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Gems in the Letter of 1 John

Part 98 – 1 John 1:7
Walking in the light


John does not hesitate. He says immediately, “God is light; in him there is no darkness at all”. He is making an obvious connection with his gospel, which started with “In him was life, and that life was the light of all mankind. The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it. … The true light that gives light to everyone was coming into the world.”

He is also immediately giving an example of his common way of working in this epistle. I like to think of it as a game of tennis. He plays both sides of the net and picks up an idea and bats it backwards and forwards across the net. (The game of Squash racquets would be a better analogy but not everyone will know how that works.) Sometimes he then picks up another idea and has 2 ‘balls’ in play at the same time, or even three. His first ‘ball’ here is ‘light’ and then he adds to it ‘darkness’ and then ‘fellowship’.

 

He is remembering the words of Jesus ‘I am the light of the world’ and the Old Testament equation of darkness with sinfulness, such as in Job chapter 24: 13 – 17 where we read, “There are those who rebel against the light, who do not know its ways or stay in its paths. When daylight is gone, the murderer rises up, kills the poor and needy, and in the night steals forth like a thief. The eye of the adulterer watches for dusk; he thinks, ‘No eye will see me,’ and he keeps his face concealed. In the dark, thieves break into houses, but by day they shut themselves in; they want nothing to do with the light. For all of them, midnight is their morning; they make friends with the terrors of darkness.”

 

In John’s thinking when he talks about light there is no dusk, when the light is slowly fading, or dawn, when it is slowly growing, no half light. That makes life difficult for our thinking if, as in many parts of the Christian church, people are expected to come slowly to faith with no clear line of distinction between their pre-Christian life and their faith life. Perhaps that is inevitable because we are human and that is the way we think. But from the point of view of God there is a clear sharp line of distinction between before we are born again and when we are just a hidden potential Jesus follower. We are either members of his kingdom with a passport that says something like ‘in the name of Jesus’ or we are not. We either have the Spirit gifted to us or we do not. We cannot be stuck in the birth canal, only half born; there are no short term visas for the Kingdom; there are no short term loans of the Spirit available for us.

In some ways this is very odd. It is not uncommon for someone to drift along as a fellow traveller with the people of God, even being listed in the church catalogue of members with some such label as adherents, or named in italics instead of full script. All such things are human devices, not the way God works.

Beware! The Kingdom of God is not a democracy, let alone a free for all where we are allowed to make up the rules. It is a theocracy – the only true theocracy where the Lord of All, the Creator of all, the Upholder and sustainer of all, makes up the rules. And he has asked us – what an act of condescension that is – to join him, to join his family, to become one of his children, saved and honoured by our acceptance of the leadership of his son. WOW!

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Prayer for Manchester

O God,
Watch over those who wake, or watch, or weep today,
In the aftermath of the terrorist bombing in Manchester.
Give Your angels charge over that great city.

Tend & heal the sick ones,
Rest the weary ones.
Bless the dying ones.
Soothe the suffering ones.
Pity the afflicted ones.
Shield the joyous ones.

Give wisdom to the medics and others helping to heal and counsel
May those who died in this attack rest in peace and rise in glory.
May the perpetrators be bought to justice.

Where there is chaos, let us be agents of your peace
Where there is hatred, let us be agents of your love
Where there is fear, let us be agents of your security.
And all, for Your love’s sake, O God
For we know you love Manchester
Amen.

 

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Prayer for Manchester

glm.jpg

Prayer for Manchester

O God,
Watch over those who wake, or watch, or weep today,
In the aftermath of the terrorist bombing in Manchester.
Give Your angels charge over that great city.

Tend & heal the sick ones,
Rest the weary ones.
Bless the dying ones.
Soothe the suffering ones.
Pity the afflicted ones.
Shield the joyous ones.

Give wisdom to the medics and others helping to heal and counsel
May those who died in this attack rest in peace and rise in glory.
May the perpetrators be bought to justice.

Where there is chaos, let us be agents of your peace
Where there is hatred, let us be agents of your love
Where there is fear, let us be agents of your security.
And all, for Your love’s sake, O God
For we know you love Manchester
Amen.

