Tuesday, April 29, 2008

The First Epistle of John: Lesson Forty-Seven

"But concerning brotherly love you have no need

for me to write you, for you yourselves

are taught by God to love one another."

1 Thess 4:9


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

"Father God, our heavenly Father above us, I come before You this day and praise Your holy name in that You loved us so much that You sacrificed Yourself for our sins to save us from Your wrath. Thank You, Lord, for that gift of eternal life. May I never take it for granted. Thank You for giving us Your holy word that we may study it and know how to please You.

I ask forgiveness of my sins because I know my sins do not please You. I pray that You will release me from the bondage of my sins, purge me with Your hyssop, and cleanse me with Your precious blood. I pray that You will make me new and put in me a clean pure heart like Yours.

I pray for each lady reading this study. I pray that You will teach her something new. I pray that You will show her Your love today. Lift her up and encourage her to keep going. Walk with her and hear her prayers. I pray that You will reveal to her Your precepts that she may know more of who You are.

In Jesus' name....amen."


We ended the first part of chapter 4 in our last lesson by concluding our look into the spirit of truth and the spirit of error. Now we know how to detect between these two spirits.

John wants us to review, of sorts, the concept of loving one another. John teaches us that we can truly know God through love.

1 John 4:7-8

"Beloved, let us love one another, for love is of God; and anyone who loves is born of God and knows God. He who does not love does not know God, for God is love."

Knowing God Through Love

Remember, this fourth chapter of 1 John is called "The Love Chapter" in that the word love is mentioned numerous times. John wants us to know how to love God by loving other believers.

John starts this section with practical application of all that he has taught us so far.

He reminds us of the importance of loving one another. Why? Because God is love.

Please read:

1 John 4:16

John reminds us that it was God Himself who showed us what love is by laying down His life for us.

"And everyone who loves is born of God..."

With this verse, John sets believers apart.

John 3:10-11

Because we are born of the Spirit, we now know and hear and testify what Jesus had said in His word. So, if we love the brethren we are showing that we are born of God. That sets us apart from the world.

The Lord gave us this book so that we can know that we are believers and than we can know those who are not believers.


"...and knows God."

That was the point Jesus was making to Nicodemus in John 3. He was trying to tell him that those who belong to God know the things of God.

Matt 11:27

John 6:44

Matt 28:18-20

1 Thess 4:9

John isn't telling us anything we do not already know!


"He who does not love does not know God, for God is love."

If we say that we love God but do not show love for fellow believers, then how can we say that we love or know God??.... because GOD IS LOVE.

This love for one another is what binds believers together. It is what makes us family. God introduced us to that perfect and binding love when He gave us His Son. Jesus showed us what that love is by laying down His life for His friends....and ultimately for us.

Let's spend some time worshiping and loving the Lord together:

Ps 31:23

Ps 119:97

Song of Sol 2:4

John 13:35

John 14:23

2 Cor 5:14-15


Life Application

Love is not something that God does...love is what God is (Beeke, 2006) so that is why we must learn what it is. To know God is to know Love.

It can be so tempting at times to just attend church, read the Bible, and try and be a good person. That is what most people think Christianity means. But Jesus gave us a direct and perfect example of how we are to be:

Matt 5:43-48

We must remember that we are not always lovable and it may be hard for others to love us. So, we, in turn, are to love those who are unlovable at times. Jesus loved and showed love even to those who would cry out, "Crucify him!"

He walked with Judas and slept alongside Judas and ate the Passover meal with Judas. Even though He knew Judas was His enemy, Jesus did not treat him any differently than the others. So much so, that the others did not know who the betrayer was!

Take with you today all that you have learned and studied. John was big into applying scripture to our lives. So, apply what you have read here today to your life. Love the brethren. Show God's love for the brethren through your words and deeds. For God is love.


Until next time....

"God loves his elect- those whom he chooses to save in Christ- with the same love that he has for his Son (John 17). Election has rightly been defined as God from eternity setting his love upon those whom he has chosen to save. 'God is love'. His free, sovereign, gracious love takes the initiative in loving us. God's love is the source of all Christian love. All love is of God."

-Dr. Joel Beeke (The Epistles of John, 2006, p. 159)



Sunday, April 27, 2008

The First Epistle of John: Lesson Forty-Six

"My sheep hear My voice, and I know them,
they follow Me. And I give them eternal life,
and they shall never perish;

neither shall anyone
them out of My hand."

John 10:27-29


Let's seek the Lord this day..........

"Holy Father, blessed are You in all the universe. When we stop to consider all that You have made, may we stop and call You blessed. Thank You, Father, for considering us and condescending to us to give us life. All that we have is Yours. All that we are is because of You.

I seek the forgiveness of my sins this day, Lord, because I want to hear from You and I know that my sin keeps me from hearing You. I pray that You will wash me, purge my sins, and cleanse me this day with Your precious blood shed for me.

I lift up each lady reading this study. I pray for her needs, Lord, as You know them. I pray that You will be with her and guide her through her day. Convict her of sin, hear her prayers, and encourage her. I pray that she will keep Your word in her heart. I pray that You will give her a passion and desire for Your word. Walk with her today, Lord, and help her with all her cares and needs.

In Jesus' name....amen."


In our last study we touched on how to discern between believers and non-believers in the world. John gave us ways to know: non-believers hear the world's teachings and the world does not hear God's teachings. John also gave us hope, as he always does in this little book. He tells us that God is greater than Satan, who is in the world. God is greater than all the false teachers in this world.

John also reminds us that we have overcome all the false teachings and Antichrists that are already in the world.

What great and exuberant joy that brings to the heart of every believer: to know that we have overcome.

Today we will look more into what it means to be a Christian and what our responsibilities are as Christians.

1 John 4:6 "We are of God. He who knows God hears us; he who is not of God does not hear us. By this we know the spirit of truth and the spirit of error."

Remember to whom John was writing: new believers. These believers were surrounded by false religions, like the Gnostics, which relied on works and other means to reach their form of salvation. These teachers were not teaching Christ crucified or resurrected. They did not teach God's glory, God's wrath, or God's redemption of man. They did not teach about sin and hell.

