Saturday, December 27, 2014

Contending for the Faith: John

John the Revelator
In the last two letters of the New Testament before Revelation, a theme of conflict emerges, in which the men of God who believe in Jesus, who receive His grace, resist those who reject the grace of God, trying to turn people back to the law, or teach them that sin is acceptable.

Paul was swift in his judgment against such people. To those who suggested that we should sin so that grace would more abound in our lives:

"7For if the truth of God hath more abounded through my lie unto his glory; why yet am I also judged as a sinner? 8And not rather, (as we be slanderously reported, and as some affirm that we say,) Let us do evil, that good may come? whose damnation is just." (Romans 3: 7-8)

and also

"What shall we say then? Shall we continue in sin, that grace may abound? 2God forbid. How shall we, that are dead to sin, live any longer therein? 3Know ye not, that so many of us as were baptized into Jesus Christ were baptized into his death?" (Romans 6: 1-3)

As for those who said "We must go back to the law to continue to in righteousness":

"1O foolish Galatians, who hath bewitched you, that ye should not obey the truth, before whose eyes Jesus Christ hath been evidently set forth, crucified among you? 2This only would I learn of you, Received ye the Spirit by the works of the law, or by the hearing of faith? 3Are ye so foolish? having begun in the Spirit, are ye now made perfect by the flesh? 4Have ye suffered so many things in vain? if it be yet in vain. 5He therefore that ministereth to you the Spirit, and worketh miracles among you, doeth he it by the works of the law, or by the hearing of faith?" (Galatians 3: 1-5)

and also

"I would they were even cut off which trouble you." (Galatians 5: 12)

Now, what was the fight about specifically for John, the Beloved disciple of Jesus?

"9I wrote unto the church: but Diotrephes, who loveth to have the preeminence among them, receiveth us not. 10Wherefore, if I come, I will remember his deeds which he doeth, prating against us with malicious words: and not content therewith, neither doth he himself receive the brethren, and forbiddeth them that would, and casteth them out of the church." (3 John 9-10)

One of the biggest problems in the Body of Christ today is that instead of growing in grace and knowledge of the Lord (2 Peter 3: 18), we are going in works and intellect, learning about ourselves, reading the Bible, but not letting His Word abide in us (1 John 2:12-14).

Like Diotrephes, people in churches are seeking fame, preeminence, lording over their power over others, making themselves better or promoting themselves and provoking others.

We need more of Jesus in our lives, not less. We need Him stepping into every empty place in our lives, working in us and through us, as He has promised to do:

"Nevertheless I tell you the truth; It is expedient for you that I go away: for if I go not away, the Comforter will not come unto you; but if I depart, I will send him unto you." (John 16: 7)

If we make nothing of Jesus, we must inevitably make something of ourselves. For this reason, there is a great deal of strife and unrest in churches, where members seek to make themselves great, and provoke others needlessly.

How did John plan to handle it? "I will remember, or I will bring to his remembrance" the things that he has done. He would also confront him about not receiving other believers, and even casting them out of the local church.

It is time for men and women in the Body of Christ to stand up to the Pharisees, the legalists who would bring back the law, when Scripture declares clearly: "Cast out the bondwoman!" (Galatians 4: 3)

Moses was a servant, but the Son abides forever!

"5And Moses verily was faithful in all his house, as a servant, for a testimony of those things which were to be spoken after; 6But Christ as a son over his own house; whose house are we, if we hold fast the confidence and the rejoicing of the hope firm unto the end." (Hebrews 3: 4-6)

Paul had little patience for people who wanted to go back the Old Covenant:

"6From which some having swerved have turned aside unto vain jangling; 7Desiring to be teachers of the law; understanding neither what they say, nor whereof they affirm." (1 Timothy 1: 6-7)

In the last days, we who are sons of God by grace through faith, who believe in Jesus now and forever, must stand up and speak forth that grace is what saved, what saves, and will save us. Not our works, not going back to the law, not trusting in our efforts, and certainly not in boasting in our law-keeping at the expense of others.

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