I John 1

Vs. 1, “That which was from the beginning, which we have heard, which we have seen with our eyes, which we have looked at and our hands have touched—this we proclaim concerning the Word of life.”  John writes so passionately about Jesus because He experienced life with Him (vs. 1-4).  Not only did John spend time with Jesus physically, but more importantly, he experienced Him spiritually.  For there were many who saw Jesus physically, but rejected who He was.  Five times we are reminded of the word sin in the latter half of our chapter (vs. 5-10).  But more importantly, John points out that there is no darkness in the God of light.  This was important because contrary to the false teaching of Gnosticism, Jesus did not have a dualistic evil/good nature.  Additionally, there were some that had thought hey had achieved this mystical perfection.  But John eloquently addresses this misunderstanding of sin (vs. 8-10)

Regarding application…Dealing with Sin.  Vs. 9, “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.” Though we are new creations (Romans 7-8), there are going to be times that we are going to sin.  While sin can separate us from God, it doesn’t mean that by sinning we have to go through the whole salvation process again.  Christ dealt with sin on the cross.  If we don’t feel like we are sinners, perhaps the truth of Christ is not in our hearts (vs. 8).  A truly saved Christian will confess their sins.  How wonderful that we have a faithful, loving, and just God!  Pray today if there is anything that you need to bring before the Lord.

Hosea 1

Vs. 2, “When the Lord began to speak through Hosea, the Lord said to him, “Go, take to yourself an adulterous wife and children of unfaithfulness, because the land is guilty of the vilest adultery in departing from the Lord.”  Question: So what is the deal with Gomer (vs. 3)?  Hosea’s wife is mentioned to be an adulterous wife.  While biblical scholars debate whether or not she was a prostitute before marriage or became one after, we must remember the original intent.  Hosea’s marriage to Gomer was to be a living illustration of how God’s people were treating their relationship with Him.  Gomer would leave Hosea and commit adultery.  Just like Israel would turn their attention to the world.  It’s also surprising that their three children would have such ominous names to represent the condition of Israel (vs. 4-9).  Yet, in spite of the prophecies of judgment, we see Hosea give them a message/prophecy of amazing hope (vs. 10-11).  God will one day bring His people to be united again and ultimately the one leader (vs. 11) points to the Messiah!

Regarding application…A Faithful God.  Vs. 11, “The people of Judah and the people of Israel will be reunited, and they will appoint one leader and will come up out of the land, for great will be the day of Jezreel.”  Question: How does God show His faithfulness?  Recently on Facebook, I’ve noticed a few of my good friends having children and proudly posting their beautiful babies!  That reminds me what joy a child can bring to a family.  I want you to imagine you will have a baby, but before you even have that baby you are given the knowledge that child will grow to despise and hate you!  Would you still go through the process of wanting that child?  That’s kind of a small example of what is going on here with God’s relationship with Israel.  We could also use the example of finding the love of your life and getting ready to marry them only to have the knowledge that they will cheat on you and leave you.  Will you still marry them?  Despite, the knowledge of sadness and tough times ahead, God’s promises and faithfulness shine brightly for a people who are living in sin.  God is faithful even when we are not.  Let that be a huge reminder that this truth is not taken for granted.

Ezekiel 47

Vs. 6, He asked me, “Son of man, do you see this?”  Then he led me back to the bank of the river.”  God now gives us a picture of a river that begins under the temple and branches off to the Dead Sea and the other to the Mediterranean.  It is a river blessed by God that provides life to trees that give unending fruit and healing from them.  The Dead Sea as we know it will no longer be dead. There will be rivers of living water flowing into it, quite an amazing thought!  We also see a fulfillment of God’s promises that began with Abraham in restoring the land back to His people.  Notice how God has not forgotten about the Gentiles (vs. 22-23).

Regarding application…God is Faithful  Vs. 14, “You are to divide it equally among them. Because I swore with uplifted hand to give it to your forefathers, this land will become your inheritance.”  God’s faithfulness is not predicated upon what we have done.  God is faithful because of who He is.  Consider your own life.  Question: What have you done that would warrant God’s faithfulness?  In the depth of my soul, I realize as I get older in this life…I can’t do it.  Try as I may, I sputter along in need of grace.  Yet, I am amazed that God is so patient and faithful.  As we venture into a new week and Christmas is looming, let us remember that God is faithful.  What specific thing can we thank God today for His faithfulness?

Jeremiah 26

Vs. 8, “But as soon as Jeremiah finished telling all the people everything the Lord had commanded him to say, the priests, the prophets and all the people seized him and said, “You must die!”  It’s quite obvious to see how dangerous it was for Jeremiah to boldy proclaim God’s message.  But He would obey in complete faith even with the prospect that those who would hear may retaliate.  Be very careful dearest brothers & sisters not to distort the Word of God when it is received to us.  And this is exactly what they did.  Fortunately, the leaders of Judah gave Jeremiah the opportunity to defend himself against the false accusers.  Calmer heads prevailed and Jeremiah found favor amongst some of the leaders (Ahikam) who would not have him executed.  God still had work for Jeremiah to do!

 

Regarding appliaction…Faithful under Fire.  Vs. 21, “When King Jehoiakim and all his officers and officials heard his words, the king sought to put him to death. But Uriah heard of it and fled in fear to Egypt.”  You may be wondering what this last story of Uriah has to do with anything.  Uriah was a prophet much like Jeremiah.  The difference between the two is that Uriah had fled when threatend while Jeremiah faced the fire.  Remember last Sunday’s message: When God takes us (clay jars) and puts it in the furnace to be perfected…we must stay in the fire.  Uriah would lose his life for this.  This is what seperates boys from men and girls from ladies.  It takes tremendous faith to face the hatred of this world.  But, Jesus told us not to be suprised when the world hates us because it also hated Him (John 15:18).  As many of you live in a secular world, be courageous in your work places and in your schools!  Don’t flee and be ashamed of the life God has called you to live!