Wednesday, January 30, 2008

The First Epistle of John: Lesson Fifteen

"To me, who am less than the least of all the saints,

this grace was given, that

I should preach among the Gentiles the

unsearchable riches of Christ,

and to make all see what is the fellowship

of the mystery, which

from the beginning of the ages

has been hidden in God who

created all things through Jesus Christ;

to the intent that now the manifold wisdom of God might be made known

by the church to the principalities

and powers in the heavenly places,

according to the eternal purpose which He accomplished

in Christ Jesus our Lord...."

Eph 3:8-12


Good day, let's seek the Lord this morning.....

"All glory, honor, and praise goes to our Lord and Father God. I come to You today, Lord, to thank You once again for Your word and how it enriches our lives. Teach us today new and exciting things in Your word. Reveal to us more about Yourself that we may grow in Christ.

I ask forgiveness of my sins. I know that I have sinned against You, Lord, and pray that You will forgive me. I pray that You will cleanse me, purge me, and renew me with a clean pure heart like Yours that I may better serve You.

I lift up each lady reading this study to You. I pray that her week us going well. I pray for the safety of her children or grandchildren. I pray for her home, that You are welcome there. I pray that she will earnestly seek You throughout her day. As she learns today about the assurance of her salvation, I pray that she will examine her faith and work out her salvation with trembling before You, Lord.

In Jesus' name......amen."


Today's lesson will deal mostly with our personal walk with the Lord. The verses of 1 John 2:12-14 deal with the levels of Christian maturity among John's readers. As we look at these levels, you will find yourself among them....

1 John 2:12-14

"I write to you, little children,

Because your sins are forgiven you for His name's sake.

I write to you, fathers,

Because you have known Him who is from the beginning.

I write to you, young men,

Because you have overcome the wicked one.

I write to you, little children,

Because you have known the Father.

I have written to you, fathers,

Because you have known Him who is from the beginning.

I have written to you, young men,

Because you are strong, and the word of God abides in you;

And you have overcome the wicked one."

Note the three catagories of people John refers to in these verses.

  • Little children- sins are forgiven; known the Father

  • Fathers- Known Him from the beginning

  • Young men- Overcome the wicked one; strong & word of God abides in you.

What is John's purpose in addressing these groups?

Many commentaries have stated that these verses are addressing the literal age groups of these believers in the church. But most commentaries suggest that John is addressing the spiritual maturity of the believers in the church. We will agree with this latter view for the purposes of this study.

As written in our opening verse, Paul states his purpose very humbly: that through his works others may see the glorious riches of our Lord Jesus Christ. Similarly, John is hoping that the believers who read his words of encouragement will lead others to see the mystery of God that is now revealed through Christ.

Please read:

2 Cor 1:20-21

1 Cor 6:11

John wants us to remember the privileges we have in Christ Jesus. He wants us to remember the foundation of our faith.

The young converts are affectionately called "little children" by John. By calling the new convert, "little child" he gently reminds them that all things are new to them. All that they are learning is just in the beginning stages as with a little child. Where do you think he received this notion?

Matt 18: 1-5

Remember our author walked with Jesus and learned from Him.

Matt 19:13-14

Matt 20:27

John understood what Jesus was saying: approach God with the faith and meekness of a small child.

Think back to your own conversion. I was 7, so I cannot remember when I wasn't saved....but try and remember that feeling of when you were new in Christ. How excited were you to know more about Jesus and the Bible? Who did you turn to to get answers to your questions? How did it feel to see more and more of God revealed to you in Scripture.

I know for me it was so exciting to learn more about who Jesus is in the Bible. I was 15 when I truly began reading the Bible. I loved having my questions answered by my youth Pastor at the time. He always turned to the Bible for the answers.

But I did not fully comprehend who God was and that Jesus and God were one in the same until I was in my 30's. Why did God wait 15 years to reveal Himself to me? I think I had a lot of unconfessed sin in my heart that needed to be dealt with first. Once it was dealt with, the Lord began to show me who He is in the Bible. And it was, at times, horrifying and at other times wonderful.....and still is!

Once I learned that God is holy....I saw myself as depraved. But I began to mature in Christ and the act of confessing sin daily really began to change my walk with the Lord.

How has your walk changed since you first received Christ as Lord and Savior?


"Because you are strong, and the word of God abides in you, And you have overcome the wicked one."

To be described in such a way is what every Christian should strive for: having overcome the wicked one.

In the book of 1 John, you will see the word "overcome" many times in the last chapter. John clearly wants us to become Overcomers.

Please read:

Rev 3:21

Rev 12: 10-11

Rom 8:37

Rom 12:21

John wants to remind us of who we are in Christ. We can be Overcomers of evil by doing good. We can perserver through the trials of this world and be rewarded, like the martyrs are rewarded.

We were once young believers in Christ, but then we were strong in our faith and we did abide in God's word. Now, we may be older in Christ, but 1 John reminds us to remain BOLD in the faith and strong in the we may overcome.


Life Application

Today we looked at who we are in Christ. How can we apply what we have learned?

Please read:

1 Pet 4:7-11

Peter reminds us that the end of all thigns is near and that we should be serious and watchful in our prayers. Like the soldier posted on the tower: we need to be watchful of the enemy but also for the return of the Lord. We need to take prayer seriously and remember that we are indeed talking with the Holy God of the universe.

But he, like John, reminds is to love one another fervently. Remember, Simon Peter also walked with the Lord and learned from Him:

Luke 9:18-20

John 13:1-11

Acts 3:1-10

Peter learned the importance of putting Christ's words into action. We are to always remember that we carry on us the cloak of Christ....His very identity is written upon us.

Peter urges us to serve the Lord and use the gifts the Lord has given us, but to be good stweards of the grace of God. All so that the glory of Christ will be magnified.

So when we have overcome and receive the crowns that Jesus places on our heads, we cast those crowns down at His feet so that only He receives the glory, honor, and praise He readily deserves.


1 Cor 10:31


Until next time.....

"Under the new covenant, the Holy Spirit works in a most vital way to bring Christians into conformity with the will of God. But the believer is responsible actively to make use of the means of grace available to him. If he does not obey God's law, he will not live in the fullest state of God's blessings...Christians shall be judged according to the deeds they have done. Scripture is quite consistent on this point. While salvation comes by faith in the work of Christ alone, judgment will be dispensed according to a man's own deeds, whether they be good or evil."

