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Apr 14, 2024

Experience Jesus

Experience Jesus

Passage: 1 John 1:1-2

Speaker: Matt Petty

Series: Blessed Assurance

Category: Sunday Sermons

Keywords: heaven, church, prayer, faith, jesus, god, praise, ministry, sermon, cross, christian, bible, christ, gospel, hope, joy, theology, salvation, sermons, holy spirit, peace, fellowship, jesus christ, the bible, christianity, saved, fellowship with god, bible study, blessed, read the bible, faith in jesus, study the bible, what is truth, assurance of faith, bible teaching, blessed assurance, burnt hickory worship, burnt hickory baptist church live stream, experience jesus, is jesus real

How do you know that you are saved? How can you be confident that you will spend eternity in heaven instead of hell? Where does your assurance come from that faith in Jesus is the way? This sermon series explores these questions and more as we dig into 1 John for blessed assurance. We can build our foundation on the principle that Jesus has always existed and has always been in power and that He is exactly who He says He is. Jesus wants to give you the abundant life precisely as He has promised. Real love and fellowship in God only grow in the soil of security. Are you experiencing a lack of Joy? Then restore your love and fellowship with God today! Place yourself in the presence of the word, turn away from sin and repent, pray and ask God to restore you, and begin to obey God. If you’ve got questions, please reach out today. We’d love to connect with you, so take the time to answer them as well as pray with you. Take the next step in your faith journey by visiting

Well, good morning, church. And for a lot of you guys, welcome back from spring break. You waited on the front end to get to Easter and kind of was out last week. And welcome back to the church this week. Let me before I jump into the message, let me just publicly give a big shout out to Marty Godfrey last week for bringing the word, last week, strong word last week. I love it every time Marty gets to preach just to hear his heart for the discipleship and hear his heart for people. It's incredible to get to hear that. And it's also just an incredible thing of the Lord to know that God has placed so many great communicators on our team so that every week somebody can stand up here and just proclaim God's truth. Now I will say this, though, when I am gone, man, there is some serious FOMO in my heart. All right, some serious FOMO. I love it when those guys preach. But man, this is what I love. So when I'm gone, you know what that means? That means the week I get back, you get a double dose. All right? So you better put your seatbelts on this morning. because it's about to come. Also, let me witness.

We're starting a new series today, just like you saw on the screens that we're just calling blessed assurance. Blessed assurance, where here's what we're going to do. Let me just lay it out. We're going to walk through some pieces of this letter of First John. And in that, I'm just going to show you not a line by line, word by word, but I'm going to show you some incredible or amazing assurances and instructions and guidance that can really show all of us and help us determine A. if our faith is real, B. if how we can know that our faith is real, and C. it's just going to show us what exactly it is that we have in Jesus when Jesus saves us.

Now, let me say this. If you're if you're new to church, the book of First John is towards the end of your Bible. All right. So if you're trying to find it, it's going to be a little bit frustrating. All right. It's a small, small, five-page book. If you get to revelation, come back a little bit. All right. That's how I can describe it to you. This letter of first John, as you're finding it is written by none other than the apostle John. Now, that's a little bit confusing. Why? Because first, John is a little bit of a sequel to the Gospel of John. Seems like the Holy Spirit could have been a little more creative and given us some different names, but he didn't. Right.

And so a lot of the times when you refer to First John, people think it's the Gospel of John and vice versa. Well, the Gospel of John, what John does in that sets up what he's going to say in this letter. You say, man, well, how is that? Well, let me tell you a little bit about the Gospel of John to get us to the letter of John. In the Gospel of John, the Apostle John. You see, there's a lot of John, right? The apostle John describes to us who Jesus is. He describes it in a way that the lost person can receive it, or the lost person can hear it. We're introducing the life-giving power and saving power of who Jesus is. In the Gospel of John, he tells us that Jesus calls himself the light and he is the living water, and he's the bread of life. He's the gate, the good Shepherd, the door. He's the way, the truth, and the life. And then he calls himself the resurrection and the life. It's almost like if you read the Gospel of John, which man I encourage you to do this week.

