Friday, April 26, 2024

Morning Message: Forgiveness and Refreshing

Bobservations' Column
Titled - "Forgiveness and Refreshing"
Written by:  Pastor Bob Lawrenz

With the text today, we learn something about God’s commandments, and the underlying truths which help us make sense of why God has given them to us and given them for us. The idea of Jesus being our Lord reminds me of Mary Magdalene at Jesus’ tomb when she realized to Who it was that she was speaking. Much more than the gardener, she heard His voice and recognized it, responding, “Rabboni,” which is Hebrew for “Master.” Jesus our Lord, and Master is a benevolent, kind, loving, gracious, and forgiving Lord over us. The Apostle Paul called himself a bond-slave to Him, and thought it an honor.

“But my God shall supply all your need according to His riches in glory by Christ Jesus” (Philippians 4:19), gives us a reason to willingly become His bond-slave too; no more striving to supply our own daily needs. Jesus will supply!

When benevolent slave-owners of 18th and 19th century America found a loyalty among their servants, they did not have to leave after Lincoln’s Emancipation Proclamation. And Biblically, it happened also, In Exodus 21:5,6, when a slave was to be given his freedom at the year of Jubilee, he could say, “I love my master, I love my wife, and my children, I will not go out free.” The master would take the slave to a door, or doorpost, and put an awl through his ear, designating the servant-slave’s desire to remain under his benevolent master. Kind and considerate masters would honor such loyalty, and the servant would remain “on the job.” But it happened by mutual agreement between the master and the slave. A scared earlobe was the evidence of such an agreement. And the master would continue to supply for the needs of that servant and his family.

While the concept of “owning” another person is repugnant to much of the world today, slavery and servanthood continues in many cultures. And the evidence of a Christian master/servant relationship in the Church are the scares carried by our Savior and Lord, Jesus Christ. Love, loyalty, and obedience grow.

John 20:27-29 - "Then saith he to Thomas, Reach hither thy finger, and behold my hands; and reach hither thy hand, and thrust it into my side: and be not faithless, but believing. And Thomas answered and said unto him, My Lord and my God. Jesus saith unto him, Thomas, because thou hast seen me, thou hast believed: blessed are they that have not seen, and yet have believed."

Bobservations' Column: Audio Version

Sunday Morning's Audio Message:
1 John 1:9-1 John 2:14 - "Forgiveness and Refreshing"

Summary/Additional Commentary and Definitions:  

1 John chapter 2 acts as a guide for all believers, reminding us that our relationship with God is reflected in our actions and love for others. In a world filled with distractions and false teachings, we are encouraged to keep our eyes fixed on Jesus, abiding in His truth, and continually growing in spiritual maturity. As we walk in obedience and love, we can be assured of our place in His eternal kingdom.

John's focus on right fellowship with God, includes a lifestyle of overcoming sin. Believers are not to continue in a lifestyle of sin (1 John 2:1). However, if and when they do sin (a single act), John reminds them that Jesus Christ is our Advocate with the Father. (1 John 2:1). Through Jesus sacrifice on the cross, he is not only the propitiation for our sins, but the sins of the whole world. (1 John 2:2). Those who keep His commandments are demonstrating that they truly know Christ (1 John 2:3). Those who do not keep His commands, but say they have fellowship with Him, are liars (1 John 2:4). Those who walk in Christ, as Christ walked, give evidence that they are "in" Him (1 John 2:5–6).

John continues to remind believers that we are commanded to love one another (1 John 2:7–14). John mentions "commandment" or "commandments" nearly a dozen times in this letter. Three of these mentions are in this single verse. He begins by noting that these directives are not new but are existing instructions, and he is simply giving a reminder to live as Christ (1 John 2:7). Hate for one's spiritual brother or sister is incompatible with fellowship with Christ. Love for one another is evidence of a close relationship to Christ. The believer who loves his brother abides or remains in the light, which is Christ. Those who do not, in contrast, are in darkness—they are at minimum failing to obey Christ's commands (1 John 2:9). Love is the single most important sign which the world uses to identify a Christian. Those who love their fellow brother show they are "in the light" (1 John 2:10). John's writing includes an important poetic section in verses 12–14.

