|By: Dr. Wayne Barber; ©2007|
|We are going to look at three things. First, there is the purpose of the writing of 1 John. Secondly, there is the passion with which it was written and then thirdly, the people to whom it was written. What we are going to be looking at is the structure beneath the surface.|
It is apparent from a casual reading through 1 John that someone has done something to disturb the audience to whom John is writing. As a matter of fact, they are threatening, by whatever they are doing, the very Gospel, the truth of the Lord Jesus Christ. We are going to begin a journey into this book. We are going to begin to understand some of the things we must understand if we are going to get the message that John is trying to preach and teach in this book.
We are going to look at three things. First, there is the purpose of the writing of 1 John. Secondly, there is the passion with which it was written and then thirdly, the people to whom it was written. What we are going to be looking at is the structure beneath the surface.
You know there are three rules in Bible study. First is observation. So often when you hear wrong doctrine it is because somebody begins to interpret without first of all observing. The second step is the step of interpretation. Interpretation comes from a proper observation. And third is application. How many times have you heard someone start applying Scripture without ever observing it or without ever interpreting the text? So we are going to observe the text, not to the degree that you would do in your personal study, but it will give us an idea of what is underneath the surface of this book to help us understand it as we go through it.
No serious bass fisherman drives up to a lake, takes a little worm, puts it on a hook with a bobber, throws it out and expects to catch a fish. Some people think that is what fishing is all about. No, it has much more integrity than that. A serious bass fisherman wants to know something about that lake. Every lake is different. Every cove in that lake is different. He wants to know the structure that is underneath the surface.
Years ago when I was getting into bass fishing, I learned that you had to study topographical maps and find out the depths of the lake. In Brookhaven, Mississippi there was a lake that I wanted to fish. I found it by flying with the pastor I was working with at that time. I looked down and saw this huge lake. You couldn’t see if from the road. When we landed I began to inquire about this lake. A man told me the state record fish was probably in that lake. He was a writer for "Outdoor Life." I thought, "I have got to fish that lake."
I spoke to a church there in Mississippi one day and a man walked up and said, "I hear you like to fish." Do I like to fish!? He was associated with that lake. He said, "Any time you want to come bring whoever you want and fish all you want." Well, to make a long story short, the first day we went, we fished for two or three hours and had a couple of bass over five pounds, which wasn’t bad. But I was thinking, "I thought this thing was full of big fish." It was ten o’clock in the morning, and we were right in the middle of the lake. We knew nothing about what was underneath the water. We were doing what I told you serious bass fishermen don’t do. We had just been trying our best without knowing what was underneath the surface.
The fellow who was with me took a lure out of his box and said, "I am going to throw this lure out and catch the biggest fish in the lake." He threw it out, and I was laughing, "Sure you are." It was about time to go. He was cranking that lure back just as hard as he could crank it and all of a sudden it just stopped dead. I said, "Yes, you’ve caught the biggest tree in the lake." About that time the rod started going boom, boom, boom. I said, "That is a fish!" The fish weighed over eight pounds.
Well, we almost had a fight in the boat while he was bringing in the fish because he would not give me a lure that looked like his. I finally found one in my box that was similar, threw out in the same general area and had two more bass about seven pounds a piece in the boat before he got his in! To make a long story short, we caught seven bass that day that weighed a total of 49 pounds.
We went home, and I said, "What in the world happened?" I called the man who owned the lake and asked him, "Why is it that we caught bass out in the middle of the lake?" He said, "Oh, son, if you had known the structure underneath the surface, 20 feet down there are trees that are 20 feet tall. Where you were fishing it is 40 feet deep, but 20 feet down the big bass feed. That is where the springs are in the lake. You discovered the secret of the lake accidentally."
We went back the next Saturday and went to the very same spot, chose the same lure, caught seven more bass which weighed 51 pounds. Those were the biggest two stringers of bass I ever caught in my life. A couple of years ago I went back to the same lake after a hurricane. The structure had not changed and the fish were still there.
