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nChrist
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« Reply #315 on: November 22, 2006, 09:25:46 AM »

Author: Theodore Epp
Source: Strength for the Journey
Scripture Reference 1 Corinthians 4:5 1 Corinthians 3:8 James 5:7-12

He Is at the Door!

James 5:7-12

To "grudge not" is to "complain not." We are not to groan or grumble against each other. In this life, where there is the tendency to be partial to others who have more than we do, James reminded us not to be grumbling and complaining about others.

We are not to develop an attitude of thinking the other person always has it better than we do. We must remember that the Lord can come back at any time to judge us for such attitudes.

James said, "The judge standeth before the door" (James 5:9); in other words, He is ready to enter the door. Having this concept of the soon return of Christ keeps us from being so critical of each other.

Always remember, Christ is about to enter the door, so the words you speak should be wholesome rather than negative or hurtful. So realizing that the Lord may soon return will have a significant effect on our attitudes toward others.

We will not be so quick to criticize others when we realize the Lord is about to return to judge us for what we have said. The Lord is fully able to judge the motives of our hearts (see 1 Cor. 4:5), but we must never take that prerogative upon ourselves.

The Lord will judge not only the good and bad things we have done but also our good and bad attitudes. If you have been mistreated and have borne up under it in a way that glorifies the Lord, you may be assured of a reward.

If you have been neglected by friends and by the world, the Lord will take care of that also. Let us trust Him completely to reward as He sees best because He is absolutely just and loving.

"And every man shall receive his own reward according to his own labour" (1 Cor. 3:8).

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« Reply #316 on: November 23, 2006, 09:24:53 PM »

Author: Theodore Epp
Source: Strength for the Journey
Scripture Reference 1 Corinthians 11:31 James 5:13-16

Sickness and Sin

James 5:13-16

The reason for calling the elders was apparently because the sickness referred to by James was a sickness that resulted from sin.

The elders were the spiritual leaders of the assembly of believers, and because of the type of problem involved, they--not a physician--were to be called.

It was the responsibility of the spiritual leaders to deal with, and pray for, those who had gone astray and as a result had been stricken by a sickness.

James did not use the word that is associated with ceremonial anointing but the word that is associated with the treatment of wounds. The word James used is often found in secular medical treatises of New Testament times.

The oil was, in itself, a healing ointment. So we see that James was referring to the best-known medical treatment of the time; that is, rubbing with oil.

The rubbing with oil was to be accompanied by prayer. This was apparently to be done first because the original language indicates that the elders were to pray over the sick person, having anointed him with oil (see James 5:14).

From this passage some derive the teaching of divine healing apart from medicine, but such a view is not supported by the text.

The oil was an accepted medical treatment of the day, so this passage actually encourages the use of known medical practices in addition to prayer for healing. Of course, the confidence of the elders was to be in God's ability to heal, not in the medical treatment itself.

"For if we would judge ourselves, we should not be judged" (1 Cor. 11:31).

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« Reply #317 on: November 25, 2006, 02:31:38 AM »

Author: Theodore Epp
Source: Strength for the Journey
Scripture Reference James 5:17-20 1 John 3:22 1 Kings 18:36-39

Prayer That Works

James 5:17-20; 1 Kings 18:36-39

Because this was such a crucial prayer, it is worth noting the specific things for which Elijah prayed.

He had four specific requests of God. First, "Let it be known this day that thou art God in Israel" (1 Kings 18:36). The burden of Elijah's heart was that others would know the true God and that they would realize that He alone is God.

Second, "That I am thy servant" (v. 36). This revealed Elijah's humble attitude--he wanted to be known only as a servant of the true God.

Third, he asked God to show "that I have done all these things at thy word" (v. 36).

Elijah not only wanted to be known as the servant of God but also as an obedient servant. He especially did not want the prophets of Baal to think that he had dreamed up all of this on his own.

He wanted them to be clearly convinced that God had directed him. This is also an indication that God is a personal God. Baal could not direct anyone; even those who worshiped him could not expect personal guidance.