Lastly in today's teaching, John addresses various stages of spiritual maturity—children, fathers, and young men. The Word of God applies to all believers in whatever stage of maturity they are in.

Keep in mind that John is countering the false teachings of the Gnostics and reminding true believers not to forsake the teachings of the apostles, the teachings which they have heard from the very beginning of their faith, but to continue in faithful obedience, and discerning between truth and lies. 

Key Words and Definitions with Reference:

Confess Our Sins (1:9) - The term confess means to say the same thing about sin as God does; to acknowledge His perspective about sin. Continual confession of sin is an indication of genuine salvation. God wants us to live with a clear conscience and a pure heart (Matthew 5:8; Psalm 24:4). This is only possible when we regularly confess and forsake our sins, keeping the model of Jesus ever before us (1 Corinthians 4:16; 11:1). He never had to confess His sins because He never committed any (Hebrews 4:15). Since we have inherited a sin nature, and are prone to sin, we need to learn how to confess our sins regularly both to God and to other people so that we can live free of guilt and shame (Colossians 2:14).

Cleanse Us (1:9) - "God is light, and in Him is no darkness at all."  (1:5). He calls us to walk in that Light, not in darkness of our sin, the sin that separates us from Him. The Bible makes it clear that every human being is born into this world as a sinner (Romans 3:23). That sin makes us ceremonially unclean and unfit to enter into the presence of God. The blood of Christ is what washes our sins away (1 John 1:7; 1 Peter 1:19). The way to deal with sin is to repent and confess it as soon as we recognize it. Otherwise, guilt will weigh heavily on us. We must be willing to admit our sins to ourselves. “For I know my transgressions, and my sin is always before me,” said David in Psalm 51:3. We injure ourselves and hamper our relationship with God if we try to hide or deny our sins: “Whoever conceals their sins does not prosper, but the one who confesses and renounces them finds mercy” (Proverbs 28:13). But if we are honest with ourselves, we can repent and confess our sins to God and experience His forgiveness and cleansing (Acts 3:19). God continually cleanses those who are confessing sin.

Have Not Sinned (1:10) - To say that we "have no sin" (1:8) or "have not sinned" (1:10) is a lie. Since God has said that all people are sinners (Psalm 14:3; 51:5; Isaiah 53:6; Jeremiah 17:5, 6; Romans 3:10-19, 23; 6:23). to deny that fact is to blaspheme God with slander that defames His name.

Sin Not (2:1) - Greek hamartia - "to miss the mark."  John speaks of a kind of sin one can recover from and another kind of sin from which one cannot recover.  To counter the false teachers who denied the existence or importance of sin, John affirms its reality.  This affirmation of sin's reality constitutes the second test of true fellowship. Although Christians must continually acknowledge and confess sin (1:9), they are not powerless against it.  (Romas 6:12-14; 8:12,13; 1 Corinthians 15:34; Titus 2:11, 2; 1 Peter 1:13-16). Those who deny the reality of sin demonstrate their lack of genuine salvation.  John's readers, unlike readers today, apparently understood the difference between these two kinds of sin.  Those who denied the Christian community (2:18-19) to follow heretical "antichrist" teachings were irrecoverable.  Their rebellion and denial of Jesus' true identity (4:1-3) leads to unrepentant sin.  In the end, their sin produces spiritual death.

If Any Man Sin (2:1) - This refers to a specific sin.  This provision is not applicable to a life of habitual sin, which is a clear indication that the sinner has not yet truly been born again.

Advocate (2:1) - Greek parakletos, literally "one who is called to our side."  This Greek term refers to the position of a comforter, consoler, or defense attorney.  In John 14:26 and 15:26, the Holy Spirit is called the Comforter/ Helper/ Advocate for believers.  Who is our advocate with the Father?  Jesus Christ the Righteous.  He becomes our lawyer in a sense.

