Tuesday, May 27, 2008

The First Epistle of John: Lesson Fifty-Three

"For God has not given

us a spirit of fear,

but of power and of love

and of a sound mind."

2 Tim 1:7


Hello again...let's begin with prayer...

"Heavenly Father, as we come together this day to study Your word again, I pray earnestly that You will speak to us through Your word. I pray that You will be glorified here in this study today. Thank You , Lord, for giving us that spirit of power and of love and of a sound mind that we can know who You are and that we can know that perfect love.

I seek the forgiveness of my sins today, Lord, because I know it is against You and only You that I have sinned. I know that my iniquities separate me from You and I do not want that. I want to be in Your presence. So, I pray that You will search me, wash me, and cleanse me this day from my sins against You.

I lift up each lady reading this study to you today. I pray that she will find encouragement in this study today. I pray that she will cast all her cares upon You and that You will give her peace and rest. I pray that she will seek You this day with all her heart. Speak to her, Lord, through Your word daily and give her strength to face each challenge of each day.

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


The Consummation of Love

In our last lesson we looked at how love has been perfected among us through Christ Jesus. We looked at how we are not perfect, but Christ is therefore we will be perfect one day. As a result of Christ's perfect obedience, we can have that boldness and confidence at the Lord's coming.

John ended the verse with a sort of commission: "because as He is, so are we in this world."

Then he begins the new verse with a sort of admonition about fear. Hmmm, I wonder why? Perhaps those reading his letters would be concerned about being as Christ is in the world. They remember that Jesus died on a cross for His beliefs.....and maybe they became afraid.

But John does an excellent job of explaining what fear is and isn't.

1 John 4:18-

"There is no fear in love, but perfect love casts out fear, because fear involves torment. But he who fears has not been made perfect in love."

As usual, John gives us much to think about as Christian servants to the Lord. But he also gives us hope...that reccuring hope that echoes throughout this book.

"There is no fear in love..."

Does this contradict the Bible that tells us that "the fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge" (Prov 1:7)? Are not to fear the Lord?

There are many kinds of fear in Scripture and John is writing of the kind found in the world.

Please read:

Gen 42:18- Joseph had a fear of the Lord.

Deut 4:10- God commanded that the people learn to fear Him

Ps 19:9- the Psalmist acknowledged that fearing God is a good thing

Ps 27:1

Ps 33:8

Ps 34:9

Is 35:4- here the prophet is told to tell the people not to fear God.

Obviously there is a difference between earthly fear and a godly fear.

"...but perfect love casts out fear, because fear involves torment."

Here we see that John is writing about worldly fear which involves torment. Fearing God does not.

Jer 32:40

Matt 10:28

We see that both God and Jesus advise that it is best not to fear the world or anyone in the world...but to fear God Himself who can destroy the world and everything in it.

John desires for his readers to remember that they have been given that perfect love of Christ so that they can have confidence in the day of Judgment. We have been made perfect and one day we will be as He is.

Why, then, should we fear anything? Well, all of know it can be intimidating to stand before a crowd and proclaim the Gospel message. It is hard to walk door to door and tell our neighbors we believe in the risen Christ.

But we Christians have been commanded to tell others about the Gospel message. We have been commissioned to go and make disciples of other nations. If that scares us now, imagine how it will be when the whole world turnds against us.

I recently heard a radio broadcast from Ravi Zacharias, a prominent theologian and missionary to the Middle East. He was saying that he has visited Egypt and has seen many Muslims come to the Lord Jesus as their savior. He has seen sheiks entering into Christian churches worshiping next to Christians. He said it is happening throughout the Muslim countries today at great risk of harm to Christian missionaries. They are spreading the Gospel message at risk to their lives or the lives of their families.

I also read this week about how Great Britain has allowed their country to be taken over by the Islamic religion. Soon Islam will take over all of Europe.

Can we, as Christians, still take the Gospel message out to the community even if it means our lives are at risk...or the lives of our children or grandchildren?


"But he who fears has not been made perfect in love."

The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge, but the fear of the world is foolishness.

Heb 2:14-15

2 Tim 1:7

1 Pet 2:17

Heb 10:31

Ps 25:12

Yes, according to the Scriptures, it is much wiser to fear the One who created all things rather than the creation itself. That seems easy now, when everything is fine and our houses have not been destroyed by a tornado or cyclone or war.

But will we be able to still not fear when things do get bad? When we are forced out of our comfort zone, will we still be able to remain in that perfect love?

