The Modern Day Disciple

The Last Hour

 Children, it is the last hour, and just as you heard that the antichrist is coming, so now many antichrists have appeared. We know from this that it is the last hour. 19 They went out from us, but they did not really belong to us, because if they had belonged to us, they would have remained with us. But they went out from us to demonstrate that all of them do not belong to us. 1 John 2:18–19 NET Taken from The Modern Day Disciple Bible Study on 1, 2, & 3 John Once again we see some unique language that is used only by John contained in the passage we will examine today. John alone uses the terminology “last hour” found twice in verse eighteen. While similar terms are used in other parts of Scripture such as “last days”14 and “last times”15 only John uses the phrase “last hour”. The word for antichrist in the Greek is antichristos. This word too is used exclusively by John (1 John 2:18, 22; 4:3; 2 John 1:7) although we do see the idea and concept of the antichrist throughout both the Old and New Testaments. While some understand this passage to refer to a single “antichrist” it is more likely that John was referring to individuals or a group of people who were opposed to God and His divine purposes. John specifically states that there were “many” of these antichrists and apparently they were known by the church. Most likely they were people who had at one time been included in the fellowship of God’s people prior to becoming exposed as people who were actually opposed to the things of God. So what is the point […]

Love Of The World

  15   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, 16 because all that is in the world (the desire of the flesh and the desire of the eyes and the arrogance produced by material possessions) is not from the Father, but is from the world. 17 And the world is passing away with all its desires, but the person who does the will of God remains forever. 1 John 2:15–17 NET Taken from The Modern Day Disciple Bible Study on 1, 2, & 3 John Have you ever been “in love”? Maybe there was a special somebody who suddenly took your breath away as they walked into the room. Your nerves were shot, and all you could think about was how to keep from making a fool of yourself in front of this person. Or, maybe you just found yourself thinking about this person throughout the day. In a good way, you just couldn’t get them out of your mind. Now, my follow-up question would be, “How long did that last?” Unfortunately, people think that being “in love” is the equivalent of loving someone. This is part of why so many marriages don’t last – because people claim that they don’t love each other anymore. What they really mean is that they don’t feel “in love” anymore. Love is more than just a feeling; it’s a choice. It’s about setting your affections to rest on a certain person or entity. It is committing yourself unconditionally in fact, covenantally to someone or something. The feeling of being “in love” is really more of an involuntary thing, something you […]

The Truth About Lies

  Nevertheless you have an anointing from the Holy One, and you all know. 21 I have not written to you that you do not know the truth, but that you do know it, and that no lie is of the truth. 22 Who is the liar but the person who denies that Jesus is the Christ? This one is the antichrist: the person who denies the Father and the Son. 23 Everyone who denies the Son does not have the Father either. The person who confesses the Son has the Father also. 1 John 2:20–23 NET Taken from The Modern Day Disciple Bible Study on 1, 2, & 3 John In an effort to combat the cultic notions of the day, which denied the bodily resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead and touted a secret knowledge as the mark of enlightenment, John lays it all out for his readers. He boldly proclaims that belief in Jesus Christ, as He was revealed to the apostles, is the mark of true enlightenment. Anything that disagrees with this is a distortion of the truth, or as John puts it, a lie. John had a very down-to-earth understanding of who Jesus was. John was essentially one of Jesus’ roommates for the better part of Jesus’ three-year ministry. John ate with Jesus, laughed and cried with Jesus, walked for miles with Jesus, and saw Jesus perform many miracles and wonderful signs that all pointed to Jesus being the Christ. John was there when Jesus was betrayed, and John followed Jesus as He was taken captive. John saw Jesus, bloody and suffocating on the cross. However, John also witnessed the resurrection. He talked with and ate with the risen […]

