DISCIPLINE 2008 "PRAYER-STARTERS"
We pray… THAT your love may abound yet increasingly in knowledge and in all judgment;
Philippians 1: 9
A Love Balanced With Sound Judgment
These passages from I John and those indicated as
I John 2:1-17
John, the “beloved” lets us know in clear terms that Love is to abound yet more and more flowing like a spring of living water from God. We will see this as we study and pray this month from I John.
Love, especially as it works in the human heart, tends toward emotional responses. If love is over balanced with emotions, it can lead a person into making wrong judgments and harmful decisions. It can bring about situations and associations that are regrettable and that open the way for pain and sorrow.
This month we learn to pray that those we love may have the good sense to make right decisions based on a love that is balanced with good judgment. We ask the Lord to add certain things to love—knowledge, sound judgment, and the ability to make right decisions.
Those in whom certain kinds of love are freshly moving often make unwise decisions. They find themselves entrapped in regrettable situations. Sometimes misguided love leads into a circumstance with no human solution. Often, in cases like this, praying that releases a miracle from the Holy Spirit is the only thing that can provide an answer.
Paul knew Christ. He met Him after He had walked among men, after He had healed blind men, after He had raised the dead, after He was crucified, buried and was Himself raised from the dead. There came to be a special bond between Paul and Christ. Christ was Paul’s life. The Spirit of the risen Christ lived in Paul. He shared His faith, His wisdom, His knowledge, His grace with Paul. Paul didn’t get to know Jesus the way John knew Him. But—what he knew was wonderful. In his own testimony, he said, ...I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, Who loved me, and gave Himself for me (Galatians 2:20).
Then, take note of what Paul said in the following Scripture about the compassion of Christ that he held within his own heart.
Philippians 1:8-10—For God is my record, how greatly I long after you all in the bowels of Jesus Christ (God is my witness how I have a strong feeling of love for you all brought on by the compassion I share with Jesus Christ). And this I pray, that your love may abound yet more and more in knowledge and in all judgment (discernment); that ye may approve things that are excellent...(that you may be able to put things to the test and decide what is best).
The Exceedingly Great Bounds of Christ’s Love—Romans 5:5-8
John knew Jesus. He lived with Him. He walked in the crowds with Him. He saw Him heal blind men. He watched Him raise the dead. He heard Him tell a cripple man to take up his bed and walk. He was there when Jesus died. He was with Him through those forty days after He came from the dead. He loved Jesus. Jesus loved Him. There was a special bond between them. Out of that bond he wrote the Letter we know as I John. In this Letter, John tells us how we can know Jesus the same way he came to know Him.
I John 1:1,2—That which was from the beginning, which we have heard, which we have seen with our eyes, which we have looked upon (which we have gazed upon), and our hands have handled, of the Word of life; (For the Life was manifested, and we have seen it, and bear witness, and show unto you that eternal Life, which was with the Father, and was manifested unto us;)
John understood that the Jesus he knew was the expression in time of the eternal Word of God.—John 1:1-14
John delivered nothing by hearsay, nothing by tradition, nothing by guess work. He had the fullest certainty of all that he preached and wrote about the Lord Jesus. John knew Him as the eternal Word of God made flesh. His Word about Jesus was sharp and well defined. It was sent forth with the purpose of drawing us who believe into the same communion that he had come to know with God the Father and with His Son, Jesus Christ.
One of the promises from Jesus that John recorded pointed to the communion that we who are believers would know after the Holy Spirit had come. Shortly before He was crucified, Jesus had said, At that day ye shall know that I am in My Father, and ye in Me, and I in you—John 14:20. That day to which He had reference was the day when the promised Holy Spirit would come.
I John 1:3-5—That which we have seen and heard declare we unto you, that ye also may have fellowship (Greek koinonía), communion, participation) with us: and truly our fellowship (koinonía) is with the Father, and with His Son Jesus Christ. And these things write we unto you, that your joy may be full. This then is the message which we have heard of Him, and declare unto you, that God is Light, and in Him is no darkness at all.
Like the Word from John, so the Word from Paul has an effect on those who receive it.—Romans 16:25,27
Joy and Light were two results that John knew would come into the lives of us who open ourselves to fellowship with the Lord Jesus. Both Joy and Light come as the result of our knowing Him living His Life in us. We come to know that all of our life revolves around our knowing Who He is and Where He is. One can be very religious and attend church often and still have little joy and live in spiritual darkness. It’s because religion and attendance are not where abiding Joy and Light are. They are ours when we learn that He Who said He would never leave us is, indeed, true.
