When in doubt, power fades, relationships last.
JULY 16, 2020
Zach Van Dyke:
When in doubt, power fades, relationships last. Let’s talk about it on Key Life.
You’re listening to Key Life. We believe that because of what Jesus has done, God will never be angry at you again. Zach Van Dyke is teaching us this week. Zach serves as the teaching pastor at Summit Church right here in Orlando, Florida. If you’ve been trying to earn God’s approval, we invite you the hangout.
Zach Van Dyke:
Thanks Matthew. And thank you all for tuning in all week. Uh, like Matthew said, my name’s Zach and I’ve been sitting in for Steve all week. He’ll be back tomorrow with Pete, for Q & A. So make sure you tune in tomorrow. And today, even though we’re wrapping up this week of teaching, I will be back in August and also September to kind of continue what we’ve started here. I’m titling this week When in Doubt part one, uh, we’ll have part two and part three and the subsequent weeks. Um, and really in this series of weeks, I’m looking at the, the letter John wrote to the church, a letter that I think he wrote as an old man, uh, to kind of give us younger Christians, those who would follow in his footsteps, a way to navigate our doubts. You know, there’s lots of reasons why we could doubt we could doubt because, um, because things aren’t turning out the way we thought they would, if God is in control, or we might doubt, because we’re still struggling with sin. And so what does that mean? Like if I’m not better, does that mean this isn’t true, that God isn’t working on me. I mean, there could be so many reasons for doubts. And if you grew up in a Christian home, like I did, maybe you never felt safe really to express your doubts, to ever talk about them, to, you know, to, to, to bring them to the light. It was something you had to kind of hold in in, in secret, but that’s not true. We can bring anything to the light as, as we’ll see when I’m here in August. Um, we were going to talk a whole lot about what it means to bring things into the light. Cause that’s where John goes after his introduction, but in his introduction to his letter, which is what we’ve been looking at this week, he starts not by saying hello or hi, or how you’re doing? He starts by saying, you got to know this God, this God that I know this God who from the very beginning was relational. John in his Letter, just like in his Gospel, goes all the way back to the beginning. He goes, all, he points us all the way back to the creation story, where we see God and creation as a triune God, we have in the beginning, God. So there was God. Then we have the spirit of God hovering over the deep. So the spirit of God, and then it says, and God said, let there be light. So we have the word of God, God spoke creation into existence. Right? And so John in the beginning of his Gospel 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, all things were made through him. Um, and so there, we see God, the father, God, the Holy spirit and God, the son creating the world that out of, out of this loving relationship, birthed everything. And if that’s true, that has profound implications for how you and I move through the world. At the core of our reality, is not power, it’s not survival of the fittest, it’s relationship. It’s love. And, and we looked at this week, how John is so excited about telling us about this God, because he’s actually met this God in person and flesh. He, he was there with Jesus. And not only that, he was there with the resurrected Jesus. So he knows, he knows that what Jesus did, what he did on the cross that secured your, and my favor with God, for all eternity. It worked because he got to see Jesus after the resurrection that in fact Jesus was the conqueror of death. So, with all that being said, we’re going to kind of wrap this week up by looking at the kind of last thing that John says in his introduction. He says, this is First John verses three and four. We’ve proclaimed to you, what we have seen and heard, so that you may also have fellowship with us. And that our fellowship is with the father and with his son, Jesus Christ. We write this to make our joy complete. You see when, when John writes this letter to the early church, he’s writing it to invite everyone into an eternal relationship with their creator. One of the most famous things that John ever wrote, John 3:16
For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him might not perish but have eternal life.
