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God's Own Testimony to Christ

March 17, 2013 Pastor: Don Green Series: 1 John

Topic: Sunday Sermons Scripture: 1 John 5:6-12

62-037

So many good things happening at Truth Community Fellowship and the best thing that happens here week by week is our opportunity to open up God's word and to receive his testimony from his own word and what a gracious gift God has given us in the Scriptures to be able to open it up and see what God has to say about life and about salvation and eternal life and when we come to the Scriptures, we have a reliable word. We're not trusting in what some man says from a remote country across the ocean and we are not relying on anything that tradition teaches us, we go straight to the word of God and see what God has to say as we go through his word verse by verse. And in our times, this is just a particularly important time in the history of the human race to do this, we live, as you know, in a postmodern world where tolerance is viewed as the supreme virtue in a postmodern world that demands tolerance for every claim to truth that could ever be made. Perhaps you've seen those "Coexist" bumper stickers. They were very popular back in California. I haven't seen them so much out here, but spelling out the word "coexist" with about eight or nine different symbols of different religions and just saying, "Can't we all get along and every path leads to God" is the basic idea of that, and things like that seek to blur the distinction between biblical Christianity and every other religion and we cannot have that. We cannot tolerate that.

Today's passage gives us clarity in this age of false tolerance and I would invite you to turn to 1 John 5. We have rounded the corner and are coming toward the end of our exposition of 1 John and it has been a delight to be able to go through it together. We are at 1 John 5:6. As we've said throughout the course of our exposition of 1 John 5, we've said that the Apostle John wrote to give his readers spiritual victory in the midst of a hostile world. One of the aspects of the hostility of the world toward biblical Christianity is the reality that there are false teachers who seek to undermine the Gospel. There are false teachers that teach things that undermine the clarity of the Gospel and John was dealing with one aspect of that ongoing problem when he wrote this letter. At the time in the first century when John was writing, he wrote to defend his readers from false teachers who had a bizarre notion, bizarre by our standards certainly, that the humanity of Jesus was an illusion; that really what was going on there was that a spiritual messenger had been sent from heaven and used Jesus as an illusion to come and to enlighten men. The Christ spirit, according to this teaching, came upon Jesus at his baptism but left before his crucifixion and therefore everything that happened with Jesus was not the actions of God incarnate in human flesh, it was simply the acts of an illusion driven by a spirit messenger who came to enlighten the people with a secret knowledge that was the key to salvation. Well, that's bizarre to our ears and that attack on the truth is different than what we face now in our postmodern times but what I want you to understand is that the response to these things is exactly the same. What John lays out for us in chapter 5 is the clear compelling way in which we affirm the Gospel, we uphold the truth of Jesus Christ, and it is the way in which we combat false teaching. We go back simply to God's testimony. It's not that complicated and it's certainly not that difficult. We simply go back to the word of God and see what God has to say and what our passage is saying to us this morning is that God himself has testified to the reality of Jesus Christ in three compelling ways. That is our assurance that we are following the truth is that we have heard and we believe God's testimony rather than following the dictates of our own imaginations.

So we want to look at this from a couple of different perspectives but starting at the beginning here, what we want to see as our first point here is I want you to see the content of God's testimony to Christ. The content of God's testimony to Christ. Now, we're all used to the concept of giving our own personal testimony of the way that Christ has worked in our lives and if you're Christian at all, you delight in having the opportunity to do that, to speak of how you were convicted of sin, you found relief for your guilty conscience in the person and work of Jesus Christ and now your life has been changed and you have new desires, new affections for Christ and for the word of God, and these are the things that now are the deepest affections of your heart. That's what we do when we give our testimony and it's a delight to be able to do that. But what we're talking about today is something different. We're stepping into a very holy realm, you might say, a very sacred place where we are seeing how God himself has testified to the reality of Jesus Christ, how God himself has affirmed him at every point in order to establish the truthfulness of his testimony and in order to establish that eternal life is found as a gift in Jesus Christ and in him alone. That's what God has testified to. God himself has testified and so, as it were, we come humbly before this passage today, we kind of kneel outside the circle, as it were, and we say, "Father, how have you yourself testified to your Son. Your testimony, O Father, is far more important than my testimony, my personal testimony of faith in Christ. What you say about your Son is of supreme importance and what you say about your Son lays the foundation for our testimony and proclamation of the Gospel." How do we know that the Gospel is true? How do we know that Jesus Christ alone is the way of salvation and that every other religion is absolutely false and leads only to eternal damnation? How do we know that? We know that because God himself has testified to Christ and that's what our passage is looking at here this morning.

