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December 19 - Evening

"Dear children, do not let anyone lead you astray. He who does what is right is righteous, just as he is righteous. He who does what is sinful is of the devil, because the devil has been sinning from the beginning. The reason the Son of God appeared was to destroy the devil’s work. No one who is born of God will continue to sin, because God’s seed remains in him; he cannot go on sinning, because he has been born of God. This is how we know who the children of God are and who the children of the devil are: Anyone who does not do what is right is not a child of God; nor is anyone who does not love his brother."
- First John 3:7-10

The Presence of Sin and the Seriousness of Sin

John was confronting false philosophies and erroneous teachings in the church in 85 AD when he wrote his letter from Ephesus to Gentile churches in Asia. The false teachers were leading the people astray by combining pagan philosophy with the apostolic message recorded in the writings of the New Testament that included, at this time, three of the gospels, Acts, all of Paul's and Peter's letters, and the writing of James and Hebrews.

The attack of the false teachers came in the form of corrupt instruction concerning the truth and the application of the truth. John says that those who are positionally righteous will do what is right in their behavior just like the one who saved them is righteous and does righteous deeds. The person who is sinning is not righteous, but is instead like the devil who is always unrighteous in his nature and in his deeds. So, we who are believers in Jesus should understand that "the reason the Son of God appeared was to destroy the devil's work" of sin and unrighteousness in our lives.

Satan's work is to morally lead us into sin, to physically inflict our bodies with disease, and to intellectually bring us into philosophical and doctrinal error. These are the things Jesus came to destroy in our lives, so why would anyone teach that these moral, physical and intellectual perversions do not matter? On this side of eternity we will always have to deal with sin, sickness and doctrinal error, but none of them are part of the righteousness of God.

The phrase "continue to sin" used above is hamartanei in the Greek and is in the present tense which indicates a settled character not an isolated act of sinning. This is saying that the born again believer does not have the core character of Satan that lives in rebellion to God's righteousness in every way at all times. But, this phrase and tense in the Greek does allow the reality that there are times where we may act in a way that is out of line with our new nature. This is confirmed by John earlier in this same letter when he says:
  1. "If we claim to be without sin, we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us." (1:8)
  2. "If we claim we have not sinned, we make him out to be a liar and his word is not in us." (1:10)
  3. "I write this to you so that you will not sin. But if anybody does sin, we have an advocate."(2:1)

The two doctrinal errors John is confronting in this letter written around 85 AD are these: First, some believed that their possession of certain secret "knowledge" (gnosis) made them perfect and, thus, sinless. John explains that we still live in this age with a sin nature that is subject to sin, disease and doctrinal error. Second, some believed that since they were "born again" sin and unrighteous living were no longer an issue that could affect them. They taught that they could sin and still be righteous. John tells them that sin is incompatible with the righteous nature of Christ. Jesus and God the Father are not just righteous by position, but righteous in word and deed also. The first error of the heretics denied the existence of the sin nature in believers and the second error denied the seriousness of sin.
Photizo (Gr) - Enlightened (Eng) - photizo is a Greek word that means "to give light," "to shine," "to bring to light." Photizo is used eleven times - four times by Paul (1 Cor. 4:5; Ep. 1:18; 3:9; 2 Tim 1:10), once by Luke, twice in Hebrews (6:4; 10:32), once by John in his Gospel, and three times by John in Revelation (18:1; 21:23; 22:5). In Ephesians 1:18, Paul uses it to say, "I pray that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened in order that you may know the hope to which he has called you."
Do I excuse my sin? Do I accept my sin as simply part of my life? Do I think sin has no effect on me?
I will identify my sin, I will confess my sin and I will resist sin and live in righteousness like my God.

Bible Reading Descriptions Here


(morning only)

Complete Text

General Text


Fruitfulness in your personal ministry


Challenging sermons
Judiciary decisions

Cisterns on the side of Masada that collected rainwater.
Details of the Church of the Nativity in Bethlehem.

Someone to Quote

"Let us love God, but with the strength of our arms, in the sweat of our brow." - Vincent de Paul

Something to Ponder

In 1931 Cameron Townsend and his wife learned the Cakchiquel Indian language, created an alphabet and then translated the Bible into a language that had only been spoken out loud and never written down. Thus, the Wycliffe Bible Translators ministry was founded.

Here’s a Fact

Tel Mardikh from the Empire of Ebla (2300-1700 BC) was excavated and 18,000 clay and rock tablets written in cuneform were discovered in buildings around the ancient palace. The buildings walls still had murals on walls plastered in gray-green color. Names from the same time period as Abraham-Joseph (2100-1700 BC) are found on these tablets that match the Biblical account from the same time period:
- or,
• Abram
• Esau
• Ishmail
• Israel
• Michael
• Micaiah
• Jerusalem


"The sluggard buries his hand in the dish; he will not even bring it back to his mouth!"
- Proverbs 19:24

Coach’s Corner

Temptation is not sin. There is victory in the midst of temptation, but to be in the midst of sin indicates defeat. Establish victory at the point of temptation before it becomes sin.

