Tuesday, July 29, 2008

You Just Can't Make This Stuff Up

Here is a news report that I ran across the other day. It doens't fit with what I normally do here, but I thought this was too funny not to share.

LEBANON, Ind. - A woman accidentally stabbed herself in the foot with a 3-foot-long sword while performing a Wiccan good luck ritual at a central Indiana cemetery.

Katherine Gunther, 36, of Lebanon, pierced her left foot with the sword while performing the rite at Oak Hill Cemetery, police said.

Gunther said she was performing the ceremony to give thanks for a recent run of good luck. The ceremony involves the use of candles, incense and driving swords into the ground during the full moon.

Gunther said was aiming to put the sword in the ground, but hit her foot instead.

"It wasn't the first time I performed the ritual, but it was the first time I put a sword through my foot," she said.

Gunther immediately pulled the sword out of her foot, and her companions took her to Witham Memorial Hospital, where she was kept a couple days for treatment.

No charges were filed, police said. The Wiccans were warned that being in the cemetery in the city about 20 miles northwest of Indianapolis after posted visiting hours constitutes trespassing.

I guess this happened just about the same time that the good luck ran out.

Monday, July 28, 2008

Scripture Memory - Week 4

It's time again for another memory verse and this week I chose a verse from a sermon I heard that really convicted me. The sermon was about how when we sin the underlying issue is not the sin we think we are committing; the issue is idolatry. Let me explain: let's imagine that you have an issue with worrying about money and as a result you loose sleep, or you become a work-a-holic, or you steal, or... you get the picture. In each of these cases the issue is not the sin of worry, or working too much, or stealing (yes those things are sins), the underlying issue in all of these is idolatry. You have taken God off of His rightful throne and made money your god. This is just one example (and probably a bad one at that) but this same scenario could be played out with lust, or greed, or anger, or anything that you might struggle with. The issue is not that sin, that sin is just the result. The real issue, at its very core, is idolatry.

So what we must do then is to make a choice; are we going to worship God, or are we going to worship the god that we have put in His place? That is what this week's memory verses are all about. As Joshua addressed the children of Israel right before his death he told them that they were going to have to make a choice as to what they were going to worship: either the gods of their fathers, the gods of the land where they were now living, or the one true God. This is a choice that each of us will have to make as well.

Here is this week's verse:
Now therefore fear the Lord and serve him in sincerity and in faithfulness. Put away the gods that your fathers served beyond the River and in Egypt, and serve the Lord. And if it is evil in your eyes to serve the Lord, choose this day whom you will serve, whether the gods your fathers served in the region beyond the River, or the gods of the Amorites in whose land you dwell. But as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord.
Joshua 24:14-15

And don't forget the verses we have already memorized:

Psalm 119:11
2 Timothy 3:16-17
Hebrews 1:1-2

Sunday, July 27, 2008

Servants Or Slaves

As I mentioned in an earlier post, while I was away on vacation I had the opportunity to read several things that I had been wanting to read and just had not had the time to get to. One of those things was the transcript to a sermon that was given by Dr. John MacArthur at this years' Shepherds Conference which he titled Slaves for Christ. Dr. MacArthur begins this sermon by saying, "Being a slave of Christ may be the best way to define a Christian."

As I read this sentence I had to ask myself, have I ever been in a church service where the pastor told the congregation that as a Christian we are to be slaves of Christ; that that is what defines who we are in Christ - His slaves? The answer is no, I cannot remember ever hearing this before. We are constantly told that we are sons and daughters of God, that we are fellow heirs with Christ, that we are to be His servants - and all of these things are true - but according to Dr. MacArthur the word that defines who we are is slave. Dr. MacArthur writes:
In contemporary Christianity the language is anything but slave language. It is about freedom. It is about liberation. It is about health, wealth, prosperity, finding your own fulfillment, fulfilling your own dream, finding your own purpose. We often hear that God loves you unconditionally and wants you to be all you want to be. He wants to fulfill every ambition, every desire, every hope, every dream.
Is this the gospel? Is God's purpose in saving us to make us prosperous, fulfill our dreams, and give us purpose? No, God's purpose in saving us is to make us holy, and to make us obedient. In other words, to make us like Jesus.

