Posts Tagged with "1 John"

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Nothing but God

Here we are at the last verse of I John. It seems like a a good place for a final summary or a statement of good wishes to John’s reader, and yet, he gives one more warning. It even seems to open a new topic. This is the first time John has mentioned idols. ...

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That You May Know

The Gospel of John was written for non-Christians and new Christians. Yet the letters and the Gospel have much the same purpose. John 20:31 says, “these [stories about Jesus] are written so that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that by believing you may have life in his name.” Here in I John, he writes that he has written to give us confide...

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Sin: Will You or Won't You?

Some people are known for a trait or characteristic that is so consistent it's impossible to imagine him or her without it. You might have a friend you think of as “the funny one,” but do you think he's never been sad in his life? Do you think the person you think of as “the honest one” has never, ever lied?...

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Praying for others

Here's another passage Bible experts argue about. What is a “sin that leads to death”? It could be sin that leads to physical death; in other words, there's no point in praying for those who have already faced God's judgment. It could be a sin for which the sinner won't or can't repent; elsewhere, the New Testament says it's impossible to be forgiven for “blaspheming...

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Effective Prayer

If a co-worker or classmate volunteered to do part of a group project you hate, would you say no? If your kid begged to have broccoli for dessert, would you insist on candy? Of course not! When someone wants to do something that fits your plans and desires, you say yes. God is the same way. When we ask for something He already wants for us, He gives it to us....

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Believing God's Word

When you click a link to a news article, what tells you whether the reporting is accurate? If you think the organization that publishes the article is trustworthy, you will probably believe their news. In a similar way, if you read something you think is truth, it’s a point in favor of the author...

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Water and Blood

This might be a confusing passage to you. What did “coming by water and blood” mean to John? Even Bible experts disagree about what exactly John is talking about. This is an opportunity to “test the spirits,” as John instructed us earlier. As you think about these verses, remember that it must agree with what we believe about Jesus Christ...

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Rules and Regulations

The United States Code, the list of all the laws passed by the federal government, is 22 million words long. That doesn't include all of the state, county, and city laws that apply to you. You might also have professional standards, HOA regulations, and house or family rules to obey. Do you feel oppressed yet? That's a lot of rules! So many you couldn't possibly read them...

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Doers of the Word

Everyone who believes that Jesus is the Christ has been born of God, and everyone who loves the Father loves whoever has been born of him. By this we know that we love the children of God, when we love God and obey his commandments. 1 John 5:1-2 Yesterday I wrote about what life can be like in a close, happy family. Not every family is like that, and to those with a pai...

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Family

Some of you visited family or friends last week for Thanksgiving. Maybe you met a new little baby who belongs to a loved one. Even if you had never met that baby before, you could probably say you loved him or her. How? The baby never did anything for you. You didn't know if you would get along with the child. But you love the parents, so you also love the child....

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Can’t let it go

I know a mother who, every year when her kids left for college, would give them a “mom talk,” reminding them to work hard, but more importantly to love God, love their churches, and obey God. Eventually her children started pre-empting her talk by giving themselves the “mom talk.” They knew it so well, they could recite it themselves....

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Love and Fear

Ultimately, John says love is what keeps us from fear. When we love God (shown by confessing Christ and obeying him) and love your neighbors, these are the signs that we abide in God and they give us confidence in our salvation....

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What are you afraid of?

Do you have lepidopterophobia? That’s fear of butterflies. Some people really are afraid of butterflies, but clearly butterflies aren’t objectively threatening or dangerous. For most people, fearing tiny colorful winged insects seems pretty ridiculous....

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Who we are and what we’ve seen

John summarizes the gospel here again in this verse. This time he emphasizes the idea of telling others - testifying. But who is “we”? John has previously referred to himself and the other apostles and disciples (the church leaders) as “we.” And that would makes sense here....

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What is Love?

You can use the word “love” for a lot of things. The way you feel about your family. Your tennis score. Your favorite food. An attraction to a crush. Even some harsh discipline might be “tough love.”...

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The Spirit of Truth

When a group of my old friends get together, we talk about things like “shimmy pops” and “the gator car.” Does that make any sense to you? I doubt it. We have our own shared language of inside jokes, phrases, and topics that remind us of the experiences we have had together. Maybe your friends or family have your own “secret language” that only makes sense to y...

