1 John 4:7


New International Version
Dear friends, let us love one another, for love comes from God. Everyone who loves has been born of God and knows God.

Cross References

John 13:34
“A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another.

1 Corinthians 8:3
But whoever loves God is known by God.

1 John 2:3
We know that we have come to know him if we keep his commands.

1 John 2:4
Whoever says, “I know him,” but does not do what he commands is a liar, and the truth is not in that person.

1 John 2:7
Dear friends, I am not writing you a new command but an old one, which you have had since the beginning. This old command is the message you have heard.

1 John 2:29
If you know that he is righteous, you know that everyone who does what is right has been born of him.

1 John 3:9
No one who is born of God will continue to sin, because God’s seed remains in them; they cannot go on sinning, because they have been born of God.

1 John 3:11
For this is the message you heard from the beginning: We should love one another.

1 John 4:8
Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love.

1 John 4:11
Dear friends, since God so loved us, we also ought to love one another.

1 John 4:16
And so we know and rely on the love God has for us. God is love. Whoever lives in love lives in God, and God in them.

1 John 5:1
Everyone who believes that Jesus is the Christ is born of God, and everyone who loves the father loves his child as well.

2 John 1:5
And now, dear lady, I am not writing you a new command but one we have had from the beginning. I ask that we love one another.

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Struggling With the Same Sin: How Do I Break Free?


Struggling with the same sin is like the feeling of drowning. You splash around frantically trying to find your footing, but you still sink under the water. Believers who struggle with the same sin over and over feel like failures. You know the truth of God’s word, but can’t overcome the sin long enough to walk in the freedom granted by the blood of Jesus. This sinful stronghold keeps it grip over your life choking out destiny that God wants for you. You have a love/hate relationship with sin. There’s hatred of the rope tied around your neck, yet (be honest) you love the pleasure of it. Should you just give up and give in? Or is there hope for deliverance? Begin by answering the right questions for breaking free of the same old sin.

Question #1) Are you a believer?

“Examine yourselves to see whether you are in the faith; test yourselves. Do you not realize that Christ Jesus is in you—unless, of course, you fail the test?” (2 Corinthians 13:5, NIV). Many people think they are saved even though they can’t attest to rebirth through the saving knowledge of Jesus Christ and the indwelling presence of the Holy Spirit. Salvation doesn’t have to be a dramatic outward event, but there does need to be a time when you moved from darkness of sin to the light of salvation. Take a few moments to reflect on how your salvation. Use Romans 10:9-10 as a guide.

Question #2) Do you really want to be free?

“All a person’s ways seem pure to them, but motives are weighed by the LORD” (Proverbs 16:2, NIV). We may not like the consequences of our sin such as guilt, shame, or regret. Many of us can appear remorseful in front of others (especially if we get caught), but we may remain inwardly unrepentant especially if our pleasure in the sin is greater than our desire to please God. Reflect on the price of your sin on the Lord Jesus Christ. Use Philippians 2:6-8 as a guide.“However, this kind does not go out except by prayer and fasting” (Matthew 17:21, NKJV). “However, this kind does not go out except by prayer and fasting” (Matthew 17:21, NKJV).

Question #3) Have you confessed your sin to God?

“When I acknowledged my sin to you and did not cover up my iniquity. I said, “I will confess my transgressions to the LORD” (Psalm 32:5, NIV). Something happens within us when we verbalize our sin to the Lord. Our spirit agrees with the Spirit of God that we’re living in error and our relationship with God can be compromised. The Lord wants us to come to Him in repentance with a desire to be changed in the likeness of Jesus. Spend time talking to God about how you first became ensnared in sin. Use James 1:13-15 as a guide.

Step #4) Have you confessed your sin to another believer?

“Many of those who believed now came and openly confessed what they had done” (Acts 19:18, NIV). Confessing your sin to a mature believer provides human accountability. Every believer regardless of their spiritual growth needs someone to confess to. You’re not alone—every believer has to overcome temptation and sin as a personal struggle. Ask the Lord to direct you to the right person of faith. Use Psalm 37:30 as a guide.

Step #5) Have you removed yourself from your “temptation triggers”?

