Christ’s Life in Us – That You May Know

June 14, 2022

1 John 5:13  This verse conveys John’s purpose for writing the letter. His Gospel was written so people might believe in Jesus as the Messiah and have life.  The letter is written to believers to give assurance and to help with deal with false teachings. It is to help true, born-again Christians know we have Jesus’ life in us. So, stepping back and looking at the letter, what are the “these things” that give evidence a person is born-again?

 

  • As a habit, you walk in the light / God’s righteousness
  • You do not habitually sin as a lifestyle
  • You enjoy Jesus’ forgiveness and purification
  • Obedience has replaced disobedience in your life
  • Love has replaced hate in your life
  • There has been a change in your values from loving the world and the world’s way to being offput by the world and the world’s way
  • Your priorities reflect God and His Kingdom
  • There is a sense of God’s teaching and a sense of applying the Word in your life
  • There is an increase in righteousness and thus family resemblance
  • There is an appreciation for Jesus’ work of redemption and genuine faith in Him as who the Bible says He is
  • You sense the call and conviction of God to step up when you realize you miss the mark in some way
  • The witness of the Spirit in you
  • Family confession of Jesus
  • Family love for God and other believers
  • Family obedience to God
  • Family victory in Jesus

 



Christ’s Life in Us – Living in Faith’s Victory (Part 2)

June 14, 2022

1 John 5:13-21  As we wrap up 1 John, think with me about package deals – groups of things that work together or come together. In a sense, what we have here is a group of “pieces” to Christian experience in faith’s victory. I will highlight the summary of evidences for being in Christ pointed to by verse 13 in another piece, so let’s jump forward a bit.

 

Victory in Prayer (14-15) – In John 15, Jesus connected powerful prayer with abiding and obeying, and we realize this must be prayer in line with God’s will rather than a “blank check.” I believe the most powerful prayer is in line with how God works, informed by Biblical knowledge, and prayer for that which furthers God’s purposes in our lives and others.

Victory for One Another (16-17) – The connection, care, and love for each other in God’s family runs through the New Testament. John is not calling us to be meddlers or busy bodies who are looking for sin in each other’s lives and trying to fix each other. He is calling us to care enough that we intercede for them when they get detoured in their Christian walk. The call and caution to get beyond disinterest and malicious interest or gossip to real, redemptive interest and prayer.

Victory Over Sin (18-19) – John already has said that a born-gain person will not walk habitually in a lifestyle of sin. The work of Jesus has broken the power of sin, transferred us into Kingdom of light, and we are not  under Satan’s bondage. However, the world is under Satan’s dominion as people have sold themselves into his way and influence. The Christian cannot be taken from God, but we can be lured into doing world things the world’s way and losing some of our effectiveness and victory.

Victory in Jesus (20-21) – John reminds of us the real, empowering fellowship with truth and life in Jesus and warns us against idols – things other than Jesus that can take His place in our lives and draw us away from His power and fellowship.

 

Walking through 1 John, we have found a package of Christian traits and family blessings. Living in Jesus’ life means living in the family of God in real faith through Jesus, bearing the family resemblance, in a family connection of love for others and love and obedience to Jesus.

 



Christ’s Life in Us – Living in Faith’s Victory (Part 1)

May 31, 2022

 
1 John 5:1-12  As we have walked through 1 John, we have been learning about having Jesus’ life expressed in us, and now we turn to a section dealing with evidence of being in God’s family. Think with me about life’s big questions and things we want to be certain of. I would suggest this is one of those things.
  • Who is Born Again? (1-5) – John provides four evidences that a person has been born again into God’s family. These are a family confession of Jesus as the Christ, a family love for God and other believers, a family obedience to God, and a family victory lived out through faith in Jesus. One clarification is that victory over the world does not mean getting our way but overcoming the influences toward un-Godliness that we face. Are these things a part of your life? If they are not or are inconsistent, the next section gives some help.
  • Who Has Eternal Life? (6-12) – John clarifies the object of our faith must be Jesus, as testified by God, demonstrated in the life of Jesus, and witnessed to us by the Holy Spirit. The water and the blood refer to His baptism and His cross, and life is found in a proper faith response to Jesus as who the Bible claims He is. In responding in and drawing down into the Jesus of the Bible in repentance, faith, and dependence, we find the life of God for change now and heaven someday.

Born-again happens through real faith in Jesus as revealed in Bible and evidenced by love for God and other believers, obedience to God, and faith-enabled victory over the world. We have eternal life if we have the Son because we have received the witness of God about Him, resulting in the Spirit giving witness in our Spirit.

 



Christ’s Life in Us – In Tune With God’s Truth and Heart

May 17, 2022

1 John 4:1-21  We have been finding out what it is to let the life of Jesus be expressed in us and what it is to anchor in that life. Here, we are confronted with whether we, and the influences in our lives,  are in-tune with God’s Gospel truth and God’s heart.