It's almost like in that gospel, you can hardly flip a page in that gospel without Jesus claiming to be God in the flesh, to be the actual God. In fact, even at the end of the Gospel of John, Jesus pulls up onto the scene. He says, listen, I'm going to deliver myself to the cross. But don't worry, because after three days I'm going to pull off Easter, right? I will rise, and I'm going to show you. Jesus says, I'm going to show you that I am no mere mortal, that I am the eternal God. And in the gospel, John finishes with Jesus saying, listen, I am God. And I came to the earth in the form of a child, to live and to walk and to teach and to guide and to die for you. And then, on top of that, I came to this earth to show you all of that, and then to give you a choice to make me king, I'm going to give you a choice to make me Lord.

Listen to me, church. There's no other thinking. There's no other religion. There's no other philosophy on this earth that has a God that came to us to die for us, to sacrifice for us, to rise for us. And then yet, has given us the free will to make a decision to follow him or not. But after all of what Jesus has done, listen; he's given us a decision on whether I'm going to make him Lord or me Lord, whether I'm going to follow my stuff or I'm going to do his stuff. Listen that is the Gospel of John that leads us into the letter of first John. So the apostle John, when he writes this letter of first John, and he writes a second John, third John in Revelation, he writes all of these.

He says, okay, if that is who Jesus is in those letters, he now answers the question of, here is how you can know that Jesus is real. Here is how you can know that Jesus is in your life. And here is how you can know that you know that you know that you know that he has saved you. And he wants to save you. So after 55 years, listen to this, John. John is an old man. When he's writing this letter of First John. He's an old man. He is the last of the apostles, right? When you think about it, John is the only apostle who was not martyred for his faith at the point he's writing First John, he is an old man. He is elderly. The rest of the apostles have died off, and he has seen 55 years of Christianity go by, come and go and come and go since the cross. He has watched this first-century church be ready, catch this, and begin to lose its grip on who Jesus is. He has seen them begin to lose their grip on what Jesus does, how Jesus gives life, and how Jesus can be the source of everything. And you've got to know that in him, in this world, John has this message that is burned into his heart because he has seen what 55 years of people walking slowly away from Jesus looks like. Man, you know, I talk about this all the time when I read scripture. It's amazing, just distinct pop in my mind all the time that are just part of my sanctified imagination.

You know, you can just imagine, since John is the is like the last disciple to be on this planet. You can just imagine that if you walked down the road of Ephesus, because that's where he was when he wrote this book. You can just imagine that he just continually couldn't even get away from the crowd. He's probably like a superstar at this point. Like everywhere he walked, you know, there was some believer that was always probably stopping him. It's not the Bible. It's just in my mind. It's probably stopping him. Just like, hey John, tell us about the 5000. You know, tell us about that girl that died and now she's alive. Tell us about what it was like to be on the boat that night. Right? You know, everywhere he went, somebody was leaning into him and saying, tell us what it was like. You're the last. You're all that we got left. Give us the know. And when you think about what John is doing in this letter, John is carrying the weight of being the last apostle. As the church began to lose its initial boost, its initial desire, its initial revival, and knowing who God is. And he writes this letter to say what you used to have, you can still have.

Let me ask you something. Does that describe where your life is? Does that describe what your faith journey looks like? There was a time in your life when you gave your life to Jesus and man you were on fire. You were walking it out. You knew him. You were praying. You were part of a local body. You were doing the deal. But after, maybe for you, it is 55 years. I don't know, maybe for you, it is five months, I don't know, but after a time it just began to wean away, and before you know it, it's not even a big part of your life anymore. That's why John wrote this letter.

See, the churches were complacent. They were really at this point where they were going that was kind of our parent's religion. Our parents deal. Now, John sits down to write this little five-page letter, knowing that he doesn't have long left on earth to say that Jesus is who he claimed he was. He's proven all that he needs you. He still gives you the choice to walk with him. And then John looks at us and says, listen, if you want to have life and you want to have purpose and you want to have the assurance back, here is how you can know that he is your Lord. Here's how you can know that you're walking with Jesus. And here's how you can know, using John's words, that you're remaining in Jesus. So listen, First John was not written to a person. It was not written to a particular church.

It was written to all the churches in modern day Turkey. And it was written to you to say, listen, I know that you're going to struggle, and I know that you're going to have troubles, and I know that you're going to be times in your life where you don't even know if you feel like God is there. But hold on. I'm about to show you he is. First John is a little bit different. and here's why. So when you read the Bible, when you read that, said the Apostle Paul, he is a master arguer, right? Apostle Paul lays out his argument like, hey, here's point one, here's point two, and here's point three, and here's point four. Well, John doesn't do that. John is like your ADD cousin who can't hardly tell a story for you to understand. Right? He gives point one, and he gets point six, and then he gets point two. Then he gets point four. And before you know it, you're like, we've already covered that, John. Well, listen, as you read this letter, you're going to see that's how John writes. He kind of jumbles it all together. So don't be surprised by that. But in it we're just going to look at this idea of how do I know that my relationship is genuine? How do I really lean into my relationship with God? And how do I know that I'm remaining in him?

