Taking the Epistle

A biblical journey through the epistles

Category Archives: 1 John

Gods authority is challenged by the serpent – Genesis 3:1-7

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Gods authority is challenged by the serpent – Genesis 3:1-7 – 04/19/2016

Genesis 3:1 (ESV) Now the serpent was more crafty than any other beast of the field that the LORD God had made. He said to the woman, “Did God actually say, ‘You shall not eat of any tree in the garden’?” 2 And the woman said to the serpent, “We may eat of the fruit of the trees in the garden, 3 but God said, ‘You shall not eat of the fruit of the tree that is in the midst of the garden, neither shall you touch it, lest you die.’” 4 But the serpent said to the woman, “You will not surely die. 5 For God knows that when you eat of it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.” 6 So when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was a delight to the eyes, and that the tree was to be desired to make one wise, she took of its fruit and ate, and she also gave some to her husband who was with her, and he ate. 7 Then the eyes of both were opened, and they knew that they were naked. And they sewed fig leaves together and made themselves loincloths.

This article is designed to be a slightly more in depth article than I did in the “creation series” elsewhere on this website, Lord willing I hope to look at the full creation week and examine the case for a Biblical creation from the mindset that the bible is accurate and a honest and truthful source of history in how we came to be here. I am not here to attack other mindsets as I appreciate that not everyone shares my view of a biblical history and I do welcome lively debate on the subject regardless of your thoughts or beliefs on how the earth was made.

In order to look at this from a biblical context we must first look at the text in question starting in chapter three verse one…

V1 Now the serpent was more crafty than any other beast of the field that the LORD God had made. He said to the woman, “Did God actually say, ‘You shall not eat of any tree in the garden’?”

As the title suggests this was the first challenge to the authority of God and although the text does not clearly state that this was Satan, however elsewhere in the bible it does make it clear, let’s look at the book of Ezekiel…

Ezekiel 28:13 (ESV) You were in Eden, the garden of God; every precious stone was your covering, sardius, topaz, and diamond, beryl, onyx, and jasper, sapphire, emerald, and carbuncle; and crafted in gold were your settings and your engravings. On the day that you were created they were prepared. 14 You were an anointed guardian cherub. I placed you; you were on the holy mountain of God; in the midst of the stones of fire you walked. 15 You were blameless in your ways from the day you were created, till unrighteousness was found in you. 16 In the abundance of your trade you were filled with violence in your midst, and you sinned; so I cast you as a profane thing from the mountain of God, and I destroyed you, O guardian cherub, from the midst of the stones of fire. 17 Your heart was proud because of your beauty; you corrupted your wisdom for the sake of your splendor. I cast you to the ground; I exposed you before kings, to feast their eyes on you. 18 By the multitude of your iniquities, in the unrighteousness of your trade you profaned your sanctuaries; so I brought fire out from your midst; it consumed you, and I turned you to ashes on the earth in the sight of all who saw you. 19 All who know you among the peoples are appalled at you; you have come to a dreadful end and shall be no more forever.”

And we read that the serpent was crafty and cunning and this is a warning to us today not to engage Satan in a battle of wits or attempt to even outsmart or try to do battle with the word of God against Satan, he knows the word of God and knows how to twist it to suit his ends and we see this in this text that this is what he tries to do with Eve. It is important to recognize that Satan is a created being; he is not equal or equivalent to God. To elevate him to such stature is giving him what he desires most, to have the power of God. He can be defeated and Jesus is more than a match for him.

He understood the woman and understood that by going to the woman and attacking the one that the command was not explicitly given (see Genesis 2:15 onwards) to he may expose a weakness in the relationship of the man and the woman. The question is not a friendly one and exposed by Satan’s purpose in all of our lives that is explained in John 10 where he is listed as “the thief”…

John 10:10 (ESV) The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy. I came that they may have life and have it abundantly. 11 I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep. 12 He who is a hired hand and not a shepherd, who does not own the sheep, sees the wolf coming and leaves the sheep and flees, and the wolf snatches them and scatters them. 13 He flees because he is a hired hand and cares nothing for the sheep. 14 I am the good shepherd. I know my own and my own know me, 15 just as the Father knows me and I know the Father; and I lay down my life for the sheep. 16 And I have other sheep that are not of this fold. I must bring them also, and they will listen to my voice. So there will be one flock, one shepherd. 17 For this reason the Father loves me, because I lay down my life that I may take it up again. 18 No one takes it from me, but I lay it down of my own accord. I have authority to lay it down, and I have authority to take it up again. This charge I have received from my Father.”

I know all about Satan’s plan in this area as often times we have been attacked as a family unit when either myself or my wife has been at their weakest and here is how he attacked “He said to the woman, “Did God actually say, ‘You shall not eat of any tree in the garden’?” He decided to go against the very word of God and whilst this may be a bold assertion for us mere mortals, Satan genuinely believes that he is equivalent to God and will attempt to place himself in that place.

He would have had foreknowledge of whether Adam did a good job telling Eve God’s plan for the garden and he approached it in a manner taking what God had said as a positive (He gave them so much to eat and a perfect paradise to roam in) and the devil focused in on the ONE LIMITATION that was given and even then he asked the question in a manner that was designed to trip up Eve.

V2 And the woman said to the serpent, “We may eat of the fruit of the trees in the garden, 3 but God said, ‘You shall not eat of the fruit of the tree that is in the midst of the garden, neither shall you touch it, lest you die.’”

Eve was really proud to be asked this question and answered him in the first place and secondly that she answered in her own pride and here is the first mistakes made in this whole unfortunate encounter. She also does not name the tree by name and lastly she adds her own addition to the end of the command from God. Here is what God actually said…

Genesis 2:15 (ESV) The LORD God took the man and put him in the garden of Eden to work it and keep it. 16 And the LORD God commanded the man, saying, “You may surely eat of every tree of the garden, 17 but of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat, for in the day that you eat of it you shall surely die.”

No-one expects Eve to repeat the command verbatim but she was not supposed to add to the words of God and this is what Satan jumped on. She added the “nor shall you touch it” and whilst it may have been a sound policy to avoid temptations she was not bound by that recommendation by God and I see that a lot with Christians who bind themselves up in a whole bunch of traditional dogma that is not actually biblical and have been passed down as a tradition as opposed to sound theology. Eve really had a poor understanding of what God had actually said and did not understand the heart behind it. This for me as a man, husband and father falls squarely on Adams shoulders as he was the one who was supposed to take care of that.

V4 But the serpent said to the woman, “You will not surely die. 5 For God knows that when you eat of it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.”

As stated prior, Satan jumped on this like a flash exposing her false doctrine he had planned this and from the first moment asking the question in the way he did he opened up this situation to his benefit. He did not have to discredit God’s word; he just had to make Eve doubt and want to defend it. That is how he got a foothold in that conversation and from this he then went on the attack.

He stated “You will not surely die. For God knows that when you eat of it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.” He starts with questioning to make sure that Eve did not know what she was talking about and now moves in for the kill by contradicting God’s word. God’s word shows two good ways of dealing with the devil…

Jude 1:9 (ESV) But when the archangel Michael, contending with the devil, was disputing about the body of Moses, he did not presume to pronounce a blasphemous judgment, but said, “The Lord rebuke you.”

Ephesians 4:27 (ESV) and give no opportunity to the devil.

Basically the bible states that we should not be tackling him dead on and instead leaving him to the Lord because greater is he that is in us than the one who tempts us. The devil concentrates on what he believes the benefits would be to them if they carry out this sin. The most dangerous part of this that there was a little truth in that their eyes would be opened…to their sin and just how inferior and different they were to God. Satan promised the opposite, he played on the pride that was in the heart of the woman wanting to be like the one who created them and made them fall in the same way he did, by wanting to be equal with God.

V6 So when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was a delight to the eyes, and that the tree was to be desired to make one wise, she took of its fruit and ate, and she also gave some to her husband who was with her, and he ate.

Satan focused on how good the food was and Eve looks at the food and is enticed by the very thing that we are warned about in the epistle that we call First John…

1st John 2:15 (ESV) Do not love the world or the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. 16 For all that is in the world—the desires of the flesh and the desires of the eyes and pride of life—is not from the Father but is from the world. 17 And the world is passing away along with its desires, but whoever does the will of God abides forever.

