Important Themes in First John

Scripture: 1 John 1:1-10, 1 John 2:1-29, 1 John 3:1-24
Date: 09/12/2009 
Lesson: 11
A review of the major important themes found in 1 John.
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Good morning and a very Happy Sabbath to those of you who are joining us this morning, whether you're listening on the radio, watching live on our website at, or watching on the various television networks. Happy Sabbath. And we're so glad that you are tuning in and you're gonna sing your favorite songs with us. The first one that we're gonna be singing this morning is a favorite, 532. This is from vetus in antigua and barbuda, joy in the british virgin islands, george, rebi and joan in Canada, abigail in Colorado, jacqueline in dominica, ann, laverne and sharon in england, daphne in florida, kervin in ghana, seal and cheryl in grenada, grace, aurona and June in guyana, debbie and jeffrey, lucia, Pauletta and tamika in jamaica, hazel in japan, charity in Michigan, Christian in netherlands, joanne in New York, noulu in nigeria, rachel in New York, charles in Ohio, herman in Oregon, miya fleur in the Philippines, albert in quatar, caroline in st.

Lucia, barry in seycelles, courtney in South Carolina, gill in North Dakota, ray and walter in south korea, and heather and manny in united arab emirates. This is a favorite this morning. It's one of my favorites too. So thank you for picking it, . We'll sing all three verses.

I love the words to that song. You know sometimes you are going through trials in life. And it seems, these days it's more often than not as we reach closer to the end of this world. And sometimes you have to live day-by-day. We have to live day-by-day anyway, just trusting the Lord.

But when you're in darkness and you just can't see the light at the end of the tunnel, you know that he is there. And he loves you. If you have a favorite song that you would like to send in and sing with us on an upcoming Sabbath, most of you know what to do. But in case this is your first time tuning in, go to our website at And click on the "contact us" link.

And you can send in your favorite hymn request. And we will sing that with you. Our next song is a good one, , "o brother be faithful," kind of going along with the theme this morning, 602. And this is from becky in Alaska, vondelle and marcus in Canada, devaughn, jennifer and yanky in jamaica, Karen in Missouri, angelica in Oregon, verdis in Philippines, pic won in singapore, wilfred and bradley in south africa, vicki in trinidad and tobago, amalia in zambia. , We'll sing the 1st, nd and 4th verse.

Thank you for singing along with us this morning, those of you at home. And of course I want to thank the Sacramento central church choir for joining us this morning. Let's bow our heads for prayer. Father in Heaven, this morning we do want to be found faithful so that we can abide with you forever and ever. We look forward to that day.

And we thank you so much for giving us the hope that we have as Christians, that one day you're gonna come. And we know that day is very soon. I pray that you'll help us to be ready as we see the things in this world that are happening fast, that we won't be caught off-guard, that we won't be sleeping, but we will be watching and we'll be ready for when you come. I pray that you'll be with each person here this morning that is going to be studying with us. And of course those who aren't with us but are joining us and are a part of our family, we thank you so much for each one.

I pray that you'll give them a special Sabbath blessing wherever they are today. In Jesus' Name, amen. At this time our lesson study is going to be brought to us by our senior pastor here at Sacramento central church, Pastor Doug Batchelor. Thank you very much debbie and jessica and the whole choir. This is nice for those who are here.

You sort of get The Song service in surround sound. It's kind of fun. And for our friends who are watching on tv or the internet, you know the words appear on the screen when this is broadcast, 'cause we want to encourage you to sing along with us. And you know, sometimes people might feel funny watching a program and singing along, but this is church for a lot of folks. Matter of fact, sometimes we even sing--once or twice we miss a note, so you'll feel comfortable singing with us.

We do that on purpose, just so you won't feel like you can't sing with us. And so we like to encourage that. And I want to welcome our class that is watching and our members here, visitors that might be here at Sacramento central. And we're going through our lesson on the study of John. And we have a free offer for anybody who is watching.

If you don't have this book and you would like a copy, we'd be happy to send it to you. It's the book, "steps to Christ." And that's offer number 736. I read this book about 30 years ago when I first gave my heart to the Lord. And it really became a wonderful manifest of what it means to be a Christian and how to have a victorious Christian life. We recommend it to everybody.

"Steps to Christ," call 866-788-3966. Once again, ask for offer number 736. Going through our study, we're on lesson number 11 today. And I probably ought to preface my comments by saying that I got to bed late last night. So you know, they're having right now a really unique program in so-cal at the so-cal campground.