I John 1:6,7—If we say that we have fellowship (kownoni’a, communion, which is fellowship) with Him, and walk in darkness, we lie, and do not the truth: but if we walk in the light, as He is in the light, we have fellowship one with another, and the blood of Jesus Christ His Son cleanseth us from all sin.
Romans 15:13—Now the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, that ye may abound in hope, through the power of the Holy Ghost.
NIrV—May the God who gives hope fill you with great joy. May you have perfect peace as you trust in him. May the power of the Holy Spirit fill you with hope.
It is time for us to put away darkness and put on the armor of light.—Romans 13:11-14
Some people are afraid to deal with their sin in the way the Word of the Lord directs us to deal with it. They had rather try and keep it hidden. But, there is no possible way we can keep our sin hidden. It is clear the Lord...will bring to light the hidden things of darkness, and will make manifest the counsels (the determinations) of the hearts (II Cor 4:5).
Also, we remember that ...every man’s work shall be made manifest: for the day shall declare it, because it shall be revealed by fire; and the fire shall try every man’s work of what sort it is (I Cor 3:13).
I John 1:8-10—If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. If we say that we have not sinned, we make Him a liar, and His Word is not in us.
II Corinthians 4:6—For God, Who commanded the Light to shine out of darkness, hath shined in our hearts, to give the Light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ.
NIrV—God said, “Let Light shine out of darkness.” (Genesis 1:3) He made His Light shine in our hearts. It shows us the Light of God’s glory in the face of Christ.
The Presentation of Our Hearts before the Lord—Psalm 139:23,24
In this part of John’s Epistle we learn of the wondrous provision God has opened to us to deal with our sins. It is certain that sin will meet its judgment. Every sin has in it the seed of its own judgment. But, in His Love and Mercy God has given us an Advocate. This is our Paraclete, the One Who comes along beside us—like a Divine Lawyer—to plead our case. As for dealing with our sin, our Paraclete takes upon Himself the penalty for our sin. In dying for us, He became ...the propitiation for our sins. Thus, all God’s wrath against our sin is appeased by the sacrifice of His only begotten Son.
I John 2:1,2—My little children, these things write I unto you, that ye sin not. And if any man sin, we have an Advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous: and He is the propitiation for our sins: and not for ours only, but also for the sins of the whole world.
Colossians 1:16,17—For by Him were all things created, that are in heaven, and that are in earth, visible and invisible, whether they be thrones, or dominions, or principalities, or powers: all things were created by Him, and for Him: And He is before all things, and by him all things consist.
Christ Jesus is the propitiation for our sins.—Romans 3:25; I John 2:2; I John 4:10
One of the most wondrous things that happened to me after I received the Lord Jesus as my Savior was gaining the assurance of my salvation. I would have supposed this might have been settled by my feelings. But I soon learned that my feelings were fickle. It was when I discovered the faithfulness and power of the Word of God that I gained assurance in salvation.
What Paul said in Romans 10:13 was the beginning Word that made it sure in my heart that I was saved. He said, For whosoever shall call upon the Name of the Lord shall be saved. I knew I had called upon the Name of the Lord asking Him to save me. When I acknowledged that this Word in Romans is faithful and true, assurance of salvation became mine.
I John 2:3-5—And hereby we do know that we know Him, if we keep His commandments. He that saith, I know Him, and keepeth not His commandments, is a liar, and the truth is not in him. But whoso keepeth His Word, in him verily is the Love of God perfected (has come to completion): hereby know we that we are in Him.
NIrV—We know that we have come to know God if we obey His commands. Suppose someone says, “I know Him.” But suppose that person does not do what God commands. Then that person is a liar and is not telling the truth. But if anyone obeys God’s Word, then God’s Love is truly made complete in that person. Here is how we know we belong to Him.
A Review of Paul’s Wonderful Statement about Our Salvation—Romans 3:23-26
A responsibility comes upon us when we receive the Lord Jesus as Savior. A few lines of poetry came to me when I was a new believer that impressed on me that I was to start living differently than I had lived before I opened my heart to the Lord. I would not work my soul to save, for that my Lord has done, but I would work like any slave for love of God’s dear Son.
