Friday, May 10, 2024

Morning Message: Love One Another

Bobservations' Column
Titled - "Love One Another"
Written by: Pastor Bob Lawrenz

It astounds me that in these end-times, that there is such a lack of discernment and knowledge among “learned” individuals, and even in many so-called Christian Churches. Among the “Gifts of the Holy Ghost” are discernment of spirits, a word of wisdom, and a word of knowledge.

1 Corinthians 12 mentions these and other gifts of the Spirit. These are just a few of the gifts mentioned in the chapter and there are other Spiritual Gifts mentioned elsewhere in the Epistles, and all were meant to build faith and enhance ministry; literally, “to profit withal.”

Critical thinking in our times has been replaced by Critical Race Theory, but mind you, it’s only an unproven theory that is being deliberately promoted by racist minds. Reality in our times seems to have escaped our educators, and our students. And little Johnny’s hopes of being President someday are being replaced by hopes of being a female! Twenty years ago, the Country song hits included singer Shania Twain’s song, “MAN! I FEEL LIKE A WOMAN.” The song is resurging on the charts again! If ever there was a time for common sense, it’s now when there seems to be such a lack of it.

The current Hamas/Israel war is a perfect example for the youth of today. Maybe you have noticed that today’s young people always will support whoever they perceive as being persecuted. From the surprise Hamas attack of October 7th, they were all feeling supportive for Israelis because the attack killed so many, and Hamas took many others hostage. How the tables have turned now! Hamas’ goals were to have public opinion of Israel turned against them. And it has worked. Hamas brought the proverbial “knife to a gun fight.”

Hamas planned for this turn of events, and to change the pity for Israel, to Hamas themselves. They started a war they knew they could not win, so now they are the underdogs that our youth rally around. The Hamas battle cry against Israel has always been “From the river to the sea,” driving the Jews from the Jordan River and into the Mediterranean Sea. Now Israel has its guns out, and it is Hamas that’s being driven to the sea.

There was enmity between Cain and Abel; and between Isaac and Ismael, and Joseph and his 11 brothers. Jealousy was at the core then, and is still at the core today between brothers, and/or neighbors.

“…perfect love casts out fear, because fear has torment.”  - 1 John 4:15

Bobservations' Column: Audio Version

Sunday Morning's Audio Message:
1 John 3:10 - 24 - "Love One Another"

Summary/Additional Commentary and Definitions:  

Christians who are genuinely born of God manifest a transformation by means of righteousness and love. We have been born again by the Spirit of God, and literally have His abiding presence in our lives. Therefore, the characteristics of God, become ours.

As we begin our study in 1 John 3:10, John is summarizing his teachings in verses 1 through 9 with two characteristics.  They are two basic behavior tests, the measurements of conduct.   
 The first is righteousness (verses 4-10). The one who practices righteousness, verse 7, is righteous. But the one who practices sin is of the devil (verse 8).  In other words, a person who does not "practice righteousness" is not from God. A true believer will seek to live according to God's ways, not deliberately "walking" in darkness. We are told why in verse 9, "Whosoever is born of God doth not commit sin; for his seed remaineth in him: and he cannot sin, because he is born of God.” 

As we come to verse 10, John sums it up for us, "
In this the children of God are manifest, and the children of the devil: whosoever doeth not righteousness is not of God...” – Now comes the transition, verse 10 – “nor the one who does not love his brother.”

The first test (moral or behavioral) that validates one’s claim to be a Christian is the test of righteous conduct. The second is the test of love. 

Now remember, there were false teachers who were in this particular church who were coming against this particular assembly of believers, and they were claiming to have a relationship with God, the Creator and to have a relationship with Christ. However, they were not willing to acknowledge their sin. In fact, according to chapter 1, they were pretty much denying they had any sin, nor were they manifestly characterized by love for the brethren. John is pointing out here that no matter what somebody claims, the truth can be determined in these two behavioral ways. Obedience, righteous behavior and love are evidences of true sons of God.

