“Truth Does Not Lie”

“Digging Deeper” is an opportunity for you to continue your study of God’s Word throughout the week.

FRIDAY
“Truth Does Not Lie”

1 John 4:6
We are from God. Whoever knows God listens to us; whoever is not from God does not listen to us. By this we know the Spirit of truth and the spirit of error.

Some believe there is no truth at all or that truth cannot be known. However, this is a self-defeating position. A person may say: “There is no Truth.” The problem: Is that a true statement? Both what is true and what it is error CAN BE known and understood. Truth is like a mirror showing us how things really are. Things are not true simply because they “work.”
Cheating on a test may get you a good grade, but that grade does not represent the truth of what you have learned. Truth is also not simply what makes you feel good. A bad report from the doctor might cause you to feel bad, but it represents the truth. Truth is not always what you want to hear, but truth is valuable.

CHALLENGE: Surround yourself with people who will tell you the truth.

“Always an Audience”

“Digging Deeper” is an opportunity for you to continue your study of God’s Word throughout the week.

THURSDAY
“Always an Audience”

1 John 4:5
They are from the world; therefore they speak from the world, and the world listens to them.

You may have noticed that some of the most popular people in this world are not sharing and living the truth. They have a large audience of people who are being influenced by them. It would be easy, and perhaps natural to give credibility to people who have a large audience.

However, popularity is not the test of authenticity. In this passage, John makes the point that people who speak “from the world” will always have an audience. Even in our churches, we should be mindful to not sacrifice truth in order to draw and maintain a larger audience.

Consider these words written by Paul to the younger Timothy. “For the time is coming when people will not endure sound teaching, but having itching ears they will accumulate for themselves teachers to suit their own passions, and will turn away from listening to the truth and wander off into myths.” (2 Tim. 4:3-4)

Jesus also spoke about this matter. “Enter by the narrow gate. For the gate is wide and the way is easy that leads to destruction, and those who enter by it are many. For the gate is narrow and the way is hard that leads to life, and those who find it are few.” (Matt. 7:13-14)

THOUGHT: Popularity is not the test of authenticity.

“Greater Than”

“Digging Deeper” is an opportunity for you to continue your study of God’s Word throughout the week.

WEDNESDAY
“Greater Than”

1 John 4:4
Little children, you are from God and have overcome them, for He Who is in you is greater than he who is in the world.

Pro wrestling is staged. Before the wrestlers go out, it has been predetermined who will win. The contenders go through the battle for entertainment purposes. The point of the battle is not to decide who will win, but to give the crowd a show. The winner of the match does not battle for victory but from victory. He battles knowing that he has already won.

Those who believe in Jesus Christ for eternal life have already won but have not yet finished fighting. God allows us to go through our Christian walk, not to win the victory but to show off to the world that He that is in us is greater than he that is in the world.

This passage identifies two forces, God and Satan. God is described as being in us and greater than Satan who is in the world. In the previous chapter, John also wrote that God is even greater than our own hearts (1 John 3:20). Our God is omnipotent, literally meaning ALL-POWERFUL.

Relying on God is the secret to all spiritual victory in our lives. The Holy Spirit is greater than Satan and even greater than our own hearts. We overcome evil as He gives us strength to resist temptations to doubt, deny, disregard, and disobey the Word of God.

THOUGHT: We don’t fight FOR victory… we fight FROM victory.

“WARNING!!!”

“Digging Deeper” is an opportunity for you to continue your study of God’s Word throughout the week.

TUESDAY
“WARNING!!!”

1 John 4:2-3
By this you know the Spirit of God: every spirit that confesses that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is from God, and every spirit that does not confess Jesus is not from God. This is the spirit of the antichrist, which you heard was coming and now is in the world already.

One sure way for you to determine if someone is of God is to find out what they believe about Jesus Christ. If a person or group denies the incarnation of Jesus Christ, John says they have the spirit of the antichrist. This is a denial of the doctrine of Christ as the apostles taught it and a deviation from orthodox Christianity.

This is exactly what is happening with Cults in our culture today. A cult is a group that surrounds a leader, or a group of teachings, which either denies or misinterprets essential biblical teachings. For example, Jehovah’s Witnesses do not believe that Jesus is God.

