Daniel 11:36-12:13, 1 John 4:1-21, Psalms 123:1-4, Proverbs 29:2-4
Today is the 4th day of December. Welcome to the Daily Audio Bible. I am Brian and it’s great to be here with you as we continue our journey through this first week of the 12th month of the year. And we find ourselves in the book of Daniel in the Old Testament and in the letter that we call first John in the New Testament. So, let’s dive in. We’re reading from the English Standard Version this week. Daniel chapter 11 verse 36 through chapter 12 verse 13.
Okay. Back…back a few months ago when we were reading the book of Ephesians, which is a letter that was written by the apostle Paul, we…we discussed how…how grand of a vista we were looking, at how the good news is actually so good it’s almost too good to be true. And we encounter that kind of a vista today in this letter that we’re reading, known as first John. And the implications are so profound that I mean…words…words fail. I mean what’s being said about who we are is so profound that, if it ever seeped past our head and into our hearts and was fully activated within us our world, which I mean, the way we live our lives would be forever transformed, which is the point. So, let’s just kind of work through what we read today. Obviously, John is speaking about false teachings and false prophets and testing spirits and like understanding what the truth is. And basically, there was just a lot of discussion and a lot of teachings about who Jesus was. Like we have reached a point now that Jesus’ ministry is over, and He has ascended to the Father. And now, as the message, the good news spreads throughout the world, people are trying to…to sort of reverse engineer what’s going on, to understand what’s happening. And, so, lots of different teachings were kind of sprouting up. And, so, John confronts one of those today. It was a teaching that claimed that Jesus wasn’t really a…a…a human being, that He was more of an apparition more of it like a ghost, he was a spiritual being but not a flesh and blood human. So, we remember in John’s Gospel, at the beginning of John’s Gospel, he says that, “the word became flesh and dwelt among us.” So, the question here then became, “is the divine simply being made visible? Like, is He not a human being? He’s a being, a spiritual being that is…has been made visible so that we can see him but he’s not a human or has the divine been made flesh as John claimed?” So, this idea that Jesus was like a spiritual apparition, this would be called Docetism later on. So, John addresses this and I’m quoting John, “by this you know the Spirit of God. Every spirit that confesses that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is from God, and every spirit that does not confess Jesus is not from God.” So, our eyes could glaze over going and we could be like, “well…this is just like a theological issue, right? This…like…this doesn’t actually affect the way my life is lived. It’s just…yes…I want to understand the truth but this is just a theological truth that doesn’t actually touch my…my world.” John’s actually arguing that it does touch our worlds profoundly that Jesus came in the flesh. So, John’s saying, “look. You can know the spirit of a person by their posture toward Jesus.” And then he encourages them. “Little children, you are from God and have overcome them, for He who is in you is greater than he who is in the world.” Okay, so that’s a super famous verse, but it’s setting up something very, very important. “He who is in you is greater than he who is in the world.” Okay, so lots of people are saying lots of things about Jesus, lots of teachings that are divergent are occurring and John is saying, “you know how to see what’s true by understanding how people relate to Jesus.” And what John is teaching is that the Spirit of God isn’t distant, isn’t esoteric, isn’t hard to understand like all of this swirl of false teaching was suggesting. Instead, this Spirit of God is within those who believe and is a greater than the deception of the world. It’s important for John that Jesus was a flesh and blood human being and divine at the same time because Jesus came to rescue humanity and model humanity. So, even though what John’s saying can look highly theological because it is, the implications are very practical because Jesus came as a human being and was the divine…was God made flesh. And if through the work of Christ humanity can be redeemed and restored to God, in other words there is no chasm of sin any longer, then God, the same Spirit that raised Christ from the dead, indwells you, indwells us, lives within our flesh, which means we can become Christlike because of the work of Christ, right? The human and the divine occupying the same space at the same time within us. Yeah, that’s mic drop kind of stuff, that’s like holy moly! We talked about this when we were working through Paul’s letters, but if God indwells you and you are moving around the earth how can you ever feel like God has abandoned you when He is within you. But how do you know? Like, I mean how you know this? What is the evidence of this? Love. I’m quoting John. “Beloved let us love one another, for love is from God, and whoever loves has been born of God and knows God. Anyone who does not love does not know God, because God is love. In this the love of God was made manifest among us, that God sent His only son into the world so that we might live through him. In this is love, not that we have loved God”, right? Not that we did him a favor by loving him, but “that he loved us and sent His son to be the propitiation for our sins. Beloved, if God so love us, we also ought to love one another. No one has ever seen God, but if we love one another, God abides in us and His love is perfected in us.” Okay. So, Jesus was the physical human embodiment of God’s love for us, a love that we could actually see in action. It wasn't…it wasn’t that we could see a vision of it or an apparition of it. It was given to us by God in the flesh as we are. When we have one another we’re making the love of God, that same love, visible in the flesh, our flesh, just like Jesus did. John explains it like this. So, I’m quoting John. “So, we have come to know and to believe the love that God has for us. God is love and whoever abides in love abides in God and God abides in him. By this is love perfected with us so that