Living a Balanced Life Week 4 (Teaching Outline)

Living a Balanced Life

(An In-Depth Study of First John)

Week 4

Commentary

Knowing God

1 John 2:3-6

 Outline

A trusted and proven mentor is a gift of unspeakable value. To have a guide in this life that brings reality to light not only keeps one from stumbling, but makes possible a life to the full; one that overflows with joy. The Apostle John is such a mentor. He gathers us close as “my little children”, and speaks the truth into our lives.

There are times in life that cause us to question what we believe. It’s in these times that a mentor like John is so valuable. The church is experiencing a group of people, possibly former members of the same church, that have not only left the church, but have departed from the sound teaching previously given to believers by the Apostle. John is dealing with the claims made by this group of knowing God while walking in darkness. They even claimed that they had not sinned. These bold heretical claims that truly are contrary to sound doctrine, and brought division, have clearly shaken the church.

John, like a loving shepherd, drawing his flock close, begins his explanation of what is really happening as we read his opening argument in this week’s text (verse 3 of chapter 2): “And by this we know that we have come to know him, if we keep his commandments.” This is a positive statement offering assurance to believers that everyone found keeping the commandments of Christ truly know God. By implication, John is confident that knowledge of God exists that gives rise to such a desiring for God that life change happens.

So now what is this kind of knowing that necessarily gives rise to obedience? There must be something very powerful about this knowledge. Its capacity to produce obedience is so certain that John calls anyone a liar who claims to have this knowledge but not have obedience. What kind of knowledge of Christ has power to infallibly produce obedience to Christ? This week we explore what John means by “knowing God” and what John expects from those who do… 

Set the Scene: 

  • A group has left the church
  • This group is teaching things contrary to John’s teaching
  • True believers aren’t sure what they are experiencing

Three Stages in John’s Argument

  • Necessary connection between knowing Christ and keeping his commandments (Vs 4, 5a)
  • You can have assurance that you truly know Christ (Vs 3, 5b)
  • Anyone who says they know Christ must walk as He walked (Vs 6)

Four Questions from our Text

What does it mean to “keep his commandments”?

What is meant by “knowing” in verse 4?

How does this knowledge produce obedience?

In what sense is our keeping his commandments a perfecting of the love of God?

LIFE APPLICATION

Balance in life comes ultimately through desire.

Desire is always established by value.

Living a Balanced Life Week 3 (Teaching Outline)

Living a Balanced Life

(An In-Depth Study of First John)

Week 3

Commentary

Our Advocate

1 John 2:1-2

 Outline

We have learned so far from John’s letter that life balance and truth are inseparable. The truth about Jesus is… ‘he is the Christ’; God made manifest. This is a strong Gospel statement that implies that every person on earth has a very serious sin problem that leads to death. However, John declares that a proper name for Jesus is the Word of Life. Jesus alone leads each person who places their faith, in him alone, into fellowship with God and other believers.

Jesus’ message about God is this: “God is light, and in him is no darkness at all.” The application of that statement in John’s letter is for all believers to walk in the light. Balance occurs in the life of the believer when we are walking in the light and confessing our sin.

John has now made two key statements that purpose the central theme of his letter—“God is light; in him there is no darkness at all” (1:5), and “he is the atoning sacrifice for our sins, and not only for ours but also for the sins of the whole world” (2:2) To follow John’s thinking is to say that God is ultimate. He is only light, no darkness. He is only truth, no falsehood. Therefore God is the only source of balance in life. God has also made a way to experience his light and truth. In order to have perfect fellowship with him one must receive the eternal life God has revealed in Jesus. This Jesus is the only Savior for all, the only One who satisfies the wrath of God by taking on the guilt and punishment for sins.

In between these statements, John rules out falsehoods. One must not claim personal sinlessness. This is a direct warning not to forsake Jesus. John also declares the only way to meet the condition necessary for fellowship with God: the confession of our sins through believing in Jesus. In addition, Christians who confess their sins need not fear disqualification from fellowship with God. Jesus is now their Advocate who appears before the Father on their behalf. The basis of his advocacy (his propitiation for sins) is his once-for-all sacrifice that is all-sufficient.

