Wednesday, November 20, 2013

The God of This World – 1 John 2:12-17

vv.12-14 I write unto you, little children, because your sins are forgiven you for his name's sake.  (13)  I write unto you, fathers, because ye have known him that is from the beginning. I write unto you, young men, because ye have overcome the wicked one. I write unto you, little children, because ye have known the Father.  (14)  I have written unto you, fathers, because ye have known him that is from the beginning. I have written unto you, young men, because ye are strong, and the word of God abideth in you, and ye have overcome the wicked one.

If there is anything that we can learn from these verses, it’s that wherever and whoever you are in the family of God, new or old, we do have the ability to overcome Satan by: 1. remembering our salvation (v.12); 2. remembering past spiritual victories (v.14); and by 3. abiding in God’s Word (v.14). Amen!

The God of this World
vv.15-17 Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world. If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him.  (16)  For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, is not of the Father, but is of the world.  (17)  And the world passeth away, and the lust thereof: but he that doeth the will of God abideth for ever.

Notice that John says that we are not to love the world. This world spoken of here is thalassa, which is the world of men or humanity as compared to the kosmos (universe) that is commonly used in the Old Testament.

Well, we must ask ourselves the obvious question at this point, “What is so bad about the world?” Again, this is not referring to the wonderful creation of God (kosmos) that all of us can certainly say with confidence that we all stand in awe of. Instead, it is referring to the fallen world of mankind (thalassa). I think that we can all agree that world is in serious need of redemption. Just look around. It is no doubt under the sway of the prince of this world (i.e., the devil himself). Our Lord verified this when he said in John 12:31 and 14:30 Now is the judgment of this world: now shall the prince of this world be cast out…Hereafter I will not talk much with you: for the prince of this world cometh, and hath nothing in me. He also said in John 16:7-11 Nevertheless I tell you the truth; It is expedient for you that I go away: for if I go not away, the Comforter will not come unto you; but if I depart, I will send him unto you.  (8)  And when he is come, he will reprove the world of sin, and of righteousness, and of judgment:  (9)  Of sin, because they believe not on me;  (10)  Of righteousness, because I go to my Father, and ye see me no more;  (11)  Of judgment, because the prince of this world is judged.

Monday, November 18, 2013

A New Commandment - 1 John 2:7-11

vv.7-11 Brethren, I write no new commandment unto you, but an old commandment which ye had from the beginning. The old commandment is the word which ye have heard from the beginning.  (8)  Again, a new commandment I write unto you, which thing is true in him and in you: because the darkness is past, and the true light now shineth.  (9)  He that saith he is in the light, and hateth his brother, is in darkness even until now.  (10)  He that loveth his brother abideth in the light, and there is none occasion of stumbling in him.  (11)  But he that hateth his brother is in darkness, and walketh in darkness, and knoweth not whither he goeth, because that darkness hath blinded his eyes.

Two things can be learned from these verses. The first is found in vv.7-8: The commandment to love is both old and new. It’s old because the Bible says in Leviticus 19:18 Thou shalt not avenge, nor bear any grudge against the children of thy people, but thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself: I am the LORD. It’s new because Jesus said in John 13:34 A new commandment I give unto you, That ye love one another; as I have loved you, that ye also love one another and again in John 15:12 This is my commandment, That ye love one another, as I have loved you. The old commandment told us to love our neighbor as ourselves while the new tells us to love them as Christ has loved us! That’s a big difference.

The second thing that we learn from these verses is found in vv.9-11: As Christians, we should not hate. It’s been said that hate is like acid. It damages the vessel in which it is stored and destroys the object on which it is poured. It kills both the person who you hate, and yourself. It’s been said that hating people is like burning down your own house to get rid of a rat. There are many verses in the Scriptures that deal with this subject. They include 1 John 2:9-11; 3:10, 15; 4:20-21.

We need to be honest with God and confess our feelings of hatred for other people so that God can replace our hatred with His love. Yes, God does now whether we choose to admit is our not.