we may have confidence for the day of judgment, because as He is, so also are we in this world”, right? So, we’re seeing a description of the fact that we are supposed to be becoming Christlike as he is. This is pretty big stuff here. We can’t see God as John pointed out and as we know, but we can see each other. And when we understand that our reality is that the Spirit of God lives inside, within us, then we begin to understand that the body of Christ isn’t an example or a metaphor, it’s a reality. We are physically bringing the love of God to the world in the same fashion that Jesus did, as He is, Christlike because it’s the same Spirit. The same Spirit that raised Christ from the dead is guiding our lives and when we die to ourselves and live into this reality then the love of God is made perfect in us and perfect love casts out all fear. So, when we love God is loving through us and love is pouring out into the world and when we love we are being perfected and when we love we’re being as He is, Christlike. So, the bottom line here is that we have a job to do. Like our job isn’t to wake up every morning and try to figure out our problems and try to say the right prayers so God will bestow blessing on us so that we can be comfortable. We’re supposed to be loving the world as Christ in this world, the hands and feet of Jesus, the body of Christ. We are a part of that story. that’s who we are and we are empowered after the same fashion that Jesus was to do this job, not because we earned it, not because we’re somehow…we were born this way, but because of Christ’s sacrifice and God’s love for us even when we were His enemies. God has elevated us back to who we were created to be, intertwined with Him in this world, revealing His love. That’s pretty big stuff and maybe…I mean…you sit down and think about it and you’re like, “this is too good, this is too big., I can’t get my mind around this.” Grab your Bible and…and just start working your way through first John chapter 4 just like what we just did. This is what the Scripture says. This is who we are. This is what we’re supposed to be doing and it’s going to require endurance to do it, as we have been seeing and as we will continue to see as we move forward. But be encouraged today. The Spirit of God is within you and the evidence of that will be how you love today.
Holy Spirit, we invite You into all of this. We ask that You lead us into all truth and we open ourselves completely to You. We ask that You would plant what we’ve read here from the Scriptures into our lives today. We pray that the soil of our hearts would be fertile and that these spiritual truths and realities that are…that are fundamental of…fundamentals of this faith, that they would not be fundamentals anymore, they would be realities that we would live into these things and wouldn’t think of them as theology or wouldn’t think of them as metaphors, but think of them as our reality. What You have done for us is so monumental that it’s hard to get our heads around and we are grateful, and we are thankful. And we’re also seeing how subdued and suppressed we’ve lived our lives. If the Spirit of the living God is within us there’s nothing we can’t do. So come Holy Spirit, may we be willing vessels for Your work in this world. We pray this in the name of Jesus. Amen.
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It’s Christmas time around here. So, we’ve been mentioning the Daily Audio Bible family Christmas Box for 2019. And pretty excited about this Christmas Box. I love them…I mean, I love putting them together every year and just kind of thinking through, but this is a really, really comprehensive Christmas Box. It’s got some of our most popular resources in it and…and really most helpful. So, this year we have the God of Your Story, which is the brand-new book that is a 365 day devotional that really follows the rhythm of the Daily Audio Bible, is kind of the gold of the Daily Audio Bible journey that we take each year. And, so, we have a signed hardback first edition copy of the God of Your Story in the Christmas Box this year. And this is the only place to get that. I went and signed a whole bunch of these until my hand was cramping and for the Christmas Box this year. So, they’re only available in the Christmas Box. We also have the Daily Audio Bible Journal 2.0, brand-new journals for journaling your way through the Scriptures. And I’ve talked about why I think that’s important, not only just for the rhythm of our lives, but also that we find that rhythm in the Bible, write things down so that you don’t forget, right? Memorialize things so you don’t forget what happened. And journaling is…is one way of memorializing, of doing that, writing down what happened, what God did so that you don’t forget. And that becomes really, really helpful in the future when things get foggy because you have the story…you’ve been journaling the story of your life with God and His faithfulness. And, so, when you can’t see forward sometimes you can refer backward and see like, “oh my gosh. I remember going through that. I did not think I was gonna make it. But I’m here and I have wrote the story of how I got here. And, so, I know that this story hasn’t just stopped because things are foggy right now. The story continues on in God will be faithful.” That’s what memorializing things does and it’s so helpful. So, the Journal 2.0 is in there. Let’s see…we have the Daily Audio Bible Christmas ornament for 2019 that is exclusive to the Daily Audio Bible family Christmas Box. It says, Daily Audio Bible 2019 on it and our word for the year, which has been “Maintain.” And, so, your choice of our DAB blend whole bean coffee, fresh roasted. And it will arrive at your door fresh roasted or you can choose our boutique tea if you’re a tea drinker. A pack of the Christmas cards, 20 Christmas cards and their envelopes. The Global Campfire pop socket for your phone or device. The Global Campfire candle, which surprisingly smells like a Global Campfire. Two of the Global Campfire stickers and five of the beautiful global campfire postcards. So, it’s packed full. It’s packed full. You’ll see when it arrives. So, check that out. It’s all available at dailyaudiobible.com in the Christmas section. And they’re going pretty quick, so grab them while you can.
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