Over the years, I’ve had the opportunity to sit at the bedside of any number of believers as they went home to be with the Lord. It’s always a bittersweet moment. It is hard to loose the presence of Christians you have loved, ministered to, and fellowshiped with. On the other hand it is a blessing to walk them up to a door that for most people is very far away, and for some very frightening. I’ve prayed with them, read Scripture to them, and sung with them. It’s a joy to see them safely through the door. The Apostle Paul expressed it this way: “I am torn between the two: I desire to depart and be with Christ, which is better by far; ... .” (Phil. 1:23, NIV).
At those moments I am reminded that nothing, absolutely nothing, is more important than having Christ in one’s life. Friends, I pray that God’s Holy Spirit helps you understand this morning that nothing is more important than having eternal life.
We’ve just come off of a season that is filled with subtle deceptions. Summer is a time when we think more about our bodies, for example, because in the summertime people see more of them. We wonder about whether we have an attractive tan. We wonder about whether-or-not we look pudgy in the swimming suit. We think about all the opportunities available to us between Memorial Day and Labor Day. The deception is that we can actually begin to think these things matter!
When you look in the mirror today to see how your tan is doing or whether your skin is smooth, remember the believers who have experienced the sting of death that they might experience victory over death. Those things didn't make any difference to them. One thing mattered: That they had eternal life, because they had the Son. And he who has the Son has life!
How can you have eternal life? That is the focus of our text this morning.
I. THE CENTRALITY OF JESUS’ ATONING SACRIFICE
- “This is the one who came by water and blood—Jesus Christ. He did not come by water only, but by water and blood. And it is the Spirit who testifies, because the Spirit is the truth. For there are three that testify: the Spirit, the water and the blood; and the three are in agreement. We accept man’s testimony, but God’s testimony is greater because it is the testimony of God, which he has given about his Son.” (1 John 5:6–9, NIV84)
- in verse 12, the Apostle John is crystal clear about the source of eternal life
- “He who has the Son has life; he who does not have the Son of God does not have life.” (1 John 5:12, NIV84)
- LIFE—Eternal Life in the world to come, and Abundant Life in this world—come by Christ
- that’s it; end of story
- people without the Son may have a pulse, but they don’t have life or an eternal future with their Maker
- but this passage begs the question: What has Jesus, who is the Christ, done whereby we have life in him?
- in the preceding section (vv. 1–5), John described the joys and blessings of overcomers, those who believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God
- but the apostle knew that many would ask why they should believe that Jesus is who John claimed Him to be
- after all, Israel rejected Him;
- “He came to that which was his own, but his own did not receive him.” (John 1:11, NIV84)
- why should we believe that Jesus is the one who can save us? ...
A. JESUS CAME BY WATER AND BLOOD
- the One in v. 6 obviously points to Jesus Christ
- he is the One—the one and only Son who has been with God the Father for all eternity
- the noun’s position at the head of the sentence stresses Christ’s uniqueness
- this One and no other “one” is God the Son, who came into the world
- Jesus Christ’s life did not begin when He was born; He has existed from all eternity
- "In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was with God in the beginning.” (John 1:1–2, NIV84)
- this verse speaks of the eternalness of the one whom we call Jesus
- hence the New Testament speaks of Jesus coming into this world, not of His coming into existence
- it is to the coming of the Son and to His deity that the Father testifies in 1 John 5:6-13
- as the aged Apostle John writes these words, I think his mind races back sixty or seventy years to that moment when he stands before the cross watching Jesus die
- he has heard Jesus cry out It is finished and watched as the last breath flowed out of his lungs and his body went limp
- moments later a Roman guard, unconvinced that Jesus could have died so quickly, plunges a lance into his side and out flowed “blood and water”
- we find the account in the Gospel written by the Apostle John
- “When he had received the drink, Jesus said, “It is finished.” With that, he bowed his head and gave up his spirit. Now it was the day of Preparation, and the next day was to be a special Sabbath. Because the Jews did not want the bodies left on the crosses during the Sabbath, they asked Pilate to have the legs broken and the bodies taken down. The soldiers therefore came and broke the legs of the first man who had been crucified with Jesus, and then those of the other. But when they came to Jesus and found that he was already dead, they did not break his legs. Instead, one of the soldiers pierced Jesus’ side with a spear, bringing a sudden flow of blood and water. The man who saw it has given testimony, and his testimony is true. He knows that he tells the truth, and he testifies so that you also may believe.” (John 19:30–35, NIV84)
- the “water” that John saw was plasma that had built up in the pericardium—the sack that surrounds the heart
- under the stress of crucifixion, the pericardium filled with fluid and compressed the heart, eventually causing heart failure
- the plunge of a Roman guard’s spear reveals the awful truth—Jesus is dead
- the glorious good news for us, however, is revealed in Christ’s resurrection a few days later!