Friday, November 15, 2013

At-One-Ment - 1 John 2:2-6

He is our Propitiation
v.2 And he is the propitiation for our sins: and not for ours only, but also for the sins of the whole world.

Propitiation for our sins: Another way to translate this is that the Lord is our atonement (at-one-ment). It means that he was the appeasement in that he settled our sin debt. Jesus did what we could not do; lived a sinless life. And He did not only do it for me and you, but the entire world (John 3:16-17).

Knowledge Produced Obedience
vv.3-5 And hereby we do know that we know him, if we keep his commandments.  (4)  He that saith, I know him, and keepeth not his commandments, is a liar, and the truth is not in him.  (5)  But whoso keepeth his word, in him verily is the love of God perfected: hereby know we that we are in him.

A true knowledge of God produces obedience. Our Lord said in John 14:21 He that hath my commandments, and keepeth them, he it is that loveth me: and he that loveth me shall be loved of my Father, and I will love him, and will manifest myself to him. The prophet Hosea expressed the same thing when he said For I desired mercy, and not sacrifice; and the knowledge of God more than burnt offerings (Hosea 6:6). Jesus expressed these same words when he said But go ye and learn what that meaneth, I will have mercy, and not sacrifice: for I am not come to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance (Matthew 9:13). The word mercy in both of these verses means “faithfulness or obedience”. Summation: God wants our obedience more than our sacrifice.

He is our Example
v.6 He that saith he abideth in him ought himself also so to walk, even as he walked.

We are called to walk like our Lord who said in For I have given you an example that ye should do as I have done to you.

Jesus said in John 15:4-8 that “abiding” or “living in him” is what produces fruit in our lives. Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, except it abide in the vine; no more can ye, except ye abide in me. I am the vine, ye are the branches: He that abideth in me, and I in him, the same bringeth forth much fruit: for without me ye can do nothing. If a man abide not in me, he is cast forth as a branch, and is withered; and men gather them, and cast them into the fire, and they are burned. If ye abide in me, and my words abide in you, ye shall ask what ye will, and it shall be done unto you. Herein is my Father glorified, that ye bear much fruit; so shall ye be my disciples.

As a matter of fact, the fruit that is produced from abiding in him is actually proof that we are truly children of God. Ye shall know them by their fruits. Do men gather grapes of thorns, or figs of thistles? Even so every good tree bringeth forth good fruit; but a corrupt tree bringeth forth evil fruit. A good tree cannot bring forth evil fruit, neither can a corrupt tree bring forth good fruit. Every tree that bringeth not forth good fruit is hewn down, and cast into the fire. Wherefore by their fruits ye shall know them (Matthew 7:16-20).

Thursday, November 14, 2013

Conviction vs. Guilt - 1 John 2:1

v.1 My little children, these things write I unto you, that ye sin not. And if any man sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous: 

We were told in the first chapter that the first reason why John wrote this letter was, that your joy may be full.  Now here in v.1 we see the second reason that John wrote this letter is that ye sin not. 

In Matthew 5:48 Jesus said, Be ye therefore perfect, even as your Father in heaven is perfect. God requires perfection. Why? – Because He is perfect. Is it possible for us to be perfect? – Yes, but only through the finished work of Christ and not ourselves. 

We have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous: That means that the Lord Jesus is our advocate (intercessor) and one day he will present us spotless to the Father (Ephesians 5:25-27).

I’ve found that even though I know this, I still allow Satan to step in and accuse me. I've found that he usually attacks me the strongest after I've sinned. His attacks come in the form of feelings of shame and unworthiness. Why? - So that he can drive a wedge between me and God. He wants me to run away from God just like Jonah (Jonah 1:1-3) did.

I've also found that I can always tell when I am being attacked by Satan or being convicted by the Holy Spirit by my reaction to the situation. When I'm being tempted to run from God, the church, and my brothers and sisters in Christ, I know it's the devil that is behind it because he is trying to drive a wedge between me and God. However, it is the opposite with the conviction of the Holy Spirit, because He uses conviction to draw us to Himself, the church and our brothers and sisters in Christ.