It's called the army Bible camp. A number of our members are there right now. And it's a camp meeting specifically about how to study the Bible and secrets to Bible study, Bible memorization. It's all about the Bible. It's called the Bible camp.

And so I really wanted to be there and flew down with a friend of mine last night, did a couple of presentations. Got back a little late. So I may just go to sleep during the presentation today, because I figure all the times I looked out there and seen you sleeping, we're probably due. This would be payback. So you can know what I see.

[Snoring sounds] or this is what I usually see... And you know when that happens, right when the camera goes to get an audience shot, they say, "oh look, that person looks interested. Let's get a shot of them." And right then they go... And then we have to edit that. So that's what really happens behind the scenes here at Sacramento central.

Anyway, enough nonsense. I'm sorry. This is a very important lesson. You know, I was just doing some study on John, even while we were sitting there and getting ready for our taping today. Turn in your Bible to the book of Galatians 2:9.

The author of 1 John, 2 John, John is of course John. Even though he was the youngest of the apostles, he's referred to by Paul--Paul was sort of a late-comer to the apostles-- as a pillar in the church. John--I'm sorry, Galatians 2:9, "and when James, and cephas--" cephas was another name for Peter-- "when James, and cephas, and John, who seemed to be pillars, perceived that the grace that had been given to me--" the last pillar of the church to survive was John. And so when John wrote his letters, James was gone. Peter had been executed.

And so John is like the remaining pillar of the apostles of the church. He's summarizing in 1 John: God is life, God is love, and God is light. And then he says since God is love and life and light, he then goes on through the book to tell us how to walk in light, "walk in the light," to walk in love, and to experience or walk in life. And that's really a core theme in his teachings. But there are some other subjects that he touches on, some very controversial.

For instance--and there's a lot of verses we're gonna look at here so--and I think, let's just--let's just do a check here. How many of you--did we hand out some verses that you're gonna help us read, that you've got a little piece of paper with the verse on it? Okay, I see. We usually grab people up front so that we can get the microphones to them and they're in the light as well. The Godhead, sometimes called the trinity. Let's talk about that.

First of all, Colossians 2:9, somebody has that. "For in him dwells all the fullness of the Godhead bodily." Sometimes that word, "Godhead," how many of you in your Bible it's defined as the divine entity? Someone have it that way? I thought I saw a hand. Different versions, that word, "Godhead," is sort of a unique word. And it's defining these multiple individuals that are really one head. Now when Moses said in Deuteronomy 6.

"Hear o Israel, the Lord our God is one," people read that and they say, "well, if anything's clear, it's clear that there's only one God. How can you say you've got three Gods in The Father, son and spirit?" Moses is also the same one who wrote, "God said, 'let us make man in our image." In the Hebrew mind, one did not always mean numerical quantity. One also meant unity. Moses said--Moses recorded where God said, "a man will leave his father and mother and cleave unto his wife, and they two," numerical quantity two, "shall be one flesh." And then Jesus, it's also a new testament teaching bore this out. Read John 17 where he prays for the church.

And his prayer all through there is, "father, I pray that they may be one even as you and I are one." So Jesus said that God The Father and God The Son are one and God the Spirit. Christ commands in Matthew 28, "go ye therefore, teach, baptizing in the name of." He doesn't say the "names" of, but the "name of The Father, son and Holy Spirit." Now this is important because you just need to transport yourself back to the time of Moses, and even the time of Jesus. The pagan nations were polytheistic. They had many Gods. And the Gods were often at war with each other.

How many of you studied Greek mythology either in college or school. And it's kind of absurd when you look at how all these Gods are--the intrigue and the battles and the stealing and the fighting among the Gods. They were not one, that's for sure. And they're always, you know, trying to outmaneuver one another and conquer one another. And there was one God of the bushes and another God of the river and another God of the frogs.

And they had all these different Gods in Egypt. The ten plagues that Moses--well, it's really God--sent on the Egyptians, all those plagues in one way or another were calculated to undermine their false Gods. They had a God of the river. Oh, that's why the river turned to blood. They worshipped frogs.

Well, they were plagued with frogs. I mean they worshipped The Son and so God struck them with darkness. And so these plagues really were saying something about the many Gods they worshipped. So when Moses said to the children of Israel, "hear, o Israel, the Lord our God is one God," it's not a God at war. It's not a God where this God's in charge of this bush or tree or water or sun.

And this God's in charge of this element. Our God is one God that cooperates in all things. And so there's a unity there that he's talking about. But people down through time get mixed up and they think, "well, Jesus can't really be God. the Spirit can't be God.

