8 Marks Of The Church

The Sanctifying Church



Urban Legends


“It’s one of Hollywood’s favorite bits of pseudoscience: human beings use only 10 percent of their brain, and awakening the remaining 90 percent—supposedly dormant—allows otherwise ordinary human beings to display extraordinary mental abilities. In Phenomenon (1996), John Travolta gains the ability to predict earthquakes and instantly learns foreign languages. Scarlett Johansson becomes a super powered martial-arts master in Lucy (2014). And in Limitless (2011) Bradley Cooper writes a novel overnight.


This ready-made blueprint for fantasy films is also a favorite among the general public. In a survey, 65 percent of respondents agreed with the statement, ‘People only use 10 percent of their brain on a daily basis.’ But the truth is that we use all of our brain all of the time.


How do we know? For one thing, if we needed only 10 percent of our brain, the majority of brain injuries would have no discernible consequences, since the damage would affect parts of the brain that weren’t doing anything to begin with. We also know that natural selection discourages the development of useless anatomical structures: early humans who devoted scarce physical resources to growing and maintaining huge amounts of excess brain tissue would have been outcompeted by those who spent those precious resources on things more necessary for survival and reproductive success. Tougher immune systems, stronger muscles, better looking hair—just about anything would be more useful than having a head full of inert tissue.


We’ve been able to back up these logical conclusions with hard evidence. Imaging techniques, such as positron emission tomography (PET) and functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI), allow doctors and scientists to map brain activity in real time. The data clearly shows that large areas of the brain—far more than 10 percent—are used for all sorts of activity, from seemingly simple tasks like resting or looking at pictures to more complex ones like reading or doing math. Scientists have yet to find an area of the brain that doesn’t do anything.


So how did we come to believe that 90 percent of our brain is useless? The myth is often incorrectly attributed to 19th-century psychologist William James, who proposed that most of our mental potential goes untapped. But he never specified a percentage. Albert Einstein—a magnet for misattribution of quotes—has also been held responsible. In reality, the concept most likely came from the American self-help industry. One of the earliest mentions appears in the preface to Dale Carnegie’s 1936 mega best seller, How to Win Friends and Influence People. The idea that we have harnessed only a fraction of our brain’s full potential has been a staple for motivational gurus, New Age hucksters, and uninspired screenwriters ever since.


Obviously, this is bad news for anyone hoping to find the secret to becoming a genius overnight. The good news, though, is that hard work still works. There is plenty of reason to believe that you can build brainpower by regularly working at challenging mental tasks, such as playing a musical instrument, doing arithmetic, or reading a novel.”




I like to play Sudoku and June’s Journey (it is a game where you have to find various objects in a scene. ​​ My favorite video game of all times is Portal, which is a thinking game. ​​ All of those games help to keep my mind sharp. ​​ I hope that I am using more than 10% of my brain when I’m playing those games.


There are many common myths about the church that are misguided at best and dangerous at worst



  • Myth

    • You can emphasize personal holiness as much as you want and be a healthy church

    • This myth, if believed, can be dangerous because:

        • It can give someone a false sense of security that they can be truly united together with Jesus without looking increasingly like Him

        • It dilutes and pollutes the church, which God intended to be potent and pure

    • We know this is a myth because Jesus said a clear mark of a healthy church would be a church filled with people who are being conformed more and more into the image of the Son


Let’s pray


  • GOD

    • MARK: ​​ The Sanctifying Church

        • The Sanctifying Church and the Teaching of Jesus (John 17:13-19)

          • Background

            • John 17:1-26 has historically been entitled, The High Priestly Prayer

            • Jesus is praying for Himself (17:1-5), His disciples (17:6-19), and for future believers (17:20-26)

            • In the middle of His prayer for the disciples we see His teaching on sanctification and the means by which His disciples and future believers can continue the process of sanctification

          • Means of sanctification

            • Jesus is expressing to the Father that He is coming to Him now

            • He is praying out loud for the benefit of His disciples, so they can have the full measure of His joy within them

            • He gave the disciples God’s Word

              • This brought about hatred by the world

              • Jesus was not asking the Father to take them out of the world, but to protect them from the evil one

              • Paul reminds the Ephesian believers that our struggle is not with human beings, but rather it is against the rulers, authorities, and powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms (Ephesians 6:12)

              • Jesus was not praying for isolation, but infiltration

            • Jesus was praying that His disciples would be sanctified in the world

              • We see, that sanctification comes by the truth

              • God’s Word is the truth!!!

              • The Greek word for sanctification means “set apart for sacred use, cleansed and made holy” [NIV Life Application Bible, footnote for John 17:17]

              • Our theme last year was “pursuing holiness”

                • The Spiritual Life Journal focused on various commitments: ​​ holiness in prayer, the Word, service, giving, relationships, the Gospel, and worship

                • The commitments under the heading “Holiness in the Word” were, to read through the Bible with my Idaville Church family in 2021 and memorize one verse a month with my Idaville Church family in 2021

              • “A follower of Christ becomes sanctified (set apart for sacred use, cleansed and made holy) through believing and obeying the Word of God (Hebrews 4:12). ​​ He or she has already accepted forgiveness through Christ’s sacrificial death (Hebrews 7:26, 27). ​​ But daily application of God’s Word has a purifying effect on our minds and hearts. ​​ Scripture points out sin, motivates us to confess, renews our relationship with Christ, and guides us back to the right path.” ​​ [NIV Life Application Bible, footnote for John 17:17]

              • Hebrews 4:12, For the word of God is living and active. ​​ Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart.

              • “The Greek word for sanctify is hagiazo, which means ‘to set apart for God’s use.’ As Bruce points out:

                This involves their consecration for the task now entrusted to them; it involves further their inward purification and endowment with all the spiritual resources necessary for carrying out that task. This purification and endowment are the work of the Spirit, but here Jesus declares the instrument of that work to be ‘the truth’—the truth embodied in the Father’s ‘word’ which Jesus had given to the disciples as he himself had received it from the Father (vv. 8, 14). The very message which they are to proclaim in his name will exercise its sanctifying effect on them: that message is the continuation of his message, just as their mission in the world is the extension of his mission (Bruce, p. 334).”

                [Kenneth O. Gangel,
                John, ed. Max Anders, vol. 4 of Holman New Testament Commentary. Accordance electronic ed. (Nashville: B & H Publishing Group, 2000), 317.]

              • Bruce is talking about the Gospel of Jesus Christ being proclaimed to all nations

              • It also includes teaching the nations to obey everything Jesus had commanded them from the Father (Matt. 28:20)

            • Jesus sanctified Himself, so that His followers could also be truly sanctified

          • “God’s truth has been given to us in three ‘editions’: His Word is truth (John 17:17); His Son is the truth (John 14:6); and His Spirit is the truth (1 John 5:6). We need all three if we are to experience true sanctification, a sanctification that touches every part of our inner person. With the mind, we learn God’s truth through the Word. With the heart, we love God’s truth, His Son. With the will, we yield to the Spirit and live God’s truth day by day. It takes all three for a balanced experience of sanctification.” ​​ [Warren W. Wiersbe, Be Transformed, BE Series Commentary. Accordance electronic ed. (Colorado Springs: David C. Cook, 2010), 98.]

          • Jesus’ teaching helps us understand that sanctification comes from truth, which is found in God’s Word, the Bible

        • The Sanctifying Church and the Teaching of the Early Church (Acts 5:1-11)

          • Sin in the church

            • We know from this passage that lying was the sin that Ananias and Sapphira were judged on

              • They had lied to God

              • They had lied to God’s people

              • “George MacDonald wrote, ‘Half of the misery in the world comes from trying to look, instead of trying to be, what one is not.’” [Warren W. Wiersbe, Be Dynamic, BE Series Commentary. Accordance electronic ed. (Colorado Springs: David C. Cook, 2010), 78.]

              • “They build the front just like St. Mark’s,
                Or like Westminster Abbey;
                And then, as if to cheat the Lord,
                They make the back parts shabby.” [Wiersbe, 78]

            • Realities

              • The property was theirs to do with what they wanted

              • They were not required to give all of the proceeds from the sale of the property to the church

              • But, they were required to be honest about their giving

              • If we look back at Acts 4, we better understand their desire to make it appear as though they had given the total amount of the sale of the property to the church

              • Acts 4:36-37, Joseph, a Levite from Cyprus, whom the apostles called Barnabas (which means Son of Encouragement), sold a field he owned and brought the money and put it at the apostles’ feet.

              • Joseph was not the only one who had done this, for from time to time those who owned lands or houses sold them, brought the money from the sales and put it at the apostles’ feet, and it was distributed to anyone as he had need (Acts 4:34-35)

              • My guess is that pride was also a contributing factor in Ananias and Sapphira’s deception

              • They wanted to be counted with those who were giving sacrificially to the church

            • The result of their deception was death

          • Sanctification in the church

            • Why was their lie judged so harshly?

              • First, the Lord was establishing His church through the disciples and He wanted it to be holy and sanctified

              • “This act was judged harshly because dishonesty, greed, and covetousness are destructive in a church, preventing the Holy Spirit from working effectively. ​​ All lying is bad, but when we lie to try to deceive God and his people about our relationship with him, we destroy our testimony about Christ.” ​​ [NIV Life Application Bible, footnote for Acts 5:3]

              • This was not the first time that the Lord judged harshly

                • “It is worth noting that the Lord judges sin severely at the beginning of a new period in salvation history. Just after the tabernacle was erected, God killed Nadab and Abihu for trying to present “false fire” to the Lord (Lev. 10). He also had Achan killed for disobeying orders after Israel had entered the Promised Land (Josh. 7). While God was certainly not responsible for their sins, He did use these judgments as warnings to the people, and even to us (1 Cor. 10:11–12).” [Wiersbe, 79]

                • When the Lord was establishing new things, He wanted them to be established correctly, with integrity and honesty

              • Paul shares warnings from Israel’s history with the Corinthian believers before he says, These things happened to them as examples and were written down as warnings for us, on whom the fulfillment of the ages has come. ​​ So, if you think you are standing firm, be careful that you don’t fall! (1 Cor. 10:11-12)

              • We all have the capacity to deceive and lie, not only to other human beings, but also to the Lord

            • The result

              • After Ananias’ death we read, and great fear seized all who heard what had happened (Acts 5:5)

              • After Sapphira’s death Luke writes, great fear seized the whole church and all who heard about these events (Acts 5:11)

              • This was the correct response – reverence – to God’s righteous judgement on Ananias and Sapphira

              • The church needed to not only emphasize sanctification, but they needed to practice it

          • God takes sanctification and holiness seriously, and so should we

          • But what do the apostles have to say about sanctification?

