That which we have seen and heard declare we unto you, that ye also may have fellowship with us: and truly our fellowship is with the Father, and with his Son Jesus Christ. And these things write we unto you, that your joy may be full.
A good author has a purpose before he starts writing. As he pens his thoughts down, and they work out sequentially from his mind through his hand, his way of thinking is revealed. Here in 1 John, John doesn’t hide his motives. He plainly lists a multi-layered purpose for writing this epistle to his readers. First – the things that he saw Jesus do and heard Jesus say, he wants to tell and teach to the readers. But this is not purely didactic. He is not simply striving to layout a systematic theology for his readers to embrace and to subsequently live with a new set of rules “from the mouth of Jesus.” It’s not true to simplify his motive as teaching his readers WWJD (what would Jesus do?). Rather His motive goes deeper. It is a far greater purpose for his readers than to simply inform them of Who Jesus was, and what Jesus did. Rather, He had a second layer of purpose in instructing them in the truths of Christ. This second purpose is expressed clearly in 1 John 1:4 – “These things write we unto you, that your Joy may be full.” He is saying, “Without this life-changing, soul-liberating truth from the life and mouth of Jesus, you will not fully understand what it means to find joy.” “Learning this truth isn’t just so you can answer all the right questions about your faith, but so that in your life of faith, joy and purpose can be had.” John wanted to make sure his readers understood that he had their best interests at heart as he began this massive treatise on life and holiness in the light of God’s truth. And God has our interests at heart when He gives us the truth of this epistle. God is not a stoic, joy-hating God. Rather scripture seems to argue here that greatest joy is found in a deep knowledge and understanding of the truth of Who Jesus is and what He desires from us.
Food For Thought: Read Psalm 16:7-11. In this text, what is the connection of increasing in the understanding of God’s truth and finding joy?