 

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Think Spot 22 May 2017

 
Matthew 17:1-8 – After six days Jesus took with him Peter, James and John the brother of James, and led them up a high mountain by themselves.2 There he was transfigured before them. His face shone like the sun, and his clothes became as white as the light. Just then there appeared before them Moses and Elijah, talking with Jesus. Peter said to Jesus, “Lord, it is good for us to be here. If you wish, I will put up three shelters—one for you, one for Moses and one for Elijah.” While he was still speaking, a bright cloud covered them, and a voice from the cloud said, “This is my Son, whom I love; with him I am well pleased. Listen to him.” When the disciples heard this, they fell facedown to the ground, terrified. But Jesus came and touched them. “Get up,” he said. “Don’t be afraid.” When they looked up, they saw no one except Jesus.
 

The Jesus I see is full of majesty and awe. He is not simply a king with a crown on his head. He is the King of all Kings and the Lord of Lords. This Jesus Christ did not decay in the grave – He overcame death in the grave and was raised again majestically.

As Paul said that Jesus is “the first-born from among the dead”. Paul writes later in Colossians 2:3, that “in Jesus Christ, all the majestic treasures of wisdom and knowledge are hidden.” Jesus Christ the King of Kings and Lord of Lords, who with unparalleled majesty, is the head of His body, the church. If Jesus did not rise from the dead, the church would not be in existence 2,000 years later, let alone 2 years after his death. Jesus’ majesty meaning I can depend upon Him for all matters of life.

Go into this week in full confidence that Jesus is fully of majesty! WOW!

 

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Exploring The Bible

16. New Testament

Colossians–A.D. 60-62

 

G’day and welcome to our series, “Exploring the Bible” This is also the title of our latest book available on Amazon by clicking here or visiting PulpTheology.com

Key Verses:

  • Colossians 2:9-10
  • Colossians 3:1-3

 

Paul is in prison as he writes this too. He writes to believers that are growing in spiritual maturity. His major thrust is toward their continued growth, even in the face of opposition.

Paul stresses the pre-eminence of Jesus, the Christian’s relationship to him and his own divinely given function in God’s purpose. Paul warns them about false teachers and discusses the Christian’s life with Jesus, and daily life in various settings. Again, most of what he says is remarkably upbeat. It shows the power of the gospel and the Holy Spirit in one’s life.

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Partakers Friday Prayers!

19th May 2017

 

We pray together and when Christians pray together, from different nations, different churches and different denominations – that reveals Church unity! Come! Let us pray together!

 

A Prayers Of William Laud

Lord,
Here I am,
Do with me as seems best in your own eyes;
Only give me, I beseech you, a penitent and patient spirit to expect you.
Make my service acceptable to you while I live,
And my soul ready for you when I die.

Lord,
Take our minds and think through them;
Take our lips and speak through them;
Take our hearts and set them on fire
with the desire to do your holy will.
In the name of Jesus Christ our Lord.
Amen

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Think Spot 15 May 2017

What we say, as well as what we don’t say, as Christians is very important. The Bible is very clear on that.

1 Peter 2:1 “Therefore rid yourselves of all malice and all deceit, hypocrisy, envy and slander of every kind.”
James 4:11-12 “Brothers do not slander one another…who are you to judge your neighbour?” The definition of slander is words falsely spoken that damage the reputation of another or an abusive attack on a person’s character or good name or to attack the good name and reputation of someone.So next time you go to say anything negative about someone or to criticise their actions, think again, you might be disobeying God and breaking a command.

James 3:3-8 powerfully shows how a small thing such as the tongue is able to cause much damage. He says that the tongue is a world of evil that corrupts the whole person …and is itself set on fire by hell.

Christians are very good at gossiping but disguising it as prayerful concern. We pass on a juicy bit of information about someone and then ask the person to pray about the situation. As Christians we should not pass on any information about anyone else unless the person concerned has asked us to. It is not our place to do so even if it is for prayer.

However, sometimes it is also what we don’t say that causes problems. We stay silent when in fact we do need to give that word of love, encouragement, rebuke or kindness. Social media sites such as Twitter and Facebook can be fabulous sites if used properly. How often to we stay silent when we should say something kind? We get a message from a friend and we don’t reply to it.  How often do we say something when we should stay silent instead of slandering, complaining, gossiping or bickering?

Prayer

Now, a prayer to help you into this new week. Father, we thank you for words. We thank you that we can communicate words of life to other people. Help us to use words wisely as we interact, communicate and deal with other people, especially our loved ones and work colleagues. May the Holy Spirit, guide, rebuke and counsel, as we use the amazing gift of words to us, as we seeks to live a life worthy of Jesus Christ. Amen.

 

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