saying yes would you take care of my mother and we know that that's true because history says that John cared for Mary until the day that she was died in according to tradition, Mary was buried in the city of Ephesus where John ministered it was my privilege to go there number of years ago to go to the tomb of Mary so it appears like Jesus had no closer friend on earth than the apostle John.
And maybe that's why he's called the apostle of love because of the emphasis of our Lord and then we know after Jesus resurrected from the dead. John became a very important witness to that resurrection. You can go to the 20th chapter of John's Gospel and read it from the beginning is the story of Mary going to the tomb, saying that the stone is rolled away and that she goes back and tells the disciples and Peter and John race with one another to the tomb and Peter was faster because he got to the tomb first and then it tells us that John also went into the tomb and it says something interesting in verse eight of John 20.
It says the other disciple, who reached the tomb first. That's John Nguyen and any Saul and he believed and that is the testimony that John was the first disciple to believe in the resurrection and the rest of his days.
Wouldn't he do in his preaching. He preached that resurrection.
John was a part of the church of the day of Pentecost in acts two. He was with Peter in the healing of a lame man in acts three. He stood and he spoke boldly before the Sanhedrin and ask for Paul.
Later on, says that John was one of the pillars of the church one last thing about John, that is, from history we learned that John eventually pastored in Ephesus so we left Israel.
We also know that he outlived all the other apostles. Most the apostles were dad by 70 A.D. John lived to be an old man in his later years. His elder years he wrote his gospel is three letters in the book of the Revelation. Any later died somewhere around 95 A.D. we don't really know how old John was my guess would be he was somewhere between 80 and 90 years old. So the question this morning is this how can we be certain that John wrote this letter. Maybe we should ask, why would we even questioned John's authorship and there's a basic reason for that in and that is this that all the letters in the New Testament. All the writers of the letter put their name first. So Paul and Peter and James and Jude but thereto. New Testament letters that did not have the name of the author written on it. The first was the book of Hebrews, so we really don't know who the author was. And then the other were these three letters entitled first, second and third John so if John does not identify himself, and how can we be certain that John writes the letter and we have to look at two sources number one, we have to look internally, we have to look at the letter itself. I want us to go to first John chapter 1 verses one into and let me read them to you and I want you to note something this very unique about the way this writer reveals himself. He says in verse one. That which was from the beginning, which we have heard, which we have seen with our eyes, which we have looked upon in our hands of handled of the word of life for the life was manifested, and we have seen it, and bear witness and showing to you that eternal life which was with the father and was manifested under us that these two verses tell us that the author of this book was an eyewitness to Jesus his earthly ministry he was there with me.
He saw him, he heard him, and he touched him, we know, for example, John was identified as Amanda put his head on Jesus's chest. We also know according to this that he knew Jesus personally and he gave him a specific name he called in the word. The word that brings life. The logons of life and we look at John slat would John's Gospel, the first verse is to begin in the beginning was the word and the Word was with God and the Word was God. So we begin to look at the internal evidence of this book. We also see that in John's Gospel and John's letter. His a pencil that there are some very general themes that parallel one another and the link to each other. For example, in both gospel and the epistle, John the emphasize the devil in the beginning.
John 844 Ye are of your father the devil in the lust of your father you will do. He was a murderer from the beginning, and abode not in the truth because there is no truth in him.
In the first John 38 he that committed sin is of the devil for the devil Senate from the beginning what we see we see the same language. The same wording being you and then the phrase walking in darkness and first John 16 it says if we say that we have fellowship with him and walk in darkness, we lie and do not the truth. Then we come to John eight verse 12 where it says I am the light of the world he that follows me shall not walk in darkness, but shall have the light of life. So both John's Gospel in his epistle sound the same.
And when you reap. For example, Paul's letters partisan speaker right this way and then let's take the phrase born of God. John 113. Which were born, not of blood nor the will of the flesh nor the will of man, but of God in the know.
First John 229 if you know that he is righteous, you know that everyone that do with righteousness is born of him once again the parallel of the same linking the two verses together, but I think though that these phrases are unique. The most compelling evidence that John is the author of this letter is found in the purpose statements of both John's Gospel and John's epistle and it is clear that both statements have the same intentions and one built on top of the other. Let's look at the purpose verse of the book of John, the gospel, John John chapter 20 and verse 31 we come to the end of the gospel and he says, speaking of what was written. But these are written, why, what's the motive behind the gospel of John, that you might believe that Jesus is the Christ the son of God and that believing you might have life through his name. Why did John write his gospel because it was evangelistic in its nature it was written for the whole world that they would hear the gospel and believe and how many people have either studied the book of John read the book of John, or heard the book of John preaching.
