Summary: Sermon series on 1 John.
Living in the Valley
April 30, 2006
For the next 2 months we will be exploring and going through the book of 1 John on Sunday mornings together.
As we begin this series that I’m calling "Living Well in the Valley", I want to tell you 2 things I wish for you. Two things I wish for us.
1. The first - I wish for us to be free.
For us to take in life
To live life
To know/experience/enter into all that God has for us.
To live our lives with full assurance and peace that we are God’s. He is our Father and we can simply be his children.
Thursday afternoon, Deb was trying to get Ben and Emma down for a nap. There was no chance of Luke taking a nap, too much to explore. So he and I jumped on our bikes for a long bike ride on the miles of paved trails.
We rode for the ocean, collected shells,
We stopped for water breaks and
The whole time I was grinning ear to ear. There I was spending time with my son. Seeing him ride his bike so well, so free after only 2 weeks without training wheels. I rode behind him snapping pictures.
Luke - my Son - Exploring
Cruising around. It was a highlight.
It was a moment when I caught the joy of him experiencing freedom.
The 1st thing I wish for us - that you and I could be free from our spiritual training wheels. That you and I would unscrew/
Remove those things that give/provide safety for you.
Those things that are prohibiting you from fully embracing God.
The 2nd thing I wish for us is that you and I would have the ability to take God in.
To be open to the vastness of God in any moment of everyday.
Last Sunday on our final day of vacation, Luke Ben, Emma, Deb and I got out our backpacks, filled them with water and snacks to go on one late hike. Big rock.
As you might remember, it was a beautiful day. So beautiful that we could see the Olympic Mountains with their snow covered peaks to the West and the Cascades and specifically Mount Baker to the East.
There we were scrambling up and down the rocks eating our animal crackers and drinking our water while sitting between these two mountain ranges of the Olympics on the west and the Cascades on the east.
And I kind of had to pinch myself and say wow - we pastor here in the Skagit Valley. In this place between mountain ranges.
This place, full of vibrant life in the valley.
Deb, Luke, Ben, Emma and I were given a glimpse of god, his handy work. We saw it, we touched it, and we gazed at it. We enjoyed it. We thanked God for it.
Our guidebook/our trail map for this series called Living well in the valley is going to be the book of 1 John. This book because the book itself is found between 2 more prominent books by the same author. John, the author of 1st John, our guidebook also wrote the incredibly beautiful book called the Gospel of John and also wrote the well studied and famous book called Revelations.
The Gospel of John tells us about the beginnings of Jesus
The Book of Revelation tells us about what the end with Jesus will look like.
And our book, text - 1 John will help us to live between these realities. This book will help us to live in freedom (wish #1).
And aid us in experiencing knowing and recognizing a world marinated with Jesus. (wish #2)
These are my two wishes for us.
Read 1 John 1:1-4.
There was a heresy circulating in the early church when John wrote these words. By heresy, I mean a false, untrue teaching. This heresy was called Gnosticism. This teaching said that spirit is entirely good and matter is entirely evil. These were some of its points.
1. Human bodies - the physical body - because it is matter is evil.
God because he is spirit - because he has no body is good.
2. Salvation/life after death will be an escape from the body achieved not by faith in Jesus but by a special knowledge. Salvation to the Gnostics was a mental exercise and not a faith/experimental act.
3. Christ’s humanity/Jesus’ body wasn’t real. Jesus only seemed to have a body.
Gnosticism - this false teaching, sought to lead its followers away from life in this material/physical world. Gnosticism sought to lead its followers into a spiritual state that had nothing to do with reality.
In a sense this teaching sought to lead its followers to mountain top experiences where one’s breath is taken away. Where one is continually ohhed and ahhed by the splendor of the spiritual while forsaking all that was material down in the valley. It sought to take its followers to Hallelujah Glacier and Amen Peak and Righteous Rock and Light of the World Lookout.