        • The Sanctifying Church and the Teaching of the Apostles (Romans 8:28-30; 1 John 3:1-6)

          • Roman 8:28-30

            • The primary thought from these verses is, conforming to the likeness of his Son

            • Sanctification is just that, becoming more like Jesus in our attitudes, thoughts, speech, and behaviors

            • “God’s ultimate goal for us is to make us like Christ (1 John 3:2). ​​ As we become more and more like him, we discover our true selves, the persons we were created to be. ​​ How can we be conformed to Christ’s likeness? ​​ By reading and heeding the Word, by studying his life on earth through the Gospels, by being filled with his Spirit, and by doing his work in the world.” ​​ [NIV Life Application Bible, footnote for Romans 8:29]

            • Notice that the way to sanctification is again pointing us to God’s Word – it is where truth is found

            • But it also includes being filled with the Holy Spirit and doing His work in the world

          • 1 John 3:1-6

            • Wiersbe outlines vv. 1-3 very well [Warren W. Wiersbe, Be Real, BE Series Commentary. Accordance electronic ed. (Colorado Springs: David C. Cook, 2010), 107.]

              • What we are – children of God (v. 1)

              • What we shall be – like Christ with a glorified body ready for heaven (v. 2)

              • What we should be – purified, holy, sanctified (v. 3)

            • “For a child of God to sin indicates that he does not understand or appreciate what Jesus did for him on the cross.” ​​ [Wiersbe, 108-109.]

            • “One of our resources, then, for living a more holy lifestyle is pondering and meditating upon who Jesus is, who we have become in him, and what our life is likely to be when we see him.” [Max Anders, I & II Peter, I, II & III John, Jude, ed. Max Anders, vol. 11 of Holman New Testament Commentary. Accordance electronic ed. (Nashville: B & H Publishing Group, 1999), 190.]

            • As followers of Jesus Christ, we still sin sometimes

              • What John is referring to is willful, continual, habitual sin

              • “An unbeliever who sins is a creature sinning against his Creator. A Christian who sins is a child sinning against his Father. The unbeliever sins against law; the believer sins against love.” ​​ [Wiersbe, 108]

              • We are not trying to deliberately disobey God, grieve the Holy Spirit, or take lightly Jesus’ sacrifice

              • We understand the importance of revering God

              • If we continue to sin, as a disciple of Jesus Christ, then we don’t truly understand or appreciate Jesus’ ultimate sacrifice on the cross [Wiersbe, 108-109]

            • Jesus came to take away our sin

              • The sacrificial system required a perfect lamb to be sacrificed in order to cover over their sins

              • Jesus is the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world (John 1:29)

              • His perfect sacrifice did not cover over our sins, but took them away

            • Abiding in Christ

              • The key to not sinning is found in “living in Christ”

              • “To abide in Christ means to be in fellowship with Him, to allow nothing to come between ourselves and Christ. . . . It is this communion (abiding) with Christ that keeps us from deliberately disobeying His Word.” ​​ [Wiersbe, 110]

              • “Biblical terminology does not say that a Christian has two different natures. He has but one nature, the new nature in Christ. The old self dies and the new self lives; they do not coexist … The Christian is a single new person, a totally new creation, not a spiritual schizophrenic. It is the filthy coat of remaining humanness in which the new creation dwells that continues to hinder and contaminate his living. He is no longer the old man corrupted, but is now the new man created in righteousness and holiness, awaiting full salvation (Rom. 13:11) when he dies and is given a new body (p. 164).” ​​ [John MacArthur cited by Anders, 192-193]

          • The Apostles want us to understand that becoming more like Jesus takes reading and heeding God’s Word, being filled with the Holy Spirit, pondering and meditating on who Jesus is and who we have become in Him, and abiding in Christ.

        • We not only see this mark proclaimed to us through teaching, but also through a picture

    • METAPHOR: ​​ A Holy Nation (1 Peter 2:9-12)

        • Who we are, in Christ

          • Chosen race, royal priesthood, holy nation, God’s own possession, people of God, recipients of God’s mercy

          • The holy nation represents a nation that is pursuing sanctification

          • The reason is so we can proclaim the excellencies of God

        • Who we used to be, prior to Christ

          • Not a people

          • Not recipients of God’s mercy

        • What we should do as a result of following Christ

          • Negative

            • Abstain from fleshly lusts

            • “Sinful desires” is best understood as “strong desires motivated by selfishness.” ​​ [Anders, 1999]

          • Positive

            • Keep your behavior excellent/live such good lives/practice good deeds

            • Accusations [Anders, 1999]

              • Christians were accused of being disloyal to Caesar

              • They were accused of hurting local businesses, because they spoke against idol worship

              • Speaking against idol worship got them labeled as being godless

            • Peter is encouraging the believers to show the Gentiles, through their changed/sanctified/holy lives, that the accusations are not true or valid

          • The result of living this holy, sanctified life would be that the Gentiles would glorify God when Christ returns

        • So, how does this apply to our lives?

    • APPLICATION (how will we know if this mark of The Church marks Our Church?)

        • We will see evidence of God’s supernatural work in our lives (1 Thessalonians 5:23-24)

          • Now may the God of peace Himself sanctify you entirely; and may your spirit and soul and body be preserved complete, without blame at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. ​​ Faithful is He who calls you, and He also will bring it to pass (NASB1995)

          • The work of sanctification is the work of God in our lives as we submit to Him

        • We will see evidence of God’s sustaining work in our lives (Philippians 1:6)

          • For I am confident of this very thing, that He who began a good work in you will perfect it until the day of Christ Jesus (NASB1995)

          • The perfecting work in us is God’s sanctifying work – making us more like Jesus

        • We will see evidence of our part in the sustaining work of God in our lives (Philippians 2:12-13)

          • So then, my beloved, just as you have always obeyed, not as in my presence only, but now much more in my absence, work out your salvation with fear and trembling; for it is God who is at work in you, both to will and to work for His good pleasure (NASB1995)

          • The working out of our salvation is again the process of sanctification

        • We will see evidence that we are being sanctified by time in Scripture (John 17:17)

          • Sanctify them in the truth; Your word is truth (NASB1995)

          • This takes us back to what we learned about sanctification from Jesus, the early church, and the apostles

        • We will see evidence that we are being sanctified through timeless obedience (Titus 2:11-15)

          • For the grace of God has appeared, bringing salvation to all men, instructing us to deny ungodliness and worldly desires and to live sensibly, righteously and godly in the present age, looking for the blessed hope and the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior, Christ Jesus, who gave Himself for us to redeem us from every lawless deed, and to purify for Himself a people for His own possession, zealous for good deeds. ​​ These things speak and exhort and reprove with all authority. ​​ Let no one disregard you (NASB1995)

          • Obedience over the long haul – denying ungodliness and worldly desires, living sensibly, righteously and godly, and looking for Jesus second coming

        • Our desire is to have a church filled with people who are being conformed more and more into the image of the Son (Jesus)


  • YOU

    • Idaville Member Survey from RESTOR Renewal Ministries

        • There was one of the five survey questions that was in the top ten of least difficult for us as a church

          • “I can confidently say that being part of our church has deepened my desire to be more like Christ.” ​​ (7 out of 10).

            • This is encouraging!

            • I am excited that most of us have a deepened desire to be more like Christ

            • Notice that the primary word in the sentence is desire

          • I think the next question helps us understand that while we have a deepened desire, we don’t really know how to act on that desire

        • One of the remaining four questions was in the top 10 of most difficult for us

          • “The people in our church understand what ‘sanctification’ means and the means God uses to sanctify us as Christians.” ​​ (4 out of 10)

            • I hope everyone of us can now define sanctification – becoming more like Jesus Christ

            • I also hope that we now know the means that God uses to sanctify us

              • Jesus taught us that sanctification comes from the truth, which is found in God’s Word the Bible

              • The teaching of the early church helped us understand that God is serious about sanctification and holiness in His church

              • The Apostles teaching helped us to understand that becoming more like Jesus takes reading and heeding God’s Word, being filled with the Holy Spirit, pondering and meditating on who Jesus is and who we have become in Him, and abiding in Christ

            • Spiritual Life Journal

              • There are two commitments in the Spiritual Life Journal that apply to God’s Word

                • “I am committed to read through the Bible with my Idaville Church family in 2022.”

                • “I am committed to memorizing one verse a month with my Idaville Church family in 2022.”

                • I would encourage everyone to make those two commitments

                • The daily Bible reading guide is close to the back of the journal and the monthly memory verses are in the very back

                • I want to encourage you to take it two steps further

                  • After reading the daily Bible passage, journal what God is saying to you through His Word

                  • Share what God is teaching you with another person

              • My Next Step Today Is To: ​​ Commit to reading through the Bible, journaling, and sharing what God is teaching me with others.

          • Where did the remaining three questions fall?

        • The three remaining questions all fell in the middle

          • “Our church has helped me to make a plan for my own personal sanctification.”

            • I do not know that we have helped each person make a personal plan for their own sanctification

            • We have definitely provided resources for you in the Spiritual Life Journal

            • Pastor Marc and I would love to meet with you, if you would like to develop a plan for your own personal sanctification

            • The initiative has to be on your part, otherwise it will not last

            • My Next Step Today Is To: ​​ Set up an appointment with Pastor Stuart or Pastor Marc to discuss my personal sanctification plan.

          • “It’s clear that the leaders in our church are consistently growing in their Christ-likeness.”

            • I trust that this will be more evident as we all pursue becoming more like Christ

          • “Our church consistently teaches on and encourages personal and corporate sanctification.”

            • As holiness and sanctification come up the various passages of Scripture that we are studying, I will make an concerted effort to highlight sanctification and encourage everyone to seek to become more like Christ

            • Our theme last year was “Pursuing Holiness”

            • We want to continue to do that even this year and beyond


  • WE

    • Vision

        • Core Values

          • “Our leadership strives to be led more by Jesus, to lead more like Jesus, so we can lead more to Jesus.”

        • Growth Strategy

          • Three+ Uniques – “Preaching and teaching God’s Word.”

            • Through the weekly exposition of God’s Word, we all have the opportunity to learn more about Jesus and who we have become in Him

            • We can learn about abiding in Him and how to do that

          • Proven Process – “Sunday school and Discipleship groups.”

            • Sunday school and discipleship groups are an great way to learn the truths of God’s Word

            • When we learn the truths of God’s Word then we can become more like Jesus

    • Traction

        • “Have a 10% increase in the number of people attending Sunday school and/or discipleship groups.”

