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Still about Jesus

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Survey of 1 John

Book Type: General letter, also called a “catholic epistle,” meaning a general letter. One of the apostle John’s five books. 23rd book of the New Testament.
Author: The apostle John is the traditional author of this book, though the text does not specifically name the author. The author notes an eyewitness relationship with Jesus (). External evidence is found in many early sources. This includes Irenaeus (AD 140–203), Clement of Alexandria (AD 150–215), Tertullian (AD 155–222), and Origen (AD 185–253).
Audience: First John is one of five New Testament books written by the apostle John. The others are the Gospel of John, 2 John, 3 John, and the book of Revelation. This is the first of his three letters in the New Testament. Its recipients were clearly believers, but no specific audience is mentioned. Since John traditionally ministered among churches in Asia Minor (modern-day Turkey) in his later years, this letter was most likely written to one or more of these congregations.
This letter’s audience was clearly dealing with problems related to false teachers. John warns against them throughout this entire writing. John also develops themes of fellowship, Christ-like love, forgiveness of sins, and assurance of salvation. It has been suggested that John’s audience was already well aware of the basics of the gospel message, since these are not included in this letter. Instead, John focuses on specific needs related to the congregation.
There are many connections between 1 John and the Gospel of John, which are mentioned in verse commentary.
Date: Unknown. Most likely written around the same time as the Gospel of John and the letters 2 and 3 John; between AD 80–95.
Overview: The focus of 1 John is “fellowship,” which stands against false teachings and stands firm in the faith. This fellowship is both with one another (John and his audience) and with God through both the Father and through Christ ().
Chapter 1 includes an introduction to the letter () followed by two conditions for Christian fellowship. First, fellowship requires a specific focus or standard: Jesus Christ (). Second, fellowship includes the confession of sin ().
Chapter 2 continues this focus on fellowship. This includes following Christ as our advocate (). In addition, believers are called to follow the commandment to love one another (). Third, believers are not to love the world (). Fourth, believers are warned against teachings of antichrists, or false teachers (). Fifth, believers are called to remember their position as children of God ().
Chapter 3 further discusses the importance of being and living as children of God (). A major requirement for the child of God is to love one another ().
Chapter 4 teaches believers to “test the spirits” to see whether they are from God (). God loves us and “God is love” (), leading believers to love one another.
Chapter 5 emphasizes the believer’s ability to “overcome” the world () through the power of Christ. John gives testimony regarding Jesus as the Son of God (5:6–12). Believers can know they have eternal life ().
Key Verses (ESV)
: “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.”
: “No one who abides in him keeps on sinning; no one who keeps on sinning has either seen him or known him.”
: “Little children, you are from God and have overcome them, for he who is in you is greater than he who is in the world.”
: “I write these things to you who believe in the name of the Son of God that you may know that you have eternal life.”
Writing letters is somewhat of a lost art. For thousands of years, people would write letters as the primary way to communicate with people. To say I love you. To tell how their day, week month or year has been. People would anxiously await that next letter and quickly get on the reply.
Today we’re in an age of instant communication. Text message, email, phone call. How much do we really think about how we communicate? The words that we use. We exist in a world of 144 characters.
How does this affect the gospel? How do we convey the gospel in a twitter text message facebook world?
As followers of Jesus, throughout church history people would tell the gospel story through Letters. Some really long, others really short. Greetings. Salutations.
But think, if the early church could write us a letter and tell us how we ought to live; how we out to follow Jesus…what would it say?
I’m glad you asked.
Fair warning, it’s going to take us a minute to get to first John as we set up the context of the writing.
John met Jesus on the banks of Lake Gennesaret. Jesus was in need of a boat to preach from since the crowds were pressing in from all around. Peter, James and John ran a fishing outfit and had just finished finishing when Jesus asked to commandeer the boat so he could preach a little out in the water.
Luke 5:1–11 ESV
1 On one occasion, while the crowd was pressing in on him to hear the word of God, he was standing by the lake of Gennesaret, 2 and he saw two boats by the lake, but the fishermen had gone out of them and were washing their nets. 3 Getting into one of the boats, which was Simon’s, he asked him to put out a little from the land. And he sat down and taught the people from the boat. 4 And when he had finished speaking, he said to Simon, “Put out into the deep and let down your nets for a catch.” 5 And Simon answered, “Master, we toiled all night and took nothing! But at your word I will let down the nets.” 6 And when they had done this, they enclosed a large number of fish, and their nets were breaking. 7 They signaled to their partners in the other boat to come and help them. And they came and filled both the boats, so that they began to sink. 8 But when Simon Peter saw it, he fell down at Jesus’ knees, saying, “Depart from me, for I am a sinful man, O Lord.” 9 For he and all who were with him were astonished at the catch of fish that they had taken, 10 and so also were James and John, sons of Zebedee, who were partners with Simon. And Jesus said to Simon, “Do not be afraid; from now on you will be catching men.” 11 And when they had brought their boats to land, they left everything and followed him.
Jesus came into their lives like a wrecking ball and their lives would never be the same. John was the youngest of the 12 disciples. And at the point in John’s life where he is writing these letters, he’s probably the only one left. He may also be the only living person to have seen Jesus in the flesh. He’s like the Last Jedi…only not washed up and cynical. He knows that his time on earth is drawing to a close, so his goal is to write a few letters to this new generation…really the first real 2nd generation of Jesus followers to essentially tell them what it means to be a Christian so they can carry on the legacy of the Apostles.
What does he want them to know? What are the core things he wants them to do? For starters...
Luke 5:

