We begin each Wednesday night by throwing out a “status update” for the students. This is a sentence that sums of what we are covering that night. It is placed on the screen and the students can post it on their Instagram, snap chat, or any other social media platform they use; but let’s be honest, none of them are using Facebook! This week’s update is:
When we find authenticity in our relationship with Christ, we find assurance in our salvation.
Last night we began a new series through 1 John: “Authentic.” John wrote this letter for multiple purposes, but the main two were:
- To fight false teaching that had arisen in the church
- To bring the believers back to the basics of the Christian faith
We all long for authenticity in all walks of life. Whether it be in a relationship, a business dealing, buying a car from a sketchy dealer, or getting “the worlds best cup of coffee.” It is when we don’t receive authenticity, that we realize the value it carries. Upon a bad relationship, we realize the value of a healthy relationship. Upon a fake advertisement, causing us to lose money, we realize the value of a genuine business dealing.
These things are of a temporary matter. Relationships can come and go. Money lost can be regained. More than anything, we value authenticity on an eternal scale.
In 1 John 1:1–10, we discover Authentic Salvation. There are many avenues for inauthentic “salvations” around the globe, but there is only one avenue to true salvation. In Jesus own words:
- “I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me.” (John 14:6)
- “There is salvation in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved.” (Acts 4:12)
In this opening chapter, we can break it down into two sections: The Gospel Provided, and The Gospel Applied.
The Gospel Provided (1:1–4)
John speaks as a man, a disciple, that walked with, talked with, and lived life alongside Jesus Himself. Not only did he hear Jesus speak, but he saw Jesus perform miracles, and even had physical interaction with him. In his own words, “we have heard, which we have seen . . . which we have touched” (1 John 1:1). These were three crucial elements for a witness in the Palestinian culture in which John lived.
Now that Jesus is gone, John’s job is one of proclamation. When one proclaims the message of the gospel, they then give others a chance to respond to it (Romans 10:13–17). In John’s own words, “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” (1 John 1:3). The emphasis is on the words, “so that.” John signifies not only a purpose of his writing but also a purpose of his proclaiming. From this, we learn that fellowship with one another is founded upon fellowship in God, but it does not come without first hearing of the gospel through one heralding the gospel.
The Gospel Applied (1:5–10)
For the gospel to be applied, we have to get the message right. The gospel is essentially and crucially not a gospel of man, but of God (Galatians 1:11–12). When we begin to hold to man’s gospel, we nullify the gospel of God in our lives, and provide a vain means of grace and mercy that will not deliver. A wrong message is a vain means of hope, which is, in fact, no hope at all. This gospel is “from Him” (1 John 1:5).
Though it be so easy to find faith in other things and hold to “comfortable” teachings about God’s love while ignoring the judgment to come, that is “man’s gospel.” John walks us through a few excuses that people were attempting to make in those days, which we attempt to make today as well.
Test #1 – Lying to Others
What we say must align with the life that we live. If one tells you that they were an Olympic athlete in basketball, and they can’t even dribble a ball, then the words and walk are not lining up. A man that made vows to his wife, but walks in a manner that does not love her or is not faithful to her, his walk has disproven his words.
Notice that verse 6 begins with “If we say” while verse 7 begins with “If we walk.” Our walk is of much more importance than our words, for our walk is what backs our talk. The modern proverb speaks much to this, “Actions speak louder than words.” Simply put, if what we do contradicts what we say, then we are proving ourselves to be liars.
Test #2 – Lying to Yourself
It is easy to feel that we are good people. So often do we look at a person and say, “They have a good heart.” Even in our “good” that we feel we carry, we must recognize the sin that is inherent in all of us. To claim to be sinless is a lie to the self (1 John 1:8). This is a denial of God and a denial of our true identity.
But there is hope! If we simply recognize the sin in our lives, God gives us hope, life, and joy! He seeks a simple confession, and the gives us an eternal salvation. He forgives us of the sin and cleanses the unrighteousness right out of our lives.
There is salvation in no one else. No other name will deliver. Among your doubts, depressions, and dark days, turn to the hope of Jesus Christ and the good news of the gospel! Join us on this journey through 1 John as I post some of the highlights of what we cover each Wednesday. Keep an eye out for these posts on Thursdays each week!