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

God is Faithful - 1 John 1:8-10

v.8 If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us.

What is sin? Sin is when we do what we know we are not supposed to do in the eyes of God. What causes us to sin?  I John 2:16 tells us that it is the lust of the flesh, lust of the eyes, and the pride of life. Someone once said that the lust of the flesh is the consuming desire to do. The lust of the eyes is a compelling urge to have.  The pride of life is a constant thrust to be. 

The bottom line is that sin is ultimately caused by our desires. James 1:15 Then when lust hath conceived, it bringeth forth sin: and sin, when it is finished, bringeth forth death. It has been said, “God will lower the gate of warning, sound the bell, flash the red light, but He will not keep you from crossing the tracks!”

God is Faithful
v.9 If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.

But God is always faithful to forgive us, if we will only ask Him to do so. It doesn’t matter what type of sin you commit, God will still forgive you if you ask Him to with a sincere heart. Of course, the consequences will remain, but God will forgive. 

I find great comfort in versus like 2 Tim 2:11-13 which says, It is a faithful saying: For if we be dead with him, we shall also live with him:  (12)  If we suffer, we shall also reign with him: if we deny him, he also will deny us:  (13)  If we believe not, yet he abideth faithful: he cannot deny himself. 

How does a worm get inside an apple? Perhaps you think the worm burrows in from the outside. No, scientists have discovered that the worm comes from inside. But how does he get in there? Simple! An insect lays an egg in the apple blossom. Sometime later, the worm hatches in the heart of the apple, then eats his way out. Sin, like the worm, begins in the heart and works out through a person's thoughts, words, and actions.

All Have Sinned
v.10 If we say that we have not sinned, we make him a liar, and his word is not in us. 

Paul wrote in Romans 3:23 that all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God. This means that no one can be saved until they admit that they are a sinner, period (i.e., no man can be found until they admit that they are lost).

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Fellowship - 1 John 1:7

v.7 But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship one with another, and the blood of Jesus Christ his Son cleanseth us from all sin.

So, we’ve been told that Christians do not walk in darkness. Now, John is telling us that Christians not only fellowship with Jesus, but also with each other. Listen to me carefully, if you’re having a difficult time being with fellow believers, there is something wrong in your walk with the Lord, period. 

I believe that we all need to sit down and take an inventory of our lives and where we are with the Lord from time to time. Why? – Because to walk in the light (Jesus is the Light) means that we not only have fellowship with God, but also fellowship with each other. Those two things go hand and hand. It’s not one or the other.

The Blood of Jesus
However, there is another aspect to this verse: the blood of Jesus Christ his Son cleanseth us from all sin.

All Sin: Once that is done through the blood of Jesus; our sins (past, present and future) are forgiven.

First, in the past we are saved from the penalty of sin. Christ took all of our sins upon Himself when He died on the cross. As a result, we stand without condemnation today. Paul said in Romans 8:1 There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit. He also told Timothy in 2 Timothy 1:10 But is now made manifest by the appearing of our Saviour Jesus Christ, who hath abolished death, and hath brought life and immortality to light through the gospel:

Second, in the present we are being saved from the power of sin. The Bible also uses the word salvation to describe a process that begins the moment we receive Christ. The process will continue until we are ultimately with Christ. We call this process sanctification. It is the daily process of yielding our lives to Christ so that sin will not reign in our lives. Again, Paul wrote in Romans 6:12 Let not sin therefore reign in your mortal body, that ye should obey it in the lusts thereof. 

Third, in the future we will be saved from the presence of sin. Someday the Christian will experience final or complete salvation. This final step is necessary because even though our spirit and soul was saved at the moment of salvation, our flesh (body) was not. At salvation we gained a new nature, but we did not lose our old nature. However, one day our flesh will be saved and we will lose our old nature forever (Romans 8:22-23; 13:11-14). Finally, the writer of Hebrews 9:28 wrote So Christ was once offered to bear the sins of many; and unto them that look for him shall he appear the second time without sin unto salvation.

