Good Morning, Siblings!
Today’s readings are 1 John 1-5 (the whole book)
- The author of this book is believed to be John the Apostle. While this is never stated in the book, there is credible historical evidence from people who personally knew John to corroborate this theory.
- As far as we know right now, John the Apostle also authored the Gospel of John, 2 John, 3 John, and of course, Revelation. In some of these cases he comes out and states that he is the author.
This book is very straightforward and repetitive on key concepts that should be ingrained in all Believers. Sadly, if read through the filter of doctrine, our flesh can convince us that an elephant is merely a gnat. And so, we should strive to read this book as we should strive to read the wholeness of YHWH’s word, with new eyes, allowing Scripture to be the foundation on which we are building, and ready to freely let go whatever doctrine, belief, or tradition we have inherited that does not line up with YHWH’s Word. I know, I know. Easier typed than done. I get it. But I also promise you that this willingness to let go and let God, in the truest sense, is the hope that each of us is searching for. If we never find that hope, it is because we are not willing to let go of the things we’ve placed in rooms of our lives that He is meant to fill.
1 John 1:5-7 If we say we are His but we practice sin and walk in the darkness, we are liars. We are not His. The world is our god, not Him. This sentiment is going to be repeated and restated time and again in this letter. When does someone repeat themselves? When it is important.
How do we know that we have come to know Him? Notice that this statement forms a first person question, one that we ask ourselves. How do I know that I have come to know Him? By keeping His commandments. If we do not have a desire to keep his commandments, if we do not have that hunger and that craving to do so, this is our answer to that question. I want to also point out that this statement denotes a process. It does not say “How do we know Him?” It says, instead, “How do we know we have come to know Him?” Coming to know the Father is a process.
As a child, I knew of the Father. I had a Little Golden Book that told me all about Him. I knew He made all creation. He was like my imaginary friend that I only had surface level knowledge of. As I grew older and began going to church, I learned a little more about Him but this was based on whatever the teacher or preacher chose to tell me of Him that week. Later on, I’d take Bible classes and learn a little more but that knowledge was based on whatever book the class teacher had decided we should study that month or year.
When I dedicated myself to reading the whole Bible, that was when everything changed. Until then, I was like a child with stunted growth. The Bible was my spiritual miracle grow! At that point, my spirit awakened and I began the process of knowing Him. I have come to know Him to the extent now that I earnestly desire to live according to all of His Wisdom. I fully trust in it and I set my heart to follow it. Do I falter? Of course! But I don’t excuse that, I set out not to falter and when I do, I learn and grow from it and continue on.
I can honestly say that my desire was not to keep His commandments just ten years ago, but not because I wanted to sin. In actuality, by default, I was keeping many of His commandments as most Christians are. Even in default mode, we tend to live mostly according to the commandments. I want to point out here, though, that “mostly” is not where the bar is set. The proof test is not in the commandments we keep, it is in the ones that we rebel against.
My rebellion was one of having followed the wrong shepherd. I was told that the commandments did not apply to me, that I was not subjected to YHWH’s law, and that all I had to do was be a “good” person (the definition was always a moving target and I was assured that I was “good” according to it on more than one occasion) and all would be well. I accepted this because I did not want to search Scriptures on my own. I wanted the easy way out. Therefore, I followed some people that I figured knew the Word and assumed that, by default, I was following YHWH. This was a grave error and by His mercy, I have been forgiven. By His grace, I am striving to live up to my responsibilities as a child of the King.
By this we may know that we are in Him: whoever says he abides in Him ought to walk in the same way in which He walked. 1 John 2:5-6 (excerpt) <- THIS IS A KEY VERSE.
Okay y’all, this is where the rubber meets the road. If we hold Yeshua up as the only person who ever walked this out perfectly, how can we excuse walking in ways that contradict His? If we say we are following in His footsteps, lets go all in. Wholehearted all the way. No holding back. Get ready to look weird to the world because Messiah will call you to turn the world upside down. What we call good, He will show us as evil. What we consider nutritious, He will reveal to be cancerous to our very soul. What we call “good enough” He will spit out of His mouth. He will hold us in that refiner’s fire and we will not like it. It will make us uncomfortable. It will cause us to release our grip on all that keeps us from Him. And in the end, if we trust in Him, it will leave us gleaming as gold, able to stand in His presence unashamed.
