THERE ARE RICH PARALLELS BETWEEN WEDDINGS IN BIBLICAL DAYS
AND THAT GREAT DAY WHEN CHRIST COMES FOR US
THE FATHERS WOULD BARGAIN OVER THE BRIDE PRICE
THEN A BETROTHAL TOOK PLACE, A PERMANENT COMMITMENT
BEFORE THE SON WOULD GO AWAY TO PREPARE A PLACE FOR HIS BRIDE
ADDING A ROOM TO HIS FATHER’S HOUSE
WHEN THE FATHER SAID ALL WAS READY
THE SON WOULD COME IN A GLAD PROCESSIONAL
AND A SHOFAR HORN WOULD BLOW
AND HIS BRIDE WOULD KNOW
MY BRIDEGROOM IS RETURNING FOR ME
EVERY BRIDE WANTS TO BE BEAUTIFUL
FOR HER BRIDEGROOM
TO DELIGHT HIM
TO BE CONFIDENT AND UNASHAMED ON THAT GREAT DAY
IT IS HARD FOR US TO IMAGINE
HOW WE COULD EVER BE CONFIDENT AND UNASHAMED
WHEN OUR HEAVENLY BRIDEGROOM RETURNS
YET 1 JOHN 2:26 HOLDS OUT EXACTLY THAT HOPE
THE WEDDING GARMENT IS SYMBOLIC
OF THE RIGHTEOUSNESS WE ARE GIVEN
WHEN CHRIST BETROTHS US
IN A PARABLE JESUS TOLD, THE GUEST
WHO TRIED TO COME TO THE BANQUET
WITHOUT A WEDDING GARMENT
WAS CAST INTO OUTER DARKNESS
WE CAN BE SO THANKFUL CHRIST PAID OUR BRIDE PRICE
AND COVERED US WITH HIS RIGHTEOUSNESS
FOR THOUGH OUR SINS ARE AS SCARLET
THEY WILL BE AS WHITE AS SNOW
AND WHEN WE CONFESS OUR SINS
HE IS FAITHFUL AND JUST TO FORGIVE US
AND TO CLEANSE US FROM ALL UNRIGHTEOUSNESS
WE KNOW HE IS PREPARING A PLACE
WE KNOW HE WILL RETURN
HE SAID, “IF IT WERE NOT TRUE, I WOULD HAVE TOLD YOU.”
ONE DAY A TRUMPET WILL SOUND…
JOHN TELLS US HOW TO BE READY
HOW TO BE CONFIDENT AND UNASHAMED
AT HIS COMING
In my studyguide on 1 John, “A Woman of Beauty,” I show how this amazing letter is like a great orchestral symphony, tying together three related themes of truth, light, and love. These themes, as in a musical piece, ebb and flow into one another, strengthening one another, building, creating a masterpiece. You also cannot separate them. If you truly believe Christ is who He says He is, if you truly know Him, then you will walk in the light, then you will love your brother — because His seed is in you, and that is how He is. Reflecting on these three themes will also help you grow into a beautiful bride who is confident and unashamed at His coming.
Yet our tendency is to forget the wonder of our Bridegroom, as Jeremiah said:
Does a maiden forget her jewelry,
a bride her wedding ornaments?
Yet my people have forgotten me,
days without number.
John urges us to “continue in him, so that when he appears we may be confident and unashamed before him at his coming.” (1 John 2:28) How do we “continue in him?”
We continue in His truth by staying in the Word, allowing it to penetrate our hearts. This last week you gave me good input and I long to be helpful to you. Lord willing, I will post weekly, and I think you would be wise to do a little each day. (I’ll give suggested days, but you must determine what is best for you.) David has shaded my comments, but at this time, he cannot shade all of the latest comments so I suggest if you want everyone to see your comment, to put it at the end. I’ve shortened the lessons as many of you are in other studies.
We continue in His light by turning from the darkness as soon as we see it and, in faith, turn to the light. Elizabeth provided a wonderful model for us last week and I will review that in this lesson and ask you to incorporate it into your own life.
We continue in His love by practicing His presence, not forgetting Him, but allowing Him to guide us in each interaction and to open our eyes to our brothers in need. Truth and light culminate in love and the “new commandment” which Jesus pronounced at the last supper when time was running out. Important things are said when time is running out. I know that. I was at the death beds of my father, husband, and mother — and important things were said. Time is running out for John — and he is also remembering what Jesus said when time was running out for Him. This lesson is important. Go slowly, breathe it in, and put it into practice.
SUNDAY/MONDAY (Read the opening, do the ice-breaker, the review, and get the sermon or sermons downloaded on your Ipod or computer so you are ready to listen when a time is good. This week the best fit is:
Loving and Growing Part I by Tim Keller: Link
A free sermon that is related more to our last week’s study, but is excellent is: Link
As you reflect on the opening pictures on this post, what parallels can you see between weddings in Jesus day and that great day when He returns?
What comments do you have on the opening and why?
