Three Witnesses to Christ’s Deity – December 9, 2022

How do we know that Jesus is God? Many agree that he was a good person and a great prophet, but how can we be sure that he is God? Last week we began to look at 1 John 5:6-12. We rejoice this time of year that Jesus came in the flesh. But Jesus was more than a man. He was God in the flesh. John gave three witnesses to the deity of Christ.

First, we see the witness of the Spirit. John appears to be referring to the inward witness of the Holy Spirit, who opens our eyes to see the truth as it is in Jesus. We see this confirmed by Christ in John 14:15-17 – “If you love me, you will keep my commandments. And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Helper, to be with you forever, even the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it neither sees him nor knows him. You know him, for he dwells with you and will be in you.” Again in John 16:13, he tells us, When the Spirit of truth comes, he will guide you into all the truth, for he will not speak on his own authority, but whatever he hears he will speak, and he will declare to you the things that are to come.” The Holy Spirit confirms in our hearts that Jesus is God.

Second, we see the witness of the water. Here we speak of Christ’s baptism. Before Jesus’ ministry, John the Baptist was baptizing in Jordan. To have a relationship with God at this time, one had to become a proselytized Jew. To do this, one had to repent of their sin and be baptized. John came along and began to tell the Jews that they were not true Jews and needed to repent and be baptized to prepare for the coming of the Messiah. Then Christ came. John recognized him as the Messiah and stated that Jesus did not need to be baptized. But Christ stated that it was necessary. Why? To fulfill all righteousness. To condescend to our estate, he had to identify with our sin. He did this in his baptism. But an interesting thing happened at his baptism. As he came out of the water after being submerged, the Holy Spirit descended on him like a dove. God himself audibly said, “This is my beloved Son!”

Finally, we see the witness of blood. Even in Christ’s death, there was a witness to his deity (Matthew 27). In verse 45, darkness came over the land from the 6-8th hour (12:00-3:00 pm). Then, in verse 51, we see that when Jesus died, the earth mourned, and our way to God was opened. The veil of the temple ripped from top to bottom. This veil was a thick curtain ripped from top to bottom. Second, there was a massive earthquake. Third, dead people started to resurrect. All these things combined to demonstrate Christ’s deity. So much so that the centurion reacted in verse 54, “This was the Son of God!”

As you consider the season of Christmas, remember that we celebrate the coming of God in the flesh. The miracle is that Jesus became human to take our sins on himself. Jesus is God!

God in the Flesh – December 2, 2022

The Christmas season is upon us. If you are like my family, you have Christmas songs playing regularly. My wife enjoys decorating for Christmas. She has placed and decorated nine trees in our house (yes, you read that right). Everyone is thinking about the presents they will give to others. Christmas is in the air.

However, it is easy to get caught up in the frivolity of Christmas and miss the true meaning we celebrate. Christmas is one of the two most important holidays on the calendar (Easter being the other). This is the day we celebrate the fact that God became a man. Jesus Christ took on flesh to take our sin on himself.

As we look through 1 John, we arrive at some confusing verses: 1 John 5:6-12. Yet, these verses contain a vital test of faith for every Christian. As we face life’s challenges and sin in our hearts, we wonder if we can gain victory. The answer is yes. Indeed we can. John asks, “who can overcome the world?” The one who believes that Jesus is the Son of God. This Jesus is the one who came by water and blood.

So, who overcomes the world, who has the victory, the one who believes that Jesus is the Son of God. This is a statement about the Deity of Christ. John then provides the evidence that Jesus is indeed God and that he can grant us life. He presents three witnesses to Christ’s deity: The water, the Spirit, and the blood. This is important because, in Jewish law, at least two witnesses must confirm someone’s testimony (Deut 19:15).

