Learning from 1 John
1:1-2:17 - ‘Jesus Christ’ died ‘for our sins’. This is Good News. It is not to be kept to ourselves - He died ‘for the sins of the whole world’. We have ‘fellowship with the Father and with His Son Jesus Christ’. ‘We have fellowship with one another’. These blessings are not to be kept to ourselves. We must share the Good News - ‘the blood of Jesus, God’s Son, cleanses us from all sin’. We must seek to bring others into ‘fellowship’ - not only ‘with us’ but, ‘with the Father and with His Son Jesus Christ’ (2:1-2; 1:3,7). We are called to a life of obedience - ‘he who does the will of God lives for ever’. This obedience comes from our experience of God’s love. ‘The love of the Father’ leads to ‘love for the Father’: ‘We love’ God ‘because He first loved us’ (15-17; 4:19). Let’s love the Lord - and do His will.
2:18-3:18 - Through faith in Jesus Christ, ‘the Son of God’, we receive ‘eternal life’ (22-25; John 20:31). Our enjoyment of eternal life has already begun - ‘we are God’s children now’. Our full enjoyment of eternal life is still to come: ‘It does not yet appear what we shall be...’. We have begun to experience Christ’s victory: ‘The reason the Son of God appeared was to destroy the works of the devil’. We look forward to our full enjoyment of His victory: ‘When He appears, we shall be like Him...’ (2,8). Some will try to ‘deceive’ us. We must keep our eyes on Christ - ‘He laid down His life for us’. We have received His ‘love’. We must show His love - ‘Let us not love in word or speech but in deed and in truth’ (7,16,18). Do you believe in Christ? Live the life. Be a believer - in deed’!
3:19-4:21 - ‘God is greater than our hearts’. When you are deeply aware of your sinfulness, remember - God loves you. God’s Word is brutally honest - about us: ‘The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked: who can know it?’ God’s Word is wonderfully encouraging - about His love for us. He ‘knows everything’ about us - and He still loves us: ‘God shows His love for us in that while we were yet sinners Christ died for us’ (3:20; Jeremiah 17:9; Romans 5:8). What a great Saviour we have. He is ‘without sin’ - yet He is the Friend of sinners. He ‘receives sinners’. He ‘came into the world to save sinners’ (Hebrews 4:15; Luke 15:2; 1 Timothy 1:15). Whenever we start getting too full of ourselves, too full of our own importance, we must remember: ‘He first loved us’ (4:19) - before we ever thought of loving Him!
5:1-21 - What a great blessing we receive through faith in Christ - ‘Every one who believes that Jesus is the Christ is a child of God’ (1). Our life as God’s children is not a life of tranquility. We face conflict, real conflict - a battle. In this spiritual warfare, we have God’s promise of victory. In verse 5, we have a question: ‘Who is it that overcomes the world but he who believes that Jesus Christ is the Son of God?’. The answer is contained in the question. Our victory is in Christ. We are not victorious because our faith is so strong that we couldn’t possibly fail. Many times, we fail. We take our eyes off Christ - and we are defeated. What are we to do? - when temptations seem to be so many and so powerful. When you feel so weak, let Christ be your Strength. ‘With Christ within, the fight we’ll win’.