Summary: Do your actions, your faithfulness show you are a part of God's program or does it show that you are outside of it looking on? For you is worshiping the Lord a matter of service to others and obeying Him. This is what honors Him and gives us our purpose.
Opening Illustration: This line between truth and falsehood is blurred in our society. We pick up newspapers and read touching stories and later find out that the stories were complete fabrications. We are used to politicians making us promises to get our votes, only to forget those promises once they get into office. Political ads regularly take quotes out of context to try to influence the electorate. We are so used to seeing realistic dramas on television that we often find ourselves forgetting that what we are watching is just pretense. People stand up and make passionate arguments and we simply accept that what they are asserting is true is actually true.
This carries over into issues of faith. It seems like every day someone is developing a new religion. Most of these religions contradict each other. In other words, it is impossible for them all to be true.
Let me give you some everyday examples. You can’t be pregnant and not be pregnant at the same time. You are either one of the other no matter how passionate you are. If two doctors come out of surgery and one says your family member is dead and the other doctor says, he is alive, the one thing you know for sure is that they both can’t be right even if they are both passionate and sincere. It is the same thing with faith. Jesus says he is the only way to Heaven. Islam says it is the only path to Heaven. Mormonism says that only those who hold to the teachings of the book of Mormon will rise to the highest Heaven. These could all be false, of course, but they can’t all be true. They are contradictory. People say, “We are all headed in the same direction.” No, we’re not. Some are walking with God; some are walking away from Him.
The Word of God must be seen, heard and lived out in order for it to bear witness for itself and come alive. Let us turn to 1 John 1 just to see and experience that …
Introduction (v. 1): The apostle is not weary of describing faith’s various acting’s in the soul. And it is for our edification that he sets before us his own experience in this matter. It is in order that such of us as have heard and seen Jesus may still fix on Him the eyes of our understanding with an intent and protracted gaze. And can one view of “the King in His beauty” satisfy the spiritual eye? No; it will rest with a mingled feeling of sorrow and joy on Him whom our sins have pierced. When Jesus has been seen as “full of grace and truth” — “fairer than the children of men” — the believer will surely look upon Him with a steady contemplation of the soul and fixed devotion of the heart, It may be that it is not given to all believers to attain to the full experience of the beloved disciple, or to realize all He felt when He says “which we have looked upon”; but in a measure the same contemplative faith is proper to all the saints. And without it there could be no due assimilation to the image of Christ.
It is by the contemplation of Christ’s Person that we become in a measure changed into His likeness. Christ looked upon as a wondrous spectacle, steadfastly, deeply, contemplatively.
How is the Word of God manifested in our lives?
1. Seen (v. 2, 3a)
John had witnessed, as he believed, the supreme manifestation of God. The secret of the universe stood unveiled before his eyes, the everlasting fact and truth of things, the reality underlying all appearances, “that which was from the beginning.” Here he touched the Spring of being, the Principle that animates creation from star to farthest star, from the archangel to the worm in the sod:
“The life was manifested, the life eternal which existed with the Father, was manifested to us.” If “the life” of this passage is identical with that of the Gospel prologue, it has all this breadth of meaning; it receives a limitless extension when it is defined as “that which was from the beginning.”
So the most fundamental assertion of this text is that Christ our Life has eternally existed with the Father. Everything else flows from this. We do well to meditate often and deeply on the majestic reality that Christ has existed without beginning from all eternity.
Illustration: It is said of Moses that "the Lord spoke to him face to face, as a man speaks to his friend." Now there is an important sense in which the words may be applied to every true believer. He is favored with intimate and endearing fellowship with his Heavenly Father. View him on his bended knees, in the secrecy of his closet, having shut out the world for a while, with its manifold anxieties. How sweet the privilege he enjoys — that of making all his requests known by prayer and supplication unto God! Is he conscious of his own weakness, of the temptations which surround him, and the many foes which beset him? His earnest cry is, "Hold me up — and I shall be safe!" Well, God is there, being ever near to those who call upon Him in truth, and says to him in return, "Do not be afraid, for I have ransomed you. I have called you by name; you are mine! When you go through deep waters and great trouble, I will be with you. When you go through rivers of difficulty, you will not drown! When you walk through the fire of oppression, you will not be burned up; the flames will not consume you. For I am the Lord, your God, the Holy One of Israel, your Savior!" (Isaiah 43:1-3)