What are these witnesses? One view holds that these are the ordinances that the church celebrates. However, this seems very much to read into the passage as baptism and the Lord’s Supper are nowhere else mentioned and don’t provide a concrete witness. Another view is that water and blood refer to the water and blood that flowed from Christ’s side when he was stabbed with a spear at his death. This does prove Christ’s humanity but does not prove his deity. The third option, to me, seems the most probable and best fits the text and context. Probably he is referring to the water of Jesus’ baptism and the blood of his death. This view was espoused by the Church Father Tertullian, who believed water refers to the baptism of Jesus, at which he was declared the Son and commissioned and empowered for his work, and blood to his death, in which his work was finished.

We will work with the third view in mind and the three witnesses. All require that Christ took on flesh. So as we work through these the next few weeks of the advent season, consider what we celebrate. Jesus Christ became flesh and dwelt among us. Through him, we are made righteous!

A Note of Thanksgiving – November 25, 2022

Yesterday, we all had the opportunity to pause and consider the various things we ought to be thankful for. I pray that you took that opportunity. Paul portrays the atheistic culture as one that does not honor God as God or give thanks to Him (Romans 1:21). Although we have many struggles, we have much to be thankful for. This week, as I considered all that God has done, I was overwhelmed.

I am thankful for my church family. In 2017 God brought us together in His gracious goodness. My church family at Cambria has proven to be loving, gracious, generous, encouraging, exhorting, and full of godly servants. They love the Word and long to be taught its eternal truths. They love each other and continually demonstrate that through their good works for one another. They have been encouraging to my family. I am continually amazed at God’s gracious goodness in allowing me the privilege of shepherding this church. There is nowhere else in the world I would rather be.

I am thankful for the family God has gifted me. Proverbs 18:22 tells us that he who finds a wife, finds a treasure. Proverbs 31:10 informs us that an excellent wife is far more precious than jewels. I am a wealthy man. God has granted me an excellent wife. She is kind, she is loving, she is hard working, she loves the Lord, she is full of integrity and character, she is meek, she is gentle, she is a gem. All of this is true about her because she values her relationship with God above all else. She allows the Word to form and change her. God has seen fit to grant me two wonderful young men. Their love for God is a constant blessing. Their love of fun and jokes brings laughter to our home. They are turning into young men who are sensitive to the Spirit of God and demonstrating fruit of the Spirit. This is all to the praise of God’s glorious grace. He could accomplish this.

I am thankful for the ministry partners God brought to our church this year. Pastor Christian and Chelsea have been a tremendous blessing to me and Heather and to our church. Their energy, their excitement, their maturity, and their passion for God have been exactly what our church needed. God has been very good to us.

 I hope this letter of thanksgiving prompts you to examine your own life and praise God for the unique gifts He has given you. He is always good and always faithful. You have much to be thankful for … you just need to look. 

We Obey Because God Wins – November 18, 2022

Often in life, we struggle with sin and conflict, which we believe will never end. Sometimes we give up because we think we can never gain victory over it; the struggle is who we are. Sometimes we look at the advancing evil in the world around us and are tempted to believe that good and Truth will not triumph. As we continue in 1 John 5, we arrive at verses 4-5, where we learn that we can and must obey God because he has overcome the world. Because God has overcome the world, we will also overcome it.

John states that everyone born of God overcomes the world. This is a present tense statement. He says that believers are already experiencing victory over the world in their lives. Often, we overlook the victory that is happening because we are embroiled in the battle. We are wise to step back at times and see God’s work in us and the world. We must not lose sight of all that God is doing.

After the election this past week, some stood back in understandable frustration. In many cases, we observed the advance of immorality and anti-biblical mentalities. The Christian could easily lose sight of all God is doing and fall into anger and bitterness. However, we must remember what grants us victory over evil today. John states the formula in two words – our faith. God will not overcome the world through the ballot box (although that is important). We will not overcome the world through temporal means (although they are essential). We will overcome the world through faith (1 John 4:4; James 4:7).

