What Happens Here Doesn’t Stay Here

15 Do not love the world nor the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. 16 For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh and the lust of the eyes and the boastful pride of life, is not from the Father, but is from the world. 17 The world is passing away, and also its lusts; but the one who does the will of God lives forever. 1 John 2: 15-17

We believers are in the world, but not of it. We’ve actually been transferred out, and we’re waiting to catch a plane.

13 For He rescued us from the domain of darkness, and transferred us to the kingdom of His beloved Son, 14 in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins. Colossians 1:13-14

While grounded we’re tempted to partake of what the world has to offer.

Picture this. The world is Las Vegas. But what we do here doesn’t stay here. It’s well known to the Father in heaven, and with many he’s not well pleased.

The flashes of skin, the neon lights, the draw of the blackjack table are the lusts of the flesh, the lusts of the eyes, and the boastful pride of life. These are what the world offers. Thing is about all the bright lights, they all can go dark with a flip of a switch. Following after God is to be drawn by the eternal light.

A couple of takeaways.

We’re in the world. If we love its things the love of the Father’s not in us.

We can’t have two masters. So you’re either being lured into sin, and perhaps you don’t possess the power to resist, or you’re seeking to do his will.

All that’s in the world will fade away, but the consequences of our seeking after these things won’t.

For some, you need to stay in and follow the one true light of his word. For others, isn’t it high time you change planes? It’s one gate over. You won’t regret it. You can bet on it.

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You Gotta Love the One You’re With

The one who says he is in the Light and yet hates his brother is in the darkness until now. 1 John 2:9

It’s incredibly easy to hate your brother these days. Not as much a flesh and blood person in your sphere, but people groups in general. This is mainly due to the organs of hate, which constantly grind out chords of derision.

I would say that if this kind of hate mongering keeps you from extending decency and kindness to the man or woman in front you, you’re in darkness.

We may criticize what we see in society, but it all boils down to the one-on-ones.

When Christians interact, the same restraint that Jesus possessed should be ours. The words we say should be as gracious as his, seasoned as it were with salt. (Colossians 4:6) Our face should reflect the face of one who forgives those who know not what they do. (Luke 23:24)

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The Power to Love

Beloved, I am not writing a new commandment to you, but an old commandment which you have had from the beginning; the old commandment is the word which you have heard. On the other hand, I am writing a new commandment to you, which is true in Him and in you, because the darkness is passing away and the true Light is already shining.  1 John 2:7-8

Before Christ it was all about the law. But with him on earth, the new commandment was not really new but old,  to love God and your neighbor. Now though, there was the power to love in Christ.

Love in the end will reign. In the meantime it will increase, not pass away! You’d never know that checking today’s news. You’d think that love’s virtually vanished in a society where men and women rail against each other with vile vitriol.

It used to be that hate was hidden behind white hoods or black leather, or exercised by scowling or shunning or hushing. Now love is stomped on and burned.

But the love of God cannot be barricaded or shouted down with obscenities. Jesus brought with him and left behind the power to love. This love loves its enemies.  It will win out in the end.

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Know that You Know

By this we know that we have come to know Him, if we keep His commandments. The one who says, “I have come to know Him,” and does not keep His commandments, is a liar, and the truth is not in him; but whoever keeps His word, in him the love of God has truly been perfected. By this we know that we are in Him: the one who says he abides in Him ought himself to walk in the same manner as He walked. 1 John 2:3-6

You don’t join a cult or culture or civic group, or church for that matter, when you become a Christian, you join Christ, or better, he joins you. It’s not a fleeting choice that fades with time, but a life-altering conversion of mind, body, soul and spirit. He inhabits you, taking up residence, putting down permanent stakes. From that moment on, you are a new man or woman.

What causes doubt (a lack of assurance) that this has occurred is sin. Deep inside though, if there is an unsettling due to this sin, a sense that all is not right, or if you knew the right thing to do and did not do it, that very yearning to make things right is assurance that you’re his.

His commandments would require that you confess your sin, and this you do. He replies, “as far as the east is from the west, so far have I removed your sin from you… for I am faithful and righteous to forgive your sins and to cleanse you from all unrighteousness.” (Ps. 103:12, 1 John 1:9) Then we move on.

