|Katniss volunteers her life in "The Hunger Games"|
Everyone has heard of Nike running shoes, and no doubt there will be many pairs crossing the finish line at today's LA Marathon. But did you know that Nike is the Greek word for victory? In 1 John 5:4, we read, "This is the victory - or nike - that conquers the world, our faith." What does victory look like to you? Is it winning a foot race? Is it acing a final exam? Is it landing a good job? Is it the gift of family or friends? On the other hand, what does defeat look like to you? The gospels never promise unending victories in this life. John himself spent many years exiled on the Island of Patmos as punishment by the Romans for his subversive missionary work. Even so, he assures us that we can have victory in this world. Yet the power we have over this world -- rather than being a force we control -- is a life of faith in Christ who has won the victory, the 10th sign of genuine Christianity from 1 John 5: 1-12. Click this link to download.
Few of us can honestly claim we have never been afraid! Fear is part of the fallen human condition. But a life that is paralyzed by fear is not what God desires for us, which is one reason why the command, “Do not be afraid!” is found 104 times in the Bible. As we continue our study of life signs from First John,the 9th sign of genuine Christian faith is “a life beyond fear.” I believe that even if we cannot eliminate fear, we can move through it and beyond it. In 1 John 4: 13-21, John describes three ways that fear is “cast out” …. by love. Click this link to download.
In John’s letter we have seen two main themes…the call to believe in Christ as Lord and Savior of life, and the call to act like believers, chiefly by our love. In 1 John 4: 1-12 John calls us again to a passion for the truth that is tempered by a love for people. Jonathan Edwards, one of the most respected leaders of The Great Awakening (peaking in 1740), observed that if false spirituality is marked by imbalance, genuine spirituality is marked by “a beautiful symmetry and proportion” – a life of balance. Inspired by Edwards, this message explores eight areas of balance that should characterize our lives as Jesus' followers. Click this link to download.