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Alêtheia Christian Fellowship       (Sermon 58, 02-20-05)

a  Announcements,

Last week we talked about the fact that God already loves you and if you genuinely accept His love through Jesus, you are already in heaven. We talked about the Love Wheel and the fact that it is all about relationship.

True Christians aren’t trying to get anywhere, except closer to God!

Once we begin to realize the great love of God for us, we can then be freed from our native fear and allow His love to fill us.

God’s love is first and foremost Agapê. Unconditional love assures us of our place with God. Now, there can be no fear of rejection.

Whew, I’m glad we got that over with! Now, we are free to focus on loving God because He loves us, it is that simple.

Regardless of what you believe to the contrary, the Truth is righteousness comes from God and God alone. We take the righteousness of perfect Jesus upon ourselves by faith.

The Bible is clear. Faith is righteousness and faith only comes from a relationship with God.

The Love wheel shows the reality that obedience is the proof of trust, which in turn is the proof of faith. We also saw that faith proceeds from Agapê.

Obedience enables us to grow because it’s not easy. As we grow we have more Agapê, giving us more faith allowing us to trust more, enabling obedience. Obedience should be easier then, but God isn’t interested in making things easy because He loves you too much to let you stagnate. So, He asks something more difficult and around and around we go.

This is the way our relationship is built and it enables us to be friends with God and ultimately leads to intimacy with God.

Intimacy is God’s goal and it should be our goal. Intimacy forever starting today and lasting for etenity.

As an aside I want to make it clear that the word ejrw>v, does not actually appear in the Bible. The terms used for intimacy with God and the baser lusts of the flesh are combinations of words and phrases to evoke the sense. I use ejrw>v, for the sake of simplicity because it enables easy comparrison with ajga>ph and filia>, Intimacy is indicated with words like family member, face to face, into the Father or Jesus or the Spirit, as well as many others. Jesus says He and the Father are one and then tells us we are in that same relationship with the Father through being intimate with Jesus. If you’ve seen Me you’ve seen the Father, you can’t get more intimate than that! If you’ve seen my wife you’ve seen me? To some degree. John 1, Jesus is pro>v to~n qeo>n, intimate with the Father. The Bible talks often of us being the bride of Christ. The Bible talks often about praying without ceasing and we think prayer is some kind of Christian duty. God already knows what you want! Prayer is to connect in intimate relationship. Revelation 22:4&5 says,

4And they will see his face, and his name will be written on their foreheads. 5And there will be no night there—no need for lamps or sun—for the Lord God will shine on them. And they will reign forever and ever.

How do we gauge the health of our relationship with God?

Is it our outward behavior? This is fruit and gives an indication of where our heart is at, but fruit can be plastic. Is it in our devotion time with God? Not necessarily, my son read a chapter on Latin verb cojugation in a college text book. He got all the words right, I mean he read it, but he didn’t have a clue what the chapter was about. For him it was a monumental waste of time and it is possible for someone to spend hours each day in prayer without having any idea of who God really is.

The Bible says the way you gauge the health of your relationship with God is my examining your relationship with people.

We are going to systematically go through 1 John. The Apostle John and the Apostle Paul are my favorite guys. If I could meet anyone in history outside of Jesus Himself I would be hard pressed to decide which of these two guys it would be. Paul was without question the greater evangelist and theologian, but John knew Jesus better than any other man and while he didn’t have Paul’s education, access and ability, he was no slouch. John moved with the Apostles Philip and Andrew and perhaps Mary the mother of Jesus and Mary Magdelene to Ephesus just prior to the decimation of Jerusalem in 70 A.D. The Emporor Vespacian started the war with the Jews but left his son Titus to finish the job when he ascended the Roman throne. Titus followed his father as emporor and was himself followed by his brother Domitian who was the lunatic who thought he was the God Apollo and persecuted Christians including our author. Peter, the Jewish apostle of authority, and Paul, the Gentile apostle of freedom, had done their work on earth before the destruction of JerusalemBut there remained a most important additional work to be done, a work of union and consolidation. This was reserved for the apostle of love, the bosom-friend of Jesus, who had become his most perfect reflection so far as any human being can reflect the ideal of divine-human purity and holiness. John was not a missionary or a man of action, like Peter and Paul. He did little, so far as we know, for the outward spread of Christianity, but all the more for the inner life and growth of Christianity where it was already established. He has nothing to say about the government, the forms, and rites of the visible church (even the name does not occur in his Gospel and first Epistle), but all the more about the spiritual substance of the church—the vital union of believers with Christ and the brotherly communion of believers among themselves. He is at once the apostle, the evangelist, and the seer, of the new covenant. He lived to the close of the first century, that he might erect on the foundation and superstructure of the apostolic age the majestic dome gilded by the light of the new heaven.