-O. Palmer Robertson (The Christ of the Covenants, 1980, p. 184)



Monday, January 28, 2008

The First Epistle of John: Lesson Fourteen

"A little while longer the light is with you.

Walk while you have the light, lest

darkness overtake you; he who

walks in darkness does not know where he is going.

While you have the light, believe in the light

that you may become sons of light...."

John 12:35-36


Good morning! Let's begin our time with prayer....

"Dear Lord, there is so much to be thankful for this day. I thank You for the rain that You ahve given us. I thank You for providing shelter from the rain and comfort from the cold. I thank You for answered prayers even when the answer isn't what I expected. I thank You for our time together today.

I seek the forgiveness of my sins today. I pray that You will search me for the hidden sins of my heart and bring them to the forefront of my mind so that I may confess them. I pray that You will wash me, cleanse me and renew me this day so that You can use me.

I pray for each lady reading this study. I pray that she will be blessed by the reading of Your word. I pray that she will see something new in Your word today and learn how to apply it to her life. I lift up her family and her home and pray that You be with her.

In Jesus' name.....amen."


In that last lesson, we touched on the "old & new" commandment that John was reiterating in this letter: we are to love the brethren. By showing us how He loved the disciples, Jesus was providing us with a prime example of how to love one another.

This theme continues in today's lesson.....

1 John 2:9-11

"He who says he is in the light, and hates his brother, is in darkness until now. He who loves his brother abides in the light, and ther eis no cause for stumbling in him. But he who hates his brother is in darkness and walks in darkness, and does not know where he is going, because the darkness has blilnded his eyes."

To love other believers is a command that the Lord has given to us. To obey this command means we will abide in the Light- and God is the light. But to disobey this command is to walk in darkness.....and in God there is no darkness at all.

Remember who our author is: John, the beloved disciple.

He saw how the Pharisees claimed to be obeying the Law of God, yet they were not of love nor did they show that love to others.

Please read:

Luke 18:9-14

John saw how Jesus spoke to the people who "trusted in themselves that they were righteous, and despised others".

Luke 10: 25-37

Luke 16: 13-17

These men were using the Law of God to build themselves up in the sight of men, but the Lord Jesus knew their hearts.

John witnessed how Jesus, who knew the Law of God, showed His love for the brethren. And if we call ourselves Christians (followers of Christ) then we are also to demonstrate the love for the brethren.

He provides another way for us to know if someone is a believer or not: if one claims to be a believer yet hates his brother, then he walks in darkness. He is not a believer.

But John also provides a way for us to know we are truly followers of Christ: if we love the brethren, then we abide in the Light and there is no cause for stumbling in us.

Please read:

Gal 6:9-10

1 Cor 15:58

2 Thess 3:13-15

Matt 24:9-14

Christ warns us that in the end times we will endure trials and lawleseness will abound. And because of these trials that believers will endure and because lawlessness will abound, the love of many will grow cold.

But Jesus gives us encouragement: he who endures to the end will be saved!

Titus 3:8

Prov 3:27

And we are told to be especially loving toward other believers:

Rom 12:9-13


"But he who hates his brother is in darkness and walks in darkness, and does not know where he is going, because the darkness has blinded his eyes."

When we see a person who hates, we tend to judge them. But here John reminds us that those who hate are in darkness and do not know where they are going.

Please read:

2 Cor 3:12-15

They still have the veil over their eyes and cannot see Christ as we see Him because we have that Liberty in Christ Jesus:

2 Cor 3:16

That veil has been taken away from our eyes.

2 Cor 3:17-18

Only because of what Christ did for us can we claim Liberty. Because of the Spirit of the Lord, we are being transformed into the image of Christ "from glory to glory".

Much prayer is needed for those who are unbelievers; that the Lord will remove the veil from their eyes as He did to our eyes.

But to those who claim to be Christians and still walk in darkness....

2 Thess 3:14-15

We are to admonish (warn) a fellow believer who is in sin...but we are not to keep company with that person.

1 Cor 15:33


Life Application

We live in a time where immorality defiles the church once again, just as in Paul's time and in John's time.

In the last church we attended, there was a huge youth group made up of high school kids. At least two hundred of these kids were high school seniors. Now, according to statistics, that means many of these kids were doing drugs, having sexual relations, drinking alcohol, and contemplating homosexuality.

To think otherwise is to think foolishly.....yet that's what many of the adults in the church thought: our kids aren't doing these things!!

But I know someone who was in that youth group who knew for a fact that these sins were going on in that youth group because he was one of them and so was his brother! In my high school youth group (which consisted of about 25 kids ranging from freshmen to seniors) there was sexual immorality, drugs, and drinking going on as well.

But in our last church, these sins were not dealt with because the parents were in denial. So, the sins continued and lawlessness abounded.

Please read:

1 Cor 5:1-5

Paul tells the believers in Corinth (a very sinful city...) to confront this immorality that some may be saved.

1 Cor 5:6-8

Paul warns that to ignore the problem is to cause great trouble in the church. Sin must be dealt with!

Now, look at your own homes. Has sin been dealt with? You may have been in denial about some sins or were not willing to confront them...and have you seen the damage done to your home?

I know I tend to let Nathan get away with things for too long....and then BOOM! Something happens and it all hits the fan at once.

But Scott likes to get after Nathan's disobedience right away before everything goes BOOM.

Yet when it comes to Nathan's school work...Scott is the opposite. He tends to be in denial about Nathan's grades and the consequences of low grades. But I tend to get after Nathan right away because I know that things can get out of hand if we ignore the problem.

Think about your own house hold. Do you tend to deny disobedience rather than deal with it? Or do you see it in your children or yourself and deal with it immediately?

  • Paul warns us that a little leaven (sin) leavens the whole lump of dough. During the Passover Feast, the Jewish people were to clean their house and rid it of any leaven (yeast) which symbolized sin. Any leaven they found, they were to immediately dispose of it.