Dr. MacArthur then takes the rest of his sermon to develop what the Bible says about Christians being slaves of Christ and he points out right away that in the English translations of the Bible we completely miss what the Greek has to say on the subject; he says:
[I]f you read the New Testament in its original text, you would come away stunned really by how different the original text is from any English version that you’ve ever read...whether King James, New King James, New American Standard, ESV, NIV and you can name all the rest. All of them virtually have found a way to mask something that is an absolutely critical element of truth. In fact, the word “slave” appears in the New Testament 130 times in the original text. You will find it once in the King James, once the Greek word “slave” is translated slave. You will find it translated “slave” a few other times in other texts, like the New King James text and even the New American Standard text, and it will be translated “slave” when, one, it refers to actual slavery, or two, it refers to some kind of bondage to an inanimate reality. But whenever it is personalized, the translators seem unwilling to translate it “slave.”
This is all based upon how we translate the Greek word doúlos. This word is defined, "A slave, one who is in a permanent relation of servitude to another, his will being altogether consumed in the will of the other." (Zodhiates, S. (2000, c1992, c1993). The complete word study dictionary: New Testament ) By definition this word means a slave, yet our English translations of the Bible consistently translate this word as servant (or bond-servant) whenever it reefers to being a follower of Christ. Here are just a few examples:
Paul, a servant [Greek word doúlos - slave] of Christ Jesus, called to be an apostle, set apart for the gospel of God,
Romans 1:1

Paul and Timothy, servants [Greek word doúlos - slave] of Christ Jesus,
Philippians 1:1

Paul, a servant [Greek word doúlos - slave] of God and an apostle of Jesus Christ, for the sake of the faith of God’s elect and their knowledge of the truth, which accords with godliness,
Titus 1:1

James, a servant [Greek word doúlos - slave] of God and of the Lord Jesus Christ, To the twelve tribes in the Dispersion: Greetings.
James 1:1

Simeon Peter, a servant [Greek word doúlos - slave] and apostle of Jesus Christ, To those who have obtained a faith of equal standing with ours by the righteousness of our God and Savior Jesus Christ:
2 Peter 1:1

Jude, a servant [Greek word doúlos - slave] of Jesus Christ and brother of James, To those who are called, beloved in God the Father and kept for Jesus Christ:
Jude 1:1

In each of these verses the author chose the word for slave (doúlos) to describe who they were and how they saw themselves in their relationship with Christ, and yet in our English translations this word is consistently translated as servant instead of slave.

Dr. MacArthur points out that in the culture of the first century, freedom was considered the pinnacle of life, and that personal dignity was attached to freedom. To be a doúlos (slave) in that culture was the exact opposite and the worst possible thing a person could become. Yet that is exactly how the apostles saw themselves - as slaves of Jesus Christ. And in that culture what did it mean to be a slave? It meant that you had no freedom, no rights, and no ownership of anything. You could not give testimony, and had no legal recourse in the courts. A slave had no citizenship and no possibility of fulfilling their dreams or desires; they could not do what they wanted but only what there master commanded.You had no choice or say in anything and could not own anything; you were fully and completely dependent upon the one who owned you. But as a slave you were provided for, cared for, and protected by your master. Everything that the slave needed for life came directly from the hand of his master.

What a beautiful picture of the Christian life; everything we need is provided for us and comes directly from the hand of God. Everything we have belongs to Him, and He, as our Master and owner, is responsible for our care and protection. As a slave of Christ we have no need to worry about anything, our Master has promised that He will care for us, He will provide everything we need, and all we are to do in exchange is obey. But unlike the slaves of the first century, our master and owner has also adopted us, made us a part of His family, and made is joint heirs with Jesus.

Dr. MacArthur goes into a lot more detail than I have here, so if you have the time I would encourage you to read this entire sermon (you can find it here: Slaves of Christ) and I also encourage you to take some time today to get alone with your Heavenly Father, to pray, and meditate on what it means to be a slave of Christ.

Friday, July 25, 2008

Pray For This Family

Here is a story that I found on Jihad Watch. These little girls were kidnapped from their family on June 26, 2008 and have reportedly converted from Christianity to Islam so a judge in Pakistan has ruled that they cannot be returned to their Christian Family but must remain with the men who kidnapped them. WE MUST PRAY FOR THIS FAMILY!!!!
The district of Muzaffargarh rules in favour of the Muslims, rejecting the request from the family that wants to bring home the two sisters - 13 and 10 years old - kidnapped last June 26. Christian associations charge that they could end up as prostitutes.