Fourth, Elijah prayed, "Hear me, O Lord, hear me, that this people may know that thou art the Lord God, and that thou hast turned their heart back again" (v. 37). Elijah wanted his prayer to be heard by God, and he wanted the people to return to God.

Then the fire fell! It consumed the sacrifice, the wood, the stones, the dust and the water that had been poured in the trenches.

"When all the people saw it, they fell on their faces: and they said, The Lord, he is the God; the Lord, he is the God" (v. 39).

"And whatsoever we ask, we receive of him, because we keep his commandments, and do those things that are pleasing in his sight" (1 John 3:22).

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« Reply #318 on: November 25, 2006, 06:20:27 PM »

Author: Theodore Epp
Source: Strength for the Journey
Scripture Reference 1 John 1:1-4 1 Corinthians 2:9 1 John 5:11-13 Romans 5:5

Life, Light, Love

1 John 1:1-4

There are three key words in the epistle of 1 John. They are "life," "light" and "love." These words are used many times in this epistle.

That God has given us eternal life is clearly stated in 1 John 5:11-13, which are key verses to the study of this epistle. God has given us eternal life, and that life is in His Son. If we have the Son, we have eternal life; if we do not have the Son, we do not have eternal life.

Eternal life is a special quality of life that makes it possible for us to fellowship with God. More than eternal duration of life is meant.

The other two words, "light" and "love," provide the test whereby we may know whether or not that life is within us.

We are told that God, as to His nature, is light and that there is no darkness in Him. And if we walk in the light as He is in the light, we have fellowship one with the other.

Light reveals righteousness, and it also reveals sin. By virtue of the light, we can know whether or not we have eternal life.

The love spoken of is a God-given love, and it becomes both the outward expression of the inward life and another test whereby we may know that we have such life.

The love of God has been shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Spirit (Rom. 5:5) so that the man who is born of God loves others. This is the very essence of Christianity.

"Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God hath prepared for them that love him" (1 Cor. 2:9).

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« Reply #319 on: November 27, 2006, 01:41:02 AM »

Author: Theodore Epp
Source: Strength for the Journey
Scripture Reference Romans 14:23 Romans 3:18-22 John 8:12 1 John 1:5-10

Can You See Where You Are Going?

1 John 1:5-10

For a person to walk in the light requires that he first receive Christ as personal Saviour. The light of God's Word must first have enlightened that person's heart and convicted him of his sin.

That same light reveals to us the holiness of God and brings us to a reverential fear of Him, something foreign to the natural man (see Rom. 3:18).

That same light reveals to us how Christ came to reconcile us to God. To us is offered "the righteousness of God which is by faith of Jesus Christ unto all and upon all them that believe: for there is no difference" (Rom. 3:22).

Christians who walk in the light become increasingly conscious of the holiness of God and of the sinfulness of sin. They are not deluded into denying that they have a sinful nature.

They realize that they still have sinful tendencies that are expressed in fleshly impulses, nonspiritual inclinations and standards of living that are patterned after the world rather than after God.

These are all sinful in the sight of God, and to call them righteous rather than sinful is to walk in darkness. Should we even so much as waver in our trust in God, we sin, for the Word says, "Whatsoever is not of faith is sin" (Rom. 14:23).

"I am the light of the world: he that followeth me shall not walk in darkness, but shall have the light of life" (John 8:12).

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« Reply #320 on: November 27, 2006, 09:11:35 AM »

Author: Theodore Epp
Source: Strength for the Journey
Scripture Reference 1 John 2:1-6 Romans 8:34 Romans 3:22

His Unfinished Work

1 John 2:1-6

First John 2:1 could be translated: "These things write I unto you that ye do not commit a single act of sin." John was not dealing with habitual sin but with single acts of sin.

This is a high standard, and you may wonder if it is possible for a child of God to successfully live this way. We need to realize what Christ has actually done for us.

In the light of our experience, however, this may well cause us to despair, for we realize that we do commit acts of sin. The next phrase in 1 John 2:1 says, "And if any man sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous."

