28 February 2017

BSF 2016-2017: 1 John

In the Gospel of John, we’ve been studying Jesus’ final instructions to His disciples just before His crucifixion. Last week we saw that Jesus instructed His disciples to remain in Him. This week we studied the full book of 1 John. This letter, written by the same John who wrote the Gospel of John, tells us how to remain in Christ.

The book of 1 John uses the word “know” 40 times. John explains how people can know Jesus is God and how they can know they have eternal life. 1 John is called the Book of Certainties.

God is light (1 John 1:1-2:2). “Light” is used six times in this letter. God is light. His holiness penetrates the darkness of sin and evil. Light indicates life, glory, radiance, purity, holiness.

Chapter 1 includes three claims and three remedies. For the claim of habitual sin, the remedy is obedience. For the claim of sinlessness, the remedy is confession. For the claim of perfectionism, the remedy is the Advocate Jesus Christ who pleads our case.

Sin is any lack of conformity to the will of God. Sin is more than a behavior problem; it’s a character and judgment problem. Sin has eternal consequence. All of us are sinners. Sin affects all aspects of our lives because it causes us to fall short of God’s standard. Sin contaminates our attitudes, actions, and relationships.

God is love (1 John 2:3-4:21). “Love” is used 33 times in this letter.

God calls His followers to obedience. As we live in Christ, we will be obedient. Our lives need to match our words. Loving fellow believers is a true test of our genuine faith. Love of the world squeezes out love of God. God calls believers His children. He deeply loves us.

Next John explains how to identify and defeat false teachers. He presents three characteristics of false teachers: they are not in fellowship with other believers; they deny that Jesus Christ, who was fully God and fully man, died to pay the penalty for sin; and they try to deceive the faithful.

Loving God includes loving people. John presents three facts about God that lead us to love others as He has loved us:

  • What God is – God is love.
  • What God did – God sent His Son.
  • What God is doing – God abides in us.

God is life (1 John 5:1-21). “Life” is used 15 times in this letter.

God gives victory over the world. We cannot overcome the world by fighting it; we only need to believe that Jesus is the Son of God.

John ends his letter with a warning – keep yourself from idols. Anything that stands between a believer and Jesus is an idol. Reject what is false and embrace what is true.

Things to Think About
  • Regular confession of sin is necessary. How do you model confession of sin to those in your life?
  • In what ways are you seeking worldliness instead of God?
  • How can you use God’s Word to defeat Satan’s efforts to lead us to worldliness?
  • Either we have Christ by faith or we do not; there is no middle ground (1 John 5:12).

This Week’s Memory Verse
This is how God showed his love among us: He sent his one and only Son into the world that we might live through Him. 1 John 4:9 NIV