That is why we must remain in the Scriptures. We must remember these verses that remind us that God has not given us that spirit of fear....because fear involves torment...but He has given us a spirit of power and of love and of a sound mind to get us through even the toughest times here on earth.


Life Application

Each day in the life of a Christian is faced with challenges because God allows Satan to tempt us just as He allowed His Son to be tempted.

It is easy to become afraid of the things around us because this world is uncertain. But we can find solace in the Scriptures. These verses assuage our fears and uncertainties.

Ps 111:10

Ps 112:1

When we concentrate on fearing God, then we find that peace and rest. The Psalmists understood this.

If you are ever in the midst of fear.....go to the Scriptures. Let them calm you and give you peace.


Until next time....

"If we know God's love experientially and trust him, we may view any afflictions that we suffer in the context of Provers 3:12....As we grow and mature in faith, we understand that God's discipline proves his love for us. It also deepens our love for him. So we must allow the truth of God's glorious love to bathe our minds daily and to wash away our fear."

-Dr. Joel Beeke (The Epistles of John, 2006, p. 170)



Friday, May 23, 2008

The First Epistle of John: Lesson Fifty-Two

"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 day! Let's seek the Lord together...

Holy Father, as we begin this new section of our study in first John, we will be looking at how we, as Christians, can have that confidence and boldness in the day of judgment only because of Jesus Christ and what He did for us. May we never lose sight of this. Thank You, Father, for this gracious gift and promise: that when You come again, we can and will see You.

I pray for the forgiveness of my sins this day. I pray that You will search me for the hidden sins of my heart and purge me of my selfishness and self-righteousness. I pray that You will cleanse me with Your blood and renew me. Fill me with Your Holy Spirit and guard my speech this day.

I lift up to you the family of Steven Curtis Chapman today Lord as his family is dealing with a horrible tragedy: the death of his 5 year old daughter. You know this family and have seen them dedicate their lives to serving You, Lord. So I pray that You will go to them and comfort them today as they prepare to bury this little girl. We know she is with You, but for those left behind, they need to hear from You Lord. I pray that You will go to them now.

"I will bless the Lord at all times.
His praise shall continually be in my mouth." Psalm 34:1

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


The Consummation of Love

As we begin this new section of chapter 4 in First John, we will look at the completion of love in us by God.

John has taken us on a journey about love through this chapter: we looked at how others may know God through our love being shown and at how others may see God through our love being revealed through our acts and our witness.

Now he wants us to know that God's perfect agape love is complete because He is complete. And the promise is that one day we will be complete too.

But as we look further into what that love is, we will learn more about who God is.

1 John 4:17- "Love has been perfected among us in this: that we may have boldness in the day of judgment; because as He is, so are we in this world."

In this verse, John is reminding us that God's love has already been perfected in the Christian because of Jesus. His complete obedience to God's will shall be given to us at the day of His coming. When we face God in that judgment, we do not have to shy away in shame but we have that boldness now because God will see Christ in us....and we will be as He is.

We have not yet reached that perfect state of obedience, but we stand out in this world simply because of Jesus....

Please read:

John 17:16-17

Jesus' wish for His disciples isn't an easy life of peace and tranquility. On the contrary, He prayed that they would not be of the world....but be separated from the world.

His desire is that God sanctify them (separate them) from the world. How? Through His word. Why?

Because God's word is truth. Nothing sanctifies like the truth.

Nathan learned that this year. He had to stand up for his beliefs in his science class and as a result, he often found himself alone in his defense of the truth. It was hard for him, but he did it. And the Lord blessed him as a result. Not in material things, but in spiritual things of God.

God's word is truth.

That is where our boldness and confidence is: His word.


That boldness or confidence in God's Word and in all that He promised comes from the Lord Himself.

Please read:

Ps 65:5

Ps 118:8-9

Is 30:15

If anyone knew about putting confidence in Jesus instead of the flesh, it was Paul...

Phil 3:3-11

That is the confidence that we now have: counting all things loss for the knowledge of Christ Jesus our Lord!

Heb 3:6

If we hold fast that confidence....or "boasting" in Christ.... and rejoicing until the end, then we will in Christ's house with Him.

And none of this was done by our own volition, for we would NEVER chose to come before a holy God. It was done because of what Christ did: perfect obedience.