 

  • In vv. 1-6, we find that being in-tune with the truth requires a discriminating ear. There are all kinds of voices out there, even claiming to be of God, so we need to test them to see if they truly confess that Jesus is completely God, completely human, came in the flesh, and is the Savior and Lord. The philosophies of the fallen world stand at odds with God’s truth, and we need to be sure they do not distract us from faithfulness to Him.
  • In verses 7-12, we find that being in-tune with God’s heart means our heart and life is characterized by God’s love. Love is a fundamental characteristic of God, and when we love we show we are of God and demonstrate to others who God is and what He is like.
  • In verses 13-21, we discover that being in-tune with God’s heart produces a life that is transformed by fellowship with God and exposure to His love. That fellowship comes through the Holy Spirit as we confess Jesus in every area of life, thus allowing God to move in our lives to mold us into Jesus’ likeness.  As we walk in His love and character, we realize the fruit of our walk with Him, and fear is displaced with confidence in our relationship with Him.

 

Anchoring in Jesus’ new life placed within the believer and letting that life be expressed in us involves keeping in-tune with His truth and His heart. This results in a life of transformation and love.

 



Christ’s Life in Us – Live the Difference

May 17, 2022

1 John 3:10-24   When we come to life in Jesus, we change families – moving from the devil’s family to God’s family, and John highlights the difference for us.

 

  • In vv. 10-15, we discover the differences. Righteousness and love are the differences it should make in us when we come into God’s family through Jesus. And, those differences will set us at odds with the world.
  • In vv. 14-15, we find there is a test to determine whether we are in God’s family. We either will walk in death and in the disposition of hatred, or we will walk in life through Jesus and in a disposition of love. We are called to express that love for one another (love like the self-sacrificing love Jesus showed us) in practical and genuine ways at others’ point of need.
  • In vv. 19-24, we discover that, through this difference and the test of its presence in our lives, we can find assurance about our walk with the Lord and motivation to step up into the difference more faithfully when we slip. If you have confessed Jesus as Savior and Lord, are being shaped into His righteousness, and love your brothers and sisters in Jesus, you can have confidence in your walk with God, and if you walk in obedience and love, you can enjoy power in your prayers.

 

Some are in Christ but get discouraged about their faith and need the encouragement of this test. Some are in Christ, but they have allowed things to bring hardness into their spirit, and they need to ask Jesus to help them love others better. Some think doing church makes them right with the Lord, but if His righteousness and love isn’t produced in them, John says they aren’t in the family. Finally, this passage does not say we get into the family by righteousness and love, but they are the outflow from those who come into the family through repentance of sin and faith in Jesus.

 



Christ’s Life in Us – Being in God’s Family

April 26, 2022

1 John 3:1-10  (Re-print from February 2014)  What does it mean to you to be a child of God and part of His family? The first thing we find out about being in God’s family is that it means we have a great love to grow in. That love moved God to give us a great grace and a great hope that should motivate us to seek the purity of God in our lives in a growing way. Think about being adopted into God’s family and the desire to live like part of His family. Second, being in God’s family means we have a great freedom to walk in.  We are free to live by God’s standards, and we are free from bondage to sin and condemnation from it. Finally, being God’s children means we have a great family to belong in. In a natural family, certain things stand out, and in God’s family, His divine life that enters us when we are born again works to conform us into His likeness and bring out the family resemblance of love and righteousness in us. In children and adults alike, people often can see a family resemblance…what about in God’s family? Are you growing in His love, walking in His freedom, and growing in His likeness as a part of His family? Some people need encouragement to grow in Christ even though it makes you different from the world. Others need encouragement that you are in His family because not only have you, at some point, prayed to receive Jesus, but that decision is changing you from the inside out. Others we might know have taken some religious step in the past, but they are continuing in sin. Based on this passage, we need to pray for them to get saved and come into God’s family.

 



Christ’s Life in Us – Being on the Right Team

April 26, 2022

1 John 2:18-29  (Updated Re-print from January 2014)  Throughout our look at 1 John, we have been finding out how Christ’s life is expressed in us, and this week we discover that one way that happens is through faithful fellowship with God, safe from the anti-Christian influences of Godlessness.

The first thing we discover about the influences that would lead us astray is that the spirit of antichrist finds expression in a variety of ways, not just the one Antichrist of Revelation. Second, the spirit of antichrist issues a challenge to real Christians and true Christianity by claiming that Jesus is a liar and not who He claims, by saying that Jesus is not enough for salvation, and by saying that He cannot hold our loyalty as our Lord and all-in-all. Anything that minimizes the person, the place, or the work of Jesus is of that spirit of antichrist, for Christian faith rises and falls on what you do with Jesus Christ and who you believe He is. Third, the fact that there is this spirit of antichrist in its many forms places some demands on Christians. We have to let the Gospel remain active in us; have to stay alert; and have to be filled with the Word, filled with the Holy Spirit, and confident in true Christian faith. Finally, the spirit of antichrist raises the question of a test of fellowship, for not everyone who claims to have fellowship with God does.