And listen, I can guarantee you every single one of us has thought some of those questions at some point. So we're going to start today in First John chapter one, verse one. And we're going to lean into this idea today of radically experiencing Jesus. Here we go. First John 1:1. I'm going to read, give you a few principles, give you some applications, and then we're going to Cracker Barrel. Here we go. Here it is. First John 1:1, says this, that which was from the beginning, which we have heard, which we have seen with our eyes, which we have looked at with our hands and have touched this we proclaim concerning the word of life. Word of life is a, it's a nickname for Jesus, for those of you who didn't know that. Verse two said that life appeared. We have seen it, and we testify to it, and we proclaim to you the eternal life which was with the Father and has appeared to us. So what is John doing?

John begins this letter, and to set the record straight, there's all this crazy kind of thinking that is out there. He sets off in this letter in the first couple of verses to correct the believers who are walking in this life. And he says, listen, I know that you're hearing a lot of stuff. I know there's crazy things being said. There's a lot of things being taught. There's a lot of deception and false doctrine. But what John does in the first of his letter is he says, listen, I am writing to you what has been said from the beginning.

Now, it's easy just to skip over that. But that is so important because here's what John is saying. He's saying listen before Bethlehem and before Genesis chapter one verse one, he is saying, I am writing to you about a God, Jesus, that has always existed. He has always been present. In fact, let me give you a principle to write down, all right? Click off the Masters for a minute. Write this down here it is. It says this. It says here, here's the principle Jesus has always existed and has always been in power. Listen, we need to know this because this is where John's basis begins, all of this. Listen, Jesus has always existed. Never let someone who rings your doorbell on a Saturday tell you that Jesus has not ever existed. He has always existed. He has always been present. He has always walked with Father God. It's not like God the Father one day was like, oh no, I got to do something with this sin problem. Let me create Jesus. That's not how it worked. It's not like he was one that was just over this planet and not of her other planet. Jesus has always been the Trinity, has always been. It has always been present. He is not a lesser God. He is God. He is not a new God. He has always been, even in Genesis.

Listen to this good teaching moment. Genesis 1:26 says, Then God said, let us make mankind in our image and in our likeness. Do you see Jesus was already existing? He was already in power. He was already with the Father. Even Jesus in John eight says this verse 56, very truly, Jesus said, speaking to the religious leaders, he Jesus answered Before Abraham was born, I am. Now listen, that is huge. Not for us, because we're like, okay, thanks for telling us that, Jesus. But for them, that was huge. Because Jesus is just saying, hey, I know you respect that guy Abraham, kind of the beginning of the Jews, right? But I was already there. I have already existed since the beginning of time. Even John says this in the beginning of his gospel, John 1:1 it says, in the beginning was the word, and the word was with God, and the word was God. He was with God in the beginning, and through him, all things were made.

Listen, John is beginning this point to say, hey, what you're hearing and what you're seeing from me as a representative of God is not like this other Gnostic thinking is not like this other mystical thinking. It's not like this other new-age stuff or cultural stuff. It has always been. Church, listen to this. The New Age stuff has nothing compared to the wisdom of the eternal Jesus. That's what John is saying. He says, so we have to listen to this. This is not a new thinking. This is not a new idea. Jesus has always been and will always be, and we should give our hearts and lives to him. But from there, he says, now, here's how I know this. And at this point John swaps to his personal experience. Now, look, I want you to notice something, that John gives a spiritual truth, and then he leans into it with a spiritual experience. You see, both of these things can exist together. Experience without truth is nothing but mysticism. Truth without experience is nothing but fundamentalism. They both got to be together, and they operate together. And it's what John does. He swaps to this personal experience of here's how I know he is God, the truth I've given you. And what does he say? He says this. He starts using these words like, man, I've heard him talk. I saw him walk. I looked at him. I touched his resurrection body. John is building this report. He's establishing this credibility. And he's saying, listen, Jesus didn't come from some story that is just handed down by some old book. And it's not just a passed-down family religion. It's not just something my parents had. It's not some second-hand knowledge. It's not even Jesus is not even something that some monk in a cave came up with and wrote down. No, John even says, on top of all that, that Jesus is not even something that makes the most logical, worldly sense outside of faith. He's saying no. He says, This is God, this is God. He starts by saying, this God has ruled from the beginning of time, and it's now come to give you life and to give you hope. And he goes, I'm sure of it, because I heard the truth, and I walked with him.