1 Thess 1:10

1 Thess 5: 9-10

We are now spared that wrath of God due to what Jesus did for us. He became the Propitiation for our sins. And now there is no eternal wrath for those in Christ.

So now, when we are face to face with God during our judgment at His coming, we can stand before a Holy God...not because of the works we did, but because of what Jesus did.

Rom 5:9-11
No longer enemies with God, Jesus has reconciled us to God through the shedding of His blood.

That love of God has now been perfected among us through the perfect example of Jesus Christ.
Heb 5:8-9

And now we are called to be as He is in this world: a perfect example of obedience.

Rom 5:18-19

Philemon 21

Eph 6:5

Titus 2:5

1 Pet 1:14-16

As you can see here, we are to be obedient so that God's word will not be blasphemed and the perfect work of Christ will not be tarnished by us.

Take time today to meditate on what you learned in this study of 1 John 4:17

Really work at coming to a complete understanding of what it is that God has done for you: reconciled Himself to you.

Praise Him today.


Life Application

Rev 4:11

In our Sunday worship service, our Pastor led us through Scripture pointing out what the wrath of God is and how we, God's chosen, have been spared that eternal wrath that is to come.

As I sat there and read through the verses about God's wrath and judgment, all I could think of was how I was chosen from the foundation of the world to be spared this wrath.

It was humbling.

I can often look back over my life and see how God spared me much hurt and pain since I came to know Him at such a young age. I praise Him for that. I couldn't imagine what it must have been like going through the harshness of high school without being able to call upon the Lord for help and encouragement.

As my son enters into his life of service to the Lord by being baptized this coming Sunday, I am very grateful that the Lord has called him at an early age. He will not have to walk alone through high school or college or marriage, etc. because he knows Jesus.

We attended the 8th grade graduation of his charter school to help out and as we sat through the many speeches and awards given that night to many the bright students, I couldn't help but notice how many of them did not know Jesus at all. They were blessed with talents and intelligence, but they were about to embark on a journey without a compass or map.

I am just so grateful that my son knows Christ and His word. He will have failures and hurts coming his way, as we all do, but he will also have many blessings and much joy coming his way too because he has been given that map and compass for his journey.

That is what I praise God for everyday: Nathan knows Jesus.....and Jesus knows Nathan

Nahum 1:7
2 Tim 2:19




Sunday, May 18, 2008

The First Epistle of John: Lesson Fifty-One

"...that if you confess with

your mouth the Lord Jesus

and believe in your heart

that God has raised Him

from the dead, you will be saved."

Romans 10:9


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

"Heavenly Father, today as we look more at what salvation is for the Christian and how You abide in us if we confess that You are indeed the risen Christ, humble our hearts before You. Bring us to our knees in confession before You that we may be worthy of You. Thank You, Lord, for all that You have promised us. Thank You for abiding in Your children.

I seek forgiveness of my sins this day, Lord, and pray that You will wash me clean from my sins. I pray that You will cleanse me with Your blood and renew me. I long to hear from You and I know my sins separate me from You.

I lift up each lady reading this study. I pray that she will earnestly seek Your face today in every decision she makes. I pray that she will follow You and search Your word for guidance. Lift her up, Lord, give her strength to meet each new challenge she will face this week alone. Hear her prayers and give her peace.

In Jesus' name...amen."


Seeing God Through Love

Last time we looked at how we can abide in God and He in us. We also touched on how the author of this book, John, was more than qualified to write each verse from experience. He truly walked with the Lord and witnessed all that He had done. He knew that God had sent the Son who is the Savior of the world.

Today we will look at what it means to be a Christian yet again. I was asked by an agnostic why God would allow all the different religions of the world to exist if He truly can be known. This man doesn't think God can be known by man. I quoted our verses to him because John wrote these verses that we may know and have that assurance that yes, we can know our Creator because He is a very personal God.

1 John 4:15-16

"Whoever confesses that Jesus is the Son of God, God abides in him and he in God. And we have known and believed the love that God has for us. God is love, and he who abides in love abides in God, and God in him."

We have looked in the Old Testament how it was that God had communion with His people before Christ came: the Tabernacle and then the Temple.

One was a more temporary structure made for mobilization. The other was a more permanent structure made to remain or stay put.

Now the Lord God, Creator of the universe, abides within us. We are both mobile and permanent, to a point!

John desires for every Christian to understand this fact: God resides in us.

