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Week 1 - Friday

Don't Be Deceived By Lies

August 21, 2020 • Jen

The letters John wrote are heavy letters with lots of deep doctrines, warnings, exhortations, and encouragements. One of the reasons for this is that all the apostles were dead with the exception of John himself. He was the last of the apostles, which is why many scholars believe the “last hour” is referring to the apostolic age coming to an end. Many also believe the phrase “last hour” also refers to the time between Jesus’ resurrection and second coming. We are living in “the last hour.”  One of the problems the church encountered during this time was of false teachers or “antichrists.” This is not referring to that one figure who will hold a lot of power and deceive many people. Here, the word “antichrists” was referring to those who were teaching lies about Jesus, and doing so with passion and persuasion. That is what “antichrist” means, against Christ or Messiah, and in John's day there was more than one. The term “antichrist” was not used for people who simply got a few minor things wrong in their teaching. These “antichrists” were teaching things completely contrary to what Scripture taught about who Jesus is and what he did.  What were some of the things they were teaching? These false teachers or “antichrists” denied many things, including the deity of Jesus. They did not believe He was the Redeemer and Savior of the world. They also denied Jesus came from the Father but was instead a created being. Some believed God the Father did not create the world but angels did. 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. --1 John 2:22 ...but every spirit that refuses to confess Jesus, that spirit is not from God, and this is the spirit of the antichrist, which you have heard is coming, and now is already in the world. --1 John 4:3 For many deceivers have gone out into the world, people who do not confess Jesus as Christ coming in the flesh. This person is the deceiver and the antichrist! --2 John 1:7 We could spend a lot of time discussing all the dangerous things these people were teaching, but we find the same thing in our day as well. People who are religious, know all the right words to use and are teaching something dangerous because it is contrary to what the Bible actually says. They may sound like they know what they are talking about, but they preach a false gospel, one that is dangerous because it keeps people from looking to Jesus as their hope for salvation.  The way we protect ourselves from dynamic, well spoken yet dangerous teachers is by knowing our Bibles. Arm yourself with the truth!  Don’t blindly follow what others say, test it against God’s Word to make sure it is right. Don’t be taken by new ideas or false teachings no matter how good they make you feel. Our feelings are not always accurate and our heart is deceitful and cannot be trusted.  The human mind is more deceitful than anything else. It is incurably bad. --Jeremiah 17:9 Know your Bible! Read it, study it, pray about it, discuss it with others, and read it again!  The better you know the truth the easier you can spot the lie and remain steadfast in your knowledge and faith in God.  Looking to Jesus, Jen

More from Know Love

Week 4 - Friday

September 11, 2020 • Sara

I grew up in a time and a place where WWJD? ("What would Jesus do?") bracelets were popular. There were so many of them in my day it spawned parodies and became almost cliche.  But, at the heart of it, it’s a great question to ask in any situation. What would Jesus do?  Would He have reached across a political aisle to love people with different opinions? Indeed.  Would He have welcomed broken people and shown grace without watering down the God breathed truth of Scripture? Of course.  But how do we actually live like Jesus?  Third John 11 says, “Dear friend, do not imitate what is bad but what is good. The one who does good is of God; the one who does what is bad has not seen God.”  It sounds relatively easy on the surface, but the world has a funny way of blurring boundaries. What’s superficially nice is not necessarily kind. What initially seems appropriate may be popularity or political correctness in disguise.  Thankfully (and as usual), Scripture helps us.  Philippians 4:8 says, “Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is worthy of respect, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if something is excellent or praiseworthy, think about these things.” Galatians 5:22-23 also gives instruction on where we can focus our energy and what virtues the Holy Spirit can cultivate in our lives. “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. Against such things there is no law.” We can’t imitate God’s power, His omnipotence, or His eternal presence, but we have the perfect example of goodness - and godliness - in Jesus.  C.S. Lewis wrote about this beautifully in his work The Four Loves, saying, “our imitation of God in this life — that is, our willed imitation as distinct from any of the likenesses which He has impressed upon our natures or states — must be an imitation of God incarnate: our model is the Jesus, not only of Calvary, but of the workshop, the roads, the crowds, the clamorous demands and surly oppositions, the lack of all peace and privacy, the interruptions. For this, so strangely unlike anything we can attribute to the Divine life in itself, is apparently not only like, but is, the Divine life operating under human conditions.” We won’t ever be perfect, but we should fight and pray and practice to be His true apprentice.  May the world see a glimpse of the goodness of our living God and of the hope of Heaven in our lives. -Sara

Week 4 - Thursday

September 10, 2020

Week 4 - Wednesday

September 9, 2020 • Brittany

“I have no greater joy than this: to hear that my children are living according to truth.” 3 John 4 A few years ago, a college mentor reached out to me after having not been in contact for years. We had been incredibly close during my undergraduate experience, but life happened. I moved away, got married, had a family, and after over a decade of living in different states - aside from a Christmas card and an occasional email - we no longer talked regularly. Every couple of years we’d catch up on all the big happenings in our life, and I’d find myself again soaking up her wisdom. One day, after one of our catch-up sessions, I opened up an email from her and saw these life-giving words, “I am so proud of the way you’re choosing to live your life.” Tears brimmed my eyes and spilled over onto my cheeks as those words, rich with the love of a mentor, spoke life over me. She viewed her guidance, her discipleship, and sacrifice of time and resources as an investment of love into my life. And because of her love of the Lord and love for me, all these years later I am still walking with the Lord (imperfectly) but striving to live my life in a way that is according to truth. I love how Jesus’s words in the Great Commission tell us that, as we go, we’re called to make disciples, “baptizing them in the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit, teaching them to obey everything I [our heavenly Father] have commanded you” (Matthew 28:19-20). Third John 4 shows us the beauty that comes from obeying the Great Commission: “I have no greater joy than this, to hear that my children are living according to truth.” There is a pure joy in knowing your work for the kingdom has produced good fruit. There is deep satisfaction knowing the work we’re doing today, the love we’re sharing with others, will one day take root and grow something faithful and true. Because isn’t that the way of the disciple? To know the deep riches of God’s love, to have been shown and taught it during our early years of our faith, to allow it to transform our lives into something beautiful – and then to one day be the one who takes the hand of a younger person in their faith and help them navigate the joys and heartaches of this life? To be a disciple of Jesus is to also be a disciple maker – and that is a good and life-giving calling, worthy of our utmost attention. Years later, I am now modeling the relationship I had with my mentor. Over cups of coffee and open Bibles, I meet with college girls in my church. We talk about life, sin, relationships, career choices – you name it! Sometimes we talk specifically about Scripture, other times we share about what’s going on with our lives. And I often walk away praying, “Father, keep her close to you. Let these moments not return void. Help her see your great love for her and allow it to change her life forever.” I don’t yet have the satisfaction of seeing the fruit God grows in their life, but what I do know is this: the great love God has called us to is one I can’t keep to myself. And I am confident in this, the one who began a good work in them, will complete it (Philippians 1:6). And I look forward to the day where I can send them an email and say, “I am so proud of the way you’re choosing to live your life” -Brittany