Flemingsburg Baptist Church Youth Group

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Category: 1 John

2013 in review

The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2013 annual report for this blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

A New York City subway train holds 1,200 people. This blog was viewed about 5,800 times in 2013. If it were a NYC subway train, it would take about 5 trips to carry that many people.

Click here to see the complete report.

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HAPPY FATHER’S DAY

Flemingsburg Baptist Church Youth Group

Father of the fatherless and protector of widows is God in his holy habitation. Psalm 68:5

Videos

Great post on father’s day by Pastor Mark Driscoll:

One of the greatest joys in my life is being a dad to my kids. Over the years, I’ve learned many lessons about being a dad, but one of the most important is that in order to be a good dad, you must be a good Christian.

By being a good Christian, you develop a relationship with your heavenly Father, the perfect Dad, that informs everything you do as a dad. And by cultivating a deep understanding of the Scriptures, you grow in wisdom, grace, and ability to raise your kids well and to the glory of God.

To pursue that goal, we must worship God first by repenting of sin and coming to him by faith for grace to love him, as an…

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Winter Jam 2013 March 16th in Lexington, KY

Updated Post with Pictures from the Event Here Winter Jam 2013 March 16th in Lexington, KY.

Here is a great read on how those that demand respect are hard to work with, but those that work hard end up earning others respect without even having to ask for it.

Hunter Baker

My wife and I enjoy watching the genre of television programs in which various consultants go in and try to save failing businesses.  Gordon Ramsay may have invented the basic model with his Kitchen Nightmares.  It has been replicated with shows about restaurants, hotels, bars, car lots, salons, and other businesses.

If you watch the programs, one thing becomes clear immediately.  The worst workers in virtually any business are the people who are obsessed with the question of whether they are being disrespected.

I happen to be in a good position to deliver this news, because exactly this issue came up in one of my first professional positions.  Once, I sat (as a very junior person) in a high level meeting and casually doodled on my copy of the meeting agenda.  The notes I was making illustrated my disdain for the process we were going through.  One of my…

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Links to Videos from Sunday’s Messages

Every now and then I like to just show videos during our Sunday School and Sunday Night Lessons.  I do this for several reasons.  First and the main reason is to introduce you to what I consider outstanding preachers.  So that they can speak into your lives like they have spoken into mine.  Second, to break of the cycle of doing the same thing over and over again every week. And third it gives me a break so that I can stay passionate about studying and communicating God’s Word and allows me to sit back and to learn under solid preaching.

Exodus 32:1-10, 1 Corinthians 10:6-13 from Southern Seminary on Vimeo.

The Look of Lust Is in Your Eyes from Southern Seminary on Vimeo.

1 John 5:18-21

Little Children, Keep Yourselves From Idols

We know that everyone who has been born of God does not keep on sinning, but he who was born of God protects him, and the evil one does not touch him.We know that we are from God, and the whole world lies in the power of the evil one.  And we know that the Son of God has come and has given us understanding, so that we may know him who is true; and we are in him who is true, in his Son Jesus Christ. He is the true God and eternal life. Little children, keep yourselves from idols.

v.18, No Christian goes on sinning as he did before he turned to Christ.  The reason is that the one who was born of God keeps him safe.

v. 19, We learn that the devil is a creature, subject to God’s authority, who is not allowed to go an inch further than God’s permission sanctions, and whose ultimate doom is assured.  That is why the world’s freedom is slavery, and the devil’s offer of independence from God, which lies at the root of all sin, is an illusion.  As we have discussed before, God and Satan are not dual powers fighting it out to see who has power, God created him and even in his rebellion Satan cannot do any more than our loving God permits him to do.

WHY DOES JOHN WANT TO LEAVE US WITH A WARNING AGAINST IDOLATRY?