“But put on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make no provision for the flesh, to gratify its desires” (Romans 13:14, ESV).You may need to make the courageous, but tough decisions of separating yourself from certain people, places, or things that keep you in bondage to sin. It’s not easy to break off a relationship, get rid of cable/TV/internet, or to move to a different job and/or location. However the refreshing hope and freedom in Christ makes it well worth it. Start a list of what needs to be out of your life in order to be free. Use 1 Corinthians 10:13 as a guide.

Step #6) Are you prepared to set aside a time of prayer and fasting to loosen the grip of this sin on your life?

“However, this kind does not go out except by prayer and fasting” (Matthew 17:21, NKJV).Sometimes the power of sin is so strong that you need a time of prayer and fasting. This typically requires an abstinence of eating food for a certain period of time. Fasting is a spiritual discipline that helps you gain control of sinful desires instead of being controlled. Decide on a period of time to fast and pray. Use Mark 2:18-20 as a guide.Step #7) Do you have the mind of Christ?

“For who has understood the mind of the Lord so as to instruct him?” But we have the mind of Christ” (1 Corinthians 2:16, ESV)You have the mind of Christ as you memorize, recite, meditate, and apply the scriptures in faith. The word of God is powerful enough to break all sinful strongholds in your heart and mind. You will develop the ability to see your sin as God sees it—destroyed by the blood of Jesus. Set up a schedule that puts your Bible reading as an integral part of your day. Use Hebrews 4:12 as a guide.

Did you answer yes to all the questions?

If not, don’t skip a question that was difficult—deal with it and be free. You didn’t get into this situation overnight and it may take time to complete the perfect work of God in your life. At the moment of salvation, you were made in the image of Christ to be free from all bondages of sin. Never give up on the power of God to deliver you and use your experience to snatch others out of the fiery pit of a sinful life.

A Glorious Preview


Bible Reading:Exodus 34:29-35

→The lights in the theater dim and a deep, mysterious voice booms ominously through the speakers. On the screen, a sequence of scenes quickly establishes the setting, introduces the main characters and teases about the plot. Of course, you are watching a preview for Hollywood‘s next block-buster flick.

→However, since the film’s producers want you to plop down the bucks to watch the entire movie, they give you only a sketchy outline to pique you interest. So the preview suggests a lot more than it shows. If a theatrical preview exists in the Bible, the episode about Moses‘ radiant face provides a great teaser. We catch a glimpse of God‘s glory, but the preview suggests alot more than it actually shows. Instead of detailed description, we only read that God’s glory made Moses’ face shine. Still, the effect was so powerful that it triggered fear in the Israelites, so much that Moses, had to cover his face.

→God provided another preview of His glory in the person and ministry of Jesus Christ and the new covenant He established. The Apostle Paul connects there two previews:Now If the ministry that brought death which was engraved in letters on stone, so that Israelites could not look steadily at the face of Moses because of Its glory, transitory through it was, will not the ministry of the Spirit be even more glorious?2 Corinthians 3:7-8.

→Amazingly, the full picture of God’s glory still lies ahead. Even more incredibly, we’re not just audience members watching a preview. God gives us a starring role. We all, who with unveiled faces contemplate the LORD’s glory, one being transformed into His image with ever-increasing glory, which comes from the LORD.2 Corinthians 3:19. Are you ready for your close-up?

To Take Away

Do you long for God’s glory? In what ways does your life show this to be true? What qualities and actions in Jesus’ life revealed God’s glory? How can you obtain a greater thirst for a close-upof God’s glory?

Pray that God will show you smaller evidences of his glory in your everyday life.

Recommended Reading:

Matthew 17:1-8;2 Corinthians 3:7-18;Revelation 21:22-22:6

 

Solomon’s Proverbs: Relationships


Do you get along with others? Have you been promoted fast in your career? Are you highly sought as a friend? Can you handle an angry adversary? Solomon answers these and many other questions right here. Relationships are a crucial part of your life to please God, help others, and prosper yourself. Add this wisdom to your life and rise higher.

Proverbs 18:24

How many good friends do you have? The answer tells how friendly you are. Do you have a very close friend? They are more special than a brother. Friendliness is a two-way street, and if you are lacking in friends, it is your fault.

Proverbs 30:17

What if ravens ripped your eyeball out by their beaks and hungry eagles ate it? You deserve it, if you roll your eyes at your parents! God is planning just this kind of pain for you for dishonoring your parents. It is that important!

