April 30 – Love Made Perfect

“The one who says, “I have come to know Him,” and does not keep His commandments, is a liar, and the truth is not in him; but whoever keeps His word, in him the love of God has truly been perfected. By this we know that we are in Him:” 1 John 2:4-5 (NASB)

We have two verses today but are looking mostly at the second one for our promise. The use and repetition of the words know and keep emphasizes that those genuinely born again display the habit of obedience. Obedience results in assurance of salvation. God has given us many instructions in the Bible and we realize that He expects us to obey them. Someone may profess a fellowship with God but how they live their life shows they do not possess. John was not shy to call this kind of claim what it really is: a lie. Moreover, it may be said of the same person that the truth is not in him. If we truly love God we will want to live a way that is according to what He wants us to live. We obey God’s word and our love for Him is demonstrated. We show our love through obedience. When we obey God’s word His love for us is also demonstrated and His love for us is made perfected. He has given us instructions because He loves us and knows what is the best way for us is to live.

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December 28 – Real Positive Help

“You are from God, little children, and have overcome them; because greater is He who is in you than he who is in the world. ” – 1 John 4:4 (NASB)

If there is anything that is certain it is positively certain that we can do nothing on our own to overcome the onslaught of the devil in our lives. Because we believe by faith and confess Jesus the Son of God as our Savior and Lord, we have a target on us. The devil is a committed enemy and hates us. His only goal is to destroy us and makes us ineffective. Like the Apostle Paul wrote to Timothy, some end up shipwrecked. The third implication of the double truth that Christ came to destroy our sinning and to forgive our sins is this: Christ will really help us in our fight. He really will help us. He is on our side. He didn’t come to destroy sin because sin is fun. He came to destroy sin because sin is fatal. It is a deceptive work of the devil, and it will destroy us if we don’t fight it. Jesus is alive, Jesus is almighty, Jesus lives in us by faith. And Jesus is for us, not against us. He will help you in your fight with sin in the new year. Trust him.

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 December 27 – Our Failures Will Be Forgiven

“ I am writing to you, little children, because your sins have been forgiven you for His name’s sake.” –  1 John 2:12 (NASB)

Is it worth it? We try and try and fail and fail so we try again. Yes, there is hope. One gift from God that came to us through Christ – He has given us a clear purpose for living. There is a meaning and purpose to our salvation. The second implication of the twofold truth that Christ came to destroy our sinning and to forgive our sins is this: We make progress in overcoming our sin when we have hope that our failures will be forgiven. If we don’t have hope that God will forgive your failures, when we start fighting sin, we give up. Soon it will be a new year on our calendar. Perhaps many of you are pondering some changes, because you have fallen into sinful patterns and want out. You want some new patterns of eating, entertainment, relating to your spouse, of sleep and exercise, courage in witness. But you are wondering whether it’s any use. Well, here’s your second Christmas present: Christ not only came to destroy the works of the devil — our sinning — he also came to be an advocate for us because of experiences of failure in our fight.

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December 26 – Our Purpose: Believe Jesus, Love Others

“My little children, I am writing these things to you so that you may not sin. And if anyone sins, we have an Advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous; and He Himself is the propitiation for our sins; and not for ours only, but also for those of the whole world.” – 1 John 2:1-2 (NASB)

Sometimes big words which aren’t commonly used by us can cause us to not quite understand what a verse is saying for us. We have a powerful big word in this passage – “propitiation.” In the New Testament it signifies “an expiation, (another big word) which is a means whereby sin is covered and remitted.” This implies that we, when we believe by faith, have a clear purpose for living. John simply puts it like this: don’t sin — don’t do what dishonors God. John wrote these for us to know that we may not sin. It is possible to not sin because God has forgiven us our sins. In 1 John 3:8 he wrote, “The reason the Son of God appeared was to destroy the works of the devil.” We can say this positively, instead of negatively. In 1 John 3:23 is a summary of what John’s whole letter requires. Notice the singular “commandment” — “And this is his commandment, that we believe in the name of his Son Jesus Christ and love one another, just as he has commanded us.” That’s our purpose. Two things so closely connected John calls them one commandment: believe Jesus and love others.

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December 25 – Our Clear Purpose

“Little children, make sure no one deceives you; the one who practices righteousness is righteous, just as He is righteous; the one who practices sin is of the devil; for the devil has sinned from the beginning. The Son of God appeared for this purpose, to destroy the works of the devil.” – 1 John 3:7-8 (NASB)

It’s Christmas Day on our calendar and our thoughts are turned to the Gift of Gifts, Jesus the Son of God. Remembering so many other names we can use; King of Kings and Lord of Lords, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, and Prince of Peace. We might think our selected verse is sort of unusual for this day. But, no. It is appropriate in many ways that we recall and think about the reason we have this day on our calendar and what we celebrate God becoming fully Man while remaining fully God. It is mind blowing.  Let’s take time to contemplate this extraordinary situation.. If the Son of God came to help us stop sinning — to destroy the works of the devil — and if he also came to die so that, when we do sin, there is a propitiation, a removal of God’s wrath, then what does this imply for living our life? For the next three posts, thanks to notes from John Piper’s “Solid Joys”, we will look at three gifts which God in Christ has given us. They are, A Clear Purpose for Living, Hope That Our Failures Will Be Forgiven, and Christ Will Help Us.

