Hi Family, Another update. I know last week I said I had hoped to have Pastor Rob back with us, but he was still recouping from a nasty illness. He is, however, preparing a sermon to share with you on Sunday’s broadcast. So that’s a good sign! If you don’t have means to print this off and are working off of a screen, please just gather a notebook, pen, and Bible to make notes separately. Also, if you would like an editable version shared with you, please text your email address to 541-786-5245. I hope you are encouraged and blessed by your time in the Word and by the knowledge that others in your CC La Grande family are digging into the same scripture tonight. Also, find someone else to share your study with if you can. “Where two or more are gathered…” I think that God is big enough to show up if we’re “gathered” via a phone conversation too. 😊 Please feel free to share your thoughts or questions on tonight’s devotional on our Facebook or Instagram page (#cclagrande, #wednightcclagrande and #calvarychapel) or to me directly via the phone number above. And now, if you would like to interface directly with others doing this Bible study on our website, you can sign up to be a member on our website and comment in the below in the "Comments" sections of this blog.
God bless, Summer Steele
* I used the NASB version for this Bible study
* If you would like a song to worship to before or during your study, I recommend this.
How to overcome the world: Verses 1-4
What are we to love?
(The Father, His children, His Commandments)
Have you ever had a problem with loving one of your spiritual brothers or sisters? _________
I purposefully kept this line brief. There is no long, convoluted answers. Just a brief yes or no will do.
How do we know we love God? _____________________________________________
(Loving His children and keeping His commandments.)
So if you’ve ever tried to love somebody that you truly didn’t... were you able to just flip the switch and start loving them? If you were, I would guess that they weren’t truly annoying or offensive to you. I would bet, if we were honest with ourselves, that at some time we have felt such a deep offense at a brother or sister that it bordered on bitterness.
Then changing our own emotions towards someone who has become truly odious (isn’t that a great word?) to us feels almost impossible.
Track with me here - what in the world is John saying then, when he says that the God’s commandments are not burdensome?
I couldn’t even give the mandated punishment-hug to my sister that my mom insisted on when we were done fighting as children! What about someone who has truly offended and wronged me? Someone who claims to be a Christian?!?!
Let’s backtrack to 1 John 4:9-10 “By this the love of God was manifested in us, that God has sent His only begotten Son into the world so that we might live through Him. In this is love, not that we loved God, but that He loved us and sent His Son to be the propitiation for our sins.”
The word love in these verses is used as a noun and a verb. “That He loved us…”
My point is this. This verse isn’t really referring to God’s emotion towards us - it’s referring to his ACTIONS towards us.
So then, what are these non-burdensome actions John speaks of in verse 3? ____________________________________________________________
Spoiler alert! The keeping of His commands is the non-burdensome thing. He’s not asking us to change our hearts towards these alleged brothers and sisters we should be loving.
He’s asking us to abide in Him!
Loving our brothers and sisters is a byproduct of keeping His commands.
So let’s focus on God and leave the super hard stuff, like loving irritating Christians to Him!
What is our victory that has overcome the world? ___________________
What is faith? (Hint: Heb. 11:1) _________________________________
And where does it come from? (Rom. 10:17) _______________________
A connection between loving God, to His children, to His commandments. Why would God include a section on loving the brethren and His commandments while addressing the subject of overcoming the world? ___________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________
The Testimony: Verses 5 - 12
It seems to me that verses 1-4 have a lot to do with organizing a church body that has a consistent and true testimony to the world. And maybe even more importantly, a church that can operate from the true peace of God in an intimate relationship with Him.
So what does a Christian have as a foundational belief (Verses 5-6)? ______________________________________________________
Life, especially in these times, can feel very complicated. If we forget everything else, where can we find life (verses 11-12)? ______________________________________________________
* An additional thought on this as I know many suffer from depression. Depression can feel a lot like a living death. So where is life? If you don’t know anything else, start with verses 11 & 12 and ask God to open your soul to those verses and show you the way forward from there.
How To Grow In Grace & Knowledge: Verses 13 - 21
In these last few exhortations, what is John asking us to do? _____________________________________________________
And what will the result of these actions be?
Take a moment to pray.
Asking God to empower you to keep His commandments, drawing you in close to His heart.
Is there a promise in this chapter for you? Write it down! Claim it and come back to it over and over - trusting that, as you draw near to Him, He will draw near to you.
So really, the secret to overcoming the world would be to abide in God and let Him do the work!