        • “Have a 10% increase in the pursuit of holiness as evidenced through salvations, baptisms, and accountability.”



The altar is open this morning with members of our prayer team. ​​ You can come forward today and kneel at the altar or pray with one of team members about anything. ​​ It may be about something the Holy Spirit has spoken to you about through God’s Word. ​​ It may be something you are dealing with personally. ​​ You come as the worship team plays quietly and then leads us in the closing song.



8 Marks Of The Church

The Son Confessing Church



Urban Legends


The 999 phone charging myth is an urban legend, which claims that calling the police and fire services, then hanging up, charges mobile phone batteries.[1]




There are many common myths about the church that are misguided at best and dangerous at worst



  • Myth

    • You can believe what you want about Jesus and be a healthy church

    • This myth, if believed, can be dangerous because:

        • It can cause people to think they know Jesus when they really know “another Jesus” that’s not really Him

        • It can cause a church to be schizophrenic at best and apostate at worst when it comes to Jesus.

    • We know this is a myth because Jesus said a clear mark of a healthy church would be a church filled with people who confess correct things about His nature and character


Let’s pray


  • GOD

    • MARK: ​​ The Son Confessing Church

        • The Son Confessing Church and the Teaching of Jesus (John 10:37-39)

          • Background

            • Jesus has been teaching at the Temple area during the Feast of Dedication

            • The Jews gather around Jesus and ask Him a question and make a statement

              • “How long will you keep us in suspense?”

              • “If you are the Christ, tell us plainly.”

            • Jesus’ response is that He had already told them, but they didn’t believe

            • The miracles He does in His Father’s name speak for Him

            • They did not believe Him, because they were not His sheep

            • Jesus then makes His confession and pleads with the Jews to believe

          • Just believe (vv. 37-39)

            • I wish we could have heard Jesus’ tone of voice at this point, because my guess is that His tone was one of pleading with the Jews to believe

            • Challenge

              • Don’t believe me

                • If I don’t do what my Father does, then don’t believe in Me

                • This would certainly be an indication that Jesus was not from God

                • He would have been a false prophet or teacher trying to direct them away from God

                • So, they obviously shouldn’t believe in Him or follow Him

              • Believe the miracles

                • While Jesus doesn’t say it directly here, He is saying to them, “Even though you don’t believe my words, believe the works (miracles) from the Father

                • “Jesus’ works were the window into his words.” ​​ [Borchert, The New American Commentary, John 1-11, 344]

                • PRINCIPLE #1 – God’s people recognize His Son through His miracles.

                • If you believe the miracles from the Father, you will understand that the Father is in me, and I’m in the Father

                  • “Interestingly, coming to understand is presented as the result, rather than condition, of believing.” ​​ [Köstenberger, Baker Exegetical Commentary on the New Testament, John, 317]

                  • Sometimes we have to take the step of faith without having all of our questions answered and then we will be able to understand that Jesus’ works prove His words

                • PRINCIPLE #2– Jesus and God are One!

              • Even though Jesus is pleading with the Jews to believe in Him, they aren’t quite ready to take that step yet

            • Reaction of the Jews

              • They try to seize Jesus, either to stone Him or to arrest Him

              • Jesus escapes their grasp, because it’s still not God’s timing for Him to be put on trial and killed

          • Jesus was confessing that He is the Son of God that the Father is in Him, and He is in the Father – Jesus and God are One!

          • Jesus confessed His deity and exclusive claims about Himself

        • The Son Confessing Church and the Teaching of the Early Church (Acts 2:24-36)

          • Background

            • We saw last that Acts 2 retells the events that happened during Pentecost in Jerusalem

            • We know that the Holy Spirit came upon the Apostles in power and enabled them to share the Gospel in the various languages of the people who had gathered in Jerusalem for the Feast of Weeks

          • Peter explains Jesus’ resurrection (vv. 24-32)

            • Peter is confessing Jesus’ resurrection, to the people gathered in Jerusalem

            • Jesus is alive!

            • He is the only person who died, was buried, came alive again, and is still alive today

            • The fact that He is still alive today sets Him apart from every other prophet, teacher, human being, or god

            • Peter explains that David, as a prophet, has died and was buried and his tomb is still there to this day

            • Peter and the other Apostles were witnesses to Jesus’ resurrection

          • Peter explains Jesus’ ascension and current position (vv. 33-36)

            • He is exalted to the right hand of God.

            • Footstool – this was a practice in the Orient where the conqueror would put his foot on the neck of the conquered.

            • God made Jesus both Lord, kü-rē-os, meaning he to whom a person or thing belongs; and Christ, khrē-sto’s, meaning anointed.

            • Peter is confessing the deity of Jesus Christ

          • The teaching of the early church is that Jesus was resurrected by the power of God and is still alive today and that God has made Him Lord and Christ (deity)

        • The Son Confessing Church and the Teaching of the Apostles (1 John 4:2-3; Philippians 2:5-11)

          • Teaching of the Apostle John (1 John 4:2-3)

            • John is helping believers everywhere to know how to discern whether a spirit is from God or not

            • Every spirit that confesses Jesus Christ is from God

            • Here we see that the confession or acknowledgement is that Jesus came in the flesh

            • This speaks of Jesus’ humanity

            • John mentions it again in his second letter, Many deceivers, who do not acknowledge Jesus Christ as coming in the flesh, have gone out into the world. ​​ Any such person is the deceiver and the antichrist. (2 John 7)

          • Teaching of the Apostle Paul (Philippians 2:5-11)

            • Paul teaches us that Jesus is God (deity)

              • Being in very nature God (v. 6)

              • Jesus Christ is Lord (v. 11)

            • He also teaches us that Jesus was human (vv. 7-8)

            • We also learn about Jesus’ substitutionary death (v. 8)

          • The Apostles’ confession is that Jesus is both God and man and that He died on a cross to take our punishment for sin

        • We have the teachings of Jesus, the early church, and the Apostles about this mark, but we also have a picture found in Revelation

    • METAPHOR: ​​ The Bride of Christ (Revelation 19:6-10)

        • This is the end of human history – the hope of every believer

          • Jesus is the Lamb, the Bridegroom

          • His disciples are His bride

          • The hope of every follower of Jesus Christ is to be invited to the wedding supper of the Lamb!

        • “As the Bridegroom, Jesus has confessed His love for us and union with us, and as the Bride, we likewise confess our love for Him and union with Him. ​​ He has intimate knowledge of us – who we really are, and we have intimate knowledge of Him – who He really is.” ​​ [Matt Kyser]

        • How does this apply to us?

    • APPLICATION (how will we know if this mark of The Church marks Our Church?)

        • We will have intimate knowledge of and confess the deity of Jesus (John 1:1-4)

          • In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. ​​ He was with God in the beginning. ​​ Through him all things were made; without him nothing was made that has been made. ​​ In him was life, and that life was the light of men. (John 1:1-4)

          • As disciples of Jesus Christ, we will confess that Jesus is fully God

          • He is not just another prophet, teacher, or good human being – He is God!

        • We will have intimate knowledge of and confess the humanity of Jesus (John 1:14)

          • The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. ​​ We have seen his glory, the glory of the One and Only, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth. (John 1:14)

          • While it may be difficult for our finite human minds to comprehend, Jesus is also fully man

          • He is fully God (100%) and fully man (100%) and yet He is one person

            • Colossians 2:9, For in Christ all the fullness of the Deity lives in bodily form,

            • Luke 24:39, Look at my hands and my feet. ​​ It is I myself! ​​ Touch me and see; a ghost does not have flesh and bones, as you see I have.

          • As human beings, we do not have to understand how Jesus can be fully God and fully man at the same time, we just have to believe

        • We will have intimate knowledge of and confess the sinless life of Jesus (Hebrews 4:15)

          • Scriptures

            • For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but we have one who has been tempted in every way, just as we are – yet was without sin. (Hebrews 4:15)

            • God made him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God. (2 Corinthians 5:21)

          • Jesus was the only One who could take our punishment on the cross, because He was perfect, without sin

          • We are human and fallible, Jesus is both God and man and perfect

        • We will have intimate knowledge of and will confess the substitutionary death of Jesus (1 Peter 2:24)

          • He himself bore our sins in his body on the tree, so that we might die to sins and live for righteousness; by his wounds you have been healed. (1 Peter 2:24)

          • But now he has appeared once for all at the end of the ages to do away with sin by the sacrifice of himself. ​​ Just as man is destined to die once, and after that to face judgment, so Christ was sacrificed once to take away the sins of many people; and he will appear a second time, not to bear sin, but to bring salvation to those who are waiting for him. (Hebrews 9:26b-28)

          • But he was pierced for our transgressions, he was crushed for our iniquities; the punishment that brought us peace was upon him, and by his wounds we are healed. (Isaiah 53:5)

        • We will have intimate knowledge of and confess the resurrection of Jesus (1 Corinthians 15:3-8)

          • For what I received I passed on to you as of first importance: ​​ that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures, and that he appeared to Peter, and then to the Twelve. ​​ After that, he appeared to more than five hundred of the brothers at the same time, most of whom are still living, though some have fallen asleep. ​​ Then he appeared to James, then to all the apostles, and last of all he appeared to me also, as to one abnormally born. (1 Corinthians 15:3-8)

          • Jesus’ resurrection is what sets Him apart from everyone else – He is still alive today, interceding for us before the Father

        • We will have intimate knowledge of and confess the exclusive claims of Jesus (John 14:6)

          • Jesus answered, “I am the way and the truth and the life. ​​ No one comes to the Father except through me. (Hebrews 4:15)

          • There are those in our culture today, that want everyone to believe that there are multiple ways to heaven and since God is loving, He will let everyone in to heaven

          • The old saying is, “all roads lead to heaven.”

            • That saying is false

            • I would modify the saying to say, “all roads lead to God.”