Sound familiar?

John wanted his fellow believers to know for sure that they were saved from sin and God's wrath. He wrote this book that they would know. We read this book that we may know and have peace through that assurance.

Remember in our last lesson we looked at how Jesus taught that believers will be known by their fruit.

Please read:
Matt 7:20

Today's teachings want us to look within ourselves for healing. The Bible teaches that we are to look at God for healing.

"We are of God. He who knows God hears us..."

While Jesus walked the earth, who heard Him? Remember last time we looked briefly at how Paul was called into ministry? He was blinded and his ears were opened to Jesus' voice. The others walking with him heard something....but they did not hear Jesus' voice.

John 10:27-29

Those who belong to Christ will hear Him.

John 4:7-10 John 4:39-42 John 5:24
These are examples of those who heard Jesus when He called them. They were chose by Christ before the foundations of the earth, but only when Jesus came to them did they hear Him. His words opened their ears to hear!

John 6:60-67

But many times His disciples found it hard to truly hear the Lord's words. These are called, "hard sayings" of Jesus. Many followed Jesus, but only few stayed with Him.

John 6:68

Simon Peter cries out in desperation knowing that without Jesus and His words, they had nowhere to go.

John 6:70-71

Jesus reminds His disciples that He chose all of them and they all heard His words....even Judas. And yet Judas was never saved, never regenerated.....never redeemed.

Judas walked with Jesus like the others. He witnessed the miracles and the teachings of Christ. Yet he remained unchanged.

It is only Christ Jesus who can change anyone. If He has changed you, take time today to thank Him.


"He who is not of God does not hear us..."

As we looked at before, only the Spirit of God can give any one person the ability to know the things of God.

1 Cor 2:11-12 Rom 11:33-36

The things of God, unfathomable to the world, are freely given to us by God.

So, that is why those who are not of God do not hear us. We can tell them the gospel message because we have been commanded to, but they will not hear us unless the Spirit of the Lord wills it.
Luke 24:44-49
It is the Lord who opens our understanding and gives us the ability to understand scripture.

So, we are not to worry or be anxious about whether someone is hearing us when we teach the Bible. We are just to take the gospel message and teach it accurately with fear and trembling. The Lord will open the understanding of those He knows. He knows His sheep.

John 10:27-29

"By this we know the spirit of truth and the spirit of error."

John warns us that there is a spirit of error. It is real and it is already in the world. We are wise to be prepared to know whether we are being taught the spirit of truth or error.

1 Cor 2:12-16 Rom 8:15

Paul wants us to know that we are children of God....we have a personal relationship with God just as Jesus did. Jesus cried out to His Father by calling Him, "Abba" which is a very personal Aramaic saying that the Jewish people of that time understood.

Mark 14:36 Gal 4:6

We worship a very personal God.

Because we have been given this relationship with God, we too can cry out to Him in such a personal way. We can know the spirit of truth because we are no longer in bondage to the spirit of error!

But to the world, these things are foolishness.
1 Cor 2:14

But we have the mind of Christ!

1 Cor 2:16

So, John tells us that now we can know for sure the spirit of truth and the spirit of error. God does not want His children walking around in ignorance. He wants us to know and have assurance that the things we read in the Bible are TRUTH.

John 17:17

And that truth is what will set us free. Praise God!


Life Application

One verse I learned and memorized when I was in high school is 2 Tim 1:7

"For God did not give us a spirit of fear, but of power and love and of a sound mind."

That verse meant a lot to mean then because there was so much uncertainty in my life. My parents were divorced and I didn't know when my next meal was coming from because we had so many money troubles. I didn't know where my mom and I would live because she could not afford to pay the mortgage any longer. I found myself afraid many times; afraid of the future.

This verse still brings me comfort and peace because it is so powerful. God gave us a spirit of POWER and LOVE and of a SOUND mind. These are things the world seeks after, but we have been given these things freely of God.

John writes his first epistle to bring comfort and assurance to new believers. But his little book brings so much comfort and assurance to old believers like me, too! I love that I can read 1 John and have full assurance of my salvation. I love that I can know, truly KNOW, a believer from a non-believer. And I love that God did not leave us here alone without any guidance.

Our son, Nathan, wants to begin a Bible study online for his friends. He says he would love to someday be a youth minister and teach the Bible. He finds it exciting. I love that the Lord put this desire in his young heart so soon. I told him to read 1 John so that he can know of God's plan for his life and have that complete assurance of his salvation.

What joy we have in knowing that our Lord is such a personal God that He is concerned with the hearts of His children. So much so that He has given us a spirit of power and love and a sound mind knowing that this earth is so hectic and scary.

Take all that you have learned today and apply it to your life. You can know for sure God's will for your life. When times get hard, and they will, you can know that you are of God and He abides in you. You can take all these precepts and apply them today for peace tomorrow.

Thank the Lord we do not have to walk through this life with a spirit of fear or that bondage that comes with fear. No sir, we have been set free and given the mind of Christ.

No, go out and use it!


Until next time....

"We can only live for Christ if we have the Spirit of Christ in us. Paul says in Romans 8 that he who has the Spirit of Christ is the man who belongs to Christ. He who does not have the Spirit of Christ does not know Christ. Our response to God's Word tells others whether we are on the side of the world or on the side of God." -Dr. Joel Beeke (The Epistles of John, 2006, p. 156)


Tuesday, April 22, 2008

The First Epistle of John: Lesson Forty-Five

"Nevertheless, do not rejoice

that the spirits are subject to you,

but rather rejoice because your names are

written in heaven."

Luke 10:20


Let's begin by seeking the Lord...

"Holy Father, there is so much to be thankful for this day. Our salvation from Your wrath, our liberty from the bondage of sin, and the ability to talk with You... mighty God. Thank You, Lord, that You have written my name in heaven above.

I seek the forgiveness of my sins this day because I long to hear from You. I pray that You will search me for my sins, wash me clean with Your precious blood, and fill me with Your Holy Spirit. I pray that You will guard my tongue and give me wisdom when I speak.

