Walking Like Our Father (1 John 2:1-14)
June 23, 2018, 1:36 am
Filed under: Searching for our Savior in His book
Walking Like our Father (1st John 2:1-14)
“My little children, these things I write to you, so that you may not sin. And if anyone sins, we have an Advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous. And He Himself is the propitiation for our sins, and not for ours only but also for the whole world. Now by this we know that we know Him, if we keep His commandments. He who says, “I know Him,” and does not keep His commandments, is a liar, and the truth is not in him. But whoever keeps His word, truly the love of God is perfected in him. By this we know that we are in Him. He who says he abides in Him ought himself also to walk just as He walked. Brethren, I write no new commandment to you, but an old commandment which you have had from the beginning. The old commandment is the word which you heard from the beginning. Again, a new commandment I write to you, which thing is true in Him and in you, because the darkness is passing away, and the true light is already shining. He who says he is in the light, and hates his brother, is in darkness until now. He who loves his brother abides in the light, and there is no cause for stumbling in him. But he 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. I write to you, little children, because your sins are forgiven you for His name’s sake. I write to you, fathers, because you have known Him who is from the beginning. I write to you, young men, because you have overcome the wicked one. I write to you, little children, because you have known the Father. I have written to you, fathers, because you have known Him who is from the beginning. I have written to you, young men,
because you are strong, and the word of God abides in you,
And you have overcome the wicked one.”
My son has three sons, in whom I see so much of their father at their age. Except for the time my son is working, he wears a baseball cap. He has always loved to wear caps; I do as well. But my son has a unique way of wearing his cap and each of his sons copy his style when they wear their caps. Baseball caps have a flat bill and my son leaves it flat. There used to be a style associated with shaping the bill of a cap with just the right curve, but my son leaves his bill flat. So, do each of his sons. It is normal for children to copy their parents, so when John writes to his “little children” he is trying to get them to focus on being like and walking like our Father. Our Father doesn’t sin, so John writes don’t sin and break God’s law. He wants us to copy our Father in how we live in this world.
But notice that John, after his plea not to sin, also wants to encourage those who fail at attempting to walk like our Father. If we sin, we have an Advocate with the Father. An advocate is one who stands up for me and intercedes when I fail. His name is Jesus Christ, the One Son of God who always conforms to the Father’s will in everything and in every way. Jesus, my lawyer, pleads with God to hold back the punishment and judgment that should come my way. Jesus does this because He is the Propitiation for my sins because He is the atoning sacrifice that satisfies the wrath of God that should be directed at me because of our sinful nature, our worldliness, our lifestyle, our choice to sin rather than to obey.
John doesn’t stop the plea to walk like the Father at this point. Please don’t take this to mean “walk like your Father but you won’t so God provided a payment to take pay for failure. John tells us to walk like our Father and at those time when we fail, don’t give up because God, our Father, took the responsibility to take care of that failure. John encourages us to examine our walk to see if we truly have a relationship with God as our Father. So, how do you know if your relationship with God exists? What is the guiding principle for how you live? John tells us that we keep His commandments which according to the language used means that we habitually focus on God’s standards and obeys them as a habit in life. If I have a relationship with God, I need to walk by His standards and live and conduct myself the way He walked and conducted Himself while on earth. John tells us that we can walk like Jesus walked by doing one simple thing, live like Jesus lived in loving others. Jesus always put the needs of others before His needs. He was God, left the beauty of Heaven to live on sin-cursed earth, walked away from the constant praise of angels into an earth filled with hatred and rejection because He put my need of salvation first. I understand that God was doing what He planned and that the act of redemption demonstrated the amazing God He was, is today, and forever will be. John is telling us that God made living for Him simple. We are enabled the indwelling Holy Spirit to do God’s will and all that we must do is live by two simple standards. Love Jesus so much that you always strive to do what makes Him happy in everything and love others so much that you always put them before you. A true relationship with God will be seen in this attitude. But because I have a sinful heart, I might fail and do something selfish and self-centered. God has a plan to deal with that. Admit the failure, let God deal with it, and go back to loving Him in all you do, and loving others more than you love yourself. John calls a life lived this way a victorious life.

When God Becomes Personal
June 21, 2018, 2:07 am
Filed under: Searching for our Savior in His book

Psalm 23 (A Psalm of David)
The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want. He maketh me to lie down in green pastures: he leadeth me beside the still waters. He restoreth my soul: he leadeth me in the paths of righteousness for his name’s sake.
(TRANSITION- A Change in Intimacy in the Relationship Occurs)
Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death,
I will fear no evil: for thou art with me; thy rod and thy staff they comfort me. Thou preparest a table before me in the presence of mine enemies: thou anointest my head with oil; my cup runneth over. Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life: and I will dwell in the house of the Lord for ever.

Notice how David’s walk with God changed because of his walk through the valley of the shadow of death. Instead of having a relationship in which he talked about God, he had a relationship in which he talked to God. His focus changed.

Please look and ponder this Psalm. What do you see in the passage that we sometimes miss because it is so familiar to us?

Living in the Good Old Days or Living in the Challenges of Today?
June 1, 2018, 3:21 pm
Filed under: Searching for our Savior in His book
When I contemplate the world in which we live, I see several very troubling changes. First, the line between right and wrong has become blurred beyond recognition. Our culture has moved from a wholesome standard of morality to a wholesale emphasis on tolerance.
There was a time—I remember it well—when prayer was a daily occurrence in every schoolroom. presidents quoted from the Bible, pastors preached straight from God’s Word, and people treated Scripture with reverence. But times have changed. The ignorance of biblical knowledge in our society is rampant.
Finally, through an intensifying embrace of postmodernism, we have clearly shifted from a Christian era to a post-Christian era. Instead of interpreting life honestly, we are now encouraged to view it emotionally and to act accordingly. Our thinking is no longer based on the objective truth of the Bible.
So many of us long for those days of old and the way it used to be. But listen to that objective truth of the Bible from Ecclesiastes 7:10 in which God tells us, “Say not thou, What is the cause that the former days were better than these?
for thou dost not enquire wisely concerning this.” We are not living in that past world but this present world. And like Esther, to whom God, through Mordecai, spoke these words, “For if thou altogether holdest thy peace at this time, then shall there enlargement and deliverance arise to the Jews from another place; but thou and thy father’s house shall be destroyed: and who knoweth whether thou art come to the kingdom for such a time as this?” (Esther 4:14) this is our time as the church. While we need to hold on the the fundamental and objective truth of the Bible, we can’t be holding on to the practices and mindset of a 1950s church (which we call Old Fashioned) as we encounter and seek to reach our 2018 culture. We aren’t wrestling against ungodly liberals and millennials but against the spiritual forces of evil that Satan is using to destroy billions today. Think of it this way, wouldn’t it be stupid for a sports team competing in today’s world to use the equipment and mindset of a 1950s team? Wouldn’t it be ignorant to do business in today’s world using the technology of the 1920 society? So we need to proclaim the same message, the Cross of Christ and a personal relationship with God based on the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus Christ as presented in the literal Word of God but do it using 2018 technology and methods. Yes we do live in a world which no longer has clearly defined lines of right and wrong. We live in a world of tolerance that is one-sided. We live in a world in which the people of God minimize prayer and focus on self-effort. We live in a world where leaders are godly people (but we are hearing more about God and His grace today), and we do live in a postmodern society. But God has never been limited by what others do and He never will be. So as His church, let us go in His power and storm the gates of hell in our endeavor to share the Gospel and see lives set free from the prison they are in. God is still changing lives and the Gospel still works.