When we do commit an act of sin and Satan would accuse us before the Father, there is no way he can reach us because we stand before God in the righteousness of Christ, "even the righteousness of God which is by faith of Jesus Christ unto all and upon all them that believe: for there is no difference" (Rom. 3:22).

So Jesus has become our righteousness, and He stands in the presence of God on our behalf.

"Who is he that condemneth? It is Christ that died, yea rather, that is risen again, who is even at the right hand of God, who also maketh intercession for us" (Rom. 8:34).

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« Reply #321 on: November 28, 2006, 08:47:18 AM »

Author: Theodore Epp
Source: Strength for the Journey
Scripture Reference 1 John 2:7-11 John 15:12

Old Yet Ever New

1 John 2:7-11

The statements concerning the old and the new commandment sound paradoxical. They can be readily reconciled, however. The Apostle John wrote here, as 1 John 2:9-11 shows, about our love for one another.

In a sense this is not a new commandment; it is an old one that goes back to the time when God made man in His own image. Since man was made in the image of God, love was part of the expression of his life.

It is old also in the sense that the Old Testament Law was summarized in the commands to love God and love our neighbor. From all of this one might conclude that there is nothing new about this commandment at all, and yet there is an aspect that is new.

We are given the clue to this in the expression, "The darkness is past, and the true light now shineth" (v. 8). Here again the present tense was used, and the translation could read: "The darkness is passing, and the true light is now shining."

Under the Old Testament Law, people were commanded to love, but the Law did not provide them with the ability to obey. Only as the Holy Spirit could get control of individual hearts was this possible.

"This is my commandment, That ye love one another, as I have loved you" (John 15:12).

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« Reply #322 on: November 29, 2006, 09:23:38 AM »

Author: Theodore Epp
Source: Strength for the Journey
Scripture Reference 1 John 2:12-17 Galatians 1:4

Watch Out for Worldliness!

1 John 2:12-17

Ask yourself these questions: What is the purpose of my life? What am I going after? What are my pleasures? What are my practices? What kind of places do I frequent? Could I invite God to look with approval on all that I do and seek for?

Worldliness in its final analysis is an attitude of heart toward things and persons. It is the old-nature attitude and can affect every phase of our lives.

The word "lust" does not necessarily mean something evil. The context helps to determine whether it is used in a good sense or a bad one. The word itself means a passionate desire or a craving after something.

In this passage it is used in a bad sense, and we are warned first of all to not have a passionate craving for, or a reaching after, things of the flesh, which is the old nature.

The eyes must be carefully guarded. We are warned concerning the lust of the eyes, or the strong, passionate desires that arise because of what the eyes see. A great deal of our present-day advertising is built on eye appeal and is designed to stimulate our baser passions.

The pride of life incorporates the idea of one who claims credit and glory for something that is not really his. We can see it very clearly in the person who constantly brags about his own resources and possessions.

"Who gave himself for our sins, that he might deliver us from this present evil world, according to the will of God and our Father" (Gal. 1:4).

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« Reply #323 on: November 30, 2006, 12:10:28 PM »

Author: Theodore Epp
Source: Strength for the Journey
Scripture Reference 1 John 2:18-29 John 10:28-30 2 John 1:7

With Us-Not of Us

1 John 2:18-9

We are able to detect who the antichrists are: "They went out from us, but they were not of us" (1 John 2:19).

This does not mean that they left a particular denomination or church. They left the fundamental doctrine of Jesus Christ. The Word says they were never born again. Verse 19 makes that abundantly clear.

The words "no doubt" are in italics in some translations, indicating that they were added by the translators. Consequently, the verse actually says, "They went out from us, but they were not of us; for if they had been of us, they would have continued with us."

True Christians are recipients of eternal life, and therefore "they shall never perish, neither shall any man pluck them out of my hand," the Saviour said. "My Father, which gave them me, is greater than all; and no man is able to pluck them out of my Father's hand. I and my Father are one" (John 10:28-30). The person who has eternal life cannot be taken away from God.

A true child of God will not accept any doctrine that denies that Jesus was and is the eternal God. A person who says that Jesus is not God is not a child of God and cannot go to heaven.

