Monthly Archives: May 2012

An Immeasurable Full Life

Peninsula Community Church

May 27, 2012

Displaying the Life of Christ – An immeasurable Full Life

 

God desires for us to have an immeasurably full life. And, as a passionate follower of Christ we must seek to live out that immeasurably full life. When we read the Apostle Peter’s (2 Peter 1:3-4) writings we see that He, God, has already given us all that we need to live this life to the fullest. God will also supply your every need according to his riches in Christ (Philippians 4:19) and there is nothing beyond our ability to accomplish because He gives me strength (Philippians 4:12-13). He has given us the Holy Spirit to guide us, to teach us and to equip us in the areas that we fall short. We must also remember that God sets the stage for us to fulfill our purpose and that He opens doors and connects us with people that only He can do.

 

As we think about these gifts and blessings we have received, we are reminded that we have been created by God for a purpose and our purpose is specific to us. We have been given specific gifts and talents to fulfill this work and purpose. He speaks into our hearts promises, visions and dreams that can only be fulfilled in obedience to Christ. While this is a wonderful thought and an amazing prospect, there is a problem. It is a problem that John details here in this passage. Let us read this together.

 

1John 2:15 -17 Do not love the world or the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For all that is in the world–the desires of the flesh and the desires of the eyes and pride in possessions–is not from the Father but is from the world. And the world is passing away along with its desires, but whoever does the will of God abides forever.

 

I want to present to you four observations from this passage that will lead us to a full life in Christ

 

The first observation is that this passage has been used too many times as an attempt to control sin and manage the actions we don’t like in others. This concept is certainly not drawn from the context of the scripture but by way of a translation of the passage. Let me illustrate this idea in this way. I was with a group of pastors this week. IN the meeting one of the pastors related a story about how he had been called to pastor this church that was in decline. As he spoke with the church he asked them about what the church stood for. The leadership team began to detail a long list of things that they were against but could not detail what they stood far. The reality was that they had a firm grip on what they could not do but were not sure what they could do. The pastor and the church set out on a year adventure to study the world to see what God has given them and the ‘yes’s of the Bible. You see while the goal was pure, as there was a desire to keep us from any harm or negative influences, this particular interpretation of the Scripture I believed missed the mark. The emphasis was on controlling sin and managing sin and not on a change of heart that brings eternal change into one’s life. Instead of allowing God to bring change to one’s heart, we established a long list of Pharisaical rules that were intended to prohibit certain actions but did little to disciple one to stand strong in the face of temptation.

 

The second observation is that this passage challenges us as to where we will place our allegiance. Will you be fully committed to Christ or will you allow the world’s mindsets to dictate your actions and your life. It should be noted here that the word used for “love” in this passage is the word “agape.” There is a temptation and pull for us to love the mindsets of the world but if we love the world’s ways more than we love God’s ways we fall short of what He desires. The result is confusion and despair and a lack of hope.

 

You have heard me say before that what we focus our emotions on we will follow. What we give our hearts to we will serve that thing.

 

To comprehend this we must understand that the world’s views or paradigms are:

  • Self-reliance and independency
  • Never being satisfied or fulfilled
  • Getting all we can at any cost
  • Using others to gain what we want
  • The grass is greener syndrome

     

And that brings me to the third observation. And that is that the desire for more can be a hindrance to our growth in Christ. The idea presented in the “lust of the flesh”,” the lust of the eyes” and “the pride of life” is that there is a desire to want more but it is usually the more that we cannot have. Most of the time, it is the things that are beyond our grasp and our ability to obtain. We want these things because we belief that our success will be achieved in obtaining things. We compare ourselves to others who possess such things, we want to be like them so we covet and struggle to get want we do not need and we know we cannot have.

 

The fourth observation made from this passage is that as believers we walk to a different beat. We do not succumb to the temptation of the world but we are free to walk as God would desire us to walk. We need to fall in love with God all over again. It is here that we will find a contentment and satisfaction that does not send us looking for things but for Him. We will want to build a relationship with him and not with others.


 

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An Immeasurable Full Life

Peninsula Community Church

May 27, 2012

Displaying the Life of Christ – An immeasurable Full Life

 

God desires for us to have an immeasurably full life. And, as a passionate follower of Christ we must seek to live out that immeasurably full life. When we read the Apostle Peter’s (2 Peter 1:3-4) writings we see that He, God, has already given us all that we need to live this life to the fullest. God will also supply your every need according to his riches in Christ (Philippians 4:19) and there is nothing beyond our ability to accomplish because He gives me strength (Philippians 4:12-13). He has given us the Holy Spirit to guide us, to teach us and to equip us in the areas that we fall short. We must also remember that God sets the stage for us to fulfill our purpose and that He opens doors and connects us with people that only He can do.

