The Testimony of the Father Concerning the Son - 1 John 5:6-12
Our text for today is1 John 5:6-12,
This is he who came by water and blood—Jesus Christ; not by the water only but by the water and the blood. And the Spirit is the one who testifies, because the Spirit is the truth. For there are three that testify: the Spirit and the water and the blood; and these three agree. 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.
Throughout this letter it has been stressed that we must believe certain facts about Jesus. For example:
In 1 John 1:1-3: He is the word of life. He is the eternal life. He was with the Father. He is the Christ.
In 1 John 2:22-23: The one who confesses the Son has the Father also.
In 1 John 4:2-3: Those who profess Jesus Christ are from God.
In 1 John 4:15: Whoever confesses that Jesus is the Son of God, God abides in him.
In 1 John 5:1, 5: We are told that everyone who believes that Jesus is the Christ has been born of God and they are loved by God. And those who believe that Jesus is the Son of God overcome in this world.
John has emphasized these things because God demands that we believe the truth about Jesus Christ if we are to have a relationship with Him and if we are to have fellowship with Him.
In 1 John 5:9-12the Father is giving testimony concerning His Son. The word that is used for ‘testimony’ or ‘witness’ is a legal term. God is giving personal eyewitness testimony concerning His Son Jesus Christ. The Father does this five times in our text.
In verse 9, “If we receive the testimony of men, the testimony of God is greater…”
In verse 9, “...for this is the testimony of God that he has borne concerning His Son.”
In verse 10, “Whoever believes in the Son of God has the testimony in himself.”
In verse 10, “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.”
In verse 11, “And this is the testimony, that God gave us eternal life, and this life is in the Son.”
In 1 John 5:9 we read, “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.”
It is wonderful when the Holy Spirit uses believers as an instrument through which the gospel comes. Paul gives a great example in 1 Thessalonians 1:4-6 of how God uses ordinary believers, the Holy Spirit and the message concerning Christ to save sinners. He says, “For we know, brothers loved by God, that He has chosen you, because our gospel came to you not only in word, but also in power in the Holy Spirit and with full conviction. You know what kind of men we proved to be among you for your sake. And you became imitators of us and of the Lord, for you received the word in much affliction, with the joy of the Holy Spirit…”
Another way of considering how the testimony of God is greater than the testimony of men is found in John 4. In this text Jesus ministers to a Samaritan woman and when she returned to the city many believed her testimony concerning Christ. But when Jesus stayed in their village and spoke with them for two days they said, “‘It is no longer because of what you said that we believe, for we have heard for ourselves, and we know that this is indeed the Savior of the world.’” (John 4:42)
Let me ask you a few questions to consider within your own heart.
Is your faith resting upon the testimony of men or upon the foundation of God’s Word?
Is your faith resting upon the testimony of a denomination or upon the testimony of the Father?
Is your faith resting upon the testimony of your family upbringing or upon the inner testimony of the Spirit? (10)
Is your faith resting upon your own wisdom or upon the gospel concerning Jesus Christ?
Can you say with the apostle John, “If we receive the testimony of men, the testimony of God is greater.”
In1 John 5:10we read, “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.”
When John writes, “the testimony that God has borne”, the verb is in the perfect tense. The perfect tense means that God has spoken in the past concerning His Son and that testimony is still the same today. This testimony agrees with the blood, the water, and the Spirit. This testimony does not change, adjust, shift, grow old or become irrelevant. This testimony is always true and unchanging.
Dr. Steven Lawson is the dean of expository preaching at Master’s Seminary. When he began studying at the university he began studying law. He said he studied many cases and memorized law precedent but he would come to the final exam and realize that many of the cases and facts that he had memorized had changed during that semester. He became so discouraged by this that he dropped out of Law school and began to study the Word of God because its testimonies never change. God has declared Jesus Christ as the savior of the world and that testimony will never change!
God has testified about the coming of His Son throughout the Old Testament scriptures. It began back in Genesis 3 when He promised to bring a child through the woman who would crush the serpent. Those who reject that testimony call God a liar.
God continues to testify about His Son throughout the New Testament. And those who reject this testimony call God a liar.
