Confident Christianity

Confident Christianity

1 John 5:13-21

I. CONFIDENCE IN ETERNAL LIFE

    A. A blessed promise from the Father to the faithful (1 John 5:13; Titus 1:2; John 17:3; 20:30-31)
    B. Assurance of our relationship with the Almighty

      1. Walking in the light (1 John 1:7)
      2. Obeying God’s commands (1 John 2:3-5)
      3. Loving the brethren (1 John 2:9-11)
      4. Believing in Christ, the Son of God in the flesh (1 John 2:22-23; 4:1-3; 5:1-5)
      5. Practicing righteousness (1 John 2:29-3:10)

II. CONFIDENCE IN PRAYER

    A. God hears us (1 John 5:14-15; Luke 18:10-14; Hebrews 4:16)
    B. Praying for the penitent (1 John 5:16-17; 1:9)

III. CONFIDENCE IN THE RIGHTEOUSNESS OF GOD

    A. Faithful Christians do not lead a life of sin (1 John 5:18-19; 3:6)

      1. He who has been born of God keeps himself (1 John 5:18; Jude 1:21; Philippians 2:12; James 4:7)
      2. Those who are outside Christ are under the sway of the wicked one (1 John 5:19; Ephesians 2:1-2)

    B. Knowing God is to have assurance of eternal life (1 John 5:20; 1:1-3)
    C. Keep yourselves from idols (1 John 5:21; Colossians 3:5)

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The Life of John the Baptist: Who is John the Baptist?

The Life of John the Baptist

WHO IS JOHN THE BAPTIST? // John 1:6-8; 1:19-40

I. The apostle introduces the baptizer (John 1:6-8)

    A. “Sent from God”
    B. “To bear witness of the Light”
    C. “He was not that Light” (cf. John 5:35; Matthew 5:14-16)

II. John answers the Pharisees (John 1:19-24)

    A. Not the Christ
    B. Not Elijah

      1. Malachi prophesied the return of Elijah (Malachi 4:5)
      2. Jesus identified John as Elijah (Matthew 17:12-13)
      3. Why did John deny his identity as Elijah? “The popular notion was that the original Elijah would rise from the dead; and, if John the Baptist had given an affirmative answer to their question, it would have been, in the context, a falsehood. Therefore, he denied that he was Elijah, in the sense in which the question had been asked.” (Coffman, John)

    C. Not the Prophet

      1. Moses: “A Prophet like me from your midst, from your brethren” (Deuteronomy 18:15-18)
      2. Notice the capital “P” in many modern translations
      3. The use of capital letters indicate that the translators believed the noun referred to Deity – in this case, Christ
      4. John had already denied that he was the promised Christ. “It was the old reporter’s trick of asking the same question again in different words, and John again answered it negatively.” (Coffman, John)
      5. “He willingly and joyfully kept himself in the background in order that all might see the only Son of God. The Baptist was what every true follower of Christ ought to be – a servant willing to lay all the acclaim and honor given him of men at the feet of Jesus.” (Butler, John)

    D. The fulfillment of prophecy (Isaiah 40:3)

      1. Also referenced in Matthew 3:3; Mark 1:3; Luke 3:4
      2. His job was simply to prepare the people for the Christ
      3. Prepare and make straight (Isaiah 40:3)
      4. Prepare the way (Malachi 3:1)
      5. “John was literally in the wilderness of Judea doing his preaching. But there seems to be a spiritual application to the phrase ‘a voice of one crying in the wilderness.’ Especially this is true considering its prophetic background. This herald of God was also crying in a wilderness of wasted souls.” (Butler, John)

III. John prophesies of the Christ (John 1:25-28)

    A. He was not “the Prophet,” nor was he the actual Elijah resurrected, but he was a prophet (“sent from God” John 1:6)
    B. “It was the baptizing and not the preaching which cause the greatest perplexity in John’s questioners. The extensive mass cleansing of the whole nation through repentance and baptism clearly suggested the great cleansing that had been prophesied by Ezekiel of the times of the Messiah (Ezekiel 36:25; 37:23); why then was John doing it if indeed he was not the Christ nor the kind of forerunner they expected to precede the Christ? This query shows that they had missed completely the implication of John’s quoting Isaiah 40:3; in which he made it clear that he was actually the forerunner of the Messiah, but not the literal Elijah they had expected.” (Coffman, John)
    C. Jesus’ identity as the Christ was not yet made known to the general public
    D. John declares that the Christ was coming after him, but is preferred before him
    E. “Whose sandal strap I am not worthy to loose”

