1 John 5:6-9

Wednesday Evening Bible Study

April 29, 1998

Introduction

Last week we talked about victory.

We have victory over Satan when we resist Him through the Word of God and prayer.

We have victory over our flesh as we learn to crucify it and then be continually filled with the Holy Spirit.

We have victory over the world as we learn to walk in faith, trusting God, taking Him at His word, and especially as we learn to trust Him concerning Jesus being the Christ, the Son of God.

We ended with:

(1 John 5:5 KJV) Who is he that overcometh the world, but he that believeth that Jesus is the Son of God?

:6-9 Witnesses

:6 This is he that came by water and blood, even Jesus Christ; not by water only, but by water and blood.

Jesusí earthly ministry was defined by a beginning and an end.

The beginning of Jesusí ministry

(Mat 3 KJV) In those days came John the Baptist, preaching in the wilderness of Judaea, {2} And saying, Repent ye: for the kingdom of heaven is at hand. {3} For this is he that was spoken of by the prophet Esaias, saying, The voice of one crying in the wilderness, Prepare ye the way of the Lord, make his paths straight. {4} And the same John had his raiment of camel's hair, and a leathern girdle about his loins; and his meat was locusts and wild honey. {5} Then went out to him Jerusalem, and all Judaea, and all the region round about Jordan, {6} And were baptized of him in Jordan, confessing their sins. {7} But when he saw many of the Pharisees and Sadducees come to his baptism, he said unto them, O generation of vipers, who hath warned you to flee from the wrath to come? {8} Bring forth therefore fruits meet for repentance: {9} And think not to say within yourselves, We have Abraham to our father: for I say unto you, that God is able of these stones to raise up children unto Abraham. {10} And now also the ax is laid unto the root of the trees: therefore every tree which bringeth not forth good fruit is hewn down, and cast into the fire. {11} I indeed baptize you with water unto repentance: but he that cometh after me is mightier than I, whose shoes I am not worthy to bear: he shall baptize you with the Holy Ghost, and with fire: {12} Whose fan is in his hand, and he will thoroughly purge his floor, and gather his wheat into the garner; but he will burn up the chaff with unquenchable fire. {13} Then cometh Jesus from Galilee to Jordan unto John, to be baptized of him. {14} But John forbad him, saying, I have need to be baptized of thee, and comest thou to me? {15} And Jesus answering said unto him, Suffer it to be so now: for thus it becometh us to fulfil all righteousness. Then he suffered him. {16} And Jesus, when he was baptized, went up straightway out of the water: and, lo, the heavens were opened unto him, and he saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove, and lighting upon him: {17} And lo a voice from heaven, saying, This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased.

John the Baptist was a witness of what happened at the water:

(John 1:29-34 KJV) The next day John seeth Jesus coming unto him, and saith, Behold the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world. {30} This is he of whom I said, After me cometh a man which is preferred before me: for he was before me. {31} And I knew him not: but that he should be made manifest to Israel, therefore am I come baptizing with water. {32} And John bare record, saying, I saw the Spirit descending from heaven like a dove, and it abode upon him. {33} And I knew him not: but he that sent me to baptize with water, the same said unto me, Upon whom thou shalt see the Spirit descending, and remaining on him, the same is he which baptizeth with the Holy Ghost. {34} And I saw, and bare record that this is the Son of God.

It was at Jesusí baptism that a great witness to Jesusí ministry was given.

Lesson:

Follow Him in Baptism.

When we are baptized, itís out of obedience to the Lord, who commanded us to be baptized (Mat. 28:19-20).

Baptism is a public display of repentance.

Just as John the Baptist was preaching, we too need to turn from our sins, and baptism is a way of saying to people, "Hey, Iím going to turn from my sins and follow Jesus."

Baptism is a way of identifying with Jesusí death and resurrection.

Itís a way of showing publicly that when Jesus died, somehow you died too. You go under the water in death. And when Jesus rose from the dead, you were given the ability to have resurrection power in your life as well. You come back out of the water.