Eve did all of that…

  • She gave into the desires of the flesh – when the woman saw that the tree was good for food
  • the desires of the eyes – was a delight to the eyes
  • and lastly the pride of life – desired to make one wise

Now the seed was sown Eve was sunk, she had backed herself into a corner and now wanted to go against God. This is a common story because every sin, whether it is a small sin like disobedience or a slightly larger one like lusting after another, they all start in the same manner, they start with pitching your tent closer and closer to the place of sin until the sin overtakes you. Whether that is a look that gravitates to a thought that cultivates a desire and concludes with an obsession it is all the same.

Up to this point it was all temptation and Eve still had to make the choice to sin and she chose that path but before you get to hard on Eve please note that it does state that her husband was with her and he took the fruit from his wife and ate it. As the man of the house he should have covered his wife and protected her from the devil. Eve was deceived but Adam had all the information direct from God and he chose to willingly rebel against God.

V7 Then the eyes of both were opened, and they knew that they were naked. And they sewed fig leaves together and made themselves loincloths.

True enough their eyes were opened and the promise was fulfilled, they saw their nakedness and understood shame for the first time. They understood exposure, they understood vulnerability and they were experiencing things that God did not want them to have to go through. We know this as guilt, suddenly everything was worse and they had realized that they had done something wrong and they decided to cover their shame with leaves and for the first time they had a desire to be modest. God made us to be beautiful in who we are, our sin and fallen nature is the reason we wear clothes.

Lord willing, in our next article in Genesis we will look at verses eight through thirteen in chapter three when we look at what happens the next time Adam and Eve talk to God. I pray that you are able to join us as we go through the bible, line by line and precept by precept.

God bless and I pray this was a blessing and please feel free to like, share or comment on here or whatever social media platforms you use as the Lord leads you to, as always I love questions about this or any other article so please feel free to fill in the form below, all comments are moderated to avoid profanity.
TTE
TGBTG
SDG

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These people blaspheme all that they do not understand – Jude 1:10-13

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These people blaspheme all that they do not understand – Jude 1:10-13 – 12/25/2015

Thank you for reading this Bible study on the book of Jude. This bible study is part of a series on the book of Jude, in order to see the full series please check out our “epistle” page or alternatively please check out our page dedicated to the book of Jude for other studies in this book.

Let’s start in verse ten of the first chapter of Jude.

Jude 1:10 (ESV) But these people blaspheme all that they do not understand, and they are destroyed by all that they, like unreasoning animals, understand instinctively. 11 Woe to them! For they walked in the way of Cain and abandoned themselves for the sake of gain to Balaam’s error and perished in Korah’s rebellion. 12 These are hidden reefs at your love feasts, as they feast with you without fear, shepherds feeding themselves; waterless clouds, swept along by winds; fruitless trees in late autumn, twice dead, uprooted; 13 wild waves of the sea, casting up the foam of their own shame; wandering stars, for whom the gloom of utter darkness has been reserved forever.

Jude is in the middle of a thought here and for space I did split the thought in two, if you wished to read the whole thought so that you could have the correct context then please do so below…

Jude 1:8 (ESV) Yet in like manner these people also, relying on their dreams, defile the flesh, reject authority, and blaspheme the glorious ones. 9 But when the archangel Michael, contending with the devil, was disputing about the body of Moses, he did not presume to pronounce a blasphemous judgment, but said, “The Lord rebuke you.” 10 But these people blaspheme all that they do not understand, and they are destroyed by all that they, like unreasoning animals, understand instinctively. 11 Woe to them! For they walked in the way of Cain and abandoned themselves for the sake of gain to Balaam’s error and perished in Korah’s rebellion. 12 These are hidden reefs at your love feasts, as they feast with you without fear, shepherds feeding themselves; waterless clouds, swept along by winds; fruitless trees in late autumn, twice dead, uprooted; 13 wild waves of the sea, casting up the foam of their own shame; wandering stars, for whom the gloom of utter darkness has been reserved forever.

So to recap from the last article we know that these people do the following:

• Defile the flesh
• Rely on their dreams
• Reject authority
• Blaspheme the glorious ones

V10 But these people blaspheme all that they do not understand, and they are destroyed by all that they, like unreasoning animals, understand instinctively.

Jude continues the thought that these people are indeed blasphemers, they are in contrast to Michael the archangel who would not speak evil against the devil, the father of lies but these people speak evil and do so in their ignorance. These men rejected authority above them and were gossips, slanderers ignorant and blasphemers, truly not a company that you would want to keep.

In these sins they are corrupted, they are destroyed like animals who are unreasoning (some translations use the words “brute beasts”) tells you that these folks are going through the motions, Sunday Christians if you will with enough acting ability to bag an Acadamy Award because their spiritual credentials were sheer pretense only. They would do the actions but be corrupted by a carnal or sinful mind. They are compared to beasts because they can do what comes instinctively well however they cannot be spiritually knowledgeable. (Despite what their words claim)

V11 Woe to them! For they walked in the way of Cain and abandoned themselves for the sake of gain to Balaam’s error and perished in Korah’s rebellion.

To say they walked in the way of Cain is certainly a weighty accusation. Cain’s story is found in Genesis four…

Genesis 4:1 Now Adam knew Eve his wife, and she conceived and bore Cain, saying, “I have gotten a man with the help of the LORD.” 2 And again, she bore his brother Abel. Now Abel was a keeper of sheep, and Cain a worker of the ground. 3 In the course of time Cain brought to the LORD an offering of the fruit of the ground, 4 and Abel also brought of the firstborn of his flock and of their fat portions. And the LORD had regard for Abel and his offering, 5 but for Cain and his offering he had no regard. So Cain was very angry, and his face fell. 6 The LORD said to Cain, “Why are you angry, and why has your face fallen? 7 If you do well, will you not be accepted? And if you do not do well, sin is crouching at the door. Its desire is for you, but you must rule over it.” 8 Cain spoke to Abel his brother. And when they were in the field, Cain rose up against his brother Abel and killed him. 9 Then the LORD said to Cain, “Where is Abel your brother?” He said, “I do not know; am I my brother’s keeper?” 10 And the LORD said, “What have you done? The voice of your brother’s blood is crying to me from the ground. 11 And now you are cursed from the ground, which has opened its mouth to receive your brother’s blood from your hand. 12 When you work the ground, it shall no longer yield to you its strength. You shall be a fugitive and a wanderer on the earth.” 13 Cain said to the LORD, “My punishment is greater than I can bear. 14 Behold, you have driven me today away from the ground, and from your face I shall be hidden. I shall be a fugitive and a wanderer on the earth, and whoever finds me will kill me.” 15 Then the LORD said to him, “Not so! If anyone kills Cain, vengeance shall be taken on him sevenfold.” And the LORD put a mark on Cain, lest any who found him should attack him. 16 Then Cain went away from the presence of the LORD and settled in the land of Nod, east of Eden. 17 Cain knew his wife, and she conceived and bore Enoch. When he built a city, he called the name of the city after the name of his son, Enoch.

These people are as bad as the man who was so enraged by his jealously that he murdered his own brother, Cain’s heart was not correct when he offered the sacrifice and that is why God did not accept the sacrifice, this is confirmed by the Apostle Paul in Hebrews 11…

Hebrews 11:4 (ESV) By faith Abel offered to God a more acceptable sacrifice than Cain, through which he was commended as righteous, God commending him by accepting his gifts. And through his faith, though he died, he still speaks.

He (Abel) offered that “more acceptable sacrifice” not in goods but in the way it was presented from the heart and paid for it with his life. And these people are as bad as Cain? These people went the way of Cain that after his sacrifice was not deemed worthy, his countenance fell and plotted against the one who was deemed acceptable another example of why Cain’s heart was not correct is confirmed in 1st John chapter 3…

1st John 3:12 (ESV) We should not be like Cain, who was of the evil one and murdered his brother. And why did he murder him? Because his own deeds were evil and his brother’s righteous. 13 Do not be surprised, brothers, that the world hates you. 14 We know that we have passed out of death into life, because we love the brothers. Whoever does not love abides in death. 15 Everyone who hates his brother is a murderer, and you know that no murderer has eternal life abiding in him.