He had to wait in silent meditation till the church was ripe for his sublime teaching. This is intimated by the mysterious word of our Lord to Peter with reference to John: “If I will that he tarry till I come, what is that to thee?”1-429 No doubt the Lord did come in the terrible judgment of Jerusalem. John outlived it personally, and his type of doctrine and character will outlive the earlier stages of church history (anticipated and typified by Peter and Paul) till the final coming of the Lord. In that wider sense he tarries even till now, and his writings, with their unexplored depths and heights still wait for the proper interpreter. The best comes last. In the vision of Elijah on Mount Horeb, the strong wind that rent the mountains and brake in pieces the rocks, and the earthquake, and the fire preceded the still small voice of Jehovah.

John was a son (probably the younger son) of Zebedee and Salome, and a brother of the elder James, who became the protomartyr of the apostles.1-430 He may have been about ten years younger than Jesus, and as, according to the unanimous testimony of antiquity, he lived till the reign of Trajan, i.e., till after 98, he must have attained an age of over ninety years. He was a fisherman by trade, probably of Bethsaida in Galilee (like Peter, Andrew, and Philip). His parents seem to have been in comfortable circumstances. His father kept hired servants; his mother belonged to the noble band of women who followed Jesus and supported him with their means, who purchased spices to embalm him, who were the last at the cross and the first at the open tomb. John himself was acquainted with the high priest, and owned a house in Jerusalem or Galilee, into which he received the mother of our Lord.1-431

He was a cousin of Jesus, according to the flesh, from his mother, a sister of Mary.1-432 This relationship, together with the enthusiasm of youth and the fervor of his emotional nature, formed the basis of his intimacy with the Lord.

He had no rabbinical training, like Paul, and in the eyes of the Jewish scholars he was, like Peter and the other Galilaean disciples, an “unlearned and ignorant man.”1-433 But he passed through the preparatory school of John the Baptist who summed up his prophetic mission in the testimony to Jesus as the “Lamb of God that taketh away the sin of the world,” a testimony which he afterwards expanded in his own writings. It was this testimony which led him to Jesus on the banks of the Jordan in that memorable interview of which, half a century afterwards, he remembered the very hour.1-434 He was not only one of the Twelve, but the chosen of the chosen Three. Peter stood out more prominently before the public as the friend of the Messiah; John was known in the private circle as the friend of Jesus.1-435 Peter always looked at the official character of Christ, and asked what he and the other apostles should do; John gazed steadily at the person of Jesus, and was intent to learn what the Master said. They differed as the busy Martha, anxious to serve, and the pensive Mary, contented to learn. John alone, with Peter and his brother James, witnessed the scene of the transfiguration and of Gethsemane—the highest exaltation and the deepest humiliation in the earthly life of our Lord. He leaned on his breast at the last Supper and treasured those wonderful farewell discourses in his heart for future use. He followed him to the court of Caiaphas. He alone of all the disciples was present at the crucifixion, and was intrusted by the departing Saviour with the care of his mother. This was a scene of unique delicacy and tenderness: the Mater dolorosaand the beloved disciple gazing at the cross, the dying Son and Lord uniting them in maternal and filial love. It furnishes the type of those heaven-born spiritual relationships, which are deeper and stronger than those of blood and interest. As John was the last at the cross, so he was also, next to Mary Magdalene, the first of the disciples who, outrunning even Peter, looked into the open tomb on the resurrection morning; and he first recognized the risen Lord when he appeared to the disciples on the shore of the lake of Galilee. (Jn 20:4; 21:7)

He seems to have been the youngest of the apostles, as he long outlived them all; he certainly was the most gifted and the most favored. He had a religious genius of the highest order—not indeed for planting, but for watering; not for outward action and aggressive work, but for inward contemplation and insight into the mystery of Christ’s person and of eternal life in him. Purity and simplicity of character, depth and ardor of affection, and a rare faculty of spiritual perception and intuition, were his leading traits, which became ennobled and consecrated by divine grace.

