Friday, August 15, 2008

The First Epistle of John: Lesson Seventy-One

"Has a nation changed its gods?

Which are not gods?

But My people have changed their Glory

for what does not profit.

Be astonished, O heavens, at this,

And be horribly afraid;

Be very desolate," says the LORD.

"For my people have committed two evils:

They have forsaken Me, the fountain of living waters,

and they have hewn for themselves cisterns-

broken cisterns that can hold no water."

Jeremiah 2:11-13


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

"Holy Father, God in heaven above, today we will be studying about idolatry, Lord, and I pray that You will speak to me and my fellow sisters in Christ. I pray that You will be glorified as we study Your word this day. Speak to us, teach us, convict us this day so that we may be near to You.

I seek forgiveness of my sins this day, Lord. I know I am guilty of idolatry. I placed things and thoughts, and desires before You. I know this is sin and so I ask for Your forgiveness. I pray that You will cleanse me, wash me, make me whole again.

I lift up each lady reading this study today. I pray that You will speak to her and convict her of her sins of idolatry this day. I pray that You will walk with her and give her that peace about all the many things she needs to accomplish today.

In Jesus' name...amen."


Knowing True- Rejecting False

In this, our last study about 1 John, we will look at the sin of idolatry because that is how John finishes up this little book.

Why would John end this letter with an admonition about idolatry? Let's find out...

1 John 5:21-

"Little children, keep yourselves from idols. Amen."

The Greek translation of this verse is literally, "keep yourselves from the idols."

Remember to whom John is writing: a group of believers living among false teachers.

Perhaps John, out of love for his fellow believers, is trying to help them safeguard their assurance of salvation with this admonition. Remember that these last few verses are about having assurance of our salvation through prayer, knowing truth, and knowing false.


Our pastor gave a great sermon on idolatry back in June. I took some notes that I would like to share with you here on this blog since we are studying idolatry here in 1 John. At the time John wrote his letter, many of the new Christians were living side by side with pagan worshippers. Does this differ from how we in modern times live our Christian lives?

You may be thinking that you are not a pagan worshipper of idols, so you are safe. I used to think that way, too, but the fact is we are all guilty of some sort of idol worship. John reminds us of this in this last verse of his letter.

In our opening verse, we can easily see how heartbroken God is as He admonishes His people for their idolatry. He calls Himself the "fountain of living waters" as though to remind them of how He provided life for them in the desert only to be repaid with their betrayal.

What idolatry appears to be to God, our Father, is adultery. He has entered into a covenant with His people who have sworn to be faithful to Him and forsake all others only to be met with infidelity. How heartbreaking that is.

Ps 106:13-15

His people had forgotten all that He had done for them.

1 Kings 14:22

Instead, they provoked God and worshiped idols they had made.

Ez 16:23

They built shrines for their idols and erected them on every street! Here God likens them to harlots willing to give themselves to others whom they did not vow to love. Sound familiar?

You may still be thinking, "yeah, but I do not worship idols...."

That is what I say to myself often. Yet I know it isn't true. I LOVE television. I am a child of the 70's when TV was King of the land. I watched it in the morning, when I got home from school, at the dinner table with my family, and at night before bed. We had TV's in every room when I was a kid! When I was home sick from school, the TV was my comforter because my parents had to go to work. I would lie there and watch TV all was my friend.

So, today it is still very hard for me NOT to watch TV. I sometimes have it on when I am not watching it just to hear the noise in the background. How awful is that?

But with much prayer over the years, I have gotten better at turning the darn thing off. But that led me to the computer. Now I have to be on the computer at least a few hours of the day. You see how easy it is to worship something other than God? It is something I have to pray about daily because it is such a struggle for me.

Is 40:18-20

We try to make our gods as wonderful as the God of the universe. We use the best materials: fine wood, granite, gold, silver, pearl....everything we possibly can to make our idol outshine the sun. Big houses, fast shiny cars, big boats, RV's, incredible stereos, BIG TV sets, fancy computer systems, clothes, jewelry, careers, children, and the list goes on and on and on....

But how can we liken what we have in this world to the God of the universe who has always been?

1 John 2:15-17

Sometimes I want to watch TV more than do my work here at home. Sometimes I want to watch TV more than study God's word. How can this be? I know better than that.

