Summary: Intoduction to I John
Adapted from a series of messages by Mike Wilkins
April 20, 2008
Broadway Baptist Church
Rev Dan Bauder
Today we are starting a series of messages from I I John entitled, “UNDERSTANDING JESUS.” The Gospel of John was written with unbelievers in mind. The three epistles of John were written with the believer in mind. Before we can really understand what John is saying we need to understand what inspired John to write this letter? There were individuals who adopted what Paul called, “another gospel”. These individuals borrowed beliefs they liked from other religions, mixed them with philosophy and Christianity to come up with a totally different view of what being a Christian was all about. They believed anything that was part of this world was evil and only spiritual things were good. Because of this they did not accept the fact that Jesus was both God and man. According to them you could only be saved by obtaining a,” special knowledge that ignites the divine spark in you. After you die that divine spark is purged of all things material and fleshly, and you live eternally with the original God.” (Repeat the last phrase) In other words you can be your own god!! Today we refer to these individuals as Gnostics. This word comes from the Greek word “gnosis” which means knowledge. They are still alive and well today. It was this way of thinking that inspired writer Dan Brown to write the DiVinci Code and what lies at the heart of New Age thinking. John was:
I. AN EYE WITNESS AND A CLOSE FRIEND OF JESUS (Read verse 1)
A. John was the only remaining apostle. Everyone else had been martyred.
1. Unlike Dan Brown John wasn’t just speculating on who Jesus was. He was as close to Jesus as anyone could have been. The Bible refers to him as, “the disciple Jesus loved.” Peter, James and John were the members of Jesus inner circle but only John was referred to as, “the disciple Jesus loved.”
2. Look at the beginning words of the Gospel of John (Read John 1:1)
II. A PROCLAIMER OF ETERNAL LIFE (Read verse 2)
A. Eternal life isn’t gained by special knowledge but by a personal relationship with God
III. INVITING US IN (Read verse 3 and 4)
A. The Gnostics had strict rules about who was “saved” and who wasn’t.
1. According to the Gnostics there were three different kinds of people in the church.
a. The enlightened ones (They spent very little time with the second group and refused to have anything to do with the third)
b. Those who could work their way into enlightenment
c. Those who could do nothing but live like animals
B. John is saying it makes no difference who you are.
1. It makes no difference what your understanding level is or the kind of life you have come from. If you have repented of your sins and made Jesus your Lord and Savior you are just as much a part of God’s family as anybody else.
d. John is also saying, “I know Jesus is all human and yet fully God because I have seen Him, heard Him, touched Him, and have a personal relationship with Him.