There are no violent changes reported in John’s history; he grew silently and imperceptibly into the communion of his Lord and conformity to his example; he was in this respect the antipode of Paul. He heard more and saw more, but spoke less, than the other disciples. He absorbed his deepest sayings, which escaped the attention of others; and although he himself did not understand them at first, he pondered them in his heart till the Holy Spirit illuminated them. His intimacy with Mary must also have aided him in gaining an interior view of the mind and heart of his Lord. He appears throughout as the beloved disciple, in closest intimacy and in fullest sympathy with the Lord.1-436

In the Gospel of Mark, John appears as a Son of Thunder (Boanerges).1-437 This surname, given to him and to his elder brother by our Saviour, was undoubtedly an epithet of honor and foreshadowed his future mission, like the name Peter given to Simon. Thunder to the Hebrews was the voice of God.1-438 It conveys the idea of ardent temper, great strength and vehemence of character whether for good or for evil, according to the motive and aim. The same thunder which terrifies does also purify the air and fructify the earth with its accompanying showers of rain. Fiery temper under the control of reason and in the service of truth is as great a power of construction as the same temper, uncontrolled and misdirected, is a power of destruction. John’s burning zeal and devotion needed only discipline and discretion to become a benediction and inspiration to the church in all ages.

It was probably the martyrdom of Peter and Paul that induced John to take charge of the orphan churches, exposed to serious dangers and trials.1-450

Ephesus, the capital of proconsular Asia, was a center of Grecian culture, commerce, and religion; famous of old for the songs of Homer, Anacreon, and Mimnermus, the philosophy of Thales, Anaximenes, and Anaximander, the worship and wonderful temple of Diana. There Paul had labored three years (54-57) and established an influential church, a beacon-light in the surrounding darkness of heathenism. From there he could best commune with the numerous churches he had planted in the provinces. There he experienced peculiar joys and trials, and foresaw great dangers of heresies that should spring up from within.1-451 All the forces of orthodox and heretical Christianity were collected there. Jerusalem was approaching its downfall; Rome was not yet a second Jerusalem. Ephesus, by the labors of Paul and of John, became the chief theatre of church history in the second half of the first and during the greater part of the second century. Polycarp, the patriarchal martyr, and Irenaeus, the leading theologian in the conflict with Gnosticism, best represent the spirit of John and bear testimony to his influence. He alone could complete the work of Paul and Peter, and give the church that compact unity which she needed for her self-preservation against persecution from without and heresy and corruption from within.

The time of the exile is uncertain, and depends upon the disputed question of the date of the Apocalypse. External evidence points to the reign of Domitian, a.d. 95; internal evidence to the reign of Nero, or soon after his death, a.d. 68.

The prevailing—we may say the only distinct tradition, beginning with so respectable a witness as Irenaeus about 170, assigns the exile to the end of the reign of Domitian, who ruled from 81 to 96.1-455 He was the second Roman emperor who persecuted Christianity, and banishment was one of his favorite modes of punishment.1-456 Both facts give support to this tradition. After a promising beginning he became as cruel and bloodthirsty as Nero, and surpassed him in hypocrisy and blasphemous self-deification. He began his letters: “Our Lord and God commands,” and required his subjects to address him so.1-457 He ordered gold and silver statues of himself to be placed in the holiest place of the temples. When he seemed most friendly, he was most dangerous. He spared neither senators nor consuls when they fell under his dark suspicion, or stood in the way of his ambition. He searched for the descendants of David and the kinsmen of Jesus, fearing their aspirations, but found that they were poor and innocent persons.1-458 Many Christians suffered martyrdom under his reign, on the charge of atheism—among them his own cousin, Flavius Clemens, of consular dignity, who was put to death, and his wife Domitilla, who was banished to the island of Pandateria, near Naples.1-459 In favor of the traditional date may also be urged an intrinsic propriety that the book which closes the canon, and treats of the last things till the final consummation, should have been written last.

Irenaeus bears testimony to his character as “the Son of Thunder” when he relates, as from the lips of Polycarp, that, on meeting in a public bath at Ephesus the Gnostic heretic Cerinthus,1-463 who denied the incarnation of our Lord, John refused to remain under the same roof, lest it might fall down. This reminds one of the incident recorded in Lk 9:49, and the apostle’s severe warning in 2 Jn 10 and 11. The story exemplifies the possibility of uniting the deepest love of truth with the sternest denunciation of error and moral evil.1-464

Jerome pictures him as the disciple of love, who in his extreme old age was carried to the meeting-place on the arms of his disciples, and repeated again and again the exhortation, “Little children, love one another,” adding: “This is the Lord’s command, and if this alone be done, it is enough.” This, of all the traditions of John, is the most credible and the most useful.

1                1 John 1


3                1The one who existed from the beginning is the one we have heard and seen. We saw him with our own eyes and touched him with our own hands. He is Jesus Christ, the Word of life. 2This one who is life from God was shown to us, and we have seen him. And now we testify and announce to you that he is the one who is eternal life. He was with the Father, and then he was shown to us. 3We are telling you about what we ourselves have actually seen and heard, so that you may have fellowship with us. And our fellowship is with the Father and with his Son, Jesus Christ.