The end of Jesusí ministry

(Mat 27:27-54 KJV) Then the soldiers of the governor took Jesus into the common hall, and gathered unto him the whole band of soldiers. {28} And they stripped him, and put on him a scarlet robe. {29} And when they had platted a crown of thorns, they put it upon his head, and a reed in his right hand: and they bowed the knee before him, and mocked him, saying, Hail, King of the Jews! {30} And they spit upon him, and took the reed, and smote him on the head. {31} And after that they had mocked him, they took the robe off from him, and put his own raiment on him, and led him away to crucify him. {32} And as they came out, they found a man of Cyrene, Simon by name: him they compelled to bear his cross. {33} And when they were come unto a place called Golgotha, that is to say, a place of a skull, {34} They gave him vinegar to drink mingled with gall: and when he had tasted thereof, he would not drink. {35} And they crucified him, and parted his garments, casting lots: that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by the prophet, They parted my garments among them, and upon my vesture did they cast lots. {36} And sitting down they watched him there; {37} And set up over his head his accusation written, THIS IS JESUS THE KING OF THE JEWS. {38} Then were there two thieves crucified with him, one on the right hand, and another on the left. {39} And they that passed by reviled him, wagging their heads, {40} And saying, Thou that destroyest the temple, and buildest it in three days, save thyself. If thou be the Son of God, come down from the cross. {41} Likewise also the chief priests mocking him, with the scribes and elders, said, {42} He saved others; himself he cannot save. If he be the King of Israel, let him now come down from the cross, and we will believe him. {43} He trusted in God; let him deliver him now, if he will have him: for he said, I am the Son of God. {44} The thieves also, which were crucified with him, cast the same in his teeth. {45} Now from the sixth hour there was darkness over all the land unto the ninth hour. {46} And about the ninth hour Jesus cried with a loud voice, saying, Eli, Eli, lama sabachthani? that is to say, My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me? {47} Some of them that stood there, when they heard that, said, This man calleth for Elias. {48} And straightway one of them ran, and took a sponge, and filled it with vinegar, and put it on a reed, and gave him to drink. {49} The rest said, Let be, let us see whether Elias will come to save him. {50} Jesus, when he had cried again with a loud voice, yielded up the ghost. {51} And, behold, the veil of the temple was rent in twain from the top to the bottom; and the earth did quake, and the rocks rent; {52} And the graves were opened; and many bodies of the saints which slept arose, {53} And came out of the graves after his resurrection, and went into the holy city, and appeared unto many. {54} Now when the centurion, and they that were with him, watching Jesus, saw the earthquake, and those things that were done, they feared greatly, saying, Truly this was the Son of God.

Even though you might say that Jesusí earthly ministry wasnít finished until He rose from the dead, and then forty days later ascended into heaven, it was His death on the cross that was the goal of His ministry. He came to die. He came to spill His blood.

(Heb 9:11-14 KJV) But Christ being come an high priest of good things to come, by a greater and more perfect tabernacle, not made with hands, that is to say, not of this building; {12} Neither by the blood of goats and calves, but by his own blood he entered in once into the holy place, having obtained eternal redemption for us. {13} For if the blood of bulls and of goats, and the ashes of an heifer sprinkling the unclean, sanctifieth to the purifying of the flesh: {14} How much more shall the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered himself without spot to God, purge your conscience from dead works to serve the living God?

Lesson:

Let His blood really cleanse you.

Donít just think about it, or wonder about it. Realize that His blood has been offered in heaven to pay for your sin. Put yourself under His blood.

His blood has the ability of removing all your guilt if youíll trust Him.

These are the two that John is talking about giving a witness to Jesus being the Messiah Ė the water of His baptism, and the blood at His death.

:6 And it is the Spirit that beareth witness, because the Spirit is truth.

John now mentions a third witness, that of the Holy Spirit.

Peter had told the Jewish leaders Ė

Ac 5:32 And we are his witnesses of these things; and [so is] also the Holy Ghost, whom God hath given to them that obey him.

Peter was referring to the outpouring of the Holy Spirit which had been done earlier, publicly, in Jerusalem. On the day of Pentecost, Peter had explained Ė

(Acts 2:15-21 KJV) For these are not drunken, as ye suppose, seeing it is but the third hour of the day. {16} But this is that which was spoken by the prophet Joel; {17} And it shall come to pass in the last days, saith God, I will pour out of my Spirit upon all flesh: and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, and your young men shall see visions, and your old men shall dream dreams: {18} And on my servants and on my handmaidens I will pour out in those days of my Spirit; and they shall prophesy: {19} And I will show wonders in heaven above, and signs in the earth beneath; blood, and fire, and vapour of smoke: {20} The sun shall be turned into darkness, and the moon into blood, before that great and notable day of the Lord come: {21} And it shall come to pass, that whosoever shall call on the name of the Lord shall be saved.

