God’s Testimony

Title: God's Testimony

Bible Book: 1 John 5 : 6-13

Author: Gil McKee

Subject: Christ, Jesus is the; Word, God's



As we have already seen in our study of John’s first epistle, one of the themes that John continually emphasizes is the importance of having a correct view of Jesus Christ. In fact, the last time we looked at this book together we studied the first five verses of the fifth and final chapter which begin with these words: “Everyone who believes that Jesus is the Messiah has been born of God.” 1 John 5:1 (HCSB)

In verse twenty-two of chapter two John asked this rhetorical question: “Who is the liar, if not the one who denies that Jesus is the Messiah?” In verse twenty-three of chapter three John said: “Now this is God’s command: that we believe in the name of His Son Jesus Christ.” In verses two and three of chapter four he said: “This is how you know the Spirit of God: Every spirit who confesses that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is from God. But every spirit who does not confess Jesus is not from God.”

And as we will read this morning in verse thirteen of our text, John says: “I have written these things to you who believe in the name of the Son of God, so that you may know that you have eternal life.” 1 John 5:13 (HCSB)

But it’s not just John and the other New Testament writers that tell us the truth about Who Jesus is. The prophets of the Old Testament were also used to foretell of the significance of His life. For instance, Isaiah prophesied that Jesus would be born of a virgin (7:14). Micah prophesied that Jesus would be born in Bethlehem (5:2). Hosea prophesied that He would be called out of Egypt (11:1). Jeremiah foretold of the attempt that would be made to murder Jesus at His birth by King Herod (31:15). Malachi prophesied that a forerunner (John the Baptist) would prepare the way for Jesus (4:5-6). Isaiah foretold of Jesus’ ministry in Galilee and the theological significance of His death (9:1-2; 53). And the Psalmist predicted His betrayal by a close friend as well as the details of His crucifixion and the reality of His resurrection (41:9; 22; 16).

But in spite of the fact that the Old Testament clearly pointed to Jesus as the Messiah, and the Jewish prophets had foretold of His identity, Israel still rejected Jesus when He came. The Bible says it this way in the first chapter of John’s gospel: “He came to His own, and those who were His own did not receive Him.” John 1:11 (NASU)

So John knew that many people would question why they should believe that Jesus was Who He claimed to be. That’s why John’s gospel, along with the gospels of Matthew, Mark, and Luke bear personal testimony to the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ.

But John comes to say now in these next few verses in chapter five that the greatest and most important testimony about Jesus Christ is not the testimony of the prophets of the Old Testament or the apostles of the New Testament. The most important testimony about Jesus is God’s testimony.

In one sense it’s as though the identity of Jesus Christ is on trial and much testimony related to His identity has already been presented. But now John is about to bring to the stand the “star witness” – God the Father Himself.

In the eight verses we will read this morning, John presents four aspects of God’s testimony about Jesus Christ. First, he presents…

I. The record of God’s testimony. (6-8)

Read verses six through eight.

In these verses John records three elements of God’s testimony about Jesus Christ – the water, the blood, and the Spirit. He begins by saying that Jesus “came by water and blood; not by water only, but by water and by blood.” John is not being redundant here just for the sake of being redundant but rather he is making a very important theological point.

By water John is referring to Jesus’ baptism and by blood he is referring to Jesus’ death. These two events served as bookends, you might say, to the earthly ministry of Christ. And God the Father used both of these events to testify concerning His Son.

Now the reason John began with these two elements is because there were those in his day who taught that Jesus Christ came by water but not by blood. Specifically, they believed in the existence of a heavenly Christ and an earthly Jesus and that the heavenly Christ descended upon the earthly Jesus at his baptism but withdrew from him before His death on the cross, so that it was only the earthly Jesus who died and not the heavenly Christ.

But John makes it very clear that it was Jesus Christ, Emmanuel, God with us – not merely a human Jesus – who experienced both baptism and crucifixion. Related to the water, or to baptism, John was making it clear that Jesus was already the Christ when He was baptized. In fact, Jesus was the Christ when He was born. He was the Christ from the foundation of the world. That’s why John began his gospel by saying: “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.” John 1:1 (NASU)

Jesus was the Christ before He was baptized but it was at His baptism that God the Father gave both a visual and verbal testimony concerning Who He was. The visual testimony came through the physical manifestation of the Holy Spirit descending upon Jesus in the form of a dove.

The verbal testimony came when God spoke from the heavens and said: "This is My beloved Son, in whom I am well-pleased." Matthew 3:17 (NASU) It was that visual and verbal testimony at Jesus’ baptism that expressed the Father’s approval of His Son and His testimony of Him as the Messiah. That’s why John says that Jesus is the One Who came by water. Reinsert Point 1 Slide.

But He also says that He came not by water only, but by water and by blood. The blood, of course, is a reference to the blood shed by Jesus on the cross. But what kind of blood did Jesus shed? Dr. John Phillips defines it well. He says: “Blood flowed in His veins. But what blood! Not a drop of Joseph’s blood flowed in Jesus’ veins, for Joseph was only His foster father, and Jesus was in his family only by adoption. There was no drop of Mary’s blood in His veins either; the blood that flows through the veins and arteries of a baby still in its mother’s womb is not its mother’s blood. It is the baby’s own blood. Only after the embryo has been impregnated does the baby’s blood – like any other cell in the body – begin to develop. Not one drop of blood passes from the mother to the child…The blood type of the Lord Jesus was like no other blood type. It was the blood of an absolutely unique, completely sinless person...”[1]

But again, there were those in John’s day who claimed that the heavenly Christ not only descended upon Jesus at His baptism but departed from Him before His death on the cross, so that it was merely a human Jesus, with merely human blood flowing through his veins that died on the cross.

