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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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1 John 3:3-10 (The Christian's Present Practice)

Dear Church Family, Last week, in our look at 1 John 2:28-3:5, we reflected on how as a child of God, "be" comes before "do." That is to say, according to God's Word, we are saved by grace alone, through faith alone, in Christ alone. And then, only after we have been made a new creation, are we enabled to do good works out of thankfulness for what Christ has already done...

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1 John 2:28-3:5 (The Christian's Present Circumstance and Position)

Dear Church Family, In most religions one must "do" in order to "be." That is to say, most religions are works-based you have to do things in order to become a new person or gain a reward. The Christian faith, however, is the exact opposite: one must "be" in order to "do." That is to say, according to God's Word, we are saved by grace alone, through faith alone, in Chris...

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1 John 2:18-27 (Abiding in the Truth, Part 2)

Dear Church Family, Quick Review Just a quick review of what we've learned and where we've been thus far in our study of 1 John. John's first epistle teaches us about the three main aspects of the Christian life. And, the second chapter of 1 John covers all three emphases of this letter. The first part of this chapter (1 John 2:1-6) emphasizes the important of right mora...

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