Spirit's just the force. It's the electricity that God uses to do things. But God continually refers to the Holy Spirit with all of the characteristics of an individual and a person. He comforts. He can be grieved.

He sends. He guides. It's not some force that has no personality. So let's talk about that a little bit. First of all, let me spend a moment--and by the way, there's a book that you can read for free online, just go to the Amazing Facts website, and it's called "the trinity.

" It's a quick study, easy read, a lot of proof text on the subject of the Godhead or the trinity. Most people don't have a problem with God The Father being God. We're all together on that, right? And I don't have to spend a lot of time telling you that God is God. Where people get hung up is, "is Jesus really God?" "Was Jesus created?" You know, some say, "well, there's that Proverbs 8 talks about, you know, in the beginning when you were formed. And it makes it sound like, after all if he's The Son of God, he had to be born at some time.

He's called the begotten son, and so at some point in the remote recesses of history, God The Father begot Jesus." That's not what it's talking about. When it talks about Christ as the only begotten Son of God, it's not saying that he was begotten long ages ago in eternity. The only time God was begotten as a man was in Jesus. It's talking about the incarnation, the only begotten Son of God. Christ was The Son of God all through eternity, but he wasn't born at some point.

And I'll tell you why that's important. Is God love? You stop me when I say something that's not biblical, okay? God is love. How many things were made by Jesus? All things that were made were made by him. So here you've got a problem. If you think Jesus was made or created or born, how could he be born without a mommy God? You know, unless God The Father is both.

So in order for him to be born, you'd have to say something was made not by Jesus himself. It doesn't say that; it says, "all things that were made were made by him." And then it says that, "he is the alpha and the omega, from everlasting to everlasting." So if he's got a beginning, he's not everlasting. And then here's to me the coup de grace. God is love. How can you have love when there's only one singular being existing by himself in the cosmos? Who do you love? In order for God's very essence to be loved, there needs to be more than one.

How can you call someone a loving being when they live by themselves on an island? Who do they prove their love to? How do they express their love? So Jesus has always existed. Now--still people will say he's a lesser God. Now I'm gonna make a concession here. The Bible does seem to teach, and whenever I talk about God, I'll admit I'm on holy ground, so forgive me, Lord, if I say something out of line, but I seem to think in the Bible, most Bible scholars agree, we seem to see an order of authority in the Bible where Jesus continually defers to the authority of The Father. It doesn't mean they're not co-equal.

A husband and wife are co-equal in their value to God. A husband and wife might have exactly the same iq, but in the family and biblically it shows that the wife defers to the authority of the husband in the family. That's another sermon. Write me letters about that later; I'll preach on that. But anyway, I'm just telling you what I see in the Bible.

Jesus defers to the authority of The Father. Whenever you hear them mentioned, it's The Father, The Son, the Holy Spirit. The Father has given all judgment to The Son. Well, the very fact that he has the right to give it seems to say he has the authority. And so, "God so loved the world," God The Father so loved the world, "he gave his son.

" Isaac was a willing sacrifice, but Abraham brought him up the mountain and offered his son. And so there seems to be an authority where The Father is the supreme authority. But God The Father, God The Son and God the Spirit are all three 100% God. Now, by the Bible definition start of the first page, "in the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth." Who created all things? Jesus. And here it says, "God.

" He calls him God. By the Bible definition, you are to worship God and him only should you serve. You shall not worship anyone but God. Did Jesus receive worship? Yeah, you remember, it says all the angels worship him. One time John the apostle fell down to worship an angel.

That's who we're talking about today. And the angel said, "don't do it; worship God only." So we're not even supposed to worship angels. And I know if an angel appeared right now, we'd all feel like worshipping him, because he'd be so powerful and bright, we wouldn't know what to do. And whenever angels appeared to men, they wanted to make sacrifice to them. And the angel said, "just worship God.

" But did the angels worship Jesus? It says in Hebrews they do. Did Jesus receive worship of the apostles? When he rose from the dead in Matthew it says he declared all hail--matter of fact, I gave that to somebody. Matthew 28:9. "And as they went to tell his disciples, behold, Jesus met them, saying, 'rejoice!' So they came and held him by the feet and worshiped him." They worshipped him. They held him by the feet.