Lord, I pray for each lady reading this study today. I pray for her walk with You. I pray that she is earnestly seeking You in all aspects of her life. I pray that she yearns to hear from You. Give her a passion and a deep desire for Your word. I pray that as she reads Your word today, she will glean much hope from it.

In Jesus' name....amen."


In our last lesson, we looked at what it means to confess Jesus Christ as having come in the flesh and what it means to know the false teachings that are already in this world trying to lead us astray. There are so many lessons in the Book of First John, but I always find it amazing how much he stresses the importance of knowing what you believe.

Today we will look at what those in the world are saying, but also how we have overcome those who are in the world. John may begin with a harsh lesson, but he always ends with a message of HOPE.....

1 John 4:4-5

"You are of God, little children, and have overcome them, because He who us in you is greater than he who is in the world. They are of the world. Therefore they speak as of the world and the world hears them."

There is so much to glean from these two verses! So much hope is offered to believers by John.

Let's start with the first part....

"You are of God, little children, and have overcome them...."

In the previous verses John mentions the Antichrists already in the world. What a stark picture to end with. But then he gives us that eternal hope: we have overcome them by being children of God.

Please read:

John 1:12-13

Gal 3:26

Because of what Jesus accomplished when He rose again, we can be called children of God. And we can overcome all those in the world who have come to destroy the gospel message...and, ultimately, Jesus.

Through Jesus we have the indwelling of the Holy Spirit who is our Helper...

Ps 54:4

Ps 27:1

Ps 118:6

John 14:4

John 15:26

Heb 13:6

Because we now have the indwelling of the Holy Spirit, because we now have that Helper with us...we have overcome the false teachers of this world.


"They are of the world. Therefore they speak as of the world, and the world hears them."

Why are we so often surprised that the world absolutely despises us? The Bible clearly tells us that we will be hated by the world.

John 15: 18-19

We have been elected...called...out of this world. Jesus chose us, set us aside, so that we may be called His own. So, if the world hated Him, it would only make logical sense that the world would also hate us. Ladies, if you find that the world does not hate you...then something is wrong with your walk with God.

Jesus promises us that we will be persecuted.

John 15:20

That is why it is so important that we do not hold onto this world too tightly. This world, as John wrote, is passing away. This world is not our home. So, why should we become so attached to it?

I love to travel even though I do not get too that often, but one thing about traveling that I enjoy is eating at restaurants in different cities. One thing about traveling that I do not enjoy is staying in hotels. I often wonder why people spend gobs of money to stay at a pricey hotel with all the fancy furniture, etc. knowing they will only use the room for sleep? When we go on vacation later this year I do not want to spend alot of money on hotel rooms because I know we will only use the room for sleeping and changing our clothes.

For me, it helps to see the world this way so that I do not become too attached to it. I see it as a temporary place to stay. A place that is nice, but nothing compared to the home that is being prepared for me by the One who loves me most! Thinking this way makes it easier to let go of this world that hates Jesus and me!


"...and the world hears them."

As we looked at last time, we saw how Jesus opens the eyes and ears of those who belong to Him. He calls them out of the world and into His family....like when He called Saul and changed him into Paul. The others traveling with Saul heard the voice, but Jesus did not reveal Himself to the others. He only revealed Himself to Saul because He called Saul out of the world.

Let's read about others Jesus revealed Himself too:

Luke 24:13-27

The risen Jesus comes and walks with these two men, but their eyes were "restrained, so that they did not know Him." After awhile, the men tell Jesus about how the Christ was crucified and died and that there were rumors that He was risen from the dead.

How does Jesus respond to the news?


He tells them about what the Old Testament says about Himself. Then He broke bread with them...


Only then did the Lord open their eyes so that they could know Him.

The Lord has opened our ears and our eyes to Him so that we may know Him. We hear His words when they are taught. But the world only hears those in the world. They are being mislead by all the false teachings of this world. They do not hear the Word of God because He has not chosen to open their ears.

They are of the world. We must be called out from this world and not love it because it is not our home. We go to a better place. Praise God for that!


Life Application

To tell a true servant from a false servant we must look at their fruits:

Matt 7:19-20

False teachers will focus all their teachings on things of the world...temporary things....like people, emotions, feelings, material things, etc.

Their fruits are shaped by the world. Their worldview is shaped by the world. Al Gore is definately a teacher of the world. His whole life is about "saving the planet" as if he ever could! His whole worldview is based on the events of this world.

Today's teachers preach love and kindness...nothing wrong with that, right? Only they preach a loving and kind god who does not punish wrongdoing because there is no wrong doing. They say there is no right or wrong, no good or evil. Try telling that to a mother whose child was molested by a family friend! Try telling her there is no evil in the world and I bet she'll argue with you.

Today's false teachers only preach on the needs of Man. They do not mention sin because it might lower someone's self-esteem.

True preachers will preach on sin because they know it leads people to Christ. They preach atonement, redemption, and salvation. You cannot preach any of those things without mentioning sin!

John was so right when he wrote about the hope that is in God: through Jesus Christ we have overcome them. We have been called out from this world by Christ.

Take time today to focus on the eternal things: Christ's love, His redeeming glory, His faithfulness, and the Helper that was given to us. By doing this, you have taken the focus off of yourself and put it where it belongs....on God.


Until next time...

"The ability to distinguish truth from error and men of God from men of the world does not require a degree in theology or a great intellect. It requires the indwelling of the Holy Spirit and an open Bible. Combined, those two blessed gifts of God grant us a godly measure of discernment."

-Dr. Joel Beeke (The Epistles of John, 2006, p154)



Sunday, April 20, 2008

The First Epistle of John: Lesson Forty-Four

"But as many as received Him,

to them He gave the right to become

children of God, to those who

believe in His name;

who were born, not of blood, nor

of the will of the flesh, nor of the

will of man, but of God."

John 1:12-13


Hello ladies! Let's pray....

"Holy Father God, thank You for a blessed Lord's day. Thank You for the giving of Your word where there is hope for those who believe. You alone are worthy of our adoration for You alone are holy and just. Make us holy, Lord, that we may serve You.

