Christian Conduct (Basic Christianity/ Holiness/ 1 John 1:5-10)

Christian Conduct Week 1

YouTuber John Stapleton shares on Christian Conduct (Basic Christianity/ Holiness/ 1 John 1:5-10). Be sure to subscribe to John’s Weekly Bible Blog.

This video is also available as an Apple podcast below.

1 John 1:5, NLT
This is the message we heard from Jesus and now declare to you: God is light, and there is no darkness in him at all.

1) God Is Light

I want to introduce you to the Father by looking at who he is and what he does. John reveals him as light and love. Light is significant because this is how John introduced Jesus in John 1:1-4.

John is thematically making the point that whoever has seen Jesus has seen the Father. In John 14:9, one of Jesus’ followers expressed his grief at the thought of not being with Jesus. This was Jesus’ response:

Jesus replied, “Have I been with you all this time, Philip,
and yet you still don’t know who I am? Anyone who has
seen me has seen the Father! So why are you asking me to
show him to you? 10 Don’t you believe that I am in the
Father and the Father is in me?

Also, light is what actively drives out darkness. Darkness is often a euphemism for sin and anything that is anti-God, anti-Jesus. Evil cannot win because “the darkness is disappearing, and the true light is already shining” (2:8). Practically, God is love (1 John 4:8).

1 John 4:9–10 NLT
9 God showed how much he loved us by sending his one
and only Son into the world so that we might have eternal
life through him. 10 This is real love—not that we loved
God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as a sacrifice to
take away our sins.

2) God Isn’t Darkness

Since God is light, that means he cannot be darkness. This is important. Some of you have be wrongly taught that God can do everything. But God cannot do anything that is opposed to who he is. God never contradicts his nature. God is never shady and you will never need to worry about finding something in God’s character that is ugly or unrighteous.

1 John 1:6-7, NLT
So we are lying if we say we have fellowship with God but
go on living in spiritual darkness; we are not practicing the
truth. 7 But if we are living in the light, as God is in the
light, then we have fellowship with each other, and the
blood of Jesus, his Son, cleanses us from all sin.

John is combating false teaching in the church that said that you can be a Christian while living in ongoing rebellion against God. He doesn’t name the false teachers, but he alludes to what they taught by the introductory phrase, “if we say/claim” which is contrasted by “if we confess” (1:9).

1 John 1:8-10, NLT
If we claim we have no sin, we are only fooling ourselves
and not living in the truth. 9 But if we confess our sins to
him, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to
cleanse us from all wickedness. 10 If we claim we have not
sinned, we are calling God a liar and showing that his word
has no place in our hearts.

There are 3 basic lies being addressed:

  • The first lie is that a person can worship Jesus as our Savior and not our Lord.
  • The second lie is that we are good people who don’t need a savior.
  • The third lie is that we have moral superiority to other people who need a Savior.

The alternative to these false ways of living is to confess our sins so that we can not only be forgiven, but to be healed. We cannot believe the lies about Christian practice because it shows that we are not Christians if we do.

Prayer

Lord, thank you that you have made it possible to have
fellowship with you. Help us resist living in darkness and
make us aware of the lies we believe about you, ourselves,
and the church. Amen.

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How To Use The Bible by John Stapleton

How To Use The Bible

YouTuber John Stapleton shares on How To Use The Bible (Acts 8:26-35). Be sure to subscribe to John’s Weekly Bible Blog.

This video is also available as an Apple podcast below.

As for Philip, an angel of the Lord said to him, “Go south down the desert road that runs from Jerusalem to Gaza.” So he started out, and he met the treasurer of Ethiopia, a eunuch of great authority under the Kandake, the queen of Ethiopia. The eunuch had gone to Jerusalem to worship, and he was now returning. Seated in his carriage, he was reading aloud from the book of the prophet Isaiah.

The Holy Spirit said to Philip, “Go over and walk along beside the carriage.”

Philip ran over and heard the man reading from the prophet Isaiah. Philip asked, “Do you understand what you are reading?”

The man replied, “How can I, unless someone instructs me?” And he urged Philip to come up into the carriage and sit with him.

The passage of Scripture he had been reading was this:

“He was led like a sheep to the slaughter.
And as a lamb is silent before the shearers,
he did not open his mouth.
He was humiliated and received no justice.
Who can speak of his descendants?
For his life was taken from the earth.”