This was not a Word from the Bible, but it did leave an impression on my young heart. It came through to me that my salvation had not come by any works I had done. It also made a strong impression on me that the motivation of my service unto the Lord would come because of my love for Him, not because of any necessity laid upon me to remain in His favor.
I John 2:6-8—He that saith he abideth in Him ought (is indebted, is obliged) himself also so to walk, even as He walked. Brethren, I write no new commandment unto you, but an old commandment which ye had from the beginning. The old commandment is the Word which ye have heard from the beginning. Again, a new commandment I write unto you, which thing is true in Him and in you: because the darkness (of your own soul) is past, and the true Light now shineth.
NIrV—Those who claim to belong to Him must live just as Jesus did. Dear friends, I’m not writing you a new command. Instead, I’m writing one you have heard before. You have had it since the beginning. But I am writing what amounts to a new command. Its truth was shown in how Jesus lived. It is also shown in how you live. The darkness is passing away. The true Light is already shining.
A good measurement as to how much we love the Lord can be seen in how much we love the people around us. Jesus made it quite clear that we serve Him by serving others. The same channel in which Love flows to others is the channel in which our Love flows to Him.
I John 2:9-11—He that saith he is in the Light, and hateth his brother, is in darkness even until now. He that loveth his brother abideth in the Light, and there is none occasion of stumbling in him. But he that hateth his brother is in darkness, and walketh in darkness, and knoweth not whither he goeth, because that darkness hath blinded his eyes.
Matthew 25:40—And the King shall answer and say unto them, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me.
John’s reasons for writing—I John 2:12-14
There is a tendency among many Christians today to allow the world to keep a stronghold on them. Even if worldly ways are spreading through believers around us, this is no excuse for any one of us to follow in like suit. When we receive Jesus as our Savior, we are renouncing the system of the world that rejected and killed Him. This is the reason John admonished us to stay free from the ways of the world.
I John 2:15-17—Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world. If any man love the world, the Love of the Father is not in him. For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, is not of the Father, but is of the world. And the world passeth away, and the lust thereof: but he that doeth the will of God abideth for ever.
John 17:15—I pray not that thou shouldest take them out of the world, but that thou shouldest keep them from the evil (the evil one).
Taking Note How God Loved the Lord—John 3:16
The passage below brings us to “the final hour.” Its words give both insight and warning as to what will take place when the time of the anti-Christ draws near. Subtle deception, particularly about Jesus Christ, will become strong among Christians. The anointing of God’s Spirit, however, will set up a guard in us.
I John 2:18-20—Little children, it is the last time (it is a final hour): and as ye have heard that (the) anti-Christ shall come, even now are there many anti-Christs; whereby we know that it is the last time (it is a final hour). They (the anti-Christs) went out from us, but they were not of us; for if they had been of us, they would no doubt have continued with us: but they went out, that they might be made manifest that they were not all of us. But ye have an unction (an anointing) from the Holy One, and ye know all things (*you instinctively know all).
Young’s Literal Translation—Little youths, it is the last hour; and even as ye heard that the antichrist doth come, even now antichrists have become many—whence we know that it is the last hour. Out of us they went forth, but they were not of us, for if they had been of us, they would have remained with us; but—that they might be manifested that they are not all of us. And ye have an anointing from the Holy One, and have known all things...
The greatest tactic of the anti-Christ is aimed toward convincing believers that Jesus was not the Christ. Anti-Christ wants Christ’s Throne for himself. He wants to reign over the nations. He supposes he can gain this position even though it has been given by Covenant to the Lord Jesus Christ. He is the One Who came as the Seed of Woman, the Seed of David, the Seed of Abraham.
In successive promises by Covenant, He is sustained in His place of triumph as “the Serpent Crusher,” the Heir of David’s Throne and the Heir of the promise made to Abraham’s Seed. We enter into areas here that are beyond the ability of most to understand, but in it all we continue to know Him Who leads us from triumph to triumph in the train of His triumph.
I John 2:21-23—I have not written unto you because ye know not the Truth, but because ye know it, and that no lie is of the Truth. Who is a liar but he that denieth that Jesus is the Christ? He is anti-Christ, that denieth the Father and the Son. Whosoever denieth the Son, the same hath not the Father: he that acknowledgeth the Son hath the Father also.
Romans 4:13—For the promise, that he should be the heir of the world, was not to Abraham, or to his Seed, through the law, but through the righteousness of faith. (Take note in the next verse who Abraham’s Seed is.)