We are told that everything in this world is passing away because the World is passing away! Yet we yearn to stay in it.

Is 44:9-20

God tells us that no matter what we may build to worship, someday soon we will be put to shame because what we build will never compare to God.

Sometimes we watch that movie, "Castaway" with Tom Hanks. He is marooned on a desert island alone. As you watch the movie, you see that everything that is man made is limited. It will only work so well. Yet everything that God made is strong and works perfectly for the man. The island itself lasts for much longer than the flashlight the man brought with him. Even the ocean and the storm conquers the mighty airplane. The movie is a great study on how God's creation is far greater than anything man could ever make.

Even our idols.


Deut 4:15-19

Here God warns us not to even try and make Him into an image. He is God and has no "image" to contain Him. We would be foolish to even try. Yet we do. We, as people, carve statues of Christ, paint pictures of Him, even see Him in a tortilla!

God warns us in Deuteronomy simply because He knows us....and He wants us to know who He is so He tells us how to please Him and how not to.

Here He warns us not to even attempt any image because He knows we are prone to worship. That is how He made us. Had no sin entered into the world, we would be worshipping Him only...and that is how it will be in paradise with Him.....but sin did enter the world and so we worship everything BUT Him.

Take heed! God warns.....


Heb 11:3

With His voice God made the world and everything in it. So now we know that all things seen were made by the invisible...the supernatural.

Today we see that people are taking credit for God's work. Science is now claiming that it was science that created...not a "God" of the Bible.

Rom 1:21-23

But Paul tells us that these men of science know that God is. They know, but still they refuse to be grateful and worship the creation instead of the Creator. They worship the earth and claim to be able to "save" it.

So God will give them up to those futile thoughts.

1 Pet 1:22-25

But we are called to be separate from the world. We Christians know the God whom we serve. We know that His word formed the world and saved us from His wrath. We know that His word shall endure forever even after creation ends.


Well, ladies, this concludes our study of the book of 1 John. I hope you can see in this last verse how sincere John is in his love for fellow believers in that he calls them Little Children. he only wants what is best for them: the love of Christ.

Because he knows they are among wolves dressed in sheep's clothing, he wants them to be prepared and to KNOW for certain that they worship the One True God.

That is my wish for you reading this study: that you may know for certain that you have that eternal life and that you may continue in that assurance through Christ Jesus.

I pray that you have enjoyed studying this little book as much as I have. I learned so many new things that I never noticed before! I hope that you will always remember this book when times are hard and you wonder where God is. Turn to this book when you aren't sure if someone is a Christian or not. This book will give you the answers.

And for those days when you may have doubts, read 1 John and remember. Remember all that Christ Jesus did for you. He is your Advocate. He is there for you and wants to have that fellowship with you. Thank you for joining me and for being patient with my long posts, misspelled words, and other editing mistakes. I have truly enjoyed this study and I pray you have too.

Abide with Him: stand, remain, hold fast to His truths. And keep yourselves from idols!


Until next time.....

Psalm 96 O sing unto the LORD a new song; sing unto the LORD, all the earth.

Sing unto the LORD, bless His name; show forth His salvation from day to day.

Declare His glory among the heathen, His wonders among all people.

For the LORD is great and greatly to be praised; He is to be feared above all gods.

For all the gods of the nations are idols, but the LORD made the heavens.

Honor and majesty are before Him; strength and beauty are in His sanctuary.



Tuesday, August 12, 2008

The First Epistle of John:Lesson Seventy

"And this is eternal life.

that they may know You, the only

true God, and Jesus Christ whom

You have sent."

John 17:3


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

"Holy Father our God and Creator, today we seek Your face again in hopes that You will give us understanding. I pray that You will show us and teach us Your precepts in Your word today. Thank You, Father, for the gift of eternal life. Thank You for the gif tof understanding that we may know Your words and hide them in our hearts that we might not sin against You.

I do seek the forgiveness of my sins this day, Lord. I pray that You will search me for the hidden sins of my heart and purge me of these sins. I pray that You will release me of the bondage of sins and set me free.

I lift up to you each lady reading this study today. I pray that You will go to her, speak to her, and give her a peace that passes all understanding. I pray that she will call on You and cast all her cares at Your feet. Walk with her, calm her spirits and fill her with Your Holy Spirit today.