4                4We are writing these things so that our£ joy will be complete.


6                Living in the Light


8                5This is the message he has given us to announce to you: God is light and there is no darkness in him at all. 6So we are lying if we say we have fellowship with God but go on living in spiritual darkness. We are not living in the truth. 7But if we are living in the light of God’s presence, just as Christ is, then we have fellowship with each other, and the blood of Jesus, his Son, cleanses us from every sin.

9                8If we say we have no sin, we are only fooling ourselves and refusing to accept the truth. 9But if we confess our sins to him, he is faithful and just to forgive us and to cleanse us from every wrong. 10If we claim we have not sinned, we are calling God a liar and showing that his word has no place in our hearts. NLT


o{ h+n ajp j ajrch~v, o{ ajkhko>amen, o{ eJwra>kamen toi~v

That Which existed from beginning, Which we have heard, Which we have seen with the

ojfqalmoi~v hJmw~n, o{ ejqeasa>meqa kai< aiJ cei~rev hJmw~n

eyes of us, Which we beheld and the hands of us

ejyhla>fhsan peri< tou~ lo>gou th~v zwh~v

fumbled for and touched, concerning the Word of life

kai< hJ zwh< ejfanerw>qh, kai< eJwra>kamen kai< marturou~men kai<

and the life was manifested, and we have seen and we bear witness and

ajpagge>llomen uJmi~n th<n zwh<n th<n aijw>nion h[tiv h+n

we proclaim to y’all the Life, the Eternal which existed

pro<v to<n pate>ra kai< ejfanerw>qh hJmi~n

together with the Father and was manifested to us

o{ eJwra>kamen kai< ajkhko>amen, ajpagge>llomen kai uJmi~n, DAMS

That Which we have seen and we have heard, we proclaim also to y’all,

i[na kai< uJmei~v koinwni>an e]chte meq j hJmw~n. kai< hJ

in order that also y’all fellowship may have with us. And indeed the

koinwni>a de< hJ hJmete>ra meta< tou~ patro<v kai< <

fellowship of ours is with the Father and

meta  PGμετάtou~ uiJou~ aujtou~  jIhsou~ Cristou~.

with the Son of Him Jesus Christ.

kai< tau~ta gra>fomen hJmei~v (uJmi~n), i[na hJ cara<

and these things we write (to you), in order that the joy

hJmw~n (uJmw~n) h+| peplhrwme>nh. 

of us may be made complete.

