John Session 14 1 John 2:24
stepping into Session 14 of our exploration of the letter of 1 John. I have an addendum to Session 13. Gnosticism was not a homogenous religious
thought, not confined by an informing doctrine. So we have a lot of ideas when
it comes to Christian Gnosticism. The
particular idea that John is currently warning the congregation about is that
brand of Gnosticism that denied the humanity of Jesus. Jesus wasn’t really human, he was a hologram
or some such thing, Jesus was not flesh and blood. That’s part of the lie John is refuting.
you will walk away with is stay with the basics. Say it with me: “Stay with the basics.” Many have tried to explain the mysteries of
the faith. Inquiring minds want to
know. Sometimes in our attempt to explicate
the inexplicable we stray from the basics and can turn our salvation into no
salvation at all. What you believe is as important as what you do.
1 John 2:24-25 (MSG)
Stay with what you
heard from the beginning, the original message. Let it sink into your life. If
what you heard from the beginning lives deeply in you, you will live deeply in
both Son and Father. This is exactly what Christ promised: eternal life,
the original message takes us back to the Creation. God created something that was very
good. The Garden in Eden represents the
intimacy of relationships that humanity was destined to enjoy for all
eternity. Speculation suggests that for
humans there was no death in the original design. What is not speculation is that humanity was
endowed by their creator with a certain unalienable right: the right to
choose. With that choice the
representatives of humanity the Adam, the Eve, were given the privilege of
loving God, loving each other, loving the creation and loving their self. The four loves of righteousness, of all
things being as intended, working together in intimacy is the Garden.
the truth. “Stay with the basics.” Love
for God is demonstrated in your joyful willing obedience to His commands. Love for others is demonstrated in your
respect for those who are created in the image of God and further, out of your
abundance, meeting their needs as opportunity arises. Love for the creation is demonstrated by your
wise stewardship of all the natural resources humanity has been gifted. This also extends to all your material goods
being used under the direction of God.
Love for self brings us full circle for it is in our loving God, loving
others, and loving the earth, that we ourselves find exactly what we need to
live our lives to the full.
the truth. “Stay with the basics.” The
Adam used his free will and chose other than what love required. To use metaphorical poetic language, the
heart of God was broken. The Adam’s
choice made the original intended intimate fellowship with God, with others,
with the earth, within his very self-impossible. Humanity became estranged from
righteousness. Humanity is banished from
broken heart can still greatly love. In
the gospel according to John we read:
& 14 (NIV)
beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. 2 He
was with God in the beginning…The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among
us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the One and Only, who came from the
Father, full of grace and truth.
the basics.” The Word represents a mystery.
For the Word is God and yet becomes human while remaining divine. Human language is too limited to describe how
this is possible. We begin to grasp an
inkling of the Divine reality when we use the names Father and Son. But comprehension is still like looking
through a foggy windshield. Here is the original message:
God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes
in him shall not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son
into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him. Whoever
believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe stands condemned
already because he has not believed in the name of God's one and only Son.
the basics.” With and in great love, Jesus, 100% Divine, 100% Human, makes an
atonement that ends humanity’s estrangement from God. To enter into this atonement one believes the
message of the Father and the message of the Son, that reconciliation is
possible for those who acknowledge their estrangement from God, Others, the
Earth and Self; then acknowledging, believe that Jesus invites you to enter
into righteousness, in the way things were meant to be, into the light. Acknowledging, believing you make a
commitment to follow the Son who sets you free from sin and darkness and the
misery that living estranged visits upon you.
Acknowledging, believing, committing you ask God to accept your faith.
God responds to your faith and allows you to abide in Him. You enter the light. I want you in the light.
your reality, God abiding in you, you abiding in God? You can make it so right now. Claim the atonement for your own and start
living reconciled. If that is your
decision today, let me know. I want to
encourage you in your faith.
abiding presence empowers you to fulfill the greatest commandments: Love God,
Love others. It is love that keeps the
disciple of Jesus in the light. It is in
love that the follower of Jesus strives to live morally, ethically, dedicated
to discipleship. It is love that shines
within the Christian that drives out the darkness. Where the rule of God is ignored or defied,
darkness thrives. Light overcomes
empowered love is especially demonstrated in the way we treat one another in
the congregation. For love requires that
we forgive, for love requires we bear one another’s burdens, for love requires
we keep a sacred unity. Together we are
a sanctuary, a lighthouse, a hospital, a way station, a school for
discipleship, a sending terminal into the wide world of using your gifts to
further the kingdom of God.
the basics.” If you forsake the congregation you are not abiding deeply. If you hate a brother or sister you are not
abiding deeply. If you are continually
disobeying a command of God you are not abiding deeply. You are not abiding deeply, if at all. Reject
the truth and your blinded to the fact that you are living in the darkness.
is “stick with the original message.”