Proverbs 25:20

Can you comfort those hurting with grief? Do you know what to say at a funeral? Empathy is a skill and takes discipline. If you think being cheerful around those who are sad helps, you are actually making things worse. Grow up!

Proverbs 13:20

An easy way to get wiser is by wise friends. If you choose fools, you will destroy yourself. You are the company you keep. Do not deceive yourself thinking bad friends will not influence you. The corruption has already started.

Proverbs 22:10

Is there conflict in your home, business, or church? Look for a scorner, for often there is one. Throw him out, and peace will return. He is not worth any effort; he will bite you for trying to help; wisdom gets rid of such men.

Proverbs 29:15

The best child training manual is here. If the world would follow it, benefits would abound. Instead, they ridicule its concepts and forbid its practice. The result? Immature, dysfunctional, foolish, and rebellious youth everywhere!

Proverbs 17:17

Are you a fair weather friend? Are your friends only around when the going is good? A true friend loves at all times, and a close friend is a gift for hard times. Superficiality is a waste of time. You need to find and be a true friend.

Proverbs 15:1

It takes two to fight. If you choose to be a pillow, an adversary’s blows hurt less, and they soon end. Your words in a fight are crucial. Do you get angry and use hard words to make things worse? Or soft to end it right now?

Proverbs 22:11

You can win the favor of the mighty. How? By gracious speech. Kings have blessed shepherds for it, for it is one of the best traits of human character. How can you develop it? It starts with a pure heart that will alter your words.

Proverbs 18:19

If you offend a friend, do you know what you have done? Do you grasp how hard it may be to recover that friendship? It is wisdom to be careful with friends and to do everything in your power to be reconciled immediately.

Proverbs 25:15

Can you persuade a person in power over you? It is not by argument, persistence, or intensity. There is an altogether different approach that is despised today. You will always have others over you, so here is needful wisdom for you.

Proverbs 25:17

Are you a friend worth having? You must make those around you better. You do not fear to gently correct or warn them about faults. As a file removes bits of metal from a blade, a good friend leaves a sharp, shiny finish.

The Priority of LOVE


If I speak in the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I am a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal” (1 Cor. 13:1).

1 Corinthians 13:1–3

 

In his three epistles, the apostle John is especially concerned with emphasizing the Christian virtue of love. This is particularly true of 1 John where the apostle tells us again and again to love the brethren. As we have seen over the past few months, we must love because God is love, and all those who are born of Him will love His children (1 John 4:7–8).

 

Even though as Christians we are well aware of the need to love, sometimes it can be difficult to understand what exactly loving one another in a biblical manner may involve. In order that we may better understand the wider scriptural teaching on love we will spend the next few days basing our studies on Love, a teaching series by Dr. R.C. Sproul.

 

The passage in which we will spend most of our time over the next week is at the same time one of the most beloved and one of the most convicting passages in the Bible. First Corinthians 13 is a favorite text for many people. Yet we often fail to realize that if we were truly to measure our love by this passage, we would see ourselves falling far short of the ideal contained therein. This is because the love described in this chapter is based on God’s own love, which is perfect in every way. God’s love is perfectly patient, kind, and truthful, and it manifests every other quality described by Paul without defect. Our love, on the other hand, always falls short.

 

One reason our love falls short of this ideal is that we seldom make love the priority in our lives. We know love is important, but we do not often behave as if love for others is to be the foremost characteristic of the Christian. The Corinthian church had this problem, seeking the power of God but pridefully using it in a destructive manner when exercising their gifts (see chapters 12 and 14).

 

In today’s passage, Paul reminds the church that if we exercise the gifts and understand a great many things without love, we have gained nothing. If we use the gifts God has given to us but do not love other people, we have forgotten the Giver of these gifts who is Himself love (1 John 4:8), and thus have replaced Him with an idol.

 

Coram Deo

Though we believe speaking in tongues and the gift of prophecy ceased with the end of the apostolic age, the many spiritual gifts and offices God still gives His people today can still be used in an unloving manner. One of these is teaching (Eph. 4:11). If we present our doctrine in an unloving manner, we have not made love the priority. As you discuss things like the doctrines of grace with other Christians, be careful to do so lovingly and respectfully.