We need to deal with our own disobedience or that of our children immediately before it damages the entire household. I have seen many a Christian home come down simply because the sins of the children were not dealt with by the parents. Instead, the sins were condoned and accepted. Now, those families are suffering.

Not sure if there is any disobedience to deal with in your life right now? Ask the Lord to reveal it to you, and He will! Search out that leaven (sin) in your own house hold and dispose of it.

As I have mentioned here in this blog before, my main weakness is gossip. I tend to let my tongue get out of hand or if I hear gossip, I encourage it instead of discourage it. So, the Lord admonishes me about it all the time. Like recently, He used my husband to admonish me about my out of control gossiping and it worked! I was convicted of my sin and confessed it before the Lord.

But then He used me to admonish my husband about gossiping too. Scott attends a Sat. morning men's Bible study. One time, frustrated, he told me that all they did that morning was talk about other people in derogative ways. "You guys are worse than women!" I joked. And Scott agreed that what they were doing was wrong.

So, he, in turn, admonished the other men at the study and reminded them that instead of judging other people they should pray for them instead. The men at the study were convicted...and now they have agreed to pray for people instead of talk about them.

Paul gives us the command:

"Therefore, let us keep the feast, not with the old leaven, nor with the leaven of malice and wickedness, but with the unleavened bread of sincerity and truth."

It can be hard sometimes to take a long hard look at ourselves and know our weaknesses. I know mine is gossip and I pray for control over my tongue everyday. I notice on those days when I haven't prayed, I usually say something I regret and later have to deal with God about it.

Know your own weaknesses and take them to the altar daily before the Lord!

Well, we have looked at alot today. We must apply all that we have learned to our own lives:

  • Love one another just as Christ loved us.
  • Admonish fellow believers, who are in sin, out of love
  • And stay in the light because He is in the light.


Until next time......

"When our savior called on His disciples to imitate the example He had given them in what He had done, we are to understand not merely by the example He gave in the emblematic action in washing His disiples' feet in itself considered, but more especially of that much greater act of His that was signified by it in abasing Himself so low, and suffering so much, for the spiritual cleansing and salvation of His people. This is what is chiefly insisted on as the great example Christ has given us to follow. So it is once and again afterwards in the discourse Christ had with His disiples, this same night, in verse 34 of the same chapter: 'A new commandment I give to you, that ye also love one another.' (John 13:1-35)."

-Jonathan Edwards (1703-1758) (Altogether Lovely, 1997, p. 183)



Running the Good Race


I was able to run 2 miles on the street on Saturday. It felt really good to be out running again since the race on Jan. 13th.

My cardio was fine, but near the end my thighs were wobbly like noodles! But I was still able to sprint the finish. So, I am back on track with my training and plan on running a 5k this Spring and the 10K this Fall. Lord willing!

So far we have raised almost $3,000 for the Boscarino family! The money keeps coming in.......please continue to pray for little Hana.

Friday, January 25, 2008

The First Epistle of John: Lesson Thirteen

"A new commandment I give to you,

that you love one another;

as I have loved you, that

you also love one another. By this

all will know that you

are My disciples, if you have

love for one another."

John 13:34-35


Let's begin this study in prayer....

"Father God, Lord of heaven and earth, creator of everything. I come to You this day to give you glory, honor, and praise for You alone are worthy of our worship. I thank You Lord and am grateful that You have given us Your word so that we may know how to please You and love You.

I seek forgiveness of my sins. I know I have not been in Your word enough nor have I shared the gospel message enough with those around me. I pray that You will forgive me and wash me clean with Your blood. I pray that You will fill me with Your Holy Spirit. I pray that You will fill my home with Your Spirit as well.

I do lift up each lady reading this study to You today, Lord. I pray that as she reads today's lesson, she will be convicted of sin, seek Your face diligently, and stay in Your word daily. I pray that You will encourage her and walk with her throughout the day.

In Jesus' name.....amen."


In that last lesson we looked closely at the assurance of our salvation and what it means to abide in Christ. We looked at the importance of knowing who is a Christian and who is not a Christian so that we are not led astray by false teachings as the believers were in John's time.

Today, we will look at verses 7-8 of First John Chapter Two.

Please take time now to re-read the entire second Chapter of 1 John.

As we read over this chapter, we see the word abide many times and we read about how the world around us is passing away. We are also reminded how we are Children of God.

1 John 2:7-8:

"Brethren, I write no new commandment to you, but an old commandment which you have had from the beginning. The old commandment is the word which you heard from the beginning. Again, a new commandment I write to you, which thing is true in Him and in you, because the darkness is passing away, and the true light is already shining."

John is giving both an old commandment and a new commandment. How can this be?

Well, it is old in that it was given long ago and it is new in that now it has a new emphasis and seems new all over again.

Please read:

John 15:12 & 17

Deut. 6:5

Here we have Jesus reiterating what the Jewish people had known from the Law of God, but now they were hearing it anew from Jesus, their Messiah.

Matt 22: 37 & 40

John wants the readers of his letter to remember the old law but believe that it was fulfilled in Christ and in those who believe in Him.

Remember who John was writing to: new believers who were surrounded with false doctrine. Perhaps they felt inferior to the Gnostics who were telling them that the only way to salvation was through knowledge and intellect.

Sometimes, in this day and age, we can feel the same way. Many people look down on Christians for believing an "archaic" book and still following what our parents told us when we were children. They see Christians as ignorant fools and they see themselves as brilliant intellectual elitists (even though many of our critics do not even have high school diplomas!).

So it can be tough to live among people like this and still follow Christ. But First John gives us the encouragement we need to go on.


"..because the darkness is passing away, and the true light is already shining."

It can get tiresome constantly battling the world and its darkness. We live in a very materialistic society where one is judged on how much one has. It can get to a Christian who is trying to be content with what he or she has.

John understood this and encourages us with this last part of verse 8. We are to love one another and when times get hard and it is very difficult to love, we are to remember that the dark times are not forever. The Light is in the world already! Jesus has come into the world and He gave us the example to follow as we learned last lesson.

Now He has given us the hope eternal: He has already conquered this world and its ruler for us! We can rest in this world knowing that it won't last forever.

