1 John 4:14

And we have seen and do testify that the Father sent the Son, etc. The mission of Jesus Christ appears here in a threefold relation.

I. IN ITS RELATION TO THE WORLD. "The Father sent the Son to be the Saviour of the world." Notice.

1. The world's need of a Saviour. It was in a morally lost and undone condition. It was perishing by reason of its sins. Take the world of St. John's day, or of our own day, in confirmation of this.

2. The world's inability to provide for itself a Saviour. Many times and in various ways it has made the attempt, but it has always failed. Schemes of political organization, or liberal education, or social amelioration, or even moral reformation, do not reach the central depths of the need of our race. Man needs salvation, redemption.

3. The son of God came to the world as its Saviour. "The Saviour of the world." The expression "the world" is to be understood in its plain, natural meaning (cf. 1 John 2:2; John 3:16). He saves men from sin by the influence of his life and work upon earth, of his sacrificial death, his glorious resurrection, and his effectual intercession. How benevolent is this mission! He might have come to judge, condemn, and destroy our rebellious race. But "God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved?" How stupendous is this mission! Creation is a great and glorious work. The Divine agency in upholding the universe, and presiding over its vast and infinitely diversified affairs, baffles our every attempt to comprehend it. The immensity of its extent, the minuteness of its attention, the infinity of its wisdom, the almightiness of its power, immeasurably transcend our utmost thought. But the salvation of lost men is God's greatest and most glorious work. In the Divine Son accomplishing his redemptive mission we have the clearest and fullest manifestation of God.

II. IN ITS RELATION TO THE FATHER. "The Father hath sent the Son to be the Saviour of the world."

1. The Saviour is the Son of the Father. Frequently is this relationship expressed in the sacred Scriptures, and in a way which indicates its ineffable sacredness and dearness (see Matthew 3:17; Matthew 17:5; John 1:14, 18; John 17:24; Romans 8:3; and verse 9).

2. The Saviour is the Sent of the Father. "The Father hath sent the Son." This is affirmed again and again in the writings of St. John (John 3:17, 34; John 7:16; John 10:36; John 16:5; John 17:3, 4, 5, 18, 21, 23, 25). Being thus sent by the Father, the Son's mission as a Saviour is Divine in its authority. He claimed this himself: "I have not spoken of myself; but the Father which sent me, he gave me a commandment," etc. (John 12:49, 50). The apostles made the same claim on his behalf (see Acts 2:22; Acts 10:38).

III. IN ITS RELATION TO THE APOSTLES. "And we have seen, and do testify, that the Father sent," etc.

1. Their knowledge of the Saviour. St. John, writing of himself and his fellow-apostles, says, "We have beheld," etc. They had seen their Lord in the exercise of his miraculous powers, and in wondrous glory on the Mount of Transfiguration; they had beheld the perfect purity and beauty of his daily life; they had seen him dead upon the cross, and his sacred body laid in its rocky sepulcher; they had afterwards repeatedly seen him living; and they beheld him as "he was taken up; and a cloud received him out of their sight."

2. Their testimony concerning the Saviour. "We have beheld and bear witness that the Father," etc. They testified to the facts which we have already noticed:

(1) That Jesus Christ was the Son of God.

(2) That he was the Sent of God.

(3) That he was sent of God as the Saviour of the world.

Their Lord had appointed them to be witnesses for him (John 15:27; Acts 1:8). And this may fairly be said to be the sum of their testimony: "The Father sent the Son to be the Saviour of the world." And it is beyond reasonable question that their testimony is "worthy of all acceptation." Thus we have seen that the great mission of Jesus Christ

(1) meets man's deepest need;

(2) rests upon the supreme authority; and

(3) is attested by competent and trustworthy witnesses.

Therefore let us believe their testimony, and turn heartily to the Son of God as our Saviour. - W.J.

And we have seen and do testify that the Father sent the Son to be the Saviour of the world

1. The condition of the world was desperate. Man through sin had destroyed himself. Nothing short of salvation would have met the case of man as a sinner. The sinner can destroy himself, but he cannot save himself.

2. This salvation was of necessity a fact. It was a great act. Thoughts and words would not have sufficed to save us; good wishes would not have availed us. To speak would not have been enough. To do was essential. Redemption was a work of infinite greatness and difficulty. And it is this that we find in the history of the Man Christ Jesus — the eternal thoughts and feelings of the Godhead realised in glorious works.


1. The Incarnation of the Son of God was the indispensable condition of the reunion of man with God. This is the highest greatness that any creature is ever capable of attaining — that God should "dwell in him, and he in God." This does not mean to be lost like a wavelet in the ocean of Godhead, as the Pantheist imagines, but to become one with God in the affinity of holiness and the fellowship of love, and yet to preserve forever our personal individuality in the conscious enjoyment of that union. Man could not have been saved by ascending — by the mere development of his natural powers. Our salvation has been wrought by a descent of unparalleled magnitude. Descent is the ground of ascension.

2. It follows that the Incarnation and death of the Son of God form the spiritual power that is to create the world anew the moral lever for raising humanity to God. If we see a Christian of extraordinary attainments in godliness, we may be sure that this is the secret of his strength his thoughts and affections revolve constantly around this great centre, "God manifest in the flesh"; he abides by faith and love in Christ, and thereby God dwells in him, and he in God. This is the "secret of godliness."

3. Hence the facts of our redemption accomplished in Palestine years ago remain in the world yet, as great spiritual forces operating on the souls of men to raise them to God.Conclusion.