At salvation, God granted you victory over sin. You were given complete victory over the condemnation of sin. You were given the ability to have victory over the power of sin. And one day, we will be given victory over the presence of sin. This faith supplies the basis for the believer’s overwhelming victory Paul speaks of in Romans 8:37. We can not only survive sin and struggle in life, but we can also overwhelmingly conquer.

As you examine your life, you must remind yourself of the victory that God has granted to you. The struggle with sin is real. But God is working in you to grow you through it. He has given you the means to gain victory over it. This victory is not instantaneous but a life-long struggle. And one day, you will be freed from the struggle forever. So don’t give up! Continue the struggle.

As you examine the culture around you, you may be tempted to despair. But remember that God has already gained victory through Christ. Although we engage in the battle for Truth, the outcome is secure. This means that when it appears Truth is losing, it is not. Jesus wins!

Genuine Faith Brings Genuine Love Which Brings Genuine Obedience – November 11, 2022

When my boys were young, I used to take them and set them up on tables or platforms and tell them to jump, and I would catch them. At first, they did not have much faith in my abilities. However, they gained more confidence that I would catch them as time passed. So much so that I had to be on alert. They would climb onto something, say my name, and jump. They came to the point that they genuinely believed I would catch them. In this text, John wraps a bow around the tests of genuine faith that he laid out in the book.

At the end of his first epistle, John takes the three topics of the letter and demonstrates that he did not choose them arbitrarily but intentionally wove them together. The one who believes loves; the one who loves obeys; and the one who obeys believes. He begins 1 John 5 by informing us of the results of genuine faith. If we have genuine faith, if we are genuine believers, and if we are a genuine church, these things will be true about us. John Stott notes, “It is as impossible to love the children of God without loving God as it is to love God without loving his children. A family relationship unites the two loves.”

In the first five verses, John reveals that genuine faith in Christ results in obedience. In verse three, John demonstrates that we obey out of love. We can state all we want that we love God. However, if we do not obey the things God asks of us, we do not actually love God. Obedience is the sign of love. Consider Christ’s words in John 14, “If you love me, you will keep my commandments. Whoever has my commandments and keeps them, he it is who loves me. And he who loves me will be loved by my Father, and I will love him and manifest myself to him” (15, 21). 

Further, John reminds us that obeying God is not hard as believers. It is not a burden to obey God’s commands. They are not a burden to follow. In Matthew 11:30, Jesus informs us that His yoke is easy and His burden is light. God’s laws are not crushing or oppressive. We must contrast this with the burden that human religion places on people. The Pharisees were so worried that people would not obey God that they created additional rules to ensure that everyone obeyed God. They failed to understand that obedience comes from a love for God. And so Christ condemned them. When the early church was established, the Judaizers did the same thing as the Pharisees. They were so concerned that people would not obey God that they added rules to people’s standing with God.

Obedience does not come out of compulsion. Obedience comes out of love. We can attempt to change people’s behavior through rules. But until God changes their hearts, we will not have changed them. Disobedience is not a rule problem. It is a heart problem. It is a love problem. People who love God and have genuine faith will delight in obeying God.

God’s Love Assures Us – November 4, 2022

What do you love? We all love something. We all might say we love their family. Some love outdoor activities like hunting, fishing, 4-wheeling, and camping. Maybe you would say you love the University of Michigan or Michigan State. Perhaps you love books or music. With all these varieties of answers, we must ask, what is love? Over the last few weeks, as we looked at 1 John 4:7-21, we learned that the definition of love is sourced in God. To define love, we must understand God.

Notice in verse 6 that John states that God is love. Any proper definition of love must come from a proper understanding of God. Your view of God will dictate your view of life. With this in mind, we must note that the statement cannot be reversed. It is not a mutually equal statement. God is love, but love is not God. Love is not an all-encompassing statement of God. We see in Scripture that God is holy (1 Peter 1:16), righteous (Is. 45:21 – a righteous God and a Savior; there is none besides me.), and so on with all of who God is. In short, God is the sum of all of his attributes. God is loving, and God is just. God is holy, and God is merciful. They must work in concert with one another.

