July 6 – Love Proofing Faith

“We know that we have passed out of death into life, because we love the brethren. He who does not love abides in death.” – 1 John 3:14 (NASB)


How is your love-life? No, not the way we normally use those words. This ‘love-life’ is more according to the teaching of the Apostle John and the words of Jesus Himself. It’s the love we have in our life for one another. John calls us brethren because we are in the same family. We have God as our Father and by grace we have been saved and born again in Jesus Christ. It is most important that we understand the promises in our verse today. How do we know we have salvation? How do we know that death no longer has claim on us? We know because we love our brothers and sisters in Christ. The Bible says that we are saved by faith but that we must love people in order to finally be saved. That means our faith in God’s promises must be so real that it produces a love that proves the reality of the faith. Conversely the lack of love proves otherwise. The next verse says that hating our brother is equal to murder in consequence and proves the lack of eternal life. It is a serious matter – love, don’t hate our siblings in Christ.

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June 24 – Importance of His Will


“And this is the confidence that we have toward him, that if we ask anything according to his will he hears us.” 1 John 5:14 (ESV)


Knowing that God has promised eternal life when we believed on the name of the Son of God, gives us confidence and certainty in our lives as Christians. We have a wonderful promise today but we need to be careful to understand it rightly. Many these days speak of “praying” for others. People reach out to friends and friends of friends asking for prayer and receive assurances that the “prayers are being sent up.” But can just anyone who prays know for certain that God even hears? Does God answer and deliver on any and all prayers?” Our verse today gives us confidence that God will hear us but consider this very important condition. “…that if we ask anything according to His will…” To pray according to God’s will is to pray in accord with what He has told us He wants, not simply what we decide or desire we need. God may not respond to prayer made by those who do not believe on Him. God does not respond or answer prayers that are contrary to His will. God hears the prayers which are according to His will, not just according to our will only.

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June 22 –Knowing For Sure


These things I have written to you who believe in the name of the Son of God, so that you may know that you have eternal life.” 1 John 5:13 (NASB)


The Apostle John tells us very plainly why he wrote this letter to all believers near the end of the first century (A.D. 90-94). His message extends to all of us through all the years since he wrote the letters. John wrote this letter to give us the assurance that by believing in the name of the Son of God, our salvation is sure. We have eternal life⸺which means more than just a period of time⸺it means a person (1 John 5:20). . Eternal life is a relationship with the person of Jesus Christ it means possessing His nature which He has given to us. This is a certainty of our Christian life. We can trust with confidence what God has promised to us through this letter by John. What a great promise God has given to us so that we can live according to His will and know that we belong to Him. More than just belong but belong as having Jesus within our lives. Although we do experience doubt cast our way by the enemy of God we have this assurance to overcome those doubts.

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May 30 – Victorious Overcomers


“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 5:4-5 (ESV)


We again find a promise in the first letter by the apostle John written to the believers in the surrounding churches. As the pastor/teacher to the congregation in Ephesus, his concern was for all those who believed in Christ and who were beset by false teachers and pressures of the world. Christians who truly believe in Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior need to know that they are overcomers of evil. They need to know why and how they are overcomers. This promise tells us. Those born of God, everyone who is a child of God overcome the world. Jesus has made that possible and a fact in our lives. It is said very clearly right here, “this is our victory and we have overcome the world because of our faith.” Then, as John has done throughout this letter he emphasized by saying it again more forcefully. Take this as for each of us. Who overcomes the world? Those who believe that Jesus is the Son of God. Unless a person believes that Jesus is who He said He was, they are out. But those who do believe Jesus, have already overcome the world in Him.

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May 29 – Faith, Love, Obedience a Tapestry


“By this we know that we love the children of God, when we love God and obey his commandments. For this is the love of God, that we keep his commandments. And his commandments are not burdensome.” – 1 John 5:2-3 (ESV)


Twice in our verses today the apostle John says that love and obedience to God’s commandments go hand-in-hand. We are members of God’s family because we have been born of God, that is reason enough that we love all of God’s children ⸺all others who are born of Him. This kind of love is the second characteristic of the overcomer. We who by faith believe in God are the overcomers. We have overcome the stain and guilt of sin and our sin has been forgiven. Having never sinned Christ paid the penalty when He died on the cross in our place. The third characteristic of an overcomer is obedience. Let’s not think that obedience to God’s commandments, is too difficult or and onerous chore. God promises that his commandments are not burdensome. What is burdensome is the effort of earning our way by following the requirements of the false teachers and false religions. Trying to be “good enough” is difficult and tiring. Faith, love, and obedience to God are the characteristics of a true believer which are woven into a tapestry of our lives. Following in the way of Jesus Christ is not taxing but liberating.

