Week 10: Live Like a New Creation!
(1 John 3:24-4:16)
Our tenth week of daily devotions in the Book of First John center on the John’s discourse on resisting the world. You’re going to need your Bible and I’ve provided the Study Notes on this website that you can either bookmark, or print. Be sure to scroll down to the notes outlining and commenting on the 1 John 3:24-4:16. Or you may want to download the word document: 1jn3.24-4.16nn I hope this helps those of you who are committed to journaling this year.
Wednesday: 1 John 3:24-4:16–Spirit and spirits, a warning!
As you have probably already notices, the new idea of God abiding in us is the “bracketing “ truth and the subject of this section. Read the first (3:24) and last (4:16) sentences of this inclusio to make sure to put this section in perspective. Not only are we to abide in Christ to have confidence at His coming, we should also be living the kind of life that makes God comfortable abiding in us (He abides in us, God in him). This mutual abiding is the crowning glory and the richest experience of eternal life available to the child of God.
The degree to which the indwelling God has access to our lives—here primarily described by the Spirit’s indwelling—the more we will know the joy of fellowship now (1:3) and confidence at His coming (2:28). As you read through the verses between the bracketing verses (3:24; 4:16), underline the word beloved (NKJV) or the phrase Dear friends (NIV). This divides the teaching on just how to experience God’s abiding presence in our lives into three sections:
- Warning: Be careful to distinguish the work of the Holy Spirit from the work of evil spirits speaking through false prophets in the spirit of Antichrist (4:1-6).
- True Christian love comes from God, not from believers (4:7-10).
- God’s love for us motivates us to love one another in Spirit and in truth (4:11-15).
Any mention of the Holy Spirit today causes me to pause to explain to believers to be discerning about His ministry. With so many false teachers claiming His power in what they display in churches and on television, we need to know how to distinguish between truth and error.
John felt this same tension in the First Century. He devotes six verses to sound a parenthetical warning because he knew that Christians are prone to naively think that any manifestation of some spiritual presence is from God.
Not Their Works But Their Words!
His test is clearly not their works but their words—what do they say about the Lord Jesus? Read 1 John 4:1-6 and 14-16 two times and then complete this sentence:
Anyone claiming that his or her power comes from the Holy Spirit will say that Jesus is the Christ (Savior from God) who has come in the and that He is the Son of .
John did not say that every spirit that denies Jesus, but every spirit that does not confess Jesus! False teachers can manipulate words to mask their true beliefs about Jesus. So ask them to confess that Jesus is the Christ who came in the flesh and that He is the Son of God. If they cannot confess that, don’t walk run from them, their teachings, their tapes, their books, their followers, and their evil antichrist spirit!