Taking the Epistle

A biblical journey through the epistles

Tag Archives: 1 John

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

image

 

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

 

 

Did Jesus come in the flesh?

20140320-175137.jpg

2 John 1:1 (ESV) The elder to the elect lady and her children, whom I love in truth, and not only I, but also all who know the truth, 2 because of the truth that abides in us and will be with us forever: 3 Grace, mercy, and peace will be with us, from God the Father and from Jesus Christ the Father’s Son, in truth and love. 4 I rejoiced greatly to find some of your children walking in the truth, just as we were commanded by the Father. 5 And now I ask you, dear lady—not as though I were writing you a new commandment, but the one we have had from the beginning—that we love one another. 6 And this is love, that we walk according to his commandments; this is the commandment, just as you have heard from the beginning, so that you should walk in it. 7 For many deceivers have gone out into the world, those who do not confess the coming of Jesus Christ in the flesh. Such a one is the deceiver and the antichrist. 8 Watch yourselves, so that you may not lose what we have worked for, but may win a full reward. 9 Everyone who goes on ahead and does not abide in the teaching of Christ, does not have God. Whoever abides in the teaching has both the Father and the Son. 10 If anyone comes to you and does not bring this teaching, do not receive him into your house or give him any greeting, 11 for whoever greets him takes part in his wicked works. 12 Though I have much to write to you, I would rather not use paper and ink. Instead I hope to come to you and talk face to face, so that our joy may be complete. 13 The children of your elect sister greet you.

John the Elder

John calls himself “The Elder” which could be a title or a reference to his advancement in years. The word used however alludes to age as opposed to church office. Based on the time this was written John was very advanced in years, so Elder would be a very appropriate title to call himself as a veteran campaigner for the Christian faith.

History does not tell us who “The elect lady” was, possibly an actual person or perhaps even a name of a church or a metaphor due to persecution. The latter is just me throwing some balls in the air as stated prior, we have little to go on who the recipient was. It is clear; however from the writing that John was very fond of them and was familiar with them on a personal level. He addresses the letter also to the wider Christian church (all who know the truth) as a whole. John talks of a spiritual truth that will be with us forever, how true this is. Truth and correction is the thread this very short letter is based on. John uses truth in the introduction and then further in the letter. In Matthew 24 Jesus said that “Heaven and earth shall pass away, my words shall not pass away” this is in line with Johns teaching here.

John mentions in this letter the deity (v3) as well as the human form (v7) of Jesus Christ. This was not any new doctrine (v5) but merely a re-iteration of a common doctrine that they should already have. This is the issue in the church then, purely doctrine. (I would also argue that this is an issue today! See below for more information!) I love that John loved these people so much to deal with this in such a loving fashion.

Jesus the God or Jesus the man?

John reiterates that Jesus was not just a “prophet” or a “holy man” that he was in fact the Son of God. In that day we had creeping into the doctrines of the church a Gnosticism that tried to redefine who Christ was, they would attack one of Christ’s attributes, they would attack the account that he was either God, or that he was a man. John writes in verse 3

…3 Grace, mercy, and peace will be with us, from God the Father and from Jesus Christ the Father’s Son, in truth and love…

John really leaves no doubt on whom Jesus is in regards to being fully God, however he goes on to speak about whether Jesus was actually here in human flesh:

7 For many deceivers have gone out into the world, those who do not confess the coming of Jesus Christ in the flesh. Such a one is the deceiver and the antichrist.

History teaches us (both Biblical and extra-biblical) that there was a figure in that time called Jesus. I do find it hard (but not all that surprising) that such a short time after Christ was crucified and resurrected that false teaching was starting to creep in on a fundamental doctrine. How much more must we be two millennia later? We have to test the spirits (1 John 4:1-3) to see if they be of God.

I call this “rat poison” doctrine. Rat poison is only between 3-5% poison and the rest is made up with foods and fatty stuffs that the rat is attracted to. If your doctrine allows falsehoods and anti-biblical stances, it becomes like rat poison. Rat poison works at varying speeds, good poison works and shuts down the healthy organs some time after it was ingested. Same with doctrine, its not the ingestion that is an issue, it is the damage done further down the line.

