Beginning January 27 we will begin a 21 week series of expository messages on the First Epistle of John. Tom Steller and Steve Roy and I feel confident enough in our exegetical harmony that they will simply pick up where I leave off in the text when I go to Africa at the end of March.
Reasons for choosing to preach on 1 John:
1) Love. We need to hear God tell us about his love for us and our love for each other. We will never cease to stand in awe of God's majesty. We will continue to tremble before his holiness. But it is also time to feel the melting effect of God's fatherly love for his children. This letter is full of love.
2) Assurance. We need to understand the right relationship between obedient love and the assurance of faith. John steers a straight course between the “simple gospelers” and the “legalists”. The simple gospelers say today, “Works have nothing to do with a Christian's basic relationship to God.” The legalists say, “By works you can merit salvation from God, or at least earn rewards.” For John assurance is the fountain of love and love is the reassurance of assurance (1 John 2:3).
3) Christ. I sense a need to exalt Christ more. It is biblical to follow the pattern, “through Christ to the glory of God.” God, in his trinitarian fullness, is the final focus of all our worship. Christ came to glorify his Father in heaven. Yet in Christ himself “dwells all the fullness of deity bodily.” We do not do well when we leave the majesty and mystery of Christ too quickly. 1 John is full of Christ.
4) Expository series. We are due for an extended portion of Scripture. Last year we did Ruth, but mainly spoke on various texts relating to the Holy Spirit and the names of God. We have worked through Galatians and 2 Peter. Now the five chapters of 1 John will be our morning fare for 21 weeks.
5) John. We have heard in an extended way from Paul and Peter and Luke. It is time we give the beloved apostle a hearing.
For those of you who would like to study along may I suggest the following commentaries. I. Howard Marshall, The Epistles of John, Eerdmans, 1978; W.E. Vine, The Epistles of John, Zondervan, 1970; G.G. Findlay, Fellowship in Life Eternal, James and Klock 1977, reprint of 1909; Robert Candlish, 1 John, Banner of Truth, 1973 reprint of 1866.
May the word of 1 John run and be glorified in our midst!
Digging for gold with you,