I seek the forgiveness of my sins this day, Lord, because I know it is my sin that keeps me from You. I pray that You will wash me clean from my iniquities and make me whole. I pray for a clean pure heart like Yours.

I pray for each lady here today. I pray that she will be blessed with every spiritual blessing for reading and studying Your word today. I pray that she will earnestly seek You every day. May she come to know the fullness of Christ more and more. I pray for her walk with You, Lord, and her time in Your word. May she reap much from Your Scriptures everyday.

In Jesus' name...amen."


The Spirit of Truth and the Spirit of Error

In today's lesson, we will continue to read about how Christians can know the Spirit of God and the spirit of the Antichrist.

During John's time, the Docetists were spreading a false gospel based on Christ's spirituality and not His humanity. They glanced over the fact that Jesus was indeed come in the flesh. So, John, being the ever faithful Christian, wanted to make sure believers understood that Jesus was in the flesh and that He died a man's death once and for all.

1 John 4:2-3

"By this you know the Spirit of God; Every spirit that confesses that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is of God, and every spirit that does not confess that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is not of God. And this is the spirit of the Antichrist, which you have heard was coming, and is now already in the world."

The denial of Jesus' humanity will resurface time and time again in our lifetime if you haven't already heard it, because to deny Christ's humanity is to deny His death. And to deny His death is to deny His resurrection and the need for His redeeming creation.

Please read:

1 Cor 12:3

Paul tell us that no one can claim Jesus is who He says He is unless it has been allowed by the Holy Spirit. Indeed, no one would claim Jesus as Lord and Savior unless they have been enlightened by the Holy Spirit.

Rom 10:17

Matt 16:17

Gal 1:15-17

Eph 2:8-10

2 Cor 4:5-7

Paul writes that it is the Lord God who gives us the "light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ" and not of our own will.

So if we confess Jesus Christ has come in the flesh, it is not by our own power but by the gift of God.

For instance, take Paul's conversion:

Acts 9:1-9

Notice it was not Saul who sought out Christ. No! He was participating in the death's of Christians. It was Jesus who sought out Saul. He blinded spoke to him and blinded him.

Was Saul alone on the road to Damascus?

Acts 9:7

They heard the voice, but they did not see anyone. Jesus did not open their eyes.

What happened to Paul?

Acts 9:10-16

Saul was known for persecuting Christians and Ananias knew this. Yet God spoke and called Saul a "chosen vessel" to bear God's name and that he would suffer for Christ's Name sake.

Who would choose that for themselves???

So Saul became Paul, one of the greatest missionaries who walked the earth, and the gospel message was spread across many nations. And Paul suffered for Jesus' sake. But the other men who journeyed with him....they were not changed, the knowledge of the glory of God was not given to them.


"And every spirit that does not confess that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is not of God. And this is the spirit of the Antichrist, which you have heard was coming, and is already in the world."

The last days, as I have written here in this study before, are upon us. John reminds us that these false gospels and doctrines will not confess that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh. You acen read about these many false teachings in books called "The Secret" or "The New Earth" in which sin is not mentioned....therefore no atonement was needed....and therefore Jesus did not die for our sins.

So, we can tell by world events and also by these false teachings that the last days are upon us.

Acts 2:17-21

Joel 2:28-32

Is 13:10-11

Is 44:3

Ezek 11:19

In Nathan's science class, his teacher is a Liberal who stresses the importance of protecting the environment. I wonder if she knows that there is a time soon when the Lord will turn our drinking water bitter and the oceans into blood and that 1/3 of all the sea creatures will perish and 1/3 of all the trees on the earth will die (Rev 8)??

What will she do then? Blame it on Global Warming? In her ignorance, that is all she will be able to do because she does not know God.

That is what the Antichrist will do....mislead everyone into thinking the phenomenom isn't of God but of man.

But those of us who know God and His word know that His time of punishing the world for the evil of man is coming.

2 Thess 2:1-4

Rev 13:11-18

The time is coming, but as Paul wrote in 2 Thess 2, we are not to be shaken in mind or troubled because all these things must come before the Lord comes again. Instead of being scared or concerned, we should rejoice because the Lord is coming soon.

John wants his readers to remember these things so that they are not led astray. We would be wise to heed these things as well so that we will be ready. 1 John was written that we may know.....having that assurance, that comfort in knowing gives us that peace.


Life Application

There is nothing worse than not knowing something! I often tell students who say they want to be teachers that "you cannot teach what you do not know" and it is so true!

We all find comfort in knowing something. Confusion brings doubt and fear. The Lord made us in His image, so we have that desire to know things. Because the Lord us gracious, He provided a way for us to know Him and to know what will come.

Deut 29:29

But notice that the Lord has not revealed everything to us. I, personally, do not want to know everything that the Lord knows. I trust in Him and His wisdom because it is infinite and limitless.

There is nothing funnier or sweeter than walking into a classroom of kindergartners as their substitute teacher and seeing their little confused and scared faces! You, as their sub, have interrupted their strict schedule, their routine....and so panic ensues! I spend most of the time explaining to them that their teacher will be back soon.

That is how we are as believers. When our routine gets messed up then panic ensues. But if we stay in the Lord's word daily, when that strange blip on our radar screen happens, or that wrench gets dropped into our finely tuned engine, we do not have to panic. We will trust in the Lord that everything will work out in the end for His glory.

Mediate on Deut 29:29 today. Those things which the Lord revealed to you belong to YOU! Take possession of the things of the Lord. Take them with you today and rejoice in all that He has chosen to reaveal to you. Praise Him.


Until next time,

"Why do we tend to get anxious about food and clothing? Because there are three things that we would lose if we didn't have food or clothing. First, we would lose some pleasures. Afterall, food tastes good. Second, we would lose some human praise and admiring glances if we didn't have nice clothes. Third, we would possibly lose our life if we had no food at all or weren't proteced from the cold. So, the reason we get anxious about food and clothing is because we do not want to lose physical pleasure or human praise or life. To this fear, Jesus responds: If you are gripped by anxiety over these things, you have lost sight of the greatness of life. Life was not given primarily for physical pleasures, but for something greater- the enjoyment of God (Luke 12:21)."

