Summer of Love: 1 John
If you’ve been with us over the past few months, you’ll know that we’ve been preaching a series entitled The Heart of the Matter. It’s been a rollercoaster ride through various subjects to do with emotional health. We’ve talked about identity, loss, grief, community, dating, singleness, temptation, work and rest… and more! We hope you’ve found it helpful, and you can catch up on any talks you missed here.
But after an emotionally intense series, we wanted to take a breather, slow things down a bit, and spend August and September looking at some lighter themes. So this Sunday we are beginning a brand new series on 1 John, which we’ve entitled Summer of Love.
1 John is a letter from one of Jesus’ disciples, writing to the churches he has given his life to caring for. It was probably written around 85 AD, when John was living in Ephesus, to a collection of churches in places like Smyrna, Pergamum, Thyatira, Sardis, Philadelphia, and Laodicea.
John had been a close friend of Jesus. He was one of his first followers (John 1:35-40), and he stuck with him even to the cross (John 19:26-27). He got the nickname ‘the one Jesus loved’ (John 20:2). So if anyone was in a position to teach people what Jesus was like, John certainly was.
In this letter, he warns his hearers not to forget the essentials of their faith, and he brings them back to the basics, the things that really matter. He looks at questions such as:
What is God like?
How can we know Him?
What is true love and where can we find it?
But although much of John’s writing is on the theme of love, this is no soppy or sentimental letter. Along the way there are some big and challenging ideas, about the Trinity, adoption, atonement, and more.
I’m looking forward to exploring these themes through this series, and I hope it will do us good to remind ourselves of God’s love for us, and consider how that love transforms us into being the kind of people who are able to love one another effectively.
In the run up to the series, you may find it helpful to read the letter. It’s five chapters long and should only take you about 15 minutes. And if you want some further reading to help you get ahead, you may want to check out some of these commentaries:
The Letters of John by Colin Kruse (http://amzn.to/2axjUBY)
Straight to the Heart of Peter, John and Jude by Phil Moore (http://amzn.to/2b5l0k6)
The Letters of John by John Stott (http://amzn.to/2b5kB0R)
Early Christian Letters for Everyone by Tom Wright (http://amzn.to/2b5kT80)