I. Introduction

A. The very soul of our epistle is the victory of the Christian life

1. It is victory through our Lord Jesus Christ

2. It is victory over every foe-within. and without

a. it is victory not only because Jesus died, but because He lives

b. it is victory because Jesus came and because He is coming again.

B. It is victory for the past and for the future

1. It covers the whole gamut of human need

II. Consider the Victory for the Past

A. Our victory begins with the person and saving work of our Lord Jesus Christ (I John 3:5)

1. It is in the fact that we have passed from death unto life and know it (5:13) three fold witness

2. It is in the fact that the Holy Spirit is witnessing within us what the Word of Cod has witnessed to us (I John 5:10-12)

B. The Holy Spirits Two Fold Witness (5:6-8)

1. Notice, Jesus came by water and by blood

a. water and blood refer to two events in His life

b. the water refers to His Baptism - at that event, the Holy Spirit gave witness by coming upon Him in the form of a dove

c. the blood, of course, refers to the events that transpired at the Cross

C. John is saying that both the baptism and the Cross are essential parts of His Messiahship

1. He was inducted into His saving ministry by the waters of baptism

2. He accomplished His saving work by the blood of His Cross

3. One marks His perfect life, the other His saving death

a. it required both His life and His death to effect the work of redemption

b. this is why John says, "...not by water only, (perfect life) but by blood (saving death)..."

c. redemption required both the virtuous life and vicarious death of Christ

d. it required both humanity and deity

4. By referring to the water and blood, John gives us a clue as to what he was thinking

D. The heresy of Gnosticism taught that spirit was altogether good while matter was altogether evil.

1. Hence they denied that God came in the flesh

2. Cerinthius (a gnostic) and a contemporary of John taught that:

a. at the baptism the divine Christ descended into a man named Jesus

b. this Jesus allied as it were with the Christ who descended upon Him brought to men the message of God who was otherwise unknown

c. at the Cross, the Christ departed from the man Jesus and returned back to God from whence He came

d. it was only the man Jesus who was crucified. It was as a man He died and arose

3. To put it in the words of our text:

a. Cerinthius taught that Jesus became divine at the baptism and that the divinity left Him before the Cross so He died simply and only a man

b. this teaching seeks to separate the atoning death of Christ from His perfect life as man

4. By seeking to protect God from contact with pain it removes from Him the act of redemption

a. John clearly states that the Cross is an essential part of' the meaning of Jesus and that God was in the death of Jesus every bit as much as He was in His life

III. The Same Three-fold Witness is our Victory for the Present

A. Jesus, we are told, came to baptize man into the Spirit (Mark 1:8; Matt. 3:11; Acts 1:5 - 2:33)

1. The whole history of Christianity is one of the Holy Spirit entering humanity, transforming and empowering them for usefulness

2. It began at Pentecost and continues to this hour

3. It is the Holy Spirit who guides us into all truth

B. There is the Witness of Water

1. John the Baptist said it was at His baptism that he came to know who He really was

2. In the early church the witness to the reality of one's faith was at his baptism

3. It is still an objective evidentiary witness

C. There is the Witness of Blood

1. On the Cross, the Blood was poured out as a perfect offering for our Sin

2. In the observance of the Lord's Supper, we give witness to the present power of that blood to dense men from sin

3. In it there is given to men the opportunity not only to give thanks for that shed blood, but also to appropriate it's benefits and to avail ourselves of its healing power

D. The Spirit, the water, the blood, all combine to demonstrate the perfect Messiahship, the perfect Son ship, the perfect Savior hood of this man Jesus who was God in the flesh

1. All of this constitutes God's witness to Christ.

2. It is the greatest possible reason why we should believe

3. If we receive the witness of man, the witness of God is greater (5:9)

4. It is our obligation to receive Jesus Christ as Savior - to do otherwise is to deny God and reject the Lord Jesus