              • For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, that each one may receive what is due him for the things done while in the body, whether good or bad. (2 Corinthians 5:10)

              • You, then, why do you judge your brother? ​​ Or why do you look down on your brother? ​​ For we will all stand before God’s judgment seat. ​​ It is written: ​​ “‘As surely as I live,’ says the Lord, ‘every knee will bow before me; every tongue will confess God.’” ​​ So then, each of us will give an account of himself to God. (Romans 14:10-12)

              • “Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only he who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. ​​ Many will say to me on that day, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and in your name drive out demons and perform many miracles?’ ​​ Then I will tell them plainly, ‘I never knew you. ​​ Away from me, you evildoers!’” ​​ (Matthew 7:21-23)

              • During the final judgment, all the nations will appear before Jesus and He will separate the people like a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats (Matthew 25:31-46)

            • Jesus is the only way to heaven and the Father

          • We have to confess the exclusive claims of Jesus

        • Our desire is to have a church filled with people who confess correct things about Jesus’ nature and character


  • YOU

    • Idaville Member Survey from RESTOR Renewal Ministries

        • Four of the five questions from The Son-Confessing Church section of the survey were in the top ten of the least difficult for us as a church

          • That is encouraging, because it means that these are things we readily believe and embrace

          • “The people in our church believe that Jesus is the unique Son of God, fully God and fully man, and the way, the truth, and the life – no one coming into a relationship with the Father but through Him.” (1 of 10)

          • “I hear the name of Jesus consistently in sermons, teaching content, small groups and interpersonal conversations in our church.” (2 of 10)

          • “Our church consistently teaches on the Person and work of Jesus on the cross, connecting the truth of the Gospel with any particular passage or theme.” (3 of 10)

          • “The leaders in our church consistently and publicly point to Jesus as the Head and primary Leader of our church.” (6 of 10)

          • “It is obvious that love for and obedience to Jesus is the reason our church exists.” (12 of 12)

        • Encouragement and Challenge

          • If you believe and it is a settled fact in your heart and mind that Jesus is fully God and fully man, that He lived a sinless life and gave His life on the cross for you, that God raised Him from the dead and is still alive today, and that the only way to heaven and the Father is through a personal relationship with Him, then I want to encourage you to continue in that faith

            • These are the truths of Jesus that the world needs to hear

            • We have been called and commissioned to confess these truths where we live, work, learn, and play

            • #1 – My Next Step Today Is To: ​​ Commit to confessing the truths about Jesus to my family, friends, fellow students, and coworkers.

          • If you are struggling in your heart and mind about any of these truths, that Jesus is fully God and fully man, that He lived a sinless life and gave His life on the cross for you, that God raised Him from the dead and is still alive today, and that the only way to heaven and the Father is through a personal relationship with Him, then I want to challenge you to do a couple of things

            • Pray and seek the Lord’s face concerning the truth(s) that you are struggling with

            • Spend time reading the Gospels (Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John) and ask the Lord to make these truths evident to you through His Word

            • Reach out to Pastor Marc, myself, or another fellow believer, so we can walk alongside you as you pray and read God’s Word – accountability is so important

            • #2 – My Next Step Today Is To: ​​ Commit to praying, reading God’s Word, and reaching out to other believers concerning the truths of who Jesus is and what He came to earth to accomplish.


  • WE

    • Vision

        • Core Values

          • “We are a church that reaches out, spreading God's Word, God's glory, and God's promises to those that do not know Him.”

          • “Our leadership strives to be led more by Jesus, to lead more like Jesus, so we can lead more to Jesus.”

        • We are committed as a church and as leaders to confessing Jesus to those we live, work, learn, and play with

    • Traction

        • One of our annual goals for 2022 is to have a 10% increase in the number of people attending Sunday school and/or discipleship groups

        • Another annual goal is to have 10% increase in the pursuit of holiness as evidenced through salvations, baptisms, and accountability



“The greatness of God is most clearly displayed in his Son. And the glory of the gospel is only made evident in his Son. That's why Jesus' question to his disciples [in Matthew 16] is so important: ‘Who do you say that I am?’


The question is doubly crucial in our day, because [no one is as popular in the U.S. as Jesus]—and not every Jesus is the real Jesus. …


There's the Republican Jesus—who is against tax increases and activist judges, for family values and owning firearms.


There's Democrat Jesus—who is against Wall Street and Wal-Mart, for reducing our carbon footprint and printing money.


There's Therapist Jesus—who helps us cope with life's problems, heals our past, tells us how valuable we are and not to be so hard on ourselves.


There's Starbucks Jesus—who drinks fair trade coffee, loves spiritual conversations, drives a hybrid, and goes to film festivals.


There's Open-minded Jesus—who loves everyone all the time no matter what (except for people who are not as open-minded as you).


There's Touchdown Jesus—who helps athletes fun faster and jump higher than non-Christians and determines the outcomes of Super Bowls.


There's Martyr Jesus—a good man who died a cruel death so we can feel sorry for him.


There's Gentle Jesus—who was meek and mild, with high cheek bones, flowing hair, and walks around barefoot, wearing a sash (while looking very German).


There's Hippie Jesus—who teaches everyone to give peace a chance, imagines a world without religion, and helps us remember that ‘all you need is love.’


There's Yuppie Jesus—who encourages us to reach our full potential, reach for the stars, and buy a boat.

There's Spirituality Jesus—who hates religion, churches, pastors, priests, and doctrine, and would rather have people out in nature, finding ‘the god within’ while listening to ambiguously spiritual music.


There's Platitude Jesus—good for Christmas specials, greeting cards, and bad sermons, inspiring people to believe in themselves.


There's Revolutionary Jesus—who teaches us to rebel against the status quo, stick it to the man, and blame things on ‘the system.’


There's Guru Jesus—a wise, inspirational teacher who believes in you and helps you find your center.


There's Boyfriend Jesus—who wraps his arms around us as we sing about his intoxicating love in our secret place.


There's Good Example Jesus—who shows you how to help people, change the planet, and become a better you.


And then there's Jesus Christ, the Son of the living God. Not just another prophet. Not just another Rabbi. Not just another wonder-worker. He was the one they had been waiting for: the Son of David and Abraham's chosen seed; the one to deliver us from captivity; the goal of the Mosaic law; Yahweh in the flesh; the one to establish God's reign and rule; the one to heal the sick, give sight to the blind, freedom to the prisoners and proclaim Good News to the poor; the Lamb of God who came to take away the sins of the world.


This Jesus was the Creator come to earth and the beginning of a New Creation. He embodied the covenant, fulfilled the commandments, and reversed the curse. This Jesus is the Christ that God spoke of to the Serpent; the Christ prefigured to Noah in the flood; the Christ promised to Abraham; the Christ prophesied through Balaam before the Moabites; the Christ guaranteed to Moses before he died; the Christ promised to David when he was king; the Christ revealed to Isaiah as a Suffering Servant; the Christ predicted through the Prophets and prepared for through John the Baptist.


This Christ is not a reflection of the current mood or the projection of our own desires. He is our Lord and God. He is the Father's Son, Savior of the world, and substitute for our sins—more loving, more holy, and more wonderfully terrifying than we ever thought possible.”


Used by Permission


Source: Kevin DeYoung, "Who Do You Say That I Am?" from his DeYoung, Restless, and Reformed blog (posted 6-10-09)





Pursuit Of Holiness

Real Faith

(1 John 3:1-10)



“The United States Treasury Department has a special group of men whose job it is to track down counterfeiters. ​​ Naturally, these men need to know a counterfeit bill when they see it.


How do they learn to identify fake bills?


Oddly enough, they are not trained by spending hours examining counterfeit money. ​​ Rather, they study the real thing. ​​ They become so familiar with authentic bills that they can spot a counterfeit by looking at it or, often, simply feeling it.”


[Wiersbe, The Bible Exposition Commentary, New Testament, Volume 2, 503].


“The United States Treasury uses a number of sophisticated techniques to keep counterfeiters from reproducing the look of paper currency. ​​ The exact makeup of paper bills is a secret, but it is widely known that the paper is made of 75 percent cotton and 25 percent linen, with red and blue flecks of silk. ​​ In addition to the high quality of the paper, United States currency also has magnetic ink, an almost invisible ink on the left side of larger bills, and an engraved ‘United State of America’ around the face of the larger bills. ​​ The final feature that is impossible for anyone to replicate is that the paper is run through machines with high-pressure rollers that create a uniform thickness. ​​ Without these machines, this feature cannot be duplicated.


These sophisticated measures do not keep counterfeiters from trying, nevertheless, because they can get so close that many people cannot tell the difference. ​​ Deceit of course, is the whole point of counterfeiting. ​​ Someone who does not have the real thing wants someone else to believe he has. ​​ We must be aware, alert, on guard against deceit, in regard to money as well as other things in life.”


[Walls & Anders, Holman New Testament Commentary, I & II Peter, I, II, & III John, Jude, 187].



  • ME

    • Bank training

        • Right out of college, I worked as a bank teller

        • After being hired, I had to go through several days of training, which included learning what real currency looked like

        • They trained us to identify the attributes and characteristics of real money before they ever tested us to see if we could identify counterfeit money

        • After working with money every day for months, I was able to tell when paper money didn’t feel right

    • Coins

        • One thing I also learned while working at the bank was that Canadian coins sounded different when dropped on the counter top or floor than American coins

        • I could tell when someone gave me a Canadian coin mixed in American coins without looking at it because of the sound that it made when dropped on the counter


  • WE

    • Counterfeit Detector Pens

        • How many of us have every used one of those counterfeit detector pens?

        • I did when I worked as a cashier at Walmart, many years ago

    • UV Counterfeit Detectors

        • Now they have UV counterfeit detectors

        • These detectors can be used for U.S. dollars and many other currencies

        • It can also be used to check credit cards, ID’s and passports

    • Carob instead of chocolate

        • How many of you know what carob is?

        • It’s basically a chocolate substitute made from a carob pod instead of cocoa pod

        • Carob is less bitter and has a roasted, naturally sweet flavor

        • Carob is caffeine-free and high in fiber

        • I remember the first time my Mom made carob brownies (I knew something was different, but I didn’t know what)

        • How many of us are able to tell when something has been substituted in our favorite foods? ​​ (we know what the original ingredient tastes like, so we know something’s different)


John was writing to reassure Christians, in several Gentile churches, to hold on to their faith and not be led astray by antichrists that had joined, not only the Ephesian church, but other churches as well. ​​ They were spiritual counterfeiters. ​​ In 1 John 3, “God reveals the characteristics of the bad currency and the good, so that his church can grasp the good” [Walls & Anders, 187]. ​​ John compares the characteristics of those who are children of God and those who are children of the devil. ​​ John wants us to understand that . . .


BIG IDEA – Our actions show whether our faith is real or counterfeit.


Let’s pray


A faith that’s real is characterized by the pursuit of holiness


Warren Wiersbe says that “John gives three reasons for a holy life” [Wiersbe, 504]. ​​ Those are going to be our three points this morning.