1. What are the three great orchestral themes of 1 John?
2. CHALLENGE QUESTION: See if you can find all three of them in 1 John 2:7-11. How do you see them related?
3. DON’T FORGET:
A. The truth of Who Jesus is. Find truths about Him in 1 John 1:1-4
B. The light we are called to and why. Describe God and our responsibility in 1 John 1:5 through 1 John 2:2.
C. The love we must walk in and why. Summarize 1 John 2:3-11.
BIBLE STUDY AND APPLICATION (TUESDAY, WEDNESDAY)
4. Read 1 John 2:12-14 and find the three groups of people John addresses that show three stages of growth in the Christian life. List them.
It should give you confidence that if Christ is in you, that you will continue to grow. When a child is born, he or she is an eternal life. Nothing can change that. Likewise, a seed that has been planted will grow. You may not be able to see it when it is beginning, but it is growing. He who began a good work in you will bring it to completion. Your responsibility is what Larry Crabb calls “dependent responsibility.” Turn from the darkness and to the light. Read carefully what Elizabeth wrote last week in her take-a-way:
I love what Dee said-“We do have a responsibility to hear well — and that means repentance and faith — I see the repentance as turning from the darkness and the faith as turning toward the light.”
I asked myself what does that look like in my life right now? Repent of the criticism, bitterness, un-forgiveness I feel towards others. And the faith part—trust my newly exposed heart in His care. When I let down my guard, I’m more vulnerable—trust Him in faith—seek Him, rest in Him.
I’ve been thinking about what a heart of flesh looks like—the soft, tender, play-dough-ness of it.
In his sermon on Ezekial 36, Spurgeon says hearts of flesh “repent even at the very thought of sin” , he also says, “The heart of flesh says—‘Thou know’st I love thee, dearest Lord, But oh! I long to soar Far from this world of sin and woe, And learn to love thee more’
I think, a fleshy heart is teachable, tender to God’s leading, sits shiva with those who hurt. A fleshy heart repents, and a fleshy heart gives grace because it is so aware of the immense grace it has received. A fleshy heart sees God’s gifts poured out around us and is thankful.
I think on these things and I’m reminded of the parts of my heart that are still stone. I am still quick to hold a grudge with certain people, to want to make them pay for an offense, instead of taking it on myself. I am still quick to anger and criticism. And so back to repentance. Letting Him chisel hurts at first—I so often cling to my self-righteousness. But, Schaeffer said, we are called to love even when it costs us something, for me, it is usually my pride. But He is FAITHFUL. I’ve seen Him work patiently in me–my heart towards my mom has changed so much, I have even found myself missing my her since she went back home!
I remind myself this Truth: “being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.” Philippians 1:6
5. Now — and this is the most important part of this study, I want you to be still before God and ask Him what turning from the darkness in repentance and toward the light in faith looks like in your life. You may want to think about this in terms of an idol or a particular relationship. But make a plan and ask God to help you live into it all week. What is it?
6. There are three things that John urges believers to remember, to “not forget!” Keller gives us the alliteration of POSITION, POWER, AND PERSON.
A. Find the Position in 1 John 2:12 and comment on how this can strengthen you.
B. Find the Power in 1 John 2:13b (b means the second part of the verse) and comment on how you have experienced this power.
C. Find the Person in 1 John 2:13a and comment on any way you have experienced intimacy with this Person in the last week.
7. Important things are always repeated, which John does in 1 John 2:13c through 14. Find the Position, Power, and Person again.
THE SERMON (Thursday, Friday)
8. in Keller’s message Loving and Growing Part I, what did you learn about:
A. How we can know our sins are forgiven?
B. How children are, and how Jesus responded to the disciples when they were like children in the storm:
C. Keller gives insight on what John means when he tells young men that “the word of God” lives in them so they have the power to overcome sin. What does Keller say “the Word of God” means and on what basis does he say that?
D. What else stood out to you from this sermon and why?
E. How might you remember these things, value these things, so that you can become a beautiful bride?
9. If you listened to the free sermon, what stood out to you from that and why?
10. Look back at your answer to question 5. How are you doing?
11. WHAT DID GOD IMPRESS UPON YOUR HEART THIS WEEK AND WHY?
NEXT WEEK WE WILL GET TO KNOW OUR BLOGGER TERRI!
IN NOVEMBER, WE’LL BE DISCUSSING A MOVIE! WISH WE COULD ALL GATHER AND WATCH TOGETHER, BUT WE CAN WATCH SEPARATELY AND DISCUSS TOGETHER!
My daughter and I watched what I think may be the best movie I’ve seen in years!
It so relates to the study we did on The God of All Comfort and to our current study of The Stonecutter. I want to assign it to you and have us discuss it mid-November. It will be out on Redbox and Netflix by November 8th inexpensively. When I speak on the close of Job, I do visuals — but oh! I have never seen the end of Job done so well. And the whole story is captivating and will lead to such rich discussion. The father in the story has a deep idol of power, and there is so much of value to ponder and discuss. Sally and I had a rich discussion, and I know we will too — because you are wonderful women who bring so much to the table.
So plan to rent it come November — and watch it sooner if you like!