Fellowship With God; Confidence in Christ, Lesson 12

Beloved, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God, for many false prophets have gone out into the world. By this you know the Spirit of God: every spirit that confesses that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is from God, and every spirit that does not confess Jesus is not from God. This is the spirit of the antichrist, which you heard was coming and now is in the world already. Little children, you are from God and have overcome them, for he who is in you is greater than he who is in the world. They are from the world; therefore they speak from the world, and the world listens to them. We are from God. Whoever knows God listens to us; whoever is not from God does not listen to us. By this we know the Spirit of truth and the spirit of error.

In our passage this week, John returns to the doctrinal test with an exhortation for us not to believe everything we hear taught about Jesus. A Christian who believes by faith all that is good and true, even if difficult, as taught in the Holy Scriptures, is strong, because the word of God abides in her, and she overcomes the evil one (2:14). A gullible Christian, however, who believes everything that “feels” right and sincere, without the scrutiny of Scripture, is unsteady, and therefore vulnerable to the faith-undermining attacks of the enemy. Continue reading “Fellowship With God; Confidence in Christ, Lesson 12”

Fellowship With God; Confidence in Christ, Lesson 11

11 For this is the message that you have heard from the beginning, that we should love one another. 12 We should not be like Cain, who was of the evil one and murdered his brother. And why did he murder him? Because his own deeds were evil and his brother’s righteous. 13 Do not be surprised, brothers, that the world hates you. 14 We know that we have passed out of death into life, because we love the brothers. Whoever does not love abides in death. 15 Everyone who hates his brother is a murderer, and you know that no murderer has eternal life abiding in him.

16 By this we know love, that he laid down his life for us, and we ought to lay down our lives for the brothers. 17 But if anyone has the world’s goods and sees his brother in need, yet closes his heart against him, how does God’s love abide in him? 18 Little children, let us not love in word or talk but in deed and in truth.

19 By this we shall know that we are of the truth and reassure our heart before him; 20 for whenever our heart condemns us, God is greater than our heart, and he knows everything. 21 Beloved, if our heart does not condemn us, we have confidence before God; 22 and whatever we ask we receive from him, because we keep his commandments and do what pleases him. 23 And this is his commandment, that we believe in the name of his Son Jesus Christ and love one another, just as he has commanded us. 24 Whoever keeps his commandments abides in God, and God in him. And by this we know that he abides in us, by the Spirit whom he has given us.

In our passage this week we find John returning to the second test of assurance: the social, or, love test. In 2:9-11, he reminded us that loving our “brothers” in the faith is a distinguishing characteristic of believers and he briefly described the effects of this love as walking in the light, as opposed to those who hate their brothers and therefore go about stumbling blindly in the darkness. This time around, John will apply the love test to how we live with one another, showing us that our love is not to be merely “word and talk, but in deed and in truth” (18). Our love for one another does not end with sentimental words, but it flows out of our hearts through our hands and feet into acts of compassion in response to the needs of others. Continue reading “Fellowship With God; Confidence in Christ, Lesson 11”

Optional: Further Reading for Lesson 10

Because the passage we covered in lesson 10 of our study of 1 John has so loaded with potential for misinterpretation over the years, and has caused confusion and even despair, I handed out two articles in class to add to the understanding of what John was teaching. One article, by Tim Challies, addressed the return of Christ, and the other, by John Piper, addressed purifying ourselves through sanctification. I wanted to make these available here for those who are following along remotely (or missed the handouts). I’m adding a third here, which addresses our need for pursuing sanctification, and was written by Jen Wilkin (our 2017 WOP Spring Conference speaker) a few years back. Continue reading “Optional: Further Reading for Lesson 10”

Fellowship With God: Confidence in Christ, Lesson 10

28 And now, little children, abide in him, so that when he appears we may have confidence and not shrink from him in shame at his coming. 29 If you know that he is righteous, you may be sure that everyone who practices righteousness has been born of him.

See what kind of love the Father has given to us, that we should be called children of God; and so we are. The reason why the world does not know us is that it did not know him. Beloved, we are God’s children now, and what we will be has not yet appeared; but we know that when he appears we shall be like him, because we shall see him as he is. And everyone who thus hopes in him purifies himself as he is pure.

Everyone who makes a practice of sinning also practices lawlessness; sin is lawlessness. You know that he appeared in order to take away sins, and in him there is no sin. No one who abides in him keeps on sinning; no one who keeps on sinning has either seen him or known him. Little children, let no one deceive you. Whoever practices righteousness is righteous, as he is righteous. Whoever makes a practice of sinning is of the devil, for the devil has been sinning from the beginning. The reason the Son of God appeared was to destroy the works of the devil. No one born of God makes a practice of sinning, for God’s seed abides in him; and he cannot keep on sinning, because he has been born of God. 10 By this it is evident who are the children of God, and who are the children of the devil: whoever does not practice righteousness is not of God, nor is the one who does not love his brother.

Continue reading “Fellowship With God: Confidence in Christ, Lesson 10”