Gaze Upon the Heard, Seen, and Touched

How is your relationship with the One true God? Are you struggling to hear the voice of your Savior? Can you see what your Lord’s will is for you and how much He loves you? Many people who claim they are following Jesus also say that Jesus is a distant God, or seems to want little or nothing to do with them. This saddens me! The apostle John tells us how well he knew Jesus. Jesus wants to be heard, seen, and touched because He is a personable God. Jesus isn’t physically standing right next to us, but someday He will be. Until that day comes our Lord and Savior has made Himself available through His word and through the body of Christ.

Podcast 58 Transcript

(This is a computer generated transcript of this podcast. This is NOT a typed transcript and it has not been edited. Expect grammatical and syntactical errors.)

Hello, and good day. I am B. R. Maul, and you are listening to Living God’s Way in an Ungodly World. Thanks for joining me. Today, we start the book of 1st John. I’m excited to dive into this because I really like how John lays it out in simple form about what walking with Christ looks like. And after all, that’s the most important aspect of Christianity that I talk about here in Living God’s Way in an Ungodly World. Over the coming weeks, John will walk through this with us. He will talk about the Son of God. He will talk about the heretical teachings that were happening at that time and are happening again today. The truth about Christ, obedience to Christ.

And what we’ll see, ultimately, is that often what happens in our modern church times in our church responsibilities, is things get so complex. We have more and more programs, more and more responsibilities that we put on church goers. And these things in and of themselves can be wonderful tools. But when we plaster them on what it takes to be with the Lord Jesus, we complicate things. Because ultimately, we can have a very simple relationship with Jesus. We don’t have to keep reading books on the ten steps to do this, or the seven keys to do that. There’s no hidden process, there’s no secrets in Christianity. It gets right down to what I talk about in this show, reading God’s word.

That’s the very foundation of it. Now, the exciting thing is, we’re going to jump in here shortly into the reading, pay attention of the relationship right away that John spells out for us that he, as an apostle, had with Jesus. Unfortunately, we can’t have the same relationship that John had. And you’ll see why. We do have His word and we can go back to His word and we can come together as brothers and sisters in communion and grow and know him just as much if He were sitting with us here today.

We are going to read starting out in chapter 1. And we’re only going to be going through verses one through four. As usual, I’ll read it all the way through, and then I’ll back up and we’ll unpack it. Here is the reading.

That which was from the beginning, which we have heard, which we have seen with our eyes, which we which we have looked upon, and our hands have handled concerning the word of life. The life was manifested, and we have seen and bear witness, and declare to you that eternal life which was with the Father and was manifested to us.

That which we have seen and heard, we declare to you, that you also may have fellowship with us, and truly our fellowship is with the Father and with the Son, Jesus Christ. Verse four, And these things we write to you, that your joy may be full. Here ends the reading.

Pray with me. Heavenly Father, I ask you to guide my teaching. Make sure, Lord, that you stay anything that is of myself. Holy Father, I only want to teach that which comes directly from the Holy Spirit. I pray for those who are listening. Open their hearts, Lord. And as you speak to them, I pray that they, they listen, they actively listen, and they follow through with what the Holy Spirit prompts them this day. And we come to you and pray to you, through the name of Jesus Christ, our Lord. Amen.

So John says, 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. And he’s referring to Jesus. This was the area that I’m referring to when I said that, unfortunately, we can’t have the same relationship that John is talking about right here, because he was able to hear the voice of Jesus.

Now, we can hear as we read God’s Word, we can hear with our spiritual ears, and when we talk about the Lord, and when we listen to sermons, when we listen to teachings, when we even listen to others read God’s Word out loud, well then, yes, we can hear. But John, he’s talking about, when he says we, he’s talking about him and the other apostles.

Those who were witness, eyewitness, and that’s what makes an apostle. There’s no more apostles because the apostleship entailed actually being eyewitness. to Christ. So we can be disciples today, but we can’t be his apostles today. He also says, which we have seen with our eyes. He is talking literally look upon, to see. We can’t do that. We can’t see him with our physical eyes, which we have looked upon. Now this look upon is different than just kind of seeing with the eyes. This look upon then is more like watching a movie to gaze upon. Sometimes we hear in God’s word behold. That behold isn’t like just oh here glance over here quickly look. No it’s to gaze, to really focus. So whether we’re watching a movie, We’re watching a professor or teacher teach something, but we are giving our attention. So yes, we are gazing, but that gazing, we are actively listening and taking in with our sight. So he says, which we have heard, which we have seen with our eyes, which we have looked upon and with that look upon, I say that we can do that with God’s word today.