In 1 John 3:12, the apostle goes on to give us an example of what love is not, the opposite of love, is hate. John says we are not to be like Cain, the first son of Adam and Eve. Cain is at first presented in God’s Word as one who worshipped God and even offered a sacrifice, but when his sacrifice was not accepted by God and his brother’s sacrifice was accepted by God, Cain became jealous and hateful and rose us and murdered his brother, Abel. His murderous actions revealed that inwardly his deeds were evil.  Self-styled religion has been rejected by God.  Pleasing God is not left to our own design, or standard or imagination, but rather obeying His will, doing what God has asked of us.  We know that Cain was a very religious man.  His sacrifice was rejected because he didn't bring the right sacrifice.  The brother's were asked to bring an animal sacrifice. Abel did, Cain did not. Rather than bring a sacrifice which God asked, Cain brought the fruit of the land which he himself had toiled to produce.  Our relationship with God is not based upon our own accomplishments, but true faith produces obedience and love.   

In verses 11-15, John focuses on love believers should have for one another. 
  John goes on to tell his readers to not be surprised if the world hates them. We have heard the stories throughout history, from the early church of the first century to our present day how the world hates Christians and shows it by persecuting them.  John then reminds us of the hope that we have, the truth that makes it possible to endure the hatred and persecution of the world, he says we know that we have passed out of death into life, and this is seen because we no longer hate, but instead we love our brothers and sisters in Christ. We can even love those who hate us and persecute us. Becoming a Christian is a resurrection from death to life and a turning from hate to love. When this love is lacking it is an indication that the person who does not love is spiritually dead. John is trying to show us that love for one another is a sure test of whether someone has experienced new birth in Christ or if they are still in the darkness of spiritual death or are as John writes, abiding in death, dwelling there, because no resurrection has taken place.

In verses 16-18, that love is evidenced by our actions. Since we now understand what love is not, John introduces the standard of love, what love is for the one who has placed their faith in the Lord Jesus. John writes, “Hereby perceive we the love of God, because he laid down his life for us:” (1 John 3:16). John has given us the measuring stick for every expression of love.  Those who are in darkness, are ruled by Satan and his characteristics.  They are filled with hatred and murder.  Their lack of love is seen as indifference toward the needs of others. Contrasted with this is the selflessness of Christ, who was considering only the needs of others as He laid down His life for us. This phrase, “He laid down His life…”  is a phrase that is unique to John (see John 10:11; 15:13).  This standard of love is about self-sacrifice and giving of yourself, it truly is the opposite of hate as you are sacrificing yourself for someone else. Jesus Christ giving up his life so that sinners might be reconciled to God, have their sins forgiven, and become His people, having a new nature characterized by His love. As God’s children, we ought to be willing "to lay down our lives for the brethren."  God has called us to the same standard of love that He has for us. There are not many who will be called to make this supreme sacrifice, to lay down his life for his brother, but this same kind of love can be shown in lesser ways. John goes on to give us an example and this is where the rubber meets the road. This is where we are confronted with Scripture, and we must do something about what we read.

Then in verses 19-24 discusses whether our hearts condemn us or not. Every human being is born with a knowledge of God, and with the law of God written in their conscience.  This law accuses or excuses depending on the person's actions in regard to His law.   This means every person has the ability to recognize right and wrong.  When we obey the Word of God, our conscience informs us that we are doing right, pleasing God.  As a result, we have confidence before God.   When we live a lifestyle opposed to God's law, we are condemned, our conscience indicts us (John 8:9).  A believer who persists in sin, disobeying God, will become fearful, insecure, doubting their faith and salvation (Psalm 32:3-4; 38:1-8; 40:11-12). First John 3:21 notes, "Beloved, if our heart does not condemn us, we have confidence before God." When we have confessed our sins and abide (remain) in Christ, we can ask for anything according to His will and receive it (1 John 3:22).

The final two verses also offer an important reminder. John again focuses on love for God through Jesus as well as loving one another, offering teaching closely similar to the Great Commandment in Matthew 22:37–40.  These verses also highlight the triune nature of God. John mentions God twice in verse 24, the Son Jesus Christ in verse 23, and the Spirit in verse 24. All three persons of the triune Godhead are distinct yet serve in perfect unity as the One True God.

Key Words and Definitions with Reference:

Children of the Devil (3:10) - There is nothing more sobering to learn that according to the Scriptures, there are only two kinds of children who exist in this world:  children of God and children of Satan. It's one or the other.  Children of God exhibit His righteous character.  Children of Satan exhibit his sinful nature.  Children of the Devil are also called:  children of the wicked one (Matthew 13:38), children of disobedience and children of wrath (Ephesians 2:2-3).  