That is the way it is with God’s Word. You have to establish the structure underneath the surface. Don’t look at the Bible and say, "Oh, I have a great verse today. God spoke to me." You had better find out the context that verse was in before you go telling somebody that God spoke to you. If you’ll find the structure underneath the surface it will never change. Every time you go back, you will catch a bigger fish. What you are looking for is always there. Once you have observed you can interpret.
I just wanted to tell a bass fishing story so I told that one. But I want you to understand why I am doing that. Why do we always have these introductions to books? Why do you have to labor through all that stuff? Because what I am going to share with you won’t change and when we are in chapter 5 the structure will still be the same. You can’t make it be something else. You’ve got to know why the book was written, who wrote it, who it was written to and the author’s purpose. These things are critical to proper interpretation in any study of the Word of God.
First, there is the purpose of why 1 John was written. Why did the Apostle John, apart from his inspiration of the Holy Spirit, write the epistle of 1 John? Several times in the book the phrase "I am writing" or "I wrote to you" or something to do with writing appears in the text. The reason I say "something to do with that" is it depends on your translation. In the New American Standard, several times we find that phrase "I am writing to you." When he does this it seems to bring to the surface the purpose behind the book of 1 John.
Let’s just look at those places. We will come back to these verses in a verse by verse study. This is just an overview. In 1 John 1:4 we read, "And these things we write, so that our joy may be made complete." The New American Standard says "our" joy, but the King James says "your joy." When I find a discrepancy I go back to the Textus Receptus. It says, "your joy be made complete."
Now you can see why it could be "our." If something is disturbing these people and their joy is not being made complete, then obviously John’s joy is not going to be made complete. He is writing it to them so they can understand the truth. Once their joy is complete, his joy could be complete. The idea is the people who he is writing to somehow have lost their joy. The joy is gone. What has pulled away their joy?
Look in 2:1. He says, "My little children, I am writing these things to you that you may not sin." Now why in the world would he write to believers and tell them not to sin? Any believer knows that. Well, remember, there is something going on in that little community and it is threatening the Gospel of Jesus Christ. John is saying, "I don’t want you to fall into sin of any kind." The aorist subjunctive is used here. The subjunctive meaning is not that we don’t have the potential to sin, but we do have a choice of whether or not to sin. John is saying, "Stop making those choices. Don’t make those choices to sin. I don’t want you caught in a sin. But if someone is..." you see. That is the whole idea.
A believer has to deal with sin. Before you come to know Christ you chase sin. After you come to know Christ sin chases you. John is saying, "Some of you have lost your joy. I don’t want you to misunderstand. You must not fall into the trap of sin." What kind of doctrine would lead them into that kind of trap? 1 John 2:21 says, "I have not written to you because you do not know the truth, but because you do know it, and because no lie is of the truth." The word for "know" there is from the word eido. There are two words for "know" and very rarely are they ever translated properly in the sense that we can understand them. One is to know experientially. But there is the other word, to discern, to perceive something. Romans 8:28 reads, "We know that all things work together for good to them that love God and are called according to His purpose." We don’t know from experience. Yes, we do, but that is not what he is saying. He is saying it is a built-in knowledge to the believer who loves God and is called according to His purpose. There is a discernment that God gives to him.
The Apostle John is saying, "I am not writing to you because you can’t discern the truth. You know the truth. Why are you allowing this thing to come into your midst and pull you off the track? You know the truth. You can discern the truth." 1 John 2:26 says, "These things I have written to you concerning those who are trying to deceive you." Now the plot is thickening. That verb, "trying to deceive you," is in the present tense. It is not something that they did. It is something they are doing constantly. The word "deceived" means to pull you off the track, to get you away from the faith, to lure you out from under the truth that protects you. John is saying, "I am writing these things because there are those that are seeking to deceive you."
Maybe this is telling us something of the agenda of the apostle. There is something going on. It must be some kind of false doctrine that has gotten among the people that has robbed them of their joy, that has somehow told them that they didn’t have to be accountable towards sin anymore. Now I am beginning to understand.