Listen closely to me. Listen, here it is. John says that the reason that he and the disciples are so convinced that Jesus is who he says he was is because they experienced Jesus. They experience Jesus. You see, we've got to understand that the disciples never believed that Christianity was really and truly some just great system of living to live by. That’s not why they submitted their lives to who God was. The disciples never believed that because they thought that Christianity was some earthly better way to live, they would give their life to it. No, they didn't even think that it was sometimes the most earthly sense to do what they were doing. In fact, it cost some of them their lives. They continued in their life with God because they experienced the resurrected Jesus. And on top of that, even when sometimes they couldn't explain it, they couldn't give a defense for it. They couldn't kind of roll it into words. They had to look at each other and go, hey, we don't know. But he radically saved us.

You say, Matt, what do you mean by that? That's kind of a weird thing I love in John chapter nine. Let me give you an example in John chapter nine, Jesus meets this guy who had been born blind. If you were a Jew, you would have seen him as being cursed, right? Well, Jesus heals. This guy happened to be on a Sabbath. The religious leaders get mad at Jesus, are always mad at Jesus, and they begin to look at this guy that Jesus healed. They begin to question him. He goes, look, this Jesus guy, he couldn't have healed you. He couldn't have done that to you. He is like us. He's a sinner. He's not going to perform this miracle on you and watch what this guy that got healed said in John nine. This is where John is making this point. He says this. Then he replied, this is the guy that can now see that didn't used to be able to see. He says, whether he is a sinner or not, I don't know. But one thing I do know is that I was blind, but now I see. You see, the blind man said listen, y'all figure out the details. Seems to be your job, right? All I know is I experienced Jesus. He healed me. I don't know how. I don't care, Jesus did it, and he gave me sight. That's what John is talking about.

You see, when you couple the truth of God and the experience of God that he offers all of us, that is faith. In fact, I've said this before: faith is the unexplainable meeting the undeniable. And knowing that is who God is. And it's true. Listen, it's not. That's not just true. Some of you are kind of battling your faith. It's true for all of us. There are points in our lives where we're just not fully understanding what God is doing. We do not understand why God is doing something. We're not understanding the whole truth of who God is. Why? Because we're fallen people. We live in a limited body, and there are these massive claims of Christianity that sometimes leave us with questions, sometimes leave us with ideas of, I can't put it all into words, but John is telling us here, this is not a theory, and I'm not accepting it because I can explain all of it. And now I'm just telling you, you've got to believe it because we saw it and we experienced it. And here's what he's looking at me and you saying, and you can too. You can experience it. I mean, I mentioned this before. I move on because I think it's huge.

John is confronting here one of the biggest, I guess you could say fights or one of the biggest or most common objections that I hear for Christianity today. It starts with people coming up to you. I mean, especially as your students. You've heard this. And somebody will say, hey, listen man, I love the I love that you follow Jesus. And I'm really glad that works for you. But I've got my thing over here that works for me. If you heard this, I mean. Or is it just me, right? I got my thing over here. That works for me. And as long as here's what they'll say, as long as we're both pure in our intentions, right? As long as we're all, like, fully into whatever it is, and then we're going to be okay. I call it the Oprah effect, right? As long as you believe something a lot, you're okay, right? John says, no, no, no, no, there's nothing subjective about Jesus, and there's nothing subjective about the resurrection. We touched him. We touched him. We, and actually John would go, hey, we were doubting. We were doubting. We were scattered. But he rose. And this changes everything because Jesus is who he says he is. Here's the principle you can write it down.

Jesus is exactly who he says he is, and he wants to give you the abundant life exactly as he has promised to. So here's the deal. Quit listening to the crowd. That's why we're going to meet them in chapter two. Don't worry. Quit listening to the culture. It's always trying to push something new in what John is saying come and experience Jesus. John is saying he's worth it and he can change your life like he did mine. To which I can hear the skeptics in the room go, man, it's great for John. I mean, think about it. He got to touch Jesus. I mean, yeah, man, I would trust Jesus if I got to touch Jesus, I would trust Jesus if I got to see Jesus.