"For many deceivers are entered into the world, who confess not that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh. This is a deceiver and an antichrist" (2 John 1:7).

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« Reply #324 on: December 01, 2006, 06:39:14 PM »

Author: Theodore Epp
Source: Strength for the Journey
Scripture Reference Romans 6:16 1 John 3:1-10

It Just Does Not Belong!

1 John 3:1-10

To live under the dominion of sin without any evidence of righteousness demonstrates that the person has not been born again. The reasons for this are clearly pointed out in some of these verses.

First John 3:4, for example, says that sin is contrary to the law of God. Verse 5 says that sin is contrary to the mission, or the work, of the Lord Jesus Christ.

Christ not only came to take away the guilt of sin, but He broke sin's power so that the believer need not live under its dominion.

When we do commit an act of sin and then confess it, God is faithful and just to forgive our sins, and our Advocate with the Father maintains our standing of righteousness before Him.

Some have used these verses to teach that a person reaches a certain place in his Christian life after which he no longer commits any sin. These verses do not give any license to sin, but they contrast the state, or behavior, of the children of God with the state, or behavior, of the children of the world.

A continual practice of sin in the life shows that the person is a child of the Devil rather than a child of God. "The devil sinneth from the beginning" (v. 8), and his children continue to live in sin, for that is in keeping with the character of their heredity.

"Know ye not, that to whom ye yield yourselves servants to obey, his servants ye are to whom ye obey; whether of sin unto death, or of obedience unto righteousness?" (Rom. 6:16).

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« Reply #325 on: December 02, 2006, 10:15:10 PM »

Author: Theodore Epp
Source: Strength for the Journey
Scripture Reference 1 John 3:11-24 John 13:35

Love Must Serve

1 John 3:11-24

The word for love in 1 John 3:11 does not refer to a sentimental love but is a strong word that describes God. It is the kind of love that recognizes a need and responds to that need.

An illustration of this contrast is seen in the case of Cain, who was of the Wicked One and killed his brother (v. 12). He killed Abel because his own works were evil and his brother's were righteous.

Cain did not have love in his heart because he was not a child of God. He had hatred, and for that reason he murdered Abel.

First John 3:16 shows that true love is climaxed by our being willing to lay down our lives for fellow believers. This is the very opposite of being willing to slander and spread evil reports concerning God's children.

This kind of love is very practical, for John said, "But whoso hath this world's good, and seeth his brother have need, and shutteth up his bowels of compassion from him, how dwelleth the love of God in him?" (v. 17).

God expects us to share the temporal and spiritual provisions that He makes for us. How can anyone, looking on this lost world, say that he loves the Lord and yet not seek to make known to the unsaved the unsearchable riches of Christ?

Because the Scriptures say that no murderer has eternal life abiding in him, we need not conclude that a murderer cannot be saved. He can be if he will come to Christ and receive Him as Saviour.

"By this shall all men know that ye are my disciples, if ye have love one to another" (John 13:35).

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« Reply #326 on: December 04, 2006, 12:51:25 AM »

Author: Theodore Epp
Source: Strength for the Journey
Scripture Reference 1 John 4:1-6

Truth, Not Popularity

1 John 4:1-6

It is sad, but many who talk about our Saviour and use His name do not believe that He is the eternal God, the Creator of all things, and that He came to die for the sins of mankind.

In the verses previous to this, the apostle discussed false teachers who talk about Jesus but fail to acknowledge that He truly is the Son of God. Such people are representatives of Satan, not messengers of God.

They speak the type of message that the world loves to hear. Often based on human philosophy, it caters to the pride of intellect so prized by most people. Such teachers and those who delight in their teaching are unbelievers.

Where, then, do you stand with reference to this matter? If you agree with them, then you, too, need to be born again.

On the other hand, how do I know that I am of God? I believe His Word. I believe that Jesus Christ is the eternal God, that He dwells in a glorified human body and that I shall be like Him, for one day I shall see Him as He is.

I have no doubt about it. The people who are of God will accept this message, but those who are of the world will reject it.

