Have you ever heard the saying, “You can’t believe everything you hear, and only half of what you see”? Never has that pithy saying been truer than it is in our time; yet so many people seem willing to accept as the gospel truth, anything that confirms what they already want to believe. This is known in research as “confirmation bias,” which is when we believe what affirms what we want to believe, and reject what we don’t want to believe. However, truth is truth whether it affirms or disconfirms what we want to believe. Contemporary forms of false religions tend to prosper by telling people what they want to hear, rather than what they need to hear.
It is to the faithful flock who remained that John is writing to encourage and assure them that the gospel he preached, and the message by which they were saved, was the truth. He wanted them to know that they could be assured of their salvation through faith in Jesus, which manifested in their love for one another. As you can imagine, some in the church were conflicted. They were struggling to know with certainty that they were right to stay with John and the church, rather than going along with the deception of these persuasive teachers. To the faithful John says, “First of all, you can tell that they are wrong, because they do not live in the light according to the commandments of God, and second, because they are lacking in love.”
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.
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.
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 “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.
When we look at the genealogy of Jesus in Matthew, we find that it goes back to Abraham, who is the ancestral father of the Jewish race. However, Luke goes all the way back to Adam, the origin of the human race. Luke ends his genealogy in chapter 3 verse 38 with the words, “the son of Enosh, the son of Seth, the son of Adam, the son of God.” Luke understood that the story of Jesus begins with Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden. Sin created the need for the ultimate sacrifice, and only God can be the perfect sacrifice ... but God can't die. So God became flesh, fully man and yet fully God and Jesus died "once for all."