Dear San Lo Community, an update for the week of October 15, 2017…
Thank you Pastor Rod for the message from 1 John 4:1-12, “Test Time.” Some people may like taking tests, while others may not. Here in this first letter of John, chapter 4, God calls upon us to test the spirits, to take a better look at things before we jump into something. In our series, Authentic Faith, there are several major exhortations and encouragements in his letter which prompts us to consider, how is truth essential to authentic faith?
TRUTH BELIEVED (VV.1-6) 1 Beloved, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God, because many false prophets have gone out into the world. John uses the term, beloved, an endearing term of affection again and warns, do not believe every spirit. This is a command, in the present tense that has a continuing impact, not just for one-time. Test, and ask if they are from God? As a metallurgist determines the purity and genuineness of a precious metal, we are to also test what we are hearing. Many false prophets have gone out into the world, saying they are speaking for God. But there are many false prophets, who claimed to speak for the Spirit. In that time there were few formal creeds or faith statements and no Bible that we have now so they relied on their teachers. Since Adam and Eve, Satan has sought to distort and deny the Word of God. People fail to exercise discernment and we have a tendency is to accept all that looks like church, with lots of people but religious activity is not necessarily godly activity. How do we know? Here is the key!
2 By this you know the Spirit of God: every spirit that confesses that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is from God. The essential question we must ask: Who is Jesus? We cannot settle for Jesus was a ‘good teacher’ or ‘good man’ or ‘prophet.’ Jesus Christ has come in the flesh – Jesus incarnate is absolutely essential to truth and faith. He is not just human, not just a historical person, but is the only option for salvation. 3 and every spirit that does not confess Jesus is not from God; this is the spirit of the antichrist, of which you have heard that it is coming, and now it is already in the world. If one does not confess (acknowledge) they are not from God. The Spirit always glorifies God and confirms Jesus is God. The spirit of the antichrist denies the incarnation of Jesus Christ. 4 You are from God, little children, and have overcome them; because greater is He who is in you than he who is in the world. Christ has overcome the world. His presence by the Spirit is in and among God’s children. Be aware of someone who comes with a claim of new teaching. Compare it to the rest of the teaching in the scriptures. 5 They are from the world; therefore they speak as from the world, and the world listens to them. 6 We are from God; he who knows God listens to us; he who is not from God does not listen to us. By this we know the spirit of truth and the spirit of error. There is a clear contrast of those from the world and those from God. This is a teaching not shaped by the gospel but by worldly categories of religion and philosophy. John 8:47 “He who is of God hears the words of God; for this reason you do not hear them, because you are not of God.” We hear from the Apostles’ words through the preaching of the Word of God. At SanLo we emphasize expositional teaching, looking at the historical and grammatical aspects and how applies to us. Hold yourself accountable to knowing God’s word and hold one another accountable as well. Know what you believe.
TRUTH RECEIVED. (VV.7-10) 7 Beloved, let us love one another, for love is from God; and everyone who loves is born of God and knows God. Another exhortation/encouragement is found here, love one another, for love is from God. An evidence of new birth in Christ is having a habit of love. God’s love is sacrificial and supernatural whereas the world’s love is selfish and sensual. Love is from God – Love is the defining characteristic of God. 8 The one who does not love does not know God, for God is love. 9 By this the love of God was manifested in us, that God has sent His only begotten Son into the world so that we might live through Him. God is love. We have been loved through the sacrifice of Jesus. Only begotten Son – begotten usually emphasized as from God, but Only is unique, one of a kind. Jesus is Pre-existent, distinct from creation. He was with God and is God. Live through Him – when we are born of God, we know Him and experience His love. This we can share with others. But if we have no love, then we do not know God. 10 In this is love, not that we loved God, but that He loved us and sent His Son to be the propitiation for our sins. God initiated His love for us by becoming a man. Jesus came not to live among us but to die for us. In this is love – God loved us first, demonstrated that love. We love because we are loved.
TRUTH ACHIEVED. (VV.11-12) 11 Beloved, if God so loved us, we also ought to love one another. If (since)God so loved us – there is no uncertainty but is a condition of fact. God’s love focused on our greatest need – forgiveness and relationship with Him. Our love towards others should also be focused on their greatest need, forgiveness and right relationship with God. 12 No one has seen God at any time; if we love one another, God abides in us, and His love is perfected in us. Seen – we get this word from ‘theatre’, careful observing, close examination. No one has seen God in His essence, it is impossible, but God can be seen through lives of others when we love others with the kind of love He showed us in Jesus Christ. The testimony of the church is critical in how we look from the outside. Remember in Luke 17, there were ten lepers who were healed by Jesus, yet only one returned. We have all been forgiven much, but shall we go on as before?
With the ongoing fires this past week in the Santa Rosa area, the Christian retreat camp, Alliance Redwoods, has canceled its bookings to be able to support 10 displaced families and offering 200 firefighters a place of rest. They are participating by sharing Jesus Christ in a tangible way. SanLo would like to join this effort by raising funds for the next two weeks to help support the effort of Alliance Redwoods.
Praise God for His faithfulness to our church as we celebrated our 88th Anniversary this past Saturday evening with a delicious bento box dinner, praise singing with the Dandies and a sneak preview of a potential location for our future relocation.
10/21 11:00am Memorial Service – Mrs. Eiko Matsuda (Rev. Shunji Mizoguchi officiating – English sanctuary)
10/22 12:30pm Mission Team meeting (rm.0)
10/22 1:30pm FACC Baptism – Nichigo sanctuary
10/27 12:00pm 55+ Potluck Lunch; Hospice Care, with Dr. Marvin Masuda
10/28 8:00am Love East Bay Fall Serve – Grace Baptist, SL. http://loveeastbay2017fall.eve...
10/29 12:30pm Joint Fellowship and Harvest Fest setup
10/31 5:30pm Harvest Festival
11/4 NCNCC meeting – Rev. Nakano (English sanctuary)
11/5 2:30pm Memorial Service for Rev. Fukiagi at Wintersburg Presbyterian 2000 N. Fairview St. Santa Ana, CA
11/10 Craft Day setup
11/11 CRAFT DAY!
11/12 both services Missions Moment – Nick and Eric Petkoff (TEAM, Japan)
11/12 12:30pm Missions Team meeting
11/19 both services Missions Moment – Roy and Nancy Toma (JEMS)
12/1 7:11pm B.A.M.
12/2 8:30am Missions Prayer
12/9 1:00pm Christmas Program followed with reception
Have a blessed week testing for the truth,
Stan, for SLZJCC