1 John 5:13 to me sums it all up. Now watch this because it is a tense we have got to see over and over in 1 John. He says, "These things I have written to you who believe [that is in the present tense, "who are believing, who are in the process of believing right now] in the name of the Son of God [those who are believing daily, constantly, moment-by-moment, not those who once believed but now are being lured off the track] in order that you may know [intuitively] that you have eternal life."
I want to ask you something. Have you ever doubted your salvation? I’ll tell you why you have doubted. Somehow you have got your mind off of what God has said. You have listened to somebody else and what they have said. It is because you are not daily believing in Him and living in obedience to Him. That is where the doubt comes from. But to the people who are daily, moment by moment, practicing what they say they believe, doubt will flee away and they will know in their spirit that they have eternal life.
Someone used to say, "Do you know because you know because you know just because you know Jesus Christ is in your life?" If you don’t have that kind of knowing I guarantee you something has led you away from living your life built upon the Word of God. Somehow you are not believing Him.
The fact is you are not obeying Him. If you are not obeying Him you are not believing Him. I don’t tell you what I believe; I show you by the way that I live. Belief is something you do, not something you tell people about. You show them by the way you believe. And when you believe, God gives you a discerning, a knowing that you didn’t have before. You know just because you know just because you know. If somebody can talk you out of your salvation, you might not have had much to start with. And if you are not living it daily, very obviously you have a serious flaw in your thinking as to how salvation is to be lived out.
Why had they lost their joy? What was this doctrine that had gotten among them? What was it that had led them astray, misled them? What is it now that even tells them that they don’t have to deal with sin? In 1 John 1:1-5, we begin to get a hint of what is going on, what the doctrine is that has gotten among the people that is somehow threatening the very truth of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Let me tell you what it is first and then show you how he attacks it. First of all, we see that the Gnostic heresy was something that was very prevalent in the days of the writing of 1 John. Gnosticism is still around, by the way. It is just under a different cover. Many religious programs on television are preaching 21th century Gnosticism. It is not one single thing new. It has been around for a long time. It erodes the faith, the trusting of people in the Lord Jesus Christ.
Gnosticism came from a man by the name of Cerenthus. Cerenthus denied the truth that Jesus Christ ever came in the flesh. He started the heresy that Jesus was the son of Joseph and Mary, not of the Virgin Mary, and that the Spirit of God, the true Christ, never entered Him until He was baptized at the River Jordan by John the Baptist. The Spirit of Christ lived in Him until just before the crucifixion and then departed Him. Now what does this do? It denies the precious atonement for our sins. It denies His death, burial and resurrection. It denies the major tenets of the Gospel. It denies the virgin birth.
A little later it migrated into a different form called Docetism. That simply said that Jesus was a ghost, that He never had a body to start with. He was a spirit, an apparition. It comes from the Greek word which means to seem or to suppose. They said, "He really didn’t have a body."
So then, I ask you the question, how can our Gospel be true if He didn’t have a body? Because it says in Hebrews, "A body thou hast given me to do thy will, O God." He came to die for you and for me. It wasn’t just human blood that was shed and it wasn’t just divine blood that was shed. It was divinely human blood that was shed upon the cross. Gnosticism completely obliterated the truth of the Gospel of what we have just spoken. It denied everything that these young Christians knew. They were being beleaguered by the ones who were bringing this heresy in their midst.
This is a very dangerous doctrine. Gnosticism says to the Christian, "Because all of this is true, your flesh is evil." I would agree with that – the lust of my flesh is my problem every day of my life. Gnosticism said, "Your body is evil. But you are not accountable for sin because a body is going to do what it only can do. It is going to sin. You are spiritual. With mystical knowledge you live inside this body and the more it sins the more you kind of learn about the two different lifestyles." Have you heard the doctrine that is going around when people stand up and confess all these things? They say we are living in a carton. They even use the word "carton." They say, "My body is evil. Therefore, any sin that comes in my life is really not me, it is something outside of me that is causing me to do it and most of it is demonic." There is no personal accountability for sin. There is no personal dealing with sin. "Oh no, we live in a carton. And inside that carton we are like God. The body itself, the carton, is evil. God, you see, doesn’t have anything to do with those things that are flesh." Have you heard about this doctrine? It has been in a subtle way in recent years. You know what I am talking about.