So, first of all, we're going to look at the content of God's testimony to Christ. God has testified to Christ and – watch this, this is so very important for you to understand – the fact that man by and large rejects this testimony does not in any way diminish its accuracy or full authority any more than if you speak the truth and a thousand people call you a liar makes you a liar. This isn't evaluated by popular response. This isn't determined, the truthfulness of this isn't determined by a poll of what humans think about Christ or what humans think about the Bible or what humans think about the testimony of God as we're going to see it here. God is the final authority. God is the Creator and Ruler of the universe. God is the one who has spoken and there is no one who is in a position or has the prerogative to contradict him. You either accept his testimony or you call him a liar. There is no in between and that's what we see here.

Look at verse 5 with me. We'll pick up where we ended last time just to kind of help set the context here. 1 John 5:5, John says, "Who is the one who overcomes the world, but he who believes that Jesus is the Son of God?" Now, you see right there at the end of verse 5 that the subject of this discussion, of this passage, is Jesus Christ, the Son of God, and so in verse 6 when he says, "This is the One who came," it is simply clearly referring to Christ. "This is the One," who is the "this"? "Well, it's just who I was just speaking about," John would say, Jesus Christ, the Son of God is "the one who came by water and blood, not with the water only, but with the water and with the blood. It is the Spirit who testifies, because the Spirit is the truth." Now, what John is doing here is he is explaining how God certified Christ during Christ's earthly life. During the 33 years that Jesus was on earth and even more particularly, during the course of his public ministry, how was it that God himself certified that this was the true Son of God and not an imposter? Well, John says, this is admittedly one of those passages that you have to look at for a little bit to figure out exactly what he's getting at but John says he came by water and blood and it is the Spirit who testifies.

So he's testifying how God certified Christ and he says that Jesus came by water and blood. One of the things that John has been emphasizing throughout 1 John is that the spirit of the true Christ, the true confession, is that Jesus Christ has come in human flesh and so somehow the certification of the reality of Christ, the truthfulness of Christ, came by water and by blood. What does that mean? Well, John gives us three aspects to God's testimony and three different ways in which God has affirmed it and the first one is this, so this is a sub point under the main heading; what we're going to see is that God testified to Christ at the baptism of Jesus. God testified to Christ at the baptism of Jesus and so what he's saying is that Jesus came by water in the sense that he was publicly affirmed by God the Father at his baptism. That was one way that God affirmed Jesus during the course of Jesus' public ministry so I want you to see this.

Turn back to the Gospel of Matthew 3. God gave a verbal testimony at the time of Jesus' baptism that certified the authenticity of Jesus of Nazareth as the long promised Messiah, the one who alone could testify, the one alone who could take away sin. God certified that. In Matthew 3:13, you can see this. You remember the story, "Jesus arrived from Galilee at the Jordan coming to John, to be baptized by him. But John tried to prevent Him, saying, 'I have need to be baptized by You, and do You come to me?' But Jesus answering said to him, 'Permit it at this time; for in this way it is fitting for us to fulfill all righteousness.' Then he permitted Him. After being baptized, Jesus came up immediately from the water," watch this, "and behold, the heavens were opened, and he saw the Spirit of God descending as a dove and lighting on Him, and behold, a voice out of the heavens said, 'This is My beloved Son, in whom I am well-pleased.'" You have at the public baptism of Jesus the heavens open and God the Father speaking from heaven affirming this public display of Christ, affirming him and saying, "This is My beloved Son, in Him I am well-pleased." That is God's testimony in the water, as it were; as Jesus came out of the waters of baptism, God affirmed him and said, "This is My beloved Son in whom I am well-pleased." Now we have the inspired testimony of Scripture to verify that to us today.