Big Idea: Even after all these years, it’s still all about Jesus.

Let’s look at John’s greeting.
1 John 1:1–4 ESV
1 That which was from the beginning, which we have heard, which we have seen with our eyes, which we looked upon and have touched with our hands, concerning the word of life— 2 the life was made manifest, and we have seen it, and testify to it and proclaim to you the eternal life, which was with the Father and was made manifest to us— 3 that which we have seen and heard we proclaim also to you, so that you too may have fellowship with us; and indeed our fellowship is with the Father and with his Son Jesus Christ. 4 And we are writing these things so that our joy may be complete.
There is a contrast here between “WE” and “YOU.” “WE” refers to John and the other eye witnesses to Jesus’s life, ministry, death, burial and resurrection.
What “WE” heard and experienced and witnessed, “WE” now pass on to “YOU” the next generation so that they can carry on the work.
“The Word of Life” = Jesus ()
It’s easy to get distracted by what it means to follow Jesus. Thinking that it’s all about people and buildings; Bible translations, music, mission trips, doing good works and don’t forget potlucks. But John starts us off by saying…before you do anything, teach anything, decide on anything. Make sure it’s all about Jesus.
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For John, Jesus is:

1. ...a matter of EXPERIENCE.

heard…seen…touched....manifested
Jesus wasn’t a man who lived long ago. He wasn’t someone that he learned about in school. He wasn’t passed down to Him. John experienced Jesus. From the banks of that Lake to the feeding of the 5,000. To watching him raise lazarus from the dead. To witnessing the very resurrection that we celebrated last week on Easter.
So when people came along and tried to tell others a different story, John would pop up and say…do you know who I am? I was there!
2 Peter 1:16 ESV
16 For we did not follow cleverly devised myths when we made known to you the power and coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, but we were eyewitnesses of his majesty.
2 peter 1:16
So what does this mean for us? Many of us have had dramatic experiences with Jesus. But we have to be careful to always measure those experiences against scripture to make sure that they measure up.

2. ...a matter of RELATIONSHIP.

There is a reason John referred to himself as the Disciple whom Jesus loved. There was more than just a teacher student interaction. Jesus genuinely loved His disciples. They spent years following Jesus. They laughed with Him. They cried with Him. Yes, Jesus rebuked them for acting like children…they were children.
After all these years, John wants to share these things so that a new generation will have that same relationship with Jesus as they did. Because Jesus is not dead but alive.
In fact, a relationship Jesus gives you a relationship across the generations.
But more than that I think John recognizes that their needs to be a connection between the generation. This new generation won’t have a new relationship or even a different relationship with Jesus. It’s the same relationship…based on repentance of sin and faith in Jesus’ provision.