Listen, how what does this have to do with me? Well, look at verse three. I'm glad you asked that question. Here's how John answers it. He says this. John says, we proclaim to you what we have seen and heard, so that you may also have fellowship with us. And our fellowship, John says, is with the father and with his son. Stay with me. Watch this: this word fellowship. If you grew up in church, you know, it's the word koinonia. It means commonness, weaving together, walking together, and celebrating God's power together. But John is saying that we want everybody to experience what we have. And John is saying that you can have the same experiential knowledge of who God is as those of us that had walked with him.

You say but, Matt, how is that? Well, the answer is in verse two. And where John is describing that I am telling you all of these things that exactly happened with Jesus so that now you can know him. You see, all the miracles of Jesus are really on display to point to what? They're on display to point to the father. They're on display to point to a personal relationship with the Father and a life that we can now share with the Father. Look, every single miracle that John points out in his gospel, and then he's talking about in verse two right here, points to this huge reality that sometimes yes, it is about the person being healed. But even more than that, it's pointing to what God wants to do in your life as you experience him.

So listen, when you read the Gospels, when you read the miracles, don't read them through the lens of oh wow, I'm really glad that God can see your look. All those people can eat. Read him through the lens of this. That's what God wants to do spiritually in me. He says, man, I had enough coffee to understand him. Give me, give me, give me something else. Help me explain that. Let me, let me give you a few examples of the fellowship and the closeness that God offers. John chapter six. There's this, this miracle, the 5000 people that got to eat from the lunchable right. And the Bible says that every single one of them ate until they were absolutely filled. Do you know what that says to us? It doesn't say, hey, hang around long enough. Somebody will eat your lunch. That's not what it means, right? What does it mean? It means that God has the power to satisfy every single need that you have fully. That's the experience that you can have. Yeah. Okay. John. Chapter four. The woman at the. Well, one of my favorites. Right. Jesus walks up to this lady, a promiscuous lady, right? And shows her he knows everything about this lady. But Jesus loves her anyway.

You know what that shows us? It shows you how we can be fully known by God and still fully loved by God. So we don't have to run away from God. We can run to God in our moments of need. Mark chapter four Jesus and the disciples are on the sea. I mentioned this one earlier. A huge storm pops up, Jesus is napping in the boat, right? They wake him up. Jesus looks at the storm and says, peace, be still. Great story. It doesn't mean when you're on Altoona and there's a storm call out to Jesus, you know, calm the sea. That's not what the story is for us, right? What is it?

It means that Jesus is still in the business of calming the seas of your storm right now in your soul. That's what it means. Matthew chapter nine is there's this girl with a bleeding issue. Let me give you another one that made her unclean, made her. Nobody could even touch her. So Jesus heals her, calls her daughter, touches her, and shows us that we are fully loved when we are his, and we are fully loved even when we are broken. You see an experience, you see what John is saying. That's why he's telling us these stories. One more, and I promise him to the mark. Chapter eight, verse 24. You have to look at this one up later. there was this blind guy that Jesus healed. It's the only miracle in the Bible that Jesus had to give it kind of two touches. This is one of my favorite ones, right? And it wasn't like Jesus was shooting blanks and didn't have any power that day. No, that's not why I didn't do that. Right. He touches the guy the first time, and the guy can see, but everybody kind of still looks like the Bible would describe them as trees. That's how they describe him. So the guys walk around is like, everybody looks like trees. I don't know how he knew that because he'd been blind from birth, but that's not the point, right? I mean, right, get it? But Jesus does the first thing the guy comes back to him is like, everybody else, like trees. And do you remember what the story is? Jesus does what?

Jesus touches him again, and Jesus clears everything up. Now, the story is not there just to kind of make us go. What was Jesus not feeling on that day? Well, what is it? Right? No. It's there to show us what Jesus does in our lives spiritually. When we meet him for the first time, he touches us, salvation, and gives us some spiritual sight. But then, every single other time he touches us, he clarifies our experience with him, and he gives us more power. You see the miracles that John is talking about in chapter two, and he describes them are miracles that he's pointing to our picture of what Jesus does in us when we continue with Jesus as he shows us more and more. Are you getting the point? John is saying, we saw him, but those things were for you too. And when we experience those things in a spiritual sense, he gives us greater confirmation of him. And then John says, hey, listen, I just want you to experience the joy that I get to experience.