In Jesus' name...amen."


Knowing True- Rejecting the False

As we complete our look into 1 John, we see in here that John is reminding us of what we know for sure to be true. Sometimes it is so easy to turn from the light of God's word and begin to forget what is true and what is false.

The Christian faith was built on the foundation of truth. We know that the Incarnation of God is real. We know that Jesus Christ is the Son of God.

1 John 5:20-

"And we know that the Son of God has come and has given us an understanding, that we may know Him who is true, and we are in Him who is true, in His Son Jesus Christ. This is the true God and eternal life."

John yearns for believers to have that complete assurance of our faith and the foundations of our faith. Every teacher gets satisfaction when her students have mastered the skills she has taught them. John is no different. He reminds us of the foundations of our faith so that we can have that comfort in truth.


"And we know that the Son of God has come..."

Remember how John teaches his readers to know truth from error?

1 John 4:2

Knowing who Jesus is may be the most important step of growth in a believer's life. God and Jesus are one.

John 1:1 & 14

Gal 4:4

You would be amazed at the number of professing Christians out there who do not even believe Jesus is God....let alone that He was born of a virgin. As sad as that is, it shouldn't surprise us after reading 1 John.

But to fully comprehend what it was that God did, we must realize that Jesus Christ was sent here to God's own for a purpose.


"...and has given us an understanding, that we may know Him who is true..."

Remember the answer to my question about why did God create?

He has no needs of His own. So we know He did not create to fulfill any needs. Why did He create?

To be known.

Luke 24:44-45

In this familiar passage of Scripture, we see the resurrected Christ walking and talking with some men. But He has not yet opened their eyes to see Himself as He really is. Can you think back on a time when you knew who Jesus was.....but He had not yet opened your eyes to who He truly is?

Now that you know Him, can you see why it was so important for Him to be known by you? Not for any need of His, but for your very existence:

John 15:1-8

Notice in verse 5 what Jesus says...

"Apart from Me you can do nothing..."

God knows that to know Him is life everlasting. Without knowing Him, we can live but for a time.

2 Cor 3:5

Our sufficiency is from God. It is He who opens our eyes to the truths of His word. Why? That we may know Him. For to know God is to know everlasting life. For our God is true.


"...and we are in Him who is true, in His Son Jesus Christ."

Knowing the God who is true requires that we be in Him who is true. This is not done of our own accord. Only God can draw in His children.

Matt 16:13-17

Eph 2:8-10

God created to be known, and He made us to do His works because His works are perfect. Having the knowledge of Christ did not come from our own minds or wills. It was given to us freely through Christ Jesus and of His own will.

This is the intimacy of the relationship of God to His children. How can we boast about this relationship when it came about from no effort of our own, but out of the mercy and love of the Creator?

John works hard to remind his readers that we may have that assurance that comes from knowing Christ and being in Him.


"This is the true God and eternal life."

Let us not forget to whom John is writing: believers amongst false teachers.

John so yearns for us to walk with Jesus as he did. He yearns for us to know Christ as he did. But most of all, he yearns for us to know who God is and that our God is not like the gods of the other religions.

We love and worship and serve the living God...the True God....the eternal.

There are so many world religions. This happened because of man's sin and arrogance. God scattered His people and gave them different languages, but in so doing, He did not remove the desire to worship something greater than ourselves.

In each human being is a desire to worship. Yet it is our sin that keeps us from worshipping or acknowledging a Holy God.

Rom 1:18-23

Instead we worship the creation....ourselves, the earth, the stars, the moon, etc. We worship the creation because there is no conviction of sin in creation. The moon does not punish us for not obeying it. The moon does not punish us for not loving it.

Although many religions teach that storms, low tides, famines do occur when creation us angered....we know these things happen because sin entered into the world. Even in Mexico today, many people will row small boats or canoes out to the ocean and drop fruit baskets and flowers in hopes of making the sea so happy it will not storm or flood the land. And these are Catholics who still have not let go of the pagan practices of the Aztec, Mayans, and Incas of centuries past!

We can see throughout the world man's attempts to create gods in his own image: flawed, imperfect, understanding, and forgiving. This way, man can do what he wants when he is equal to the god he created. We see this in Greek mythology where the gods were vain, adulterers, murderers, etc. just like the men they were ruling over!