Fellowship with God, and thus His joy, peace, and righteousness in our lives is maintained by continuing to allow Jesus to be who the true and orthodox Gospel says He is. We avoid that which would take the place of Jesus, lie about Jesus, and minimize who He is through abiding in the truth of the real Gospel.

 



Jesus’ Life Expressed in Us In Fellowship With God and Each Other

February 15, 2022

1 John 1:1-10  The twin themes of love and life in Jesus carry over from John’s Gospel into 1-3 John. As we might seek renewal from the Lord, motivation for His work, as well as joy, peace, and power in our lives, homes, and church, I believe it is very much about Christ’s life expressed in us. That happens in fellowship with God and each other.

In verses 1-4, we discover that real, life-changing fellowship with God is possible. It happens through Jesus and makes God’s joy available to us. Then, in verses 5-7, we discover the conditions and means of this fellowship. This fellowship with God begins with His absolute purity and righteousness. This purity and righteousness of God is demanded in us for fellowship with God, and this is available through Jesus. These verses draw a pretty hard line between the life of darkness and the light in which the Christian is to walk. Spend some time reflecting on them. Finally, in verses 8-10, we learn how to maintain fellowship with God – through an honest appraisal of our condition before God, through humble confession of our sins, not just that we are sinful, and through humble agreement with God about what He says and our need for His forgiving and cleansing work.

In these ten verses, we find that Jesus is our means of fellowship with God and each other, our source of joy, and our means of transformation into who God wants us to be. They call us to fellowship with God and each other through Jesus, honesty about our walk with God, and faithfulness to nurture that fellowship in Jesus.

 



Another Look at Jesus: The Love of God

February 01, 2022

(Due to publication schedule I am giving you notes we missed in December)  Another theme running through John’s Gospel is the love of God. In Jesus, God has extended His love to us and invited us into a relationship of love for Him and each other.

  • God’s Love for Us – Look at John 3:16 and 13:1. God’s love conceived redemption’s plan, revealed redemption’s giver, highlighted our need and God’s intention, and deal with the greater need of our lives. God’s love brought light and offered life, gives the freedom not to receive and walk in the light and life, was manifested in Word and deed, and was demonstrated in the cross. God could have left us in our need / to own devices and inability. God did not have to extend His light / life, but in mercy, He offered us grace.
  • Our Love for God in Jesus – Look at John 14:15, 21, 14:23-24, and 15:9-10. Our example is Jesus’ loving obedience to the Father, and our love is truly expressed and demonstrated in obedience, which is called for in response to the love relationship with God in Jesus. Love-based obedience paves the way for close fellowship with God and knowing Jesus better and opens the way for Christian life to be what Jesus intended.
  • Love for Each Other – Look at John 13:34-35 and 15:12-13. Jesus demonstrates love to us, and love is a command rather than a suggestion, a feeling, something we can’t help, or something optional. It is sacrificial and is tied to our witness and evidence of being Jesus’ people.
  • The Package – Look at John 16:27, 17:23, and 17:26. God’s love moved Him to address our need and step into our place in Jesus. Jesus’ call is to receive, respond to, and return / show that love in repentance, faith, covenant, dependence, obedience, and love for each other.

 



Another Look at Jesus: Light and Life

February 01, 2022

(Due to publication schedule I am giving you notes we missed in December)  Twin themes throughout John are Light and Life. Light becomes precious when there is a lot of darkness and we need to find our way. Life becomes precious when death looms large and is       prevalent around us and when we need a better, Godly, permanent existence.

  • Light in John – Look at John 1:1-5, 8:12, 11:9-10, 12:46, 12:35-36a. Things associated with light include goodness, righteousness, glory, understanding, direction, discernment, hope, scattering darkness, and the opposite of darkness, which can relate to judgement, evil, death, concealing, impurity, hopelessness, and lostness. Children of light recognize the light, come to the light, receive the light, respond positively to the light, align themselves with the light, walk in and by the light, reflect and are characterized by the light, and delight in the light. Read John 3:20-21.
  • Life in John – Look at John 1:1-5, 3:16-18, 5:24-29, 6:51, 11:25-26, 17:2-3. Life indicates someone is viable and able to accomplish their purpose, takes in nourishment and grows to become what they are to be. Spiritually, life as opposed to death is not existence as opposed to non-existence but the state or manner of existence, as death indicates separation from God, under condemnation, headed for damnation, unable to be and do what we were created for, and decay instead of growth, maturity, and flourishing. Eternal life in Jesus involves receiving God’s loving work for us in Jesus, moving from condemnation into relationship with God, hearing, receiving, and believing the word of Jesus, a new animating work of Jesus received in repentance and faith, realizing the unique person and work of Jesus and stepping into that, nourishing faith in and feeding on Jesus, expectation on the other side of this life, a real relationship with God, being born again, and entering life through the cross. Read John 3:18.

Darkness presents us with the need for light, and deadness presents us with the need for life – both of which are found in Jesus. Draw down into Jesus’ life and light.