csibiblestudy


“What is Truth?” (John 18:38) People Still Asks the Same Question
August 10, 2017, 1:56 am
Filed under: Searching for our Savior in His book | Tags: ,

If you are living in our world today, I’m sure that you notice how often we have at least two sides to any issue. Both sides look at the other side’s logic and reasoning as flawed, based on misconceptions and lies. If you have children you have no doubt interrupted a heated discussion, perhaps even a fight and then asked that ridiculous question, “what’s wrong?” Listening to each side finds that whatever happened will have to be discovered some other way because the two stories you are hearing can’t be about the same event.
The same thing happened during the life of Jesus. Beginning with Adam and Eve’s sin, two different worldviews have been used to interpret the events of life. One is based on God’s view, while the other is the result of man’s interpretation based on his knowledge and understanding at that point of life.
As we go to John 18, we find Jesus arrested as a part of the Jewish religious leaders’ plot to discredit and destroy Jesus. Taking advantage of a leak from one of Jesus’s own, they developed a plot to use this disloyal and greedy “disciple” to locate Jesus and have Him arrested. Following His arrest, a series of illegal trials occur, showing that the alleged loyalty to the Mosaic Law is set aside for what they believe to be a necessary death to save what they hold as important. In case you misunderstand, while they tried to deceive others into thinking that their actions were because of their loyalty to God, it was really motivated by their loyalty to themselves. They loved the position of honor, the power they possessed, and the material wealth they gained by doing “God’s bidding”.
So, to gain the Roman’s approval for a public death on the cross, a lie about Jesus is told, and He is taken before Pilate. Pilate didn’t agree with the Jews about the need of a Roman trial leading to Jesus’ death as he attempted to turn from their request. As they persisted, Pilate agreed, for political reasons, to put Jesus on trial, under Roman law.
Pilate asked a simple question, but one of extreme importance. “Are you the King of the Jews?” If Jesus answered yes, then He would be an insurrectionist, leading a rebellion against the Roman government. If Jesus answered no, then His claim to be the Messiah would be destroyed. Notice what Jesus said. Is this your personal belief that I am the Jewish king, or has someone else brought the charge against me? The discussion goes back and forward with Jesus telling Pilate the Messiah’s kingdom wasn’t a temporary, physical kingdom like the Romans. So once again Pilate asks, “Are you a king then?”
Jesus gave an answer that revealed The Plan of the Ages was being carried out by these events. “You said that I am a king. That’s the reason for my virgin birth. I have come, God in the flesh of man as the Messiah. My purpose is to bear witness to all this Truth, God came to rescue man from the punishment of sin. God, in human form, came to pay for man’s rebellious and evil disobedience against the expressed will and standards of God. God, as a man, to die the necessary death to pay for all of mankind’s sin. I came to tell that Great News of Eternal Truth. Everyone can find the truth, because I am the Truth Speaker. My word is the absolute, unchangeable, and eternal Truth from God Himself.”
Confronted with this Truth from this One who claims both in words and deeds to be the Messiah, God in the flesh, Pilate does what so many unfortunately do. He asked, “what is truth?” At this very moment of being confronted with Truth, Pilate chose to reject the Truth. He will go back to the Jewish leaders and tell them he finds no criminal acts, no guilt, nothing for which Jesus should die. But instead of putting complete faith in Jesus and basing his life on Jesus, Pilate turned to the false truth which he was comfortable and made a choice that he decided was best despite the overwhelming evidence that Jesus was Truth.
So, what do we learn? We have two versions of truth. One is that truth which we develop over time. We live in a world that presses us into the mold that everyone else follows. Resistance to this earthly truth is futile as we learn to pursue the American dream that shows us that it is important that we strive for material possessions, achievements, honors, and positions of importance, and fill our lives with exciting and unforgettable experiences. This truth is ever-changing and adapts to our current situation.
But there is another Truth. It is from God and is based on Him. While we know this Truth is absolute, eternal, and unchangeable it is also uncomfortable and contrary to every message we get in life. This Truth demands change as God transforms us into Christ-likeness. The transformation at times is uncomfortable and demands self-sacrifice. We go from wanting it all, seeking material rewards for our efforts to be great to following Jesus as His slave.
We have a choice to make. God’s Truth or the common truth of this world that really isn’t truth at all. This world’s truth is based on a lie, “man is the center of the universe”. What will you do?

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My Dear Friend
July 3, 2017, 6:20 pm
Filed under: Searching for our Savior in His book | Tags: , ,

3rd John is a very personal letter from the Apostle John to a dear friend, who is most likely a pastor. Personal letters are difficult at times but I think the number 3 can help with this letter. For example, this letter mentions 3 people, Gaius, Diotrephes, and Demetrius. One is a pastor, one is a problem, and one is a “postal worker” who delivered the letter. From each person we are challenged as to our character and conduct.
I also noticed 3 qualities that are emphasized in this epistle. John, as led by the Spirit, wants us to focus on love, truth, and faithfulness. I find it amazing that in our culture today, these are three issues with which Christians struggle. Being able to demonstrate true, unconditional love is difficult is a society which stresses competition and the desire to be the top dog in our little world. Children show the desire to be the favorite as they fight for attention from parents. That desire continues as we seek our classmates attention, to gain approval from our friends, as we seek promotion and recognition on the job. Putting that aside and pouring ourselves into the success of others is difficult, especially on a daily basis and especially toward those who are “lesser” than we are.
We also live in a world that truth is no longer truth. Absolute truth is rejected and the area between right and wrong is faded and vanished. Every event has a spin on it. Every person’s opinion is equally right, unless it is the opinion of someone who rejects relativism and believes that God has established truth because He is Truth. Fake news is a real thing and determining the truth from the false is left up to each individual But God gives truth that is absolute, eternal, and relevant to each person in every culture at all times.
The third element is faithfulness. The concept of doing something and doing it right all the time is no longer a part of our world. As a child of God, I am to do all things to the glory of God. That means being faithful in all areas of my life.
The third set of 3s is found in the use of the word “beloved” (v2, 5, 11). Beloved, or dear friend, prosper in life. Beloved, do what you do faithfully to all. Beloved, follow good not evil. We are challenged to live today in a world as overcomers, faithfully giving our all to do what is good and right in God’s sight, regardless of what others do.
Read the epistle and ask the Spirit to challenge you.