Do you see that in the church today? Those who have been spurned by the leadership or not got the role that they were hoping for having their countenance fall, appear to be okay in the outside but secretly not being as they seem? I see it quite a bit and some are more blatant than others. The problem with this is it is an empty religion and can lead to a dead religion and eventually if it is allowed to fester it leads to unbelief. It is like being compared to Balaam.

Balaam has a long story and that is found between Numbers 22-25 and Balaams story is one of greed and saying the right things such as “if it pleases you I will turn back” once he has lusted after another’s riches, however he does not do as he says and is very carnal in his heart. If I was to be compared to someone in the bible I certainly would think that Cain and Balaam would be fairly low down on my list.

And lastly the rebellion of Korah, well Korah’s rebellion is found in Numbers 16 where Korah comes against the people of Israel and his rebellion was so that he had many men follow him, he rebelled against God and the leadership that God had ordained to lead the Children of Israel and the LORD eventually consumed the rebellion with fire and how symbolic is that those who remain in rebellion at the end will end up in a lake of fire.

V12 These are hidden reefs at your love feasts, as they feast with you without fear, shepherds feeding themselves; waterless clouds, swept along by winds; fruitless trees in late autumn, twice dead, uprooted; 13 wild waves of the sea, casting up the foam of their own shame; wandering stars, for whom the gloom of utter darkness has been reserved forever.

The “love feast” is similar to what many churches do today in the form of a pot luck where everyone pulled their resources and brought what they were able to bring and the heart behind it was that the people shared together and for the poorer members in the congregation it was probably a highlight of the church calendar. These people were being gluttons while others went without they would serve themselves, or serve themselves the best of the best and leave the scraps for others.

Jude uses symbolism to talk about these people:

• Waterless clouds, swept along by winds – Can you get rain from waterless clouds?
• Fruitless trees in late autumn, twice dead, uprooted – Can you get fruit from dead uprooted trees?
• Wild waves of the sea, casting up the foam of their own shame – The sea is busy but can you make use of just the foam?
• Wandering stars, for whom the gloom of utter darkness has been reserved forever – Can you see a use for a wandering star that is submerged in blackness?

All these examples do not lead you to believe that these people would be examples to follow. Do you see any characteristics that you have in your life? If so I would ask that you repent and change your ways because this is not he abundant life that God wants for you. I pray this article was a blessing and a challenge for you as you continue your walk with our messiah Jesus Christ.

God bless and I pray this was a blessing and please feel free to like, share or comment on here or whatever social media platforms you use as the Lord leads you to
TTE
TGBTG
SDG

BIAY – Bible in a year – December 23rd 2015

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This article is part of a series called Bible in a year, for the full year please check out our BIAY home page, or for December check out our December page.

Thank you for checking out “bible in a year” post for December twenty third.

Today’s scripture is as follows:

1st John 1-5.

Please share, comment or like below as the LORD leads
TGBTG
TTE

Psalm Saturday #2 – Psalms 131 – O LORD, my heart is not lifted up

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Psalms Saturday – Psalms 131 – 11/21/2015

Psalms 131:1 (ESV) O LORD, my heart is not lifted up; my eyes are not raised too high; I do not occupy myself with things too great and too marvelous for me. 2 But I have calmed and quieted my soul, like a weaned child with its mother; like a weaned child is my soul within me. 3 O Israel, hope in the LORD from this time forth and forevermore.

This is a song of Ascents, of David known as the man after God’s own heart and I love this Psalm due to its simplicity and humble let’s look it all three verses on a verse by verse basis.

V1 O LORD, my heart is not lifted up; my eyes are not raised too high; I do not occupy myself with things too great and too marvelous for me.

David was humble of heart and knew his place in relation to his relationship with God. Despite being the man that God would elevate to King of Israel in his heart he knew that God’s ways were much higher than his ways as confirmed in Isaiah chapter 55…

Isaiah 55:6 (ESV) “Seek the LORD while he may be found; call upon him while he is near; 7 let the wicked forsake his way, and the unrighteous man his thoughts; let him return to the LORD, that he may have compassion on him, and to our God, for he will abundantly pardon. 8 For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, declares the LORD. 9 For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts.

And that is true today as it was when David penned those sweet words and in many cases we can trace a humble heart to a dynamic Christian life. God hates the haughty and proud, read what is said in the following passage in James chapter 4…

James 4:1 (ESV) What causes quarrels and what causes fights among you? Is it not this, that your passions are at war within you? 2 You desire and do not have, so you murder. You covet and cannot obtain, so you fight and quarrel. You do not have, because you do not ask. 3 You ask and do not receive, because you ask wrongly, to spend it on your passions. 4 You adulterous people! Do you not know that friendship with the world is enmity with God? Therefore whoever wishes to be a friend of the world makes himself an enemy of God. 5 Or do you suppose it is to no purpose that the Scripture says, “He yearns jealously over the spirit that he has made to dwell in us”? 6 But he gives more grace. Therefore it says, “God opposes the proud, but gives grace to the humble.” 7 Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. 8 Draw near to God, and he will draw near to you. Cleanse your hands, you sinners, and purify your hearts, you double-minded.

It is all great scripture and tremendous application however verse 6 tells us very plainly that God opposes the proud and gives grace to the humble” and looking at your life with scripture as a mirror are you more proud than humble? Do we attempt to look at things that are too high for us? Do we occupy ourselves in things that are too great or marvelous for us? Do we attempt to self-promote?

Even in ministry and ESPECIALY in ministry we have to be careful to not allow ourselves to be “lifted up” or “self exalt” because when we do marvelous things in Jesus name we can allow ourselves to think and believe that we actually had something to do with it as opposed to just being the tool that God used, if you want to see an example of this in the early church let us look at Acts 14…

Acts 14:8 (ESV) Now at Lystra there was a man sitting who could not use his feet. He was crippled from birth and had never walked. 9 He listened to Paul speaking. And Paul, looking intently at him and seeing that he had faith to be made well, 10 said in a loud voice, “Stand upright on your feet.” And he sprang up and began walking. 11 And when the crowds saw what Paul had done, they lifted up their voices, saying in Lycaonian, “The gods have come down to us in the likeness of men!” 12 Barnabas they called Zeus, and Paul, Hermes, because he was the chief speaker. 13 And the priest of Zeus, whose temple was at the entrance to the city, brought oxen and garlands to the gates and wanted to offer sacrifice with the crowds. 14 But when the apostles Barnabas and Paul heard of it, they tore their garments and rushed out into the crowd, crying out, 15 “Men, why are you doing these things? We also are men, of like nature with you, and we bring you good news, that you should turn from these vain things to a living God, who made the heaven and the earth and the sea and all that is in them. 16 In past generations he allowed all the nations to walk in their own ways. 17 Yet he did not leave himself without witness, for he did good by giving you rains from heaven and fruitful seasons, satisfying your hearts with food and gladness.” 18 Even with these words they scarcely restrained the people from offering sacrifice to them.

Paul and Barnabas came to Lystra after fleeing Iconium and after doing great things in Jesus name the people mistook Paul and Barnabas for gods. They started to call them names of gods that were familiar with and attempted to worship them and offer sacrifices to them as celestial beings. Paul however did what we should be doing and gave glory to God, what an example and should you read on in Acts Paul ends up on the receiving end of a stoning a few verses later due to the people he was fleeing from pursued him to Lystra.

V2 But I have calmed and quieted my soul, like a weaned child with its mother; like a weaned child is my soul within me.

I am a simple guy, this is a simple blog and advanced theologians probably will not get much from the analogy’s and stories that I share here but much like what Paul writes in 1st Corinthians chapter 1 I believe that God uses this simple blog to achieve great things and reach people at a level they are at in a way that websites that offer much greater and richer systematic theology do not. Paul writes…

1st Corinthians 1:26 (ESV) For consider your calling, brothers: not many of you were wise according to worldly standards, not many were powerful, not many were of noble birth. 27 But God chose what is foolish in the world to shame the wise; God chose what is weak in the world to shame the strong; 28 God chose what is low and despised in the world, even things that are not, to bring to nothing things that are, 29 so that no human being might boast in the presence of God. 30 And because of him you are in Christ Jesus, who became to us wisdom from God, righteousness and sanctification and redemption, 31 so that, as it is written, “Let the one who boasts, boast in the Lord.”