Islamabad (AsiaNews) - District judge Mian Muhammad Naeem, of the section of Muzaffargarh, has ruled that the two Christian sisters "have converted in a legitimate manner to Islam", and for this reason they cannot be "restored to their family of origin". Setting aside the request from their father to regain custody of his daughters, the judge also admitted the "validity" of the marriage of the girls to two Muslims.

Saba Younas, aged 13, and her sister Anila [aged 10] were kidnapped last June 26 in the village of Chowk Munda, in the province of Punjab, where they had gone to visit their uncle, Khalid Raheel. This is the same uncle who in recent days reported their kidnapping, asking for help from news organisations and human rights groups. According to Raheel's account, a Muslim fruit vendor named Muhammad Arif Bajwa kidnapped the girls, and then handed them over to a friend, Falak Sher Gill, who then organised the marriage between his own son and the older of the Christian sisters, Saba. In court, moreover, father and son both stressed the "complete willingness of the girl to contract marriage".

The girls' uncle does not conceal his preoccupation, and denounces to AsiaNews that the Muslims involved in the kidnapping are acting as a "gang", recruiting the girls in order to "make them work in a bordello". This alarm has also been heard by the Catholic commission for justice and peace (NCJP) in the country, which confirms the words of Khalid Raheel: the kidnappers are believed to be human traffickers linked to prostitution, known to the police and under the protection of some local politicians. "For these unscrupulous people", charges Naeem Asghar, local coordinator of the NCJP, marriage is a pretence in order to control the girls, run their lives and exploit them for their own business purposes".

And while you are at it, pray for all of our pursicuted brothers and sisters around the world.

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Talk About Arrogance

Can you imagine actually making the statement, "When God doesn't move, I move God."?

I don't know what God Todd Bentley thinks he is "moving" but the God of the Bible is not controlled by man. Psalm 115 says:

Our God is in the Heavens; he does all that he pleases.
Psalm 115:3
What else needs to be said about Mr. Bentley?

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Vacation Is Over

Well, it has been 2 weeks since I have posted anything, but vacation is over now and it is time to get back to work. I just spent 10 wonderful days in the Caribbean with my wife, and I can't think of anyplace I would rather have been. There is just nothing like sitting in the sun with a nice breeze blowing in off the ocean, a good book in your hand, and your sweetie by your side. I was able to get caught up on a lot of stuff that I have been meaning to read, and I expect that some of that will show up in some posts in the near future. But the reason for this post today is just to give you the next verse for our Scripture memorization challenge. Last week one of the things I was able to do was to slowly read, re-read, and meditate on the book of Hebrews (which just may be my favorite book in the whole Bible). There is just so much Theology in that book, and as a result there are a lot of good verses for memorization. So for this weeks verse let's start at the beginning; our new verse for this week is Hebrews 1:1-2

Long ago, at many times and in many ways, God spoke to our fathers by the prophets, 2 but in these last days he has spoken to us by his Son, whom he appointed the heir of all things, through whom also he created the world.
Hebrews 1:1-2

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Why Memorize Scripture?

As I said yesterday I haven't had the time to do much writing lately, but I do still have a lot of stuff to post here (and the stack keep getting bigger). Here is an article by John Piper, who is one of my favorite authors and preachers, talking about why we should memorize Scripture. As I read this I thought that if Scripture memorization is that important then we should do it together, so at the end of this article I will add a verse or two for us to memorize and then will add a new verse or passage each week going forward. If we are disciplined and take the time to do this each week in just one year we will have memorized at least 52 passages of Scripture.

Why Memorize Scripture?

First, a few testimonies: I have it third hand, that Dr. Howard Hendricks (of Dallas Seminary) once made the statement (and I paraphrase) that if it were his decision, every student graduating from Dallas Theological Seminary would be required to learn one thousand verses word perfect before they graduated.

Dallas Willard, professor of Philosophy at the University of Southern California, wrote, "Bible memorization is absolutely fundamental to spiritual formation. If I had to choose between all the disciplines of the spiritual life, I would choose Bible memorization, because it is a fundamental way of filling our minds with what it needs. This book of the law shall not depart out of your mouth. That's where you need it! How does it get in your mouth? Memorization" ("Spiritual Formation in Christ for the Whole Life and Whole Person" in Vocatio, Vol. 12, no. 2, Spring, 2001, p. 7).

