1 John 1:1-4
That 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 Work of life; (For the life was manifested, and we have seen it, and bear witness, and shew unto you that eternal life, which was with the father and manifested to us;) That 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. And these things we write unto you that your joy may be full.
These things I have spoken unto you, that my joy might remain in you, and that your joy might be full.
What are we to gaze upon? Every morning that I wake up I am inundated with alerts from my email and fantasy football, chimes from multiple unopened text messages, babies crying, multiple different things that I need to look at, think about, act upon…yet what is it that I am supposed to keep in the forefront of my mind, what is it that I should really focus on?
In my study today I was looking into the first chapter in the book of first John and I noticed that John wrote 4 verbs about the apostles encounter with Jesus, the Word of Life. He said, “we have heard, seen, looked upon and handled.” “Heard,” in the Greek, is to attend to, consider, understand or perceive what is being said through sound. “Seen,” in the Greek, is to literally see with the eyes, “Handled,” is to handle or touch, yet there was one more that seemed to double down on the thought of perceiving or “Looking Upon” Jesus, the Word of Life. Here in the Greek, the translation is of intently staring at or contemplating, often being used to speak about watching public shows or plays. When we go to a play, show or sporting event, our entire being is about what is going on in front of us. Think about the way a good movie or sporting event can make you feel… think about a bad one. Something that is being so intently watched can change a person’s emotions and perceptions of reality.
I believe this opening in John’s letter to Asia Minor carries more weight than any ordinary opening. I believe this introduction is John jumping right into the meat of what directs our emotions and decisions during the day as followers of Jesus Christ.
It is what we allow our mind to dwell on.
Spiritual mountain tops usually manifest after an awesome “get away” weekend or fun retreat, where we leave the world behind, and enter a relatively carefree environment. Where we can shift our focus from our cares and concerns to only Jesus. Yet when leave the solitary of our getaway and return to our normal lives we allow for our focus to return to dwelling on the things of this world, worries of our life, cares of social media, or sometimes we even allow the opinions of others from podcasts and books to ensnare us and make us captors.
Everything in this world is designed to grab our focus and keep it in darkness. Jesus said in John 8:12, “I am the light of the world: He that followeth me shall not walk in darkness, but shall have the light of life.” When we are faithful to set Jesus in our mind and focus on him morning, noon and night as if we were watching our favorite sports team or movie, then we will have a fellowship with other believers and a fellowship with Jesus and through Him, fellowship with the father.
If you are going through a time where you feel like there you have no joy, allow the perspective of God and who He is and what He has done to readjust your mindset. Once readjusted, speak to your Lord Jesus Christ, and allow the cares of this world to melt away as you experience a fullness of joy, from focusing on your Lord, handing over your cares, your worries and your sins to the Father of Creation
Blessings beloved and continue to walk the Narrow Way!
1 John 1:5-10
This 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. If we say that we have fellowship with him, and walk in darkness, we lie, and do not the truth: But 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. If we say we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. If we say that we have not sinned, we make him a liar, and his word is not in us.
But be ye doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving your own selves. -James 1:22
Why do we believe we are alone when we are unseen? Why do we live our hidden lives as if God is not ever present? In the first chapter of Proverbs, Solomon tells us that the beginning of wisdom is the fear of The Lord. I think our culture, and not just the unbelievers, but even more-so in the Church. We no longer have an awe of God, and I believe fear means FEAR. God is the creator of all things and the sustainer of all things. With a breath He created and with a breath He can take away. Praise his holy name, that he is a just and loving God, but nevertheless God is God and can do whatever God wants to do. We should not forget that.
When we lost the fear of God, our Christian walks became sarcastic in nature, clearly giving God lip service but doing and acting like the world. We would rather wallow in our own filth than spend the time, in our hidden life, to cut the sin out. The church culture has become a trash can, clean exterior with filth and rot on the interior.
But this is the way of humans, ever falling, ever sinning. We need Jesus our savior, but we need him for real. We need to make practical, conscious decisions to follow after Jesus. To walk as he did, to deny ourselves and to take up our cross and follow him daily. In 1 John 1:5-10, John shows us a true walk with God, through Jesus. It is not one of words only, but of action. John lists three, “If we say” statements and two, “If we do” statements. These are our framework for a true and honest walk in the light, even in our hidden lives!
3-“If we say”
- Verse 6: If we say we have fellowship with him, but walk in darkness, we lie and do not the truth. If we are saying we have a relationship with Jesus, yet you have never accepted Jesus as God, defeating death, cleansing us from sin, and sitting victorious at the Father’s right hand, then you are lying and you are unable to do any truth. Your life will only produce death in the end as Jesus is the only answer to eternal death.
- Verse 8: If we say we have no sin, we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us. If we say I am no sinner, then we have no truth in us. We know that “Jesus is the way, the truth and the life..” than if there is no truth found in us then it is safe to assume Jesus may be on the outside looking into your heart.
- Verse 10: If we say we have not sinned, we make him a liar, and his word is not in us. If we proclaim that we are a good person, yet our mind and soul are still engrossed in this world then we are making God out to be a liar as he sent his son to die for sins. This means that we do not have his word written on our heart.
