Have you ever noticed that there is world of difference between people who call themselves Christians? Of course, we would expect to see significant differences between those who are Christian and those who are not, but in case you haven’t noticed there is a big divide even among those who call themselves Christians (Catholic, Protestant, Pentecostal, Fundamentalist, Evangelical), and sometimes we look at each other and wonder how a person can do what they do, say what they say, believe what they believe, and still have the audacity to call themselves a Christian.
As I meditated upon this account I started thinking about “those hands.” Does anyone know what I’m talking about when I say, “those hands”? I thank God for my mother, and for the hands that fed me and clothed me, and every once in a while, spanked me, but I’m not talking about my mother’s hands today. I’m talking about “those hands.” I thank God for doctors and for the many men and women who have helped me in my times of sickness or during surgery, but I’m not talking about the doctor’s hands today. I’m talking about “those hands.”
It may be that God is sending the church into our prayer closets for a “time-out,” so that after we have thought about what we have done, we can come out restored, refreshed, revived and empowered and then come together again as the people of God walking, talking, witnessing and testifying in the power of the Holy Spirit. I believe that if we will yield our will to God’s will, and tarry in His presence, this could be our personal Pentecost, our Upper Room moment, our finest hour, so that we come back together in the power and anointing of God with renewed purpose and focus in a lost and dying world.
Apostle John is amazed that God has chosen believers to be called the children of God. It’s the amazement John Newton expressed when he wrote the song, “Amazing Grace.” Newton had been a sailor and a slave trader, but he became a Christian and later worked to outlaw slavery in England. Newton writes, “Amazing Grace, how sweet the sound, that saved a wretch like me!”
Have you ever heard the terms “wishy-washy” or “flip-flopper”? A wishy-washy person is someone who is indecisive; they are easily pulled from one direction to another. A person who flip-flops is also someone who seems to shift positions from one day to the next. As apostle Paul said in Ephesians 4:14, these are people who are “tossed to and fro and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the trickery of men, in the cunning craftiness of deceitful plotting.”
FIRST JOHN: TRUTH IN A WORLD OF DECEPTION “Love’s Restraint” By Mark E. Hardgrove, PhD Text: 1 John 2:15-17, NKJV 15 Do not love the world or the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. 16 For all that is in the world—the lust of the...
John is very clear about his motives. Eight times in this epistle John says “I write” or “I have written.” For example, in chapter 2 verse 1, he says, “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.” In chapter 5 verse 13, he says, “I write these things to you who believe in the name of the Son of God so that you may know that you have eternal life.” In our text, four times he says, “I write to you … because” and two more times he says, “I have written to you … because.”
FIRST JOHN: TRUTH IN A WORLD OF DECEPTION “Let the Love-Light Shine” By Mark E. Hardgrove, PhD Text: 1 John 2:7-11, NKJV 7 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. 8 Again, a...
In verse 5 John refers to “the message,” from the Greek anggelia, meaning “announcement, information, or message.” He says they received the message, the information, from Jesus and they were declaring it without distortion or apology. What is the message? It is “that God is light and in Him is no darkness at all.” God is pure light, meaning there is no impurity or imperfection in God. It is this message, this light from God, that exposes the lies, the falsehoods, and the deception of the heretics and opens the door for people of faith to have fellowship with one another.
One of the reasons I love the First Epistle of John, is because of the opening verses of the Epistle. Look at them with me. They are so powerful in the way the apostle asserts the truth of Jesus Christ. Notice the way John repeats himself to powerfully argue the empirical nature of the evidence. What John has to say is not hearsay; it is not some philosophical treatise or mere speculation based upon some vague vision or hysterical reports of the woman who came running to them from the tomb.