Revelation 5:5—And one of the elders saith unto me, Weep not: behold, the Lion of the tribe of Judah, the Root of David, hath prevailed to open the Book, and to loose the seven seals thereof. (The sealed destiny of mankind remains in Christ’s hands. He alone can open the Book of human destiny which we find sealed in Rev 5.)
Victory and the Beast—Revelation 15:1-4
Our greatest factor of hope is the Word which we ...have heard from the beginning. In this Word is the promise of eternal life that is ours in Christ Jesus. When we are holding on to what He has promised us, we are holding the everlasting hope that is ours in Him. We remember Paul’s word that says, Thanks be to God which always causeth us to triumph in Christ (II Cor 2:14). There will be those who try to seduce us away from this triumph and leave us with no hope. But if we hold, day by day, to the triumph that is ours in Christ, we can remain strong through the time of trouble that the tempter hopes to impose upon us.
I John 2:24-26—Let that therefore abide in you, which ye have heard from the beginning. If that which ye have heard from the beginning shall remain in you, ye also shall continue in the Son, and in the Father. And this is the promise that He hath promised us, even eternal Life. These things have I written unto you concerning them that seduce you (concerning them that lead you astray, that cause you to wander).
NIrV—Make sure that you don’t forget what you have heard from the beginning. Then you will remain joined to the Son and to the Father. That’s what God has promised us. We have eternal Life. I’m writing these things to warn you about those who are trying to lead you down the wrong path.
Keeping ourselves in the Love of God—Jude 1:20-25
What John says in this passage seems to mean that we who have received the Holy Spirit’s anointing have no further need of other Teachers. This interpretation does not bear out with other Scripture, however. The risen Lord Jesus Christ has set Teachers in His Body to guide and instruct us. For our safety, the anointing of the Holy Spirit will teach us what is Truth and what is deception.
I John 2:27—But the anointing (of the Holy Spirit) which ye have received of Him abideth (remains) in you, and ye need not that any man teach you: but as the same anointing teacheth you of all things (the same anointing that you received is teaching you concerning all of anti-Christ’s ways and actions), and is truth, and is no lie, and even as it (even as the anointing) hath taught you, ye shall abide in Him (you shall remain in Christ, rejecting the anti-Christ). NIrV—But you have received the Holy Spirit from God. He continues to live in you. So you don’t need anyone to teach you. God’s Spirit teaches you about everything. What He says is true. He doesn’t lie. Remain joined to Christ, just as you have been taught by the Spirit.
Anti-Christ is on the watch to have intelligence with—take psychic control of—
Scripture teaches that Christ will come again in a Parousía that will stop all the affairs of the world as His Kingdom takes the dominion. Those who abide in Him can rejoice in that day. Those who have refused to submit to the authority of His Government personally will meet that day with fear and shame. But, if we who are believers have come to the place of abiding in Him, we need have no fear of being ashamed in that Day. Instead, we wait for it with a joyful hope.
I John 2:28,29—And now, little children, abide in Him; that, when He shall appear, we may have confidence, and not be ashamed before Him at His coming (parousía, His grand coming at the end of this age). [The preceding word when is from the Greek hótan which carries the meaning “whenever.” This could draw this passage to mean “whenever Christ appears...” His appearance might come at any time, unsuspected.] If ye know that He is righteous, ye know that every one that doeth righteousness is born of Him. Those who demonstrate the divine nature can do so only if they have been born again.
II Peter 1:3,4—His divine power hath given unto us all things that pertain unto life and godliness, through the knowledge of Him that hath called us to glory and virtue: whereby are given unto us exceeding great and precious promises: that by these ye might be partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust.
Paul’s first Thessalonian Epistle teaches much about Christ’s Parousía.—I Thessalonians 2:19; 3:13; 4:15; 5:23
Volumes might be written on the three verses we take for today. Some Gospel song writer—believed by some to have used the walls of his prison cell as a place to write—has summed them up well: Could we with ink the ocean fill, and were the sky of parchment made; were every stalk on earth a quill and every man a scribe by trade; to write the Love of God above would drain the ocean dry, nor could the scroll contain the whole though stretched from sky to sky.
