Sunday, February 17, 2008

An Introduction to 1st John

As I have been praying about where to go with the teaching here I thought that I was being directed to Paul's letter to the Romans (and we may still end up there), but as I continued to pray about this I really feel like I need to take some time to just follow daily where the Holy Spirit is leading me, and right now I feel like I am being led to the epistle of1st John. So for the next few weeks (unless I am directed otherwise) we will be studying this short epistle.

Martin Luther wrote:
“It is not Christ walking on the sea, but His ordinary walk, that we are called on here to imitate.”
This is what we have in the book of 1st John; a picture of how we as followers of Jesus Christ are to walk day-by-day; how our lives as His follower is supposed to look. As we move through 1 John we will see that in this letter the apostle John has contrasted for us the themes of light vs. darkness, love vs. hate, and truth vs. error. We will see that these are very practical and that as we look at each one of theses we will see what it means to walk as he walked. We will also encounter several tests along the way that are given so each of us can determine if our faith is genuine. The apostle Paul wrote:
Examine yourselves, to see whether you are in the faith.Test yourselves. Or do you not realize this about yourselves, that Jesus Christ is in you? - unless indeed you fail to meet the test!
That is exactly what we are going to do here; we are going to examine ourselves to see whether we are in the faith and know that Christ is in fact in us. So with that said let's look now at the first 4 verses of 1 John chapter 1 and get a brief introduction to this wonderful epistle.
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— 2the 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— 3 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. 4 And we are writing these things so that our joy may be complete.
John begins in verse one by reminding us that he was an eyewitness to the life, death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus Christ. He tells us that he has heard, seen, and touched the Lord Jesus himself; what he s writing to us here is a first hand, eyewitness account of the teachings of Jesus. This is not something he heard second hand; he got this straight from Jesus.The phrase word of life at the end of the verse is a reference back to his Gospel where John wrote:
In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God... And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we have seen his glory, glory as of the only Son from the Father, full of grace and truth.
In these verses, as well as in the beginning of 1st John, we see that Jesus is the eternal Son of God, and that He is in fact God Himself.

John continues this thought in verse 2 where he emphasizes again the eternality of Christ.Notice he writes here the life was manifest, this means that the life of Christ did not begin with His birth in Bethlehem, only His incarnation began there. His life has never had a beginning as He is eternal, and when He came to earth it was to make Himself, and His Father, known to us. But this was not His beginning.

John then tells us in verse three that he is now writing to proclaim to us the life of Christ to which He was a witness, and that the reason he is doing this is two-fold: first, that we may have fellowship with one another, and that we can have fellowship with God the Father, and with His Son, Jesus Christ. Then in verse four he adds yet one more reason for writing: that our joy may be complete.

This begs the question then, from where is it that we get our joy, and what is it that makes our joy complete? We get our joy from our relationship with God and from the fellowship that we have with one another through the Gospel. But John emphasizes here that our fellowship is not just with each other, but also with the very God of the universe.

I think this is going to be an exciting journey and I am looking forward to working though this short letter together. Please take some time to read through the entire letter of 1 John (several times if you can). Also please share with me what the Holy Spirit is teaching you over the next few weeks as I share with you what He is teaching me. And remember, it is only through our relationship with Jesus Christ that we can have fellowship with God the Father, and this relationship is what then allows us to have fellowship with one another.
Print This Post

1 comment:

Charlie said...

Thank you for this wonderful site! I’m currently working on our church’s website and one of my feature articles is about family blessings. Hopefully, I can take into consideration some of the ideas you gave me. Thanks again!