1 John 3:1-8
Manís reproachÖGodís righteousness is a way of looking at the world around us; most of the people in the world are living in the corrupt ways of the devil, and only relatively few people are living in the heavenly will of God, and His righteousness.
The world is full of fault finding in addition to all the violence.
We hear from vegans who have been ridiculed so often in their churches for being vegan and living in the heavenly will of God that they no longer feel comfortable being in the congregation.
This is a perfect example of Manís reproach going against what we believe to be Godís righteousness being expressed in the lives of those vegans, which is the opposite of the way Jesus taught us to live, but it is exactly the way the people acted toward Jesus before He was murdered.
Letís think about these things as we look at what David wrote in Psalm 4:1-8Ö
1. Answer me when I call, O God of my righteousness!
Thou hast relieved me in my distress;
Be gracious to me and hear my prayer.
David is acknowledging that whatever righteousness is in him is really coming from God.
And, he is also thankful that God has removed his distress, but at the same time he also wants God to hear his prayer.
2. O sons of men, how long will my honor become a reproach?
How long will you love what is worthless and aim at deception?
David wants these people to see the truth about what they are really doing, but at the same time he seems to be praying for God to help them hear.
We can also see a similarity in the way they acted toward Jesus, but in Jesusí case He did nothing against the heavenly will of God.
3. But know that the LORD has set apart the godly man for Himself;
The LORD hears when I call to Him.
God seems to have heard Davidís prayers, but he also did a lot that was against the ways He wanted him to live.
I personally wouldnít consider David to be a godly man like Jesus, but he did have what truly seemed to be a repentant heart and soul.
4. Tremble, and do not sin;
Meditate in your heart upon your bed, and be still.
This is what we should all be doing.
This should also be the place and time for us to consider our sins and truly repent.
It is also the time and place to consider the differences between manís reproachÖGodís righteousness, and where we seek to live in His righteousness and have the capacity to forgive manís reproach against us, just as Jesus did.
5. Offer the sacrifices of righteousness,
And trust in the LORD.
A true sacrifice is something that we have to give up that we really want to keep, such as some of the corrupt ways of this world, which includes the violent ways most people exploit animals and eat them.
6. Many are saying, "Who will show us any good?"
Lift up the light of Thy countenance upon us, O LORD!
We also know that some people who truly try to live in Godís heavenly will, and feel isolated in their churches and church communities saying something similar, and want the light of the Lord to shine on the situation.
We also strongly believe that most of the time God wants us to be the light that He shines through us.
An example of this is letting the world around us quietly see our vegan lifestyle, for it can easily be seen in what we eat and wear; this is also why we donít believe in faux or imitation products that look like things that come from animals.
7. Thou hast put gladness in my heart,
More than when their grain and new wine abound.
Being born-again with the indwelling of the Holy Spirit, does bring joy to our hearts and souls.
This is what happens when we have a personal relationship with the Lord.
8. In peace I will both lie down and sleep,
For Thou alone, O LORD, dost make me to dwell in safety.
Itís often hard to get to sleep when we are not at peace, but the assurance of the Lordís presence brings us peace no matter what else is wrong.
Letís now take a look at Acts 3:12-19Ö
12. But when Peter saw this, he replied to the people, "Men of Israel, why do you marvel at this, or why do you gaze at us, as if by our own power or piety we had made him walk?
People saw the miracle, which was brought about by Godís righteousness, but they didnít seem to associate the miracle with God, but seemed to have thought that it was brought about by the apostles themselves, and thus Peter questioned their actions and corrected them.
We need to always look to God first for our answers and not to any other sources as is most often the case.
13. "The God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, the God of our fathers, has glorified His servant Jesus, the one whom you delivered up, and disowned in the presence of Pilate, when he had decided to release Him.
Then Peter chastised them for their hardness of heart, which is really the corrupt ways of this world.
14. "But you disowned the Holy and Righteous One, and asked for a murderer to be granted to you,
This is a perfect example of Manís reproach.
It is the opposite of Godís righteousness.
It shows the way that most of the people in this world go along with the crowd and the corrupt ways of the devil.
15. but put to death the Prince of life, the one whom God raised from the dead, a fact to which we are witnesses.
And to this very day, some 2000 years later, people still donít believe, or they are afraid that manís reproach will be turned against them.
16. "And on the basis of faith in His name, it is the name of Jesus which has strengthened this man whom you see and know; and the faith which comes through Him has given him this perfect health in the presence of you all.
This is an example of Godís righteousness in the midst of this corrupt world and manís reproach.
17. "And now, brethren, I know that you acted in ignorance, just as your rulers did also.
This is true, and we need to be careful that we donít fall into the same trap that they did.
18. "But the things which God announced beforehand by the mouth of all the prophets, that His Christ should suffer, He has thus fulfilled.
This is the way they applied prophecy; after the fact, they cite the scriptures that could apply, as proof that the word of God was spoken beforehand by the prophets.
19. "Repent therefore and return, that your sins may be wiped away, in order that times of refreshing may come from the presence of the Lord;
This is probably one of the most important things that Jesus taught us about our Father in Heaven.
He is a loving and forgiving Father to those who have a repentant nature and seek to live in Godís heavenly will.
Letís close our discussion about manís reproachÖGodís righteousness by looking at 1 John 3:1-8Ö
1. See how great a love the Father has bestowed upon us, that we should be called children of God; and such we are. For this reason the world does not know us, because it did not know Him.
John is addressing true born-again believers who have repented from their worldly and sinful ways, been forgiven, and who do everything in their power to live in Godís heavenly will here on earth and free creation from its present corruption.
For these are the only people who become the peacemaking children of God.
2. Beloved, now we are children of God, and it has not appeared as yet what we shall be. We know that, when He appears, we shall be like Him, because we shall see Him just as He is.
This is the wonderful and glorious existence that awaits all people of faith in the coming of the Lord.
3. And everyone who has this hope fixed on Him purifies himself, just as He is pure.
This is what I hope we all try to do.
4. Everyone who practices sin also practices lawlessness; and sin is lawlessness.
This is not referring to people who occasionally sin and repent and try their best to remain in the heavenly will of God, for as Paul teaches us, we all have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God.
This is referring to most of the people in the world who actually like what the world has to offer, and live in it, which includes buying and consuming the products of violence.
5. And you know that He appeared in order to take away sins; and in Him there is no sin.
Yes, but remember that in order for God to take away our sins, we need to willingly give up our sinful ways and seek His forgiveness.
6. No one who abides in Him sins; no one who sins has seen Him or knows Him.
Here again we have the distinction about those who enjoy living in the corrupt and violent ways of this world, with all its violence that causes millions of humans and billions of animals to suffer and die every year.
7. Little children, let no one deceive you; the one who practices righteousness is righteous, just as He is righteous;
This is referring to Godís righteousness, and even if we are subject to manís reproach because of living in His righteousness, we are to remain steadfast.
8. the one who practices sin is of the devil; for the devil has sinned from the beginning. The Son of God appeared for this purpose, that He might destroy the works of the devil.
This is the separation that exists in this corrupt world, and it is becoming more and more evident as more and more people change into children of God.
Itís like have a billboard ahead of us at a fork in the road: Manís ReproachÖGodís Righteousness.
We hope and pray that we all choose the fork leading to Godís righteousness.
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