 

As we think about these gifts and blessings we have received, we are reminded that we have been created by God for a purpose and our purpose is specific to us. We have been given specific gifts and talents to fulfill this work and purpose. He speaks into our hearts promises, visions and dreams that can only be fulfilled in obedience to Christ. While this is a wonderful thought and an amazing prospect, there is a problem. It is a problem that John details here in this passage. Let us read this together.

 

1John 2:15 -17 Do not love the world or the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For all that is in the world–the desires of the flesh and the desires of the eyes and pride in possessions–is not from the Father but is from the world. And the world is passing away along with its desires, but whoever does the will of God abides forever.

 

I want to present to you four observations from this passage that will lead us to a full life in Christ

 

The first observation is that this passage has been used too many times as an attempt to control sin and manage the actions we don’t like in others. This concept is certainly not drawn from the context of the scripture but by way of a translation of the passage. Let me illustrate this idea in this way. I was with a group of pastors this week. IN the meeting one of the pastors related a story about how he had been called to pastor this church that was in decline. As he spoke with the church he asked them about what the church stood for. The leadership team began to detail a long list of things that they were against but could not detail what they stood far. The reality was that they had a firm grip on what they could not do but were not sure what they could do. The pastor and the church set out on a year adventure to study the world to see what God has given them and the ‘yes’s of the Bible. You see while the goal was pure, as there was a desire to keep us from any harm or negative influences, this particular interpretation of the Scripture I believed missed the mark. The emphasis was on controlling sin and managing sin and not on a change of heart that brings eternal change into one’s life. Instead of allowing God to bring change to one’s heart, we established a long list of Pharisaical rules that were intended to prohibit certain actions but did little to disciple one to stand strong in the face of temptation.

 

The second observation is that this passage challenges us as to where we will place our allegiance. Will you be fully committed to Christ or will you allow the world’s mindsets to dictate your actions and your life. It should be noted here that the word used for “love” in this passage is the word “agape.” There is a temptation and pull for us to love the mindsets of the world but if we love the world’s ways more than we love God’s ways we fall short of what He desires. The result is confusion and despair and a lack of hope.

 

You have heard me say before that what we focus our emotions on we will follow. What we give our hearts to we will serve that thing.

 

To comprehend this we must understand that the world’s views or paradigms are:

  • Self-reliance and independency
  • Never being satisfied or fulfilled
  • Getting all we can at any cost
  • Using others to gain what we want
  • The grass is greener syndrome

     

And that brings me to the third observation. And that is that the desire for more can be a hindrance to our growth in Christ. The idea presented in the “lust of the flesh”,” the lust of the eyes” and “the pride of life” is that there is a desire to want more but it is usually the more that we cannot have. Most of the time, it is the things that are beyond our grasp and our ability to obtain. We want these things because we belief that our success will be achieved in obtaining things. We compare ourselves to others who possess such things, we want to be like them so we covet and struggle to get want we do not need and we know we cannot have.

 

The fourth observation made from this passage is that as believers we walk to a different beat. We do not succumb to the temptation of the world but we are free to walk as God would desire us to walk. We need to fall in love with God all over again. It is here that we will find a contentment and satisfaction that does not send us looking for things but for Him. We will want to build a relationship with him and not with others.


 

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A Reminder

PeninsulaCommunityChurch

May 20, 2012

I John 2:12-14 – A reminder

As we make this journey down the road of discovery there are times where if we are not careful we will forget where we have come from and we will forget all that God has done for us. When this happens we can become prideful and reject what God is doing currently. We can become myopic in our vision and in our goal to become more like Christ.

As only John can do he seems to pause in his writing here to remind his listeners of all that God has done for them spiritually. Remember, John’s writings here are as if he is thinking out loud and this is one of those moments.

1John 2:12-14 I am writing to you, little children, because your sins are forgiven for his name’s sake. I am writing to you, fathers, because you know him who is from the beginning. I am writing to you, young men, because you have overcome the evil one. I write to you, children, because you know the Father. I write to you, fathers, because you know him who is from the beginning. I write to you, young men, because you are strong, and the word of God abides in you, and you have overcome the evil one.

It always good to remember where we have come from and the changes that have come. John reminds us of where we have come from and all that Christ has done is us.

