-- STARTING SEPTEMBER 28 --
The writer of 1 John clearly gives the theme of his letter in 1 John 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."
The author wrote this letter at a time when the line between that which is true and that which is false was becoming increasingly blurry and obscured. The Christian faith was under attack from outside as well as from within as false teachings were beginning to muddy the clear Gospel; thus creating a weaker and ill-defined faith that would eventually struggle to cast a correct shadow of what Jesus died to give life too. The over-arching problem became: How can one identify and differentiate between a real, authentic saving work of God and that which is just pretense? How can you tell if the Holy Spirit has performed a saving operation?
Jonathon Edwards, God's primary instrument in bringing about the greatest revival in American history, said the supreme proof of a true conversion is what he called "holy affections" -- which is a zeal for holy things and a longing after God and personal holiness. Just as the principle evidence of life is motion; Edwards believed that the principle evidence of saving grace is holy practice! True salvation always produces an abiding change of nature in a true convert.
In our modern world, the Christian Faith that we hold to and seek to pursue is under constant attack from the social and political front; but that battle isn't just reserved for the secular world. Within the walls of the church, the same pressures and challenges to traditional, biblical beliefs are under constant scrutiny and criticism making the distinction between that which is true and that which is false increasingly more difficult to identify.
The Apostle John dedicated his first letter to this subject. Throughout the letter is a series of tests to determine whether you possess eternal life. If you don't pass these tests, you'll know where you stand and what you need to do. If you do, you'll have reason to enjoy your eternal salvation with great assurance.
Our prayer is that our lives would be transformed and our faith assured as we look at the simplicity and the straightforwardness contained in this incredible letter. Beginning September 28th we will begin a 10-week bible study of the Epistle of 1 John. We meet on Thursday evenings at 6:30 PM in the Metropolis Building (9089 Foothills Blvd. #940) for dinner, followed by worship and a short teaching before we break into small groups for discussion and encouragement. Come join us, everyone is welcome. We hope to see you there!