A couple of weeks ago we started studying Ephesians in our adult class. As a challenge, I decided to do something a little different. I came up with a series of repeating questions that can be used throughout the book on a paragraph by paragraph basis.
Here are the questions: Continue reading
God’s kindness in one of a kind in that: Continue reading
Here’s a trend involving the word declare in 1 John chapter 1 (NKJV) that I noticed last Sunday night during the scripture reading.
John’s first declaration is that eternal life was personified in Jesus Christ:
- “the life was manifested, and we have seen, and bear witness, and declare to you that eternal life which was with the Father and was manifested to us –” (vs. 2)
John’s initial declaration is made for the purpose of declaring to others that we are able to enjoy the same fellowship that he has with God:
- “that which we have seen and heard we declare to you, that you also may have fellowship with us; and truly our fellowship is with the Father and with His Son Jesus Christ.” (vs. 3)
John’s final declaration is that this fellowship opportunity being made available through the gospel is a relationship with an ever holy and unchanging God:
- “This is the message which we have heard from Him and declare to you, that God is light and in Him is no darkness at all.” (vs. 5)
Summed up, 1 John 1:1-5 is declaring that the message of salvation is meant to be 1) shared, 2) understood and 3) life-changing.
Such may be the reason why John ends his letter by saying:
“And we know that the Son of God has come and has given us an understanding, that we may know Him who is true; and we are in Him who is true, in His Son Jesus Christ. This is the true God and eternal life. Little children, keep yourselves from idols. Amen.” (1 John 5:20-21)
Here’s a little note/outline that you might find useful for Psalm 135:
- vs. 1-4 – The Praise
- vs. 5-14 – The Power
- vs. 15-18 – The Paralysis
- vs. 19-21 – The Proclamation
Looking for a bare-bones outline? I have one for you.
In reference to Jesus, the phrase “his own blood” appears no less than four times in the New Testament, and each time the reference makes a different point but it still surrounds the same theme:
- “Therefore take heed to yourselves and to all the flock, among which the Holy Spirit has made you overseers, to shepherd the church of God which He purchased with His own blood.” (Acts 20:28)
- “But Christ came as High Priest of the good things to come, with the greater and more perfect tabernacle not made with hands, that is, not of this creation. Not with the blood of goats and calves, but with His own blood He entered the Most Holy Place once for all, having obtained eternal redemption.” (Hebrews 9:11-12)
- “We have an altar from which those who serve the tabernacle have no right to eat. For the bodies of those animals, whose blood is brought into the sanctuary by the high priest for sin, are burned outside the camp. Therefore Jesus also, that He might sanctify the people with His own blood, suffered outside the gate.” (Hebrews 13:10-12)
- “and from Jesus Christ, the faithful witness, the firstborn from the dead, and the ruler over the kings of the earth. To Him who loved us and washed us from our sins in His own blood,” (Revelation 1:5)
We sing “blest be the tie that binds” but to enjoy it we must be aware of the ties that blind.
- Jesus warned about the consequences of loving our closest kin more than him (Matthew 10:34-37).
- Paul warned about being “unequally yoked” with unbelievers who prevent us from doing God’s will (2 Corinthians 6:14-18).
- John warned about supporting false teachers who cloud the clarity of sound doctrine (2 John 1:8-11).
- Peter warned about the dangers of peer-pressure as we seek to live a godly life (1 Peter 4:1-5).
- James warned about the results of being a friend to the world’s way of doing things (James 4:4).
- Jude warned about those who would seek fellowship while wreaking havoc of the very grace that brings it together (Jude 1:3-5).
God’s word is plain enough – there is a tie a binds us to him, but to enjoy it we must untie and avoid the binds that will blind us to the fellowship of the heavenly sorts.
So which song are we going to sing?
There are times when people are going to refuse to believe no matter what they see or hear about Jesus, and John 9:8-28 is testament to it!
- Skeptics won’t believe their eyes no matter what kind of change they see in others – John 9:8-12
- Deniers won’t believe their ears no matter what they’re told about Jesus – John 9:13-23
- Plain old unbelievers won’t learn no matter what – John 9:24-28
But just because other people refuse to believe in the truth of Jesus with their eyes, ears and mind, that doesn’t mean we can’t believe in him – and if we keep our eyes open for him, then one day, like the former blind man of John 9, we’ll see the Light of the world who opened our eyes for our self.