-John Piper (What Jesus Demands from the World, 2006, p115)



Wednesday, April 16, 2008

The First Epistle of John: Lesson Forty-Three

"But the manifestation of the Spirit

is given to each one for the profit

of all...But one and the same

Spirit works all these things

distributing to each one

individually as He wills."

1 Cor 12:7-11


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

"Holy Father God, creator of the universe and all that is in it....I seek You this day because I know without You I am nothing. Only You deserve our blessings, honor, and praise. Only You have spoken the word and created all things. We praise Your holy name upon all the earth.

Father, I pray for the forgiveness of my sins. I pray that You will search me for the hidden sins in my heart that I am not even aware of, that You may purge me of these sins and wash me clean. I pray that You will fill me this day with Your holy Spirit. Guard my speech and give me wisdom to stop and think before I speak.

Thank You, Father, for all Your many blessings. I pray for each lady reading this study that You may bless her with every spiritual blessing. I pray that You will lift her up and set her on Your path of righteousness. I pray that You will speak to her through Your word this day. Walk with her, guide her, and hear her cries for help, Lord.

In Jesus' name...amen."


Last time we completed our study of chapter 3 of 1 John. In that chapter, we discovered more about sin and its origins as well as what sin does to the Christian. We learned more about what love is and how it is manifested in a true believer.

In this lesson and the next lessons to follow, we begin our study of chapter 4 of 1 John.

Please read:

1 John 4

After you have read the entire chapter, slowly read it again and look for the word: God in this chapter. If you have a yellow highlighter and do not mind marking your Bible, mark the word "God" with your highlighter including "Spirit of God".

Now go back and re-read the chapter highlighting even the pronouns for God (He, His, Him) as well as Jesus, Christ, and Son.

Now, re-read the whole chapter again with all these words highlighted. As you read, you are taking a glimpse of what this chapter is about: God, His love for us manifested through Christ Jesus, and that we are to love because He first loved us.


In chapter 4 of 1 John, the word "love" is written 27 times. The word "know" is written 7 times and the word "abide" 6 times in this one short chapter.

If you look back over the last 3 chapters, we have seen the words: know, sin, , love repeated over and over again. Now in this chapter, we see the word "love" repeated again for emphasis.

John obviously wants his readers to have complete assurance of what love is, what sin is, and who God is when they are finishe reading this book. That, ladies, is our goal as well.

But the book doesn't begin with love as its theme. Instead, John leads us into more about testing spirits that come our way.


The Spirit of Truth and the Spirit of Error

1 John 4:1-

"Beloved, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits, whether they are of God; because many false prophets have gone out into the world."

John, like Paul in 1 Cor 12, wants Christians to be able to distinguish between prophets of God and false prophets who spread opposition to Christ throughout the world.

This topic is so relevant to us today because we are being inundated with false teachings now more than ever with the advent of technology and civilization. After the Dark Ages, where man was blinded to the things of God, man began to seek things of the Lord. Technology gave us the printing press and that gave us the written Bible in English. Once that happened, people were enlightened to what the Bible was saying about Jesus and His sacrifice.

But technology has taken us further away from the things of God and closer to the worship of human beings, animals, and material things.

Please read:

Matt 24:5-11

Here Christ paints the portrait of the end times where many bad things will happen to believers. I, for one, do not believe we will be spared the horrors described here by Jesus. I believe we will suffer persecution for our faith before we are called away to meet Christ (24:6-9). Once all Christians are gone, then all morality will be gone from the earth ushering in the tribulation period with the Antichrist leading the way.

Imagine the world without any morality of any kind. Talk about Dark Ages! It is to come.

We see so many false teachings out there that are leading Christians astray. Some will return because they truly belong to Christ....but others will never return and are condemned. John understood this because he was there when Jesus spoke the words of Matt 24...and he remembered.

Now, we are to hear the words of God and heed them.

Mark 9:7

Acts 3:22

"Beloved, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits..."

John tells us to "test the spirits" so how do we do this?

1 Cor 12:13-14

1 Cor 14:29-33

Deut 18:21-22

By God's word we are to test the spirits that come before us.

Heb 4:12

God's word is the discerner of the thoughts of man. Thank the Lord we do not have to discern all by ourselves! Look how easily we would be deceived.

But we were given John's letters, Paul's letters, Jesus' words to study and memorize so that God's word will discern for us. Praise God!


"Because many false prophets have gone out into the world."

I know I have mentioned this new book study Oprah is doing on her show and her web site. It is disturbing how this trend is spreading. It is so sad that she is peddling these lies and filth to an undiscerning crowd of desperate people searching for wholeness. They think they will find it in a book written by a man who is finite.

So many people are still searching and are groping in the dark for something to fill them and make them whole. We have been given the sight to see the Jesus is the only way to completeness, but many are still blinded and are being led astray by wolves in sheeps' clothing.

Ladies, this is why we must stay in the word of God. We will learn more about this in chapter 4 in the coming weeks.


Life Application

When I watched Oprah's show on her website where she discusses the book, "A New Earth" with its author, I couldn't help but see a woman desperate to be rid of all her guilt that she has inside her. She has deceived herself into thinking that by giving away money, by doing good deeds, by reading New Age religious books that tell her there is no sin, she can get rid of that guilt...that "debt" she owes to God.

But you and I know that there is no other way to be rid of that guilt of sin other than surrendering to Christ and being washed clean.

Acts 22:16

Oprah calls upon the name of a man who is dead in his sins. She calls upon her money and gives it away but it leaves her cold. She can try all she wants to rid herself of that debt she owes, but nothing she does will ever work.

It is like the credit card debt we may have. We can use other cards to try and erase that debt but it is still there. There is no greater feeling than paying it all off and finally being cleared of all that debt.

Jesus came and settled our debt with God. We were enemies with God and Jesus reconciled us to Him. Now we can approach a holy God and He hears us.

Take that with you today, Oprah may have more money and power than you or I do, but one thing you have that she does not have is this: your debt has been paid in full. All her money cannot pay off that debt she owes.