  • GOD (1 John 3:1-10)

    • God the Father loves us (vv. 1-3)

        • What we are (v. 1)

          • We are loved

            • The NIV doesn’t translate the first Greek word in chapter 3, which is ὁράω (horaō) and means “behold” or “see” (most other translations have one or the other)

            • The Greek for “how great” means, “what kind/sort of or quality”

              • Wiersbe translates it this way, “Behold, what peculiar, out-of-this-world kind of love the Father has bestowed on us.” ​​ [Wiersbe, 504]

              • It’s an unconditional, never ending kind of love

              • Jeremiah 31:3, The Lord appeared to us in the past, saying: “I have loved you with an everlasting love; I have drawn you with loving-kindness.”

              • Romans 5:8, But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.

                • That’s unconditional love at its best

                • While we don’t want anything to do with God, He still loves us – no matter what!

                • PRINCIPLE #1 – God is love!

                  • That is one of God’s many attributes

                  • His attributes are qualities about Him that we can hold on to and have confidence in

                  • No matter how bad you think your sins are, God still loves you – unconditionally

                  • His love is so great that He is willing to adopt you into His forever family

              • When is the last time you’ve experienced that kind of love?

                • I would venture to say, that most of us have never experienced that kind or quality of love

                • We’ve experienced conditional love a lot

            • Perhaps children who have been adopted understand God’s unconditional love better than children who grew up in a biological family

            • God’s love for us is of such incredible quality that He calls us His children

          • We are children of God

            • NOTE: ​​ most manuscripts do not have “and that is what we are!

            • John tells us in his Gospel how we become children of God

            • John 1:12-13, Yet to all who received him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God – children born not of natural descent, nor of human decision or a husband’s will, but born of God.

              • This isn’t a natural, biological birth that John is talking about

              • It’s a supernatural adoption that takes place by believing in Jesus name and receiving Him into our lives

              • We have to repent (turn from our sins) and begin to follow Jesus as our Lord and Savior

              • Repentance is more than saying a prayer, it’s a lifestyle change that affects every area of our life

              • Application

                • Have you received Jesus into your life and believed in His name?

                • Have you turned from your sins and pursued a relationship with Jesus?

                • #1 – My Next Step Today Is To: ​​ Receive Jesus and believe in His name, so I can become a child of God.

            • When this transformation truly takes place in our lives, the world will not understand it

          • We are unknown by the world

            • “[The world] Does not understand our principles; the reasons of our conduct; the sources of our comforts and joys.” [Barnes, Barnes’ Notes on the New Testament, Accordance electronic ed. (Altamonte Springs: OakTree Software, 2006), paragraph 32512.]

              • The world has a hard time understanding how we can have a smile on our face and be optimistic when everything seems to be falling down around us

              • The hope that we have comes from the Lord

              • We understand that this world is not the end, that the difficulties we are currently experiencing are only temporary, and the glory we will experience will far exceed the hardships we are going through

              • We are in great company

              • John 15:18, “If the world hates you, keep in mind that it hated me first.”

            • The world won’t understand our transformation, because they don’t know the Lord

              • John 1:10, He was in the world, and though the world was made through him, the world did not recognize him.

              • The world doesn’t know Jesus, because they have rejected Him

          • Our actions show whether our faith is real or counterfeit.

          • We know from verse 1 what we are, but verse 2 tells us what we will be

        • What we will be (v. 2)

          • Now we are children of God

            • The moment that we receive Jesus into our lives and believe in Him, is when we become children of God

            • It’s not something that happens later on

            • “The present possession of believers requires constant reaffirmation because of what daily life present them with, as seen in Calvin’s (1988: 266) memorable words: ‘Physically, we are dust and a shadow, and death is always before our eyes. ​​ We are exposed to a thousand miseries and our souls to innumerable evils, so that we always find a hell within us. ​​ The more necessary is it that our sense should be withdrawn from the view of present things, lest the miseries . . . should shake our trust in that happiness which as yet is hidden.’” ​​ [Yarbrough, Baker Exegetical Commentary on the New Testament, 1-3 John, 177]

            • What John is addressing here is the tension between the already and not yet that we see throughout Scripture

              • Already Romans 8:15, For you did not receive a spirit that makes you a slave again to fear, but you received the Spirit of sonship [adoption]. ​​ And by him we cry, “Abba, Father.”

              • Not yetRomans 8:23, Not only so, be we ourselves, who have the firstfruits of the Spirit, groan inwardly as we wait eagerly for our adoption as sons, the redemption of our bodies.

              • [show figure B] [https://www.desiringgod.org/articles/already-not-yet]

          • What we will be has not yet been made known

            • John tells us a little about what we will be when he says that when Jesus appears, we will be like Him

            • Scripture helps us understand what Jesus is like now, so we know what we will be like

              • Colossians 3:4, When Christ, who is your life, appears, then you also will appear with him in glory.

              • 2 Corinthians 3:18, And we, who with unveiled faces all reflect the Lord’s glory, are being transformed into his likeness with ever-increasing glory, which comes from the Lord, who is the Spirit.

              • 2 Corinthians 4:6, For God, who said, “Let light shine out of darkness,” made his light shine in our hearts to give us the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Christ.

              • Philippians 3:20-21, But our citizenship is in heaven. ​​ And we eagerly await a Savior from there, the Lord Jesus Christ, who, by the power that enables him to bring everything under his control, will transform our lowly bodies so that they will be like his glorious body.

          • We know what we are and what we will be, which should affect what we should be

        • What we should be (v. 3)

          • Because we know that Jesus is returning again, we should strive for holiness (to keep our lives clean)

            • Paul expresses it this way to the Corinthian believers, Since we have these promises, dear friends, let us purify ourselves from everything that contaminates body and spirit, perfecting holiness out of reverence for God (2 Corinthians 7:1)

            • James expresses it as standing firm (James 5:8)

            • Peter tells us to be self-controlled (1 Peter 1:13)

            • Our actions show whether our faith is real or counterfeit.

            • Application

              • Are you striving for holiness, purity, and self-control?

              • Are you struggling with habitual sin, right now?

              • Do you have someone to help hold you accountable?

              • #2 – My Next Step Today Is To: ​​ Strive for holiness as I wait, with hope, for Jesus to return.

          • PRINCIPLE #2 – Jesus is pure (holy)!

            • John tells us that our model, our guide, our standard of holiness is Jesus

            • “In every case Painter’s observation (2002: 228) holds true: ‘The use of this word [καθώς] suggests that Jesus is the source and mode of the believer’s righteousness.’” ​​ [Yarbrough, 179]

          • “A group of teenagers were enjoying a party, and someone suggested that they go to a certain restaurant for a good time. ​​ ‘I’d rather you took me home,’ Jan said to her date. ​​ ‘My parents don’t approve of that place.’ ​​ ‘Afraid your father will hurt you?’ one of the girls asked sarcastically. ​​ ‘No,’ Jan replied, ‘I’m not afraid my father will hurt me, but I am afraid I might hurt him.’ ​​ She understood the principle that a true child of God, who has experienced the love of God, has no desire to sin against that love.” ​​ [Wiersbe, 504-5]

        • God’s love for us is a great reason to live a holy life!

        • John gives us a second reason in verse 4-8

    • God the Son died for us (vv. 4-8)

        • In these verses we see that there were two reasons why Jesus died for us

          • To take away our sins (vv. 4-6)

            • John 1:29, The next day John saw Jesus coming toward him and said, “Look, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world!”

            • Sin

              • I like the NASB 1995 translation of verse 4, Everyone who practices sin also practices lawlessness; and sin is lawlessness

              • The tense (present), voice (active), and mood (participle) of the Greek word for “practices” helps us understand that it is a habit of doing sin and not occasionally sinning [Robertson, Word Pictures in the New Testament, Accordance electronic ed. (Altamonte Springs: OakTree Software, 2001), paragraph 7795]

              • Definitions of sin in the Bible

                • Lawlessness – breaking God’s laws (1 John 3:4)

                • Anything not from faith (Romans 14:23b, everything that does not come from faith is sin)

                • Thought of foolishness (Proverbs 24:9a, the schemes of folly are sin . . .)

                • Knowing to do good, but not doing it (James 4:17, Anyone, then, who knows the good he ought to do and doesn’t do it, sins)

                • All unrighteousness (1 John 5:17a, All wrongdoing is sin . . .)

                • “Sin is basically a matter of the will. ​​ For us to assert our will against God’s will is rebellion, and rebellion is the root of sin.” ​​ [Wiersbe, 505]

                • We can fake holiness and purity on the outside, so that other people think we’re a good person

                • We can’t fake holiness and purity on the inside, and God is able to see both the inside and the outside – He knows the attitude of our hearts

                • “Little Judy was riding in the care with her father. ​​ She decided to stand up in the front seat. ​​ Her father commanded her to sit down and put on the seat belt, but she declined. ​​ He told her a second time, and again she refused. ​​ ‘If you don’t sit down immediately, I’ll pull over to the side of the road and spank you!’ ​​ Dad finally said, and at this the little girl obeyed. ​​ But in a few minutes she said quietly, ‘Daddy, I’m still standing up inside.’” ​​ [Wiersbe, 505]

              • We’re all born with a rebellious attitude toward God

                • Isaiah 53:6a, We all, like sheep, have gone astray, each of us has turned to his own way; . . .

                • Romans 3:23, for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.

              • We know that all human beings are sinners, but God had a plan to deal with our sin

            • Jesus came to take away our sins

              • Isaiah 53:6b, . . . and the Lord has laid on him the iniquity of us all.

              • 1 Peter 3:18, For Christ died for sins once for all, the righteous for the unrighteous, to bring you to God. ​​ He was put to death in the body but made alive by the Spirit.

              • 2 Corinthians 5:21, God made him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.

            • He is the only One who can take away our sins, because He is perfect, without sin

              • PRINCIPLE #2 – Jesus is pure (holy)!

              • He lived a sinless life while on earth

              • That’s why He was able to take away our sins when He died on the cross – He fulfilled God’s standard and required payment for sin

            • Real faith vs. counterfeit faith

              • John makes it clear that a genuine, real faith and relationship with Jesus Christ means that we will not keep on practicing habitual sin

                • To live in Jesus means to remain in Him, to abide in Him

                • John 15:5-6, “I am the vine; you are the branches. ​​ If a man remains in me and I in him, he will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing. ​​ If anyone does not remain in me, he is like a branch that is thrown away and withers; such branches are picked up, thrown into the fire and burned.

                • PRINCIPLE #3 – God completely transforms those who live/abide in Jesus Christ.

              • The opposite is also true, that if we continue to practice habitual sin we have a counterfeit faith and we have neither seen or known Jesus

            • Jesus not only died to take away our sins, but to destroy the works of the devil

          • To destroy the works of the devil (vv. 7-8)

            • John knew that there were antichrists in the various churches trying to deceive and lead followers of Jesus Christ astray

            • Actions speak louder than words

              • Doing what is right

                • The same Greek word is used here as in verse 4 and means practices

                • Again, it means a habit of doing what is right

                • 1 John 3:7, Little children, make sure no one deceives you; the one who practices righteousness is righteous, just as He is righteous (NASB 1995).

