Joy to the World, from the Word

18 Advent Blog 2

“And we are writing these things so that our joy may be complete.” (1 John 1:4 ESV)

Christmas is about the birth of Jesus. At Advent we read again and reflect on the birth of our Lord and the events surrounding it. But what if someone had something more to say? What if the rest of Jesus’s life - his teachings, his miracles, his death & resurrection - were meant to change how we think and live?

What if Christmas was about more than baby Jesus?

What if it was about you, and me, and our relationship with the Father through Jesus. What if it was about what our lives should look like here and now - between Jesus’s first and second coming? What if those things were written down for us, to encourage us to continue in them till the day we die?

Let me introduce you to an old man, named John.

For preaching texts this Advent, we’ll look at several passages out of the apostle John’s first epistle. Following the Advent themes of hope, peace, joy, love, and Christ, we will see what the disciple whom Jesus loved had to say about Jesus’s coming.

In the opening to John’s first epistle he describes what he is writing about - namely “the word of life” made flesh (1 John 1:1; John 1:14). John saw Jesus, heard Jesus, touched Jesus, witnessed the miracles Jesus did.

But he also knew that Jesus existed “from the beginning” and “was with the Father” yet “made manifest to us” (1 John 1:1-2). And John wrote his first letter to fulfill his own joy, and ours.

Christmas is about so much more than baby Jesus.

Christmas is not just about the fact that Jesus came, but why he came: that we may have fellowship “with the Father and with his Son Jesus Christ” (1 John 1:3).

John’s understanding of “fellowship” is different than our own. He moves beyond enjoying one another’s company to changing how we think and how we live. As John Stott said in his commentary on his letters, the apostle John wants to help us learn “how to think and live Christianly.”

“John is above all else a pastor, entrusted with the care of a group of local churches, and anxious to help their members to learn how to think and live Christianly.” - John Stott

I encourage you to read and meditate on our Advent passages with me during the week leading up to each. My prayer is that our own joy in Christ would increase through his Word, and spread from us to the world.

Dec 2 - 1 John 3:1-3 Dec 16 - 1 John 1:1-4 Dec 23 (5p) - 1 John 5:1-5
Dec 9 - 1 John 1:5-10 Dec 23 - 1 John 4:7-12

- Pastor Jonathan