Meditate on what Jesus did for you and does for you daily. Take that with you into your day today.


Until next time....

"...Jesus' words were life in more ways than one. They could sustain physical life and restore physical life. But more important than that they were the indispensible way to eternal life. It is a wonderful thing to be raised from the dead- but not if you are simply going to perish later in hell. The most precious thing about the words of Jesus, and the most important reason to listen to him, is that his words lead to eternal life."

John Piper (What Jesus Demands from the World, 2006, p. 58)



Monday, April 14, 2008

Running the Good Race


Well, I ran the 5k race out in Awhatukee. It was a fun race, but harder than I thought it would be. I was told it was a flat course...but it wasn't! It had hills at the beginning and the end.

But I did the race in 28:57 minutes which is the time I wanted to achieve, so I am more than happy. That's a 9 minute mile pace which is what I used to run back in my 30's. Not bad.

Still, there were 11 yr. olds and 9 yr. olds finishing ahead of me...way ahead of me....and that hurts the ego.

It was great fun to see all those kids out there running! Whole families were out there. I told Nathan that next year we could run it together.

The First Epistle of John: Lesson Forty-Two

"Praying always with all prayer and

supplication in the Spirit, being watchful

to this end with all perseverance

and supplication for all the saints..."

Eph 6:18


Hello again! Let's begin with prayer.....

"Father God, today is another glorious day to lift up our praise and adoration to You because You alone are worthy to be praised. I thank You, Father, for Your mercy and grace in that You condescend upon us and hear us when we call out to You. Thank You for that gift.

I seek forgiveness of my sins. I know I was not in Your word nearly enough this week, and I know this is sin. I pray that You will wash me clean, purge me of my sins, and renew a steadfast spirit within me. I pray that You will guard my tongue and give me wisdom.

I lift up each lady reading this study to You, Lord. I pray that You will hear her voice when she cries out to You. I pray that You will relieve her of her burdens and give her Your yoke which is easy. I pray that You will come alongside her, encourage her, lift her up, and give her Your peace.

In Jesus' name...amen."


The Outworking of Love

In this, our final verse for chapter 3, we will look at what glory there is for believers when we keep the commandments of God. We are under His protection , his promise, and His provisions when we stay in His commandments and abide with Him.

1 John 3:24-

"Now he who keeps His commandments abides in Him and He in him. And by this we know that He abides in us, by the Spirit whom He has given us."

Last time we looked at what the commandments of God are: that we should believe on the name of Jesus Christ and love one another. These two commandments encompass the Ten Commandments:

Please read:

Ex 20:1-17

By comparing Jesus and the belief in Jesus to the first ten commandments, John equates Jesus with God. Otherwise, if Jesus is not God....then John would be breaking the first of the commandments:

"I am the Lord Your God...you shall have no other gods before me..."

But because Jesus and God are one in the same, by believing on the name of His Son Jesus Christ...we are not breaking the commandments but obeying them.

Obeying the commandments of God are essential to any Christian's happiness.

John 14:23

It means union and communion with the Lord. Remember, fellowship is one thing....but abiding is quite the other. Jesus not only promises fellowship, but also that He will abide in us if we obey.

Rev 3:20

Rev 21:3

The promises of Jesus never fail us. If He says He will abide in you...then He will!

John 14:21

Jesus will reveal Himself to those who keep the commandments.

John 17:21

We will be one with the Lord.

Gal 3:28

Col 3:11

Eph 2:15-18

1 Cor 12:13

We are all one in Christ now....if we keep the commandments.


"And by this we know that He abides in us, by the Spirit whom He has given us."

The Spirit of God is freely given to those whom He loves and knows. It is that Spirit that binds us and seals us in with God.

Rom 8:9-16

It is the Spirit Himself that bears witness that we are children of God.

Rom 8:5-8

Therefore, we should live in the Spirit and not in the flesh.

Rom 5:5

1 Cor 2:14-16

Gal 5:22-26

Gal 6:8

James 4:4-5

By the Spirit we have that eternal abiding with Christ. We now have the mind of Christ Jesus. We are set free from our own minds that bind us and hold us down and condemn us.

Phil 1:20-21

2 Cor 1:20-22

Because we have been sealed by God through the Holy Spirit, we are forever changed.

As we sum up all that we have learned in chapter 3 of 1 John, we clearly see that John wants his readers to know what sin is and what it does to the believer...he wants us to know what love is and that we are to show it to others....and he wants us to remember the commandments of the Lord seal us to God forever for that protection, so that we partake of the promises...and that we have all the provisions we need for all eternity through Him who saved us.

Next time we will begin our study into chapter 4 of this great book. This chapter is considered the "love" chapter in that John goes into further detail of what love is.


Life Application

We looked at alot in chapater 3 of 1 john: what it means to be children of God, what sin means and what it does to believers, and what the outworking of love really means to believers.

Take some time today to meditate on the love of God today. Really sit back and think of all the times in your life where you can see His love for you: how He protected you from something; how He kept His promises to you; and how He provided for you during times when the situation around you was bleak.

Really thank the Lord for all He has done for you through the years. This is a fantastic way to worship Him. Our gratitude and gratefulness to Him shows Him that we know it is His providence that keeps us from the pits of hell.

If nothing else....thank Him for salvation!!


Until next time.....

"There is in Christ Jesus abundant foundation of peace and safety for those who are in fear and danger.....there is in Christ Jesus provision for the satisfaction, and full contentment, of the needy and thirsty soul....there are quiet rest and sweet refreshment in Christ Jesus for him who is weary...Christ has undertaken to save all from what they fear, if they come to Him."

Jonathan Edwards -1703-1758 (Altogether Lovely, 1997, pp 83-85)



Saturday, April 5, 2008

The First Epistle of John: Lesson Forty-one

"The righteous cry out,

and the LORD hears,

And delivers them out of all their troubles.

The LORD is near to those who have a broken heart,

And saves such as have a contrite spirit."

Psalm 34:17-18


Hello again! Let's begin with prayer....

