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Dec 3, 2017

“We Declare…” 12-3-17

1 John 1
December 3, 2017

Well, here we are once again; the church is decorated for the upcoming Christmas Season.  As we have our first worship service in December, and in the church season of Advent, I want to preach to you this morning about the one who started Christmas.  I am not thinking of Charles Dickens, but Jesus the Christ.
And as I do so, I want to focus on a scripture passage that is not one of the often used passages of the season, although it does bear a striking resemblance to the verses of the first chapter of the Gospel of John.  Here we have the thoughts of the Apostle John about the first coming of Jesus directed to those who have already believed in Jesus. 
During this season, it has become customary to display symbols to express things we believe about Jesus. 
We display lights in and on our homes to honor Jesus as the one true light that came from God.  We display angels on our trees and in our homes to remember the angels that announced the birth of Jesus and then sang at his birth. We display circular wreaths of greens and other materials to celebrate the fact that the son of God is eternal, having no beginning or end. 
John was a writer and not a decorator, so he spoke in symbolic language to convey some important truths about Jesus.
And I suppose the most important truth about Jesus is that he was both human and divine.  In him, God became a human being, the creator became a creature.  This is always an interesting concept to pursue, because in our minds, the realms of human and divine are mutually exclusive.  You are one or the other.  But at Christmas we celebrate the birth of one who was both.
Or, as the Apostle stated, he wanted to declare that what was from the beginning, whom he will also to refer to as the Word of Life, had now been heard and seen and touched by John and by other people.  John wanted to declare that The Word of Life that had always been with the Father, God, had now been revealed to John and others and John was now reminding them of this great fact. 
And then John writes of the results of the Word of Life coming to human beings.  But the first result he mentions is not the one we think of first.  Our #1 reason why Jesus came into the world as the Word of Life is to save.  Jesus came to bring salvation.  Now John will mention that, but his #1 reason is fellowship.
That we might have fellowship with each other and that together and individually we can have fellowship with the Father and with His Son, Jesus, who is also the Word of Life.
As a Christian and a student of Christianity I think of Fellowship as a distinctly Christian term.  As you know, I have for most of my life been involved in the hobby of Model Railroading.  Over the years, I have read several articles that refer to gatherings of Model Railroaders as having fellowship with each other, and I object.  What Model Railroaders have with each other is a shared hobby, and what I would call camaraderie from being interested in the same things.
But for me, Fellowship is a term that reflects the relationship of God to Christians and of Christians to each other.
It is a spiritual union, and involves a need and desire to please, worship, and serve God.
So one of the results of God sending the Word of Life into the world is fellowship, of believers with God and of believers with each other.
In verse 5 John switches to another of his favorite words to describe God: Light.  He writes here of God as moral light, doing what is right according to God’s standards.  The opposite is moral darkness, doing what is wrong or sinful.
It seems that another aspect of the fellowship we Christians have with each other is that we have been in the darkness, we have sinned, we have been sinners, but now, because of Jesus, we walk in the light of God, we do things that are pleasing to him, and we do not let our sinful human natures control our lives. 
And the blood of Jesus, God’s son, cleanses us from all sin.  So this walking in the light does not completely overcome the occurrences of Sin in our lives.  We still sin, but not as a lifestyle, rather as reflex actions or thoughts, because we are still human beings.
So there are 3 threads woven into this passage that I would like to point out on this Communion Sunday and the First Sunday of Advent:

  1. As we begin to celebrate the Christmas Season, we celebrate that Jesus is the Word of Life, who came from the eternal God to be with Human beings.
  2.  That one of the results of that is that we can have fellowship with God and with each other.  We call this sacrament Holy Communion, because in it we commune with and are joined with God, And in this sacrament we also commune with, and are joined with each other.
  3. The coming of Jesus as the Word of Life has given us forgiveness of our sins.  The death of Jesus, represented by the wine and bread of this sacrament, has through our faith in Jesus, given us forgiveness of our sins, the big ones that plagued our lives and led our lives before we had faith in Jesus and the little ones, the remainders of our sinful lifestyles that still pop up in us from day to day.  Our sins, all of our sins have been forgiven by Jesus, and we remember that as we participate in this sacrament.


Pastor David Horner
Faith Presbyterian Church
West Lafayette, IN 47906