Faith at Newtown Blog

Components of Christianity (1 John 2)

The Bible is God’s love letter to all believers.  It is filled, not only with instruction that provides us with all the help we need for today, but also with all the hope that we need for tomorrow.  In chapter 2 of First John,  the Apostle John instructs us on what a true believer is and what a true believer does.  

There are three components to being a true believer in Christ.  

First is a “Moral Component.”  (1 John 2:3-5)

The genuine and true believer, obeys God’s commandments. They avoid what God hates, and they validate their belief by obeying his command. God clearly states in v.4 that the one who professes Christ Jesus, keeps his commandments.

 

The second component of a true believer a “Social Component.” (1 John 2:6-11)

The disciple of Christ will love the brethren! We live in a world on intolerance. A follower of Jesus loves the family members.  each other, even when we are unlovable!  Whereas the world is constantly looking out for themselves, believers look out for each other. Love naturally flows out of us. Disciples of Christ love God and love others! 

 

The third component is an “Integrity Component.”  (1 John 2:15-17)

Walking in the light means genuine and legitimate.  If you love the things of the world, then God’s love cannot truly be in you. (1 John 2:15) 

 

Do you confess Jesus as your Lord and Savior? Your lifestyle will exemplify the walk of a genuine disciple of Christ.

Jesus Our Advocate 1 John 2:1-2

We all sin.  No-one is deserving of salvation or eternity in heaven. One sin makes us a sinner. God, because of his holiness, justice and righteousness, cannot allow sinfulness to enter heaven. Matthew 5:48 points to God’s standard for entrance. When the believer sins Satan accuses us before God. If he can’t keep us out of heaven, he is out to destroy or ruin us. But for believers, we have an advocate, a defense lawyer, ready to defend us against the accuser. Jesus is the propitiation for our sins. Scripture tells us that the penalty for sin is death, and that blood must be shed for the forgiveness of sins (Romans 6:23, Hebrews 9:22). Jesus paid this penalty with his own blood.

As snowfall covers the earth, hiding the dead leaves and broken branches beneath a pristine blanket of white, so too does the precious blood of Christ cover our sins. A sinner can be righteous through the blood of Jesus. A holy God can declare us right, through the shed blood of his Son. We have an advocate, who intercedes for our sin.

Are you “in Christ?” Do you have forgiveness of your sins?
What a great and loving God to send his Son!
What a great and loving Savior to willingly pay the penalty for our sin!
What a great salvation!
(Hebrews 2:3) “How shall we escape if we neglect such a great salvation? …”

Paradoxes of Scripture

Webster’s dictionary defines paradox as “a person having seemingly contradictory qualities.” As true believers in Christ we should be a paradox to the world. Our lifestyle should be contradictory to the lifestyle of non-believers.  As true believers, our lives should be lived in stark contrast to the world. We do this by conforming to God’s standards, not the world’s. We should live according to the Spirit of God and not the flesh. We need to understand, live and practice paradoxical principles!  God states that his ways are higher than our ways. (Isaiah 55: 8-10). God’s word gives five paradoxes. Let them be your guide for living.

1.  To receive you must give.
2.  To advance you must lose.
3.  To live you must die.
4.  To be exalted you must humble yourself.
5.  To be strong you must become weak.

The world should see a difference in you. You are not of this world but made for another. (John 17:16)

The Brevity of Life – Psalm 90

There is one certainty in life and that is death. Death comes to all. It is inevitable, no one escapes it. Life is short. Scriptures tell us “…you are a mist that appears for a little time then vanishes” (James 4:14); and “…in your book were written, every one of them, the days that were formed for me, when as yet there was none of them” (Psalm 139:16). One life is all you have to offer God. One life to serve him and live wisely. One life to love, cherish, help and serve others. Each minute lived never returns. You must ask God as the psalmist said, “…teach us to number our days that we may get a heart of wisdom” (Psalm 90:12). Do not waste the moments you have been given. Anchor your life to God’s word. Wisdom is skillful living. Skillfully live by his word no matter how long or short you may have.

God Does Reveal His Glory

In Mark 6:45-52, Christ manifests his glory to the disciples by walking on water. God wants to manifest his glory in your life as he did to the disciples. Allow him. We all have storms in life, and we all have a choice to make when we go through them. Your storm can either strengthen your faith or it can overwhelm you with doubt leading you to turn away. If you choose to respond with doubt or anger, your heart will be hardened. You will not see the miracle God may be performing in your life. Trust Christ during your storm, and allow your heart to be softened. With a pliable heart, you will see his glory and profound love. In the storm God wants to reveal his glory to you. He wants you to know that you have a personal Savior. One who knows you, sees you and is for you. Trust him and realize that he is all you need in life. It is during your storm and trial that you can truly see his glory. Allow your heart to be soft in the storms of life. Choose to see Christ’s hand at work, and firmly plant your trust in him.

Dealing With Fear

Mark 4:35-41

We all experience storms in life — the death of a loved one, a serious illness, the loss of a job, financial troubles. During a storm we may find ourselves doubting God’s goodness and love. God may be allowing the storm in your life to occur, because he loves you! Trials and difficulties happen for a reason. He has a purpose to strengthen, grow, mold and teach us to become more Christ-like. The single most desperate need in our lives is a reverential trust in God. He wants us to learn that he alone is the shelter in our storms. Faith is trusting him even when we can’t see it. These verses teach us not to fear the outcome of any storm because of his presence. God never leaves our side and is always working for our good. Trust his presence! His presence and a reverential trust in his promises is the anchor for our storms.

The Gospel Above All Else (Romans 16:25-27)

The apostle Paul knew the profound sense of peace, protection and stability found within the gospel. He worked tirelessly proclaiming and spreading the good news of Jesus Christ to the Gentiles. He knew the power and strength the gospel imparted to the believer: it’s ability to save, to heal and to transform lives. The gospel is the power of God and is above all else. It is the sole source of stability in the life of the believer. Providing for our every need, it is everything that we need, and it can save us in the midst of our darkest hours and our most difficult circumstances. Through the power of the gospel alone people go from hopelessness and despair to a renewed sense of hope and joy. Those who gave up, after embracing the gospel, found a renewal of faith, purpose and a sense of peace and happiness. The gospel brings about the obedience of faith, one that can sustain us through all situations. It is truth, knowledge, and it reveals the mystery of salvation that had been hidden since creation. The singularity of our purpose is to exalt the one who made salvation possible. The gospel declares to all nations the glory of God through Jesus Christ and his marvelous work of salvation. It demands a singular focus in our lives “to glorify God and fully enjoy him forever” (Westminster Confession). We were made to glorify God, it is the chief end of man. He made us to glorify him and to bring the right opinion of him to others in all our circumstances. This should be the driving force behind all we do. Do not be ashamed of your love for God or of spreading the gospel to others. Jubilantly join the apostle Paul in boldly proclaiming the gospel to all. “For I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes, to the Jew first and also to the Greek. For in it the righteousness of God is revealed from faith for faith, as it is written, ‘The righteous shall live by faith’ ” (Romans 1:16-17).