When Jesus is CentralAugust 15, 2021
When Jesus is Central
1 John 1:1-4
New series from 1, 2, 3 John, “Keeping Jesus Central”
–Central = of the greatest importance
-For the Christian, the single most important focus is Jesus Christ!
-The Apostle John in his letters that we know as 1, 2, 3 John lays out the importance the centrality of Jesus Christ in our lives as individual believers and ultimately as a church.
-We can often take a good thing or a right focus and drift from that focus in such a way that we end up doing/saying/thinking things that are nowhere near God’s original intention.
-Let me illustrate by pointing out some of the issues that had come up in the 7 churches that this same John addresses in the Book of Revelation (it is largely assumed that John is writing to these same churches in 1, 2, 3 John):
- False Teachers: leaders within the church were seeking to lead these churches/individual believers in directions that were not God’s intention (i.e. perversion of sexual expression) 4:1, Beloved, believe not every spirit, but try the spirits whether they are of God: because many false prophets are gone out into the world.
- Inactive Faith: the Gospel was claimed to have been being believed/followed, but the life behind those claims did not back up those claims. — John 14:15, If ye love me, keep my commandments.
- Overwhelming Nature of Persecution: from outside and even from within the church—John seeks to give these believers HOPE under this overwhelming persecution—4:4-5, Ye are of God, little children, and have overcome them: because greater is he that is in you, than he that is in the world. They are of the world: therefore speak they of the world, and the world heareth them.
-Smyrna (Rev. 2:9-10): fake Jews were imprisoning believers within their own church
-Philadelphia (3:9-10): fake Jews were spreading lies
-Pergamum (2:14): people were teaching idolatry & being a stumbling block
-Sardis (3:1-3): They had gotten so off-course from the Gospel that they were almost dead
-Laodicea (3:17-18): they had become lukewarm and blind
*In all of these churches a departure from a central focus on Jesus was like a disease: sucking the life out of these churches!
3 incredible things that are true for believers when Jesus is central in their lives:
I. There is a Savior to Know (1 John 1:1-2)
-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 Word 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 was manifested unto us;)
-As an eyewitness of Jesus, John is telling these believers that, “In case you’re wondering, this Jesus is legit!”
-2 of John’s purposes for writing 1 John were: 1. To Encourage Doubters, 2. To Expose Imposters.
-How one responds to the existence and claims of Jesus has everything to do w/ their authenticity as a Christian.
-He gives some proofs & truths concerning Jesus:
–Proofs: We’ve heard Him ourselves, we’ve seen Him with our eyes (3x’s in 1st 3 vss.), paid close attention to Him (“looked upon”), we’ve touched Him with our own hands.
John is telling these believers, Make no mistake about it, Jesus is the real deal!
–Truths: Jesus is ETERNAL (that which was from the beginning)—always has been and always will be.
-Jesus is EVERYTHING that pertains to life (The Word of Life)—what He has said proves to be life-giving and life-guiding
-Jesus is EQUAL with God the Father (shew unto you that eternal life which was with the Father)—Jesus is absolutely equal with the Father because He is God.
-Just like John had personal access to and interaction with God Himself in the form of Jesus, so you and I today as believers in Jesus can have open access to and intimate personal interaction with our Savior!
-We can embrace the same inheritance as Jesus as sons of God!
-We can access the throne of God if we know Jesus personally!
-We can have everything we need for spiritual success in life by knowing this Jesus!
-God has mercifully opened the door for us to know our Savior in a real and tangible way!
II. There is an Invitation to Offer (1 John 1:3)
-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.
-John extends an invitation for his readers to know Jesus like he and the other apostles know Him.
-“fellowship” = koinonia (Grk) = association, community, communion, joint participation
-Those who are “in Christ” are joint participants in all that it means to be a Christian.
-The sharing of the Gospel message is an invitation to participate with us in the community of Christ-knowers!
-This is joint participation with fellow believers in all that God offers to sinful people who place their trust in the sinless Savior, Jesus Christ!
-This is being a member of God’s exclusive club of all those who are on their way to heaven and who have an eternal relationship with God through faith in Jesus.
-It is THIS invitation that John offers that you and I have the privilege of offering to all that we are building relationships with.
III. A Blissfulness to Live (1 John1:4)
-And these things write we unto you, that your joy may be full.
-Joy in life comes only when one is in right relationship with God through faith in Jesus Christ!
-“full” = to render complete / to fill up (i.e. full glass water)
-“joy” = gladness
-A life that is secured by faith in Jesus Christ is offered a blissfulness that is available for EVERY next step!
-The Gospel of Jesus Christ is a message of HOPE that that gives an outlook of joy no matter the circumstances!
-Faith in Jesus opens the door for us to be able to be in the presence of God and Ps. 16:11 says, “…in Thy presence is fulness of joy; at Thy right hand there are pleasures for evermore.”
-Faith in Jesus gives us hope and Rom. 15:13 says, “Now the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, that ye may abound in hope, through the power of the Holy Ghost.”
-Faith in Jesus helps us to look beyond current struggles and gives us an outlook for the future that is eternal and Jesus says in John 16:22, “And ye now therefore have sorrow: but I will see you again, and your heart shall rejoice, and your joy no man taketh from you.”
-True bliss comes only when Jesus is central.
-Close w/ words of “Turn Your Eyes Upon Jesus” (Helen Lemmel)
1. O soul, are you weary and troubled? No light in the darkness you see? There’s light for a look at the Savior, And life more abundant and free!
2. Through death into life everlasting He passed, and we follow Him there; O’er us sin no more hath dominion—For more than conqu’rors we are!
3. His Word shall not fail you—He promised; Believe Him, and all will be well: Then go to a world that is dying, His perfect salvation to tell!
Refrain: Turn your eyes upon Jesus, Look full in His wonderful face, And the things of earth will grow strangely dim, In the light of His glory and grace.