I John 2:3-4

1 John 2:3, “Now by this we know that we know Him, if we keep His commandments.”

Have any doubts that you are a Christian, a true follower of Christ Jesus? Any doubts that you are a true believer, born-again, spirit-renewed, a new creature in Christ, as the Apostle Paul states? – (2 Corinthians 5:17).

Are you keeping Christ’s commandments? If you can say yes, that you are purposefully attempting to obey the commandments of Jesus, then you can KNOW that you know Him, truly KNOW Him! For those that might be confused about obeying commandments and thinking that just possibly I am speaking of obeying the Law as given to the Children of Israel, let me assure you, I am not. I am not trying to rob you of your freely given grace and demanding you walk again according to the Law.

What I do want to remind you of is something that I speak of very predominately in my teaching, and it is found in Matthew 22:35-40, “Then one of them, a lawyer, asked Him a question, testing Him, and saying, “Teacher, which is the great commandment in the law?” Jesus said to him,” ‘You shall love the LORD your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind.’ This is the first and great commandment. And the second is like it: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ On these two commandments hang all the Law and the Prophets.” Remember that Jesus said earlier in Matthew that He came not to destroy the Law, but to fulfill it. – (Matthew 5:17). In essence, Christ Jesus, is the embodiment of these two commandments!

These two “commandments” encompass everything that Christ Jesus stands for and came to share with His disciples. If we love God, our Heavenly Father with ALL that we are and we love one another, those that are around us on a daily basis, then we are following, obeying His commandments. Jesus spoke it so that even a child, which we are to be like, could understand the simplicity of the command it! It’s another reason why the Beloved Apostle wrote in the first verse, “My little children.” – (1 John 2:1).

“We know that we know Him.” Notice that this portion of scripture speaks of one who has matured to the point of knowledge. That knowledge is much more than simple belief. A belief, however strong can eventually be shattered, but knowledge is a thing of factual substance.

When we as Christians can progress beyond the realm of only believing and into the realm of knowing, of absolute certainty, our faith will then know no bounds. My youngest son was the one who really brought this to my attention quite a few years ago. He had been talking with a fellow employee who was reiterating to a small group of people what she believed about a certain scripture on faith. My son asked her a couple of questions based on the scriptures that he was familiar with, and it left his fellow employee, this “believer” struggling to find an answer she was comfortable with. It had to do with faith in the certainty of God’s Word. He told her that when she passes the stage of just believing to the point of knowing for a certainty, of knowing for a FACT, then nothing will frustrate or sway her.

It definitely got me to thinking about our relationship with the Father through His Son as we mature. We SHOULD grow in stature in the Lord. Paul said it and so did many of the other Apostles. We must constantly change to become more like Christ. Believing only can make us appear to be like Christ, but knowing, actually being grounded in the FACT, makes our hearts and minds much more like Christ Jesus, the Anointed One.

That is why the first part of this scripture is so important. We can come to a point where it is no longer a matter of believing in Christ but rather a knowledge of Him, after all remember that the Apostle James wrote that the demons believe in Him and they aren’t changed. – (James 2:19). That absolute certainty, that KNOWING Him comes from intimacy with Him.

It is almost like circular reasoning, yet it is the effect from the cause. When we come to Christ Jesus and surrender our lives, our wills to Him, we WANT, we desire to do what He would have us do. As we continue to obey His commandments, obey HIM, we get to actually KNOW Him so much more intimately. As we get to know Him more intimately, we want to obey Him more!

I also want to caution believers and especially in the day and age we live today. With the access to so much historical information and knowledge, it is so very easy to “believe” in the historical Jesus, that part of God that walked this world and left such an imprint. We are talking about (and this is why you see me use the term so much) the Christ, the Anointed One of God Almighty, that aspect, that attribute of Jesus that is God’s Son!

Part of John’s reason for writing to the Christians of his day was to refute the Gnostics that were preaching falsehoods. The Gnostics pretended to have much spiritual knowledge, but their knowledge left them in possession of all their bad passions and unholy habits; they, therefore, gave no proof that they had known either God or his Son Jesus, nor is ANY man properly acquainted with God, who is still under the power of his own sins. If you observe the way of the world today and the attitude of man, you see that the same falsehood is still rearing its ugly head. It never really went away, it just stayed dormant for a time. After all, many recent polls in the United States say that a minimum of 84% of its citizens “believe” they are Christians, because they believe “in a god of some sort!” If it were true that the U.S. was comprised of this many ACTUAL Christians, this country would not be in the severe state of chaos and corruption that it faces today!

To truly know God, in the scriptural sense of the words, as the Apostle John is writing, is to have an INTIMATE acquaintance and communion with him as our Father AND Friend. Such knowledge and fellowship are always connected with sincere obedience. When this is lacking, the mere professing of knowing God is an evident falsehood. So, here is how we do know that we know him, the evidences that we have a saving knowledge of Christ is loyal obedience to his commandments.

1 John 2:4, “He who says, “I know Him,” and does not keep His commandments, is a liar, and the truth is not in him.”

As I stated above, we see it still even in our day and I am sure when John had his “revelation” he also saw that things were not going to change. Human nature has NOT changed since the days of Adam and only Christ Jesus can change the innermost nature of man. There were a lot of people even in John’s day, just years after Christ died and rose again, that claimed to be something they were not. There is that old saying that I and many of you grew up with; “your actions speak louder than your words.” In essence, that is exactly what John is trying to say.

Remember again, the Apostle is speaking to those that consider him their spiritual father. He called them, “little children,” an endearment reserved only for those special and close to his heart. He is saying to them, almost prophetically, “if you’re going to say it, but do not act it, you are a liar.”