Propitiation (2:2) - Propitiation is a big word and it means to cover or to satisfy or appease–it is the turning away of wrath by an offering. John uses it here (and again in chapter 4) to illustrate the truth of what's been done for us. The danger for us is that we would minimize or overlook what's actually happened. The sacrifice of Jesus on the Cross satisfied the demands of God's holiness for the punishment of sin (Romans 1:18; 2 Corinthians 5:21; Ephesians 2:3). Jesus' sacrifice for us satisfied God. What this verse is telling us is that Jesus Christ Himself offers to pay the full price for our sin. He is the propitiation. He is the payment. He is the covering.

The Whole World (2:2) - This is a generic term, referring not to every single individual, but to mankind in general. The value of Christ's blood was infinite, sufficient to cover all the sins of all mankind throughout the history of the world. The power of the blood of Jesus is not limited, but only applies to those who believe in Him. There is some theological debate on this verse. To clarify, this text is not telling us that atonement/payment was made for everyone, and everyone is going to heaven–that is universalism. In the book of Revelation, we see the wrath of God being poured out on the unrepentant, unregenerate mass of humanity who show up at the Great White Throne judgment and are cast into the Lake of Fire. Christ's atonement is offered to anyone who repents. And the merit of Christ's atonement is given to all who believe and to all who repent of their sins. With atonement, it's a covering of the sin, whereas the propitiation also includes the turning away of God's anger. Is the invitation for all? Yes, it is. Does God so love the world that He gave his Son? Yes, He does. Jesus offers forgiveness and salvation to all–to anyone who sees their sin, understands their desperate need, and comes to Him in humble faith, turning from their sin and submitting their life to Christ.

Know... Keep (2:3) - Know in the Greek, ginosko, meaning "to understand." Keep in the Greek, tereo, meaning to watch, preserve, keep, observe, hold fast. This is the first of at least 37 occurrences of "know" in 1 John.  One of the prominent themes in this epistle is the assurance which we have in Christ.  Those who are genuinely born again display the habit of obedience. Obedience results in assurance of salvation (Ephesians 2:2; 1 Peter 1:14). 

Abideth (2:6) - This word is one of John's favorite terms for salvation.  Jesus' life of obedience is the Christian's pattern.  Those who claim to be Christians out to live as He did (John 6:38) since they possess His Spirit's presence and power. 

New (2:7) - Not referring to new in the sense of time, but something that is fresh in quality, kind or form.  Jesus personified love in a fresh and new way, and it was shed abroad in believers' hearts (Romans 5:5) and energized by the Holy Spirit (Galatians 5:22; 1 Thessalonians 4:9).  Jesus raised love to a higher standard for the church and commanded His disciples to imitate His love.   The commandment to love was not only new, but old because the Old Testament commanded love (Leviticus 19:18; Deuteronomy 6:5) and the readers of John's epistle had heard about Jesus' command to love when they first heard the gospel. 

From the Beginning (2:7) - The commandment to love one another is not a new revelation, for Jesus had repeatedly taught this in His earthly ministry.   

Hates. . . in darkness until now (2:9) - The original language conveys the idea of someone who habitually hates or is marked by a lifestyle of hate. Those professing to be believers yet characterized by hate are not true believers.  The false teachers in the church, Gnostics, made claims of transcendent knowledge of God, and salvation, but their actions and behavior proved their claims to be false. 

Little Children (2:12) - John is addressing three special groups in 1 John 12-14.  "Little children" is from the Greek word meaning "infants," referring to spiritual babes in Christ (same as in 2:1).  However, Little children" in 1 John 2:13 is from the Greek word meaning "young child," referring to half-grown Christians (same in 2:18). 

Fathers...young men...little children (2:13-14) - These very clear distinctions identify three stages of spiritual growth in God's family.  Fathers, the most mature, have a deep knowledge of the eternal God.   The pinnacle of spiritual maturity is to know God in His fullness (Philippians 3:10).  Young men are those who, while not yet have the mature experience of knowing God in the Word and through life, do know sound doctrine.  The are strong against sin and error because they have His Word in them.  

WhitestoneCF Media - Web TV

WhitestoneCF Media - Web TV