Too many of us get bent out of shape about our “Christian reputation” that we are petrified to get dirty for the Lord, that we don’t get messy and interact with messy people in their messy lives because we could appear to be less than “whiter than white”. I believe that is why there are less Good Samaritans these days and more “theologically wise believers” and I am not knocking getting your doctrinal ducks in a row however we forget the most important thing…LOVE!

We have to as David says “quieten our soul” and the analogy that David uses is like a weaning child and imagine the comfort and stillness of a child that has been freshly weaned, being a father I know the difference between a child that needed the food, the comfort and the succor compared to how they were feeling prior when they were far from that. Are you being comforted in the Lord this way? If not then is there something missing in your Christian life?

Psalm 46 advises to “Be still and know that I am God” and often times we cause our own stress by taking on burdens that we should be taking to the Lord in prayer and allowing to watch the one that has peace that passes understanding work in your life.

V3 O Israel, hope in the LORD from this time forth and forevermore.

And that brings you to David’s closing, the comfort of the Lord was not just for him, but it was for the whole nation from this time forth and forever more. God was not going to go back on his promise to his people and in the same way God does not go back on his promise to you dear Christian.

We are to hope in the LORD, first last and always from now and forevermore. There is no expiry date on his love he loved you first even in your sin, so much so that he sent is son to die for you on Calvary’s cross. We have confirmation of God’s love in the book of 1st John. 

1st John 4:13 (ESV) By this we know that we abide in him and he in us, because he has given us of his Spirit. 14 And we have seen and testify that the Father has sent his Son to be the Savior of the world. 15 Whoever confesses that Jesus is the Son of God, God abides in him, and he in God. 16 So we have come to know and to believe the love that God has for us. God is love, and whoever abides in love abides in God, and God abides in him. 17 By this is love perfected with us, so that we may have confidence for the day of judgment, because as he is so also are we in this world. 18 There is no fear in love, but perfect love casts out fear. For fear has to do with punishment, and whoever fears has not been perfected in love. 19 We love because he first loved us. 20 If anyone says, “I love God,” and hates his brother, he is a liar; for he who does not love his brother whom he has seen cannot love God whom he has not seen. 21 And this commandment we have from him: whoever loves God must also love his brother.

This Psalm was written for me, I am no theologian I am just a guy with the heart to open the word of God and write about it. I mainly share Gods word in my explanations as I deem His words much higher than my own and I don’t seek fame or fortune and I don’t actually know if my full name is anywhere on this blog. I am just a simple guy who is seeking Gods will in his life, needs God’s comfort in my trials and wants to rest on God’s promises now and forevermore.

God bless and I pray this was a blessing and please feel free to like, share or comment on here or whatever social media platforms you use as the Lord leads you to
TTE
TGBTG
SDG

Agape Bible Study – 08/30/2015 – Week 2 – 1st John 2:3-14 – Knowing Him and our Spiritual State

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08/30/2015 – Week 2 – 1st John 2:3-14 – Knowing Him and our Spiritual State

1st John 2:3 (NKJV) Now by this we know that we know Him, if we keep His commandments. 4 He who says, “I know Him,” and does not keep His commandments, is a liar, and the truth is not in him. 5 But whoever keeps His word, truly the love of God is perfected in him. By this we know that we are in Him. 6 He who says he abides in Him ought himself also to walk just as He walked. 7 Brethren, I write no new commandment to you, but an old commandment which you have had from the beginning. The old commandment is the word which you heard from the beginning. 8 Again, a new commandment I write to you, which thing is true in Him and in you, because the darkness is passing away, and the true light is already shining. 9 He who says he is in the light, and hates his brother, is in darkness until now. 10 He who loves his brother abides in the light, and there is no cause for stumbling in him. 11 But he who hates his brother is in darkness and walks in darkness, and does not know where he is going, because the darkness has blinded his eyes. 12 ​​I write to you, little children,​​Because your sins are forgiven you for His name’s sake. 13 ​​I write to you, fathers, ​​Because you have known Him who is from the beginning. ​​I write to you, young men, ​​Because you have overcome the wicked one. ​​I write to you, little children, ​​Because you have known the Father. 14 ​​I have written to you, fathers, ​​Because you have known Him who is from the beginning. ​​I have written to you, young men, ​​Because you are strong, and the word of God abides in you, ​​And you have overcome the wicked one.

1A – The Test of Knowing Him (1st John 2:3-11)
1B – Now by this we know that we know Him, if we keep His commandments (v3)

This is the fruit, the evidence in someone’s life that they know God is that they keep his commandments or do his will, that they will have love; they will have an obedience for God and want that fellowship with the will of God in their lives.

It is the same as we are, if we surround ourselves with folks who will encourage us to behave in rebellion to God, we may stand up for God in the first place but slowly we adapt and slide to be more like our surroundings. Conversely if our fellowship is with God and the people who keep us accountable and keep us following his commandments (iron sharpening iron) then we will draw closer to God.

When we are converted we are restored to God we are restored and that restoration continues with our constant fellowship with God through confession and repentance should we sin, God changes the heart and writes the law upon our heart and the evidence of us knowing Him is that desire to keep his commandments, will we always be successful? Will we never slip up? No, but the desire is there that is not there in the man still caught up in his sins. God is graceful, kind and longsuffering and he sees the heart behind our actions.

1C – He who says, “I know Him,” and does not keep His commandments, is a liar, and the truth is not in him. (v4)

Can we know Christ and not keep his commandments? Of course not John calls you out on it and calls you a liar! How refreshing! I reckon we could do with some of that kind of straight talk in the church today! With John it is either black or white, unlike today when we try to cloud ourselves in “gray areas” or find justification when we color outside of the lines!

When we say we “know him” is it like a “celebrity knowledge”? For example I know what the current president looks like, I know his name, his wife’s name, his presidential address and lots of facts about him, but if I was to turn up at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, Washington DC and try to get through the front gate would I be tested in whether I actually knew him or not? Would I get in if the President did not recognize my name or I didn’t have an appointment? This is a wake up call if your Christianity is like that. Do you know him on a day to day basis or do you have a knowledge of him.

If you don’t keep his commandments you then break one of the Ten Commandments, you lie! And John states quite clearly that the truth is not in you, or that your faith is false. Can this be restored? Of course it can, but it requires repentance and restoration with God the father. You cannot continue on that destructive path.

1D – But whoever keeps His word, truly the love of God is perfected in him. By this we know that we are in Him. (v5)

And just to flip it over, we see the contrast of the good side of the coin, If we are truly “all in” (to quote Chelsea) we will see the love of God perfected in him and this will have the result of evidence that we are in him. We have to do some self appraisal at this point, I have just done my half year appraisal at work and on this we look at what has been accomplished over the last year, we look at the things that have went well and the things that have not gone as well, but it is a good barometer to see how “on target” I would be for the end of the year. Christians should do their own checklist too.

How are you with your past sin life? Do you talk of your sin with fondness or shame? Do you flee from sin or plan to do it? Do you enjoy your sin? Is your sin a lifestyle or an ongoing habit?

The point of this is not to condemn anyone but to convict you of things that might require change in your life. We all have struggles, we all have kicked harmful things to the curb but we all have that area that we could do with getting rid of, maybe we still have many and some of us may just be paying lip service to God and living a double life. Jesus talked about these types of people in Matthew 6, you cannot serve two masters, you will love one and hate the other.

1E – He who says he abides in Him ought himself also to walk just as He walked. (v6)

Have you ever given any thought to the name Christian? It basically means “one who follows the Christ” so if we truly are following Christ and we are truly all in believers then we will be looking to follow the masters example. I always ask that you check all things that I say to make sure they line up with the word of God. The famous evangelist Greg Laurie is quoted to have said “Don’t follow the Pastor unless he is following the master” now I am not a pastor or even a very good biblical teacher, but if I give you one example to follow I p[ray that it is one of someone that is sold out living for Christ and LORD willing all that I talk about in these studies be following after Gods perfect and infallible word of God.

