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.
Jesus is our propitiation.
A person cannot 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 practices 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
Believers are children of God.
We will be resurrected as Jesus was resurrected when He comes back for us.
The believer becomes purified like Jesus when one receives the Holy Spirit at the moment of salvation when we are born again, this allows a believer to practice righteousness and love the brethren.
Jesus came to destroy the works of the devil.
Continuing in 1 John 3:11-15
v.11 John establishes this is not a new measurement of relationship how? (For this is the message which you have heard from the beginning, that we should love one another;)
v.12 What example is given? (not as Cain, who was of the evil one and slew his brother. And for what reason did he slay him? Because his deeds were evil, and his brother’s were righteous.)
John gives the example of Cain from Genesis, this underscores the point this has been a true message from the beginning.
Cain was of who? (was of the evil one)
What did he do? (slew his brother)
Why did he slay him? (Because his deeds were evil)
Cain’s deeds are described as evil even before he murders his brother.
The contrast is also given of the brother’s actions as being righteous.
Not only were Cain’s deeds evil but he resented that his brother’s deeds were righteous. See Genesis 4:3-8
v.3 What did Cain do? (Cain brought an offering to the LORD of the fruit of the ground.)
v 4 What did Abel do? (brought of the firstlings of his flock and of their fat portions.)
How was Abel’s offering received? (the LORD had regard for Abel and his offering)
v.5 How was Cain’s offering received? (for Cain and for his offering He had no regard)
How did Cain respond? (Cain became very angry and his countenance fell)
v.6 What question does God pose to Cain? (“Why are you angry? And why has your countenance fallen?)
God does not expect an answer from Cain.
v.7 What opportunity does God give Cain to do as God required? (If you do well)
In Hebrew, the verse reads only “do well, be raised up”.
The LORD had regard for Abel and therefore had regard for the offering he brought to God.
God already had regard for Abel not because of the offering but before the offering.
Abel had faith in God.
Out of this faith Abel was able to act righteously before God and this was demonstrated in the offering he made to God.
God did not have regard for Cain and therefore did not have regard for his offering.
1John 3:12 Informs us Cain was of who? (who was of the evil one)
Cain does not have faith in God and this is demonstrated in an offering that could never please God.
Cain is not a believer.
Cain speaks with Abel so he knows Abel’s offering was accepted.
What was Cain’s response? (and slew his brother.)
Cain’s response was to kill Abel.
What was the reason given for why Cain killed Abel? (Because his deeds were evil, and his brother’s were righteous.)
The unrighteous are convicted by the acts of the righteous and the unrighteous persecute the righteous.
John specifically uses this event from Genesis to give an explanation of why the believers in John’s day will experience persecution.
v.13 John cautions the believers how? (Do not be surprised, brethren, if the world hates you.)
John warns believers that when their deeds are righteous the unbelievers of the world will hate them.
This was true from the beginning of creation and has continued to be the experience of believers throughout the ages.
Have you ever experienced this truth in your life?
We need to be prepared for this reaction from the world!
v.14 What is true for believers? (We know that we have passed out of death into life,)
What part of death has the believer experienced the transition into life? (Spiritual)
Believers have a new Spirit that will live eternally.
How is this new life demonstrated? (because we love the brethren.)
What else can be true? (He who does not love abides in death.)
The person unable to love the brethren still abides in the dead spirit, the one he was born with.
What standard is the author establishing? (hating another believer demonstrates someone who is an unbeliever)
John spends time on this description of Cain and Abel to highlight what’s going on in the current situation in the church.
v.15 John emphasizes the significance of this hate how? (Everyone who hates his brother is a murderer;)
How does hate equal murder? (To truly hate is to wish another dead)
Just because someone has not actually committed the action does not mean they have not done so in their heart, from God’s perspective there is no difference. See Matthew 5:27-28
Jesus said if a man lusts after a woman he has committed the act of adultery in his heart.
This is also true when a believer hates another believer, he wishes him dead and in his heart he has already committed murder.
1John 3:15 What is true about a believer who hates his brother? (and you know that no murderer has eternal life abiding in him.)
Hate in a heart happens because they don’t know Christ, they do not have the Holy Spirit abiding in them therefore they have no eternal life.
Does this verse mean someone who has committed murder can’t be forgiven and receive eternal life? (no, we know there is no sin outside of God’s forgiveness)
The description is of someone, at the time of hating, demonstrating there is no love so there is not a relationship with God at that moment.
Let’s continue in 1 John:
v.16 How does a believer respond to his brother? (We know love by this, that He laid down His life for us; and we ought to lay down our lives for the brethren.)
Who is John referring to when he says “He laid down His life for us”? (Jesus)
Love is defined for us in that Christ loved us enough to die for us even though we were sinners.
The contrast is established that Cain took a righteous life in hate while Jesus sacrificed His righteous life for sinners in love.
