Friday, February 27, 2015

Musings on First John (2:1-2)

Wordle: Musings
1My dear children, I write this to you so that you will not sin. But if anybody does sin, we have one who speaks to the Father in our defense—Jesus Christ, the Righteous One. 2 He is the atoning sacrifice for our sins, and not only for ours but also for the sins of the whole world.

John says he’s writing to us so we will not sin and that’s a pretty awesome motivation, but I’m so glad he continues with “but if anybody does sin” because you know that’s inevitable. What do we do then? Call on the best defense lawyer ever: Jesus Christ. John tells us that Jesus will speak to the Father in our defense. What will he say? He’ll say he’s already paid the price for our sins. Notice that he’s also already paid for the sins of the whole world. The whole world! That includes the terrorists, every person in prison, every single person who has been born or ever will be born on this earth. What an unbelievably amazing gift, free to all, but accepted only by some.

Friday, February 20, 2015

Musings on First John (2:12-14)

Wordle: Musings
12 I write to you, dear children, because your sins have been forgiven on account of his name. 13 I write to you, fathers, because you have known him who is from the beginning. I write to you, young men, because you have overcome the evil one. I write to you, dear children, because you have known the Father. 14 I write to you, fathers, because you have known him who is from the beginning. I write to you, young men, because you are strong, and the word of God lives in you, and you have overcome the evil one.

This is poetry. There is a rhythmic repetition as John gives his reasons for writing to you: children, fathers, young men, children, fathers, young men. He writes because your sins are forgiven, you know God, you've overcome Satan, you know God, you know Him, you are strong, God’s word (Jesus) lives in you, and (again) you've overcome Satan. John has quite a lot of style in his writing, doesn't he?

Musings on First John (1:5-10)

5 This is the message we have heard from him and declare to you: God is light; in him there is no darkness at all. 6 If we claim to have fellowship with him yet walk in the darkness, we lie and do not live by the truth. 7 But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus, his Son, purifies us from all sin.
8 If we claim to be without sin, we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us. 9 If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness. 10 If we claim we have not sinned, we make him out to be a liar and his word has no place in our lives.

It is important to note that the apostle John makes it clear that this message is not his but Christ’s. And what is this message? God is light and we are to walk in this light. “Light” and “love” and “life” are key words in this short epistle. I took a highlighter to my Bible to emphasize these important concepts. Re-read verse 7 and consider the awesome promise there. Then do what it says in verse 9 — you don’t need to confess to a priest or anyone else, just confess to God and he will forgive you. It's pretty awesome to know you can be purified from all unrighteousness.

Friday, February 13, 2015

Musings on First John (1: 1-4)

Wordle: Musings
1 That which was from the beginning, which we have heard, which we have seen with our eyes, which we have looked at and our hands have touched—this we proclaim concerning the Word of life. 2 The life appeared; we have seen it and testify to it, and we proclaim to you the eternal life, which was with the Father and has appeared to us. 3 We proclaim to you what we have seen and heard, so that you also may have fellowship with us. And our fellowship is with the Father and with his Son, Jesus Christ. 4 We write this to make our joy complete.

This short book was written by the Apostle John around A.D. 90 to refute the ideas of Gnosticism. The Gnostics denied Jesus’ deity. The first verse gives authority to John as an eye witness. Notice that he references the “Word” of life — in the gospel of John he begins by saying that the “Word” was with God, and the “Word” was God. Here he reiterates that fact with his own personal testimony. See how adamant he is? He has heard the truth, seen it, touched it and he now repeats that three times. Why is he so passionate in trying to convince the reader? He tells us in verse three: so that we may have fellowship with other believers and with God and Jesus. The word fellowship here is from the Greek “koinonia” meaning to have all things in common. The best part of my week is when I have fellowship with other believers. How about you?

Friday, February 6, 2015

How God Spoke Then, How God Speaks Now

This is pretty interesting. In the Old Testament God spoke mainly through the prophets, but he also used dreams, visions, angels, miraculous signs, and other ways. Most of the time each event was totally unique and unrepeated. So if you’re waiting to hear God’s voice in a burning bush (like Moses) or see fire flare from a rock and consume meat and bread (like Gideon), or hear a donkey speak (remember who?) it’s not going to happen again.

When Moses, Gideon, David, Noah, Abraham, Joseph and others heard from God they all were absolutely positive that it was God and they were absolutely sure of what He told them. Actually you can have a personal experience like those, but it will be unique to you. You will know it is God speaking (maybe through prayer, circumstance, another person, your Bible) and you will understand.

In the New Testament God spoke through Jesus Christ. Read the whole New Testament if you want to know what God said.

Today God speaks through His Holy Word, i.e. the Bible, and He also speaks through the Holy Spirit. If you’re looking for truth you won’t ‘discover’ it, instead God will ‘reveal’ it to you through His Word or through the Holy Spirit.