Now, what I want you to see is that baptism, Jesus' baptism and this public affirmation by God, fulfilled Old Testament prophecy about the Messiah. Turn back to Isaiah 42:1, remembering that God the Father said, "This is My beloved Son in whom I am well-pleased," and that that came as the Spirit descended as a dove and rested upon Jesus. Isaiah 42:1, God is speaking and he says, "Behold, My Servant, whom I uphold; My chosen one in whom My soul delights. I have put My Spirit upon Him; He will bring forth justice to the nations." There you see it in Isaiah 700 years before the time of Christ, God is saying that, "I am sending One, My chosen One and My soul delights in Him. I'm sending One and I have put My Spirit upon Him." Well, at the baptism of Jesus, you see the fulfillment of that prophecy. The Spirit came down and God gave public testimony that, "This One right here, this One who was just baptized before your very eyes, this One I affirm by a miraculous voice from heaven with the skies opened,that is My beloved Son in whom I am well pleased." That's the sense in which Jesus came by water and was verified to the human race as being the unique Son of God and there would be no others like him.

Turn back a few more pages in your Bible to the book of Psalms, Psalm 2:7 where it says, "I will surely tell of the decree of the LORD: He said to Me," and this is Christ speaking, "You are My Son, Today I have begotten You." In the Psalms, "You are My Son." In Isaiah, "I have put My Spirit upon Him. This is the One in whom I delight. This is the One in whom I am well-pleased." And with the fullness of Old Testament revelation now having been completed, Jesus comes and is baptized and you see this played out in human life. You see it played out not in prophecy but in a time and space historical event. And at that crucial opening salvo of Jesus' public ministry, as it were, as the initial bookend of his public ministry, God affirms him and says, "This is My beloved Son in whom I am well-pleased." God fulfilled those prophecies by his testimony at Jesus' baptism and so when you see the fullness of this event, you realize that the baptism of Christ says that Jesus is the Son of God. He is the one alone in whom God is well-pleased. God made him known at that time. That's God's testimony. By his Spirit, he recorded it for us in his word in this Gospel of Matthew and what I want you to see is that we should not fear or be intimidated or back away from proclaiming that this testimony of God at Jesus' baptism is his own testimony to his Son because it is and that certifies Christ by the highest authority. Do you see that? This certifies Christ by the highest authority. From the throne room of heaven, God has declared that, "Christ is My Son. I am well-pleased with Him. Listen to Him." That's the testimony of God and woe to the man who would contradict that testimony. Woe to the man who would say that's not enough. Woe to the man who says, "Oh, but I wasn't there," as if somehow his presence is what would authenticate the testimony of God himself. We respect this testimony. We honor it. We submit to it. We believe it. It is not for man to contradict the testimony of God and say somehow it's unclear. No, no, not at all. We look at this and we realize that at the baptism, God gave his own testimony to Christ and we bow before it and believe it.

Now, we've kind of talked about it from the negative angle of those that would try to deny it, for those of us that are believers, do you realize what that means? It means that your salvation and the one in whom you have put your trust for the forgiveness of your sins has been certified by the highest testimony possible in the universe. We don't follow cleverly devised tales. We don't believe based on books of philosophy that were written 10 years ago and will be forgotten in another 10 years. We believe based on the certain infallible testimony of God that he gave to Christ at his baptism, certified by the word of God and so this feeds your confidence. This feeds your assurance to understand why it is that you believe in Christ. You believe in part because God has made it known and you have been led by the Spirit to receive and accept that testimony and to rest upon it and when you are resting in Christ based on the testimony of God's own word at Jesus' baptism, your position and your security are unassailable. That's why we can say, "Let the trials come. Let the storms build around me. I have a Rock. I have an anchor that goes within the veil and my anchor holds because it's not resting in the testimony of man, it's resting in the testimony of God." Jesus came by water, meaning that God affirmed him at his baptism.