In this passage, John uses three terms to identify those to whom he is writing. He uses “father,” “children,” and “young men.” The term “children” is a generic or overall term for the believers. The term father relates to those who are mature in Christ and the young men are those who are growing in their faith.

John reminds his readers of four things that has occurred in them and is a definer of who they are as passionate followers of Christ.

First of all, their sins have been forgiven. One of the tricks of the enemy is to portray our walk with God as if we have not gained any benefit from following Him. Sometimes we do not realize how much we have been forgiven until we look back at our lives to see what He has done in us. The term sin here is a catchall term that means to miss the mark. We are aiming for God and aiming to do what He wants us to do but we miss the mark and fall short of his purposes in us. The idea of forgiveness is the idea that our sin has been sent off, it has been hurled from us, we let go of it. In a legal sense it means to cancel the debt owed.

Secondly, they have developed a personal relationship with Him – They know Him. They did not just have the facts about him but they knew him intimately. The term here means the knowledge of what really is. It is the acceptance of God’s divine love in Jesus and obedience to his commands.

Thirdly, they have overcome the evil one. The term overcome means to win, to defeat. They are victorious in their walk. This is a great testimony to the power of Christ’s love. He has delivered us. This idea of the word overcome serves two purposes. For one, we are reminded that we have overcome much and secondly, we are reminded that ultimately sin, death and the grave will be overcome by the power of Christ.

Fourthly, the Word of God dwelt in them. This is one of the marks of a passionate follower of Christ. One who is passionate about following Christ will know His word. They will know it and abide in it not for information but for transformation. There is a big difference. We can quote the word all day but just because we can quote it does not mean that it has changed us. This idea of the word abiding is also a reminder of John’s statements in the gospel of John. Those who have the word of God dwelling in them discipline themselves to look at life through the prism of the Word of God. We find in the long run that personal weakness is a very fruitful and satisfying place to be.(Paul Pillai, missionary and pastor inIndia).

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What Mothers Need

Peninsula Community Church

May 13, 2012

What Mothers Need?

As I speak to you today, I recognize that things have changed in the world’s understanding of family and most importantly motherhood. Just this week I heard a news report that stated how significantly things have changed since the 1950’s and 1960’s. During the 50’s and 60’s the model family was seen on shows like “Leave it to Beaver,” “Fathers Knows Best,” “Dick Van Dyke Show” and “The Donna Reed Show” but today we have such model families as “Family Guy,” “Keeping up with Kardasians” or “Modern Family.” There is a ideology that seeks to redefine the role of the mother which too often adds guilt and shame rather than freedom and life. This can be a difficult time for moms who struggle to meant the demands of the home, provide an income in this economy and be an example to their children that one would want emulated.

In Proverbs 31:28-30 we have this statement that challenges us today. It is a testimony to the mother’s greatest, character and ability. Her children praise her, and with great pride her husband says, “There are many good women, but you are the best!” Charm can be deceiving, and beauty fades away, but a woman who honors the LORD deserves to be praised.

As you listen to this there are some who do not feel or accept the words spoken by the writer of Proverbs because your reality is so different from the reality of the this word before us. It is for this reason that I want to share a couple of thoughts with you about moms. While these thoughts are directed to moms specifically, the fact is these thoughts can be applied to everyone who reads this or listens to this message.

First of all Mothers need to know through the hardships that God still loves them. Being a mother has its challenges and hardships. Whether you are a single mom as a result of divorce, death or an emotional/physical distant husband or you are a mom in a blended family or you a mom who has to deal with the consequences of your children’s decisions or you are a mom that has faced physical challenges in you or in your children, God wants you to know that you are stilled loved. His love for you is not contingent upon our success or failure but it is completely founded in who He is. Too often because you feel unloved by those in your family you can falsely attribute that feeling to God as well. For the mom today she must balance the budget, nurse the kids and the husband, cook the meals, clean the house, wash the clothes, do the shopping, taxi the kids, and attend every event the kids are involved with and then they have to have enough energy to meet their husbands needs. When one faces hardships or they find themselves exhausted in the task they can begin to doubt that they are loved and they can doubt that God loves them but I can promise you today that God loves you.

