December 23, 2019

Christ is Your Light and Salvation

INTERESTING FACTS : Jedidiah Morse, HISTORIAN OF THE AMERICAN REVOLUTION; EDUCATOR; "FATHER OF AMERICAN GEOGRAPHY"; APPOINTED BY SECRETARY OF STATE TO DOCUMENT CONDITION OF INDIAN AFFAIRS
 
"To the kindly influence of Christianity we owe that degree of civil freedom and political and social happiness which mankind now enjoys. All efforts made to destroy the foundations of our Holy Religion ultimately tend to the subversion also of our political freedom and happiness. In proportion as the genuine effects of Christianity are diminished in any nation... in the same proportion will the people of that nation recede from the blessings of genuine freedom... Whenever the pillars of Christianity shall be overthrown, our present republican forms of government - and all the blessings which flow from them - must fall with them"[1]
 
Daily Reading : 2 peter, 1 John - jude
 
TEXT : 1Jn 1:1  That which was from the beginning, which we have heard, which we have seen with our eyes, which we have looked upon, and our hands have handled, of the Word of life; 1Jn 1:2  (For the life was manifested, and we have seen it, and bear witness, and shew unto you that eternal life, which was with the Father, and was manifested unto us;) 1Jn 1:3  That which we have seen and heard declare we unto you, that ye also may have fellowship with us: and truly our fellowship is with the Father, and with his Son Jesus Christ. 1Jn 1:4  And these things write we unto you, that your joy may be full. 1Jn 1:5  This then is the message which we have heard of him, and declare unto you, that God is light, and in him is no darkness at all.
 
1Jn 1:6  If we say that we have fellowship with him, and walk in darkness, we lie, and do not the truth: 1Jn 1:7  But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship one with another, and the blood of Jesus Christ his Son cleanseth us from all sin. 1Jn 1:8  If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. 1Jn 1:9  If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. 1Jn 1:10  If we say that we have not sinned, we make him a liar, and his word is not in us.
 
THEME : SIN AND SALVATION
 
2 Peter
 
An Exposition, with Practical Observations, of The Second Epistle General of Peter
 
The penman of this epistle appears plainly to be the same who wrote the foregoing; and, whatever difference some learned men apprehend they discern in the style of this epistle from that of the former, this cannot be a sufficient argument to assert that it was written by Simon who succeeded the Apostle James in the Church at Jerusalem, inasmuch as he who wrote this epistle calls himself Simon Peter, and an Apostle (2Pe_1:1), and says that he was one of the three Apostles that were present at Christ's transfiguration (2Pe_1:18), and says expressly that he had written a former epistle to them, 2Pe_3:1. The design of this second epistle is the same with that of the former, as is evident from the first verse of the third chapter, whence observe that, in the things of God, we have need of precept upon precept, and line upon line, and all little enough to keep them in remembrance; and yet these are the things which should be most faithfully recorded and frequently remembered by us.  (Matthew Henry)[2]
 