IV. John testifies of the Christ (John 1:29-34)

    A. “The Lamb of God”

      1. The antitype of the Passover Lamb (Exodus 12-13; 1 Corinthians 5:7; 1 Peter 1:19)
      2. “He was led as a lamb to the slaughter” (Isaiah 53:7)

    B. “Takes away the sin of the world”

      1. “Christ did not come to solve the political problems of Israel, nor to break the back of Roman tyranny, nor for bringing improvements in agriculture, trade, medicine, or education, nor for any similar thing. Christ came to redeem people from sin.” (Coffman, John)
      2. Luke 19:10; John 3:16-17; Hebrews 10:4-10

    C. John affirms that this was the One of whom he had previously spoken in 1:26-27

      1. John was conceived six months before Jesus (Luke 1:36)
      2. John says of Jesus, “He was before me” – indicating the eternal nature of the Christ

    D. “I did not know Him” probably means that John did not realize Jesus was the Christ until it was revealed to him from heaven on the occasion of Jesus’ baptism

      1. He was given the sign of the dove (Matthew 3:16)
      2. He heard the voice from heaven (Matthew 3:17)
      3. Possibly, however, “Although their mothers were cousins, they lived eighty miles apart, and it is possible that they had not met.” (Lipscomb, John)

V. John’s disciples follow Jesus (John 1:35-40)

    A. Two disciples left John to follow Jesus

      1. “Some of the disciples of John were jealous that Jesus gathered followers at the expense of John, but John had none of this feeling. He came to make ready a people for Jesus, bear testimony to his claims, and direct his disciples to Jesus as the Lord, and rejoiced to see him increase, while he himself decreased in followers.” (Lipscomb, John)

    B. Andrew, Simon Peter’s brother
    C. The other, though not named, is thought to be John the apostle

      1. “But who was the unnamed companion of Andrew? Probably the Evangelist himself. For: (1) the narrative in this place is very particular and graphic, making it probable that the writer was an eye-witness. (2) The writer of such a narrative would have been sure to mention the name of the other disciple as well as that of Andrew, unless there had been some reason for withholding it. (3) The writer of this Gospel never refers to himself elsewhere by name, and the same feeling which led him to withhold his name elsewhere accounts for his withholding it here.” (Hovey)
      2. “It is a trait of the author of this account never to mention his own name or that of his relatives.” (Butler, John)

Godly Love, Victorious Faith

1 John 5:1-12

I. LOVING THE BRETHREN AND GOD

    A. Who is my brother? (1 John 4:20-5:1)
    B. Does John teach “faith only”? (1 John 5:1-2; Matthew 25:31-46; James 2:14-26; Matthew 22:37-40; Romans 13:8-10)
    C. “For this is the love of God, that we keep His commandments” (1 John 5:3; John 14:15,21,23,24; Romans 12:1)

II. FAITH IS THE VICTORY

    A. We CAN overcome the world! We CAN be victorious! (1 John 5:4; 2:15-17; Hebrews 11:33-34)
    B. Does it matter what one believes? (1 John 5:5; Romans 10:17)

III. FAITH ESTABLISHED BY THE TESTIMONY OF WITNESS

    A. Three witnesses: Spirit, water, blood (1 John 5:6,8; John 16:13)
    B. The witness of God is greater than the witness of man (1 John 5:9; John 5:33-36)
    C. To have the Son is to have life (1 John 5:10-12)

