1 John 5:16
“If anyone sees his brother sinning a sin which does not lead to death, he will ask, and He will give him life for those who commit sin not leading to death. There is sin leading to death. I do not say that he should pray about that.”

Prayer is a critical part of our relationship with God. It is the means by which we are involved in the work of God on earth. Scripture reveals the things God desires to do when we join in prayer; as a result we get to see God work. There are many texts in Scripture making it clear that when we fail to pray, we fail to experience the works of God. Perhaps the most well-known is when James declares, “You have not because you ask not.” (James 4:2c) Because of the importance of prayer, as it relates to the work of God, John instructs us on how to pray. Verse 14 tells us what to pray for,

1 John 5:14 “Now this is the confidence that we have in Him, that if we ask anything according to His will, He hears us.”

The purpose of prayer is to get the will of God accomplished. When we look into the Word of God we will see the things that are important to God. When we ask Him to accomplish those things, we will begin to see our prayers answered. We know the salvation of our loved ones is on the top of God’s list, so we should put them on the top of list, and be praying for them regularly.

In verse 16, John addresses things that we should not pray for. He refers to them as the sins that lead to death. Sometimes, I wish there were a few more verses in Scripture. I wish John would have added a sentence or two explaining exactly what he meant. Since he did not, we are left to do a little digging on our own. What does the Bible say we should not pray about? I think the clear answer is, we should not pray about the things God has told us not to do. When my children were little, they would often ask for something, and not receive the answer for which they were hoping. Instead of accepting the answer they received, they would continue to ask, and at times even plead, beg, or ask with fervency. Their continued asking, after they had been told NO, did not change our minds, it only got them into trouble. In the same way, there are things God, because of His love for us, forbids us to have, or be involved in, and it is wrong for the Christian to ask for those things.

While all that is true, it is clearly not what John is talking about here. He is talking about those times when a friend gets involved in sin, and how we should respond to him. He tells us, if his sin is a deadly one, don’t pray about it. That is, if his sin is so dangerous, and able to destroy them, or their relationship with the Lord, don’t pray. Since I am not sure exactly what John means, I think the best application for the text is, instead of standing back waiting to decide what God wants me to do, I should take the advice of Paul who said, “. . .when a brother is overtaken in sin you who are spiritual restore him in a spirit of meekness. . .” (Galatians 6:1) Rather than letting our loved ones continue down a road that is taking them away from the Lord, we should step in, and do all we can to get them back on track. We already know God loves them, and He wants to restore them, the only question is, how we can help?

Pastor Jim



1 John 4:10-11
“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. Beloved, if God so loved us, we also ought to love one another.”

Love seems to be the most common subject of music, art, poetry and film. We have all heard songs with lyrics heralding the importance of love, or movies showing couples falling in love. Love has been romanticized, even idolized, yet rarely realized. It is here that the Apostle John, under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, gives us a description of true love.

“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.”

True love is both illustrated and defined by the action of God sending His Son. Paul reminds us, it was while we were still sinners, God sent His Son to the cross to pay the penalty for our sins (Romans 5:8). John uses the word propitiation, which speaks of a blood sacrifice; the innocent for the guilty. Love is measured at the cross where Jesus willingly laid down His life for you and me. But the love of God does not stop there. It is the desire of God that His love continue to be demonstrated to the world through the actions of His children.

“Beloved, if God so loved us, we also ought to love one another.”

Since we are the beloved, we are to act like it, by seeking to express this love to each other.

1 John 4:20 “If someone says, ‘I love God,’ and hates his brother, he is a liar; for he who does not love his brother whom he has seen, how can he love God whom he has not seen?”

One of the best ways to express love for God, is to love others. This should be done in the home, by going out of our way, today, to show our spouse, children, parents, and siblings that we love them. Perhaps, even looking for extravagant ways to show off our love. After all, God expressed His love by going all out for us. Then this love should be expressed beyond the home. We should be looking for ways to love those around us. Jesus explained that His followers were to be different from the world in that the world loves those who are loving them. The Christian is to love all.

Matthew 5:46 “For if you love those who love you, what reward have you? Do not even the tax collectors do the same?”

Make an effort today to share the love of Christ with those with whom you come in contact. The greatest expression of love is to tell someone the way to heaven.

Pastor Jim


The Rules 

1 John 3:23
“And this is His commandment: that we should believe on the name of His Son Jesus Christ and love one another, as He gave us commandment.”

Jesus simplified all of the commandments into two: love God and love others. John, in like manner, states the requirements of God are both simple and straight forward. He writes, God is commanding us to believe on Christ and love each other.

Belief is commanded because it is the requirement for entrance into heaven. When individuals looks at the cross, they realizes they are sinners, Christ is the Savior, they put their trust in Him, and are saved. The sins that once kept us from God are washed away in the blood of God, and our names are written on Heaven’s scroll. All the religious activities, social work, or random acts of kindness, are incapable of doing what simple faith in Christ accomplishes. If you are yet to put your trust in Christ, do so now, and watch as He transforms your life.

