Today you should read: 1 John 3:11-24
I have the privilege to counsel and disciple many different people from many different walks of life. The one question that they all have is how they can know for sure without doubt that they have been saved. Thankfully God gave us many things to rest in when it comes to this question and the answer boils down to evidence of the Holy Spirit in your life. One of the evidences that we have of Holy Spirit working in our lives comes in our passage today.
“We know we have passed out of death into life, because we love the brothers.” (v.14)
Death represents our state before a relationship with Christ (Ephesians 2:1-3) and life represents a believers life after coming into a relationship with Christ Jesus and making him Lord of their life (Ephesians 2:4-9, Romans 10:9-10). The interesting thing that John is doing in our passage today is he is compiling death together and not making one aspect worse than another. Hate, murder and evil all represent death for anyone who is without Christ. If you are without Christ then you are capable of all of these things. Likewise, a believer is marked by love, sacrifice, good deeds, loving speech, and love for the scriptures. If we are in Christ we should have a desire to do all of the things that Christ shows in His love for us. We still have sinful evil desires but they are being replaced by the desire to worship our Lord by loving like him.
So my question today is what marks your life? Are you known for your love for your brothers and sisters in Christ and compassion for the lost? If not then you should examine your heart and consider your salvation.
Therefore, my beloved, as you have always obeyed, so now, not only as in my presence but much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling, (Philippians 2:12)
Posted by: Chad Wiles
Today you should read: 1 John 2:18-29
In our culture today there are a barrage of beliefs that people ascribe to which are accepted by our society as truth. By truth, I mean “relative truth” which differs from person to person. What you believe may be true for you but not for me, and vice versa. While this sounds all well and good and the inclusive way to find your path God; it is clearly not Biblical. It is also nothing new. Mankind has been trying to go our own way since the fall, convinced that we know better than God (our creator) about how to live our lives.
In this section of chapter 2 John warns the church about antichrists (anyone who denies Jesus is the Christ.) In John’s day there were people who were false teachers, many of which claimed to be Christians, which were leading people astray by teaching that Jesus was not the Christ. They were claiming faith in God while denying and opposing Jesus’ divinity. For whatever reason they had begun to teach this false gospel and true believers were being deceived and pulled away from the truth of Christ that they accepted. Does this sound familiar? Some 2000 years later there are still antichrists that claim faith in God but completely deny the divinity of Jesus and that He is the way God revealed Himself to the world and reconciled the world through this sacrifice. This is heresy! It was in John’s day and it still is today. Yet droves of people flock to “spiritual” religions that deny Christ or claim the name of Christ but completely distort the gospel message. So, what is John’s advice for believers to guard against these antichrists?
24 As for you, see that what you have heard from the beginning remains in you. If it does, you also will remain in the Son and in the Father. 25 And this is what he promised us—eternal life.26 I am writing these things to you about those who are trying to lead you astray. 27 As for you, the anointing you received from him remains in you, and you do not need anyone to teach you. But as his anointing teaches you about all things and as that anointing is real, not counterfeit—just as it has taught you, remain in him
1. As a believer you have the Holy Spirit of God living inside you to guide you in the truth of Christ and check your hearts when that truth is distorted in your lives. Don’t ignore the Holy Spirit’s guidance. He will remind you of the truth you heard in the beginning about Christ. You never grow beyond the gospel! Be leery of anyone who tries to add or take away from the gospel message.
2. Hold on to the truth found in God’s Word about Jesus. The only way to know what is truth about Jesus and what is not, is to know what God’s Word says. Study the Word for yourself so that you can discern heresy from truth.
3. Stay connected to the body of Christ. Keep yourself under sound Biblical teaching and have relationships with other believers who will help you grow in your faith and stand firm on the truth of Christ.