John goes right to the heart of Docetism, not just the Gnostic heresy, when it says that Jesus is an apparition and He didn’t have a body to start with. In verses 1-5 look at what he says. "What was from the beginning, what we have heard, what we have seen with our eyes, what we beheld and our hands handled, concerning the Word of Life." Notice that, "we have heard, we have seen with our eyes, we have beheld and our hands have handled." If He didn’t have a body, how could we do that? He is trying to let them know, "I am an eyewitness and an eyewitness account is important. I am the apostle and I am telling you something. You had better hang on to what is the authority of the ones God has given it to."
Verse 2 continues, "and the life was manifested, and we have seen and we bear witness and proclaim to you the eternal life, which was with the Father [he shows the deity of Christ] and was manifested to us, what we have seen and heard we proclaim to you also, that you also may have fellowship with us; and indeed our fellowship is with the Father, and with His Son, Jesus Christ."
Jump to verse 5: "And this is the message we have heard from Him and announce to you, that God is light, and in Him there is no darkness at all." All that John is concerned with in those first five verses is found in verse 1 when he says, "concerning the Word of Life." Who is the Word of Life? That is the Logos, the living Logos, Jesus Himself. That is John 1:1, "In the beginning was the Word, the Word was with God and the Word was God." He is speaking there of Jesus, the preexistent Christ, the fact that He is deity, the fact that He is God’s Son.
Then in 1 John 2:1 he seems to attack the whole fallacy of Gnosticism itself. He says in verse 1, "My little children, I am writing these things to you that you may not sin." The Gnostics said that you didn’t have to fool with sin because you are not accountable for sin. John says, "Oh, yes, you are. I am writing these things that you may not sin." Then he says, "And if anyone sins, we have an Advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous." That "if" is almost "Oh, did somebody sin?" You see, what we have done is we have made sin so apparent that everybody is doing it. We forget that we are not meant to live that way. So many of us say, "Well, God forgives me." Certainly forgiveness was on the cross. But until we repent do we even understand cleansing and do we ever understand the reality of His presence in our life?
The purpose of writing the book seems to be that a doctrine had gotten into the church, a heresy that had threatened the very tenets of what our faith is all about. It had threatened the truth that Jesus was truly the Son of God, preexistent before He was ever virgin born. It threatens the very truth that He had a flesh body and that He went to the cross to die for our sins. It threatens so many of the things that we hold on to. And when you start listening to that kind of garbage, it causes immediately your joy to disappear. So John writes to his little children in the faith.
Secondly, I want you to see the passion with which John wrote it. We say that John wrote it. How do we know that it was John who wrote it? 1 John is the easiest Greek in the whole New Testament. Only 303 words are used out of the tremendous vocabulary of Greek words in the New Testament. Well, if you study 2 and 3 John you begin to realize that same pattern. You look at the language of it. It doesn’t say specifically but in another way it implies that John is the author of this particular epistle.
John is characterized by two words, one that the Spirit led him to announce of himself and one that Jesus gave to him. The one he announced of himself in his Gospel is "the disciple whom Jesus loved." Love is a real characterization of John. But there is another characterization of him and Jesus gave it to him, "Thunder." You have on the one hand "love", and you have on the other hand "Thunder". Let me show you that. In Mark 3 Jesus gives him and his brother James a name. It says in verse 13, "And He went up to the mountain and summoned those whom He Himself wanted, and they came to Him. And He appointed twelve, that they might be with Him, and that He might send them out to preach, and to have authority to cast out the demons. And He appointed the twelve: Simon (to whom He gave the name Peter)," What is that a prophecy of? One day he is going to become the Rock, obviously. "And James, the son of Zebedee, and John the brother of James (to them He gave the name Boanerges, which means, ‘Sons of Thunder’)".
