Present and Priceless Privileges and Possessions of the Believer In Christ
Pastor David L. Brown, Ph.D.
Sermon Delivered 03/28/04
I John 1
In our last message we carefully examined 1 John 1:1. In this verse the Apostle John answers the question for us, Who is Jesus Christ? The answer he gives is…
Jesus Christ Is The Eternal Word of Life, God In the Flesh, Existing Eternally With The Father (1a)
Christ Is The Creator of All and The Giver & Sustainer of Life (1b)
In our message today, we are going to begin looking at the present and priceless privileges and possessions of believers in Christ.
Sure and Certain Knowledge (1-2)
We find the first priceless privilege and possession of the believer in verses 1-2. "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; 2 (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 unto us;)" 1 John 1:1-2
These verses reveal two important things to us. First, the knowledge that John is sharing with us is certain knowledge. It is not theoretical information. It was not based on speculation, but based on John’s actual experience. He had heard Jesus Christ, in whom is life, with his own ears. He had seen Christ with his own eyes. He had been on the Mount of Transfiguration and looked upon that spectacle with amazement as he got a glimpse of our glorious eternal LORD! And, remember, he even touched Christ. In short, the New Testament Christianity that John is advocating is not a religion based on assumptions and speculation, but based on careful eyewitness who have shared that information with us as recorded in the New Testament. Turn with me to John 20:24-31. I want to key in on the last two verse of this chapter -- Verses 30-31 "And many other signs truly did Jesus in the presence of his disciples, which are not written in this book: 31 But these are written, that ye might believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God; and that believing ye might have life through his name."
A believer has a sure and certain knowledge that their life is built not upon illusions or speculations of deceived men, philosophers and theologians, but upon the impeccable, and unimpeachable testimony of those who heard, saw, carefully observed and touched the incarnate Christ and then accurately recorded the facts.
The second thing that John has revealed and that we can have sure and certain knowledge of is Eternal Life! John writes in verse 2 that eternal life was manifested in the person of Jesus Christ. The word manifested means to be made visibly apparent.
Have you ever wondered what eternal life is? I have. Think about it for a minute. If you want to know what eternal life is, just look at Jesus. Jesus Christ is the embodiment of eternal life. The author of the book of Hebrews is very helpful in describing it. He says the Lord Jesus Christ is a priest, holy, harmless, undefiled, separate from sinners, and made higher than the heavens and continues to make intercession for believers forever after the order of Melchisedec by the power of an endless life (Hebrews 7:14-27).
I remind you again that John saw the transfigured Christ. John saw the resurrected Jesus Christ after He had his immortal body. I appreciate what Dr. Luke said about the 40 days Christ spent here on earth between His resurrection and ascension. He writes that Christ "…showed himself alive after his passion by many infallible proofs, being seen of them forty days, and speaking of the things pertaining to the kingdom of God." Acts 1:3. Oh yes, and remember, the Apostles saw our Lord ascend bodily into Heaven and heard Him promise to send the Holy Spirit to be with them and in them. Taking all those things into consideration, we get a little glimpse of what eternal life will be like for us.
The point John is making is this. The eternal life that was with the Father from all eternity has been put on display here on earth in the person of Jesus Christ. It is the blessed privilege of every born-again believer to know this eternal life, which, through all eternity, was with the Father and, in the incarnation of Jesus Christ was manifested to those on earth. What an awesome privilege to receive from Christ Jesus the Lord this eternal life when we call upon Him for Salvation. John 10:28 says, "I give unto them eternal life; and they shall never perish…" Don’t be an "I think so Christian," but an "I know so Christian!" I KNOW that I have eternal life and this life is in Christ.
Let’ consider the second priceless privilege and possession of believers in Christ…
Sweet Satisfying Fellowship (3)
"That which we have seen and heard declare we unto you, that ye also may have fellowship with us: and truly our fellowship is with the Father, and with his Son Jesus Christ."
Before anyone is saved, they are friends with the philosophies and practices of the world and therefore enemies of God (James 4:4). There is a state hostility a between themselves and God. Turn to Ephesians 2:13-17 "But now in Christ Jesus ye who sometimes were far off are made nigh by the blood of Christ. 14 For he is our peace, who hath made both one, and hath broken down the middle wall of partition between us; 15 Having abolished in his flesh the enmity, even the law of commandments contained in ordinances; for to make in himself of twain one new man, so making peace; 16 And that he might reconcile both unto God in one body by the cross, having slain the enmity thereby: 17 And came and preached peace to you which were afar off, and to them that were nigh."
There is another passage that tells us about our relationship with God before we were saved -- Colossians 1:20-22 "And, having made peace through the blood of his cross, by him to reconcile all things unto himself; by him, I say, whether they be things in earth, or things in heaven. 21 And you, that were sometime alienated and enemies in your mind by wicked works, yet now hath he reconciled 22 In the body of his flesh through death, to present you holy and unblameable and unreproveable in his sight:"
When we accept Jesus Christ as our personal Savior, God takes us into partnership with Himself. We become partners with God in his work and also in His possessions. Turn to Romans 8:17 "And if children, then heirs; heirs of God, and joint-heirs with Christ…." That brings me back to 1 John 1:3 "…and truly our fellowship is with the Father, and with his Son Jesus Christ." In my first message I shared with you that fellowship was one of the reasons John wrote his letter. Let me remind you once again of the definition of the word fellowship. The word is a translation of the Greek word koinwnia - koinonia (koy-nohn-ee’-ah; 2842), which means to be a partner of, to share with, and to have in common.
The late Greek teacher, Kenneth Wuest, shares with his reader an important point about fellowship for our consideration. He says fellowship is, "a joint participation with someone else in things held in common by both." So, what does the believer have in common with Jesus Christ? To have fellowship with the Lord Jesus Christ is to have common likes and dislikes. We must love what He loves – righteousness (1 Timothy 6:11-12). We must hate what he hates – sin (Psalm 97:10). We must have a common nature, the divine nature (2 Peter 1:4). But, there is more. We are God’s children and He is our Father (Galatians 4:5-7).
Finally, how do we enter into this sweet satisfying fellowship with God the Father and his son Jesus Christ? We enter into fellowship with them through reading, studying (2 Tim. 2:15) and meditating upon the written Word of God (Psa. 119:97) and talking with our Lord in prayer.
As we close, let me review what we have studied in this message.