Our Wednesday evening class has been studying 1st John for the last couple of months. Although I certainly didn’t want to restrict us, I at first had in mind that we’d just spend one quarter with the text. However as the “disciple that Jesus loved” has taught us during our time together, some things are better savored rather than rushed (The same could be said about good coffee…).
I love preaching. Don’t get me wrong. But one of the things that I love, love, love about facilitating a class like our Wednesday night group is that so often I’m the one who is taught. I can study and prepare and plan for weeks and then by asking a single, solitary question as the class begins, the interaction and response and spirit of those who are present begins to teach and strengthen me. Those of you who are a part of our class know exactly what I’m talking about it. It’s a special group. And one that I’m very glad to be a part of. The Spirit is so very present when we discuss and share as people, the things of God. Our task is to remain open and willing and submissive to Him at work within us.
One of the places our conversations have taken us over the course of our time together has been the perspective of John as he writes the letter. He writes from his experience. He writes out of his belief and certainty of who Jesus was and who Jesus is. “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. 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. 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. We write this to make our joy complete” (1 John 1:1-4).
John is writing as an older man. One who has lived a life of faithfulness to the Savior who called him as a young man from his father’s nets. He’s lived a life transformed by the Messiah in every way. He writes some fifty years beyond the cross and resurrection of Jesus. And now at the close of a valiant life he shares with those he desires to pass on the faith that has carried him through all these years. John’s message is simple and yet profound: Live for Christ. Live out of relationship with Christ. Live changed by Christ. For there is no other life worth living.
Whether you’ve been a Christian for decades or only for a short amount of time, maturity in Christ is revealed in our answering of the calling that we’ve received in the Gospel message. And not simply a one time answering of our calling, but day in and day out as we live life. His call is to faith and to faithfulness. To a way of life that is just that, a way of life. Too often we relegate faith to one hour a week as if that’s a biblical concept or what God ever had in mind. Christianity is a radical call to a way of life that is characterized by Jesus. Nothing less.
Glory to God!