Those who reject the testimony contained in the Word of God are not just rejecting a testimony that many think is irrelevant for today. They are resisting the present work of the Father, Son and the Holy Spirit. They are hardening their hearts and refusing to glorify the Lord.
The author of Hebrews says it this way, “As the Holy Spirit says, ‘Today, if you hear His voice, do not harden your hearts as in the rebellion, on the day of testing in the wilderness, where your fathers put me to the test and saw my works for forty years.” (Hebrews 3:7-9)
There are many people who would say they reject the gospel because it is an irrelevant message in an old and outdated book. They do not understand that they are rejecting the Word of the LORD, calling God a liar and they are rebelling against Him and sinning against the LORD.
Let me ask you a question, “What is the primary motivation for the Father to testify so passionately, personally ,patiently, powerfully, and persistently?”
What motivates the Father to continue to testify while so many scoff, mock, jeer, sneer, and turns away in disinterest?
Does the Father testify because eternal life and death are in the balance and the stakes are so high for us?
Is the Father motivated, like the fisherman who makes one more cast, in the hopes that someone might partake in what is being offered?
There is no doubt that the LORD is motivated out of love, mercy, kindness and compassion for those who are spiritually dead. These things motivated the Father to send His Son into the world to die for sinners.
However, the Father testifies passionately, personally, patiently, persistently, and powerfully because of His Son – Jesus Christ.
You may be tempted to think that God is done testifying to you because of your persistent scoffing and mocking.
You may be tempted to think that God is done testifying to you because you have continually rejected His testimony and shown such a great disinterest.
For the remainder of our time together I would like to consider the passion with which God testifies about His Son.
To do this let’s begin with a parable that Jesus told in Luke 15. We are all very familiar with this parable which is often referred to as, “The Parable of the Prodigal Son”. In the story there are two sons. The youngest son asks the Father for his inheritance saying, “Father, give me a share of property that is coming to me.” (12)
Upon hearing the request the father divided up his property and gave the son his portion. Then we are told, “Not many days later, the younger son gathered all he had and took a journey into a far country, and there he squandered his property in reckless living.” (13-14) He quickly spent all of his inheritance, and then a severe famine arose in that country, and he was in need.
In desperation, the young man hired himself out to someone and was sent out to feed the pigs and we are told, “He was longing to be fed with the pods that the pigs ate, and no one gave him anything.” (16)
At some point the young man “came to himself” (17) and he decided that he should return to his father and ask to be his servant. He made the journey back home and when the father saw him from a distance he saw his son and had compassion towards him. He got up and ran to him, embraced his son, and kissed him.
The son immediately says, “Father, I have sinned against heaven and before you. I am no longer worthy to be called your son.” (18) Then we read, “But the father said to his servants, ‘Bring quickly the best robe, and put it on him, and put a ring on his hand, and shoes on his feet. And bring the fattened calf and kill it, and let us eat and celebrate. For this my son was dead, and is alive again; he was lost, and is found.” (22-24) The next words that we read are, “And they began to celebrate.”
So far we have seen the unexpected love of this father. Because of his great compassion for his prodigal son, when he saw him in the distance he came running towards him, he embraced him, and he kissed him. The prodigal son did not expect this response.
The fathers compassion overflowed in other ways as well. The father called for the servants to bring the best robe to put on him, he put a ring on his hand, and shoes on his feet. And the compassion of the father continued to overflow as he asked for the fattened calf to be killed and for a celebration to begin in honor of this son who was dead, and is alive again; who was lost, and is found.
The story does not end there. The older son hears the celebration and inquires as to what is happening. He is told that his brother is back and that this celebration has been given in celebration. The brother becomes angry and he refuses to come into the celebration.
