Background

That which was from the beginning, which we have heard, which we have seen with our eyes, which we looked upon and have touched with our hands, concerning the word of life… 1 John 1:1

Please read and or listen to 1 John 1:1-4 today. John writes a letter to the churches. Within it, he lists a couple of reasons for why he wrote it, but there are also implications within the letter that there were heresies that needed to be addressed. False teachers had come in and had begun to present distortions of the gospel. They also began to distort the truth of who Jesus is and who the Christ is. While these heresies did not fully develop until the second century AD, their roots can be traced to the first century. One of the most prevalent and dangerous heresies taking root was Gnosticism, which is based on two false premises. First, that there is dualism in regard to spirit and matter—in other words matter is evil and sprit is good. So, even the worst of sins done in the body are of no consequence because the only life that matters is that within the spiritual realm. Secondly, Gnostics claimed to have received a higher truth from a higher mystical source (not Scripture or God). They saw themselves as an elevated class because of this enlightened knowledge (“Gnosticism” comes from the Greek word “gnosis,” which means “to know”). This meant that for the Gnostic, the incarnation had to be something different than what had been taught. For them, the body of Christ seemed only physical. They asserted that the spirit descended upon him at his baptism, but left him just before his crucifixion. They were compelling in their presentations and Gnosticism still exists today. Satan was at work early to distort and discredit the truth of who Jesus is. John knew that the churches were being impacted by this false teaching and he stepped in to ensure they would know the truth. How can you be sure that you have not been impacted by false teachings? Do you seek God’s word regularly to know his truth?