“No Boundaries”

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

MONDAY
“No Boundaries”

Luke 7:1-5
Now when He concluded all His sayings in the hearing of the people, He entered Capernaum. And a certain centurion’s servant, who was dear to him, was sick and ready to die. So when he heard about Jesus, he sent elders of the Jews to Him, pleading with Him to come and heal his servant. And when they came to Jesus, they begged Him earnestly, saying that the one for whom He should do this was deserving, “for he loves our nation, and has built us a synagogue.”

Jesus just completed an extended time of teaching and Luke now presents two miracles that serve to validate his message and ministry. One of the most interesting aspects of this first event is the “elders of the Jews” coming to Jesus on behalf of the centurion who was a Gentile.

The title “Gentile” most commonly meant “anyone who is not a Jew” and had a very negative connotation. This centurion, unlike most Romans, was well liked and respected by the Jewish people around Capernaum because he built them a synagogue. However, Jews and Gentiles did not usually get along this well. Gentiles were commonly referred to as dogs.

Jesus extended grace to this Gentile, which helped Luke’s original Gentile audience understand that Jesus’ mission included both Jews and Gentiles. This sent a clear message to Jewish readers who would have naturally concluded that they should see no problem with accepting Gentiles into the church. This was a RADICAL idea.

THOUGHT: The message and ministry of Christ has no boundaries.

“Don’t Settle For Less”

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

FRIDAY
“Don’t Settle For Less”

1 John 5:20-21
“And we know that the Son of God has come and has given us an understanding, that we may know Him who is true; and we are in Him who is true, in His Son Jesus Christ. This is the true God and eternal life. Little children, keep yourselves from idols. Amen.”

There is nothing more important in our lives than our relationship to the one true God. John closes this letter with one final emphasis on the uniqueness of Christ and the gift of eternal life that we receive through faith. He also warns us to WATCH OUT for counterfeit faith options.

John MacArthur writes:

“We can have the happiness God gives; why should we settle for the cheap substitute Satan offers? We can have the success of living righteously and pleasing our heavenly Father; why should we settle for the brief and disappointing successes sin produces? By God’s grace we can have the peace that passes understanding; why should we settle for the cheap satisfactions that everyone understands but that will soon pass?”

THOUGHT: Don’t settle for less!

“The Wicked One”

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

THURSDAY
“The Wicked One”

1 John 5:18-19
“We know that whoever is born of God does not sin; but he who has been born of God keeps himself, and the wicked one does not touch him. We know that we are of God, and the whole world lies under the sway of the wicked one.”

When we place our faith in Christ, there is a new nature that is created inside us. Although we still struggle with our old sinful nature, the new nature is inherently sinless. Part of growing in Christ (sanctification) is realizing the freedom that we have from both our old nature and the power of sin in our lives.

The “wicked one” in these verses is Satan who is described as having the whole world under his influence. However, this is only a temporary condition as Christ is coming back to rule. In the meantime, we can stand securely in the truth that our new nature in Christ is not subject to the controlling influence of Satan in human society.

When a Christian walks in close fellowship with God, he does not sin because sin can never be a part of the experience of abiding in Christ. For the believer, sin is abnormal and unnatural; his whole way of life should be bent away from sin. There should be no compromise in our lives when it comes to sin despite the “wicked ones” desire to tempt us.

THOUGHT: We are not sinless… but we should sin less.

“Sin That Leads to Death”

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WEDNESDAY
“Sin That Leads to Death”

1 John 5:16-17
“If anyone sees his brother sinning a sin which does not lead to death, he will ask, and He will give him life for those who commit sin not leading to death. There is sin leading to death. I do not say that he should pray about that. All unrighteousness is sin, and there is sin not leading to death.”

These verses have been the source of much discussion and debate among students of the Bible. Perhaps the clearest example of a sin that leads to death is Ananias and Sapphira (Acts 5:1–11). In this case, God punished sin with a swift physical death.

There are at least three different types of death. First, physical death is separation from the body. Second, spiritual death is separation from God. Third, eternal death is the result of physically dying while spiritually dead and is experienced as separation from God for eternity.

Although all sin ultimately leads to death, the expression “that does not lead to death” in these verses can be understood in the sense, “not punished immediately by physical death.” There are sins for which death is an immediate consequence and sins for which it is not. John had in mind any sin that does not immediately and swiftly lead to physical death. As a concrete demonstration of love, we should pray for others when they sin.

CHALLENGE: Pray for someone you know who is struggling with sin.

“Can You Hear Me Now?”

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TUESDAY
“Can You Hear Me Now?”

1 John 5:14-15
“Now this is the confidence that we have in Him, that if we ask anything according to His will, He hears us. And if we know that He hears us, whatever we ask, we know that we have the petitions that we have asked of Him.”

The things in our homes work because of electricity. Electricity is an invisible power that gives you visible privileges. It turns the lights on, turns the TV on, turns the toaster on, and turns the oven on; all that stuff is working in your house because you’ve got one invisible power shooting through there called electricity.

But none of those things work even though they have access to electricity until you flip on a switch. You’ve got to make a connection before the stuff that’s there works. Every believer in Jesus Christ has stuff that works and prayer is the power needed to turn those things on in our lives.

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.

When we pray, the question is not “God, can you hear me now?” The question is actually FROM GOD… “Can you hear Me now?” HEARING from God and being obedient to what He says is the power of prayer in our lives. When we ask for the things that line up with the will of God, He hears us.

CHALLENGE: Listen more when you pray.