Classify yourself according to your attitude. It will let you know whether or not you are saved.

"Ye are of God, little children, and have overcome them: greater is he that is in you, than he that is in the world" (1 John 4:4).

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« Reply #327 on: December 05, 2006, 12:56:52 AM »

Author: Theodore Epp
Source: Strength for the Journey
Scripture Reference 1 John 4:7-21 Jeremiah 31:3 Romans 5:5

The Power to Love

1 John 4:7-21

The apostle did not say, "Try to create and produce love." He said, "Let us love." In other words, we are to release that love.

Some may protest and say they cannot love certain people. That is true from the natural standpoint, but we are not dealing with natural love. It is divine love, the love with which God loved us when we were unlovable and our sins had separated us from Him.

God, as to His nature, is love. And this love is shared with the believer. It has been shed abroad in the heart of each one (see Rom. 5:5).

This love of God will grow within us and flow through us in an unbroken stream if we will let it. The Christian life, which is the power of the Holy Spirit within, is a life of love. This love of God matures the Christian.

I have seen many of God's people grow older in the Lord and grow more Christlike as they walked with Him from day to day. They took more time to be with the Lord and had their hearts filled with Him. Through this, their love was perfected toward others.

This mature love expressed through God's people demonstrates to others that Christ lives in us.

"The Lord hath appeared of old unto me, saying, Yea, I have loved thee with an everlasting love: therefore with lovingkindness have I drawn thee" (Jer. 31:3).

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« Reply #328 on: December 05, 2006, 09:12:22 AM »

Author: Theodore Epp
Source: Strength for the Journey
Scripture Reference 1 John 5:14-21 Psalm 19:13

A Sin unto Death

1 John 5:14-21

We do not always know whether a Christian's sin is unto death; for that reason my own suggestion is that we should be sure to pray for such a person if we are in doubt.

If we see that God is not going to answer, it could be that the person prayed for has committed a sin unto death. But I will continue to pray for such a person until the Spirit in some way makes it plain just what has happened in his life.

I believe that the sin unto death is a deliberate sin of a believer against better knowledge. When John wrote about committing this sin, he used the tense so often employed throughout his first epistle, the tense that signifies continuation of action.

In my opinion the sin unto death is a deliberately planned and willful persistence in some evil course with the guilty person presuming on God's grace or mercy.

The death that results from this sin, as far as I can determine from Scripture, is physical death, not spiritual death. There is a vast difference between the two.

There may be those who have said, "Since I am eternally saved, I can live just as I please." They willfully and deliberately ignore the new life within them and its urging to godly living. I believe such a person stands in danger of committing the sin unto death.

"Keep back thy servant also from presumptuous sins; let them not have dominion over me" (Ps. 19:13).

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« Reply #329 on: December 06, 2006, 11:52:44 AM »

Author: Theodore Epp
Source: Strength for the Journey
Scripture Reference Romans 15:30-33 Galatians 5:22

The Spirit Also Loves You!

Romans 15:30-33

The Holy Spirit is a Person because He has emotions. He has the ability to love.

Romans 15:30 says, "Now I beseech you, brethren, for the Lord Jesus Christ's sake, and for the love of the Spirit, that ye strive together with me in your prayers to God for me."

This teaches us that the Holy Spirit has the capacity to love. He not only influences us to love, but He also loves us.

John 3:16 reveals that God the Father loves us. Philippians 2:5-8 describes how the Lord Jesus Christ loved us personally by making Himself of no reputation, taking the form of a servant and becoming obedient to death on the cross. There is no question about His love for us.

Neither is there any question about the Holy Spirit's love for us. He patiently seeks us when we are in sin and away from God, and when we trust Christ as Saviour, He regenerates us and begins to transform us into the image of God's Son.

If the Father had not loved the world, if the Son had not loved us and died for us, if the Holy Spirit had not loved us, convicted us and transformed us, where would we be spiritually today?

Our salvation depends as much on the love of the Spirit as it does on the love of the Father and of the Son.

"But the fruit of the Spirit is love" (Gal. 5:22).

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