I know this seems extremely harsh, but try to fathom what he is telling them. If you are that person, the one who speaks one thing and does another, then the truth is not in you. The truth as a WHOLE is not in you. You are either wholly truthful by your deeds, or you are a complete liar, a deceiver and there is no such thing as just a little bit a liar. You are either one or you are not. You either walk in truth, or you live in lies. Years ago I wrote an article for our local newspaper’s religious section entitled, “A Half-Truth is Still a Whole Lie.” You wouldn’t believe the responses I received because there are those who still truly believe there are justifications and gray areas concerning what is TRUTH. We live in an age when theories are tossed around, spoken of and written as if they are absolute fact when in essence they are still just assumptions!

So, remember again, we are not speaking about someone who just has a belief in Jesus. We are talking about those who say they have an intimate, close, relational knowledge of Him. If you say that, but your actions do not show it, then you lie; according to the Scriptures, plain, simple and to the point!

In this day and age, if I were to paraphrase what John wrote to most church-goers, they would say that I am judging and I am unloving and I do not have a right according to the Bible to do that. But John was very clear in stating the truth, and the proof of what we say, or what others say, is in the actions. Christians today are sometimes more concerned with being politically correct than identifying the truth or seemingly hurting someone’s feelings. John was not concerned as he was led by the Holy Spirit to state the truth.

As a Pastor, I have had to deal with people in real world situations. I have had many come to myself and my wife for counseling of one type or another. When presented with the truth, even in a very loving but firm way, I can attest, this will be the reaction you get. Most (I said most, not all) people want their advice sugar-coated and lifting them up. Encouragement IS important, for you never want to try and help someone by putting them down, but rather be honest with truth and do not withhold the hope and encouragement that they can rise above their problems. You will NEVER find an example in Scripture where our Heavenly Father tells His people something very serious, without also giving them the hope and assurance of something better! I have yet to find it, in regards to His relationship with His children!

So, does the Apostle’s comments sound like a contradiction to the loving person that we are to be as Christians? If you believe you understand the true concept of “Agape” love, you will realize that true love, Godly love, can only be expressed in the truth. There is a reason why this very same Apostle recorded the words of Jesus to some believing Jews when He stated, “If you abide in My word, you are My disciples indeed. And you shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.” – (John 8:31b-32).

We must judge ourselves first and foremost in the light of truth, to make sure that what we say lines up with what we are doing in actuality. Once we judge ourselves before God, we do not have to fear about being judged by others, or by God Himself!

We need to understand something else as well, and do not make the mistake that many do today. We do not come to know God by ONLY keeping His commandments. So many would have you step back into bondage to the Law. That is works, hoping that we will/can impress God enough to accept us. That is works without faith and a deception of the enemy of our souls. Hebrews 11:6, “But without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him.” Want to PLEASE God, want to be accepted by Him? God ALREADY accepts us. We walk in faith, knowing that He does accept us, thereby developing a willingness and desire to keep His commandments. The more we come to know Him in a real spiritual and intimate depth, the more we will please Him, because we love Him so much.

Knowing Him and loving Him, develops within us the ability to keep His commandments. God is telling us, and so much more today than probably any other period of time, that we should first, learn to love Him, get to know Him, and then all the rest will fall right into place. Let’s not get the “cart before the horse” so to speak. He has ALWAYS, first and foremost wanted us to have a deep and abiding relationship with Him.

Next post we will begin with 1 John chapter 2 verse 5.

*Unless otherwise noted, Scripture taken from the New King James Version®. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson. Used by permission. All rights reserved.
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God’s Grace In Action

Just wanted to share that God’s Grace in action is still alive and well! We received an unexpected blessing from the Lord Who used someone anonymously to bless us exceedingly. We try not to complain about our health and resources and just take it one day at a time and trust in our Heavenly Father’s ability to see us through.

Some days we are far more successful than others and either way the health issues to hinder us at times in what we would like to accomplish. Like the old adage goes, “the spirit is willing but the flesh is weak” is all too common to many (not all) people our age, but especially those fighting debilitating diseases or conditions.

YET – our Heavenly Father sees ALL and KNOWS ALL and we have tried to be faithful to teach that AND live by that. We give where we can, when we can and do so cheerfully and definitely these days at the direction of the Holy Spirit. Most times it isn’t much, but it is out of an obedient and cheerful heart. Sometimes it’s money and sometimes it is something of value to specific people, but always at the Lord’s prompting.

We don’t expect anything in return, cause we don’t make it a public spectacle and hardly, if ever, let others know about it. It is between us and the Lord and in fact most times do not even consider it much of gift or whatever.

We did get a Social Security raise for the first time in literally years. Medicare didn’t eat into it per se, but despite no Medicare premium increase the cost of medications went up drastically. Go figure. The cost of groceries we have literally seen rise from one visit to the store to another, yet we ARE NOT starving, we have our non-grocery goods when needed, just not a lot of anything for extras.

We try not to waste our money though like many people from time to time like to think what we have earned can give us some “entertainment” pleasure from time to time. We did away with our cable and went to strictly streaming TV/Movies which has been a BIG savings, and we are getting used to the change of not just turning the TV on and watching whatever just happens to be on. Now we can make our own decisions as to what to watch.

We still have unresolved medical issues, my lack of teeth and Susie’s teeth and hearing, yet God is still blessing amazingly and we even get a laugh now and then out of our situation.

AND still God speaks to people’s hearts, just because He loves us and tells them, this couple (whom you may not really know) I want you to bless them. The listener doesn’t necessarily ask why and we the receiver have learned (as hard as it is) to not ask why (of course we do, but have to let it go in God) and so God’s Grace continues to act in unexpected ways, always to remind us, whom He loves, that as a Father, He is ever present and ever concerned with our day to day situation.

Susie and I have kids that love AND serve the Lord and are growing daily in His Wisdom. We have a Grandson that loves and is serving the Lord and learning as we all do through everyday life experiences about the care and presence of a Heavenly Father Who cares exceedingly for him! How could any family be more blessed??!! Other than a great reunion around the Father’s Banquet table can’t think of another blessing greater!