Please read:

Rom 13:11-14

Eph 5:11

Eph 6:10-13

Phil 4:8

We are encouraged here to "put on" Jesus Christ, our armor, and to meditate on the good things (qualities, if you will) of Jesus Christ.

By meditating on what is true, noble, just, pure, lovely, good repute, virtuous, praiseworthy...we are meditating on Christ because He is all these things!

Phil 4:8 is one verse I highly recommend you memorize. It is one verse I was shown back in 2000 when I was allowing my thoughts to depress me.

We had very little money because Scott had just been laid off and was trying to find a decent job. I was home with Nathan and frustrated. So, I was allowing Satan to use me. I was sinning in my thoughts!

Blessedly, the Lord brought a strong Christian women into my life who showed me these verses. I memorized them and when things got scary, I would lie in bed and re-read these verses in my head. I always felt calm and was able to go to sleep peacefully.

John wants us to know that we have assurance through the word that Christ is already here and He conquered for us. By reading 1 John 2:7-8, we can have that rest in knowing the darkness is passing away and the TRUE light is already shining.


Life Application

In Romans chapter 13, Paul also reminds us that the "night is far spent" and that we already walk in the daylight thanks to Jesus.

So, as we learned last week, we are not to walk as we used to walk before we knew the Lord, but to walk as He walked.

Please read:

Prov. 23:19-21

1 Cor 6:9

1 Cor 6:12

James 3:14

These books make it perfectly clear that as Christians, we are to be separated from how the world acts.

When I heard that the actor Heath Ledger died at age 28 this week, I was saddened because he was a gifted actor. And I was sad for Nathan because he really liked this actor and was looking forward to the next Batman movie. I also was sad in that this young man was so lost.

It can be tempted to look at these young stars and be envious, and many young people are. But I can look at them and be sad as I watch them desperately try to fill their empty lives with so many things:






movie roles


and finally, a trend we are seeing more and more: children

I think these stars see babies as just anothe accessory they must have! So sad....

Please read:

1 Cor 6:11

But I do not judge Heath Ledger. Because I was once lost too. But I was washed, sanctified, justified "in the name of Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God"....and he wasn't.

So, let's not get tied down with the things of this world. We have the Living Water that satisfies to overflowing! We have the Light shining already in this world! We have that assurance of salvation......having been saved from God's wrath.

There is alot to be thankful for this morning......I pray you take the time today to talk with God and just thank Him for all that He has done for you.


Until next time......

"This is the new emphasis that has come with Jesus Christ, our Savior. The Father looks at his chikdren and says, 'Love one another, whatever you do.' By that he does not mean indulge one another, be sentimental toward one another, or turn a blind eye to each other's sin. He means that we must so love others that we are willing to die for a brother or sister's good. Oh, that Christ could say of us as John says of the believers to whom he wrote, 'I see this new commandment in you. I see that you are even willing to die, if need be, for the brethren's sake!'"

-Dr. Joel Beeke (The Epistles of John, 2006, p. 72)



Wednesday, January 23, 2008

The First Epistle of John: LessonTwelve

"I, therefore, the prisoner of the Lord,

entreat you to walk in a manner

worthy of the calling with

which you have been called, with

all humility and gentleness,

with patience, showing forbearance to one

another in love."

Ephesians 4:1-2


Let's seek the Lord...

"Holy Father, creator of heaven and earth, I come to You today and give You all glory, honor, and praise for You alone are worthy of our adoration and worship. Help me to remember this throughout the day.

I pray, Lord, that you will search me for the sins in my heart. I pray for cleansing this day by Your precious blood. I pray and thank You for the gift of forgiveness and ask that You forgive me of my sins. Please fill me with the Holy Spirit this day so that all may see that I have been with You and You will be glorified.

I lift up each woman reading this study today in prayer. May she be filled with Your Holy Spirit today as she learns about abiding with You and knowing You. May she have joy upon learning of the assurance of her salvation written in the passages of First John. Bless her, walk with her today, and give her strength.

In Jesus' name....amen."


Today we will look at the assurance of our salvation and what it means to truly know God through His Son, Jesus Christ.

1 John 2:5-6:

"But whoever keeps His word, truly the love of God is perfected in him. By this we know that we are in Him. He who says he abides in Him ought himself also to walk just as He walked."

When we do an overview of Chapter Two, we see a theme here in these passages:

If we abide in Jesus we know no sin. This is not a new commandment: abide in the Light. Know Him: keep His commandments.

Pretty simple, really. If we claim to be a follower of Christ, then we keep His commandments.

Please read:

John 15: 1-10

John 14: 21

Remember that the word "know" is written in Chapter Two 13 times. Clearly John wants us to have complete assurance of our salvation.

A few lessons back we looked at the meaning of the word "fellowship" used in Chapter One. Now we will look at the word "abide" used in Chapter Two. It appears here 9 times.

The Greek word for "abide" here in First John is meno and it means:





be present



Quite different that the word "fellowship" isn't it? The word "abide" carries with it a more permanent feeling to it.

Picture this: when you attend church, you have fellowship with the other members. You meet with them, talk with them, are present with them. BUT eventually you leave, separate, and go home.

At home, you "abide" with your family. You eat with them, sleep with with them on a permanent basis.

Here, John wants us to have a peace in knowing that if we keep His commandments, we do not merely have fellowship with Jesus.....but we may abide with Him and He with us! See it now? Jesus will have that permanent dwelling withint us. He will never leave us!

Now, re-read John 15:1-10

Jesus will abide with us.....dwell with us, stay, remain, continue, endure, stand with us.

1 John 3:6, 24

1 John 4:12

How do you think "abide" and "fellowship" relate to one another?

You have a special relationship with your church friends. You share a common bond: the Love of Christ. To be with each other should be a special time of fellowship unlike any other relationship outside of immediate family.

You have a special bond with your husband and children inside your home. It should be a respite for you and your husband to enjoy. A place where you long to remain there as long as possible!

Now you know that if you keep the commandments of the Lord, you have that intimacy of fellowship and abiding with Him found nowhere else on earth.

Take some time to pray to the Lord right now and thank Him for this promise He has made with you.


"..He who says he abides in Him ought himself also to walk just as He walked."

Remember to whom John was writing this letter: new believers who lived among the Gnostics and other false teachings.