As we focus on chapter 2, verses 1 and 2, the main idea is to call every believer to balance their life. This will be the focus of this week’s study.

John gets personal 

Vs 1 “My Little Children”

  • those in fellowship (1:3-4)
  • those who believe and are cleansed by the Blood (1:7)

“I am writing these things to you”

– so the Word (Truth) is in us (1:8)

“so that you may not sin”

– Christ-likeness is the goal

Perfectionism (leads away from the Gospel)

Vs.

Christ-likeness (relies totally on the Gospel)

Call to Balance Life 

  1. Don’t sin (vs 1)
  2. If you do sin, don’t despair (vs 2)
  3. Share the Good News (vs 2)

Christians that are soft – get tough!

Christians that are severe – know grace!

What does it mean for Jesus to be our Advocate? 

  1. Advocate (Gr. – “Paraclete”)
  2. With the Father
  3. Title – Jesus Christ the Righteous
  4. Propitiation

LIFE APPLICATION

Take serious sin and the call to walk in the light

This news is for you AND the whole world

Living a Balanced Life Week 2 (Teaching Outline)

Living a Balanced Life

(An In-Depth Study of First John)

Week 2

Commentary

Walking in the Light

1 John 1:5-10

Outline

Last week we underlined the foundation of living a balanced life as “truth in Christ”. We saw from verses 3 and 4 of chapter one of 1 John, that John makes the message of Christ (call it theology, or doctrine) the basis of all significant Christian fellowship. “What we have seen and heard we proclaim to you so that you may have fellowship with us.” In order to create and nurture deep Christian fellowship you have to talk about who you think Christ is and what he taught. As one understands the truth about Christ the deep fellowship that ensues allows joy to be complete. John sees truth as fundamental regarding a balanced life. Truth is not relative to every person, but singular in nature and relative to only one person, Jesus Christ. John will continue to unfold the truth about God the Father and Jesus Christ the Son throughout the letter.

That’s what John begins to do in this week’s text (verses 5-10). John will once again issue a foundational statement regarding our experience with God. In verse five John states that, “This is the message we have heard from him and proclaim to you, that God is light and in him is no darkness at all.” In other words, as we draw close to God we will discover that God has no dark crevices in which hidden things reside. God is truth, and that truth is clear and unobstructed by shadow.

This truth moves us to the second phase of living a balanced life. The Apostle John calls it “walking in the light”. The balance in life comes when we desire God above all other things. Our text leads us to this truth. Another way to say it is, the more our everyday life conforms to the likeness of Christ, (walking in the light), the more balanced we are. This balance comes from being in line with reality. John goes on to say that “light” and “truth” are synonymous. To say God is light is to say that God is truth.  So, to walk in the light is to walk in the truth. Truth always delivers what it promises, while darkness or sin never does.

Therefore, to walk in the light is to obtain what the truth promises. Life is in balance only when what we desire, and walk toward, happens exactly as promised. This week we explore how this is only possible in Christ.

Foundation

Vs 5 – God is light, and in him is no darkness at all.

What does John mean when he says God is light?

One answer is God is Truth. (Vs 6) (also 5:20)

Another answer is Joy and Hope

Application

Vs 6 – Negative: Walking in darkness, controlled by the desires of the world

Vs 7 – Positive: Walking in the light, desiring God

Two promises of walking in the light

  1. Fellowship with one another
  2. Blood of Jesus, God’s Son, cleanses us from all sin

What does it mean to be cleansed by the Blood of Jesus from all our sin?

Cover sin- ALL our sin forgiven (Past, Present, Future)

Romans 5:9, Ephesians 1:7

Conquer sin- Ongoing moral effect

Verse 9, Hebrews 9:14

Clarification

Vs 8-10: Don’t claim to be without sin

The mark of the saint is not sinlessness, but sin-consciousness.

A mark of Christian maturity is a deep brokenness for sin.

LIFE APPLICATION

Are you experiencing what you’ve learned, or experiencing life?

Our “walk” implies that ALL of life is in view.