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Psalm 4 1
For the director of music – With stringed instruments – A psalm of David.
1 Answer me when I call to you, O my righteous God. Give me relief from my distress; be merciful to me and hear my prayer. 2 How long, O men, will you turn my glory into shame? How long will you love delusions and seek false gods? 3 Know that the LORD has set apart the godly for himself; the LORD will hear when I call to him. 4 In your anger do not sin; when you are on your beds, search your hearts and be silent. 5 Offer right sacrifices and trust in the LORD. 6 Many are asking, “Who can show us any good?” Let the light of your face shine upon us, O LORD. 7 You have filled my heart with greater joy than when their grain and new wine abound. 8 I will lie down and sleep in peace, for you alone, O LORD, make me dwell in safety.

clip_image017Background 2

Absalom was one of King David’s sons. He tried to kill David because he wanted to become king. David ran away. One evening, David prayed to God, “Show my enemies that you are fighting for me”. God answered David and made him very happy. David slept in peace. The peace that God gives means that we do not feel afraid deep down inside us.

Verses 1 – 2: DAVID PRAYS TO GOD. David was a good man. This did not make him righteous. Only God can make someone righteous. David asked God for help. “Listen to me” in Hebrew means “answer me”. David told God what he (David) wanted to say to his enemies. He really wanted God to tell them. David wanted to say to them, “You cannot win”. This is because the enemies of David were fighting God. Their stupid ideas were that they wanted David dead and that they wanted Absalom to become king.

Verses 3 – 4: IN HIS MIND DAVID TALKS TO HIS ENEMIES. David gives more reasons why his enemies cannot win:

  • the LORD chose David as king
  • the LORD did not choose Absalom
  • the LORD made David different from his enemies
  • the LORD will listen to David and answer him

This will make the enemies of David angry. They must do nothing wrong, though. They can argue in their thoughts. They must not speak their ideas aloud.

Verses 5 – 8: GOD GIVES DAVID JOY. “Offer the right gifts” means “kill animals on the temple altar”. A part of the Bible called Leviticus tells us what they are. It also means offer bread and wine. Christians do not do that now. They offer themselves to become the servants of God. Many people still say, “Who will do anything good or us?” Our answer is the same as the answer of David: the LORD. He will shine the light of his face on them. This can mean many things. One is that the LORD will give help to poor people.

Biblical Truths

An individual lament emphasizing trust in God. The petition is based upon the psalmist’s vivid experience of God as savior (Psalm 4:2). That experience of God is the basis for the warning to the wicked: revere God who intervenes on the side of the faithful (Psalm 4:3-6). The faithful psalmist exemplifies the blessings given to the just (Psalm 4:7-8).

For the leader: many psalm headings contain this rubric. Its exact meaning is unknown but may signify that such psalms once stood together in a collection of “the choirmaster.” Cf 1 Chron 15:21.

Tremble: be moved deeply with religious awe. The Greek translation understood the emotion to be anger, and it is so cited in Eph 4:26.

Items for Discussion

  • Where do you go to find God-the quiet places where you seem to know He is listening to you?
  • Do you go to this place when you are overwhelmed or seeking advice? Maybe blessed and offering praise and thanks? What about seeking forgiveness?
  • How do you weave into your conversations with God, those who generally seek to hurt you?
  • David is seeking to offer the right gifts to God. What are today’s right gifts?
  • Why is it so important not to let anger take hold?

 

I John 3:1-8
1 How great is the love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God! And that is what we are! The reason the world does not know us is that it did not know him. 2 Dear friends, now we are children of God, and what we will be has not yet been made known. But we know that when he appears, we shall be like him, for we shall see him as he is. 3 Everyone who has this hope in him purifies himself, just as he is pure. 4 Everyone who sins breaks the law; in fact, sin is lawlessness. 5 But you know that he appeared so that he might take away our sins. And in him is no sin. 6 No one who lives in him keeps on sinning. No one who continues to sin has either seen him or known him. 7 Dear children, do not let anyone lead you astray. He who does what is right is righteous, just as he is righteous. 8 He who does what is sinful is of the devil, because the devil has been sinning from the beginning. The reason the Son of God appeared was to destroy the devil’s work.

Background 3

The First Epistle of John is a book of the New Testament, and is the fourth catholic or “general” epistles. Written in Ephesus about 90-110 AD, the epistle is traditionally attributed to the same author or authors who wrote the Gospel of John and the other two epistles of John. Not actually a letter, the epistle is a sermon written to counter heresies that Jesus did not come “in the flesh,” but only as a spirit. It also defines how Christians are to discern true teachers: by their ethics, their proclamation of Jesus in the flesh, and by their love.

The epistle is traditionally held to have been written by John the Evangelist, and probably also at Ephesus, and when the writer was in advanced age. The Epistle’s content, language and conceptual style are an indication that a common authorship existed between this letter, the two other letters attributed to the Apostle John, as well as the Gospel of John. Whether the author was the Apostle John himself, someone who wrote under his name and spoke “for him”, or whether a body of authors contributed to the writing of all four Johannine texts is an open question. However, “The three Epistles and the Gospel of John are so closely allied in diction, style, and general outlook that the burden of proof lies with the person who would deny their common authorship” (B. H. Streeter, The Four Gospels, rev. ed. (London: Macmillan, 1930) 460).

Biblical Truths 4

Verses 1-3. Behold, what manner of love, etc. The last verse of chapter 2 speaks of the saints as born of God. That thought suggests the wonderful love in allowing us to be born again and thus to become God’s children. Sons of God. What greater glory than to be acknowledged as sons of the King of Kings! Therefore. If the world does not know the Father it will not know his children. 2. Now are we, etc. Already we have the great privilege of being sons, and it doth not yet appear what we shall be. Our future glory is not yet manifest. Even we ourselves cannot understand it. But we know. One glorious revelation has been made. At the coming of Christ we shall be like him. Then we shall be like him in body. See Phil. 3:21. We shall also be found morally in his image. For we shall see him as he is. To look upon him has power to change us into his glory. See 2 Cor. 3:18. 3. Every man that hath this hope. To have a hope of being like Christ leads us to try to be like Christ; hence, to be pure as he is pure.

Verses 4-8. Whosoever committeth sin, etc. The very act of sinning is a breaking of law. “Sin is lawlessness”. 5. Was manifested to take away our sins. Christ came, not only to take away our sins by their remission, but to take away our disposition to sin. 6. Whosoever abideth in him sinneth not. One ceaseth to abide in him when he engages in sinning. Hath not seen him, etc. “Whosoever sinneth,” that is, sins habitually, thereby shows that he hath not experimental insight and knowledge of Christ. There is no fellowship with the Sinless One. 7. Let no man deceive you. Do not be deluded into the belief that any one can be righteous unless he practices righteousness. 8. He that committeth sin is of the devil. A sinful life is a proof of the devil’s power. Christ came to destroy the works of the devil, and it is his work to destroy sin in all his disciples.

Items for Discussion

  • In what ways do you treat family members differently than strangers?
  • Do you find that mannerisms, likes/dislikes, other attributes of personality run in your family or can be traced to a family member?
  • If we are truly reborn with a new father and that father is God, how would you expect to be different?
  • Why is Christ an important part of this process?
  • If practice makes perfect, what lesson would we find if this was applied to becoming Christ-like?

Discussion Challenge

  • How can our church help others practice Christ-like behavior?
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