We observed in the last two weeks that God’s love motivates our love. This week I would like you to note that God’s love also assures us in our deepest trials and temptations. In verses 15-18, John informs us that God’s love assures us of our standing with Him. As Romans 8 tells us, nothing can separate us from God’s love.

We see first that God’s love gives us confidence that we abide in Him. This concept of mutual abiding is essential to Spiritual growth. Danny Akin informs us, “This is not just a statement regarding the status of Jesus as the son. It is a confession that results in a reception of new life resulting in a commitment to obedience and trust. The natural reaction of someone who genuinely believes that Jesus is the son of God is to join his life with his in all that means. When one abides in the love of God, his knowledge of God grows, and his faith in God grows. The more we love him, the more we understand him, and in turn, we trust him more, and our faith increases.”

As we gain this confidence, our faith increases in several ways. First, abiding in Christ results in growth. Consider what Christ said in John 15:4-10. As a branch cannot survive apart from the plant, so we cannot grow and survive apart from Christ. Yet, at salvation, we were made to abide in God, who abides in us. The result is that we bear fruit. We grow in our walk with God. What did Christ mean by bearing fruit? Paul informs us in Galatians 5 with the fruit of the Spirit. As you abide in God, you will see growth in your life in the fruit of the Spirit. If you do not see growth in your life in the fruit of the Spirit, it is a sign that you are not abiding in God, and you must question whether you are an authentic believer.

The second result of abiding in Him is power. Paul states in Philippians 4:13 that we can do all things through Christ, who empowers us. Now, we must look at this passage in its context. This is not saying you can do absolutely anything because God strengthens you. You may see a football player reference this verse after a great game. Does this mean that God did not strengthen the loser of the game? The answer is no because this text does not refer to the power to accomplish whatever we want. Paul states that he has learned that he can be content in any state in which God puts him. So when he has nothing and is hungry, and when he has plenty, he can be content. How? Because God gives him the power to respond right in each situation.

When you abide in Christ, he gives you the ability to respond in a Christlike fashion to every situation in life. How can you live a Christian life? How can you love the unlovable? How can you respond with grace? How can you overcome that sin that dogs you? The answer is the power of God found in abiding in Christ. Abiding in Christ strengthens us and gives us the power to overcome sin and respond right in situations. If you find yourself constantly responding in fleshly carnal ways to problems, and if you find yourself overrun by sin, you must question whether you abide in Christ. As believers, we are placed solidly into God’s love, which does not fail. This love grants us the confidence and power to grow in Christ and produce the fruit of the Spirit.

God’s Love Motivates Our Love – October 28, 2022

We all have those in our lives who are hard to love. Our natural selfishness also compounds this challenge to love. So how can we fulfill Christ’s command to love one another when others and our flesh make it so hard? As we have examined 1 John 4, we have discovered that God’s love motivates our love. As we understand Christ’s love for us, we naturally turn that love to others. Last week we looked at the fantastic things that Christ has done for us. Next, let us turn to 1 John 4:11-21.

John states that because God loved us enough to sacrifice His Son for us, we ought to love others in that same way. How can we respond in love when someone legitimately hurts us? How can we react with love when we are used and abused? How can we obey God, bless those who curse us, and pray for those who despitefully use and persecute us? How can you forgive the unforgivable? How can you love the one who deserves hate? We find the answer in the person of Christ and the love of God. Your view of God dictates your view of life. You can forgive because God forgave you. It is time to forgive and show grace to one another. Because everyone deserves it? Certainly not. Because everyone was right? Most definitely not. Because God loves us with amazing love, we are to love in the same way!

John continues to state that people see God when they see our love for each other. People see who God is and what God is like in the way His church acts. “That is, the unseen God, who once revealed himself in his son, now reveals himself in his people if and when they love one another” (Stott, 164). Hillsdale County sees God in how Cambria Baptist Church loves one another and the people around us. God sacrificed his one and only Son for us while we were his sworn enemies. We demonstrate that love by loving others in the same way. 

