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Faithfulness Known By God - 2 & 3 John

  The Weekend, November 28 – We come to another weekend where we read once over the two-day weekend.   Having just finished John’s first letter we’re going to read both 2 nd and 3 rd John in one reading.   They are short letters and have a certain harmony to them.   Please read the scriptures first and then come back to here for more. These two letters give us insight into first-century conventional correspondence.   They were probably written at the same time John wrote his first letter to the churches, and in all likelihood, they were carried and delivered to these two places during this time.   If this is the late first century, the Gospel had taken root in all places within the Roman Empire, but it was still a small group.   Most of the churches that existed – if not all – were “house churches”, i.e., small groups of Christians met in houses, away from Roman observation.   Also, the language – as we will soon see in the book of Revelation – was often veiled behind language t
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That We May Know We Have Eternal Life - 1 John 5:1 - 21

 Friday, November 27 – It’s the end of the week, and also the end of our reading in this first letter of John.   Please read 1 John 5:1 – 21, and then come back to look at it with me again. The last chapter of John’s letter has always been one of my favorite passages.   John has been taking us through themes that relate to Jesus as God in flesh, the priority of love – first to God, and then to others – and various warnings about false teachers who deny Christ.   Now, in this last chapter he sums up his motivation and purpose in writing when he says – 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 (5:13).   What’s interesting in this last section of his writing is that John uses the word for faith for the very first time in his letter.   He had used the verb form (believe) several times, but not the noun “faith”.   Yet, in summary, it is the Christian’s faith that makes love possible – “Everyone who believes that

Thanksgiving Love - 1 John 4:1 - 21

  Thursday, November 26 – It is Thanksgiving Day, and you’re up for spending some time reading in God’s word before the day gets busy – bless you.   We’ll continue our reading in 1 st John, but the devotional is much shorter.   Please read 1 John 4:1 – 21.   Come back for a short devotional look at what we’ve read. This section of John begins with a warning to watch out for those who are false teachers and deny who Christ is (4:1-6).   Then in a long section (4:7 – 21) that takes us to the end of the chapter, he wraps up the theme of genuine Christian love.   He reminds us of the importance of loving in a God-oriented way (4:7-10), and brings us back to the reason we can love like this in the love of God for us. If you are like me, there are times when we wonder if the church can discern the difference between truth and error.   That is what John says in these first verses – a summary from The Message Bible – “My dear friends, don't believe everything you hear. Carefully

Practicing the Righteousness of God - 1 John 2:29 - 34

 Wednesday, November 25 – We’ve reached the middle of the week and the middle of 1 st John.   Today’s reading is 1 John 2:29 – 3:24. Please read the Scripture first and I’d invite you to come back and walk through it with me again. The chapter division is again unfortunate, so we began our reading today at the end of chapter two, which connects the thoughts of John to the early verses in chapter three.   Look again at the transition: “If you know that he is righteous, you may be sure that everyone who practices righteousness has been born of him.  See what kind of love the Father has given to us, that we should be called children of God; and so we are. The reason why the world does not know us is that it did not know him.  Beloved, we are God’s children now, and what we will be has not yet appeared; but we know that when he appears we shall be like him, because we shall see him as he is.  And everyone who thus hopes in him purifies himself as he is pure” (2:29 – 3:1-3). The i

Securely in Christ - 1 John 2:1 - 29

 Tuesday, November 24 – We continue to read thru the letters of John, and today our reading is in 1 John 2:1 – 29.   After you have read the Scripture please come back and we’ll walk through it again. The letters of John differ from Paul’s letters in a couple of ways.   First, there is no greeting, nor salutation.   Officially it is not really a letter at all.   Instead, John is writing teachings to a number of churches in which he has direct oversight.   That’s why he says in chapter 2, that what he is saying is what “ you have heard from the beginning” (2:24).   Second, John is writing to people who he has a deep affection for personally.   Thirteen times he uses the language of “ children”, or, “my little children”, five of them are in chapter 2 alone – did you notice that?   I mention that because sometimes it’s hard to understand what John is trying to say, and what his mood is in relation to them.   I think it’s best to read the letters of John as one who writes as a Father

Fellowship with God in Christ - 1 John 1:1 - 10

 Monday, November 23 – It is the beginning of a new week, and we also begin reading new books in John’s letters – 1, 2, & 3 John.   This morning we begin with 1 John 1:1 – 10.   After reading, please come back. Our second look is a little longer than normal, but I wanted to share some background to this challenging letter. John has lived a long life, much longer than the rest of his friends among the twelve Apostles.   Peter and Paul have been dead for fifteen to twenty, or more, years.   John has lived through the first waves of Roman persecution, and spent most of his years pastoring the church in Ephesus.   The fourth-century St. Jerome, the translator of the Latin Bible, recalled that “when the aged apostle John became so weak that he could no longer preach, he used to be carried into the congregation at Ephesus and content himself with a word of exhortation. ‘Little children,’ he would always say, ‘love one another.’ And when his hearers grew tired of this message and ask

John's Gospel Story - John 21:20 - 25

  The Weekend, November 21 – We come to the weekend and end our reading in John’s Gospel.   The final reading is very short, from John 21:20 – 25.   It’s going to be an easy read, but we’ll take some time to remember what John has told us about Jesus, our Savior, and Lord. John is writing this Gospel story from the vantage point of (probably) fifty years.   He recalled that breakfast on the shore with Jesus, and Peter’s restoration.   He also remembered what Jesus had spoken of him – prompted by Peter’s question – “Peter turned and saw the disciple whom Jesus loved following them, the one who also had leaned back against him during the supper and had said, “Lord, who is it that is going to betray you?”  When Peter saw him, he said to Jesus, “Lord, what about this man?”  Jesus said to him, “If it is my will that he remain until I come, what is that to you? You follow me!”  So the saying spread abroad among the brothers that this disciple was not to die; yet Jesus did not say to h