This past week our home began decorating for Christmas. One of the pieces we have is an advent calendar. The word advent comes from Latin adventus, meaning coming. The season of Advent anticipates the coming of Jesus Christ from two perspectives: 1) Remembering the longing and waiting for the promised Messiah in the OT and 2) Realizing that same longing and waiting for the promised return of Christ following His resurrection.
At Advent we light candles. We start with one and each week light another candle. We wait with anticipation for all the candles to be lit. It symbolizes waiting as well as the meaning of our worship. Our worship shows trust in God to fulfill the promises He has made. The climax of Advent is when all the candles are lit and we light the center candle. In this we see light. Hope grows aflame not just on the candles but in our hearts because in Advent we anticipate Jesus to return. We look forward to His coming and seeing Him with our eyes, hearing His voice and touching His scars that brought us salvation.
Today we start a brief series for the month of December in celebrating the birth of our Savior and our own new birth. As Christ was born into the world so He seeks to be born in our lives.
In 1John, we hear testimony from a disciple that Jesus is our life, our light, our love and our Lord.
1John is one of a series of three letters that is written by the Apostle John. The letters were written to promote the truth of God as well as to protect the children of God. Early Christians were learning truth and in the process some false religions were teaching errors about God, about Jesus and about salvation. As one who spent time with the living Lord Jesus, John sought to set the record straight and teach the truth. John wrote his Gospel and these letters for similar reasons:
John 20:30 “these were written so that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God and that by believing you may have life in his name.”
1John 5:13 “I write these things to you who believe in the name of the Son of God that you may know that you have eternal life.”
Likewise today, there are many myths and false teachings about Jesus. We can have hope of eternal life and salvation by believing in Jesus Christ. Whereas other religions provide a system of continuous works to do in possibility of salvation, Christianity provides a Savior who accomplished all the work required so that you can have the assurance of salvation. The Christian faith is not just about something to believe but someone to receive. This passage provides 3 personal features of the Savior.
Jesus, the Son & Savior, is eternally divine
John opens this letter similarly to his Gospel, “from the beginning”. The point is to re-emphasize the preexistence of Jesus Christ. There was never a time when Jesus was not; Jesus the word was with God and is God before the beginning, in the beginning and since after the beginning of time; He is eternally divine.
Further, John calls Jesus the life. He is the essence of life and the word of life. In John’s Gospel he affirms this too:
John 1:4 “In him was life and the life was the light of men.”
John 5:26 “For as the Father has life in himself so he has granted the Son also to have life in himself.”
John 6:63 “It is the Spirit who gives life; the flesh is no help at all. The words that I have spoken to you are spirit and life.”
John 10:10 “I came that they may have life and have it abundantly.”
John 11:25-26 “I am the resurrection and the life. Whoever believes in me, though he die, yet shall he live, and everyone who lives and believes in me shall never die.”
John 14:6 “I am the way and the truth and the life.”
ð This past week Nelson Mandela passed away and the media has been lauding his character and accomplishments as legendary. And rightly so… one quote from Mandela captures him best “I’m not a saint unless a saint is a sinner who keeps on trying.” In other words, as much a good man Mandela was he still fell short. Only Jesus Christ is perfect.
ð Jesus is God
- Today, the Christian faith is becoming more marginalized than ever. In one sense this is regretful that our nation has strayed from its heritage. Yet, in another sense this can be rejoiced because believers can be distinguished from nominal hypocrites.
- à Do you treasure and trust Jesus more than ritual religion?
- à Do you treasure and trust Jesus more than ritual religion?
Jesus, the Son & Savior, is historically human
The Apostle John not only affirms Jesus’ divinity but also His humanity. John states a series of Perfect verbs [action in the past with future consequences or influence], that which we have heard (Jesus’ words still ring in our ears), have seen (Jesus’ actions still motivate our hearts), have touched (Jesus’ body was real). John repeats these phrases 3x to testify to combat any heresy that Jesus is not both 100% God and 100% human.
Jesus’ life was made manifest. This is the message of Christmas – the word became flesh (John 1:14). God left Heaven to touch the home of earth. He surrendered glory for the sake of extending grace; even more Jesus left privacy so that we may have intimacy with God. In a day where humans guard their privacy as a sacred right, we are humbled that Jesus expressed selfless love so that we may know Him.
In Luke 2:15, 21
When the shepherds received news about the birth of the Savior, they said to one another “Let us go over to Bethlehem and see this thing that has happened… and the shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all they had heard and seen, as it had been told them.”
In Luke 2:30
A man named Simeon was promised to see the Messiah. After Jesus’ birth, Simeon held God incarnate saying, “for my eyes have seen your salvation that you have prepared in the presence of all peoples”
Jesus was manifested at His birth, life, death and resurrection:
“For I delivered to you as of first importance what I also received: that Christ died for our sins in accordance with the Scriptures, that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day in accordance with the Scriptures, and that he appeared to Cephas, then to the twelve. Then he appeared to more than five hundred brothers at one time, most of whom are still alive, though some have fallen asleep” 1Cor 15:3-7
µ Faith is more than a blind leap; it is about a Savior whom was seen, heard and touched.
ð Have you seen Jesus?
ð Are you showing Jesus?
Jesus, the Son & Savior, is faithfully proclaimed
The Apostle John proclaims the eternally divine and historically human Son of God. This gospel proclamation consisted of the faithful presentation of the Scriptures. The Bible, specifically the NT, is 27 different books that testify to the truth of Jesus Christ.
John’s proclamation had a motivation – fellowship and joy. Fellowship implies shared oneness, a common unity expressed in community. And likewise, joy expressed gladness and delight. Therefore, John is saying that proclamation of the gospel will result and a cheerful community of adopted children by God the Father.
Jesus did not just stand on the edge of heaven and use the earth as a pulpit to preach a sermon; instead he entered earth with his presence, taking on a human body and allowed his life to be a sermon. He incarnated God and gave us the gospel so that we can know who God is and how to relate to Him. – And this is what He calls from His followers, to incarnate truth and love with hands, feet and voice to proclaim the message that light has come and hope is available in Jesus Christ.
If our greatest need had been education, God would have sent a teacher.
If our greatest need had been money, God would have sent a banker.
If our greatest need had been advice, God would have sent a counselor.
If our greatest need had been pleasure, God would have sent an entertainer.
But since our greatest need was forgiveness, God sent a Savior. His name is Jesus, the Lord and Savior.
Have you received, not religion, but a relationship with Jesus Christ?