I John 3:1-3—Behold (idéte, an exclamation, “Look! See!”), what manner of Love the Father hath bestowed upon us (has given to us), that we should be called *the sons (tekńa, children, those born into the family) of God: therefore the world (ho kósmos, the secular order) knoweth us not, because it knew Him not (Being born into His family, the world doesn’t know us because it didn’t know Him). Beloved, now are we the sons (tekńa, children—There is no article before tekńa. The emphasis simply is that we are children born into the family) of God, and it doth not yet appear (and it has not yet been made manifest) what we shall be: but we know (oída, we know for a certainty) that, when He shall appear (that whenever it is that He might be made manifest), we shall be like Him; for we shall see Him as (kathos’, just as) He is. And every man that hath this hope in him purifieth himself, even as he is pure.
The first Scripture to take my attention when I began studying the Greek New Testament was I John. I was a young believer. It was important to me to know how to deal with sin in my life. Even after I was saved, I knew the tendency to sin was still in me. I saw this passage in the King James Version and it disturbed me. It made me wonder if I was truly saved. But when I saw it in the Greek New Testament, hope came.
I John 3:4-8—Whosoever committeth sin transgresseth also the Law (Literally, whoever is making a practice of sinning is making a practice of being lawless.): for sin is the transgression of the Law. And ye know that He was manifested to take away our sins; and in Him is no sin. Whosoever abideth in Him sinneth not (Literally, whoever is abiding in Him does not continue sinning.): whosoever sinneth hath not seen Him, neither known Him. Little children, let no man deceive you (lead you astray): he that doeth (is doing) righteousness is righteous, even as He is righteous. He that committeth sin (whoever is continuing in sin) is of the devil; for the devil sinneth from the beginning. For this purpose the Son of God was manifested, that He might destroy the works of the devil. (The word destroy is from the Greek lúo meaningthat He might undo the works of the devil.) There are two words for sin. One, hamartía, means “missing the mark,” and is found in Romans 5:12,13. The other, anomía, means“lawlessness” and is found in II Thessalonians 2:7 and Titus 2:14. Both occur in the above passage from I John.
It becomes unnatural for a child of God to continue in sin. This is because a new nature—God’s nature—has entered us. If we do sin, we immediately feel unclean and wish that we had not done what was displeasing to the Lord. That is, unless we allow our heart to become calloused. This happens by doing something over and over again. The first time, we feel badly, but each time we do something wrong, we feel less and badly, till finally we lose all feeling. This is a very bad place to come.
I John 3:9,10—Whosoever is born of (ék) God doth not commit sin (does not go on sinning); for His seed remaineth in him (because God’s nature is living in him): and he cannot sin (and he loses his ability to continue in sin), because he is born of God (because God’s nature has been born in him). In this the children of God are manifest, and the children of the devil: whosoever doeth not (is not doing) righteousness is not of God, neither he that loveth not (is not loving) his brother.
I Peter 1:22,23—Seeing ye have purified your souls in obeying the truth (since your souls have been made pure by your obedience to the truth) through the Spirit unto unfeigned love (a genuine love) of the brethren, see that ye love one another with a pure heart fervently: being born again, not of corruptible seed, but of incorruptible, by the Word of God, which liveth and abideth for ever (all of this being effected by God’s Word which does not decay but is living and remaining forever).
God’s divine power puts His divine nature in us.—I Peter 1:4,5
What was in Cain by nature led to his becoming a murderer. His parents had become partakers of what the serpent offered them. This they passed on to their children. However, a Word from the Lord came to Cain offering him the way whereby he might overcome the sin encroaching upon him. God said to him: If thou doest well, shalt thou not be accepted? and if thou doest not well, sin lieth at the door (sin is crouching at your door like a tiger) And unto thee shall be his (its) desire, and thou shalt rule over him (it)—Genesis 4:7. The interpretation from the New International Reader’s Version is interesting, and is probably closer to what it should mean. Do what is right. Then you will be accepted. If you don’t do what is right, sin is waiting at your door to grab you. It longs to have you. But you must rule over it.
I John 3:11-14—For this is the message that ye heard from the beginning, that we should love one another. Not as Cain, who was of that wicked one, and slew his brother. And wherefore slew he him? Because his own works were evil, and his brother’s righteous. (The seed of jealousy was in the nature of the wicked one and led to Cain’s downfall.) Marvel not, my brethren, if the world hate you. We know that we have passed from death unto Life, because we love the brethren. He that loveth not his brother abideth in death.