The Life of John the Baptist: The Birth of John the Baptist

The Life of John the Baptist

THE BIRTH OF JOHN THE BAPITST // Luke 1:5-25; 1:57-80

I. The parents of John the Baptist (Luke 1:5-7)

    A. Zacharias was a priest, of the division of Abijah

      1. “Jehovah is renowned”
      2. “The great numbers of priests necessitated that particular choice for various functions should be made by casting lots; and no one was allowed to burn incense more than once, many never being permitted to do so at all.” (Coffman, Luke)

    B. Elizabeth was of the daughters of Aaron

      1. “God is an oath”
      2. A relative of Mary
      3. Barren

    C. They were both “righteous before God”

      1. “Walking in all the commandments and ordinances of the Lord”
      2. “Blameless”

II. Zacharias’ service in the temple (Luke 1:8-10)

    A. “The inside of the Temple-building was exactly like the inside of the Tabernacle. The Holy Place contained the Table of Showbread, the Menora (candelabra), and the Altar of Incense. Outside the Temple-building was the Altar of Burnt Offering and the Laver. Inside the Holy of Holies was where the Ark of the Covenant was supposed to be. Only the High Priest could enter there and only once a year on the Day of Atonement (Yom Kippur). Incense was burned on this altar (which stood just in front of the veil which separated the Holy Place from the Holy of Holies) every morning and every evening so that it was literally, perpetual (cf. Ex. 30:8). It was customary for the Jews to stop whatever they were doing each day at these times of burning the incense in the temple and pray. Many made a special trip to the Temple courts to pray at those hours. It was one of the greatest experience in the life of an ordinary priest of the Jews to be chosen to burn the incense.” (Butler, Luke)

III. Gabriel speaks to Zacharias (Luke 1:11-23)

    A. Fear was the normal response to the appearance of an angel
    B. The announcement of a son

      1. Call his name John – “gift of God” or “God’s grace”
      2. Great in the sight of the Lord
      3. Drink neither wine nor strong drink
      4. Will be filled with the Holy Spirit

    C. John’s work

      1. Turn many of the children of Israel to the Lord
      2. Turn the hearts of the fathers to the children (Malachi 4:6)
      3. Turn the disobedient to the wisdom of the just
      4. Make ready a people prepared for the Lord

    D. Zacharias’ unbelief

      1. Because of his age
      2. Punishment was to be made deaf (Luke 1:62) and dumb until John’s birth
      3. “Zacharias is not the only one to ask for evidence on which to base his belief: Gideon did; Thomas did….But since Zacharias didn’t believe the word of the angel Gabriel, he was given a sign that would not only establish it in his mind but also cause the people to see that something unusual had happened while he was in the temple.” (Applebury, Luke)

IV. Elizabeth conceives (Luke 1:24-25)

    A. The inability to bear children was viewed as a curse from God
    B. “The mores of that society were such that Elizabeth would indeed have suffered all kinds of reproach from her family, possibly even from her husband, and certainly from her community. Her gratitude at the lifting of such a reproach is beautiful and touching. If she had suffered a number of miscarriages in the past, it would have accounted for her period of hiding for five months.” (Coffman, Luke)

V. The birth of John (Luke 1:57-66)

    A. The neighbors believed the child should be named Zacharias after his father, but Elizabeth and Zacharias rejected their suggestion

      1. Children were traditionally named after a relative
      2. “The officiousness of the neighbors is seen in their appealing over the mother’s wishes to Zacharias himself.” (Coffman, Luke)

    B. Upon the affirmation of the child’s name, Zacharias was able to speak
    C. “The miracles surrounding the birth of John were talked about through all the hill country of Judea. Those who witnessed the miracles agreed, ‘…the hand of the Lord was with him.’ No doubt there were many who remembered these testimonies when John began preaching 30 years later and repeated them to the younger generation so that great multitudes (Mt. 3:5) went out into the uninhabited Jordan river valley to hear him. After all, there had not been a bona fide prophet of God among the Hebrew people for over 400 years.” (Butler, Luke)

VI. Zacharias prophesies (Luke 1:67-80)

    A. Zacharias praises God for the arrival of the times of the Messiah

      1. Verses 68-75 refer to the coming Christ

        a. “He has visited and redeemed His people” (cf. Isaiah 29:6; Zephaniah 2:7; Psalm 8:4-6; Hebrews 2:6; Acts 15:14)
        b. “A horn of salvation” (cf. Psalm 132:17; 148:14; Ezekiel 29:21)
        c. “In the house of His servant David” (cf. Amos 9:11; Acts 15:15-18)

