Taking the Epistle

A biblical journey through the epistles

Tag Archives: Agape Exeter

WE ARE EXETER – The City Harmonic Concert October 29th 2015

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WE ARE EXETER – The City Harmonic Concert October 29th 2015

Those crazy Canadians

If you ever get the chance or opportunity to go see the band “The City Harmonic” then I would advise that you please do, they are much more than four “Weird Canadians” (Their words and not mine) from Hamilton, a place that is as well known for its steel industry as it is it’s football team (Tigercats) and based on the testimony I heard last night this formed a big part of the history  of why they were touring North America with their “We Are” tour, and in the latest leg of this tour when last night they visited my home town in Exeter, CA.

Back to the Great Commission

There are not many bands that come through here (Small population of just over 10,000) so we have to give much kudos to Michael Guzman of the Church of God, Exeter for being able to make Exeter one of the stops on this great tour and for the band for making the tickets so affordable. On a personal level this confirmed so many things that God has been speaking to me that we should as Christians be working together for the glory of God and fulfilling Matthew 28 and going out and making preaching the gospel of Jesus Christ the number one priority. Michael was keen from the start that this be Exeter’s event and not a Church of God event and all of the relevant publicity spoke of “Churches together” and I find this great and I will explain the reasons why below.

Unified evangelism

The Gospel of Jesus should be brought forward in a unit as opposed to a pincer movement! I know that is Army terminology but there is an element of truth in the fact that there is “strength in numbers”. If that means further ecumenicalism then I would have to say to those who are scared of working with those outside of their particular flavor of Christianity the words of Christ himself when the disciples warned of someone who was doing the work of Christ in Jesus name but was not part of their particular group…

Luke 9:49 (ESV) John answered, “Master, we saw someone casting out demons in your name, and we tried to stop him, because he does not follow with us.” 50 But Jesus said to him, “Do not stop him, for the one who is not against you is for you.”

Reinvent the wheel?

People have issues in doing joint projects due to minor differences in theology. Here is tge thing, we don’t have to reinvent the wheel every time, many churches will be doing similar things. Let us look at it from a non-Christian point of view; a non-Christian does not understand the subtle differences between Baptist theologies or they couldn’t pick a Lutheran out of a lineup or a Calvinist from a Catholic and all they know is that it is “Christian” in religion and in definition and they will not care what branch of Christianity that this viewpoint belongs to and will often times use something a denominational leader says as something to beat the whole of Christianity over.

Cheap as chips?

Let’s use an analogy that is a little fun but gets the point across well. Let us replace the denomination name with flavors of chips. So rather than stating I am a Baptist or Presbyterian, we will state I am Salt and Vinegar or I am Barbeque, which by definition are all potato chips but again they are different flavors. (A good question to ask would the “cult of potato chips be Cheetos or Funyins eaters?) Would we split over a chip flavor as easily as we split over a preferred order of service on a Sunday or in the case of Seventh Day Adventist the day of the week that you prefer to go to church?

Align with those on the same mission

At this point I would have to state that it is important to align ourselves with people who are on the same mission as us and not “join forces for the sake of joining forces if the ones you seek to align with are not on the same mission as you” and I have to confess that I am a big fan of the Apostle Paul, a man who started off his journey persecuting Christians to the point of death as Rabbi Saul of Tarsus, then he had a blinding light and was brought to task by his Lord on the road to Damascus (Acts 9) and then spent much of his written work appealing for unity in the body. A favorite writing of mine is as follows…

1st Corinthians 1:10 (ESV)  I appeal to you, brothers, by the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that all of you agree, and that there be no divisions among you, but that you be united in the same mind and the same judgment. 11 For it has been reported to me by Chloe’s people that there is quarreling among you, my brothers. 12 What I mean is that each one of you says, “I follow Paul,” or “I follow Apollos,” or “I follow Cephas,” or “I follow Christ.” 13 Is Christ divided? Was Paul crucified for you? Or were you baptized in the name of Paul? 14 I thank God that I baptized none of you except Crispus and Gaius, 15 so that no one may say that you were baptized in my name. 16 (I did baptize also the household of Stephanas. Beyond that, I do not know whether I baptized anyone else.) 17 For Christ did not send me to baptize but to preach the gospel, and not with words of eloquent wisdom, lest the cross of Christ be emptied of its power.

