It’s fall time … and as Rip and I enjoyed bowls of hot turkey chili followed up with pecan pie a la mode, while watching the sunset with friends sitting outside under a gorgeous starry night this past Sunday, it was the sheer JOY of friendship that blanketed us with such warmth! Nothing compares with spending time with loved ones!
Last Wednesday night in bible study, we looked closer into some very heavy topics addressed by John in chapter three of his first epistle:
1) practicing righteousness (first, we have to know and understand what is righteous before we can practice it), and not practicing sin;
2) the Father’s great ‘not of this world’ love that He lavishes on us, and…
3) how we are partakers of His divine nature, anointing our life with such supernatural love that is to occupy and operate through us among those of the family of God imperatively! That no level of hatred (gossip, unkind and condescending words, snubbing, making accusations, causing strife or division, jealousy, envy, closing our heart toward someone’s needs, etc.) should ever exist in the heart of a child of God. John equated such levels of hatred to murder. Why? Because Jesus did in Matthew 5:21-22.
We are never more like God than when we are forgiving, and we are never more like the devil than when we are accusing. May it never be!
But it was a heavy lesson for us last week because as we have been learning since Week 1, John writes in this way…as we progress through the chapters, we see the same themes being addressed, but taken much deeper into the heart. I have to admit, I struggled in teaching last week because I wanted to cover all the material in order to keep to our timeline of when we will finish the epistles, while at the same time, I just wanted to walk away from the handout and share with you the penetrating truth of what John was saying to us, and why … and simply explain the degree of it all as it was written not so much with a pen as with a scalpel.
Because of what God in all of His providence was allowing in my personal life when studying and writing this bible study in 2019-2021, this one chapter really landed heavy on my heart.
You see, God knows those who value His great love by how they demonstrate His love to other believers, and in how they not only desire but how they live practicing righteousness. To obey God is their entire life longing! To know Him is to know righteousness and it’s why John wrote with such loving dogma to the family of God. And it was verse ten that summarized the entire chapter three:
“By this the children of God and the children of the devil are clearly identified: anyone who does not practice righteousness is not of God [who does not seek God’s will in thought, action and purpose], nor is the one who does not [unselfishly] love his [believing] brother.”
But as we meet tomorrow night, we are going to look at what John wrote next that’s been organized into chapter four. He writes immediately these words….
“Beloved, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God, because many false prophets have gone out into the world.”
He speaks on righteous living and divine love in chapter 3, and then he moves right into addressing deceiving spirits (persons). He goes right into the instruction of our being able to discern truth from error. True righteousness from disguised and deceiving righteousness. True love from masked and manipulative love.
Tomorrow night at 6:00pm CST JOIN US LIVE, and I will give you the steps we find in Scripture in how to not be duped by the devil. How to discern truth from error. How to recognize false teachers and false preachers and WHY we are commanded by the Lord to be discerning. According to the New Testament, discernment is not optional for a believer, it is required.
I’ll see you at class or JOIN US LIVE and will provide you with the wisdom we find in Scripture that provide us with the needed discernment in every issue of life.
Thank you so much for coming…we have only a few weeks left together and I am sure going to miss being with you all!