Our souls can be made pure by obedience to the Truth.—I Peter 1:22,23
If we live our lives totally concerned for our own needs, never caring for the needs of others, we will have difficulty trying to convince ourselves that we belong to God. Without His Love at work in us, the ways of His Kingdom will be remote. We will have no sense of His presence. This is because God is Love. We cannot be related to Him and not love those whom He loves. Today we are giving ourselves over to the Love of God. We will let Him love us. Then, we will let His Love move through us as we make steps toward laying down our lives for others.
I John 3:16-19—Hereby perceive we the Love of God, because He laid down His life for us: and we ought to lay down our lives for the brethren. But whoso hath this world’s good, and seeth his brother have need, and shutteth up his bowels of compassion from him, how dwelleth the Love of God in him? My little children, let us not love in word, neither in tongue; but in deed and in truth. And hereby we know that we are of the Truth, and shall assure our hearts before Him.
John 13:34,35—A new commandment I give unto you, That ye love one another; as I have loved you, that ye also love one another. By this shall all men know that ye are My disciples, if ye have Love one to another.
I Thessalonians 4:9—But as touching brotherly love ye need not that I write unto you: for ye yourselves are taught of God to love one another.
What Gives Us Confidence toward God—I John 3:20,21
How we love others is a factor that determines how our prayers will be answered. Loving others as God gave us commandment, removes us from centering on ourselves. Jesus has told us that when we love others, we are loving Him. We see this in Matthew 25:1-13, where we listen to Jesus teaching about the wise and the foolish virgins. He then taught about the man who went on a journey and trusted his servants to invest what He had given them. This is in Matt 25:14-30. Then He taught about the judgment of the nations in Matt 25:31-46. If you will allow His Spirit to teach you, you will see the connection between these parables. The key to them all is Matthew 25:40.
I John 3:22,23—And whatsoever we ask, we receive of Him, because we keep His commandments, and do those things that are pleasing in His sight. 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.
Matthew 25:37-40—Then shall the righteous answer Him, saying, Lord, when saw we Thee an hungred, and fed thee? or thirsty, and gave Thee drink? When saw we Thee a stranger, and took thee in? or naked, and clothed Thee? Or when saw we Thee sick, or in prison, and came unto thee? And the King shall answer and say unto them, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these My brethren, ye have done it unto Me.
Finding Joy and Love Perfected—John 15:9-17; I John 3:24
When anti-Christ is imposing his rule upon the world—whether it be his final appearance or in one of his appearances in a wicked person who rules—many spirits will be let loose to start drawing people away from Christ. As they come to us, we are admonished to test the spirits whether they be of God. The spirits that are false rise to their strength among those who are carnal and have not the Spirit of God. It is important that believers test the spirits for it will be their intention to bring in false teaching with regard to the Lord Jesus. They fear the Anointed One to Whom the promise has been given that He shall rule the nations.
I John 4:1-3—Beloved, believe not every spirit, but try the spirits whether they are of God: because many false prophets are gone out into the world. Hereby know ye the Spirit of God: Every spirit that confesseth that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh is of God: and every spirit that confesseth not that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh is not of God: and this is that spirit of antichrist, whereof ye have heard that it should come; and even now already is it in the world. (That Jesus Christ came in the flesh is significantly important. It identifies Him with the promised Seed of the woman, the Seed of Abraham and the Seed of David.)
Making the Kingdom of Heaven the Object of Our Search—Matthew 6:25-34
With a determination born of the Holy Spirit, we refuse the tactics of the anti-Christ as he tries to put out the Light that John gives us in the following verses, along with what we learn from Christ Jesus as a man. He had to come to an acknowledgment of Him as Christ crucified, risen and ascended to His Father’s right hand. Paul never knew Jesus as John knew Him. He knew Him as the Christ Who had ascended to be with His Father and Who had sent His Spirit to live in us.
I John 4:4-6—Ye are of God, little children, and have (already) overcome them (because of who you are in Christ): because greater is He that is in you, than he that is in the world. They are of (ék) the world (they receive their life and strength out of the world system): therefore speak they of (ék) the world, and the world heareth them (because they speak in terms that the world understands). We are of (ék) God: he that knoweth God heareth us (whoever knows God can hear and understand what we are saying); he that is not of (ék) God heareth not us. Hereby know we the Spirit of Truth, and the spirit of error.
A Wonderful Chapter of Light and Life—Romans 8:1-39
There is no power in the world like the power of God’s Love. His Love, once it enters a life, changes the person completely. He is drawing us to know His Love personally. He is calling on us to allow His Love to move through us and touch others. In this way, His Love continues to expand in us. It is in loving those who don’t love us that we discover new dimensions of His Love.
