Friday, May 31, 2024


Right from the beginning of this short letter John links LOVE with TRUTH. Just look at the word's frequency. Whom I love in the truth - and not I only but also all who know the truth - because of the truth which lies in us and will be with us forever (vv1,2)   It has given me great joy to find some of your children walking in the truth. (v4). But it's only some who are walking in the truth. That deeply concerns him.

There are truths with a capital T and the biggest is who Jesus is, the Way, the Truth and the Life (John 14:6). Scripture reveals the extraordinary truth that God has revealed himself to us in flesh.  That Jesus is born in Bethlehem. He is God incarnates, identifying with us. Yet at the same time he is God's Son. 100% divine and 100% human. To sensible people this belief is nonsense! Ever since the church began sensible people have taught either he is more God than man or man that God.

For this new young church some have come with a particular teaching: 'Many deceivers, who do not acknowledge Jesus Christ as coming in the flesh have gone out into the world' (v7) This church is clearly in danger of listening to false teaching. This Gnostic thinking with many variations likes behind several New Testament letters. It seem this particular teaching refused to accept that God who is spirit and utterly pure and good could be mixed up with the material, impure and evil world.  So, if Jesus is truly God it’s nonsense to claim that he was born in flesh and that he actually died. No, Jesus became God at his baptism and left the man before the crucifixion.  

There has always been controversy about who Jesus is. Always.  Someone came up to me at church a couple of weeks ago:  'We have a group of Christians who meet at work and we have this bloke who is a Christadelphian.  And don’t they have strange teaching about Jesus? ' Well, their approach is to say that because there is one God, Jesus is not divine with the Father. There's no Trinity. I happened to be preaching this last Sunday which to many in the world church is set apart as Trinity Sunday. After the Spirit has come at Pentecost the fullness of God's three persons is revealed. New disciples will be baptised in the name of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit. Trinity Sunday always pushes us to think beyond human wisdom and ask for spiritual wisdom which is truth beyond reaston - transrational.  It's spiritual truth which God wants us to open our hearts and minds to in wondering faith that  accepts God's thoughts are not ours. 

One radio programme when the Archbishop talked with various people about Christianity involved the comedian John Cleese who expressed interest. . But then he said: 'What I don't understand is wh yJesus had to die!'  That's raw human wisdom declaring how something makes no sense. It is foolishness (1 Cor 2:13). It's only by spiritual wisdom which opens up to the possibility that Jesus truly is the Son of God  that the Cross begins to make spiritual sense.   

John writes to this church about being careful about who you have to teach and challenge you. It means keeping alert.  Don’t let minor byways distract you from the major truths of the gospel and Jesus as Lord, Son of the Father, with the Holy Spirt as Trinity is as major as they come.

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