1 John
 
An Exposition, with Practical Observations, of The First Epistle General of John
 
Though the continued tradition of the Church attests that this epistle came from John the Apostle, yet we may observe some other evidence that will confirm (or with some perhaps even outweigh) the certainty of that tradition. It should seem that the penman was one of the apostolical college by the sensible palpable assurance he had of the truth of the Mediator's perSon in his human nature: That which we have heard, which we have seen with our eyes, which we have looked upon, and our hands have handled, of the Word of life, 1Jo_1:1. Here he takes notice of the evidence the Lord gave to Thomas of his resurrection, by calling him to feel the prints of the nails and of the spear, which is recorded by John. And he must have been one of the disciples present when the Lord came on the same day in which he arose from the dead, and showed them his hands and his side, Joh_20:20. But, that we may be assured which Apostle this was, there is scarcely a critic or competent judge of diction, or style of argument and spirit, but will adjudge this epistle to the writer of that Gospel that bears the name of the Apostle John. They wonderfully agree in the titles and characters of the Redeemer: The Word, the Life, the Light; his name was the Word of God. Compare 1Jo_1:1 and 1Jo_5:7 with Joh_1:1 and Rev_19:13. They agree in the commendation of God's love to us (1Jo_3:9; 1Jo_4:7; and 1Jo_5:1; Joh_3:5, Joh_3:6). Lastly (to add no more instances, which may be easily seen in comparing this epistle with that Gospel), they agree in the allusion to, or application of, that passage in that Gospel which relates (and which alone relates) the issuing of water and blood out of the Redeemer's opened side: This is he that came by water and blood, 1Jo_5:6. Thus the epistle plainly appears to flow from the same pen as that Gospel did. Now I know not that the text, or the intrinsic history of any of the Gospels, gives us such assurance of its writer or penman as that ascribed to John plainly does. There (viz. Joh_21:24) the sacred historian thus notifies himself: This is the disciple that testifieth of these things and wrote these things; and we know that his testimony is true. Now who is this disciple, but he concerning whom Peter asked, What shall this man do? And concerning whom the Lord answered, If I will that he tarry till I come, what is that to thee? (Joh_21:22). And who (Joh_21:20) is described by these three characters: - 1. That he is the disciple whom Jesus loved, the Lord's peculiar friend.  2. That he also leaned on his breast at supper.  3. That he said unto him, Lord, who is he that betrayeth thee? As sure then as it is that that disciple was John, so sure may the Church be that that Gospel and this epistle came from the beloved John.
 
The epistle is styled general, as being not inscribed to any particular Church; it is, as a circular letter (or visitation charge), sent to divers Churches (some say of Parthia), in order to confirm them in their stedfast adherence to the Lord Christ, and the sacred doctrines concerning his perSon and office, against seducers; and to instigate them to adorn that doctrine by love to God and man, and particularly to each other, as being descended from God, united by the same head, and travelling towards the same eternal life.  (Matthew Henry)[3]
 
2 John
 
An Exposition, with Practical Observations, of The Second Epistle of John
 
Here we find a canonical epistle inscribed, principally, not only to a single perSon, but to one also of the softer sex. And why not to one of that sex? In Gospel redemption, privilege, and dignity, there is neither male nor female; they are both one in Christ Jesus. Our Lord himself neglected his own repast, to commune with the woman of Samaria, in order to show her the fountain of life; and, when almost expiring upon the cross, he would with his dying lips bequeath his blessed mother to the care of his beloved disciple, and thereby instruct him to respect female disciples for the future. It was to one of the same sex that our Lord chose to appear first after his return from the grave, and to send by her the news of his resurrection to this as well as to the other Apostles; and we find afterwards a zealous Priscilla so well acquitting herself in her Christian race, and particularly in some hazardous service towards the Apostle Paul, that she is not only often mentioned before her husband, but to her as well as to him, not only the Apostle himself, but also all the Gentile Churches, were ready to return their thankful acknowledgments. No wonder then that a heroine in the Christian religion, honoured by divine providence, and distinguished by divine grace, should be dignified also by an apostolical epistle.  (Matthew Henry)[3]
 
3 John
 
An Exposition, with Practical Observations, of The Third Epistle of John
 
Christian communion is exerted and cherished by letter. Christians are to be commended in the practical proof of their professed subjection to the Gospel of Christ. The animating and countenancing of generous and public-spirited perSons is doing good to many - to this end the Apostle sends this encouraging epistle to his friend Gaius, in which also he complains of the quite opposite spirit and practice of a certain minister, and confirms the good report concerning another more worthy to be imitated.  (Matthew Henry)[3]
 