And when it says "rejoice!" Here, he says, "all hail!" Again, thomas then confessed, John 20:26-29, "my Lord and my God!" How did he refer to Jesus? "My Lord and my God!" Now you know, our friends, the jehovah witnesses, when they read this verse, they don't believe Jesus is God. And you show them this verse, which is undeniable, it's in the original, they say, "well, what thomas was doing is he looked and Jesus and said, 'my Lord,' and then he tilted his head up and said, 'and my God!'" Well, you know, you can imagine that. It's not in the text. It's one phrase. He's telling Jesus, "my Lord and my God!" And so, you know, that to me is an example of kind of torturing the Bible to make it say what you want it to say.

So he's worshipped his God. The Bible says only God can forgive sin. God and God only can forgive sin. You can find that in Isaiah and in--Isaiah 43:25, but you look in Mark 2 and Luke 5, Jesus forgave sin. If it says God and God only can forgive sin, Jesus must be God.

Furthermore, Jesus is jehovah. Does that make you nervous? Jesus by all the definitions--the Bible says jehovah only is our Savior in the old testament. Well, is Jesus our Savior? And don't get--don't get hung up on this, but Christ is also our father in one sense. "His name shall be called wonderful, counselor, the mighty God, the everlasting father." In the sense, don't--you know, Jesus is--he calls himself The Son of man. He calls himself our brother.

He calls himself our friend. And in the sense that he created us, he's our father. And so, you know, he's everything to us. He's our Savior. He's our substitute.

He's our guide. He's our judge. He's our judge and our defense attorney. How do you get those two to work together? But that's what the Bible says. And so, you know, Jesus is all this.

So whenever you look at the definitions of God--oh, another definition for God, God and God only knows the thoughts of men's hearts. And that I believe is in 1 Kings 8. But did Jesus know what people thought? John, who's the subject of our study said he knew what was in man. When Jesus came to nathaniel and Jesus said to him, "I saw you when you were praying under the fig tree." He knew what he was praying. He said, "oh, you're the Messiah.

" And when Simon, at the feast in Simon's house, when Simon is thinking within himself, "this man, if he was a prophet would know who and what manner of woman this is that's touching him when mary magdalene was anointing his feet. Jesus knowing his thinking says, "Simon--" he's wondering, if he's a prophet he would know, you know, what kind of woman she is. And then he reads Simon's heart. And so Jesus continually through the Gospels, it says he knew what they were thinking. Now the devil can tempt you and put something in your mind, but the devil cannot read your mind.

But Jesus can read your heart. He knows what you're thinking even when you're not aware what you're thinking. Sometimes you don't know what you're thinking, right? Sometimes you got the hymn book open and you're singing and you're thinking something else and you don't even know what you're thinking. You're not thinking about The Song though. Our minds wander.

Jesus knows all that. So there's a verse in John that's a very controversial verse. John 5:7, "for there are three that bear witness in heaven: The Father, the word and the Holy Spirit; these three are one." Now that verse is a very powerful verse. There are some manuscripts where that verse does not appear. the King James and the new king James and other Bible translators chose to keep that in the text because there are some very ancient manuscripts it is believed that it is in.

And so, you know, the scholars that I've read, you could look at John gill and adam clarke and a number of others, they say, "we can be confident that this was in the original text." Keep in mind; this is a slam dunk verse--forgive the basketball terminology-- for the trinity. There was a big debate in the early church about the trinity. This is why you had the armenians and there was a split in the church way back in the early days. And it's not beyond reason that some of those that wanted to take away from the divinity of Christ deleted that verse or conveniently left it out of those later manuscripts. But we already know how the apostles felt about Jesus.

And of course if it says baptized in the name of The Father, son and Holy Spirit, look at the baptism of Christ. You've got God The Father in Heaven. He's speaking, "this is my beloved son," right? You've got God The Son in the water. You've got God the Spirit coming down. Now the reason I say that is there's some people that say, "God is really--God is really one who manifests himself differently.

" It's like, you know, you've got one water. And sometimes the water's liquid, sometimes it's gas and sometimes it's a solid when it's frozen. And sometimes God manifested himself as Jesus and sometimes he manifested himself as the Spirit. And he sort of morphs and appears. It's one God who keeps changing hats.

At the baptism of Jesus, either God is a ventriloquist or you've got God in three different places. And when Jesus is praying, he's talking to himself; he's schizophrenic when he's praying to The Father. And so that doctrine that, you know, God keeps reappearing in different forms, no: three persons, one God. That's why God says, "let us make man in our image." God does not have a split personality. Three unique persons.

They have perfect love. They're all involved in the salvation of man. They are one as God wants us to be one. And that to me, I think, is the best evidence is how does God talk to the church? He says we are one body, many members, one body. Husband and wife, one family.