 

 

 

Recommended

 

Spokesman For God


“The Lord said to Moses, ‘See, I have made you like God to Pharaoh, and your brother Aaron shall be your prophet. You shall speak all that I command you, and your brother Aaron shall tell Pharaoh to let the people of Israel go out of his land’” (vv. 1–2). – Exodus 7:1-7

The Christian faith proclaims the truth about God and His work to the world. We saw this in various ways last year during our study of the major biblical doctrines proclaimed in the Heidelberg Catechism. This year, we are going to devote our daily Bible studies to the lives and messages of the men who may be considered the chief human proclaimers or preachers of the Lord’s truth during the old covenant period—the Old Testament prophets.

 

Prophet, as a term and an office, tends to be widely misunderstood. Many people think of prophets as those who predict the far-off future, men and women who have supernatural insight into what will happen in centuries yet to come. Of course, many of the Old Testament prophets did have such perception. We think of men such as Isaiah, who foresaw in detail the Messiah’s atonement and resurrection more than 750 years before the events on Calvary (Isa. 53). Consider also Daniel, who predicted the rise and fall of Alexander the Great more than two hundred years prior to Alexander’s conquests (Dan. 11:1–4).

 

Nevertheless, predicting the future was not the Old Testament prophets’ major responsibility. Our English word prophet is usually a translation of the Hebrew term nabi, which means “to call” or “to proclaim.” Prophet also translates other Hebrew words that mean “servant of the Lord” and “watcher” or “seer.” From these terms, as well as the actual content of the prophetic books, we learn that those who were called to be prophets under the old covenant were appointed to bring the people of Israel special messages from God and to watch over the Israelites to ensure that they kept the terms of their covenant with the Lord.

 

Essentially, the Old Testament prophets were spokesmen for God. Today’s passage reveals their task. God compares Moses, the model for all the old covenant prophets (Deut. 34:10), to Himself and appoints Aaron to be Moses’ prophet. In receiving words from Moses—“God”—and speaking them to Pharaoh, Aaron—the “prophet”—was to call the king to repent, to recognize the one true Lord of all, and to free the Israelites from slavery (Ex. 7:1–2). All of the Old Testament prophets who followed would do the same, calling the covenant people to repent, serve God, and obey His holy Word.

 

Coram Deo

 

Because God has fully and finally revealed Himself in His Son, we believe that the Lord does not call people to the office of prophet today (Heb. 1:1–4). That does not mean, however, that there is no one to be God’s spokesperson today. Preachers who faithfully preach the Word of God do speak for Him insofar as their messages are faithful to the Bible. When the preacher delivers a sermon that is faithful to Scripture, we are bound to heed it.

 

Passages for Further Study

 

  1. Deuteronomy 18:15–22
  2. Amos 3:7
  3. James 5:10
  4. Ephesians 2:11–21

Recommended

  1. “To Fulfill All Righteousness” Article by Knox Chamblin
  2. Prophet Devotional
  3. Prophets to the Nations Devotional

 

 

 

Learning to Love


Love is a popular topic, one that evokes warm feelings and a rush of spiritual adrenaline. Every year the polls indicate that the chapter of the Bible voted “most popular” is 1 Corinthians 13. This is the famous “love chapter” of the Bible. That this chapter holds such perennial appeal for Christians indicates something of the profound concern we have for the matter of love.

1 Corinthians 13 is a double-edged sword, however. It not only comforts us with an inspiring and exalted rhapsody of love, it also presents a portrait of the nature of love so clearly that it reveals the flaws and warts of our feeble exercise of love. It shows us how unloving we are. It sets the bar, presenting a norm of love that condemns us for falling so miserably short of it.

Perhaps our delight in the love chapter rests upon a superficial nod toward this biblical paean of love. Maybe we read its eloquent words as if they were merely the lyrics of a romantic ballad. But once we probe the content of the chapter, discomfort inevitably sets in.

The ultimate norm of love is God Himself. His love is utterly perfect, containing no shadow that would obscure its brilliant purity.

 

Coram Deo

Prayerfully study 1 Corinthians 13. How does your love measure up to these standards?

Passages for Further Study

1 Corinthians 13:1–3