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Bible Pathways 12/21/2003

December 21

Read I John 4 -- 5

In Today's Reading:

How to test the spirits; an appeal for brotherly love; the witness of the Spirit

The Holy Spirit directed the Apostle John to write: Beloved, believe not every spirit, but try (test) the spirits whether they are of God: because many false prophets are gone out into the world (I John 4:1). Doctrinal deception is widespread and often difficult to discern. Jesus warned: Not every one who says to Me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the Kingdom of Heaven; but he that does the will of My Father Who is in heaven (Matthew 7:21).

Jesus also warned that many who believe they are the children of the Kingdom shall be cast into outer darkness: there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth (8:12). The consequence of deception is horrifying. Just think! The majority of "religious" people will be cast . . . into a furnace of fire: there shall be wailing and gnashing of teeth (13:42). Nothing could be more consequential than to remove all doubt that we are included with the few there be that find it (eternal life) (7:14). Since it determines our destiny for eternity, we are told: Examine yourselves, whether you be in the faith (II Corinthians 13:5). Jesus warned: Take heed that you be not deceived (Luke 21:8). We are also warned: Seducers (imposters) shall wax worse and worse (progress from bad to worse), deceiving, and being deceived (II Timothy 3:13). John said: This is the love of God, that we keep His Commandments. . . . For whoever is born of God overcomes the world: and this is the victory that overcomes the world, even our faith. Who is he that overcomes the world, but he that believes that Jesus is the Son of God? (I John 5:3-5).

Being born of God is far more than just believing certain facts about Jesus Christ. It affects the whole life — the heart as well as the head. It molds character and guides conduct. If we have genuinely put our faith in Jesus as the Son of God (4:15), we will have a desire to be obedient to His Commandments (5:2).

Consequently, in all these things we (too) are more than conquerors through Him Who loved us (Romans 8:37).

Word Studies:

5:18 He that is begotten of God keepeth himself = Jesus, Who was born of God, carefully watches over and protects the child of God.

Prayer Needs:

Pray for Jan Dahlin, coordinator for Swedish translation and radio ministry · Government Official: Rep. Zoe Lofgren (CA) · Country: Guinea (8 million) on the Atlantic coast of western Africa · Major languages: French and tribal languages · Freedom for nationals, but strict limitations on missionaries · 83% Muslim; 12% tribal religions; 4% Roman Catholic; .6% Protestant · Prayer Suggestion: Seek the guidance of God in meekness (Psalm 25:9).

Memory Verse for the Week: James 5:7-8

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