John wanted them to have complete and utter confidence in the work of Jesus and in their salvation.

So many were claiming to be Christians yet they were following the teachings of these other religions.

Remember what John wrote in Chapter Two:

1 John 2:1-3

1 John 2:4-6

If we know Jesus, then we are to walk as He walked:

1 Pet 2:20-21

2 Tim 3:12

John 15:18-20

2 Cor 1:5

2 Cor 4:10

Phil 3:10-11

Matt 16:24

Get the picture? If we are to claim ourselves the name of Jesus, then we are to also partake in His sufferings.

1 Pet 2:23-25

He is the Shepherd and the gerat Overseer of our souls. He has already been there so that we can walk in His footsteps.

Ladies, our country is due for a drastic change. This election year is proving to be historical and not for good reasons. We may have the first woman President! And she is not a supporter of Israel. So, we may also see this country....the great friend and ally of Israel....turn its back on Israel and not defend her against her enemies.

If this happens, the Lord will turn His back on this country.

And we Christians will suffer persecution unlike anytime on our nation's history. But we are way overdue. So many Christians are already suffering for their faith. We, as Americans, have known nothing but privilege and complacency in our Christian faith. We know nothing of suffering for Jesus.

But I know the time is near.

So walk as He walked. Stay in His word daily. Abide in Him and He will abide in you.


Life Application

To have complete and utter assurance of something is rare indeed. Where I work, at GCC, I have to sign a document that says I may be fired at anytime without any explanation for any reason. It also goes on to say that they can close my class at anytime without notice or explanation.

So, going to work at GCC isn't a comfort. When I arrive, I have no assurance that my job is even there let alone my class!

To walk this earth without assurance can be a lonely adventure. That is why First John is such an important book for all Christians to read. We go through life not knowing much, but we can know that we have eternal life through Jesus!

Please read:

John 15

Jesus teaches us here in John 15 that a branch draws its life from the vine and without the vine, the branch dies.

Without Jesus, we can do nothing.....that's NO THING at all. Remember that!

So if we profess to be a Christian and have Christ but we do not keep His commandments....then that profession is meaningless.

I know of a couple who were not married yet they were living together. Through mutual friends, they both made a profession of Christ. Yet when confronted with their sin of premarital sexual relations, they did nothing about it.

So, they were claiming to be Christians and yet they were not keeping the commandments of Christ:

They were refusing to get married

They were refusing to live apart

They were refusing to come to church

So, according to scripture.....are they truly Christians? No. First John calls them "liars" who are making Jesus out to be a liar we as well!

Obedience is what makes us Christians....not us, not anything we do.....but the Spirit moving inside us and creating a new person who willingly obeys the word of God.

1 John 2:3-4

Luke 8:15

Walking with the Lord requires faith and direction...a purpose in our steps.

John 6:38

Loving the word of God:

Ps 40:8

Having compassion for others:

John 13:15

Repaying evil with good:

2 Pet 2:23

Luke 23:34

That is our purpose here on earth. Not to gain material possessions or to be educated or to climb the corporate ladder. We were created for a purpose: God's devine purpose.

Rom 8:29

Go out today and walk as He walked!


Until next time....

"Intellectual pleasures consist in beholding spiritual excellencies and beauties, but the glorious excellency is the supreme excellence. When the understanding of the reasonable creature dwells here, it dwells at the fountain and swims in the boundless bottomless ocean. The love of God is also the most suitable entertainment of the soul of man, which naturally desires the happiness of society, or of union with some other being. The love of so glorious a being is infinitely valuable, and the discoveries of it are capable of ravishing the soul above all other love."

-Jonathan Edwards (1703-1758) (Altogether Lovely, 1997, p. 154)



Monday, January 21, 2008

First Epistle of John: Lesson Eleven

"He who covers his sins will not prosper,

But whoever confesses and forsakes

them will have mercy."

Proverbs 28:13


Good day! Let's seek the Lord......

"Holy Father God in heaven, today as we look at forgiveness and cleansing in Your word, I pray that You will be glorified. I pray that I will see You as who You really are: merciful. I thank You for Your mercy and how great it is toward sinners like me.

I seek forgiveness and cleansing of my sins today, Lord. I pray that You will cleanse me and renew me and make me whole again so that I can be used by You.

I pray for each lady reading this study here today. I pray that she will come to a full understanding of what Your cleansing is and what it means to be wrapped in Your mercy. I pray for her week that she will walk with You and seek you earnestly each day. I pray that You will walk with her and encourage her each day.

in Jesus' name......amen."


Today I want us to look at the concept of cleansing in scripture. We looked last time at what the Propitiation for our sins meant and that Jesus is our Advocate, so today I think it will be fitting to look at what John means when he writes:

1 John 1:9

"..He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and cleanse us from all unrighteousness."

Many times, we as Christians, want to be used by God so we volunteer at church for services like teaching the little children, or women's ministries, etc. But because we get so wrapped up in the excitement of being used by God at church that we often times forget that there are certain requirements that need to be met before we serve a holy God:

Please read:

1 Pet 4:17

1 Pet 1:15-16

The Greek word for "holy" is hagios and it means "to be set apart." In order to be holy like God, we must be without sin. But if we are sinless, then that makes us equal to God....and that cannot be. So, what is it that we must do?

Sin separates us from our Lord. It contaminates us just like a disease wreaks havoc on our bodies. It may not be apparent at first, but then it slowly begins to eat us up inside. Soon it takes over our lives and begins to manifest itself on the outside.

In order to be in service to God, that sin must be dealt with. God cannot look upon sin. He is perfect, pure, and holy.

So, what has to be done? Cleansing....

Please read:

Is 6:1-3

Here we have Isaiah coming before the holy God in a vision. He sees the Lord's train filling the Temple. Imagine this! The Temple was 7 stories high and could hold about 100,000 people. And the LORD's train filled the Temple!!

Then he saw the seraphim who were in the presence of the Lord, yet they were protected from God's holiness:

  • Their wings covered their face

  • their feet

  • and lifted them up off the floor

We see that the Lord provided a way for these creatures to be in His presence without defiling His holiness and without them being consumed by His wrath.

