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Wednesday, March 19, 2014

God and only God

A Study of 1 John
To know him is to love him
God and only God
Chapter five

Review: From last lesson.
who are we trusting the Creator or someone else? What is our relationship with God?
 It's so important to Know God's Word. 
TO KNOW:
§  The differences from have no knowledge of God to having a sincere knowledge of God
§  To understanding more wisely the ill effects of practicing sin
§  To allow the love of God to really show in our lives which happens when we have joy in spite of our situations

I.                     Our Life belongs to God and Only God
1 John 5:1-5
John says so much in these first five verses.  First he summarizes by showing us what is really important just as he has said to the reader in the last four chapters.

There are a couple more things he wants the reader to see.
  1. That the love of man and God are inseparable experiences, which is evident when Jesus is in control of our lives. This is brought out by the two great commandments.
·         To love God with all our heart, soul, mind and strength
·         To love our neighbor as ourselves.

  1. That Every person who becomes a believer -- who asks Jesus into her life has become a member of His family (that family of God as we spoke to in the last chapter). We also know how important it is to remind ourselves often of this truth. It helps us examine regularly how we are living, and whether our lives are continuing to be pleasing to Him. 
In verses three and four, we see that that necessary obedience John speaks of is the ONLY real proof of love. What is that and how do we prove our love to anyone other than by seeking to bring joy to someone else's life or please that person in some way? It doesn’t mean we condone the doing of wrong, but it comes from what God calls obedience. Remember how He tells us in so many ways throughout scripture if we love him we will strive to keep his commandments? 

  1. If I love you I will want to bring you pleasure in some way too.
  2. If I love God I will want to do as He asks of me.
  3. Everything we do or say reflects not only on us but with others around us, it reflects on our Father God who we claim to belong to.
More in these first five verses show us it is God who determines who each family member should or will be. We are simply called to accept and love those who belong to him.
He doesn’t want us to have a single doubt
·         We know in whom we believe
·         We love each other with His love (especially when it's hard to do so with our own.)
·         We obey God pleasurably
·         We become overcomers in this world
·         It is God Who Makes the Determination

How often has He led you and guided you to someone other than maybe a person of your choice to develop a friendship? Give an example.

What do you see as the true definition of family?

FACT: is the Blood relation (the natural)
FAITH: is the Family of God (In the spiritual)
FEELINGS: is the Ability to Fellowship together (In the emotional)

John, throughout his epistle keeps talking about the same issues. His writing isn’t difficult to understand just by reading it.  We know already what he is saying, and yet, by him writing it again and again it just shows us how important this is and that we are being reminded so we will not forget. 

in verse 3 he shows us again that because of the love of God in our lives, following his commandments are not burdensome to us.  We do not have to be burdened down by following his commandments. If we are begotten of Him, we will want to keep his commandments won't we. And those commandments won't be difficult. Why? He (God)  gives us the strength through faith to overcome the world.

How are YOU an overcomer in various areas of your weakness?

God has promised us that His yoke is easy and His burden is light.  We can be prevail if we hang on to that assurance from Him. 
Matthew 11:28-30 HE says, “Come to Me, all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For My yoke is easy and My burden is light.”

·         Are we laboring in some kind of a trial?
·         Are we laden with some kind of sin that keep us from growing?
·         Do we ever feel persecuted or oppressed from the world?
·         Are we just tired of everything?
·         Have we found ourselves involved in a personal pity-party because of something that has happened in our life, and no one, just no one would understand?

A yoke:  The heavy harness, much more than a bridle that those oxen wear to help them pull the heavy weights behind them.  

If we are carrying baggage that makes us feel like that ox, we are not releasing ourselves to God completely.  Remember his promise to us.  Let’s be overcomers in our everyday life  Let’s be willing to surrender all!  What does it say in Romans 12:1, 2?   

