The Church in St. Louis

But to Him who is able to do superabundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power which operates in us. - Eph 3:20

The Apostle John's Writing

The Gospel

"...John's view was extremely profound, mystical and spiritual. And yet it was not a doctrine, a teaching, or a practice of any kind....." 

John's focus in the gospels and in his epistles was what Christ is essentially. First, He is the Word of Life that was from the beginning with the Father, and was manifested to the Disciples as the eternal life. They heard him, saw him with their eyes, and beheld Him in His glory. He was a human person, but so much more:  He was the very Word of Life, explaining and expressing God to reveal and fulfill God?s purpose to give Himself as Life to His believers and make them His Church.

John's line of thought through the first chapter of his gospel was profound.  He spoke of the Word, who was in the beginning, was with God, and was God. (John 1:1) This word was full of the life of God, and this life was the light of men.  Not only does this light expose who we are and what we are, but it acts as a beacon shining in the darkness to make God clear and draw us to Him. In 1 John 1:1 when he speaks of this Word he says ?the word of life, which we heard, and have seen with our eyes, and we beheld, and our hands handled.?  For John, this word was not just something abstract, it was very tangible and real Person Jesus Christ. John says ?in Him was life, and the life was the light of man.? (John 1:4). When this word is manifested, the life of God is manifested. John refers to this in 1 John 1:2, saying that the word of life was the eternal life, which was with the Father, and was manifested to us. This manifestation of Life is the light that shines and lets us see God so clearly and attracts us to Him. This manifestation is in Christ who reveals Himself to us.

Through this word of life, all things came into being. (John 1:10) This is a much more profound way of speaking than to merely say that He created things.  We have to realize that as believers, we weren't just created, we came into being through Him. Furthermore, nothing that has come into being has come into being apart from Him. Everything that has come into being is for His purpose and plan.  And since Christians are the ones on the earth who live for His purpose and plan, we have to realize that everything we encounter is really for us. We don't occupy a low place in the universe, we occupy the central place with Christ.  We were chosen by Him and are destined to partake with Him of His glory and His destiny. This is what the universe was created for, and apart from Him, and apart from this purpose, nothing in the universe has any meaning!  We can even say that the school we go to, or the stores we shop in, didn't have any meaning except that a person for Gods purpose and plan was going to make use of them.

Not only did everything come into being through this word, but eventually this word became flesh and tabernacled among us. (John 1:14) As the tabernacle He was God dwelling in the midst of men:  not attractive on the outside but inside full of all the riches of what God is for man. (Represented by the ark of the testimony, the incense altar, the showbread, the lampstand, the laver, and the brazen altar.) These things all represent experiences of God that only Christ can bring us into, because the realities of what God is in these things are uniquely contained in this Person. Yet He brought all these things to us in Himself by becoming a lowly man.  In another words, although there was all of this profound content in this Person, His intention was not that these profound things would be something high above us that we could not reach but only admire. Instead of giving us Himself, he brought us into these things maybe even subconsciously.  By enjoying Him, we have everything God wants us to have and to experience.

Of course John presented Him as the Lamb of God who took away our sins. Not only did he tabernacle among us, but He went to the cross to take away our sins; in God's eyes our sins are gone. After becoming the lamb, he resurrected and ascended, and then descended into man as the Spirit. In the conclusion of the first chapter of John, in which Jesus referred to Jacob's dream, saying "... you shall see heaven opened and the angels of God ascending and descending upon the son of man." (John 1:51) After all of His process, He would be the fulfillment of Jacob's dream, the real heavenly ladder. (Gen 28:17-19).  This ladder connects the heavens to the earth. This means that he has opened up the heavens for us and connected us to the heavens even though we dwell on the earth. We ascended to the heavens in Him and we descend to declare God's economy. Wherever Christ is, the heaven is opened and heaven and earth are joined.

All of this showed that John's view was extremely profound, mystical and spiritual. And yet it was not a doctrine, a teaching, or a practice of any kind. It was simply who Christ is in His purest form and all of it is simply for our enjoyment and appreciation.  This is the kind of Christ that can be enjoyed in fellowship, and this kind of fellowship can restore believers from any kind of damage and cause them to be full of joy together.

On to Message 3