You could say the same truth lies at the door of the modern Western church as it did when Paul wrote to the church in Corinth. Bear with me for a second and you will see where I am going with this, replace the word “Paul”  or “Apollos” with your brand of church for example “I am a Methodist” or “I follow Calvin” and you will see how relevant this is to the modern day believer, we are instructed to be of the “same mind and judgment” and let us do that, let us preach the gospel straight from the pages of the word and let the Holy Spirit impact the lives of the people we touch. Let the revival start with me, with you the reader. Let us strengthen our homes, let us be like Joshua and let there not be a decision “As for me and my house WE WILL serve the Lord” (Joshua 24:15)

Families on and in mission

Here is where the gloves come off and we need to read the truth that we need to be families ON mission and families IN mission. Please know that we are not perfect and we will fail, we will sin, we will fall and we will fail but we will love! John 13:35 states that this “is how we will be identified as his disciples, by our love for one another” This could be as simple as having people over, this could be mentoring people in the word, this could just be as simple as doing your job to the best of your ability and being a Christian in the workplace in every transaction you do. There will be times where the mission of Christ is strong and there are times that you have to focus more on the family but we should be “working at it all to the Lord heartily and not to a human master” (Colossians 3:23) We have to use the skills that God has blessed us with and use it all to the glory of God. My wife is a gifted musician and leads our house in worship on a Sunday evening and I love that she has the heart to do so, I know that I am stronger when I am doing what I am called to do by the Lord, I have the gifts of encouragement, teaching and mentoring.

What about the concert?

Getting back to the concert, it was beautiful to see the great local choir made up from many local churches, great to hear of the pastors and leaders who met together to coordinate to help move the needle for Jesus in our small community and was great to see the three pastors who came up and prayed over the community that this not just be a concert but actually be a small part of an ongoing movement to spark revival in the City of Exeter and beyond. And that is my heart, like these Canadians I come from a “Steel town” in that beautiful land called Scotland and my first job was an apprentice welder in a place very close to the original Hamilton in Scotland. I recognized the place that they came from and the heart that they had to get the churches and the people of God together and get all of us Christians pointing in the same way as regards to evangelizing our local area. When Jesus stated the great commission and gave us the task to “go out unto the world and preach the gospel” there was no caveat that stated “only if they have the same eschatology or hermeneutics”. The music was wonderful and most definitely a joyful noise to our Lord. The words were impactful and certainly pierced any remaining hardness in my heart and swept away any inhibitions that I had about being on mission in my small town. I genuinely felt God speaking to me and it was a true oasis in the desert as it was a break from real life and a good opportunity to have that mountaintop experience and realign priorities that may have got messed up otherwise. The question I have is why are we not on that mountaintop more? Let us get back on point with what God is trying to do in our lives and be that blessing to others and let the Lord replenish us from that stream of endless living water.

What flavor of Christ are you?

I find it such a shame that we lead into conversations about our faith by stating our particular branch of Christianity (and example would be I am a Presbyterian) before we identify ourselves as Christians and because we have become so entrenched in our differences we do not even think that the church across the road may be willing to pull our resources and do a community outreach. We have to start thinking in terms of changed hearts as opposed trying to get people in the doors on a Sunday. These are words of lamentation and I am working through my own issues and my own baggage that I have self-loaded in this area.

Quantity or quality?

Personally if I was a pastor, I would rather have 40 committed, connected family like believers in my church than 400 folks who barely knew each other and do not operate in any small groups, individual ministry or mentoring in order to “equip the saints for the work of the ministry” because that 40 who are reaching out and being missional, teaching the converts and then sending them out to witness to others will be much more efficient in the work of the ministry in the area where God has planted them. I love small groups, so much so that I have one in my house on a Sunday evening, we go between 3 and 17 dependent on what night it is. We follow the example of our Messiah Jesus who had a small group of 12 disciples which he invested in, he mentored for three years and sent them out to change the world, as his disciples we should do likewise.

Closing benediction

My prayer is that you read this and get excited to partner with me to change my small town; I would still like to partner with you if you live in a different town. My priority is revival in three places…

My home – I want to be like Joshua, my house will serve the Lord
My neighborhood – I want to be a light to my neighborhood and preach the gospel to whomever God sends my way
My town – Exeter is a lovely place but imagine Exeter on fire for Jesus? Wow what a thought and I want to be a good and faithful servant to the mission the Lord has given me.

Exeter is where I live now and I would go so far as to say it is my home town, Scotland will always be where I grew up but the Lord has given me Exeter as a mission field. I have no idea why I landed here except through God’s will but I know there are people who share my desire to make a change in my city.

One thing I know is that my Christian brothers and sisters in Exeter is that we are more similar than we are different, it is right that we should be praying for our brothers and sisters regardless of where they congregate on a Sunday, we all have the same Savior and WE ARE ONE. WE ARE ALL ON THE SIDE OF JESUS and WE ARE EXETER.

