Abide in Christ

Sunday, February 26, 2017, 11:40 p.m. – The Lord Jesus put in mind the song “Zeal for Your House.” Speak, Lord, your words to my heart. I read 1 John 2:15-25 (NASB).

Love Not World (vv. 15-17)

Do not love the world nor the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh and the lust of the eyes and the boastful pride of life, is not from the Father, but is from the world. The world is passing away, and also its lusts; but the one who does the will of God lives forever.

What does it mean to love the world? The Greek word for love here is agapaó, which means to “wish well to, take pleasure in, long for;” “to prefer, to love.” It “preeminently refers to what God prefers as He ‘is love.’” “For the believer, preferring to ‘live through Christ’ (1 Jn. 4:9,10), i.e. embracing God’s will (choosing His choices) and obeying them through His power” – http://biblehub.com/greek/25.htm.

So, we are not to love the world (worldly affairs) in the way in which we are to love God/Christ. We are not to take pleasure in, long for or prefer the world and what the world prefers. We are not supposed to live for or live like the world of sin. We are not to embrace the world’s values, philosophies, attitudes, actions, and behaviors. We are not to follow in its ways, i.e. we are to no longer conform our lives to the patterns of the world. And, we are not to give the world our adulation, praise, honor, passion, and hearts.

If we give Jesus 5 minutes a day in the reading of his Word, but we spend 3 hours a day watching TV, or chatting on social media sites, or surfing the NET, or playing video games, then who or what are we preferring? And, if the stuff we are taking into our minds via these various forms of media is what is contrary to God and his Word, and we are allowing ourselves to be entertained by them, then what or who do we prefer? Whose values are we embracing? What behaviors are we giving our time and passion to? We can’t love God like we are supposed to love him if he gets the leftovers, and the world gets prime time and our thoughts, eyes, ears, hearts and passion.

Basically, if we agapao the world of sin, God’s love is not in us. Why? Because all that is of the world is opposed to God and his Word, so it is not of him. If we want to have eternal life with God, then we need to agapao God, not the world, thus preferring what HE prefers and obeying HIM.

Many Antichrists (vv. 18-23)

Children, it is the last hour; and just as you heard that antichrist is coming, even now many antichrists have appeared; from this we know that it is the last hour… I have not written to you because you do not know the truth, but because you do know it, and because no lie is of the truth. Who is the liar but the one who denies that Jesus is the Christ? This is the antichrist, the one who denies the Father and the Son. Whoever denies the Son does not have the Father; the one who confesses the Son has the Father also.

So, what or who is an “antichrist”? “Anti” means “against” or “opposite of,” so it is anything or anyone which (or who) is against Christ in lifestyle, attitude, action, words, behavior, and thought, etc. An antichrist can verbally acknowledge Jesus as the Christ but deny him by his lifestyle, actions, and other words. One of the ways in which an antichrist denies Christ is via deceit. We must remember here that Satan disguises himself as an angel of light and “his servants also masquerade as servants of righteousness” (2 Co. 11:14-15). His servants will pretend to be ministers of the gospel of Christ, or followers of Christ, only to lead God’s people astray from their pure devotion to Christ through manipulation, deception and trickery.

Many preachers today are followers of humans instead of followers of God. Their ‘bible’ is comprised of various books and articles on how to market their churches (their businesses) to the world, and on how to bring in large crowds of people. And, so they pattern their church gatherings around the pattern of the world in order to attract the world to their churches (i.e. to their businesses). “Worship” services are often nothing more than a cleaned up version of what the world is offering in the way of entertainment. The majority of the church’s time and money seems to be focused on the weekly “big show,” which they present to the world. Thus, pastors have to be entertainers if they want to gain followers for themselves (i.e. customers).

In order to gain popularity with the people of the world, thus, they end up diluting the gospel of Jesus Christ in order to make it more acceptable and appealing to the world. Many of them teach that a mere human belief that Jesus died to free us from condemnation and to promise us heaven when we die, and a verbal confession of Jesus as Lord is all that is needed for them to have salvation and the hope of eternity with God. Yet, where is the heart transformation in all of this? Where is the sorrow over sin? Where is the repentance and submission to the cross of Christ? True faith in Jesus is God-given and is persuaded by God as to his will for our lives, and thus it prefers what God prefers and obeys Him through the Holy Spirit’s power.

Abide in the Son (vv. 24-25)

As for you, let that abide in you which you heard from the beginning. If what you heard from the beginning abides in you, you also will abide in the Son and in the Father.

This is the promise which He Himself made to us: eternal life.

What they heard from the beginning is not what is being taught in many of today’s modern churches. What they heard was the gospel as taught by Jesus and by his NT apostles. And, it included teaching on sin, repentance, obedience, and submission, i.e. that Jesus died that we might die to sin and live to righteousness. He did not die merely so we could escape hell and go to heaven when we die. He died that we might no longer live for ourselves, but for him who gave his life up for us. His grace is not a free license to continue in willful sin while claiming heaven as our future home. His grace, which brings salvation, teaches us to say “No” to ungodliness and worldly passions and to live self-controlled, upright and godly lives while we wait for Christ’s return (Tit. 2:11-14; 1 Pet. 2:24; 2 Co. 5:15).

So, we need to let the truth of God’s word abide (continue, remain) in us, i.e. to continually guide our thinking, actions, and values, etc., to have its way in our lives, and for us to follow it in obedience. This means we need to know what it says, so we need to be students of the Word, and we need to be receptive to the Spirit’s voice giving us counsel, direction, and instruction in godly and holy living. We need to not be following clever lies of deceivers who deny Christ by their lifestyles and by many of their words. So, we need to pray for discernment to know what is true and what are lies, because there are many deceivers. Yet, if the truth of God’s word makes its home in our hearts and lives, then we will also abide (continue, remain) in God the Father and in the Son, Jesus Christ. And, if it does, and thus we remain in Christ, we are promised eternal life with God.

Zeal for Your House
An Original Work / August 1, 2016

Based off Jn. 2:17; Ps. 69:9

Zeal for Your house, it consumes me.
Lord, I love my times with You.
I love to worship You and sing Your praises.
Time in Your Word brings me closer to You,
List’ning to You speaking to me,
Gently guiding me in truth.

Lord, You are my life’s example,
Showing me how I should live.
I love to walk with You where’er You lead me.
No greater joy have I when serving You.
Loving, giving, resting in Your strength,
I’m yielding to Your will.

Zeal for Your house, it consumes me.
See the church turned upside down:
Marketing ventures taking place of worship,
Men of the gospel turning into clowns.
Gospel message made appealing,
So the world will feel at home.

Lord, we need a great revival.
Turn their hearts, Lord, back to You.
Open the blind eyes, turn them all from darkness,
Lord, to the light. May they return to You,
Turn from their sin, forsake idols,
Be restored to God again.

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