Remind Me

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Looking at the Cross
Here's the reality of the cross: Our sin is a massive deal, and our sin touches everything, including our relationships, our heart, and our addictions. The cross is the perfect example of what sin would love to do to us. But the cross is also proof of his grace. Some of us are holding onto things out of shame, and it is robbing you of your hope and your confidence in the Lord. However, the second you turn to Jesus and confess your sin, He forgets it completely. We have hope through the cross. We also have hope through the resurrection. John spends so much time throughout the Gospel that he wrote helping us understand the promise of the Spirit, and helping us understand that He is faithful with promises. After promise, after promise, after promise, after promise, after promise, he proves he can be trusted to fulfill whatever he says. 1 Peter 1:3-4 says it like this: “Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! In his great mercy he has given us new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, and into an inheritance that can never perish, spoil or fade. This inheritance is kept in heaven for you.” So by the power of a resurrection, the resurrection makes a promise to you that you are now sealed by the Spirit, that you are kept in Heaven for him, and that your salvation is secure. It's a done deal. He made a promise, and he'll keep his promise. Your hope should be an anchor for your soul. Life is going to pull and push you around in its waves and make you feel uncertain of God’s promises. But you have an anchor of Jesus! Take confidence because the resurrection is a demonstration of God's power at work to fulfill his promises. God is a promise keeper. If the resurrection shows you anything, it should be that, even when it seems impossible, God will keep his promise to you. Reflection/Discussion Question: What have you allowed to push and pull you in life when you should have been anchored in the hope of Jesus?
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Hope in the Wrong Things
When John wrote his Gospel, we are able to look historically at what was going on in the church at the time that was causing people to lose hope. These circumstances are why John writes his Gospel in the way and language that he does. First, in the nineties, when John wrote this book of the Bible, there was a whisper of theology sweeping through the church where people were denying the incarnation. This meant that people were suggesting that God never really came to earth as a man. Simply put: There were people that were beginning to believe that Jesus was just more of an incredible prophet, but he was not really God who took on flesh.  Secondly, there was also a way of thinking that was moving through the church where they were denying the saving significance of the death and the resurrection of Jesus. They just started downplaying or denying what death and the resurrection of Jesus truly meant in comparison to everything else and what it meant for them now, not just historically.  John, as a seasoned pastor, is seeing the people of the church start to buy into the fact that Jesus might not have really ever been fully God and fully man, and people begin to downplay the importance that the cross and the resurrection really had in their lives and what it meant for them going forward. In turn, John was also watching the way hope was starting to leak out of the church, watching anxiety rise among the Christians, and people spending all of their energy and time on things that won't ever matter. And so, John sits down write a letter to that will tell the story of Jesus in a way that, by the time I'm done, nobody that read the letter was going question whether Jesus was really God with flesh on and nobody was going to ponder the significance of the cross and the resurrection. Reflection/Discussion Questions: Do you ever struggle to believe in the incarnation or the significance of the cross like the early church? What impact does this have on your hope?