1. Let us appreciate the gospel above all things.

2. Let us ever remember that godliness, and all progress in holiness, draws its strength from Christ and His Cross, His life, death, and resurrection.

(G. Parry.)


1. "We have seen." The apostles and others had sensible evidence of the truth of the gospel. It was impossible they could be deceived. The life of Jesus was a fact about which there could be no mistake. It may be supposed the early disciples had an advantage over us in the sensible evidence which they enjoyed of the truth of the gospel. Yet it is doubtful whether our privileges are not greater than theirs. The benefit of their satisfaction is enjoyed by us in the record of it contained in their writings. We have found the Saviour to be all that they have declared.

2. There is, however, the testimony as well as the personal observation of the apostles. "We have seen and do testify," they say. And is not theirs a credible testimony? They were competent to observe and report accurately. They deserve our confidence, and while we give it to them, we put their testimony to the proof. We have found that the "gospel of Christ is the power of God and the wisdom of God unto salvation.

II. THE TRUTH SO ATTESTED, "that the Father sent the Son to be the Saviour of the world."

1. The origin of the gospel. "The Father sent" the Saviour. Redemption arose from the counsel of the Godhead. It could have no other origin. Had it been revealed to the intelligent creation that men might be saved by the death and incarnation of the Son of God, they would have pronounced the sacrifice to be impossible. But the mystery has been solved by the great fact.

2. The agent whom the Father employed. "He sent His Son." He did so, because no other was sufficient. He was chosen because He alone is equal to the task.

3. The design of His mission. "The Father sent the Son to be the Saviour." What a precious name and office! It is a complete salvation which He has provided.

4. The universal efficacy of the gospel of Christ. "The world" is the object whose redemption is proposed.

III. THE VIEW WHICH THE TEXT PRESENTS OF ITS RECEPTION — "Whosoever shall confess that Jesus is the Son of God."

IV. THE BLESSED CONSEQUENCE — "God dwelleth in him, and he in God." These terms, so often used by the apostle, express the endeared communion, that arises out of faith in Christ, between the believer and God. It supposes an enjoyment of the Divine favour. "There is no condemnation to them that are in Christ Jesus." It supposes confidence in the Divine strength. Waiting upon God in prayer, that he may be enabled to resist temptation and faithfully perform the duties required of him, he is sustained by the assurance, "My grace is sufficient for thee, for My strength is made perfect in weakness." It supposes an earnest effort after the Divine holiness. Sin is more and more seen to be hateful, and holiness to be increasingly excellent. It supposes unreserved devotedness to the Divine service.

(J. Morgan, D. D.)


1. The world needed a Saviour; otherwise one had not been provided for them by Him who does nothing in vain.

(1)It was a sick world (Matthew 9:12).

(2)It was a cursed world, and needed a Saviour to remove the curse, and bring in the blessing (Acts 3:26).

(3)It was a lost world (Luke 19:10).

2. None of inferior dignity to the Son of God could be the Saviour of the world.

3. Christ was sent Saviour of the world from heaven's proper motion. The plot to save man was concerted entirely without him.

4. Christ is fully furnished for the saving of a lost world. His being sent in that character speaks His ability to answer it (Hebrews 7:25).

5. The salvation of lost sinners of the world of mankind is very acceptable to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus, as well as to Himself, otherwise He had not sent His Son Saviour of the world (1 Timothy 2:3, 4).


1. In what sense Christ is Saviour of the world.

(1)He is the actual and eventual Saviour of the elect.

(2)He is the official Saviour, not of the elect only, but of the world of mankind indefinitely.

2. What is the business committed to Him as Saviour of the world.

(1)It is to save sinners from their sin (Matthew 1:21).

(2)It is to save sinners from misery, to free them from destruction (Hosea 13:9).Use

I. Of information.

1. Behold here, admire, and believe the great love of God to a lost world, in providing a Saviour, and such a Saviour, for them, even His own Son.

2. Behold here a broad and firm foundation of faith for all and every one of you; that you may come to Christ, whatever your case is, and claim His righteousness and His whole salvation for yourselves.

3. Sinners living in their sins, pining away, and about to perish eternally in them, are without excuse.

4. Believers themselves may be ashamed and confounded, for that iniquity prevails so against them. Alas! it is a sad sign the Saviour is little employed among us.Use

II. For trial,

1. If Christ has really begun to save you, ye will have the saved man's thoughts of sin, and of the wrath of God.

2. Ye will have a transcendent esteem of and love to your Saviour (1 Peter 2:7).

3. Ye will be groaning under the remains of the disease of sin ye are saved from; your conscience will witness ye would fain be wholly rid of it (Romans 7:24).Use

III. Receive the Lord Jesus, then, O sinners, in that character wherein His Father sent Him, as the Saviour of the world, and your Saviour.

1. Consider you need a Saviour. Your disease of sin will ruin you, if ye be not saved from it.

2. There is no Saviour besides Christ (Acts 4:12).

(T. Boston, D. D.)


II. THE AUTHOR. "The Son."

1. Because He was the most precious of all God's possessions.

2. Because He was in sympathy with God's own heart. No one else understood the mysteries of Divine love.

3. Because no one else was able to effectually carry out the work of salvation, or to accomplish redemption.


1. This reminds us that although the Father is a God of justice, He did not desire to destroy.

2. It shows us how intense is His love.

3. It suggests the Divine purpose of elevating the lost, for none but a Divine Being could set a perfect example.

IV. THE PROOF. "We have seen and do testify."

1. The persons who record their testimony are above suspicion.

2. They saw Christ's life, teaching, power, death.


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