The father comes out and entreats him to come in but the brother will not participate. He tells the father, “Look, all these many years I have served you, and I never disobeyed your command, yet you never gave me a young goat, that I might celebrate with my friends. But when this son of yours came, who has devoured your property with prostitutes, you killed the fattened calf for him!” (29-30)
The father then says to him, “Son, you are always with me, and all that is mine is yours. It was fitting to celebrate and be glad, for this your brother was dead, and is alive; he was lost, and is found.” (31-32)
The reason that I have shared this story is because I wanted to draw your attention to the Father’s testimony concerning his prodigal son. To the servants the father said, “Bring quickly the best robe, and put it on him, and put a ring on his hand, and shoes on his feet. And bring the fattened calf and kill it, and let us eat and celebrate. For this my son was dead, and is alive again; he was lost, and is found.” (22-24)
To the older brother the father said, “It was fitting to celebrate and be glad, for this your brother was dead, and is alive; he was lost, and is found.” (32)
The father cannot contain himself when his prodigal son comes home. He is compelled to testify of these things and to celebrate. Even when the older brother refuses to come into the celebration and reminds the father of the scandalous life that his brother has lived, the father is not discouraged.
I bet Jesus thoroughly enjoyed getting to testify about His Fathers love for sinners and His desire to celebrate when they return to Him.
If our heavenly Father rejoices like this when the prodigal returns from a far away country after having squandered his father’s inheritance, how much more does our Heavenly Father rejoice in His Son Jesus Christ who was a faithful son who came into this world not to squander the Father’s inheritance, but to establish it?
We read in Philippians 2:5b-11 “...though (Jesus was) in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied Himself, by taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men. And being found in human form, He humbled Himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross. Therefore God has highly exalted Him and bestowed on Him the name that is above every name, so that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.”
If our heavenly Father testifies on behalf of the prodigal son and defends the celebration that his has thrown upon his return, then how much more will our Heavenly Father testify to the accomplishments of His Son Jesus Christ?
If the heavenly Father will lavish free gifts upon the prodigal son, how much more will he glorify the Son whose faithful obedience has satisfied the Father’s righteousness, justice and holiness on behalf of all those who will believe upon Jesus Christ.
Dr. Michael Reeves speaks of the Father’s love for His Son when he writes, “The Father loves His Son with a unique and quite dazzling intensity. He did so from before the foundation of the world (John 17:24), and now He rejoices to let all the world hear “This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased” (Mt. 3:17) For the Son is the One He loves (Ephesians 1:6), “my chosen One in whom I delight” (Isaiah 42:1), the One He yearns to glorify.”
If we can catch a glimpse of the Father’s love for Jesus Christ then we will begin to understand the unfathomable love that the LORD have given to those who have believed upon Jesus Christ for salvation. If we will receive the testimony of God concerning His Son, then we will be able to know that we have eternal life in Him. That is what next weeks text addresses. In 1 John 5:13we read, “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.”
We will be able to say with the apostle Paul in Romans 8:31-39,
What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us? He who did not spare His own Son but gave Him up for us all, how will He not also with Him graciously give us all things? Who shall bring any charge against God’s elect? It is God who justifies. Who is to condemn? Christ Jesus is the one who died – more than that, who was raised – who is at the right hand of God, who indeed is interceding for us. Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or danger, or sword? As it is written,
“For your sake we are being killed all the day long;
we are regarded as sheep to be slaughtered.”
No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through Him who loved us. For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.
There are times when we all would think that God should cease to testify to us passionately, personally, patiently, persistently, and powerfully. The best thing to do in these moments is to consider God’s pleasure in His Son and His desire to redeem sinners through Christ.
We saw in the story of the prodigal son that both sons were served best when the rightfully considered the love of their father. The prodigal did not honor his father and squandered his inheritance. But when he came to his senses he returned home. The older son failed to see understand the fathers love and got his eyes on his brother. He could not celebrate as a result.
Lately, when I have visited Byron and Marcia one of the things I appreciate the most is the way Marcia looks at Byron. You can see her love for him in how she sets her gaze upon him. Similarly, if you are in Christ and the testimony of God is in you then you can be assured that God looks at you the same way that He looks at Christ.
Over the last two weeks we have considered the life and death of Christ, the testimony of the Holy Spirit, and now we have considered the testimony of the Father concerning the Son. I suppose a proper response to this would be for us to testify, give eye witness testimony, about what God has done for us in Christ. We can begin by praying the Holy Spirit would make our testimony powerful and that it would produce joy in those who receive it. (1 Thess. 1:4-6)