This principle is simple, we have to follow Christ’s example. In the 90’s it was very popular to wear WWJD (What would Jesus Do) bracelets and the guy who patented them must have made a fortune as they were everywhere! However they were a great reminder when you were making decisions on a daily basis because please let me assure you dear Christian that you will not be at your weakest when you are surrounded by believers here on a Sunday night, it will be the decisions you make when you are at work on Monday, when you are in a clandestine situation and you see what you actually default to. It will be the decisions you make when you think there is no accountability. That is the true you! Are you WWJD then?

1F – Brethren, I write no new commandment to you, but an old commandment which you have had from the beginning. The old commandment is the word which you heard from the beginning. (v7)

John states that this is something they should already know, this is not new news. Much like what I am doing here, I am convinced that I am not teaching something or making points that probably have not been made before. I am however putting my slant on it based on my life experience and I am somewhat tailoring this message to the people that I believe will hear it. But the truths that John is REMINDING the believers are not “new revelation”.

And this is important because often times and it will happen more as the “End Times” approach that we will hear the term “new revelation” more and more, my advice to you if you hear that term, I would pray to God for discernment and then check that it out to make sure it lines up with God’s word. John is continuing his thought from John 13:34-35.

1G – Again, a new commandment I write to you, which thing is true in Him and in you, because the darkness is passing away, and the true light is already shining. (v8)

Jesus broke new barriers when we talk about love. He displayed such love that he would come down from heaven and be a sacrifice for us. We have the symbol of the cross which must have been strange to those who knew what the cross was; it was a criminal’s death device. In modern day terms it would be like if a new religion started up with their symbol being the electric chair.

In order for the darkness to pass away Jesus had to defeat death, he had to die in the cruelest way possible to save a people who may reject him and reconcile man to God. He is the true light (he is and always will be the “Light of the world”) and he is already shining. He is in heaven, when he was on earth he promised to “go prepare a place for us”

1H – He who says he is in the light, and hates his brother, is in darkness until now. (v9)

How are we with our fundamental relationships? Do we speak all “Christian-ease” on a Sunday but secretly hate our brother? This is not a new revelation as Jesus said the same thing in Matthew 5:23, let’s look at that passage now.

This applies to blood and spiritual brothers, some of the main reasons that fellowships are harmed and have issues is that they have unresolved conflict, do you have this in your life and today is the allotted time to get this resolved. Let’s look at Matthew 22:36-40

1I – He who loves his brother abides in the light, and there is no cause for stumbling in him. (v10)

And again John flips this on its head and advises the opposite for one who is walking in the light. The word abide is “meno” (Greek) and the meaning is to sojurn, not to depart, time or place to be held. In simple terms that person is remaining in the light and will not be moved. How do you measure up to this?

If you are like this then there will be no stumbling, I love that he writes it as stumbling, in our house we have little plug in lights that illuminate just enough to see so that we can see the path we are travelling on in the evening when there is less light (it is handy at 3am when you need to go to the bathroom) If this wasn’t there then how easy would it be to stumble if something was out of place? Or even if you could not see a piece of furniture John talks about people living their lives like this. 

1J – But he who hates his brother is in darkness and walks in darkness, and does not know where he is going, because the darkness has blinded his eyes. (v11)

And just to show that John and I are on the same page, John goes on to expand and say that people are walking (living their lives) in darkness and the evidence is the hatred of our brother. Sometimes we can fake our hatred and mask it to look and seem like we do not, however let us ask some basic questions:

Have you unresolved anger towards them? Have you forgiven fully your past hurts that hurt the deepest? When you hear their name what is your gut reaction? Do you have to be fake in order to be civil? If the answers are yes then you may have unresolved hatred towards your brother (or sister)  

2A – Their Spiritual State (1st John 2:12-14)
2B – ​​I write to you, little children, ​​Because your sins are forgiven you for His name’s sake. (v12)

Continuing on the thought of loving/hating your brother John goes on to remind them that they have been forgiven of much and this is one reason to make sure that you do not hate your brother, because you have been forgiven of much less than you need from him.

And here is where it gets real my friends, at Vision Calvary Chapel of Porterville today during prayer the Pastor made a request to pray for unsaved friends/members of family and my own brother does not know the LORD. He would be the first on my list of people that I would love to change his life and surrender to Jesus. I also do not want to be the barrier or excuse that is used if he was to miss out on heaven.

If you remember when we spoke about “forgiveness” I stated that it is most likely to be family that hurts the most. We also have a unique “sphere of influence” because we have an ear in a unique way that no-one else has, we have an “in” as it where and we have to use that for the glory of God, sometimes it will take surrender on our part but we have to do his will before our own. Lets look at 1st Corinthians 13:1-3, because this is the meat and bones of our Christianity, if we “tick all the boxes” but don’t love, we have nothing.

2C – ​​I write to you, fathers, ​​Because you have known Him who is from the beginning. ​​I write to you, young men, ​​Because you have overcome the wicked one. ​​I write to you, little children, ​​Because you have known the Father. (v13)

He is writing to those who have “overcome the wicked one” they have followed the instruction in Acts 16:31, they have believed in the LORD Jesus Christ and now they are saved. This is a placeholder to advise that because of who they are, they are being written too because they know the father.

John mentions “little children and fathers” we are all at different stages of our walk with Jesus, we will either be “little children” or “fathers” dependent on our spiritual maturity. The young men have had spiritual victory already and need to be reminded of their victories to strengthen them but not puff them up.

2D – ​​I have written to you, fathers, ​​Because you have known Him who is from the beginning. ​​I have written to you, young men, ​​Because you are strong, and the word of God abides in you, ​​And you have overcome the wicked one. (v14)

Paul writes in Philippians 3:10 that all of his spiritual knowledge could be surpassed by just knowing Jesus. We need to realize that greater is he that is in us that the one who accuses us and we need to live our lives in the Light. We have overcome the wicked one!

I pray this was a blessing to you and this is a bible study from our series that was originally taught on 08/30/2015 at our Agape bible study, please click on the link for further bible studies.
TTE
TGBTG
SDG

 

 

Agape Bible Study – 1st John 1:1-2:2

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08/23/2015 – Week 1 – 1st John 1:1-2:2 – Fellowship with him and one another

1st John 1:1 (NKJV) That which was from the beginning, which we have heard, which we have seen with our eyes, which we have looked upon, and our hands have handled, concerning the Word of life— 2 the life was manifested, and we have seen, and bear witness, and declare to you that eternal life which was with the Father and was manifested to us— 3 that which we have seen and heard we declare to you, that you also may have fellowship with us; and truly our fellowship is with the Father and with His Son Jesus Christ. 4 And these things we write to you that your joy may be full. 5 This is the message which we have heard from Him and declare to you, that God is light and in Him is no darkness at all. 6 If we say that we have fellowship with Him, and walk in darkness, we lie and do not practice the truth. 7 But if we walk in the light as He is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus Christ His Son cleanses us from all sin. 8 If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. 9 If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. 10 If we say that we have not sinned, we make Him a liar, and His word is not in us.

 

1st John 2:1 (NKJV) My little children, these things I write to you, so that you may not sin. And if anyone sins, we have an Advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous. 2 And He Himself is the propitiation for our sins, and not for ours only but also for the whole world.

1A – What was heard, seen and touched (1:1-1:4)

This is a bible study from our series that was originally taught on 08/23/2015 at our Agape bibe study, please click on the link for further bible studies.

Introduction

When John writes this epistle he writes it with a clear MO (Modus Operandi) to declare that Jesus Christ is the messiah and that Jesus Christ came to restore fellowship with God and man (1:3) John was looking for his readers to not just have knowledge about Jesus but to actually know him. To have a day to day real and tangible relationship with him in the way John had.

John also was concerned that the readers “joy may be full” (1:4) that they experience the joy of the Christ relationship and that they live lives to the fullest in Christ. One of the reasons I wanted to cover this book directly after we did the “forgiveness” and “God’s comfort” bible studies is that one of the main reasons we do not have joy in the LORD is our own self guilt or our own condemnation of ourselves. We can easily forgive others but have a hard time forgiving our past wrongs and we often times cast our own shadow on ourselves due to the magnitude of the wrong we have done, sometimes we blow it up bigger than it needs to be.

