Summary: A message of the need for authentic Christianity from 1 John
Got To Be True
FIRST JOHN FACTS
As always, it is an honor to be here with you this morning. Today we are going to open up God’s Word to the book of 1st John. This is one of my very favorite books in the Bible. It is both encouraging and challenging to me. It was written by the apostle John.
The authorship of this book is important because you are going to see that the things being said had to be said by someone with authority. John was one of the disciples. He was one of the three closest disciples to Jesus. He was an early church leader. He knew exactly what he was talking about and people respected him for that. John was also the author of Revelation. We think this book was written before that somewhere between 85 and 95 AD. It is not believed that he was in exile like when he wrote the book of Revelation. We believe he was probably living in the ancient city of Ephesus.
This book is a letter. What we refer to as an epistle. Usually these letters were addressed to a church or a person in particular. This one isn’t so we assume that John was probably writing to several churches who would pass the letter around to one another. It is written for anyone who believes.
It was originally written to combat the lies of Gnosticism. Gnosticism was a branch off from Christianity. It was a group of people who had a warped idea of what Christianity is and who Jesus is. The sect of people was trying to infiltrate the church. They were spreading their bad theology inside the church regularly.
The purpose of First John is to: To reassure Christians in their faith and to counter false teachings. I think that purpose is still important to us today. In the world in which we live we are a lot like the early church. There is so much being twisted in our world today. So many different theologies are being offered to us. The sad thing is that some churches who would tell you they are Christian are watering down the gospel. The pastor of one of the nation’s largest congregations who is also a prominent televangelist has gone on record to say that he won’t preach about sin. He wants people to feel good and he thinks that talking about sin will make people feel bad about themselves. What? That just blows me away. I am so proud to be a part of a congregation where we don’t shy away from hard topics. If I believe that this book gives me all I need for life and godliness then I have to believe that hard topics have to be discussed even if I end up feeling bad about myself as a result. You know why talking about sin makes us feel bad? Because it reminds us how we serve a holy God and we fall short. It reminds us that there are areas of our lives where we need to improve and live better Christian lives. I think it is okay to feel bad about that and use that to help us change ourselves and change the world.
This week we are going to take a few moments and talk about knowledge. You see we live in a world where everyone says that you need to pursue knowledge. You need to go after knowing things. I was a high school English teacher and I would certainly agree that you need to pursue knowledge but today I want talk about something that is even more important than what you know. We are going to talk about who you know. First John is all about knowing God intimately. So, today we are going to be talking about Truth. Truth is important.
In the student ministry we do these things called Monday Mystery Trips. We load up the vans and take the kids to destinations that are a little random and spend the day. They have no idea where we are going, they just get in the vans and we go. It is a great way to build unity in the group as we drive. The very first time we did these trips, we went to one of my favorite places on earth --- the home of Superman, Metropolis, Illinois. Here are a couple of shots from that trip. I think Aaron and Ana might be a bit confused as to who they want to be!
I love Superman. He is my favorite Superhero. I remember watching old Superman episodes when I was a kid. The old George Reeves Superman in black and white. When I was a kid we only had a black and white TV so I wouldn’t have known if they had been in color. I loved those shows! Although I don’t think I ever understood what Perry White meant when he said Great Caesar’s ghost. Anyway, do you remember how they always started off with the Superman description? Faster than a speeding ____. More powerful than a ________. Able to leap tall buildings in a single ________. Then they would tell us what Superman stood for by saying that Superman was for truth, justice and the American way. Truth was one of Superman’s important attributes. Why? Because you had to be able to trust him. If someone with such superpowers was not trustworthy it could be a scary thing.