Sunday, March 24, 2013

[Matt's Messages] "Listen Again to 1 John"

“Listen Again to 1 John”
Essential Christianity: 1 John
March 24, 2013
1 John 1:1-5:21


I’ll bet that you thought we were done with 1 John for a while because last week we read and talked about the last paragraph and the last verse.

18 messages in 1 John from October 14th to March 17th.

We called the series “Essential Christianity.”  We were learning together what is essential that we must be and believe to know that we are real Christians.

Remember this?  The first sermon in the Essential Christianity series was called “A Letter Arrived From John.

And we pulled a copy of 1 John out of this envelope, and I read the whole thing to you.  Remember that?

At that point, most of us knew a lot of 1 John from familiar individual verses that we had memorized, but most of us had not studied it in-depth as a letter, connecting the verses together and trying to follow John’s argument.

Now, we’ve done that. Verse by verse through 1 John.

And today, I’d like to read the whole thing to you again.

This time with all of the lights on.

Have you ever walked through an unfamiliar house at night with the lights off?

You can make it from one side of the house to the other in the dark. You follow the walls. You can kind of sense where the big objects are.

But it’s not a lot of fun, and you bump into all kinds of things. Like your shin into a coffee table.

But how about exploring that same house, after the lights get turned on?

That’s a different story.

And that’s why I want to read 1 John to you again this morning.

Now, last time, I told you to close your Bibles and even close your eyes.

And, I remember Nathan Kristofits really enjoyed those instructions.

But today, I encourage you to follow along. Keep your finger on the text. Keep your eyes open.

The first audience probably listened to 1 John as it was read to them and didn’t have their own copies. But we do. Amazingly, we do have our own copies.

So open your copy, and follow along as I read it to you.

I’m going to read it from my printout of it that I have marked up with all kinds of notes and things that I learned along the way.

We’ve spent the last 18 messages turning on the lights in the house. Now, let’s go together from room to room.

What are we going to see?

We’re going to see that John cared deeply about the people to whom he was writing.

They are “dear friends.” Agapatoi. They are loved ones.  They are “dear children.”  His precious children in the faith.

We’re going to see John try to guide them after they have experienced the departure of some false teachers from their fellowship. Teachers who believed a false gospel, an anti-gospel making them anti-christs.

And John wants to encourage the genuine believers that were left behind that they had the Word of Life, they had the truth because the believed in the name of the Son of God (Jesus), they loved each other as brothers, and they obeyed the commands of their Lord.

John will continue to circle the doctrinal, moral, and social themes. 

Truth, obedience, and love. 
Truth, obedience, and love. 
Truth, obedience, and love. 

All three are essential, and they are all intertwined.

As we progress from room to room in this well-lit house we are going to see Who God is.

God is light.
And God is love.

God is perfectly holy and expects holiness from His people.

And God is perfectly loving and expects love from His people.

And this God of light and love sent His Son.

Today is Palm Sunday, when we think about the beginning of that week of Jesus “Passion.”  When Jesus suffered and died for us on the Cross.

1 John tells us why He did that.

It uses words like “blood” and “atoning sacrifice” and “laid down his life for us” and  “The one wh cam by water and blood.”

1 John is Jesus’ sacrifice for us on the Cross.

And it’s all about our enemies.

The World (don’t love it!), the Flesh (don’t trust it), and the Devil (who runs the world now but is not as great as the One who is in us).

And 1 John tells us what to expect in the future.

We know that we live right now in the Last Hour with little antichrists running around doing as much damage as they can.

But we also know that Jesus will return and when He appears, we shall be like Him, for we shall see Him as He is.

1 John calls for a response from us.

To live differently than the world.
To resist false teaching. To test the Spirits.
To love our brothers and sisters in Christ, our spiritual siblings.
To obey Jesus in all His commands.

To believe in Jesus and keep on believing so that we know that we have eternal life.

Those are some of the lights we’ve turned on.

Now, let’s go together on a tour of this glorious house.

Listen again to 1 John.

[Prayer.  Read 1 John from the NIV 1984.]

What did you hear today that was different from when you heard it in October?

What have you learned in 1 John?

What questions remain for you?  What do you need to study further?

What is God asking from you today after today’s encounter with God’s Word in 1 John?

Do you have eternal life?  That life is in God’s son. If you have the Son, you have life. If you do not have the Son of God, you do not have eternal life.

I invite you to receive the Son of God today.

Are you walking in the light, as He is in the light?

Or are you stumbling in the darkness?  Confess your sins and walk in the light.

Are you loving the world?  Or are you loving your brothers and sister in Christ?

Are you rejoicing in the great love the Father has lavished on us?

God is love.  We love because he first loved us.

Dear children, keep yourselves from idols.

Messages about Essential Christianity

1. A Letter Arrived from John
2. The Word of Life
3. God Is Light
4. Talk and Walk
5. If You Love, You Live in the Light
6. I Write To You Because
7. Do Not Love the World
8. This Is the Last Hour
9. Children of God (Part One)
10. Children of God (Part Two)
11. Love Your Brother
12. God Is Greater Than Our Hearts
13. Test the Spirits
14. God Is Love (Part One)
15. God Is Love (Part Two)
16. Overcoming the World
17. The Testimony
18. We Know
19. Listen Again to 1 John