December 29, 2013
3 John 1:1-4
3 John 1:1-4
The salvation provided by the One foretold in the Old Testament is so complete, that no additions, corrections, or deletions are necessary; including self-effort, works, or religious systems. Who would have imagined that the innocent baby Jesus, so unassuming and common, would provide such a complete salvation? The writer of Hebrews expresses the completeness of this salvation by drawing our attention on the three timely and distinct appearances of Christ. Each appearance solves a definitive need that only Christ can resolve. No wonder Satan likes to distract us with jolly stories to occupy our mind.
An obvious truth often overlooked at Christmas time, because of an overexposed emphasis on fictional characters, is the reality that Jesus alone is who we worship and adore. Indeed Christmas is “the most wonderful time of the year,” but not because “I’m dreaming of a white Christmas,” or because “Santa Claus is coming to town,” or because we have “chestnuts roasting on an open fire.” What makes Christmas so wonderful is the simple truth of who the baby is in the manger. Paul provides three realities to keep our focus on worshipping the Christ-child at Christmas and not some flying reindeer.
If you ever grew frustrated by the struggle and failure with sin, you are not alone; the Scriptures are full of examples: the sleeping disciples, the denying disciple, the flesh struggling apostle, the contentious Corinthians, the meddling Thessalonians, and the blessing/cursing mouth. In Romans, Paul takes the believer on a journey from despair to confidence and from misery in sin, to joy in the love of Christ. Amazingly, he does not offer rules and activities to pursue, but rather truths about the Holy Spirit to learn and apply. These truths must shape our thinking to produce the fruit of our living.
God’s Word teaches that the greatest exposure to distortions of truth is truth. Since God’s Word is truth and declares Jesus as truth, would it not make sense that all claims of truth must be substantiated by God’s Word? We are faced with many versions of truth, through social media, news media, print media and casual conversations, but are you able to discern what real truth is? The Israelites were completely indoctrinated with the distorted version of truth; Jesus, in His parables, exposes this distortion. What happens when the distorters of truth meet face-to-face with truth? The reality of this parable needs our full attention.