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Christmas tree ornaments December 25 Chronological Bible Study

Timeline. Map. Go to today's Bible reading: 1John, 2John, 3John

Keep or Renew Your Joy

Merry Christmas! When most of us think of Christmas we think about the Christmas lights, Christmas trees, wreaths and other decorations, presents, the joyous season of giving, and gathering together with family and friends. For most people Christmas is a time of joy; for others, however, it is not. How do we keep our joy all year long, or how do we recover the joy that we have lost or never had? In his three letters the Apostle John offers us some help.

John wrote in the introduction to his first letter,

That which we have seen and heard we declare to you, that you also may have fellowship with us; and truly our fellowship is with the Father and with His Son Jesus Christ. And these things we write to you that your joy may be full. 1 John 1:3-4 (NKJV).

Joy (peace, gladness, and ultimate satisfaction) is found in a personal relationship with Jesus. John was writing primarily to Christians. Do you have a personal relationship with Jesus Christ so that you can say with John and his companions, “truly our fellowship is with the Father and with His Son Jesus Christ”? (NKJV). John and his companions saw the crucifixion, burial, and resurrection of Christ. To have true joy in our hearts we must believe Jesus sacrificed himself for us and arose from the dead for the forgiveness of our sins to restore us to a personal relationship with God our creator (more...). If we have this personal relationship with God and Jesus, how do we keep our joy beyond the Christmas season?

First, John says we need to “walk in the light as He (Jesus Christ) is in the light” (1:7). What does that mean? Negatively, it means that we do not live in the darkness of sin, lies, and self-deception. Positively, it means we live our lives by the truth of God’s Word and maintain our fellowship with Christ and other believers. If we do sin (and all people, including Christians, do sin (Romans 3:23,24; 1 John 1:7-9)), then we promptly confess our sins with true contrition as soon as we realize them. If we do confess and repent of our sins, we receive forgiveness from God and continue on to live in the light. If we want to maintain our joy, we must continue to live in the light (of the truth and righteousness of Jesus Christ).

Second, John says that in order to maintain our joy as Christians we need to beware of the temptations of the world. He writes to fathers (those who are mature in their spiritual life), young men (those who are strong to fight against Satan, the evil one) and children (those who are immature believers),

Do not love the world or the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For all that is in the world--the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life--is not of the Father but is of the world. And the world is passing away, and the lust of it; but he who does the will of God abides forever, (1John 2:15-17, NIV).

No matter how mature we might be, it is difficult not to get caught up in the materialism and pride of life, especially at Christmas time. But the temporary joy of receiving new things or the pride of having the best of everything does not last. Satan is our enemy and will try to trip us up with the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes and the pride of life. His goal is to ruin our relationship with the LORD and spoil our joy.

Third, we must be careful of those who would steal our joy by apostasy. Apostasy is false doctrine that seeks to lead us away from the truth. We must come to know the truth so well that we can immediately recognize errors in teaching. There are many cults that draw people away from true Christian doctrine by deceptive teaching. They deny the truth. They deny Jesus was God who became human to die for our sins in our place so that our souls might live. They deny that Jesus rose again from the tomb after lying dead for three days. They deny that total faith placed in Jesus Christ is the only thing necessary for salvation. When we are drawn away by their false doctrine, we lose our joy. Jesus said, “The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I came that they may have life, and have it abundantly,” (John 10:10 NASB). We must not allow false teachers, no matter how kind, popular, or gifted they are, to steal our joy. Like an over-abundance of Christmas candy offered to a child, the new truths they proclaim will seem sweet but leave us sick to our stomachs when we find out they are all lies. Let’s live in the truth found in God’s Holy Bible if we want to know Jesus and attain the abundant life.

Last, if we want our joy to remain, John says we need to actively love people, and especially our brothers and sisters in Christ.

Dear friends, let us love one another, for love comes from God. Everyone who loves has been born of God and knows God. Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love. This is how God showed his love among us: He sent his one and only Son into the world that we might live through him. This is love: not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins. Dear friends, since God so loved us, we also ought to love one another. No one has ever seen God; but if we love one another, God lives in us and his love is made complete in us, (1John 4:7-12, NIV).

Its Christmas - show some Christian love to people today. Give a hug, speak words of encouragement, give a gift, spend some time with them, or do something kind for them.

Lessons to live by:

  • Joy (peace, gladness, and ultimate satisfaction) is found in a personal relationship with Jesus (more...)
  • If we want to maintain our joy all year long, we must not live in the darkness of sin. We must confess our sins and continue to live in the light (Jesus Christ).
  • Beware of the temptations of the world. It does not matter how mature we are in the faith; Satan is our enemy and will try to trip us up, ruin our relationship with the LORD, and spoil our joy.
  • Beware of cults and false religions. We must live in the truth found in God’s Holy Bible if we want to know Jesus and attain an abundant life.
  • If we want our joy to remain, we need to actively love people, and especially our brothers and sisters in Christ.

Today’s Bible Memory Verse: 3 John 1:3 “It gave me great joy to have some brothers come and tell about your faithfulness to the truth and how you continue to walk in the truth.” (NIV)

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