Today we are beginning a study of the John’s first letter. We are calling our study, Joyful Assurance. Why Joyful Assurance? If you look closely at 1 John you will see that John bookends his letter with his reasons for writing. On the back end of his letter, he give us one reason for writing: assurance of salvation. 1 John 5:13 says, “These things I have written to you who believe in the name of the Son of God, so that you may know that you have eternal life.” On the front end of his letter, he gives us the other reason for writing: Fullness of Joy. 1 John 1:4 says, “These things we write, so that our joy may be made complete.”
This is really the essence of the gospel and the Christian life: Eternal life in Christ and fullness of joy.
Jesus says very clearly in John 15:11, “These things I have spoken to you, that my joy may be in you, and that your joy may be full.” The words of Christ provide us with eternal life. They also provide us with His joy and fullness of joy! The Christian life is a life of joyful assurance.
We see this joy in 1 John 1:1-4.
What was from the beginning, what we have heard, what we have seen with our eyes, what we have looked at and touched with our hands, concerning the Word of Life-- 2 and the life was manifested, and we have seen and testify and proclaim to you the eternal life, which was with the Father and was manifested to us-- 3 what we have seen and heard we proclaim to you also, so that you too may have fellowship with us; and indeed our fellowship is with the Father, and with His Son Jesus Christ. 4 These things we write, so that our joy may be made complete.
We will see 3 things that are hinted at in this text that ultimately result in fullness of joy.
First, An Experience with Christ v1
We read in verse 1, “What was from the beginning, what we have heard, what we have seen with our eyes, what we have looked at and touched with our hands, concerning the Word of Life.”
John, and other disciples heard with their ears the Word of Life. They say with their own eyes, the Word of Life. They looked at Him and touched Him with their very own hands. This was a very first-hand experience with Christ. Consider Acts 1:8. We read, “But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you, and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth.” Notice that Jesus calls His followers to be witnesses, not lawyers. There is a difference in a witness and a lawyer. A lawyer pulls together facts, testimony, and evidence and delivers an argument based on the evidence in order to convince a judge or jury. A witness testifies to what they have seen, heard, felt, and know. The first-hand witness has first-hand knowledge, and that is what we need of Christ if we are going to experience this joyful assurance of the Christian life. We need to be witnesses…not just spiritual attorney’s at law.
Read Acts 4:5-13 below and see how being with Jesus empowered the disciples efforts and message.
On the next day, their rulers and elders and scribes were gathered together in Jerusalem; 6 and Annas the high priest was there, and Caiaphas and John and Alexander, and all who were of high-priestly descent. 7 When they had placed them in the center, they began to inquire, “By what power, or in what name, have you done this?” 8 Then Peter, filled with the Holy Spirit, said to them, “Rulers and elders of the people, 9 if we are on trial today for a benefit done to a sick man, as to how this man has been made well, 10 let it be known to all of you and to all the people of Israel, that by the name of Jesus Christ the Nazarene, whom you crucified, whom God raised from the dead--by this name this man stands here before you in good health. 11 He is the STONE WHICH WAS REJECTED by you, THE BUILDERS, but WHICH BECAME THE CHIEF CORNER stone. 12 And there is salvation in no one else; for there is no other name under heaven that has been given among men by which we must be saved.” 13 Now as they observed the confidence of Peter and John and understood that they were uneducated and untrained men, they were amazed, and began to recognize them as having been with Jesus.
How desperately we need an experience with Christ in this, the 21st century! Stay tuned for part 2…
1. Are you a witness who has been with Jesus? Or are you more like an attorney, who can argue a good case?
2. If you are not a witness who has been with Jesus, what would it take for you to experience Him more personally? List some things that you would likely need to pursue.
3. If you are not a witness who has been with Jesus, what would you need to cut out of your life and schedule for you to experience Him more personally? List some things that you would likely need to quit or set aside.
4. Read Hebrews 12:1-2. What are some things from these verses that you can apply to your life as you pursue a personal experience of Jesus Christ in your every day life?
You can listen to this entire message here.