"Father God our Holy One, I come to You today to thank You for hearing Your children when we cry out to You in our troubles and in our rejoicing. I know that You do not hear us because You need to, but because You love Your children. For that I am eternally grateful. I bless Your name with all my heart.

I pray and ask forgiveness for my sins. Forgive me for not being in Your word nearly enough this week. Forgive me for letting other things get in my way. I pray that You will cleanse me this day and make me new again.

I lift up each woman reading this study today. I pray that she will learn more about You and how You hear her prayers when she obeys You. I pray that she will be encouraged by that fact and take it with her today. I pray that You will walk with her and lift her up when she gets down.

In Jesus' name....amen."


The Outworking of Love

In this next to last portion of chapter 3, we will begin to conclude our look into what love is to the Christian and how the Christian is supposed to love. In Chapter four, we will look deeper into what love is and what obedience is because John really stresses LOVE in chapter 4 far more than in chapter 3.

1 John 3:22-23-

"And whatever we ask we receive from Him, because we keep His commandments and do those things that are pleasing in His sight. And this is the commandments: that we should believe on the name of His Son Jesus Christ and love one another, as He gave us commandment."

Last time we looked more into how a Christian can have that confidence....or boldness.... to put our hearts before the Lord God. We can have that confidence to stand before God when we keep His commandments.

Please read:

John 14: 12-14

So many times this verses is taken out of context and used to justify asking God for anything....almost as if God were Santa Claus.

But if we look at what Christ says, that is not what we find out about God:

"Most assuredly, I say to you, he who believes in Me, the works that I do he will do also..."

There is the main point Jesus wants His disciples to know: believe in Jesus and do what I do. Only then will you have what you ask for:

"And whatever you ask in My name..."

Another contingency: in Christ's name.

The word for "name" here is onoma in Greek and it means: authority or character. So Jesus is saying that whatever we ask in His name....His authority, His character....then and only then will our prayers be answered.
So, if we ask the Lord for a million dollars, fame, material wealth, power....are we truly asking in His name, authority, or character? I do not think so since Jesus did not have a place to live!
"...that I will do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son."
Here is the purpose for Jesus answering our prayers....for Jesus doing anything at all...that the Father may be glorified.
So, again if we are asking for things that pertain to this world...which we learned is passing away...then we know that our request is not bringing glory to God. All of the works Jesus did brought glory to the Father.
John 13:31-32
1 Pet 4:11
1Cor 10:31
"If you ask anything in My name, I will do it."
Jesus did the will of His Father, and now He tells us that if we do the will of the Father our prayers will be answered. What an awesome gift from above!
Jesus had that perfect confidence in God:
John 11:40-42
Remember, John was present when Jesus spoke these words. He saw what happened. He witnessed how God answered Jesus' prayers and how Jesus did the will of the Father only. But most of all, John saw that God was glorified when He answered Jesus' prayers and raised Lazarus from the dead.
Now it is he who wants believers in Christ to have that same confidence in the Father than Jesus had.
And we can have that confidence if we obey His commandments:
"And this is His commandment: that we should believe on the name of His Son Jesus Christ and love one another, as He gave us commandment."
Believing on the name of Jesus.....His character, His authority....and loving one another ensures us that God will hear us.
What a glorious gift that is! But we need to make sure we are not praying for things that are not in Christ's character. How do we know? By staying in God's word daily we have discernment to know that what we pray is pleasing to God's ear.
Heb 7:25-27
It is Jesus, the High Priest, who lives to always make that intercession for us. When we pray, it is Jesus who takes our prayers to the Father. If what we pray isn't pleasing to Him, then how can it be pleasing to the Father?
Pray in Christ's character. Pray in His authority. Pray in His name. Always.
Life Application
How do we pray in someone's name if we do not know that name at all?
2 Tim 1:12
Paul had such great confidence in Christ because he knew Him. He did not walk with the Lord as John did, but Paul was given sight by the Lord and given a mission. As a result, the Lord was with Paul daily.....and Paul knew the Lord on that personal level.
How can we go to the Lord with out personal requests if we do not know Him? How can we "cast our cares upon Him" if we do not know His name?
Knowing Jesus is the key. We can know Him by studying His name.
I enjoy reading autobiographies because I can really get to know the author. But I also know the author is only telling me what they want me to know.
Biographies, on the other hand, are second hand accounts. Therefore, you have to take into account that the subject of the book may or may not have approved of the project.
If someone wanted to know me best, they should read a book I wrote about myself instead of reading a book someone else wrote about me.
Well, unlike the Apostles, we have that book written by the Lord Himself. We can know Him personally from Genesis all the way to Revelation. Then, and only then, can we truly call upon His name or pray in His name.
To know Him is to know His character and His authority. To know Him is to truly love Him.
Until next time....
"Guard jealously your relationship to God. Jesus prayed 'that they may beone, even as we are one' -nothing between. Keep all the life perennially open to Jesus Christ, don't preten with Him. Are you drawing your life from any other source than God Himself? If you are depending upon anything but Him, you will never know when He is gone."
-Oswald Chambers (My Utmost for His Highest, 1935, January 20 devotion)

Wednesday, April 2, 2008

The First Epistle of John: Lesson Forty

"And now little children,

abide in Him, that when He

appears, we may have confidence and

not be ashamed before Him at His coming."

1 John 2:28


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

"Holy Father God I pray before You that You will teach me Your ways and Your statutes that I may keep them to the end. Teach me, Lord, how to love You more and to cherish Your words. Thank You, Father, for giving us Your word, the inheritance, and our citizenship in heaven. Thank You for being greater than our mere thoughts. Thank You for knowing all things.

I seek forgiveness of my sins this day, Lord, because I know my sins affect all around me. I pray that You will search me for the secret hidden sins of my heart and purge them from me. Release me from the bondage of sin in my heart and cleanse me this day that I may hear from You.

I lift up each lady reading this study that You may teach her Your precepts and statutes this day. I pray that she will be cleansed through Your words and that she will be prepared for Your service that she may know Your love for the brethren. Walk with her today, encourage her when she is low, lift her spirits up with Your Pslams of praise, and put Your song into her heart this day.

