Monthly Archives: April 2015

Come All Ye Faithful

Matthew 11:28 ” Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden,and I will give you rest”.
Carrying the weight, This is what Jesus did for the people in His day who carried the heavy weight of all the additional laws the religious leaders had added.They also carried the guilt of not being able to obey the law. Jesus came to relieve the people of these ridiculous rules. He has a yoke that is not legalistic and wearying. He tenderly gives an invitation that offers relief, rest, and joy for the weary.
The invitation, Jesus said “come” to him, Jesus invites the weary to come to Him so they can experience rest for their souls.The key to experiencing this rest is having a right relationship with God, something that can happen only if you have a personal relationship with Jesus.We all have responsibilities that drain us and difficulties that wear us down.We can let the world drag us down its weary path, or we can join our lives with Jesus, who wants us  to know that He’s eager to have us in His yoke of care, guiding us,giving us help for our present needs, and assuring us that He has a plan for us that includes rest and peace, with everlasting life.

So he tell us to come, leave where you are, the situation you are in and come to him.The promise is when you come to Him with everything he will give you rest. Rest from worry, from need, from doubt, rest from the cares of this world.The invitation has been extended,will you accept it?

An Example To Follow

1 Timothy 4:12 Let no man despise thy youth; but be thou an example of the believers, in word, in conversation, in charity, in spirit, in faith, in purity.

 

Integrity is a choice, in a society entertained and amused by deception, manipulation, seduction, and witchcraft, many people have convinced and even comforted themselves with the notion that they do not have a choice as to whether or not to engage in the same sins. When Elijah explained to God that he was the only God-worshiper who remained, God replied that “yet I have left me seven thousand in Israel all the knees which have not bowed unto Baal, and every mouth which hath not kissed him.” Although many people are, not everyone is living a lie, a life of compromise.  Let us not justify our sins by the presumption of everyone else is doing. Our example must be Christ and him alone.

Christians are called to a higher standard of commitment and responsibility. Our bodies are God’s temple, we bear the name of his only begotten son, dedicated solely to his service. In everything we do ,we must glorify God. We are called to a lifestyle that is higher than the world’s. Using God’s word as our guide for life, we build relationships of commitment, responsibility and trust, with integrity and truth. It is more important for us to know what is important to God, than to know how doing the right thing will benefits us directly. In a world where it seems it’s “every man for himself ” is there any benefit to living a righteous life?  God says that living a life of integrity results in a fruitful life. Integrity in this sense means living a life of high moral principles, a life characterized by honesty, sincerity, and good judgment. Those who live a life of integrity do what’s right even when they can get away with doing something else. They choose to do right when it is more convenient to do wrong.
Let us remember there are others who are following our lead. Let us walk as light houses in a dark world and not be stumbling blocks to others on this long journey. While we follow Christ let us be an encouragement for others to follow us.

Watch Out For Deceivers

Sunday School Lesson

                                             

 

Lesson: II John  1:1-13                                                                                                   

Golden  Text: Look  to yourselves, that we lose not those things which we have wrought, but that we  receive a full reward” (II John  1:8).

I.   INTRODUCTION.   The book of Second John warns against showing hospitality to  those who were false teachers.  A believer’s loyalty to Christ’s  truth could be seen by refusing to cooperate with anyone who promotes error.   This week’s lesson reminds us that we need to be cautious about  deceivers especially those who lead people away from God’s truth.   We must evaluate teachers only by the truth of God’s  Word.