A second thought about motherhood is that mothers need to know their families appreciate them. Once again this is not something that is relegated to moms alone but everyone of use need to know that we are appreciated. Anne Romney the wife of Presidential candidate, Mitt Romney had this to say about mothers. “Cherish your mothers. The ones who wiped your tears, who were at every ball game or ballet recital. The ones who believed in you, even when nobody else did, even when maybe you didn’t believe in yourself. Women wear many hats in their lives. Daughter, sister, student, breadwinner. But no matter where we are or what we’re doing, one hat that moms never take off is the crown of motherhood. There is no crown more glorious.” Motherhood needs to be applauded and moms need to be appreciated for what they do and because they are just your mom. To appreciate them is to give them the credit they deserve, to say thank you and to honor them for the role they play. I know one mom of five would prepare a separate meal for every child (breakfast, lunch and dinner). The sad part is that we would watch the kids complain and argue with their mom about the meal that was prepared even though she had tripled the work. To appreciate them is to give them the credit they deserve, to say thank you and to honor them for the role they play. Appreciate your mom today. Let her know that you appreciate her. Take her to dinner. Write her a card. Do it today but do it every day of the week.

The third thought is that mothers need to let go of the “supermom”myth that pervades our culture. This concept that has been postulated states that moms are only fully satisfied when they are working a full time job, cook all the meals, wash the clothes, go to the games and so on and so forth. Do what you have been called to do. It is interesting to note that Anne Romney was criticized because she had not worked outside the home. In effect the communication was that if you do not hold a full time job you have no right to speak to the issues of women but, who better than a mother to speak to the issues of women.

The fourth thought is that mothers need to focus on the ultimate reward of motherhood. Motherhood has greater rewards than any other profession or job. As a mother, one has the privilege to guide and disciple these young people. They have the privilege to shape their destiny and their future through loving and caring for those who have been given to their care. To understand this we must understand that the child we have is not ours but God’s and his/her outcome is to be God’s design and not ours.

This is evidenced by the story told of a young child named Tom. Tom was unable to speak until he was four years old. Tom was a student in school but was having issues. When the teacher would discuss a subject in school, Tom’s nature was to ask ‘why.’ The teacher would often scold tom for his obsession to asking why. Once the teacher said that this is not a part of the teaching process and as you might guess Tom’s reply was ‘why.’ Needless to say Tom’s school life was not to continue and as he was asked to leave and so his mom took on the responsibility to educate him at home. By the age 14 Tom had read every book in the library, he had developed his own laboratory, he wrote and sold his own newspaper and he could expound on Isaac Newton’s theories and concepts. This occurred all because Tom was encouraged by his mom to ask the ‘why’ questions. As a result he went on to create the modern world in many ways. You see this Tom was none other than Thomas Edison. Later in life he made this statement about his mom: “She was the making of me! She was so sure and true to me! She was someone who was not disinterested in me but loved me and challenged me.”

With that in mind we must know realize that every child is different. They are special. Have you ever noticed how two children raised in the same household under the same rules can be so different? God has given us children raise on His behalf. The reason for this is that your child was formed for God’s purposes and God’s plan. So no matter how the situation of your child’s birth they are God’s child so therefore there are no illegitimate children, only illegitimate parents. Psalm 127:3 – “children are a blessing and a gift from the Lord.” God knows our children long before we do and much better than we do. We are not to make our kids to be what we them to be but to help them see what God wants them to be. Psalm 139:13 – We were formed in our mother’s womb and knitted us into what He chooses.

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A New Commandment

Peninsula Community Church

May 3, 2012

1 John 2:7-11 – A New Commandment

When we look at the passage before us today we see that John uses three key comparisons that qualify the character of the passionate follower of Christ. How we live these out will determine how we display the life of Christ.
1John 2:7-11 My dear friends, I am not writing to give you a new commandment. It is the same one that you were first given, and it is the message you heard. But it really is a new commandment, and you know its true meaning, just as Christ does. You can see the darkness fading away and the true light already shining. If we claim to be in the light and hate someone, we are still in the dark. But if we love others, we are in the light, and we don’t cause problems for them. If we hate others, we are living and walking in the dark. We don’t know where we are going, because we can’t see in the dark.

Notice that he compares the old commandment with the new commandment, he compares the light with the dark and lastly he compares love with hate. While these may seem to be disjointed and disconnected comparisons in reality they are connected by one issue that is a critical theme throughout the Bible and especially throughout the New Testament. Each of these comparisons relates to our focus our attention toward our love for God and for one another.

When John is referring to a new command he is referring to the words of Christ as written by John in John 13:33-35. In this passage Christ stated: My children, I will be with you for a little while longer. Then you will look for me, but you won’t find me. I tell you just as I told the people, “You cannot go where I am going.” But I am giving you a new command. You must love each other, just as I have loved you. If you love each other, everyone will know that you are my disciples.

