Review of Chapter 1
The Word of Life is Jesus from beginning of creation.
Jesus brought the way to have fellowship with God producing eternal life.
The apostles were eye witnesses to Jesus’ physical resurrection.
Believers have sin but should avoid sin.
Jesus is our propitiation.
A person can not love the things of the world and God at the same time.
Antichrists deny Jesus is the Christ.
The truth leading to eternal life is found in Christ which leads us to love others and practice righteousness vs. the lie which denies Christ’s deity and practice sin.
Be prepared to deal with false teaching and false teachers in the church.
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
Let’s begin 1 John Chapter 3
v.1 What has God done for believers? (See how great a love the Father has bestowed on us,)
What does ‘bestowed’ mean? (presented as a gift or privilege)
How did God demonstrate His outpouring of love for believers? (that we would be called children of God;)
We are not just called children of God we are actually what? (and such we are)
In the present time we are children of God.
What is the result of being a child of God? (For this reason the world does not know us,)
Why is this true? (because it did not know Him.)
What is ‘it’ referring to? (the world)
What is true about the world? (did not know Him)
Who is being described as the world who did not know Him? (Unbelievers)
The world does not know God and therefore cannot know believers as children of God.
Unbelievers do not have any comprehension of what this relationship is we have with God.
v.2 What is true for believers now? (Beloved, now we are children of God,)
We know we are children of God now.
What don’t we now know about this state of being children of God? (and it has not appeared as yet what we will be)
What does ‘appeared’ mean? (to make visible, show, display or reveal)
What is the ‘it' referring to? (what we will be)
Right now we do not know what it will look like to be children of God in the future.
The full extent of the benefit of being children of God is not displayed yet.
What are believers waiting for? (We know that when He appears,)
Who is the ‘He’? (Jesus)
When will Jesus appear to believers? (When He returns for us)
When does Jesus return for us? (The rapture also known as our resurrection)
v.2 When He appears what will happen? (we will be like Him,)
Why is this true? (because we will see Him just as He is.)
How would we describe the state Jesus is in now? (Resurrected)
Do we see Jesus in His resurrected form now? (no)
John explains when we finally see Jesus in His resurrected form then we will also be in our resurrected form. See 1 Corinthians 15:51-53, Philippians 3:20-21.
What do we learn about the resurrected body? (We will be changed to imperishable and immortal, fully transformed to be like Jesus is now.)
The bodies we receive at the resurrection (rapture) are imperishable and immortal.
Our bodies will not deteriorate and will be ours forever!
This is the blessed hope only the Christian has about the future.
John is directly refuting the Gnostic teaching of deity not dwelling in flesh as he declares Jesus is in human resurrected form now.
John is also contending with the teaching there will be no resurrection by declaring clearly “we will be like Him”; we will be resurrected as well.
v.3 How does John continue? (And everyone who has this hope fixed on Him purifies himself, just as He is pure.)
What is “this hope” referring back to? (v.2 We will be like Him when He appears)
This hope is in resurrection.
This hope is rooted in what? (fixed on Him)
Who is the Him? (Jesus)
Fixed on what about Him? (He is resurrected and through belief in the gospel believers will also be resurrected as v.2 says “We will be like Him when He appears”)
v.3 When a believer lives with this hope what happens to him? (purifies himself)
What comparison does John use to demonstrate how pure the believer is? (just as He is pure.)
Who is the “He”? (Jesus)
When we believe in the gospel of Jesus Christ what part of a believer is purified, or without sin? (Our spirit)
We receive the Holy Spirit. See Ephesians 1:13-14.
Before we received the Holy Spirit we lived with a dead spirit.
This dead spirit we inherited from Adam; when Adam sinned his spirit became dead.
Adam’s physical body did not die that day but his spirit died that day.
This is the dead spirit every person descended from Adam inherits.
When Adam sinned his spirit became dead and broken fellowship with God occurred.
God provides the way to correct this dead spirit and make our spirit pure. See Titus 3:4-7.
v.4 When did the kindness of God our Savior and His love for mankind appear? (The gift of Jesus)
v.5 God saved us how? (by the Holy Spirit)
v.6 God saves through who? (Jesus Christ our Savior)
v.7 What did God do through His Grace? (We are justified)
When justified we are what? (heirs)
What are heirs? (children of God, those who inherit what the Father has)
What are we promised as heirs? (eternal life)
Let us reread Titus replacing pronouns with God.
We see over again that God is the actor
When someone believes in the gospel the Holy Spirit regenerates the sin nature or dead spirit to a living and eternal spirit.
1John 3:3 describes this as “purified”; this is how we know John is talking about sin in the context of the spirit and not the flesh.
Continuing in 1 John 3:4-10
v.4 What is the contrast given to one who purifies himself? (Everyone who practices sin also practices lawlessness; and sin is lawlessness.)
The Greek word translated "lawlessness" (anosmia) carries an implication of wickedness; a brazen opposition to God and rejection of God’s law.
This is again a discussion of the position of the false teachers John has been addressing.