II. JOHN’S  GREETING (II John 1:1-3)

A. The bond of truth (II John  1:1-2).

1. (vs. 1).  Our first verse says  “The elder unto the elect lady and her children, whom I love in  the truth; and not I only, but also all they that have known the  truth.”  The apostle John introduces himself to his  readers both here and in III John as “The elder.”   Some have suggested that the writer of both II John  and III John was a certain John the elder and not John the apostle.   However, comparing these epistles with I John and John’s Gospel  makes it clear that the same person wrote all of these books.  That  John would call Himself an elder is not unusual for two reasons.   First, he was very old at this time, which is one meaning of the word  “elder” in the New Testament (see I timothy 5:1).   Second, as a church leader he could appropriately be called an elder,  just as Peter was (see I Peter 5:1).  We should also be mindful  that in a personal letter like this one, it doesn’t seem out of place for a man  of John’s age and spiritual leadership to refer to himself as an elder.   John addressed this letter to “the elect lady and her  children, whom I love in the truth.”  A  number of views have been expressed as to who these persons were.   Some believe that “the elect lady”  refers to a church and that “her children”  were the individual members.  Others see  “the elect lady” as simply an unnamed  Christian lady and “her children” as members  of her family.  Both of these explanations have some merit, so it’s  impossible to say that either one is wrong.  But whoever the  recipients of this letter were, John affirmed his genuine love for them with the  words “whom I love in the truth.”  In other words,  John loved them “in truth” or “sincerely.”   There  was no hypocrisy in his love for these believers.  Not only did  John love them, but He said that they were also loved by “all they that  have known the truth.”  They were all bonded by  “the truth” which here refers to the revealed truth of God,  especially regarding Jesus Christ (see John 14:6).   Note:  Christian love is based on God’s truth revealed  in Christ.  Without His gospel, there can be no love, for it is  through receiving Christ that God’s love is implanted in us (see I John 4:15-17;  5:1).  Since all believers are bonded by “the truth” who is Jesus  Christ, not only did John love his readers, but so did every believer who had  come to know “the truth,” Jesus  Christ.

2. (vs. 2).  John continues to say in this  verse “For the truth’s sake, which dwelleth in us, and shall be  with us for ever.”  The phrase  “For the truth’s sake” simply means  because of the truth.  Love existed among these believers because  God’s truth was dwelling in them and would remain with them forever.   False teachers and heretical fads will change, but truth will  remain.  The believer’s love endures because the truth endures and  never will never change.  A unity had been established between John  and his readers because they shared a common adherence to correct teaching and  consistent living.

B. The blessings of God (II John  1:3).  In this verse John says  “Grace be with you, mercy, and peace, from God the Father, and  from the Lord Jesus Christ, the Son of the Father, in truth and love.”   This greeting of “Grace be  with you, mercy, and peace” was not a wish or a prayer,  but a confident declaration of blessings.  Literally, the Greek  says “There shall be with us grace, mercy, peace.”  The term  “grace” is God’s undeserved favor that He freely gives.   “Mercy” is God’s compassion that He shows to those who  are miserable and helpless.  “Peace” is the  harmony we have with God, ourselves and others.  Notice the order  in which these three comforting words occur.  God’s grace comes  before His mercy.  God’s peace is extended to those who have  experienced His grace and mercy.  John continued to say that these  blessings come “from God the Father, and from the Lord  Jesus Christ, the Son of the Father.”  John stressed the  fact that whatever blessings come from the Father also come from the Son.   To receive these blessings, one must acknowledge both the Son and the  Father.  False teaching reduced Jesus to less than divine, but  John’s unique reference to Christ as “the Son of the Father”  reflects his constant emphasis on Jesus’ divine son-ship (see I John  4:1-3; II John 1:7).  Finally in this verse, John tells us that the  manner in which God gives His blessings is “in truth and love.”   These words express aspects of God’s nature as  well as describing how we as His redeemed people should deal with  others.   