1 John 3:16 What are believers to do then? (and we ought to lay down our lives for the brethren)
We should love the brethren to that same level, being willing to die for fellow believers
Was physical death a real possibility for these believers? (Yes)
v.17 Outside of the ultimate sacrifice of death how else can this love of the brethren be demonstrated? (But whoever has the world’s goods, and sees his brother in need and closes his heart against him, how does the love of God abide in him?)
What are the world’s goods? (Physical things like food, shelter, clothing)
What can happen to a believer having the world’s good? (sees his brother in need)
What can a believer do who has the world’s goods and sees his brother in need? (closes his heart against him)
What does it mean one ‘sees his brother in need and closes his heart against him’?
To see a need would mean it is evident there is something essential lacking.
A natural response in one’s heart is to help those in need, this can be true in unbelievers as well.
When the response of someone is to close their heart, or have no desire to help someone obviously in need, what is the conclusion John says we should make? (how does the love of God abide in him?)
Again John is putting actions to the test and declaring those who declare themselves to be children of God and yet do not help believers in need, they should reevaluate their hearts.
What sacrifices are you willing to make for other believers?
John presents this as a way to distinguish between those who are of faith and the false teachers among them.
v.18 What does John say next? (Little children, let us not love with word or with tongue, but in deed and truth.)
Who is John addressing? (Little children)
Who are the ‘little children’? (Believers)
What are believers to not simply to do? (not love with word or with tongue,)
Is John suggesting believers should not say loving things to each other? (no)
We know this is not true so John gives his conclusion by saying how are believers to respond in love? (deed and truth)
John is emphasizing actions over words alone.
I have said in the past, “I can’t hear you because your actions are speaking louder than your words”.
This again is dealing with the Gnostics who claimed they could just have head knowledge without any regard for how they lived in the community of believers.
v.19 When a believer responds with deed and truth what is evident? (We will know by this that we are of the truth,)
What does it mean "we will know by this”? (We will possess a way to have knowledge of something, a confirmation of something)
What will we have knowledge of? (we are of the truth)
1 John 2:20 in the NIV is rendered:
In the NASB we read:
The translators of the NIV wanted to give the object of what we would know because we have the anointing from the Holy One.
The Holy One is the Holy Spirit.
John gives reference throughout the gospel of John of this principle. See John 14:16-2, 15:26-27, 16:13, 18:37.
What did we learn about the Holy Spirit?
The Holy Spirit abides in us, testifies about who Jesus is, guides us in all truth, allows us to hear the voice of God.
1 John 3:19 When John says “we are of the truth” he is saying we can only do these things if we have the Spirit of truth, which is the Holy Spirit living in us.
By this we will know we are of God; this is something we know about ourselves.
Why can we still know we are of God? (and will assure our heart before Him)
The Holy Spirit will assure our heart before God.
v.20 When do we need this assurance most? (in whatever our heart condemns us;)
What would cause this feeling of condemnation? (v.18 that we would only speak words of support without actually doing anything about the needs with our actions)
What is greater than our feeling of condemnation? (for God is greater than our heart and knows all things.)
God is greater than our heart, is bigger than the emotions that lead us.
God actually knows all things; He is not waiting to see how we feel about anything.
This high standard of demonstrated love for the brethren is how God convicts believers to know their own imperfections.
Because God is greater than our heart (emotions, feelings), and He knows all things, He does not leave us in that condemnation. See Romans 8:1-2
This is what Peter experienced in John 21:17
Peter knew Jesus knew Peter loved Him because he says, “You know all things.” Peter knew Jesus did not need to ask the question because He already knew all things.
1 John 3:21 What allows confidence without question? (Beloved, if our heart does not condemn us, we have confidence before God;)
When we know we have responded to others’ needs we then do not feel guilty or condemned and we approach God with confidence.
v.22 What can believers do with this confidence before God? (and whatever we ask we receive from Him,)
What allows our requests to be granted? (because we keep His commandments and do the things that are pleasing in His sight.)
We are doing God’s will when we are living by His commandments and doing the things that are pleasing in His sight.
God grants requests that are in His will!
John confirms this later in 1 John 5:14
Back to 1 John 3:23-24
v.23 John defines God’s commandment how? (This is His commandment, that we believe in the name of His Son Jesus Christ, and love one another, just as He commanded us.)
To believe in the name of His Son Jesus Christ is to believe the gospel.
To love one another is to live out the gospel.
v.24 What additional encouragement does John give? (The one who keeps His commandments abides in Him, and He in him.)
How is this assurance possible? (We know by this that He abides in us, by the Spirit whom He has given us.)
When we have the Holy Spirit we know He abides in us, because that is HOW He abides in us.
What does abide mean?
In the Greek (menō) meaning a to stay, abide, remain: appears in the New Testament as —abide(18), abides(27), abiding(6), await(1), continue(3), endures(1), lasting(1), living(1), remain(20), remained(6), remaining(1), remains(7), stand(1), stay(10), stayed(11), staying(3), waiting(1).
What have we learned so far it means for Him to abide in us?