Chuck Swindoll wrote, "I know of no other single practice in the Christian life more rewarding, practically speaking, than memorizing Scripture... No other single exercise pays greater spiritual dividends! Your prayer life will be strengthened. Your witnessing will be sharper and much more effective. Your attitudes and outlook will begin to change. Your mind will become alert and observant. Your confidence and assurance will be enhanced. Your faith will be solidified" (Growing Strong in the Seasons of Life [Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 1994], p. 61).
One of the reasons Martin Luther came to his great discovery in the Bible of justification by faith alone was that in his early years in the Augustinian monastery he was influenced to love Scripture by Johann Staupitz. Luther devoured the Bible in a day when people earned doctorates in theology without even reading the Bible. Luther said that his fellow professor, Andreas Karlstadt, did not even own a Bible when he earned his doctor of theology degree, nor did he until many years later (www.orlutheran.com/html/luthbibl.html). Luther knew so much of the Bible from memory that when the Lord opened his eyes to see the truth of justification in Romans 1:17, he said, "Thereupon I ran through the Scriptures from memory," in order to confirm what he had found.

So here are a few reasons why so many have viewed Scripture memorization as so essential to the Christian life.

1. Conformity to Christ
Paul wrote that "we all... beholding the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from one degree of glory to another." If we would be changed into Christ likeness we must steadily see him. This happens in the word. "The LORD revealed himself to Samuel at Shiloh by the word of the LORD" (1 Samuel 3:21). Bible memorization has the effect of making our gaze on Jesus to be steadier and clearer.

2. Daily Triumph over Sin
"How can a young man keep his way pure? By guarding it according to your word... I have stored up your word in my heart, that I might not sin against you" (Psalm 119:9, 11). Paul said that we must "by the Spirit... put to death the [sinful] deeds of the body" (Romans 8:13). The one piece of armor used to kill is the "sword of the Spirit," which is the word of God (Ephesians 6:17). As sin lures the body into sinful action, we call to mind a Christ-revealing word of Scripture and slay the temptation with the superior worth and beauty of Christ over what sin offers.

3. Daily Triumph over Satan
When Jesus was tempted by Satan in the wilderness he recited Scripture from memory and put Satan to flight (Matthew 4:1-11).

4. Comfort and Counsel for People You Love
The times when people need you to give them comfort and counsel do not always coincide with the times you have your Bible handy. Not only that, the very word of God spoken spontaneously from your heart has unusual power. Proverbs 25:11 says, "A word fitly spoken is like apples of gold in a setting of silver." That is a beautiful way of saying, When the heart full of God's love can draw on the mind full of God's word, timely blessings flow from the mouth.

5. Communicating the Gospel to Unbelievers
Opportunities to share the gospel come when we do not have the Bible in hand. Actual verses of the Bible have their own penetrating power. And when they come from our heart, as well as from the Book, the witness is given that they are precious enough to learn. We should all be able to sum up the gospel under four main headings (1) God's holiness/law/glory; 2) man's sin/rebellion/disobedience; 3) Christ's death for sinners; 4) the free gift of life by faith. Learn a verse or two relating to each of these, and be ready in season and out of season to share them.

6. Communion with God in the Enjoyment of His Person and Ways
The way we commune with (that is, fellowship with) God is by meditating on his attributes and expressing to him our thanks and admiration and love, and seeking his help in living a life that reflects the value of these attributes. Therefore, storing texts in our minds about God helps us relate to him as he really is. For example, imagine being able to call this to mind through the day:
The LORD is merciful and gracious, slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love. He will not always chide, nor will he keep his anger forever. He does not deal with us according to our sins, nor repay us according to our iniquities. For as high as the heavens are above the earth, so great is his steadfast love toward those who fear him; as far as the east is from the west, so far does he remove our transgressions from us. As a father shows compassion to his children, so the LORD shows compassion to those who fear him. For he knows our frame; he remembers that we are dust. (Psalm 103:8-14)

I used the word "enjoyment" intentionally when I said, "communion with God in the enjoyment of his person and ways." Most of us are emotionally crippled -- all of us really. We do not experience God in the fullness of our emotional potential. How will that change? One way is to memorize the emotional expressions of the Bible and speak them to the Lord and to each other until they become part of who we are. For example, in Psalm 103:1, we say, "Bless the LORD, O my soul, and all that is within me, bless his holy name!" That is not a natural expression for many people. But if we memorize this and other emotional expressions from the Bible, and say them often, asking the Lord to make the emotion real in our hearts, we can actually grow into that emotion and expression. It will become part of who we are. We will be less crippled emotionally and more able to render proper praise and thanks to God.

