In all but one of his letters, Paul told his audience that he thanked God for them. Being grateful for one another celebrates the love that true believers have for each other, and encourages both them and us as we move through our journey of faith together.
(Note: the audio on this recording is a bit scratchy; we’re working to indentify a fix)
Gratitude is an important part of the Christian’s character. When we realize what God has given to us, our gratitude will inspire us to provide Him acceptable worship, and motivate us to hold Him in the highest regard.
John wraps up his letter by encouraging his “little children” to have confidence in their status as believers. Through Christ, we have promises for eternal life, a prayer life, a transformed life, and a life where we are included in God’s family, both to Him and our fellow believers.
“Perfect love casts out fear.” Even those who may not be familiar with Scriptures have likely heard this phrase from church people; it is true, after all. What this means for us as believers, though, is that we can be free from our fears by knowing, trusting, and living the love of God.
John’s first letter contains the word “love” over 30 times. Though we have seen it before, John tells his readers how they can know that their love is true; it will follow Christ’s sacrificial example, it will lead to compassionate action, and it will produce godly results.
The Lord’s Supper reminds us of things past, present, and future. We look back at the sacrifice Jesus made for us; we are reminded of His continuing work within the church; and we anticipate His return, when all the meaning behind the memorial will be fulfilled.
After writing some pretty difficult things to his readers, John reminds them that they have received the power to live out what he (and God) has prescribed. We have a present relationship with God, look forward to a future promise of even greater fulfilment, and an ongoing call to live a godly life.
John continues his letter with some criteria to determine whether our walk with God is genuine. It can be difficult to consider, but John’s purpose was to make sure we can know that we are in Christ. The primary difference between a self-centered life and a Christ-centered life is how we obey His command of love.
After encouraging his readers to not deny that, though they were followers of Christ, they still did sin, John clearly expressed the reason for his letter - that they would not sin. Realizing that they (and we) are still likely to sin, though, he tells them that Jesus is both our advocate before the Father, and an effective atoning sacrifice for our sins.
John follows up his introduction in his letter to his “little children” (which, sadly, did not get recorded last week, due to a lightning strike hitting our sound board) by giving them clear instruction to “walk in the light.” Walking in the light involves acknowledging the character of God, living as those whom He has changed, and opening facing our sin.