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1 John 1:1-4:6
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We start First John today! First John was written by one of Jesus' 12 disciples, John son of Zebedee - who also wrote the Gospel of John and the book of Revelation. First John was written between 85 and 95 A.D. when John was in Ephesus (in modern day Turkey) late in his life. The purpose of this letter was in large part to dispel Gnosticism, which was a twisting of Christianity - it basically meant salvation through knowledge (gnosis is Greek for knowledge).
~ First John ~
Author: John the apostle
Place: Uncertain, probably Ephesus
Date: A.D. 85-95
Content: This very personal letter was written by the apostle John in his old age to believers who were very dear to him. He addresses them as his little children and gives them practical instructions for Christian living. He begins by stressing Jesus’ incarnation and builds his commands upon the truth that those who know Jesus know the Father as well. Those who do not know Jesus do not know the Father, nor do they know the love of the Father. Christians, however, have experienced the love of God in their lives, for God is love, and have no need to fear either in this life or in the life to come.
Theme: John stresses the basic truths of the Christian faith in this letter in order to comfort and encourage his children in the faith. The themes of love, forgiveness, fellowship, victory over sin, assurance, purity, and eternal life are woven together in a marvelous document that shines with the light of God in the darkness of the world. (Above commentary is from Tyndale Publishers “The One Year Bible Companion” p. 33) A great overview of First John by Daniel Wallace is at this link.
First John starts out strong right out of the gates in verse 1 and is very similar to the beginning of the Gospel of John: "The one who existed from the beginning is the one we have heard and seen. We saw him with our own eyes and touched him with our own hands. He is Jesus Christ, the Word of life." Do you believe that Jesus Christ has existed from the very beginning of time with God the Father? Do you believe that Jesus is the Word of life?
And verse 5 is a message to us from Jesus via John: "This is the message he has given us to announce to you: God is light and there is no darkness in him at all." I love this. A month or so ago in this blog I reflected on God being a God of no shadows. All light. I love that thought. Do you believe God is light? And that there is no darkness, no shadows, in Him at all?
And in verses 8 & 9 we read: “If we claim to be without sin, we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.” Do you claim to be without sin? Do you confess your sins regularly and ask for forgiveness from God? Do you believe that God is faithful and just and will forgive you? And not just forgive you but purify you from your confessed sins? And heal you from your confessed sins? Let us not deceive ourselves any longer. Let us allow the Truth to fully live in our hearts. Let us confess our sins, be forgiven, and be purified from all unrighteousness. Are you with me on this?
First John chapter 2 is full of tons of wisdom today! Verses 5 & 6 are so strong: "But those who obey God's word really do love him. That is the way to know whether or not we live in him. Those who say they live in God should live their lives as Christ did." Do we realize that obeying God's Word, the Bible, demonstrates our love for God? Do we live our lives as Jesus did? Do we really love God? Do we obey God's Word?
Verse 9 certainly gives us much to consider in our lives: "If anyone says, "I am living in the light," but hates a Christian brother or sister, that person is still living in darkness." Are you living in the light?
Verses 15, 16 & 17 are worth looking at. Bible commentaries suggest that the "world" in these verses is not the created world or people - but the world of sin, which is the dominion of Satan. "Stop loving this evil world and all that it offers you, for when you love the world, you show that you do not have the love of the Father in you. For the world offers only the lust for physical pleasure, the lust for everything we see, and pride in our possessions. These are not from the Father. They are from this evil world. And this world is fading away, along with everything it craves. But if you do the will of God, you will live forever." Are we doing the will of God in our lives? Do you want to live with God forever? Do you continually pray to God to deliver you from lust & pride?
First John 2 verse 27 stood out to me today: "But you have received the Holy Spirit, and he lives within you, so you don't need anyone to teach you what is true. For the Spirit teaches you all things, and what he teaches is true--it is not a lie. So continue in what he has taught you, and continue to live in Christ." After we come to believe in Christ as Savior of the World - through his life, death on the cross for our sins, and resurrection - we are then blessed with the amazing gift of the Holy Spirit. And indeed the Holy Spirit will come to live within us. Do you believe that the Holy Spirit within you can teach you all things? Teach you what is true? Will you continue in what the Holy Spirit has taught you? Will you live in Christ?
First John 3 verse 1 is encouraging: "See how very much our heavenly Father loves us, for he allows us to be called his children, and we really are!" Do you know that our heavenly Father loves you? Do you know that you are a child of God?
First John chapter 3 verse 9 is powerful in today's readings! "Those who have been born into God's family do not sin, because God's life is in them. So they can't keep on sinning, because they have been born of God." Keep in mind that this does not mean that as a Christian you won't stop sinning completely and be perfect. However, you will be in the process of being sanctified and your life will be shown as someone who is compelled to do what is right, because God is in you, versus having a life that shows you are compelled to sin, if you were without God. But, this verse is still great for believers to reflect upon - we do not want to sin anymore and we're in the process of sinning less and less through sanctification - until the day we are in heaven with Christ when indeed we will never sin again. Do you realize this is your eternal purpose?
Today in First John chapter 3 verse 16 we read: "We know what real love is because Christ gave up his life for us. And so we also ought to give up our lives for our Christian brothers and sisters." This is a powerful verse for us to reflect on. Jesus died on the cross for our sins. He gave up his life so that we may have eternal life with the Father through faith in him. Jesus’ giving up his life for you and me is real love. How might we be able to show real love toward others? How might we be able to give up our lives for others? Not necessarily are we being called to death on a cross - but how about a figurative death in our lives on how we invest our time, energy, & passions? Is it possible that our indulgence in luxury goods and how we waste precious time could cost the very lives of someone else in need somewhere in the world? Can we give up our "life", our luxury goods, and our wasting of time so that we can show real love for others? Will we? Will we follow Jesus in the giving up of our own life for the sake of others?
First John chapter 4 verse 1 starts the chapter off with quite a warning today: "Dear friends, do not believe everyone who claims to speak by the Spirit. You must test them to see if the spirit they have comes from God. For there are many false prophets in the world." The interesting thing about this verse for me today is the implication to "see if the spirit they have comes from God." Meaning, that the spirit some have come from the opposite of God - the devil. A bit scary to think about this and realize this. But, it's true. There is good and evil in the world, and good and evil spirits influencing people. It's better if we realize this. It is a fallen world. Do you believe this verse to be true? Do you believe there is both good - and evil - in the world? Do you believe there are many false prophets in the world?
YouTube - Today's readings in First John remind me of Addison Road's song "Hope Now:"
Do you have hope right now? Click here for your true Hope!
Please join us in memorizing and meditating on two verses of Scripture today: "This is the message we have heard from him and declare to you: God is light; in him there is no darkness at all. If we claim to have fellowship with him and yet walk in the darkness, we lie and do not live out the truth." 1 John 1:5-6 (NIV)
Prayer Point: Pray that you are walking in the Light of God today and forevermore. Pray that you never return to walking in the darkness. Pray that you are living out the truth by walking in the Light!
Comments from You: What verses or insights stand out to you in today's readings? Please post up by clicking on the "Comments" link below!
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