“It’s a Sure Thing”

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

MONDAY
“It’s a Sure Thing”

1 John 5:13
“These things I have written to you who believe in the name of the Son of God, that you may know that you have eternal life, and that you may continue to believe in the name of the Son of God.”

Sometimes it can be hard to know what you can count on in life. Disappointments come and cause us to question if we can truly depend on the people and things closest to us. John’s heartbeat in this verse is for his readers to KNOW there is at least one thing that they can count on no matter what happens.

When John says “these things”, he is not referring to the entire letter of 1 John. In verses 6-10 of this final chapter, John described to his audience that the water, blood, and Spirit all testify in agreement with the witness of God about Christ. He is now concluding with a powerful statement of assurance. The words of Christ found in John’s gospel also bring forward the security we have in Christ.

“My sheep hear My voice, and I know them, and they follow Me. And I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish; neither shall anyone snatch them out of My hand. My Father, who has given them to Me, is greater than all; and no one is able to snatch them out of My Father’s hand.” John 10:27-29

CHALLENGE: Believe in Jesus Christ for eternal life… it’s a sure thing!

“A Matter of Life and Death”

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FRIDAY
“A Matter of Life and Death”

1 John 5:11-12
“And this is the testimony, that God gave us eternal life, and this life is in His Son. Whoever has the Son has life; whoever does not have the Son of God does not have life.”

As John has repeated numerous times in this letter, our relationship to God through Christ is a matter of life and death. He wants us to know that our only true victory, freedom, and security is in Christ. The person who is truly free is simply chained to the right person.

Who do you know that needs to hear the message of Truth? What family member, co-worker, or friend can you share your faith with today? Make it an urgent priority… it is a matter of life and death!

“Agree to Disagree”

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THURSDAY
“Agree to Disagree”

1 John 5:9-10
“If we receive the testimony of men, the testimony of God is greater, for the testimony of God is this—that He has testified concerning His Son. Whoever believes in the Son of God has the testimony in himself. Whoever does not believe God has made Him a liar, because he has not believed in the testimony that God has given concerning His Son.”

How does it make you feel when someone disagrees with you? If we are honest, it is probably a little natural to get irritated. One leadership thought is: “If you and your friend always agree, one of you is unnecessary.” Having different perspectives can help discover the truth in many situations.

However, if two people say opposite things, they cannot both be true. One can be right and the other wrong, or they can both be wrong, but they cannot both be right. Contrary beliefs are possible, but contrary truths are not possible. Once truth is discovered, anything that contradicts that truth can then be identified as a lie.

What God says about His Son is of greater authority than what any man may say. When we say what God says about Jesus, we are truthful. Anyone who does not… calls God a liar. We must agree to disagree with anything or anyone that opposes God’s truth.

CHALLENGE: Agree to disagree with anything that is not truth.

“Water, Blood, and Spirit”

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An opportunity for you to continue your study of God’s Word throughout the week…

WEDNESDAY
“Water, Blood, and Spirit”

1 John 5:6-8
“This is He who came by water and blood—Jesus Christ; not by the water only but by the water and the blood. And the Spirit is the One Who testifies, because the Spirit is the truth. For there are three that testify: the Spirit and the water and the blood; and these three agree.”

The words “faith” and “believe” are important words in this chapter and throughout the New Testament. Faith is the noun form of the Greek verb “to believe”. In the Bible, to believe in something is the same as having faith in something.

In order to believe in Christ, we must know who Christ is. John wants his audience to know that the water, blood, and Spirit all testify in agreement to the truth of who Christ is. Each one of these (water, blood, and Spirit) represents an important aspect of the humanity and deity of Christ.

Water is best understood to represent the baptism of Christ and the blood to represent His crucifixion. These two events mark the beginning and end of His public ministry. John was specifically arguing against a teaching of his time that the divine Christ descended on the man Jesus at His baptism and left Him before His crucifixion. This would deny the humanity of Christ as well as His suffering, death, and victory over the grave.

THOUGHT: Jesus was fully God and fully man.

“Faith in Christ = Victory”

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

TUESDAY
“Faith in Christ = Victory”

1 John 5:4-5
“For everyone who has been born of God overcomes the world. And this is the victory that has overcome the world—our faith. Who is it that overcomes the world except the one who believes that Jesus is the Son of God?”

A businessman had to travel to a small town for a meeting and invited his wife to come with him. She was excited about the trip until she learned her husband was going to be flown to the small town in a small twin-engine plane. She said, “Honey, I’ve decided not to go… I am not going on a little-bitty, small twin-engine plane.”

Her husband smiled and knowingly said, “Honey, your faith is too small.” She quipped, “No, the plane is too small.” The businessman really wanted his wife to go with him, so he booked travel on a major airline. His wife went with him because, as she put it, “her faith grew because the size of the plane grew.”

When we place our faith in Christ, we have connected with something BIG and dependable! When He is the OBJECT of our faith, John says we have victory. We can believe in other things but they will not give us the victory that God offers through faith in His son. Faith in Christ gives us victory in three specific ways.

First, when we believe in Jesus Christ for eternal life we experience victory over the penalty of sin and move from death to life. Second, once we are alive in Christ, we begin the ongoing process of sanctification, which is victory over the power of sin in our lives. This ongoing transformation causes us to be more like Christ. Last, every Christian can look forward to glorification, which is victorious freedom from the very presence of sin and is the ultimate spiritual state of every believer.

TRUTH: It is not the STRENGTH of our faith but the OBJECT of our faith that gives us victory.