From the Beginning (3:11) - Since the beginning of the proclaiming of the gospel, love has been a central theme of Christianity.  What they heard "from the beginning" John has now repeated several times to emphasize that the false teachers were preventing that which God, through the apostles, proclaimed.  

Cain (3:12) - In Genesis 4, outwardly Cain is a worshiper of God who even offered a sacrifice.  Cain's murderous actions, however, revealed that inwardly he was a child of the devil, "of that wicked one" (John 8:44). 

The World Hates You (3:13) - History is filled with stories of persecuted Christians. This should not surprise believers.  
Jesus taught, "Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness' sake, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven" (Matthew 5:10). Such people will be rewarded (Matthew 5:12). Jesus also taught, "If they persecuted me, they will also persecute you" (John 15:20). As opposed to the claim that salvation will make all of our earthly trouble vanish, the gospel implies that loving God means being hated by the world.

Passed From Death Unto Life (3:14) - Becoming a Christian is a resurrection from death to life, from sin to obedience, and from hate to love (Gal. 5:6,22).  Love is the sure test of whether someone has experienced the new birth or is still in darkness, or spiritual death (2:9, 11).  Someone who is characterized by hate has never experienced the new birth, they "abide in death."

Love The Brethren (3:14) - By doing righteousness (3:10); self-sacrificing, being willing to lay your life down for the brethren(3:16); willing to ease the burdens of others, meeting needs (3:17). 

A Murderer (3:15) - Hatred is spiritually the same as a murder in the eyes of God.  As Jesus taught the disciples, the attitude is equal to the act.  Hate is the seed that leads to murder, as seen in the example of Cain. See Galatians 5:19-21; Revelation 22:15.

Lay Down Our Lives (3:16) - The meaning here is "be laying down."  Our love and service are a daily "living sacrifice" (Romans 12:1) for the sake of the brethren.  God calls Christians to the same standard of love for one another as He had for us (see verse 16). 

Seeth... Shutteth Up His Bowels of Compassion (3:17) - The verb is a continuing present - "goes on seeing."  This does not refer to a chance encounter with someone in need, but a continual refusal to help a fellow Christian who we are in frequent contact with and is truly in need. Genuine Christian love expresses itself in sacrificial giving to other Christians' needs (his brother).  It is a Christian's practical love that finds motivation in helping others (1Timothy 6:17-19; Hebrews 13:16; James 2:14-17). 

Not Love in Word (3:18) - Claiming to love is not enough.  Love is not sentiment, but deeds.  Our love for God is demonstrated by living it, not by talking or singing about it.  Our love for the brethren is manifested in our relations with other Christians. 

Hereby We Know (3:19) - A lifestyle of love in action is demonstrable proof of salvation.

Shall Assure Our Hearts (3:19) - The benefits of love is the assurance of salvation (3:17-21; Answered prayer (3:22) and the abiding presence and empowerment of the Holy Spirit (3:23-24). 

We Receive of Him (3:22) - The condition for answered prayer is that we pray according to His will, and also to do according to His will

He Gave Us Commandment (3:23) - Loving God and loving our neighbor (see Matthew 22:36-40).

He In Him (3:24) - See John 15:4,7, 10.  We are commanded to abide in Christ and to allow Him to abide in us. We have assurance when we love His words and seek to obey them.

The Spirit (3:24) - Another assurance of salvation is the indwelling presence of the Holy Spirit (Romans 8:16-17).  

Friday, May 3, 2024

Morning Message: Trusting His Holy Spirit

Bobservations' Column
Titled - "Trusting His Holy Spirit"
Written by:
Pastor Bob Lawrenz

A Christian female friend attended a Pastor’s Conference at a local church, and by the end of one pastor’s final conference presentation, she was doubting her salvation. Though she had professed Jesus as her Savior some 15 or 18 years prior, she became worried that her profession of faith wasn’t as sincere as it “needed” to be.

Though that Pastor’s teachings were always good, he sometimes came across as doubting his audience’s commitment to the Lord, which in turn brought some hearers also to doubt their own walk with the Lord. Chapter 3 of John’s first Epistle follows the warnings against false teachers and the spirit of antichrist. John’s words move from warnings to an assurance of an individual’s salvation, based upon the indwelling (abiding) presence of the Holy Spirit in the Believer. The spirit of antichrist will always be opposed to the Holy Spirit.

