Monday, June 5, 2023

June 4 Sermon and Announcements


June 4, 2023

How Far Are You Willing to Go? Part 2

1 John 3:7-24

We began this look into 1 John two weeks ago. As a quick

reminder of some of what we looked at then we know John has

been made aware of problems creeping into the churches

throughout all of the Christian world. Gnostics have come into

the churches and are sharing things that are totally different

than what had been told to the churches by the apostles. Some

of those things being told to believers were that:

(1) Jesus really did not die for your sins.

(2) Morality was not really necessary for salvation.

(3) You achieve salvation by your own efforts by becoming

more enlightened and achieving greater harmony with the

world and with yourself.

(4) Jesus was really a spirit incapable of paying the price for sins

because he really did not live like other people.

So as John writes this letter to all the churches, he is wanting to

assure them that the message they received in the beginning is

still true and changes lives. He is giving everyone a refresher

course on what the true message of salvation is. In the first

verse we read John makes it clear, do not let anyone deceive

you and lead you astray. In verse 8 he goes on to say the reason

the Son of God appeared was to destroy the devil’s work. In

verse 9 and 10 John is pointing out once we receive God’s gift

of salvation through Jesus Christ our attitudes and desires will

change. We should no longer want to continue in sin. This goes

directly to the belief Gnosticism tells you that morality has no

real value. John then goes on to point out that love should

guide everything we do. In verse 13 John wants everyone to be

aware that if you stand up for God’s laws and righteousness the

world may hate you so be ready for what that will mean. This is

the same man that wrote the gospel of John. So as we look at

1 John 3:16 it is interesting how it is similar to John 3:16. Of

course John 3:16 says, “For God so loved the world that he gave

his only begotten Son that whosoever believeth in him shall not

perish but have everlasting life. In 1 John 3:16 we read, “this is

how we know what love is. Jesus Christ laid down his life for us

and we ought to lay down our lives for our brothers.”

As we, the church, continue the work Jesus began, it is our turn

to potentially make the sacrifices. John then goes on to point

out sometimes those sacrifices will be of money or goods you

have that other may be lacking but have need of. John points

out if we see a brother or sister in need but are not willing to

help, is the love of God really living in us. Then he is telling the

believer about two different attitudes of our hearts. Sometimes

we may not find peace in our heart but God really knows our

hearts better than us. There will be other times we may be truly

at peace in our hearts about our relationship with God.

What is the difference John is trying to point out? In the first

case John is reminding everyone Satan is going to try to steal

the believer’s joy and confidence in Christ. Maybe you have

been a long way from the Lord but you have asked for

forgiveness and God’s word tells us God is faithful and just to

forgive us of our sins. Satan will continue to lie to you and tell

you God can never forgive you. Of course, Gnostics are trying to

tell the believers that Jesus cannot forgive your sins because he

was not able to pay the price for your sins anyway.

In the second case, your heart is in tune with God to the point

you know you have been forgiven. John is reminding the first

group God’s promises are real and you can trust God’s salvation

through Jesus Christ. John closed out these verses with this

final reminder, “Believe in the name of the Son of God, Jesus

Christ and love one another as he commanded us.” He goes on

to say those who obey his commands live in him and he in

them. And this is how we know that He lives in us. We know it

by the spirit he gave us. The Holy Spirit has been given to all

who believe to give us power to overcome Satan’s lies.

As we see the concerns John has for the church in his day, can

we see the parallels in today’s churches? Are there factions

trying to dilute the righteous laws of God today? Is the church

willing to point out that sin separates us from God? That if we

really love another as God through Christ loved us, we will lift

up God’s holy standard because that is the only way God’s

word tells us we can receive forgiveness and salvation. John

points out the contrast between love and hate by pointing out

the difference between Cain and Abel. Cain’s attitude was evil

but Abel’s desires were God’s righteousness. Again, John points

out if we stand for God’s righteous laws the world will probably

hate us. If we are willing to take a stand with God, it could cost

us everything. Are we being told that may be the cost or are we

being told there is a painless way you can get everything you

want. If we are not walking with God, Satan will try to tell us

everything is fine. God loves you. Then at other times when we

are walking with God Satan will try to tell you God can never

forgive you, you are worthless and unworthy. John wants

everyone to know, go back to the basics I told you to begin

with. The basics the other apostles may have taught you as

well. You can trust in the risen Savior Jesus Christ. God loves

you and has forgiven you of your sins, but we must continue to

lift up God’s holy standard. We must expose sin, not to be

mean or to try to say we are better than others but out of love.

Just like God we want everyone to enjoy and receive God’s

forgiveness and salvation. That is why we continue to believe

and share God’s word.

Again, the question is as we look at the world today, as we look

at what is happening in our nation as well as the church’s in

America, are God’s standards being lifted up? Or is the church

caving to the pressure of the new social standards? That is what

John was concerned about when he wrote this letter to the

church of his day. What would John say to the churches today if

he was here seeing what is happening not only in America but

also in the churches in America? Would he have a similar

concern today?

May we seek the guidance of the Holy Spirit to reveal God’s

truth to us today. May we stand for God’s truth and be used by

God to lift up His righteousness just as John sought to

encourage the church to stay strong.

Pastor Larry


Tuesdays 9:30 Bible Study

Sunday School 9:00

June 10 9:30 Stem strawberries, arrange tables

June 11 4:00 – 6:00 Strawberry Festival

Sign up sheets are in the back for Strawberry Festival needs.

These include supplies, pie shells, workers.

Sign up sheet for children’s message in July, August, Sept.

Please consider taking a turn for this important ministry.

Offering plates are in the back of the sanctuary. Thank you for

your continued giving!

Donation Box: VBS

First Sundays: food donations for food banks

Pastor Larry Traxler- (217) 454-2362

Keep in Your Prayers:

Iva Traughber Brunner; Nora Hanaver; Todd Henricks; Tate

Sawyer; Jonah Martina; Jan Bower; Larry Traxler; Michelle

West; Michelle’s mom; Carolyn Hirsch; Eli Brunner; Nancy

Fansler; Joe Waltz; Doug Larrick; Ron & Kathleen Petersen;

Debbie Leibrock; Dorthea Wood; Tina Wilhelm; Mindy Sawyer;

Carl and Wilma Cable; Mike and Carol Seidenstricker; Adiline

Young; Kim Lehmann; Doug Fansler; Shawn Cain; Robert

Cripe; Mayo & Darlene Hanaver; Patty Cripe; Stacie Warren;

Nancy Gorrell; many unspoken requests; healthcare workers

and first responders; victims of disasters; victims of shootings;

shut-ins; the Nigerian church; Haitian Brethren; Ukraine

Military and Other Services and their families

Brethren Volunteer Service workers; Disaster project workers

District Prayer Calendar: Pray for Camp Emmanuel and the

campers this summer as it celebrates its 75 th year.


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