No unsaved person has this process going on in his or her life. And as we learn more and more about him, and gladly relinquish more and more of our lives to him, this process becomes like breathing.

But there’s always the underlying debate whether this person or that person is saved. When you run up on someone who’s suffered some trauma, you check if they’re breathing. You check if they’ve got a pulse. Those who are truly saved start breathing immediately and will continue until the Lord takes their last breath, and a desire to please Him pulses in their veins. The change should be unmistakable and perpetual.

You can break free from a cult and drop out of a culture and resign from a civic group and stop attending a church, but you can’t undo what God has done in your life.

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All Lawyered Up

And if anyone sins, we have an Advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous; 2 and He Himself is the propitiation (satisfaction) for our sins; and not for ours only, but also for those of the whole world. 1 John 2:1-2

There’s much in the news about lawyers these days. With a Special Counsel on the loose, the advice of the day is you’d better find a good lawyer, because you’re going to need him (or her).

We were born “in a jam.” There’s none who does good (without sin), “no not one.” (Romans 3:10) Consequently, we’re all doomed. The whole world is doomed. We can’t talk our way out of it. We can’t work our way out of it. We can’t buy our way out of it. We’re guilty as charged.

But our attorney does not rely on his glibness, but has actually done the jail time in our stead. He’s satisfied the penalty for what we’ve done. It’s the ultimate trump card we hold. If one sins, if he’s got Jesus Christ on retainer–he’s a trusting believer–he makes his one phone call and he’s off the hook.

Now this is not a get out of jail free card, because we must first believe and accept him, and then, as John urges throughout his letter, we must practice what we believe.

But it’s inevitable we’ll slip up. So is it time for you to get lawyered up? If so, make the phone call!

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The Impossible Dream

There was a popular song in the 1960s called The impossible Dream, taken from the Broadway play Man from La Mancha, a story about Don Quixote’s quest for glory. We fight a similar uphill battle against sin. As much as we might try, we will sin. Here we find how to quickly right the ship, by confessing our sins.

9 If we confess our sins, He is faithful and righteous to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. 10 If we say that we have not sinned, we make Him a liar and His word is not in us. 1 John 1:9

The Lord demands perfection to stay in his presence, to fellowship with him. We can’t pull this off for the life of us. He knows this and has provided a way to stay in his light. His life.

The problem comes when we don’t practice this routine cleansing, or worse, when we think we’re sin free. John calls this living a lie. A remorseful Christian striving to get back into good graces will always be welcomed back into the fold with open arms.

On the other hand, it’s a precarious place to be, wandering around in the darkness, thinking you’ve found your way. There’s always the chance that you can’t practice the truth because the truth’s not in you at all!

A sinning Christian is a miserable soul. The Holy Spirit within will drive him back to the light. Everyone knows what confession’s good for! The soul, in case you don’t.

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Fellowship of the King

3 what we have seen and heard we proclaim to you also, so that you too may have fellowship with us; and indeed our fellowship is with the Father, and with His Son Jesus Christ. 4 These things we write, so that our joy may be made complete. 1 John 1:3-4

Being in Jesus’ inner circle, in the common vernacular, had to be absolutely mind-blowing. You’ve waited for the Messiah and here he is, calling you to follow him. In the days ahead, your head spins as you witness miracle after miracle. What’s more, as you hang on every word, it dawns on you that God incarnate is having a casual conversation with you. Yet these are not just words, but the Words of Life!

If it were me, I’d be studying every move, letting it all sink in, but still all the while shaking my head in unbelief, not for lack of faith, but for the simple incredibility of it all, and the “why me” of it all.

Later, really in just months, John witnessed Jesus’ brutal torture and gruesome death and then his glorious reappearing and stunning ascension. He saw it all, stating the world could not contain the whole of what he said and did in those three short years (John 21:25). It’s no wonder that he wants to get the message out, that all might enjoy the fellowship he had with the king.

You too can have this incredible experience, by reading the words he managed to pen, by praying over them constantly, and by practicing them faithfully.

Know this. Every time someone joins the fellowship, the inner circle, there’s joy, and it’s complete.

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