Exhortation for 4/4/04 - Reading 1 John 1
2004年4月4日 劝勉词 读经：约翰一书一章
Dear Brethren and Sisters in our Lord Jesus Christ.
This morning we will consider the
first chapter of John's first epistle, and in so doing come closer to
understanding that wonderful description of Jesus as "the Word of
There are two particular topics that John wishes us to understand in this first
The first is that "the Word of life" has been manifest and that they
had seen that "life" manifest in Christ
* The second relates to the fellowship that is available with the Father and His
Son, Jesus Christ.
It is very appropriate that we consider these things as we come around the table
of our Lord to examine ourselves in the light of Christ's example.
The chapter begins: "That which was from the beginning, which we have
heard, which we have seen with our eyes, which we have looked upon, and our
hands have handled, of the Word of life; (For the life was manifested, and we
have seen it, and bear witness, and shew unto you that eternal life, which was
with the Father, and was manifested unto us;)" (1 John 1:1-2).
John's opening comment relates to hearing. The Jews as a nation were very slow
to hear the words of Christ-instead they wanted to see the marvellous signs and
miracles he did. The disciples themselves were also rebuked for not listening to
his words-remember the comments Christ made to two disciples after his death and
resurrection: "O fools, and slow of heart to believe all that the prophets
have spoken: Ought not Christ to have suffered these things, and to enter into
his glory?" (Luke 24:25-26).
There were many in Israel who saw the miracles of Christ and heard his words but
never understood the true import of the one they looked at-most saw him as a
miracle worker and preacher. However John says that he and the other disciples
close to him had "heard, seen and handled" the Word of Life. As they
followed him, slowly the true import of what they were witnessing sunk into
their minds. They realised that this was "the Word of God made flesh"
在以色列，有很多人都见证了基督所行的神迹，也听过他的话语，可是他们根本不理解他们眼前看到的这个人的本质——大多数人仅仅将耶稣看成是一个行神迹的人，或是一个普通的传道人。 但是，在约翰一书中，约翰说他和其他的门徒已经“听见，看见， 并亲手摸过“生命之道”。在他们追随耶稣的时候，慢慢的，他们所见证的耶稣的真正含义已经渗透到他们思想中。他们逐渐意识到耶稣就是“道成肉身”（神的话语的显现）（约翰福音1：14）
Christ indeed was "the Word made flesh", the personification of the
purpose of God. And because the words that he spoke were life-giving words it is
only correct that he bears the title, "the Word of life". This is why
Jesus said, "The words that I speak unto you, they are spirit, and they are
life" (John 6:63); and Peter says, "Being born again, not of
corruptible seed, but of incorruptible, by the word of God, which liveth and
abideth for ever. For all flesh is as grass, and all the glory of man as the
flower of grass. The grass withereth, and the flower thereof falleth away: But
the word of the Lord endureth for ever" (1 Peter 1:23-25).
基督的确是“道成肉身“， 是神的目的和计划的化身。又因为他所说的话都是赐给人生命的话，所以他有“生命之道”的称号就是自然的了。这也就是为什么耶稣会说：“叫人活着的乃是灵，肉体是无益的。我对你们所说的话，就是灵，就是生命。”（约翰福音6：63）使徒彼得也说：“你们蒙了重生，不是由于能坏的种子，乃是由于不能坏的种子，是借着神活泼常存的道。 因为凡有血气的，尽都如草，他的美荣，都像草上的花。草必枯干，花必凋谢。 惟有主的道是永存的。所传给你们的福音就是这道。”（彼得一书1：23-25）
What a marvellous thing it must have been for the disciples to walk with the
Lord, to hear him speak and see all that he did-to realise they had witnessed
one who completely lived the spirit of the Word of God. He revealed that life
that we all strive to live. We try to manifest God in all our words and ways,
but when we see Jesus we see one who did this perfectly. He was in that sense
"God with us"-Emmanuel.