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


The Outworking of Love

Last time we looked at by loving in deed and truth instead of just our words, we can "set our hearts" before the Lord in calm assurance.

Today we will look more into what "our hearts" truly means.

1 John 3:20-21

"For if our heart condemn us, God is greater than our heart, and knows all things. Beloved, if our heart does not condemn us, we have confidence toward God."

The word "heart" here means conscience. So John is telling us that if our conscience, or thoughts, condemn us...God is greater than our thoughts!

Please read:

1 Cor 4:4-5

1 Cor 3:13

The word "counsels" that Paul uses in 1 Cor 4:5 is translated as "motives".

It is God who reveals the motives of our hearts or conscience. He knows all things. There is no hiding from God. At the final judgment, nothing will be hidden from God.

Perhaps John was writing these verses in his letter to believers because they were experiencing doubt about whether or not they were Christians.

Many Christians experience this feeling: "Am I really a Christian??"

This is a common question that many believers ask themselves because of the sins they have in there hearts. Their "hearts" condemn them. Their thoughts condemn them. Satan uses these thoughts to condemn them and make them doubt.

But God is greater than our thoughts...

Ps 139:1-2

Is 66:18

Matt 9:4

1 Cor 3:20

Satan has a way of using our thoughts against us. For instance, when times get tough and we begin to feel that maybe God has left us alone, Satan will jump all over that thought and begin to make us doubt or salvation. But that does not mean we are "off the hook" so to speak for allowing those thoughts to permeate our minds. As Christians, we are never to forget what the Bible says about God:

Gen 28:15

Deut 31:6-8

Heb 13:5

Praise God for those incredible words of hope!

This is why we Christians need to know God's word deep within our hearts. In a perfect world, we would have the entire Bible memorized. I know of one man, Jerry Lucas, who has the entire New Testament memorized!

But since this world is not perfect, we Christians should make a point to have scripture verses memorized so that when Satan does try to use our thoughts against us, we can remember what God said. That is what Jesus did:

Matt 4: 3-4

Jesus quoted scripture each time the devil tried to dissuade Him from following God.

2 Cor 10:4-6

We are to bring every thought into captivity to the obedience of Christ and our disobedience must be dealt with until we are obedient.

2 Cor 7:10

For Godly sorrow does not lead to death but repentance. It is the guilt and sorrow of Satan and this world that leads to death. How true that is!

In my testimony, I have shared how Satan used my self-condmenation, my self-loathing about the sexual sin I was in to try and lead me to death. It almost worked...and why? Because I had allowed my sin to push me away from the Bible, so I had forgotten who I was in Christ. I had forgotten scripture....I had forgotten Jesus.

But Jesus was faithful in that He did not leave me nor forsake me. Instead, He told Satan that I belong to GOD and therefore he cannot have me. Jesus was my Advocate before the Accuser of this world. Jesus stood up for me and defended me even though I had long forsaken Him for my fleshly desires.

John so clearly loved his fellow believers and that is why he wrote this letter to them. I love you all and that is why I do this study. I want you all to remember that God is greater than your thoughts...your conscience.

"Beloved, if our heart does not condemn us, we have confidence toward God."

So when your thoughts condemn you, remember who you are in Christ Jesus: you are an heir to His throne, a citizen of heaven, a Child of God.

If your thoughts are making you sad because of sin in your heart or mind, then let that godly sorrow lead you to repentance. Confess it before the Lord who loves you and let it be dealt with.

Then and only then can we have that "confidence toward God" that John writes about. Remember that word "confidence" means boldness. If our thoughts do not condemn us, then we have that boldness to stand before the Lord with open arms when we see Him as He really is!

Praise God!


Life Application

Many times in our walk with the Lord we will have thoughts that are leading us to doubt our salvation or doubt God's word.

When this happens, it is sin because we are listening to the devil instead of the Lord. But Paul reminds us that godly sorrow deals with the sin and causes us to repent. World sorrow does not deal with the sin. It keeps the sin there by lying to us and telling us that it is ok. But that sort of sorrow leads to death:

Please read:

Rom 6:23

In a chat room I recently visited on the Oprah.com web site, I read about a book she is studying called "A New Earth" written by some New Age guru wanting to shed new light on what Jesus really said and how we can all achieve true happiness by helping others, etc.

In one conversation, I read that a lesbian "Christian" was so glad to have read the book because it "set her free" from the guilty feelings she had regarding her homosexuality. All the other posters were so happy for her that she finally felt free to "be who she was" etc. But Christian participants wrote the truth: she was in sin and that's why she felt guilt. They wrote to her about Christ and His saving grace. They told her about how she could be free from her sin and enjoy eternal life in Christ.
Which group of posters do you think she gravitated toward? How do you think the Christian posters were treated by the others who were defending this book, "A New Earth" ?
If you said that she agreed with the posters who were happy for her new found freedom, you would be right. If you said the Christian participants were excoriated for their thoughts, you would also be right.
The Christians were showing her love: the Love of Christ. It may have sounded harsh to her, but it was the truth. Through her repentance she would be set free. But through her worldly sorrow she will be led to death.
The wages of sin is death.
I found it interesting that one poster wrote to the Christians, "Leave her alone! What does her being a lesbian have to do with you? What she does with her life has no affect on you at all."
Yet the sin we all commit causes death...death to the earth and its creatures, death to our souls, death to our bodies. The sexual sin this lady commits daily will have an affect on us all. That's the truth.
Well, at least she was told the gospel message and hopefully it will lead to her repentance. If not, well, when she stands before God at the judgment she cannot say she did not know Jesus was the only way to salvation. God will remind her that she was told the truth.
Until next time.....
"No one is ever united with Jesus Christ until he is willing to relinquish not sin only, but his whole way of looking at things. To be born from above of the Spirit of God means that we must let go before we lay hold, and in the first stages it is relinquishing of all pretense. What Our Lord wants us to present to Him is not goodness, nor honesty, nor endeavour, but real solid sin; that is all He can take from us.'
-Oswald Chambers (1874-1917) (My Utmost for His Highest, 1935, March 8th devotional)