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Posted By Nan

1 John 3:11-15
In this section John looks at the opposite of love. As a lead in to this discussion, John reminds his readers of love being the first commandment and the commandment at the very heart of the Christian message.
To demonstrate the opposite of love, he pointed his readers to the story of Cain and Abel (Genesis 4). He described Cain, with his self-seeking offering of the fruit of his labours that he didn’t want, as belonging to the evil one. He saw Abel, whose offering was of the best fruit of his labours to God, as righteous. Although Genesis does not speak of Cain as being evil, John argues that this man who hated the good his brother did and killed him for it, is evil because he saw great good and did not love it.
He then encourages his followers by reminding them that, like Abel, the world would hate them. It is hard when a person does something loving and caring and is hated for it. John states that the world does not respond with gratitude, instead it hates believers.
As believers we have passed from death to life because we have died to self and been born again in the Spirit. (John 3). Had we not been born again we would be like the world, who live in death. According to John, if we continue to not love others then we remain in death. We struggle daily to love others, but the fact that we seek God to do the right thing and love others, even when we struggle to do it, is evidence of having passed from death to life.
In verse 15 John writes that “anyone who does not love his brother is a murderer”. Just as looking lustfully is considered adultery (Matthew 5:28), so being angry with someone is considered murder (Matthew 5:21-22). Being angry with someone is to hate them. People are murdered in hatred so anger is an element of murder. Anger is an attitude whose consequence is murder. If we hold anger in our hearts then we cannot love and we therefore are not righteous. This is not to say that we cannot get angry with people, but we must be careful that the anger we feel does not become a habit and does not lead to hatred and bitterness because these habits form an attitude of murder and are the opposite of love.

Posted By Nan

1 John 3:11-18
Today we remember that Jesus Christ, the Son of God, was sent to earth as a humble, defenceless baby. That He was totally dependent on His parents for His survival. He humbled himself to this extent because of the love that He had for us. His entire life was a continual act of love for us. This love culminated in His willingness to suffer and die on the Cross to take on our sins. It is rather appropriate that today we reach the section of 1 John that discusses the need to love one another.
The premise behind what John has written in this section is what was first written in Deuteronomy as taught by Moses to the Israelites and then expanded by Jesus.
Deuteronomy 6:5 “And you shall love the Lord your God with all your [mind and] heart and with your entire being and with all your might.” Amplified
Matthew 22:36-40 “ … You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind (intellect). This is the great (most important, principal) and first commandment. And a second is like it: You shall love your neighbour as [you do] yourself. These two commandments sum up and upon them depend all the Law and the Prophets” Amplified
John 13:34 “I give you a new commandment: that you should love one another. Just as I have loved you, so you too should love one another.” Amplified
Christina Rossetti wrote the beautiful poem, later turned into a hymn that so beautifully illustrates the love that Jesus has for us:

“Love came down at Christmas,
Love all lovely, Love Divine,
Love was born at Christmas,
Star and Angels gave the sign.

“Worship we the Godhead,
Love Incarnate, Love Divine,
Worship we our Jesus,
But wherewith for sacred sign?

“Love shall be our token,
Love shall be yours and love be mine,
Love to God and all men,

“Love for plea and gift and sign.”

This section is split up into two parts. The first, from verse 11 to 15 looks at the opposite of love. The second, from verse 16 to 18 looks at the practical nature of love.
If we look at the life of Jesus, from the beginning in Genesis when God first presaged the saving grace of Jesus, through all the prophesies in the Old Testament, into the gospels with the description of the circumstances surrounding John’s conception and arrival into the world and then Jesus conception and arrival into the world, then we can see the extent of God’s love for us. Only a loving parent could patiently and carefully plan an amazing act of love over a span of years. Only our divine parent could so patiently and carefully plan such an amazing act of love over thousands of years until finally that humble little child was born. Only our truly amazing saviour could wait so patiently for thirty years of His life until the time had come for Him to commence the fulfilment of his purpose in being on this earth. Only great love can result in such great patience. That is love in action. Love in practical application. “Love all lovely, Love Divine.”
May you remember today the great love Jesus has for us that He came to earth to save us from our sins. May the true knowledge of Jesus life, death and resurrection be on your mind today. May you follow Him on that narrow path today.