God, father, son and spirit, one God. That's all he means by that. So hopefully that helps a little bit. Again, you may just--you can download it and read it. It's all free.

Just Amazing Facts, go to the free library, the book on the trinity. We put a lot of things there free, 'cause we want people to have these resources at their fingertips. Alright, let's move on talk about the church in the next section here. John 2:9-11, 1 John 2:9-11, "the one who says he is in the light and yet hates his brother is in the darkness until now. The one who loves his brother abides in the light and there is no cause for stumbling in him.

But the one who hates his brother is in darkness and walks in darkness, and does not know where he is going because the darkness has blinded his eyes." John says a lot in his letter about loving each other. Now do you think he said that because in his letters to John, 2 John, and 3 John there were a couple of brothers in the church that were having an argument? Or does John say it because it is typical in virtually any church where we've got human beings, there's going to be conflict? Alright, gonna ask you a question. How many of you have been members of a church for at least 10 years. I'm not asking how faithful, have you attended or been members, hold your hand up, really. I want to see a force of hands if it's a true answer, okay.

See all that. Alright, I'm hoping we'll get an audience shot from the studio. Now, how many of you during that period of time have been involved in or observed conflict in those churches between individuals in that time? Let me see your hands. That's why John put it in his letter. That was probably the same number of hands.

God compares the church to a family. Not all families are like "leave it to beaver." Well, wait, there was even conflict there too from time to time, wasn't there? But I know you, this idealistic idea of the perfect loving family where just everybody always says, "no, you go first." "You take the biggest piece." "No, I can wait. You can use the bathroom now." I mean, you know, just this perfect family where just everybody loves each other and there's no conflict and nobody feels like they're not appreciated. And nobody's--nobody's impatient because somebody's talking too long and they've got to go. And nobody's worried that somebody's spending a little too much money out of the checkbook.

And the perfect family. I've not met them yet. Matter of fact, in the years of my pastoring--the operative word is dysfunctional families, you know. And I started meeting people that said, "well, you know, Pastor Doug, we got these issues because we came from a dysfunctional family." And the more I've observed it, trying to figure out what in the world that means, I finally came to the conclusion, I haven't met a functional family yet, that we all just dysfunction differently. And it's because we're humans.

And you know, one reason God puts us in a church, he doesn't put us in a church because we're to be surrounded by all these perfect, lovable people. He puts us in a church to teach us to love. And it's a gymnasium where you got a lot of weights. And the way you develop muscles is by lifting weights. And a church is a place where your love gets tried.

It gets developed through strain. And so John knew that. And in his letter he addresses a lot about how you've got to love each other, but it has to be a proactive choice. It doesn't come naturally. People do things that are inconsiderate.

People do things to irritate each other. People are unconverted or selfish. And you know what? Even converted, the old nature of selfishness often rears its head. And you know, when we're tried, and when we go through difficulties, or we're tired or hungry or impatient, sometimes that old, selfish, carnal nature comes out. And we don't act very Christian.

And so that gives you an opportunity if--you be careful. I just want to warn you. If you say, "Lord, I want to love the way Jesus loves--" how did Jesus demonstrate his love the best? When he was being tried by his own people who threatened to stone him or who rejected him or who forsook him or bad mouthed him or spied on him, talked badly about him, that's when Jesus demonstrated his love. So if you say, "Lord, I want to have more of your love," you know what God's gonna do? He's not gonna let you walk on golden streets so that you can feel all loving and be surrounded by loving angels. He's gonna have you live and move in a world where people are not always loving.

That often plays out in the church family. God wants us to practice love with each other. And so this is one of the messages about the church. Another message is recognize that sometimes the very things that we find dysfunctional about people, it's the other side of gifts that God has given them. You've heard of the far side of the moon? One side of the moon is always facing away from us.

And we're always looking at the man in the moon. But it's all the same moon. One side's got light and one side's kind of got dark side. And you'll often find that gifts that God gives people, those very gifts can also be problematic. There are people in the church that are task-oriented.

They want to get things done. It's go, go, go. And you need people like that in the church. I'm so glad for people like Martha in the church. They're willing to pitch in.

And they're gonna scrub the dishes. They're gonna cook the food. They're gonna get things done. They're gonna make it happen. But do you know what the other side of Martha is? They get irritated about the other people that aren't doing anything.

Didn't Martha kind of fold her arms and tap her foot and say, "Jesus, you're just gonna sit here and let mary just, you know, gush and listen as you teach and I'm doing all the work?" And sometimes they are high-strung. And you'll often find whatever your gift is in the church--God's given you gifts--you gotta work on the other side of that gift, the dark side of it. And learn how to be loving and use your gifts. We're all different parts of one body. And we need to respect that.