There are other reasons for memorizing Scripture. I hope you find them in the actual practice.
John Piper

Any one of these is a good enough reason to memorize God's word, and I can't think of a single good reason not to. So let's memorize as our first verse here one that tells us why memorization is important. Ready? let's get started:
I have stored up your word in my heart, that I might not sin against you.
Psalm 119:11
And since I will be away next week here is that verse for then too:

All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, that the man of God may be competent, equipped for every good work.
2 Timothy 3:16-17
I'll see you it two weeks with another verse.

Monday, July 7, 2008

Is Christ Precious To You?

I didn't do any writing over the holiday weekend, and will be away from my computer all next week and unable to post, so in order to not have two or more weeks with nothing posted (and because I love them) I thought I would put up some more Puritan writings over the next few days. Today I have another excerpt of John Fawcett and his book Christ Precious to Those Who Believe. Is Christ precious to you?

"Yes, He is very precious to you who believe!"
1 Peter 2:7

If Christ is truly precious to us--we shall be ready to deny ourselves for Him. "If anyone would come after Me, he must deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow Me." Luke 9:23. Jesus Himself has been pleased to give us a safe and proper rule of judgment in this case: "If you love Me--keep My commandments. He who has My commandments and keeps them--he it is that loves Me." His Word and will have a prevailing, governing influence on the hearts and lives of those to whom He is precious. A steady desire and endeavor to avoid those things which are displeasing in His sight--is a practical proof that He is dear to us.

To deny ourselves is--to give up our own supposed wisdom, that we may be entirely under the guidance of God; to resign our own wills that we may be subject to His will; and to yield our passions to His government. To deny ourselves is--to forego everything sinful to which self is inclined; to practice every holy thing to which self is averse; and to be ready to give up everything dear to ourselves at the call of God--as our ease, our friends, our goods, our health, or even our life. It is a disowning, or renouncing ourselves for Christ; making ourselves nothing--that He may be all.

This cannot be sincerely done--unless Jesus is truly precious to us; or, which is the same thing--unless He is the object of our supreme affection. But if this is the case, we shall give up ourselves, with all that we have, to Him, without making any reserve. We shall, on a deliberate counting of the cost, choose the religion of Jesus, with all its difficulties--just as Moses chose to suffer affliction with the people of God, rather than to enjoy the pleasures of sin which are but for a season, esteeming the reproach of Christ greater riches than the treasures of Egypt.

This is what our Lord means by the strong figurative expressions of plucking out the right eye, and cutting off the right hand. That is--parting with everything dear to us--when it stands in competition with Him, or is opposed to His service or His honor. For He justly reminds us, that "no man can serve two masters; either he will hate the one--and love the other; or else he will hold to the one--and despise the other." He constantly teaches us--the necessity of preferring Him and His interest and service--to the dearest objects on earth. "For he who loves father or mother, son or daughter more than Me--is not worthy of Me. Whoever does not take up his cross and follow Me--is not worthy of Me." When matters come to such a crisis--that a man must either break with his nearest and dearest relations and friends--or break with Christ--he who prefers their favor and friendship to Christ's, and will not give up temporal endearments for His sake--is not worthy to be owned as one of Christ's real disciples, nor can he partake of the spiritual and eternal blessings which belong to such. He who prefers his own ease and safety in this world--to the truths and the service of Christ, cannot be justly deemed one who sincerely loves Him, or one to whom He is precious.

The same lesson is taught us by the parable of the treasure hidden in a field, which, when a man has found it--he goes and sells all that he has, and buys that field. And likewise by that of a merchant-man, seeking fine pearls, who having found one pearl of great price--he goes and parts with all, that he may possess that pearl. He is willing to give up the riches, the honors and pleasures of this world--for the enjoyment of that inestimable treasure which he has discovered.

Self-denial, in respect to things in themselves sinful, should be universal; otherwise we do not give proper evidence of the sincerity of our love for Christ. Many go very far in a profession of religion, and yet live in the habitual indulgence of some sin--either great or small, secret or open. O reader, examine yourself, and beware of splitting upon this rock!

Let us labor then, to mortify corrupt passions, inclinations and affections; and not willfully indulge ourselves in any sinful habit, custom, or practice!

I hope this has been an encouragement to you in your walk with Christ, and that as you grow daily in sanctification that He would indeed become more and more precious to you.

