New Testament In a Year: December 5 – 1 John 5

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1 John 5
(1-5) Overcoming the World
Everyone who believes in Jesus the Christ is born of God, and everyone who loves Jesus the Christ also loves God. One cannot know, love or believe in the true God without first knowing, loving and believing in His Son, Jesus. We show our love for God by obeying His commandments. His commandments are not burdensome; neither is His burden heavy.

The faith that we receive when we are born of God is the victory that helps us overcome the world. We are unable to overcome the world and all its darkness, troubles and problems on our own. Only belief in Jesus the Christ makes this possible.

(6-12) Testimony Concerning the Son of God
If we refuse to believe in Jesus the Christ, we are also refusing to believe in God; thus making God a liar because we are basically saying that we do not believe the testimony that He has given us in the form of His Son. Unbelief shows that we do not believe God loved the world and as a result of that lack of love, He did not send His Son to save us as John 3:16 says. However, unbelief does not change the fact of what God did do. God provided a way for all people to have eternal life through His Son. And whoever has the Son has life.

(13-21) That You May Know
John wrote these things to those who already believe in Jesus the Christ so that we can know that we have eternal life through Him. John wants us to have confidence that if we ask anything through prayer according to God’s will, He hears us. And since He hears us, He will give us what we have asked of Him. We do not have to come before God with uncertainty or doubt because we can fully rely on Him and be certain about His truth and His promises.

Favorite verse: (14) And this is the confidence that we have toward him, that if we ask anything according to his will he hears us.

New Testament In a Year: December 4 – 1 John 4

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1 John 4
(1-6) Test the Spirits
John drops another warning about antichrists. We must not believe everyone who says they are from God. We must first test them to see if they are truly from God. Everyone who confesses that Jesus the Christ came to earth and lived, died, was buried, and rose again, is from God. But if someone is only willing to say that Jesus was a great prophet or a good teacher, and not Savior and Lord, then they are not of God. We do not have to fear the spirit of the antichrist (Satan) which is in the world because God, who lives in us, is greater than he who is in the world. By knowing God, we are also from God.

(7-21) God Is Love
Why should we love one another? Because God first loved us and since we know God, we also know love. This love is not to be kept inside of us, but dispersed to others. The love we share shows that we know God and have been born of God. If we hate instead of love then we do not know God. God’s love was displayed among us when He sent His only Son, Jesus the Christ, into the world to live, die, and live again for us.

We did not love God first. He first loved us. And to show His love, He sent His Son to take away our sins.

Because God loves us, we are also to love others. Even though we have not yet seen God, He abides in us and we abide in Him when we love one another.

Favorite verse: (19) We love because he first loved us.

New Testament In a Year: December 3 – 1 John 3

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1 John 3
(1-10) John has much to say about love and rightfully so because God is love and everything that God does for us is done out of love. As a result of His love, we are called the children of God.

God sent His Son to take away all sin, and in Him there is no sin. Therefore, if we abide in Christ, we cannot keep on sinning. Because we are not perfect people, we may stumble and sin once or twice in our Christian life, but if we truly abide in Christ, we will not continue in sin. We will confess it as soon as possible and forsake it completely because no one who abides in Christ keeps on sinning. How can we know if we or if someone else is of God? By whether or not our behavior is righteous and by whether or not we love others.

(11-24) Love One Another
The message of loving one another is not a new one. God has wanted His creation to love, and not hate, since the beginning of time. If we do not love God and love others, we abide in death, and not in Christ. Christ is life and to love is to have life. We are never more alive than when we are loving others. To hate someone else is to invite death into your existence. John equates one who hates to one who has already committed murder as Cain did to his brother Abel. Hate and love, death and eternal darkness cannot abide in the same heart.

We know what love looks like. It looks like Christ laying down His life and dying on the cross for us. We ought to show this same type of love to others by opening our hearts to them and helping them if they are in need. If we do not do this, God’s love is not in us. Christ did not just talk about how much He loved us. He showed it. Similarly, we are not only to love in word or talk but through our actions and in truth.

Favorite verse: (18) Little children, let us not love in word or talk but in deed and in truth.

New Testament In a Year: December 2 – 1 John 2

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1 John 2
(1-6) Christ Our Advocate
As we read in 1 John 1 on yesterday, if we say that we have no sin then we lie and we are making God a liar. Everyone has sin; however, as believers in and followers of Jesus the Christ, we are no longer slaves to sin. We are sinful human beings, but once we allow Christ to take charge of our lives, we do not have to sin anymore. Stuart Scott said, “We can agree with what the gospel says about our sinfulness without becoming overwhelmed by guilt and shame. Further, we do not have to prove that we are victims rather than victimizers out of a desperate effort to persuade ourselves that we are righteous. We have Christ’s righteousness already. We can rest in this.”

