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More Info Add To Wishlist. Yes, in those days you had to actually walk over to the television to turn it on! I'm giving away my age here. I then hopped onto the couch, grabbed a pillow, and curled up with my favorite blanket. My selection for the night, The Carol Burnett Show. What better way to take my mind off my fears? But my stomach continued to churn. Familiar furniture, plants, and bushes took on strange shapes and sizes. I imagined bad guys lurking inside and out. Why did they have to leave me tonight? I'm not old enough. I don't want to be alone.

Bedtime arrived and that meant walking through the scary shadows. Why didn't I close the blinds? Why didn't I turn those lights on before it got dark? Tears spilled down my cheeks. I hate this. Clutching my blanket, I tip-toed through the dining room. If I could just reach the light switch. It seemed miles away. What if someone's watching? Again, I envisioned the scary man waiting The imagined terrified me. I wanted my parents. Finally, I reached the light switch, flipped it up, and light flooded every dark space. Everything looked familiar again. I felt safe. The real replaced my imagined. The imagined fears that held the little girl in my story captive dissipated the moment light flooded the room.

It's a simple fact, my friend. Light dispels darkness.

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With light, there are no more illusions Light brings clarity, safety, and security. My little-girl fears perfectly illustrate a scriptural nugget tucked in the first chapter of John's letter. But, before going any further, let's get to know the author of 1 John, the man with whom we will become intimately acquainted over the next five weeks.

His name is John. He often called himself "the disciple whom Jesus loved" John We first meet John in Matthew Not long after Jesus called His first two disciples, Peter and Andrew, He encountered two brothers named James and John also called the sons of Zebedee.

Like Peter and Andrew, they were fishermen. Simple, hardworking men going about their business. Jesus called them by name while they were with their father getting ready to cast out their nets for the day. Upon hearing Jesus's call, they did not ask questions or give excuses. Scripture says, "[I]mmediately they left the boat and their father and followed him" Matthew Immediate obedience. Wish I could say I always react that way when Jesus calls out to me.

All too often, I don't. James and John left family and all that was familiar to follow this man they barely knew. For the next three years, John and eleven other disciples walked alongside Jesus, watching Him turn water into wine, heal the sick, feed thousands with nothing but a few loaves and fish, and — most amazingly — bring the dead back to life. Read and record what the following passages reveal about John. Quick to lose my temper. What about you? And don't we all at one time or another long to hold that place of honor in someone's heart or at their table?

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Those were John's younger days. An amazing transformation occurred between the time Jesus found him fishing and the time he wrote this letter. In 1 John, we see a different man. A gentler man. A kinder man. A man motivated by deep love for God and for God's people. John matured over the years as he walked alongside Jesus, observed His ways, experienced His love, listened to His teachings, and obeyed the call to full-time ministry.

My favorite image of John comes near the end of Jesus's life as He gathered His disciples around a table to share a message and meal. Scripture describes John as leaning into Jesus John —25 , resting his head upon Jesus's chest, so near he could sense the rhythm of our Lord's heartbeat. John loved Jesus with all his heart and knew Jesus loved him just the same. In that moment, John had no idea it would be his last meal with Jesus.

No idea he would witness his beloved teacher's arrest, unjust trials, beatings, and crucifixion. No idea he would look upon his teacher's beaten and bloody body, hanging limp and lifeless from a criminal's cross. But, the tide turned three days later. John walked into an empty tomb to discover Jesus had defeated death and risen from the grave John 1—10! And a few weeks after that beautiful resurrection moment, John's last glimpse of Jesus would be his beloved Savior, arms lifted toward the heavens, toes dangling from beneath his white robe, speaking words of blessing over His friends, ascending into the clouds Luke He lifts His hands and blesses them, and at that moment, with His hands raised in blessing, He leaves them and is carried up into heaven.

They worship Him, then they return to Jerusalem, filled with intense joy , and they return again and again to the temple to celebrate God" Luke —53 The Voice, empha- sis added. Don't miss Luke's words. John and the disciples returned to Jerusalem "filled with intense joy. Despite decades of persecution and struggle, hard work and loneliness, John persevered. His love for Jesus and for the call God placed on his life never waned. His heart never wavered. Over time, John's hair grayed. His skin bore the deep creases of his decades of serving and suffering for the One who had called him by name.

John spent years recording the rich and treasured memories tucked deep in his heart and mind. Church tradition holds that he authored the gospel of John, the three epistles of John, and Revelation.

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As we begin our journey with John, we sense his deep and abiding joy in his opening words in 1 John chapter one. We have seen Him with our own eyes, heard Him with our own ears, and touched Him with our own hands. This One is the manifestation of the life-giving Voice, and He showed us real life , eternal life. We have seen it all, and we can't keep what we witnessed quiet — we have to share it with you. We are inviting you to experience eternal life through the One who was with the Father and came down to us" 1 John —2 The Voice, emphasis added.

John's words lay the foundation for faith in Jesus. A faith based on reality. A faith grounded in fact. Because he was an eyewitness to every word he wrote, his teaching is trustworthy. His experience real. He courageously traveled, preached, and penned every word of his experiences to ensure Jesus's followers could know the same Jesus he knew.

And so that you and I could know and believe in that same Jesus. As you read his words, can't you sense his passion? The pleading in his voice? Believe our words because we have seen Him. Touched Him. Heard Him. We walked with Him! This One we followed, he says, spoke the voice of God. Jesus gave John life. Real life. Everlasting life. Jesus loved John and the disciples in ways they had never experienced before. He performed miraculous wonders they had never seen before.

He prophesied events that came to pass. Digging Deeper Read 1 John 1. Understanding John's audience and the culture in which they lived is essential to understanding his letter. John wrote to the children of God Specifically, John wrote to embolden a declining church, a church he knew was compromising its beliefs. He didn't direct his letter to a specific church. Rather, he addressed it to all believers, using inclusive words like "my little children" and my "beloved. What is Gnosticism? We'll dissect it more later. For our purposes now, it was a prominent movement counter to the Christian church, led by counterfeit Christians false teachers who had infiltrated the church.

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  • In this day and age, how do we recognize a counterfeit Christian? The pastor centered his entire sermon on people who look like Christians, talk like Christians, but in the end, do not bear the marks of authenticity that belong to genuine believers in Jesus. To bring it to a level to which we can easily relate, let's compare a counterfeit Christian with a counterfeit bill. Let's say you and I stop by our favorite pizza place for lunch. You treat and pay with a fifty-dollar bill. Amidst the change, you receive a twenty-dollar bill. It looks good to you. It looks good to me. And because you are a kind and generous mom, you give that twenty to your sixteen-year-old-daughter who just got her license.

    She uses it to buy gas and an Icee for herself and her friend. You and your daughter are such generous people! At the end of the day, the gas station manager takes that twenty-dollar bill, along with the rest of her cash from the till, to the bank and deposits it. At that point, one with greater knowledge about money than you, your daughter, and the gas sta- tion manager, rejects the bill. You all used the twenty-dollar bill, and it remained in circulation until someone with specific knowledge identified it and exposed it for what it really was.

    That's the way it is with counterfeit Christians. They show up in church on Sunday and play the part. To blend in, they speak the right words.



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