Love for one another is the chief evidence that we have truly believed in Christ. It is not the only evidence, but it is the greatest. After years of walking with the Lord, encountering others who have put their faith in Him, and lived lives transformed by Him, John concludes that more than anything else, a person who has met Christ should love others. That is not too difficult to comprehend when we examine the life of Christ, and see it was marked by a continual, even growing, love for others. We read that having loved His own, He loved them to the end. (John 13:1)

One of the greatest ways to testify to the reality of Christ, is to go out of your way to express love to others. As you go about your day, keep your eyes open as to how you might express the love of Christ to others in a needy world.

Pastor Jim


Sin, Sinless, Sin Less

1 John 2:1-2

“My little children, these things I write to you, so that you may not sin. And if anyone sins, we have an Advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous. And He Himself is the propitiation for our sins, and not for ours only but also for the whole world.”

One of the greatest benefits of reading the Bible is that the Word of God will keep us from sin. The famous evangelist, D.L. Moody said, “Sin will keep you from this book and this book will keep you from sin.” The Psalmist wrote, “Your word I have hidden in my heart, That I might not sin against You” (Psalm 119:11). The Apostle explains one of the purposes of this letter is that we might not sin. In addition to the Word of God building us up spiritually, as we read through 1John, we will discover valuable insights that will help us to sin less.

“And if anyone sins, we have an Advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous.”

The problem remains, as long as we are in these bodies, we will still struggle with sin. We wake up determined to love God and be a godly witness, yet before too long, we have become upset at the children, distracted from the Lord or we have stumbled back into a sin of the past. Instead of being riddled with guilt, or overcome with fear that we will never outgrow our sin, we need to realize Jesus is our advocate; He sits at the right hand of God and intercedes on our behalf. John explains that His intercession is accepted because,

“He Himself is the propitiation for our sins, and not for ours only but also for the whole world.”

The word ‘propitiation’ refers to the fact that Jesus gave Himself as a substitutionary sacrifice. Being without sin, He took our place on the cross; receiving the punishment for our sin. His blood works as a cleansing agent, removing the penalty and the guilt of sin. There ever remains a flow of mercy for our failures and sin. It is time we learn to accept the forgiveness offered to us and get back to pressing forward in our walk with the Lord. Solomon wrote,

Proverbs 24:16 “For a righteous man may fall seven times, And rise again”

For my cleansing this I see—
Nothing but the blood of Jesus!
For my pardon this my plea—
Nothing but the blood of Jesus!
Nothing can my sin erase
Nothing but the blood of Jesus!
Oh! precious is the flow
That makes me white as snow;
No other fount I know,
Nothing but the blood of Jesus. (Robert Lowry)

Pastor Jim


Walking In The Light

1 John 1:5
This is the message which we have heard from Him and declare to you, that God is light and in Him is no darkness at all.”

Light is used to illustrate holiness. John is declaring that God is perfectly holy and without sin. This creates a problem, since we are all sinners. In this text, John explains how sinful people can have a relationship with a holy God. In the opening verses of the chapter, he refers to Christ becoming a man and making fellowship with God possible. That was accomplished through the cross, where Jesus died as a substitute for us. The sinless, in place of the sinner, so we might be saved. John is now writing to the one who recognizes his sin, and begins to follow Christ.

1 John 1:6 “If we say that we have fellowship with Him, and walk in darkness, we lie and do not practice the truth.”

Coming to Christ involves more than raising your hand in response to a message, or walking forward at a church service. John declares, the one who has received Christ will have a life change. If we continue to live unchanged by the experience, then we have not truly experienced Christ. The Bible speaks of a young man who had an encounter with Christ, but was unwilling to truly commit to following Him. He walked away from the experience, unchanged and unsaved. We call him the rich young ruler (Luke 18:18-23).

1 John 1:7 “But if we walk in the light as He is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus Christ His Son cleanses us from all sin”

On the other hand, the one who has truly met Jesus, will begin to change the way he is living. Instead of choosing to invest in the things that lead away from Christ, he will take steps toward growing in Christ. Notice he writes “walking in the light as He is in the light.” This refers to living the way Christ lived.

The Bible is more than a religious book, it is the owner’s manual. It explains how to live a life well pleasing to the Lord. John does not suggest that we will be without sin, but that as we walk with Christ, there is a continual flow of forgiveness when we stumble.

1 John 1:8 “If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us.”

I have yet to meet a person who truly believes they have never done anything wrong. We know that we sin. The problem is, we attempt to move things out of the sin category, and into the acceptable-to-God category. This is all too common for couples who are not married, and yet, get involved physically. They attempt to excuse their sin with words like, “we are in love” or “we are married in God’s eyes.” The truth is, sin is sin, and it interrupts fellowship with God. If we are to walk with the Lord, we must get sin out of our lives.

1 John 1:9 “If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.

The word confess has two meetings. First, it means to be in agreement. Instead of arguing with God about what He says is sin, we simply agree with Him. Second, the word means to admit. When we sin, we must admit it to God. We confess our sin and ask for His pardon. John promises the result will be both forgiveness and cleansing. If there is anything you need to confess, do it now. Don’t take another step down the wrong road; instead, begin to make steps toward a restored relationship with Christ.

Pastor Jim