To you and me that may not seem like a big deal. But to the 1st century Jew, it was a huge concept to comprehend! They had lived with the stories of the Tabernacle and Solomon's temple. They lived in a region where Herod's temple stood firm in the distance. But here was John reiterating what he heard Christ say....the temple will be destroyed because there is no need for it any longer. God does not reside there anymore.

He resides in the Christian heart.

Try to picture the Jewish man or woman hearing this for the first time with the temple in the distance. This structure was several stories high made of white stone that glistened in the sunlight. It could hold 100,000 people and sometimes 1,000,000 were in it during the Passover feast. It was a magnificent feat of architecture for that day.

And John was saying that their God no longer had any use for that structure! Their God now lived within them.....if they confessed.

Please read:

Rom 10:8-10

Here Paul writes that believing in one's heart goes along with speaking with one's mouth. Openly confessing, or agreeing, that Jesus is the Son of God who was raised from the dead leads to salvation.

Luke 12:8

Rom 10:11-13

Joel 2:32

Here we see the promises of God that are eternal. "Whoever believes on Him will not be put to shame."

My son often worries about believing in Jesus and then being made a fool if it all turns out to have been a myth. If Jesus never existed at all, then we will be put to shame.

But here God Himself assures us: whoever believes on Him will not be put to shame.

John and Paul both want us to have that assurance that they did not suffer for a myth or a legend, but for the truth of which they were witnesses.

Praise God that we have that assurance.


"And we have known and believed the love that God has for us. God is love, and he who abides in love abides in God, and God in him."

John returns to the message of love again in this distinct chapter. Remember, this section is about seeing God through love.

God's love is shown throughout scripture by how He constantly remains faithful to a people who constantly reject Him. He is revealed in scripture as one who seeks after sinners in spite of their rebellion or indifference.

Think about how He pursued you. Were you the rebellious one or the indifferent one? Yet He sought you and made you His.

Ex 34:5-9

This is the perfect picture of who God is: the one who will always be there no matter what we do to Him. He remains faithful to that covenant promise He made to us even when we are not faithful. That is love.

John reminds us that he knows and believes that love God has for His children. He saw it first hand through Christ.

He tells us that God is love....and that love is knowable. That love is personal. God wants us to abide in that love so we may abide in Him.

Being a Christian means trusting in Christ and acknowledging His lordship and authority over your life. I am often amazed at how many Christians live with no fear of God even though they have seen with their eyes how He alone spared them from so many hurts. Yet they still go and do their own thing!

I am blessed in that I have learned from the past mistakes I made. I fear God now more than ever because I have seen what He does in other believer's lives when they push Him aside. I have seen Christians get sicker and sicker because they refuse to repent of their sins even after they are told of their sins by other believers! I say, "no thanks!" to that because I have seen God move in my life when I refused to repent.

It hurts...it is very painful. And I do not want that separation from Him ever again.

God dwells in me and I in Him. That is more than I could ever want. I lived separated from Him for a time and it was miserable. I do not want that ever again.

What a great feeling it is having that assurance that God dwells in us. That, as Christians, we are under Christ's lordship and rule. We are not alone in this world.

Take time today to really meditate on these truths: You serve a faithful God who provided complete assurance that believing on Him will not leave you feeling foolish or shameful.

He provides you with complete assurance that He dwells within you and that He is faithful to His covenant promise.

Praise Him today.


Life Application

Please read:

Deut 30:11-14

God gave us His words that we can keep for ourselves and treasure them forever. He reveals to us in His word is not "too mysterious for you, nor is it far off" so that we can not know all that He wants us to know about Him.

He says that His word is very near to us, in our mouths and in our hearts that we may do it.

How marvelous that we serve a God who is not far off. He is near to us. He is so very personal that He is in every part of our lives. Nothing is too small for Him to care about. He hears the prayers of those affected by the cyclone or earthquake as much as He hears you crying out about your personal issues and needs even before you say them!

What a loving God we serve. Take time out of your busy day to stop and listen for Him. Read His word and pray that He gives you a passion for it. Pray to Him and really thank Him for being that personal God involved in every aspect of your life.


Until next time.....

"Christ condescends to take notice of beggars (Luke 16:22) and people of the most despised nations. In Christ Jesus there is neither "barbarian, Scythian, bond nor free (Col 3:11). He who is so high condescends to take a gracious notice of little children....Yea, which is more, His condescension is sufficient to take a gracious notice of the most unworthy, sinful creatures, those who have no good deservings and those who have infinite ill deservings."

