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1 John 4:7-5:21; 2 John 1:1-13; 3 John 1:1-15
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First John:1 John 4 Verses 7 through 21 are incredible verses on LOVE! A fun Bible fact for you here - the word love appears 43 times in First John overall - and 32 times in the short section of 4:7 through 5:3. We're in the Christian love section here! :) Certainly verses 9 & 10 here are well worth each of us reflecting upon: "God showed how much he loved us by sending his only Son into the world so that we might have eternal life through him. This is real love. It is not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as a sacrifice to take away our sins." Do you believe these verses to be true? Do these verses maybe remind you of a similar verse John wrote in his Gospel? John 3:16 - "For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life." It is awesome that we have these verses to reflect upon - along with Daniel chapter 12 verse 2 above. See any ties between these verses from the Old & New Testaments regarding eternal life?
We finish the book of First John this today! What a great book it has been for me this year. I hope it has been a blessing for you as well. Verses 3 & 4 in 1 John chapter 5 are powerful: "Loving God means keeping his commandments, and really, that isn't difficult. For every child of God defeats this evil world by trusting Christ to give the victory." Do you love God by keeping his commandments? Do you trust Jesus to give you the victory over evil in this world? Does your trust in Jesus make keeping God's commandments not difficult?
Verses 14 & 15 are good reflections on how we should pray - and that we should pray: "And we can be confident that he will listen to us whenever we ask him for anything in line with his will. And if we know he is listening when we make our requests, we can be sure that he will give us what we ask for." Do you pray confidently, asking God for things that are in line with his will? Do you know that God is listening to your prayers? Are you sure that he will give you what you ask for, if it is in line with his will?
And verse 21 is a powerful end to this book of 1 John: "Dear children, keep away from anything that might take God's place in your hearts." Is there anything in your life that might take the place of God in your heart? Will you turn this idol over to God? Will you keep away from this idol? Will you allow God to take the primary place in your heart and your mind?
Second John: Today we read through the very short letter of Second John! This letter, like First John, was written by one of Jesus' 12 disciples, John son of Zebedee - who also wrote the Gospel of John and the book of Revelation. This letter was essentially written to continue to dispel Gnosticism, which was a twisting of Christianity - it basically meant salvation through knowledge (gnosis is Greek for knowledge). Gnostic teachers were traveling throughout the land at the time this letter was written, and this letter warns people to not encourage this false teaching in any way. Below is an image made of wood from the 17th century of the Apostle John and scenes from his life:
~ Second John ~
Author: John the apostle
Place: Uncertain, probably Ephesus
Date: A.D. 85-95
Content: This short letter was written either to a Christian woman whom John knew or to a church personified as a woman. In any case, it was written to encourage true Christian love and to warn against the deceivers who were coming into the world. John charges the believers not to participate in their evil, but to stand for the truth no matter what that cost.
Theme: The need for Christians to be alert and diligent when it comes to false doctrine is the theme of this letter. We must be aware that false doctrine exists and we must be ready to deal with it, if confronted. All the while, however, we must live out the love of God in our lives. (Above commentary is from Tyndale Publishers “The One Year Bible Companion” p. 34) A great overview of Second John by Daniel Wallace is at bible.org at this link.
Verses 5 & 6 certainly stand out in this short letter: "And now I want to urge you, dear lady, that we should love one another. This is not a new commandment, but one we had from the beginning. Love means doing what God has commanded us, and he has commanded us to love one another, just as you heard from the beginning." Are you loving others frequently & consistently in your life? Do you demonstrate love for others consistently? Do you love God's commands? Do you love others as Jesus loved you?
Third John: Today we start and finish the book of Third John! Yes, it is quite a lengthy letter... :) This letter, like the 2 before it were written by the disciple John in about 85 to 95 A.D. The purpose of this letter is actually somewhat the opposite of the purpose of Second John. In Second John - see yesterday's post below - we learned that John was warning against providing hospitality to traveling false teachers. In Third John, John is asking Gaius to show hospitality to traveling teachers - but teachers that are teaching the truth. The unfortunate aspect of today's letter is that there is a bit of a dictator leading the local church named Diotrephes who is not welcoming in traveling teachers who teach the truth - the Gospel. So, I think we can learn from Second John & Third John that hospitality is obviously a very good thing - though, we should exercise caution with hospitality when there is danger of propagating a false teaching.
~ Third John ~
Author: John the apostle
Place: Uncertain, probably Ephesus
Date: A.D. 85-95
Content: This short letter is a personal note from John the apostle to his friend Gauis, encouraging him to support the traveling evangelists who are preaching the truth. He warns Gauis against such men as Diotrephes who refuse to help in spreading the gospel and commends others, such as Demetrius, for helping.
Theme: Christians are to support one another in the work of Christ. Not to do so is the work of Satan, who seeks to destroy the believers. John stresses that all believers are bound together as Christians and should work for the common good of all. (Above commentary is from Tyndale Publishers “The One Year Bible Companion” p. 34) A great overview of Third John by Daniel Wallace is at this link. Below is a marble statue of John by the artist Donatello from the year 1410 -
Verse 11 stands out in this letter, following John's writing about Diotrephes behavior - "Dear friend, don't let this bad example influence you. Follow only what is good. Remember that those who do good prove that they are God's children, and those who do evil prove that they do not know God." Do we have examples of good and bad leaders in our life? Do we follow only the example of the good? Do you believe following the example of people doing good is proof that we are children of God?
YouTube - Today's readings in First John remind me of the Third Day song "You Are Mine:"
Are you His? Click here and hear Jesus say "You Are Mine!"
Please join us in memorizing and meditating on two verses of Scripture today: "Whoever claims to love God yet hates a brother or sister is a liar. For whoever does not love their brother and sister, whom they have seen, cannot love God, whom they have not seen. And he has given us this command: Anyone who loves God must also love their brother and sister." 1 John 4:20-21 (NIV)
Prayer Point: Pray that you love God. Pray that you do not hate your brother or sister. Pray that you love your brother and sister.
Comments from You: What verses or insights stand out to you in today's readings? Please post up by clicking on the "Comments" link below!
p.s. Download our monthly Small Group study notes for our Chronological Bible readings at this link.
p.p.s. Download a schedule of our Chronological Bible readings for the year in PDF format at this link.
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