1 Corinthians 4:5
New International Version (NIV)
Therefore judge nothing before the appointed time; wait until the Lord comes. He will bring to light what is hidden in darkness and will expose the motives of the heart. At that time each will receive their praise from God.
Ephesians 1:18
New International Version (NIV)
18 I pray that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened in order that you may know the hope to which he has called you, the riches of his glorious inheritance in his holy people,
Ephesians 3:9
New International Version (NIV)
and to make plain to everyone the administration of this mystery, which for ages past was kept hidden in God, who created all things.
2 Timothy 1:10
New International Version (NIV)
10 but it has now been revealed through the appearing of our Savior, Christ Jesus, who has destroyed death and has brought life and immortality to light through the gospel.
Luke 11:36
New International Version (NIV)
36 Therefore, if your whole body is full of light, and no part of it dark, it will be just as full of light as when a lamp shines its light on you.”
Hebrews 6:4
New International Version (NIV)
It is impossible for those who have once been enlightened, who have tasted the heavenly gift, who have shared in the Holy Spirit,
Hebrews 10:32
New International Version (NIV)
32 Remember those earlier days after you had received the light, when you endured in a great conflict full of suffering.
John 1:9
New International Version (NIV)
The true light that gives light to everyone was coming into the world.
Revelation 18:1
New International Version (NIV)
Lament Over Fallen Babylon
18 After this I saw another angel coming down from heaven. He had great authority, and the earth was illuminated by his splendor.
Revelation 21:23
New International Version (NIV)
23 The city does not need the sun or the moon to shine on it, for the glory of God gives it light, and the Lamb is its lamp.
Revelation 22:5
New International Version (NIV)
There will be no more night. They will not need the light of a lamp or the light of the sun, for the Lord God will give them light. And they will reign for ever and ever.
1 John 5
New International Version (NIV)
Faith in the Incarnate Son of God
Everyone who believes that Jesus is the Christ is born of God, and everyone who loves the father loves his child as well. This is how we know that we love the children of God: by loving God and carrying out his commands. In fact, this is love for God: to keep his commands. And his commands are not burdensome, for everyone born of God overcomes the world. This is the victory that has overcome the world, even our faith. Who is it that overcomes the world? Only the one who believes that Jesus is the Son of God.
This is the one who came by water and blood—Jesus Christ. He did not come by water only, but by water and blood. And it is the Spirit who testifies, because the Spirit is the truth. For there are three that testify: the Spirit, the water and the blood; and the three are in agreement. We accept human testimony, but God’s testimony is greater because it is the testimony of God, which he has given about his Son. 10 Whoever believes in the Son of God accepts this testimony. Whoever does not believe God has made him out to be a liar, because they have not believed the testimony God has given about his Son. 11 And this is the testimony: God has given us eternal life, and this life is in his Son. 12 Whoever has the Son has life; whoever does not have the Son of God does not have life.
Concluding Affirmations
13 I write these things to you who believe in the name of the Son of God so that you may know that you have eternal life. 14 This is the confidence we have in approaching God: that if we ask anything according to his will, he hears us. 15 And if we know that he hears us—whatever we ask—we know that we have what we asked of him.
16 If you see any brother or sister commit a sin that does not lead to death, you should pray and God will give them life. I refer to those whose sin does not lead to death. There is a sin that leads to death. I am not saying that you should pray about that. 17 All wrongdoing is sin, and there is sin that does not lead to death.
18 We know that anyone born of God does not continue to sin; the One who was born of God keeps them safe, and the evil one cannot harm them. 19 We know that we are children of God, and that the whole world is under the control of the evil one. 20 We know also that the Son of God has come and has given us understanding, so that we may know him who is true. And we are in him who is true by being in his Son Jesus Christ. He is the true God and eternal life.
21 Dear children, keep yourselves from idols.
Titus 3
New International Version (NIV)
Saved in Order to Do Good
Remind the people to be subject to rulers and authorities, to be obedient, to be ready to do whatever is good, to slander no one, to be peaceable and considerate, and always to be gentle toward everyone.
At one time we too were foolish, disobedient, deceived and enslaved by all kinds of passions and pleasures. We lived in malice and envy, being hated and hating one another. But when the kindness and love of God our Savior appeared, he saved us, not because of righteous things we had done, but because of his mercy. He saved us through the washing of rebirth and renewal by the Holy Spirit, whom he poured out on us generously through Jesus Christ our Savior, so that, having been justified by his grace, we might become heirs having the hope of eternal life. This is a trustworthy saying. And I want you to stress these things, so that those who have trusted in God may be careful to devote themselves to doing what is good. These things are excellent and profitable for everyone.
But avoid foolish controversies and genealogies and arguments and quarrels about the law, because these are unprofitable and useless. 10 Warn a divisive person once, and then warn them a second time. After that, have nothing to do with them. 11 You may be sure that such people are warped and sinful; they are self-condemned.
Final Remarks
12 As soon as I send Artemas or Tychicus to you, do your best to come to me at Nicopolis, because I have decided to winter there. 13 Do everything you can to help Zenas the lawyer and Apollos on their way and see that they have everything they need. 14 Our people must learn to devote themselves to doing what is good, in order to provide for urgent needs and not live unproductive lives.
15 Everyone with me sends you greetings. Greet those who love us in the faith.
Grace be with you all.

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