-Jonathan Edwards 1703-1758 (Altogether Lovely, 1996, p. 20)



Monday, May 12, 2008

The First Epistle of John: Lesson Fifty

"A little while longer and the

world will see Me no more,

but you will see Me.

Because I live, you will live also.

At that day you will know that

I am in My Father,

and you in Me, and I

in you."

John 14:19-20


Hello again, ladies! Let's pray....

"Holy Father, our Lord and Savior, I pray to You this day and thank You for giving us the gift of life. We live now because You live. Because You conquered death, we now have life everlasting. I praise Your holy name. You alone are worthy to be praised. Thank You for that gift.

Lord, i seek the forgivness of my sins. Forgive me for not being in Your word enough this past week. I know this is sin and I pray that You will forgive me. I pray for the release of the bondage of sin. Make me new again, Lord. Restore my faith and give me a passion to study Your word.

I lift up each lady reading this study with her own individual needs right now. I pray that she is seeking You and Your guidance throughout her day. I pray that You will go to her. Protect her and her children or grandchildren. I pray that You will use her this day to serve You. Encourage her, let her know You are with her.

In Jesus' name...amen."


Seeing God Through Love

Today we will continue to look at how others will see God through our love if we are obedient. John stresses love throughout chapter 4 of this book because he knows how important it is to remain in that love of God. He walked with Christ and saw that "agape" love revealed when Christ laid down His life for John and the others. John obviously was changed dramatically so, along with the other disciples, by that one act of Christ.

Not wanting his fellow believers to stray from that love, John reiterates it throughout this book.

In our last lesson, we looked at how John states that no one has seen God at any one time, but if we love one another, God abides in us and then others will see God through our love for them. His love will be perfected in us.

Now, as we continue, John wants us to remember what it means to abide in God, His Spirit, and His Son, Jesus the Savior of the world.

1 John 4:13-14-

"By this we know that we abide in Him, and He in us, because He has given us of His Spirit. And we have seen and testify that the Father has sent the Son as Savior of the world."

John reminds believers that we were given the Spirit of the Lord which is how we know we abide in Him. As our opening verse states, Jesus is in the Father, and both are in us. Wow, what a statement. Imagine the disciples' faces when they heard that news! There had been silence from God for 400 years, the people were growing dismayed. Now they were face to face with their Messiah and He was telling them that they can be one with God....distant, far away God was now so close that He was abiding in them! What glorious news that must have been to their ears. Except they didn't quite understand it at that moment.

Jesus would later give them the Holy Spirit who opened their eyes and their understanding.

Please read:

Acts 2:1-4

But others in the Old Testament were also given the Spirit of God:

Gen 41:37-38

Num 27:18

Judges 3:9-10

Joseph was such a witness of the Lord by his conduct that even the Pharoah acknowledged that Jospeh was filled with the Spirit of the Lord.

Neh 9:18-20 & 30

Here we read in Nehemiah that God gave His Spirit to His people. In these verses we have a clear picture of the Trinity. God in triune.

John wants all believers to remember that we are now one with God as His people were, as His servants were, and as Christ is. How wonderful! This is something we should never forget.

Ps 104:30

Ps 143:10

Is 42:1-4

Is 48:16

Is 61:1


"And we have seen and testify that the Father has sent the Son as Savior of the world."

John, ever the responsible writer, wants to remain clear that he is a qualified Apostle. He has truly seen Jesus and walked with Him. In this verse, John reiterates that he tesifies of what he has seen.

John 1:14

Luke 5:1-11

John was there. He witnessed that God had indeed sent His Son to be Savior of the world.

John 3:17

John 4:42

There were many other witnesses to Christ's ministry as well. John was one. Now, we are the witnesses as well because of the Holy Spirit given to us.

Rom 5:5

As a result, we are to take that knowledge and tell others about it, but also to show others about that love of God abiding in us. We are now one with God through Christ. To keep that a secret takes away from the Gospel message. We are commanded to take that message and make disciples of nations.

Take with you the knowledge today that the love of God abides in you. Show that love to others today.


Life Application

I find it so fascinating to read this book knowing it was written by a man who walked with Christ. He ate with Jesus and witnessed all those miracles chronicled in his book....as well as many others we never even heard about!

John's letter is very encouraging to all Christians. It gives us a clear glimpse into what it is we are supposed to be doing here on earth as we await the return of our Savior. We are not to coneal our love, but to reveal it as He did and continues to do daily.