              • Doing what is sinful

                • 1 John 3:8a, the one who practices sin is of the devil; for the devil has sinned from the beginning (NASB 1995).

                • Those who follow the devil are the ones who habitually practice sin

              • Our actions show whether our faith is real or counterfeit.

            • Destruction of the devil’s work

              • When we think of the word “destroy” we usually think of something being completely taken away (annihilated), but we know that the devil is still active in our world today

              • So, what is John saying here about the purpose or reason why Jesus appeared

              • The Greek word can mean, “to loosen, release; melt” or “to loosen, undo, dissolve, anything bound, tied, or compacted together.”

              • We are tied up and bound by sin

              • Destroy, here, means ‘to render inoperative, to rob of power.’” ​​ [Wiersbe, 506]

                • Hebrews 2:14-15, Since the children have flesh and blood, he too shared in their humanity so that by his death he might destroy him who holds the power of death – that is, the devil – and free those who all their lives were held in slavery by their fear of death.

                • 2 Timothy 1:10, 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.

                • Acts 10:38, how God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Spirit and power, and how he went around doing good and healing all who were under the power of the devil, because God was with him.

              • Jesus won over sin and death when He died on the cross, was buried, and came alive again the third day

          • I don’t know about you, but I’m grateful for all that Jesus has done for me

        • Because Jesus died for us, we should pursue holiness as His followers

        • John gives us one more reason to live a holy life

    • God the Holy Spirit lives in us (vv. 9-10)

        • “A person who can enjoy deliberate sin and who does not feel convicted or experience God’s chastening had better examine himself to see whether or not he is really born of God.” ​​ [Wiersbe, 506]

        • God’s seed remains in us (v. 9)

          • Chiastic structure [Kruse, The Pillar New Testament Commentary, The Letters of John, 125]
            a  ​​​​ No one who is born of God
             ​​ ​​​​ b  ​​​​ will continue to sin,
             ​​ ​​ ​​ ​​ ​​ ​​ ​​​​ c ​​ 
            because God’s seed remains in him;
             ​​ ​​​​ b’ ​​ he cannot sin,
            a’ ​​ because he has been born of God.

          • Born of God

            • We already talked about this in verse 1

            • We are children of God

            • Everyone who receives Jesus and believes in His name is given the right to become a child of God – born of God (John 1:12-13)

          • Will continue to sin and cannot sin

            • What the NIV translates as “continue to sin,” the NASB translates as “practices sin”

              • The same Greek word is used here as in verses 4, 7, & 8

              • This is not talking about sinless perfection

              • It is talking about willful, habitual sin – being characterized as a sinner

            • As children of God we will not continue to sin or cannot sin, because God disciplines His children

            • Hebrews 12:4-6, In your struggle against sin, you have not resisted to the point of shedding your blood. ​​ And you have forgotten that word of encouragement that addresses you as sons: “My son, do not make light of the Lord’s discipline, and do not lose heart when he rebukes you, because the Lord disciplines those he loves, and he punished everyone he accepts as a son.”

            • In addition, we will not continue to practice sin, because we have a new nature – God’s nature living in us

          • God’s seed

            • When we become a child of God several incredible transformations take place [Wiersbe, 506]

              • Justification – a new standing before God (He sees us a righteous, through the blood of Jesus Christ)

              • Sanctification – a new position before God (this is the ongoing, continual growth to become more like Jesus)

              • Regeneration – a new nature (we have the Holy Spirit that lives within us to help us say “no” to sin and “yes” to righteousness)

              • 2 Peter 1:3-4, His divine power has given us everything we need for life and godliness through our knowledge of him who called us by his own glory and goodness. ​​ Through these he has given us his very great and precious promises, so that through them you may participate in the divine nature and escape the corruption in the world caused by evil desires.

            • “Based on his readers’ divine parentage, John is confident that God’s true children, like those of the devil, ultimately cannot conceal their identity. ​​ The nature of their inner identity will be ‘evident’ (φανερά, phanera) from their actions.” [Yarbrough, 196]

            • Our actions show whether our faith is real or counterfeit.

          • In this final verse, John addresses the two families that humanity can be a part of

        • Who’s your Father?

          • Children of the devil

            • John states it in the negative as it pertains to children of the devil

            • Two characteristics

              • Anyone who does not practice righteousness (make a habit of doing what is right)

              • Anyone who does not love his brother

          • Children of God

            • The positive is also true as it pertains to children of God

            • Two characteristics

              • Anyone who practices righteousness

              • Anyone who loves his brother

            • People will know that we are children of God when we love God and others

            • “Augustine summarizes John’s counsel this way: ‘Love, and sin is undone’ (Bray 2000: 200).” ​​ [Yarbrough, 197]


  • YOU

    • Questions to contemplate [Wiersbe, 509]

        • “Do I have the divine nature within me or am I merely pretending to be a Christian?”

        • “Do I cultivate this divine nature by daily Bible reading and prayer?”

        • “Has any unconfessed sin defiled my inner man? ​​ Am I willing to confess and forsake it?”

        • “Do I allow my old nature to control my thoughts and desires, or does the divine nature rule me?”

        • “When temptation comes, do I ‘play with it’ or do I flee from it? ​​ Do I immediately yield to the divine nature within me?”

    • Our actions show whether our faith is real or counterfeit.


  • WE

    • As a body of believers here at Idaville Church, we should be characterized as people who practice righteousness

    • Our community, neighbors, coworkers, and family members should be able to tell that we are children of God



“You sum up the whole of New Testament teaching in a single phrase, if you speak of it as a revelation of the Fatherhood of the holy Creator. In the same way, you sum up the whole of New Testament religion if you describe it as the knowledge of God as one's holy Father.

If you want to judge how well a person understands Christianity, find out how much he makes of the thought of being God's child, and having God as his Father. If this is not the thought that prompts and controls his worship and prayers and his whole outlook on life, it means that he does not understand Christianity very well at all.”


J. I. Packer, Knowing God, p. 182; submitted by Aaron Goerner, Utica, New York.





Christmas Eve

The Star: ​​ A Journey to Christmas



Welcome and Merry Christmas! ​​ Tomorrow is the big day, just in case anyone has forgotten that or your children have neglected to remind you since getting out of school for Christmas break. ​​ I’m excited that you’ve joined us this evening as we prepare for one of the greatest days all year. ​​ Tomorrow marks the culmination of a journey we’ve been taking together over the past four weeks. ​​ The four weeks leading up to Christmas are called Advent, which means “coming.” ​​ We’ve been learning about Jesus’ coming that very first Christmas. ​​ We have also been talking about His second coming, which will complete God’s ultimate work of redemption. ​​ We’ve used the star as our guiding light toward Jesus. ​​ This same star guided those wise seekers toward Jesus long ago.


How many of you love a good story. ​​ Si Robertson explains in his book, Si-Cology 1: ​​ Tales and Wisdom from Duck Dynasty’s Favorite Uncle, he was taught never to lie. ​​ He says that he never lied, but the Robertson’s are good storytellers.



  • ME

    • Tradition

        • Growing up, my family had an Advent time after dinner every evening

        • My father made an advent wreath that had a place for a daily candle

        • There were the three purple and one pink candle for each Sunday, but we had white candles for the other days of the week

        • My father has written several daily Advent devotionals

    • Stories

        • Judy’s family has some pretty humorous stories that they’ve told multiple years, which I why I know them now

          • These stories are so funny that we’ll all start laughing and can’t stop

          • Judy’s Grandpa and Grandma Young would come to their house on Christmas Day to celebrate with them

            • One Christmas morning as they were driving down the country road to her house, they saw something on the road

            • Once they arrived, Judy’s Grandma told them that they saw something on the road and thought that Santa had dropped a package

            • The item on the road was a dead squirrel

            • Don’t ask me why that story is so funny, but it is

          • Another Christmas story from Judy’s family was about one of the dogs

            • Marvin was a mutt and he would do some pretty funny things

            • He would walk into a room, pass gas, and then walk out like he was disgusted

            • One Christmas morning, the family got up to find that Marvin had added something special to Judy’s father’s gift – a long, brown, log (poop!)

            • Again, when that story is told we all begin laughing and can’t stop

        • Electronic Rugby game

          • I don’t remember how the story got started, but one year leading up to Christmas my father kept telling me that I was going to get an electronic rugby game

          • This would have been in the 1970’s and some electronic games were already being produced (the old red football and basketball games)

          • I played soccer on an intramural team and baseball in the summer, but I had never played rugby

          • As Christmas morning arrived I opened all my gifts, but never got the electronic rugby game

          • They probably didn’t make an electronic rugby game

          • I wish I could remember what I got that Christmas, but all I remember was what I didn’t get


  • WE

    • Family stories

        • Perhaps each person here tonight has family stories that will be told tomorrow

        • It’s stories that have been told multiple times, but they make us laugh until we cry

        • We tell of God’s goodness and healing

    • Hunting and fishing stories

        • Those who hunt and fish can tell some pretty wild stories

        • They talk about the huge buck that got away, as they gather in the evening at the hunting cabin

        • They also tell the big fish stories without having any proof that the story is true

    • Black Friday shopping stories

        • Perhaps some of you ladies have some great stories of success while Black Friday shopping

        • You had your strategy all planned out for who was going to which stores and what they were supposed to get

        • Maybe you were standing in line and were the last person to get a particular item before the store ran out


Throughout the world, stories have been the means of preserving history, passing along beliefs and values, inspiring, entertaining, and motivating us. ​​ Stories move us. ​​ Shared stories connect us and link us to each other. ​​ They bring meaning to our lives and help make sense of our experiences. ​​ Good stories are messy, full of conflict, suspenseful and moving. ​​ They are filled with victory and defeat, struggle and triumph, fear and courage, conflict and love. ​​ They draw us into bigger and broader story lines and they make us curious about the storyteller.


As we think about stories, I’d like us to imagine that we’re outside, somewhere wild and open, maybe a mountaintop, maybe a sweeping meadow set against a flowing stream or rolling hillside. ​​ It’s a clear night long, long ago. ​​ We’re back at the very beginning. ​​ This is creation, and into the inky darkness above suddenly God is flinging stars into the sky. ​​ Where there was only darkness, now there is gleaming, glittering light.