      2. Verses 76-79 refer to John’s work of preparation for the Christ

        a. “The imagery is that of a herald going before a king to prepare the way for a royal visitor.” (Coffman, Luke)
        b. One of his tasks: “To give knowledge of salvation to His people by the remission of their sins” (cf. Luke 3:3)

    B. Verse 80 is the only information we have about John’s life until his work begins

A Study of Malachi and the Inter-Testamental Period

On Sunday morning, we completed a five-lesson study of the book of Malachi and the Inter-Testamental Period in our high school class. A number of resources were utilized in the completion of this study; a list of those resources can be found on pages 22 and 23 of the file below. I offer my notes here as a study aid, and encourage you to search the Scriptures and discover the rich lessons available in the prophecies of Malachi.

Click here to download A Study of Malachi and the Inter-Testamental Period: Class notes compiled by Jason T. Carter (PDF format).

A Study of Malachi and the Inter-Testamental Period: The Inter-Testamental Period

THE INTER-TESTAMENTAL PERIOD

The Medo-Persian Empire (538-332 BC)
In control when Malachi prophesied (middle of 5th century BC)
The “kingdom inferior” to Babylon with “chest and arms of silver” (Daniel 2:39; 2:32)

The Greek Empire (332-167 BC)
“Belly and thighs of bronze…which shall rule over all the earth” (Daniel 2:32; 2:39).
Alexander the Great ruled until his death, 323 BC
Ptolemies and Seleucids fought for Palestine
Attempt to Hellenize Jewish worship; “the abomination of desolation” (Daniel 11:31)

The Maccabean Revolt and Jewish Independence (167-63 BC)
Key people: Mattathias, Judas, Jonathan, Simon, John Hyrcanus
The fighting between Pharisees and Sadducees led to the downfall of Jewish independence

The Roman Empire (63 BC-70 AD)
“Legs of iron, its feet partly of iron and partly of clay” (Daniel 2:33)
Civil war between Hyrcanus II and Aristobulus II from 69-63 BC
Julius Caesar took control of Rome in 48 BC
It was “in the days of these kings” that God established His church, “a kingdom which shall never be destroyed” (Daniel 2:44)

A Study of Malachi and the Inter-Testamental Period: Malachi 4

MALACHI 4

4:1 – “There’s a Great Day Coming”
“Sad day” – warning to the proud and wicked (2 Thessalonians 1:7-9; Matthew 3:12; 25:41; 2 Peter 3:7)

4:2-3 – “Bright day” for the faithful
Wickedness or righteousness is based on one’s response to the same message
“The Sun of Righteousness” is a Messianic prophecy
“Healing in His wings” (cf. Isaiah 53:5; Mark 2:17)

4:4 – Remember the Law of Moses
Blessings of the Word: keep one undefiled, upright, and upheld (Psalm 119:1,7,116)
Provides divine direction (Psalm 119:105)
Served as a shadow or type of the better covenant to come

4:5-6 – The promise of Elijah
Not in person (John 1:21), but in spirit (Matthew 17:11-13)
John’s purpose: “reconciliation of those present at his coming with the covenant faith of their fathers” (Clinton R. Gill)
Between Malachi and John – approximately 400 years – there were no other inspired prophets