This idea is also found in Christ’s teachings in Matthew where Christ stated: Mat 22:36-40 “Teacher, what is the most important commandment in the Law?” Jesus answered: Love the Lord your God with all your heart, soul, and mind. This is the first and most important commandment. The second most important commandment is like this one. And it is, “Love others as much as you love yourself.” All the Law of Moses and the Books of the Prophets are based on these two commandments.

 What is being communicated through these scriptures is that love must be the focus of why we do what we do and that love is one of the most significant definers of our relationship with Christ and with others. It is interesting to note that in that day the passionate Jew could be recognized by their dress and by what they looked like on the outside. The same would hold true for the military, the poor and so forth. In that day, a person’s occupation was seen most often identified by what they would wear and how they were dressed.

But, here in our text and in the supplemental passages we read Jesus is communicating a new paradigm by which we define the life and actions of a passionate follower of Christ. In essence Jesus through the communication of John is saying that the defining characteristic of a passionate follower of Christ is that they walk in love. In other words, a passionate follower of Christ loves God and therefore seeks to honor Him in all they do. This love encompasses the whole being and all that a person is, as noted in Matthew’s writings. “Love the Lord your God with all your heart, your soul and your mind.”

John continues his use of comparison by using two illustrative comparisons as an example of how this is worked out in one’s daily life. He states that the person who is walking in the light of Christ’s revelation is one who walks in love. This is in part because they have experienced the greatness and the magnitude of Christ’s love through forgiveness and wholeness.

The opposite is true as well. One who is not walking in the light is one that exhibits an attitude and characteristic of hatred. Hatred is the opposite of love and is therefore an absence of love. It is interesting to note that in Proverbs 10:12 the writer states: “hatred stirs up strife, but love covers all offenses.” In the Contemporary English Version it states: “Hatred stirs up trouble; love overlooks the wrongs that others do.” True love can only be realized by accepting God’s love for us. Rather than being dictated to by hatred we can be motivated by love that compels us to serve God with our whole heart. It is interesting to note here that the Greek word used here for love is AGAPE and not PHLILEO or EROS love. The love John is speaking of comes only by way of acknowledging and accepting God’s love.

The fact is we cannot love and hate a person at the same time. We must understand that hatred is not the same as being angry at someone, being disappointed or feeling rejected. You see hatred stores up a list of wrongs against another rather than releasing the wrongs. It is the antithesis of 2 Corinthians 13 which is known as the love chapter. Hatred is self-focused and self-centered rather than others focused and others centered. There is an element of revenge involved. “I don’t get mad; I get even” is the motto of hate.

In the Proverbs passage, it is interesting that the word stir carries with it the idea of awakening. When we carry hatred in our hearts towards another we are in essence awaking the heart toward trouble and strife rather than letting things go. The problem is that most of our hatred is focused on things that cannot be changed and in the end we wound and hurt ourselves in the process.

A saw a movie a number of years ago entitled The Count of Monte Cristo. Edmond Dantes the focus of the story was falsely imprisoned for thirteen years. During this time hate was stirred up within him. While in prison he became friends with a “mad” priest who told stories of a treasure hidden on the Island of Monte Crisco. The priest, Abbe Foria began to teach Dantes how to fend for himself and he taught him the wisdom of the world. They also began to dig their way out of the prison but before they could do so, the priest died and Dantes used this opportunity to escape in the burial linens that were intended for the priest. Once out of prison, he found his way to Monte Cristo where he found the treasure. He began to use this new found treasure to exact his revenge against his four conspirators and especially against the one who had taken his love, Mercedes, from him. He slowly but methodically destroys his enemies. But Mercedes had always loved him. He was filled with hatred and an evil desire for revenge that was destroying him but the one thing that turned him around was the love that Mercedes gave him and showed him.

We can be filled with hatred and darkness may rule our lives but there is one that has been rejected who never stopped loving us. He is ready today to accept us and through love remove the pain of hatred in us so that we can love God and love others in ways we never imagined. Let Him love you today.

 

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How Do You Know?

Peninsula Community Church

April 29, 2012

1 John 2:1-6: How do You Know?

 

The question that is often asked is “How do I know that I am a passionate follower of Christ?” It is a question that concerns many in the faith and many who are seeking out Christ. People have a genuine desire to know that they belong, and that they have not been deceived. John was aware of this issue and uses the following verses to clarify the answer.

