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1 John

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Teaching Opposed to Jesus

1 John 2:18-19

John looked forward to the return of Jesus. Although Jesus would not say when He will come, His apostles knew that they must be ready for Him at any moment (Matthew 24:42) … so every hour should be treated as the 'last hour' before the skies fill with the brilliance of Jesus and a multitude of angels announce that He reigns over all.

Knowing the Truth

1 John 2:20-23

Who knows what is true? Many people are confused but want to know. They have a sense of being eternal but do not know who God really is, or how to find Him. Some think that they have the answers, and those who are passionate communicators go around teaching what they claim is true. It was common in John's day for travelling philosophers to peddle their ideas in the market places and lecture rooms. So the false teachers had an easy entrance to the community, and they particularly wanted to get into the churches. The same is true today.

Remain with the Gospel

1 John 2:24-25

None of the people who would read John's letter had ever met Jesus. Like us, they relied on the ministry of the apostles who had met the risen Jesus and been instructed by Him. Their message brought eternal life to everyone who confessed their sins and trusted that the blood of Jesus Christ purified them from all sin (1 John 1:7-9). The apostles learned it from Jesus and the Holy Spirit taught them how to explain it to others; in turn, they taught this gospel and many were born again, and churches formed to worship Jesus Christ, through whom they knew Father God.

Do Not Let Anybody Disturb Your Faith

1 John 2:26-27

It would be nice to think that everybody is supporting you and wanting the best for you. But that would be a delusion. In the same way that evangelism is an active and intentional process to bring people to receive the love of God through Jesus Christ, the opportunistic and systematic attempts to pull believers away from Christ are no accident. In every part of the world people are actively trying to lead believers away from their spiritual home.

Continue in Christ

1 John 2:28

Starting is often easier than continuing through difficulty and hardship. It is a tough lesson for every child and yet with encouragement and love the child can learn to overcome the obstacles and develop essential life skills. The same is true for the children of God. That was why John wrote his letters … so that God's children, who were so dear to him, would learn to keep trusting the Lord resisting worldly temptations, fleshly lusts and false teaching.

Family Likeness

1 John 2:29

Families often have common characteristics: they may look the same physically, have similar habits and mannerisms and may use similar words. That is because they share similar genes and have had a shared experience in their upbringing. We call such things their 'family likeness'. The same is true with God's children: they are children of the righteous God (Psalm 7:11) and should be righteous.

Loved and Ignored

1 John 3:1

True Christians lived at the junction of two realities. They are, at the same time, passionately loved by God and considered irrelevant by the world. The love of God comes with an intense awareness of being known by our Creator, Redeemer, Saviour and Friend. The world has no interest in us except to mock and ridicule the children of God.

From Privilege Position to Practising Purity

1 John 3:2-3

Unlike many human relationships, we do not have to persuade God to love us: He already loves us. We cannot do anything to get into His family: through the grace of Christ we have been made children of God when we repented of our sin and received His love (John 1:12). And yet the fullness of our privileged position is not always apparent to us; nor do we often look like the finished masterpiece in our Father's house.

Sin is Lawlessness

1 John 3:4-6

John describes sin as 'breaking the law of God', and then goes on to call it 'rebellion' ('lawlessness' in this translation). Although we tend to think about sin as doing or saying things that hurt others, the essence of sin is not just breaking commandments but rebelling against God (Psalm 51:4).

Evil Diversions

1 John 3:7-8

False teachers lead people astray; but where do the errors come from in the first place? Certainly there are plenty of power seekers, manipulators and egotists who want to make a name for themselves and attract a following. They will offer a new way, with the lure of a better life which matches what our sinful nature longs for (James 1:14-15). Their motive may appear to be fleshly or worldly, but they probably do not know that they are serving an evil master and contradicting the Word of God.

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