The Creator knows each one of these lights. ​​ He knows which ones we’ll be able to see as human beings. ​​ He knows how long they will last before burning out. ​​ He also knows about one special star.


This star would pierce the darkness with a unique purpose. ​​ It would serve as a herald and a celestial marker. ​​ It would signal the birth of Christ, the coming of the long-promised Messiah, come to earth at last to change the course of eternity forever.


This star guided wise men. ​​ It lit the night for shepherds. ​​ It signaled the way of Immanuel, God with us. ​​ It announced the arrival of the bright Morning Star whose light shines brightest, calling us to see Him, drawing us to Himself to seek and find Him.


God’s story is ongoing. ​​ The Christmas story spans all of history from creation to Jesus born in Bethlehem to us gathered here tonight. ​​ It will continue into the future as we wait for Jesus’ return.


Tonight as we complete our journey to Christmas, we will be look at each of the four elements of the story. ​​ These are the four gifts that Jesus brought to us when He came from heaven to earth that Christmas. ​​ We will be lighting each Advent candle on our wreath as we talk about the four elements of hope, love, joy, and peace. ​​ We’ll also light the center candle, which is the Christ candle.


  • GOD

    • HOPE

        • We began Advent with a journey of hope

        • Through many years and centuries of history, hope burned for a Savior

          • The Israelites had waited for the Messiah to come

          • God had been silent for 400 years

          • They were anticipating His coming, but they didn’t know when He would arrive

          • I’m sure as they waited there were times of great hope and times when they struggled to understand why God was waiting

        • But hope was fulfilled

          • Christ has come!

          • God’s promise to send a Savior was fulfilled with Jesus’ birth, life, death, and resurrection

          • Jesus is our ongoing source of hope

        • We also live in the future hope of Jesus’ second coming

          • His second coming will complete the story of redemption

          • The story is not over yet

          • When darkness rages and deepens around us, we can hold onto hope that Christ will complete His ultimate work

        • Application

          • Not everyone is currently hopeful

          • You might be feeling like you’re hanging on by the last threads of hope

          • You may be struggling with financial stresses, relational dysfunctions, memories of loss, or commercialized expectations

          • 2 Corinthians 4:16-18, Therefore do not lose heart. ​​ Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day. ​​ For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. ​​ So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen. ​​ For what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal (NIV)

          • The great news is that Jesus brings hope in the dark times of life

    • LOVE

        • The second week we went on a journey of love

        • This journey also spans eternity, because God is love

        • Love is part of God’s nature – it’s one of His many attributes

          • His love fueled creation

          • Love drove God to make a way to restore the relationship between Him and humanity

          • God demonstrated His love for us by sending Jesus from heaven to earth (Rom. 5:8)

        • God’s love fuels our relationship with Him – it is through His love in us that we are able to love others as He does

        • We look forward to the future when God’s love story is complete

        • Application

          • We saw on this journey that God has a lasting, conquering, and overflowing love

          • 1 John 4:9-11, 16, This is how God showed his love among us: ​​ He sent his one and only Son into the world that we might live through him. ​​ This is love: not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins. ​​ Dear friends, since God so loved us, we also ought to love one another . . . And so we know and rely on the love God has for us.

          • We are able to love others because God first loved us

    • JOY

        • Our third journey was a journey of joy

        • Jesus’ birth was a joyful event

        • Luke 2:9-12, An angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified. ​​ But the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid. ​​ I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people. ​​ Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is Christ the Lord. ​​ This will be a sign to you: ​​ You will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger.

        • The good news of great joy was that Jesus, the Savior of the world, was born

        • The joy for us today is that the same message of good news is for us today – Jesus offers His salvation to us

        • While we still live in a world where joy and pain coexist, God’s promise is that our joy will be made complete in the future when Jesus comes again

        • Application

          • You may not be experiencing joy today

          • Instead you are experiencing fear (health, finances, relationships, employment, education, spiritual, government, society, etc.)

          • Those concerns may be stripping you of joy – they may be consuming your waking hours and keeping you awake at night

          • Through Jesus Christ, we can have joy in life’s journey

          • Peter told us our walk of faith with Jesus brings us a sense of joy

          • 1 Peter 1:8-9, Though you have not seen him, you love him; and even though you do not see him now, you believe in him and are filled with an inexpressible and glorious joy, for you are receiving the goal of your faith, the salvation of your souls.

    • PEACE

        • We looked at the journey of peace this morning

        • Peace can be so elusive in our world, our families, and our own minds

        • Yet we see God’s peace throughout the story line of eternity

        • Jesus came in the past as the Prince of Peace – that is what we’re celebrating at Christmas

        • Jesus’ peace remains today through the gift of the Holy Spirit

        • When Jesus returns the second time, we will experience perfect and complete peace – ultimate peace for the world

        • Application

          • Peace may be alluding you today because of pain, struggles, anxiety, and stress

          • You may appear to be at peace outwardly, but inwardly you are a mess

          • Jesus’ life was filled with hardship

          • He knew that His disciples and us would experience hardship also

          • So, He gave them and us the gift of peace

          • John 14:27, Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. ​​ I do not give to you as the world gives. ​​ Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.

          • Philippians 4:6-7, Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. ​​ And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.

          • God’ presence provides peace


  • YOU

    • Throughout this journey to Christmas we have learned some very important things about Jesus:

        • Our greatest HOPE in the darkest times of life comes from having a relationship with Jesus

          • 1 John 1:5-7, This is the message we have heard from him and declare to you: ​​ God is light; in him there is no darkness at all. ​​ If we claim to have fellowship with him yet walk in the darkness, we lie and do not live by the truth. ​​ But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus, his Son, purifies us from all sin.

        • The greatest LOVE we’ll ever feel is the love Jesus expressed when He died on the cross to take our punishment for sin

          • John 3:16, For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.

        • The greatest JOY we’ll every experience comes from knowing that Jesus willingly came to save us from our sins

          • John 3:17, For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him.

        • We can have PEACE with God by believing in Jesus by faith

          • Romans 5:1, Therefore, since we have been justified through faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ.

    • Relationship with Jesus

        • Before we can have a relationship with Jesus, we have to recognize and admit our need (I am a sinner)

          • Everyone is born with a desire to have their own way

          • We reject God and His authority in our lives

          • Romans 3:23 tells us that we have all sinned

          • Romans 6:23 tells us that there is a consequence for rejecting God and it is to be separated from Him

        • We have to be willing to reject or turn from sin (repent)

        • We must believe that Jesus died for us on the cross and came alive again in three days

        • Through prayer, we have to invite Jesus Christ to come in and control our lives through the Holy Spirit

    • Perhaps you are ready to experience the hope, love, joy, and peace that is a result of being in a relationship with Jesus Christ

        • Repeat this prayer after me

        • Dear God, I have been rejecting You and Your authority in my life. ​​ I have chosen sin over a relationship with you. ​​ I am ready and willing to reject sin, turn away from it, and begin to follow You. ​​ I believe that Jesus died, was buried, and came alive again to take my punishment for sin. ​​ I choose to be at peace with You today and to be saved from my sins. ​​ I accept Your eternal life. ​​ In Jesus’ name. ​​ Amen.



We have lit all of the Advent candles. ​​ We have completed the journey to Christmas. ​​ It’s time for us to let our light shine. ​​ As a visual representation of that, Pastor Marc Webb and our Elder Laurin Fleming will be lighting their candles from the Christ candle in the Advent wreath. ​​ They will be coming down the center aisle and lighting the first person’s candle. ​​ That first person will then allow the next person in the row to light their candle. ​​ Continue to pass the light down the aisle until all of the candles have been lit. ​​ Once all of the candles are lit, we will close our service by singing “Silent Night.”



2nd Sunday of Advent

The Star: ​​ A Journey of Love

(1 John 4:7-21)



VIDEO – Love Bumper video


Welcome to the second Sunday of Advent. ​​ I hope you have been rejoicing in this Advent season. ​​ Last week we talked about the word advent, which is a version of a Latin term which means “coming.” ​​ And so we use these weeks leading up to Christmas as a chance to look forward with great expectation to the coming of Christ as we embark on a journey of hope, love, joy, and peace.


While the star is only mentioned briefly in the Biblical texts concerning Jesus’ birth, it was a star that led people to Jesus, just as the star leads us to Jesus this Advent season.


So together we continue to look for the light as we follow the star on this journey of love. ​​ The star signals the brightest love, the love that never gives up, the love that conquered sin and death, the love that surrounds us daily and fills us eternally. ​​ Perfect love. ​​ God’s love embodied.


How do we understand love?



  • ME

    • First pet

        • After college, Judy and I moved to Florida

        • While we were there we took in a kitten

        • Kittens are cute, but cats are not always cute

        • We had this cat for about a year

        • It wouldn’t allow us to keep our bedroom door shut at night, because it wanted to be able to come and go throughout the night

        • It’s morning ritual was to jump up on the bed, put its rear end in my face and knead my bladder with its front paws

          • Needless to say, after being asleep all night, my bladder was full

          • It was this cats way of getting me out of bed, so I would feed it

        • This cat did some other irritating things while we had it, but the day we had to take it to a shelter was extremely difficult

          • We were moving to a new apartment in an adult community and they did not allow us to have any pets (except fish)

          • Judy stayed in the car while I took our cat into the shelter

          • I was trying to be strong, but I broke down and cried as I signed the paperwork and handed our cat over

          • While the cat did some irritating things, we still loved it

    • Other pets

        • We had a dog when we lived in Ohio

          • When we knew we were moving to Missouri, we tried to find a loving home for Socks, but weren’t successful

          • We didn’t want to take him to the pound

          • Several months before we moved, he was hit by a minivan and killed

          • I remember Wade’s words that day as we sat in the living room talking about Socks, he said, “I wasn’t ready for Socks to die!”

          • We weren’t ready for Socks to die either

          • We loved him and enjoyed his company even though he did some crazy things that would get on our nerves (like bringing a dead animal up from the ditch and then rolling in them)

        • We had a cat when we lived in Missouri

        • We had turtles in California

        • We have a dog and two cats now

          • We love Fester, CBS (Clyde, Barney, Skittles), and BTCP (Butterball, Tinkerbell, Cinderella, Precious)

          • I’m not looking forward to the day when they are no longer with us, even though I was not in favor of taking in the two cats

          • They have grown on me


  • WE

    • Do you know how much Americans spent on their pets in 2016?

        • $60 billion [Michelle Castillo, “Americans Will Spend More Than $60 Billion on Their Pets This Year,” NBCNews.com, July 12, 2015, http://www.nbcnews.com/business/consumer/americans-will-spend-more-60-billion-their-pets-year-n390181]

        • Why would we do that?

