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Membership Vows 1 & 2 (The Bad News and the Good News)

Dear Church Family, We have been having a great (virtual) Sunday evening class for the last several weeks! Thank you to those who have participated and thank you for your patience as we all try and navigate meeting and learning in an online setting. I recognize that it is not ideal. For my part, I can sometimes switch to autopilot and the lessons end up something akin to...

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1 John 5:18-21 (That You May Worship)

Dear Church Family, This week we come to the final four verses of 1 John and the conclusion of our study of this epistle. If you've been following along in our study, then hopefully by now you might remember the three main themes or emphases of this letter. The Christian life is comprised of: right doctrine (what you believe), right relationships (who you love), and right...

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1 John 5:14-17 (That You May Pray)

Dear Church Family, As we near the end of this first epistle from the Apostle John, God's Word focuses us in on the power and privilege of prayer. And, if you give full weight to the meaning of these words, and take God's Word to heart it is, indeed, an amazing teaching about prayer. In the verses that we come to now, there are two different kinds of prayers that are ta...

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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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