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Love Has Won: Conquering

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Love Has Won: Conquering                           1Jn 01-05 Conquering
05-06
May 2018, Christ Mountain Top
Call
to Worship, Psalm 98 (6:00 pm Open Table only)
Children,
Acts 10
Message,
1 John 1.1-5, 3.1-3, 4.1-7, 5.1-8
Our
journey through this “love letter”
      Showing the love of God in a world
structured by hatreds
      Experiencing the forgiveness of sin and
forgiving the sins of others
      Uniting people across deep division and
difference
      Putting an end to the practice of sin in
our own lives
Today
our theme is “conquering”, in some ways already addressed
      Sin’s power over us – compelled to repeat
the same mistakes
      Sin’s power over us – fear, judgment (in
John’s language)
      Division’s power over us – race, gender,
class, political party, sexuality, religious background, national origin,
favorite sports team
This
separation from our own Self and from the Other is a symptom of what John calls
the teaching of the antichrist, the rejection that Jesus came in the flesh, the
repudiation of resurrection, the denial of the Father and the Son. The
antichrist is so spiritual that human connection is unnecessary. Not at all. It
is in those basic human connections of father and son, mother and daughter,
spouses and partners that we become
fully human. The antichrist is so spiritual that all our intimacies must be
transcended. By no means! It is in the physical intimacies of a hug or
handshake, of changing a diaper or feeding someone with a disability, of a kiss
on the cheek or combing the hair that we encounter the soul of the other and
even the soul of Jesus.
      As a father, I rushed through a lot of
that with my boys. I was very efficient. I could change a diaper with such
speed. My percentage of spray was much less than Robin’s. Gradually I learned
to slow down. Driving them to music lessons or ball practice doesn’t have to be
about efficiency. It is an opportunity for connection. And when we connect with
another, when we love a brother or sister, we join the ranks of conquerors, of
those who overcome the spirit of the antichrist at work in our world (4.3, 5.4).

Conquest,
on one hand, is about enduring, lasting, a “campaign of attrition.” No pain, no
gain. Suck it up. Gut it out. That is certainly a real conquest. And it
reflects a biblical theme of those who “endure to the end” (Matthew 24.13, Mark
13.13). But it must not be embraced at the expense of JOY: “We are writing
these things so that our joy may be complete” (1 John 1.4).
Conquest,
on the other hand, is quite vigorous and aggressive:
      We came, we saw, we conquered
      God, gold, glory
All
such conquests only determine the grounds of future conflict. None of them put
an end to the conflict. But, Jesus. Jesus conquered, and through the most
unexpected and revolutionary way, a way we could not imagine except for Jesus
himself: Love and Life submitting to Death. And that indestructible Life and
that powerful Love rose again – bodily – and Death and the Grave are destroyed
FOR EVER.
Death
is tough.
      1
Corinthians 15:26
 The last enemy to be
destroyed is death.
Suicide
Overdose
Family
Division
Death
is final, and death is separation, death is the enemy. But, Jesus. “Christ has
died. Christ is risen. Christ will come again.” It is an historic affirmation
that Christ has come in the flesh and that Christ is raised bodily. Christ is
risen! Christ is risen indeed! Alleluia!
      And in his life and love, we conquer. In
Jesus, we conquer. It is not about whether we fail or not. We fail. Jesus
conquers. And he is in us.
1
John 3:1-3
 See what love the
Father has given us, that we should be called children of God; and that is what
we are. The reason the world does not know us is that it did not know him.  2 Beloved, we are God’s children
now; what we will be has not yet been revealed. What we do know is this: when
he is revealed, we will be like him, for we will see him as he is.  3 And all who have this hope in
him purify themselves, just as he is pure.
      Our identity = God’s Beloved
      We are not defined by our failures –
otherwise we would not conquer! We are defined by Jesus’ life and Jesus’ love!
      4.16 – know and rely on the love God has
for us (rely/believe)
Nouwen,
Adam: God’s Beloved
      Adam’s miracle with Cathy, and John’s
candy bar (pp 70-76)
Death
is separation. But, Jesus. In Jesus, we conquer all that separates – sin and
every human division – when we connect. That is when we become fully human,
that is when we realize that we are God’s Beloved. That is when we begin to
live – and it is a life that in Christ’s love will never die.
“Eternal
life” is Jesus himself
1.2
– We have seen and we testify and we report to you the Life, the Eternal Life,
which (who) was with the Father and was revealed to us.
      Life, zoe