When you look at the 12 apostles, each one of them was unique. Was Peter just like his brother andrew? No. Peter's always the spokesman. You don't ever hear a sermon from andrew. But andrew's always bringing people to Jesus.

Andrew was very relationship-oriented. Andrew didn't mind that Peter was the vocal one. James and John were brothers, but were they just like each other? No, you find they're very different. And John was the apostle of love. James maybe had a little more of a temper.

And you can read in his letter, he seems to be a little more behavior-oriented when you read that. Actually, that's James the brother of Jesus in that letter. But they're all--temperaments were different. On the breastplate of the high priest, what was there? How many stones were on the breastplate? What did those 12 stones on the breastplate represent? The 12 tribes. What kind of stone was it? Was it any one stone? Any two stones? Was it made up of three different stones: emeralds, turquoise and diamonds? How many different kinds of stone? A different stone for every tribe.

And the new Jerusalem's foundation is made up of basically those same stones. Why 12 different gates, different stones, different foundations that all represents God's church is made up of a diversity of different gifts and personalities. But we're all one body. And so I meet people sometimes, and I say, "you know, I just can't understand what that person's saying." But I find other people that say, "boy, I sure--i sure really understand when he teaches or she teaches, it makes a lot of sense." I'm going, "well, you know, people communicate differently." And folks have different gifts. And you just have to recognize it in the body and accept it.

There are people that you can reach with your gifts that I could never reach. People I could reach that you couldn't reach. And God has made us all different that way. Did the disciples argue among themselves which was the greatest? Those differences sometimes cause conflict, but before the Holy Spirit was poured out, what happened? They not only got together in one place; that's the church, that upper room, but they were of one accord. They had one spirit.

They'd forgiven each other. They learned to love and accept each other. And that's when God poured out the Spirit. That's what we need too. That's what John's prayer is all through his book, that the saints could be of one spirit and one accord.

We're all different parts of his body. Look at the words that he uses to describe the church family. He uses the phrase, "Heavenly Father," 12 times. So you got a father. John is actually a father-figure too.

He speaks of "little children" times, "fathers" and "young men" twice, "brothers" 13 times. John in his letter uses the language of family, that we are a family. Alright, let's move along here. John 2:13-14, here's an example of what we just stated. "I am writing to you, fathers, because you know him who has been from the beginning.

I am writing to you, young men, because you have overcome the evil one. I have written to you, children, because you know The Father. I have written to you, fathers, because you know him who has been from the beginning I have written to you, young men, because you are strong in the word and it abides in you, and you have overcome the evil one." Now, first of all, when it says, "fathers and young men," does it sound like women are being excluded? In the Hebrew mind, just know this and you'll feel better, it often talks about fathers and it refers to parents, meaning fathers and mothers. When it talks about the young men, it's referring to young men and young women. Remember it says, "God made man, male and female made he them.

" And so it's speaking in the terms of humanity, but it uses the masculine term. So it's not trying to delete the women from that component. An example of that, what is the last prophecy in the old testament? Anyone remember? It's in Malachi 4, "behold I send you Elijah the prophet, before the great and dreadful day of the Lord, and he will turn the hearts of The Fathers to the children and the children to The Fathers." Is that not mean mothers too? Does that mean just sons, or is it parents to the children? "Lest they come and smite the earth with a curse." What does that mean? Have you noticed in the churches today, sometimes there's something of a generation gap? That they say, "alright, we're gonna have--the youth are gonna be regulated to their own study and their own worship. And they're going out there. And the adults, The Fathers and the mothers, they're gonna have their worship.

You know, we'll have our conservative, traditional worship. And then the youth, they need--you know, they're young and vivacious. They'll have their hootenanny worship. And they'll do that out there. And we'll just--you know, we'll have our own worship.

Same God, doesn't matter, but everyone worships differently." I think that's unfortunate. I don't find that in the Bible. I find that it says that when Ezra read the word, that The Fathers, the mothers, the children all gathered. And they opened the word and they listened together. I think if that's happening, the problem is the preacher.

It's not The Fathers and the mothers. I think that if we preach the word the way it should be preached like Jesus--did children understand Jesus? Did they love Jesus? Did adults understand him? Did the young men understand him? Did the old men understand him? I think that if we're opening the word the way it should be open that we ought to be able to sit together for worship as family. And it ought to be relevant because--and I really appreciate--dwight nelson said something very similar. He said, "what we're doing is we're losing our sense of community when we do that." We really ought to be integrated as a family when we come together to worship the Lord. And that's one of the signs of God's Spirit being poured out.