John is also concerned that these new believers be caught in a life of sin (2:1) that they live a life of righteousness and obedience on Christ. Seeking not their own will but the will of the one they have become a bondservant to. They have to be changed beings, metamorphosed into new creations and want to not be caught into sin. Sin damages the relationship we have with God because God hates sin but he loves us, the relationships that we have on this earth are a mirror cast shadow of the relationship that we should have with our creator God.

1B – That which was there from the beginning…

– John quotes from John 1:1 (which quotes from Genesis 1:1) and makes the bold assertion that before anything was…He was! Christ was there before the earth was; he was the co-creator with God in the creation account. (Confirmed in the root word in Genesis (elowaah) Jesus was there when all that existed was God, who existed before all things and is the basis of all things and is outside of our regular convention of time.

1C – Which we have heard, which we have seen with our own eyes…

John had seen the messiah with his own eyes, he had handled him, spent time with him and had heard him personally, this was written within a lifetime of the crucifixion of Jesus so people would still be talking about what happened to Jesus. John gives a first-hand account that God came down in a very real and basic way to rescue his beloved creation.

Historically John had to deal with false teachings called Gnostics who were claiming that while Jesus was a man, he was not God. John seeks to refute these teachings by the fullness of the sentence. John states in the clearest possible terms “I was there, I felt hard and touched him”

1D – John calls him “the Word of life”…

John calls him the “logos” he uses terms that both the Jews and Greeks recognized were God and attributed them to Jesus. To the Jews the Word was the reflection of the true God and the Greeks, although they did not know the true God knew that there was a Logos, a basis for everything coming to being, John ties this all up and states, this Word (Logos) that you have been talking about, I have seen him, he is Jesus! How beautiful is that?

1E – This Word was manifest and we have seen, and bear witness…

Just to make sure you didn’t think we were talking of words on a page; John speaks of the Word living and being manifest. John turns himself into the key witness in the trial whether Jesus was the real deal. It was not as the Gnostics had said, either one or the other He was both.

1F – Eternal life which was with the Father…(John 5:26; 6:48; 11:25; 14:6)

John labors the point that Jesus was in the beginning but also he is eternal and therefore God. John calls Jesus “eternal life” he truly was “the way, the truth and the life and no-one comes unto the Father except through him”. Prophecy confirms this because nearly half a century before Jesus was born in Bethlehem we ream from the prophet Micah chapter 5…

Micah 5:2 (NKJV) “But you, Bethlehem Ephrathah, ​​Though you are little among the thousands of Judah, ​​Yet out of you shall come forth to Me ​​The One to be Ruler in Israel, ​​Whose goings forth are from of old, ​​From everlasting.”

Not just eternal in the sense that he will be eternal in the future, but he is eternal in the sense that he was “of old” and will be “from everlasting”. To state in the clearest and simplest terms possible “He was, He is and is to come.”

1G – which was with the Father and manifest to us (John 17:24, 2 Cor 13:14)

Whilst Jesus is God, he is separate from the Father, he is the same in that he is part of the trinity, one God existing in three persons, equal and one just distinct in their person. We are told in Matthew 28 to “Go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and the Holy Spirit” God desires a relationship with us and made that possible through his sons sacrifice John goes on and gives an invitation to fellowship.

1H – that you also may have fellowship with us & who the fellowship is with

John states quite clearly that he writes in order to bring the reader into fellowship with BOTH the Father and the Son (v3) that the fellowship with one another is just a glimpse of the fuller satisfying fellowship that you would have with both the Father and Son. How awesome is that? The word fellowship is the Greek word “koinonia” which means sharing a bond; it speaks of journeying and growing together. I equate this to my cell phone, I know that it was put together by someone who is a lot smarter than me, I don’t fully understand how it works, but I use it because I know that it does work.

The idea of fellowship with God was alien to the Greeks as they all had many gods depending on what the need was and they were more like super hero type deals than actual living Gods, they inscribed statues based to the god of whatever, but the idea that they could have communion with Zeus or Aphrodite was crazy to them, John introduces them to a loving Father God who wants nothing more than to have fellowship with his creation.

1I – The result of the fellowship…Joy! (John 15:11; 16:24; 17:13)

Verse 4 speaks that the fruit of this relationship is Joy and not a temporary joy like when your team scores the winning touchdown, score a vital home run or when something good happens in your life. This is an eternal joy and a fullness of joy; this is not based on life going well or circumstances being in your favor. A Christians true and satisfying joy is found when they draw in close communion with the one they were created to worship. Our fellowship with God id not conditional in what we can bring to him because God requires nothing from us, but what joy and blessings he brings to us.

2A – Fellowship with Him and One another (1st John 1:5-10)
2B – This is the message which we have heard from Him and declare to you

John has revealed who the message is from and now speaks with the authority of the message giver. He has given the credentials in the same way we would give an ID or passport; he has declared himself a messenger of God and Jesus Christ. John is given one job here and that is to declare the message to us. John also is not giving his opinion or his own ideas, he is declaring that “which he has heard from Him” he is simply the vessel used to deliver the message, much like we do not thank the jug for the water John is simply speaking truth as to where the message came from. It came from Him and not from John.

2C – That God is light and in Him there is no darkness at all

This is a great description of God, God is the complete absence of darkness, no sin whatsoever, God is light – God is pure and in the light we have the ability to see, in the darkness we cannot see. By the same token we must also realize that God is correct and cannot be wrong, He is the infallible inerrant author of the living word of God.

God desires fellowship with us and always keeps the channels of communication open between Him and us, any absence in that communion will always be traced back to us. We are sinful, rebellious and unfaithful, God is none of these things and will always be the “trusted partner” in the relationship with us, despite this God is a loving God that desires restoration.

2D – Fellowship with him and walking in darkness, then we lie and do not practice truth

The converse to this relationship of walking in the light is walking in darkness, walking in our own lusts, desires or our own will when it is against the will of God. It could be something as simple as living a life of sin and then declaring that you are a Christian, and then you lie and do not practice truth. There is grace that we know we will slip up and not always do the right thing but the key here is repentance and getting your heart right.

Is it possible to claim a relationship with God you do not have? Of course it is, you may have deceived yourself and have continued to walk in darkness. To walk in darkness indicates that it is not a solitary choice, but a walk, a journey separated from the one you claim to follow. A question to ask is “what do you default to when no-one else is around?” or “is your lifestyle one of light or darkness?” Who is it that you have fellowship with, is it light or dark? It is not a gray area, it is as black and white and John makes it sound.

2E – We need to walk in the light as He is in the light

We really need to come off the fence and stop being “lukewarm”. We read in Revelation of the Laodicea church that God said because they were lukewarm they would be spewed out of his mouth. As Chelsea stated last week, we need to be “all in” We need to live in obedience to God’s calling on our life and embrace the conviction of the Holy Spirit as often as we require it.

Walking in the light is not easy, it is the road less travelled, our flesh will resist it at every turn and it is the true definition of what Christ sad when he spoke of the broad way and the narrow way, few will find this way and we will not be perfect but we will be in communion with God. God understands the struggles we go through and sees the heart, he knows which sins are premeditated and which ones are not.

John makes the last point here that these believers should surround themselves with those of the same mission. The believers who are walking in the light together will not only have communion with God, but they will have communion with each other and will grow together in a common faith. I know I feel edified when I am surrounded by those who have a similar mission to what I have.

2F – The blood of Jesus Christ cleanses us from all sin

In the same manner that we would bathe often and cleanse ourselves on a regular basis we have to be spiritually cleansed on a regular basis. I went to a Wednesday night service at Calvary Chapel Visalia where Pastor Bob Grenier shared the following anecdote.

“Seven days without the Bible makes one Weak” 

Okay that is a play on words but it is true, as often as we have the desire to sin we must also want to be cleansed of our sins, God is holy and we must also have a hunger for holiness. Romans 3:23 tells us that “we have all sinned and fallen short of Gods glory” and as we are walking with him, how often do you think we need out feet cleansing (John 13:10) John talks of cleansing as an ongoing present and ongoing process, we have to realize that Christ took the punishment for all of our sins, past present and future and the blood of Jesus paid our penalty and deals with our guilt and actions of our sin. Lastly we are cleansed from ALL SIN. But it is not through works, it is through our relationship and accepting that the blood of Jesus paid my sinful debt in full.