Now what is He saying? I think there are two things He is saying. One of them is their temperament. Let me show you why I say that. Look in Luke 9. I know it is a prophecy of the fact that they are going to be used powerfully like thunder one day. I think there is also something He is saying about their temperament, their personality, the explosiveness that they had. Over in Luke 9:51 Jesus is with His disciples going down to a village of the Samaritans. "It came about, when the days were approaching for His ascension, that He resolutely set His face to go to Jerusalem; and He sent messengers on ahead of Him. And they went, and entered a village of the Samaritans, to make arrangements for Him. And they did not receive Him, because He was journeying with His face toward Jerusalem." The Samaritans didn’t honor Jerusalem. They had their own temple mount. "And when His disciples James and John saw this, they said, ‘Lord, do You want us to command fire to come down from heaven and consume them?’" They were really saying, "Kill them, Lord. Burn them. They won’t let you in. Boom, drop the fire on them." I love that about James and John. Jesus said, "You are Sons of Thunder." Boom, you are making a lot of noise and you sure do make some powerful statements. Jesus goes on to explain to them, "That is not really what I came for. Not to burn everybody up, but that men might be saved."
Now why am I bringing all this out? Well, I am talking about the passion with which the book was written, because I think you see both things come out in the epistle: one, the apostle of love as he protected the sheep that he is so affectionate towards; the other, the apostle of thunder, as he absolutely came head-on with the error that had gotten among them. Like a thunderbolt he comes out in the epistle and just directly hits right on the face the error that had gotten among the people.
I want to focus, though, on that word "beloved" that is used in this book. You find it over and over again. In that word is the passion with which this shepherd writes to these sheep. He loves them and he is trying to protect them and get them to where their joy can once again be made complete. Look at 1 John 2:7. "Beloved, I am not writing a new commandment to you." Now if you have a King James, it says "brethren." It does change the word. The New American Standard uses the word "beloved."
Look in 3:2: "Beloved, now we are children of God, and it has not appeared as yet what we shall be." In 3:13 the New American Standard translates the word adelphos as "brethren." It is translated the same way the word agapetos is translated back in 3:2 in the King James. "Do not marvel, brethren (or beloved), if the world hates you."
Look in verse 21, "Beloved, if our heart does not condemn us, we have confidence before God." Look in 4:1. "Beloved, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits." In 4:7 it says, "Beloved, let us love one another, for love is from God; and everyone who loves is born of God and knows God." 4:11 reads, "Beloved, if God so loved us, we also ought to love one another."
I think about that "Son of Thunder" with that personality he had. He wanted to burn the Samaritans. He had the opportunity to be with the greatest example of love you could ever have, Jesus Christ, who is love because He is God. He was changed where even his language to the people he is writing rings with, "Beloved, Beloved." It is the word in the Greek that is the most tender, precious word, dear, dear word. The True Shepherd, as Jesus told John in John 21, has a love for the sheep because he loves those whom the shepherd loves. When he asked Peter in John 21, He didn’t say, "Do you love the sheep?" He said, "Do you love me?" If I love Him like I ought to, which is what this epistle is all about, then I can love others, the sheep that He loves.
Now I want to tell you what a shepherd does. He guides the sheep, guards the sheep and grazes the sheep because he cares about them. Do you know how he does all three? With the precious Word. He feeds them with the Word, he guides them with the Word, and he guards them with the Word. I say that for a reason. Sometimes being a pastor (and it is going to be this way until Jesus comes back) you get misunderstood. Sometimes I get adamant about what I consider to be error in the Word of God. You have seen it. You have seen it. I mean I just get livid. I’ve gotten letters so I know that people have seen it. But I want you to know something. I haven’t gotten any more livid towards error than this precious apostle did to the people who were beloved to him. I’ll tell you why; because the first thing that will steal your joy away from you is when you start flirting with anything that is not a part of this Word of God.