Just wanted to share that God’s Grace doesn’t end when you have reached a certain spiritual age, or a natural age for that matter. God’s love is CONSTANTLY and consistently touching lives to show His presence and mercy!

To ALL my family, by Brothers and Sisters in Christ Jesus, and may Facebook and Internet friends, be blessed richly and abundantly through and in Christ Jesus!!!

Also posted on Facebook as a personal post.
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I John 2:2

1 John 2:2, “And He Himself is the propitiation for our sins, and not for ours only but also for the whole world.”

In the first verse we discussed at length the Advocacy of Christ Jesus. He is our Interceder, our spiritual Lawyer, as it were. But we need to remember when we try to analogize spiritual concepts, and especially when it comes to the Character and Nature of Christ Jesus, that even a close analogy in the natural, falls way short of what is real in the spiritual.

In this second verse, John tells us how Christ’s advocacy is extended to mankind. The Apostle tells us that Christ is the PROPITIATION for our sins. Now, this is not a common word and definitely not for the age that we live in today. In simplicity and in essence, the word ‘propitiation’ means, satisfaction.

We know from past lessons that God is a JUST God and Father. He is gracious and merciful, yes, but He is most definitely just, for we could not have or even need mercy and grace if it weren’t for His absolute adherence to justice for unrighteousness and sin. We can not state it emphatically enough that God Almighty, our Creator, ABHORS sin.

Since God is a just God, He demands recompense for disobeying His commandments and literally His Word. He loves, beyond measure, His creation, BUT, that very love demands that we be holy as He Himself is Holy! This is something that in our fallen and sinful nature, we cannot accomplish on our own and by ourselves! Ultimately, the penalty for falling short IS justice, death! The Apostle Paul stated it this way, “for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, …..” — Romans 3:23.

But, Christ Jesus, being our Advocate, our “stand-in” is the SATISFIER of our debt, the justice owed us! This is also where the analogy of a lawyer is insufficient, for what lawyer, in this world, would take the justice, the punishment, the debt we deserve and take it upon themselves!

In the Father’s eyes, our debt for sinfulness is satisfied in atoning sacrifice of Jesus Christ. The blood that needs to be shed for the sins of another, is the satisfaction necessary to appease the just-ness of our Heavenly Father. This brings the Advocacy of Christ Jesus to another level! He doesn’t just PLEAD our case for righteousness to the Father, but He Himself, became the debt “paid-in-full” as well!

This means that the barrier that is built between our relationship with our Heavenly Father is removed by the satisfaction of Christ’s sacrifice. The GUILT that is laid up against us, is no longer an obstacle and a relationship once lost is and can be restored in Jesus Christ’s sacrifice of shed blood! Simply put, we are no longer guilty of sin.

Yet, John writes on; this satisfaction of the debt paid is not just for us only, which if you consider is priceless in and of itself, but the satisfaction that Christ purchased was for the WHOLE WORLD!! Now don’t misinterpret this, which could be easy to do. This does not mean that the whole world is saved, but it DOES mean that the price Christ paid would satisfy the debt for the whole world! This means, the atonement that Christ paid for, can extend as wide and as far as necessary for any and all who wish to ACCEPT as payment this gift that Christ is willing to give to Redeem mankind to God. Man, individually still has to make the conscious and individual choice that this satisfaction offered is for them.

Christ’s Advocacy is limited to those who accept and believe Him, even though the propitiation was offered to the whole world. Sadly, there will always be those who reject, for whatever reason, the offer of Christ Jesus’ Advocacy on their behalf. Doubt and unbelief in the simplicity of God’s plan is the basis for a great majority, but also, self-centeredness, which is the opposite of love is another major problem. Mankind as a whole does not want to surrender their own will, even if the surrendering is for their eternal good, but rather would like to believe they could “make it on their own” despite that the satisfaction that God Almighty demands is found in Christ Jesus and in Him only!

If this doesn’t move the heart of a true believer and cause us to hit our knees in prayer and intercession for those lost, then nothing can or will move us!

Remember, Christ’s sacrifice is AVAILABLE to the whole world, but the sad truth is, if the whole world did accept Christ, there would not be a reason to preach and spread the gospel throughout the world!

In closing, I want to remind everyone of something that I read or picked up long ago about the sacrifice of Jesus. Remember that superscription that was written on the Cross that Christ died on, was in Hebrew, the language of God’s chosen people, His children. But, it was also written in Greek and Latin, the languages of the “then known” world! In essence proclaiming to the whole world that Jesus Christ’s sacrifice is suitable for the whole world.

So, when John adds to the second verse that Christ’s sacrifice is satisfaction to not just us, but the whole world, he had a first-hand mental image to draw from!!!

Next post we will begin with 1 John chapter 2 verse 3.

*Unless otherwise noted, Scripture taken from the New King James Version®. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson. Used by permission. All rights reserved.
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Church – The Body of Christ

2 Samuel 7:1-7, “Now it came about when the king lived in his house, and the LORD had given him rest on every side from all his enemies, that the king said to Nathan the prophet, “See now, I dwell in a house of cedar, but the ark of God dwells within tent curtains.” Nathan said to the king, “Go, do all that is in your mind, for the LORD is with you.”

“But in the same night the word of the LORD came to Nathan, saying, “Go and say to My servant David, ‘Thus says the LORD, “Are you the one who should build Me a house to dwell in? For I have not dwelt in a house since the day I brought up the sons of Israel from Egypt, even to this day; but I have been moving about in a tent, even in a tabernacle. Wherever I have gone with all the sons of Israel, did I speak a word with one of the tribes of Israel, which I commanded to shepherd My people Israel, saying, ‘Why have you not built Me a house of cedar?'”

Acts 5:12, “At the hands of the apostles many signs and wonders were taking place among the people; and they were all with one accord in Solomon’s portico.”