Our love for the brethren should be apparent. We should not pick and chose who we are to love, but to love all believers. God is love, says John, so we are to love as He loves us.

John 3:16

1 John 4:7

If you know God, then you are to love.

Take that knowledge with you today. Meditate on His love for you. Think about all the things He has done for you and all the things He has saved you from.

Then rejoice in His wisdom and love.

Ps 34:1-2


Until next time....

"The Bible does not allow us to rest in a merely formal relationship with God. It is possible to attend every church service and prayer meeting, to read the Bible regularly, to teach and preach the Scriptures, and yet not know God. If our lives do not manifest, even dimly, something of the love of God in Jesus Christ, then we cannot claim to be Christians."

-Dr. Joel Beeke (The Epistles of John, 2006, p. 160)




Sunday, May 4, 2008

The First Epistle of John: Lesson Forty-Nine

"But He said, 'You cannot

see My face; for no man shall

see Me, and live.'"

Exodus 33:20


Hello again, let's seek the Lord together....

"Holy Father God in heaven, this day we come together to praise Your glorious name above all names. You are so holy and pure that no man may see Your face and live. Thank You, Father, fpr being holy above all else. Thank You for giving us a glimpse of who You are in Your holy word.

I seek forgiveness of my sins this day and pray that You will have mercy and forgive me. I pray that You will wash me clean and make me pure. Renew a steadfast spirit within me and give me a clean pure heart like Yours. I pray that You will fill me with Your Spirit that others may see You in me.

I lift up each lady reading this study today. I pray that You will look into her heart. Guard her from her thoughts and guide her in Your Spirit. I pray that she will earnestly seek You today and turn to Your ways. I pray that You will go to her and encourage her in all her needs.

In Jesus' name....amen."


Seeing God Through Love

Today's lesson begins a new section in 1 John chpater 4. We looked at knowing God through love in the first opening section of chapter 4, but now we will look at what it means to see God through love.

1 John 4:12

"No one has seen God at any time. If we love one another, God abides in us, and HIs love has been perfected in us."

John begins this section with the fact that no one has seen God. Not one person created by God has seen Him face to face.

Please read:

Ex 33:20-23

Here we have Moses desiring to see God, so God provides a way for Moses to see only a part of God and survive to tell about it. God provides the rock to protect Moses.

Is 2:21

Ps 91: 1-4

Is 17:10

Deut 32:18

1 Sam 2:2

So, John wants us to understand that the Lord did appear to Moses in the Old Testament, but he also appeared as Jesus in the New Testament:

John 1:1-18

Here we have John writing the words, "No one has seen God at any time..." which he repeats here in 1 John 4:12.

But then he continues in John 1:18...

"The only begotten Son, who is in the bosom of the Father, He has declared Him."

John writes that it is Jesus who clearly reveals God.

1 Tim 6:16

And now, in 1 John chapter 4, John tells believers that it is we who now reveal God.


"If we love one another, God abides in us, and His love has been perfected in us."

John wants us to understand that when we obey God's commands, then He abides in us. Only then has His love been perfected in us. And only then will others see God through our love.

1 John 2:5-6

Remember that John wrote earlier about how the love of God is perfect in us: whoever keeps His word.

It is obedience that God desires of us more than anything.

1 sam 15:22-

Is 1:11-17

"Cease to do evil, Learn to do good, Seek justice...." These are the commands of the Lord. He prefers we obey than sacrifice or put before Him offerings.

That obedience is like a soothign aroma to the Lord:

Gen 8:20-21

Ex 29:18 & 25

The smell of the animal offerings were a pleasant aroma to the Lord because it meant that His people were doing what they were told to do. They were obeying His commands.

Maybe that's why we love to smell meat cooking on the barbeque! Since we were created in His image, maybe that's why it is a pleasant aroma to us as well.

2 Cor 2:14-16

Eph 5:2

Heb 13:16

Ultimately, it is the sweet aroma of Christ in us that pleases God. We are "the fragrance of Christ" to God because of His perfect obedience....His perfect sacrifice.

That is how others will see the love of God: when He abides in us because of obedience.

That way, others will see God as He is.....they will see God in us.


Life Application

"And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us...." John 1:14

Praise God that He did come down and become that perfect sacrifice for us and now we are that fragrance of Christ to God. We are now pleasing to the Lord!

All our works before our salvation were repulsive to the Lord. They were tainted and dead because we were in sin. We were His enemies.