          • We walk them, clean up after them, vacuum up the hair, take allergy pills, clean the tank, apologize to the neighbors, and much more

          • We love them, so we spend our hard-earned money and time caring for them

          • It’s not because of anything they’ve done for us, but simply because we love them

    • How many of you can relate?

        • Have you or are you going to buy your pet a Christmas gift?

        • Is there anything you wouldn’t do to take care of your pet?

          • How many of you have taken your pet to the vet for a dental visit or some kind of surgery?

          • Who has or is currently giving their pet shots for diabetes or medication for some other health concern

        • We do all of that out of love

        • Please don’t think that I’m trying to compare God’s love for you with your love for your pet

        • God’s love is far greater than the love we lavish on our pets

    • Thinking about our love for our pets starts us down the road to think about God’s love for us

        • How do you perceive God’s love for you?

        • Do you feel you need to earn it?

        • Do you wonder if God’s love is meant for you?

        • Do you see the overflow of God’s love in your own life toward others?


Through this journey of love, today, God wants us to understand that . . .


BIG IDEA – We love because He first loved us.


Let’s pray


As we look at the journey of love today, we’ll see that God’s love is a lasting, conquering, and overflowing love.


  • GOD (1 John 4:7-21)

    • Lasting Love [love that never gives up] (vv. 7-8, 16b-18)

        • Read 1 John 4:7-8, 16b-18

        • The key phrase we find in these two sets of verses is “God is love”

          • This is one of His many attributes

          • His love has no beginning or ending – no limits

          • His love desires our good and never desires harm or evil

          • He wants our love in return

          • Jeremiah 31:3, The Lord appeared to us in the past, saying: ​​ “I have loved you with an everlasting love; I have drawn you with loving-kindness.

            • The love that the prophet Jeremiah is describing here is one that never ends

            • God loved us before we were even created

            • He continues to love us, without limits

            • He loves us even when we don’t love Him, even when we don’t desire to be in a relationship with Him

            • This is the love God the Father has for His creation – an unending, unlimited love

            • God doesn’t just love us with words, but He loves us with actions, as well

            • Romans 5:8, But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: ​​ While we were still sinners, Christ dies for us

            • We’re going to learn more about that when we talk about the second point, conquering love

        • God’s love demonstrated at Jesus’ birth

          • We often talk about Christmas as the time “when love came down.”

          • We say God’s love entered the world as a baby

          • All of that is true, but God’s love didn’t begin at Jesus’ birth

          • His love has always been and will always be

          • It was manifested on earth during the creation of the world

          • The history of our world, the story of the Bible, is a love story from the first day of creation

          • It’s the story of God’s love for His people and His plan of redemption to bring us back into relationship with Him

          • David expresses in Psalm 139 these truths: ​​ God is all-seeing, all-knowing, all-powerful, and everywhere present. ​​ God knows us, God is with us, and his greatest gift is to allow us to know him

        • God’s love is expressed through the fulfillment of His plan in Jesus Christ

          • Paul explains this to the Ephesian believers

          • Ephesians 1:4-8, For he chose us in him before the creation of the world to be holy and blameless in his sight. ​​ In love he predestined us to be adopted as his sons through Jesus Christ, in accordance with his pleasure and will – to the praise of his glorious grace, which he has freely given us in the One he loves. ​​ In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, in accordance with the riches of God’s grace that he lavished on us with all wisdom and understanding.

          • God’s love does not depend on us

          • It’s not something we have to earn or perform for to maintain

          • It starts with God, not us – He is the One who initiated a relationship with us – He pursues us

          • God is love

          • It’s His nature and character – it’s who He is

          • His love for us was there from the beginning of time and will continue throughout eternity

        • God’s love is not only a lasting love, but it’s also a conquering love

    • Conquering Love [love that conquered sin and death] (vv. 9-10, 13-16a)

        • Questions

          • Do you ever have a hard time loving God?

          • Do you ever have a hard time accepting His love for you?

          • Do you ever doubt that His love is enough to cover all the pain, hurt, selfishness, and evil of our world?

          • Do you question whether or not His love is enough to cover the pain or hurt in your own heart?

        • God’s love is different than human love

          • The love of a father, mother, spouse, ex-spouse, friend, or enemy is not a perfect love

            • They can and will let you down, hurt you, abuse you, twist the concept of love to inflict damage or pain or heartache or to manipulate you

            • Those betrayals of love can seem hard to heal from or let go of

          • God loves you unconditionally

            • It’s not based on anything you’ve done or have to do

            • It’s not a limited amount of love for a certain period of time

            • God loves you purely, perfectly, wholly, and lavishly

            • He pours love out on us – no matter how unlovable or unworthy we may feel

            • God’s love is more vast and perfect than we can ever fully and completely understand with our human intellect

            • Ephesians 3:17-19, And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, may have power, together with all the saints, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, and to know this love that surpasses knowledge – that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God.

          • God’s unconditional love was expressed for us through Jesus’ death, burial, and resurrection

        • Read 1 John 4:9-10, 13-16a

        • God’s plan through Jesus

          • God showed His love among us by sending Jesus as an atoning sacrifice for our sins

            • We are all born with a desire to have our own way

            • Romans 3:23, For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.

            • Romans 6:23, For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.

              • God gave us a will and freedom of choice

              • When we choose sin it results in separation from God – a gap between God and us

              • Isaiah 59:2, But your iniquities have separated you from your God; and your sins have hidden His face from you, so that He will not hear.

              • Some of us chose avenues that do not bridge the gap, such as good works, religion, philosophy, morality, and many other things

            • There is only one way to bridge the gap that our sin has created between us and God

              • It is Jesus Christ!

              • This was who the Israelites were waiting for, but many of them missed Him, because He did not fit their preconceived ideas of what the Messiah was supposed to be like

              • God became man through the birth of Jesus Christ

              • God’s love was manifested on earth through Jesus

              • 1 Timothy 2:5, For there is one God and one Mediator between God and men, the Man Christ Jesus.

              • 1 Peter 3:18, For Christ also suffered once for sins, the just for the unjust, that He might bring us to God.

          • Acknowledge that Jesus is the Son of God

            • This simple fact is what separates true Christianity from the false religions of the world

              • When asked who they believe Jesus was and what He came to earth to do, their answers will inevitably avoid recognizing Jesus’ divinity

              • He was a good teacher

              • He was a another prophet from God

              • He was just a man

            • When we acknowledge that Jesus is the Son of God, then God lives in us – we have a relationship with Him

            • John 3:16, For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.

              • Admit your need (I am a sinner)

              • Be willing to turn from your sins (Repent)

              • Believe that Jesus Christ died for you on the cross and rose from the grave

              • Through prayer, invite Jesus Christ to come in and control your life through the Holy Spirit (Receive God’s eternal life)

              • My Next Step Today Is To: ​​ Acknowledge that Jesus is the Son of God, believe that He died for me on the cross and rose from the grave, and receive His eternal life.

        • As followers of Jesus Christ we have this promise from God, written in Paul’s letter to the Romans

          • Romans 8:38-39, For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.

            • That’s an incredible promise from God

            • Our feelings can deceive us

              • When we’re going through difficult times, we may feel like God isn’t there or that He doesn’t care

              • When a financial crisis hits we may feel abandoned by God and alone

              • When God doesn’t answer our prayers the way we wanted Him to, we can feel like God doesn’t love us

              • When we see widows, orphans, and the poor living ​​ all around us or poverty and the ravages of war in other parts of the world, we can sometimes wonder why a loving God would allow those kinds of things to happen

              • The reality is that our loving God is in the middle of all of those situations (he is all-knowing, present everywhere, and sovereign)

            • Our feelings do not change the truths of God’s Word or His character

            • As followers of Jesus Christ we can know with confidence that nothing will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord (we can claim that promise for ourselves today)

          • My Next Step Today Is To: ​​ Claim God’s promise that nothing will be able to separate me from His love

        • God’s love that conquered sin and death has been around forever and through the Holy Spirit it lives in us and overflows to others

    • Overflowing Love [love that overflows to others on our life’s journey] (vv. 11-12, 19-21)

        • Questions

          • Does anyone have company coming this Christmas? (Parents, siblings, aunts, uncles?)

          • While Christmas is a wonderful time to be together, let me ask you this question, how many of us will be sick of our relatives or guests after the third day of being together all the time?

          • Some of us may be feeling that way about your spouse and/or children

          • We can’t wait for the holidays to be done, and the Christmas break from school to end, so we can have some peace and quiet

        • It’s the very nature of God’s unending and unlimited love that it cannot be contained

          • God doesn’t want it to be contained

          • The Bible tells us to love others, even the people who seem unlovable

          • Sometimes that’s easy, and sometimes it’s the hardest thing in the world

          • Expressing God’s love to others is not something we can do on our own

          • It only happens when we have been transformed by the Gospel of Jesus Christ

          • When we believe in Jesus and repent of our sins, then the Holy Spirit immediately comes to dwell within us

          • He gives us the power to love everyone as God loves us

          • 1 Peter 1:22-23, Now that you have purified yourselves by obeying the truth so that you have sincere love for your brothers, love one another deeply, from the heart. ​​ For you have been born again, not of perishable seed, but of imperishable, through the living and enduring word of God.

          • That doesn’t mean it is easy, but it shifts our focus from trying hard to love others on our own, to experiencing the depth of God’s love in a way that allows it to overflow in our life to the people around us

        • Read 1 John 4:11-12, 19-21

          • We see in verses 11-12 that we should be willing to love others, because God loved us and sent Jesus to take our punishment for sin

          • In verse 19, John changes from saying that we ought to love to the fact that we do love, because God loved us first

          • John tells us that it is impossible for us to love God if we do not love other people

          • In verse 21 John gives us a command from Jesus, Whoever loves God must also love his brother

          • We love because He first loved us

        • Application

          • God’s love is truly the whole reason we celebrate this season

          • The journey of love is not simply about words or even the feelings of acceptance – it is also a journey of action and truth

          • The gift of God’s Son that we celebrate was God putting love into action through Jesus

          • His love is an overwhelming love that calls and moves us to similar action

          • 1 John 3:16, 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.

          • Advent and Christmas can be an easy season to put this similar love into practice

          • It can also be a difficult season to practice God’s love overflowing through us

          • As you gather to celebrate Christ’s birth this year, will you allow His love to penetrate and overflow your heart as you abide with the source of all love?

          • My Next Step Today Is To: ​​ Be willing to allow God’s love to overflow into the lives of family members, friends, and coworkers.

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VIDEO – “Advent_3_-_Love_English_Version”