The Church Survives Without the Building

On Christmas day, 1983, an uncontrollable blaze destroyed a majestic, old German church. It was built in A.D. 1140, when Florence and northern Italy flourished under the Medicis; when humanists reaped a renaissance in ancient manuscripts from Constantinople; twelve years before da Vinci was born, 35 years before Michelangelo; and 52 before Savanorola. Authorities determined that a Christmas tree, traditionally lighted with candles, must have started the blaze. Hundreds of worshippers had attended services there just hours before the destruction.

Though the church building perished, God’s church survived. After all, a church building provides a meeting place – not meaning – for Christians. Their relationship with Christ, not with a structure, gives them identity and defines their mission. That is why the trappings of Christianity (religion) may perish: by fire, theft, flood, or old age, but the Church survives. All outward signs of God’s kingdom can fail – buildings, hospitals, schools, mission stations – but Christianity goes on going on. The Holy Spirit within empowers God’s people, and that can never be destroyed!

Courtesy of Speaker’s Sourcebook of New Illustrations by Virgil Hurley copyright © 1995 by Word, Incorporated. Used by permission.
*Unless otherwise noted, Scripture taken from the NEW AMERICAN STANDARD BIBLE®, Copyright © 1960,1962,1963,1968,1971,1972,1973,1975,1977,1995 by The Lockman Foundation. Used by permission.

Applicable Quotations

The Church is not a gallery for the exhibition of eminent Christians, but a school for the education of imperfect ones. – Beecher

The living Church, though never neat, keeps God’s world from complete disaster.

Unless there are people who are responding to the love of God as revealed in Christ and so are worshipping Him, the Church is not very important. – Blake

We don’t go to church; we are the church. – Southcott

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I John 2:1

1 John 2:1, “My little children, these things I write to you, so that you may not sin. And if anyone sins, we have an Advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous.”

Though in our Bibles, this is the beginning of a new chapter, it is actually a continuation of the previous verse, but also, at the same time, a look forward to what he is about to share with his followers.

Notice that John addresses the believers as “my little children” for he is talking as a father would discipling the flesh of his flesh, and as joint heirs with Christ, we are one with one another! In his discourse, you can clearly see that he cared and loved his brothers and sisters and wanted them to remember that we actually are one IN Christ, and thus we ARE brothers and sisters together.

John stresses the point again that he is writing so that “we may NOT sin.” He is not saying that just hearing him will keep us from sin, but rather his exhortations will allow us to make the educated CHOICE to NOT sin! Sin is always with us, around us and temptation to sin comes from every aspect of the world. We must view sin as God, our Father views it, with total and absolute intolerance for we must remember that God’s commandment to us is as the Apostle Peter exhorts, “but as He who called you is holy, you also be holy in all your conduct, because it is written, “Be holy, for I am holy.” – 1 Peter 1:15-16. God is perfect and He demands that we be perfect, yet He knows that we cannot within ourselves be that perfection.

Remember, in the words of Jesus we are “to go and sin no more,” NOT “go and sin as little as possible.” Our goal, our motivation then, should be perfection. Our actions and our conduct, as Peter exhorts, should be one that is TOWARDS perfection. It is truly a heart or spirit attitude that we should adopt. But remember this, our Lord KNOWS our frailty, our flaws and weaknesses and in His unbounding and limitless love, He has graciously made provisions for us in the event of failure due to those weaknesses and flaws.

Our effort, our striving should be to the goal of not sinning, not choosing the way of sin as the path we walk. Yet, the beloved Apostle continues on with the thought of sin with this statement, “and if anyone sins,” simply because he knows that sin is apart of the human nature that our reborn spiritual nature is constant at war with. But notice he states, IF, anyone sins. There is a lot of power and principle packed into that simple little word, IF!

You see, we strive, we press on, as the Apostle Paul has told us, toward the goal. That word “if” has at least two implications in what the Apostle John is saying; we don’t HAVE to sin. We have the ability to no longer choose the path of sin, as Christ Jesus gave us the power to actually choose to NOT remain in bondage or as a slave to sin. That word “if” is not predicting the fall back into sin, but rather leaves it open to the individual.

The other implication is that due to our human nature, there is a real possibility that we just MIGHT sin. John is being very pragmatic and is not being unrealistic to man’s abilities in the slightest. He is demonstrating that even though we have the freedom to choose and are no longer in bondage, sometimes our choices can still be in conflict with the goal of perfection.

Then the Apostle continues the explanation concerning the grace that our Heavenly Father has given. “And if anyone sins, we have an Advocate with the Father.” We have an ADVOCATE. For those not totally aware, an advocate is one who comes to the side of another in a time of need in order to help. It is usually associated with one offering legal help and actually in this case, since sin is the breaking of God’s law(s), it is a legal remedy we need. But, it does go much deeper than just a stranger defending us against charges leveled at us. We will get into that in just a little bit.

We now know what an advocate is, but consider the rest of this verse which is extremely important and especially when meditating on the Living Word; “we have an Advocate with the Father.” John, who is being “patriarchal” in his writing, is not saying, “we have an Advocate with God.” He is clearly making the distinction that that our help is being met with our Father! Think about this for a moment. We all have an individual image of God, Almighty dependent upon our relationship and knowledge of Him. But, our ultimate image as His child should be one of Father and the Apostle is reiterating this fact.

Consider this; one cannot undo their birth. Think about that for a moment. Once born, your Father will always be your Father, whether estranged or not. In the spiritual sense, once you have been reborn, as Jesus stated to Nicodemus, “That which is born of the flesh is flesh, and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit. Do not marvel that I said to you, ‘You must be born again.’ – John 3:6-7. Therefore the implication is solid, God, Almighty IS our Heavenly Father, forever. So then, our Advocate is with our Heavenly Father and the “legal” implication is the restoration of our relationship (broken due to sin) with our Father.