But because of Christ Jesus, we now are pleasing to the Lord. Praise God! He looks upon us now. He reveals Himself to us now through His word and through other believers who walk in obedience.


Keep His word

Abide in Him

Walk as He walked

Love the brethren

Have the anointing of the Holy Spirit

This is how we know believers from non-believers.

I once heard an atheist on the radio explaining why he doesn't believe in God. He said in essence, "If there is this all powerful benevolent God out there....why doesn't He reveal Himself??"

And I answered to no one in particular, "He already has revealed Himself."

God condescended upon His creation for one reason only: to redeem us and bring us back to Him.


To be known.

Take all that you have learned this day with you. Remember that you are now pleasing to the Lord because of Jesus. Not because of any works that you have done....but all because of what Jesus has done for you. Because of His perfect obedience, you and I are now seen by God and we can now see God through love.


Until next time.....

"All through this epistle, John teaches that likeness is the proof of relationship. The great proof that we are truly related to the eternal God and belong to him is that we are like him -especially in exercising love. John says that everyone who loves has been born of God."

-Dr. Joel Beeke (The Epistles of John, 2006, p. 160)



Thursday, May 1, 2008

The First Epistle of John: Lesson Forty-Eight

"But God demonstrates His own love for us,

in that while we were still

sinners, Christ died for us."

Romans 5:8


Good morning! Let's thank the Lord together...

"Blessed Father, thank You, Lord, for demontrating Your own love for us by giving Yourself, Your Son, to us as a holy living sacrifice to save us from Your holy wrath. We praise You and glorify You and bless You this day. May we take this fact with us in our hearts today as we deal with all that there is for us to face today: We have been saved by and through Your love for us.

Father, I pray that You will forgive me of my sins and cleanse me this day. I pray that You will remove the burden of sin from me and purify me so that I may serve You. Guard my speech, give me wisdom to think before I speak.

I pray for each lady reading this study today. I pray that You are speaking to her heart today. I pray that You will encourage her and lift her up. Bless her with every spiritual blessing. I pray that You will be in the center of her decision making and in her home. Help her and come alongside her. Give her peace.

In Jesus' name...amen."


Today we will look more into the love of God and how it was manifested toward us. We will look at 3 verses today and see what John was wanting us to know.

1 John 4:9-11

"In this the love of God was manifested toward us, that God has sent His only begotten Son into the world that we might live through Him. In this love, not that we loved God, but that He loved us and sent His Son to be the propitiation for our sins. Beloved, if God so loved us, we also ought to love one another."

Knowing God Through Love

God demonstrates....God manifests....God so loved....

It is obvious that we worship a God who is very active rather than passive. He shows, demonstrates, reveals, does things. Why?

To be known.

Remember, there is no need in God. He is eternal, He has no needs. He does not do anything to fulfill a need within Himself. He does all things to be known: to be is to do.

Saying that God needs us to worship Him is like saying the sun needs to shine on us. It is we who need the sunshine, not the other way around! God does not need us tod o anything for Him or too Him. It is we who need Him so desperately.

John writes these verses to remind us of what it was God did for us. He wants us to know the true definition of what love is....God is love and to know God is to know true eternal LOVE.

"In this the love of God was manifested toward us...."

John gives us a glimpse into how this true eternal love was revealed toward us:

Please read:

John 3:16

Rom 5:8

At our best, we were sinners. We were dead in our trespasses. We were nothing. We were enemies of God! How incredible to think that the Lord God...creator of the universe....looked upon us and made Himself known to us in such a way as to sacrifice Himself for us that we would be reconciled to Him.


"That God sent His only begotten Son into the world that we might live through Him."

By sending us His Son, God has given us a way to live again. We now have passage way to God through the death and resurrection of the Son.

John 3:16 (re-read it again...)

In this act, God manifested what true love is: God saved sinners.

Ps 100:5

Mark 10:18

1 Sam 2:2

This generous love and kindness touches all creatures upon the earth. That is how great God's love is! It is so mammoth that it cannot be constrained. It must be completely revealed to all the earth.

Ps 145:9-19

This fact ought to bring sinners to repentance:

Rom 2:4

But, unfortunately, it doesn't:

Rom 2:5

So, although Jesus was sent to all the world, not all the world would accept Him as their Savior and Lord.

Rom 2:7-11

That is why Jesus did not pray for all the world, but for those whom God had given Him:

John 17:9

John 17:20-23


"In this is love, not that we loved God, but that He loved us and sent His Son to be the propitiation for our sins..."

