In the gospel of John, Jesus is seen as the eternal, incarnate God who came to reveal the Father to a lost world. This book links back to Genesis 1:1, showing Jesus’ deity as creator of everything. Only God can create things. He is also seen as the Word (logos). The powerful spoken word is what was used to create everything. Through Him only is everlasting life. Also He compares and contrasts himself with light and darkness, because He was a great light in a dark time in history.
“What was from the beginning, what we have heard, what we have seen with our eyes, what we have looked at and touched with our hands, concerning the Word of Life– and the life was manifested, and we have seen and testify and proclaim to you the eternal life, which was with the Father and was manifested to us– what we have seen and heard we proclaim to you also, so that you too may have fellowship with us; and indeed our fellowship is with the Father, and with His Son Jesus Christ. These things we write, so that our joy may be made complete.” (NAU 1 John 1:1-4)
Christ was from the beginning and he is the Word of Life. The surrounding witnesses of that time touched him, seen with their own eyes, and the things that they heard about him were still ringing in their ears. The reality of the resurrection was undeniable. Jesus’ life and resurrection was clearly seen, and because of the resurrection, the way to receive eternal life was clearly made known. (“Jesus said to him, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father but through Me” John 14:6). An opportunity for a relationship with God the Father has been made because of the resurrection of Christ.
John wanted his readers to experience joy. What is joy? Sometimes we confuse joy with happiness. Happiness changes as your outward circumstances change. Joy is an inner peace that is with you no matter what your outward circumstances might be. Your joy must be founded in God. It is looking to our present fellowship and future eternal life with Jesus Christ. John was really expressing his heart by wanting his readers to experience this joy. This was written so your joy (delight) may be made full.
Last Saturday, I performed my first wedding service. It was my little sister’s wedding. She really wanted me to perform it, so I agreed to it. It actually ended up to be a lot of fun to perform. Something that I found interesting was at the rehearsal on Friday night. We went through most all of the service. The vows were said, rings were exchanged, and I pronounced them man and wife. But when they left, they were still not married even though all of the right words were said.
Sometimes as church attendees, one could go through the motions, say the right things, but nothing changes relationally with God. Years ago I headed up an evangelism group that went around door to door inviting people to our church. My first thoughts were that saved people went to church and the unsaved sat at home on Sunday morning. It took one outing to see that nearly everyone went to church, but most of them had no assurance that they would go to heaven. Looking back, my favorite story to tell is the second house that we went to. It was an old lady who answered her door with her arms crossed and a scowl on her face. I invited her to our church and she said that she has attended so and so Baptist church for sixty three years. So I said, “Great! So do you have 100% assurance that when you die you will go to heaven.” She scowled and said, “Don’t know, don’t care.” This lady was unwilling to talk or to take a tract, so we left. Sadly, this poor pitiful lady had spent her entire life in a church, but nothing changed. She did not have a relationship with Jesus Christ.
Christians could be guilty of going through the motions. James talks about how we should be a hearer of the word and also a doer of it. It seems that most every “Christian” likes to be a hearer of the word. It seems that they pick and choose what they want to hear. They like to hear about the riches of Christ, that they are blessed, and that they can ask for anything they want.
What about being a doer of the word: pray without ceasing, give cheerfully, preach the word, be holy, rejoice always, give thanks, don’t quench the Spirit, abstain from sexual immorality, be imitators of the Lord, make the most of every opportunity, forgive each other, be anxious for nothing, press on toward the goal, do all things without grumbling and disputing, put on the full armor of God, examine yourselves, stand firm in the faith, flee from idolatry, let love be without hypocrisy, do not be conformed to this world but be transformed, be filled with the Spirit, encourage and build up one another, go into all of the world, and to consider it pure joy when you have trials of every kind.
James 1:22-25 But prove yourselves doers of the word, and not merely hearers who delude themselves. For if anyone is a hearer of the word and not a doer, he is like a man who looks at his natural face in a mirror; for once he has looked at himself and gone away, he has immediately forgotten what kind of person he was. But one who looks intently at the perfect law, the law of liberty, and abides by it, not having become a forgetful hearer but an effectual doer, this man will be blessed in what he does.