III. JOHN’S  EXHORTATION (II John 1:4-6)  

A. A commendation for  walking in truth (II John 1:4).   In this verse John writes “I rejoiced greatly that I found of thy children walking in truth, as  we have received a commandment from the Father.”   John was greatly overjoyed that he  “found of thy children walking in truth.”  The  word “found” indicates that John had met these believers  somewhere during his ministry and he was glad to see them “walking in  truth.”  For sure, “truth” here refers to  God’s revealed truth in Scripture and in Christ.  However, since it  is not preceded by the definite article as in “the truth,” the meaning could  simply be sincerity and faithfulness.  Depending on one’s  interpretation, these “children” were the offspring of the lady  addressed in the greeting, or they are individual members of a church (see the commentary above for II John 1:1).   The word “walking” is in the present tense  indicating a habitual pattern.  The phrase “walking in  truth” means to live daily in faithfulness to God’s revealed truth in  Scripture.  It includes being faithful or committed to sound  doctrine and obedience in conduct.  This is not optional because John said that we walk in truth “as we have received a  commandment from the Father.”  In other words, we are  faithful to sound doctrine and obedient conduct because we have been commanded  by the Father to be so.  God expects us to  “walk in truth,” therefore it’s not optional!

B. A call to walk in love (II John  1:5-6).

1.  (vs. 5).  John  continues to say “And now I beseech thee, lady, not as though I wrote a  new commandment unto thee, but that which we had from the beginning, that we  love one another.”  John gently urged the practice of love  saying “And now I beseech thee, lady.”  The word  “beseech” means to beg or to plead.  As an  apostle, he had full authority to command; yet he chose to plead.   Here is an example for us.  When correcting errors of fellow  believers, tenderness should be the rule (see II Timothy 2:24-26).   Note:  Since John used the term “lady” here, some think that  he was actually writing a personal letter to a Christian woman.   However, more likely “lady” refers to the church.  Elsewhere  in the New Testament, the church is depicted as the bride of Christ (see Romans  7:4; II Corinthians11:2; Ephesians 5:22-33).  Likewise, the Old  Testament frequently pictures God as married to the nation of Israel (see Isaiah  54:6; Jeremiah 3:14; Hosea 2:19).  In his plea  for love, John said that he was not writing concerning “a new  commandment.”  Though it was once a “new  commandment” (see John 13:34), it is no longer new to those who know  the Lord Jesus as Saviour.  John said that this commandment about  love was not new because it was “that which we had from the  beginning.”  The word “beginning” doesn’t  mean the beginning of the world, but to the beginning of the gospel being  announced to the world by the Lord Jesus Himself (see Mark 1:1).   John was simply reminding these believers of the commandment of Christ  that “we love one another.”  By using the word  “we” in this verse, John made sure to include himself as  subject to the same commandment.  Here again John is an example for  us.  We should always place ourselves under the authority of God’s  Word before instructing or correcting others.  This is what sets  Christians apart and identifies us as true disciples of the Lord (see John  13:35).  Note:  Love is the fruit of the Spirit (see Galatians 5:22),  the crowning virtue in Christian growth (see II Peter 1:5-7), the greatest gift  (see I Corinthians 13:1-3), the fulfillment of the law (see Romans 13:10), and  the one virtue that binds everything together in perfect unity (see Colossians  3:14).  When God’s love becomes part of  our lives because we possess His Spirit, it produces a proper response to both  God and man.  Therefore, will fulfill Christ’s commands (see Romans  13:8-10), one of which is  love.

2. (vs. 6).  In this verse John defined  genuine love, writing “And this is love, that we walk after his  commandments. This is the commandment, That, as ye have heard from the  beginning, ye should walk in it.”  While love may be  expressed in any number of ways, John emphasized that true Christian love is  shown when as “we walk after his commandments.”   No one can say that he loves God and then deliberately disobey  Him.  Just as Jesus was obedient to the Father’s will, so we must  be obedient children of our Father (see Hebrews 5:8-9).  John then  repeats that his readers have heard this commandment since the beginning of  their salvation.  Therefore, they “should walk in  it.”  The word “it” could refer to either  “commandment” or “love.”   However, “love” seems better because it is the  content of the command.  To walk in love is to display it daily as  a habit of life.