Not that we're split and there's a division between The Fathers and the children, but that the hearts are pulled together again. You know what else I think this means? I think that the old testament you could call The Fathers, the law and the prophets. Some people have split that off from the new testament. But when we finally get it all together, you've got the words of The Fathers, the traditions of The Fathers, biblical traditions I'm talking about. And then you've got the new truth that we've learned as a people.

All that needs to be integrated. And when we get together that way and find out that it is one message--see I firmly believe in using new methods to teach the teachings of The Fathers. I think you can have young people--it was very exciting when you go to these gyc programs, generation of youth for Christ. And when I was at that arme Bible program going on right now in so-cal, a lot of young people there. And you know what they're studying? The Fathers.

You're finding that The Fathers and the youth are getting excited about the same truth. It's not like there's a truth for the youth and then there's a truth for The Fathers. It's all the same truth. And when we get that together, that's when the church is gonna come alive. So, you know, it's also true I think that parents and children, there ought to be unity there.

But I think that's a very small part of that prophecy. I think it's got a spiritual application that's much bigger than that. So we're one family. We're one church. Alright, next section: "salvation.

" Somebody read for me John 3:1. "How great is the love The Father has lavished on us, that we should be called his children of God! And that is what we are! The reason the world does not know us is that it did not know him." So we've already talked about the church being a family. This verse also reinforces that we're family, that we are adopted into the family of God. But it's also talking about salvation, that we're being saved from the devil's household so to speak. And it's like he can't find words to describe it, so he invites us to behold it.

"Behold how great," this is. "What manner of love The Father's bestowed on us that we should be called sons of God." By the way, you find this all the way back in Genesis when it talks about when The Sons of God saw the daughters of men, that they were fair. John is reinforcing that The Sons of God ought to stick with the daughters of God. The reason the church gets in trouble is when people in the church family begin to marry those that are in the devil's family. They're not in the house of God.

And we ought to be yoked equally, as Paul says. John 2:2, I gave that out to somebody, hand right here. Let's bring a microphone right quick. Hold your hand up. Who's got.

Oh, you've got it already. I'm sorry. "And he himself is the propitiation for our sins, and not for ours only but also for the whole world." You know that's a big word we typically don't use. It's a legal term. They'll find lawyers know what that means, appropriation.

And it's saying that we are given credit for the righteousness of God. He stands in for us. And so he became the propitiation for our sins. John 4:9-10, "in this is the love of God manifested for us, that God has sent his only begotten son into the world, that we might live through him. This is love, not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his son to be the propitiation for our sins.

" Now think about this. It says not that we loved him, but he loved us. Why do we love him? Because he first loved us. That's a very simple, but a very profound truth. How important is it for us to love him more? Is there anybody here that would not like to love God more? Is there anyone here that would not like to be more willing to do his will? So if you want to love him more, what is the key? We love him because he first loved us.

It's the goodness of God that leads us to repentance. It's the love of God that makes us love him. So as you behold his love for you, it will inspire and reproduce in you reciprocal love for him. So one of the keys for us to be better Christians is to behold the love of God. That's why John says, "behold what manner of love.

" We love him, why? "Because he first loved us." We didn't just suddenly start becoming lovable and God says, "you know, I wasn't gonna save 'em, but they've sure been really lovable. I think I'm gonna save 'em now." While we're unlovable, he loves us. And that to us is inspiring. That, "boy, I'm so rotten and you're so good to me." I don't know, do you often consider how patient God is with you? All the years of praying, sometimes over the same thing and you know he's still willing to forgive. He's so patient.

He's so loving. It ought to melt your heart when you think about how loving, how good, how many times he answers your prayers. And it makes you love him. So this is his salvation, that God loves us. Now, he wants to save us from our sins.

We're talking about salvation here. He saves us just the way we are. What I mean by that, "just as I am without one plea." You come to the Lord just as you are. That is justification. But salvation does not stop with justification.

Salvation is also including sanctification. He loves you too much to leave you just as you are. So when you come to him, "just as I am," then as you follow him, you're transformed by following. Children of Israel were justified by sacrificing the passover lamb in Egypt. But then when they got to the wilderness, they learned to trust and to follow the Lord.

It's a continual following. There must be sanctification. If you are praying about the same besetting sin that used to bother you 20 years ago, it just doesn't bother you as much anymore, you've got a problem. There ought to be growth and victory in the Christian life that you can see, that he is the author and finisher of your faith. The book is progressing, so to speak.

