Jesus’ resurrection from the dead is the defining event of human history. It means that there is more to life than the fleeting years between the day we were born and the day we die. Life is eternal and we are immortal beings designed to dwell together in the real presence of God. To know that truth is like walking out pitch darkness into the light that illuminates and reveals the rich, full beauty of God’s love for us. “Beloved, we are God’s children now, and what we will be has not yet appeared; but we know that when Jesus appears we shall be like him, because we shall see him as he is.” The New Testament book of 1 John will be our guide the next six weeks under the banner “Life. Light. Love.“
Complete Joy in the Light of Christ
Sunday, April 11 – The Easter celebration has come and gone. But the power of the resurrection surges through the lives of Jesus’ first followers and begs us to plug our lives into the source of joy that will light up our lives. As we watch Jesus appear to his first followers today, we listen to one of them named John who writes to us from the perspective of old age. John may have been as old as 85 years when he wrote the letter that bears his name: 1 John. A lifetime of resurrection power has filled John with the passion to make known to us that Complete Joy—a rich full life regardless of circumstances—is ours when we walk in the Light of Christ.
Being Made Perfect
Sunday, April 18 – With resurrection power pulsing through our lives the reality of who we are in Christ, “children of God” (1 John 3:1), becomes more and more real to us and miraculously creates in us a desire to be Made Perfect. While we readily confess that until Jesus comes again “nobody’s perfect” we nevertheless long to be perfect even now. Following Jesus on the Jesus Adventure is a joyful pursuit of a life that is without sin even as we daily experience his full and complete forgiveness. Why settle for less when we already have it all in Christ? Martin Luther wrote: “The Christian life is simply becoming what we already are.”
Believe and Love
Sunday, April 25 – Have you ever felt like you just weren’t good enough? Have you ever wondered if you’re really even a Christian? Doubts assail us. And the devil loves to taunty us, “you call yourself a Christian after all you’ve done. I hardly think so.” Some give up trying. Others double down and try even harder. John proclaims the brilliance of true gospel of Christianity. When in doubt preach the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus to your heart? God’s promises trump your doubts every time. Then trusting in his forgiveness, immediately strive to love one another just as God in Christ has loved you. Believe and Love that’s what the Holy Spirit is continuously up to in your life.
No Fear Life
Sunday, May 2 – Fear is a powerful motivator in our lives. But something more powerful than fear is here. “Perfect love casts out fear” (1 John 4:18). When we no longer have to be afraid of God and his judgment because of his perfect love for us in Jesus we are set free to love one another radically and boldly. Amazingly God’s love abides, it remains, it dwells in us by the work of the Holy Spirit. And the Holy Spirit promises to come to us the Word we are hearing today, in the water of our baptism (every time we remember it), and in the Lord’s Supper. We live No Fear lives starting again today.
Sunday, May 9 – Winning isn’t everything, some say, but it certainly beats the alternative. We are a culture addicted to winning as the sign of true success. Surprisingly John declares that the victory that overcomes the world—and it doesn’t get much greater or grander than that—is our FAITH in God’s love given to us in the person and work of Jesus. That faith is revealed in our love for God and subsequent love for one another. That faith is sealed and sustained by irrefutable witness of the Spirit in the water of our baptism and the blood of the Lord’s Supper. To live by faith is to be drenched in the water of baptism and nourished with body and blood of Holy Communion. Only in Jesus Victory is ours!
Jesus is Life
Sunday, May 16 – John concludes his letter with a simple claim: “whoever has the Son has life” (1 John 5:12). Hold on to that truth and you can live with bold confidence that God, who created and preserves all things hears us and will give us all things necessary to experience complete joy starting now and never ending. This is the power of the resurrection at work in us: to always be throwing off the things of this world that claim our allegiance and put Jesus at the center of our lives.
Filled with the Holy Spirit
Pentecost Sunday, May 23 – Fifty days after Jesus’ resurrection his followers were together. As Jesus had promised they were “filled with the Holy Spirit” and began to boldly proclaim the Good News. The world has never been the same since. Today that same Spirit fills us as we listen to God’s Word, remember our baptism, and receive the Lord’s Supper. We too are them empowered to announce to all we meet that new life begins through faith in Jesus. Filled with the Holy Spirit we are Equipped and Sent to live the Jesus Adventure boldly in our homes, our schools, our workplaces, and our neighborhoods.