1 John 2:7 Beloved, I am writing you no new commandment, but an old commandment that you had from the beginning.The old commandment is the word that you have heard.
I’ll let that one speak for itself.
1 John 2:11 mentions brothers who walk in the darkness and don’t know it because the darkness has blinded them.
Brothers and sisters, we have all been blinded at some point in our walk. I do believe that each of us are still as yet unable to see all that the Father longs to reveal to us because we are not yet spiritually mature enough. Whenever you see someone who is spiritually blinded to something, let it serve as an awareness that you, too, very likely have some degree of spiritual blindness. Just as we hope that others more mature will show compassion on us, let us extend that same compassion to others. Trust that the Father of all creation will reveal knowledge to those who diligently seek Him according to His will, in His timeline, and for His good purpose. For a time, we may have a blindness that serves a purpose, just as our Jewish brethren do in Romans 11. I believe we as a people are awakening from a spiritual blindness at this point in history, in accordance with the fulfillment of prophecy, just as our Jewish brethren are awakening as well. Regardless, these are somber times and we cannot afford to be found willfully sleeping when we should be studying His word and answering His call to service.
1 John 2:15-17 makes me think of James 4:4. Both are worth checking out.
The last half of 1 John 2 warns us in detail about the anti-christ. We can see from this that several have already came and several more will still come. This is not just one person, according to this text. These people will be part of the body for a time, counted among believers, and then they will leave the body as they cannot continue indefinitely in communion with light seeing as they are of the darkness. I want to zero in on one verse:
I write these things to you about those who are trying to deceive you. 27 But the anointing that you received from him abides in you, and you have no need that anyone should teach you. But as his anointing teaches you about everything, and is true, and is no lie—just as it has taught you, abide in him. 1 John 2:27-28
Notice that this is active tense. The Anti-Christ is always trying to deceive us, more on that in a minute. The last part of this is, in my mind, further proof that we are meant to read and study His word for ourselves. Knowing His word helps us to know His character and thereby recognize His patterns and thereby recognize His hand when we see it at work. Conversely, we will be more prone to recognize when it is not His hand at work as well.
And now, little children, abide in him, so that when He appears we may have confidence and not shrink from him in shame at his coming.- 1 John 2:28
You know, I am not perfect by any means. I don’t even come close. But I’m here to tell you that I’m determined to run this race with all the zeal of my spiritual forefathers so that when my Messiah appears, I’m not hiding in shame but right out there up front, waiting to kiss the ground at His feet.
1 John 3:1 See what kind of love the Father has given to us, that we should be called children of God; and so we are.
This verse makes my heart leap! I think on this daily. How great our Father’s love for us that we should be called His children! You know, my daughter has a best friend named Sara Jane. Now those of y’all who have been with me for a while recognize that name and know her well from family photos, family vacations, and generally her being at my house an awful lot. We call Sara Jane our bonus daughter and we truly do love and think of her as if she were our own child. What you don’t see is that Katy often spends just as much time at Sara Jane’s house and over the years Sara Jane’s grandmother has become Gigi to all of us, Sara Jane’s mother has very much become a sister to me and a second mother to my Katy. The Father has knit us all together as family, sure as the sun rises and sets. Why do I call Sara Jane my bonus daughter? Because I have come to know her and to love her as my own. It is a great love that we have for her. It is a great love that our families have for one another.
It is an even greater love that our Father has for us.
So all through the Bible we’ve received directives not to sin. From the Father, from spiritual leaders, from prophets, from Messiah, and from the apostles. What is sin? Today’s world has a very loose definition of sin. Untethered from any moral grounding, sin has become a relative thing and society has watched, with increasing horror, as more and more acts of injustice and abuse are first excused, then accepted, and finally lauded. This is to be expected in a culture and time in which the collective has deemed morality outdated and ill fitted to the culture. We are a haughty and prideful people, to be sure.