We can gaze upon Christ. By reading his word, because there’s reading the word, just like we would a book, and there’s value in that we read it, we take in the story, we take in what is being said, but then there’s beholding it, there’s gazing upon God’s word, there’s meditating on it, reading it, but then pausing and really thinking, chewing on what we just read. And I see that as gazing upon our Savior, and our hands, he says, have handled. I look forward to that day, that day when I get to enter into his presence. One of the things I look forward to is giving Jesus a really big hug. I don’t know how I’ll initially respond. I, no doubt, will probably fall on my knees and, and bury my face on, on the ground and, and weep with, with every kind of emotion that I can probably fathom.

But once all is said and done, wow, I just want to hug him. John is saying that our hands have handled him. They were able to touch Jesus. And John specifically, he was, he loved Jesus so much that he even would lay at his chest very close to him at tables and just listen to him. So this is the area that John is showing us right away in this epistle, the connection that he has with the Christ.

And this is important because eventually John will take on the heretical teachings that were going on at that time. Gnosticism is what it’s called and we’ll get into that another day. And John is saying, hey, this is how I know Him. And these others who are coming in and they’re making things up, they don’t know Him like this. So this is really important. At the same time, I see it as a way of also laying it out for brothers and sisters in the faith about having a personal relationship with him because that’s what Jesus wanted when he walked the earth, and that’s what he still wants. So, let me read verse 1 one more time, because verse 1 ends with concerning the Word of Life.

That’s capital W, so that would be Jesus Christ, the Word. So, verse 1, 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, concerning the Word of Life. I love how John refers to Jesus here as the Word. No doubt, it’s a reflection of how he started his gospel message. John is the one who starts his gospel like this. In the beginning was the Word. Capital W. And the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. All things were made through Him, that’s Jesus. And without Him, nothing was made that was made. The fact that he refers to Jesus as the Word of Life is no surprise to me.

Verse two, the life was manifested and we have seen and bear witness and declare to you that eternal life, which was with the father and was manifested to us. That’s verse two. One word to look at is manifested. The life was manifested. If we look that word up, it shows us it means to make evident by showing.

So. Something that’s manifested is revealed to us. We can see it. We can look upon it, as he mentioned in verse 1. So the life was manifested, it was shown to them, and we have seen and bear witness. So there is seeing. But also bearing witness and bearing witness is more complicated. It’s more complex than just seeing something that’s back to the looking upon.

It was Vernon McGee. I really like his teaching. I encourage you to listen to Dr. Vernon McGee if you can. He’s no longer with us. He’s with the Lord, but I really like his down to earth teachings. And he talks about The look saves, the gaze sanctifies. And what he’s talking about is, we are to look, we are to see Jesus, and to do that, we are saved. If you go look at John 3, Jesus talks to Nicodemus, and refers to the very idea that the son of man will need to be lifted up like Moses did with the serpent. And if you recall, in the Old Testament, when the Israelites were complaining, and so God sent these really extremely poisonous snakes, that as soon as somebody were bit, it wouldn’t take long and they would die.

So after praying to God about it, God told Moses, okay, here’s what you can do. Build a bronze serpent, put it up on a pole, and then raise that pole up high. So then people can see it. And if they look upon it after being bitten by a snake, They won’t die. Pretty simple, right? So, Moses does this. He explains to everybody, the Israelites, Okay, if you get bitten by a snake, there’s no remedy, there’s no other way to be saved. But God says, if you just look at the serpent here on the pole, you won’t die. Now, just like in today’s modern time, there were those who mocked that and thought, Well, that’s stupid. What good is that going to do me? I mean, it’s a snake bite. It’s poisonous. I need something else. But God says, if you just look at the serpent here on the pole, you won’t die.

But God says, if you just look at the serpent here on the pole, you won’t die. I’m not going to look at that stupid serpent, but that’s a decision. And so there’s that look to see, and that’s all they had to do was just see the serpent. And once they saw the serpent, they were saved. So that same concept we carry over to the cross. We need to be able to see Jesus on the cross. And in Romans, it’s mentioned that, and with the tongue, of course, one confesses the Lord Jesus and. In their heart, believe the Heavenly Father raised him from the dead, but we must see that. So, looking at him saves us, and that’s a one and done thing. Once we are saved, once we are born again, we don’t lose that status. We don’t have to keep doing something to renew being born again, to make sure that we are saved. But gazing upon, Vernon McGee pointed out, sanctifies. So, without getting into the long lesson, there’s the justification, sanctification, and glorification, the process that every Christian will go through. We are justified as soon as we are born again.

When we have repented, so turned from our sin and turned to God, and accepted Jesus Christ as our Savior, we are justified. We are saved, one and done, but gazing upon the Lord, walking with him, reading his word, and having a relationship like John did with him. Able to hear him, see him, to look upon, to gaze upon him, to handle him, so to have that relationship with him.

In that process of gazing upon him, we are sanctified. So if you are a Christian and you’re thinking, I’ve been born again for years and there’s nothing that’s ever happened to me. I don’t feel changed. I see others who have changed. I hear others share their story of this big change over time or even sudden changes just instantly.