Is 6:4-5

Upon seeing and hearing the sights and sounds, Isaiah is stricken....he comes to realize who he is before a holy God. A sinner great with sin.

Is 6:6-13

When isaiah is confronted with his sin, he cries out and confesses it before the Lord. Only then does the Lord act. The seraphim takes away the sins of Isaiah and it is painful.

"...Behold, this has touched your lips; your iniquity is taken away, And your sin is purged (atoned for...)."

Only then does Isaiah hear the voice of the Lord and only then does the holy God of Israel speak to this humble servant.

Now Isaiah is ready to be used by God!


1 John 2:3-4

"Now by this we know that we know Him, if we keep His commandments. He who says, I know Him," and does not keep His commandments, is a liar, and the truth is not in him."

There is a very good reason God convicts us of our sins: to prepare us.

God doesn't need us to get His works done, but He wants to use us so that we receive His blessings and prosper.

Please read:

Prov 28:13

Remember that when God shows you your sins, it is not for the purpose of tormenting you. That is what Satan does.

God's purpose in showing you your sins is to bring you to a place where you feel the same way about sin as He does. Just like Isaiah did! Contrast that with Adam and Eve.

Remember how Adam and Eve reacted to their sins being discovered:

Gen 3:7-10

Confronted, the two hid themselves from the presence of the Lord.

Heb 12:11

It was painful for Isaiah to have his sins purged and it is painful for us today as well. BUT here we are promised that this purging yields the "peaceful fruit of righteousness."

This purging, cleansing, prepares us to be used by God. And that is what John wants us to know in First John.

We can know we are believers! We can know who isn't a believer.....all by looking at the "fruit."

Is it peaceful fruit of righteousness that comes with purging of sin? Or is it that lack of peace and the strife that comes with holding on to sin in one's life?

If you know someone who claims to be a believer, but you have your doubts, 1 John was written that you may know. You can tell if someone is a believer by their obedience or lack of obedience.

1 John 2:3-4

If you keep His commandments, then you are in obedience and truly know the Lord. And one of those commandments is to be cleanse daily from sin.

When we look at other believers around us, we find comfort when we see their obedience. Even if it brings conviction of sin upon us, we still find comfort because we are being held accountable and they are being held accountable to us.

But it can be so disheartening to be around someone who claims to be a Christian and yet is in a sinful lifestyle or clearly is in disobedience. All of us have been around Christians like this. It is heartbreaking for sure.

Please read:

1 Cor 6:9-10

We are not to be deceived! If these Christians have no remorse, conviction of sin when they are in the presence of God's word...then are they truly believers?

I know that when I walked in the darkness of sexual sin, I was often overcome with conviction and guilt when I attended church or when I was around my Christian roommates. So much so, that I stopped attending church altogether! At the time it was excruciatingly painful, but now I can see that it meant I was a believer and that the Lord was protecting the other Christians from being defiled by my sins:

1 Cor 15:33-34

It took years, but the Lord brought me to that place where I finally agreed with Him about my sins.

Ps 139:23-24

John 3:21

Pray these verses out loud today in your quiet time. God will hear you! If there is any cleansing that you need today, take it to the Lord. Let Him deal with you sin so you can be used by Him at all times.

(First John, 2001, Precept Ministries, used by permission)


Life Application

When I took the full time teaching job at Nathan's school, I felt really good about helping a friend. But then all these bad things began to happen:

  • I broke my toe
  • Nathan got sick
  • The parents of the students began to harrass me
  • My students were acting terribly
  • My marathon training had come to a halt

I would go home and just cry from the emotional exhaustion. I thought for sure I was in sin. I knew I had not asked my husband about my taking this position, so I confessed my sin before the Lord. I just knew I was in sin because so many things had gone wrong the moment I took the job!

Then, the teacher whose job I was subbing for called me one day. In her voice was so much gratitude and love. She said, "Thank you so much for helping me. You have no idea how much this means to me..." I could hear it in her voice that my being there was truly helping her so much.

After I hung up the phone I thanked the Lord because I knew that He knew I needed to hear some confirmation and affirmation about what I was doing since I was being "kicked" so much. I really felt beat up until I heard this teacher's voice. I could almost hear the Lord saying:

"See? What you are doing is serving is hard because I let Satan attack you, but I am always with you and I will get you through this because what you are doing is pleasing to Me."

Sometimes it is very hard to serve the Lord! He allows us to be attacked and He sets up obstacles in our way......but that is ok. It only make the reward all the sweeter at the end of the journey.

Take some time today to really look at yourself. How is your Temple of the Lord?

Is your body God's temple?

Does He really live inside of you?

Are you taking proper care of His temple?

Are you eating nutritionally?

Are you getting enough rest?

Are you casting all your cares upon God?

Do you dress in a pleasing way to the Lord?

Do you practice cleanliness?

Are you placing bad things before your eyes?

Are you wondering what all this has to do with holiness?

Please read:

1 Cor 10:31

1 Cor 6:19

Ps 29:9

Remember that to be used by God is a great and rewarding thing, but we cannot be used by a holy God unless we deal with our sins. Take some time today to deal with your sins. Look at yourself outside and inside.

Is there any burdens you and your family are going through that seem to be "out of left field"? Perhaps there is sin in your life that is causing this. Pray for your husband right now as well. Ask the Lord to convict him of his sins and to keep him in God's word daily.

John wants us to know who we are in Christ so he provided a way for us to know: keep His commandments.....keep the truth of God's word in you.

Then that "fruit of peace in righteousness" will cover you and satisfy you and your joy will be complete.


Until next time.....

"The Apostle Paul experienced Christ as the essence and goal of his entire life. 'I count all things but loss for the excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus, my Lord', he says, and then adds that he yearns to be found in Christ that he 'may know him and the power of his resurrection, and the fellowship of his sufferings' (Phil 3:8,10). This kind of knowledge does not come from mere observation or instruction. We need an experential knowledge of being crucified and raised with Christ."

-Dr. Joel Beeke (The Epistles of John, 2006, p. 59)



Saturday, January 19, 2008

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Thursday, January 17, 2008

The First Epistle of John: Lesson Ten

"If you love Me, keep My commandments.

And I will pray the Father, and He will

give you another Helper,

that He may abide with you forever."