This is one of the reasons why we need to understand, from our Heavenly Father’s perspective the devastation of sin in our spiritual lives. It breaks the relationship, the fellowship we have with God, Almighty who IS our Heavenly Father. This is why our heart/spirit goal should be to strive for perfection and the graciousness of our Father has created/instituted an Advocate for us so that the relationship and fellowship will always remain intact even when that fellowship becomes broken due to our inherent weakness!

There is another attribute our Advocate takes care of for us; guilt and the despair and hopelessness that arises from that broken fellowship with our Heavenly Father. In the original Greek, the word ‘parakletos’ (Strong’s Greek #3875) is used for Advocate and it literally means: an intercessor, consoler:–advocate, comforter. Notice, this is EXACTLY the same term used for the Holy Spirit!

When we sin, it is no small matter. We are surrendering to that which we have been set free from and that in itself is enough to break the Father’s heart, especially when you consider what it took for the advocate to become the ADVOCATE! This leads us to the rest of the verse, “we have an Advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous.” He is no ordinary Advocate, but rather the One, who at the Father’s behest, came to earth, died, and rose again all to be able to intercede on our behalf.

Satan loves to accuse the brethren and you will find it from the first book until the last when he is defeated and his accusations with him, but – when we sin, we give him fuel for those accusations, again, another reason why sin is so horrendous in the sight of God, because we ARE His children! But again – our Advocate is a RIGHTEOUS One! There is NO sin in Him and never was other than the sin that He took upon His body and purged them on the cursed tree for each and every one of us. His sacrifice can be summed up thus: (a) He bore our sins in His body, (b) He took upon Himself our punishment, (c) God’s wrath and justice against sin was thus poured out upon Calvary.

Because of this very fact, and the fact that Jesus Christ BECAME righteousness, when Satan brings accusations against the children of our Heavenly Father, our Advocate, our Righteous Defender, our Intercessor, can point to the work that WAS finished, once for all, on Calvary, and state to the Father with Authority on our behalf, “Charge that to My account!”

One thing in closing; this is not to make it easier for us TO sin, knowing we have this Mighty Advocate, for we must always remember the price He paid to become our Advocate. This SHOULD make it easier though for us to strive for the goal of perfection, to make it easier to CHOOSE to not sin, but knowing that if in our weakness we do fail, His strength is enough to help us overcome!

Next post we will begin with 1 John chapter 2 verse 2.

*Unless otherwise noted, Scripture taken from the New King James Version®. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson. Used by permission. All rights reserved.
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Waging War

This is AWESOME and took the power of the Holy Spirit. Which in and of itself is surprising because we should be able to STAND on God’s Word just out of obedience! We are NOT getting enough teaching on spiritual warfare because it is NOT politically correct and so many say it is hateful, yet, we ARE exhorted to fight EACH AND EVERY day because as you pointed out, we ARE soldiers.

One of my wife’s and my guilty pleasures is the original TV show, NCIS. The main character, Leroy Jethro Gibbs (Mark Harmon) is always saying, once a Marine always a Marine. There are no EX-Marines.

So it is with a TRUE Christian. You sign up to be a FOLLOWER of Christ, a Disciple of Christ, you take orders from Christ through the Holy Spirit. There is no EX, you adopt a lifestyle and you live it until the natural body gives way!!!

My grandson is a Military Policeman in the Army. He works 12 -18 hours, sometimes more a day, because his command tells him that he is needed. He doesn’t question even though he gets weary and tired at times, but he obeys. He has been getting commendations and awards every time he turns around almost, why, because he entered into that lifestyle (just as he did Christianity) knowing full well he would be following the orders of someone else.

He is fond of telling his grandma and I that he didn’t do it to be a weekend warrior (not denigrating those who chose to serve part-time) but for the analogy, he chose to go into it full time just as he did when he accepted Jesus Christ!

We have too many weekend “Christian” warriors in the Church and they will never have a person’s back because they are too interested in getting their obligation out of the way so they can get back to “real” life!

Christ Jesus wants and CALLS those who are willing to GIVE up their “real” lives to follow Him for the rest of their lives!

This is a GREAT and much needed message. Thank you for it. Thanks brother Bruce R. Mills for posting this. Great, great post!! God bless you Pastor Matthews!!

Matthew Winters (Comeback Pastor)

This post will be a big strong, so you might want to put your big boy/girl pants on if you’re easily offended. Maybe you are part of a Christian denomination that downplays spiritual warfare, and this will be uncomfortable to you. If you are a true follower of Christ, some things ought to bother you. I’m not about to get political or rant on a particular sin. That is a waste of time. I do want to provoke us all to do what we are supposed to do and fight the good fight of faith.

If you are a Christian, you are a soldier. The Bible says so in 2 Timothy. So why do we “chillax” when all hell is breaking loose around us? We legislate morality to pastors and small group leaders. We let the schools raise our children while we think about ourselves and what we want when…

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I John 1:9-10

1 John 1:9, “If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.”

Confession is an ACTION of acknowledgement, not just in our thoughts but also with our lips. There it is again, it IS an action. To confess is an act that requires something to be accomplished. Many people today recognize in their hearts that they have sinned or at times continue to sin, but they do not always acknowledge it with their lips. Now, don’t get me wrong, I am not saying that we must all kneel before a confessor and tell them everything that we have done wrong; even though there are denominations that adhere to that principle, it is not Scriptural to go to a “confessor” so that they may absolve us before God, our Heavenly Father.

1 Timothy 2:5, “For there is one God and one Mediator between God and men, the Man Christ Jesus,….”

Before I was saved, or born-again, I was conflicted with this situation for I knew that I had done wrong in the sight of God, but I never did feel comfortable telling another MAN the specifics of what I had done, no matter his station or office within the church. It was then that I was led to the Scriptures and shown WHO was truly ordained to hear my “confession” and thus my step of true faith in the redeeming power of Jesus Christ began. I know the arguments that some denominations make for this “necessity” of seeking a confessor, but I am here today to tell you that the Scriptures DO NOT lie and only ONE is able to redeem us or absolve us of our guilt of sin! It is not my truth, not my word, but rather it is God’s Word of TRUTH that has stood for millennia.

