During the times that Jesus taught, He often used what was around Him to get His point across. Sometimes what He used were memorable and were intended to live beyond the moment of His teaching.
Take, for instance, the lesson Jesus wanted us to get when He brought a small child into the inner circle and told His followers the importance to have the innocence of a child. No pretense (like kids would be good at that anyway), just honesty. What a great way to leave an indelible picture on the minds of His hearers.
Then there was the time when He wanted His disciples to understand the value and importance of serving. He could have taught a great discourse that we all could read today, but He did not do that. While His disciples were arguing among themselves as to who was most important (certainly Peter, James, and John would have the inside track since Jesus spent more time with them than the other nine), He simple got up from the table (the Lord’s Supper has just been instituted) and took off His outer garment, picked up a basin of water, tied a towel around His waist, and began asking the disciple’s feet. WOW! What an eye and heart opener. No more arguments among the twelve.
There was also the time when Jesus wanted us to never forget why He came and died. So, what did He do? As His disciples sat around a large table, He took bread and said to them that the bread was a symbol for His broken body. I am sure that question marks swirled through the minds of His listeners. Then, He took a cup of wine and said that this was a representation of His blood given to become our sacrifice for sin. More questions marks, I am sure. But the one thing He said that is so important was, “For whenever you eat this bread and drink this cup, you proclaim the Lord’s death until He comes.” (1 Corinthians 11:26)
Whenever Jesus wanted to make a lasting impression, He gave us a visual. Because visuals leave a mark - the message is hard to forget.
When we come together this Sunday, we will celebrate the Lord’s death and resurrection by receiving Communion. I will be sharing briefly from Hebrews 9:22.
Please join me and others as we celebrate Jesus’ great gift to us of His life. When we participate in the Lord’s Supper, we do as Jesus said, we remember.
You are greatly loved,
This Sunday at Bristol . . . our study of 1 John and the current series, “A Word from an Old Friend,” continues as we begin chapter five.
It is widely accepted that the apostle John is writing this letter to Christians living in Asia Minor (modern day Turkey) who were experiencing division within the church probably due to the instruction of false teachers about who Jesus was.
Up to 1 John 5 the emphasis has been to “love one another,” but now that changes as he writes about a believer’s love for the Father.
One mark of maturity is obedience, and not just any kind of obedience, but joyful obedience (1 John 5:1-5). Have you ever considered that everything in creation obeys the Lord, except man? Why is that? God created us uniquely by giving us a free will. With that free we make choices - right choices and wrong choices. John was wanting his readers to choose right, to choose good, to choose wisely. If the Lord is a priority, then the choices made will be pleasing to Him and the result will be pleasant for the believer.
D. L. Moody often said, “Every Bible should be bound in shoe leather.” What did he mean? We show our love, not by empty words that are spoken, but by an anxious willingness to do what the Father says. That is the message John is trying to get across to these first century Christians. The best way to express our free will is to obey the Lord.
This Sunday we will begin our journey into the final chapter of 1 John. I hope to see you then. The Lord has some truth to teach us.
Remember, you are deeply loved!
This Sunday at Bristol we continue in our study of 1 John. The apostle John is writing this brief letter to Christians living in Asia Minor (modern day Turkey) who were likely experiencing a church split (always painful). False teachers were instructing the people wrongly about who Jesus and that was causing dissension.
In our text for this week, 1 John 4:7-21, John returns to the theme “love” that has already been addressed four times in this letter.
Why is loving so high on God’s priority list? Why does the Bible on twenty-seven different times command us (not suggest to us) to love one another? Jesus says in Matthew 22:34-40 that the greatest commandment is to love God AND love others.
We are removed from the time John wrote his letter (likely between 80 and 90 AD) by hundreds of years, but human nature has not changed. People still struggle with loving others. Why? My guess is that it is not that Christians don’t believe loving is important, but sometimes (maybe most of the time) it is most difficult so we just give up. We may easily forget that our demonstration of true love toward others shows the reality of our walk with the Lord.
This Sunday we will learn from John several reasons why loving others is so vitally important to us in our journey of following Jesus. I hope to see you Sunday. The Lord has something special to teach us.
Remember, you are deeply loved!
Long before there was ever a radio and then television program called, "Truth or Consequences," the apostle John spoke about the importance of discovering truth or facing consequences. That is what you will discover as you read 1 John 4:1-6 (our text for this Sunday).
Just like today, in John's day there were false teachers who were propagating what they claimed was truth (which contradicted what the apostle was teaching). Unlike today where we can research a subject on the internet, or speak to a close friend about something that is puzzling, or ask the pastor about some new teaching, Christians in the first century were reliant on teachers telling the truth. After all if you could not trust a teacher to tell the truth, who could you trust?
There are three tests that John shares with his readers regarding this matter of discerning between what is true and what is not. Why are these tests important? Satan is a liar and therefore we must know the truth so we will not be deceived. Even though we are removed from the first century church by several thousand years, Satan has not stopped working to defeat and destroy followers of Jesus. He and his minions are busy at work, and will be until Christ comes.
We must be able to distinguish what is true from what is false, or we may fall into the devil's trap. We must be able to spot a counterfeit and the best way to do that is by studying and knowing what is real. 1 John 4:1-6 will be a tremendous help to us in this journey.
I hope you will join others and myself this Sunday as we continue with this current teaching series, "A Word from an Old Friend - A Study of 1 John." The Lord has something to teach us, so let's be ready to learn.
You are loved!