June 2, 2015

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

June 1, 2015

Today you should read: 1 John 2:1-6

How do we deal with SIN as a disciple of Jesus? We should do everything in our power to avoid it – to live holy lives like our example Jesus Christ.

1My dear children, I am writing this to you so that you will not sin.

What if we do (sin)? The cross gives us a solution for our sin. Jesus (our advocate or attorney) defends our case before the Father through the power of the cross.

But if anyone does sin, we have an advocate who pleads our case before the Father. He is Jesus Christ, the one who is truly righteous. 2He himself is the sacrifice that atones for our sins—and not only our sins but the sins of all the world.

God’s Word tells us to confess our sins – which means to agree with God that they are wrong and take steps to avoid them.

If we confess our sins to him, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all wickedness. (1 John 1:9)

Jesus defends us from the accusations of Satan before God.

Then I heard a loud voice shouting across the heavens, “It has come at last–salvation and power and the Kingdom of our God, and the authority of his Christ. For the accuser of our brothers and sisters has been thrown down to earth–the one who accuses them before our God day and night. Revelation 12:10

How can we be sure that we know Him? John says – if we have a pattern of obeying His commands.

3And we can be sure that we know him if we obey his commandments. 4If someone claims, “I know God,” but doesn’t obey God’s commandments, that person is a liar and is not living in the truth. 5But those who obey God’s word truly show how completely they love him. That is how we know we are living in him.

This gives us the assurance of our salvation that we are looking for. This is why so many people doubt their salvation – their lives don’t reflect a Jesus-change.

How should we live our lives? Do our best to live like Jesus did – W.W.J.D?

6Those who say they live in God should live their lives as Jesus did.

So…
• Are you striving for holiness? How’s that going?
• Do you keep sin confessed in your life?
• Does your life make you certain that you know Him?

Posted by: Tim Parsons

May 30, 2015

Today you should read: 1 John 1:5-10

I have a friend who is a father to four boys and it is so funny to watch his interaction with them. My favorite thing is when they have been up to something they know they are not supposed to be doing. I was recently at his house and a storm was approaching and the boys were playing outside. Naturally, they wanted to stay outside and play in the rain. However, my friend wisely did not want them outside during lighting. So, he instructed them to play in the garage and wait until the lightning stopped. It was not long until we saw one of the boys run past one of the windows in the middle of the rain.
What is funny about this whole scenario is the boys didn’t think through the fact that their dad could see them from the house. Also, they didn’t consider the fact that they would be soaking wet which would give away their disobedience. So, the only logical next move would be to come into the house and confess their sin and ask for forgiveness right? Well that was not what happened next. Instead, they came up with some reasoning and excuses for why they needed to go out into the rain storm.
What is interesting to me is that my friend had a strong feeling that his boys might end up getting into trouble. What the boys didn’t know was that their father wasn’t that upset at first. It was their deceit that really did them in. John is pointing out this same principal with us as God’s children. God knows and expects that we will have sin in our life. As a matter of fact our passage today says that if we walk in the light our sin will be exposed more. However, our deceitful ways of trying to hide our sin is what causes us to be separated from God.
Jesus died because we cannot cleanse ourselves. That is why John says if we deny that we have sin then we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us. To deny that we do not have sin is to deny the need for Jesus. God already is very aware of our sin and our filth. However, if we are in the light then we are aware of our sin and we are invited to be honest about our sin through Jesus. It is in our honesty that cleansing comes and therefore freedom comes as well.
What sin in your life are you hiding? What do you need to be honest before God about?

Posted by: Chad Wiles

May 29, 2015

Today you should read: 1 John 1:1-4

Today, we begin the brief journey through John’s shorter letters (1-3 John), and while these letters may seem small, John has a way packing a lot of important theology and practical life application in them. Many commentators and scholars see these letters as paramount to evangelical faith and practice. Some believe that John was responding to the beginnings of the Gnosticism heresies that sprouted soon after Jesus died. Here is a great tidbit from the ESVSB on the overall theme of 1 John:

In 1 John the author calls readers back to the three basics of Christian life: true doctrine, obedient living, and fervent devotion. Because “God is light” (1:5), Christ’s followers overcome evildoers who seek to subvert them. The one who lives in and among them—God’s Son—is greater than the spirit of “the antichrist” now in the world (4:3–4). To believe in the name of the Son of God is to know the assurance of eternal life (5:13).

It is customary to understand 1 John as a response to the rise of an early form of Gnosticism. This was a religious mysticism that pirated Christian motifs to propagate an understanding of salvation based on esoteric “knowledge” (Gk. gnōsis). According to this view, redemption is through affirming the divine light already in the human soul, not through repentance of sin and faith in Christ’s death to bring about spiritual rebirth.

John, as he does in His gospel, begins 1 John with a defense of the deity of Jesus Christ. This was so vital for young Christians to understand, especially in light of the fact that Christianity itself had its “formal” beginning only a few decades earlier. Theology may have seemed “up for grabs” in the early church, so it was of highest importance to have authorized, valid teachers address it. John was more than ready for the task. He explains in just a few phrases that Jesus is eternal (v.1), incarnate (v.1), truth (v.1), life itself and the giver of eternal life (v.2), sent from the Father (v.3), and finally, joy-giving (v.4). What a fantastic opener to a fantastic letter!

So John makes it clear: knowing Jesus and understanding Him breeds true joy. Do you have joy in Christ today? Fuel it by spending time in His word, talking to Him throughout your day, and yielding to His Spirit. My prayer for you is that you would find fresh faith in your joy-giving Savior as you walk through 1, 2, & 3 John with us here at Jumpstart.

Posted by: Todd Thomas