The eunuch asked Philip, “Tell me, was the prophet talking about himself or someone else?” So beginning with this same Scripture, Philip told him the Good News about Jesus.

Acts 8:26-35

Read It

The first step is to read it the text.

Before we can apply it to our lives we need to know what it says. This should be the capstone of your devotional reading. Topical devotions are great, the problem is they tend to select some verses here and half of one over there to in essence say, “Hey, God agrees with me.”

There is nothing wrong with topical studies as long as they are faithful to what is in Scripture. Being overly selective with the Scriptures runs the risk of leaving out something that God had to say on the topic or not explaining it enough.

How much should you read?

As little or as much as you want. I don’t have a set opinion on this because I have found that reading the Bible with different methods help me at different times in my life.

For example, I am a huge fan of reading large chunks of Scripture. That’s how the original audience would have received God’s Word. Think of Moses reintroducing the covenant to Israel, which is the entire book of Deuteronomy.

Jesus gave the Sermon on the Mount in one sitting. Every letter aimed at a New Testament church was read in one gathering. It’s easier to get the flow of the narrative or the argument if you are looking at larger sections of Scripture.

On the other hand, where I find myself now is reading smaller portions of Scripture and just meditating on that periscope. The point is, there is no one way to do it.

Study It

Once I’ve read the text, I usually allow time for me to “live” in the passage. This is meditation. This doesn’t mean that you sit cross-legged with crossed fingers thinking positive thoughts.

This is mulling over what you have read repeatedly until you’ve internalized it. Now that the passage is familiar, you are ready to dig in and study.

There are several different systems you can adopt.

I’ve tried a few myself:

  • Use a Scripture journal which has the text of the Bible on one page and blank journaling space on the other.
  • Write your prayers down in the journaling space or write down observations.
  • Mark up the text – circling, underlining, or even highlighting key words or phrases.
  • Write down any questions you have and then work to answer those questions with the context around the text you just read. Sometimes, the answer is in the text itself!
  • Compare translations to get a fuller sense of what the passage means. Check out some cross-references.
  • Write down your own summary of the passage. After that, check out some commentaries to see what other people’s conclusions were. Sometimes you might change your mind and sometimes you will disagree, but that’s part of the fun of studying.

Speaking of systems, you can get a paper journal and grab your books from the shelf but there is a more efficient way to study. I recommend getting a Bible software program. They allow you to do word studies, read commentaries and lexicons, mark up your Bible and compare translations.

You can write notes and look at maps.

There are more features I could mention but you get the idea.

There are a few great programs to consider for study in our digital world. Accordance is good, so is Olive Tree, and my
personal favorite is Logos Bible Software.

Apply It

The Bible student lives in two worlds. They live in their present-day reality, but they also visit the ancient world of the Bible when we read and study it. But now that we have studied the text, we should be able to apply it to our life and become better worshippers because we know God a little better than before.

Remember, we don’t just read the Bible for information, but so we can love God more deeply, in a Psalm 119 kind of way.

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The Chronicles Of Belteshazzar Chapter 10 by David Lantz

Chapter 10

In Chapter 10 of The Chronicles of Belteshazzar, it has been 4 months since Babylon’s failed attempt to invade Egypt. Naaman is reviewing maps and planning strategy when Daniel comes to speak with him. Daniel talks to Naaman about creating a council of exiles to try to address the violence and riots happening in the streets of Babylon.

The story then leads to a discussion of how different people really do think differently. I conclude the episode of a story from my own life dealing with some serious negotiations that had to take place, and then tie it together with a scene from the movie, Arrival.

If you’re on the run, listen to this video on a podcast below. And be sure to subscribe to the YouTube channel.

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The Chronicles Of Belteshazzar Chapter 9 by David Lantz

Chronicles Of Belteshazzar Chapter 9

In Chapter Nine of The Chronicles of Belteshazzar, Matthew and the other grandsons ask Grandpa if the meeting between Daniel and the Captain of the Babylonian Guard really took place.

This conversation leads to a discussion about how a 1990s Science Fiction show, Babylon 5, inspired me to come up with some of the ideas that lead to the creation of a council headed by Daniel to try to quell the unrest among exile communities.