This text is fascinating because the solution to our anger and failure to forgive is to deepen our walk with God and our understanding of Christ’s sacrifice. The answer to anger is not to repeat some mantra about not being angry. It is not to count to ten every time you face a situation that frustrates you. The solution is to deepen your walk with God. When you understand the incredible love of God for you, you will love others.

Galatians 5 informs us that when we walk in the Spirit, we will not fulfill the lust of the flesh. A lack of love dominates the list of the works of the flesh that Paul gives. However, the very first fruit of the Spirit is love. The way that we come to love others is to view God rightly and walk with him in harmony. When this happens, love naturally pours out of us. Are you struggling with loving others? It is a sign that your relationship with God has some issues. Work on your relationship with God through the spiritual disciplines, and you will discover that love for others naturally happens. God’s love motivates our love.

Glorious Examples of God’s Love – October 21, 2022

How can we love the unlovable? How can we overcome bitterness and anger? How can we see relationships mended, marriages repaired, and broken families set right again? The answer is God’s love. Last week we began to examine 1 John 4:7-21. This text contains one of the most famous passages of Scripture, “God is love.” Last week we examined what this famous text means. This week, we want to explore the demonstrations of God’s love. In this text, John brings again to our attention the three great demonstrations of God’s love: Christ’s coming in the flesh, Christ’s propitiation (or satisfaction) for our sin, and the Holy Spirit. We are motivated and empowered to love others through these three examples of God’s love.

God first expressed his love to us by sending His Son, Jesus Christ, in the flesh. Boice comments, “God gave the best there was to give. Nothing could be greater than this. Nothing that can possibly be imagined can exceed this gift, for this is that indescribable gift for which Paul can only give thanks as he writes to the Corinthians (2 Corinthians 9:15 –  Thanks be to God for his inexpressible gift!).” John states that the expression of love is God sent his one and only Son into the world so that we might live through him.

The English translators have translated it as only begotten. Still, the emphasis of the phrase is not on the begotten part (For as God, Christ has no beginning), but on the only part. Thus some have rightly chosen to translate it as one and only. God did not send something he had in abundance. God made the ultimate sacrifice and sent his one and only Son. God could have started over when humanity sinned. Instead, he sacrificed on our behalf with the ultimate sacrifice possible. This is God’s love toward you. God cared so much for you that He gave up His Son (His one and only Son) for you!

Diamonds have value because they are rare. River rock does not have much value because it is readily available. When I proposed to Heather, I presented her with a ring. It meant much because, as a poor college student, I saved my pennies and sacrificed to purchase a ring containing a rare stone set in a ring of rare metal (a diamond set in gold). It was a demonstration of how much I love her. I sacrificed and gave something rare and valuable. If I had knelt to ask her to marry me, opening the ring box revealing a ring with a pebble set in wood, she would have rightly questioned how much I cared for her. We know God’s love for us because of what he sacrificed.

If God had only sent His one and only Son as an example, that would have been wonderful. However, the standard would have been unattainable. If God had sent His one and only Son as a way to free us from trouble now and give us our best life now, that would have been kind. However, it would not have freed us from the wrath to come and would most certainly have meant our best life now because the afterlife would then be eternal torment. But God did not do this. Take a moment to read 1 John 4:10.

Our relationship with God is not really about how much we love God but about how much God loves us! Kruse comments, “The demonstration of God’s love was not a mere sending of his one and only son into the world, it was the sending of his son into the world that we might live through him.”

Romans 5 is one of the most amazing and passionate sections of Scripture. Paul begins with the declaration of peace we have with God. He states that we can rejoice in trials because we understand God’s love. This month we have heard stories of those who sacrificed to save lives in Hurricane Ian. We heard of those who left their homes to wade through the floodwaters to rescue stranded people. We saw the image of the man saving the kitten sitting atop an air conditioner. We observed the hundreds of people who drove their fishing boats to Florida to do all they could to help. But consider what Paul is saying here. He is stating something even more spectacular than that. Paul states that Christ died for us while we were still His enemies.

