“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— the life was made manifest, and we have seen it, and testify to it and proclaim to you the eternal life, which was with the Father and was made manifest to us— that which we have seen and heard we proclaim also to you, so that you too may have fellowship with us; and indeed our fellowship is with the Father and with his Son Jesus Christ. And we are writing these things so that our joy may be complete.” (1 John 1:1–4, ESV)
God's plan has always been to rescue man through Jesus Christ. John writes to encourage people with the truth that these ideas about Jesus were not invented in a vacuum. These things were eyewitness accounts personally recorded and shared by those who were with Jesus himself. Jesus is the living word that reveals the Father. Jesus explained that if you saw him, you saw the Father. Jesus is the word of life and John proclaims by an apostolic witness that Jesus gives eternal life. Fellowship with God and with other believers comes through Jesus' life and work. Perhaps John's joy in Christ would not be complete if these believers are in danger of departing from the truth by joining these secessionists.
Division, confusion, and heresy are the urgent matters facing this group of churches. The competing factions within this fledgling community must be addressed, and John defends the faith with a pastoral sense of love and determination. These groups are actively trying to lead new believers astray. They are labeled false prophets, deceivers, and antichrists. Theology always matters, and John runs straight into the conflict with clarity and forthrightness. Some believers are left feeling insecure about their faith and John writes to reassure and strengthen them. The efforts of those that have seceded are both damaging and diabolical. The theological errors concerned Jesus and are essential. Therefore, John did not mince words when it came to calling out their false teaching. He was bold and direct. The circumstances dictated that this was not a time for diplomacy. It was a time to hold fast to the truth about Jesus.