Conviction is for the Holy Spirit to bring through the Word, and teachers are to supply encouragement from the scriptures. As with the Prodigal Son in the parable, he realized his greed, and his hunger eventually, and knew right away that his father would not abandon him now that he was in need. But it would take some humility to admit to his father how wrong he had been. Even so, it was love that brought them back together. Love never fails. But if you remember the parable, the father received his son with open arms and never once humiliated the young man. In fact, the father gave him a robe and shoes to wear, and a ring for his finger.

God’s program of “Doctrine, reproof, correction, and instruction in righteousness” (2 Timothy 3:16) never includes humiliation but is uplifting to the goal of a closer walk with Jesus. It is the spirit of antichrist that tells us we are not good enough. God’s love and acceptance of us is never in question when approach Him in humility. Humility is something that we put on ourselves. Humiliation is something the others put on us.
John repeatedly uses the phrase “my little children” in this Epistle. He takes ownership of his readers, and like the consummate father-figure-teacher, draws the reader into that close relationship with himself and with Jesus. John’s heart-warming style has been perfected in his exile.

“A soft answer turneth away wrath: but grevious words stir up anger.” 
- Proverbs 15:1

Bobservations Column:  Audio Version

Sunday Morning's Audio Message:
1 John 2:26 - 3:10 - "Trusting His Holy Spirit"

Summary/Additional Commentary and Definitions:

This week we continue in John's first epistle, from chapter 2:28 - 3:10.

Previously, we learned that Christians have two safeguards against heresy:  the Holy Spirit and God's Word.  The Holy Spirit is doing His part.  Our part is to be obedient to Scripture.  

John presented a picture of the Christian in contrast to the antichrists.  Unbelievers depart from the fellowship, deny the faith and try to deceive the faithful.  Christians accept the faith and remain faithful.  Why?  Because of the anointing of the Spirit (v. 20), and the teaching ministry of the Holy Spirit.  God has so endowed the Christian with discernment that they ultimately will not be deceived by lies. 

As we begin our study today, starting in 1 John 2:26, John continues to contrast the differences between false and true Christians, false and true teachers, the spirit of antichrists, and the Holy Spirit. 
For the young believer, some who have not yet been taught much, it is many times difficult for them to sort out the differences.  John wants to make those distinctions clear, to know the truth from lies, true believers from heretics.  As he has already given them several doctrinal and moral tests of a true believer. John then builds up their faith, by defining the Spirit that indwells every believer.

Now remember he is writing to them concerning those who are trying to deceive them (vs 26). They have come into the church and the deny the faith, the reality of Jesus Christ that is central to the gospel.  They deny sin, the trinity, the deity of Christ, the atonement of Christ, and in doing so they are calling the Holy spirit a liar, because the Holy Spirit testifies of Christ.  They introduce damnable heresies to lead people astray.  So how can believers discern between what is true from all the lies?  John says, "But ye have an unction from the Holy One, and ye know all things."   You have an unction (anointing), and you have knowledge.  How?  The Holy Spirit who indwells the believer. Jesus said, "But ye shall receive power, after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you," Acts 1:8. And who gave us the Holy Spirit?  It's Jesus Christ, the Holy One. 

The Gnostics claimed to have a special anointing, a special elevation, a superior knowledge, higher than everyone else, but the Holy Spirit doesn't work that way.  Anyone who claims such things does so to intimidate and deceive others.  

Believers have a true knowledge, the knowledge of the true gospel, the revelation of the truth, the truth that saves.  Through His presence in us, and through His inspired Word, the things of God are revealed to us.  The Holy Spirit is our teacher.   He is the built in lie detector.  You don't need some human teacher to come in and offer to take you to the heights, the higher, deeper, truer, greater knowledge that contradicts the gospel that saved you. You have the truth already. This is the affirming and securing factor against the threat, intimidation and seduction of false teachers (antichrists).

This section also deals with the "purifying hope" of every Christian--the return of Christ. John uses this hope to elaborate on the love and obedience of the believer. The hope of Christ's return has a sanctifying effect on our behavior.

God is the source of hope, and He has graciously given that hope to us and laid it out for us in Scripture. He secured that hope by the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, then confirmed and energized in us by the Holy Spirit (Romans 15:13).

It is the Holy Spirit who stirs up that hopeful attitude in the heart in response to the promises of God revealed in Scripture. This is a marvelous hope. This engulfs all of redemptive purpose. This encompasses the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. The Father gives the hope, the Son secures the hope, the Spirit confirms the hope. We are to live with hope. We are not a people who have hope only in this world; we have hope in the world to come, and it is a living hope. It is a hope for real life, guaranteed and secured for us because Jesus conquered death not only for Himself but for all who are in Him.