I’ll conclude with a discussion of a statement by the Apostle Paul in Ephesians 6 that is echoed by one of the main characters in the TV show, Babylon 5.

If you’re on the run, listen to this video on a podcast below. And be sure to subscribe to the YouTube channel.

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The Chronicles Of Belteshazzar Chapter 8 by David Lantz

Chronicles Of Belteshazzar Chapter 8

In Chapter Eight of The Chronicles of Belteshazzar, Daniel meets Naaman, the Captain of the Babylonian Guard while breaking up a fight between a Hebrew and an Askelonite.

The two trade stories about what they believe, and their different understandings of the Great Flood. In reading the story of how Daniel will later interpret a dream by King Nebuchadnezzar, it is clear that the two must have had a relationship before The Captain of the Guard was sent to find him (see Chapter 2 of the Book of Daniel).

Daniel exhibits the quality of forgiving others – something that is demonstrated in the movie, Pay it Forward. I’ll use that movie, plus a story about the life of Corey Ten Boom, to help flesh out this episode’s Question for Reflection.

If you’re on the run, listen to this video on a podcast below. And be sure to subscribe to the YouTube channel.

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The Chronicles Of Belteshazzar Chapter 7 by David Lantz

Chronicles Of Belteshazzar Chapter 7

In Chapter Seven of The Chronicles of Belteshazzar, Daniel and his friends are entered into a training program which will allow them to serve King Nebuchadnezzar.

One of the things they are told is that they must eat the food of the Babylonians. Daniel and his friends do not wish to violate the dietary laws of their faith, and so Daniel proposes an alternative to their Babylonian trainer, Potiphar.

In this retelling of the story of Daniel and his meeting with Nebuchadnezzar, I share a story from my own life: Would I be willing to go to a Casino in London? What was God demanding of me – and what were the consequences of that small, seemingly insignificant decision? I’ll use the movie Pinocchio and the story of letting “your conscience be your guide” to help flesh out this episode’s Question for Reflection

If you’re on the run, listen to this video on a podcast below. And be sure to subscribe to the YouTube channel.

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The Chronicles Of Belteshazzar Chapter 6 by David Lantz

Chronicles Of Belteshazzar Chapter 6

In Chapter Six of The Chronicles of Belteshazzar, Nebuchadnezzar returns to Babylon with the exiles.

The Chief Priest, Hamon, greets the King. We learn that Hamon is secretly plotting to cause riots and gang warfare among the rival Immigrant groups. The Chief Priest hopes that this will trigger a revolt against the rule of King Nebuchadnezzar – a revolt that will lead to the eventual crowning of himself as the new king.

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The Chronicles Of Belteshazzar Chapter 5 by David Lantz

Chronicles Of Belteshazzar Chapter 5

In Chapter Five of The Chronicles of Belteshazzar, Nebuchadnezzar reviews the list of Jews exiles and makes plans to take them back to Babylon. He wonders to himself if he is living up to his father’s expectations.

Meanwhile, Daniel is bitter about the fact that he is being sent into exile. As he sees his parents for the last time, he thinks about a gift his father has given him. In that moment, he comes to realize that his father truly loves him.

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The Chronicles Of Belteshazzar Chapter 4 by David Lantz

Chronicles Of Belteshazzar Chapter 4

In Chapter Four of The Chronicles of Belteshazzar, the story switches to 600 B.C. and the life of the prophet Daniel.

Nebuchadnezzar, the King of Babylon, had defeated the Egyptians at the Battle of Carchemish. He has now come to the gates of Jerusalem and demands that Jehoiakim, King of Judah, surrender. He demands that King Jehoiakim prepare a list of people to send into exile to Babylon.

If you’re on the run, listen to this video on a podcast below. And be sure to subscribe to the YouTube channel.

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Chronicles of Belteshazzar Chapter 2 by David Lantz

Chronicles of Belteshazzar chapter 2

In Chapter Two of The Chronicles of Belteshazzar, Isaac asks grandpa what the phrase “separation between church and state” means when he has his bible taken from him by another student at school. Grandpa uses this question to introduce the story of Daniel and how he prayed to God when it was against the law in Babylon.

I hope you’ll join me in the journey of telling the story as I read Chapter 2 titled “When Praying Was Illegal.”

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