How many people got saved John's Gospel is still evangelizing.
But when we come to first John 513 we find that the purpose is slightly different but very similar. First John 513 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. John says I'm writing to those who are already believers for the purpose, and that is that you would come to the full knowledge or the full assurance of your own salvation. So it looks clearly internally that John is the author of this letter, but now we need to turn to another source and that's an external source that is we go back into the early church days in their we see that they believe that John altered this letter now only talk about early church fathers.
What we mean by that. While these would've been recognized church leaders who live right after John so first and second century A.D. these would've been either contemporaries of the apostles or they would've been taught by those who been taught by the apostles and we see in this external source that John is the one is credited for writing this letter. For example, Clement of Alexandria was born in 150 A.D. died in 215 says in his writings.
He attributed this letter to John. Another early church father Arrhenius who died in 202 A.D. he was a church leader in Lyons, France, and in his writings he quoted from first John, as he wrote against the heresies of his own day and then in the fourth century, the famous church historian Eusebius writes about a PS, but PS was born in 70 A.D., died in 163 A.D. and he was called a hearer of John in a companion of Polycarp. He lived in a hierarchy list which is near Colossae and Laodicea. Eusebius writes about the PS he uses testimonies from the first epistle of John. That's a quote so when we look at the external evidence we see that the early church fathers believe that this letter was God's inspired words can by the apostle John. So we sing a little bit about John a little bit about why we believe he wrote the book that one last thing this morning and that is why did John write this letter. What was the motivation behind. I think when we look at all the letters of the New Testament, we always know that there was a reason for the writing and often time it was motivated by a problem we've already noted that John wrote his gospel for the four for evangelization for believing, but John wrote this letter for a different purpose and that is we would say it was more pastoral in nature.
That is, it was written for believers for Christians in the church and the primary reason that he wrote this letter was to help the church through a very troubling primarily a doctrinal issue. So what was the issue. Well John was riding. First of all to an established Christian congregation. Think about it when you read Corinthians are you read Galatians were or are Philippians and so forth. Most of those churches were pretty young churches. But this letter being written by John with bit being written much later almost 30 years after Paul wrote his letters and so when John was writing this letter he was writing to the Christian congregation, primarily an emphasis and that church would've been somewhere in the neighborhood of 30 to 40 years old that's very sick. Significant why because we would call that an established congregation. When you go to the book of the Revelation you read Revelation chapter 2 and three. It's written to the seven churches of Asia. Asia was a Providence in Turkey in the in the Western side of the country and that's where the seven churches were located and we know that those churches were established to give you an idea of the age of churches. Let's just take some of the churches in Greenville.
Okay. And some of you attend these churches.
I'll give you their age. For example, Morningside Baptist is 60 years old, Mount Calvary Baptist is 54 years old.
Faith that this is 50 years old.
Heritage Bible church is 42 years old. Faith three. Presbyterian is 40 years old. Community Baptist is 31 Calvary and Simpsonville is 30 years old. Cornerstone Baptist is 15 years old. They just seven celebrated their 15th birthday Grace Baptist Fellowship is eight years old pal Meadow Baptist is six years old. So what were talking about.
Is it gives you the idea that the church is the church in Ephesus would've been very similar to one of our older more established churches and these churches in Revelation or fight were facing what all churches face in every Christian age. It's not new and that is in every Christian age there is a potential in the church of a drift a drift toward spiritual laxity and a slow decline in an atmosphere of intense brotherly love that leads to a more formal halfhearted more of a nominal Christianity or what we have often said a dead church that's not really a dead church because the people to come to the church are alive, but what is it say it says that they've lost something that was something that that was there it's not there any longer and we know this is true of the church of Ephesus because John writes in in the book of the Revelation where the church of Ephesus is condemned for leaving their first love for losing their heart, their passion, their desire to serve God that what happens when the church becomes like this. Well, it becomes more susceptible to other things you could say is like becoming older, you're more open to diseases and when a church gets older and it loses its passion and its commitment and its dedication and its sacrifice is open. Number one to the seductive power of the world. It's very typical for churches to become worldly and then secondly it opens itself up to a philosophy of life that is foreign to the Christian faith instead of there being a commitment and a dedication and a sacrifice to Jesus Christ. The atmosphere in the church changes and it is in this atmosphere. An issue arose within the church of Ephesus, and this is why John wrote. So the question is, what was the issue. Well, an unnamed group within the church began to advocate an understanding of Christianity that was different from what John and the apostles had tall, it was a form of Christianity that was different and perhaps this is one of the great struggles of our day, especially in the United States of America where we would all agree that there are varying forms of Christianity and this it arisen within the church and these people denied the fundamental truth of the gospel in three areas number one. Doctrinally, they deny the deity of Christ in his atoning sacrifice.