I John 4:7-11—Beloved, let us love one another (let us continue loving one another): for love is of (ék) God; and every one that loveth (continues in loving others) is born of (ék) God, and knoweth God (lives in a state of knowing God at all times). He that loveth not knoweth not God (he has never gotten to know God); for God is Love. In this was manifested the Love of God toward us, because that God sent His only begotten Son into the world, that we might live through Him. Herein is Love, not that we loved God, but that He loved us, and sent His Son to be the propitiation for our sins. (His death satisfied the wrath of God against our sin.) Beloved, if God so loved us, we ought also to love one another. (We are indebted to love one another.)
Romans 3:25—...Christ Jesus...Whom God hath set forth to be a propitiation through faith in His blood, to declare His righteousness for the remission of sins that are past, through the forbearance (the longsuffering) of God...
The Sealing Work of God’s Spirit—II Corinthians 1:22; Ephesians 1:13; Ephesians 4:30
We may never see God, but we can know Him. We can know Him even as we know our own life. We never see our life, but we know life. God gives Himself to us to permeate our whole being. He enters our mind, our emotions, our will, our conscience. Thus, He becomes the framework of our whole inner man. He becomes our Life. It is when we allow Him to be this in us that who we are revolves around Who He is. What He is doing becomes what we are doing. The marvel is that where we go, He goes in us. What we face, be it a joyful thing or a difficult trial, He faces it in us.
I John 4:12-16—No man hath seen God at any time. If we love one another, God dwelleth in us, and His Love is perfected in us. Hereby know we that we dwell in Him, and He in us, because He hath given us of His Spirit. And we have seen and do testify that the Father sent the Son to be the Saviour of the world. Whosoever shall confess that Jesus is the Son of God, God dwelleth in him, and he in God. And we have known and believed the Love that God hath to us. God is Love; and he that dwelleth in Love dwelleth in God, and God in him.
John 1:18—No man hath seen God at any time; the only begotten Son, which is in the bosom of the Father, He hath declared Him. (He has set forth in detail what He is like.)
The Love that comes to us through Christ Jesus will have its perfection in the Day of Judgment. By its work in us, we shall have a bold freedom to stand before the Throne of God. There will be no fear in us. We will know our place in His Kingdom because we have known our place in Christ.
I John 4:17-21—Herein is our Love made perfect (In this Love is brought to its perfection with us), that we may have boldness (parresía, bold confidence) in the day of judgment: because as (just as) He is, so are we in this world (because He is in us and we are in Him, we will stand with confidence in the Day of Judgment). There is no fear in love; but perfect love casteth out fear: because fear hath torment. He that feareth is not made perfect in love. We love Him, because He first loved us. If a man say, I love God, and hateth his brother, he is a liar: for he that loveth not his brother whom he hath seen, how can he love God Whom he hath not seen? And this commandment have we from Him, That he who loveth God love his brother also.
NIrV—...God is Love. Anyone who leads a life of Love shows that he is joined to God. And God is joined to him. So Love is made complete among us. We will be bold on the day God judges us. That’s because in this world we love as Jesus did. There is no fear in Love. Instead, perfect Love drives fear away. Fear has to do with being punished. The one who fears does not have perfect Love.
It is an empty thing to pretend that we love God while we live in opposition to His will. Our love to God is why we love His children, and our keeping His commandments is the proof that we do indeed love Him. To love him with all our heart, and to love our neighbor as ourselves, are not grievous. They are not burdensome matters, for no man is burdened with the duties which his own love imposes on him. An old proverb explains the meaning of the John’s words, “Love feels no loads.”
I John 5:1-4—Whosoever believeth that Jesus is the Christ is born of God: and every one that loveth Him that begat loveth Him also that is begotten of Him. By this we know that we love the children of God, when we love God, and keep His commandments. For this is the Love of God, that we keep His commandments: and His commandments are not grievous. For whatsoever is born of God overcometh the world: and this is the victory that overcometh the world, even our faith.
NIrV—How do we know that we love God’s children? We know it when we love God and obey His commands. Here is what it means to love God. It means that we obey His commands. And His commands are not hard to obey. That’s because everyone who is a child of God has won the battle over the world. Our faith has won the battle for us.