Nothing makes me any more angry than to see something that is perverted from what the truth has to say. I will make people who do it look like they are idiots if I have to in order to get my point across, to guard, to guide and to graze His sheep. Somehow there seems to be in all of us a little bit of this thunder and love. When you love somebody, you want to protect what they think because as they think, so shall they live. You see the purpose of the writing of 1 John, and you see the passion that he had. Beloved. He is so affectionate. All these terms are so affectionate from John. At the same time you see the thunder when he addresses those things that are wrong. He redefines what the truth of the Gospel is all about.
Thirdly, look at the people to whom he wrote. If you study 3 John you find he is writing to a person, Gaius. In 2 John, he is writing to the chosen lady and to her children. In this epistle he never really identifies who he is writing to. It is very difficult to make an adamant statement as to who these people are. We do know from the historians and people like Polycarp that he had a lot of power and influence in the area of Asia Minor, particularly the area of Asia itself which was one of the regions there in Asia Minor. You know in Revelation 1, Jesus said, "Write to the seven churches of Asia Minor." I wonder why He chose John to do that? There was a lot of influence that he had, so most people think he probably wrote from Ephesus and he wrote to them. But we don’t know that from the text. You can’t say that is it. We just don’t know. It doesn’t tell us. But it does tell us the levels of maturity of the people that he is writing to. It does tell us that.
We know who can benefit from 1 John by something he says in chapter 2. Some of you are thinking, "You left this one out." No, I didn’t. I did it on purpose. He pulls out four major categories of spiritual growth. He starts from the very, very smallest and goes all the way to the most mature. In 2:12-14 we see, "I am writing to you..." It doesn’t matter what level of maturity you are on spiritually. There is a message for you and for me in the book of 1 John.
Let me show you. 2:12 says, "I am writing to you, little children." The word there is teknion. It means little, I mean, birthed, brand new believers if you please. "I am writing to you brand new believers, you little children." It says he is writing, "because your sins are forgiven you for His name’s sake." He is just reaffirming what they should already know. Evidently this heresy is pulling them away from that. "Jesus is God’s Son. He did come and die for you. Your sins are forgiven you." The word "forgiven" there is in the perfect passive. You didn’t do it, He did it. They have been sent away from you.
In verse 13 he is writing to the fathers and they, of course, are the older persons, those who are more mature. He says in verse 13, "because you know Him." Actually it should read "you have known Him, you are in the state of knowing Him." You knew Him back here and you are knowing Him now. Here the word "know" is not discerning and perceiving. It is the word for experientially knowing Him. You experienced Him back here and look how far you have come. Perfect tense means that you are in the state right now of experiencing Him daily in your life. You are the mature ones. So John is saying, "I am writing to you little babes. I am writing to you mature ones."
Then he uses a word in verse 13, "I am writing to you, young men, because you have overcome the evil one." The word "young men" is the word neaniskos, which means men in their prime, possibly up until about the age of 40. They are men who have overcome.
The Apostle John uses the term "overcome" more than anybody in the whole New Testament. Look in 5:1 and look at how you overcome. "Whoever believes that Jesus is the Christ is born of God; and whoever loves the Father loves the child born of Him. By this we know that we love the children of God, when we love God and observe His commandments. For this is the love of God, that we keep His commandments; and His commandments are not burdensome." John is talking about a present tense obeying God.
Then he says in verse 4, "For whatever is born out of God overcomes the world; and this is the victory that has overcome the world – our faith." Separate obedience from faith and you don’t have faith anymore. Our willingness to surrender to that which we say we believe overcomes the evil one. John said, "You younger men, you have overcome the evil one." How did you overcome him? Because you have been willing to make conscious choices to obey Christ. When you obey Him, you immediately live in the ranks of the overcomers.
In verse 13 he goes to one more word and says, "I have written to you, children, because you know the Father." That is a different word than teknion. The word used here is paidion. The word paidion has the idea of an immature child who needs instruction and needs training. "You know the Father," he says. "You have known Him. You are in the kingdom, but you are immature and you need training."