Now, secondly, this is the second sub point if you're taking notes, we're still looking at God's testimony to Christ. We've seen that Christ came by water. He was affirmed in the water of baptism by God the Father. Then John goes and adds this, turn back to 1 John 5 as we go back to what John has said here in the text and this really is, beloved, I really hope that as we read these things you have a sense of the great holiness and the solemnity of the things with which we are dealing. We're dealing with what the eternal God has declared about his eternal Son and somehow we're getting a little peek into the interactions of the Triune God and the relationship between the persons there and God saying, "This Son of mine pleases me."

Look at verse 6, he says, Jesus, "This is the One who came by water and blood, not with the water only, but with the water and with the blood." So what he's saying here is that you have more than just one testimony of the water of God's testimony and the waters of baptism. It wasn't only with that, there was also a testimony in blood by which God certified that Christ was the only Savior of the world; by which God certified that Jesus Christ was the eternal Son of God, unique, never to be repeated. Where was the blood found? Where was the testimony of God in blood found? Well, that brings us to the second sub point here is that we're going to see God's testimony at Jesus' crucifixion. We're going to see God's testimony at the cross, in other words. And in the context of what the false teachers were teaching in that day that I alluded to, remember the false teachers said that the Christ spirit departed before the crucifixion. Well, God's testimony contradicts that. God's testimony shows that that couldn't be true. God's testimony shows that Jesus was the Christ and he was the Christ and it was really him all the way through to his death; that there was no separation of the deity from the humanity. They were joined together in full union right at the cross. The Son of God perished on our behalf and that is certified to us by the testimony of God himself.

Go back to the Gospel of Matthew 27. And I just love the diversity of the ways in which God makes himself known, the diversity of the ways in which God affirms his Son, the Lord Jesus Christ, to us. God certified Christ at his crucifixion after his death, not before. Look at verse 50 of Matthew 27, "Jesus cried out again with a loud voice, and yielded up His spirit." Then what happened? Verse 51, here you see God's testimony. Verse 51, "And behold, the veil of the temple was torn in two from top to bottom," from heaven down toward earth, in other words. "The veil of the temple was torn in two from top to bottom; and the earth shook and the rocks were split. The tombs were opened, and many bodies of the saints who had fallen asleep were raised; and coming out of the tombs after His resurrection they entered the holy city and appeared to many." There was a miraculous testimony that certified Christ at his crucifixion when miraculous things started to happen which were a public testimony, once again, to the reality of Christ. In these miraculous events, the veil of the temple being torn in two, the massive earthquake, the splitting of rocks, the opening of tombs, the resurrections of the saints, all of these things happening surrounding the crucifixion of Christ. Why did that happen? God was saying, "Don't miss the significance of what happened here. Something miraculous has just occurred. Something extraordinary has occurred." And by his miraculous events, through his control over death and control over nature, he testified to the reality of Christ in the blood. God, as it were, slapped the human race across the face at the crucifixion with things that could not be explained by any natural human means and said, "What just happened here should call your attention and let you affirm the one who was just crucified."

So we have a set of bookends on the public ministry of Christ and I want you to watch this, watch this carefully. The first bookend, he is baptized and then enters into his public ministry. At his baptism, God certified and testified, "This is My beloved Son." All the way through he goes through all the way to the cross and he is crucified and when he died, God certified again through a different means but no less miraculous, testified through those surrounding miracles at the time of the crucifixion, "This is My beloved Son," calling attention to Christ at the beginning and at the end and giving an overarching stamp of approval to everything that happened in between. God did not send his Son into the world and leave him without affirmation and testimony. God miraculously intervened and affirmed him in the water and affirmed him in the blood and thus gave his testimony, "This is My beloved Son in whom I am well-pleased. This is My beloved Son, listen to Him." If you are here today and you're not a Christian, God is testifying to you again through his word. You must pay attention to Christ. There is salvation in no one else for there is no other name given among men by which we must be saved. And whether you're a young person hearing these things for the first time or whether you've carried a hardened heart throughout life and somehow God has brought you here this morning, his testimony is clear, it is compelling, and it cannot be denied. God has testified to Christ.