What, then, is idolatry?  Idolatry is valuing anything or any person more than the one true God.  An idol is anything or any person that takes center stage in our affections.  God is a jealous God.  He deserves center stage in our lives.  Anything that assumes that place becomes an idol, whether it be a spouse, a child, a humanitarian project, or pornography, or drugs, or power over the poor, or religion.  An idol is a god-substitute.  Archeology limits idols to stone statues; biblical theology teaches that idols are anything that takes the place of god in our lives.  When understood this way, we can realize that idolatry is not ancient history but is alive and flourishing in America as we rush toward the twenty-first century.

Therefore, John’s closing command “Little children, keep yourselves from idols” has as much relevance for our day as for any generation since creation.  The main reason why is because our hearts are idol factories.  We are created to worship, that is why every culture in this world even the most remote villages in the most desert places worship something.  Therefore, if we do not fill our heart with the one true God that satisfies this desire to worship, our heart will produce idols for itself to worship.

EXAMPLE OF IDOLATRY EXODUS 32:1-8

The Jews had just come out of Egypt, who worshiped man-made idols.  Therefore, they wanted to have something that showed the power of their great God that delivered them from Egypt.  So they carved out an image out of Gold of the strongest animal they knew, a bull, in order to display how strong and powerful their God was.  No doubt the image of a bull was thought to honor him, as being a fitting symbol of his great strength.

However, what is the problem with displaying and image of God?  It is not hard to see that such a symbol in fact insults God, for what idea of His moral character, his righteousness, goodness, patience, and His love could one gather from looking at a statue of God as a bull?  Therefore, Aaron’s image hid God’s glory by only glorifying His power and neglecting all His other attributes.

However, we do not just do this with symbols we do it with our hearts also.  We rely on money to get us what we need, we rely on others to make us feel important, we rely on food and drink to make us feel satisfied, we rely on TV, internet, video games, and sports to entertain us.  All these things are good things but they become idols when we would rather rely on them than on God.  And just like the Jews that made an idol they can see to worship, we create things that we can see to worship.  Therefore, how do we keep ourselves from idols.  By keeping in perspective who our creator is and who can truly fill our desire to worship.

Now to recap.  Why does John end his letter with as command to stay away from idols?  Well, hope that you see that the whole theme of the letter is that John was trying to give his readers assurance that they are true Christians and that they would stay that way because Jesus Christ will keep them.  And he gives them two tests for them to test to see if they are true believers.  And those tests were to keep God’s commandments and love one another.  Therefore what can keep us from keeping God’s commandments and loving one another?  Idols!

1 John 4:6-17

How Can We Have Assurance of Eternal Life and of Prayer?

This is he who came by water and blood—Jesus Christ; not by the water only but by the water and the blood. And the Spirit is the one who testifies, because the Spirit is the truth. For there are three that testify: the Spirit and the water and the blood; and these three agree. If we receive the testimony of men, the testimony of God is greater, for this is the testimony of God that he has borne concerning his Son. Whoever believes in the Son of God has the testimony in himself. Whoever does not believe God has made him a liar, because he has not believed in the testimony that God has borne concerning his Son. And this is the testimony, that God gave us eternal life, and this life is in his Son. Whoever has the Son has life; whoever does not have the Son of God does not have life.

I write these things to you who believe in the name of the Son of God that you may know that you have eternal life. And this is the confidence that we have toward him, that if we ask anything according to his will he hears us. And if we know that he hears us in whatever we ask, we know that we have the requests that we have asked of him.

If anyone sees his brother committing a sin not leading to death, he shall ask, and God will give him life—to those who commit sins that do not lead to death. There is sin that leads to death; I do not say that one should pray for that. All wrongdoing is sin, but there is sin that does not lead to death.

 

HOW CAN I HAVE ASSURANCE OF ETERNAL LIFE? (VERSES 6-13)

I believe that John is giving an apologetic defense on why Jesus is the way to eternal life.  In Hebrew law, (Det. 17:6 and 19:15) it was necessary to have two to three witnesses for a case to be carried.  This makes since because if we were a judge and three people of good integrity came to us telling the same exact story we would believe them.  How much more should we believe the evidence that God gives us since He is incapable of telling a lie.

