Review of Chapter 1:
The Word of Life is Jesus from beginning of creation.
Jesus brought the way to have fellowship with God resulting in eternal life.
The apostles were eye witnesses to Jesus’ physical resurrection.
Believers have sin but should avoid sin.
Chapter 2 so far:
Jesus is our propitiation.
Keep His commandments.
What are the five basic tenets of Gnosticism discussed?
1. Knowledge superior to virtue
2. Non-literal scripture only a select few could interpret
3. God is not only creator because He couldn’t create a world with sin
4. Deity can’t exist in flesh
5. No resurrection
John had said to these believers that the one who ”does not keep His commandments, is a liar”
John continues his explanation. Read 1 John 2:7-11
v.7 What does John say next? (Beloved, I am not writing a new commandment to you, but an old commandment which you have had from the beginning; the old commandment is the word which you have heard.)
What term does John use to clarify his audience? (Beloved)
The beloved are who? (Believers)
John writes what? (an old commandment which you have had from the beginning;)
How had they heard this old commandment? (the old commandment is the word which you have heard.)
Where would we look to see old commandments the believers would know about? See Deuteronomy 6:4-6, Leviticus 19:18
1 John 2:8 What does John add to this? (On the other hand, I am writing a new commandment to you, which is true in Him and in you,)
This commandment is true for who? (in Jesus and is true in believers)
Why is this command true for both? (because the darkness is passing away and the true Light is already shining.)
The word Light is capitalized which tells us this is not a generic reference to light but is speaking about a person.
Who is the “true Light”? (Jesus is the person referred to as “true Light”)
How does the true Light shine?
Firstly, the true Light shines because Jesus came to the world and His light shines.
Secondly, when a person becomes a believer they have the Holy Spirit in them. They become another point of His light in the world.
This is demonstrated each time we see a candle light service.
The room starts dark and becomes brighter and brighter as more and more candles illuminate the space.
This is exactly what John is describing.
v.9 What is one way to know if someone is not in the Light? (The one who says he is in the Light and yet hates his brother is in the darkness until now.)
John says there are those who say they are in the Light but do what? (yet hates his brother is in the darkness until now)
Who is a brother in this context? (Another believer)
A believer can’t be in the Light of Jesus and still hate other believers.
These two things can’t co-exist.
v.10 What is the comparison to this hate? (The one who loves his brother abides in the Light)
The demonstration of love from one believer to another is a confirmation they are in the Light.
The demonstration of love for a brother in Christ would be to avoid anything that could cause another believer to stumble.
How would one believer stumble another believer? (There are many ways this could be true however John is specifically dealing with false teaching in the church.)
Those who would cause believers to move away from the true gospel and away from the apostles clear teaching of the gospel and the call to walk away from sin
v.11 What separation does John say can be made about whether someone is a believer? (But the one who hates his brother is in the darkness and walks in the darkness, and does not know where he is going because the darkness has blinded his eyes.)
When someone is claiming to be a believer but harbors hatred for another believer John says that person is in darkness.
What was the conclusion of what darkness was from our study of 1 John 1:5? (the darkness is the dominion of Satan, where sin is that must be forgiven.)
What is true for the one who is in the darkness? (and walks in the darkness)
This person walks in the dominion of Satan.
What does it mean to walk? (Live out each moment of each day)
When one walks in the darkness what is true about that walk? (and does not know where he is going)
He does not know where he is going as he walks through this life and he does not know where he is going in his eternal destination.
The darkness has done what to this person? (has blinded his eyes)
This person is blind to what the truth is. With blind eyes they don’t even see the darkness they are in.
False teachers often begin by disparaging others.
When others are teaching contrary to what the false teachers are advocating they will often attack not just the teaching but the person doing the teaching.
John is saying this one element of the current and future teachers in the church should be scrutinized, if they demonstrate hatred to other believers they should not be followed because the darkness has blinded their eyes.
This would be a refutation of the false teaching someone can claim to know God and separate their character or actions from that fellowship with God.
Let’s read 1 John 2:12-14
v.12 How does John address the believers next? (I am writing to you, little children, because your sins have been forgiven you for His name’s sake.)
John say he is talking to who? (little children)
Who are the ‘little children’? (Believers)
Believers are as ‘little children’ of God because of what? (because your sins have been forgiven you)
When our sins are forgiven we are children of God.
