When I was a kid, I grew up in with a mom who had strict morals and standards. For this I am eternally grateful. One area she was very strict about was what we were allowed to watch on television.
Because of this, I grew up watching a lot of the older, classic shows on tv such as Bonanza, Father Knows Best, Leave it to Beaver, and That Girl (hey I had a sister), and my all-time favorite, The Lone Ranger.
I also enjoyed watching spy shows and police shows like Get Smart, Car 54 Where Are You, and Dragnet. Dragnet was an interesting show. It told the Story of Sgt. Joe Friday, played by Jack Webb, and his partner, Bill Gannon, played by Harry Morgan. This show was not exactly the liveliest show in the world. Joe Friday makes Mitt Romney look like a party animal! The dude was dry! He was totally business. This persona was amplified by his catch Phrase. As the people got excited or went into massive detail about what they witnessed, cool as a cucumber Joe Friday would look at the person he was questioning and say bluntly, “Just the facts!”
Joe didn’t want all the emotionalism and drama of the event keeping him from learning what really happened. He just wanted the cold, hard facts of what happened so he could understand the message and see exactly what he needed to know.
That is exactly how John opens his 1st epistle. 1 John 1:1-10, the passage we are going to be studying, is nothing but the cold, straight facts. John doesn’t flower it up. He just tells it like it is, the way a real man wants to hear it. So let’s look at it together. We are going to look at how The Message Version states verses 1-4, then we will see the NIV for verses 5-10. As we do, we will see John give us “The Gospel In A Nutshell”, just the facts, enabling us to not only check ourselves to see how we line up, but to also see the basics of the Gospel so we too can lead others to Christ.
1. Jesus is God’s Son
From the very first day, we were there, taking it all in—we heard it with our own ears, saw it with our own eyes, verified it with our own hands. The Word of Life appeared right before our eyes; we saw it happen! And now we’re telling you in most sober prose that what we witnessed was, incredibly, this: The infinite Life of God himself took shape before us.
3-4 We saw it, we heard it, and now we’re telling you so you can experience it along with us, this experience of communion with the Father and His Son, Jesus Christ. Our motive for writing is simply this: We want you to enjoy this, too. Your joy will double our joy! (The Message).
John begins his message by telling us who he is and why he knows what He knows. Basically, he is stating his credentials. He was a disciple of Jesus. He walked side by side with Jesus, the Son of God who came to earth to dwell among men. He understood from spending time with Jesus and hearing His teaching that Jesus came to earth for one reason, to save the world from their sins. The “Just the facts” statement here is “I knew Jesus, I walked with Jesus, I talked with Jesus, I learned from Jesus, and now I am going to teach you what He taught me. He was the Son of God, He allowed us to be reconciled with God and saved from sin. He changed my entire life, and the good news is He can do the same for you.”
Blunt, to the point, factual…a manly opening to the book of 1 John. John doesn’t end his Gospel in the nutshell here. He goes on to tell us even more.
2. You Can’t Be Saved and Keep Sinning
5 This is the message we have heard from him and declare to you: God is light; in Him there is no darkness at all. 6 If we claim to have fellowship with Him and yet walk in the darkness, we lie and do not live out the truth. 7 But if we walk in the light, as He is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus, His Son, purifies us from all sin.
John says it quiet bluntly here. If you’re living a life of sin, you’re not really born-again. Salvation requires a change of lifestyle! This is a truth that all real men need to hear and understand, especially in the world we live in today.
Society today is pushing a Gospel of tolerance and acceptance. Any time a Christian stands up and calls sin a sin, they are listed as intolerant or hateful. As a result, sin and compromise are being accepted. It is becoming more and more acceptable to allow sin and bondages in our lives. People are not making any changes in their life when they get saved. Instead they continue living exactly like they lived before salvation. But John says clearly that you cannot continue living a sinful life if you are a follower of God. You have to be living a sanctified life. What does sanctified life mean?
Sanctification is the word given to describe how we are to daily become more like Jesus. We are to be daily becoming less like the world and more like Him. We are to allow the Holy Spirit to convict of us sin and then we are to overcome. This is how the world knows we are followers of Jesus, when we leave our old life of sin and live a new life under Jesus control.
So the just the facts statement in point 2 is John saying, “If you wanna continue living the way you always lived, you can’t claim to be God’s child. Being a Christian means a changing of redirection, a new way of living and acting as you change your course and daily become less like the world and more like Jesus.”
3. Repentance brings Salvation
So Far John has told us who Jesus was, why He came to earth, why we need to be saved, and how to live after we are saved. Now John concludes His Gospel in a nutshell by clearly laying out how a person get’s saved.
8 If we claim to be without sin, we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us. 9 If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness. 10 If we claim we have not sinned, we make Him out to be a liar and His word is not in us.
It doesn’t get any plainer than this! The only way to be saved is to admit you are a sinner and need a Savior. Then you repent of your sins and ask God to forgive you. Then you make Him the Lord of Your Life. That is salvation in a nutshell.
Basically John is saying you have to do a gut check at some point in your life. Face it, none of us likes to admit how sinful we are, and we certainly don’t want to rely on someone else to save us. Pride us the ultimate sin…it is what got Satan booted from heaven, and it is what keeps many people from being willing to confess their sins. They want to say “I am not that bad, I didn’t kill anyone, or I didn’t hurt anyone, etc.” But until we reach the place of saying, “I am a sinner, I need saved,” you can’t be saved.
The good news is that once you reach that place, God is there ready and waiting to forgive! John says He is faithful and just. He says God will forgive us of our sins, cleanse us from the filth of our sins, and give us a new life. That is the reason for salvation. Restoration to God and a pardon from our sins. Out of this, we will be so thankful to God that we will live totally different life than we lived before as we strive to follow His ways and His commandments. That is the Gospel in the Nutshell, it was what changed John’s life, and it is what will change our lives too.
So, Just the Facts:
1. Jesus is the Son of God who came to earth to save us from our sins.
2. We have to see our sin and be willing to repent of them.
3. We need to ask God to forgive us of our sins.
4. God forgives us for our sins and gives us a new life.
5. Out of gratitude to God, we change our course and live according to His ways and principles, allowing Him to make us more like His Son.
That is the Gospel in a nutshell, real meat for real men!