And so John writes this letter to the church and that’s on his heart. He wants everyone saved. He wants everyone to know this relational God, but he doesn’t stop at salvation. I find this so fascinating, John in presenting the Gospel, doesn’t see salvation as the goal, but the means to an end. Now, before you turn this off, before you write letters, stick with me. Salvation, which comes through Jesus, Jesus alone, is the means to true fellowship, to true and genuine relationship with both God and others. John ends his introduction by saying, we write this to make our joy complete. See salvation isn’t the goal, fellowship is, community is, relationship is. Before the beginning, what existed? Fellowship, community, love between God, the father, God, the son, God the Holy spirit. And as an outflow of that love, you and I came to be, we were made, we were created for relationship, relationship with God and relationship with each other. One of the very first things that God ever spoke to us was to tell us that it isn’t good for us to be alone, right? That, that, that we are created deep for deep relationship. All power fades, eventually. Relationship is eternal. It has always existed. It will always exist. Salvation, which comes through Jesus is the means to eternal fellowship. My pastor growing up, his name was Chuck Green. And, uh, he is, he has passed away a few years ago. Um, but I, I loved Pastor Green. And, uh, even as a, even as a middle schooler and a high schooler, I loved hearing the sermons I have got, I’ve got a middle schooler and a high schooler now. And uh, and they don’t, they don’t love listening to my sermons, but I loved listening to Chuck Green’s sermons. And he always began every sermon by saying his name or her name. And then he would tell some story, uh, that, uh, that helped illustrate what we would actually be looking at in the scripture texts for that week. Um, but you know, I’ve been thinking a lot about him lately and after he retired, you could often find him at a Starbucks, um, in our, in our town, uh, reading a book, but he always made himself very interruptible. I don’t think he ever got much reading, done. Someone was always asking him questions, asking him for advice, just sitting in and asking him to tell him a story. Um, and even though I had many other coffee shop options closer to my house, um, I would often find myself at that Starbucks to write my sermons because I knew there was a good chance. I would see Pastor Green and he could help me with the sermon. Um, and, and, you know, and I knew a lot of times I was going to hit a wall and I could go to him and I can ask him a question. Um, and not only do I wish that I could, you know, write sermons at coffee shops these days, uh, without, without mask or fear or anything like that, but I really wish I could walk into the Starbucks and see Pastor Green. But you know, relationships are eternal. They’ve always existed and they will always exist. Um, and I’ve been thinking about that a lot when it comes to him, you know, I said at the beginning, John is an old man. He’s an old man, when he writes his letter to the church. He was probably 15, 16 when he started following Jesus, which makes him 19, 20 when Jesus died. He was there at the cross, in fact he’s the only disciple that we know was right there at the foot of the cross with Jesus’s mom. So he was there and he saw that as a very young man. And now he’s an old man, probably in his eighties, you know, Steve age and he, and he’s cramming for finals. And he’s writing this letter, to this church, to these young believers and, and he’s wanting to remind us of some things and, and to encourage us in some things, because he knows the doubts will come. And he’s seen all of his closest and dearest friends die, at this point. Many of them were martyred for the sake of Christ. He even saw his friend, Peter crucified. Um, you know, some say that Peter was crucified upside down because Peter didn’t want to die in the exact same manner as a savior. But however, Peter was crucified, John, John knew it. John was there, John had to live through it. And so by the time John writes, Peter’s been dead for about 20 years. He sits down and he writes this letter to the church. He writes his gospel account of the letter of Jesus. John having seen all of that, having been through all of that, he sits down and he writes, but the other disciple outran, Peter, if you listened yesterday, I read to you the Gospel account of John, um, uh, of the resurrection and in John makes it very clear three times in fact, that he was faster than Peter. And I said yesterday, that it’s the most unnecessary verse in all of scripture. Like John didn’t need to include that. He definitely didn’t need to mention it three times, but the more I’ve thought about it, the more I’ve tried to imagine, John, as he’s writing his letter to the church, as he’s writing his Gospel, I started kind of picturing his face. Imagine this 80 year old man writing that, writing that he outran Peter. I bet he had the biggest grin on his face. I bet there was, there were some tears, but I bet he was smiling so big. He was missing his friend. You and I, when we lose someone we love, we often remember them through stories that make us smile or laugh, as John writes to us, as he writes to the church, I think he’s writing longing to see his friend again. And y’all, he has. And you and I, we will too, because it’s all about grace.
Thank you Zach. Of course, that was Pastor Zach Van Dyke wrapping up his week long series on the issue of doubt. If you missed any of it, do drop by keylife.org and do some binge listening. Steve will return to his study on Acedia next week, but tomorrow he’ll be back here with Pete Alwinson for Friday, Q & A. Tomorrow, they’ll be explaining the Trinity, well that should be a good one. Make sure you join us for that. Recently on our other show, Steve Brown Etc., we spoke with radio host and author Brant Hansen. Brant is such an interesting guy, smart, funny, good looking, eerie. It was like in a mirror. Anyway, on this episode we discuss Brant’s new book, it’s called The Truth About Us: The Very Good News About How Very Bad We Are. It’s a surprising, and in turns humorous, look at how much we really do fool ourselves. We have the whole conversation on a CD, and we’d love to mail it to you today. Just call 1-800-KEY-LIFE. That’s 1-800-539-5433. You can also email Steve@keylife.org and ask for the CD. If you’d like to mail your request, send it to
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