This would be like an individual who lost their entire family in the tragedy of 9/11 jumping in front of the marine’s bullet and dying in Osama Bin Laden’s place. This would be like a father volunteering to go to the electric chair in the place of a man who molested and killed his little daughter. This would be like President George Washington voluntarily being hanged in place of Benedict Arnold. This is insanity. But this is the amazing love of God for you.

Paul uses the word propitiation in this text. It is a vital word for salvation. It is a word meaning satisfaction. It is a word that emphasizes that God’s justice was met in Christ. It means that the punishment for our sins was satisfied in Christ. Again Boice comments, “Who are those for whom Christ died? Not lovely people by God’s reckoning, but sinners, those who had rebelled against God and hated him. Indeed, they were those who would crucify his Son out of hatred for him. And such are we all. Consequently, the measure of God’s love is seen in the fact that he gave his Son to die for such as ourselves.” God sent his one and only Son to die for us, who did not deserve love but wrath. “How can a loving God send anyone to Hell?” is entirely the wrong question. Instead, the question should be, “How is it possible that God could be so loving He would sacrifice His one and only Son so that anyone could go to heaven?”

But God did not stop there. He continued and gave us His Spirit. John states this in verse 13. The knowledge of this indwelling of the Holy Spirit provides the believer with an assurance of his membership in the family of God. Romans 8:16 states, “The Spirit himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God.”

When you question God’s love for you, consider that Christ came in the flesh, that Christ took your place on the cross, and that God sealed you with His Holy Spirit. He will surely take care of you in the challenges you face. When you struggle, look to the cross!

God is Love – October 14, 2022

Love is a topic with which our culture is fascinated. The concept of free love dominated the 60s and 70s. Songs longing for love filled the 80s and 90s. The struggle to define what love is in the battle over the sexual revolution has dominated the past two decades. The church should be where love can be clearly defined and demonstrated. Still, it is often a place where bitterness, wrath, and anger are found in abundance. One song states that all we need is love, while a quick observation of the world demonstrates the fallacy of that thinking. Disney taught us as children that we would one day fall in love and live happily ever after. Yet, adulthood quickly revealed the ignorance of that philosophy. So, what in the world is love, and how do the church and how do Christians rightly demonstrate it? John returns to this topic in today’s text, 1 John 4:7-21.

As we work through the book of 1 John, you may notice a unique writing pattern that John employs. He circles three topics and drives deeper every time he hits them like a corkscrew spinning and driving deeper into the cork. These three topics are the moral test, which is righteousness; the social test, which is love; and the doctrinal test, which is the test of truth of belief in the Lord Jesus Christ as God incarnate.

In this text, John returns to the commandment to love one another. This is the third time he approaches this social test of life to determine if you are an authentic Christian and if we are a faithful church. The first time John addresses this concept was found in 1 John 2, where John reminds us that loving one another is a command we should obey out of compulsion. The second time John addresses this topic is found in 1 John 3, where he reminds us that we should love one another by action, not words. Up to this point, love for others has been seen as a Christian duty. We begin this new section in which we will be challenged to love one another because of God’s love and nature. (Note especially verses 7-8).

In our text today, John states that if we love one another, we demonstrate that we are Christians. Those who love are Christians. But if this is the case, how can John state what he states? If love comes from God, how can unregenerate people demonstrate love the way they do? As we saw headlines coming out of Florida following Hurricane Ian, stories of heroism and love for people quickly emerged. How can this be possible if love is from God and some of these people are obviously unregenerate? The commentator Marshall notes, “A theological answer to the question would be phrased in terms of the doctrines of creation and common grace. It is because men are created in the image of God, an image which has been defaced but not destroyed by the fall, but they still have the capacity to love.”