While most of I John is of a practical message, in this part of the Epistle the Apostle becomes more theological. Take note what he says about the salvation that becomes ours in which the Water and the Blood and the Spirit are significant parts. He says, This is He that came by water and blood. Jesus was attested to be the Son of God and promised Messiah by water, that is, His baptism. It was then that the Spirit of God came down from heaven upon Him and said, This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased. He came also by blood which He shed for the remission of our sins.
I John 5:5-8—Who is he that overcometh the world, but he that believeth that Jesus is the Son of God? This is He that came by water (the baptism of His identification with us) and blood (His atoning death on the cross), even Jesus Christ; not by water only, but by water and blood. And it is the Spirit that beareth witness, because the Spirit is Truth. For there are three that bear record in heaven, the Father, the Word (this is the eternal Word that became flesh and dwelt among us), and the Holy Spirit: and these Three are One. And there are three that bear witness in earth, the Spirit (that comes upon us when we confess Jesus as Savior), and the water (in which we make our confession by baptism), and the blood (the blood of Jesus by which we are redeemed): and these three agree in one.
I John 5:9—If we receive the witness of men, the witness of God is greater: for this is the witness of God which He hath testified of his Son.
NIrV—We accept the witness of people. But the witness of God is more important because it is God Who gives it. He has given witness about His Son.
Whosoever will place their trust in the Son of God will have the testimony of His saving power within themselves. Those who are not willing to trust Him are making God to be a liar. This, indeed, is very strong language. Those who stand before the Lord, having rejected His Son, will have to give answer for this.
I John 5:10-12—He that believeth on the Son of God hath the witness in himself: he that believeth not God hath made Him a liar; because he believeth not the record that God gave of His Son. And this is the record, that God hath given to us eternal life, and this Life is in His Son (This is what the testimony is: God has given us everlasting Life, and this Life is in His Son). He that hath the Son hath life; and he that hath not the Son of God hath not Life. (Whoever has the Son has the Life; whoever does not have the Son of God does not have the Life.)
NIrV—Those who believe in the Son of God have accepted that witness in their hearts. Those who do not believe God’s witness are calling him a liar. That’s because they have not believed his witness about his Son. Here is God’s witness. He has given us eternal life. That life is found in his Son. Those who belong to the Son have life. Those who do not belong to the Son of God do not have life.
John also lets us know of the confidence that can be ours who are willing to believe God.
The passage we take for today has compelling and clear statements for the faith of a believer. But in the latter part of verse 16 are some of the most difficult to understand words in all of Scripture. I must admit they almost elude my understanding. These words have to do with a brother in whom we may see sin as a sin unto death. John seems to tell us there is no need to pray for this one. In searching Scripture, however we find a passage in Hebrews that sheds light on John’s statement. We place it after the passage from I John.
I John 5:13-17—These things have I written unto you that believe on the Name of the Son of God; that ye may know that ye have eternal life, and that ye may believe on the Name of the Son of God. And this is the confidence that we have in him, that, if we ask any thing according to his will, he heareth us: and if we know that he hear us, whatsoever we ask, we know that we have the petitions that we desired of him. If any man see his brother sin a sin which is not unto death, he shall ask, and he shall give him life for them that sin not unto death. There is a sin unto death: I do not say that he shall pray for it. All unrighteousness is sin: and there is a sin not unto death.
Hebrews 6:4-6—For it is impossible for those who were once enlightened, and have tasted of the heavenly gift, and were made partakers of the Holy Spirit, and have tasted the good Word of God, and the powers of the world to come, if they shall fall away, to renew them again unto repentance; seeing they crucify to themselves the Son of God afresh, and put him to an open shame.
The concluding verses of I John state three issues that can become settled for a believer.
First—a believer keeps himself from sin.
Take note that the Greek from which we know comes is a word that defines a knowing that is settled, not to be contradicted by the world, the flesh or the devil.
I John 5:18-21—We know (oídamen, we know in a way that cannot be denied) that whosoever is born of God sinneth not (does not continue making a practice of sinning); but he that is begotten of God keepeth himself (sets a guard upon himself), and that wicked one toucheth him not (cannot meddle in his life). And we know (oídamen) that we are of God, and the whole world lieth in wickedness (lies under the influence of the wicked one). And we know (oídamen) that the Son of God is come, and hath given us an understanding, that we may know Him that is true (the true One), and we are in Him that is true, even in his Son Jesus Christ. This is the true God, and eternal life. Little children, keep yourselves from idols. Amen.
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