Love the Truth – 1 John 4 – Bible Study Notes

This study features notes from Enduring Word.

V1-6:

1. What makes a true prophet? Is acknowledging that Jesus has come in the flesh the only test?

True prophecy and true teaching will present a true Jesus. Someone can confess that he has come in the flesh yet deny he is God.

2. Why do we not need to fear false prophets or the spirit of the antichrist?

God is greater than Satan and all of his allies. We have the indwelling spirit of God.

3. What’s the contrast between those in the world and those who are of God?

Those who are of the world are evident because they speak as of the world. The world hears them and they face none of the rejection that a Christian will face from the world, as they are friends with the world.

4. What do we need to be aware of when speaking or preaching the gospel to the world?

We must ensure they’re not hearing us because we speak as of the world. We must make sure we don’t say what they want to hear.

5. In John’s day, the issue was about if Jesus had truly come in a real body of flesh and blood. What are the issues today?

Accepting Jesus is God. Some groups deny that.

V7-12:

6. Why is it so important to love each other?

If love is of God, those who claim to know God must be able to love each other in the body of Christ.

7. The phrase “God is love” is used a lot. What does it actually mean?

Love describes the character and heart of God. He is so rich in love and compassion that it can be used to describe his very being. We are not saying everything about God. It’s an essential aspect of his character. It doesn’t eliminate his holiness, righteousness or justice. Everything God does expresses his love.

8. What’s the evidence of God living in us?

If we really walk in God’s love for us, it will be evident in our love for each other.

V13-21:

9. What’s the assurance that John gives?

We don’t have to merely hope we are saved. We can know and we can know now, this side of eternity. We can have boldness on the day of judgment.

10. What should our response be to God and his love?

We are called to take the love and grace God gives, to know it by experience and to believe it.

11. What’s the ultimate reason to love?

We love him because he first loved us. He loved us before the world was created.

12. How can we learn to love God more and how can we learn to love people more?

We can learn how to love God by loving people. Being born of God and abiding in him gives us the ability to love, but it is a choice of our will to draw upon that resource and give it out to others.

Children of God – 1 John 2:28-3:10 – Bible Study Notes

This study features notes from Enduring Word.

V28-29:

1. How can we have confidence when Jesus returns?

Abiding in Jesus means that we don’t need to be afraid or ashamed when Jesus returns. This is because we have intimately known him, and can therefore have confidence at his coming. John used “we” instead of “you”; he needed this confidence also.

2. Why is the idea of abiding or living in Jesus so important?

When you abide in him, you are ready for Jesus to come at any time. It gives us confidence as we know we wouldn’t change our lives dramatically if we somehow knew Jesus would come back next week. We’d already be abiding in him.

3. How do God’s children resemble God the Father?

We will practice righteousness in our lives because we are born of him. God is righteous, so those who are born of him also practice righteousness.

3:1-3:

4. How does John feel and how does he speak in v1?

Having just mentioned being born of him, John speaks in amazement about this manner of love that makes us children of God.

5. How is the greatness of God’s love shown in that we are called children of God?

There’s a sense that this is an unnecessary blessing that God gives in the course of salvation and a demonstration of his true and deep love for us. Someone might help or save someone, but not make them part of their family, but this is what God has done for us. It’s one sided – not a return for something earned.

6. How should we expect the world to treat us?

Because of our unique parentage from God, we are strangers to this world (or should be). We should expect the world to treat us as it treated him – rejection and hostility.

7. What can we expect in the future if we are children of God?

Our future destiny is clouded. We can’t even imagine what we will be like in glory. When Jesus is revealed to us, we shall be like him. We will still be ourselves, but our character and nature will be perfected into the image is Jesus’ perfection. None of us will be finished until we see Jesus.

V4-6:

8. How does John describe sin?

It’s a disregard for the law of God, which is inherently a disregard for the law maker, God himself.

9. How does John describe the mission of Jesus?

To take away our sins. Jesus had no sin to take away; therefore he could take away our sin, taking it upon himself.

10. How does John describe Christians? What does he mean when he says Christians no longer sin?

To abide in him means to not sin. John is talking about a continued lifestyle of sin, rather than occasional acts of sin. A true Christian can’t go on sinning without being concerned and without struggling to put it right.

V7-10:

11. Why should we not sin?

Our character reveals the family to which we belong. If we are made righteous by our faith in Jesus, it will be seen by our righteous lives.

12. How can we identify children of God and children of the devil?

Both love and righteousness are essential. We are to never love at the expense of righteousness and are never to be righteous at the expense of love.

13. What difference will it make to our lives (even this week) to remember that we are children of God?

We should want to live for him and resemble our heavenly father, so that others can see righteousness, only through faith in Jesus.

Old and New Love – 1 John 2:1-14 – Bible Study Notes

This study features notes from Enduring Word.

V1-6:

1. How does the opening sentence of v1 link to the end of chapter 1? Why is John addressing this?

John has made it clear that sin is a fact of Christian life and there is always forgiveness. Christians should also be concerned about sin. John addresses this because of the issue of relationship with God and how sin can break that.

2. What’s the encouragement in v1b-2?

We have an advocate – Jesus Christ himself. He is righteous – fully qualified to serve as our advocate.

3. Why does John add ‘not only for ours but also for the sins of the whole world?’ [Why does this mean the whole world isn’t saved?]

Though Jesus made his propitiation for the whole world, the whole world isn’t saved. Atonement doesn’t equal forgiveness. The OT Day of Atonement demonstrates this (Leviticus 16:34), when the sin of all Israel was atoned for, yet not all of Israel was saved. God has taken care of the sin problem. Sin need not be a barrier between God and man, if man will receive the propitiation God has provided in Jesus.

4. What’s the evidence of someone knowing God?

They keep his commandments. Simple, loving obedience.

