Summary: John challenges three false teachings that endanger our relationship with God.
TEXT: 1st John 1:5-2:2
TITLE: In the Light!
SERIES: Letters from John
TOPIC: Walking in truth.
OCCASION: Burnside Christian Church, January 2, 2010
PROP.: John refutes 3 false teachings that endanger our relationship with God
INTRODUCTION: Good morning! We are back studying the letters from John. Our text today is 1st John 1:5-10
Things change! From one decade to the next things change!
TELEPHONE -à CELL PHONE
VHS TAPE -à Blu Ray player
Letters à text message.
Cassette tape à MP3 player
And what John was striving to do was to keep the foundation of Christianity the same - JESUS. Christianity is so simple. It’s easy enough that a child can understand it and accept it. Jesus came to earth fully human - fully God. He lived a sinless life. He died on the cross to take the punishment for MY sin. He was buried. And three days later, came back to life. And if we will believe in Him and accept him as our savior, then we too can have eternal life. It’s really basic. It’s really simple!
But what happened was as these simple churches began to move and grow into these new generations, new ideas began to be popular. And many people began to believe that Christianity is too simplistic. It’s not intellectually challenging. (It’s not sophisticated enough. (which simply is not true. I am guessing that all of us who have studied the Bible would agree that it’s deep! And as hard as it may be to comprehend…it’s even more difficult to put into practice!) but this new generation of Christians wanted something more sophisticated - they wanted something deeper.
And so what they were doing is adding to it! They were making it more appealing to the masses! Because if you know the people who were really influenced by the Greek thinking - then you know they took great pride in their philosophers and logic and deep thinking.
And one of the philosophies that was starting to creep into the church was this idea of GNOSTICISM. It comes from the Greek word that means knowledge.
And people thought that in order to be a good religious person, you had to emphasize the mind. And that was the whole basis of gnosticism…the mind. And anything that was material, or physical was evil! And the only thing that was pure was the mind! And this led to secret meanings in teachings - people thought that those who were of higher intellect were able to understand the ’real meaning’ of the teaching.
And one of the greatest sources of conflict in the church is if you are trying to create a religion that says the body is evil, that flesh is bad, then it’s kind of hard to believe that there is a Savior who is God who comes to earth and takes on a body! There becomes this huge conflict of interest because the body is evil! AND so that is why there became a lot of questions about “Is Jesus really God?” And about sin and about how to get rid of sin.
And so what John is doing is he is attacking; he is refuting gnosticism. That’s why John keeps emphasizing these three key words…do you remember them?
JESUS. TRUTH. LOVE. John is convinced that if these readers understand who Jesus is, they will know the truth and they will fully understand His love!
So that brings up to our text this morning. We have all ready studied 3rd John. And we studied 2nd John. And now we are in 1st John. Now 1st John is different than the other two letters that John wrote. If you read 1st John, maybe you’re like, “Hmmmm. This doesn’t really feel like a letter.” And you’re right. It reads more like a sermon. And that’s probably a better description of 1st John. 2nd and 3rd john were letters written to a specific person or a specific church. But first John, was meant to be shared among all the churches.
T.S.: So what John is going to do in our text this morning, is go after the gnostics and really hammer three false teachings that these people are trying to bring into the church. Because remember, John is the elder…he is the overseer and protector of these churches. And he is going to hit this problem head on. Because that’s John’s style! He doesn’t beat around the bush. He makes it clear exactly what is right on this issue. And that’s an important lesson for you and me to learn. Speak up for what’s right…even if you get hammered…even if it makes the situation uncomfortable. Do the right thing.
So let’s start in with our text today - beginning with verse 5.
1st John 1:5-10
5 This is the message we have heard from him and declare to you: God is light; in him there is no darkness at all.