3. ...a matter of JOY.

Verse 4 tells us why John is writing these things. That his joy may be complete At the end of his life, nothing would make him happier than to see the next generational thriving in their relationship with Jesus. To not have to worry about them. But to know and trust that the message of the gospel is in good hands.
But here’s what we need to understand. John didn’t wait until his life was coming to and end. He had been doing this his whole life.
It was a labor of love and a labor of Joy. And he never retired.

Reflection: To those older: Are you willing to pass on your faith to the next generation? To those younger: Are you ready to lead in God’s Church?

To those older: Are you willing to pass on your faith to the next generation?
To those younger: Are you ready to lead in God’s Church?
It starts with following Jesus. Just like John there is a moment in every believers life where Jesus is saying leave your old life behind and follow me.
Book Type: General letter, also called a “catholic epistle,” meaning a general letter. One of the apostle John’s five books. 23rd book of the New Testament.
I’m sure it was hard for John but he did it. Because there was something about Jesus that made John know it would be worth it.
Author: The apostle John is the traditional author of this book, though the text does not specifically name the author. The author notes an eyewitness relationship with Jesus (). External evidence is found in many early sources. This includes Irenaeus (AD 140–203), Clement of Alexandria (AD 150–215), Tertullian (AD 155–222), and Origen (AD 185–253).
Are you ready this day to leave your old life behind and follow Jesus? Are you ready to acknowledge your sin, repent by turning from it and commit to following Jesus from this day forward?
Audience: First John is one of five New Testament books written by the apostle John. The others are the Gospel of John, 2 John, 3 John, and the book of Revelation. This is the first of his three letters in the New Testament. Its recipients were clearly believers, but no specific audience is mentioned. Since John traditionally ministered among churches in Asia Minor (modern-day Turkey) in his later years, this letter was most likely written to one or more of these congregations.
This letter’s audience was clearly dealing with problems related to false teachers. John warns against them throughout this entire writing. John also develops themes of fellowship, Christ-like love, forgiveness of sins, and assurance of salvation. It has been suggested that John’s audience was already well aware of the basics of the gospel message, since these are not included in this letter. Instead, John focuses on specific needs related to the congregation.
There are many connections between 1 John and the Gospel of John, which are mentioned in verse commentary.
Date: Unknown. Most likely written around the same time as the Gospel of John and the letters 2 and 3 John; between AD 80–95.
Overview: The focus of 1 John is “fellowship,” which stands against false teachings and stands firm in the faith. This fellowship is both with one another (John and his audience) and with God through both the Father and through Christ ().
Chapter 1 includes an introduction to the letter () followed by two conditions for Christian fellowship. First, fellowship requires a specific focus or standard: Jesus Christ (). Second, fellowship includes the confession of sin ().
Chapter 2 continues this focus on fellowship. This includes following Christ as our advocate (). In addition, believers are called to follow the commandment to love one another (). Third, believers are not to love the world (). Fourth, believers are warned against teachings of antichrists, or false teachers (). Fifth, believers are called to remember their position as children of God ().
Chapter 3 further discusses the importance of being and living as children of God (). A major requirement for the child of God is to love one another ().
Chapter 4 teaches believers to “test the spirits” to see whether they are from God (). God loves us and “God is love” (), leading believers to love one another.
Chapter 5 emphasizes the believer’s ability to “overcome” the world () through the power of Christ. John gives testimony regarding Jesus as the Son of God (5:6–12). Believers can know they have eternal life ().
Key Verses (ESV)
: “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.”
: “No one who abides in him keeps on sinning; no one who keeps on sinning has either seen him or known him.”
: “Little children, you are from God and have overcome them, for he who is in you is greater than he who is in the world.”
: “I write these things to you who believe in the name of the Son of God that you may know that you have eternal life.”
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