I pray this was a blessing, an exhortation and I have no desire to lead a movement, simply be a motivator or facilitator in moving the needle towards helping my town find Jesus Christ. If you find this a blessing, like, share or comment on this article or feel free to publicize this on whatever social media platforms you use. I love you all and want to see my small city on fore for Jesus.
TTE
TGBTG
SDG

See also

A vision of clarity for the church (part 1)
A vision of clarity for the church (part 2)
A vision of clarity for the church (part 3)

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I swear to God!

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I swear to God!

Occasionally I get questions posed to me by different people from time to time to ask what the bible says about certain aspects of modern day life, this blog article is designed to give a longer answer to the question I was asked. I was asked by a lady who attends my Sunday evening bible study called “Agape” (I will not name her here but she will be aware of this articles presence) the following question…

What does the bible say about the use of “I swear to God”? (To give you a background the lady was uneasy as people she loved used the term and not her)

Are you taking the LORD’s name in vain?

Well there were two places in the New Testament part of the bible that I felt dealt with this rather well, but let us first look at a deeper issue. The deeper issue here from a doctrinal standpoint is, are they using the name of God in a flippant or vain way? Are they respecting the name of the living God? If they are using God’s name to justify a flimsy position that would seem shaky in an argument without it then I would suggest that they are. Or secondly, if they seem to be telling something that does not appear to be accurate and they move their argument towards truthfulness by using God’s name as a standard (because even if you do not believe in God, God’s name is associated with truth) but not meaning the reverence in their hearts to the very holy name of God then that is also problematic.

Where do I find biblical evidence for this problem?

In the Ten Commandments we are warned against this very thing. Let’s look at Exodus chapter 20…

Exodus 20:7 (ESV) “You shall not take the name of the LORD your God in vain, for the LORD will not hold him guiltless who takes his name in vain.

Heavy stuff huh? In the third commandment you will be held guiltless by the one true God and only just judge of the world! The name of God is holy, and in some Jewish and Hebrew circles they do not spell the name of God in case they misspell it (replacing it with G_d in many cases) such is the reverence for God’s name.

So I think we have established that it is a no-no from the 10 Commandments!

Is there anything in the New Testament? I want to follow that too!

Remember I said there were two places in the New Testament that dealt with this rather well, let’s look at these. As this blog is called “Taking the Epistle” let us first look at the Epistle of James chapter 5…

James 5:12 (ESV) But above all, my brothers, do not swear, either by heaven or by earth or by any other oath, but let your “yes” be yes and your “no” be no, so that you may not fall under condemnation.

James commends us not to invoke the name of God in our arguments, he commends us to be men and women of our word, he said “let your yes be yes and your no be no!” let us not use words flippantly like “I believe that may be true” (when we know it is not) and we justify in our minds that we are not “technically” lying. He does not want us to be losing an argument or having a discussion and attach God’s name to something it has no business being in.

And lastly Jesus Christ himself said not too

Jesus said in the Gospel of St. Matthew chapter 5…

Matthew 5:33 (ESV) “Again you have heard that it was said to those of old, ‘You shall not swear falsely, but shall perform to the Lord what you have sworn.’ 34 But I say to you, Do not take an oath at all, either by heaven, for it is the throne of God, 35 or by the earth, for it is his footstool, or by Jerusalem, for it is the city of the great King. 36 And do not take an oath by your head, for you cannot make one hair white or black. 37 Let what you say be simply ‘Yes’ or ‘No’; anything more than this comes from evil.

And he goes a little further than James said and said “anything added unto this comes from evil” and do you believe that God wants his name attached to something that is attributed to evil? God is a righteous and just God. He does not lie; he is truth, light and the epicenter of all that is good. His name is worthy of praise and honor, not derision and defaming. This is the beginning of a slippery slope that will end in blasphemy and that is a road you do not wish to travel dear Christian.

Conclusion

There are many things in the bible that are unclear or could be left up for interpretation, but in my view and my belief in the holy scriptures is that if we are warned against doing something three times and told that it is a no-no in a clear fashion, (not something that can be twisted or really debated without perverting the meaning behind the scriptures) then perhaps God is telling you, this is important to me, please do not do it.

I hope that I stated the case well of why it is problematic from a biblical point of view to “swear to God” and if this is an issue in your life then please seek clarification from the scriptures and pray about it, always check out what the teacher is saying and I look forward to you sharing, liking and commenting on this article here or elsewhere on social media as the LORD leads you to. I pray this was a blessing!
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.