- but in our morning’s text, the Apostle John stresses the death of Jesus
- 1st, when Jesus died, he really, really suffered the wrath of God for the sins of God’s Elect
- “but God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us. Since, therefore, we have now been justified by his blood, much more shall we be saved by him from the wrath of God.” (Romans 5:8–9, ESV)
- because of sin, sinners are objects of His [God’s] wrath—prepared for destruction
- we do lost sinners a huge injustice when we fail to warn them of the wrath of God that hangs over them because of their disbelief
- “Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only Son of God.” (John 3:18, ESV)
- /"But God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which he loved us, even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ—by grace you have been saved—”' (Ephesians 2:4–5, ESV)
- because Jesus was made sin for us, the thing we’ve been saved from is the wrath of God
- during the Last Supper, Jesus took a cup of wine and said it was symbolic of his blood that was soon to be shed at Calvary
- “for this is my blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many for the forgiveness of sins.” (Matthew 26:28, ESV)
- “He is the radiance of the glory of God and the exact imprint of his nature, and he upholds the universe by the word of his power. After making purification for sins, he sat down at the right hand of the Majesty on high,” (Hebrews 1:3, ESV)
- “He himself bore our sins in his body on the tree, that we might die to sin and live to righteousness. By his wounds you have been healed.” (1 Peter 2:24, ESV)
- “He is the propitiation for our sins, and not for ours only but also for the sins of the whole world.” (1 John 2:2, ESV)
- “For our sake he made him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.” (2 Corinthians 5:21, ESV)
- ILLUS. The great 19th century Baptist preacher, C.H. Spurgeon called it “the heart of the gospel.” It is the gospel in one verse. There is an amazing simplicity here–21 words of only one syllable, one word of two syllables, and one word (righteousness) of three syllables. It could hardly be simpler than this–yet whole books could be written on the meaning of each phrase.
B. THE TRIUNE TESTIMONY TO THIS TRUTH
- how can we know that these things are true?
- the Apostle John writes that there are several testimonies to what he writes
- 1st, there is the Historical Witness
- in verse 6 that Apostle writes, And it is the Spirit who testifies, because the Spirit is the truth
- one of the roles of the Holy Spirit in the believer’s life is to convince them of the historical reality of the Gospel story
- it seems like such a fantastic story—so fantastic that it’s hard to believe
- God came to this world, in the flesh, in the person of a Jewish laborer, to die for sin for both Jew and Gentile, only to rise again, and promise that he’s coming back, and that all men are to believe this or perish?
- no really, it really happened just that way and only the Holy Spirit can convince the sinner that the story is true
- the apostle John has relentlessly hammered home throughout this epistle the truth that belief in the historical Jesus is essential to salvation
- "That which was from the beginning, which we have heard, which we have seen with our eyes, which we have looked at and our hands have touched—this we proclaim concerning the Word of life. The life appeared; we have seen it and testify to it, and we proclaim to you the eternal life, which was with the Father and has appeared to us. We proclaim to you what we have seen and heard, so that you also may have fellowship with us. And our fellowship is with the Father and with his Son, Jesus Christ. We write this to make our joy complete." (1 John 1:1–4, NIV84)
- in verse 10 the Apostle writes, Anyone who believes in the Son of God has this testimony in his heart
- I know the story is real because I believed it and it changed me!
- ILLUS. Like the man born blind whom Jesus healed, when he was questioned by the religious leaders, responded, “One thing I do know. I was blind but now I see!”
- “For all who are led by the Spirit of God are sons of God. For you did not receive the spirit of slavery to fall back into fear, but you have received the Spirit of adoption as sons, by whom we cry, “Abba! Father!” The Spirit himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God, and if children, then heirs—heirs of God and fellow heirs with Christ, provided we suffer with him in order that we may also be glorified with him.” (Romans 8:14–17, ESV)
- in verses 13 the Apostle writes, I write these things to you who believe in the name of the Son of God so that you may know that you have eternal life
- ILLUS. The great preacher, John Wesley, once said, “When I was young I was sure of everything. But after a few years having been mistaken a thousand times, I was not half so sure of most things as I was before. And at present, I am hardly sure of anything except what God had revealed to me.”