Why have our sins been forgiven? (for His name’s sake.)
What is a name’s sake? (one who is named after someone else)
The name is to be carried on to another generation.
Jesus Christ died so our sins could be forgiven. We are now His name’s sake.
v.13 What does John address next? (I am writing to you, fathers, because you know Him who has been from the beginning.)
John says what first? (I am writing to you)
John is giving the reason for writing the letter.
Why does John say he addresses the ‘fathers’? (because you know Him who has been from the beginning.)
Who is the “Him”? (Jesus)
The pronoun reference is to the true Light. That true light is our name sake.
Jesus is described how? (Who has been from the beginning)
John began this letter with this reference to the “beginning” in 1:1.
This is a focus back to the creation and this would be another moment for John to refute the false teaching saying Jesus was not the creator of this world.
How does John address believers next? (I am writing to you, young men, because you have overcome the evil one.)
Who is the evil one? (Always a reference to Satan)
Believers have their sins forgiven and know the creator, and in actions have overcome the evil one.
Believers have in the ultimate sense overcome evil because we belong to Jesus and have eternal life.
The Gnostics were always questioning the believers' knowledge to make them doubt they had all the answers they needed.
What is the purpose John wrote to the believers as children? (I have written to you, children, because you know the Father.)
We are His children because we truly know the Father, we are in fellowship with the Father.
v.14 What is the purpose John wrote to the believers as fathers? (I have written to you, fathers, because you know Him who has been from the beginning.)
What is the purpose John wrote to the believers as young men? (I have written to you, young men, because you are strong, and the word of God abides in you, and you have overcome the evil one.)
What two elements of young men does John add here that was not mentioned before? (You are strong, and the word of God abides in you)
In v.14 John is imitating Hebrew parallelism; repeating verses 12 and 13 with slight differences.
The false teachers may have been teaching concepts to these Christians to feel weak or unable to do good.
John tells them repeatedly they have all they need in strength because the word of God abides in them and the conclusion is that they have already overcome the evil one.
John insists believers had true knowledge of God in that they knew what it was to have their sins forgiven and have fellowship with the Eternal One, which allows them to be like zealous young men who had defeated satanic assaults.
John has not wavered in his discussion of what it means to truly KNOW God.
Read 1 John 2:15-17
v.15 What does John caution the believers about now? (Do not love the world nor the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him.)
These are two mutually exclusive world views. You can’t do both at the same time.
If you do love the world then the conclusion is what? (the Father is not in him)
Following John’s narrative these men would not know the Father, they would be unbelievers.
v.16 How does John help define what he is referring to? (For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh and the lust of the eyes and the boastful pride of life, is not from the Father, but is from the world.)
Three things are listed as matters of the world.
1. Lust of flesh focuses on the gratification of our fleshly desires.
Taste like food and drink, touch like comfortable clothes and physical touch, smells like perfumes or memory scents, hearing like nature and music
All things that stimulate the brain or direct emotions in some form including drugs & activities.)
2. The lust of his eyes is craving for what is seen, the outward appearance of things
It is the desire of the superficial and often what others have.
3. Boastful pride of life is the bragging of what one already has and/or does
Like job, hobby, sports, education, achievements, family…
The two clarifiers used are lust and boastful.
When the driving force is lust, the flesh is no longer able to be controlled – it controls us.
When we are boastful instead of being grateful for the gifts in this life that is not from God.
Keep in mind that the writer is teaching against Gnosticism – what point is he specifically dealing with here?
They would teach knowledge is superior, while John is saying virtue is superior and so defines virtue for them
v.17 What is the outcome of each world view? (The world is passing away, and also its lusts; but the one who does the will of God lives forever.)
What does it mean the world and also its lust are passing away? (Coming to an end)
None of the things of the world or the fleshly indulgences will be remembered in the future, they will cease to exist.
Now the great comparison – “but the one who does the Will of God“ does what? (lives forever)
The comparison is one who follows the path of the world OR the will of God.
These two things are always in contrast and conflict.
They can never be the same thing or coexist.
Only doing the will of God leads to eternal life.
v.18 What does John address next? (Children, it is the last hour; and just as you heard that antichrist is coming, even now many antichrists have appeared; from this we know that it is the last hour.)