2-“If we Do”
- Verse 7: 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. If we are walking in the light, then Jesus’s blood is washing our sins, which allows us an entry point for a relationship with the Ancient of Days.
- Verse 9: If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. If we are actively confessing our sins, God forgives us due to Jesus being the propitiation for our sins and the advocate who speaks on our behalf to God. With this Jesus righteousness is bestowed to us and we are cleansed and then able to enter the throne room to praise and fellowship with The Almighty
Beloved, the narrow path is a walk, it is not something we are to sit and idly watch and talk about. Jesus has told us to “follow” him. Not just speak about what it may be like if were to follow him. Having a relationship is a act, is not just speech alone. We must confess, we must walk, we must try at being a Christ follower. The Lord will always meet you closer than half way…. if you start running home first! Blessings.
1 John 2:1-2
My little children, these things I write unto you, that ye sin not. And if any man sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the Righteous: And he is the propitiation for our sins: and not for ours only, but for the sins of the whole world.
I must first say to understand this verse, the reader must go back and read chapter 1 as these first two verses are the glorious truth “cap” to the previous chapter. These two verses are the Christian’s hope and should be what is on our mind at all times. This is the gospel, truly the good news, that we through the power of Jesus are saved from our sins and wrong doings, and that the same Jesus is also making intercession for us with the Father, even after our continual disobedience.
In a more specific and direct way, John is telling us that the way our actions are carried out should be in direct response to Jesus’s actions on the cross. For humans to be able to be in fellowship with the Father, like it was when God and Adam walked together, the supernatural chasm that Adam’s disobedience and sin created, then a supernatural bridge needed to be constructed to fill that gap.
Jesus the Lamb of God was that propitiation or appeasement on the cross, but more so when death and sin were defeated by his resurrection. To take it a step further Jesus paid the sin of the whole world, even those that do not accept the truth, that they are sinners in need of a savior, and deny that Jesus is that answer.
Do not be dismayed by the world beloved. Keep your eyes on the path that Jesus has set before you and keep your eyes on the truth of what He has done through His sacrifice. Jesus never said that this life would be a walk in the park. In fact, he said the path was narrow and few there would be that would find it, let alone walk it. Let us allow the Light of the World to guide us in darkness to the salvation and hope of Jesus and God’s plan through Him. Once on the path, walk in the light and confess your sins, so that you too can have a fullness of joy and deep abiding relationship with God.
Blessings in your walk on the Narrow Way!
1 John 2:3-6
And herby we do know that we know him, if we keep his commandments. He that saith, I know him, and keepeth not his commandments, is a liar, and the truth is not in him. But whoso keepeth his word, in him verily is the love of God perfected: hereby know we that we are in him. He that saith he abideth in him ought himself also so to walk, even as he walked.
He that hath my commandments, and keepeth them, he it is that loveth me: and he that loveth me shall be loved of my Father, and I will love him and manifest myself to him. -John 14:21
In chapter 2: 3-6, John provides us with the litmus test of a true believer. He gives us the parameters of which the narrow path is carved. It truly does seem almost too simple, but we are told that if we know him, we will keep his commandments. We are also told by Jesus in Matthew 22:37-39 that the greatest commandment is, “to love your God with all our heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.” He also said the second was, “to love your neighbor as yourself.”
If we are then loving God with all of our heart, soul and mind and if we are loving people with the love and truth of Jesus, then we can know that we know him. This is a blessed assurance and one in which we can use as a weapon against our doubting and the doubts sent by the enemy.
John also shows us that it is an assurance that is perpetual in its growing strength, for if we follow the commandment of loving God with all of our heart, soul, and mind then we are keeping his word, and if we are keeping his word, in us the love of God will be perfected. If the love of God is perfected in our hearts, then we are loving God with all of our heart, mind, and soul and thus we are keeping his commandments.
Practically then we should be living our lives in love… a perfect love. Not tolerance of sin and the world, as the culture as blurred the lines of what true love is. Love is truth and truth is hard which means love is hard. Tolerance by its nature is not hard and is one of the easiest things to accomplish as it is a complete turning of the eye to sin. I say I love my brother in Christ, yet I will allow him to slip deeper into alcoholism, because of tolerance. I say I love my sister in Christ, yet I will condone her live-in boyfriend who she is having a sexually immoral relationship with. I say I love my son or daughter, yet I would rather be their friend and tolerate their rage, envy, malice, idolatry, sexual laviciousness, drunkenness, or drug abuse. We will even allow our children and loved ones to make life altering decisions before they can understand the consequences all because of a tolerant love. What a freedom we have when truth reigns. There are no eggshells to walk on and no skeletons to keep hidden in the closet, there is only Jesus.
The Lord has shown us, to walk as he walked, it takes a love that only walks the narrow way. It is a path that has parameters of hard truth and obedience, but that in the end has a freedom and peace that passes all understanding and can only come from Jesus Christ our King and Saviour, our Helper and Friend, the Alpha and Omega the Beginning and End.
Blessings on the narrow path beloved!