Who wouldn't want to answer to a god like that?

But to know the God of the Bible is to know the True God.

Is 9:6

John 18:37-38

A popular TV show in the 1990's was "The X-Files". It's famous tag line was: "the truth is out there..." revealing just how important it is to people to have the truth.

God placed inside His finest creation the desire for truth. We spend so much time wanting and searching for the truth, but when we discover it, we claim there is no is all relative.

So how can we know the absolute truth?

John 14:6

John 1:14

John 8:32

To know Jesus is to know that absolute truth.

And to know that truth is to know the eternal life:

John 11:25-26

John 5:21

As we finish up here for today, we can look back on 1 John 5:20 and know that our God is the one true God and that Jesus Christ and God are One.

It feels good in a world of insecurities and lies that we can know the Truth and have comfort and peace in that knowledge.

We can walk this earth with an understanding now only because of what Jesus has done for us: opened our eyes.

Take time today to thank the Lord for giving you this understanding of the truth and the eternal. Not all people have been given this understanding. But all people have been given the knowledge of the Creator. So we are without excuse.

"For since the creation of the world His invisible attributes are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even His eternal power and Godhead, so that they are without excuse." Rom 1:20


Life Application

When I first read the first chapter of Romans, it was in a Bible study by Dr. R.C. Sproul. He went into verses 18-24 so deeply that I walked away changed forever. I saw things in those verses that went along with what I was seeing with my eyes.

I took a philosophy course at ASU West thinking it would be atheistic in worldview since so many philospohers are, but I was wrong. The professor was a Christian who was able to teach philosophy according to Romans 1 without even having the Bible there.

He basically took us through all the religions of the world beginning with materialism (or evolution) which is a religion. I was amazed at how he showed us, through creation only, how God exists...and not just "any god" but The God of the Bible.

I sat utterly amazed at how this man was able to show me what Paul was saying in Romans 1:18-24. We are all without excuse because God has made it perfectly clear who He is in creation alone.

That class still encourages me to this day. I am grateful to have had excellent teachers in my Christian life who have shown me what scripture says and how to apply it to my life. But Jesus is the supreme teacher who opened my eyes to His words and gave me an understanding.

And for that I am eternally grateful.


Until next time....

"We have shown what this seeing of God is, and have represented in some measure how great is the blessedness of so seeing Him. And if what we have heard is believed and cordially to any instructions from the Word of God that are to point out the way to us wherein we may attain to this blessedness....we are here told of a much truer and greater blessedness that any treasure of silver, and gold, and pearls can yield; and we are also told of the way whereby we may assuredly become the possesors of it by Him who certainly knows."

-Jonathon Edwards 1703-1758 (Altogether Lovely, 1997, p. 166)



Running the Good Race


Since school started up again this week, I cannot run in the early mornings any longer this summer. So, I ran 3 miles last night. It was about 109 degrees and it felt like it. Yuck!

Will do pilates today for stretching then go up Shaw Buitte tomorrow morning.

Thursday, August 7, 2008

The First Epistle of John:Lesson Sixty-Nine

"Since you have purified your

souls in obeying the truth

through the Spirit in

sincere love of the brethren, love

one another fervently with

a pure heart,

having been born again,

not of corruptible seed but

incorruptible, through the

word of God

which lives and abides


1 Peter 1:22-23


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

"Father God, today we will be reading about being a child of God again. Lord I pray that You will fill each reader here with the knowledge of Your will for her life. I thank You that You have promised us the eternal. I thank You that You have shown us more about Yourself in Your holy word.

I ask forgiveness of my sins, Lord, and pray that You will wash me clean and release me from the bondage of my sins, Lord. I pray for healing and cleansing this day.

I lift up each lady reading this study here today. I know she is going through her own challenges and tasks today, so I pray that You will come along side her and give her peace. I pray that You will go to her, hear her prayers, and speak to her through You word. I pray that she will earnestly seek You with all her heart.

In Jesus' name...amen."


Knowing the True- Rejecting the False

As we begin the last portion of 1 John, we will notice that it is a basic review of all that we have learned in this little book.

John takes us on a journey of assurance in these last verses of his first epistle. He teaches us how to grow in assurance with the opening words: "we know" in each verse.