In fact, look at verse four and keep moving through the text. It says this. He says this. He says we write this to make our joy complete. The word “our” here, in fact, let me read it in the New Living Testament. It kind of makes more sense. It says this, we are writing these things so that you may fully share our joy. I mean, I want you to write this principle and it seems so basic, but we struggle with it. Here's the principle God desires for us to fully experience his joy.

That's John's whole point here. He's saying, I'm giving you the stories. I'm giving you the eyewitness account. I'm giving you the truth that has been here from the beginning and showing you who Jesus is because I want you to know that walking with Jesus and the assurance of Jesus gives us a joy that nothing else can give us. Well, listen closely. God is not some tyrant in the sky. That is like a whac-a-mole game that's waiting on you to make a mistake and whack you back down. That's not who God is. God is a loving father who's established a system of redemption that shows us that he is not a dictator ruling with an iron fist. He is a loving God who knows our souls even better than we know them. He offered second and third chances and offered us a way to flourish truly, and that is to turn our lives over to him. And when we do that, we have joy. It seems so counterproductive, right? Because people that aren't Christians are like, man, you're a Christian doesn't steal your joy. You're like, you don't get it. You don't get it.

Let me ask you a question this morning. Do you have a joy problem? Do you have a joy problem? What the Apostle John is getting at here is to say this. If you've got a joy problem, it really means that you have a fellowship with God. Problem. And that problem can be fixed. It can be fixed because of what Jesus has done. So, Matt, what do you mean by that? Well, there are two categories of people that have joy problems. The first category, people are people who have never given their life to Jesus. People that never have given their lives to Jesus. They have never repented. They've never invited Christ into their life. Can I tell you something? If you have a joy problem, that is your first step. Why? Because you cannot have fellowship with God without the forgiveness of your sins and Jesus saving you. You need to trust Jesus. You need to give your life to Jesus. Everything else that you have tried is not going to bring the joy that lasts.

What's going to bring the joy the last is the ancient truth that he is Lord, that he is God. He died for you, he rose for you, and he's offering you life. Man, let me be honest with you real quick. God wants you to know. Listen closely. He wants you to know that you know that you know that you know that you're saved. Some of you grew up in traditions, so if you grew up in denominations that want to keep you always on the bubble, right? Those of you that grew up, you know what I'm talking about. The wants to make you always feel, well, maybe I'm not a Christian. Maybe I am a Christian. Maybe if I did that, I'm not a Christian. Maybe I am a Christian. Why? Because they always want to keep you on this bubble. Because they think that that kind of thinking is going to produce some kind of obedience that is going to help you walk out the love and fellowship of God. That is not the truth. The truth is you can ride this principle down. That real love and fellowship in God only grows in the soil of security. You can beat your kid all you want to what God is saying, but until they know that you love them, they're not going to follow you. What it's saying here for God is this: until you have placed your hope for eternity only on Jesus and you've received a new nature, a new desire, a new life, and full forgiveness.

I'm not saying you're perfect. That's not what I'm saying. But until you do that, you will never have the joy that is offered to you. Man, I just feel like I need to pause just for a second and ask you this. Have you given your heart to Jesus? Now, I'm not talking about do you go to church. I'm not talking about whether you have a Bible. But have you given your heart to Jesus? Do you know that you know that you know that you know that you're his? In fact, First John 5:13 is the key verse for this whole book. It says this: I write these things to you who believe in the name of the Son of God so that you may know that you have eternal life. Church. Listen, you can know right now that you're stepping into eternal life with Jesus.

You say, Matt, how is that? Here's how. You acknowledge Jesus as your Savior. You confess that you're a sinner in need of him. You repent from your sins, and you invite him into your life as Savior and Lord. Let me just ask you, have you done that? Have you given your life to Jesus? I'm not saying you are just a church person because when you do, the joy is available. That's the first group, or the second group of people are others of you that that you have a relationship with Jesus. But, I mean, you're just struggling in your fellowship. You're struggling in the experiential faith that God wants you to have.

Let me close this message by giving you a couple of steps this week of how John would encourage us how to have fellowship with the Father. Number one, if that's you, number one, listen to this and place yourself in the presence of the word. You want to know that you have fellowship. You want to walk out that fellowship. You want to experience the fellowship that Jesus has for you. I mean, you need to you need to place yourself in the presence of the word. This word “word” here is a crazy kind of word because it means two things. It means Jesus because Jesus is the word, but it also means placing yourself in the actual word, the Bible that he's given us. Jesus is the Word, and the Word of God is His Word, right? First John 1:2. It’s what John just says. The last four words say this: we proclaim a claim concerning the word of life. But also listen, I'm just going to be honest with you. Marty talked about this last week. I'm going to talk about it again this week.