Posted By Nan

1 John 3:8-10
“So, my dear children, don’t let anyone divert you from the truth. It’s the person who acts right who is right, just as we see it lived out in our righteous Messiah. Those who make a practice of sin are straight from the Devil, the pioneer in the practice of sin. The Son of God entered the scene to abolish the Devil’s ways. People conceived and brought into life by God don’t make a practice of sin. How could they? God’s seed is deep within them, making them who they are. It’s not in the nature of the God-begotten to practice and parade sin. Here’s how you tell the difference between God’s children and the Devil’s children: The one who won’t practice righteous ways isn’t from God, nor is the one who won’t love brother or sister. A simple test.” The Message 7-10
“[But] he who commits sin [who practices evildoing] is of the devil [takes his character from the evil one], for the devil has sinned (violated the divine law) from the beginning. The reason the Son of God was made manifest (visible) was to undo (destroy, loosen, and dissolve) the works the devil [has done]. No one born (begotten) of God [deliberately, knowingly, and habitually] practices sin, for God’s nature abides in him [His principle of life, the divine sperm, remains permanently within him]; and he cannot practice sinning because he is born (begotten) of God. By this it is made clear who take their nature from God and are His children and who take their nature from the devil and are his children: no one who does not practice righteousness [who does not conform to God’s will in purpose, thought, and action] is of God; neither is anyone who does not love his brother (his fellow believer in Christ).” Amplified Bible 8-10
This section contrasts to the previous section by talking about those who practice evil, rather than those who seek righteousness. John describes those who practice evildoing (commit sin). The verb in Greek, again, is one talking about a continuing act. It is not that they practiced sin, or will practice it, it is that they continue to practice it. The person John describes is one whose behaviour is habitually sinful.
He reminds us that Jesus came to defeat the devil and destroy his work. Prior to Jesus coming, we had no remedy for those times we fell into temptation and sinned. Now we have Jesus. Of course, the devil is still around, but Jesus has done away with him. We are no longer under his control. His defeat has happened and will happen. He will still try to lead us away from Jesus, but we do not have to listen and obey him. We have the power to choose to turn to Jesus and seek not to sin. We also have the power to choose to disobey Jesus and fall into sinful patterns of behaviour. If we are to follow Jesus, however, we must choose to obey Jesus.
Following Jesus is not as hard as it seems. John points out that the person who is born again (born of God) cannot habitually sin because being born of God means we take our nature from God and we are His children. This born of is again a continuous process. We are born of God and we continue to be born of God. We cannot continue to sin. This does not mean we will never do anything wrong, but it does mean that, as we allow ourselves to be transformed into Jesus’ likeness, we will adopt behaviours that are righteous and turn away from sinful behaviours. How many times have you done something, then spent time in prayer asking God for forgiveness and the strength to avoid doing that again? The Holy Spirit in us convicts us of sin and we cannot help but we convicted by that, not if we are truly born of God and choose to be righteousness.
Again, John ends this section with the reminder of the two great commandments. We must love God with all our heart, soul and mind and love our neighbour as ourselves (Matthew 22:37-40). This desire to achieve that is the mark of the follower of Jesus.