John 14:15-16


Let's begin our time together with prayer...

"Father God of heaven, I pray this day and thank You for giving us the Holy Spirit, our Helper that You promised us in the Gospel of John. We did not deserve this gift, but You have given us Your Spirit of Truth to guide us and hlep us through this world. For that, I am thankful.

Because I know my sin separates me from You, I seek the forgiveness of my sins this day. I pray that You will cleanse me of my unrighteousness and fill me with Your Holy Spirit that others may see You in me.

I pray that You will also come alongside each lady reading this study today and bless her with every spiritual blessing. I pray that You will help her throughout her day and give her peace to handle each situation that arises.

In Jesus' name......amen."


Last time we looked briefly at how Jesus was the propitiation for our sins. Today I want us to spend some time here looking at what this word means in scripture and what it means to us as Christians.

Please read:

1 John 1:5-2:12

In these passages of scripture, does it say that all men are sinners?

If I say I am not a sinner, whom do I contradict?

What cleanses me from my sins?

What role or part does Jesus Christ play in my life when I sin?

Who is my Advocate?

  • We looked at the word for Advocate used here in 1 John. According to the concordance, this word means:

  • veil; covering
  • legal representative
  • counselor
  • comforter
  • helper
  • defender
  • one who pleads the cause of another

The Gospel of John is the only other book in the New Testament that uses the same Greek word for Advocate as the one found in 1 John.

Please read and take note of how the term "Helper" is used:

John 14:16

John 14:26

John 15:26

John 16:7

Do you see the parallels between the same Greek word being used for Advocate and Helper?

From what you have read here today, what does Jesus do for a Christian who sins?

Please read:

1 John 2:1-2

1 John 4:10

Who is the propitiation for our sins? If God Himself came to be the propitiation for our sins, what does that tell us about God and His love toward us?

Please read:

Rom 3:24-25

Heb 9:5

In these verses, the Greek word used is: Hilasterion and it means "mercy seat."

Heb 2:17- here the word used for propitiation is Hilaskomai and it means "make reconciliation for".

Let's summarize what we have learned here so far about Propitiation:

Jesus Himself becamse the propitiation for our sins. It was given freely by faith as a sign of God's mercy toward us. It represents the covenant promise God made with us to satisfy us to God.


Let's look more at what is called the "Mercy Seat"...

I have included a scan of the layout of the Tabernacle from Kay Arthur's Precept on Precept study of 1 John used with permission. (1)

Click on it for a closer look:

As you look at the layout of the Tabernacle, you can see where the mercy seat is. It was the lid, or covering, to that Ark of the Covenant. Inside the Ark were 3 objects: the tables of the Law, the pot of manna, and the rod of Aaron that budded. (1)

The Hebrew word for mercy seat is kapporeth.

Please read:

1 Chron 28:11- here the Holy of Holies is called "the House of Kapporeth."

Ex 25:8-22

1 Chron 28:2

Ps. 99:5

Ps 132:7

The "footstool" is the Ark of the Covenant"

Num 7:89

Lev 25:9

Ez 44:27

Ps 130:4

So, we see that 1 John is telling us that Jesus was the propitiation for our sins.....the mercy seat of God.

  • He was the testimony from God
  • He is God's footstool
  • He is the covering & remission of sins
  • He is the Atonement for sins

If you ever have a chance to study world religions, you will discover there are many similarities between most religions. But only ONE has the Atonement for sins: Christianity.

All other religions rely upon works of men as a means of achieving presence with God. Because man is finite and can NEVER achieve being in the presence of a holy and pure God.

That is why the propitiation had to be equal with God...equally as pure, as holy, and as infinite as He is....otherwise the atonement would not work.

Look up the following verses that explain more about this Atonement:

Ps 103:12

Is 38:17

Is 43:25

Micah 7:18-19

From these verses, what can you deduce is the purpose of the scapegoat?

What was necessary to make Atonement for out sins?

Lev 17:11

Heb 9:22

The blood of bulls, goats, and lambs covered the sins of the people temporarily. That is why time after time the priests and the people had to come to the Tabernacle or the Temple to make Atonement for their sins because the sacrifices and the priests were flawed.

But God in His infinite mercy became that final Atonement sacrifice once and for all so that now we can commune with this holy and perfect God ONLY through Jesus, His Son.

Heb 10:1-22

Once and for all time....Jesus is our mercy seat, our covering, our Atonement, our Lamb of God....our Savior.

Spend some time today praising Him for all that He has done for YOU.

1(Used with permission from 1 John Precept Upon Precept, 2001, Precept Ministries of Reach Out, Inc.)


Life Application

We took some time here to read through a portion of Kay Arthur's Precept study of 1 John in order to have a complete understanding of what Advocate and Propitiation really means. I wanted to take a look at the verses that explain what these words mean so that as we read through 1 John, we can have a clearer understanding of what Jesus did for us.

John understood it because he had witnessed it, but we need to understand it with the same though we were there watching Jesus die on that cross.

So, how do we apply what we have learned today?

By studying what Jesus is and what He did for you, you should have a very different picture of what sin is and what it does. ....and what it cost.

But we are not to dwell on our depravity or our sin. Heavens no! We are instead to focus on Christ Jesus.

Please read:

2 Cor 10:4-6

Every thought is to bring every thought into captivity to the obedience of Christ so that we are ready for war.

Take time today to study the Tabernacle layout and notice how the line from the Gate to the Bronze Altar all the way to the Ark of the Covenant is straight. Then notice how the line from the showbread and Lampstand help form a cross signifying that Jesus is the Tabernacle and each piece of furniture inside it represents Him.

Ponder on this for awhile and see that all He accomplished in the Old Testament and the New Testament was for you.

Rom 8:29-30

Jonn 17:22

Oh how He loves you and me!


Until next time.....

"The regenerate may backslide and fall into sin. In so doing they oppose their own new nature, and the Holy Spirit convicts them of their sin and compels them to repent and be restored to righteousness. When regenerate believers manifest a humble, grateful desire to please the God who saved them, the knowledge that He has pledged to keep them safe forever increases that desire."

-New Geneva Study Bible Commentary on "The Preserverance of the Saints." (1995, p. 1781)



Monday, January 14, 2008

The First Epistle of John: Lesson Nine

"O wretched man that I am!