John goes on to say, "That which we have seen and heard declare we unto
you, that ye also may have fellowship with us: and truly our fellowship is with
the Father, and with his Son Jesus Christ" (1 John 1:3). What then was the
fellowship with the apostles, and with the Father and the Son? This is a theme
that John explores further in this chapter. In verse 6 we have the declaration
that "walking in darkness" is incompatible with this fellowship.
However in verse 7 he says that "walking in light" is the foundation
The word fellowship literally means "sharing, having things in common, a
partnership". This sharing was the central thread to the
"fellowship" of the first century as we read in Acts 2:42-47:
"They continued stedfastly in the apostles' doctrine and fellowship, and in
breaking of bread, and in prayers. And fear came upon every soul: and many
wonders and signs were done by the apostles. And all that believed were
together, and had all things common. And they, continuing daily with one accord
in the temple, and breaking bread from house to house, did eat their meat with
gladness and singleness of heart, Praising God, and having favour with all the
“相交”这个词从字面上来说意味着“分享某种共同的东西，或同伴关系”。这种“分享”就是第一世纪时的“相交”的主线。在使徒行传2：42-47中，我们读到：“都恒心遵守使徒的教训，彼此交接，掰饼，祈祷。众人都惧怕。使徒又行了许多奇事神迹。信的人都在一处，凡物公用。并且卖了田产乙担崭魅怂栌玫姆指魅恕? 他们天天同心合意，恒切地在殿里且在家中掰饼，存着欢喜诚实的心用饭， 赞美神，得众民的喜爱。主将得救的人，天天加给他们。”
The fundamentals spoken of here are simple-
* breaking of bread from house to house, * 在彼此家中掰饼
* prayer, * 祷告
* all things in common, 、 * 凡物公用
* with one accord in the temple, * 在圣殿中同心合意
* with gladness and singleness of heart. * 欢喜诚实
* praising God. * 赞美神
This is a fellowship of brethren and sisters with the Father and Christ-it is not a fellowship of individuals. And why is it that this is so important? John explains in the next verse: "And these things write we unto you, that your joy may be full" (1 John 1:4).
It would appear that John has in mind the words that Christ spoke to them in the
upper room: "If ye keep my commandments, ye shall abide in my love; even as
I have kept my Father's commandments, and abide in his love. These things have I
spoken： unto you, that my joy might remain in you, and that your joy might be
full" (John 15:10-11). Here we see the complete fellowship that existed
between Christ and the Father and which we can share if we abide in that love,
keeping his commandments. If we do this then our joy will be full.
John now moves to a very fundamental message that they had heard from their
Lord-so fundamental that John wants to now pass it on to all who wish to share
that wonderful fellowship with God and His Son: "This then is the message
which we have heard of him, and declare unto you, that God is light, and in him
is no darkness at all" (1 John 1:5).
John is not speaking of physical light but moral light. This declaration lays
the foundation for everything that follows: "If we say that we have
fellowship with him, and walk in darkness, we lie, and do not the truth"
(v6). Here then is our first test of fellowship. Do we walk in the light or in
darkness? John says if we walk in darkness then "we do not the truth".
So the Truth is not just a list of doctrinal facts but a way of life based on
those truths. What is walking in darkness? John goes on to say: "He that
saith he is in the light, and hateth his brother, is in darkness even until now.
He that loveth his brother abideth in the light, and there is none occasion of
stumbling in him. But he that hateth his brother is in darkness, and walketh in
darkness, and knoweth not whither he goeth, because that darkness hath blinded
his eyes." (1 John 2:9-11).
这里约翰讲的并不是自然的光，而是道德精神的光。这一点为一切打好了基础，下面说到：“我们若说是与神相交，却仍在黑暗里行，就是说谎话，不行真理了。”（第6节）这是关于相交给我们的第一个测试。我们是否是行在光明中呢，还是行在黑暗中呢？约翰说如果我们行在黑暗中，“我们就没有真理”。因此，真理并不仅仅是一系列的教义，而是一种建立在真理上的一种生活方式。 那么，什么是行在黑暗中呢？约翰接着说：“人若说自己在光明中。却恨他的弟兄，他到如今还是在黑暗里。 爱弟兄的就是住在光明中，在他并没有绊跌的缘由。 惟独恨弟兄的是在黑暗里，且在黑暗里行，也不知道往哪里去，因为黑暗叫他眼睛瞎了。”（约翰一书2：9-11）
Walking in darkness, which means we are not walking in the light of God's ways,
shows that in fact we are not in fellowship with God at all. We are not in
fellowship with His Son either or those who are walking in the light of God's
revealed ways. We are not trying to manifest that "life" which was
seen manifest in Christ.