 

In 1John 2:1-6, John states: My little children, I am writing these things to you so that you may not sin. But if anyone does sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous. He is the propitiation for our sins, and not for ours only but also for the sins of the whole world. And by this we know that we have come to know him, if we keep his commandments. Whoever says “I know him” but does not keep his commandments is a liar, and the truth is not in him, but whoever keeps his word, in him truly the love of God is perfected. 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.

 

In the first part of this passage, John identifies two actions taken by Christ on behalf of the believer. And, in the last half of the passage, John illuminates our thinking in terms of the believer’s responsibility toward the Word of God and the Commands of God. By understanding these things we are filled with hope that we can know that we are His children and therefore are His followers. To define Christ’s work on our behalf, John uses two terms. When we understand these terms we have a better idea about what Christ has done on our behalf.

 

The first of these terms is the term “advocate.” This term in the Greek is the word “parakoleo” or “parakletos.” It is defined as “one called in to help,” “one summoned to give assistance” and is used most often as a legal term. In New Testament times the term was used of one that would speak on behalf of the accused before the rulers and/or magistrates. It would be similar to our term “lawyer.”

 

John also uses this term in the gospel of John to define the work and role of the Holy Spirit. It is the Holy Spirit that will lead us to truth. It is the Holy Spirit that will give us the words to say in the moment that we need them. It is the Holy Spirit that convicts of sin and leads one to repentance. This is the work of the Holy Spirit as the “parakletos”.

 

What is important here is that God did not leave us defenseless or without assistance. Christ came to assist us in seeing that our walk is in alignment with God’s design. This term “parakletos” is also used of legal advice. Not only does an advocate represent one before the judge and jury but they also give advice as to how to present their case and how to avoid these legal issues at some later date. Christ came to show us and guide us toward truth and righteousness. Have you ever experienced that still small voice within you? You know that voice, that voice that is loud and clear when you are about to do something sinfully or that would cause injury to you.

 

The second term is the term “hilasmas” which is translated “propitiation.” The idea communicated through this word is “to cover” but in reality the word means so much more. It is not just a matter of covering but setting one’s guilt aside. It carries with the idea of expunging a record so that if anyone attempted to go back to their past there would be not evidence of past crimes or indictments. Because of sin there was a need to have justice on the part of God because He could not allow sin to go unpunished. Christ came on our behalf and took the penalty of our sin upon his shoulder and in essence expunged our record of sin – Romans 3:25-26. At the cross all the fury of sin was directed to Christ – 1 John 4:10.

 

Do you see what Christ has done? How do we know that we are followers of Christ? We do so by recognizing the work of Christ in our lives. As a result, we do not and cannot allow our past failures to dictate our future. We cannot allow the accusation of wrongs done in the past to cause us to miss the present joy of a life lived in Christ. We cannot allow our mistakes to rule our future. We have an advocate that has gotten the judge to expunge our record and we are free from any past indictments and we are free from any future indictments relating to that particular record of our lives. The problem is that too often we live as if we have been imprisoned by our sin rather than walking in the liberty that comes through confessed sin and righteous living.

 

I am so glad that my record has been cleared. As a result I am called upon to live a life of obedience to His commands. But we need to realize that the sustenance of my life does not come from observing the commands and rules of God but in the very life of Christ. You see the law and God’s commands only point out the wrong we have done but are powerless to bring life or forgiveness. It is only the work of Christ in us that allows us to be obedient to Him. But when we know Christ we desire to follow Him whole heartedly.

 

John says: “By this we know that we have come to know him…” How do we know that we know Him? We know that we know Him when we seek to be obedient to what He has called us to do. In this case, it is a matter of keeping His commandments. Secondly, he states that we know that we are in Him when we begin to act like Him and walk as He would walk. Our measure of perfectedness is in keeping His word and following after Him in a pure relationship.

 

John clearly defines one of the aspects of knowing that we have a relationship with Christ. Because John is dealing with the Gnostic concept of understanding God, John allows his readers know that they can know God personally and that He is not some distant God that is not concerned about them.

 

This knowledge is about experiencing truth and is not about understanding the facts per se. While experience cannot define our theology, experience does underscore our theology and makes it real for us. The concept of knowing is the idea of perception by experience not just a set of facts. In others words while facts are important these facts are solidified and proven by way of experience. The result is that we are characterized not by any representative trait or quality of His own personality but as a work of divine love which accomplishes its perfect work in us and through us. This intimacy with Christ produces a daily walk that mirrors the pattern of Christ’s life as we abide in Him. We see this is John’s teaching of the vine and the branches in John 15.

 

So how are you today? Do you know that you know? Are you passionately following Christ?

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