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Dec 6, 2017

AMOS 3-4:
As I said about Amos yesterday, he was wise in his methods. He condemned Syria, the Philistines, Tyre, Edom, Ammon, and Moab before coming around to Judah and finally the northern kingdom, Israel. We also heard some of the wonderful word pictures Amos used.

ISAIAH 45:22-46.
Remember that in the last chapter Cyrus’ name was repeatedly mentioned. God’s motivation for making such bold predictions is clear:

19 NLT I publicly proclaim bold promises.
I do not whisper obscurities in some dark corner.
I would not have told the people of Israel to seek me
if I could not be found.

I particularly like those lines. Some of the prophets the world now looks to do indeed utter obscurities and purposefully choose to keep their followers in the dark. And God refutes the contention that he is hard to find, that he has left the world and doesn’t care about humans or pay attention to us. Bear that in mind as we start today at chapter 45, verse 22.

2nd JOHN:
I wish we knew if Timothy made it to Rome in time to see Paul before he died. Was Luke still there? Paul needed that warm coat as winter was approaching. And he wanted the parchment papers in particular, which were probably Old Testament Scripture. That was happening around AD 67.

Things were even even worse for Christians around AD 90 when John wrote the two little letters of 2nd and 3rd John. 2nd John is written to the ‘chosen lady’, but this is a euphemism or a code word for a church. The ‘children’ of the ‘lady’ are the church members. We find several echoes from the book of 1st John in these two letters. Mears points out four basic beliefs that John keeps coming back to, which are visible in these two little letters also:

  • We must believe that Christ came ‘in the flesh’, meaning, with a real human body.
  • At the same time we must believe that Christ is deity, that is, fully God.
  • We must believe that “God is love.” This is both a major characteristic of God and the way followers of Christ must live.
  • We must believe that Christ is our Savior. The only way to have eternal life is to know Christ personally— not just know information about Him.

GNT Translation note:
2Jn. 1:4 How happy I was to [meet//find that] some of your children [who] live in the truth, just as the Father commanded us.