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1 John 5:6-13 (That You May Know)

Dear Church Family, One of the questions that most every believer struggles with at one point or another in their Christian life is the question of assurance. Inevitably, doubt sets in, and you ask yourself "Am I really a Christian?" As a pastor, I can tell you that doubting one's salvation is one of the primary struggles for many Christians. You may have thought that y...

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1 John 5:1-5 (The Order of Salvation and Assurance)

Dear Church Family, As we enter the fifth and final chapter in our study of 1 John, we find that the Apostle John wishes to conclude this letter by encouraging and building up the assurance of faith of his readers, "those who believe in the name of the Son of God" (1 John 5:13). And so, we are encouraged in our faith in Christ and the assurance of eternal life (1 John 5:6...

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1 John 4:7-12 (The Perfected Love of God)

Dear Church Family, Continuing in our study of 1 John, we come to a section in chapter four (1 John 4:7-12) in which John once again takes up the topic of love, specifically, a call for believers to love one another. In fact, that phrase, "love one another," is repeated three times in these verses. In verse 7, it is an exhortation: "let us love one another." In verse 11, ...

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1 John 4:2-6 (Testing the Spirits)

Dear Church Family, The Apostle John begins the fourth chapter of his first epistle with a call for discernment, a call for believers to "test the spirits to see whether they are from God, because many false prophets have gone out into the world" (1 John 4:1). As we noted in our last lesson, John expects that this "testing of the spirits" be equally applied to both himsel...

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1 John 4:1 (Test the Spirits)

Dear Church Family, In our study of 1 John, we've taken note of how the Apostle John emphasizes the three key elements of the Christian life: right doctrine (what you believe), right relationships (who you love), and right morality (how you live). As we come to chapter four of this epistle, we find that he, once again, takes up the topic of right doctrine this time from ...

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1 John 3:21-22 (As You Pray, Walk Close to God and Obey His Word)

Dear Church Family, How would you answer this question: "As a child of God, what gives you confidence before God in prayer that He will give you what you ask for?" I suspect that there are many answers to that question, but I doubt that I would get the answer that God's Word gives us in John's first epistle (1 John 3:21-22): 21 Beloved, if our heart does not condemn us, ...

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1 John 3:19-20 (Semi-transcendence)

Dear Church Family, When C.S. Lewis' wife died, he kept a journal of his grief. Later, these observations were published in a book, A Grief Observed. In that book, Lewis describes how God feels so very distant in times of mourning and loss, something with which most everyone can relate: "Go to [God] when your need is desperate, when all other help is vain, and what do yo...

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1 John 3:17-18 (How God's Love in Christ Causes Love)

Dear Church Family, We've seen how God's love in Christ for His people causes hate (1 John 3:11-15) how the world hates those who are born of God. And, we've seen also how God's love in Christ for His people causes change: "We know love by this, that He laid down His life for us; and we ought to lay down our lives for the brethren" (1 John 3:16). Jesus' sacrificial love ...

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1 John 3:16 (How God's Love in Christ Causes Change)

Dear Church Family, Last week, in 1 John 3:11-15, we saw how God's love in Christ for His people causes hate. That is to say, the world will hate those who are loved by God, those who are born again and thus love Him. John goes all the way back to the first example of fratricide wherein Cain slew his brother Abel because Cain's deeds were evil and Abel's deeds were righte...

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1 John 3:11-15 (How the Love of God in Christ Causes Hate)

Dear Church Family, The love of God for His people is a major theme in Scripture. God's very nature is love (1 John 4:8, 16). Our being predestined to adoption as sons through Jesus Christ to Himself, is based in the love of God (Ephesians 1:4-5). Because He died for us, the love of Christ controls how we live and how we interact with others (2 Corinthians 5:14). Indeed,...

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