But concerning our confession; we confess to the Lord ALWAYS when we have done wrong by His Word, AND we confess towards one another WHEN we have wronged them directly. It is important that when we sin against a brother or sister, we confess that fact to them thus allowing them the opportunity to forgive us. The Lord knows our heart, but it is the action of confessing to Him and admitting, thus in effect, siding with Him, that we have sinned against Him and in turn that opens our hearts to the act of forgiveness that comes from Him.

I want to take a moment though to make a distinction here concerning “our sins,” as the Apostle is writing to us. Remember, John is already speaking to us as those who already WALK in fellowship with the Lord. Even though he doesn’t use the term, we can make the leap or assumption that his is talking to us as “Christians.”

Our sins, those sins that are inherent as well as our past deeds of unrighteousness, have been JUDICIALLY forgiven us by the sacrifice of Jesus on the Cross as we accepted that sacrifice in faith for the penalty that He offered up for us. By judicially is meant that our forgiveness, our penalty paid for, is excepted and granted by God, Almighty, acting as Judge. God looks upon us, as we acknowledge our faith in the redemption of Christ Jesus, as bought and paid for with the price of His (Jesus Christ’s) Blood.

Now compare that once forever sacrifice for ALL of our sins, past, present and future, with the ongoing struggles and temptations that do at times produce sin AFTER our conversion. Remember, we are no longer SLAVES to sin, (Romans 6:16-23), but that doesn’t mean we still don’t sin, whether it is by commission, omission, in our thoughts, in secret or even in public. We must still confess those things to the Lord, for even if done in secret or in thought where no man may see, God sees as no man does, for He sees the heart!

But here is the thing; God Almighty, has become God, our Heavenly Father once we have accepted Christ Jesus as Lord and Redeemer. Thus, the confession we make AFTER conversion is as a wayward child to a loving and caring Father, or parent. I have read it somewhere long ago, that PARENTAL forgiveness, unlike the judicial, once given, always done, is ongoing and a means to KEEP our relationship fresh and clean, between our Heavenly Father and us as His children.

Remember what the writer in Proverbs says in Proverbs 28:13, “He who covers his sins will not prosper, But whoever confesses and forsakes them will have mercy.” We NEED to continue to confess our wrong-doings, our mistakes (not all sin is willful), to receive mercy and cleansing! This is where the second part of verse 9 comes to bear, “He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” It is not just the forgiveness, which we have received at the price of Christ’s Blood, but He is faithful and just to also CLEANSE us from all unrighteousness! What a promise; what an assurance within our relationship with the Father through Christ Jesus, to not just RECEIVE the forgiveness, but to be clean as if the sin had never, ever, even occurred!!

It is the unrighteousness, the lack of holiness that keeps us from the presence, from a perfect relationship with God Almighty, our Creator, as our Heavenly Father. Admitting our sins, our sinfulness through the act of confession is putting our faith in Christ Jesus to action by siding with His assessment of what is and isn’t sin! Thus re-establishing what was lost in the Garden, a RELATIONSHIP with our Heavenly Father. This IS the fellowship John talks about in his Epistle. This is the fellowship that begins IN the Father and extends to every brother and sister who shares in that fellowship with the Father!! We truly become, what we were created to be, a family, sons and daughters, heirs to the Kingdom of God!

1 John 1:10, “If we say that we have not sinned, we make Him a liar, and His word is not in us.”

Here John is reiterating verse 8 as he is apt to do in his writings, but also going one step further. Verse 8 is attesting to the fact that man is a sinful creature, thanks to Adam whose legacy we walk in. Verse 10 is also stating that we have actively participated in sin as well. Notice verse 8 says, “if we say we have no sin,” which is a noun stating possession of something, but verse 10 states, “if we say that we have not sinned,” which is definitely a verb or an action. We have actively participated in sin, so Adam is not only to blame, but we ourselves then become accountable for our own actions. So it is not just the legacy left to us, but our own actions that attest to our guilt. This is another reason why we look at the forgiveness of sin judicially as well as parentally. As stated previously, God as our Judge has forgiven us the inherent sin which is in our nature through our faith and commitment to Jesus Christ. BUT – He also forgives our sins, as we confess them to Him, as our Creator/Parent, our Heavenly Father!

As John states, if we deny the truth of that statement concerning sin, we not only deceive ourselves as verse 8 says, but we in essence make God, our Father, out to be a liar. We CALL Him a liar! We don’t need to say it out loud, but we call Him a liar by the very act of denying the truth of our sinfulness. That old saying that “actions speak louder than words,” has never been more true in the eyes of the world then. In essence, as the world watches and sees our lives in action, they DO infer that first, we are hypocrites and second, by assumption we don’t believe God, thus making Him out to be a liar; if we live in accordance with denying the truth about our sinfulness.

There’s that old saying that Christians often use, that “we’re not perfect, just forgiven.” Though true at its core, we must not rely on something that to the world appears superficial, but since we have been freed from the SLAVERY to the bonds of sin, we must make every effort to walk in the freedom of what we didn’t have in those chains, and that is the freedom of righteousness. Righteousness, right-standing AND right-doing in the sight of God and man is no longer outside of our grasp, for we are no longer bound to unrighteousness! Yes we still fall to temptation from time to time, whether it be in our thoughts or deeds, secret or in public, for we ARE still a work in progress, BUT – we do so in the eyes of the world around us and this makes our confession of sin lining up with the Lord’s so much more important. We show the world, or we should be that the STIGMA of sin is no longer a burden to us, for remember what the Apostle Paul told us, “But where sin abounded, grace abounded much more,” – Romans 5:20b.

