Taking the Epistle

A biblical journey through the epistles

Agape Bible Study – 1st John 1:1-2:2


08/23/2015 – Week 1 – 1st John 1:1-2:2 – Fellowship with him and one another

1st John 1:1 (NKJV) That which was from the beginning, which we have heard, which we have seen with our eyes, which we have looked upon, and our hands have handled, concerning the Word of life— 2 the life was manifested, and we have seen, and bear witness, and declare to you that eternal life which was with the Father and was manifested to us— 3 that which we have seen and heard we declare to you, that you also may have fellowship with us; and truly our fellowship is with the Father and with His Son Jesus Christ. 4 And these things we write to you that your joy may be full. 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. 6 If we say that we have fellowship with Him, and walk in darkness, we lie and do not practice the truth. 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. 8 If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. 9 If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. 10 If we say that we have not sinned, we make Him a liar, and His word is not in us.


1st John 2:1 (NKJV) 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. 2 And He Himself is the propitiation for our sins, and not for ours only but also for the whole world.

1A – What was heard, seen and touched (1:1-1:4)

This is a bible study from our series that was originally taught on 08/23/2015 at our Agape bibe study, please click on the link for further bible studies.


When John writes this epistle he writes it with a clear MO (Modus Operandi) to declare that Jesus Christ is the messiah and that Jesus Christ came to restore fellowship with God and man (1:3) John was looking for his readers to not just have knowledge about Jesus but to actually know him. To have a day to day real and tangible relationship with him in the way John had.

John also was concerned that the readers “joy may be full” (1:4) that they experience the joy of the Christ relationship and that they live lives to the fullest in Christ. One of the reasons I wanted to cover this book directly after we did the “forgiveness” and “God’s comfort” bible studies is that one of the main reasons we do not have joy in the LORD is our own self guilt or our own condemnation of ourselves. We can easily forgive others but have a hard time forgiving our past wrongs and we often times cast our own shadow on ourselves due to the magnitude of the wrong we have done, sometimes we blow it up bigger than it needs to be.

John is also concerned that these new believers be caught in a life of sin (2:1) that they live a life of righteousness and obedience on Christ. Seeking not their own will but the will of the one they have become a bondservant to. They have to be changed beings, metamorphosed into new creations and want to not be caught into sin. Sin damages the relationship we have with God because God hates sin but he loves us, the relationships that we have on this earth are a mirror cast shadow of the relationship that we should have with our creator God.

1B – That which was there from the beginning…

– John quotes from John 1:1 (which quotes from Genesis 1:1) and makes the bold assertion that before anything was…He was! Christ was there before the earth was; he was the co-creator with God in the creation account. (Confirmed in the root word in Genesis (elowaah) Jesus was there when all that existed was God, who existed before all things and is the basis of all things and is outside of our regular convention of time.

1C – Which we have heard, which we have seen with our own eyes…

John had seen the messiah with his own eyes, he had handled him, spent time with him and had heard him personally, this was written within a lifetime of the crucifixion of Jesus so people would still be talking about what happened to Jesus. John gives a first-hand account that God came down in a very real and basic way to rescue his beloved creation.

Historically John had to deal with false teachings called Gnostics who were claiming that while Jesus was a man, he was not God. John seeks to refute these teachings by the fullness of the sentence. John states in the clearest possible terms “I was there, I felt hard and touched him”

1D – John calls him “the Word of life”…

John calls him the “logos” he uses terms that both the Jews and Greeks recognized were God and attributed them to Jesus. To the Jews the Word was the reflection of the true God and the Greeks, although they did not know the true God knew that there was a Logos, a basis for everything coming to being, John ties this all up and states, this Word (Logos) that you have been talking about, I have seen him, he is Jesus! How beautiful is that?

1E – This Word was manifest and we have seen, and bear witness…

Just to make sure you didn’t think we were talking of words on a page; John speaks of the Word living and being manifest. John turns himself into the key witness in the trial whether Jesus was the real deal. It was not as the Gnostics had said, either one or the other He was both.

1F – Eternal life which was with the Father…(John 5:26; 6:48; 11:25; 14:6)

John labors the point that Jesus was in the beginning but also he is eternal and therefore God. John calls Jesus “eternal life” he truly was “the way, the truth and the life and no-one comes unto the Father except through him”. Prophecy confirms this because nearly half a century before Jesus was born in Bethlehem we ream from the prophet Micah chapter 5…

Micah 5:2 (NKJV) “But you, Bethlehem Ephrathah, ​​Though you are little among the thousands of Judah, ​​Yet out of you shall come forth to Me ​​The One to be Ruler in Israel, ​​Whose goings forth are from of old, ​​From everlasting.”

