“God has given us many good ways to read his word. You may have utilized several of them: studiously, devotionally, reflectively, Christologically. But what about communally? Communal reading is when two or more people gather to read, hear, and discuss a written text. It was a popular practice in the first century, and it is a powerful way to approach God’s word still today. Yet in the age of the printing press, and now the digital revolution, communal reading has become one of the more neglected spiritual practices of our time…..”
“The radical message of the gospel is that our problem—sin—is worse than anything we could ever imagine. But also that the solution—grace—is better than anything we could ever deserve. Through repentance and faith, any sinner no matter how great the offense receives access to God through the cross of Jesus Christ. Hell is full of people who think they deserve heaven. Heaven is full of people who know they deserve hell.”
“Fear-killing love begins with true salvation (v15). Based upon the inner work of the Spirit (v13) and the believable testimony of eyewitnesses (v14), we are able to believe sincerely and profess openly that Jesus is the Son of God. And whoever makes this confession truly has become the tabneracle, the dwelling place of God himself. It is experiencing the abiding presence of God which convinces us of God’s love (v16). John says the one who confesses Christ both “knows” and “believes” God’s love. With this point, he makes a simple and powerful argument:
(1) God dwells in us by faith.
(2) God is love.
(3) Love is therefore a defining mark of those indwelt by God….”
“A few nights ago, in the midst of a spirited discussion about faith and morality, my friend made a powerful statement. He said emphatically, “I can’t worship a God who would command his people to go kill all the men, women, and children of another nation.” This is one of the more common objections I hear to Christianity, and I can genuinely sympathize with those who feel this way…..”