How Do You Know If Your Faith is True?

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asian man ponderingHow do you know if you really know God? How can we know if we have true faith in Him? This question plagues most who take their faith seriously at one time or another. Thankfully it is a key reason the biblical letter of 1John was written.

As the apostles were passing off the scene, false teachers arose claiming special knowledge of God. The problem was that neither their lives nor their teaching lined up with Jesus! What God saw as sin, they embraced or ignored as unimportant. What God commanded they downplayed or violated in their own lifestyles and attitudes.

1John 2:3 gets right to the point… “By this we know that we have come to know Him…” In this paragraph the impact of a true relationship with God is made clear. A true relationship will change the life & attitude of true believers in noticeable ways. Failure to grow in these areas suggests that there might in fact NOT be a real personal relationship with God at the core.

God is light. Those who live in His light will show the characteristics of it. Those who don’t will still show their true dark nature.

Check out 1John 2:1-11 for yourself. What are the two tests of true faith God reveals? Can you or anyone else tell if you have true faith in Jesus? What would it look life for you to move forward in true faith? Join us Sunday to chase these answers further.

Cleaning Service?

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      He just finished washing their feet. What should have been a simple act was complicated by their confusion, protests & overreaction. Why do this? What does it mean? The master takes a servant role! Jesus the Son of God stooped at their feet! After moving past the scandal, we see a simple act. Then the punch line comes. With quiet authority he says, “I have given you an example, that you also should do just as I have done to you…” (John 13:16). What has he done to them at this point? What does He do to me? To us who believe?

      My heart sees something so obvious, I can’t believe I never saw it before. What if this is about more than feet, more than serving. Look closer. He touches the dirty parts of their bodies and cleans them. Could it be that simple? He humbles himself to do so. He explains the necessity of it. But in the end the core act involved touching the unclean to restore its cleanness.

Is Jesus calling us to touch the unclean in each other so holiness can be restored. Now I know that it is Jesus’ blood that cleans us. that is not what I am saying. However, within our fellowship of belief, could it be that we have a part to play in helping each other stay clean in Christ? What could that possibly look like? I look forward to your thoughts.

     This week a good friend and mentor will be sharing God’s word with us. Be sure to join us as Dale Philips of CareActor Ministries joins us in worship. 

Risking the Light

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Can people like us really connect with a perfectly good God? Closeness with God involves honestly moving into His light, agreeing with what it reveals, & trusting its power to experience the cleansing and fellowship it brings.Image

In 1John chapter one the disciple claims “… our fellowship is with the Father…” He then explains, “God is light and in Him there is no darkness at all. If we say we have fellowship with Him and walk in darkness, we lie and do not practice the truth…” His purpose is to help us see the difference between pretenders and those who really are close to God. The difference is our response to God’s light.

God is who He is. I do not define Him. He reveals Himself. He is light. He is perfect in holy goodness. Being with Him means being in His light. His light can be scary. It reveals the things that embarrass and shame us. The parts we wish weren’t there or that others would never see. It shows every flaw, imperfection, inadequacy & sin.

Suddenly the darkness seems safer, we are tempted to retreat. From there I can pretend to be better than I am. (Or at last take comfort that not everyone knows the full truth). From there I can even pretend intimacy with God. Yet in my heart, I know it is not true. But in the darkness, there is no real comfort, healing or guidance for my soul.

Closeness with God requires the risk of stepping into His light. We must see and confess our sin for what it is in the full light of God’s presence. As we stay in His light something unexpectedly wonderful  happens. As Sunday approaches consider how open you are to stepping fully into God’s light. What parts of your life have you preferred to keep in darkness?

About

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As a grateful teaching pastor, my purpose here is to better engage people in digesting God’s truth by sharing my thoughts on the teaching passages with my church family before they are shared on Sunday. My hope is that prior reflection and even dialogue will help all of us better hear from God’s Spirit  and let those truths sink deeper into our souls.

Those unable to join us for the live lesson can access the recording at http://www.parkviewfamily.com.

I am a graduate of Dallas Theological and Midwestern Baptist Theological Seminaries. Father of four and husband of one. Still in my first church out of seminary an more blessed than ever after 18 surprising years.