How does John again refer to the believers? (Children)
John concludes it is what? (it is the last hour:)
What does it mean “it is the last hour”? (This would be some time described to these believers in a previous discussion or teaching)
John helps to define this next by continuing how? (and just as you heard that antichrist is coming)
These believers had already heard that “antichrist” would be coming – Notice John refers to antichrist in the singular.
This was not new information for these believers.
What else does John say about this topic? (even now many antichrists have appeared;)
This appears to be the new information John is bringing to the attention of these believers.
Now John refers to many “antichrists" in the plural.
Since the antichrists are appearing what is John’s conclusion? (from this we know that it is the last hour.)
John defines “antichrist” how? 1 John 4:3, 2 John 7
In 1 John 4:3 John first describes the spirit that does not confess Jesus as not from God.
That spirit is of the antichrist.
In 2 John 7 John describes men who do not acknowledge Jesus Christ as coming in the flesh as deceivers.
These deceivers are defined as antichrist.
1John 2:19 After defining terms how does John continue? (They went out from us, but they were not really of us; for if they had been of us, they would have remained with us; but they went out, so that it would be shown that they all are not of us.)
Who are the “they”? (v.18 many antichrists)
The many antichrists did what? (went out from us)
Who are the us? (Some group John was part of)
John has used the pronoun “we" in v.18 now switches to “us”.
What subset of believers had John been a part of?
John is part of the apostles of the first century church who were eye witness to all the events they bring to the world.
There were some who had come to this group of apostles for some reason, probably to be discipled, to be taught.
How does John continue? (but they were not really of us;)
They were not really part of the apostles sent out to the world.
If they had been believers what would they have done? (they would have remained with us;)
They separated from the true apostles of the church.
What did the many antichrists do? (but they went out,)
They left the apostles of the church.
When they renounced the true apostles what was the result? (so that it would be shown that they all are not of us.)
These men who declared themselves to be apostles were not true apostles or even believers.
John does not name the men who are the false teachers, the antichrists.
Their names are of no importance to the first century believers or for believers today.
What is taught that is false, is important for believers to understand always.
When someone is teaching what is false the true believer is to identify that person as a false teacher; John’s direct name is antichrist.
This has been true throughout the church age.
This is still true for us today.
We should not treat this lightly under cover of political correctness.
When there is false teaching it should be identified as such.
v.20 What is true for the believers John is writing to? (But you have an anointing from the Holy One)
Who is the Holy One? (The Holy Spirit)
Why was this not a secret anointing? (and you all know.)
This is a refutation to point 2 of the Gnostic teaching that only some special men receive special revelation, John says you all have the same anointing from the Holy One.
v.21 What is not a reason for John to write this letter? (I have not written to you because you do not know the truth,)
John is writing why? (but because you do know it, and because no lie is of the truth.)
v.22 How can the believers clearly identify these false teachers? (Who is the liar but the one who denies that Jesus is the Christ? This is the antichrist, the one who denies the Father and the Son.)
John continues this declaration of truth throughout this letter as we identified earlier.
The identification is denying both the Father and the Son.
They are eternally linked.
You can’t have fellowship with one and not the other.
v.23 The central tenet of false teachers is what? (Whoever denies the Son does not have the Father;)
The true measurement of a believer and true teacher is who? (the one who confesses the Son has the Father also.)
Professing God only is not a profession of Christian faith, or saving faith leading to eternal life – one must be professing Jesus as Christ.
If one doesn’t profess Christ, the writer says they are liars and antichrists; they are not teachers sent by God.
v.24 What does John say to the believers? (As for you, let that abide in you which you heard from the beginning.)
What was the first thing the apostles would teach when they spoke to anyone? (The gospel of Jesus)
After one believes in the gospel of Jesus what is true? (If what you heard from the beginning abides in you, you also will abide in the Son and in the Father.)
When a believer abides in the gospel of Jesus the Son they also abide with the Father.
There is no second level to achieve fellowship with the Father apart from what exists in the Son.
v.25 What is true for the believer? (This is the promise which He Himself made to us: eternal life.)
v.26 John specifically defines why he is writing this letter how? (These things I have written to you concerning those who are trying to deceive you.)