Review and thought questions

1. What imagery is used to describe the eternal punishment of the wicked in the Scriptures?

2. What is said of the faithful?

3. How do we know Malachi is not referring to Elijah the Tishbite in 4:5?

4. What was the purpose of Elijah/John according to 3:1 and 4:6?

The Devil Hates Success

          On August 24, 2017, the Cleveland Indians defeated the Boston Red Sox in what would begin an amazing win streak. Between August 24 and September 14, “The Tribe” outscored their opponents by 105 runs, slugged 41 homers, and pitched seven shutouts. Out of 199 innings, they only trailed their foes nine times. It is one of the most dominant win streaks in baseball history, bested only by the New York Giants of 1916. Eventually, though, the Indians will lose (assuming they haven’t already by the time you read this). All good things must come to an end in this life.
          As Christians, we will experience spiritual peaks and valleys. There will be times of great success, multiple baptisms and restorations, increased giving, more and more people on fire for the Lord. It is our hope and prayer that this zeal, as long as it is properly channeled, burns brightly in every child of God. But the devil hates success.
          Peter was a fervent man who set his sights on serving Christ. He told Jesus, “Lord, I am ready to go with You, both to prison and to death” (Luke 22:33). When the officials placed the Messiah under arrest, it was Peter who, “having a sword, drew it and struck the high priest’s servant, and cut off his right ear” (John 18:10). Yet Christ had warned the apostle, “Satan has asked for you, that he may sift you as wheat” (Luke 22:31). It was not long after the arrest that Peter denied his Lord. The devil hates success.
          Never give up on your friends, family members, co-workers, and neighbors who are not members of the Lord’s church. Keep praying and planting seeds. Some seeds will fall by the wayside, some on the rock, and some among the thorns. But there will be some that fall on good soil, representing those “who, having heard the word with a noble and good heart, keep it and bear fruit with patience” (Luke 8:15). The devil hates success, so let’s do our best to make him mad.

Responding to God’s Love

1 John 4:7-21

I. ACCEPTING GOD’S LOVE

    A. Knowing God (1 John 4:7-8; Philippians 3:8-11; Titus 1:16)
    B. Christ gives us life (1 John 4:9; John 14:6; 1:4; 11:25; 5:24) as the propitiation of our sins (1 John 4:10)
    C. We have no excuse to not love the brethren (1 John 4:11)

II. CONFESSING GOD’S LOVE

    A. The good confession (1 John 4:15; Acts 8:37-38; 1 Timothy 6:12)
    B. More than mere lip service (Matthew 15:8; 7:21)

III. ABIDING IN GOD’S LOVE

    A. A mutual spiritual indwelling, a reciprocal abiding, the closest fellowship and communion possible (1 John 4:12-16)
    B. We can be bold by conforming our lives to His (1 John 4:17; 1 Timothy 6:11; Ephesians 5:1-2)
    C. There is no fear in love (1 John 4:18; Psalm 111:10)

IV. PRACTICING GOD’S LOVE

    A. Selflessly seeking the very best for another person (1 John 4:19)
    B. Love for the brethren flows from a love for God (1 John 4:20)
    C. You cannot love God if you do not love your Christian family (1 John 4:21)

A Study of Malachi and the Inter-Testamental Period: Malachi 3

MALACHI 3

3:1-6 – An answer to Malachi 2:17: “The God of justice” is coming Himself!
His messenger (John the Baptist) would first come to prepare the way (cf. Malachi 4:5-6; Isaiah 40:3-5; Matthew 3:3; 11:10, 14; 17:12-13; Mark 1:3; Luke 1:17; 3:4; John 1:23)
The divine Christ would then arrive as “the Messenger of the covenant”
God’s justice starts with those in charge, then against the wicked

3:7-12 – Will a man rob God?
“God is never satisfied with a partial, or incomplete, service” (Guy N. Woods)
He challenges them to follow Him fully, and He would bless them beyond measure

3:13-15 – “Your words have been harsh against Me”
They questioned His moral government among men
Israel was shortsighted, looking only at the rewards of this life

3:16-18 – There was a remnant of “those who feared the Lord”
Contrast verse 9, “this whole nation,” with verse 17, “shall be Mine”
Each individual must decide into which category he wishes to be placed, and live accordingly

Review and thought questions

1. Considering all the accusations being brought against Israel, how do you think they would have responded to the message that God was coming?

2. In what ways might Christians “rob God” today?

3. Should we expect recognition for doing the right thing in this life? What does Christ say about doing charitable deeds, or praying, or fasting, in order to be seen by men? Read Matthew 6:1, 5, 16.

4. What are some things upon which the people of God should meditate? Read Psalm 1:1-2; Malachi 3:16; Philippians 4:8-9.