June 8, 2015

Today you should read: 1 John 4:1-6

False Prophets
… there are many false prophets in the world. (v.1)

Don’t believe everyone who quotes the Bible or says something that sounds like it could be from God. (v.1)

Dear friends, do not believe everyone who claims to speak by the Spirit. You must test them to see if the spirit they have comes from God. For there are many false prophets in the world. (v.1)

Christians are easily duped – often we believe what we read, hear in a sermon, or on a podcast without comparing it with Scripture. (Acts 17:11) We are living in dangerous days. It’s critical that you know the Bible – know what truth is – and test everything.

Many will say to Me in that day, ‘Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in Your name, cast out demons in Your name, and done many wonders in Your name?’ And then I will declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness!’ Matthew 7:22-23

The Deity of Christ is the litmus test. (v.2-3)

If someone claims to be a prophet and does not acknowledge the truth about Jesus, that person is not from God. (v.3)

The Deity of Jesus is essential to salvation and everything about what we believe.

If you openly declare that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. Romans 10:9

Be careful with this – even cults claim Jesus was a prophet, a good teacher, or even “a son of God” – this isn’t the same. Jesus was fully God and fully man. He is THE Son of God.

I say this because some ungodly people have wormed their way into your churches, saying that God’s marvelous grace allows us to live immoral lives. The condemnation of such people was recorded long ago, for they have denied our only Master and Lord, Jesus Christ. Jude 4

God within you is greater than the power of Satan in the world. (v.4)

…the Spirit who lives in you is greater than the spirit who lives in the world. (v.4)

We have nothing to fear. God lives in us to confirm the truth or lies around us through the power of His Holy Spirit.

Lost people speak like Lost people . (v.5)

Those people belong to this world, so they speak from the world’s viewpoint, and the world listens to them. (v.5)

This is OK – but it’s NOT OK when we, as Christ-followers believe it or even repeat these lies ourselves. Make sure you’re in God’s Word everyday so that you know truth and you speak truth to your family and friends around you.

Posted by: Tim Parsons

June 6, 2015

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

June 4, 2015

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

June 3, 2015

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