But here we have a definition of sin and it is just as true today as it was at the beginning of time. It will further prove just as true throughout eternity.
Everyone who makes a practice of sinning also practices lawlessness; sin is lawlessness. 1 John 3:4
- What is sin? Sin is lawlessness: transgression of the law.
- What law? Minnesota’s law? The United States Law? The law of YHWH.
- What is the law of YHWH? It is summarized in the ten commandments.
Plain, simple, neat, and tidy. Wrap it in a bow if you like but it is a gift most will refuse. And make no mistake, abiding in His wisdom is a gift. Remember in Deuteronomy 30 when we were told of the blessings and curses? I’ve done my time in the curses, folks, and I’m living in the blessings now and they are beyond anything I could have ever fathomed. Shalom down to the very root of my soul. Freedom unlike any I’ve ever known before.
Of course, keep reading beyond that sentence for further clarification. 1 John highlights, underlines, and circles this point with his statements throughout this letter.
Most of us have probably heard someone declare or even tell us that YHWH will give us what we ask for if we but ask Him. I’ve heard all sorts of statements like that taken out of context and used to ask YHWH for all manner of things. But today we are going to put that concept back into context and it begins right smack dab in the middle of a letter that is all about obeying the commandments.
and whatever we ask we receive from him, because we keep his commandments and do what pleases him. 1 John 3:22
So you remember back in the earlier part of our study when I pointed out the need to pay close attention to the if/then statements in the Bible? This is another one of those. If we keep His commandments and do what pleases Him, whatever we ask we receive. Now keep in mind, if our heart is set on pleasing Him, we will ask for things that line up with that. Our values will have been adjusted to line up with His rather than the world’s. What we ask, then, will be entirely different from what those not following YHWH would ask. These are key things to understand.
1 John 4 warns us against false prophets and now is a good time to tell you that, personally, I don’t believe every false prophet will know they are, in fact, a false prophet. Keep in mind that Satan is a great deceiver and we are his primary targets.
1 John 4:5 breaks my heart.
They are from the world; therefore they speak from the world, and the world listens to them. 1 John 4:5
We should know better. We should have discernment. We should know the Scriptures so that we are able to, at a moments notice, test the spirit of a false prophet and know whether or not he or she is true or false. But for the most part, and the Bible warns us of this, most folks who claim to be Believers have, do, and will follow them. They will speak from the world and the world will listen. Many who hope to be counted as set apart will find themselves very much a part of the world instead. This is why I am so personally disturbed by false prophets. It is personal. We are the targets. And many among us will be deceived.
1 John 4:20 The key to understanding the depth of this verse is knowing who our brother is – and that we do not get to choose our brother. If you’ve not watched my video on the true story of the good Samaritan, this explains my point here. Click here to see that.
I will close with this:
By this we know that we love the children of God, when we love God and obey his commandments. For this is the love of God, that we keep his commandments. And his commandments are not burdensome. 1 John 5:2-3
This is how we know….when we love God…We will obey His commandments. AND His commandments are not burdensome. If I had a nickel for every time I heard that the law was bondage, that it was a burden, that we couldn’t possibly keep it, I’d be wealthy by the world’s standards. But have I let go of the world’s stinking thinking and instead decided to trust in the wisdom of the Father and the result is an eternal wealth that causes my spirit to overflow with joy, assurance, and peace.
I want to add one more little nugget and then I’ll let you go on with your day. Whenever the text says “believes in the Son of God”, a better translation for believe is “entrusts” or “Trusts in”.
What do we do when we trust in someone? We trust their judgement. We trust their word. We trust their instructions. It’s not just about confessing with your mouth that Yeshua is the Messiah, even demons know that. It is about entrusting Him in deed and truth, just as John instructed us to do in how we loved others in 1 John 3:18
Little children, let us not love in word or talk but in deed and in truth.
May the Father strengthen us as we go forth, purposing our hearts to be hearers and doers of the Word!
GLORY TO THE KING! Rak Chazak!
Test everything, hold tight to what is good.~ 1 Thess 5:21
We are saved by Grace alone: Obedience is not the root of our salvation, it is the fruit!
May YHWH bless the reading of His Word!