The Power of Your Past

  12 I am writing to you, little children, that your sins have been forgiven because of his name. 13 I am writing to you, fathers, that you have known him who has been from the beginning. I am writing to you, young people, that you have conquered the evil one. 14 I have written to you, children, that you have known the Father. I have written to you, fathers, that you have known him who has been from the beginning. I have written to you, young people, that you are strong, and the word of God resides in you, and you have conquered the evil one. 1 John 2:12–14 NET Taken from The Modern Day Disciple Bible Study on 1, 2, & 3 John Several times in this epistle John makes his intentions for writing this letter crystal clear. This section of chapter two, however, is different from the other passages that contain some declaration of purpose. In each of the other instances (1 John 1:4; 2:1, 21; 5:13) John points to either the present or to the future. Here, he points to the past. Here, he calls upon the reader to consider his or her past and to be reminded of past spiritual victories. Recalling our pasts can be a powerful and moving experience. The modern day disciple should regularly stop and consider the richness of the past. Like John’s original audience, believers today have many things to be thankful for. Taking time to consider them makes our hearts more sensitive and appreciative toward our Savior. It is dangerous to become so consumed with the present and the future that we forget about our pasts. Recalling the personal things God has accomplished in […]

A New Command…

  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. 8 Yet I am writing you a new command; its truth is seen in him and you, because the darkness is passing and the true light is already shining. 1 John 2:7–8 NIV Taken from The Modern Day Disciple Bible Study on 1, 2, & 3 John Have you ever wished that you were a part of another family? If you were looking for a family to spend time with, one of the first things you would look at before joining them is how they treated one another. By observing their interactions, you would be able to tell whether their family was something you wanted to enter into. So it is with the family of God. When outsiders look at churches, one of the chief qualities they observe is how people within a local congregation treat each other. This is not an accident. Jesus planned for our unconditional love for one an- other to be the number one sign of our authenticity of God’s life truly living inside of us. God, throughout the Old and New Testaments affirmed the importance of loving your neighbor as yourself. However, it was a new command from Jesus for believers to love one another with the same intensity of self-sacrificing love that He displayed for us. I have found that people are oftentimes more harsh with their own family members than with outsiders or strangers. For example, an older brother might treat his younger brother maliciously, yet treat the kid next-door with respect and kindness. This should […]

The Worthy Walk (1 John 2:3-6)

 3   Now by this we know that we have come to know God: if we keep his commandments. 4 The one who says “I have come to know God” and yet does not keep his commandments is a liar, and the truth is not in such a person. 5 But whoever obeys his word, truly in this person the love of God has been perfected. By this we know that we are in him. 6 The one who says he resides in God ought himself to walk just as Jesus walked. 1 John 2:3–6 NET Taken from The Modern Day Disciple Bible Study on 1, 2, & 3 John Stephen Neil wrote the following concerning obedience. “Every virtue is a form of obedience to God. Every evil word or act is a form of rebellion against Him. This may not be clear at first; but, if we think patiently, we shall find that it is true. Why were you angry? You will probably find that it was because you were not willing to accept the world as God has made it, or because you were not willing to leave it to God to deal with the people that He has made.” Total obedience is something most people struggle with their entire lives. It seems that from the moment we are born, our flesh cries out, and encourages disobedience. Despite knowing that we must be obedient in order to be successful in virtually any area of life, we still resist it. For example, to be a successful athlete you must obey the rules of the game; writers must obey the rules of language; students must obey the rules of the classroom; employees must obey the rules […]

The Advocate

“But if anyone does sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous One, and he himself is the atoning sacrifice for our sins, and not only for our sins but also for the whole world.” (1John 2:1–2 NET) Taken from The Modern Day Disciple Bible Study on 1, 2, & 3 John Human nature is sin nature by default.  It has been that way since the fall of mankind, so it should not be surprising when people sin.  However, people all over the world try to deny that they are, in fact, sinners, despite the mountain of evidence that speaks contrarily to that notion.  Some of this is because people truly believe that they have no advocate.  They think there is no one in their corner speaking on their behalf for their own good.  Even worse, they think that God would be the last person to defend them if they were ever to admit their wrongdoing.  This couldn’t be further from the truth.  The fundamental message of the cross is that God is for you.  He is on your side.  In fact, Jesus died for you.  He took the death sentence that was rightfully yours.  Think about that.  If there was ever an advocate, a person in your corner fighting for your life, it was Jesus Christ.  It was in His advocacy that He also became the atoning sacrifice for your sins.  He paid the price for your wrongdoing.  It should be expected for people in the world to run from God because they don’t know Jesus, but it’s just downright strange when one of God’s own children runs away from Him.  Think about it.  Most parents are much more pleased […]