SPECIFICS ABOUT CULTS:
• Usually an offshoot of Christianity
• Denies one or more of the doctrines of historic Christianity
• Often considers itself the only true expression of Christianity

One noted cult researcher observed that the cults are “the unpaid bills of the church.” In many ways, the church has failed to doctrinally train its members; it has failed to make a real moral difference in the lives of its members; it has failed to meet people’s deepest needs; and it has failed to provide people with a sense of belonging. The failure of the church is wide and deep and has made it easy for the cults to flourish.

Some experts say there are about 700 cults, while others say there are as many as 3,000. Cults of one form or another involve more than 20 million
people in the United States, and are multiplying at an alarming rate. The world we live in (the world our children and grandchildren are growing up in) is full of wrong information and beliefs about Jesus Christ.

WARNING: What a person believes about Jesus matters!

“Spiritual Gullibility”

“Digging Deeper”
An opportunity for you to continue the study of God’s Word throughout the week.

MONDAY
“Spiritual Gullibility”

1 John 4:1
Beloved, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God, for many false prophets have gone out into the world.

Have you ever had an experience where a person shared with you that God told him or her something? Perhaps they had a suggestion for how you should handle a situation or make a decision based on what “God told them”. When this happens, we should always be prepared to ask them one important question.

Question: HOW DO YOU KNOW IT WAS GOD?

One study found that people tell two to three lies every 10 minutes. Spirit is used in this passage to mean the “spirit of man.” It refers to man’s insight, feeling, and will. In contrast to John’s previous discussion of the importance to “believe in the name of His Son Jesus Christ”, he now says DO NOT believe every spirit.

In other words, don’t believe everything people tell you… even if they say it is from God. Don’t be spiritually gullible. Instead, examine and evaluate what they say based on the truth of the Word of God. John wants his audience to be aware and on guard because he knows that MANY false prophets (not just a few) are out in the world.

APPLICATION: Watch out when someone says, “God told me”.

“Q&A on Abiding”

“Digging Deeper”
An opportunity for you to continue the study of God’s Word throughout the week.

FRIDAY
“Q&A on Abiding”

1 John 3:24
Whoever keeps his commandments abides in God, and God in him. And by this we know that he abides in us, by the Spirit whom he has given us.

This past week, one of the readers of “Digging Deeper” asked an interesting question on Facebook about abiding that was worth sharing.

QUESTION: What does it mean when it says that someone who hates his brother does not abide in eternal life? What is the difference between possessing eternal life and abiding in eternal life?

ANSWER: Great question! Think of the difference between possessing a house and living in a house. Although I may own a house, I may not live in it. Even if I am living in the house, I may not abide in it at all times. But the house is still mine. I possess it. It is the same with our eternal life. When a person believes in Jesus Christ for eternal life, they receive eternal life, which is by definition eternal and never ending. However, although they possess eternal life, they may not abide in eternal life. Specifically, when they hate someone, they are not abiding in their eternal life.

QUESTION: If they don’t abide in it but still possess it, if they die will they enjoy it?

ANSWER: Yes. Check out John 10:27-30.

“Believe & Love”

1 John 3:23
And this is His commandment, that we believe in the name of His Son Jesus Christ and love one another, just as He has commanded us.

The New Testament makes it clear that when we believe in Jesus Christ for eternal life we experience justification. Justification is freedom from the penalty of sin and is a movement from death to life. Paul makes it clear in Ephesians 2:8-9 that justification is experienced by the grace of God through faith in Christ. Faith is the noun form of the Greek verb “to believe”. Scripturally, to believe in something is the same as having faith in something.

Dr. Charlie Bing writes: “To be saved by grace means that we believe God’s promise of eternal life rather than try to earn it or merit it in some way. Salvation through faith means that we bring nothing to God except our sin because we accept God’s promise as true. God allows no other options except faith. If we cannot be saved by what we do or do not do, then we cannot lose our salvation by what we do or do not do.”

Some have called this “easy believism” but 1 John makes it clear that we are commanded to both believe and to LOVE ONE ANOTHER. Being a believer means loving one another. There is nothing easy about being a believer. Believing in Jesus Christ for eternal life may be simple but it is not easy. The gospel is so simple a child can grasp it but learning to consistently love one another can take a lifetime.