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

Happy Anniversary !

This is a very special day for me. 25 years ago today I had the honor and privilege of marrying my best friend and high school sweetheart, and I want to use this space today to thank her for 25 wonderful years and say that I am looking forward to the next 25, 50, or however many years God allows us to have together; there is no one that I would rather spend my life with.

I love you, Susan. Thank you for being my wife.

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

Back To 1st John - Another Test

Whoever says he is in the light and hates his brother is still in darkness. Whoever loves his brother abides in the light, and in him there is no cause for stumbling. But whoever hates his brother is in the darkness and walks in the darkness, and does not know where he is going, because the darkness has blinded his eyes.

As we return to our study of 1st John we come to the next test of genuine Christianity - love for fellow Christians. You will notice in these verses that once again John is making a contrast between light and darkness. If you remember, back in chapter one John told us that God is light and in Him there is no darkness at all (1 John 1:5) and then he went on to say that if we say we have fellowship with him and walk in darkness we lie an do not practice the truth (1 John 1:6).

Now John gives us another test to show us if we are truly walking in the light - if we love one another we are in the light, but if we do not love we are in the darkness, we walk in darkness, and our eyes have been blinded. And to take this back to the truth from chapter 1, we are out of fellowship with God as well.

So what does John mean here when he says love? And for that matter, what does he mean when he contrasts this with hate, is not loving your brother or sister in Christ the same as hating them? Let's look at both of these words and see what we can learn. First, the Greek word translated as hates in verse 9 & 11 is the word miséō, which means malicious and unjustifiable feelings towards others, whether towards the innocent or by mutual animosity. In the Greek language this word is the exact opposite of agapáō, the word that is translated as love in this passage. In order to better understand what John is teaching us here let's look at agapáō to see how Christians are to treat one another.

The Greek word agapáō, the strongest of four Greek words translated as love in the English versions of the New Testament, can best be understood by looking at how the apostle Paul defined it in 1 Corinthians 13; he wrote:
If I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, but do not have love, I have become a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal. If I have the gift of prophecy, and know all mysteries and all knowledge; and if I have all faith, so as to remove mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing. And if I give all my possessions to feed the poor, and if I surrender my body to be burned, but do not have love, it profits me nothing.

Love is patient, love is kind and is not jealous; love does not brag and is not arrogant, does not act unbecomingly; it does not seek its own, is not provoked, does not take into account a wrong suffered, does not rejoice in unrighteousness, but rejoices with the truth; bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.

Love never fails; but if there are gifts of prophecy, they will be done away; if there are tongues, they will cease; if there is knowledge, it will be done away. For we know in part and we prophesy in part; but when the perfect comes, the partial will be done away. When I was a child, I used to speak like a child, think like a child, reason like a child; when I became a man, I did away with childish things. For now we see in a mirror dimly, but then face to face; now I know in part, but then I will know fully just as I also have been fully known.

But now faith, hope, love, abide these three; but the greatest of these is love.
As we read through this passage we see that the overriding characteristic of agapáō is that it is concerned with the welfare of others and has the best interest of the other person as its foremost motivation. This is the same word that John uses here in the passage that we are looking at today, and he says that if we do not have this type of love for our brothers and sisters in Christ then we are not walking in the light. This is the same word that Jesus used when He said:
A new commandment I give to you, that you love [agapáō] one another: just as I have loved you, you also are to love [agapáō] one another. By this all people will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.”
And then:
This is my commandment, that you love [agapáō] one another as I have loved [agapáō] you. Greater love has no one than this, that someone lay down his life for his friends. You are my friends if you do what I command you. No longer do I call you servants, for the servant does not know what his master is doing; but I have called you friends, for all that I have heard from my Father I have made known to you. You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you that you should go and bear fruit and that your fruit should abide, so that whatever you ask the Father in my name, he may give it to you. These things I command you, so that you will love [agapáō] one another.

So what can we take away from these few verses today; what is our practical application here?

We can all use this as a measuring stick to see where we are in our walk with Christ; these verses say here that if we say we are in the light and yet we hate our brother we are not in the light - we are still in darkness. John said that followers of Jesus love, Jesus said that as we love one another the world would know that we belong to Him, and Paul showed us what that love should look like.

You say you are a Christian, do you love your brothers and sisters in the Lord? If you can't answer yes to that question you had better check your salvation because this passage tells us that you are not walking in the light. And since that is where God is, you are not walking with Him.