May 15, 2019

Today you should read: 1 John 4:7-21

The word love is thrown around our culture all the time. People will say, “I love Lexington, I love pizza, I love my car, I love…” fill in the blank. But love is more than just how we feel about something. Love is an action. Love takes sacrifice. We may enjoy all of those things, but are we willing to sacrifice our own life for it? Listen, I enjoy pizza, but I can also say I am not dying for it.

There are three things I want us to see from our passage today:

  1. God is the source of love.

Our passage says “God is love” meaning that love comes from God. He did not just create love, He is love. So the question is, if you want to find love, why would you not look toward the source?

  1. God’s love was displayed by sacrifice.

Verse 9 shows that God’s love was put on display when Jesus went to the cross. He showed love by Jesus being the propitiation for our sins. There is no greater love than this.

  1. We love because He first loved us.

If God can show His love to us even while we sin against Him, why can we not extend the same kind of love to others? The way we love people can lead to Gospel conversations.

Who can you share God’s love with this week? What steps will you take to love people better?

By: Brice Stockton — Student Ministry Apprentice

May 14, 2019

Today you should read: 1 John 4:1-6

Test the Spirits

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. (v.1)

More than ever before, you and I cannot trust everyone who claims to know God.  Jesus told us this:

Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father who is in heaven will enter.  Matthew 7:21

We need to protect our families and our disciples.  So how do you know which are legitimately connected with Jesus and those who aren’t?  Verse 2 tells us:

…every spirit that confesses that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is from God

Jesus is the test – ask the hard questions, do the research.  Do they believe in and stand for Jesus as the Son of God? The only way to heaven?

Jude tells us:

Beloved, while I was making every effort to write you about our common salvation, I felt the necessity to write to you appealing that you contend earnestly for the faith which was once for all handed down to the saints. For certain persons have crept in unnoticed, those who were long beforehand marked out for this condemnation, ungodly persons who turn the grace of our God into licentiousness and deny our only Master and Lord, Jesus Christ.  Jude 1:3-4

Here’s a few standards for you to consider: (from cpclex.org)

JESUS CHRIST

We believe that Jesus is the only begotten Son of God, was born of a virgin, is wholly God and wholly man, lived a sinless life, died as a substitutionary sacrifice for the sins of mankind, was buried, arose from the grave and ascended into Heaven. (JOHN 1:143:16MATT 4LUKE 4HEB 4:152 COR 5:21)

We believe in the literal, bodily return of Jesus Christ to earth. (REVELATION 19)

We believe that salvation is a gift of grace from God, received through faith in the Lord Jesus Christ.  (ROMANS 6:23TITUS 3:5EPHESIANS 2:8-9JOHN 1:12)

Don’t let this make you afraid – John reminds us of a great promise in verse 4…

Greater is He who is in you than he who is in the world. (v.4)

By: Graham Withers — Pastoral Ministry Associate

May 13, 2019

Today you should read: 1 John 3:11-24

One of the themes throughout the book of 1 John is the correlation between belief and action. Today, we look at the correlation between how you love others and what that says about your love for God.

Loving others is juxtaposed with the hatred that leads to murder, with Cain and Able being the Biblical example. The hatred of others is described as murder, abiding in death, and not a true believer! This might seem harsh to us, but I wonder if it only seems harsh because we don’t take seriously enough the correlation that the Bible draws between how we love others and how we love God.

Verse 16 shows that the reason that we are to love others is that Christ laid down his life for us. If Jesus was able to sacrifice for sinners, then surely we are able to love others.

Verse 18 shows that love is not something that is theoretical: “Little children, let us not love in word or talk but in deed and in truth.” The way we love God and others is something that is not to be talked about or hoped for but acted on.

Finally, the correlation between loving God and others is made explicitly clear in verse 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.

John, nor anyone else in the Bible, ever separate loving God and loving others; they are one and the same. When you think about how you have treated people recently, at home, work, on Nicholasville Road at rush hour, what does that ultimately say about your love for God?

By: Graham Withers — Pastoral Ministry Associate

May 11, 2019

Today you should read: 1 John 3:1-10

I write these things to you who believe in the name of the Son of God, that you may know that you have eternal life.” 1 John 5:13

We recite this verse around CPC a lot because we believe it is so important that everyone understands how confident we can be that we are going to spend eternity in heaven with God. Those who believe in the name of the Son of God can KNOW that they have eternal life. Like 1000% know.

Those who know they have eternal life also know that they are apart of God’s family, adopted in as children because of God’s love for them!

“See how very much our Father loves us, for he calls us his children, and that is what we are!” 1 John 3:1

My wife and I recently had a baby girl. In fact, she’ll be a month old tomorrow! I understand this verse on a completely new level now. I love my daughter! I have noticed that when she begins to cry, she already recognizes my voice and stops crying (sometimes). Even as a baby, she recognizes me as her father. I hope that when she gets older, she will recognize my love for her and obey me when I ask her to do something.

John is clear here that God’s children have a lifestyle of obeying him. While followers of Jesus are not perfect, they are continually growing in obedience to him. Christians are not sinless, but they do sin less.

“Those who have been born into God’s family do not make a practice of sinning, because God’s life is in them. So they can’t keep on sinning, because they are children of God.” 1 John 3:9

Do you struggle with assurance of your salvation? Be encouraged that those who believe in the name of the Son of God will have eternal life. God’s children are growing in obedience to him.

Are you struggling with sin? Be encouraged that God will sanctify his children and that through the power of the Gospel and the indwelling of the Holy Spirit, you can overcome your repeating pattern of sin.

Rejoice today that those who believe in Jesus are a part of God’s family, free to love and obey him, and are growing to look more and more like Jesus.

By: Lucas Taylor — West Campus Pastoral Ministry Apprentice