The outpouring of the Holy Spirit was a witness to the fact that God had made Jesus the Christ, the Messiah, just as Peter concluded:

(Acts 2:36 KJV) Therefore let all the house of Israel know assuredly, that God hath made that same Jesus, whom ye have crucified, both Lord and Christ.

Lesson:

Spirit powered witness.

The Holy Spirit wants to work in our lives as well, giving us the power to tell others about our Savior.

I believe Jesusí promise is as good to us as it was to the apostles:

(Acts 1:8 KJV) But ye shall receive power, after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you: and ye shall be witnesses unto me both in Jerusalem, and in all Judaea, and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the earth.

:7 For there are three that bear record in heaven, the Father, the Word, and the Holy Ghost: and these three are one.

This is a difficult verse. Not in itís content, but in whether or not it was in Johnís original letter.

Lesson:

Godís Word is reliable.

Keep in mind that we donít have any of the original copies of any of the books or letters of the New Testament. All we have are copies. And copies of copies. And copies of copies of copies.

Look at a comparison with other well known, ancient writings of the same time period in history:

Author

When written

Earliest Copy

Time Span

No. of copies

Caesar

100-44 BC

900 AD

1,000 yrs.

10

Livy

59 BC Ė AD 17

900 AD

1,000 yrs

20

Plato (Tetralogies)

427-347 BC

900 AD

1,200 yrs.

7

Tacitus (Annals)

100 AD

1,100 AD

1,000 yrs.

20

Pliny (History)

61-113 AD

850

750 yrs.

7

Illustration Idea: Have some people volunteer to stand in pairs, one as the original, the other as the copies. Distance apart is number of years, have the copy person hold a sheet of paper for each ten copies.

In contrast, we have around 5,000 copies of the Greek New Testament, some of which have been dated as close as 40 years after their writing.

The early Christian copyists didnít take the same kind of painstaking trouble making their copies as the Jewish scribes did, and as a result, there are some 200,000 known discrepancies in the Greek manuscripts. Yet itís important to know that the way these discrepancies are counted Ė if a word is misspelled in 3,000 of the copies, it is counted as 3,000 discrepancies. Of these discrepancies, they are in actuality in only 10,000 places in the New Testament. Of these, Philip Schaff in Comparison to the Greek Testament and the English Version concluded that only 400 of them caused any kind of doubt as to the meaning of the text, and of these, only 50 were of any great significance. NOT ONE of these discrepancies alters "an article of faith or a precept of duty which is not abundantly sustained by other and undoubted passages, or by the whole tenor of Scripture teaching".

Back to this passage Ė

One of my more reliable commentaries (A.T. Robertsonís Word Pictures of the New Testament) says that this portion of text is only found in two Greek manuscripts. He says that when scholar Erasmus was compiling his work Textus Receptus (from which the King James was translated), his first edition didnít include this verse. He told his critics that he wouldnít include it unless he was shown a 16th century Greek manuscript that contained it. He was shown one of the two manuscripts, and he then included it.

Another of my more reliable commentaries (John Gillís Expositor) said that it was ridiculous not to include this verse because it was quoted by many scholars throughout church history, "by Fulgentius, in the beginning of the "sixth" century, against the Arians, without any scruple or hesitation; and Jerome, as before observed, has it in his translation made in the latter end of the "fourth" century; and it is cited by Athanasius about the year 350; and before him by Cyprian, in the middle, of the "third" century, about the year 250; and is referred to by Tertullian about, the year 200; and which was within a "hundred" years, or little more, of the writing of the epistle; which may be enough to satisfy anyone of the genuineness of this passage;

Lesson:

The Trinity.

Though it might not be a good idea to use this verse as a witness to the Trinity in Scripture, the truth of the Trinity is still seen in Scripture:

Mt 28:19 Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost:

Joh 14:26 But the Comforter, [which is] the Holy Ghost, whom the Father will send in my name, he shall teach you all things, and bring all things to your remembrance, whatsoever I have said unto you.

Joh 15:26 But when the Comforter is come, whom I will send unto you from the Father, [even] the Spirit of truth, which proceedeth from the Father, he shall testify of me:

2Co 13:14 The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God, and the communion of the Holy Ghost, [be] with you all. Amen.

1Pe 1:2 Elect according to the foreknowledge of God the Father, through sanctification of the Spirit, unto obedience and sprinkling of the blood of Jesus Christ: Grace unto you, and peace, be multiplied.

The concept of the Trinity is that there are three distinct persons, all having the attributes of deity, but yet there is only one God.

One God.

