“So how do we know our faith is the real one?” This very serious and thoughtful question was asked me by one of our middle-school students at a class fellowship recently. “What if we have been serving the wrong God?” Her question took me back for a few moments, but she brought me face-to-face with real-time questions being asked today by some of our younger church members. It was a question I never remember thinking too much about until I was much older. But we have passed the day when our answers are received without some question… maybe even skepticism bordering on doubt.
I also know this: our students aren’t the only ones thinking about this issue. While some in our midst may be too shy to voice out loud their questions, many have them. Some have asked, “Why is our Bible the right one? I have friends who follow the Koran. Or what about the Book of Mormon?” We haven’t done a very good job in the church of addressing this bedrock issue. Nor are we the first generation to ask the questions.
The church, by the end of the first century AD, was wrestling with the same question. “How do we know that our faith is the right one?” They, like us, lived in a pluralistic society steeped in pagan worship and idolatry. There were a lot of options to choose from, some which seemed customized to accommodate the lifestyle of the day… and most of which were far more culturally acceptable than following this crucified teacher from Galilee.
And so John, the beloved apostle, probably the last living person on earth who knew Jesus “firsthand,” wrote a brief letter to his flock to address these questions. We know it as “First John.” Many have read it, studied it, and in doing so found a bedrock assurance for their faith: a “firsthand” faith.
Perhaps, like the young lady I mentioned above, you have genuine questions about the faith “once for all delivered to the saints.” Or maybe you feel like you once had this faith and assurance, but somehow you’ve lost it. I want to personally invite you to join us as we journey together as a church family into this brief, New Testament letter and hopefully, by the end of our time together, you will know that the Jesus you serve and the faith you hold are indeed the real ones. I really encourage you, not only to hear each of the messages, but to take them to “lunch” with you and discuss some of the ideas with your family or friends. Each week in the blog, I will announce the portions of the book we will be covering in the service. Please try to read and pray through the text before coming to worship on Sunday. This will bring the maximum opportunity for God to speak to you through His Word.
My personal prayer is that you will find an unshakeable assurance in your relationship to God through Jesus that cannot and will not ever fail.
FOR MEDITATION: These things are written to you who believe in the name of the Son of God that you may know you have eternal life. 1 John 5:13
FOR REFLECTION: How unshakeable is your faith? Do you know more than the facts the Bible presents about Jesus? Do you know that you know eternal life belongs to you as His gift? These important questions deserve real answers. Search your heart… and search His Word. The answers will be there.