Who will deliver me from this body of death?

I thank God through Jesus Christ our Lord!"

Romans 7:24


Welcome! Let's begin with prayer...

"Dear Father God in heaven, I come before You today to thank You for delivering me from Your wrath. That You Lord for delivering me from death once and for all. It is because of You that I am no longer in bondage to sin or the law.

I seek forgiveness of my sins and ask that You cleanse me from my unrighteousness. I pray that You will restore me and create in my a steadfast spirit like Yours. I pray that You will guard my tongue and restrain my tongue to keep me from causing harm to those around me.

I pray for each lady here, Lord, that You will open her heart and give her an understanding of Your word today. I pray that You will lead her and guide her through her day today. I pray for her role in her home and for her marriage that it will be pleasing to You, Lord.

In Jesus' name.....amen."


Last time we completed chapter one of First John. So let's begin today with an overview of chapters one and two:

In chapter one we learned:

  • John is a credible witness to all that Jesus was and did.

  • John's desire for believers is to have fellowship together with God through Jesus.

  • God is light and in Him is no darkness at all.

  • If we say we have fellowship with God and walk in darkness, we are liars.

  • If we seek forgiveness of sins, Jesus is faithful to forgive us.

  • If we say we have no sin, we make Jesus a liar and His word is not in us.

Let's look at what is in chapter two:

  • We have an Advocate with the father: Jesus Christ.

  • We can know we know Jesus if we keep His commandments.

  • Whoever keeps His word, love of God is perfected in him.

  • One who says he abides in God should walk in the same manner.

  • Whoever says he is in the light yet in darkness.

  • The one who loves his brother abides in the light.

  • Do not love the is passing away.

  • He who does the will of the father abides forever.

  • It is the last hour.

  • Antichrists deny Jesus is the Christ.

  • He has promised us eternal life.

  • Abide in Him and have confidence.


Please read 1 John chapter two.

Mark the following words:






I wrote here about how the word "fellowship" is mentioned in chapter one 4 times because John was stressing its importance.

But in chapter two, we see the word "abide" written 9 times and "know" written 13 times as well as "write" written 11 times. In this overview, we can easily see what John is stressing in chapter two:

  • We will learn what "abide" means.

  • What "know" means.

  • And why John wrote down these verses in this letter to believers.


1 John 2:1-2

"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. And He himself is the propitiation for our sins, and not for ours only but for the whole world."
John's clear purpose for this chapter is that we may not sin because he understood the consequences that await us if we do sin: God's wrath.

Please read:

  • John 3:36
But John also wants us to know that if we do sin (and we will...) we have an Advocate with the Father: Jesus Christ the righteous.
  • Heb 7:25
  • Heb 9:24
The word for Advocate used here in 1 John 2:1 is paracletos and it means coming alongside. We have that paracletos in Christ. He stands alongside us when we come before God to confess our sins. God doesn't look upon us, He sees His Son in us and is pleased.
When I worked in the courts, I remember seeing so many defendents come before the judge. Some had to approach without their attorneys because their attorneys were late coming to the court. So another attorney would stand-in and represent the defendent if only for a moment. I always thought about this verse in 1 John 2. How wonderful it is for us to have an Advocate who will never let us down. He will always be there for us to pray for us and represent us to the Father.
Jesus completed the work by becoming the perfect sacrifice for our sins that now we have access to God through Him.
We can now stand before the Lord because of what Jesus did for us.
  • Jude 24
  • Heb 6:20
  • Heb 8:1-2


"..And He Himself is the propitiation for our sins..."
The word propitiation means: a sacrifice to God meant to take away enmity brought by sin between God and the worshiper. (New Geneva Bible, Commentary, 1995) We were God's enemies before we became Christians. God could not look upon our sin.

Because God is perfectly holy and pure....the sacrifice needed to remove all our sins had to be equally holy and pure. And since no animal or human or material thing can possibly be as holy and pure as God (otherwise it would be equal to God...) then God Himself had to become that perfect sacrifice for us.
So, God Himself came down in the form of a man and sacrificed Himself for us in order to reconcile us to Him not for Himself, but because He loved us so much.
Jesus was that sacrifice.
  • John 3:16

"..and not for ours only but also for the whole world."
So Jesus was the perfect sacrifice not only for our sins, but for the sins of the whole world. His death was complete. That is why He said, "It is finished." He was telling us that the work the sacrifice was complete: perfect and final.
As we go further into chapter two, we will look more at the word "abide" and what it means. I hope you are enjoying 1 John so far. We are really getting a good look at what it means to be a Christian!
Life Application
Do you have an Advocate with the Father? Does Jesus plead your case before the holy God if Israel? Or do you stand alone?
John calls us "little children" not because he is looking down on us, but because he sees us as children of God. We are indeed one in Christ so now we have access to the Father!
He wants us to treat our sins seriously. The Gnostics of that time treated sin lightly just as in our time. We read or hear about people saying good is evil and evil good. But we as Christians are to have a clear understanding of what is good and evil.
By applying 1 John 2:1 to our lives, we can truly remember what sin is to God: separation; evil; filth; depravity.
If we see our sins this way, we will see just how much we need a Savior: Jesus Christ.
Please read:
  • Rom 3:23-25
  • Lev 16:15
Jesus is that mercy seat where the blood was sprinkled to satisfy God.
  • Col 1:19-20
God was pleased with that sacrifice. So now we have that peace through the blood of the Lamb. We are reconciled to God once and for all.
So, we do not have to stand alone before God or put our hope in a man who is flawed and finite like we are to represent us before a holy God.
We have an Advocate who is equal to God in everyway and He will always be there to represent us always.
Now we have to always be there to represent Him to this world always as part of that covenant promise.
Take that with you and have a blessed day today!
Until next time....
"Sinner as I am, and never more consciously so than I am now that God's Spirit has enlightened me, I yet know that if any man sin we have an Advocate with the Father, and I, black, and filthy, more foul and filthy than I ever thought myself to be, put my case into the hands of my Advocate, and leave it there forever."
-Charles Spurgeon (Metropolitan Tabernacle Pulpit, 9:346)