The First book of John is alive and well today, my friends.
This message, in sermon style format, was delivered by John who was pastor of the church in Ephesus, founded by Paul. John was a devoted pastor who had a genuine love for this body of believers.
To understand the First Epistle of John we must understand something about the city of Ephesus at the beginning of the 2nd Century. It was very much like the city where you and I live today.
There were four important factors that prevailed throughout the city and the Roman empire:
- There was an easy familiarity with Christianity. Many of the believers were the children and grandchildren of the first Christians. The new and bright sheen of the Christian faith had become tarnished. The newness and thrill for the gospel had worn off.
- The high standards of Christianity made Christians “different,” and the descendants of the first Christians DID NOT WANT TO BE DIFFERENT. Ephesians had become “assembly-line” Christians programmed by the computer of compromise.
- In this day, persecution was not the enemy of the Christian church. The danger to the church at Ephesus was not persecution from the outside, but seduction from the inside. Christianity was not in danger of being destroyed; it was in danger of being changed. The attempt was being made to “improve it” and give it intellectual respectability and let it speak in the terms of the popular philosophy.
- Gnosticism (the belief of an exclusive knowledge of God) was the real enemy of Christianity in this day.
It’s important to understand John’s message in this book. Let’s stop trying to “improve” Christianity and just go with the perfect grace that God allows us to have, and to give to others.
(Credit for the message in this post goes to the late, great pastor and bibilical commentator, Dr. Vernon McGee.)