2G – If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves and no truth is in us

As stated before we are not sinless or perfect and even by walking in the light it will not absolve us from actually sinning, we are born into a sinful stock a descendent of Adam who caused enmity between God and man by sinning in the first place. We must be careful not to deceive ourselves and to call ourselves sinless is a lie and John describes us as having no truth in us. If we were sinless then why would we need a Savior? It is a deception and a lie from the pit of hell designed to make ourselves self-righteous. Which is why we need God’s grace and forgiveness in the first place because of our sin.

2H – Confession leads to forgiveness

And this puts the bow on the present, we understand that we have sin in our lives; we understand that sin is present in our lives and that God hates sin. But yet God still wants to have communion with us and have us cleansed in Jesus blood. So far we have covered all of this. We need to confess our sins we have to approach confession in the same manner of approaching a King and begging that king for his forgiveness, but this is not just a king this is the King of Kings and Lord of Lords. In Luke 18:10-14 Jesus describes the two parallels that could exist between a Pharisee who bragged about the good he did and a sinful man who made a simple request, God be merciful on me, a sinful man. Which one would you rather be? God will forgive and we should keep confessing our sins in the Lord’s Prayer we read the words “forgive us our sins, as we forgive our trespasses”. Confession is important to us as believers because it maintains a relationship with God and it is important that we be honest with ourselves as well as God. We must confess and resolve to do better, we are wasting our breath if we confess and continue in the sin because we are not changing anything. God sees the innermost parts of our heart and knows when we are being deceitful. If that does not scare you I don’t know what will.

2I – If we say we have not sinned we make Him a liar

As we have learned sin is present, but so is the absolution to the sin. We have a remedy to ensure that there is no hindrance to the relationship with God. If we believe that Jesus was the Word of life and the substitution for our sins then we also must see the reason he was that substitution otherwise why did he go to the cross in the first place if we have no sin?

3A – Children do not sin (1st John 2:1-2:2)

3B – We have an Advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ

John is concerned that the Christian does not continue, be caught up or live a life of sin which is why he writes “these things I write to you, so that you may not sin. And if anyone sins, we have an Advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ” John has spent a great deal of time letting us know that as soon as we become Christians we do not lose the ability to sin, we are not sinless and perfect but we do not have to sin and we must also know that God does not make or tempt the believer to sin. God has a desire that we walk in his light and not sin, but we have an intercessor, one who prays for us and makes petition to the father for us, our redeemer Jesus Christ.

We are fleshly, we are weak, our first desire is to do “my will be done” rather than “thy will be done” but we have that defender, better than any dense counsel on this earth and he is timeless, he knows the sin we are going to commit long before we have conceived it in our minds however he still opens his arms and forgives. What a friend we have in Jesus! He is as John writes “the righteous.” The only one who is qualified to forgive our sins and take the brunt of our punishment on himself we see Jesus playing the role of the advocate when Satan accuses us before God in Revelation 12.

3C – The propitiation for our sins and for the whole world.

He has not just forgiven our individual sins as if we were the only sinner in the whole world, but he has done it for all of us, for the ones who would accept the free gift of Salvation and the ones who would reject it. The wordpropitiation gives the idea that the sacrifice was to prevent God giving what was due to us, a satisfying of the wrath of God if you will, in the Greek culture this was an accepted term. It is basically John 3:16 & 17 in other words. Jesus died for you individually but for the same reason that self-same Salvation is available to the entire world, they may choose to accept or reject it but God is a God or redemption and restoration.

Did Jesus come in the flesh?

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2 John 1:1 (ESV) The elder to the elect lady and her children, whom I love in truth, and not only I, but also all who know the truth, 2 because of the truth that abides in us and will be with us forever: 3 Grace, mercy, and peace will be with us, from God the Father and from Jesus Christ the Father’s Son, in truth and love. 4 I rejoiced greatly to find some of your children walking in the truth, just as we were commanded by the Father. 5 And now I ask you, dear lady—not as though I were writing you a new commandment, but the one we have had from the beginning—that we love one another. 6 And this is love, that we walk according to his commandments; this is the commandment, just as you have heard from the beginning, so that you should walk in it. 7 For many deceivers have gone out into the world, those who do not confess the coming of Jesus Christ in the flesh. Such a one is the deceiver and the antichrist. 8 Watch yourselves, so that you may not lose what we have worked for, but may win a full reward. 9 Everyone who goes on ahead and does not abide in the teaching of Christ, does not have God. Whoever abides in the teaching has both the Father and the Son. 10 If anyone comes to you and does not bring this teaching, do not receive him into your house or give him any greeting, 11 for whoever greets him takes part in his wicked works. 12 Though I have much to write to you, I would rather not use paper and ink. Instead I hope to come to you and talk face to face, so that our joy may be complete. 13 The children of your elect sister greet you.

John the Elder

John calls himself “The Elder” which could be a title or a reference to his advancement in years. The word used however alludes to age as opposed to church office. Based on the time this was written John was very advanced in years, so Elder would be a very appropriate title to call himself as a veteran campaigner for the Christian faith.

History does not tell us who “The elect lady” was, possibly an actual person or perhaps even a name of a church or a metaphor due to persecution. The latter is just me throwing some balls in the air as stated prior, we have little to go on who the recipient was. It is clear; however from the writing that John was very fond of them and was familiar with them on a personal level. He addresses the letter also to the wider Christian church (all who know the truth) as a whole. John talks of a spiritual truth that will be with us forever, how true this is. Truth and correction is the thread this very short letter is based on. John uses truth in the introduction and then further in the letter. In Matthew 24 Jesus said that “Heaven and earth shall pass away, my words shall not pass away” this is in line with Johns teaching here.

John mentions in this letter the deity (v3) as well as the human form (v7) of Jesus Christ. This was not any new doctrine (v5) but merely a re-iteration of a common doctrine that they should already have. This is the issue in the church then, purely doctrine. (I would also argue that this is an issue today! See below for more information!) I love that John loved these people so much to deal with this in such a loving fashion.

Jesus the God or Jesus the man?

John reiterates that Jesus was not just a “prophet” or a “holy man” that he was in fact the Son of God. In that day we had creeping into the doctrines of the church a Gnosticism that tried to redefine who Christ was, they would attack one of Christ’s attributes, they would attack the account that he was either God, or that he was a man. John writes in verse 3

…3 Grace, mercy, and peace will be with us, from God the Father and from Jesus Christ the Father’s Son, in truth and love…

John really leaves no doubt on whom Jesus is in regards to being fully God, however he goes on to speak about whether Jesus was actually here in human flesh:

7 For many deceivers have gone out into the world, those who do not confess the coming of Jesus Christ in the flesh. Such a one is the deceiver and the antichrist.

History teaches us (both Biblical and extra-biblical) that there was a figure in that time called Jesus. I do find it hard (but not all that surprising) that such a short time after Christ was crucified and resurrected that false teaching was starting to creep in on a fundamental doctrine. How much more must we be two millennia later? We have to test the spirits (1 John 4:1-3) to see if they be of God.

I call this “rat poison” doctrine. Rat poison is only between 3-5% poison and the rest is made up with foods and fatty stuffs that the rat is attracted to. If your doctrine allows falsehoods and anti-biblical stances, it becomes like rat poison. Rat poison works at varying speeds, good poison works and shuts down the healthy organs some time after it was ingested. Same with doctrine, its not the ingestion that is an issue, it is the damage done further down the line.

I know why this is done, if Christ can be stripped of his deity then he is simply a “prophet” or a “good man” then he becomes the same as a “Muhammad” a “Buddha” or the same as a man made prophet or focal point of just another religion. This is not the case! Jesus was uniquely God and uniquely man! He came down as a man, was born the same way we were, in a womb, grew up as a man and ministered here on earth to be firstly the Jewish messiah and then the messiah to the whole world. (John 3:16-17)

This was done to fulfill the Old Testament scriptures and to fulfill the Jewish sacrificial system. When I read Leviticus I get excited because I see where this is going and I grieve for the Jewish folks that know their tradition but have missed their messiah!

These guys deny Jesus came in the flesh, I thought the Jehovah’s Witnesses didn’t come over until much later.

John mentions the word “antichrist” which is also mentioned in four verses and all authored by John (1 John 2:18, 22, 4:3; 2 John 7); and he is as the name suggests a Christ-like creature who is against Christ, the opposite of Christ. Set up to deceive people and take them away from the word.