The whole purpose behind John's first letter is for Christians to have assurance and to grow in that assurance. How wonderful it is that we serve such a loving God who wants His children to grow in the knowledge of Him and His grace.

1 John 5:18-19

"We know that whoever is born of God does not sin, but he who has been born of God keeps himself, and the wicked one does not touch him. We know that we are of God, and the whole world lies under the sway of the wicked one."

Victory Over Sin

In our openeing verses, we read that obeying God keeps us, purifies us, and spreads the love of God around. These verses echo all that John has written in his epistle as well.

This theme is repeated through the New Testament letters written by the Apostles because they are writing to encourage, convict, and prosper the believer.

1 John 3:9

We already know what John says about the believer sinning or not sinning. If we are believers then we cannot habitualy live in our sin. It is impossible because the incorruptible sin lives within us. Jesus will not allow us to continue in sin.


"..but he who has been born of God keeps himself..."

1 Thess 2:13

We "keep" ourselves through the reading and studying of God's word. Because we were given that perfect word of God, we are capable of not sinning.

One who is born of God cannot continue in the sinful lifestyle of the non-believer. The Holy Spirit now abides in the believer and will not allow the believer to continue in sin.

God sent us His Son, the keeper of the sheep: our Good Shepherd.

John 10:27-30

John 17:8

But the Bible also tells us Christians to keep ourselves....

1 Tim 5:22

James 1:27

Rom 12:2

Jude 21

It is most imperative that the Christian know that Scripture is the key to keeping ourselves pure enough to commune with a holy God.


"And the wicked one does not touch him...."

The greatest and most effective thing the devil ever did was to convince the world he does not exist. When a Christian begins to believe that the devil has nothing to do with her anylonger, that is when the devil begins to win the battle.

We have an enemy. That enemy is real. That enemy was an eye-witness to the life of Christ as much as John was. That enemy was there when the book of 1 John was written and he is here now.

To deny this is to live in willful ignorance.

John gives is the hope that we live by: the wicked one does not touch us once we are born of God.

2 Thess 3:3

John 17:15

We are told that Satan is our enemy and that he roams around the earth waiting to devour all in his path. But for those who are in Christ, this enemy has already been defeated for us....not by us....but for us by Jesus Christ who conquered death once and for all.

So it is useless and pointless for us to dwell on the power of Satan, but rather it is best for us to remember that he exists and that he is a conquered foe because of Jesus...and he does not touch us.

The Greek word for "touch" here means "to fasten one's self to, adhere to, cling to". The only other time John uses this word is in John 20:17 when Jesus appeared to Mary Magdalene after the resurrection (The Epistles of John, 2006, p. 209)

"Touch Me not; for I am not yet ascended to my Father."

So, picture how Mary must have clinged to Jesus....and imagine Satan wanting to cling to you! Yet because of Jesus having been resurrected....Satan has no power over you.

Take time today to thank Jesus for being our Good Shepherd...for being our Keeper.


"We know that we are of God, and the whole world lies under the sway of the wicked one."

If we know that we are born of God and we know that as a result, the wicked one does not touch us....then why do we love this world that "lies under the sway of the wicked one"?

The world was created for a purpose: for us.

God created the world and everything in it for us to enjoy and take care of. But once sin entered into the world, we became slaves to it.

It is hard for the Christian to give up the world, isn't it? There is still so much beauty in the world although it has been tainted by sin. Letting go can be hard.

1 John 2:15-17

But we must remember where our loyalty must lie: with Christ who died for us. The world never died for us nor will it ever give up anything for us. But Jesus gave it all for us.

John reminds us that to love the world and everything in it is futile since all in the world is passing away. To be prideful, boastful, in anything is vanity...or emptiness....because all is finite.

Only Christ is eternal.

John separates the believers from the non-believers in this one phrase: we are born of God, the whole world lies under the sway of the wicked one. Once you belong to Christ, you are separated from this world.

It is now up to us to live that way. Take time today to praise God for separating us from a world that is dying.


Life Application

So many Christians live their lives still in bondage to sin. I know, I was one. I had completely convinced myself that I needed sin in my life and I didn't want to let it go.

As I read so many of the verses above, I am filled with the joy of knowing that I am no longer a slave to sin. I am freed from that bondage and now have a NEW and loving Master forever: Christ Jesus.