So he wants us to grow. Let me give you some verses that help bear this out. First of all, God wants to save us, not in our sin, but from our sin. This is a truth that is not often dwelt upon in the church in modern times. He not only accepts you the way you are, he wants you to change.

By his grace you can be victorious. He wants you to have a new life. Notice, the devil was kicked out of heaven for sinning. You and I aren't going in that way. We must get the victory over our sins.

Ezekiel 28:16, "and you sinned, therefore I cast you as a profane thing out of the mountain of God." New testament, Corinthians 6:9-11, "do you not know--" this is like basic theology, "that the unrighteous will not inherit the Kingdom of God? Do not be deceived." Paul had this problem even back in his day. "Neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor homosexuals, nor sodomites, nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners will inherit the Kingdom of God. And such were," that's past tense, "some of you." Everybody in the church, God could look down and say, "such were some of you." But by the grace of God, he's given you the victory. I used to be a drunkard. Praise the Lord I'm not anymore.

Gave it up. Used to smoke. I don't anymore. Used to curse. Praise God; I don't anymore.

And so in the same way he gives me victory over these things, and that I've been transformed, you become a new creature. Every Christian in every area, God wants you to have victory. Don't become comfortable or complacent in your sin. That is very dangerous. It's like boiling a frog.

That's what the devil wants to do. He wants us to become--just say, "well, praise the Lord for God's grace," and become comfortable in your sin. God wants to save you from your sin, all of your sin. There's no sin in your life that God is gonna just say, "ah, oh well." Jesus is your example. Name his sins.

He didn't sin. He's your example. He lived a perfect, holy life. And he wants us to be perfect. And he wants us to be holy, perfect in Christ.

Galatians 5:19, "now the works of the flesh are evident, which are: adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lewdness, idolatry, sorcery, hatred, contentions, jealousies, outbursts of wrath," losing your temper, "selfish ambitions, dissensions, heresies, evil, murder, drunkenness, revelries, and the like;" it says it's a long list, I'm not gonna list it all, "of which I tell you beforehand, just as I've told you in the past, those who practice such things will not inherit the Kingdom of God." He wants us to get the victory over those things. Amen? I mean what do you expect God to say? "Well, a little bit of sin's not so bad." Yeah, I do believe there are varying degrees of sin. But I think as long as you're in this life, God is wanting every Christian to strive to be Christ-like and to be overcomers. Revelation 21:27, "there shall by no means enter into heaven anything that defiles, or causes an abomination or a lie." We must be purified. "Christian behavior," I got one minute to talk about that.

John 1:9, who has that for me? "If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness." Alright, now what is part and parcel of confession according to the Bible? It says in Proverbs, "whosoever confesses and forsakes his sins shall have mercy." Real confession. Is real confession just going like some mafioso? You know, you go to church and you look at the crucifix and you cross yourself and say, "sorry I murdered three people this week. I apologize." And then you go out and you pick up your next hit list. There are some people who view confession that way. It's just like you sort of, you know, you download your record of sins so you can go sin some more.

Is that real confession? Real confession involves a repentance and a sorrow for sin and a willingness to turn away from it. Is that right? That's why Jesus said--wait, I want to back up. John--there's one more verse in our lesson I want to read-- John 2:15. I'm gonna read through verse 17. "Do not love the world or the things that are in the world.

If anyone loves the world, the love of The Father is not in him. For all that's in the world, the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life is not of The Father but is of the world. And the world is passing away, and the lust thereof; but he that does the will of God will abide forever." What will Christ say when he comes? "Not everyone that says, 'Lord, Lord,' will enter the Kingdom, but he that does the will of my father." These people draw near to me with their mouths and their hearts are far from me. We say, "Lord, Lord," but he wants us to be doers. What separates the wise man from the fool in that parable that Jesus tells? Wise man builds on the house.

What does that mean? "He hears these words of mine and does them." So God wants us to be not just hearers but doers of His Word. Amen? That's what a Christian is. He practices; he believes. And the evidence of his belief is he's doing what Jesus says, because he believes it. Alright, well, we've run out of time.

Friends, I'd like to send you that book, "steps to Christ." It really spells these things out in a beautiful way. All you've gotta do is call that toll-free number, -788-3966. And we will send that to you for free. It's offer number 736. The book is "steps to Christ.

" Bless your hearts. Thank you for studying with us. God willing, we'll be back together again next Sabbath.

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