September 17, 2017
The Heart of the Matter: Halakah
This past Sunday we began our new series on 1 John called The Heart of the Matter. In this message, called Halakah, we looked at 1 John 1:1-2:6. This is a powerful opening to the letter, and we need to know a little more about why John is writing so that we can understand his letter well.
John was dealing with an early form of a powerful heresy called Gnosticism. One of the most important teachings of Gnosticism is that everything spiritual is good, and everything material is evil. This created all kinds of problems for faithful Jesus-followers, not least of all what it taught about Jesus himself! The Gnostics taught that Jesus is good, and therefore he could not have had a body (because everything physical is evil). But John refutes their teaching with his eyewitness testimony. He was there! He saw Jesus, heard him, and touched him. Jesus had a body, and he gave it for us on the cross.
John also refuted the ethical teaching of the Gnostics by stressing the importance of walking in the light. The Hebrew word for walk is halakah, and it was often used as a shorthand for describing a life of faithful obedience to God. If we claim to know God, we must walk as he walked. That means that we have to have the same halakah as Jesus.