Sunday, November 10, 2013

Light vs. Darkness - 1 John 1:5-6

v.5 This then is the message which we have heard of him, and declare unto you, that God is light, and in him is no darkness at all.

John is telling us here that God is light and there is no darkness in Him. In the Bible, light is symbolic of purity and darkness is symbolic or evil of sin. Light disposes and dispels darkness! 

Jesus is also said that he is light as well. John 1:9 That was the true Light, which lighteth every man that cometh into the world. Jesus was also sinless, therefore without darkness. John 1:4-5 In him was life; and the life was the light of men.  (5)  And the light shineth in darkness; and the darkness comprehended it not.

No Longer in Darkness
v.6 If we say that we have fellowship with him, and walk in darkness, we lie, and do not the truth:

Yes, it is true that those who have not accepted Jesus as their Lord still walk in the darkness. Why? – Because they have not come to the light. How about Christians though? - Is it possible for them to walk in darkness? Yes and no.

Yes, it is possible for Christians to take a temporary walk on the dark side. We all have done it, are doing it and probably going to do it again. However, no, it is not possible for Christians to stay in the dark.

I see many people who “say” they are Christians, but their lives are full of darkness (sin). My friend, this is a complete contradiction of Scripture, because to be a Christian means that we no longer walk in the darkness. Jesus said in John 12:46 I am come a light into the world, that whosoever believeth on me should not abide in darkness. And again in John 8:12 Jesus said, I am the light of the world: he that followeth me shall not walk in darkness, but shall have the light of life. 

Contrary to popular belief, Christians do not continually walk in darkness. Again, If we say that we have fellowship with him, and walk in darkness, we lie, and do not the truth.

Saturday, November 9, 2013

Fellowship Through Jesus - 1 John 1:3-4

v.3 That which we have seen and heard declare we unto you, that ye also may have fellowship with us: and truly our fellowship is with the Father, and with his Son Jesus Christ.

This verse says that the purpose of this eternal life that was with the Father was to bring fellowship not only between God’s people, but with God himself. Why? – Because that fellowship had been broken in the Garden of Eden when Adam and Eve sinned.

The word fellowship is the Greek word koinonia which means common or shared. Through Jesus Christ we have something in common or shared, not only with each other, but also with God the Father and God the Son, and that is fellowship! In other words, the fellowship that was broken has once again been mended.

Paul says in 2 Corinthians 5:18 And all things are of God, who hath reconciled us to himself by Jesus Christ, and hath given to us the ministry of reconciliation; 

That is the doctrine of reconciliation! 

Reconciled means “to reestablish a close relationship, to settle or resolve”. I can tell you experientually that true reconciliation means that the fellowship has been restored.  As a matter of fact, I believe that the fellowship should be as good or better than it was before the offense occurred or it is not true reconciliation. Too many times, we are simply content to agree to disagree and go our separate ways. That, my friend, is not reconciliation. Christ came to reconcile us to the Father.

That Your Joy May be Full
v.4 And these things write we unto you, that your joy may be full.

John tells us that the reason that he is telling them this is so that their joy may be full. It is the same thing Jesus said in John 15:11 when he said These things have I spoken unto you, that my joy might remain in you, and that your joy might be full. Also, in John 16:24 he said Hitherto have ye asked nothing in my name: ask, and ye shall receive, that your joy may be full. 

Happiness verses Joy
Understand something; happiness is a variable, depending on the circumstances of life. However, the joy of the Lord is persistent; it never changes, because it is based on our relationship with Jesus Christ.

Billy Sunday once said, “If you have no joy in your religion, there’s a leak in your Christianity!” 

It has been said that “This is the true joy in life, being used for a purpose: the being thoroughly worn out before you are thrown on the scrap heap, and being a force of nature instead of a feverish selfish little clod of ailments and grievances, complaining that the world will not devote itself to making you happy.”