If we through our actions and lack of confession, deny our sinfulness we not only make God Almighty out to be a liar, but we also declare to all that His word does not abide in us despite what we say aloud. His Word is Truth, absolutely, and His Word is Life, absolutely, but if we do not believe that we have sin and do sin, that Life is truly NOT in us.

When you look at the simplicity of these scriptures, and the Apostle John truly did write them simply, they are very much black and white; there is NO grey area in these verses and thus it is very easy to see the difference between a true Christian who is WALKING in the Light of God’s Truth and one who only says they are a Christian but yet still walking in darkness. True fellowship, of which John is writing, whether with God, our Father, or one another as brothers and sisters is not a complicated thing. True fellowship is relationship, pure and simple and in any relationship, you KNOW who your family is; you KNOW your Father, you KNOW your brothers and sisters. Freedom from sin, agreeing with the Father through confession, frees us from the obstacles and blinders of not knowing who our family is!

We can see clearly and especially more so today due to the speed of all types of media at our fingertips what is happening today has happened even in John’s day, and his writings are a warning to us that human nature does not change outside of God’s help. Many false teachers and believers wanted to be associated with or acknowledged as Christians, most likely because of the growing prestige within the burgeoning Christian community, but they did not want to live by the truth of God’s word. Sadly, as I stated and as John warned we have the same thing today. Many people, for whatever their motives and reason, want to be acknowledged as Christians, but they do not want to live by even the simple precepts listed in Scripture; and believe me, they have all sorts of excuses to justify their beliefs. When you have been involved in any type of ministry long enough, you hear every justification of why they choose to live the way they do! The scriptures are outdated, they no longer apply to the century in which we live, the translations are all wrong and so we cannot rely on the truth or accuracy of them, and on and on and on!

However, the fact remains, we have sin, and we have sinned, and this is not meant to destroy us as the enemy would have us believe, because as the Apostle Paul reminded us, God’s grace abounds more and our Lord ALWAYS prepares positive way out of our situations. When the Holy Spirit, Whose job it is to convict us, NOT guilt us, but to CONVINCE us of the Truth, gives us a condition for why we should be punished or penalized, He ALWAYS gives us a way to avoid that penalty or punishment through Christ Jesus! God has ALWAYS worked with His creation this way; IF my people who are called by my name, should do this or that, THEN I will hear them, come to them, save them, heal them, and they WILL continue to be my people!

In Christ Jesus we now have an advocate, an intercessor, between us and the Father who is faithful to forgive us, AND cleanse us from ALL sin, and it is through Him and Him alone that we can have a relationship with the very Creator of all that is, which was the Heavenly Father’s plan from the very beginning. This part of being called His, is no secret, it is not complicated and it is available to everyone and anybody who so desires to have this awesome fellowship!

Next post we will begin with 1 John chapter 2 verse 1.

*Unless otherwise noted, Scripture taken from the New King James Version®. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson. Used by permission. All rights reserved.
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“Why is Loving Others Often So Difficult?”

This was reposted by my Brother in Christ, Bruce R. Mills from an original post by Got Questions? I am thrilled whenever I see other resources explaining the difference between REAL Godly love and what the world ASSUMES is love. This article explains it brilliantly!!

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Original post @  https://www.gotquestions.org/loving-others.html

Question: “Why is loving others often so difficult?”


Loving others can be extremely difficult at times. A common phrase to refer to those people that we consistently find ourselves challenged to love is “extra grace required” people. But even people we generally like can sometimes be difficult to love. The main reason we run into difficulties in loving others is sin, both ours and that of those we try to love. Humans are fallen creatures. Apart from God and His power, we are selfish, and loving ourselves comes much more naturally than loving others. But love is not selfish; it seeks the best for others (1 Corinthians 13:5Philippians 2:3). Battling both our own selfishness and sin tendencies and dealing with the selfishness and sin tendencies…

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I John 1:7-8

1 John 1:7, “But if we walk in the light as He is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus Christ His Son cleanses us from all sin.”

Praise God for His wonderful promises! Here we see the flip side to verse six. In the scriptures you will always see it worded either, “but” or “therefore.” God, our loving Father, never, ever leaves us with a word of correction or admonition, without giving us a word of encouragement and/or promise to follow through. Every time He instructs us in the ways of righteousness, He is so faithful to show us the benefits or rewards.

Now look at this action statement! But if we walk, if we move forward in that light or at the very least toward that light (and not just say we are) as He Himself does —. There’s our example. He doesn’t just say do this or else. He always gives us a blueprint to follow. Always. Jesus Christ came to earth to bridge the gap between the flesh and the spirit. What could not be done in and of ourselves in our flesh, can be accomplished through Him and in Him. If we walk in the light, and remember the light is God our Father, just as Jesus did all and said all in and through the Father, than we truly have fellowship one with another, and not just because we say we do. Those that follow the same path, in life in general, can be said to be in fellowship with one another; and so it is when we are following the path of Christ Jesus. Those that truly are following that same path are in fellowship with not just who they are following (Christ Jesus) but with one another as well!

Look at one of the most precious, one of the greatest promises that follows those actions: the blood of Jesus Christ cleanses us from all sin! This is something that I have taught for so long. Just as James writes in his letter that we must put forth works to demonstrate our faith, John is saying the same thing. If you walk in the light, as Jesus Himself is in and of the Light (of God), His blood will and does cleanse us, continually. Think about it; as we walk, we are cleansed. If we depart from the path, there can be no more cleansing. As long as we are in fellowship, there is the promise of cleansing.

We can confess our belief in Jesus Christ in accordance with Romans 10:9, but sadly that is where so many people who call themselves Christians stop. With just the confessing. Just saying that Jesus Christ died for our sins is not enough, for in truth, that is an historical fact. Those witnesses to the time, though they weren’t actual disciples recorded the happenings and even the commentary of the time of Jesus and His crucifixion. There are very few people in the day we live in that do not believe Jesus was a man and an historical figure as well.