The original message is the foundation which every other practice is
built upon. The original message is the
authority that determines if we are building well or not. Most likely not everything to say of God has
been said. We question, we wonder, we challenge doctrine and methodology, all
this is good if we stay with the original message. The original message creates the boundaries
for our inquiries. “Stay with the
great proclamations of the Church testify to the original message. Those Creeds
are the Nicene adopted in 325, the Apostle’s Creed circulating around 390, and
the Athanasian Creed from around 500. We
are going to read that part of the Athanasian Creed that particularly pertains
to the Gnostic heresy John is refuting.
That we believe and confess
that our Lord Jesus Christ, God's Son,
is both God and human, equally.
He is God from the essence of the Father,
begotten before time;
and he is human from the essence of his
born in time;
completely God, completely human,
with a rational soul and human flesh;
to the Father as regards divinity,
less than the Father as regards humanity.
Although he is God and human,
yet Christ is not two, but one.
He is one, however,
not by his divinity being turned into
but by God's taking humanity to himself.
He is one,
certainly not by the blending of his
but by the unity of his person.
For just as one human is both rational soul
so too the one Christ is both God and
the original message into a simple statement of the basics we can say: “Jesus, fully God, fully human, made the
atonement for humanity that everyone may be reconciled to God through faith in
Jesus.” The response to the original message is to believe and to love God love
belief and right action allows the original message to sink in. If we go back to the beginning that original
message is symbolized in the Garden, enjoying a right relationship with God,
Self, Earth and Self. If we consider the gospel as the original message that
John has in mind then right belief and right action makes it possible for God
to dwell in you and you to dwell in God.
Dwelling simply means you are experiencing a right relationship with God;
right belief and right action results in knowing God which is described as eternal
prayed for those who believe
of them may be one, Father, just as you are in me and I am in you. May they
also be in us so that the world may believe that you have sent me?
the original message, “stay with the basics.” Right belief in Jesus, right
action as a disciple, and you will live the abundant life and graduate into
life eternal, this is the secret of knowing God.
In recent weeks
as I watch people trying to rewrite if not fully destroy history; I wondered where
such a movement will lead us as a nation. The trigger of course was a grave
injustice. What happened to George Floyd
was wrong. But instead of addressing
this problem, we are swept up in a great social movement to erase the past,
demonizing all of our history as Aryan rule.
Slavery is a great evil. In these
United States we fought a great civil war to end it. Segregation is a great evil. Martin Luther King Jr showed us the path to
end it. We were progressing down that
path. Bigotry, prejudice, discrimination,
and oppression against Americans have no place in America. This evil persists in the hearts of those who
hate, we know that those that hate are living in darkness, ruled by an enemy
intent on stealing, killing, and destroying.
It seems to me that civil equality The Dream of America is one in which
the diverse become one people united.
Yes, our history chronicles the shameful and the atrocious, but also the
monumental and the glorious. If we erase
history, where are the lessons that guide us into the future? Our history informs us as to what it means to
be Americans. The original message of
these United States is enshrined in a Declaration of Independence. The original message of these United States
is preserved in The Constitution of the United States of America. The original message of these United States
is recited in the Pledge of Allegiance. Deviate
from that original message and we fall into error that will lead to increased
injustice and oppression, more hate, more pain, and greater suffering than we
have thus far endured. A great heritage
has been given to us, one bought with sacrifice and blood. It is our responsibility to turn the Dream of
America into a reality for every American.
We have a
greater responsibility. We have a
greater heritage, bought with an unfathomable sacrifice with for more precious
blood than that of patriots. For our
citizenship is not of this earth. We are
ambassadors of God in Christ. God makes
His appeal through believers, through you, to those is darkness, to become
reconciled. Part of the basics is
testifying to your faith, right belief, right action, right words is a
testimony. When you testify you
shine. You lift Christ up and the Holy
Spirit draws those in darkness into the light.
“Stay with the basics.”
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