Here I believe that John is giving us two external evidences of that the Son leads us to eternal life and one internal evidence.  Water and blood represent the two external evidences that Jesus is who He says He is.  They refer to Jesus’ baptism (water) and death (blood).  This third and final testimony is the internal testimony of the Holy Spirit.

Basically, to answer the question how can I have eternal life, is that you can trust that you have eternal life if you believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God.  The faith that overcomes the world is the very specific belief that Jesus is the Son of God.  Faith in anything else will not do.  Your parents cannot get you into heaven; neither can money, education, or social status.  Only Faith that Jesus Christ is the Son of God and that He has come to be our Lord, Savior, and Treasure will get you eternal life.

GOD LOVES TO ANSWER OUR PRAYERS (VERSES 14-15)

The clear implication of v. 15 is that God loves to answer our prayers.  God is a cheerful giver when it comes to answering prayer. 

Why is it that our experience does not always detect the reality of God’s eagerness to answer prayer?

In our passage this morning in 5:14 there is an all-important qualifier attached to our prayers. “If we ask anything according to his will, he hears us.”

Our praying is never on a surer foundation than when it is grounded in Scripture, for here God’s will is revealed.  As we pray Bible prayers, we know that God will hear and answer.  However, this is not a way of tricking God into doing what you want, for prayer is not an attempt to get God to see things my way and to extract from him what I have decided I need or want.  Prayer is submitting my will to his.  It is opening the door of my need of prayer is God’s means by which my submission to Christ’s lordship can be developed.  The less I pray, the more self-willed I become.  Likewise, the more I pray the more humbled I become.  Answers to prayer do not depend on a right diagnosis or analysis of the problem by us as we pray, but on a childlike submission to the Father, knowing that he will give what is best according to his will.

PRAYER OF INTERCESSION (VERSES 16-17)

Intercession is a technical word meaning “prayer for others.

Two Questions About Mortal Sin

1.      What is mortal sin?

My understanding of what John means by mortal sin or the sin unto death is simply persistent unconfessed disobedience to the twofold command of 3:23. This is the summary command of the whole letter—and I would suggest—the whole Bible. “This is his commandment, that we should believe in the name of his Son Jesus Christ and love one another.” Mortal sin is the persistent disregard of this command.

2.      Can a Christian commit mortal sin?

If we mean a true Christian, like who John has been describing in this whole book, the answer has to be no.  A true Christian will not persist in unloving acts. A true Christian will not persist in unbelief.  They may lapse temporarily into hard-heartedness. But the mark of a true Christian is that they will repent, confess their sin, and be restored.

What about those who seemed to be Christian, shared their testimony, joined the church, served taught a Sunday School class, but then fell into persistent, unrepentant sin? John tells us in 2:19, “They went out from us; but they were not of us; for if they had been of us, they would have continued with us.”

INTERCESSION

Therefore, if you are constantly finding yourself thinking about someone who is sin, then the Holy Spirit is quickening you to pray for them.  I think what this passage is reassuring us if, we find ourselves no longer being driven to pray for this person, then we should not feel guilty and saying, Oh if I had only prayed harder for that person maybe they would not be in Hell right now.  I am spurred on to pray because of the glorious promise in verse 16 that God will give life to him in answer to my prayers.  Intercession is not trivial; it is used by God to turn people around.  Therefore, no matter how lost someone is looking and acting, if you find yourself being led to pray for them it is for a reason.

1 John 4:20-5:5

Video From Sunday Night Lesson


God’s Commandments Are Not Burdensome

If anyone says, “I love God,” and hates his brother, he is a liar; for he who does not love his brother whom he has seen cannot love God whom he has not seen. And this commandment we have from him: whoever loves God must also love his brother.

Everyone who believes that Jesus is the Christ has been born of God, and everyone who loves the Father loves whoever has been born of him. By this we know that we love the children of God, when we love God and obey his commandments. For this is the love of God, that we keep his commandments. And his commandments are not burdensome. For everyone who has been born of God overcomes the world. And this is the victory that has overcome the world—our faith. Who is it that overcomes the world except the one who believes that Jesus is the Son of God?