 

This Antichrist goes by many titles:

– The little horn (Daniel 7:8)
– The king of fierce countenance (Daniel 8:23)
– The Prince that shall come (Daniel 9:26)
– The willful king (Daniel 11:36-45)
– The one who comes in his own name (John 5:43)
– The son of perdition, the man of sin, and the lawless one (2 Thessalonians 2:3, and 2:8)

 

He will build a kingdom not dedicated to God, but to the evil one! As a Christian I am astounded this would be able to happen, but many will follow him and rise up against God. This reminds me of the account in the gospel of Mark when the crowd wished a murderer to be released. They would have that rather than Jesus, this happened in the trial of Jesus before Pilate. (Mark 15:34)

Love one another

…4 I rejoiced greatly to find some of your children walking in the truth, just as we were commanded by the Father. 5 And now I ask you, dear lady—not as though I were writing you a new commandment, but the one we have had from the beginning—that we love one another. 6 And this is love, that we walk according to his commandments; this is the commandment, just as you have heard from the beginning, so that you should walk in it…

How do we know we are walking in the truth? If we are loving one another (John 13:34-35) this is something that we need to work on as a church. There have been times that I myself (and this is shocking as I am a believer) have felt unwelcome in a place that is supposed to be a light to the world. We have to have that self sacrificing agape love that we keep talking about.

 

…8 Watch yourselves, so that you may not lose what we have worked for, but may win a full reward. 9 Everyone who goes on ahead and does not abide in the teaching of Christ, does not have God. Whoever abides in the teaching has both the Father and the Son. 10 If anyone comes to you and does not bring this teaching, do not receive him into your house or give him any greeting, 11 for whoever greets him takes part in his wicked works. 12 Though I have much to write to you, I would rather not use paper and ink. Instead I hope to come to you and talk face to face, so that our joy may be complete. 13 The children of your elect sister greet you…

 

John requests that the church be careful, that we are watchful (v8) but we have even today, folks that travel to our house on a daily basis that try to peddle a false doctrine. The JW’s (remember them from earlier) and the LDS church come by and we are told how to deal with them. My wife is home often times and she is awesome at dealing with these guys, she has them in, shows them their bible and lets them question each other. Despite promises to come back and give answers to the questions she has raised, they never do! (I actually think our house is black listed)

I am not having a go at these denominations other than on this area they are preaching a different Jesus that the Jesus whom I follow. (They require prayer as well as re-education in correct doctrine.) For me that is the sign of erroneous doctrine, if you have to add something to the bible to make your doctrine work, such as Jesus and something as if the cross wasn’t enough, or taking away from Jesus the Messiah such as calling him the devil’s brother or claiming that Jesus was not in the flesh.

John closes by reiterating the closeness he has for the recipient and that he could have written another gospel in what he had to say to them but he refrained and waited until he could share sweet koinonia with them. When I was at Calvary Glasgow, I was bummed if I went two days in a row without seeing someone from church, I worked with folks from church, I moved to be geographically closer to where we met on a Sunday, we arranged coffee evenings, we spoke online, we texted, we were in and out of each others houses, we genuinely loved and invested in each other in a real way. That is true church, let’s get to it!

I pray this bible study was a blessing and please feel free to comment on your thoughts, both positive and negative.
God bless you one and all
TTE

Ten Commandments through the eyes of the Epistles

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Your mission field should you choose to accept it

Ten Commandments through the eyes of the Epistles

In a previous article I spoke of Agape love and gave a brief definition of what it was, when beginning this study I decided to take a short look at something Christ said. This question occurred when the Pharisees (The teachers of the Law, the ones who should know better) were questioning him about what the greatest commandment was.

Jesus answers in the gospel of Matthew 22:35-40 when he says:

 

35 And one of them, a lawyer, asked him a question to test him. 36 “Teacher, which is the great commandment in the Law?” 37 And he said to him, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. 38 This is the great and first commandment. 39 And a second is like it: You shall love your neighbor as yourself. 40 On these two commandments depend all the Law and the Prophets.”

I find this wonderful and what a teacher our LORD was, broke down the 10 Commandments in one sentence! (If you wish to read the 10 Commandments they are in Exodus 20:2-17)

10 Commandments in a paragraph

I am no way as good a teacher as our LORD so I will try to do this in a paragraph. (I also studied this a lot as I wanted to write a book on the subject) The first 4 Commandments refer to your relationship with God. (Verses 3-11) The last 6 refer to your relationship with others. (Verses 12-17)

You can’t love people the way God wants you to until you first love God.

How so you treat your neighbour?

Lets have a reality check here folks, I was in a meeting recently with a local Pastor and we were discussing an issue that was divisive in the church at large and I eventually said to him “we all have to own how we treat each other!” (This was 2014 and it was concerning two Christian brothers at opposite ends of Christendom as far as how they reach people for Christ)

Jesus himself advised this self same point in the Gospel of Luke 10:29-37, so many of us become a “Diotrephes” and become puffed up and start to think we are the main show when we are simply the tolls used by the master craftsman.

The thing that strikes me today about that parable is it is the ones who have been overlooked for the “show ministries” that are making the difference to the guys who are in the ditches, Praise God for those with a Samaritans heart that just get on with it and have the heart to do it for Gods glory and not for the praises of men.

Those folks to me are showing the real Christ, those guys who show Jesus’ love and not judgement to the guy in bondage to drugs, to alcohol or whatever their vice is. That to me is true agape love.

Verses that show the value of keeping the last 6 Commandments

Lastly, we have further reading in the Scriptures that show the principles of the Ten Commandments in other parts of the Bible. They are below:

Respect authority – Ephesians 6:1-3; Romans 13:1-7; 1 Thessalonians 5:12-13

Protect Life – Deuteronomy 19:11-12; 1 John 3:15

Protect Marriage – 1 Corinthians 6:13-18; James 4:1-4

Respect Property – Exodus 22:1-15; Malachi 3:8-10

Honour Truth – Zechariah 8:16-17; Ephesians 4:29-32

Reject Greed – Psalm 106:13-15; 1 Timothy 6:9-10

Love is showing them Jesus

In conclusion, I want to share that it is great to love people on this earth and attend to their day to day needs, but if we really wish to love them we also have to show them Jesus.

To do the first would be like performing the role of a triage nurse in an ER room to a gunshot wound victim. Whilst your role is important, if they don’t have surgery they will not survive. We have to book the person we are agape-ing (is that a word?) in For a “Salvation-ectomy)

Step 1 – Bear them in love

We read in the book of Ephesians the following words:

Ephesians 4:2 (ESV) with all humility and gentleness, with patience, bearing with one another in love,

That is what we were talking about before, this applies to our relationship with believers and non-believers, if you clean a man up when he is at his lowest, he will listen to you when you try to show him a better way.

Step 2 – preaching is not just words

2 Timothy 4:2 (ESV) preach the word; be ready in season and out of season; reprove, rebuke, and exhort, with complete patience and teaching. 3 For the time is coming when people will not endure sound teaching, but having itching ears they will accumulate for themselves teachers to suit their own passions,

You notice the word that is in both verses “patience” I love this because when I was in sin, I loved it! I was Mr. I can drink more than you, I can eat more than you, I can party more than you.

The person you are “agape-ing” may still be there, they may have one foot in both camps, they may still be in sin, you have to teach them honestly sound doctrine and show them the reason you are there and why you love.

Step 3 – Have compassion but save by fear

This point is summed up beautifully in the Epistle of Jude:

Jude 1:20 (ESV) But you, beloved, building yourselves up in your most holy faith and praying in the Holy Spirit, 21 keep yourselves in the love of God, waiting for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ that leads to eternal life. 22 And have mercy on those who doubt; 23 save others by snatching them out of the fire; to others show mercy with fear, hating even the garment stained by the flesh.

Some will believe when they hear of Jesus love, some will believe because they do not wish to spend eternity in the lake of fire! (Revelation 20:11-15)

Hell is real folks! Lets not forget, as Christians our MO is to keep as many folks out of there as possible. We are to be missionaries to where God has planted us, and to do what he has called in our lives.

I pray this was challenging and an exhortation to you! God bless you and TGBTG
TTE