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Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Our Identity In Him


A Study of 1 John

To Know Him is to Love Him

Chapter 4

“Our Identity in Him"

 

 

In chapter 3 we read about the privilege we all have of belonging to Jesus (His children -- one family) and how he wants us to become more confident as we grow in our knowledge WE ARE HIS, and that WE WILL SEE HIM SOON, and that WE HAVE BEEN CALLED TO HAVE INTIMATE FELLOWSHIP WITH HIM and lovely fellowship with one another, and that the closer we draw to HIM, the more OUR FAITH WILL INCREASE

 

We studied also about the effects of that three letter word: sin  -- how much it makes us NOT A WITNESS and how it can destroy our life and undermine God’s work in our life if we let it.  We know we need to trust God to help us resist the practice of sin. 

 

We've been learning a lot about a Holy Spirit driving life, and how from chapter 2 we need to allow the Holy Spirit to give us the discernment to tell good from evil (for there are others who will try to draw us away from the truth by using the God Words to bring confusion). Finally, we all asked ourselves whose spirit dominates our spirit. 

Lord willing it will always be the LORD in control of our lives.

 

In chapter three, we looked more at the spirit of truth versus the spirit of error and of course, we ended with John’s theme of his letter, God’s love in our lives and what we are doing with it.

 

Now we begin Chapter four.

 

  1. That Spirit of Truth; the Spirit of Error
    1 John 4:1-5
    Beloved, believe not every spirit, but try the spirits whether they are of God: because many false prophets are gone out into the world. Hereby know ye the Spirit of God: Every spirit that confesseth that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh is of God” And every spirit that confesseth not that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh is not of God: and this is that spirit of antichrist, wherof ye have heard that it should come; and even now already is it in the world. Ye are of God, little children, and have overcome them: because greater is he that is in you, than he that is in the world. They are of the world: therefore speak they of the world, and the world heareth them.
     
    With whom do YOU and I identify today?  How can we know?  John tells each of us how in this chapter as we first learn how to understand the Spirit of Truth and the Spirit of Error.  When we try the spirits, we need to remember not to possibly form the wrong opinion about an individual but rather judge the principle that is being taught
     
    1. When trying the Spirit
       
      1. Is it of God?  Is it scriptural?  Is it balanced?
      2. Am I judging the individual or the opinion that is given?
         
    2. Are we trusting the Creator or someone else?
       
      In verse two, we see how we truly know the Spirit – when we confess that our Lord Jesus did indeed come in the flesh.  We cannot begin to try the spirits until we first have a relationship with Christ – All that I have seen teaches me to trust the creator for all that I have not seen.  (It's all about FAITH in ACTION and TRUST)
       
      2 Corinthians 4:18
      1 Peter 1:8
       
      Verse 4 is powerful.  We are of God and we have overcome the antichrists of this world. WHY? Because greater, so much greater, is the Lord, who is in us. It is the false teacher, false prophet, antichrist, enemy, and evil person who is in the world who wants to come against us.
                 
      Reading Verse 6
       
      We are of God: he that knoweth God heareth us; he that is not of God heareth not us. Hereby know we the spirit of truth, and the spirit of error.
       
    3. Recognize the Difference
      How can we recognize the different types of false prophets?  Once again, I emphasize the importance of knowing God's Word, praying and asking God to fill you with discernment and make proper use of it, as it gives you a greater sensitivity to what is out there in the world trying to draw you anywhere but heavenward. Sometimes to draw you to a person, or the person's thoughts, or what someone says about the Word of God which is not IN the Word of God. Be careful of human philosophies, the "this is what I think" attitude. It's what the Bible says that matters. Not what we think.
       
      1. The Scientific False Prophet teaches of evolution over creation; or he/she teaches us to look to Mother Nature over our father God. Scientific proof becomes more important than the faith that God gives us in the believing of miracles or the power of prayer that to them has little or no meaning.
         
      2. The secular false prophet is materialistic and just the opposite of spiritual.  The worldly antichrists such as the Gnostics who make excuses for their folly and want everyone else to conform to THEIR image.  They sometimes even call themselves Christians but in name only.
         
      3. The humanistic false prophet lives in opposition of God on a social level.  They are in the academic world trying to steal our children away from God at a vulnerable age from kindergarten through college level.  Many are successful in causing complete confusion if our children are not carefully grounded in the word as they grow up.  (When I worked in the public school system, humanism was always on the forefront because it was politically correct)
         
      4. The “religious” appearing false prophet comes out of various denominations that portray Christ other than who he truly is.    Or the churchgoers that make appearances only but do not intend to receive anything from God, nor can they because they are closed to the working of the spirit of God.
         
        1. I’m American aren’t I?  (famous last words)
        2. Social Justice becomes the only thing of importance (do gooders not hearers and abiders)
        3. Professing it but not Living it…
           
      5. The Literary false prophet speaks to the great thinkers who take up ground against Christianity.  Look at verses 3-5 again. 
         
