#1 in series Visible Church
Reading: 1 John 1:1-4
Fakeness. It's all around us. There's fake news - misleading or deliberate misinformation that is designed to shift public opinion in a certain direction against a person or institution. There's fruit juice that’s not really made from fruit; burgers not really made of meat, pictures in magazines that are so airbrushed, they bear little resemblance to the real picture. Then there's fake faith which has all the elements of the real deal but which falls woefully short of the life that Jesus gives us through his death and resurrection. The beloved disciple, John, now an old man and grandfather of the early church takes us back to what’s real and genuine and can be trusted for life itself forever. What is real is Jesus, who stands triumphant over all the fake, pretend & dying things of this world to bring us life with the Father....a life that he calis us now to make visible through the Church.
The life appeared; we have seen it and testify to it, and we proclaim to you the eternal life, which was with the Father and has appeared to us. 1 John 1:2
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Resurrection makes an eternal difference. It gives deep fellowship with the Father and the Son; access to everything God is and has. That fellowship leads to real and genuine love for others and community with others. It enables confident living that fills the heart with joy and overflows with infectious excitement that is plainly visible for the world to see.
#5 and final in series: Visible Church
BIBLE READING: 1 John 5:1-21
Congruence: from the Latin congruere – “to agree”. In geometry two shapes are congruent when you can turn, flip and/or slide one so it fits exactly on the other. Personal congruence is when a person's values and beliefs are consistent with the way he or she lives his or her life. There is an agreement, an equalness between what we do and the way that we do it, between what we believe and our everyday lifestyle choices, activities and conversation. Today in the final week of our series Visible Church, John shows us how to live a visible faith – a congruent Christ-life in the Christ-way. What he shares, will help you live with courage and hope in all situations.
And this is the testimony: God has given us eternal life, and this life is in his Son. Whoever has the Son has life; whoever does not have the Son of God does not have life. 1 John 5:11-12
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Faith is full assurance in the heart; an awareness that we are brought by grace into a living and personal relationship with Jesus Christ forever. When we have that relationship, it changes everything for we already have all things – eternal love, abundant life, overwhelming victory. It leads to a visible faith that is congruent with the heart; a heart that believes we are more than conquerors in Christ.
#4 in series: Visible Church
BIBLE READING: 1 John 4:1-21
Insufficient funds…transaction declined. Ever experienced that? The embarrassment of seeing those words on the EFTPOS or ATM machine when making a purchase or withdrawal, when you were sure there was enough to cover what you needed. It’s a sinking feeling when you have overdrawn on your account and you didn’t even realise. But the same thing can happen in our relationships. It’s impossible to give when the relationship is overdrawn, when there is insufficient love in the heart. Today John reminds us of the one who makes an extravagant deposit in the account of our hearts that is more than sufficient and can never be overdrawn. It’s a love that will change not only your life but transform every relationship and every encounter; enabling you to generously give away a love that is visible and unfailing.
We love because he first loved us. 1 John 4:19
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The Bible’s message is clear. God loves us whether we reciprocate it or not. He can’t but love us. That’s who he is. Full stop.
No other love will come close to it.
No other love can transform hearts like it.
His love, his perfect love creates our love.
So receive first a love worth living,
for it will fill you with a love worth giving.
#3 in series: Visible Church
READING: 1 John 3:1-24
He was known as 'Fighting Mac'. A Scotman who came to Australia in his teens and who gained a reputation as a good fighter while drinking and brawling in the pubs of Bundaberg, Queensland. But it was here his life changed. It was at a Salvation Army open-air meeting in Bundaberg that he saw the light” when he heard the testimony of two fellow Scotsmen who, like him, had been hardened drinkers, fighters and adept in the use of foul language. McKenzie became a Salvation Army officer who served in Gallipoli and on the Western Front as a chaplain. He worked in Newcastle and Raymond Terrace before the war and not only epitomizes the spirit of Anzac sacrifice but a visible sacrifice so much greater. After seeing many of Australia's finest young men needlessly sacrificed at the Battle of Lone Pine, Chaplain William McKenzie could not sit back and watch any longer. When the soldiers tried to convince him to stay in the trenches he responded: 'Boys, I have lived with you, I’ve preached to you and I’ve prayed with you. Do you think I’m now afraid to die with you?' What would motivate such a response? The sacrifice of love that he had received through the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. A sacrifice that had given him a new identity and an eternal purpose. It's that same love that enables us as children of God to be visible sacrifices in this world today.
This is how we know what love is: Jesus Christ laid down his life for us. And we ought to lay down our lives for our brothers and sisters. 1 John 3:16
REMEMBER THIS WEEK
Through the power of God's vulnerable, sacrificial and tenacious love in Jesus Christ, we have been given an identity and relationship that we cannot stuff up. Ever. It's a love that empowers us to act, without counting the cost, as we lay down our time, energy, talents and resources as a living sacrifice that makes visible his eternal purpose and presence.
Make-believe. Pretend. Every child does it. They dress up and role play - mums and dads, doctors and nurses, cops and robbers. But here’s the thing. Most children know the truth that pretend is make-believe; that it will all end when mum calls you in for dinner and you take the dress ups off! Today Grandpa John addresses those in the Church who are still playing make-believe or pretend; who have played a role for so long that they are actually living a lie dressed up as truth. But as John reminds us – the Church is not the supporting cast for a game of pretend, but the community where the visible truth of what Christ’s resurrection means for real living, is seen most clearly. It’s this visible truth we will explore today.
But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus, his Son, purifies us from all sin. 1 John 1:7.
REMEMBER THIS WEEK
Jesus is truth. His resurrection makes it transparently clear that he has done all that is needed for us to live in the joy of his presence and the power of his love and life. Nothing will change this truth, but this truth will transform our life together, revealing an honesty, authenticity and transparency that is visible, real and life-giving