QUESTION: Who can you do a better job of loving today?

“Why Pray?”

“Digging Deeper” is an opportunity for you to continue the study of God’s Word throughout the week.

WEDNESDAY
“Why Pray?”

1 John 3:21-22
Beloved, if our heart does not condemn us, we have confidence before God; and whatever we ask we receive from Him, because we keep His commandments and do what pleases Him.

Is this passage saying that we can ask God for anything and He will give it to us? This seems unlikely based on the context. In this passage, obedience to God’s commands and a willingness to serve God by doing “what pleases Him” are conditions for receiving. In Chapter 5 of this book, he also adds that what we ask for should be in line with His will.

“And this is the confidence that we have toward Him, that if we ask anything according to His will He hears us. And if we know that He hears us in whatever we ask, we know that we have the requests that we have asked of Him.” (1 Jn 5:14–15)

In order to enjoy the power of prayer, we must understand the purpose of prayer. God is not a genie in a bottle. He is an all-knowing, all-powerful, all-good Being who desires to pour out HIS BLESSINGS on His people. Prayer is not our way of getting our will done in Heaven. It is God’s way of getting His will done on Earth.

Consider this illustration by Dr. Tony Evans. “If I put a million dollars in your physical bank account, you are a guaranteed millionaire. But if you don’t know how to write a check, that which is guaranteed cannot be enjoyed. Too many of us who’ve got bank accounts full of God’s blessing are forgetting to sign our checks. We forget to draw from that spiritual reservoir, or we don’t understand how to draw from that spiritual reservoir to live the successful Christian life.”

THOUGHT: Prayer is not our way of getting our will done in Heaven. It is God’s way of getting His will done on Earth.

“He Knows… Everything!”

“Digging Deeper” is an opportunity for you to continue the study of God’s Word throughout the week.

TUESDAY
“He Knows… Everything!”

1 John 3:20
For whenever our heart condemns us, God is greater than our heart, and He knows everything.

Have you ever realized that you didn’t know something important you needed to know in order to finish a task such as taking a test or assembling a new purchase? When this happens, it can make us feel insecure about our ability to complete the task. This passage reminds us that we can rest in the simple truth that our God knows everything. Because God knows all things, we can be confident in Him and before Him. The big word for God’s knowledge of everything is omniscience. Dr. Norman Geisler writes, “God knows everything—past, present, and future; He knows the actual and the possible; only the impossible is outside the knowledge of God.”

“Nothing in all creation is hidden from God’s sight. Everything is uncovered and laid bare before the eyes of him to whom we must give account.” (Heb. 4:13)

What is the point of trying to hide something from our God? We are often aware of failure within us that others may not see. However, God knows all things and His desire is for each of us to find rest in Him. His grace is greater than all our sins. If we are troubled by uncertainty because of our failures, God wants us to continue to trust.

QUESTION: What are you trying to hide from God?

“The Truth About Truth”

“Digging Deeper” is an opportunity for you to continue the study of God’s Word throughout the week.

MONDAY
“The Truth About Truth”

1 John 3:19
By this we shall know that we are of the truth and reassure our heart before Him.

The phrase, “by this”, refers back to verses 17-18 where John reminds his audience that the evidence of genuine love is found in doing rather than in dialogue. Actions speak louder than words. However, the context of this verse transitions the reader and focuses on how we should approach God. One way for us to approach God is to dialogue with Him through prayer.

John wants his audience to know that they are “of the truth” and can be reassured when they approach God and are before Him. This phrase is in contrast to the description of Cain, who was of the evil one, in verse 12. In order to understand what it means for us to be “of the truth”; we need to have a clear understanding of what truth really is.

ABSOLUTE TRUTH IS: True for all people, in all places, at all times.

THE TRUTH ABOUT TRUTH:
•Truth is discovered, not invented.
•All truth claims are absolute, narrow and exclusive.
•Truth is not affected by the attitude of the one professing it.
•Contrary beliefs are possible, but contrary truths are not possible.
•Beliefs cannot change truth, no matter how sincerely they are held.
•We can believe everything is true, but we can’t make everything true.

THOUGHT: The truth is… we are of the truth.