Jesus has also given us the scriptures. And if you want joy in your life, you have to put them in your life. You got to place them in your heart in two ways. You need to do it publicly, like we're doing right here, sitting under teaching, making it a priority of our life so you can experience those kinds of oh wow moments, those God blessed me moments. But you've also got to put the Word of God into your life privately. But by doing a time in the word every single day where you're learning to apply scripture, where you're learning to memorize scripture, where you're putting Scripture into your life, and especially those categories that are stealing the joy, where you're memorizing scripture. Listen, we process so much information every single day. A lot of me, a lot of people go, man, I don't need to memorize the word. I always have it in my hand. You might always have it in your hand, but when you have it in your heart when something is presented to you, you are able to process Scripture in your mind and process what is happening to you through Scripture. And what if we did that every single day? Man, it would get us out of a lot of problems. The word is a lamp unto our feet Psalm 1:19. A light into our path and the word drives out joy. It drives out fear. It drives out hopelessness. It reminds us that we win.

That's what John is saying here concerning the word of life. And are you placing yourself in the presence of the word? Here is the second thing you can do to restore this joy is number two is just turn away from sin and repent. Turn away from sin and repent. I know we don't like to talk about sin and repentance a lot. That doesn't build big crowds. But here's the reality as long as we choose to be the Lord of our lives, we will never have the joy and fellowship that God wants us to have in our lives. As long as we're running in a direction that is away from God. Why in the world would God step in and continually confirm the full fellowship that is offered to us? Listen, the choice is up to you. God is a gentleman God, and he will let you run in a direction. And the joy and the fellowship with God that can only be experienced by us that God wants us to have. It can only be experienced by the pure heart.

In fact, look at this First John one verse six. It says if we claim to have fellowship with him yet walk in the darkness, we lie, and we do not live out the truth. But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus, His Son, purifies us from all sin. So let me ask you something this morning. What is in your life right now that you just need to offer up to God and say I'm man, I'm sorry. I can't believe this got a hold on me like this.

Number one, place yourself in the presence of the word if you want that joy. Number two, turn away from sin and repent if you want that joy. And here's number three. Pray and ask God to restore you. Now notice there's a there's a little bit of an order here because here's where most of us start, where most of us start. Leave that on the screen. Most of us start, and we go, hey, God, I need you to restore me. I need you to restore me. I need you to restore me. But God is going, hey, I need you to repent. I need you to repent. And God is going. I need you to place yourself in my presence. I need you to place yourself in my presence. Do you see how it works? Some of you are like Matt. I've been asking God to restore me for years and years and years. Maybe you need to repent of something in your life that is driving a wedge in your life between you and God, and then God will begin to loose you and show you what his joy and fellowship look like.

Maybe you need to place yourself in the Word, and then the Word will begin to break down those walls and give you a way to repent. And then God says, when you do that, man, I will blow you away and show you who I am. Look, we're not called to live this life on our own. I need you to hear that. The moment God saves us, he offers us His Spirit. He offers us his power. And many times, what God is waiting for us is just to ask him to move in our repentant hearts. That's God's will.

That's God's will to move in our lives. And he wants to do that. Man, this week, maybe you need to ask God, God, I need you to restore me. Restore me. So we pray for God to restore us and hold on because he will. Here's number four to restore the fellowship. Number four, quite simply, let's just obey God. Just obey God. Simply put, let me let me say, simply put, just do what God says to do. And I don't know what point authority became a four-letter word, right? But man, for so many of us, we refuse to allow God to be in control and say, listen, as long as you hold on and as long as you choose to be you and not walk in me, you are never going to experience the fellowship and the joy the John is saying. Simply put them. I give you two verses. John says this later on he says in First John four. He says the one who keeps the commands lives in him, and he in them. And this is how we know that he lives in us.

