Friday, April 3, 2009

Keep Yourselves from Idols

Deuteronomy 12:29-32; 1 John 5:13-21 / Deuteronomy 5:1-22

I. Christians Live Forever

A. Eternal life begins with knowing the truth—Jesus Christ, the Son of God. “And we know that the Son of God is come, and hath given us an understanding, that we may know him that is true, and we are in him that is true, even in his Son Jesus Christ. This is the true God, and eternal life.” (1 John 5:20)

B. John wrote so that people would know the result of belief in Jesus Christ. “These things have I written unto you that believe on the name of the Son of God; that ye may know that ye have eternal life, and that ye may believe on the name of the Son of God.” (1 John 5:13)

C. With assurance of eternal life comes confidence that God hears appropriate prayers. “And this is the confidence that we have in him, that, if we ask any thing according to his will, he heareth us:” (1 John 5:14)

D. With confidence about access comes certainty that God gives good gifts to His people when they seek them from Him. “And if we know that he hear us, whatsoever we ask, we know that we have the petitions that we desired of him.” (1 John 5:15) The LORD is far from the wicked: but he heareth the prayer of the righteous. (Proverbs 15:29)

E. Belonging to God strengthens believers even when the entire world is against them. And we know that we are of God, and the whole world lieth in wickedness. (1 John 5:19)

II. Pray for the Family of God

A. When brothers and sisters fail to pay appropriate attention to God, lift them up in prayer. If any man see his brother sin a sin which is not unto death, he shall ask, and he shall give him life for them that sin not unto death. There is a sin unto death: I do not say that he shall pray for it.” (1 John 5:16)

B. The Shorter Catechism says: “Sin is any want of conformity unto, or transgression of, the law of God.” All unrighteousness is sin: and there is a sin not unto death.” (1 John 5:17) “Whosoever committeth sin transgresseth also the law: for sin is the transgression of the law. (1 John 3:4)

C. Believers will eventually give up their beloved sins because God is at work in their lives to protect them and cultivate them. “We know that whosoever is born of God sinneth not; but he that is begotten of God keepeth himself, and that wicked one toucheth him not. (1 John 5:18) “Jesus answered and said unto him, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God. Nicodemus saith unto him, How can a man be born when he is old? can he enter the second time into his mother’s womb, and be born? Jesus answered, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God.” (John 3:3-5)

III. Stay Close to God

A. What is inside people eventually comes to the surface. Enter ye in at the strait gate: for wide is the gate, and broad is the way, that leadeth to destruction, and many there be which go in thereat: Because strait is the gate, and narrow is the way, which leadeth unto life, and few there be that find it. Beware of false prophets, which come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ravening wolves. Ye shall know them by their fruits. Do men gather grapes of thorns, or figs of thistles? Even so every good tree bringeth forth good fruit; but a corrupt tree bringeth forth evil fruit. A good tree cannot bring forth evil fruit, neither can a corrupt tree bring forth good fruit.” (Matthew 7:13-18)

B. The warning is personal, but it is also cultural and national. “When the LORD thy God shall cut off the nations from before thee, whither thou goest to possess them, and thou succeedest them, and dwellest in their land; Take heed to thyself that thou be not snared by following them, after that they be destroyed from before thee; and that thou enquire not after their gods, saying, How did these nations serve their gods? even so will I do likewise.” (Deuteronomy 12:29-30)

C. The direction for dealing with personal sin applies to national sin; the sin, not the punishment, is the problem. “Thou shalt not do so unto the LORD thy God: for every abomination to the LORD, which he hateth, have they done unto their gods; for even their sons and their daughters they have burnt in the fire to their gods.” (Deuteronomy 12:31)

D. The narrow way is the safe way; walk in it. What thing soever I command you, observe to do it: thou shalt not add thereto, nor diminish from it.” (Deuteronomy 12:32)

E. Knowing all these things, avoid everything which distracts from your high calling. “Little children, keep yourselves from idols. Amen.” (1 John 5:21)

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