All these different methods and yet, I’m still the same. What’s going on with me? For more UN videos visit www. un. org Well, my first question to you, if that is you, is to say, are you reading God’s Word? Are you actively pursuing Him as you would any other relationship? So is He a part of your life? Are you looking upon Him?

Are you gazing upon Him and knowing Him? What greater thing on this side of the grave, living in this sin infested world, than to do His will? What is there that is greater than knowing that we have eternal life because of Jesus Christ? And I ask that in hopes that you will think about that. Eternal life. We put up such a big deal about the life that we are currently living, and we can get so easily caught up in this life that is referred to as, but a vapor. Think about that. And I’ve talked about this before, because this is so near and dear to me, that Christians, we are wasting away the little time that we have here. Cause once we’re born again, you don’t need to keep doing something to justify being born again. No, we are justified. We are saved. Now it’s time to be sanctified and sanctified as a relationship.

Keep your eyes on eternal life and your life here will change. Because things here suddenly no longer have the importance that they once had when we focused on them. Such as careers, such as our homes, even things such as our health. All these things are important, but they fall short when it comes to things of the eternal life.

This isn’t my opinion. This is something that I struggled with for years and now that I see it, it’s hard to deal with because very few Christians really see it. And the ones that do see it, many of them don’t want to apply it. There’s many reasons why, because God’s way. is at odds with the world. The world says, you need to build yourself up a really nice retirement.

You need to look a certain way. You need to act a certain way. You need to like certain things. The world really lays it out, but when we can focus on eternal life. And the fact that we’ll be in the presence of God for eternity, well then suddenly things like retirement, well, not a big deal. Really it isn’t.

Having the right health insurance and life insurance, is that really important? No, not when we’re focusing on eternity. Because God will provide that for us. And I’m sure right now you’re probably even thinking, well, I can certainly see why this way of thinking is at odds. Because most people are going to say, well, that’s foolish. We still need to take care of ourselves here and now. But my question to you is, do we? I thought as Christians, we are to rely on the fact that God will take care of us. Because if we are in his will, if we are focused on eternal life, well then we don’t have to come up with the means to an end.

Verse 3. That which we have seen and heard we declare to you, there’s that declare again, that you also may have fellowship with us. And truly our fellowship is with the father and with his son, Jesus Christ. Now declaring in verse two, he mentions, we have seen and bear witness and declare to you. And now in verse three, that which we have seen and heard, we declare to you.

This was the responsibility that we do the same thing that we declare. These same things to other brothers and sisters in the Lord, that we help others to truly understand walking with the Lord and not walking with the world, not living under the rule of Satan and falling for all of his disgusting guidelines, laws, and rules. Because all of those are put in place to rob us of the short time that we have here and now to help others know about this eternal life, this gift that Jesus Christ offers all who believe on him. The other word I want to focus on for a little while here is the fellowship. Verse 3 again, That which we have seen and heard we declare to you.

So we’re going to pass that along, the same thing that you and I as Christians need to do as well, because we can see and hear Jesus Christ, the gospel message, and those things that he passes on to us in his word. So when we come together, we declare this stuff to one another, but we also declare it to the unsaved as well, those who do not know Jesus Christ as their savior, but something we do together that we don’t do with those who don’t believe in Jesus, the unsaved, and that is fellowship. Because John says here that you also may have fellowship with us. That which we have seen and heard, we declare to you that you also may have fellowship with us. When he says us, there’s not a period, there’s a semicolon, and then he says, and truly our fellowship is with the Father and with his Son, Jesus Christ.

Fellowship, let’s talk about that term for a little bit, fellowship. So I look the term up, and when we look at fellowship in the form of a noun, there’s a couple of meanings here, but let’s look at the one that John is referring to here. Because one of the definitions doesn’t apply, that reads in this dictionary, says looking for the fellowship of friendly people.

Okay, that’s the definition I think of that most of the time we use at church. In fact, many churches have a fellowship hall, right? And it’s often announced after church, there will be coffee and cake and fellowship, or there’s going to be lunch in the fellowship hall. And so growing up, I thought that that’s what fellowship was. Basically, as long as you had food, you sat around with other people, that was fellowshipping. Talk about what you’re going to do later on this day, and how’s so and so doing, how’s your job, and ultimately that was fellowshipping. And in this first definition, it kind of seems like that would qualify, because as long as you’re being friendly, well then you’re fellowshipping.

But we need to brush that off. As Christians, that’s not what John is talking about here, and that’s not what fellowship in God’s Word is referring to. There’s two definitions here that go hand in hand, that apply more to what John is talking about. The first one is community of interest, activity, feeling, or experience, and the state of being a fellow or associate. Huh, that’s interesting. We’ve heard of that before. Being a fellow. Before we look at what fellow is, community of interest. And if you look up the word in the Greek, it is koinonia. And that term is, in fact, referring to communion with one another. This is being able to relate because of feelings or experience or interest and or activities could be all of them combined on the same topic, on the same subject matter.

