Waynedale United Methodist Church
Sunday, August 20, 2017
Making Disciples of Jesus for the Transformation of the World!
   

July 26, 2015 Sermon

“Hearing, Seeing and Touching Christ in Faith”
1 John 1:1 – 4
Ted Jansen  July 26, 2015  Waynedale UMC
 
1.)        When does something become real to you?  When you hear something, when you see something when, when you touch something?    
            What if I told you that the Speedway station was selling gas for $1.00 a gallon?  Would you believe me?  Why or why not?  What if I told you it was being sold for $2.36?  Would you believe me?  Why or why not? 
When you are listening to someone you have to consider if that is a trustworthy person or not.  Or you need to see for yourself what someone told you about. 
Are you more likely to believe that gas is $1.00 a gallon or $2.36 a gallon?  You have to verify with your senses before something becomes real to you.    
             
2.)        I want you to believe that “Bananas are good!”   I want that to become real to you.     
            First I tell you that Bananas are good.  You have to believe me.  This might not convince you but it is a start.  (This involves the sense of hearing)
            Next I show you that Bananas are good.  You can see the banana and it looks good to you.  Yellow is a great color and the shape is interesting.   (This involves your sense of sight.)
            Then I let you smell that Bananas are good.  You get a smell of the fruit and it is ok.  It is not offensive and has a good aroma to you.  (This involves your sense of smell.)
            Then I let you touch to show you that Bananas are good.  They are not hard or with thorns.  The touch does not cause you pain.  (This involves your sense of touch.)
            Then I let you taste to convince you that Bananas are good.  This is where you are enjoying the banana in its fullest form.  (This involves your sense of taste.) 
 
3.)        Each of these five senses gives you more and more evidence that Bananas are good.   Each sense builds on the next until you taste and then you believe. 
            I could tell you the nutritional benefit of the banana and why I personally eat bananas for my health.  I could tell you that they go great with ice cream!     
            At some point you might become convinced that Bananas are good. You would then try to convince others that Bananas are good.    
            If you never had an experience with Bananas and you only ate one banana in your life you might remember and believe.  But when you have your senses involved in a repeated fashion this begins to transform your life and you believe the truth that Bananas are good and this is the truth.    
 
4.)        Let us consider the truth of our faith, our spirit and what we know to be real, or at least be willing to consider as real. 
John the Apostle is convinced that Jesus Christ is good.  Jesus is not only good, but Jesus is God, and was here on earth!  John wants to tell others how he is convinced and what it means to have faith in Jesus Christ.   
 
5.)        John’s Gospel, not his letter, starts with these words, “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.  He was with God in the beginning.”  (John 1:1).   Then we read John 1:14 which says, “The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us.” 
            John’s Gospel leads us to understand that Jesus is the Word and was with God at the beginning.  This chapter is filled with theology and mystery. 
John gives some other teaching in this Gospel and then the last half of the book (10 out of 21 chapters) is devoted to the last week of Jesus’ life and His Resurrection.
John wants the readers to focus on Jesus’ death and resurrection.  Jesus was a real person who died a real death who was raised to life by a real God.  I want you to hold that truth, to believe it is real, in your heart as we look at John’s letter.    
 
6.)        1 John 1 starts with, “That which was from the beginning…”  This is similar to how John starts his Gospel.  “In the beginning…” 
            We need to understand that some people believed in the concept of mystery and at the time of the writing of this book, approx. 55 years after Jesus died and was resurrected, some were unsure if Jesus was actually here on earth.  
            Then John shifts from theology and mystery to what John knows is real and what he wants to readers to know as they have faith in Christ.   
 
7.)        John begins to describe, through the senses, how he knew Christ as real.  John had a perspective that is unique among all people because he was with Jesus when Jesus walked on this earth.  Listen to how he writes and I want to emphasize the senses that are described in this scripture.  Consider how many times the sense are mentioned.    
            “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. 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.  We proclaim to you what we haveseen 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 1:1 – 3)
            How many times did I emphasize the senses?  15 times.  John is doing his best to give you evidence that Jesus Christ is real in this scripture passage.      
 
8.)        When did faith in Jesus Christ become real to you?  How could faith in Christ become real?  What sense would give you the most evidence for faith in Jesus Christ? 
            As we consider the different settings or environments where faith in Jesus Christ can occur think about your own faith story.      
            How does the truth of Jesus Christ become real to you in the camp/outdoor setting, the home/family setting and the church/worship setting?      
 