Jude
 
An Exposition, with Practical Observations, of The General Epistle of Jude
 
This epistle is styled (as are some few others) general or Catholic, because it is not immediately directed to any particular perSon, family, or Church, but to the whole society of Christians of that time, lately converted to the faith of Christ, whether from Judaism or paganism: and it is, and will be, of standing, lasting, and special use in and to the Church as long as Christianity, that is, as time, shall last. The general scope of it is much the same with that of the second chapter of the second epistle of Peter, which having been already explained, the less will need to be said on this. It is designed to warn us against seducers and their seduction, to inspire us with a warm love to, and a hearty concern for, truth (evident and important truth), and that in the closest conjunction with holiness, of which charity, or sincere unbiased brotherly-love, is a most essential character and inseparable branch. The truth we are to hold fast, and endeavour that others may be acquainted with and not depart fRom. has two special characters: - It is the truth as it is in Jesus (Eph_4:21; and it is truth after (or which is according to) Godliness, Tit_1:1. The Gospel is the Gospel of Christ. He has revealed it to us, and he is the main subject of it; and therefore we are indispensably bound to learn thence all we can of his perSon, natures, and offices: indifference as to this is inexcusable in any who call themselves Christians; and we know from what fountain we are wholly and solely to draw all necessary saving knowledge. Further, it is also a doctrine of Godliness. Whatever doctrines favour the corrupt lusts of men cannot be of God, let the pleas and pretensions for them be what they will. Errors dangerous to the souls of men soon sprang up in the Church. The servants slept and tares were sown. But such were the wisdom and kindness of Providence that they began sensibly to appear and show themselves, while some, at least, of the Apostles were yet alive to confute them, and warn others against them. We are apt to think, If we had lived in their times, we should have been abundantly fenced against the attempts and artifices of seducers; but we have their testimony and their cautions, which is sufficient; and, if we will not believe their writings, neither should we have believed or regarded their sayings, if we had lived among them and conversed perSonally with them.  (Matthew Henry)[3]
 
TRUTH FOR TODAY : "CHRIST IS YOUR LIGHT AND SALVATION."Christ is your light and salvation.  He opens your heart, your soul, and your spirit to the truth.  His word (Jesus is the word) tells you all your sin.  However, he also tells you of your salvation.  Jesus Christ, the word of God, came in the flesh to deliver you from all your fears, all your burdens, and all your cumbersome problems.  He is your light and salvation.
 
The Apostle John, writing in 1 John states that they (the Apostles of the Lord Jesus Christ) touched him, felt him, and were with him from the beginning of his earthly ministry.  The reaSon the Apostle John makes this statement is due to the first century heresy of Gnosticism that taught that Jesus was a spirit and only appeared to have a physical body.  This is why the Apostle John emphasizes the fact that they "touched" him.  It is to establish that Jesus Christ was fully man as well as fully God.
 
Remember, in the Gospel according to Saint John in chapter one, the Apostle John emphasizes - "in the beginning was the word, and the word was with God, and the word was God." In his Gospel, the Apostle John emphasizes that deity of Christ.  In this first epistle, he accents his humanity and his physicality.  Therefore, you learn from the Gospel of Saint John and this first epistle that Jesus Christ was 100% man as well as 100% God.
 
Jesus is called - "the life." Further, the Apostle John states the "life" was "manifested." Then, he goes on to say - "we have seen it, and bear witness, and shew unto you that eternal life, which was with the Father and was manifested unto us." Therefore, he affirms that what they (meaning the Apostles) "have seen and heard," he declares unto you.  The purpose of this declaration is that you may have fellowship with the Father and with his Son Jesus Christ.
 
When you think of the word "fellowship," and what it means - "partner," and also "intimacy"[7] - you have the picture of a relationship with God not known from the beginning of time.  For this reason, the Apostle John will state in 1 John 1:4 - "and these things write we unto you, that your joy may be full." The idea is that the work of Jesus Christ as Messiah has brought an unspeakable familiarity, friendship, and nearness to God that you can enjoy and find in your relationship with Jesus Christ as Savior.
 
Thus, the Apostle John will speak of "walking in the light." He goes on to say if a professing Christian says he or she is in the light yet continues to sin willfully against God, he or she does not know the truth.  However, if a professing Christian walks in the light - even as Jesus is the light, that man or woman has fellowship with Jesus Christ as well as every other true Christian.  Further, as you walk in the light the blood of Jesus Christ, the Son of God, cleanses you from all sin.
 
