God’s love was revealed among us in this way: God sent His One and Only Son into the world so that we might live through Him. Love consists in this: not that we loved God, but that He loved us and sent His Son to be the propitiation for our sins. 1 John 4:7-8 HCSB
One of the favorite Bible songs for children is “Jesus Loves Me”. It is a simple song that children can easily learn, but it also teaches the simple message that God loves us so much that He sent His One and Only Son into the world so our sins might be forgiven and that we might live through Him.
These verses remind us that God is love. Because of His love He cares about what happens to us. God sent His Son into the world so we might be able to have eternal life and have a relationship with Him. Because God is completely holy, nothing evil can exist in His presence. Our sinful nature prevents us from being in God’s presence. But God provided a solution to our sin problem through His Son Jesus who died on the cross and paid the penalty for our sins.
Challenge: If you will trust in Christ, you will not have to bear the penalty for your sins (1 Peter 2:24). Put your trust in Christ and the love of God. You will receive eternal life because of God’s never-ending love for you.
Dear friends, let us love one another, because love is from God, and everyone who loves has been born of God and knows God. The one who does not love does not know God, because God is love. 1 John 4:7-8 HCSB
My fifth grandchild was born recently. I did not have to learn how to love this little guy. It was natural to love my grandson. Holding him for the first time was so exciting. I look forward to spending time with him and watching him grow into a young man.
The word “agape” is used here to describe the type of love that comes from God. Agape love is an unselfish and giving type of love. It focuses on the other person even to the detriment of self. I would be willing to do anything for my grandson, but my love for him does not compare to the love that God has for us. He loves us so much that He gave His Son to die in our place and pay the price for our sins. The world thinks of love as an emotion, but God’s love is more than a feeling; it is holy, just, and perfect.
Challenge: As believers, we know God and His great love. If we truly know God, we should love others as God loves them. Pray that God will help you love even the unlovable people in our world with agape love.
We are from God. Anyone who knows God listens to us; anyone who is not from God does not listen to us. From this we know the Spirit of truth and the spirit of deception. 1 John 4:6 HCSB
My grandmother told me a story of how she read in the newspaper about an item that was on sale. She went to the store when it opened to purchase the item. The salesman told her that they did not have that item but had another item that was similar. She then informed the salesman that she was the Justice of Peace and that it was illegal to use a “bait and switch” scheme to get people to come to the store and then sell a different item to them. The store was being deceptive. The salesman relented and my grandmother was then able to purchase the item at the advertised price.
John records that Jesus is “the Truth” (John 14:6). He is also the “the Spirit of Truth” (John 14:16-17). Jesus told His disciples, “When the Spirit of Truth comes, He will guide you into all the truth.” (John 16:13). John also records in Revelation 12:9 that Satan is “the one who deceives the whole world”. Satan is the master deceiver. Since the beginning of time with Adam and Eve he has been deceiving people and causing them to sin.
Challenge: Be aware and do not be deceived by Satan. God’s Word will reveal the truth to you and show you how to defeat Satan and his deceptive ways. The Holy Spirit that lives within you will help you to know the truth.
You are from God, little children, and you have conquered them, because the One who is in you is greater than the one who is in the world. 1 John 4:4 HCSB
It seems that every time I listen to the news there is another story about someone being killed. Just this week there was a story of a girl killed by a man and woman searching for drugs. There was another story of a man stabbed to death at a rest stop on the interstate. There is evil all around us every day. In Louisville, Kentucky there were 15 homicides in the first two months this year as compared to only two the previous year for the same period.
It is easy to be frightened by the evil and wickedness in the world. Sometimes we are overwhelmed by the problems we face. John assures us that the power of God that lives within us is much greater than any evil or sin that we may face in our world.
Challenge: When you face evil and obstacles, turn to God for strength to overcome and conquer anything that the Devil may throw your way. God is stronger and will help you conquer all evil.
But every spirit who does not confess Jesus is not from God. This is the spirit of the antichrist; You have heard that he is coming, and he is already in the world now. 1 John 4:3 HCSB
The Holy Spirit lives within all believers and helps to show us the way to keep from yielding to the evil one. There have been times in my life when I have been tempted and have felt the Holy Spirit tugging at my heart to help me know what I should do to escape the temptation.
The spirit of the antichrist in contrast to the Holy Spirit epitomizes all that is evil in the world today. He appears to be good and may even appear to be like Christ, but he is deceiving and only brings pain and suffering. The Devil is the influence behind the antichrist. Jesus called the Devil a liar and the father of liars (John 8:44). The antichrist is readily received by an evil world and is even glorified.
Challenge: Beware, the spirit of the antichrist is all around you. The Devil is constantly working to deceive you and prevent you from doing what will bring honor and glory to God and Jesus Christ. Pray for strength and discernment as you approach each day. Ask for God to protect you from the evil one and guide you as you seek to serve Christ and do what would be pleasing to Him.
This is how you know the Spirit of God: Every spirit who confesses that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is from God. 1 John 4:2 HCSB
Recently I was asked to substitute teach a Sunday School class by a teacher who had just started using a video-based study. When I watched the weekly session, I was appalled that the instructor was using God’s Word to justify his own personal thoughts and beliefs. He made it sound like what he was teaching was directly from God’s Word. I quickly determined that I would not use that video but found another one based on the same Scripture to use in its place.
