The letter of John is a letter written by an elder statesman in the Church, (probably the apostle John) encouraging his flock in the face of many difficulties to hold on to things of first importance. The things John teaches have become his habit and practice through long usage. They are habits and disciplines that are transformational if we can acquire them. They form a secret history with practical outworkings
September 3rd. Prophetic call. As a young man Jeremiah saw a vision that unlocked a prophetic ministry that would span the next forty years. What does it mean for us to ‘see well’ as the Lord told Jeremiah? What is the call of God’s people to be ‘seers’, not ‘blind guides’ to those around us? As we start a new term what is God calling us individually and Woodlands as a community to be in our city.
Jeremiah 1. Download discussion notes.
Oct 8th God habits: Truthfulness. We live in an age of ‘fake news’ and image driven lifestyle communication, where Truth is a rare commodity. Jesus was so committed to truth that he said/implied that if we swore an oath instead of letting our yes be yes and our no be no it was from the evil one (father of lies) and indication that our words are not trustworthy. (matt 5:37)
John was fighting for the truth in a climate of heresy and speculative theology. He saw a link between truthful speech and truthful living (4-6) i.e. integrity which is a powerful witness to the gospel. 1 John 2: 1-5, 18-28. Download discussion notes
15th Oct. God habits: Generosity. Generosity is wonderful attractive quality. Are we known for it? In the sermon on the mount Jesus talks about things done in secret for the Father’s pleasure, including giving to the needy. The love of God and the love of our neighbour are so strongly linked that John, the apostle of love speaks about giving as a sign of loving God, and a response to the self-offering of Christ.
John sees love as a verb as well as a noun, something that acts (vv 16-20). As we care for those in need we act out the ‘family likeness’ of being God’s children. Generosity is a habit of the kingdom. If our gut reaction is to give, it also demonstrates to us, as well as to the world, that we belong to God. I John 3:10-23. Download discussion notes.
22nd Oct. God habits: Love. How do we radically love? The love of God constrains us to love one another as we obey Jesus’ new commandment. How much does fear hold us back from radical love? (v 18). Fear of rejection? Fear of hurting others if we are honest? Fear of shame and exposure if we are open?
There is a cost to true intimacy in human relationships and we need to face that cost if we are to go deep in relationships. John tells us however that there is a real connection with our ability to love the unseen God, and our love for our ‘brothers’. What does it mean for loving our brother to be a habit? How much is emotion, how much is will, choice and action, how much is accessing the grace of God? 1 John 4:7-21. Download discussion notes.
October 29th. God habits: Prayer.
The letter of John is a letter written by an elder statesman in the Church, (probably the apostle John) encouraging his flock in the face of many difficulties to hold on to things of first importance. The things John teaches have become his habit and practice through long usage. They are habits and disciplines that are transformational if we can acquire them. They form a secret history with practical outworkings 1 John 5:13-17. Download discussion notes.
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