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The Power of Children

We all know the saying “out of the mouths of babes”...

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The Gospel Standard, part 2

Yesterday we started to look at the standard John gives us for testing the spirits, that the Spirit of God “confesses that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh.” The name Jesus Christ shows us that Jesus was both God and man. Now, what does it mean that He “has come in the flesh.”...

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The Gospel Standard, Part 1

Judges evaluate legal cases according to the law; editors evaluate writing according to a style book that sets out grammar and usage standards. These kinds of professionals have an objective standard to make sure they are making the right choices. They don’t have to depend on their own opinions or try to create their own rules....

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Test the Spirits

You hear about God every Sunday at church, but that’s not the only place you encounter teaching about spiritual things. You might hear a spiritual message from a friend or family member, or see an article posted on Facebook, or get a new book for devotions. Which ones are true? Can you tell?...

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Looking Back, Looking Forward

Believing in Jesus and loving one another are two sides of the same coin. John can't stop writing about it! Think back to the beginning of the book. Everything John wrote about remembering the gospel is the “believing” half of the commandment. We can't believe in Jesus if we don't understand who He is, what He did, and how we can be saved....

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The Spirit, God’s Gift

When John writes about obeying God's commandment, it's easy to start to feel that salvation is earned through obedience. Like you'll only feel confident about your status with God if you can be “good enough.”...

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Love and Believe

John tells us the confidence we can have in our salvation comes from obeying God, and he specifically lists one commandment: to believe in the Name of His Son Jesus Christ and love one another....

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God Knows

As we saw yesterday, it’s easy...

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Confidence before God

Do you ever wonder if you are really a Christian? Or if you have really been forgiven? John’s readers wondered this too! As we have seen already, John sets the bar high for holiness. He has said that Christians must be as pure as God is (I John 3:3), that no one who knows God can keep on sinning (I John 3:6), and that we should lay down our lives for our fellow believers...

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Faith and Action

As believers who have been made righteous by Jesus’ death and resurrection, will we continue to sin before Jesus returns? The answer is clearly yes, as discussed back in chapter 1. ...

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Choosing Rebellion

John paints a clear picture that this particular kind of rebellion against God and knowing God is not a matter of degrees. It is not gray. One cannot rebel against God just a little. John stands firm on the fact that this is a black and white issue....

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Transformation Now and Later

In the beginning of chapter three, John introduces an eschatological perspective. Eschatology is the study of the end times. In the Christian scripture, the end times have a distinctly “already” but “not yet” paradox. That is, in Jesus, we already have access to the righteousness and eternal living that we will experience in heaven...

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Receiving the Gift

Have you ever felt very undeserving of a gift? Maybe you won a prize that you didn’t think you worked hard enough for. Maybe your sibling forgave you even though you probably didn’t deserve forgiveness. Maybe you missed the mark of perfection, but someone told you, “I love you anyway.”...

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Meeting God’s Standard

Have you ever heard the phrase “setting the bar high”? If you are trying to see who is the best basketball player in your group of friends, you might determine who makes the most points. ...

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Resting in the Truth

Do you ever feel like following God’s will is a bit confusing? It may even feel like you are wearing a blindfold sometimes, trying to maneuver the obstacles of life. And it sure doesn’t help when you have a crowd of voices yelling in your ear where to go. ...

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Stick with It

Have you ever played the game “Telephone”? It starts with one person whispering a phrase into a friend’s ear. And then that friend tries to whisper the same phrase into the next person’s ear. People keep passing on the phrase until the final player announces out loud what he or she heard. Sounds easy, right?...

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The Most Important Thing

What is the most important thing to put our faith in as Christians? The answer is a lot simpler than people often realize. The answer is one man: Jesus Christ. He is the key, the anchor, the most important piece of the Christian faith....

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Set Apart

Do you have a special spot for your favorite things? Maybe you put them on a shelf in your room or a secret box under your bed. Maybe you take them out to look at occasionally or like to show them to your friends....

