The Johannine Epistles (Day 3)

I would be remiss if I didn’t mention a couple of the people who have made this class possible for me. First of all, I need to thank my wife for freeing me up to travel all the way down here for this ministry. Second, I need to thank my Mother In-Law (Alleen) for coming up and helping take care of the kids in my absence. Thirdly, I need to thank Cool Community Church for granting me the time to come and study in this capacity. Finally, I need to thank my Aunt Jo for putting me up for another week in her home near the seminary. She really is a treasure!

Today was a rich day, full of many insights. Here are just three:

1) In Order to Commune with God we Must Meet Three Criteria: Doctrine, Morality & Love. John spends much of the book focusing his readers attention on three aspects of true godliness (communion with God): doctrinal faithfulness, moral uprightness and deep seated love for God. In order for someone to commune with God, to have fellowship with God, he must be doctrinally faithful, morally upright and he must abide in God (love God). In other words, it’s not enough for a man to be doctrinally orthodox but morally suspect. In this condition, he cannot have fellowship with God (know God). Furthermore, even if a man is doctrinally orthodox and morally upright (no obvious sins in his life), if he does not possess a deep seated love for God, he can not know God and he cannot have fellowship with God. This is what makes this third aspect of godliness so difficult, it is a living category. Doctrine can be learned and morality can be attained, but love…well love is different…love must be experienced…love must be felt. But, if we do not have a love for God than the truth is that we do not know Him.

2) The Importance of Faithful Pastoral Ministry. This is a little bit off the beaten path of 1 John, but it’s something I’ve been thinking about for a while and Dr. Yarbrough really helped me to see it today. Of course, I’ve always known that pastoral ministry is important but I think I’m learning to appreciate more of the gravity of the pastoral office. You see the pastor is more than someone who does a job, he is a symbol of the stability of a congregation. For many in the church, the pastor is the most direct link to God in their lives. In other words, he makes God real in people’s lives because he comes with flesh and blood representing the King. What follows from this insight is the importance of long term faithfulness in pastoral ministry. Most real growth in a church happens over the long haul as a result of faithful ministry; it isn’t flashy, it isn’t  exciting, it isn’t really explicable, it just happens.

3) The Danger of the Academy. Dr. Yarbrough pointed us to a poem that is quoted by Leon Morris in his NICNT commentary on the Gospel of John in which he quotes Mansfield:

The Trained mind outs the upright soul

As Jesus said the trained mind might,

Being wiser than the sons of light,

But trained men’s minds are spread so thin

They let all sorts of darkness in;

Whatever light they find they doubt it,

They love not light, but talk about it.

It took me forever to hunt this quote down on the internet, but it was worth it because it is such a good reminder to me that the point of academics is to love the light.

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January 08 2013 07:02 pm | Johannine Epistles

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