This "fellowship" John is speaking of is based on genuine and true
"love"-a love of God and love of the children of God. So John says,
"If a man say, I love God, and hateth his brother, he is a liar: for he
that loveth not his brother whom he hath seen, how can he love God whom he hath
not seen?" (1 John 4:20).
There is really a very powerful lesson here-if we hate our brethren, while
claiming to love God, then we lie, and as such we find ourselves walking in
darkness, whereby it is impossible to have fellowship with God and Christ.
However John does not dwell on the negatives. He now states the positive basis
of "fellowship": "But if we walk in the light, as he is in the
light, we have fellowship one with another, and the blood of Jesus Christ his
Son cleanseth us from all sin" (v7).
There can be no half-measures-either we walk in the light with God and
Christ, or we walk in the darkness, and in so doing deny our Lord. Our way of
life is linked with our fellowship-and that is linked with God, Christ and one
That which hindered our fellowship with God was our sins, as the prophet said:
"Your iniquities have separated between you and your God, and your sins
have hid his face from you, that he will not hear" (Isaiah 59:2). While a
person is in that state then there can be no fellowship with God. They have not
been walking in the light but in darkness. But the wonder of the love of God is
seen in the providing of Jesus Christ that through his life and death there has
been provided a way for the forgiveness of our sins (1 John 4:9-10). This is
spoken of in Revelation 1:5: "Unto him that loved us, and washed us from
our sins in his own blood". This is what we have come here this morning to
remember. Here in the wine before us we have the symbol of his life blood which
he gave that through him we may have our sins forgiven as he said: "This is
my blood of the new testament, which is shed for many for the remission of
sins" (Matthew 26:28).
As we sit here in fellowship this morning we will all examine ourselves and
remember those sins we have committed or things we should have done and have
not. Now is the time to seek forgiveness through Christ. His blood cleanses us
from all sin.
However John now warns against self deceit. We need to be honest with ourselves:
"If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not
in us. If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins,
and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. If we say that we have not sinned,
we make him a liar, and his word is not in us." (v8-9).
Here is our test.-are we true with ourselves in matters concerning our thoughts
and actions? Do we excuse sin as if it really is not sin?
In all ages there have been those who have deceived themselves by justifying
their conduct, even though it is contrary to God's ways. There are those who
have maintained that they had a right to do what they pleased. John reaffirms
that great elementary truth-"all have sinned and come short of the glory of
God" (Romans 3:23). We are all sinners.
So in conclusion John writes, "If we confess our sins, he is faithful and
just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. If we
say that we have not sinned, we make him a liar, and his word is not in us"
(v9-10). The Proverb sums up this principle very clearly: "He that covereth
his sins shall not prosper: but whoso confesseth and forsaketh them shall have
mercy." (Proverbs 28:13).
If we confess our sins and seek forgiveness then our God is merciful and will
forgive. When we seek forgiveness we are acknowledging God's way is right and
our own was wrong-we are acknowledging His righteousness. This is the basis upon
which God will extend forgiveness. What a wonderful consolation it is to know
that "he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us
from all unrighteousness". What a great burden is lifted from our minds and
conscience by our merciful Father.
How foolish it would be for us to say "we have not sinned". If we do
this then John's closing words are just so true: "we make Him (God) a liar,
and His word is not in us".
Let us now very reverently examine ourselves as we partake of the bread and
wine. Let us determine to "walk in the light" so that that life which
we have seen and heard in our Lord may become our way of life. If we do this we
will have fellowship with the Father and His Son in truth.