IV. JOHN’S WARNING (II John  1:7-11)

A.  Being aware of deceivers (II John  1:7-8). 

1. (vs.  7).  John goes on to say in  this verse For many deceivers  are entered into the world, who confess not that Jesus Christ is come in the  flesh. This is a deceiver and an antichrist.”  The word  “For” connects this verse with John’s exhortation to love in the previous  verse.  Christian love is essential in times of false teachings  mainly because it keeps us bound together in the faith and therefore unlikely to  be deceived by falsehoods or error.  In describing false teachers,  John said “many deceivers are entered into the world.”   The word “deceivers” indicates an impostor or  seducer.  These false teachers were those “who confess not  that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh.  Popular false  teaching in John’s day denied the incarnation of Christ (see I John 4:1-3),  either by claiming that His physical body was not real or by saying He was a  mere man only connected to a divine spirit temporarily.   Note:  The false teachers John referred to denied an  essential truth of the Christian faith: “that Jesus Christ is come in the  flesh.”  Apparently these heretics claimed to accept the temporary  divinity of Christ but rejected His humanity.  For the Lord Jesus  to accomplish our redemption, it was necessary for Him to be fully human and  fully divine.  While the mystery of the incarnation cannot be fully  understood by our finite human minds, nevertheless it is taught in Scripture and  must be accepted by all true Christians (see John 1:1-14; Philippians 2:6-11;  Colossians 2:9).  In the last part of this  verse, John says that anyone who rejects the incarnation of Christ is both  “a deceiver and an antichrist.”  Although the  concept of the antichrist is frequently identified with the beast out of the sea  in Revelation chapter 13 and Paul’s “man of sin” in II Thessalonians 2:3, the  actual word “antichrist” appears only in I and II John.   In this verse John uses it to refer to the false teachers of his day of  which he said there were “many” (see I John 2:18; 2:22;  4:3).  “Antichrist” can mean either “against  Christ” or “instead of Christ” or perhaps combining both definitions to mean  “one who assumes the identity of Christ, while opposing  Christ.”

2. (vs. 8).  John continues to exhort his  readers in this verse to “Look to yourselves, that we lose not those  things which we have wrought, but that we receive a full reward.”   The words “Look to yourselves” can be rendered  as “beware” or “watch out.”  John was reminding them to be on guard  against false teachers so “that we lose not those things which we have  wrought.”   The words “those  things” refer to rewards that the believer could lose by following  false teachers.  The word “wrought” means  “labored” or “worked for.”  John was saying that his readers needed  to guard against false teachers or their labors or works would be in vain and  whatever spiritual progress they had made would be lost (see Galatians 2:2; 3:4;  4:11; Philippians 2:16) along with their rewards.   The danger they faced in being led astray by  false teachers was not loss of salvation, but loss of rewards (see I Corinthians  3:13-15).  However, on the other hand, if he and  his readers remained faithful to the Lord and His teachings John said  “we receive a full reward.”  To be rewarded fully  does not refer to salvation because salvation is free and no human labor or  works are required (see Ephesians 2:8-10).  It refers to the  rewards for loyal service to the Lord.  As before, John used the  word “we” to indicate that he included himself in this  warning.  Note:  God in the New Testament Scriptures offers salvation  to the lost and He offers rewards for faithful service to the saved.   These Scripture passages are easily distinguished by remembering that  salvation is spoken of as a free gift (see John 4:10; Romans 6:23; Ephesians  2:8-9), whereas rewards are called crowns and are earned by our works or good  deeds (see Matthew 10:42; Luke 19:17; I Corinthians 9:24-25; II Timothy 4:7-8;  Revelation 2:10; 22:12).  A further distinction between salvation  and rewards is that believers have salvation now (see Luke 7:50; John 3:36;  5:24; 6:47), whereas we will receive our rewards in the future at the rapture  (see II Corinthians 5:10; II Timothy 4:8; Revelation  22:12).  