9.)        The camp setting calls for each person to be in a different place that is not a part of our regular routine.  It is easier for all of the senses to be engaged while you are at church camp.
You can taste camp food that has been prepared out of love for you.  You can touch the counselors who are in your cabin and realize they have given their time and energy for you and for God.  You can see the camp and creation and Christ in other people as they spend time with you.  You can hear the sounds of music, worship, birds, the message from scripture of the good news, and the joy of people having fun.  You can smell the outdoors and consider that the Christ was a part of creating the world. 
            You are filled in your life through the senses.  You find you can believe that God is good, that Jesus is the Word of life, and when given the opportunity you believe and have faith in Christ.  It might have more to do with the senses and the way you have been able to get away from your church and home and let the truth be repeated and reinforced each day. 
 
10.)      The home/family setting is where we spend time, perhaps the most time.  What about your home communicates the good news of Christ through the senses to you?  Do all who live in your home know Jesus Christ as real?  How do the senses help our faith in the Lord? 
            Our setting of worship and being the church in this location is a few hours each week.  How are your senses made alive to the Good news of Jesus Christ when you are in this location. 
           
11.)      I invite you to think about one symbol in the outdoor/camp setting that has helped your faith.  What is something in your home that leads you to hold firm to your faith in Christ.  As you look around in this sanctuary what is one symbol that gives you strength in your faith. 
Share these symbols, these proofs that Jesus Christ was crucified, was resurrected and is alive today in your life, with other people who need to hear the Good News.    
            This sharing of the symbols of faith is a way to give people evidence for faith.  Evangelism, is giving people more evidence than they had before, through one or more of the senses of the Good News of Jesus Christ. 
           
12.)      If someone would come up to you and ask, “How do you know that your faith is real?”  What would you tell them and what evidence would you give them? 
           
Perhaps we would sing, or speak the words to a hymn that describe Jesus Christ is real and alive.   “I serve a risen Savior, He’s in the world today.  I know that He is living, whatever foes may say.  I see His hand of mercy, I hear his voice of cheer, and just the time I need Him He’s always near.    He lives.  He lives, Christ Jesus lives today.  He walks with me and He talks with me along life’s narrow way.”    (He Lives  by Alfred Ackley, 1933) 
 
13.)      Here is the story of how the song, “He Lives” was created by Rev Alfred Ackley.
 
Alfred H. Ackley was born on January 21, 1887. His father, a Methodist preacher and musically gifted man, gave Alfred his foundation in music at an early age. Alfred went on to study harmony and composition in New York and London. His specialty was cello. Over time, he felt a call to preach and pastored for many years, but never stopped writing music and hymns. 
One particular morning, Easter Sunday in 1932, Rev. Ackley was preparing for his services of the day. As he was shaving, he tuned in to the radio in time to hear a special Easter broadcast.
“Good morning!” The well-known liberal preacher began. “It’s Easter! You know folks, it really doesn’t make any difference to me if Christ be risen or not. As far as I am concerned His body could be as dust in some Palestinian tomb. The main thing is, His truth goes marching on!”
Rev. Ackley was furious. “It’s a lie!” he shouted at the radio set, forgetting that the speaker could not hear him.
Mrs. Ackley did hear him, and questioned, “Why are you shouting so early in the morning?”
“Didn’t you hear what that good-for-nothing preacher said?” he replied. “He said it didn’t matter whether Christ be risen or not!”
Rev. Ackley knew that the truth of the resurrection DID matter, as evidenced by a conversation he had had with a young Jewish man just a few weeks prior. “Why should I worship a dead Jew?” the young man asked; to which Rev. Ackley had replied, “That’s the whole point. He isn’t dead; He’s alive!”
Rev. Ackley, in telling the story later, said that he preached that Easter Sunday quite differently than he had ever preached before, but at the end of the day, still felt that he had not yet said everything he wanted to say!
His wife sized up the situation and said, “Listen here, Alfred Ackley, it’s time you did that which you can do best. Why don’t you write a song about it and then maybe you’ll feel better. You’ll have something that will go on telling the story.”
That very night, Rev. Alfred Ackley wrote out the words, and then composed the melody just as it appears in our hymnals today. (Hymn story from Nickel Notes website)