IT IS my design today to begin a Series of Sermons (as GOD shall help me) entitled If We Confess Our Sins. I select my Text from I John 1.9. There are twenty-two precious Words in the Verse. The Words read: “If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” In this my First Sermon, it is my aim to introduce these Words to you by speaking about how we received them.
These Words were written by John. Yet in the New Testament, there are five Johns. The first is John the Baptist. John the Baptist was the great Preacher who prepared the way of JESUS. There was John Mark. Not a few think that John Mark wrote the Gospel of Mark. There was the John who was the Father of Simon Peter. There is a John who appears once in Acts 4.6 and does not appear again. Then there is the Apostle John. The Apostle John was one of the Twelve Apostles. Down through the years, it has been commonly believed by Christians that it was the Apostle John who wrote the Words in the Text.
Here, I think, springs a useful question. Question. What is an Apostle? The first time the Word “apostle” is used in Scripture is Matthew 10.2. In the Verse, the Word “apostle” is used to mention and name the Twelve Apostles. This is the way the Word “apostle” first appears in Scripture. This first usage sets the standard for the most common way the Word “apostle” is used throughout Scripture. In Acts 1.21,22, there is a description of what an Apostle is. In the Words, the Apostle Peter says that an Apostle was a man who was present and saw JESUS all the time He “went in and out among us.” The Apostle goes on to clarify what he means. He says an Apostle was with JESUS “beginning from the baptism of John unto that same day He was taken from us.” In the rest of the New Testament, there are three Facts that further describe who the Apostles were. They received a special call. They were called directly by JESUS Himself. They were given special gifts. They had gifts above the ordinary course of nature. They were given special employment. Some of them were given the very Words of Scripture. All in all, the Apostles deserve the profound respect of all Christians. They were the first followers of JESUS. They were extraordinary men who served at an extraordinary time in the Christian Church.
From whence I deduce four instructions. 1. The first instruction is there is none like JESUS. In today's Sermon, I showed that the Text was written by the Apostle John. I showed that John was an Apostle of THE SAVIOUR JESUS. Through these peep-holes, it may be learned that JESUS must be outstanding. Here JESUS was surrounded by Apostles. And JESUS is outstanding! These Facts are but the tip of the ice-berg. Isaiah 13.12 says JESUS is more precious than fine gold. I John 4.14 says He is “the Saviour of the world.” John 14.6 says He is the Way that leads to GOD.
2. The second instruction is JESUS' Life was unspeakably glorious. It is not just true that the Scripture says there was none like JESUS. Although that by itself is substantial. When the Life of JESUS is considered in itself, it plainly appears that the reality comes up to the Word. JESUS' Life was unspeakably glorious. There was no conception like JESUS' conception. Luke 1.35 said “the Holy Ghost came upon the virgin.” It was in this manner JESUS was conceived in the womb. There was no birth like JESUS' Birth. Matthew 1.23 says JESUS was born of a virgin. There was no baptism like JESUS' Baptism. When JESUS was baptized, in Matthew 3.16,17, the Heaven opened, THE FATHER spoke, and THE SPIRIT came down. When JESUS lived, there was no one who ever lived like Him. Mark 1.41 says He healed the sick with a Word. Luke 11.20 says He cast out Devils. John 11.43 says He raised the dead. When JESUS died, there was no one who died like Him. I Corinthians 15.3 says He died for our sins. Nor could death hold Him. I Corinthians 15.4 says He rose again from the dead.
3. The third instruction is JESUS lived at an extraordinary time. If JESUS' Life was so extraordinary, then it follows that He lived at an extraordinary time. JESUS created an extraordinary time. Well have Scholars divided all of History between BC and AD. BC marks those years before CHRIST. AD marks those years after CHRIST. In the Latin, AD signifies “in the year of our Lord.” Considering history in this way is considering history the right way. There is a deep sense in which all of history is His Story. Before JESUS, GOD gave Promises that JESUS would come. Then JESUS came. Since those days, we look forward to the bright day when THE LORD JESUS will come again. These different phases of JESUS' Appearance in this world did not only mold the Old and New Testaments, they shaped the course of time.
4. The fourth instruction is JESUS was surrounded by extraordinary men. Allow me to sum it up. The Scripture says there was none like JESUS. JESUS' Life was unspeakably glorious. Therefore JESUS lived at an extraordinary time. And it comes right along with these things that JESUS was surrounded by extraordinary men. You know why JESUS was surrounded by extraordinary men? Think about Who the Apostles lived with. This is the key. Throughout the Scripture, in the relation of JESUS' Life, it is spoken continuously that the Apostles lived with JESUS. This the Apostles did more than anything else. Mark 3.14 says that a central reason JESUS chose the Apostles was so they would be “with Him.” They heard Him pray. They sat as He preached. They saw Him live. They beheld His Wonders. As a consequence, they were like coals taken out of the fire. They particularly reflected JESUS. They preached JESUS. They conducted themselves under JESUS' Authority. JESUS Himself cannot be truly admired without also appreciating His Apostles. They were all of one mind. They gave us what He gave them. Which makes the Text I read to you today dear Words. Amen.
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