Christ is "More" {Day 1}

1 John

Today is our first day of studying the book of 1 John! If you haven’t yet, get your reading guide here: 1 John Study Guide! Grab your Bible, a pen and a journal, and let’s dive into God’s Word together! Note: If you haven’t read 1 John out loud, I urge you to do this before beginning the study! Read it slow and read sections over and over that you may not understand at first. You will be amazed at the power there is in reading God’s Word out loud, as well as the better understanding that you will have as you listen to the powerful truths in 1 John.

Reading: 1 John 1:1-4 (out loud if you are able)


 

Deep in the recesses of the heart of a believer is a God-given desire for "more". We were created to know God and desire His goodness. Our desire manifests itself in different ways in our lives, but we can all admit it is there. In the struggle for "more", many of us have fallen prey to Satan's tactics and he has deceived us to want more of the world instead of more of Christ. In our longing for more, we easily replace the glory of God for the glory of man and/or of things that will pass away. John, the author of 1 John, was writing to early Christians who were being swayed by false teachers and searching for "more" in worldly truths. These believers were doubting God's Word and who Jesus was. (Anyone else ever struggled with doubt?) For every "doubter" out there in search of more, the book of 1 John is for you.

In many ways, we have limited God’s Word and God’s abilities to what we perceive around us. John, known as the beloved disciple, watched Jesus perform miracle after miracle (John 21:25). He ate with Jesus, loved Jesus and knew Him well. He even concluded his Gospel with a verse that gives me chills (read it out loud if you can):

“Now there are also many other things that Jesus did. Were every one of them to be written, I suppose that the world itself could not contain the books that would be written.” 

{written by the apostle John in John 21:25}

John admits that it would have been impossible to contain everything that Jesus did in his gospel. Can you imagine that? Jesus did so many miracles while he was on earth that the world could not contain all the books if every one were recorded! He is "more" than we could imagine! God’s Word is an inexhaustible treasure. Not only can you read the same verse countless times and study the same books, you can read through it for the rest of your life and discover new gems. What if we turned our search for "more" into a search for Christ? In Christ is the "more" that we need. John knew this firsthand. He began his epistle (or letter) with reminders to the readers about who Christ is and his firsthand reliability as the author. Read John 1:1-18 and compare the similarities to 1 John 1:1-4. What do these verses tell you about who Jesus Christ is? (note that the word "that" in the first verse refers to Christ as the One who has always been since the beginning - Genesis 1:1)

Jesus is More

We will never know Christ as the “more” we need unless we truly know who He is by studying the Bible, by tasting it, touching it, seeing and hearing it with our own ears (verse 1). When John described Christ in 1 John, he used the word “eimi” for was in the first verse. This word doesn’t mean that Jesus was and is no more. It means that Jesus always has been and always will be. This same Greek word that refers to Jesus as the same “I am” is the same as the "I AM" God in the Old Testament. Read Exodus 3:13-14 and John 8:56-58. Notice the two times “I AM” is used in the both Scripture references. When Jesus said “I am” to the Jews who were questioning Him, they knew He was referring Himself to the I AM God of the Old Testament. Does that not send chills down your spine? Jesus was. Jesus is. Jesus will be. Jesus is I am (eimi). 

This is just one tiny glimpse into who Jesus is. John packs verse 1-4 with gospel truth about Jesus as the "word of life" and "eternal life" who was made manifest as God in human form. John was able to write this because he truly knew Jesus in a way that not many people did. He was an eye witness of everything he wrote about and it changed him. If you turn on the news tonight, you will undoubtedly see “eye witness” reports of what is happening in the media and around the world. However, just hearing about a news feature is never enough. We need "eye witness" reports. An eye witness gives credibility to story because they were there. As you read 1 John, imagine what it must’ve been like to be John. His writings came from knowing Christ personally. He had “seen”, “heard”, “looked upon” and touched” Jesus, the “word of life" (verse 1). And that compelled the rest of his life to be used for Kingdom Word.

Do you hunger to see God in His Word, in His creation and in His people like John saw Jesus face to face? When Moses saw God in Exodus 33:12-23, he was changed forever. He came down from Mount Sinai and God used him to create the two tablets that the Ten Commandments were to be written on. When Isaiah saw the glory of God he was literally undone. He fell apart before the throne of God before God sent him on the task to be a prophet to the people of Israel (Isaiah 6:4-10). When Paul saw Jesus in a vision, he lost his sight and became a believer and one of the greatest evangelists of all time (Acts 9:1-19). When John saw Christ face to face and witnessed his glory and his miracles, he responded with writing three books of the Bible - the gospel of John, the epistle of 1 John and Revelation. The glory of God, His perfect Word, changes us. How has Christ changed your life and what has his love compelled you to do for Him?

Have you found your “more” in Christ? Those who have literally tasted and seen of salvation can’t help but tell others about the saving grace of God! Psalm 34:8 says “Oh, taste and see that the LORD is good! Blessed is the man who takes refuge in him!” John had tasted of the goodness of Christ and knew that his joy would not be complete unless he told everyone he could about it. As we finish our study of these verses today, ask yourself these questions:

  1. Has the glory of God changed my life and compelled me to share with others?
  2. Are you looking for “more” anywhere other than Christ?
  3. Do you lack the "complete joy" John refers to in verse four? (I have noticed in my own life that I lack joy when I am not doing what Christ has told me to - abiding in Him, cherishing His Word, spreading the Gospel, etc) Ask God to show you in what areas you need to be obedient. Abide in His joy.

John Piper once said:

“If you don't feel strong desires for the manifestation of the glory of God, it is not because you have drunk deeply and are satisfied. It is because you have nibbled so long at the table of the world. Your soul is stuffed with small things, and there is no room for the great.”

Sisters, may we drink deep of the glory of God’s Word as we study 1 John! May it change us radically! This is my prayer for you and for me. 

that our joy may be complete,

Gretchen