In this case, for Christians, it is always, always Jesus Christ. So, when we come together and fellowship, we’re talking about Jesus Christ. What does that look like? When we come together in small groups, and we’re reading God’s Word, that’s fellowshipping, because after all, the entire Bible is about Jesus. So discussing God’s Word, learning God’s Word, and implementing God’s Word, that’s And talking about that, struggles we may have implementing God’s Word as a Christian in the world that we live in today. Challenges things that we love about walking with Jesus. How being different from the world, all the blessings that we have having the Holy Spirit in us.

And how we are free from our sin, that we don’t have to be slaved to that. See, all of this is fellowshipping when we talk about God. Jesus Christ. Let’s take a look at that definition of fellow. That definition is comrade or associate an equal in rank, power, or character. And I think that’s where this applies to Christianity.

I mean, rank and power, that doesn’t even ring true to Christianity. I think that would be universities. They’ll make you a fellow, right? So now you’re the same rank and have the same power. You, as a fellow, you have access to these, you know, rooms that you can go into that are only available if you’re a fellow, all this kind of stuff.

But character. Equal in character. I think that would ring true because as Christians, we have certain characteristics. People should know us as a Christian, not because we walk around and say I’m a Christian, but because of our character. And so we are a fellow with one another, because we share that same character. Although fellow for me just seems a little more, I don’t know, hoitsy toitsy. That’s why I prefer brothers and sisters in the faith. That we have fellowship. Let’s take a look at that last part of verse three. And truly our fellowship is with the Father and with His Son, Jesus Christ. What does that mean? It means that when we come together and we are fellowshipping as Christians, it’s not coming together to have coffee and doughnuts at the church and talking about how things are going. I’m not saying that’s not important. There’s a place for that as well. That’s nice to do, but that’s not fellowshipping. As Christians, then, since we’ve just discussed and defined what fellowshipping is all about, talking about Jesus Christ, and sharing that same character, as Christians, we are sharing the commonality of our relationship with the Father and His Son, Jesus Christ.

This is what unites us all as Christians, as born again believers. I know I often repeat myself because saying that you’re a Christian isn’t enough. Being born again makes us a Christian. I’ve just grown up in a world where everybody says, yeah, I’m a Christian. I know God. But it’s the head knowledge of God. It’s not walking with God. It’s not loving God. It’s not fellowshipping. That is the difference. And then verse four, And these things we write to you, that your joy may be full. Now, isn’t that fantastic? Think about that, that your joy may be full. Christian, have you thought about that? Do you have fullness and joy?

Do you get excited when you think about meeting Jesus in heaven? Do you have joy in you when you fellowship? When you come together and are reading God’s Word with others and just talking about Jesus, fellowshipping. In the coming verses that we’ll get to in an upcoming episode, we’ll talk more about that fellowship, to fellowship with Him and one another. They truly go hand in hand. But, as much as we fellowship with one another, we can also fellowship with God. Because when we read His Word, and when we ask Him questions, and we think about what it means about our Savior Jesus Christ, we’re fellowshipping, I mean, we’re meditating on it, we’re truly taking in His Word.

So I hope you are, indeed, reading His Word each and every day. After all, this world is very loud. Very boisterous and is doing everything to get your attention, so you don’t pick up God’s Word. That instead, you want to watch another show, or search the internet, or countless other ways to be entertained, so you just don’t pick up God’s Word.

Oh, Christian, don’t do that. Each and every day, you make sure you spend that time with the God that loves you. And that is how you learn to live God’s way in this ungodly world. Pray to him, speak to him every single day. He loves you so much he wants to hear from you. Get with brothers and sisters in the faith on a regular basis. Weekly basis, more often if you can. Again, this isn’t legalism. I’m not saying this is stuff that we have to do in order to get into heaven. Nope, these are things we want to do because we are already in heaven. We already are there. God can see us already in our glorified states. And yes, look to eternal life. That third part that I didn’t get into, but I mentioned, and that’s the glorification. If you’re born again, you’re justified. If you’re reading his word, you are being sanctified. And someday when he either comes back for us or he calls us home, well, then we’ll be glorified. Amen. And I look forward to that.

If this message has been helping you, if you enjoyed listening to this podcast, it would be such great help if you would share it with somebody that comes to your mind that you know would also benefit from these messages, reading God’s word and talking about it, learning about God’s word. So I invite you to share it, spread the word.

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God bless.

Songs from Storyblock

“Heroes Inspire Hope” and “Mountainscape” by Humans Win

“Calm Relaxing Piano” by Danail Draganov