Rom 6:18

I am now a slave of righteousness! Praise God. My Master is most loving and caring. Although I am not free to do whatever I want, I know that my Master knows more than I do so I trust Him with everything.

I once felt convicted to pray and lay my son on the altar before Christ in order to completely give him over to my Master. It was the hardest thing I ever had to do! So many thoughts went through my mind:

What if God takes my little boy now? (Nathan was 3 at the time...)

What if I lose Nathan?

I had to come to the realization that my son doesn't belong to me at all, but to Christ. Just as those born into slavery belong to their master, my son belongs to God. And God can use him in anyway shape or form.

I also placed my art, dreams of college, and marriage on that altar long ago. It was so hard to give over to God the things that were most important to me, but I knew they already belonged to Him anyways!'

But we forget that we belong to God. We forget that we are slaves to righteousness and should live that way.

Rom 6:19

"...for holiness."

We must remember the higher calling of God: for holiness.

Then and only then will we receive the desires of our hearts!


Until next time...

"So many people think that they are free, yet they are in bondage to the prince of darkness. But the gospel opens our eyes to know who we are in ourselves and who we are in Christ, and then we confess gloriously 'I am His and He is mine'. We look at this world with all its attractions and see it as shallow and empty. If you belong to God by faith in Jesus Christ, then take care that you do not live as those who belong to the world."

-Dr. Joel Beeke (The Epistles of John, 2006, p.211)



Monday, August 4, 2008

The First Epistle of John: Lesson Sixty-Eight

"Now, no chastening

seems to be joyful for the

present, but painful; nevertheless,

afterwards it yields the

peaceable fruit of

righteousness to those who

have been trained by it."

Hebrews 12:11


Good day! Let's begin out time with prayer....

"Holy Father God in heaven, today, Lord, we will look once again at sin and what it does to the believer and non-believer. I thank You, Lord, that you have given us a guide on how to please You: Your word. We bless Your holy name, Lord, and praise You because of Your gift of mercy to us.

I seek forgiveness of my sins because I know my sins have separated me from You and I do not want to be separated from You, Lord. I pray that You will wash me and cleanse me and fill me with Your Holy Spirit this day.

I lift up each woman reading this study today, Lord, and ask that You be with her. Lift her up and give her strength for each new challenge that she will most assuredly face today. Walk with her, encourage her, and fill her heart with Your Holy Spirit and give her peace.

In Jesus' name...amen."


Confidence and Compassion in Prayer

As we continue to look at the assurance of our salvation through prayer, we will look at how to pray for those believers who are in sin. All of us sin, but we are commanded to pray for one another even if we know a brother is in sin.

That precious gift of prayer is essential to the Christian life. We looked at that last time. But it is essential for the brethren to pray for each other regarding sin.

1 John 5:16-17-

"If anyone sees his brother sinning a sin which does not lead to death, he will ask, and He will give him life for those who commit sin not leading to death. There is sin leading to death. I do not say that he should pray about that. All unrighteousness is sin, and there is sin not leading to death."

Remember that an overview of chapter five reveals that the word "know" is mentioned 8 times in this chapter alone. "Love" is mentioned 5 times and "born of God" is mentioned 3 times. It is obvious to the reader that John wants his readers to know that they have that eternal life from God through His love for us.

To know something is to have that assurance.

How does chapter 5 relate to chapter 4?

-If we love.....we are born of God.

-If we do not love....we are not born of God.

-If we love God....we obey Him.

Sin is what keeps us from all that God has for us: namely, a life in total communion with Him. Satan's main goal is to interrupt that communion because he knows that the greatest good for humankind is to have communion with our Creator.

To interrupt that communion is what leads us to death.

Ecc 7:17

Acts 5:1-11

In these verses we learn that there is great consequences to sinning against God.

Ps 51:3-4

David acknowledge that even though he sinned against the people, Urriah, and Bathsheba...he ultimately sinned against God.

Like Nathan, sometimes God uses us to convict other believers who are in sin and bring them back to their senses....

1 Cor 5:1-13

Here Paul gives the church in Corinth precise instructions on how to handle those believers in immorality. That church was stuck in the middle of a very corrupt town much like Las Vegas...only worse. People were having sex out in the open and were even including sex acts as part of worship!

It was very difficult for these believers to be set apart...or the midst of all that sexual sin.

