Summary: Christian fellowship is based on Apostolic Doctrine.


1 John 1:1-4

by Cleavon Matthews

November 28, 2004


Error is combated by affirming the truth. John writes to the church under attack by early forms of Docetism and Gnosticism. These two inseparable philosophical and theological ideas plagued the church. The insidious nature of these heretical beliefs struck the church as they aimed at discrediting and discounting the preeminent Head of the church, Jesus Christ!

If Christ the foundation of the church could be successfully neutralized then the entire household of faith would crumble in destruction and lie in ruins. If these intellectual scholars of academia could use their mental faculties to prove their fallacious ideas concerning human reason then there would be no ground for hope.

The Historical reality of the union of Deity and humanity in the Person of Jesus Christ is the affirming truth argued by John. John subjugates human reason to Divine reality. John joins the defense and takes the stand as a material witness on behalf of truth. John and the apostles were not concerned with the attempted theological explanations of these heretical adherents to the baggage of carnage they carried into Christianity.

John is the ‘no middle ground’ apostle. He explains reality in dichotomy. You are either in light or darkness; a child of God or a child of the devil; and you either love your brother or hate your brother. John has neither the time nor the inclination to beat around bushes or play games. Souls are in jeopardy, truth is being challenged, the church is being assailed, and Christ is being dethroned by those who were perpetrating both philosophical and theological lies.

There is something eerily familiar with the opponents to truth in John’s time and those in our time. This brigade of renegade teachers defected from the path of truth (2.19) and sought to sway the community of the called into their vice of corruption. Ironically they abandoned the only hope of achieving their goal. They sought ‘eternal life.’ They sought a life based on truth but favored their own reasoning instead of accepting reality. Like so many people in our day these false teachers claimed to be true followers of God but abandoned the truth presented by the Apostles of Jesus Christ!

These false teachers wanted to have things their own way! There are so many who want heaven without hearing and heeding the word. They want peace without price. They want blessing without behaving. They want salvation without sacrifice. They want rewards without righteousness. They want unity without humility. They want praise without precept. They want singing without soul saving. They want Christ without the Church. They want deliverance without dedication. They want edification without endurance. They want favor without faithfulness. They want glory without godliness. They want joy without judgment. They want knowledge without study. They want to overcome without obedience.

In order to affirm the truth John goes back to the beginning! Sometimes in order to get on the right track you must go back to the beginning! When it comes to faith and Christianity you must go back to the beginning! When you start at the wrong place you invariably will come to the wrong conclusions! In regards to Christianity you must start with Jesus!


1 John 1:1 “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,”

In the original language verses 1 thru 4 are one sentence. All four of the clauses in verse one are direct objects of the verb in verse 3 “declare,” or “proclaim.” Jesus ‘the Word of life’ is the direct object of the Apostolic message! The message of the Apostles centered entirely on the manifested person of eternal life!

Jesus is both the origin and the object of eternal life. John uses the neuter form to express each of these clauses because his focus is on both the manifested person and the message proclaimed. You cannot divorce the ‘Word’ from the word! Truly Jesus is the ‘Word of life.’ John affirms what Jesus established in the Incarnation. Both the words and the actions of Jesus in the flesh are the foundation of eternal life. As the Word of life, Jesus is the revealer of the thoughts in the mind of God. But as the Word of life, Jesus is also the executioner of God’s salvation plan. The false teachers who denied the Incarnation of Christ relied more on their ‘so-called knowledge’ than the Word of life. Consider the significance of Jesus as ‘the Word of life.’

• In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. John 1.1

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