Main point of 4:20-5:1: To test whether your love for God is real is whether you love your fellow believer.

And the passage declares that if you do not love one another than you are a liar if you say you love God.

This is simple because we learned last week that God is love.  So it stands to reason that if God is our Father then we will also love his other children, our brothers and sisters in Christ.  Therefore, we can conclude that if you cannot love someone that you can see then you for sure cannot love someone that is invisible.

Someone might love what God can do for them, or they might love that God could get them out of Hell, but that is not loving God that is trying to use God.  God did not send His son to come be useful for us, but to be our Lord and Savior.

The passage then goes on to tell us that if you love God you will keep his Commandments.  We have learned previously that God’s law is not here to be burdensome to us, but to help guide us so that we can get the most joy out of life.  Just like how the rules to the game of baseball help us get the most joy out of the game.

Basically what you have to decide in your mind is do you truly believe God’s Word because when you do you will see it to be the most loving thing to tell someone is wrong than to let them continually live a life of sin and to think it is ok because others in the church think it is the most loving thing to do.

Again, it is important to remember that John is not commanding a duty upon Christians that we ought to strive to fulfill; rather he is describing a characteristic of real Christianity, without which no-one can claim to be truly regenerate.

What does faith really mean and how can it help us gain victory over the world? 

Love that is not based on faith is powerless.

Hebrews 11:1 put is like this, “Now Faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see.” Oswald Chambers describes faith as the deliberate confidence in the character of God whose ways you may not understand at the present time.  In other words it is trust.

As we exercise that faith, we find that it works.  God keeps his promises and fulfills his Word.  As we believe that when God says “Do this, or Not that”, He knows what is best for us, we do what he says, trust him with the consequences and prove him to be true.  When we are living that way, the world cannot trap or deceive us.  This sort of faith is the only way to victory over the world.  When we think carefully about our failures, at the root of all our defeats are failures of faith; failures to trust or to obey, or both.

1 John 4:13-19

The Assurance that We Have of God’s Love

 By this we know that we abide in him and he in us, because he has given us of his Spirit. And we have seen and testify that the Father has sent his Son to be the Savior of the world. Whoever confesses that Jesus is the Son of God, God abides in him, and he in God. So we have come to know and to believe the love that God has for us. God is love, and whoever abides in love abides in God, and God abides in him. By this is love perfected with us, so that we may have confidence for the day of judgment, because as he is so also are we in this world. There is no fear in love, but perfect love casts out fear. For fear has to do with punishment, and whoever fears has not been perfected in love. We love because he first loved us.

 

Are you sure that God abides in you today?

John wrote this letter to help you answer that question.  Consider how many times he has made us think about this.

2:3—By this we may be sure that we know him . . .

2:5b—By this we may be sure that we are in him . . .

3:10—By this it may be seen who are the children of God . . .

3:14—We know that we have passed out of death into life . . .

3:19—By this we shall know that we are of the truth . . .

3:24b—By this we know that he abides in us . . .

4:2—By this you know the Spirit of God . . .

4:6b—By this we know the spirit of truth . . .

5:2—By this we know that we love the children of God . . .

5:13—I write this to you who believe in the name of the Son of God, that you might                                 know that you have eternal life.

What does John want us to be sure of?  Our Salvation.

Four Evidences of Salvation that is Found is this Passage:

  1. We have received the Holy Spirit (v.13)
  2. We have the apostolic testimony (v.14)
  3. We have personally acknowledged Jesus as God’s Son. (v. 15)
  4. We have confidence in God’s Love (v. 16-19)

Verse 17 tells us how to have something everybody wants to have.

Confidence

And verse 18 tells us how to get rid of something everybody wants to get rid of.

Fear

The Main Point of the Text:

John wants to help us enjoy confidence before God.  He does not want us to be paralyzed or depressed by fear of judgment.  Nothing would make John happier than to produce a generation of Christians who were utterly confident that God would accept them on the judgment day.

