Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Things I Admire about the Apostle John

Here's something I just wrote for our church's weekly newsletter.

I became a Christian while reading 1 John and therefore it is no exaggeration to say that the Apostle himself led me to Christ. Because this is so, I have counted it a great privilege to preach through John’s letters over the last four months and now that our time in them is coming to a close, I want to articulate a few things I love about John.

First, I see in John a submissive spirit. When Jesus called, John responded. This was true of him the very first time he encountered Jesus (Matt 4:21-22) and it was true throughout his life. John loved Jesus and he demonstrated his love through obedience to His commands.

Second, I see in John a spirit of utter devotion to Christ. When the chips were down and Jesus’ enemies came to kill him, John alone remained by Jesus’ side all the way to death. He clung to Jesus in life, he clung to Jesus in death, and he will cling to Jesus forever. John was a deeply devoted lover of Christ and I so admire him for this.

Third, I see in John the spirit of a servant-leader. After the resurrection of Jesus, John became one of the “pillars of the church” and he remained faithful to her until his dying day. He was a strong leader, to be sure, but he was the kind of leader who never exalted himself above the church but, like his Lord, laid his life down for her.

Fourth, I see in John a spirit of wisdom. John was a very discerning man and he was not afraid to say what he saw in very plain language, but he was also a very compassionate and hopeful man because he was well acquainted with Jesus. Therefore, by the spirit of Christ, John was always able to balance truth and grace, confrontation and mercy, and for this I admire him very much.

Fifth, I see in John a deep love for the truth. John new that Jesus had revealed himself in a particular way and that the details of this revelation matter. Thus, although he is known as the Apostle of love, he is first the Apostle of truth because he knew that one can only love Jesus when he or she knows Jesus as he is.

Finally, I see in John a spirit of authentic love. His passion for God’s people was not a put on but rather it was the fruit authentic love for Christ. He learned from his Lord the deep joy of devotion to the Bride.

Oh how I long to be like the beloved Apostle John, and I hope you do, too. I encourage you to spend some time reflecting on his life and asking the Lord to give you insight. May we all learn the joy of imitating what is good rather than what is evil (3 John 1:11).

Longing to imitate John as he imitates Christ,

Pastor Charlie

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