Virtue is more important to God than knowledge, a dead spirit still living in its sin nature precludes virtue.
v.5 What is Jesus’ response to sin? (You know that He appeared in order to take away sins;)
Jesus came in the flesh and appeared to men for the express purpose of taking away sin.
1 John 3:5 Jesus accomplished this and yet what is true for Him? (and in Him there is no sin.)
How did Jesus avoid being born with this inherited sin nature?
Jesus was not born with a sin nature, because He was conceived of the Holy Spirit not the "seed of men”, which is the significance of the virgin birth of Jesus. See Matthew 1:18-21.
Jesus did not inherit a sin nature from Adam.
Jesus also never committed a sin in His life. See 2 Corinthians 5:21, 1 Peter 2:21-24, Hebrews 7:26-27.
1 John 3:6 Because of what Jesus accomplished what is true for the believer? (No one who abides in Him sins;)
Jesus came to take away our sin.
He bore our sins in His body on the cross.
He bore the consequences of our sins which was the wrath of God.
He offered up Himself as the sacrifice for our sins so we might become the righteousness of God in Him.
This righteousness is seen in the Holy Spirit in us when we become believers.
Our spirit is now sinless since it is the Holy Spirit. Galatians 3:13-14
Your spirit is regenerated.
v.6 What is the contrast of having this Holy Spirit according to John? (no one who sins has seen Him or knows Him.)
What sins is John talking about?
These sins would need to be what keeps a person from having seen Him or knowing Him. See 1 Corinthians 2:14
When one abides in Him they receive the promise of the Sprit in faith and through the Spirit of God cannot sin in His spirit.
When one does not abide in Him the opposite is true, he does not have the Spirit of God and only the dead spirit reigns in him and thus can only sin.
1 John 3:7 How does John continue to address this topic? (Little children, make sure no one deceives you; the one who practices righteousness is righteous, just as He is righteous;)
How does John address the believers? (Little children)
What is John’s focus? (make sure no one deceives you;)
John is again warning against those who were bringing false teaching to the church.
What truth does John establish first? (the one who practices righteousness is righteous, just as He is righteous;)
The believer can practice righteousness because Jesus is righteous, we can only practice what we have received from Him.
It might have been the false teachers were saying believers could not be righteous, or practice righteousness now.
John wants to make it perfectly clear that believers can practice righteousness now because they are righteous by virtue of the Holy Spirit they received and it is possible because Jesus is righteous.
v.8 What is the contrast to those who practice righteousness from Jesus? (the one who practices sin is of the devil;)
There are only two kinds of people in the world; believers and unbelievers, those who are children of God and those of the devil.
Those of the devil will practice sin.
What is true about the devil? (for the devil has sinned from the beginning.)
This is confirmed by Jesus as recorded in John 8:43-44.
1 John 3:8 What did Jesus do because of the sin of the devil? (The Son of God appeared for this purpose, to destroy the works of the devil.)
The works of the devil are too many to list but we have confirmation of the worst of his works. See Hebrews 2:14-15.
The devil sinned from the beginning, the devil was a murderer from the beginning, the devil is a liar, the devil had the power of death.
Jesus came to destroy the works of the devil.
The devil no longer has the power of death.
Do Christians still physically die? (yes)
What death does a Christian not experience? (Spiritual death)
Why are we not to fear the physical death? (We have the promise of resurrection)
1 John 3:9 What does John say is now true for believers because of what Jesus did? (No one who is born of God practices sin, because His seed abides in him; and he cannot sin, because he is born of God.)
What does it mean “His seed abides in him”?
When one becomes a believer what abides in you? (The Holy Spirit)
What does it mean “one is born of God”? (Spiritually born of God, often referred to as “born again”)
Read John 3:1-21. Jesus speaking with Nicodemus about being born again.
1 John 3:10 John establishes it is possible for the readers of this letter to know what? (By this the children of God and the children of the devil are obvious:)
John declares the first measurement of unbelievers how? (anyone who does not practice righteousness is not of God,)
Those claiming to be Children of God, but do not practice righteousness can be identified as unbelievers.
What is the second measurement of unbelievers? (nor the one who does not love his brother.)
When someone does not demonstrate love of other believers this is also a sign they are not believers.
John covered this earlier in this same correspondence. See 1 John 2:9
It is clear the false teachers were doing things to demonstrate hatred towards other believers.
This hatred was probably focused towards the apostles and anyone who was standing against their false teaching.
It was a clear sign they were not of God and contrary to what they were professing they did not truly know God.
Knowledge of God was clearly not the most important thing to achieve if it did not lead to knowing God which was demonstrated in actions.
This was John again dealing with this false tenet of Gnosticism.
A believer’s conduct manifests in relationship with God, in avoiding sin, and in loving fellow believers:
Do you KNOW God?
Do you have this relationship with God?
Do you avoid sin knowing the Holy Spirit is in you and witnesses all you think and do?
Do you seek forgiveness from God when you do sin?
Do you demonstrate love to fellow believers?