Lessons from 1 John (Part 4)

Chapter 3 (cont’d)

16-18: Love will require sacrifice. Christ gave his life, we ought to be willing to do the same. Love through sacrifice will require the believer to willingly give of his material possessions for the good of a brother.

19-24: God is pleased when we keep his commands. At first glance these verses may seem to support some kind of works-based righteousness that believers can begin to build up and earn interest on, but verse 23 destroys this thought. The command is: faith in Christ and love toward one another.

The works which please God are the works of Christ. Therefore, man’s faith in the God-pleasing life of Christ is the work that pleases God.

Our work is faith.

The second part – to love one another – is going to come from obedience to the first – faith in Jesus.

So, these verses teach at least three things: 1) God the Father is satisfied with the work of Jesus, 2) he commands our faith in Jesus, and 3) knowing that God is satisfied with us, because of the work of Jesus, we are set free from the burden of depending on our ability to keep the law.

The other wonderful truth is that faith is a gift (Eph. 2:8)!

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How Deep the Father’s Love for Us

God loves by mysterious means. Often it is in His discipline, yet sometimes in a conversation, a kiss, or a lyric. And just as often, this love seems to be expressed with equally mysterious timing. Tonight, it was through these familiar lyrics that He reminded me of His costly love – a love that embraces and leaves you speechless, weeping and joyful, defeated and free, disarmed and satisfied. Indeed, how deep the Father’s love for us.

How Deep the Father’s Love for Us

How deep the Father’s love for us,
How vast beyond all measure
That He should give His only Son
To make a wretch His treasure

How great the pain of searing loss,
The Father turns His face away
As wounds which mar the chosen One,
Bring many sons to glory

Behold the Man upon a cross,
My sin upon His shoulders
Ashamed I hear my mocking voice,
Call out among the scoffers

It was my sin that held Him there
Until it was accomplished
His dying breath has brought me life
I know that it is finished

I will not boast in anything
No gifts, no power, no wisdom
But I will boast in Jesus Christ
His death and resurrection

Why should I gain from His reward?
I cannot give an answer
But this I know with all my heart
His wounds have paid my ransom


Prone to Wander

Below is my response to the Eternal Footmen topic of the week:

“Prone to wander, Lord, I feel it.                                               Prone to leave the God I love.”

Love. Action. Denial. Repentance. Community. Reverence. Ebenezer. Flight. Blood. Passover. Israel. Lamb. Prepared. Haste. Memorial. Deliverance. Sin. Promise. Sacrifice. Worship. Blessing. Death. People. Provision. Native. Family. One House. Remembrance. Bread. Slavery. Sign. Regularity. Strength. Fidelity. Redemption. Broken. First-Born. Fear. Power. Altar. LORD. Gift. Melchizedek. Witness. Consecration. Faithfulness. Restoration. Obedience. Grace. Unity. Submission. Disciples. Wine. Body. Wrath. Command. Covenant. Forgiveness. Church. Cup. Vine. Kingdom. Betrayal. Substitution. Gratitude. Drink. Atonement. Prayer. Suffering. Proclamation. Return. Hallelujah. Rejoice!


Spurgeon on Hell

Yesterday’s message (here) really messed me up. Matt spoke on Heaven and Hell…everyone’s favorite topic. I’m thankful that he is bold enough and faithful enough to preach on the reality of man’s eternal destination.

Heaven and Hell are real places. Please hear that. They are real places. And talking about them is not for fear-mongering or to paint pretty pictures in your mind of a place that everyone goes to be happy some day.

The part that messed me up the most was when Matt quoted a section from one of Charles Spurgeon’s sermons (click here for the full sermon from Spurgeon). He tells the story of a mother who is at judgement with her children. Jesus directs the mother one way and the children to another. The mother loved Jesus with all her heart and she tried to teach her children to do the same. But the children grew to love the things of the world, rather than Jesus. After weeping and seeing that her children were going to spend eternity in Hell, an angel dries her eyes, which reminds her of the treasure she has in Jesus and His perfect justice He executes in punishing sinners, and her response to her children is this:

“My children, I taught you well, I trained you up, and you forsook the ways of God; and now all I have to say is, Amen to your condemnation.”

Please, read and re-read this quote. For those of you in Christ, this is the hard reality of what we will one day face. Imagine those you love here on earth. Some of them don’t know or don’t believe the Gospel of Jesus Christ. As painful as it will be to know that they will not be with us in heaven, our joy in Christ and His justice will cause us to say “Amen” to their condemnation.

It is not “Amen, I’m such a good person and they’re not.” It’s “Amen, God showed me grace and His perfect name will not be defamed by those who rebel. To Him be glory and honor forever. Amen.”

Please have the spiritual sensitivity to let this bother you. May it cause you to cherish the grace that Christ has shown you, if you are a believer, and may it cause us to open our mouths and proclaim the Gospel.


Temptation: Discipline After Failure

This sermon is a great reminder of the love God has for His children, particularly through His righteous discipline. Give it a listen!


Always go back to the Puritans

A good friend of mine, Mason King, blessed me with the book The Valley of Vision: a collection of Puritan prayers and devotions (ugly cover, amazing book), and I love coming back to their words of deep affection and fervor for the Lord. Below is a selection from a recent reading that I hope encourages you.

Man’s Great End

Lord of all being,
there is one thing that deserves my greatest care,
that calls forth my ardent desires,
That is, that I may answer the great end for which I am made-
to glorify thee who hast given me being,
and to do all the good I can for my fellow men;
Verily, life is not worth having
if it be not improved for this noble purpose.
Yet, Lord, how little is this the thought of mankind!
Most men seem to live for themselves,
without much or any regard for thy glory,
or for the good of others;
They earnestly desire and eagerly pursue
the riches, honours, pleasures of this life,
as if they supposed that wealth, greatness, merriment,
could make their immortal souls happy;
But, alas, what false delusive dreams are these!
And how miserable ere long will those be that sleep in them,
for all our happiness consists in loving thee,
and being holy as thou are holy.

O may I never fall into the tempers and vanities,
the sensuality and folly of the present world!
It is a place of inexpressible sorrow, a vast empty nothingness;
Time is a moment, a vapour,
and all its enjoyments are empty bubbles,
fleeting blasts of wind,
from which nothing satisfactory can be derived;
Give me grace always to keep in covenant with thee,
and to reject as delusion a great name here or hereafter,
[emphasis added]
together with all sinful pleasures or profits.
Help me to know continually
that there can be no true happiness,
no fulfilling of thy purpose for me,
apart from a life lived in and for the Son of thy love.