B. Identifying deceivers (II John 1:9).  In this verse,  John goes on to write that “Whosoever transgresseth, and abideth not in  the doctrine of Christ, hath not God. He that abideth in the doctrine of Christ,  he hath both the Father and the Son.”  Here the apostle  revealed the spiritual difference between false and true teachers.   First, he warned his readers that those who “transgresseth, and  abideth not in the doctrine of Christ, hath not God.”  The  Greek word translated “transgresseth” means “to go beyond” or  “to go ahead of” and referred to anyone who goes beyond apostolic  teaching.  Deceivers like the Gnostics, who taught  that knowledge was the way to salvation, claimed to have new revelations that  would give believers superior knowledge.  However, they had gone  beyond God’s message into heresy (an opinion or belief contrary to the  established doctrines of a church or religious system).  John said  that the transgressors or false teachers “abideth not in the doctrine of  Christ.” The word “doctrine” means  teachings.  In the context of this letter,  “the doctrine of Christ” seems to refer to convictions we hold  about both Christ’s teaching and the apostles’ teaching about Him, especially  belief in the incarnation.  John said that those who didn’t believe  the doctrine or teachings of Christ “hath not God.”   To reject what the Scriptures say about Christ is to reject God  Himself.  Since there is an essential unity between the Father and  the Son (see John 10:30), we can’t have one without the other.  In  contrast to the false teachers, John said “He that abideth in the  doctrine of Christ, he hath both the Father and the Son.”   Unlike the false teachers who abandoned Christ’s and the  apostles’ teachings, whoever continued in those teachings has or is indwelt by  “both the Father and the Son” (see I John 2:22-23).   Every religion that rejects God’s revelation of Himself in Christ Jesus  is false (see John 10:30; 14:6).

C. Dealing with deceivers (II John 1:10-11). 

1.  (vs. 10).   Now John says “If there come any unto you, and bring not  this doctrine, receive him not into your house, neither bid him God  speed.”  In a day when Christian  preachers and teachers traveled from church to church, John’s readers were sure  to come across them.  So John commanded his readers saying  “If there come any unto you, and bring not this doctrine, receive him  not into your house.”  The word “if” in  the Greek is so certain that it could read “when.”  John’s  instructions are very clear.  If the teacher didn’t teach those  things verified by Scripture, John told his readers to “receive him not  into your house, neither bid him God speed.”  To  “receive” someone means to show hospitality by providing food  and lodging.  The words “God speed” was a way to  wish a person well whether they were coming or going.  John was  saying that believers were not to invite false teachers into their homes or wish  them well when they left.  Note:   John was not saying that Christians  couldn’t entertain unbelievers in their homes, or even Christians who interpret  Scripture differently than we do.  His words apply only to those  who qualify as deceivers and antichrists—individuals who promote teachings  that slander and defame Christ leaving out the heart of the gospel.   Anyone who spreads anti-Christian teaching should not be given support or  encouragement in our homes and churches.  Far too often, Christians  make small compromises in order not to offend people mistakenly thinking that it  will open the door to greater opportunities.  Yet, we can never  sacrifice the truth in all its fullness for the sake of harmony and not making  waves.

2. (vs. 11).  John continues to write in  this verse “For he that biddeth him God speed is partaker of his evil  deeds.”  Continuing what he began saying in verse 10, the  apostle declared that whoever “biddeth” or wishes a false  teacher “God speed” or best wishes was a “partaker”  or shared in the evil person’s deeds.   Whoever actively spreads error concerning Christ is committing  “evil deeds,” deeds devoted to corrupting others.   To encourage such a person in any way is to share in his or her  evil.  Note:  This is a serious charge and it should cause every  Christian to study Scripture carefully and pray for discernment to be able to  recognize error when we see it.  All of us need divine wisdom to  know whom we can welcome into our homes and pulpits.  Inviting  false teachers into our homes and pulpits show that we approve of what they say  and do.  It may seem rude to turn people away who are teaching  error, but how much better it is to be faithful to God than to be courteous to  people who are trying to deceive us!  John is condemning the  support of those who are dedicated to opposing the true teachings of God.   He’s not condemning hospitality to unbelievers who God may have sent our  way so that we can share the gospel of Jesus Christ with  them.

