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Psalm 96:1-9 1
1 Sing to the LORD a new song; sing to the LORD, all the earth. 2 Sing to the LORD, praise his name; proclaim his salvation day after day. 3 Declare his glory among the nations, his marvelous deeds among all peoples. 4 For great is the LORD and most worthy of praise; he is to be feared above all gods. 5 For all the gods of the nations are idols, but the LORD made the heavens. 6 Splendor and majesty are before him; strength and glory are in his sanctuary. 7 Ascribe to the LORD, O families of nations, ascribe to the LORD glory and strength. 8 Ascribe to the LORD the glory due his name; bring an offering and come into his courts. 9 Worship the LORD in the splendor of his holiness; tremble before him, all the earth.

clip_image092Background 2

This psalm is written by David in reference to the bringing up of the ark to the city of David. It was designed to celebrate the glories of God’s kingdom, especially the accession of the Gentiles to it. It contains a call given to all people to praise God, to worship him, and give glory to him, as a great and glorious God, ver. 1-9. Further, a notice is given to all people of God’s universal government and judgment, which ought to be the matter of universal joy, ver. 10-13. In singing this psalm our hearts should be filled with great and high thoughts of the glory of God and the grace of the gospel, and with an entire satisfaction in Christ’s sovereign dominion and in the expectation of the judgment to come.

Biblical Truths

Ps 96:1-The prophet shows that the time will come, that all nations will have opportunity to praise the Lord for the revealing of his gospel.

Ps 96:4-Seeing he will reveal himself to all nations contrary to their own expectation, they should all worship him contrary to their own imaginations, and only as he has appointed.

Ps 96:5-Then the idols or whatever did not make the heavens, are not God.

Ps 96:6-God cannot be known but by his strength and glory, the signs of which appear in His sanctuary.

Ps 96:7-As by experience you see that it is only due to Him.

Ps 96:8-By offering up yourselves wholly to God, declares that you worship Him only.

Items for Discussion

  • How you believe that God reveals to nations, His Kingdom?
  • Is this real evidence, substantial enough to be held up in a modern court of law or subjective circumstantial evidence?
  • As Christians, what is our role in assisting God’s revelation to the world?
  • What is our church’s role in revealing God?
  • Where is the church ineffective?
  • Where is the church most effective?

 

I John 2:12-13
12 I write to you, dear children, because your sins have been forgiven on account of his name. 13 I write to you, fathers, because you have known him who is from the beginning. I write to you, young men, because you have overcome the evil one. I write to you, dear children, because you have known the Father.

Background

I JOHN IS A “LAST HOUR” EPISTLE to help us know God. Forty times some form of the word “to know” occurs in it. In the Greek New Testament, 25 of these come from the word ginósko which we learn means “to know” by acquiring knowledge, or by learning. 15 times the word comes from oída which means “to know” in a more absolute way. It is the kind of knowledge more like an instinct, or an idea that bursts upon the mind pure and unaffected by outward observance. Strangely—or maybe wonderfully—ginósko occurs more prominently in the first part of the Epistle. As we draw toward its conclusion, it is oída that finds almost exclusive use. The knowledge that is acquired about God and His Beloved Son develops from a knowledge that comes on by learning into a knowledge that is absolute.

I John covers three specific subjects: Christ, anti-Christ and love. Through Christ we know God. Anti-Christ and the spirits that work with him oppose this. Knowing God is to know love, pure and absolute. The Epistle is intended to help strengthen our God consciousness and our self-conscience.

Biblical Truths

John makes a distinction between children, young men, and fathers. The distinction is very revealing. Spiritual children are focused on overcoming sin and they have come to see God as their Father. This is good, but it is just the first stage of maturity. Young men are focused on overcoming the evil one and they are becoming strong, as John further reveals. They are enjoying flexing their spiritual muscles. This is a definite advancement from the child stage. Spiritual fathers, however, are known by their knowledge of “Him who is from the beginning.”

John writes to both children and fathers “because you know Him”, but what they know of Him is quite different. Children know Him only as Father and they are still focused on forgiveness of sins. Fathers are advanced in knowledge of God until they are described as “knowing Him who is from the beginning.” This highest level of maturity is marked by a deep knowledge of God.

The fathers that John writes to are being transformed into God’s image from having spent much time beholding Him. This deeper conformity to God is evidenced in a greater glory resting upon these mature ones as is stated in I Corinthians 3:18. We are “being transformed into the same image from glory to glory.” Those who have long gazed upon the face of God have attained to the greatest glory.

Items for Discussion

  • What do you think that John was trying to emphasize when he referred to those he was writing as children?
  • Do you think that the world is aware of an “evil one” or infatuated by an “evil one?”
  • How did your relationship with God change as you matured in both your own faith as well as physically, becoming an adult?
  • As an adult, what advice do you have for a child? For a younger adult with respect to their faith walk?
  • How do letters communicate differently than direct mouth to mouth communications?
  • How have the following changed our communications? For the better or for the worse?
    • Electronic Email?
    • Smart Phones?
    • Television and video?
    • The entertainment industry?
    • The news media?
    • The Internet?
  • Have the above list of changes made God’s revelation of His power and kingdom easier or harder?

Discussion Challenge

  • What is the role of a Church in the three phases of Christian maturity? Childhood; adolescence; and adulthood?

Notes:

  1. NIV New International Version Translations
  2. Matthew Henry’s Commentary
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