That You May Know

I have stated in the past that I believe we are in that kairos time (Greek word meaning an appointed time, a “season,” a strategic time on the calendar, and not simply chronology) when the deception of wickedness is abounding, and people will not endure sound teaching, but will instead seek for teachers who will “tickle” their ears (II Timothy 4:3,4). There is much talk in the world today about “being spiritual,” being more “God-focused,” and so on. But is being spiritual and “God-focused” tantamount to”being saved”? And what about those of us in the “church”? We are sometimes so invested in our particular denominational doctrines and our “isms” that we try to conform the Bible to our particular denominational experience instead of allowing the Bible to lead us into true intimacy with Jesus. (It would seem that we have forgotten Jesus’ words: “You search the Scriptures because you think that in them you have eternal life; and it is they that bear witness about me, yet you refuse to come to me that you may have life.”) Then there are some of us who reject “religion” and “the religious” so vehemently that we have become religious about not being religious. This can be just as dangerous. So with all that in mind, I have to ask how do we know, can we know, should we even care ‘if’ we know that we truly posses eternal life?esher Sometimes, when we talk about these things we may be tempted to get angry or defensive. While that may be a natural thing, I don’t think it helps us that much at all. Can I tell you that I came to a place in my life when I realized that in spite of my experiences, in spite of what I thought, according to the Bible, I did not know  Jesus. And then you know what He did? He didn’t condemn me, he didn’t reject me- he loved me. And he’s still loving, saving, forgiving, and setting me free today.

Why don’t we try this. Let’s attempt (by the Spirit and grace of God) to lay our presuppositions on the table, read the book of 1 John ( a chapter a day), and see what we can see. I will offer no commentary whatsoever. If discussion ensues, we’ll lovingly and respectfully go there- together. (You can like us on Face Book, and join in the discussion there as well.) Here we go:

1 John 1:
“That which was from the beginning, which we have heard, which we have seen with our eyes, which we looked upon and have touched with our hands, concerning the word of life— the life was made manifest, and we have seen it, and testify to it and proclaim to you the eternal life, which was with the Father and was made manifest to us— that which we have seen and heard we proclaim also to you, so that you too may have fellowship with us; and indeed our fellowship is with the Father and with his Son Jesus Christ. And we are writing these things so that our joy may be complete.

“This is the message we have heard from him and proclaim to you, that God is light, and in him is no darkness at all. If we say we have fellowship with him while we walk in darkness, we lie and do not practice the truth. But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus his Son cleanses 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 we have not sinned, we make him a liar, and his word is not in us.”

Advertisements

Bethlehem: The House of Bread

[Jesus was saying to them] “Anyone who eats the bread from heaven, however, will never die. I am the living bread that came down from heaven. Anyone who eats this bread will live forever; and this bread, which I will offer so the world may live, is my flesh.” (John 6: 50,51 NLT)

When you read John 6, you definitely don’t see a picture of Jesus trying to win followers with an “ear tickling” message. In fact, we find that as a result of some of the things he said to the people that day; many stopped following him. He began to speak of “eating his flesh,” and “drinking his blood,” and it freaked a lot of folks out. But really, God had provided hints of all of this that first Christmas night when Jesus was born.

The Bible tells us that Jesus was born in Bethlehem. And do you know what the word Bethlehem means? It means “house of bread.” Let’s go a bit further. We are told that on the night of Jesus’ birth he was laid in a manger. And a manger is where the animal’s food was placed. I don’t think this is a coincidence. I believe that God was giving some clues in how and where Jesus was born. The child that lay in the manger that night in Bethlehem is the “food” God has provided for man to eat resulting in eternal life.

See, that’s the point of Christmas, God the Son becoming man and giving himself for us.

In John 6, the people reminded Jesus that Moses had given them manna to eat when they had come out of Egypt and wondered through the desert. The Jews that heard Jesus speak that day in John 6 were an oppressed people, suffering under the hands of the Roman Empire, and they were trying to manipulate Jesus into giving them bread under the pretense of “just wanting to believe.” Jesus told them that though their fathers had eaten the manna, they had nevertheless died. He corrected them by saying, “I tell you the truth, Moses didn’t give you bread from heaven. My Father did. And now he offers you the true bread from heaven. The true bread of God is the [O]ne who comes down from heaven and gives life to the world.” He continued with, ““I am the bread of life. Whoever comes to me will never be hungry again…”

Listen, if all Jesus is, if all Christmas is to you is the little baby born in Bethlehem that night long ago, you have missed it. The Son became flesh so that you might participate (“eat my flesh” and “drink my blood”) in the very life of God. He was born in Bethlehem, the “house of bread,” and placed in a manger from which the animals ate their food, and he now invites you to come and partake of him so that you may live.

 

 

The Meaning of Life

“That which was from the beginning, which we have heard, which we have seen with our eyes, which we looked upon and have touched with our hands, concerning the word of life—  the life was made manifest, and we have seen it, and testify to it and proclaim to you the eternal life, which was with the Father and was made manifest to us—  that which we have seen and heard we proclaim also to you, so that you too may have fellowship with us; and indeed our fellowship is with the Father and with his Son Jesus Christ.” (I John 1:1-3 ESV)

When you ask most folks to define eternal life, they most always say, “Eternal life means living forever.” Well, that may be an aspect of eternal life, but that is not what eternal life is. In fact, eternal life is not a what, it’s a who. In the passage above, John says that he and the Apostles actually saw, heard, and touched eternal life. Say what? Yep, John tells his readers that the eternal life (τὴν ζωὴν τὴν αἰώνιον) which was with the Father, was made manifest, and they had interacted with “it.” (Doesn’t this put you in mind of what John said in his gospel? “And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we have seen his glory, glory as of the only Son from the Father, full of grace and truth.”)  In the Greek, this seeing and hearing the life is in the “Perfect Indicative Active,” and it carries with it a certain nuance that we sometimes miss.  John is saying, “Guys, what we saw and heard in Jesus affected us at the time we experienced it, and it is still impacting us today.” Eternal life was not merely something John looked forward to. He tells his readers that eternal life was revealed to them in the person of Jesus when he walked among them, and as a result; they are enjoying intimacy with God in the “right now.” And, John wanted those to whom he had written (and us) to participate in the same fellowship.

Another cool thing we can see in this passage has to do with the word with. πρὸς τὸν πατέρα or “with the Father” is jam packed with awesomeness! πρὸς or with actually denotes a moving towards, to “interface with.” It implies interaction and reciprocity.  Do you see the implications of this? This actually shows the distinctiveness of the Son (the life), and his interaction with the Father! In this one phrase, we get a glimpse into the very nature and life of God. We see Jesus the life, the Son, and the second “person” in the Trinity, in relationship with the Father from all of eternity. And John says that the Father and the Son, who have been eternally knowing, loving, and communing together, have invited us to share in the eternal life of God! Hallelujah!! Remember, it was John’s gospel that quotes Jesus as saying, “And this is eternal life, that they know you the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom you have sent.” Friends, not only has your sin been atoned for, you have been invited to share in the very life of God! As you come to Jesus, as you become more deeply in love with him; you get to know and fellowship with God. In Jesus, you experience eternal life right now.

God loved us so much that he gave us Jesus, his only begotten Son who is life himself. Knowing him now means you will never die, for in him; you already possess eternal life.