V. JOHN CONCLUDES HIS LETTER (II John 1:12-13) 

A. John anticipates fellowship with these believers (II John  1:12).  In  this verse John says “Having many things to write unto you, I would not  write with paper and ink: but I trust to come unto you, and speak face to face,  that our joy may be full.”  With the phrase  “Having many things to write unto you” John was saying that he  still had much more to write to his fellow believers.  In this  short letter, it appears that he only touched on the most urgent matters.   He said “I would not write with paper and ink: but I trust to  come unto you, and speak face to face.”  In other words,  John preferred not to write the rest of what he had to say with “paper  and ink,” but he would wait until he came to visit them  personally.  This is the only time the word  “paper” appears in the New Testament and it refers to papyrus  sheets made from the papyrus plant.  “Ink” was  usually made from powdered charcoal, lampblack, or a mixture of soot and water,  and sometimes tree resin.  As John wrote, he was anticipating a  visit to these saints.  The phrase “speak face to face”  literally means “mouth to mouth.”  John said that he  wanted to communicate with them this way so that “our joy may be  full.”  In other words, speaking to them in person would  be far more satisfying for both him and them.

B. John’s final greetings (II John  1:13).  In our  final verse John says The children of thy elect sister greet thee.  Amen.”  The apostle  closed this letter with a greeting from “The children of  thy elect sister.”  The “elect sister”  most likely refers to a “sister church.”  If this is true,  “the children” would be the members of that church.   This gives us a glimpse of fellowship that took place between  congregations in apostolic times, the latter half of the first century  A.D.  The term “Amen” literally means “so be  it.”  It’s a solemn word used to confirm a statement, an oath, or a  covenant (see Numbers 5:22; Deuteronomy 27:15-12; Nehemiah 5:13; 8:6).   It’s also used in worship to affirm an address, psalm, or prayer (see  Psalms 41:13; 72:19; Jeremiah 28:6; Matthew 6:9-13).   Note:  In Isaiah 65:16, the Lord is called “the God of  truth.”  The original Hebrew means “the God of Amen.”   This was Isaiah’s way of saying that the Lord is the One who remains  eternally true, the One who can always be relied on.  In the New  Testament, our Lord Jesus Christ is given the same title: “the Amen, the  Faithful and True Witness” (see Revelation 3:14).  He too, like the  Father is eternally true and reliable.

            

VI.  Conclusion.  This  week’s lesson presents us with some self-examining questions.   Do we know enough about God’s Word to recognize false teachers and their  teaching, particularly what it teaches concerning Christ?  This  knowledge only comes as a result of diligent study of Scripture (see II Timothy  2:15-18).  When we identify false teachers and false teaching are  we bold enough to stand firmly on God’s Word of truth?  Remember,  God will reward us as we serve Him faithfully.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Love One To Another

Philippians 2:4 “Look not every man on his own things, but every man also on the things of others”.
What difference has God made in our life? Do all Christians talk and act the same? No. But we should all have a love for God first of all, and then love for one another. The sweetness Christians experience in knowing Jesus as Savior and all the good he brings into our lives, inevitably reflects in  our relationships. Paul  asked the believers at Philippi,” Has being a follower of Jesus Christ made any difference in your life? Has the fact that he loves you with an everlasting love caused you to make different  life choices? Have you experienced the Holy Spirit’s presence and enjoyed being a part of this glorious unified body? Is Christ’s love flowing in, out, and through this unified body with tenderness and lots of mercy?”
If you answered yes to any of these questions ,then you should spend more time talking about the things we have in common, than our differences. We should love each other unconditionally, strive for unity in all we do by lifting up Christ. All have sinned and come short of God’s glory, the enemy wants us to focus on the short comings which lie in all of us. But Jesus is the one thing we have in common and it is through him and by him that we are perfected even with our shortcomings, so when we lift Jesus up in the lives of others, we have all things common. We should be thrilled to the heart to lead people to the Lord, and then see them interacting and developing deep, caring, and lasting friendships, as their walk with Christ becomes stronger.
The Body of Christ can only become unified, loving, and like-minded when we care for the interest of others as much as we do our own.