Now, turn back to 1 John 5 and we'll go back to the end of verse 6 with this question in mind. We understand that we're talking about historical affirmation that happened 2,000 years ago. Admittedly, you and I weren't there and these events aren't going to be re-created for our benefit. What is it that gives power to those historical facts today? What is it that gives us an assurance that those things are true when we were not direct personal eyewitnesses of them? Well, we're going to see the third aspect of God's testimony to Christ here and it's this: it's God's testimony by the Holy Spirit. God's testimony by Holy Spirit. Look at the end of verse 6 where it says, "It is the Spirit who testifies, because the Spirit is the truth. For there are three that testify: the Spirit and the water and the blood; and the three are in agreement." Now, let me just say briefly if you have a King James version or a New King James version in your hands, you'll see that that has material here about three-in-one and things like that that I haven't read from the New American Standard text. It's because the King James and New King James have material that the modern versions leave out because those verses that you see there in your King James did not appear in Greek manuscripts prior to the 14th century. There is really no question that they were not a part of the original word of God and that's why modern translations have left them out is that they have recognized that that 14th century testimony is not adequate proof that this was part of the original word of God in order to include it. There are lots of things that have been written about that; we won't spend any more time on it here. I just want to clear up in case you're looking at a New King James to help you understand what you're seeing. Those missing parts, as it seems, were not part of what John originally wrote and so we don't use them here.

Now, getting back to the actual text here, verse 6, "It is the Spirit who testifies, because the Spirit is the truth." John is referring to the Holy Spirit, the third person of the Trinity and what he's saying here is that the Holy Spirit testifies to the truth of Christ in the hearts of men. The Holy Spirit overcomes our unbelief so that we can see the truth. He supernaturally, in a hidden way, works on our mind and on our understanding so that we can clearly see that which was there all along. Think about it this way: a blind man doesn't see the things that are in front of him but that doesn't mean that they are not there. The fact that a man is blind to physical reality does not mean that the physical reality isn't true and living and active. He just can't see it. Well, what the Spirit does, is he removes the blindness from our eyes so that we can see what was there all along about the testimony of God to Christ.

Now, with that in mind, understand and this is, I think, kind of exciting. I will qualify it. If I say everything is exciting, then nothing is exciting. This is kind of exciting. This role of the Holy Spirit in our conversion in helping us understand has been an ongoing theme throughout the book of 1 John. You need to see this. This isn't something new. Turn back to chapter 2, verse 20, where it says, John is speaking to the true Christians now and he says, "you have an anointing from the Holy One, and you all know." You know because of this anointing from the holy one. You know because God has graciously allowed his Spirit to work upon you and that's how you know these things are true of which I speak.

Look down at verse 27 of chapter 2, "As for you," actually, look at verse 26, "These things I have written to you concerning those who are trying to deceive you." We recognize that in the church of God there will be men who try to deceive, who try to lead astray. God has given to you the means to overcome that. He says in verse 27, "As for you, the anointing which you received from Him abides in you, and you have no need for anyone to teach you; but as His anointing," a reference to the Holy Spirit, "teaches you about all things, and is true and is not a lie, and just as it has taught you, you abide in Him." He says you have the Holy Spirit and the Holy Spirit, God himself in the third person of the Trinity, has certified the truthfulness of these things that you believe to you.