There are many ways to test someone’s message. One way is to question if the message claims that Jesus Christ is the Son of God, He came and lived a perfect life here on earth, and that He died for our sins, was buried, rose from the dead, and lives today. Other tests include the personal commitment of the teacher to Jesus Christ, his life-style, and fruit of his ministry. The final test is to determine if the teaching is aligned with God’s Word.
Challenge: Be discerning and diligently examine the teachings of those who instruct you. Test their teachings by examining their commitment to Christ, how they live their lives, and if their teachings are consistent with God’s Word.
Dear friends, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to determine if they are from God, because many false prophets have gone out into the world. 1 John 4:1 HCSB
I can remember my parents telling me, “Don’t believe everything you hear.” Just because someone says it does not make it true. Just recently there was a person at church who had heard a preacher on the radio and questioned what he had said. What he said was his own personal interpretation and not necessarily the truth according to God’s Word.
In John’s time there were many false prophets that were teaching principles that were not consistent with the teachings of Jesus. John encouraged his readers to test what people were saying to determine if it was from God. Just as in John’s day, we must test what people say. There are many false teachers and we must discern what is right and wrong.
Challenge: Be careful to whom you listen on the radio, television, and even those who are preaching and teaching at your church. Test what they are saying against God’s Word.
I have written these things to you about those who are trying to deceive you. The anointing you received from Him remains in you, and you don’t need anyone to teach you. Instead, His anointing teaches you about all things and is true and is not a lie; just as He has taught you, remain in Him. 1 John 2:26-27 HCSB
There was a movie made in recent years where the key actor was being watched by people all over the world via television. How differently we would act and speak if we knew that the whole world was watching everything we did.
When a believer accepts Christ as Lord, the Holy Spirit comes to dwell within him. The Holy Spirit is available to help keep him from going astray. Additionally, God’s Holy Word is available to lead and guide believers. If one is to stay true to Christ, he must follow God’s Word and His Spirit.
Challenge: Let the Holy Spirit help you discern truth. Place your trust in Christ and rely on Him for guidance and strength. Know that God is always watching you and knows your every word and action. He wants to help you live a life that would be pleasing to Him. For more information on how the Holy Spirit is available to you, read John 3:6, Acts 1:5, and Ephesians 1:13-14.
Who is the liar, if not the one who denies that Jesus is the Messiah? This is the antichrist: the one who denies the Father and the Son. No one who denies the Son can have the Father; he who confesses the Son has the Father as well. 1 John 2:22-23 HCSB
The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints is a very popular church that promotes good family life and clean living. It is interesting that they call themselves the “Church of Jesus Christ,” yet they do not believe that Jesus is the Messiah. They believe that Jesus is just one of many sons of God and that anyone can become a son of God. Additionally they have distinct beliefs that contradict what is in God’s Holy Word, such as salvation is earned through faith and good works. The Book of Mormon, written by Joseph Smith, is just as important if not more important to Mormons as God’s Holy Word.
Apparently the antichrists in John’s day were claiming to be Christians yet were denying Jesus Christ. John firmly states that one cannot be a believer and also deny Jesus is the Messiah. If someone rejects Christ, he is also rejecting God the Father. The two are one and cannot be separated. Today just as in John’s day, there are people who claim to be Christians who deny Jesus.
Challenge: As believers, we must expose the heresies and oppose the teachings of the false teachers and religions that do not recognize Jesus as the Son of God and the Messiah. Pray that God will give you wisdom to discern which religions follow God’s Word and teach that Jesus is the only way to have our sins forgiven and to receive eternal life. To learn more about Mormonism go to http://www.truthandgrace.com/baptistonmormon.htm or http://people.opposingviews.com/southern-baptist-beliefs-mormonism-4513.html or http://www.4truth.net/fourtruthpbnew.aspx?pageid=8589952813 and http://www.gotquestions.org/Mormons.html
Children, it is the last hour. And as you have heard, “Antichrist is coming” even now many antichrists have come. We know from this that it is the last hour. They went out from us, but they did not belong to us, for if they had belonged to us, they would have remained with us. However, they went out so that it might be made clear that none of them belongs to us. 1 John 2:18-19 HCSB
The antichrists are false teachers who pretend to be Christians. They lure weak people away from Christ. There have been antichrists from the time of the early church to today. Finally, just before the end of the world one great antichrist will appear and deceive many people (Revelation 13; 19:20; 20:10).
Evidently, these antichrists had become members of the early church. John tells us that they “went out from us”. We do not know why they left. They joined the church for the wrong reasons. These antichrists were not really a part of the body of Christ. Their leaving is evidence that they did not really belong.
Challenge: As a believer, you do not need to fear an antichrist. The power (Holy Spirit) that is within you is greater than the power that is in the world. The Holy Spirit will guide you and help you to determine the truth so you will not be led astray. Spend time in God’s Word so you will not fall prey to the false teachings of the antichrist.