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May 28 – It Takes Saving Faith to Overcome


“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.” – 1 John 5:1 (ESV)


We have been finding promises of God in the first letter written by the apostle John. Our verse today is essential in understanding the characteristics of who is a Christian. Using the label and claiming to be a Christian is not enough in itself. It’s sincere belief in Jesus of Nazareth and that He is the promised Savior that results in spiritual rebirth by God. Christians become overcomers, but not by their own good works. (Ephesians 2:8-9) Saving faith is the first characteristic of an overcomer. The term “believes” in our verse expresses the idea of continuing faith, which marks authentic believers. They continue in faith throughout their life. Saving belief is not simply intellectual acknowledgment, but is unreserved dedication to Jesus Christ that is eternal. Jesus is the Christ. If one asks who his Christian brother or sister is, the answer is that everyone who believes that Jesus is the Christ is born of God. It is not by being born to Christian parents. It is a believer’s faith in Jesus, that He is the promised Messiah or “Anointed One” whom God sent to be our Savior from sin, to die for sins of all people, and to rise again.

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May 27 – Being Overcomers


“Beloved, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God, for many false prophets have gone out into the world” … “Little children, you are from God and have overcome them, for he who is in you is greater than he who is in the world.” 1 John 4:1 & 4 (ESV)


The first letter written by the apostle John that we have in our Bible is a powerful letter of truth. A great amount of encouragement is given to those who have by faith, believed in Jesus Christ as the Son of God. When we accept Christ’s offer of forgiveness and in faith believe that He is our Lord and Savior, we overcome the false teaching and false teachers. They are everywhere and we must be on our guard not to be tripped up by them. In another verse we share today from John’s letter is this: “I write to you, fathers, because you know him who is from the beginning. I write to you, young men, because you are strong, and the word of God abides in you, and you have overcome the evil one.” 1 John 2:14 (ESV) We know that all who believe and have the word of God abiding in them have by God’s will the strength to overcome evil. Since John addresses “little children” and “fathers” and “young men” we know that none are excluded from this promise. All faith believers overcome evil and false teaching. All are made strong in God love.

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May 26 – It’s What Satisfies God


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


Yesterday our promise focused on the small word, ‘sin,’ how in truth we struggle with sin and our need for confession of sins. Today’s promise comes from a much bigger word and one which is not in our common vocabulary. It is ‘propitiation.’ It is appropriate for John to address his readers as “my little children” because when he wrote this, John was greatly advanced in years. He was the sole remaining survivor of the apostles who had enjoyed intimate, eyewitness association with Jesus throughout His earthly ministry. Yet not exiled to Patmos where He receives the Revelation of Jesus Christ, John was actively serving the church in Ephesus. He taught that Christian must continually acknowledge and confess sin (1 John 1:9), but we’re not powerless against it. Fulfilling the duty of confession does not give license to sin. When we do sin, we have a promised defense attorney, Jesus Christ our Advocate. Why is this a promise for us? Because the death of Jesus on the cross satisfied the demands of God’s holiness for the punishment of sin. That’s what ‘propitiation’ means – “satisfaction” or “appeasement.” Jesus is the satisfaction of God for us each time we sin, we’re covered. 

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May 25 – Living In Truth, Not Denial

“If we say that we have no sin, we are deceiving ourselves and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, He is faithful and righteous to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. If we say that we have not sinned, we make Him a liar and His word is not in us.” – 1 John 1:8-10 (NASB)

Now here is a little word that none of us consider a favorite word. In fact we don’t even want to think about the sinful acts that we do. Yet, the truth is this, we cannot escape from sin being a part of our lives. We do sin. Everyone sins. There is no one who does not sin. If we refuse to acknowledge the sin that assails us and pretend to claim that we have no sin, as our verse tells us, we are deceiving ourselves. We can’t profess to live in truth if we are not addressing the sinful actions and thoughts we do and have. In fact, if we deny having sinned, we make God a liar. Our promise is if we sin (and we do) then we confess our sins. What is confessing? It is being honest and saying the same thing about our actions that God says. We agree with God that we have sinned and God faithfully and lovingly promises to forgive and clean us up. The bad thoughts and actions are washed away. We’re done with them. It is an ongoing process in our lives until we get to heaven.  

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April 26 – No, Not Burdensome


“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)

Struggling to be obedient to God as if obedience is a heavy burden is not evidence of love for Him. Our acts of loving God amount to much more than just keeping His commandment. Truly, loving God is having a heart for God that enables us to keep the statutes and instructions without that becoming a burden. John explains why God’s commandments are not burdensome. When we are born of God – and this is for all who are truly born of God – He makes us overcomers of the world system. We have what overcomes the many pitfalls and obstacles to keeping God’s will. It is the new nature we have through being born of God. That new birth creates in us a new creature and that creates a faith developing and maturing within ourselves. This faith in God who loves us and gave us His only Son, does more than enable us to assent to God will, it also enables us to embrace all that He is for us in Christ. Eighteenth-century pastor Jonathan Edwards wrestled with this text and concluded, “Saving faith implies love. Our love to God enables us to overcome the difficulties that attend keeping God’s commands.”

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