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Separated from God’s people

Who is the antichrist? Have you ever heard this word before? Well, John’s original readers had. In Jewish writings, there was predicted to be a powerful figure called the antichrist who was against God, as well as several antichrists before this last one. Both the last powerful antichrist and all of the smaller antichrists before him had one goal: to deceive people about...

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Living on God

What are some things you need to survive? Do you need food, water, and shelter? What are some other things you desire for a healthy life? Maybe you desire friends, family, a good education, a car to get around? Is it wrong to desire these things? ...

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Dangerous Desires

What are some of your favorite things that God has created? Do you have a favorite mountain, type of animal, or even person? ...

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Opposites

Can you think of some of the most well known pairs of opposites in the world? For example, black and white, day and night, hot and cold. ...

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Growing in Truth

John desires to encourage ALL Christians by reminding them of these truths! They truly do know God because of the lessons of verses 12-14, which were taught by Jesus Christ himself. ...

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Certainty

Do you ever have times of uncertainty regarding your faith? Maybe you sometimes question if you will really go to heaven when you die. Maybe you get discouraged that God could really love and forgive you after all the times you have messed up....

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Love is of Light

Do you sometimes struggle to treat your brother, sister, or friend with love even though you really do love them? When are the times that are the most difficult to treat them with love? ...

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A God of Love

Yesterday we discussed the importance of obeying God’s commandments as revealed to us in Jesus Christ Himself, in order to really know who God is. In verses 7-11 John sheds light on one of the most significant ways we can show obedience to God. ...

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Commandments

In verses 3 through 6, John makes it pretty clear that “to know” God is related to keeping His commandments. What does this mean though? What does knowing God have to do with obeying His commandments?...

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Atoning Sacrifice

Have you ever heard the phrase, “I would take a bullet for you?” Have you ever had a friend or family member sacrifice something for you so that you would not be in danger? ...

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Advocate

Last week we discussed how God is so faithful and just to forgive our sins if we ask Him for this forgiveness. But once we realize this truth, a reasonable question to ask is, “Can I just keep sinning if God will forgive me anyway?” ...

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Grace Abounds

...the good news is that all we have to do is trust Jesus to forgive us and He will make us into a completely new creation! ...

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All People Sin

It is important to admit that we have all sinned and that our punishment for sinning is death. But the best news of all is that if we admit our need for help, then all we have to do is receive the medicine...

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Light is Truth

Have you ever heard the phrase, “She talks the talk but doesn’t walk the walk”? This means that someone’s actions aren’t lining up with what she claims to believe. This is very similar to how John refers to the illustration of light in vs. 7. ...

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Fellowship in Light

Have you ever been “it” for the pool game Marco Polo? Isn’t it odd to be so separated from everyone else who can see when you are supposed to tag them with your eyes closed? It can easily feel discouraging, like you will never be able find anyone else to tag. ...

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God is Light

Have you ever noticed how different light and darkness are from each other? At night when you lie down in the darkness to fall asleep, even the smallest of nightlights can seem bright!...

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Joy

Can you remember a time you got to hold a newborn baby in your arms? Can you remember or imagine the moment you will get to hold your very own baby in your arms for the first time? It might make you wonder what that precious new child will be like when they grow up or what all they will get to do in their lives. ...

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Fellowship

Yesterday we talked about the importance of sharing the Gospel of Jesus Christ with others. What is John’s reason for sharing the good news? In verse 3, John explains that it is “so that you too may have fellowship with us.”...

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Response

Are there moments in your life that are just too amazing to keep to yourself? Maybe you find sunsets to be the most beautiful sight in the world! Maybe you think nothing is more precious than a newborn baby’s laugh. Maybe roller coasters give you the biggest thrill ever! ...

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The Author’s Authority

Has a friend ever told you a story that was so outrageous you questioned whether it could be true? Maybe before you believed the story you needed to ask, “Did you really see this with your own eyes?” This is probably how people felt about the gospel, or the good news, of Jesus Christ, which we talked about yesterday. This good news sounds too good to be true!...

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The Word of Life

Have you ever received news that was so good that you could feel excitement spread through your entire body? Maybe you were so happy that you wanted to jump up and down or do a somersault. It is especially easy to feel this kind of intense excitement if this good news affects not only the rest of your day or your week, but also your entire life into eternity! ...

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