Turns out I wrote way too much for this sermon and had to cut a lot of it to try and keep some decent level of respect for our timeframe, but I wanted to share the rest of the text.
Are you a Christian? Perhaps you are here today and your conscience is grieving over some past offense or some ongoing offense. Perhaps you hear other people’s conversions and look at your own life and you don’t see anything like it. Sometimes I think doing drugs and ending up in jail is a prerequisite for becoming a Christians. Perhaps you look at other “superchristians” and your life simply doesn’t match up. Perhaps you have taken a stab at following Christ more intentionally and it just seems impossible. Perhaps you are just like so many people who feel so close to God here on Sunday morning, and if you’re lucky, that feeling doesn’t dissipate until Monday morning. Most weeks, you hardly make it to your car in the parking lot. You look at your life and you look at the Bible or you look at other Christians and you think “Am I even a Christian?” John is writing to you.
Or maybe those aren’t your issues. Perhaps you’ve never really been truly bothered by the question “Are you a Christian?” Your parents raised you in the church. The only drug problem you ever had was that you got drug to church on Sunday morning, you got drug to church on Sunday evening, you got drug to church on Wednesday evening… Perhaps you have been taught, as a dear friend of mine was once told by her priest “You have been born again. You’ve been baptized.” (Never mind the fact that Hitler was baptized, confirmed, received mass, and was a communicant in good standing until 1941.) Perhaps the question has never bothered you. In quite a different way, this letter is for you. (more…)