I know why this is done, if Christ can be stripped of his deity then he is simply a “prophet” or a “good man” then he becomes the same as a “Muhammad” a “Buddha” or the same as a man made prophet or focal point of just another religion. This is not the case! Jesus was uniquely God and uniquely man! He came down as a man, was born the same way we were, in a womb, grew up as a man and ministered here on earth to be firstly the Jewish messiah and then the messiah to the whole world. (John 3:16-17)

This was done to fulfill the Old Testament scriptures and to fulfill the Jewish sacrificial system. When I read Leviticus I get excited because I see where this is going and I grieve for the Jewish folks that know their tradition but have missed their messiah!

These guys deny Jesus came in the flesh, I thought the Jehovah’s Witnesses didn’t come over until much later.

John mentions the word “antichrist” which is also mentioned in four verses and all authored by John (1 John 2:18, 22, 4:3; 2 John 7); and he is as the name suggests a Christ-like creature who is against Christ, the opposite of Christ. Set up to deceive people and take them away from the word.

 

This Antichrist goes by many titles:

– The little horn (Daniel 7:8)
– The king of fierce countenance (Daniel 8:23)
– The Prince that shall come (Daniel 9:26)
– The willful king (Daniel 11:36-45)
– The one who comes in his own name (John 5:43)
– The son of perdition, the man of sin, and the lawless one (2 Thessalonians 2:3, and 2:8)

 

He will build a kingdom not dedicated to God, but to the evil one! As a Christian I am astounded this would be able to happen, but many will follow him and rise up against God. This reminds me of the account in the gospel of Mark when the crowd wished a murderer to be released. They would have that rather than Jesus, this happened in the trial of Jesus before Pilate. (Mark 15:34)

Love one another

…4 I rejoiced greatly to find some of your children walking in the truth, just as we were commanded by the Father. 5 And now I ask you, dear lady—not as though I were writing you a new commandment, but the one we have had from the beginning—that we love one another. 6 And this is love, that we walk according to his commandments; this is the commandment, just as you have heard from the beginning, so that you should walk in it…

How do we know we are walking in the truth? If we are loving one another (John 13:34-35) this is something that we need to work on as a church. There have been times that I myself (and this is shocking as I am a believer) have felt unwelcome in a place that is supposed to be a light to the world. We have to have that self sacrificing agape love that we keep talking about.

 

…8 Watch yourselves, so that you may not lose what we have worked for, but may win a full reward. 9 Everyone who goes on ahead and does not abide in the teaching of Christ, does not have God. Whoever abides in the teaching has both the Father and the Son. 10 If anyone comes to you and does not bring this teaching, do not receive him into your house or give him any greeting, 11 for whoever greets him takes part in his wicked works. 12 Though I have much to write to you, I would rather not use paper and ink. Instead I hope to come to you and talk face to face, so that our joy may be complete. 13 The children of your elect sister greet you…

 

John requests that the church be careful, that we are watchful (v8) but we have even today, folks that travel to our house on a daily basis that try to peddle a false doctrine. The JW’s (remember them from earlier) and the LDS church come by and we are told how to deal with them. My wife is home often times and she is awesome at dealing with these guys, she has them in, shows them their bible and lets them question each other. Despite promises to come back and give answers to the questions she has raised, they never do! (I actually think our house is black listed)

I am not having a go at these denominations other than on this area they are preaching a different Jesus that the Jesus whom I follow. (They require prayer as well as re-education in correct doctrine.) For me that is the sign of erroneous doctrine, if you have to add something to the bible to make your doctrine work, such as Jesus and something as if the cross wasn’t enough, or taking away from Jesus the Messiah such as calling him the devil’s brother or claiming that Jesus was not in the flesh.

John closes by reiterating the closeness he has for the recipient and that he could have written another gospel in what he had to say to them but he refrained and waited until he could share sweet koinonia with them. When I was at Calvary Glasgow, I was bummed if I went two days in a row without seeing someone from church, I worked with folks from church, I moved to be geographically closer to where we met on a Sunday, we arranged coffee evenings, we spoke online, we texted, we were in and out of each others houses, we genuinely loved and invested in each other in a real way. That is true church, let’s get to it!

I pray this bible study was a blessing and please feel free to comment on your thoughts, both positive and negative.
God bless you one and all
TTE