The Word of Life

Title: The Word of Life

Bible Book: 1 John 1 : 1-4

Author: Gil McKee

Subject: Life, Word of; Joy of Jesus



As you know, we are living in a time that is filled with all kinds of uncertainties. Our economy is uncertain. For more and more people their jobs are uncertain. Some people today are living with a health condition that is uncertain. There may be people among us this morning who are living in a marriage or family relationship that is uncertain. There are young men and women who are about to graduate from college and transition into a workplace market that offers absolutely no guarantees.

Of course, along with all the material and physical uncertainties, we are also living in a time of great cultural, philosophical, moral, and religious uncertainty. In fact, the religious climate of the 21st Century is not all that different from the religious climate of the latter part of the very first century.

The western part of Asia Minor, which was located in modern-day Turkey, had become a melting pot of ideas, philosophies, and religions. The occult was rampant along with the worship of multitudes of other false gods. As a result, pluralism, secularism, and relativism ruled the cultural thinking of the day. And unfortunately, it was all beginning to take a toll on the churches there in Asia Minor.

The apostle John, who was at this point the last apostle of Jesus to still be alive, was a resident of Ephesus. And as the last living apostle he no doubt had authority and the responsibility of oversight for the church at Ephesus and the other churches in the region. And although John was an old man, probably at least in his eighties, he was still a passionate defender of the faith and the truth of Jesus Christ.

So when he realized just how severe the threat of all the surrounding uncertainties had become, he picked up his pen and, under the divine inspiration of the Holy Spirit, wrote an epistle for the purpose of encouraging the churches to faithfully hold on to the certainty and truth of the gospel of Jesus Christ.

Do you think that is the message we need to hear today? You better believe it is! No matter how uncertain everything in our culture may be today, the truth of the gospel of Jesus Christ remains certain! In fact, the Bible says it this way in Hebrews 13: “Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever.” Hebrews 13:8 (NKJV) Jesus is our certainty in uncertain times!

And that is exactly where John begins his first epistle. Let’s read the first four verses of that first chapter. Read Text.

In these verses John tells us several things about Jesus Christ – the Word of Life! First he says something about…

I. The Reality of the Word of Life. (1)

By the time John wrote this letter one of the heresies that was beginning to plague the Church was the idea that Jesus could not have been God and at the same time human. In fact, all through the ages there have been attempts to either emphasize the deity of Christ at the expense of His humanity or to emphasize the humanity of Christ at the expense of His deity. But the truth is that Jesus Christ was both. He was God; and He was man!

John Phillips gives a great illustration from the Old Testament that really helps in understanding the reality of the God-Man, Jesus Christ. In the tabernacle and the temple, a thick and beautiful curtain, called a veil, hung between the Holy Place and the Holy of Holies. That veil, which symbolized the separation between God and man, could only be penetrated and passed by the High Priest, who served as the mediator between God and the people. However, when Jesus died on the cross that veil was torn in two and came to symbolize Jesus, Who became the one and only Mediator between God and man.

Here’s what interesting about it. The veil was made of linen dyed red, blue, and purple – all three very significant colors when related to Jesus. For instance, the red linen symbolized his humanity, for the Bible says that Jesus was the second Adam. (1 Corinthians 15:45) The verb form of the name Adam simply means red. The blue linen symbolized the deity of Christ because it is the color of heaven, from whence He came and returned. And the purple linen symbolized the Incarnation – the deity and the humanity of Christ.

Did you know that when red and blue paint are mixed together in a perfect blend that the result is purple? That’s right – When red and blue paint or perfectly mixed together it is impossible to tell where the red ends and the blue begins and the result is the color purple. Purple is a perfect blend of red and blue.

That is exactly how it was with Jesus. He was a perfect blend of deity and humanity. When it came to the essence of Jesus, it was impossible to tell where His deity ended and His humanity began or where His humanity ended and His deity began. He was always a perfect blend of God and man.

For example, one day Jesus was sitting by Jacob’s well in Samaria and the Scripture says that He was wearied from His journey. In His humanity He was physically tired. And when a Samaritan woman came to draw water from the well, Jesus asked her for a drink because He was thirsty – another evidence of His humanity. But within just a few minutes He was telling this woman everything sinful she had done in the past, which was clear evidence of His deity. He was fully human and fully God!

And according to John’s gospel, what Jesus, the God-Man, came to Earth to do was show us “His glory, glory as of the only begotten from the Father, full of grace and truth.” John 1:14 (NASU) In other words, Jesus came to show us the life of the Father in human flesh. That’s why John says in his gospel that the Word became flesh and dwelt among us. And that’s why He also said: “Anyone who has seen me has seen the Father.” John 14:9 (NIV)

In other words, the life of God was manifested in the life of Christ! Jesus was the Word that became flesh and dwelt among us. He was fully God and fully man. That’s why John referred to Him as the Word of Life.