Well, if that were true then it would mean that Jesus COULD not and DID not conquer sin and death for believers. It would mean that what the Bible says about Jesus being offered as a sacrifice for our sins is a lie. It would mean that what John has already said in chapter four about God loving us so much that He sent His Son to be the propitiation for our sins would have absolutely no truth or significance.

In fact, if the Jesus who was baptized and crucified was only a mere man and not the Christ, then nothing the Bible has to say is reliable. We might as well take it up and burn it and renounce everything it says. But the fact is that Jesus is the Christ and His baptism and His crucifixion both serve as testimony to the reality of His identity.

But John also records a third element in these verses – the element of the Spirit. In verse six he says: “And the Spirit is the One who testifies, because the Spirit is the truth.” 1 John 5:7b (HCSB)

When John spoke of Jesus coming by water and by blood He used the aorist tense which means an action completed in the past with ongoing results. But when He speaks of the Spirit as the One Who testifies he uses the present tense which, as we learned in the first five verses of this chapter, refers to a present, continual, and ongoing action. In other words, John is saying that the Holy Spirit, who lives and dwells in us, is presently and continually testifying to us that Jesus Christ is the Son of God.

It is exactly what Jesus said the Holy Spirit would do in John 15: "When the Helper comes, whom I will send to you from the Father, that is the Spirit of truth who proceeds from the Father, He will testify about Me.” John 15:26 (NASU) What Jesus was talking about is those times when the Holy Spirit speaks to our inward hearts or speaks to us through the reading or teaching or singing or preaching of God’s Word.

I am also reminded of what the apostle Paul said about the testimony of the Holy Spirit in Romans 8: “The Spirit Himself testifies with our spirit that we are children of God, and if children, heirs also, heirs of God and fellow heirs with Christ.” Romans 8:16-17a (NASU) The Holy Spirit testifies that it is through Jesus Christ that we CAN become children of God and that we indeed HAVE become children of God.

So God the Father’s testimony of His Son is threefold – the water, the blood, and the Spirit. Next John mentions…

II. The receipt of God’s testimony. (9-10)

Read verses nine and ten.

Think about this for a moment. Where does most of what we know and learn come from? Most of what we know comes from what we have been told or what we have read. In other words, most of what we know has come from human sources, simply meaning that in almost every case we accept the testimony of men.

In verse nine, John is simply saying that since we accept human testimony, we should accept a divine testimony all the more. If we are willing to accept the testimony of men we should also be willing to accept the testimony of God because God’s testimony is greater. God’s testimony is secured by the authority of His Word. And His Word is the absolute, inerrant, and infallible truth. And by the way, when the teachings of God’s Word conflict with the teachings of men, we should always believe the testimony of God over the testimony of men.

Then John goes on to say in verse ten that when we refuse to accept and believe God’s testimony concerning His Son we call Him a liar. And when we call God a liar we call His integrity into question and condemn ourselves in our unbelief.

But on the other hand, when we accept and receive God’s testimony concerning His Son, then we understand John’s third point in this passage. And that is…

III. The reason for God’s testimony. (11)

Read verse eleven.

John is simply saying in this verse that the reason for God’s testimony through the water, the blood, and the Spirit is that sinners might have eternal life. Jesus defined eternal life in His prayer to the Heavenly Father in John 17. He said: "This is eternal life, that they may know You, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom You have sent.” John 17:3 (NASU)

The eternal life promised by God comes only to those who believe God’s testimony and put their faith in His Son. As the Bible makes perfectly clear, there is only one way to receive eternal life; and that is through faith in Jesus Christ. That is why God the Father gave us His testimony about His Son.

And finally, that is why John also mentions…

IV. The response to God’s testimony. (12-13)

Read verses twelve and thirteen.

It all boils down to this: How people respond to God’s testimony about His Son determines their eternal destiny. And there are only two possible responses: to believe God’s testimony or to reject it. Those who believe God’s testimony and accept Jesus Christ as their Savior receive eternal life. Those who reject God’s testimony and refuse to accept Jesus Christ as their Savior do not receive eternal life. It’s that simple!

So the question this morning is: Where do you stand when it comes to God’s testimony about Jesus Christ? Do you believe God? Have you accepted God’s testimony or rejected it? Have you received eternal life through Jesus Christ the Lord?

I am reminded of the words of Moses to the people of Israel 3500 years ago. And I close today making these words my challenge to you: “This day I call heaven and earth as witnesses against you that I have set before you life and death, blessings and curses. Now choose life!” Deuteronomy 30:19 (NIV)

I pray that every person in this room will respond to God’s testimony by choosing to receive eternal life through His Son, Jesus Christ. Choose life today! Come to Jesus! He is the Way, the Truth, and the Life!

[1] John Phillips, Exploring the Epistles of John: An Expository Commentary (Grand Rapids, Kregel Publications, 2003), 163-164.


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