Taking the Epistle

A biblical journey through the epistles

Agape Bible Study – 08/30/2015 – Week 2 – 1st John 2:3-14 – Knowing Him and our Spiritual State

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08/30/2015 – Week 2 – 1st John 2:3-14 – Knowing Him and our Spiritual State

1st John 2:3 (NKJV) Now by this we know that we know Him, if we keep His commandments. 4 He who says, “I know Him,” and does not keep His commandments, is a liar, and the truth is not in him. 5 But whoever keeps His word, truly the love of God is perfected in him. By this we know that we are in Him. 6 He who says he abides in Him ought himself also to walk just as He walked. 7 Brethren, I write no new commandment to you, but an old commandment which you have had from the beginning. The old commandment is the word which you heard from the beginning. 8 Again, a new commandment I write to you, which thing is true in Him and in you, because the darkness is passing away, and the true light is already shining. 9 He who says he is in the light, and hates his brother, is in darkness until now. 10 He who loves his brother abides in the light, and there is no cause for stumbling in him. 11 But he who hates his brother is in darkness and walks in darkness, and does not know where he is going, because the darkness has blinded his eyes. 12 ​​I write to you, little children,​​Because your sins are forgiven you for His name’s sake. 13 ​​I write to you, fathers, ​​Because you have known Him who is from the beginning. ​​I write to you, young men, ​​Because you have overcome the wicked one. ​​I write to you, little children, ​​Because you have known the Father. 14 ​​I have written to you, fathers, ​​Because you have known Him who is from the beginning. ​​I have written to you, young men, ​​Because you are strong, and the word of God abides in you, ​​And you have overcome the wicked one.

1A – The Test of Knowing Him (1st John 2:3-11)
1B – Now by this we know that we know Him, if we keep His commandments (v3)

This is the fruit, the evidence in someone’s life that they know God is that they keep his commandments or do his will, that they will have love; they will have an obedience for God and want that fellowship with the will of God in their lives.

It is the same as we are, if we surround ourselves with folks who will encourage us to behave in rebellion to God, we may stand up for God in the first place but slowly we adapt and slide to be more like our surroundings. Conversely if our fellowship is with God and the people who keep us accountable and keep us following his commandments (iron sharpening iron) then we will draw closer to God.

When we are converted we are restored to God we are restored and that restoration continues with our constant fellowship with God through confession and repentance should we sin, God changes the heart and writes the law upon our heart and the evidence of us knowing Him is that desire to keep his commandments, will we always be successful? Will we never slip up? No, but the desire is there that is not there in the man still caught up in his sins. God is graceful, kind and longsuffering and he sees the heart behind our actions.

1C – He who says, “I know Him,” and does not keep His commandments, is a liar, and the truth is not in him. (v4)

Can we know Christ and not keep his commandments? Of course not John calls you out on it and calls you a liar! How refreshing! I reckon we could do with some of that kind of straight talk in the church today! With John it is either black or white, unlike today when we try to cloud ourselves in “gray areas” or find justification when we color outside of the lines!

When we say we “know him” is it like a “celebrity knowledge”? For example I know what the current president looks like, I know his name, his wife’s name, his presidential address and lots of facts about him, but if I was to turn up at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, Washington DC and try to get through the front gate would I be tested in whether I actually knew him or not? Would I get in if the President did not recognize my name or I didn’t have an appointment? This is a wake up call if your Christianity is like that. Do you know him on a day to day basis or do you have a knowledge of him.

If you don’t keep his commandments you then break one of the Ten Commandments, you lie! And John states quite clearly that the truth is not in you, or that your faith is false. Can this be restored? Of course it can, but it requires repentance and restoration with God the father. You cannot continue on that destructive path.

1D – But whoever keeps His word, truly the love of God is perfected in him. By this we know that we are in Him. (v5)

And just to flip it over, we see the contrast of the good side of the coin, If we are truly “all in” (to quote Chelsea) we will see the love of God perfected in him and this will have the result of evidence that we are in him. We have to do some self appraisal at this point, I have just done my half year appraisal at work and on this we look at what has been accomplished over the last year, we look at the things that have went well and the things that have not gone as well, but it is a good barometer to see how “on target” I would be for the end of the year. Christians should do their own checklist too.

How are you with your past sin life? Do you talk of your sin with fondness or shame? Do you flee from sin or plan to do it? Do you enjoy your sin? Is your sin a lifestyle or an ongoing habit?

The point of this is not to condemn anyone but to convict you of things that might require change in your life. We all have struggles, we all have kicked harmful things to the curb but we all have that area that we could do with getting rid of, maybe we still have many and some of us may just be paying lip service to God and living a double life. Jesus talked about these types of people in Matthew 6, you cannot serve two masters, you will love one and hate the other.

1E – He who says he abides in Him ought himself also to walk just as He walked. (v6)

Have you ever given any thought to the name Christian? It basically means “one who follows the Christ” so if we truly are following Christ and we are truly all in believers then we will be looking to follow the masters example. I always ask that you check all things that I say to make sure they line up with the word of God. The famous evangelist Greg Laurie is quoted to have said “Don’t follow the Pastor unless he is following the master” now I am not a pastor or even a very good biblical teacher, but if I give you one example to follow I p[ray that it is one of someone that is sold out living for Christ and LORD willing all that I talk about in these studies be following after Gods perfect and infallible word of God.

This principle is simple, we have to follow Christ’s example. In the 90’s it was very popular to wear WWJD (What would Jesus Do) bracelets and the guy who patented them must have made a fortune as they were everywhere! However they were a great reminder when you were making decisions on a daily basis because please let me assure you dear Christian that you will not be at your weakest when you are surrounded by believers here on a Sunday night, it will be the decisions you make when you are at work on Monday, when you are in a clandestine situation and you see what you actually default to. It will be the decisions you make when you think there is no accountability. That is the true you! Are you WWJD then?

