I used to have a file labeled "Letters from Dad" which included a small collection of hand-written letters from my dad to me my first year at college. The return address said RR. 3, Charles City, IA and the sending address was 820 N. LaSalle, Chicago, Il. What a drastic change for an insecure young farm boy! Only two years earlier my mom had suddenly passed away. Now I was experiencing so much change, loneliness, and even anger. I eagerly looked for those letters from home and cherished every word written by my dad. I can't remember everything said in those letters. But I definitley remember feeling loved, empowered, believed in, and protected. Those letters expressed confidence in me that I could make it, even when I didn't really believe this myself. They also usually expressed a warning, "Be careful in the big city! Make sure you do this... And don't do that.... Keep your eyes open!"
The apostle John, now in his 90's, and the last of Jesus' disciples still alive, writes three letters to his spiritual children in the same "protective" tone my dad wrote his letters to me. These second and third generation Christians were becoming complacent and indifferent. Some were beginning to return to their old lifestyles. Some were doubting and questioning the truths of the Gospel due to the influnce of false teachers invading the church. Some were even questioning their salvation. So John writes them these personal letters to encourage them to hold fast and be faithful to the truth of Scripture and to Christ. He expresses confidence in them at a time when they had little in themselves. He challenges them to be faithful in living out Christ in a culture that was becoming increasingly hostile to Christ-followers. These inspired words are as relevant today for us as they were to those first readers.
We hope you can join us each Sunday morning at 10:30 a.m. as we journey through the books of 1-3 John this Fall in a series we are calling "Letters from Dad".