II. THE CENTRALITY OF FAITH IN JESUS' ATONING SACRIFICE
- “If we receive the testimony of men, the testimony of God is greater, for this is the testimony of God that he has borne concerning his Son. Whoever believes in the Son of God has the testimony in himself. Whoever does not believe God has made him a liar, because he has not believed in the testimony that God has borne concerning his Son. And this is the testimony, that God gave us eternal life, and this life is in his Son. Whoever has the Son has life; whoever does not have the Son of God does not have life. I write these things to you who believe in the name of the Son of God that you may know that you have eternal life.” (1 John 5:9–13, ESV)
- according to God's testimony, the way to have life is to have the Son
- “Whoever has the Son has life; whoever does not have the Son of God does not have life.” (1 John 5:12, ESV)
- the word "have" can communicate a lot of different nuances
- for example, it doesn't mean quite the same thing each time when you say ...
- "I have a dollar," or,
- "I have a cold," or,
- "I have a lawyer"
- but there is something common to all those meanings: when you HAVE something, it does its thing for you
- if you have a dollar, it buys a dollar's worth for you
- if you have a cold, it makes your nose run
- if you have a lawyer, he stands in for you
- having something means that it does its thing for you
A. HAVING ALL THAT JESUS CAME TO DO
- the testimony of God (v. 12) says, "He who HAS the Son has life"
- if you have the Son, then the Son does his thing for you
- what Jesus can do he does for me
- what Jesus promises to do he will do for me
- that is what it means to HAVE the Son
- John sums up what it means to have the Son in one word—LIFE
- he who has the Son has life—Eternal life
- this is not merely an extension of all the frustrations and half-joys of this life
- when Jesus finishes doing his thing in your life, every sin will be atoned for, every frustration will be gone and every half-joy will be full
- “ ... I came that they may have life and have it abundantly.” (John 10:10, ESV)
- “I write these things to you who believe in the name of the Son of God that you may know that you have eternal life.” (1 John 5:13, ESV)
- when you put your trust in the name of Jesus, the Son of God does his thing for those who trust him
- ILLUS. Passage to India. In the film, A Passage to India, Dr. Aziz H. Ahmed, a young Indian doctor, is arrested for allegedly molesting a young English woman in India. Aziz is arrested and brought before the courts, where he learns that the entire British administration is against him, and would like to see him found guilty and punished severely, to teach all native Indians what it means to molest a British citizen. The case becomes an explosive point of tension between the Indian people who longed for independence and the colonial English government. Everybody who know Aziz knows that his integrity is without question. However, he is too poor to afford a lawyer. But Amritrao, the most famous and able lawyer in all India, gets word of the case. He has a reputation for not liking the British and standing up for the Indian underdogs. One of the most powerful scenes in the film is when two of Dr. Ahmed’s friends bring him word in the jail that the famous lawyer is willing to defend the doctor—and then, as if it were too good to be true, they say, "And he's not even going to charge a fee!" Now the doctor has a lawyer. He HAS a lawyer. The lawyer is going to do his lawyer thing for the doctor. All his reputation, all his eloquence, all his skill are now going to be used to save the doctor. He does, and in the end Dr. Aziz Ahmed is found innocent and freed.
- he never had met him before
- he had no money to pay him
- he was far away from him in a different city
- how did he come to have the best lawyer in India?
- he has two goals: the liberation of India from the British, and the glorification of his own legal skills
- ILLUS. When the camera picks him up in a tumultuous courtroom scene, he is sitting at his table utterly calm, as though in sovereign control of the situation. And to show that what he really loves is the liberation of India and the display of his skills for the helpless patriot, his services are not for sale. He will not be paid. That would call into question what he really loves.
- the lawyer makes a free offer, and the doctor hears the offer and accepts it
- he trusts that the lawyer means it, and he believes he can do it
- he HAS the lawyer because he TRUSTS the lawyer
- Jesus has two goals: the liberation of his people from sin and death, and the glorification of his own powers
- that is the origin of salvation, and the source of eternal life
- and to show that what he loves is the liberation of his people and the magnification of his power, his services are not for sale
- his grace is free
- he makes you a free offer, and you accept his offer, by trusting what he say he will do for you he will accomplish
- ILLUS. You’ve heard me quote the chorus many time: My hope is built on nothing less then Jesus’ blood and righteousness. I dare not trust the sweetest frame, but holy lean on Jesus’ name. On Christ the solid rock I stand, all other ground is sinking sand, All other ground is sinking sand.
King David said it 1,000 years earlier like this: "Commit your way to the Lord; trust in him, and he will act. He will bring forth your vindication as the light and your right as the noonday."
Trust in him and he will act for you! Trust in the Son of God and you will HAVE the Son of God. And God himself is witness: he who has the Son has life!