(Deu 6:4 KJV) Hear, O Israel: The LORD our God is one LORD:

(Isa 44:6 KJV) Thus saith the LORD the King of Israel, and his redeemer the LORD of hosts; I am the first, and I am the last; and beside me there is no God.

(Isa 44:8 KJV) Fear ye not, neither be afraid: have not I told thee from that time, and have declared it? ye are even my witnesses. Is there a God beside me? yea, there is no God; I know not any.

Three Persons who are God.

The Father Ė a given. Nobody has problems with the Father being God.

The Son Ė

(1 John 5:20 KJV) And we know that the Son of God is come, and hath given us an understanding, that we may know him that is true, and we are in him that is true, even in his Son Jesus Christ. This is the true God, and eternal life.

The Spirit Ė

(Acts 5:3-4 KJV) But Peter said, Ananias, why hath Satan filled thine heart to lie to the Holy Ghost, and to keep back part of the price of the land? {4} Whiles it remained, was it not thine own? and after it was sold, was it not in thine own power? why hast thou conceived this thing in thine heart? thou hast not lied unto men, but unto God.

How does this work? Who knows???

Iím not sure itís possible to adequately explain it. But then again, if God is as big as I suspect He may be, then Heís quite a bit beyond my ability to comprehend Him anyway!

Some have used an egg as an illustration, with a shell, the egg white, and the yoke, all being part of the same egg. Yet God is three distinct persons.

Some have used water, since it can be in the form of ice, liquid, or steam. But the problem is that unless youíre in very unique circumstances, you canít have all three at the same time. Some have made the mistake in church history of saying that God has changed forms over the years, being the Father in the Old Testament, the Son in the New, and now the Holy Spirit (this is called modalism). But this is hogwash! All three have been present since the dawn of time! Jesus was in the beginning before God created the world (John 1:1), and the Spirit was right in the middle of Creation as well (Gen. 1:2).

I think in things hard to understand things like this, the best we can do is to define the boundaries (three persons, one God), and just understand that God is somewhere between in those boundaries.

Note: In fact, the Trinity is still present in these verses:

The Son has come by water and the blood (verse 6)

The Spirit bears witness (verse 6)

God the Father also bears witness (verse 9)

:8 And there are three that bear witness in earth, the Spirit, and the water, and the blood: and these three agree in one.

John is laying down the legal qualifications for judging something to be true:

De 19:15 One witness shall not rise up against a man for any iniquity, or for any sin, in any sin that he sinneth: at the mouth of two witnesses, or at the mouth of three witnesses, shall the matter be established.

Jesus told us of some other witnesses to who He was:

(John 5:31-39 KJV) If I bear witness of myself, my witness is not true. {32} There is another that beareth witness of me; and I know that the witness which he witnesseth of me is true. {33} Ye sent unto John, and he bare witness unto the truth. {34} But I receive not testimony from man: but these things I say, that ye might be saved. {35} He was a burning and a shining light: and ye were willing for a season to rejoice in his light. {36} But I have greater witness than that of John: for the works which the Father hath given me to finish, the same works that I do, bear witness of me, that the Father hath sent me. {37} And the Father himself, which hath sent me, hath borne witness of me. Ye have neither heard his voice at any time, nor seen his shape. {38} And ye have not his word abiding in you: for whom he hath sent, him ye believe not. {39} Search the scriptures; for in them ye think ye have eternal life: and they are they which testify of me.

:9 If we receive the witness of men, the witness of God is greater: for this is the witness of God which he hath testified of his Son.

John is saying that itís sometimes okay to believe what people tell you, but itís more important to believe God.

Lesson:

Who are you going to believe?

Frankly, we live in a world where I am finding it harder and harder to know just who to believe.

When it comes to some of the political issues of the day, Iím beginning to realize that both sides are capable of lying. If youíre not careful, youíre simply going to believe the one that you listen to the most.

Some people make it a point to only listen to those who tell them what they want to hear. If you want your life to consist of sex and drugs, you tend to hang around people who arenít going to tell you anything different.

Johnís point is that we often listen to people, but will be stop to listen to God?

The world says there are no "right and wrongs".

God says youíre going to get burned if you surround your life with wrong things.

The world says, "who cares?"

God says He cares.

The world says, "Look out for number one"

God says, "Deny yourself and follow Me"

Lesson:

Jesus is Godís Son.

This is Godís biggest message.

Are you going to listen to the world that tells you there is no hope, that thereís no purpose in life? Or are you going to follow after Jesus, who knows you better than you know yourself, and who has a love for you and a purpose for your life?