ΚαὶCCκαί ἔστινVIPA--3Sεἰμί αὕτηAPDNF-Sοὗτος DNFS ἀγγελίαN-NF-Sἀγγελία ἣνAPRAF-Sὅς ἀκηκόαμενVIRA--1Pἀκούω ἀπ᾽PGἀπό αὐτοῦNPGM3Sαὐτός καὶCCκαί ἀναγγέλλομενVIPA--1Pἀναγγέλλω ὑμῖνNPD-2Pσύ, ὅτιABR----ὅτι DNMS θεὸςN-NM-Sθεός φῶςN-NN-Sφῶς ἐστινVIPA--3Sεἰμί καὶCCκαί σκοτίαN-NF-Sσκοτία ἐνPDἐν αὐτῷNPDM3Sαὐτός οὐκQNοὐ ἔστινVIPA--3Sεἰμί οὐδεμίαA-CNF-Sοὐδείς.  6 ἘὰνCSἐάν εἴπωμενVSAA--1Pεἶπον ὅτιCCὅτι κοινωνίανN-AF-Sκοινωνία ἔχομενVIPA--1Pἔχω μετ᾽PGμετά αὐτοῦNPGM3Sαὐτός καὶCCκαί ἐνPDἐν τῷDDNS σκότειN-DN-Sσκότος περιπατῶμενVSPA--1Pπεριπατέω, ψευδόμεθαVIPN--1Pψεύδομαι καὶCCκαί οὐQNοὐ ποιοῦμενVIPA--1Pποιέω τὴνDAFS ἀλήθειανN-AF-Sἀλήθεια·  7 ἐὰνCSἐάν δὲCHδέ ἐνPDἐν τῷDDNS φωτὶN-DN-Sφῶς περιπατῶμενVSPA--1Pπεριπατέω ὡςCSὡς αὐτόςNPNM3Sαὐτός ἐστινVIPA--3Sεἰμί ἐνPDἐν τῷDDNS φωτίN-DN-Sφῶς, κοινωνίανN-AF-Sκοινωνία ἔχομενVIPA--1Pἔχω μετ᾽PGμετά ἀλλήλωνNPGM1Pἀλλήλων καὶCCκαί τὸDNNS αἷμαN-NN-Sαἷμα ἸησοῦN-GM-SἸησοῦς τοῦDGMS υἱοῦN-GM-Sυἱός αὐτοῦNPGM3Sαὐτός καθαρίζειVIPA--3Sκαθαρίζω ἡμᾶςNPA-1Pἐγώ ἀπὸPGἀπό πάσηςA--GF-Sπᾶς ἁμαρτίαςN-GF-Sἁμαρτία.  8 ἐὰνCSἐάν εἴπωμενVSAA--1Pεἶπον ὅτιCCὅτι ἁμαρτίανN-AF-Sἁμαρτία οὐκQNοὐ ἔχομενVIPA--1Pἔχω, ἑαυτοὺςNPAM1Pἑαυτοῦ πλανῶμενVIPA--1Pπλανάω καὶCCκαί DNFS ἀλήθειαN-NF-Sἀλήθεια οὐκQNοὐ ἔστινVIPA--3Sεἰμί ἐνPDἐν ἡμῖνNPD-1Pἐγώ.  9 ἐὰνCSἐάν ὁμολογῶμενVSPA--1Pὁμολογέω τὰςDAFP ἁμαρτίαςN-AF-Pἁμαρτία ἡμῶνNPG-1Pἐγώ, πιστόςA--NM-Sπιστός ἐστινVIPA--3Sεἰμί καὶCCκαί δίκαιοςA--NM-Sδίκαιος, ἵναCHἵνα ἀφῇVSAA--3Sἀφίημι ἡμῖνNPD-1Pἐγώ τὰςDAFP ἁμαρτίαςN-AF-Pἁμαρτία καὶCCκαί καθαρίσῃVSAA--3Sκαθαρίζω ἡμᾶςNPA-1Pἐγώ ἀπὸPGἀπό πάσηςA--GF-Sπᾶς ἀδικίαςN-GF-Sἀδικία.  10 ἐὰνCSἐάν εἴπωμενVSAA--1Pεἶπον ὅτιCCὅτι οὐχQNοὐ ἡμαρτήκαμενVIRA--1Pἁμαρτάνω ψεύστηνN-AM-Sψεύστης ποιοῦμενVIPA--1Pποιέω αὐτὸνNPAM3Sαὐτός καὶCCκαί DNMS λόγοςN-NM-Sλόγος αὐτοῦNPGM3Sαὐτός οὐκQNοὐ ἔστινVIPA--3Sεἰμί ἐνPDἐν ἡμῖνNPD-1Pἐγώ.  

1What was from the beginning, what we have heard, what we have seen with our eyes, what we have looked at and touched with our hands, concerning the Word of Life— 2and the life was manifested, and we have seen and testify and proclaim to you the eternal life, which was with the Father and was manifested to us— 3what we have seen and heard we proclaim to you also, so that you too may have fellowship with us; and indeed our fellowship is with the Father, and with His Son Jesus Christ. 4These things we write, so that our joy may be made complete.

God Is Light

5This is the message we have heard from Him and announce to you, that God is Light, and in Him there is no darkness at all. 6If we say that we have fellowship with Him and yet walk in the darkness, we lie and do not practice the truth; 7but if we walk in the Light as He Himself is in the Light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus His Son cleanses us from all sin. 8If we say that we have no sin, we are deceiving ourselves and the truth is not in us. 9If we confess our sins, He is faithful and righteous to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. 10If we say that we have not sinned, we make Him a liar and His word is not in us.


1 John 1

1That which was from the beginning, which we have heard, which we have seen with our eyes, which we have looked upon, and our hands have handled, of the Word of life; 2(For the life was manifested, and we have seen it, and bear witness, and show unto you that eternal life, which was with the Father, and was manifested unto us;) 3That which we have seen and heard declare we unto you, that ye also may have fellowship with us: and truly our fellowship is with the Father, and with his Son Jesus Christ. 4And these things write we unto you, that your joy may be full.

5This then is the message which we have heard of him, and declare unto you, that God is light, and in him is no darkness at all. 6If we say that we have fellowship with him, and walk in darkness, we lie, and do not the truth: 7But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship one with another, and the blood of Jesus Christ his Son cleanseth us from all sin.

8If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. 9If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. 10If we say that we have not sinned, we make him a liar, and his word is not in us.


1 Corinthians 16:2

2Upon the first day of the week let every one of you lay by him in store, as God hath prospered him, that there be no gatherings when I come.

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