5. What’s the difference between knowing about Jesus and knowing Jesus?

We can know about lots of people and not know them. You can’t be saved by knowing about Jesus. The only saving knowledge is to know him and to trust him.

6. What does it mean for God’s love to be made complete in us?

A perfected love for God will show itself in obedience and the presence of this obedience and love gives us assurance that we are in Jesus.

7. How are we to live as Jesus did? What is John calling us to do?

We are called to imitate Jesus’ everyday walk with God the Father. The spiritual power evident in the life of Jesus flowed from a faithful, regular, disciplined life of fellowship and obedience.

V7-11:

8. How is the commandment to love one another both old and new?

It was old in the sense that it was preached to the brethren their whole Christian lives (Leviticus 19:18). It’s always been part of the Christian message. It’s new in the sense that it was called the new commandment by Jesus in John 13:34. Jesus displayed a kind of love never seen before.

9. How can our relationship with God be measured by our love for other Christians?

If we can’t love each other, we have no way to claim a real love for God. On one hand, God is merciful in requiring this because we’re not measured by how we love non-Christians, but it is difficult, as we expect more from our Christian friends.

10. What’s the danger in losing love?

If we lose love, we lose everything. You can do all the right things, believe the right truths but if you don’t love other Christians, all is lost.

11. How might we show hatred?

Avoidance, bitterness, conflict, gossip.

V12-14:

John addresses his readers according to their measure of spiritual maturity.

12. What does he say to little children, or young Christians?

Forgiveness is the special joy of God’s little children because God’s forgiveness does not come by degrees. Even the youngest Christian is completely forgiven.

In the first stage of spiritual growth, we sink our roots deep in the care and love of God. We know him as our caring Father, and see ourselves as his dependent children.

13. What does John say to fathers, or people who have been Christians for a very long time?

Spiritual maturity has its roots in knowing Jesus. The depths of fellowship and relationship we have with him. John repeats this as it should be emphasised. The relationship people have is true and deep.

14. What does John say to young men, or those who aren’t children and aren’t yet fathers?

They are engaged in battle with the wicked one. The repetition indicates emphasis. Not only have the young men overcome the wicked one, they have done it through the strength that comes to them through the word of God.

15. How is John linking to what he’s already said and encouraging his readers?

Although they’re sinners, they’re forgiven. When they know Jesus, they know God. They are on the side that’s already won.

16. How can our faith in Jesus make a difference to our everyday lives? How can we love each other in the way John has commanded?

Know God personally. Walk in the light, not in darkness.

Real Love – 1 John 5:1-12 – Sermon Notes

John uses a human example (v1). He wants us to see that God loves his children and therefore we must love them as well. Loving God means obeying his commands. We all love to be loved. We all know that the world isn’t a place full of love. We find it difficult to love others. We’re all guilty of not loving the way we should. We’ve twisted and changed true love. Real love is about other people. It makes sacrifices. It’s even prepared to die. Our version is distorted. It turns into a love for ourselves. How can we overcome the world?

Only those who trust Jesus can truly love. We need to be transformed. There’s no quick fix. Only those who trust in Jesus are totally changed. We must be reborn if we are to have any hope of truly loving. If you’re born of God you can’t help but pick up his traits. When you trust in Jesus you’re trusting that what he’s done on the cross is enough to deal with your self loving ways. You can be free to love others.

Make sure you trust the real Jesus. People have different opinions on who Jesus is. John is keen to show this church that it’s important to believe the truth. He’s talking about three aspects of Jesus’ life. The Spirit refers to Jesus’ baptism. The Spirit confirms Jesus is God’s son. The water also refers to his baptism but points forwards to his ministry. The blood refers to his death. It was enough to deal with our sin. Without these things there can be no hope for us.

If you don’t trust Jesus you’re making God out to be a liar. Through Jesus God has made things right again. We need to accept what he’s done for us. It paves the way for us to be his children. Only those who have Jesus have life. This is life in every sense of the word. It means our relationships that are broken can be restored.

Union with Christ: The heart of Christian fellowship – 1 John 1:1-10 – Sermon Notes

The problem isn’t intellectual. It’s to do with affection. We have ideas of fellowship that aren’t quite what the Bible says about it. Church lunches. Activities.

What is spiritual fellowship?

Fellowship: The life of God in the soul of man experienced personally by believing the truth and sharing relationally in the church leading to joy and holiness.

It’s from the beginning and has come quite near. John has seen and heard and touched life itself. This life is Jesus. We are meant to share in it with other Christians and with God himself. There’s a partnership that happens on a spiritual level. It’s something that’s accomplished and for us to enjoy. We’re in him and that changes everything. The theme of God living with his people runs through the Bible. He unites our hearts in fellowship.

What’s the goal?

John gives us something else that we should delight in. He’s clarifying the message of the gospel so that our joy would be complete and there would be nothing lacking in our experience of it. People are trying desperately to find it. The world is increasingly unhappy.

If you find yourself unhappy, are you in fellowship with God and his people? This joy is also holy. God is absolute, perfect light. No darkness at all.

John gives three negative and two positive statements. Light and darkness don’t mix. You can’t claim to have fellowship with God and live like a devil. See John 3:19-21. The Bible denies that our sin is compatible with God. We have an alien righteousness that is perfect.

We have fellowship with each other. The negative statements teach us that denial of our sin leads to death. The positive statements that confession leads to life. The blood of Jesus atones all our sin. All that the Son is, he now gives to you. Not just once. He cleanses us and continually does that. If we sin, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins.

Carry this message of fellowship with God to others around you.

Stop thinking of the Christian life as individual and private. There is more. You’re part of a body. A family.

Stop deceiving yourselves.

Love the idea of a local church and our membership in it.