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We proclaim to you the one who existed from the beginning, whom we have heard and seen. We saw him with our own eyes and touched him with our own hands. He is the Word of life. This one who is life itself was revealed to us, and we have seen him. And now we testify and proclaim to you that he is the one who is eternal life. He was with the Father, and then he was revealed to us. We proclaim to you what we ourselves have actually seen and heard so that you may have fellowship with us. And our fellowship is with the Father and with his Son, Jesus Christ. We are writing these things so that you may fully share our joy. (1 John 1:1-4 NLT)
John the apostle, who is often called the disciple whom Jesus loved, appeals to the senses of his audience. He knows his readers have not actually seen Jesus, heard him speak, or touched Him like He (John) himself had. His readers are reading his letter some 40-50 years after Jesus had died on the cross, so none had the opportunity to personally know Jesus like John did.
This is the reason why John writes what He writes. He wants his fellow Christians to know, they have good reason to trust in Jesus and know God did come in the flesh, in a body, in a visible, revealing way to people. John is pointing to hard facts, things that cannot be denied. He is not trying to convince through argumentation or even reasonable data; John simply appeals to what our senses God has given us. Scientists love hard facts and would be impressed by Johns claims. Most of them think only what our five senses can prove are real. Well scientists take a look at 1 John 1!
John and the other apostles heard Jesus speak. Hearing is one of the five senses.
John and the other apostles saw Jesus with their own eyes. Seeing is one of the five senses.
John and the other apostles touched Jesus with their own hands. Touching is one of the five senses.
3 out of 5! That’s favorable odds in favor of Jesus!
Guys, gals, know this…John and the other writers of the New Testament, most of them are eye-witnesses of Jesus, him living and doing miracles. They provide for us in the Bible a brief summary of some of the things Jesus did and taught. They did not lie about what they saw. If you think they did or possibly could have, what would they have gained? In the end, most of them were killed for their faith and profession of Jesus as the Christ and Lord of the Heavens and Earth. Who dies for a lie?
Just some food for thought…
So we just had an awesome Thanksgiving break, for some of you it was longer than others. I personally had two days off which was great and spent up at Sea Ranch! But now we all return to what seems to be the daily grind of school, work, sports, family issues, and catching up on lots of homework (me too!).
Here’s some advice if you feel that way, but I must admit I borrowed it from a Erik Thoennes, a Christian professor at Biola University. This is quite a paraphrase: Once one break is over, whether it be summer, Thanksgiving, Christmas Break, or Spring Break, we as humans have a tendency to always look forward to our next break. We always say “Oh, if I could just make it to so-and-so break, I’ll be great and finally have rest! I just need to get to Summer or I just need to make it ’til Christmas.” The problem with this in the Christian life, pertains to the fact we are called to be joyful everyday.
If you, person, think to have joy or rest you must make it to the next pit-stop, then you need to find out if you are experiencing the joy of the gospel in your daily living. Our lives are not supposed to be like the Scandia car-racing game you played as a five-year old (or still do play) where you have to make it a certain distance before your car is refueled or you are given more time before the next checkpoint. We are not to be racing from checkpoint to checkpoint all the way to the finish line (Heaven) slowly losing fuel and growing weaker. In the Christian life that is centered on Christ, on God, and His completed work on the cross and in the resurrection our joy (time) should remain steadfast, unchanging, and should actually increase.
So if you feel like you have to get to Christmas Break, now Thanksgiving is over, look unto Jesus, the author and perfecter of your faith to spring rivers of joy in your heart. He is called the Living Water, if anyone thirsts, come unto Him. Return to the source of your joy, the fountain of life, Jesus.
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Immanuel means God with us. It is a title given to Jesus because He is God in the flesh. God the Son, Jesus, stepped down from Heaven and became a man. How amazing that God would actually dwell among us and live a life with us. He is God with us!
The four parts of the Gospel:
The video I posted yesterday spoke to how there are really four main sections of the greater Gospel narrative. Narrative means story, it just sounds cooler as a word than story. These are the four parts:
1. Creation: God created the world, the heavens, us, the plants, and animals and declared it all very good. Genesis 1:31
2. Fall: This is when sin entered into the world, symbolized by the black ink in the clear water and the falling plates in the video. When sin was committed by Adam and Eve, it plunged the world into a state of brokenness. This brokenness is seen in our relationship with God, with one another, with ourself, and creation. Genesis 3:17-19 We don’t always do what God says, sometimes people hate and even kill one another, we become depressed and have inner turmoil, and plants produce poisonous things and big sharks are out to kill us. None of this would exist without sin.
3. Grace: God knew this would happen. So he planned from the foundation of the world to redeem, purchase back his people, and restore them to a right relationship with Him through Christ Jesus, God the Son, dying on a cross. Jesus by dying declared his good intentions toward us, his amazing love for us, and a future preview of what is to come….glory.
4: Glory: God has promised with the second coming of Jesus to finally defeat death, the last enemy, and fully eradicate sin and it’s presence from our lives. A new Heaven and Earth will be established and there will be no more tears or crying or pain no more. This is God’s ultimate plan, the full restoration of the entire universe.
Each of this can be explained in a lot more depth. One good resource for further reading is a 44-page book by Philip Graham Ryken titled What is the Christian Worldview? I read it for an intro philosophy class at Biola University and found it really helpful in a short and compact read.
Any questions? Let me know by commenting below…if you don’t want your comment to show up publicly on the web page, just tell me that and I won’t post it once you submit your comments or questions.