In other words, I can put it this way, the whole concept of crucifixion and atonement, and blood sacrifice is being perpetually proclaimed they had drifted away from that they were preaching a deferent message. Secondly, morally, they rejected the inherent sinful depravity of man, and so therefore in the church's sin was minimize. In other words, there was not a lot of straightforward preaching about sin and then number three relationally. They were not practicing love towards genuine believers. There was a lack of that passionate brotherly love built to be the atmosphere in every living, breathing church and because of their rejection of the teaching of the apostles. What happened these people within the church actually left the church. They separated, they defected from the church, but their influence continued and these that had gone out these you could say the seceders went out and they started their own rival ministries.
They also sent out their own traveling preachers, and as a result, the influence of these that had left the church began to have a net negative impact on John's churches and those true believers in three ways. Number one, they were drawing away believers in the church who were na´ve and gullible.
These women immature believers. Do you know what being an immature believer is not a good position to be why because your gullible your open and they were gullible because they lacked doctrinal knowledge, they don't really know the Bible that one of the great crimes of our day is having the Bible so available yet. We don't take the time to read how many of you have read through the Bible the whole Bible in your lifetime now, but to be straightforward about time you graduate from Bob Jones University. You've not read through the entire Bible. I'll be honest with you, you ought to be ashamed and not try to make you feel bad under tantra until you the truth, because if we have God's word and by the way, the entire Old Testament and New Testament offices will assist 66 books are God's word. We should read them all. It should be the habit of God's people to know God is he's revealed himself and in his word, and so there was a lack of doctrinal knowledge and secondly there was a lack of commitment to holiness. We are to be upstream Christians in a downstream world were to go against the current of the world and the current of our own nature and so therefore there takes commitment to live for God. One of the great issues in the church is always been believers who are open to error because of ignorance and a lack of commitment. The second problem was that these rival churches were actually gathering a following from the world. There churches were growing they were attracting a crown.
But the problem is that this crowd was not being converted. Historically, one of the great problems in the church is always been an unconverted church membership. This is been the primary problem of admitting people into the church without experiencing genuine conversion.
I believe this is one of the problems of designing the church in such a way as to attract unbelievers. Doesn't it make sense that if the church is going to be evangelistic in order to attract unbelievers, but if you drill down theologically, you got holes in what you believe because Matt say to you that the gospel is never attracted to an unbeliever. Apart from the divine work of the Holy Spirit in their heart. You don't reach the world by becoming like the world you reached the world by loving them by serving them and by proclaiming the gospel to them in faith believing that God will draw all sinners unto himself the nature of the church is always the antithesis to the world.
Therefore, this should be reflected in the church that is that difference in our message and our lifestyles in our worship we are not the world were called out of the world. When an unbeliever comes to church he should not come to the church necessarily to feel comfortable, but the church should making feel convinced convinced that God is among us convinced that the truth of the gospel is there and they need to be say these churches were gathering a following from the world without being genuinely converted and finally these false teachers were producing confusion and uncertainty in the minds of believers who would remain loyal to John. You can only imagine people leaving the church people being drawn away you're staying and you know there could be an and it happens all the time. There's confusion. So why did John Wright's letter and it was for this purpose, to bring clarity to the true believers that they really were saved to fortify their faith to bolster the assurance of their salvation. First John 513. These things have I written unto you that believe on the name of the son of God, that you may know that you had internal life and that you might believe on the name of the son of God. It was to strengthen the confidence in the glorious salvation that they actually possessed. So why study the fourth chapter, first John, there's five chapters and the reason is because this is been considered the high point of the letter.
John unfolds the essence of the true Christian life living in the truth and walking in love and those two ideas of the very things that we will seek to unfold the entire semester that we would strive to walk in love and we would strive to live in obedience to the truth and I hope that by the end of the semester God will strengthen all of us in our faith. Father, thank you for your word and thank you for for this letter that John is given us. Please bless the preaching of it. In Jesus name, amen. You're dismissed.
I'm Steve Pettit, president of Bob Jones University. Thank you for listening to The Daily Platform. Please come visit our beautiful campus in Greenville, South Carolina, and see how God is working in the lives of our students.
For more information about Bob Jones University, visit www.bgyou.edu or call 800-252-6363