Who is in Charge?
June 19, 2017, 3:16 pm
Filed under: Searching for our Savior in His book | Tags: , ,

1st John 5:13-21. “Things have I written unto you that believe on the name of the Son of God; that ye may know that ye have eternal life, and that ye may believe on the name of the Son of God. And this is the confidence that we have in him, that, if we ask any thing according to his will, he heareth us: and if we know that he hear us, whatsoever we ask, we know that we have the petitions that we desired of him. If any man see his brother sin a sin which is not unto death, he shall ask, and he shall give him life for them that sin not unto death. There is a sin unto death: I do not say that he shall pray for it. All unrighteousness is sin: and there is a sin not unto death. We know that whosoever is born of God sinneth not; but he that is begotten of God keepeth himself, and that wicked one toucheth him not. and we know that we are of God, and the whole world lieth in wickedness. And we know that the Son of God is come, and hath given us an understanding, that we may know him that is true, and we are in him that is true, even in his Son Jesus Christ. This is the true God, and eternal life. Little children, keep yourselves from idols. Amen.
John comes to the end of his first letter to the early church. In this letter, the Holy Spirit used John as He stressed the importance of love and truth in the midst of our journey of faith. Personally, this letter gives me evidence of my relationship to Jesus Christ that I can see in my own life. This is not a letter to critique others about their salvation but a guide to understand that being saved always results in a transformed life which is evident by our pursuit of truth and unconditional love for others. In simple words, John wants those of us who are saved to know and live like we are.
When we are pursuing God and following Him as both Savior and Lord, John teaches that prayers are answered because we are pursuing what God wants. So since we pray for what He wants, He is answering our prayers. John teaches us that pray can be spoken with a bold assurance that God is listening because we are in tune with His will.
Notice that God directs John to a specific example in which our bold praying can be see: praying for other Christians who are struggling with sin in their lives. Sin in the life of a Christian is a real danger. So John describes how God wants us to handle another’s sin, pray for our brother or sister.
In the midst of this passage there is a dilemma: there is a sin that ultimately leads to eternal separation from God. I think in this passage it has to do with accepting and following false teaching while rejecting Jesus Christ and God’s truth. The prayer for that is not the prayer in which we pray for a fellow believer. This person has never been saved because they have rejected Jesus.
A second difficult passage begins at verse 18. “we know that whosoever is born of God sinneth not”. Does that mean, anyone who is a Christian never sins? If so, I am not a Christian because I sin. Most likely you aren’t a Christian because you sin. So is anyone capable of not sinning? I think a little study reveals that this is referring to “practicing as a way of life, sin”. A Christian is not one who habitually as a pattern of life consistently sins willfully against God and His standards. This describes a person whose life is characterized by sin. There is not a change and there is no conviction for sin. I need to remind you that this passage is not a way of critiquing others, but a way of us seeing the evidences in our lives of a changed life. So if at this point, I am thinking about another person, I may have the problem myself. Is my life consumed about me doing enough for God to accept or approve of me? Do I live in a way that consistently involves me deceiving others? Am I know as a man of character or a character? Am I a grumpy old man, or a man of love and compassion? I guess we could use Paul’s two lists to determine the type of lifestyle I live. Is my life consistent with the works of my flesh or an example of the fruit of the Spirit. Maybe now is the time of a little self-evaluation, repentance and prayer. John describes our situation, we are godly people living in an ungodly world. John is such a bottom line person- if I am God’s He protects me from making sin a way of life. If I am not a Christian, then I am in the grip of the evil one, Satan. Each of us who are saved have the indwelling Holy Spirit, who reveals to us when we sin. His conviction is meant to bring us back to God. God please help me listen to You. We who know Christ are able to know that we are living in the truth, loving those who are of the truth, because we live in the Truth and in True Love.
John ends with what seems to be a warning to stay away from worshiping idols. But before you relax because you don’t have a little buddha in your room, think about our idols today. The biggest idol of today is us. We are the center of our universe and in some case, we extend that to the know universe. Just take a minute and watch how you drive. Is everybody else crazy because they make your driving experience more difficult? Do fast food places drive you crazy because you have to wait? Is everybody else at work lazy, stupid, favored, or promoted over you? Take a look at what your time, energy, money, emotions, and talk is about. Let’s make it simple: go look at your last 10 posts on social media. What were they about? What has your last 10 conversations been about? What were the last 10 purchases about? What about the top ten standards or values of life? Can you find them in the Bible and give the book, chapter, and verse and have studied it within the context of the passage? Found what you are worshiping yet? The idol we most need to keep away from is us. John reminds us to throw ourselves into the pursuit of God. All we need will be taken care of by Him. Seek first God.