Sermon #42 — Words from the Beloved Apostle: Loving Jesus — 1 John 4:15-21

      “Our great need, then, is simply Jesus Christ.  He is what we need.  He has what we need.  He knows what we need to know.  He has the ability to do in us what we cannot do – working in us that which is well-pleasing in God’s sight.”  A. W. Tozer. Knowing … Continue reading

Sermon #40 — Words from the Beloved Apostle: Loving Like Jesus Again — 1 John 4:7-14

Is loving hard or easy?  Well, it very much depends on what you are referring to by the word “love.”  In much of modern, Western culture, love is presented as a feeling or a passion.  If that is true, if love is really a feeling or an emotion, then we should think of love as … Continue reading

Sermon #39 — Words from the Beloved Apostle: Living through Jesus — 1 John 4:1-6

The confession of faith, “Jesus is Lord!”, is a life-giving affirmation.  The faith that is reflected in that a statement is the pathway to life, because the faith that lies at the root of that declaration opens the way into a life-giving communion with the living God of heaven and earth.  The Christian faith is … Continue reading

Sermon #34 — Learning Love from Jesus — 1 John 3:18-24

For the Christian, love is not a feeling; it is an active endeavor to work toward the well-being of another person.  But our world presents us with many competing definitions of what makes for human well-being.  How are we to seek the well-being of another person?  We can’t unless we have some clear sense of … Continue reading

Sermon #33 — Loving our Brothers and Sisters — 1 John 3:11-18

  Love is freedom.  Love is like laying down a burden that we really can’t carry in the first place.  That burden is our own self.  Cain was a man gnawed by fear.  He was afraid that he wouldn’t get is due (as he saw it).  He lived with a desperate need to fulfill his … Continue reading

Sermon #32 — Born Again — 1 John 3:4-10

I generally try not to use the phrase, “born-again Christian.”  It is grammatically incorrect. In principle, we add an adjective to a noun in order to provide necessary information about the thing we are talking about.  For example, if there are several dogs in the yard, I might refer to the “spotted dog,” in order … Continue reading

Sermon #31 — The Spirit of Religion vs. the New Life in Christ — 1 John 2:28-3:3

Religion brings death.  New birth in Christ brings life.  Religion is what human beings do to try to climb up to God, and that is a hopeless endeavor.  It kills the soul.  Faith in Jesus Christ is not something we do.  It is pure gift from God.  Faith in Jesus Christ requires a complete conversion … Continue reading

Sermon #29 — True Truth, Real Reality, and Discipleship — 1 John 2:18-25 (& Psalm 19)

Is the Christian faith like eating ice cream?  Or is it more like the physics of flying aircraft?  Is the truth of Jesus Christ a matter of personal preference?  Or is it a matter of the fundamental nature of reality beyond the control of my own predilections?  In this sermon, I begin by warning people … Continue reading

Sermon #28 — Getting Rooted and Grounded in “Forever”– 1 John 2:12-17

How we interact with the “world” is a theme that is regularly addressed in the Bible.  The apostle John digs into that matter here in this passage of his first letter.  I explore a little bit of how the term “world” is used in the Bible.  It is presented in both a positive and a … Continue reading

Sermon #27 — Loving Like Jesus — 1 John 2: 7-11

Love is a powerful, persistent, and sometimes perplexing priority of the Bible.  In his first letter, John works the topic of love hard.  He won’t let us weasel out by making love some vague attitude like niceness.  He (just like Jesus and all Bible writers) refuses to allow us to think of love as a … Continue reading