“We know that we have passed from death to life because we love our brothers and sisters.”
1 John 3:14
From death to life: this is the story of those who have received the good news about Jesus. Every local church is a family of sinners made saints. Followers of Jesus are those who have shed the shackles of the brutal taskmaster of Sin and are now enrobed in the joy of new life.
This is one of the glorious purposes of the Apostle John’s first letter, to paint the picture of what a resurrection community now looks like.
- What are those signs of life in a church that is both formed and informed by the gospel of Jesus and is enlivened by the Spirit of God?
- How do we know we have passed from death to life?
1 John answers those questions among many others. And this Sunday, September 8th, we begin a journey through this beautiful letter.
How fitting is it that we now turn our attention to what kind of church the gospel of Jesus creates? After all, it is the great reformer, Martin Luther, who taught that the church is a creature of the Word of God. What kind of creature, what kind of church, does the proclaimed gospel word produce? One that feels and looks like life, even in the face of death.
These last several months, we have been immersed in the commission given to every believer by Christ himself to be witnesses to life and love of Jesus everywhere we go during our study of Acts and the 21 Days of Prayer and Fasting. Now, we turn our attention and imaginations to what a radically gospel-centered culture looks like in real-time. After all, it is not only one proclamation of the gospel that God uses to draw people to himself. It is also the demonstration of new life in the church of the living Jesus which is a mighty testimony to a watching world.
Francis Schaeffer once said: “Love is the final apologetic.” In other words, his claim is that the love believers in Jesus have for one another is, in the end, the best evidence of the validity of the gospel of Jesus Christ.
If a group of diverse, divided, and distinct people can be made into a sacrificial, loving family, then it must be true that Jesus is alive. Because only the resurrected Son of God could produce such a thing.
That’s why we’re journeying through 1 John. We long to be continually transformed into the kind of loving community that is anchored so deeply in Christ and committed so radically to loving one another that the watching world looks in and sees—not any one person or program—but rather the living Jesus on spectacular display.
Take a few moments this weekend to listen to or read our text for this Sunday: 1 John 1:1-2:2. Pray. Savor every word. And come expecting the Spirit of God to make these words alive in us, just as he has done for thousands of years across every continent and in thousands of languages.