Summary: Part 1 in a series on 1 John
As Real As It Gets
Text: 1 John 1:1-4
Someone asked me the other day, why I preach through books of the Bible rather than topical? My response to them was I found a few years ago, after I surrendered to the ministry and began preaching nearly every week it was difficult to just find a topic to preach on each week. Then when I took my first full-time pastorate, I found it beneficial in my own personal study time to stay focused on one book of the Bible at a time.
Recently I had the opportunity to travel to Heber Springs, Arkansas and sit and listen to, who I think is the best Bible expositor and preacher I have heard; Dr. David Miller. Bro David said this in one of the meetings, “Preaching line by line, verse by verse, a preach of the Gospel cannot help but preach and teach the full counsel of God’s Word.” (Not an exact quote)
The Apostle Paul warns of a time in which folks will “not endure sound doctrine, but according to their own desires, because they have itching ears, they will heap up for themselves teachers; and they will turn their ears away from the truth, and be turned aside to fables.” My dear friend I believe we are living in that time right now.
All around us are pulpits filled with a message of “Be all you can be,” and “Just feel good about yourself and God will bless you.” A message of good feelings and lacking in sound fundamental doctrine and dealing with the issue of sin and a calling to repentance in Christ.
One of my favorite preacher I enjoy listening to on Sunday afternoons is Dr. Ralph Douglas West, Pastor of Brookhollow Baptist Church in Houston. Not long ago he was telling of two pastor friends of his that are working on their doctorates in preaching; their dissertation he said was on philosophical preaching. He went on to say, “We don’t need any more philosophical preachers today… we don’t need any more Dr. Phil’s behind the pulpit… we need more God called men that will open up God’s Word and declare Thus Saith The Lord… and I say amen and amen…
In this place where I minister, I see many people that come from this new wave of evangelism as some call it, people that are not living to their full potential to a life fully committed to Christ. I believe we need all kinds of churches, and although I may not agree with the methods of some churches of how they get people to the church, I disagree with the ways the Gospel is presented today. I sat in a church two Easter Sundays ago and heard during the invitation time, I you want to go to heaven, there is a paper in your visitors packet and if you want to go to heaven, check yes and then fill out the perforated side and let us know your decision to go to heaven. The of all things, I had a family call me up to visit their father who was dieing of cancer. One of the sons told me someone had come to the bedside and shared with this man “When you were born you received a ticket to heaven. But somewhere along the way, your ticket becomes invalid. You need to ask God for another ticket.” When I heard this I had to tell the man there is more to just asking God for a ticket to heaven. I read the Romans Road and told him about sin; our need to repent and ask for forgiveness and place our faith in the finished work of Jesus at Calvary.
Where this book might not address the issue of false teaching and heresy head on, it does address a life fully committed to Christ. It insists that true Christian faith requires knowing that Jesus the Christ came in human flesh, lived a human life, and died in the flesh. But the evidence of that faith is measured by the genuineness of one’s Christian lifestyle, not so much by what one "knows." The knowledge that God is light is tested by whether one walks in that light and obeys God’s commands. The knowledge that God is righteous is tested by whether one lives righteously as befits one born of God. The knowledge that God is love is tested by whether one loves fellow believers even as one loves God. The radical requirement for love and obedience in this Epistles recalls the truth of Jesus’ own teaching and the radical response he required of those who would follow him.
Now more than ever do we need to address this counterfeit Christianity that is being taught and caught by so many around us. Without sounding legalistic a walk and a life with Christ is real and will be real to those around us. Let’s look at this life John tells us about…