Summary: GOD IS FAITHFUL, UNCHANGING, ETERNAL AND TRUE IN PROMISE AND DEED
1 John 1:1-3 & 5:21 – The Nature of God -- Faithfulness
1 That which was from the beginning, which we have heard, which we have seen with our eyes, which we have looked at and our hands have touched—this we proclaim concerning the Word of life.
2 The life appeared; we have seen it and testify to it, and we proclaim to you the eternal life, which was with the Father and has appeared to us.
3 We proclaim to you what we have seen and heard, so that you also may have fellowship with us. And our fellowship is with the Father and with his Son, Jesus Christ.
21 Dear children, keep yourselves from idols.
John, in writing to the church some 60 years after the resurrection of Christ, is the last living eyewitness to the earthly ministry years of Christ. Yet he sees a danger arising in the church, as they are attempting to blend the ideas of their day (Greek philosophy) with the message of the Gospel of Christ. It is said that John is writing to address the rise of pseudo-incipient quasi-embryonic Gnosticism.
In the book of first John, after dealing with this “spirit of antichrist”, John seems to have an unrelated comment that ends his book “Keep Yourselves From Idols.” However, a careful study of the text, shows that this ending is a summary of what the entire book has been about.
Typically, when we think of idols, we picture statues of Buddha, Totem Poles, Golden Calves, and other physical graven images.
However, the greatest threat of idolatry is much more subtle. Let me say this for your careful consideration. The greatest idol in our world goes by the name of Jesus. Yet He is not the Jesus of the Bible, the Jesus experienced by the apostles and His faith which must be contended for by the saints. It is a Jesus of our own crafting, who fits comfortably with our ideas, lifestyle, culture, selfishness, and sin.
Think of positive preaching that refuses to accept the “wild-side” of the Nazarene who turned over tables, not in the riotous party centers of Rome, but with a whip in the temple of the Chosen people. What was to be a house of worship, had become a religion of profit and greed. They still called the name of Jehovah, but He had long since vacated.
We can put the name of Jesus over our door, on our t-shirts and claim that God is on our side. But when Joshua asked the appearance of God that met him before Jericho, he asked “are you for us or our enemies,” the Lord said “NEITHER” but as captain of the armies of the Lord I come.
We want to put God in a box as being on our side – that we think He is republican, a UK Wildcat fan, and so many other forms of belittling as we create “God in our image” rather than seeing God for who He is and conforming our lives, worship, and understanding to bow before Him.
I. CAN GOD BE KNOWN? HOW?
A. PROBLEM OF KNOWING GOD
1. OUR SINFULNESS
2. OUR LIMITATIONS -- HOSEA 4:6 -- my people are destroyed from lack of knowledge
B. GOD’S AWESOME MYSTERIOUSNESS