Also, we must be careful that even though we ARE disciples of Jesus and we KNOW that Jesus and God are One, just because those around us believe in a “God” does not make that knowledge a redemptive belief! It is Jesus, the Anointed One AND the action of His blood washing us clean that redeems us. It is that confession along with not just the belief, but a belief that eventually evolves into actually KNOWING, that sanctifies and cleanses us from our sin! We must also accept what verse 10 in Romans 10 also says. With the heart man believes, it has to start there, but it comes from the heart (mind) first, then there has to be actions and those actions result in what Paul calls righteousness, or right standing with God. If you look in Romans 10:9-10, you will see that belief takes place first in the heart of man. Then comes the acts of righteousness, and only after that comes the confession. I know many of you think I’m a broken record when it comes to certain verses, but these verses I repeat time and time again have bearing on the soundness of so many other Scriptures. “For out of the abundance of the heart his mouth speaks.” – Luke 6:45b.

That is exactly what John is saying. You believe in Christ, which then motivates you to walk, or act, according to the light of God, which in its very actions become righteousness, at the same time as you are “walking in righteousness” the blood of Jesus cleanses and washes away all your sin. Now mind you, don’t be confused; it is NOT the actions, the works, that washes away your sin, but the FAITH behind those actions! That puts us then in fellowship with one another as well as with Christ Jesus, thus with Jesus’ Heavenly Father, God Almighty.

I hope you can see as you study these verses, that our walk with the Lord is a serious matter and not one to be taken lightly. It is a very dramatic lifestyle change. We gain our strength and drive from not only Christ Jesus’ example, but also His Spirit. When we actually follow His example, when we walk as He walked, that is when we can claim fellowship one with another and with Him. John is showing us that it is obvious, it can be seen, when someone is in fellowship and when someone is not. It is not a matter of judging in the sense of passing a sentence on someone, but it is a matter of being able to judge by discerning the truth in what we see. If someone calls me his brother but is living a life of sin, a life based on deeds done in the dark, he is not a brother no matter how much I love him. Future verses will clarify and demonstrate why this is important in the Body of Christ.

1 John 1:8, “If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us.”

Here again, John is countering the false teachings that were cropping up in his day. Many false teachers were teaching that man is not inherently sinful, his spirit and soul is free from sin at birth, we are all born good, it is only due to upbringing and circumstances that man falls into sin and that because the material being, the flesh is sinful. The Apostle is very forceful, “if we say we have NO sin;” no sin whatsoever, then we are deceived. The interesting part of this verse is the word sin; it is a noun, denoting something that we most definitely possess. John is NOT talking in this verse about the act of sinning, the “sins” we commit (that comes in verse 9) but rather is speaking in defiance to the false teachings that we do HAVE in our possession a sinful nature; a nature that exists already and does not have to be taught to sin!

But as we see in the previous verse, “if we walk in the light—, the blood of Jesus cleanses us from all sin.” The sin nature AND the ability to continue to sin, wantonly. First, we have to recognize that we are sinful creatures to be able to even say that we walk in the light, it demands acknowledgement. Just as belief and confession lead to redemption, the acknowledgement that we NEED redemption because we ARE sinful in nature is crucial. Second, and it stands to reason, there would be no need for Jesus’ blood to cleanse us from sin if in fact we had no sin. We would not even have to identify ourselves with the propitiatory sacrifice of Jesus Christ in that case then. Remember, at that moment in time, the sacrifice and the shedding of Blood that Christ voluntarily made, took care of the sinful nature AND sins of those in the past that had faith in the coming Messiah, those at the presence of Jesus’ time and those of us who believe(d) in our modern time and into the future until the last one to be redeemed, is redeemed right before the second-coming of Christ Jesus!!! One sacrifice, to cover all times! What a blessed and magnificent plan the Father in His loving mercy and grace had in store for those who chose/choose Jesus in faith!!!

I want to make a statement that I read a long time ago and have written down in my notes, but sadly I do not remember the source (it is not mine originally); *“conversion does not mean the eradication of the sin nature. Rather it means the implanting of the new, divine nature, with power to live victoriously over indwelling sin.” The Apostle Paul wrote it this way; “Therefore, from now on, we regard no one according to the flesh. Even though we have known Christ according to the flesh, yet now we know Him thus no longer. Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new.” – 2 Corinthians 5:16-17.

Remember when reading this letter, that John is writing this letter to those he considers as brothers and sisters in the faith, followers of Christ Jesus. John is very clear to establish an order. If you say that you are a Christian, it is automatically understood in his writing, that you are a Christian because you have accepted Christ’s sacrifice on the cross, which was necessary to our fellowship AND redemption. He is reiterating a known fact to Christians because of the false teaching that was already spreading and taking root in his time. We need to be freed from ALL sin, and Christ Jesus IS the only way. God’s plan, acted upon by Jesus took into account EVERY stain that separates us from the Heavenly Father!

If we believe the lie that sin is non-existent, as the world system and the devil would have us believe, than we are only deceiving ourselves, because we are surely not deceiving God Almighty. Again as in verse 6, we are not PRACTICING (remember, practice makes perfect; but you have to practice) the truth if we believe the lie, and in reality we are walking in darkness. The truth then is most assuredly not in us.

Next post we will begin with 1 John chapter 1 verse 9.

*Copyright to original author, unknown.
**Unless otherwise noted, Scripture taken from the New King James Version®. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson. Used by permission. All rights reserved.
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Hey WordPress, We are Humans

I just found out that a Sister in the Lord passed away. Didn’t realize it would affect me so, because at times, and especially concerning or responses to politics we had our differences. We did NOT have differences however when it came to actively loving others with unconditional love. She was a great writer, but an AWESOME poet with sensitivity, insight and inspiration. Her spirit will definitely remain in her writing. For her family, my heartfelt prayers and thanks for sharing her with us; she WILL be missed!

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