II.    God's Witness Greater
1 John 5:6-10

Water and blood, as we read in verse 6 refers to the baptism of the Lord Jesus and the crucifixion of the Lord.  Throughout 1 John he has been sending out warnings against false teachers, and one of the false teachings in that day (too) had to do with a teaching that Jesus was only “Christ” in between that day of his baptism up until his death and that he died just like any mere human.  John wants to reiterate the fact once again of how the Spirit of God bore witness to who Jesus Christ was BECAUSE of the baptism (This is my beloved son, in whom I am well pleased [See Matthew 11:28-30]) and the crucifixion.  We know that if Jesus would have died only as a man, he could not have taken upon himself your sins and my sins! God's declaration that Jesus  was his Son is also recorded back in Matthew 3:16, 17 at his baptism and Matthew 17:5 at his transfiguration

  • The Father (God)
  • The Word (Jesus)
  • The Holy Spirit (HS)
The three are one, all bearing witness and agreeing. That ever important verse that describes the trinity. Though you won't find these exact wordings in the original manuscripts, God saw fit to make sure they were there in the Bible translations that made it through history to us. And I'm glad.

III.  We know that we know that we know
            1 John 5:11-15

  1. Do you really believe that Jesus Christ is ALL you really need?  We cannot work for our salvation, nor can we try to strive for self-improvement….
1.      How to be a better Christian,
2.      How to look more like a Christian, 
3.      How to ACT more like a Christian. 

We are just to BE Christians in our hearts which automatically shows by our actions. God has to change us from inside out. We cannot change ourselves or it becomes simply works.  We cannot change others because it becomes a work of OUR own flesh. Jesus Christ is All we really need. The last thing that Jesus said on the cross before He gave up His spirit was  “IT IS FINISHED”  He meant that for us because He knew  on our own we will fail.  But if we allow Him to do the changing and improving, the molding and the shaping, there will always be spiritual success.

Look again at verse thirteen. 
  • we need never doubt our salvation regardless of how we might feel one day)
  • we have a place in heaven and that he is, as he tells us in John 14, preparing a place specifically for us, that where He is there we may be also)
  • the last part of that encourages us strongly about the next thing that is so important to remember:  THAT we MAY CONTINUE TO BELIEVE. 

Have you ever doubted God?  If you have honestly committed your life to him and are living for him, you need never doubt that you are his child. 
                       
What is the difference between the witness of man and the witness of God?

(The witness of man says we first need to be good or sincere. The witness of God…We either have Jesus or we don't.)

God will answer our prayers. Do we believe this? Are you confident in your prayers everyday? Do you truly believe God will answer?  It’s always in accordance with HIS will not ours.  But he shows us here how we can be confident that HE indeed does hear our prayers, all of them.  He is not telling us here to demand anything when we communicate with him.  He wants to talk about it, and then he will let us know what is best suited as the answer for us. It should be if we ask ACCORDING TO HIS WILL, he hears.

Why should the emphasis be on God's will and not our will?
           
            IV. What is REAL
            1 John 5:16-21

In verse 16 He is talking about Spiritual death.  I believe so. He could also be talking about the sin unto death that we call the blasphemy of the Holy Spirit.  TOTAL REJECTION OF CHRIST.

It's a dangerous thing to misrepresent God. Look at Hebrews 6:4-6. Here we see people who turned away from Jesus Christ.

John also refers to people who leave Christian fellowship to join antichrists. Who are they?
·         Thos who reject the only way to salvation and put themselves out of reach to prayer.
·         Those who listen to the enemy instead of listening to God
·         Those who open themselves up to sin and death.
·         Those who choose continual disobedience and pretty soon believing their own lies.

Throughout this letter, John gives us such a wonderful picture of the Lord, and a kind warning of what we should watch out for.  He ends with the simplest of statements, “Little children, keep yourselves from idols.”  What does he mean?

  • Don’t let any PERSON
  • don’t allow any THING
  • don’t let any ISSUE 
to get in the way of your love in and belief in the Lord Jesus Christ who is the only true GOD and who wants to be first in our lives every single day. Make sure He is your priority today? Make sure that's your desire. If He has been moved aside somewhat and something else or someone else is filling in for Him, you can be sure, He’ll do everything to get back where He belongs in your life.

We need to always remember there is no one, no one, no one like unto our LORD. Do we truly believe this?
There is no one so glorious in holiness as Him
There is no one more worthy of our praises
There is no one who can do the wonders we experience

Exodus 15:11 Who is like unto thee, O LORD, among the gods? Who is like thee, glorious in holiness, fearful in praises, doing wonders?

Psalm 35:10               
Psalm 89:8              
Deuteronomy 33:29               
Psalm 119:97

None of us have to live defeated lives. The key to living with victory is FAITH
  1. acting on it,
  2. maturing in it,
  3.  having joy because of it.
Remember, His yoke is easy and his burden is light.


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