God’s Testimony of His Son

1 John 5:6-12

Parents only get away with “because I said so” for a while. Eventually have to appeal to further, perhaps greater authority; may even require additional witnesses. Not unlike justice system: no one goes to prison without evidence, testimony from witnesses – preferably eyewitnesses, hearsay usually not allowed. In minds of many, matters of faith not like that – to them, faith isn’t faith if it has basis, something beyond personal feeling or opinion. Science based on fact, religion a leap of faith. What does Bible say?

Heb. 11:1Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.

The true faith believers have is not blind, unfounded; does not require leap in the dark, into the unknown. Saving faith is historical faith – not confidence in history but confidence rooted in and affirmed by historical events. Even first man and woman to exercise faith – Adam & Eve – had the foundation of prior history underpinning that faith. God had said and done things to provide basis for confidence. Our faith, like Adam & Eve and everyone else between them and us – based on firm testimony / witness of history, of eyewitnesses, also of God.

Just as John used word(s) repeatedly in earlier part of letter, uses word “μαρτυρια” and related nearly dozen times in our text – does so to make point. May be rendered: record, witness, testimony; all same Greek word. Yes, was dealing with heretics trying to do damage to church. But,… primary purpose of 1 John is to build up and encourage saints, not tear down the opposition. (Maybe modern politicians should take note!!) John declares there have been numerous witnesses, tells us what testimony was about, and makes plain the consequences for belief and unbelief.

If only 2 things you leave here today with: 1) Biblical Christian faith not leap in the dark, it’s founded on witnesses and evidence; 2) Biblical Christian faith requires belief in what Bible says about Jesus. Getting it right about Jesus is matter of life and death, eternal life or death.

A. who testifies

numerous witnesses to foundation of faith – remember Paul’s statement: 1 Cor. 3:11For no other foundation can anyone lay than that which is laid, which is Jesus Christ.”

don’t have only Jesus’ testimony about himself; in fact, he said that by itself wouldn’t be adequate (John 5:31)

something God established Deut. 19:15 – “by the mouth of two or three witnesses the matter shall be established.”

both men and God (9)

necessary to accept witness of men for civil society to function – act on basis that what other people say is true

checkout clerk, numbers on gas pump, word of carpenter or mechanic, grade a teacher gives

given nature of witnesses, should accept testimony of God even more readily

human witnesses make mistakes, God never does; people don’t see all, or without distortion/bias – God does

John reminds – we have both human and divine witness to truth about Jesus

the Spirit (6)

descending on Jesus at his baptism – Matt. 3:16, Luke 3:22

descended on church as promised by Jesus – Acts 1:4-8; 2:1-4

confirming what Jesus said of Spirit’s ministry – testify of me (John 15:26)

to and through the apostles: “we are His witnesses to these things, and so also is the Holy Spirit” (Acts 5:32)

the Three (7-8)

add water and blood to witness of Spirit – repeated witnesses from v.6

in addition to Spirit’s testimony, two remarkable other ways it’s evident Jesus is the Messiah, the Son of God

water: his baptism – inauguration / ordination to ministry, shown by descending dove and voice from heaven

identified by Father as “Promised One”, “beloved Son”, empowered by Holy Spirit

blood: his death – his mission / ministry completed: “it is finished”; sent to be Savior, had achieved it

recognized as more than mere mortal human by Roman centurion (Matt. 27:54)

includes resurrection: Rom. 1:4declared to be the Son of God with power according to the Spirit of holiness, by the resurrection from the dead.”

the Father (9)

what he just said, that’s the Father’s testimony

whether Father’s voice speaking or through other means, still His testimony

it’s testimony of His Son – real personal father-son relationship in view here

all speak with one voice (8, 9)

because God is one: “we worship One God in Trinity and Trinity in Unity” Athanasian Creed

all the evidence, all the testimony, all the voices say one thing: Jesus is Messiah, Son of God, Savior of the world

remember ιχθυς – ιησους χριστος θεου υιος σωτηρ

B. what is testified

about the Son

he’s a real person: came by water and blood (not only by water) (6)

not simply an avatar, manifestation of a God-principle

he’s really Son of God, Messiah (6, 9)

at his baptism – “this is my beloved Son” spoken audibly by Father

in his miracles

Nicodemus had it right – “we know that You are a teacher come from God; for no one can do these signs that You do unless God is with him.”John 3:2

Jesus himself – “the very works that I do – bear witness of Me, that the Father has sent Me.” John 5:36; 10:25

by his resurrection: Rom. 1:4declared to be the Son of God with power according to the Spirit of holiness, by the resurrection from the dead.”

about the testimony

it’s the truth (6)

αληθεια – reality as opposed to appearance

what the Spirit declares is facts as they really are, not just as they appear; must be so, it’s the Spirit, after all

it’s internal to the believer (10a)

plenty of external witnesses – man’s testimony, God’s testimony through men – but not limited to them

divine testimony from within his heart – supplementing, confirming truth/reality of external evidence

deepest conviction of the truth: Jesus is Son of God

it’s the personal experience of divine power (11b)

note: not “has given us the means to eternal life” but “has given eternal life”

present possession of life accompanied by peace, absence of fear – of God, of death

about eternal life

it’s in the Son (11c)

bought by him, treasured up in him, obtained through him – all at cost of his own life

is not found in ourselves or any other place, only in God’s Son

anything claiming to be Gospel not “good news” apart from ιχθυς

C. the consequences

for unbelief

rejection of God, not “just” the Son – makes God a liar (10b)

no Son, no life (11c, 12b)

not just implied that this is true – explicitly stated; no room for “all roads lead to heaven”

where does that leave Muslims, JW’s, Mormons, etc? (12b)

all who are quick to accept a way that promises salvation for works done, reject salvation by grace through faith

in need of: hearing the truth, the power of God to change them (just as we all once were)

“The power of God is needed to induce us to throw down the tools with which we work for salvation and take, with joyful hands, the full, free and finished salvation which Jesus bestows on all who trust Him.” CHS

for belief

life, eternal life (10a, 11a,b, 12a)

do you have the Son? then you have life, kind Jesus spoke of to Martha

John 11:25-26Jesus said to her, “I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in Me, though he may die, he shall live. And whoever lives and believes in Me shall never die. Do you believe this?” [Greek, “Shall by no means die forever.”]

there’s dying and then there’s dying – separation of soul from body, separation of soul from God

believer may experience first, will never experience second

means believer doesn’t need to fear death – it’s a change of residence, temporary separation from brothers and sisters, beginning of eternal enjoyment of God’s immediate presence

remember why we said John was writing? encouragement?

no need to be embarassed by faith, by believing in what many ridicule

can be assured, should be assured of present possession of life

If we have that assurance, “believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of the living God”, and believe that John is right – “he who does not have the Son of God does not have life”, we have responsibility. Must do our part to be among the witnesses – speaking freely and boldly the words of life that others who need to will hear truth.

Let us labor for the Master from the dawn till setting sun,
Let us talk of all his wondrous love and care.
Then when all of life is over and our work on earth is done,
And the roll is called up yonder
many others will be there, because of our words and lives of faithful testimony to the Son of God.


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