This has been part of the ongoing theme of the Apostle John in 1 John and he didn't stop there. Look at chapter 3, verse 24. How do we know these things to be true? How is it, Otto, that you sit here in full conviction of the truthfulness of Christ and the truthfulness of the Scripture? How is it that you have that certainty of conviction? It's because of the work of the Spirit of God in your heart. Chapter 3, verse 24, "The one who keeps His commandments abides in Him, and He in him. We know by this," how do we know? "We know by this that He abides in us, by the Spirit whom He has given us." Notice the "whom," it's a person. God has given us the person of the Holy Spirit and that's how we know these things are true. Beloved, beloved, the objective fact of the matter is if you're here and you're a Christian, it's the fact that God has certified his own testimony to you directly by the work of the Holy Spirit in your heart. And I want to say something to you: that should overwhelm you with gratitude, with wonder, with a sense of awe, with a sense of humility. "Lord, I wasn't seeking this. I was lost. I was blind. I was in chains of sin and under the domination of the devil. I couldn't have found this on my own. And God, I see from your word that I now know these things about Christ with certainty because you've given your Spirit to me. Let me bow down and worship. Let me quiet myself. Let me put my hand over my mouth and stop speaking and show to you, my God, the reverence which you deserve for such a powerful, unspeakable act of grace."

And that wasn't the last time that John said it. Look at chapter 4, verse 13. Let me remind you when you see things repeated in Scripture over and over again, you need to take note and to recognize that it's something important. God only has to say things one time for it to be true and to be important; when he says it four or five times in the space of five chapters, we need to pay heed. Chapter 4, verse 13. How do we know? "By this we know that we abide in Him and He in us, because He has given us of His Spirit." The Holy Spirit has borne testimony to our hearts and notice this, the Holy Spirit has been bearing witness to the resurrection of Christ ever since Jesus ascended into heaven and he was sent to the church in Acts 2. There has been an ongoing testimony of God by the person of the Holy Spirit to the truth of these things. Notice the present tense. Notice the present tense in verse 6 of chapter 5, "It is the Spirit who testifies." There is an ongoing nature to this testimony. The Spirit gives this testimony through the word of God in the hearts of men, through the proclamation of the word through faithful pulpits around the world. The Spirit of God bears testimony to Christ and thereby adds another level of divine affirmation to Christ that was first stated at the baptism of Christ during his earthly life, the affirmation that came during his earthly life, which was affirmed at the crucifixion and now the Spirit of God, as it were, superintends every discussion of that and testifies again and again and again multiple times every moment throughout the world, "This is true. Christ is the living Son of God. Christ is the only way of salvation."

Those of you that perhaps struggle with some doubt and wonder and say, "Well, where can I know that this is true?" What you need to see is that God has made it abundantly clear. God hasn't hidden his testimony in a corner someplace and made it hard to find. God hasn't hidden it in some obscure Roman historian's reference that would suddenly unlock the gates of heaven to you. God has spoken abundantly. God has spoken clearly. God has spoken verbally at the baptism, miraculously at the crucifixion, and in the hearts of men and in your own heart, he testifies to the truth of the things that we are discussing here today. Let no man accuse God of being stingy in his testimony. Let no man accuse God of not making this clear. We vindicate and uphold the goodness and the clarity of God in what he has given to the sons of men.

It's well-known that the Bible says that the truthfulness of a matter is established on the testimony of two or three witnesses, Deuteronomy 19, for example. God has done that with Christ: verbal at his baptism, miraculous at the crucifixion, ongoing in the hearts of men by the Holy Spirit. God has testified through water, through blood and through the Spirit that Jesus Christ is the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world. That's why we don't have the liberty to say that all religions lead to God. That's why that we can't accommodate the postmodern tolerance spirit of the age. That's why we can't yield on the Gospel. God has spoken. We don't have the liberty or the prerogative and in this place we don't even have the desire to disagree with him, to contradict it, to suggest something other than what God has said. His testimony has been established. Men have the responsibility to submit to it and to believe it.

The second main point for this morning. We've looked at the content of God's testimony to Christ and the fact that God has testified means that we have a second point to deal with here in the text and that's the consequences of this testimony. The consequences of this testimony and, oh, do I love what the Scriptures say about this. Beloved, follow me here. This is so clear and evident the consequences that flow from this and the word of God makes it clear. The fact that this is God's testimony, this is not the testimony of man, this testimony belongs to God, it was God who spoke, it was God who shook the earth, it is God the Spirit who testified, this is God's testimony. We are not at liberty to dispute it and the fact that it's God's testimony has important consequences for you, for me, and for every man on earth, frankly. The first consequence that John shows us is that your salvation rests on certain testimony. It's certain, not uncertain. Your faith is based on the infallible, reliable testimony of God himself.