1 Cor 15:33

Paul took this saying from a popular Greek play at the time. The Christians in Corinth had been corrupted by all the false teachings around them much like the church today.

1 Tim 1:19-20

2 Tim 2:17-18

Paul warned Timothy, a young pastor, to chasten believers when they have gone astray. Likewise, we Christians are to do the same.


We learned in our last lesson the importance of asking God for things that are according to His will and in His authority. To pray in "Jesus' name" is to pray this way.

John 14:14

John 16:24

John 15:7

1 John 5:14-15

It is obvious that these verses are connected to each other and do not stand alone.

But we also learned that our sin keeps God from hearing us...not because He can't hear us, but that He doesn't hear us.

John 9:31

Prov 28:9,11

Is 59:1-8

1 Pet 3:7

1 Pet 3:12

Ps 66:18

1 John 3:21-22

We have learned the importance of talking to God and taking all our petitions before Him as long as they are in His will and in His authority.....and He hears us!

Heb 11:6

Matt 21:18-22

Our God is a loving and merciful God who takes care of His children.


Now lets look at the significance of taking our requests about other believers before the Lord in prayer:

John writes in 1 John 5:16 that those who are "committing sin" (written in the present active participles) that if we pray for such a believer, God will give this person life.

Can a true Christian live in continual habitual sin?

1 John 3:6

Can a Christian sin?

1 John 2:1

In 1 John 5:16, John is writing about "brothers" or other believers who are sinning a sin that does not lead to death ( most commentaries signify this sin leading to death as blasphemy of the Holy Spirit...).

In God's word, we are given instructions to pray for fellow believers.

Gal 5:25-26

Gal 6:1-5

And God tells us about non-believers...

Jer 7:16

Jer 14:11-12

That is why it is most important for the Christian to examine herself daily for sinful behavior. It is most important for us to ask God to examine us for sin daily.

1 Cor 11:20-34

Paul warns for us not to even approach the Lord's table without examining ourselves. If there is unforgiven sin in our lives, deal with it first before coming to the Lord's table. Is there unforgivenss in your heart toward someone? It must first be dealt with before going to the Lord's table.

Or we face great judgment from God.


After this study on prayer for brethren....what have you learned today about the power of prayer? Take all that you have learned about 1 John 5:16-17 with you today and remember that prayer is further proof of the assurance of our salvation and eternal life.

Take time to praise the Lord for all that He has done for you. And take time to thank the Lord for those who are praying for you today.

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


Life Application

The power of prayer is a wonderful gift of God. I know that many people have prayed for me and my family over the years. I have been blessed to see my prayers that I lifted up for fellow believers answered.

But sometimes we believers hesitate to pray for other Christians who are caught up in sin. We tend to not want to judge others or interfere. I wish someone had interferred with me when I was caught up in sexual sin!

Gal 6:1-5

Paul commanded us to restore one another in a spirit of gentleness. He commands us to bear one another's burdens to fulfill the law of Christ.

James 2:8-9

I wish now that someone had approached me in love and gentleness and convicted me of my sins. It would have spared me years of pain and emotional scarring. Now when I see other believers living in sin, I tend to speak to them about it.

As our opening verse says, no chastening feels pretty good...for awhile. But we need discipline. Everyone has been near a child who has not been disciplined by the parents. It is difficult to be near a child like that. The parents may think they are doing good for the child by never chastening them, but in the long run they are hurting that child more than they know.

But chastening brings forth that fruit of righteousness. We all have been there! It hurts to be disciplined by parents, teachers, or the Lord. But in the end we are better people for it.

So, remember that part of loving the brethren is to pray for them if they are in sin and restore them spiritually in gentleness and love. Only then can the law of Christ be fulfilled and you will be blessed....and ultimately the church will remain pure before Him.


Until next time...

"True believers want the best for each other, so if someone stumbles and falls, our hearts do not want to relinquish the possibility that the 'brother' is a true Christian. He may not be a true believer, but we are deeply grieved at that prospect. He was once a part of us but now is outside the church and outside the fellowship....the greatest blessing of intercessory prayer is that you bring glory to God when you pray for others. God wants you involved in the lives of others through intercessory prayer."

-Dr. Joel Beeke (The Epistles of John, 2006, pp. 205 & 207)