Look at the four different words. John is saying any believer who reads this, from the time he is birthed into the kingdom until the time he has lived and walked with God for a long period of years, whatever level they are on, this is written to them and they can benefit from studying it and from learning it. So we don’t know exactly where the people were from the text, but we do know something about them. They were believers from every category, from the very beginning, all the way to the most mature.
Verse 14 says, "I have written to you, fathers, because you know Him who has been from the beginning." Evidently there was another letter that he had written to them at some point. The key here is that in the writing of this book, we don’t know exactly who the people were. But we know the levels of maturity that they were on. It has something to say to all of them. John has a message for every believer of every spiritual level, a message of assurance, a message that believers are distinctively marked as those who believe and obey the truth, a message that if we live obediently to the truth, we can know Him experientially and we will overcome the enemy with our faith. Basically that is the bottom line message of 1 John. It is one thing to know about it. It is another thing to know it experientially.
I have always loved Tony Evans. He is one of my favorite people and I love to hear him preach. I had been hearing him use an illustration. Tony said, "You know, I am the chaplain of the Dallas Mavericks. I have four season tickets to every game. I sit right on the floor. When my wife and children don’t want to go, I call up my buddies, and I say, ‘Hey, guys. Do you want to go to the game and sit on the floor? You are with me. Come on.’ They will say, ‘Well, where are we going to park? We have to go early.’ ‘Hey, friend. You are with me. When you pull in the gate, tell them you are with me. Everything is fine. You are with me.’" Sure enough, they pulled in and there he stood and had a pass and they let him park and he walked in. "‘Well, what about the crowds?’ ‘Don’t worry about the crowds. You are with me.’" They don’t go in the regular door. They go in another door, a special door, just for the people with passes. They go over to an elevator and they don’t go where everybody else goes. "‘What about eating supper?" "Don’t worry about supper. You are with me.’" They go down this special elevator to a team room and there is the general manager and all the other people who have something to do with the team. Then when it is time to go to the game, I mean five minutes before it starts, they walk out. They walk out the same place that the team members walk out. They walk out on the floor and sit on the second row.
I have heard him tell that, talking about you are with Jesus. But you know, that illustration was sort of distant to me. I couldn’t understand what he was saying really. A friend called me up one day and said, "Your expenses are paid and we want you to go with us representing a group here in Chattanooga. We are going to Houston. Then we are going to Dallas and visit with Tony Evans. We are going to spend about two days with him and go through his church, etc." I said, "Oh, man. I’ll go."
We got to Dallas and that afternoon we met with him and his wife and some of his family members. We saw all the things he was doing there. He said, "By the way, guys, I want you to go to the ball game with me tonight." Wow! I heard the illustration and I was going to live it! He said, "Don’t worry about where you park when you get there, I’ve got a pass. Just tell them you are with me." I mean he was saying the same thing. We drove down to the Coliseum, pulled up and the guy said, "You can’t come in here." We said, "Hold it." Tony was standing over there and we said, "We are with him!" The guy said, "Okay, come on through." We parked in a special place. We walked up to the door. We went in a special door, got in the special elevator and went down and sat right next to the general manager of the Dallas Mavericks. We ate together. We had food already prepared. The time came for the game and we walked out the very entrance where the players walked in. We walked over to the second row. Everybody was looking and calling out, "Hey, Tony. How are you doing?" We were all waving, "Hey, how are you doing? We’re with him." We sat on the second row. You know, it was one thing to hear it and believe it. It was another thing to experience it for myself.
Do you have any doubts about your salvation? Are you wide open for false doctrine? You are when you are not living according to what is in this Word right here. "Oh, you are so hard on that." I am just telling you like it is. You are going to be messed up. Your joy is going to escape and I guarantee you that you will end up thinking you are not even saved before it is over. You won’t even know that you can know that you can know that you know Jesus Christ until you come back to what the truth is and build your life upon it.