Look at verse 9 now. John says, "If we receive the testimony of men, the testimony of God is greater; for the testimony of God is this, that He has testified concerning His Son. The one who believes in the Son of God has the testimony in himself." We'll stop there and pick up the rest of it in a moment. Listen, you believe what men tell you all the time. "Hey, can you tell me how to get to Skyline from here? Yeah, sure, you just go down to exit 8. Do you know where the library is? Yeah. What did you do before you got here? Well, I did this" and you just believe that. You believe the testimony of men in what they tell you. Your general disposition is to believe what a man tells you. You're not skeptical and hypercritical and say, "Well, how do you know that that's where the Skyline is at exit 8? How do you know? I don't think I can believe that." You don't operate that way in the human realm. It would be absurd. Well, what this is saying to us is that if you can believe a man when he speaks to you about matters of daily life, you should believe God when he speaks to you about matters of eternal life. When God says that Jesus is the true Savior, you should believe him. Verse 9, "If we receive the testimony of men, the testimony of God is greater." Men do lie and you believe them. God doesn't lie, therefore we believe him with confidence and that has implications. Verse 10, "The one who believes in the Son of God has the testimony in himself." God has testified. Do you believe it? That means that you can have confidence about the truthfulness of what you have rested your hope of eternal life upon. It's not the testimony of men, it's the testimony of God. Your salvation has a firm foundation.

Now, that's the positive side. There's a negative side to this and it's this, this is the second sub point if you're taking notes: to deny Christ is to commit a great sin. Denying Christ is a great sin. Because this is God's testimony testified in a threefold way as it is laid out for us here in this passage, the only way that you can deny the Lord Jesus Christ, my friends, is to call God a liar; to call the true and holy one a fabricator, a misleader, a liar who cannot be believed because we've already established that God has testified, right? We've already testified that he's done it three times as it is laid out here in this passage, the testimony of something, the evidence, the conclusiveness is testified and established by two or three witnesses. Well, we have God as our witness in multiple ways saying that Jesus is the Christ and the only source of eternal life. To reject that necessarily means that you are calling God a liar. Look at the end of verse 10, "the one who does not believe God has made Him a liar because he has not believed in the testimony that God has given concerning His Son."

Now, beloved, this is going to sound a little hard on your ears perhaps but it's simply the consequence of what we just read: we should not sympathize with unbelief as though it were an understandable excusable phenomenon because of the lack of clarity about Christ. That's not true. That's utterly false. We cannot sympathize with unbelief in light of the fact that we are looking at God's testimony. To disagree with God's testimony is a sin. It is sinful to reject Christ. It is sinful to question what the Scriptures say about him. One writer says this, he says, "Unbelief is not a misfortune to be pitied, it is a sin to be deplored. It contradicts the word of the one true God and thus attributes falsehood to him." To say this isn't true is to call God a liar. It is to run haphazardly into the throne room of God where the holy majestic one of the universe dwells in unparalleled supremacy and in unapproachable light and majesty and to foolishly, childishly, sinfully, rebelliously say, "Liar! Liar! Liar!" Let me assure you that a holy God who is zealous for his own glory will not take such accusations lightly. Let me assure you that there will be an accounting for that kind of sin and rebellion against the truthfulness of his testimony. You see, and one of the things that that points out to us, beloved, is this – look, I love you and I love the fact that you love God's word, that's why you're here, I understand it. I just want to emphasize to you that when we open the word of God, when you read your Bible and spiritual things are discussed, these are most holy moments of great magnitude and import. God is testifying as these things are being spoken of and that calls for reverence and care and respect and reverence before the one who testifies because to treat them lightly, to deny what God has said is a great sin.

