In the second of two messages from John’s letters looking at ‘The World’ (how we relate to it and how we should live in it), we turn to John’s amazing statement that we are, AS HE IS, in this world (1 John 4:17). John instructs us not to love the world (1 John 2:15), but he also shows us that ‘AS HE IS’ means that by our very nature we are, SENT into it, and LOVED. Once again, starting in Genesis and exploring the meaning of the Tree of Life, we can see how this has always been God’s plan, to have a people who are maturing into the full stature of His beloved Son, Jesus.
In both his letters and his gospel, John often refers to his readers as ‘children’. John really wants us to be confident of who we are as children of God. From the account of King David and his covenant faithfulness to Mephibosheth, we gain further insights into being God’s children – we’re invited to sit at the King’s table as sons and enjoy relationship with Him, enjoying all the good things he has for us.
For many of us, fear can be one of the most controlling influences in our lives. However 1 John 4:18 tells us that “Such love has no fear, because perfect love expels all fear. If we are afraid, it is for fear of punishment, and this shows that we have not fully experienced his perfect love.” In this message Stephen shares what this ‘perfect love’ is that dispels all fears. We look at how to foster, experience and develop this love in our lives and how it can move us towards a fearless life, full of joy and triumph.
In the first of two messages from John’s letters, looking at the world – how we relate to it and how we should live in it – we start with John’s instruction not to love the world. Firstly looking at what John and the other NT writers meant by ‘the world’, and then considering the 3 fundamental elements John describes as being ‘in the world’. We trace them back to their roots in Genesis, so that we can see how they came between God and humanity, and how as God’s children we can now live differently, showing others the way back to Him.
The apostle John describes Jesus as “the Saviour of the World” (1John 4:14), a description also used by the many Samaritans who followed Jesus after He stopped to speak with a woman at their well (John 4:42). The story of Jesus’s encounter with that woman (John 4:1-42) provide us with vital insights about the nature of our mission, and the way in which Jesus demonstrates His great love for the lost and His saving power for the whole world. For all of us committed to the Great Commission, these simple, powerful principles can transform our own approach to the urgent task at hand…
John sets a precedent for us in his writings of being totally fixated on Jesus. His call for all believers throughout his writings is to abide in Christ is pivotal for us and influences everything else that John writes about. As we follow John’s directive to abide in Christ we understand that Jesus is more than a moment and that He is the motivation for the mission.
In Johns first letter, particularly in chapters 3 and 4 we read many times, that “we live in God and he lives in us”, all who live in love , live in God, and God lives in them”.
God lives inside us and His love inside us is to be revealed to those around us, both our church family, and those around us in the world.
When we live “inside-out” lives, the love of God can transform our fellowship as believers, and transform our villages and towns. We were designed specifically to reveal Jesus through good works already, prepared for us. The challenge is to live our ordinary lives, knowing He is with you, for you and in you. Lets live “inside-out”lives.
1 John 3:11 – “This is the message you have heard from the beginning: We should love one another”
In the letters of John we find the exhortation to love one another repeated again and again. John commands, encourages and pleads with his ‘Dear Friends’ to love one another. So why does John focus so heavily on this aspect of our Christian lives? We consider WHY loving one another is so important and HOW can we love one another.
The Apostle John was the ultimate witness for Jesus. At the outset of a new teaching series, based in his affectionate and timely letters to the church, we start with the historical and cultural backdrop in which he wrote them. Writing toward the end of the first century AD, John was most likely the last of Jesus’ original Apostolic company. After a life witnessing events of eternal significance, Jesus’ closest friend opens his heart to us, with a simple and profound message about three fundamental aspects of who Jesus is … LIFE, LIGHT and LOVE!