True believers, says John, believe the right thing about themselves and their sin, they believe the right thing about Christ and His salvation. True believers conduct themselves in obedience to the Word of God, and true believers demonstrate love for God and for others and not for the world. True believers live in hope and are motivated by that hope to purity by the Holy Spirit.

The Believer's Hope Abides in Christ (2:28), makes righteousness a habit (2:29), magnifies God's love (3:1), anticipates Christ's return (3:2) and desires to be like Him (3:3). 

Sunday Morning Audio Message:  1 John 2:16-3:10

Key Words and Definitions with Reference:

Anointing (2:27) - See 1 John 2:20. The word in the Greek is Chrisma, meaning the special endowment of the Holy Spirit. The anointing we have received from the Holy Spirit never needs to be repeated, it abides in us, and we shall abide in Him.  John assures his readers that they already possess this anointing and that it is sufficient to instruct them in all they need to know. The gift of the Holy Spirit is the all-efficient means of enabling believers to possess a knowledge of the truth.  God's Holy Spirit guards and guides the true believer into the truth.  Because God is true, and Christ is the truth, so is the Holy Spirit.  This is our triune God.  He abides in us, and we should abide in Him.

Teach You (2:27) - This in no way lowers the value of God-called teachers, in fact, scripture tells us that He has given them to us "For the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ" (Ephesians 4:11-12). What it does show us is that each believer is not only capable but responsible to study the Word of God for himself.  The Holy Spirit inspired the Scriptures, and He has anointed and indwells each believer.  We are called to "walk in the truth." 

Little Children (2:28) - Specifically those who are new Christians, but it applies just as urgently to all Christians.

Abide in Him (2:28) - To “abide” is to live, continue, or remain; so, to abide in Christ is Faithful Christian living.  Abiding in Christ is taught in 1 John 2:5–6, where it is synonymous with “knowing” Christ (verses 2 and 3). Later in the same chapter, John equates “remaining” in the Father and the Son with having the promise of eternal life (verses 24 and 25). Biblically, “abiding in,” “remaining in,” and “knowing” Christ are references to the same thing: salvation. The phrase abiding in Christ pictures an intimate, close relationship, and not just a superficial acquaintance. In John 15:4–7, Jesus tells His disciples that drawing life from Him is essential, using the picture of branches united to a vine: “Abide in Me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself unless it abides in the vine, so neither can you unless you abide in Me. I am the vine, you are the branches; he who abides in Me and I in him, he bears much fruit, for apart from Me you can do nothing.

When He Shall Appear (2:28) - This refers especially to the rapture and gathering of the church (John 14:1-6; 1 Corinthians 15:51-54; 1 Thessalonians 4:13-18) and the judgment seat of Christ to follow (1 Corinthians 4:5; 2 Corinthians 5:9, 10).  All believers are to anticipate Christ's return at any moment. Whether by His return, or natural death, or other means, each person is always a heartbeat away from meeting God face-to-face.

Confidence... Not Be Ashamed Before Him (2:28) - This does not mean loss of salvation, but rather shame and loss of confidence if we are behaving inconsistently when Christ returns.   Close fellowship with Christ (Abiding in) leads to two important results when He returns. First, is confidence, both in our salvation and in our relationship with Him. Second, we will not need to be embarrassed about our lives and lifestyles. Instead of shame, a faithful believer can have confidence and look forward to Christ's coming. First Thessalonians 4:18 says that believers should encourage one another with the truth of Christ's imminent return.

Doeth Righteousness (2:29) - The believer's habitual lifestyle of righteousness stands in sharp contrast to false teachers who practiced sin. 
The context of this statement is purely positive: godly behavior is a sign of a close relationship with God. John is building towards a key point in 1 John 4:12–16, which is that when a person truly walks with God, God is working directly through them. Righteous living does not provide salvation; righteous living is the result of salvation. All have sinned and fall short of God's glory (Romans 3:23). Salvation is not earned by works, but is the result of grace through faith (Ephesians 2:8–9). Good works should naturally result from the person who has become a believer (Ephesians 2:10). When they do, such righteous deeds offer evidence that a person has truly come to faith in Christ.

