His Light, Our Delight
The Word is the Light that draws us as if we have 200 lbs of iron in our chest and all of heaven is a magnet. It is what the Beatitudes say, “blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness for they will be filled.” The blessing begins in the hunger, are you hungry? Are you thirsty ? If you are you are already blessed.
It is what Henri Nouwen says, “your desire to please Him , pleases Him.”
How do you relate to the statement that your desire to please Him pleases Him? Do you consider yourself spiritually hungry for more of the Lord?
The context, The Author and the purpose review.
Major challenges: The Law its use and the struggle between legalism and antinomianism
Knowing God-how do you know God? The Gnostics – dealing with spiritual bullies in our lives
Evil-issue of dealing with sin, denying sin exists or claiming not to have sinned
Victory over sin as the puritans stated we are free from the power of sin over us but not the presence of sin around us .
I would add that Legalism is more than just trying to please God by attaining salvation through good works, it is also asking the flesh to do something that is impossible to do apart from the power of the Holy Spirit? It is preaching grace for salavation but works for sanctification to prove we are saved.
Do you struggle with this type of legalism? How have you made progress by God’s Spirit in you?
Where are you stuck right now in your spiritual walk?
Study the NT themes come up over and over. If we were to use a metaphor for knowing God as a river .
The metaphor would be something like this:
Legalism are like rapids they will beat you up
Antinomanism- there is no law is like a river overflowing its boundaries- like people who say there are saved but live like they are lost
Gnosticism- they are above the river, they are super spiritual, know it all but have never gotten their feet wet
Evil-try to deny it is real -drink any water you want or think everything is evil do not drink any water at all ( asceticism)
Dualism- tend to be fragmented and will have one foot on the land and the other in the water. They tend to be worldly because they chop their lives into little boxes or claim to be deeply spiritual but carry a darkside as well. They do not want to come into the light.
In light of NT themes and John’ epistle where do you find your spiritual life being challenged?
By spiritual bullies? By legalism? Buy dualism-chopping your life into little boxes ? Other?
verse 12- Young Children- Beloved apostle starts with a foundation for the weak and the strong to establish level ground before the cross. Fathers and children are all equal in God’s eyes
He starts with the gospel to conquer all the threats against the Gnostics, the legalists and the dualists
Jesus is fully man and fully God, evil is real yet fully conquered, sin was paid for and the same Word of God and Holy Spirit that saved us is here to sustain us
Why? because of His Name- key term in NT.
Where is your confidence right now regardless of whether you are an new believer or seasoned veteran?
Do you ever struggle with spiritual insecurity? How does that insecurity come out in your life?
According to verse 12 what is the source of your confidence?
verses 13-14 3 Groups fathers, young men and children
Fathers- may have a tendency toward pride John uses a phrase that humbles them
Is there tendency towards thinking you are superior over a newer Christian?
John solution serve the weakest in the body first
Young men- teenagers, mid range Christians -are they tempted- are the testosterone filled?
How does he counsel them -he tells them they are strong in the Lord and have overconme the evil one
verse 14 Children again builds them up I write to you ———-put your name in the text? Read the text with your name or the name of someone in your small group
Doesn’t that just bring a new sense of confidence when you know what God says and thinks about you?
What is the link between the 2 sections? 12-14 and 15-17? the evil one
The reality of evil, Personal evil, Systemic evil and evil in the body of Christ
Do not love the world yet God says He loves the world- which one are we to love and which one are we not to love?
He also uses the Hebrew idiom of comparison like Jacob did with Leah and Rachel , God did with Jacob and Esau and Jesus did when he said you should hate your mother and father in comparison to the passion you have for me.
In a phrase it is an extreme contrast-
Which one do you love more? Contrast- you hate one because you love the other so much more -the world or God?
Systemic evil that try’s to entice you away from God-same lies as in the beginning God is ugly, sin is beautiful and the good life can be obtained by the pathway of independence from God
Powerful ideologies-cravings of sinful man
Proactive images-lust of his eye
Perverted identities-the boasting of what he has and does
How do those three statements describe our culture? How does it affect your spirit and your walk with God? How does it affect the life of the church?
Gregg said make sure I close with taking it to Southside.
Just a side note on Jesus teaching on the church. Just remember he only taught on the Church twice in his earthly ministry. Once on core Christology Mtt 16 and the other time in Mt 18 on becoming a reconciling community.
Lets start with the foundation of Jesus two teachings on the church before we attempt to get too far advanced
Our view of scripture?
The authority of scripture we would agree is inspired but what is our approach to scripture? Does it add to legalism?
Another frame for consideration: Scripture is not prescriptions for more activity for God but rather and invitation to delight and depend upon God above all else? What is your view?
Personal challenge: God desire for us to embrace at a core level our love relationship with Him as our father.
My experience with my son who I almost lost and my delight to see him and God’s delight to see me.
Reflect on the statement that God is as pleased to see you as he is his own son
Relational Challenge-need of more in-depth community and the practice of forgiveness if needed
Big question is who goes first to work toward reconciliation and forgivingness?
Suggestion from the text- level ground in front of the cross not superiority or inferiority ( fathers and children)
The answer to who goes first in approaching forgiveness?who ever places the highest value on the shed blood of Jesus Christ ( it is where we all started see verse 12)
Close will you open yourself us to the word of God, the love of God and becoming a reconciling community?