1 John 4:1-6 Part One - Many Antichrist's Have Gone Out
Many of you know that I live next door to my mother-in-law. This week I walked up her driveway as she was sitting on her front porch. It was a nice day so I sat by her and we enjoyed some time together.
The longer we sat observed nature, felt the gentle breeze, and watched the wildlife around us the simpler life seemed to get. On the front porch we were able to experience a moment where the chaos of this world seemed to be a million miles away.
As we begin this morning I would like to invite you to come up to the front porch and sit a while. I want to invite you to sit with me and enjoy a moment that occurred two thousand years ago. Turn with me to the very beginning of Luke’s gospel Luke 1:1-4. It says,
Inasmuch as many have undertaken to compile a narrative of the things that have been accomplished among us, 2 just as those who from the beginning were eyewitnesses and ministers of the word have delivered them to us, 3 it seemed good to me also, having followed all things closely for some time past, to write an orderly account for you, most excellent Theophilus, 4 that you may have certainty concerning the things you have been taught.
So why have I invited you upon this porch to see all that is being done here? This is a beautiful text in which you see the Word of God going fourth in such a profound way. All of this seems to be going on unhindered. There appears to be godly work being done, the Kingdom of God is advancing, truth is being put forward, there is excitement concerning something that has happened. In these verses there is no mention of opposition, hostility, struggle or resistance. There is no sense of weariness, tiredness, fatigue, or listlessness in those who are sharing the Word of God.
Let me make a few observations about this text. First, Luke describes a time when many people were compelled to share a particular narrative. We read, ‘Inasmuch as many have undertaken to compile a narrative.’ This isn’t a story about one man doing his own thing. This isn’t a story about people sharing the truth as each person has come to understand it differently. No, this is a large group (many) people sharing the same message.
If this were happening today these people would flood Facebook with the same news. They would be racing to get an account on Twitter, Snapchat or TikTok to get the word out. They would be sending emails, writing articles, creating videos and publishing websites.
These people were researching, analyzing, interviewing, investigating, probing and scrutinizing the facts concerning this narrative. These people were undertaking an enormous project of compiling many facts to report accurately about something that had happened among them. Truth be told, this ought to be the description of every believer in every generation.
Secondly, they reported about things that had been accomplished. They did not put forward myths and things that they only hoped would happen. We read, “Inasmuch as many have undertaken to compile a narrative of the things that have been accomplished among us…”. And notice that Luke clearly implies that all these second generation Christians have also had a profound personal experience of the grace of God. He says that these things have been accomplished among us.
There is always a great deal of excitement surrounding something that is supposed to happen. There is always excitement about a work that is about to begin. But here we see that one of the primary motivations for this excitement is that the ‘Good News’ is about things that have been accomplished! This is the very foundation of the gospel. The gospel is about what Christ Jesus has done. It is about what He accomplished and how it is effecting everyone who believes.
Thirdly, notice Luke 1:2, “...just as those who from the beginning were eyewitnesses and ministers of the word that was delivered to them”. The word that these people were spreading was grounded upon the eye-witness testimony of the apostles. They shared the message of those who had spent three years observing Jesus and listening to his messages. The eyewitnesses saw the miracles. They heard the testimony of those who were healed, delivered from demons, and of those who were raised from the dead. They talked to those who were delivered out of a life of adultery, freed from idolatry, and rescued from dead religiousness. They saw the lame leap, the sorrowful who had been encouraged, the hopeless who were given encouragement and the unlovable were given love and eternal life.
The eyewitnesses delivered this word to these people and they received it by faith and experienced new life. As a result, they were compiling it, preserving it, guarding it, and sharing it accurately with others. These second generation Christians were faithful stewards concerning the Word of God. They determined to preach the same word that had transformed them. Every other generation of Christians has faithfully received the Word, preserved it, and passed it on. Will our generation be faithful in this same way? Will each of us be good stewards of the Word of God that we have received?
Let me draw your attention to the word ‘ministers’. John says, ‘...just as those who from the beginning were eyewitnesses and ministers of the word delivered to us’. This is an interesting word in the Greek. It is made up of two words which is translated ‘under rower’. It speaks of people who are servants to a master and to their commander. They work and labor to do the will of their superior. Every generati