Dear folk listen; even though we live in a day where the politically and culturally correct thing to do is not offend anyone with your spiritual beliefs, this is a truth about Jesus that cannot be compromised. Who Jesus Christ was is not up for debate or personal opinion. If you don’t have Jesus right then you don’t have God right! He is nothing less than God in the flesh. He is the Word of Life!

Secondly, notice…

II. The Revealing of the Word of Life. (2)

Read verse 2.

Twice in this verse John uses the word revealed. The word literally means “to shine, to make apparent, to make visible.” The life that Jesus was making visible to mankind was the eternal life of God. In Christ, God was making visible that which had been hidden. That’s why the Bible says in Colossians 1:15 that Jesus is the visible image of the invisible God.

In a day where people tell us that you can find God in lots of different ways, it is important for us to never waver on the fact that the Bible says there is only One Way to find God – and that is through the One who is the Way, the Truth, and Life – Jesus Christ.

God has completely and totally revealed Himself and provided the only way for mankind to be saved through the death, burial, and resurrection of His only begotten Son – Jesus Christ. And John says that is the gospel we declare to you.

That leads us to a third point.

III. The Relaying of the Word of Life. (3)

Most of us have watched or maybe even participated in a relay track event such as the 400 meter relay. The first runner runs 100 meters and then passes the baton to the second runner who runs 100 meters and then passes the baton to the next runner, etc. In one sense that is how John saw the gospel because it is clear that John and all the other apostles were absolutely convinced that their job was to pass the baton of the gospel of Jesus Christ to others.

That’s why in verse three he says: “What we have seen and heard we also declare to you, so that you may have fellowship along with us; and indeed our fellowship is with the Father and with His Son Jesus Christ.” 1 John 1:3 (HCSB)

You know, I think one of the easiest things for Christians to do is to get caught up in our fellowship with the Lord and each other and forget about those who do not have a relationship or any fellowship with God. For example, it’s so easy to come to church week after week and become comfortable with the fact that our family and friends are here; and as long as our family and closest friends are here, then everything is great.

But what about those people we work with and go to school with who don’t have a relationship with the Lord? What about those people who don’t know what a blessing it is to have a church family to enjoy close fellowship with? What about those people who don’t know the Word of Life? Who will pass the baton of the gospel to them?

We have a responsibility to declare the way of salvation to them. We have a responsibility to pass the baton of the gospel to them so that they too might be saved and have fellowship with God along with us.

That’s why we have been praying for lost people since last September. That’s why we have been trying to find ways to minister to them in practical and caring ways since December. And that’s why we are hosting a T-Town Block Party on the first Sunday of May. We’re going to do something that is way “out of the box” for us on that Sunday. We’re going to have an outside event here on our church campus that will include fun activities for children like blow ups to play in, a petting zoo, and an appearance by Big Al. We’re going to cook hamburgers and hotdogs. We’re going to have an antique car show. There will be three-man basketball tournaments and volleyball tournaments. There will be bands playing and Alabama football legends signing autographs. There will be a homemade pie cooking contest. There will be give-aways for our guests. And most importantly, Rick Burgess of the Rick and Bubba Show, will be here to speak and share the gospel.

And our main job that day will be to bring as many lost and unchurched friends as possible with us that day so that we can pass along to them in a very non-threatening and fun way the love and grace of Jesus Christ.

I hope you will start praying for May 3rd right now. I hope you will make every effort to be here and to bring an unchurched friend or neighbor.

Finally, John says something about…

IV. The Result of the Word of Life. (4)

Read verse 4.

When John wrote these words He was no doubt thinking back to what He had heard Jesus say in the upper room the night before His crucifixion: “I have spoken these things to you so that My joy may be in you and your joy may be complete.” John 15:11 (HCSB)

What Jesus was saying that night, and what John is reminding us of, is the fact that the only complete and fulfilling joy in life is life in Christ. The wonderful Bible scholar and commentator, Martyn Lloyd-Jones, says it this way in his commentary on First John: “Joy is something very deep and profound, something that affects the whole and entire personality. In other words, it comes to this; there is only one thing that can give true joy and that is contemplation of the Lord Jesus Christ. H satisfies my mind; He satisfies my emotions; He satisfies my every desire. He and His great salvation include the whole personality and nothing less, and in Him I am complete.” [1]

If you are here today and have never experienced the joy that comes from knowing Jesus Christ as your personal Lord and Savior, I want to invite you to come to Christ today and find His wonderful salvation and fulfilling joy. Just as in the days in which the apostle John lived, we are living in dark and difficult times. But what John and other Christians found to be true in their day is still true in our day. No amount of darkness or difficulty can take the joy of Christ from a believer.

The joy of Jesus is not like the happiness of the world that depends on physical well-being or vocational success or economic prosperity. The joy of Jesus is something that transcends all our trials and uncertainties.

Are you tired of living with nothing but uncertainty? Are you tired of feeling like there is no anchor in your sea of life? Then come to Jesus today.

[1] Matyn Lloyd-Jones, Life in Christ: Studies in 1 John (Wheaton: Crossway, 2002), 2 8.

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