Born of Him (2:29) - This is the first of seven occurrences of the phrase "born of God" or "born of Him" in 1 John, each giving a "description" of those who are truly born again. See 1 John 3:9; 4:7; 5:1, 4, 18.

Sons of God (3:1, 2) - Becoming a child of God is seen as a great sign of love from God the Father. John specifically mentions that believers are not only "called sons of God;" believers truly are God's children. We can be called the "Sons of God" because we have been "created in Christ Jesus" (Ephesians 2:10) and are "new creature[s]" in Him (2 Corinthians 5:17).  Everyone who exercises genuine saving faith becomes a child of God at the moment of belief (John 1:12; Romans 8:15; 2 Peter 1:4).
Shall Be Like Him (3:2) - At Christ's return, the believer will experience ultimate conformity to His likeness.  When He comes, He "shall change our vile body, to be fashioned like unto his glorious body" (Philippians 3:21).  He will "make all things new" again (Revelation 21:5).  

Purifieth Himself (3:3) - Living in the reality of Christ's return makes a difference in a Christian's behavior.  Since Christians someday will be like Him, a desire should grow within them to become like Him now. Because believers have hope, and anticipate being with Jesus for eternity, they pursue a pure life. The goal of living a pure life is to be like Christ. He is pure, and believers seek to live like Him. Purity is a strong theme in the New Testament. In Matthew 5:8, Jesus taught, "Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God." Paul sought to present believers as a "pure virgin to Christ" (2 Corinthians 11:2). Believers are to "be pure and blameless for the day of Christ" (Philippians 1:10). 1 Peter 3:2 speaks of the "pure conduct" a believer should pursue, which stands out to unbelievers. To be pure is to be free from sin, to live increasingly like Christ in a world filled with evil. Those who do can look forward to heaven rather than fear future judgment.

Committeth Sin (3:4) - The verb in the Greek conveys the idea of making sin a habitual practice.  
In contrast with the purity described in verse 3, John labels the "practice of sinning" as "lawlessness."  The term lawlessness conveys more than transgressing God's Law.  It conveys the ultimate sense of rebellion:  living as there is no law, or ignoring what laws exist (James 4:17).  Christians cannot practice sin because it is incompatible with the Law of God which they love. (Psalm 119:34, 77, 97; Romans 7:12, 22).  Christians cannot practice sin because it is incompatible with the work of Christ, who died to sanctify (make holy) the believer (2 Corinthians 5:21; Ephesians 5:25-27). 

He Was Manifested (3:5) - Three important truths are noted in this verse.
  1. That Jesus appeared; earlier verses in 1 John specify that this was in a real, flesh-and-blood form. While false teachers argue Jesus never came as a human, believers accept the coming of Jesus to this world, called the incarnation, as an essential part of the faith (John 1:1–14).
  2. Jesus had a clear purpose for coming to this world. He did not come to merely make us better. His mission was to remove the power of sin from our lives. He did so by paying the price of our evil actions on the cross. Christ's sacrifice.  He is the only One sufficient to pay the price for every sin, once and for all. Why?
  3. Jesus was sinless.  Hebrews 4:15, "For we have not an high priest which cannot be touched with the feeling of our infirmities; but was in all points tempted like as we are, yet without sin."  See also: 2 Corinthians 5:21; Hebrews 7:26; 1 Peter 2:22.
Let No Man Deceive You (3:7) - Deceive means "to be led astray."  Since false teachers were attempting to pervert the fundamentals of the faith, the possibility existed that some Christians might be fooled into accepting what they were advocating.  To prevent this from occurring, John repeatedly emphasized the basics of Christianity... obedience, love, and a proper view of Christ. 

From the Beginning (3:8) - Satan was originally created as perfect and only later rebelled against God (Isaiah 13:12-14; Ezekiel 28:12-17).  Sin characterizes him completely, so those characterized by sin are of the devil.  

Children of the Devil (3:10) - Those who do not habitually "practice righteousness" and "love his brother", are children of the devil.  There is no middle ground.  You are a child of God, or a child of the devil. Scripture also calls them "children of the wicked one" (Matthew 13:38), "children of disobedience" and "children of wrath" (Ephesians 2:2-3). A person who does not "practice righteousness" is not from God. In other words, a believer will seek to live according to God's ways. They may fail, sometimes miserably (Psalm 51:1–4), but they will not persist in deliberately "walking" in darkness.

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