Posted By Nan

1 John 3:5-7
“You know that He appeared in visible form and became Man to take away [upon Himself] sins, and in Him there is no sin [[essentially and forever]. No one who abides in Him [who lives and remains in communion with and in obedience to Him—deliberately, knowingly, and habitually] commits (practices) sin. No one who [habitually] sins has either seen or known Him [recognized, perceived, or understood Him, or has had an experiential acquaintance with Him].]Boys (lads), let no one deceive and lead you astray. He who practices righteousness [who is upright, conforming to the divine will in purpose, thought, and action, living a consistently conscientious life] is righteous, even as He is righteous.” The Amplified Bible
This passage contains an important counter message to the message of the early Gnostics. Namely, the belief that the body is not important and what it does is not important. Here John reminds his readers that Jesus came to earth and became a human (remember the Gnostics deny He every became human). Jesus, the Man who was without sin, came to take upon Himself the sins of the world. In the original Greek, the word used here is a word suggesting not a once off event, but a continuous event. Jesus continuously take on our sin, we continuously live in Jesus so do not continuously sin. Here John writes about attitudes that have become habit, not one off sins that we seek forgiveness for.
It is important to never see sin as unimportant, as many are in the habit of doing. Any sin separates us from God, and that is why Jesus was needed to take on every single one of our sins. However, John is concerned to emphasise the continuous nature of forgiveness and the continuous nature of habitual sin. We will all sin constantly and need to constantly come to God for forgiveness. That is a fact of life. What we do not have to do is possess attitudes and habits that cause us to continuously sin. The way we live our lives demonstrates very clearly the source of our life. If Jesus is the source, then our lives will be characterised by Godliness and a constant effort to not indulge in sinful practices. If the source of our life is the love of material possessions then our lives will be characterised by avariciousness and superficiality.
When we do what is right in Jesus’ eyes, seeking His support to do what is right, then we are righteous. The standard for our behaviour is Jesus. As John notes in verse 7, we who practice righteousness by being upright, conforming to the diving will and purpose, thought and action and living a consistently conscientious life are righteous, even as Jesus is righteous. So model your behaviour on Jesus and never forget that Jesus and sin are incompatible.

Posted By Nan

1 John 3:4-6
Today I am looking at what is expressed in verse 4 that continues on to verse 6. As verses 5 to 7 also collectively express a different message I will be looking at those verses in depth in the next blog.
The Message v4-6 “All who indulge in a sinful life are dangerously lawless, for sin is a major disruption of God’s order. Surely you know that Christ showed up in order to get rid of sin. There is no sin in him, and sin is not part of his program. No one who lives deeply in Christ makes a practice of sin. None of those who do practice sin have taken a good look at Christ. They’ve got him all backward.”
The Amplified Bible v4 “Everyone who commits (practices) sin is guilty of lawlessness; for [that is what] sin is, lawlessness (the breaking, violating of God’s law by transgression or neglect—being unrestrained and unregulated by His commands and His will).”
I have seen this verse titled “The necessity for right conduct” and that is a good description. John is answering the argument from the dissenters that they did not have to stop sinning. There were the gnostics who held that the holding of the secret knowledge was what mattered. Do you know people who claim to be Christians who place knowledge above everything else, including that essential relationship with Jesus? Knowledge is not more important than that essential relationship with Jesus.
As well as the gnostics, there were those who claimed that, because Jesus died on the cross for our sins, we could keep on sinning because He would forgive us. What John has written is a counter to that. Sin is to violate God’s law either by deliberate actions or by neglecting to do what is right. The Message describes those who sin as “indulgers in a sinful life”. They are people who a dangerously lawless and that is a major disruption of God’s order. Jesus came to get rid of sin and we should be aiming to reduce the sin in our own lives. Jesus knows we cannot completely stop sinning, but it is disruptive to God’s order when we choose to sin.
The most important aspect of what John says about sin is that continuing to sin is evidence of a wrong relationship to God. Lawlessness, in continuing to sin, shows a disregard for God and His law. John is not referring to the law of the Torah. He is writing to Gentiles and the law they knew was the moral law of God. The understanding they need is that sinning is lawlessness. Such sinful lawlessness is evidence of a dying relationship with God. Sin sets the sinner in opposition to God rather than in a growing relationship that involves daily giving up of self and allowing Jesus to increase in your life. If you are in opposition to God how can Jesus increase in your life? If Jesus does not increase in your life how can your relationship to God grow?



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