Not just eternal in the sense that he will be eternal in the future, but he is eternal in the sense that he was “of old” and will be “from everlasting”. To state in the clearest and simplest terms possible “He was, He is and is to come.”

1G – which was with the Father and manifest to us (John 17:24, 2 Cor 13:14)

Whilst Jesus is God, he is separate from the Father, he is the same in that he is part of the trinity, one God existing in three persons, equal and one just distinct in their person. We are told in Matthew 28 to “Go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and the Holy Spirit” God desires a relationship with us and made that possible through his sons sacrifice John goes on and gives an invitation to fellowship.

1H – that you also may have fellowship with us & who the fellowship is with

John states quite clearly that he writes in order to bring the reader into fellowship with BOTH the Father and the Son (v3) that the fellowship with one another is just a glimpse of the fuller satisfying fellowship that you would have with both the Father and Son. How awesome is that? The word fellowship is the Greek word “koinonia” which means sharing a bond; it speaks of journeying and growing together. I equate this to my cell phone, I know that it was put together by someone who is a lot smarter than me, I don’t fully understand how it works, but I use it because I know that it does work.

The idea of fellowship with God was alien to the Greeks as they all had many gods depending on what the need was and they were more like super hero type deals than actual living Gods, they inscribed statues based to the god of whatever, but the idea that they could have communion with Zeus or Aphrodite was crazy to them, John introduces them to a loving Father God who wants nothing more than to have fellowship with his creation.

1I – The result of the fellowship…Joy! (John 15:11; 16:24; 17:13)

Verse 4 speaks that the fruit of this relationship is Joy and not a temporary joy like when your team scores the winning touchdown, score a vital home run or when something good happens in your life. This is an eternal joy and a fullness of joy; this is not based on life going well or circumstances being in your favor. A Christians true and satisfying joy is found when they draw in close communion with the one they were created to worship. Our fellowship with God id not conditional in what we can bring to him because God requires nothing from us, but what joy and blessings he brings to us.

2A – Fellowship with Him and One another (1st John 1:5-10)
2B – This is the message which we have heard from Him and declare to you

John has revealed who the message is from and now speaks with the authority of the message giver. He has given the credentials in the same way we would give an ID or passport; he has declared himself a messenger of God and Jesus Christ. John is given one job here and that is to declare the message to us. John also is not giving his opinion or his own ideas, he is declaring that “which he has heard from Him” he is simply the vessel used to deliver the message, much like we do not thank the jug for the water John is simply speaking truth as to where the message came from. It came from Him and not from John.

2C – That God is light and in Him there is no darkness at all

This is a great description of God, God is the complete absence of darkness, no sin whatsoever, God is light – God is pure and in the light we have the ability to see, in the darkness we cannot see. By the same token we must also realize that God is correct and cannot be wrong, He is the infallible inerrant author of the living word of God.

God desires fellowship with us and always keeps the channels of communication open between Him and us, any absence in that communion will always be traced back to us. We are sinful, rebellious and unfaithful, God is none of these things and will always be the “trusted partner” in the relationship with us, despite this God is a loving God that desires restoration.

2D – Fellowship with him and walking in darkness, then we lie and do not practice truth

The converse to this relationship of walking in the light is walking in darkness, walking in our own lusts, desires or our own will when it is against the will of God. It could be something as simple as living a life of sin and then declaring that you are a Christian, and then you lie and do not practice truth. There is grace that we know we will slip up and not always do the right thing but the key here is repentance and getting your heart right.

Is it possible to claim a relationship with God you do not have? Of course it is, you may have deceived yourself and have continued to walk in darkness. To walk in darkness indicates that it is not a solitary choice, but a walk, a journey separated from the one you claim to follow. A question to ask is “what do you default to when no-one else is around?” or “is your lifestyle one of light or darkness?” Who is it that you have fellowship with, is it light or dark? It is not a gray area, it is as black and white and John makes it sound.

2E – We need to walk in the light as He is in the light

We really need to come off the fence and stop being “lukewarm”. We read in Revelation of the Laodicea church that God said because they were lukewarm they would be spewed out of his mouth. As Chelsea stated last week, we need to be “all in” We need to live in obedience to God’s calling on our life and embrace the conviction of the Holy Spirit as often as we require it.

Walking in the light is not easy, it is the road less travelled, our flesh will resist it at every turn and it is the true definition of what Christ sad when he spoke of the broad way and the narrow way, few will find this way and we will not be perfect but we will be in communion with God. God understands the struggles we go through and sees the heart, he knows which sins are premeditated and which ones are not.