When the Apostle John says - "all sin," that is exactly what he means.  There is no sin the blood atonement which Jesus accomplished with his death at Calvary does not pay for.  In other words, Jesus death and the cross pays for every sin ever committed in the past, present, and the future.  As already noted, having the blood of Jesus Christ cleansing you is not a license to sin willfully.  It is simply that being sinful by your very nature, the mercy of God forgives and covers those acts of unlawful behavior that all Christians fall into from time to time.
 
There is something to be said about Christians "walking in the light." In 1 John 1:7 you must observe that faithful obedience to Christ not only causes you to have fellowship with God, but also with other Christians that likewise are walking in the light.  Here, we must stress that both Christians must be living correctly according to the word of God in order to have true fellowship with each other.  The reason there is so much commotion, conflict, and no small measure of chaos in the Church today is found in this precept of the Holy Scriptures.  Namely, some professing Christians are walking in the light.  Other professing Christians are not, and there lies the difference between true fellowship in the Spirit of God and simply being part of a group of people that fill a sanctuary or a room.  Remember, when you are in a crowd it does not mean that all the people nearby believe what you believe, and vice versa. 
 
Thus, you are exhorted to be of " one mind," when it comes to the Gospel of Jesus Christ and the local Church.  The reason is plain.  Once again, for true fellowship that is blessed and recognized by God (in which the Holy Scriptures pronounce a blessing) there must be an agreement in both doctrine and deeds.  Without that, you do not have true fellowship that God recognizes and blesses.  People can come together and make claims about Jesus Christ and the Holy Scriptures with their mouth, but that does not mean they are behaving according to the commandments of Jesus or the precepts of the Bible.  Once again, there must be doctrinal unity as well as moral purity in each Christian that comes together in order for there to be Biblical fellowship.
 
In any case, the Holy Scriptures are clear that if you state and confess your sin, Jesus is faithful and just to forgive you of your sin and deliver you from all righteousness.  This is why the Gospel by definition means "good news." Beyond Jesus Christ himself, there has never been any Christian that has lived a perfect life.  No doubt, some have excelled much more than others have.  Yet, the fact remains, no one professing Christians has ever lived a sinless life.  This is why the Apostle John will say in 1:8 - "if we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us." Every true Christian struggles with the problem of indwelling sin.  Once again, it is part of our nature.  However, the blood of Jesus Christ is sufficient and satisfactory to expunge all the guilt and all the shame as well as the penalty for sinning.
 
Christ is your light and salvation.  There is no need to fear, no need to worry.  As Master of the universe, and the Head of every principality and power, Jesus Christ has triumphed, is prevailing now, and will ultimately be victorious in the end.  Truly he is your light and salvation!

  • [1] Jedidiah Morse, A Sermon, Exhibiting the Present Dangers and Consequent Duties of the Citizens of the United States of America, Delivered at Charlestown, April 25, 1799, The Day of the National Fast (MA: Printed by Samuel Etheridge, 1799), p. 9
  • [2] Henry, Matthew. Matthew Henry's Commentary on the Whole Bible. Public Domain, [1662 - 1714].
  • [3] Ibid
  • [4] Ibid
  • [5] Ibid
  • [6] Ibid
  • [7] G2842, κοινωνι koino╠änia, Thayer Definition:  1) fellowship, association, community, communion, joint participation, intercourse
 
1a) the share which one has in anything, participation 1b) intercourse, fellowship, intimacy 1b1) the right hand as a sign and pledge of fellowship (in fulfilling the apostolic office) 1c) a gift jointly contributed, a collection, a contribution, as exhibiting an embodiment and proof of fellowship Part of Speech: noun feminine ,A Related Word by Thayer's/Strong's Number: from G2844, Citing in TDNT: 3:797, 447
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