1F – Brethren, I write no new commandment to you, but an old commandment which you have had from the beginning. The old commandment is the word which you heard from the beginning. (v7)

John states that this is something they should already know, this is not new news. Much like what I am doing here, I am convinced that I am not teaching something or making points that probably have not been made before. I am however putting my slant on it based on my life experience and I am somewhat tailoring this message to the people that I believe will hear it. But the truths that John is REMINDING the believers are not “new revelation”.

And this is important because often times and it will happen more as the “End Times” approach that we will hear the term “new revelation” more and more, my advice to you if you hear that term, I would pray to God for discernment and then check that it out to make sure it lines up with God’s word. John is continuing his thought from John 13:34-35.

1G – Again, a new commandment I write to you, which thing is true in Him and in you, because the darkness is passing away, and the true light is already shining. (v8)

Jesus broke new barriers when we talk about love. He displayed such love that he would come down from heaven and be a sacrifice for us. We have the symbol of the cross which must have been strange to those who knew what the cross was; it was a criminal’s death device. In modern day terms it would be like if a new religion started up with their symbol being the electric chair.

In order for the darkness to pass away Jesus had to defeat death, he had to die in the cruelest way possible to save a people who may reject him and reconcile man to God. He is the true light (he is and always will be the “Light of the world”) and he is already shining. He is in heaven, when he was on earth he promised to “go prepare a place for us”

1H – He who says he is in the light, and hates his brother, is in darkness until now. (v9)

How are we with our fundamental relationships? Do we speak all “Christian-ease” on a Sunday but secretly hate our brother? This is not a new revelation as Jesus said the same thing in Matthew 5:23, let’s look at that passage now.

This applies to blood and spiritual brothers, some of the main reasons that fellowships are harmed and have issues is that they have unresolved conflict, do you have this in your life and today is the allotted time to get this resolved. Let’s look at Matthew 22:36-40

1I – He who loves his brother abides in the light, and there is no cause for stumbling in him. (v10)

And again John flips this on its head and advises the opposite for one who is walking in the light. The word abide is “meno” (Greek) and the meaning is to sojurn, not to depart, time or place to be held. In simple terms that person is remaining in the light and will not be moved. How do you measure up to this?

If you are like this then there will be no stumbling, I love that he writes it as stumbling, in our house we have little plug in lights that illuminate just enough to see so that we can see the path we are travelling on in the evening when there is less light (it is handy at 3am when you need to go to the bathroom) If this wasn’t there then how easy would it be to stumble if something was out of place? Or even if you could not see a piece of furniture John talks about people living their lives like this. 

1J – But he who hates his brother is in darkness and walks in darkness, and does not know where he is going, because the darkness has blinded his eyes. (v11)

And just to show that John and I are on the same page, John goes on to expand and say that people are walking (living their lives) in darkness and the evidence is the hatred of our brother. Sometimes we can fake our hatred and mask it to look and seem like we do not, however let us ask some basic questions:

Have you unresolved anger towards them? Have you forgiven fully your past hurts that hurt the deepest? When you hear their name what is your gut reaction? Do you have to be fake in order to be civil? If the answers are yes then you may have unresolved hatred towards your brother (or sister)  

2A – Their Spiritual State (1st John 2:12-14)
2B – ​​I write to you, little children, ​​Because your sins are forgiven you for His name’s sake. (v12)

Continuing on the thought of loving/hating your brother John goes on to remind them that they have been forgiven of much and this is one reason to make sure that you do not hate your brother, because you have been forgiven of much less than you need from him.

And here is where it gets real my friends, at Vision Calvary Chapel of Porterville today during prayer the Pastor made a request to pray for unsaved friends/members of family and my own brother does not know the LORD. He would be the first on my list of people that I would love to change his life and surrender to Jesus. I also do not want to be the barrier or excuse that is used if he was to miss out on heaven.

If you remember when we spoke about “forgiveness” I stated that it is most likely to be family that hurts the most. We also have a unique “sphere of influence” because we have an ear in a unique way that no-one else has, we have an “in” as it where and we have to use that for the glory of God, sometimes it will take surrender on our part but we have to do his will before our own. Lets look at 1st Corinthians 13:1-3, because this is the meat and bones of our Christianity, if we “tick all the boxes” but don’t love, we have nothing.

2C – ​​I write to you, fathers, ​​Because you have known Him who is from the beginning. ​​I write to you, young men, ​​Because you have overcome the wicked one. ​​I write to you, little children, ​​Because you have known the Father. (v13)

He is writing to those who have “overcome the wicked one” they have followed the instruction in Acts 16:31, they have believed in the LORD Jesus Christ and now they are saved. This is a placeholder to advise that because of who they are, they are being written too because they know the father.

John mentions “little children and fathers” we are all at different stages of our walk with Jesus, we will either be “little children” or “fathers” dependent on our spiritual maturity. The young men have had spiritual victory already and need to be reminded of their victories to strengthen them but not puff them up.

2D – ​​I have written to you, fathers, ​​Because you have known Him who is from the beginning. ​​I have written to you, young men, ​​Because you are strong, and the word of God abides in you, ​​And you have overcome the wicked one. (v14)

Paul writes in Philippians 3:10 that all of his spiritual knowledge could be surpassed by just knowing Jesus. We need to realize that greater is he that is in us that the one who accuses us and we need to live our lives in the Light. We have overcome the wicked one!

I pray this was a blessing to you and this is a bible study from our series that was originally taught on 08/30/2015 at our Agape bible study, please click on the link for further bible studies.
TTE
TGBTG
SDG

 

 

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