John makes the last point here that these believers should surround themselves with those of the same mission. The believers who are walking in the light together will not only have communion with God, but they will have communion with each other and will grow together in a common faith. I know I feel edified when I am surrounded by those who have a similar mission to what I have.

2F – The blood of Jesus Christ cleanses us from all sin

In the same manner that we would bathe often and cleanse ourselves on a regular basis we have to be spiritually cleansed on a regular basis. I went to a Wednesday night service at Calvary Chapel Visalia where Pastor Bob Grenier shared the following anecdote.

“Seven days without the Bible makes one Weak” 

Okay that is a play on words but it is true, as often as we have the desire to sin we must also want to be cleansed of our sins, God is holy and we must also have a hunger for holiness. Romans 3:23 tells us that “we have all sinned and fallen short of Gods glory” and as we are walking with him, how often do you think we need out feet cleansing (John 13:10) John talks of cleansing as an ongoing present and ongoing process, we have to realize that Christ took the punishment for all of our sins, past present and future and the blood of Jesus paid our penalty and deals with our guilt and actions of our sin. Lastly we are cleansed from ALL SIN. But it is not through works, it is through our relationship and accepting that the blood of Jesus paid my sinful debt in full.

2G – If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves and no truth is in us

As stated before we are not sinless or perfect and even by walking in the light it will not absolve us from actually sinning, we are born into a sinful stock a descendent of Adam who caused enmity between God and man by sinning in the first place. We must be careful not to deceive ourselves and to call ourselves sinless is a lie and John describes us as having no truth in us. If we were sinless then why would we need a Savior? It is a deception and a lie from the pit of hell designed to make ourselves self-righteous. Which is why we need God’s grace and forgiveness in the first place because of our sin.

2H – Confession leads to forgiveness

And this puts the bow on the present, we understand that we have sin in our lives; we understand that sin is present in our lives and that God hates sin. But yet God still wants to have communion with us and have us cleansed in Jesus blood. So far we have covered all of this. We need to confess our sins we have to approach confession in the same manner of approaching a King and begging that king for his forgiveness, but this is not just a king this is the King of Kings and Lord of Lords. In Luke 18:10-14 Jesus describes the two parallels that could exist between a Pharisee who bragged about the good he did and a sinful man who made a simple request, God be merciful on me, a sinful man. Which one would you rather be? God will forgive and we should keep confessing our sins in the Lord’s Prayer we read the words “forgive us our sins, as we forgive our trespasses”. Confession is important to us as believers because it maintains a relationship with God and it is important that we be honest with ourselves as well as God. We must confess and resolve to do better, we are wasting our breath if we confess and continue in the sin because we are not changing anything. God sees the innermost parts of our heart and knows when we are being deceitful. If that does not scare you I don’t know what will.

2I – If we say we have not sinned we make Him a liar

As we have learned sin is present, but so is the absolution to the sin. We have a remedy to ensure that there is no hindrance to the relationship with God. If we believe that Jesus was the Word of life and the substitution for our sins then we also must see the reason he was that substitution otherwise why did he go to the cross in the first place if we have no sin?

3A – Children do not sin (1st John 2:1-2:2)

3B – We have an Advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ

John is concerned that the Christian does not continue, be caught up or live a life of sin which is why he writes “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” John has spent a great deal of time letting us know that as soon as we become Christians we do not lose the ability to sin, we are not sinless and perfect but we do not have to sin and we must also know that God does not make or tempt the believer to sin. God has a desire that we walk in his light and not sin, but we have an intercessor, one who prays for us and makes petition to the father for us, our redeemer Jesus Christ.

We are fleshly, we are weak, our first desire is to do “my will be done” rather than “thy will be done” but we have that defender, better than any dense counsel on this earth and he is timeless, he knows the sin we are going to commit long before we have conceived it in our minds however he still opens his arms and forgives. What a friend we have in Jesus! He is as John writes “the righteous.” The only one who is qualified to forgive our sins and take the brunt of our punishment on himself we see Jesus playing the role of the advocate when Satan accuses us before God in Revelation 12.

3C – The propitiation for our sins and for the whole world.

He has not just forgiven our individual sins as if we were the only sinner in the whole world, but he has done it for all of us, for the ones who would accept the free gift of Salvation and the ones who would reject it. The wordpropitiation gives the idea that the sacrifice was to prevent God giving what was due to us, a satisfying of the wrath of God if you will, in the Greek culture this was an accepted term. It is basically John 3:16 & 17 in other words. Jesus died for you individually but for the same reason that self-same Salvation is available to the entire world, they may choose to accept or reject it but God is a God or redemption and restoration.

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