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 November 24 –Out Of His Love

“…but whoever keeps his word, in him truly the love of God is perfected. By this we may know that we are in him:” 1 John 2:5 (ESV) 

This season can be distracting, stressful, confusing, and difficult. The message from the world out there does not always give us the truth. The passage we have today is part of a longer sentence in which the Apostle John compared those who claim to know God but fail to keep His commandments and those who manifest God’s love through their obedience. John repeats the words “know … keep” to emphasize that those genuinely born again display the habit of obedience. Obedience results in assurance of salvation. God has revealed Himself to us through His Word, our Bible. All this comes from the Lord because He loves us. When we follow the standards God has shown us in His Word that His love for us is made complete. Let’s be willing to let God’s love work in our hearts and obedience becomes a part of our lives. So when we learn of something in the Bible that God wants us to do or a principle He wants us to follow remember, He wants it because He loves us, not because He is a dictator. His promise to us is to make us complete through our faith in Him.

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 November 21 – Three Power Words

“And so we know and rely on the love God has for us. God is love. Whoever lives in love lives in God, and God in them.” 1 John 4:16 (NIV) 

Three of the most comforting and encouraging words ever, “God is love.” We know it yet we don’t always understand it. One of the many great truths revealed to us in the Bible is God’s love for us. The writer of these words in our verse today is the Apostle John. John knew of God’s love and he had experienced it as he walked and talked with Jesus. He had seen Jesus heal sick, raise the dead and he had seen Jesus weep. He also watched Jesus die as he was nailed to the executioners cross. He saw the resurrected Jesus and he saw Jesus rise up into heaven. John knew God’s love and he relied on it. We today also know God’s love because we have believed that Jesus died for us, rose again to new life and accepted him as our Savior and Lord. We experience His love in our lives and we depend on Him each day because we know how He loves us with a perfect love. We live in the love of God and God lives in us. A wonderful and encouraging promise we can depend upon to be true. Be thankful and rejoice!

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 September 28 – Easy Weight

“For this is the love of God, that we keep his commandments. And his commandments are not burdensome. For everyone who has been born of God overcomes the world. And this is the victory that has overcome the world—our faith.” – 1 John 5:3-4 (ESV)

Just yesterday we read the promise of Jesus that His yoke is easy and his burden is light. He offers to teach us how this is true. Today’s passage is from John the Apostle who continues the same promise. If we love God as He calls us to, we show that love by keeping the commandments He gives us.  Not many of us bow gracefully on our own under the commandments or restrictions that are laid upon us. We do not like the idea of being told by someone what we are to do. It can be difficult to buckle under to the mandates and the laws made by men. But not so with God’s commandments. It is our love of God that relieves us of any weight from keeping His commandments. Today’s promise is that God’s commandments are NOT burdensome. Why is this true? Because having been born of God we overcome the difficulties of obedience to God. What seems insurmountable we now overcome and we have our victory in this struggle. What is that victory? It is our faith in God. By faith we believe and this victory becomes ours. It’s how we love God and each other

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August 25 – Overcomers Overcome

“For this is the love of God, that we keep his commandments. And his commandments are not burdensome. For everyone who has been born of God overcomes the world. And this is the victory that has overcome the world—our faith. Who is it that overcomes the world except the one who believes that Jesus is the Son of God?” – 1 John 5:3-5 (ESV)

The Apostle John emphasized what he has written by saying it again because obedience is a characteristic of an overcomer. It is overcomers that are victorious. In the first five verses of 1 John 5 John weaves faith, love, obedience all together inextricably. It is a dynamic relationship and the genuine proof of love is obedience just as the genuine proof of faith is love. The word “keep” is one that means ‘guarding by constant obedience.’ A special promise is here for us in these verses, along with several others, is that keeping His commandments are not burdensome. We can do it because God has promised to help. Unless of course, we try to do so all by ourself in our own strength and using our own reasoning. Every other religion in the world has commands to obey to please their system but offers no spiritual help in doing so. The Christian has the Spirit of God alongside. We overcome by being yoked to Jesus who makes our burden light. (Matthew 11:28-30) We confirm ourselves to be overcomers not by our works but by faith believing that Jesus is the Son of God.

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August 24 – Knowing We Love Each Other

“Everyone who believes that Jesus is the Christ has been born of God, and everyone who loves the Father loves whoever has been born of him. 2 By this we know that we love the children of God, when we love God and obey his commandments.” – 1 John 5:1-2 (ESV)

We have been promised a victorious life. Tomorrow we will consider the substance of this promise in the following verses but today we have the promise of what it takes to have that triumphant life. All who believe that Jesus is the Christ, the promised Anointed One, the Messiah who was promised from the beginning to make a way for our reconciliation with God the Father. Everyone who believes this is born spiritually by the power of God. We who have been born into God’s Spirit will manifest love for God the Father. We also will have and show love for all others who have been born of God. Our love of others is made possible by our love and obedience to God. Our promise is this, we can know that we love each other when we obey His commandments. These are the precepts in the teaching which Christ gave to all when He was on this earth. Recorded and written by the Holy Spirit into the inspired writings of our Scriptures, we know what the commandments are from the Bible.

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