A month doesn't look like it's that long on a calendar, but the month of May seemed very long and pretty boring. It was good to get back into the swing of things last night. It was great to see everyone again, to worship together and learn together, and eat together (Steak and Shake after Connexion was awesome!)...
Thursday was, however, a very odd day. I returned to the office on Thursday morning after a weeks vacation and found all of the files I had worked on the previous week were gone. That meant the message notes, the bulletin and some other documents were no where to be found. So, I had to start from scratch. No big deal - I had the whole day to get ready. Then AJ called me from Bloomington Hospital. Paul Helms, our faithful worship leader, was in a bike accident and broke his collarbone. This was very inconvenient for me, and I am sure very painful and extremely incovenient for Paul. Thankfully, Danae was willing to step up and lead worship, and Paul actually showed up and sang with her. With a lot of help from Heather, Danea and others, everything ended up coming together. In fact, all in all, I think the first Connexion of the summer went very well, especially considering the day!
I had hoped to post the message mp3 along with the discussion questions online. However, that is a detail from last night that didnt' work out. I took a guess on how one the recording process works, and I was wrong. Oh well, here's the gist of it all:
The book of 1 John is a book about being certain - about knowing. John is writing this book so that we can be certain of the truth of the message of Jesus Christ and who he is and so that we can be certain that our faith is a genuine, saving faith. When you understand what is at stake here, you want to be certain, after all, it is eternal matters that hang in the balance. So, John offers us a few tests by which to evaluate our faith, and it is these three tests that we'll explore all summer long.
Last night we looked at the first four verses of 1 John. I the opening to this book, John wants us to understand that what he is proclaiming is not some new innovation in religion, it's not some novelty. In fact, the revelation of Jesus Christ in the flesh is the culmination of God's eternal purposes - the high point of God's self revelation. In these short verses he is emphasizing the deity of Christ by pointing us to his eternality, and he is emphasizing the humanity of Christ by reminding us that the Word came was able to be seen, heard and touched. These two themes are extremely important to John (see the Gospel of John, chapter 1).
John's message is an eternal message, and one that he proclaims for two reasons: first, so that we might enjoy fellowship with him and with God. In fact, our fellowship with one another is based on, founded upon, and rooted in our fellowship with God. Second, John proclaims this message so that his "joy may be complete". John finds great joy in proclaiming the message of Jesus Christ, and in his people's well being. He finds joy in the restoration of their fellowship with God and other believers.
Here are some questions to think about as you look at 1 John 1:1-4 on your own:
1. John stresses the deity and humanity of Christ here and throughout his writings. Why are these themes so crucial to us?
2. John writes so restore fellowship and for his joy. How are these two things connected?
3. If our fellowship is rooted in a real fellowship with God and his Son Jesus Christ, what does this mean for unity across various Christian denominations?
If you weren't able to make it last night or would like to continue discussing these questions, join the discussion in the forums.