Posted by: Matt Mofield
Today you should read: 1 John 2:12-17
In the first section of this passage (verses 12-14) we see that John is clearly writing to believers. He addresses his audience as “little children”, “fathers”, “young men”, and again as “children”, all names referring to those who abide in Christ. In this letter John is writing to doubting believers who have been taught by false teachers to deny the full divinity and humanity of Jesus. Try to imagine the struggle these believers are facing during this time. They did not have the full inherent Bible to turn to for truth that we have today. They heard strange teachings from men that seemed to speak with authority and conviction and yet they were going against what the congregation(s) was previously taught to be true. They loved Christ and sought to follow Him, but were suffering in doubt, confusion and fear. Ever been there? I know I have. First John is one of those books that I cling to for comfort and encouragement in the assurance of my faith. Listen to the absolutes John uses to comfort believers struggling with unbelief:
Your sins are forgiven
You know him who is from the beginning
You have overcome the evil one
You know the Father
You are strong
The word of God abides in you
John is reaffirming that they know the truth and they do not need to doubt themselves for the truth they heard from the beginning has no lie in it and that the liar is indeed the one who denies Jesus as the Christ (2:21-22). They can stand firm on the word of God through the apostles’ teaching because of who God is and what Christ has done for them. We too can stand firm in our faith if we put our full trust in God’s promises and not stumble on the ways of the world or what our culture says to believe.
The opening of chapter two reveals that John is writing these things so we may not sin (2:1). The second half of our passage today (verses 15-17) explains how we can live that out practically. Either you love the world or you love God, but you cannot love both. One way you can know you truly love the Father is through recognizing if you desire to please God over the things the world offers. The love of the Father implants a desire to break away from idolization of the world. We can indeed have assurance of saving faith when our inward change causes a change in our outward life. Genuine faith is a faith that works and exercises good works. The truths that are listed above, that you are forgiven, strong, indwelled with the Spirit, reconciled with God, are to not only be accepted as truth theoretically, but are also to be lived out through practically trusting in them. It is then you have a faith that is complete, for faith without works is dead (James 2:26). Walk confident with the Lord today based solely on trusting in Jesus and resting in his power and righteousness that is given to you because of his great sacrifice on the cross. Believe it and also repent from the desires of the world and turn to pleasing God. Both faith and repentance are necessary and when your life reflects that both are taking place God blesses that with assurance.
Posted by: Kelly Jones, ministry intern- West campus
Today you should read: 1 John 2:7-11
Your love for one another will prove to the world that you are my disciples.” (John 13:35 NLT)
I wanted to start with this verse because, even though it is not from our reading today, it really drives home today’s passage. Sadly we hear so many stories of churches splitting or dissolving or working through all sorts of issues because this principle is not in practice in that church body. We have a great church here at center point. We are by no means perfect but one thing I can say we don’t have is a lack of love and concern for one another. Praise God for that.
John is telling us in our reading today that this love, the love one Christ-Follower has for another is a sign that someone is truly a Christ-Follower. That is something I don’t think we consider too often when we question ourselves or others to see if we are truly saved. Most people ask about life-change experiences, their testimony, church involvement, bible reading and prayer, things like that. When was the last time you used loving other Christians as a barometer for faith? Well, John uses it here. He tells us that if we do not love other believers we are not walking in the light, but rather we are walking in the darkness. So examine yourselves this week to see that you are truly walking in the light of Christ. Ask yourself, “Do I love other Christians?” “Do I care for those in my church?” If you answer no then take sometime to figure out why. You are clearly not walking in the light and you may need to step into it for the first time.
Now, back to the beginning. John 13:35 tells us that we show ourselves to be true disciples of Christ to those outside our church by how we love those inside it. Andy Stanley, pastor at North Point Community church in Atlanta has said on a few different occasions at conferences that one of the most effective things the church can do to be a witness to lost people who come in our buildings is to “one another” each other. What he means by that is that we should do, for each other, the things the Bible says we should do. Things like bear one another’s burdens (Gal.6:2), be kind and forgiving to one another (Eph. 4:32), serve one another (Gal. 5:13), pray for one another (James 5:16) and so on. In fact there are over 50 “one another” commands in the Bible and they all center around this one thing:
We show the fullness of the love of Jesus when we extend love to sinners undeserving of such love because we too are a sinner undeserving of the fullness of love we have in Jesus
So this week test yourself and being to love God’s people like never before.
Posted by: Robbie Byrd