1 John 1:1-4
Joy in the Season of Christmas – A Pre-Advent Encouragement
1 John was probably written as a response to the rise of an early form of Gnosticism. This was a system that pirated Christian themes to propagate an understanding of salvation based on obscure/enigmatic “knowledge” (gnosis).
According to this view, redemption is through affirming the divine light already in the human soul, not through repentance of sin and faith in Christ’s death to bring about spiritual rebirth.
Writings widely publicized in recent years like the Gospel of Thomas and the Gospel of Judas and the Infancy Gospel of James, for example, were the product of Gnostic writers.
But the heyday of Gnostic thought was the 2nd through the 5th centuries, well after the New Testament books were written. It can neither proven nor ruled out that John had forerunners of this movement in mind as he wrote.
What is definite is that these followers of Jesus had witnessed an exodus of people from their ranks (2:19) and this has caused them to lose joy, lose confidence in their salvation and forgiveness of sin, lose sight of sound doctrine and be buffeted by the spirit of antichrist who is already in the world (1 John 4:1-4).
John’s aim is redemptive. John urges these Christians to refine their theological understanding, sharpen their ethical rigor and grow their devotional intensity. That is that they need to grow in faith, obedience and love.
But it must be said that this letter is not a list of “do’s” and “don’ts”. This letter is rather a declaration of “done!”. It is finished (John 19:30).
1 John highlights what the Father has done in sending the Son in offering him as a sacrifice for sins and sending this word of life that is causing this world’s darkness to pass away and the true light of the age of God’s Kingdom to shine (2:8).
John ends his introduction in 1:1-4 with a purpose statement, “And we are writing these things so that our joy may be complete.”
What things make the apostles and the people’s joy complete? 1 John 1:1-4
1. Jesus has come
2. Father has revealed the Son and now the Son is being proclaimed as the way of eternal life
3. This mission of the Son to come and the Father’s revealing of the Son as the way to eternal life makes fellowship with Father, Son, Spirit and man with complete joy
And at Christmas we celebrate Jesus, who has come, died, risen and ascended to rule his people well by saving them and bringing them into fellowship with Trinity and with each other and with joy.
Saved by grace through faith in Jesus Christ alone, full of joy and in fellowship.
Notice verse 4. Joy is had because Jesus has come. Joy is had because Jesus has made fellowship with Father and each other a reality. Joy his had because people who are not blood related are brought into spiritual union with each other. Joy is only had in fellowship with Father, Son and Spirit and with each other.
So, this Christmas season, as a pre-advent encouragement, fight for joy by fighting for fellowship with Father, Son and Spirit and fighting for fellowship with each other.
1. This Christmas, Fight for Joy in (by) Fellowship with Father, Son and Spirit
Joy (chara) – a state of joy and gladness—‘joy, gladness, great happiness.’ ἀπελθοῦσαι ταχὺ ἀπὸ τοῦ μνημείου μετὰ φόβου καὶ χαρᾶς μεγάλης ‘and quickly leaving the tomb, fearful and (at the same time) very joyful’ Mt 28:8. In a number of languages ‘joy’ is expressed idiomatically, for example, ‘my heart is dancing’ or ‘my heart shouts because I am happy.’
171 times the word “joy” is found in the ESV of the bible. 41 of those occurences are in the Psalms.
You make known to me the path of life; in your presence there is fullness of joy; at your right hand are pleasures forevermore.
Be glad in the LORD, and rejoice, O righteous, and shout for joy, all you upright in heart!
Fellowship (koinonia) – an association involving close mutual relations and involvement—‘close association, fellowship.’ ἵνα καὶ ὑμεῖς κοινωνίαν ἔχητε μεθ’ ἡμῶν ‘in order that you may have fellowship with us’ 1 Jn 1:3; δἰ οὗ ἐκλήθητε εἰς κοινωνίαν τοῦ υἱοῦ αὐτοῦ Ἰησοῦ Χριστοῦ ‘through whom you were called to have fellowship with his Son Jesus Christ’ 1 Cor 1:9
A. Fellowship with Father
1. John 16:25-28
A. We can speak directly to the Father
B. Fellowship with Son
1. Ephesians 2:1-10
A. Seated in the heavens with Christ and having authority over
the spiritual forces of darkness
B. Created in Christ Jesus for good works already prepared for us
to walk in
C. Fellowship with Holy Spirit
1. John 14:15-31
A. Built in counselor (v. 15)
B. Built in teacher (v. 26)
C. Built in reminder of what has been said by the Lord (v. 26)
2. Ephesians 4:30-31
A. Don’t grieve the Holy Spirit (meaning he does not leave when
we sin, rather, he is grieved when we sin)
2. This Christmas, Fight for Joy in Fellowship with Each Other
A. Ephesians 2:11-22
1. We have been brought near to God with all who are near to God
through salvation in Christ Jesus (v. 13)
2. The hostile wall of ethnic divide is broken down (v. 14)
3. All in Jesus Christ are one body and members of God’s household
4. We, the church, are the temple of the Lord (v. 21, 22)
A. Make time for your connect group
B. Make sure you are connected to other TRCC people
C. Be honest about who you are and what you need
1. Confess sin issues and need for accountability
2. Confess physical and emotional needs
3. Come Together to Worship in Word and in Song