        1. Philosophical
          Speaking theoretically or vaguely, oftentimes not making much sense
           
          1 Corinthians 2:10, 14, 15
          1 Thessalonians 1:5
          Colossians 2:2
          Romans 14:5
          Ephesians 2:18
          John 6:45
          1 Thessalonians 5:21
           
      6. The counterfeit false prophet draws us to himself, has selfish motives, is not what she or he claims to be, is a great deal like the "religious" false prophet.
         
  2. Developing Spiritual Knowledge
    1 John 4:7-9
    Beloved, let us love one another: for love is of God; and everyone that loveth is born of God, and knoweth God. He that loveth not knoweth not God; for God is love. In this was manifested the love of God toward us, because that God sent his only begotten Son into the world, that we might live through him
     
    We measure our gain of spiritual knowledge as we recognize God’s love for us. We measure the gain of God’s love for us by how we RESPOND to that love.
     
    1. The Evidence we see of God is described in 1 Corinthians 12:3 which says: We know that God is love.  When we are his, we begin possessing his love and expressing his love through our unselfishness and through our charitableness, and it is of the spirit and not of the flesh that we do this.
       
    2. The Confidence we need with God’s Love comes as his love is perfected in us. It is the evidence of our having fellowship with him and with each other.  What is the pattern of our walk?
       
      John 4:10-12
      Herein is love, not that we loved God, but that he loved us, and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins. Beloved, if God so loved us, we ought also to love one another. No Man hath seen God at any time. IF we love one another, God dwelleth in us, and his love is perfected in us.
       
    3. The Exercise of God's Love produces blessings for others, blessings for ourselves, and most of all blessings for our Lord.  He loves us first, and we follow through by loving him and loving one another (not just picking and choosing whom we might like today or tomorrow). 
       
      Do we show love to others? How?
       

  1. Witnessing God’s Spirit
    John 4:13-16
    Hereby know we that we dwell in him, and he in us, because he hath given us of his Spirit.
    And we have seen and do testify that the Father sent the Son to be the Saviour of the world.
    Whosoever shall confess that Jesus is the Son of God, God dwelleth in him , and he in God.
    And we have known and believed the love that God hath to us. God is love; and he that dwelleth in love dwelleth in God, and God in him.
     
    Our wonderful evidence of having the Lord within us is knowing that his Spirit dwells within us!
     

  1. When we testify of him to others we are Declaring Him
  2. When we confess him as our Saviour and Lord, we begin Dwelling in him and him in us.  It is only from him that we can draw strength to walk in godliness and holiness, which is supposed to be our daily endeavor.
     
  3. When we dwell in the Lord we learn to shine his light stronger by being a living testimony of his love.  This takes us to the next few verses, which deal with the perfecting of his love within us.
     

  1. Perfected by His Love
    1 John 4:17-21
    Herein is our love made perfect, that we may have boldness in the day of judgment: because as he is, so are we in this world. There is no fear in love; but perfect love casteth out fear: because fear hath torment. He that feareth is not made perfect in love. We love him, because he first loved us. If a man say, I love God, and hateth his brother, he is a liar: for he that loveth not his brother whom he hath seen, how can he love God whom he hath not seen? And this commandment have we from him, That he who loveth God love his brother also.
     
    Reflection: What are some ways you see God perfecting His love in your life lately? ___________________________________________________________________________
     
    It is because of his love that our love is made perfect.  As  he is, so are we in this world.  We are fully accepted by him!  We can be confident in that! 
     
    He also tells us there is no fear in love.  In Psalm 27:1 it reads, “The Lord is my light and my salvation, whom shall I fear. The Lord is the strength of my life; of whom then shall I be afraid?”
    God’s love in us will cast out any fear, which will take away our confidences.  His love in us is pure, kind, and full of boldness.  He loved us because he loved us!  We love him BECAUSE he loved us.
     
    Are we allowing God’s perfect love to cast away any fear that has overruled our life in the past?
    As we dwell in his love we can more readily walk in the fruit of his spirit which is that Love in action.  Galatians 5:22
     
     
    It’s so easy to express our love for God as long as it doesn’t cost us anything.  We can go to church, fellowship, and all.  The  real test is this…
     

        1. Is he our priority? (How does it exemplify itself in your life?)
        2.  Is he our first love?(How do we know?)
           
          But if we say we love him but don’t love someone else in the body who is a representative for the Lord how can we truly love our Lord whom we cannot see?
           
          There is the spirit of truth and the spirit of error; there is the love of God and the hatred of the antichrist. With whom and with what will we identify our lives today?
           
          In reading over this chapter this week which verse ministered to you most and in what way?
          _______________________________________________________________________
           
          Once again: it is because of His love that our love is made perfect. Amen
           
           

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