Self Deception

“If we say we do not bear the guilt of sin, we are deceiving ourselves and the truth is not in us.” (1John 1:8–9 NET) Taken from The Modern Day Disciple Bible Study on 1, 2, & 3 John Self-deception is a dangerous and all too common occurrence among Christians today.  Self deception has been defined as “a process of denying or rationalizing away the relevance, significance, or importance of opposing evidence and logical argument.”8 It has also been defined as “bad faith.” Let’s be honest – we are all guilty of this appalling and dreadful action.  We spend countless hours trying to rationalize, explain, justify, validate, and defend our inexcusable actions. The Life Application Study Bible accurately states that, “all people are sinners by nature and by practice.  At conversion all our sins are forgiven past, present, and future. Yet even after we become Christians, we still sin and still need to confess. This kind of confession is not offered to gain God’s acceptance but to remove the barrier to fellowship that our sin has put between us and him. It is difficult, however, for many people to admit their faults and shortcomings even to God. It takes humility and honesty to recognize our weaknesses, and most of us would rather pretend that we are strong. But we need not fear revealing our sins to God; he knows them already. He will not push us away, no matter what we’ve done. Instead, he will draw us to himself.”9  Self-deception is indeed bad faith and we must all be careful not to fall into this trap.  Our flesh longs to justify our sin with logic, reason, and what we might dare call “common sense” but […]

Telephone

“If we say we have fellowship with him and yet keep on walking in the darkness, we are lying and not practicing the truth.” (1John 1:6–7 NET) Taken from The Modern Day Disciple Bible Study on 1, 2, & 3 John When I was a kid, I enjoyed playing the game “telephone.” Perhaps some of you have participated in this childhood game and have been amused by its ever unpredictable outcome.  For those of you who maybe haven’t had the experience, the game begins with the lead person conjuring up a short but complicated story.  The other participants then line up in a “telephone line”, waiting for the story to be passed on. The story-maker whispers his or her message into the ear of the first person in line and as fast as they can.  Once the message is uttered, the message has to move forward, no matter what, and on it goes.  The message is whispered from person to person until it reaches the last person in line.  By and large, the message is significantly distorted after the first two times the message has been shared.  By the time the story reaches the last person, it’s a completely different story.  Unfortunately, the message of the gospel is often misheard and wrongly declared, and in it’s passing from one person to the next, the message changes into something that is lifeless and powerless to change lives.  This is what John’s chief concern was with the people he was writing to.  You see, even though John was confident in what he had heard from Jesus and was certain of what he had declared, he was also wise enough to know that the message of the gospel […]

What Have You Seen and Heard? 1 John 1:1-4 (Day 47 1 John 1:1-4)

  1 This is what we proclaim to you: what was from the beginning, what we have heard, what we have seen with our eyes, what we have looked at and our hands have touched (concerning the word of life– 2 and the life was revealed, and we have seen and testify and announce to you the eternal life that was with the Father and was revealed to us). 3 What we have seen and heard we announce to you too, so that you may have fellowship with us (and indeed our fellowship is with the Father and with his Son Jesus Christ). 4 Thus we are writing these things so that our joy may be complete. 1 John 1:1–4 NET This excerpt was taken from The Modern Day Disciple Bible Study What have you seen and heard with your own eyes and ears?  Is your testimony a reflection of these things?  Most of us are born blessed with the ability to see and hear.  Through our senses we experience the unique and amazing things of life.  Then we proclaim, testify, announce, publicize and otherwise make known those things which we experience here on earth. The picture above was taken minutes after my first child was born.  Like all proud parents, at the first possible moment I began texting, calling, and emailing the world to announce the birth of my baby boy.  Still to this day I get excited when I have the opportunity to recall moments like this in my life and share them with others. As eager and enthusiastic as we are to share with others the news of a promotion, birth, winning RBI, new car, or new dress, we seem less eager […]

Facebook Iconfacebook like buttonTwitter Icontwitter follow button