Peninsula Community Church
April 15, 2012
Christ’s Life Displayed
The goal of the John’s writings is to show believers what it means to display the life of Christ to the community and culture around them. Join us as we take a journey through the pages of 1 John.
1John 1:1-4 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.
The theme of 1 John is walking in fellowship with God’s light and love. In this letter, John deals with how we display the life of Christ through our lives. His focus is on the light of God and the love of God. We receive both of these from God. We do not work for them but we simply receive them as a gift.
As we read through this book we see that John answers some important questions about how to display the life of Christ as we follow Christ:
The first question answered by John is “What does God’s life look like in a true
believer?” In other words, if we are passionate followers of Christ, what should our life look like? If you had asked me that question a number a years ago, I probably would have over emphasized the process of obedience. While this is certainly a key component of living a life that honors God but when that is all that we consider we can begin to live a life that is guided by legalism and control rather than being light and showing love. The result is a concentration checking off the list of duties performed rather than living a life fully dedicated to Christ and His ways. I know have a whole new perspective about God’s love which drives me to do things not to gain His love but to simply accept that He loves me and that is enough. Additionally I do not have to strain at being the light because it is an action that is deposited in us as a result of the work of the Holy Spirit within me. When God’s life is being revealed through me our speech, our attitude and our character will be effected.
The second question answered by John is “How can we recognize falseness in living and teaching that would attempt to lead us astray?” He thereby addresses the issue of do we discern those things that create in us false expectations and attempt to lead us astray from the truth of the Gospel. Have you noticed that the nation as a whole is being dumbed down? It seems that people do have the ability to think critically. There is a tendency to accept things with out discerning the truth within the facts given. We are living in a sound bite world where truth is defined by one-liners and in 30 second discussions on the news hour. John encourages us to discern the spirits and the truth that is at play around us. Without which we are easily deceived and confused. We can become very gullible.
The third significant question addressed by John is “How do we share God’s love horizontally?” It is critical that we learn to not only love God but also live out that love toward others. It has been said that we love best when we loves others and we love even greater when we love those who do not deserve our love.
It was critical for John to address these questions as one of the key issues t affecting the church of the day was a Gnostic belief. Gnostics believed that matter was evil and only the spirit was good. For this reason, they did not believe in the incarnation or the resurrection. They taught that the spirit of God entered Jesus sometime after his birth and then exited before the crucifixion so that he would not suffer. By denying the deity of Christ, led them to deny His atoning sacrifice, His redemption and His offer of reconciliation. To the Gnostics salvation came by way of freedom from the sinful body through mystical knowledge.
Note that John countered this philosophy in the first few verses of his letter. He states that the focus of his writings was on the who was there from the beginning. Christ created all things and brought all things into existence. Rather than being a distant God, He in reality was one who was very close. Notice the words John used to define Christ who was revealed through the Word:
The first three of these reveals the personal encounter that John had with the Savior and the same encounter that is available to us. This revelation does not come from second hand knowledge but from firsthand experience. And finally, this revelation is not a nebulous experience but one that is personal and up close and understandable.
- We have heard him.
- We have seen with our eyes
- We have touched with our hands
The second part of this is what we do with this personal revelation:
- His life was manifested in such a way that His actions could be seen.
- We testify to all He had done.
- We proclaim Him as the way of salvation.
To translate this in modern terms John shares some key information about the work of Christ in our lives:
- The work of Christ is relevant and current.
- The work of Christ is trustworthy.
- The work of Christ is applicable to every experience.
- The Work of Christ affects our whole being.