Or even clearer. First John 2:5 says, but if anyone obeys his Word, the love for God is truly made complete in them. Believers, do you want the joy of the Lord in your life? I think we all would just go, yeah, I do, I really, really do. Man, here it is. Get into the word, turn from your sin, pray and ask God to restore you, and obey. Just obey. It's that simple. Place yourself in his presence. Turn from the things that are shattering your fellowship. Pray and ask him to restore you and obey. But for others of you, this morning we started this whole idea of just asking you, do you know that you're his? I told you both of us can solve our problems this morning. The first people are believers. You can solve yours by walking through those steps. This week. But for those of you who don't know Jesus, listen, you're never going to have the experience of Jesus until you ask him to save you radically. And you can do that right now if I would, bow your heads and close your eyes as we get ready to walk into our invitation this morning.

For some of you this morning, this morning is the first time that you have heard the gospel of Jesus spoken over your life in a way that just says, wow, I need Jesus, and he's doing something in your heart right now. This morning, do you need to surrender your heart to Jesus and have that assurance that you know that you know that you know that you know, no matter what happens in your life, that Jesus is yours? You can by simply inviting him into your life. You say, Matt, how do I do that? You just simply say this, Lord Jesus, I know that you’re Lord. I know that you're king. I know that you walked on this earth. I know that you died. I know that you rose. Would you come into my heart and save me and be my Lord?

Listen, for some of you, those words have never been true in your life before. But today is your day. Today is the day that you've given your heart to Jesus. Let me just say this during this next invitation song, I'm going to ask you just to hold for a couple of minutes. Just a stillness to be in the room because I believe there are people here who need the assurance of knowing that they are saved today and they've just given their heart to Jesus today. If you just gave your heart to Jesus during this next invitation song, I'm going to be standing over by the Next Steps banner, and I'd love to talk to you. I’d love to pray with you and encourage you today. To show you the assurance that you have. Man, just look at me and just say, hey Matt, I gave my life to Jesus today. I need that assurance. I thought I had it, but today I need it. For some others of you today, man, you haven’t had the joy of the Lord for a long time. Maybe today can be that first step back into the koinonia of fellowship.

Lord, move in these next couple of minutes, and Jesus, we love you. It's in your name.


Let's stand together.

Follow Along with the Message

Experience Jesus

April 14, 2024

1 John 1:1–2
1 That which was from the beginning, which we have heard, which we have seen with our eyes, which we have looked at and our hands have touched — this we proclaim concerning the Word of life. 2 The life appeared; we have seen it and testify to it, and we proclaim to you the eternal life, which was with the Father and has appeared to us.

PRINCIPLE: Jesus has existed and has always been in power.

Genesis 1:26
Then God said, “Let us make mankind in our image, in our likeness.”
John 8:58
“Very truly I tell you,” Jesus answered, “before Abraham was born, I am!”
John 1:1–3
1 In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. 2 He was with God in the beginning. 3 Through him all things were made…
John 9:25
He replied, “Whether he is a sinner or not, I don’t know. One thing I do know. I was blind but now I see!”

PRINCIPLE: Jesus exactly who He says He is, and He wants to give you the abundant life exactly as He has promised.

1 John 1:3
We proclaim to you what we have seen and heard, so that you also may have fellowship with us. And our fellowship is with the Father and with his Son, Jesus Christ.
1 John 1:4
We write this to make our joy complete.
1 John 1:4 (NLT)
We are writing these things so that you may fully share our joy.

PRINCIPLE: God desires for us to experience His joy.

QUESTION: Do you have a problem?

PRINCIPLE: Real love and fellowship in God only in the soil of security.

1 John 5:13
I write these things to you who believe in the name of the Son of God so that you may know that you have eternal life.

Steps to Restore Your Love and Fellowship

1. Place yourself in the presence of the .

1 John 1:1
That which was from the beginning, which we have heard, which we have seen with our eyes, which we have looked at and our hands have touched — this we proclaim concerning the Word of life.

2. away from sin and repent.

John 1:6–7
6 If we claim to have fellowship with him and yet walk in the darkness, we lie and do not live out the truth. 7 But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus, his Son, purifies us from all sin.

3. Pray and God to restore you.

John 5:14–15
14 This is the confidence we have in approaching God: that if we ask anything according to his will, he hears us. 15 And if we know that he hears us — whatever we ask — we know that we have what we asked of him.

4. God.

1 John 3:24
The one who keeps God’s commands lives in him, and he in them. And this is how we know that he lives in us.
John 2:5–6
5 But if anyone obeys his word, love for God is truly made complete in them. This is how we know we are in him: 6 Whoever claims to live in him must live as Jesus did.

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