Yet, this should give the believer a distinct advantage, for he has been made complete in Christ. He has not only common grace (grace shown to all mankind) but particular grace (saving grace granted to the believer at salvation). And so we have the Spirit of God in us. This is why John states that we ought to love one another. And as we demonstrate this love of God, we show that we are born of God. If your life is not marked by love for others but is instead marked by bitterness, anger, and meanness, then you frankly ought to question whether you are indeed born of God. We see once again that John is a very black-and-white person. He states that the one who does not love does not know God.

John then makes the most significant statement about love in the entire epistle at the end of verse 8, “God is love.” What does it mean that God is love? Notice John did not state that God is loving. He says that God is love (ο θεος αγαπη εστιν). Love flows from or out of God and has God as its spring or source. There can be no explanation or definition of true love, which does not start from God’s love. Yet, this concept is constantly misunderstood. Humanity tends to impose on God their conception of love. They ask questions like, “How can a loving God send anyone to Hell?” and make statements like, “I could never believe in a God who would keep a man from loving someone in a mutual relationship, even if it is with another man.” But these statements demonstrate a false view of love and project these views on God. People constantly impose on God a human view of love, but he transcends any such human limitations.

As a result, any proper definition of love must come from a proper understanding of God. Your view of God will dictate your view of life. With this in mind, we must note that the statement cannot be reversed. It is not a mutually equal statement. God is love, but love is not God. Love is not an all-encompassing statement of God. We see in Scripture that God is holy (1 Peter 1:16), God is righteous (Is. 45:21), and so on, with all of who God is. In short, God is the sum of all of his attributes. God is loving, and God is just. God is holy, and God is merciful. God’s attributes must work in concert with one another. When we state that God is love, it means that God defines and is the source of all love. Next week we will consider some important practical ramifications of this reality.

Stand Confidently in the Truth – October 7, 2022

A couple of days ago, a supposed scandal hit a team in the Australian Football League. The team hired Andrew Thorburn as the club’s new CEO. However, just 24 hours later, they forced him to resign. What terrible crime did Mr. Thorburn commit to result in such a rapid firing? He dared to hold to a Christian worldview regarding the LGBTQ movement and serves on the board of his church which holds to Biblical Christianity.[1] Christians must stand confidently in the truth in a world that moves further from morality by the day.

In 1 John 4, the Apostle John instructs the believer to test every message to ensure it is from God. As we do this, we must stand confidently in the truth. Yet, we must also understand that while we stand confidently in the truth, the world will not listen to us. John Stott notes, “The world recognizes its own people and listens to their message, which originates in its own circle and reflects its own perspectives. This explains their popularity.”

Don’t be shocked when sinful people do sinful things and reject the morality and message of the Word of God. They have latched onto the message of the world that they can determine truth for themselves and that they must create their happiness. The statement that God defines truth and that there is absolute morality encroaches on this happiness and freedom. Therefore they must react with anger and malice against it and seek to defeat it. This is also why false teachers can grow massive churches while Bible-preaching churches will constantly battle. We refuse to scratch itching ears. We will speak the truth even when it is not popular.

But we can have confidence because God is greater than the world. Danny Akin notes, “[John] reminds them of the true source and secret of their victory. They are not necessarily more intelligent or more skilled than the false prophets, but they are possessed and indwelt by one who is, the Holy Spirit. As believers yield themselves to the one who lives within them, they experience continual victory in their daily battles with the forces of evil.”

We have the Holy Spirit, who is greater than the world. This means two things: First, we can overcome sin daily. We will overcome evil as we yield to the Spirit of God and Walk in the Spirit. Second, it means that we need not fear rejection by the world. As the world becomes increasingly hostile, we can become increasingly bolder. If they reject us, it does not matter because they are already rejecting us. Every day, we have the opportunity to magnify Christ and share the Gospel. If they persecute us, what is the worst they can do? Kill us? That means eternity with God. Let us live? That means more days to glorify God and proclaim the Gospel. So stand firm in the truth, Don’t shrink in shame or embarrassment.