If we do falter and fall into sin, we do not have to let that sin overwhelm us with guilt and shame as Scott said above. Neither do we have to try to prove that we are righteous. Christ has already taken care of both of these matters for us. He is the propitiation for our sins and He is our righteous advocate. We truly know God when we strive to keep His commandments and obey His Word. His love is perfected in us when we do this.

(7-14) The New Commandment
God’s command for us to love one another is not a totally new commandment. In the Old Testament (Leviticus 19:18), God was telling people back then to “love your neighbor as yourself.” However, it is new in that Jesus the Christ set the example for us to follow by how He loved when He was here on earth. We do not have to wonder how we ought to love others or when we ought to love others. We do not have to question how much or how little we should love others. We only have to look at Jesus the Christ. How does He love us? Unconditionally, unquestionably, and unreservedly. That is how we ought to love others.

(15-17) Do Not Love the World
While we are to love others who are in the world, we are not to love the world itself and all the things that it offers. If the love of God is truly in us, we will not have love for a place that is vapid and transitory. Our love will be for a place that is meaningful and eternal. This world will pass away, but those who do the will of God, will abide in Christ forever.

(18-27) Warning Concerning Antichrists
Most people have heard about the one antichrist who will come on the world scene during the end times, but many are not aware that there are already antichrists among us today. Based upon John’s words in this Scripture passage, an antichrist can basically be defined as anyone who denies that Jesus is the Christ and denies God as Father.

We have been taught the truth of who Christ is. There is no need for us to depart from truth to believe lies. Instead, let us abide in Christ and in the truth of Christ. To “abide” basically means “to remain,” so let us remain in Christ.

Favorite verse: (17) And the world is passing away along with its desires, but whoever does the will of God abides forever.

New Testament In a Year: December 1 – 1 John 1

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1 John 1
(1-4) The Word of Life
The Word of life is Jesus the Christ. Christ (the Word) was with the Father (God) in the beginning and He was made manifest when He came to earth. Everyone who believes in Christ has fellowship with other Christians, with the Father, and with His Son.

(5-10) Walking in the Light
Because God is light and has no darkness at all, we too must walk in the light if we are to have fellowship with Him. We cannot have fellowship with God if we are living unrighteously and walking in darkness. Only when we walk in the light do we have fellowship with other Christians. Only when we walk in the light does the blood of Jesus the Christ cleanse us from all sin. If we say we are without sin, we are telling ourselves a lie and calling God a liar because Scripture says “there is none righteous, not even one.” We cannot experience Christ’s faithfulness or receive His forgiveness and cleansing of sins if we do not first acknowledge and confess our sins.

Favorite verse: (5) This is the message we have heard from him and proclaim to you, that God is light, and in him is no darkness at all.

1 Year In God’s Word: Day 340 — Ezra 3-4, 1 John 5

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Ezra 3
Focus Verse: With praise and thanksgiving they sang to the Lord: “He is good; his love toward Israel endures forever.” And all the people gave a great shout of praise to the Lord, because the foundation of the house of the Lord was laid. (11)

Even though the Israelites had been in exile for many years – first in Babylon and then in the land of the Medes and Persians – they did not forget the goodness of the Lord. They knew their past time of prosperity, power, and peace was due to His goodness. They also recognized that their present time of punishment was because of His goodness. And the only reason they were back in their own land, rebuilding the altar and temple, was because of His goodness and because of His love which endures toward Israel and forever and ever. His love toward me and you endures forever too.

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1 Year In God’s Word: Day 339 — Ezra 1-2, 1 John 4

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Ezra 1
Focus Verse: In the first year of Cyrus king of Persia, in order to fulfill the word of the Lord spoken by Jeremiah, the Lord moved the heart of Cyrus king of Persia to make a proclamation throughout his realm and also to put it in writing. (1)

Jeremiah prophesied that after several long years the Jewish exiles would return to their land and rebuild the temple in Jerusalem. Cyrus, king of Persia, issued the proclamation that fulfilled this prophecy.

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1 Year In God’s Word: Day 338 — Ezekiel 47-48, 1 John 3

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Ezekiel 47
Focus Verse: Swarms of living creatures will live wherever the river flows. There will be large numbers of fish, because this water flows there and makes the salt water fresh; so where the river flows everything will live. (9)

Ezekiel is shown a river flowing out from the temple that has the power to turn salty water fresh and make everything that it touches come alive – fish, fruit trees, and swarms of living creatures. Up in the New Testament, Jesus the Christ promised that anyone who believes in Him will have rivers of living water flowing out of their heart.

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1 Year In God’s Word: Day 337 — Ezekiel 45-46, 1 John 2

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Ezekiel 45
Focus Verse: “‘When you allot the land as an inheritance, you are to present to the Lord a portion of the land as a sacred district, 25,000 cubits long and 20,000 cubits wide; the entire area will be holy. (1)

Before the land is divided out to all of Israel, a certain part is set aside and dedicated to the Lord. In all that we are given, whatever it may be, let us always remember to put God first.

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