God's Man | 1 John Part 1
The epistle, or letter, of 1st John is written to all of us in general and specifically to the church at Ephesus. John is writing this as he nears the end of his life.
The Ephesian church is not that different from our own American church. John speaks about the Ephesians in Revelation chapter 2 verse where he writes that “… You have forgotten your first love.”
There are 4 issues that are impacting the church at Ephesus.
An Easy Familiarity with Christ – The believers that John is writing to are the older children and younger Grandchildren of the believers that Paul met in Acts 19.
He spent 2 years with them and God lit a fire there. The issue is that over time the intensity of the fire was being maintained. This lead to a rejection of the High Standard…
The High Standards that Christianity Sets – The church was called to be set apart. They were called to be different. They would be hated for that difference.
The church had begun to reject this.
They didn’t “really” want to be different. They wanted to be liked. The church was not in danger of be persecution. It was in danger of being changed.
Seductions/Threats from the Inside – This came and fulfilled the warning that Paul left to the Ephesians in Acts 20:29-30,
“I know that after I leave, savage wolves will come in among you and will not spare the flock. Even from your own number men will arise and distort the truth in order to draw away disciples after them.”
The thought was to improve it. Give it intellectual respectability. Make it sound like popular philosophy.
Gnosticism – This came out of popular culture of Rome at the time. The Gnostic elevated the spirit over the body. In fact they despised it. The spirit was planted in this dirty soil.
The Gnostics hoped to overcome the evil in the body. Stoics, Freedom through denial/willpower and the Epicureans, Freedom ultimately through Indulgence.
This is the backdrop on which this letter is painted.
“This is the confidence we have in approaching God: that if we ask anything according to his will, he hears us. “
- 1 John 5:14
In Order to return the church to its first love we have to return to a desire for Fellowship with not just each other, but with God. 1 John 5:14 reminds us that this is possible. Not only is it possible, Through Christ Jesus, to approach God; He Hears Us.
And How Do We Do This? How are we able to connect with God?