Does the Lord Jesus cringe in terror before the Father

Of course not.  Then, humbly but sincerely, we may share His boldness, His confidence and freedom of speech.  He has loved us with an everlasting love (Jeremiah 31:3), which will never let us down and never let us go.  If we are always afraid of what Father may do to us, we do not really love him, and if we do not love him it is because we do not really believe that He loves us.

And where will you find the power to love?

I close with verse 19: “As for us, we love because he first loved us.”  Our acts of love on behalf of others never cause God’s love to be initiated towards us.  It is always the reverse.  God loves first.  Then we know and believe the love God has for us (v. 16).  Trusting the love that He has for us in Jesus Christ, he abides in us and HIS love overflows into action and is perfected with us.  And we have confidence for the day of judgment.

Our love all begins with the love of God.  “We love because He first loved us.”  If you lack the power to love, look to the cross of Christ and let the love of God for sinners fill you with hope.

1 John 4:7-12

Does God Really Love Us?

Beloved, let us love one another, for love is from God, and whoever loves has been born of God and knows God. Anyone who does not love does not know God, because God is love. In this the love of God was made manifest among us, that God sent his only Son into the world, so that we might live through him. In this is love, not that we have loved God but that he loved us and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins. Beloved, if God so loved us, we also ought to love one another. No one has ever seen God; if we love one another, God abides in us and his love is perfected in us.

The last three words of verse 8 form one of the most profound statements of the whole Bible and perhaps for many people today one of the hardest to believe.  God is love.

We must realize that such an infinite yet personal Creator is not too great to be bothered with my tiny life.  He is so great the he can be bothered with each of us individually.

John is not identifying a quality which God possesses; he is making a statement about the essence of God’s being.  It is not simply that God loves, but that He is love.

A conditional love that depends on the attractiveness or worthiness of the object for it to be exercised is to distort the free grace of God into something much less worthy.  Divine love is utterly different.  It cannot be earned; it cannot be deserved.  God loves us because that is His nature.  God is love.

Most people define love as the feeling that they get when people make much of them.  However, Love is not making much of, it is laboring and suffering in order you might make them eternally satisfied.

John focuses on two great evidences, in which the love of God can be both seen and communicated.

  1. God’s love is seen in  the Cross of Christ (verses 9-10)
  2. God’s love is seen in how Christians love one another (verses 11-12)

GOD’S LOVE IS SEEN IN THE CROSS OF CHRIST (VERSES 9-10)

We see in verse 10 that it is not because we first loved God, but that because he loves us.  This is no reciprocation by God, meeting a person halfway because he has shown some desire to be right with his master.

The initiative is entirely God’s.

He decides to manifest his love to those who do not love him and who do not want to love him, to enemies and to rebels armed to the teeth against him, to a world of lost sinners.

Let us acknowledge once and for all that if it were not for the fact that God is love, we would have no expectation of mercy or forgiveness, no hope and no future.  The initiative in the work of man’s salvation belongs entirely to the God of love.

Propitiation is the taking of a personal object for the appeasement of an offended party.  Jesus Christ was our propitiation for our sins to appease us from the wrath and anger of a Holy and Just God.

GOD’S LOVE IS SEEN IN HOW CHRISTIANS LOVE ONE ANOTHER (VERSES 11-12)

If we are truly his children we will want to be like our father.

Therefore, the Christian church should be a community of love, unlike any other human society.  It is true, as has been said, that the church exists for those who are not yet members, but it is also true that the love among its members should be one of its most powerful magnets.

The ultimate apologetic or defense for the faith should be the love that we have for each other, for orphans, for widows, and for the handicapped.  Love is the family characteristic of the family of God.  People should be able to see Christ’s love in our fellowships.  Now we must think, do we express God’s love more clearly when we love people that are easy to love or those that the world deems unlovable?

Christ’s physical presence is no longer with us in this world, but if people want to see Jesus, they should be able to meet him in the churches.  They should encounter his love in the love we Christians have for each other.  It is the love that this world needs to see desperately, because it is the nearest many people will ever get to seeing the invisible God.  Let us love others because our Father in heaven first loved us.

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