The accusation that comes all of the time when the word of God is clearly and forcefully taught is that it's arrogant for you to be so dogmatic about the truth. It's arrogant for you to deny that other religions can't lead to salvation. It's arrogant for you to do this or that and Christian academics are swept up with a sense of false humility, "I'm too humble to say this is actually true. These are my perspectives." No, beloved, what I want you to understand is that it is not arrogant to say that God meant what he said. It is not arrogant to stand on the word of God and to declare it. What's arrogant is for a man to say what God has said is not true. What's arrogant is for someone to question God's word as though it weren't true. That's arrogant for a sinful man to rise up against a holy God and say, "I don't believe what you have said." That's arrogant. It's not arrogant to line yourself up with God's word and to proclaim it. Another writer said, quote, "The real presumption is in questioning and casting doubt on God's word." That's where presumption and arrogance lie, when sinful men undermine the word of God.

That's what John says. Look at it again in verse 10. I want you to see it again, "the one who does not believe God has made Him a liar." That's what's at stake when we hear the Gospel proclaimed. Will we believe or will we call God a liar? There is no other choice in the matter.

Well, finally, the fact that this is God's testimony leads us to a final observation about the consequences of God's testimony and it's this, third sub point here is that salvation is God's gift in Christ alone. Salvation is God's gift in Christ alone. Eternal life, the forgiveness of sin, is only available through Jesus Christ who is the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world.

Look at chapter 5, verse 11. What is God's testimony? The testimony is this, verse 11, you see if there with me, right? Verse 11, "the testimony is this," this is God's testimony, "that God has given us eternal life, and this life is in His Son. He who has the Son has the life; he who does not have the Son of God does not have the life." Eternal life is a gift, it's not something that you earn, it's not something that you go through rituals and hope that you one day attain later as some religions would have us to teach. It's a gift that we receive now as a present possession. It's a gift that has eternal life now. Notice in verse 12, again, notice the present tenses, "He who has the Son has the life," has eternal life, has an undying life that comes from the eternal God himself and which heaven, better stated, better yet, the gates of hell cannot prevail against.

This is God's gift of eternal life and those of us who know Christ rejoice in that. We believe this. We have this based on a certain testimony from God himself. Beloved, God has certified the truthfulness, the accuracy and the reliability of salvation to you in multiple ways. That means that you should cling to Christ and you should proclaim him no matter how the world may try to drown us out. We're not afraid of men. We fear God, we don't fear men. We fear God enough to stand firm for his testimony even when men contradict it. We prefer to endure shame and rejection from the world with Christ, with the apostles, with the martyrs of old, we prefer that to the approval of a world that calls God a liar. It's really clear, isn't it? God has testified if you are in Christ, you're the recipient of a great gift, an infallible gift. God intends you to know for certain because he has spoken, he has testified, and God always tells the truth, and we trust him, we believe him, and we love him.

Let's pray together.

Our Father, we are so very grateful for your testimony and corporately, our Father, we want to publicly say corporately that we believe your testimony. We believe what you have said about Christ. We believe that you spoke at the baptism and made it clear. We believe that you spoke through miracles at his crucifixion and made it clear. You affirmed our Savior at the beginning of his public ministry and at the end of it and now we enjoy the benefits of this because of the testimony of your Holy Spirit. We're really overwhelmed, Father, at the majesty of what you have done, the majesty of your testimony; we are overwhelmed by the significance of it and what it means for the world around us, and corporately, Father, we affirm it all without reservation and without hesitation. Individually, Father, we humble ourselves once more. Our hearts are just so full of gratitude for your gift of salvation, your gift of eternal life. We thank you, Father, so much that you have been so gracious to us. And Father, we pray for the unbelievers that are in our midst. Father, may the fearsome consequences, may they stop in their tracks at the thought of calling you a liar and denying your testimony. Father, don't let anyone walk out of here devoid of your Spirit. Don't let anyone walk out of here not as a part of your family. Father, may the Spirit call them. May he once more certify the truth of the Gospel to them. May he lead them to repentance and faith in Christ for the gift of eternal life. We love you and honor you and we thank you for these things in Jesus' name. Amen.

More in 1 John

July 26, 2016

Jesus Declares His Deity

April 18, 2014

The Plight of Man and the Power of God

April 14, 2013

Final Certainty