1 John 2:2

Remember what "propitiation" means: a sacrifice meant to satisfactorily take away that emnity between worshiper and God.

This sacrifice had to be perfect. Remember, the sacrifices in the Old Testament were meant only to cover the sins of the people. That is why they were brought to the Lord annually.

Heb 9:6-14

Only the blood of a perfect sacrifice could remove the sins of the people...not merely cover them up.

The sacrifice had to be perfect because God is perfect. Nothing with blemish or stain can be in His presence. That is why the sacrifice had to be equal to God Himself otherwise it would not be perfect enough to satisfy the debt. Only God can be equal to God. So, that is why it was God Himself who had to be that sacrifice. That is why Jesus and God are equal.

Titus 2:11-14

(New Geneva Study Bible, Commentary, 1995)


"Beloved, if God so loved us, we ought to love one another."

Now we see John return to his message: if we have received this love from God, then how can we not love others?

It is our nature to hate...to hate God and to hate others. It is in our nature to love ourselves above all. So John reminds us that if we have received this eternal gift of Love from God....then we have been commanded to obey His commandments and love one another.

1 John 2:5

1 John 2: 10

So, John writes that love is not that we loved God...because we would never love God. Love is God loving us and saving us while we were still His enemies filled with hatred for Him and all His creation. Now that's love!

That love ought to radiate from us...it ought to be visible to all creation! If that love remains hidden, then God's work remains unfinished. That is when we miss out on all the blessings the Lord has for us.

Matt 18:33

God had pity on us. Who are we to deny this pity, this love, on others who belong to Him? We are nothing without Him.

That is John's message throughout this chapter: knowing God through love is the greatest thing for the believer. Like the sunshine...we need that love to live!

Take all that you have learned here today and treasure it in your heart.


Life Application

The love of God surpasses all other love we humans can know. The love we have for our spouses or for our children is so different. The love we have for our children is more of a protective caring love that comes from deep within us. The love we have for our spouses is more of a satisfying love that comes from showing service and receiving service. Instead of that protective stance, we usually have more of a secure stance with our spouses.

The love of God encompasses all of the "loves" described above.

Storge- this is the Greek word for love that means natural affection. It is a quiet abiding love. It is found in the New Testament.

Eros- this love is more passionate and sexual. It is based on emotions and bodily chemistry. It is not used in the New Testament at all.

Phileo- This love is more companionable. It is a love that responds out of kindness or appreciation. It is found in the New Testament.

After reading the words for love above, one can see glimpses of a type of love we humans share with others. And we can see only a tiny glimpse of the love that God has for us.

But there is a love that is more from and about God. It is "agape" love found in the New Testament:

Agape- This love is called out from the heart. It is not kindled from merit of worth, but originates in its own God-given nature. It delights in giving. This love keeps on loving even though the one receiving the love is unresponsive. Agape love desires only the good of the loved one. It is a comsuming passion for the well-being of others (Used by Permission: First John, Precept Ministries, 2001).

This love is the love of God. In this love, you can see how it is manifested in humans but only in a limited finite amount since we are limited and finite.

But in God, this love is eternal. He loves us even when we are unresponsive to Him. He delights in giving to us. He loves us faithfully even when we are unfaithful. Why? Is it because of anything we have done to deserve this?

No. As Paul wrote in Romans 5:8. God loved us while we were still sinners. He loved us even when we were His enemies.

Now, that's a love we can live with!

This Agape love is the love we are to have for one another. This is the love John wants us to show for one another. Pray today that you can make manifest this agape love for the brethren around you.


Until next time....

"Fallen man is in a state of ecxeedingly great misery, and is helpless in it. He is poor, weak creature, like an infant cast out in its blood on the day that is is born. But Christ is the Lion of the tribe of Judah. He is strong, though we are weak. He has prevailed to do that for us which no other creaure could do. Fallen man is a mean, despicable creature, a contemptible worm; but Christ, who has undertaken for us, is infinitely honorable and worthy. Fallen man is polluted, but Christ is infinitely holy; fallen man is hateful, but Chist is infinitely lovely; fallen man is the object of God's indignation, but Christ is infinitely dear to Him. We have dreadfully provoked God, but Christ has performed that righteousness which is infinitely precious in God's eye's."

-Jonathan Edwards 1703-1758 (Altogether Lovely, 1997, p. 45)