Living a Balanced Life Week 12 (Teaching Outline)

Living a Balanced Life

(An In-Depth Study of First John)

Week 12

Commentary

Power to Overcome

1 John 4:1-6

 Outline

There is a beautiful church building a short two minute walk from my house. The solid brick construction rests in the middle of a flawless green lawn adorned by majestic oak trees. It is always well maintained. On the outside it is very attractive. On the inside however, there is a confession of Jesus Christ that is very different from the confession found in God’s Word spoken by the Apostles. In the words of the Apostle John, “who is the liar but he who denies that Jesus is the Christ?” (1 John 2:22) Despite the outward attraction, something in my spirit will not allow me to unite myself with this church.

John loves those to which he writes. This section of text once again begins with a term of endearment; “beloved”. It is clear that John is warning his readers through a heart filled with love. He knows the dangers to the faith in this world. His warning is clear: behind every statement is a spirit, a pneuma(gk.), but not every spirit is the Spirit of God.

Many years ago a mentor of mine (in the business world) taught me a valuable lesson regarding understanding between two parties.  He made this statement which I have never forgotten; “every business deal has a spirit”. He went on to explain that each time he shakes someone’s hand in agreement to provide or purchase a good or service, he already knows how he wants the deal to benefit both parties. “Legal documents”, he stated, “never reflect the proper spirit of any agreement. They are filled with fine print stating what will happen when one party fails.” He went on to explain his model of always including a cover letter to every agreement he signed. The cover letter was always entitled, “Spirit of Agreement”. This letter stated in clear plain terms the intention of the agreement and the bright future my mentor intended for all parties entering the agreement. Like the Apostle John, my mentor knew all to well that many in the business world had a spirit that was not in accord with his own. This cover letter attached to the legal document and signed by all parties brought a unity or made clear any division of each spirit involved.

Like this cover letter, John commands us to “test the spirits to see whether they are from God”. (1 John 4:1) John makes it clear that all believers are to exercise the responsibility of discerning truth from error. However, John doesn’t allow us to believe that somehow by ourselves this could be possible. No, John calls each of his readers “overcomers”. (vs 4) His reason for naming us as such has one basis, and only one; “for he who is in you is greater that he who is in the world.” This should be a source of great joy for every believer.

Work of the Holy Spirit

From last week: (2:24)

Evidence of His work:

Produces Faith

Produces Love

Focus on Confession of Faith (vs 1-6)

What we say (vs 2)

                        Confesses Jesus has come in the flesh

Genuine confession (like confessing sin in 1:9)

How we listen (vs 6)

Listen to the truth and accept it

Hear the false teachers and reject it

Sovereign work of the Holy Spirit

Why are we able to overcome the false teachers? (vs 4)

To overcome or conquer

The Holy Spirit is greater

LIFE APPLICATION

We can only give God the glory (credit where credit is due)

Use this truth to work in mighty ways          

 

Living a Balanced Life Week 11 (Teaching Outline)

Living a Balanced Life

(An In-Depth Study of First John)

Week 11

Commentary

Being of the Truth

1 John 3:19-24

 Outline

Assurance; both powerful and freeing.

Today, the 17th of March (first declared in the early 17th century), remembers Saint Patrick as the one who led the fifth-century Christian mission to Ireland. Unlike Britain, the Emerald Isle lay beyond the bounds of the Roman Empire. The Irish were considered uncivilized barbarians, and many thought their illiteracy and volatile emotions put them outside the reach of the gospel. At age sixteen, Patrick was taken captive by an Irish raiding party and spent the next six years on Irish soil as a slave. He learned their language, their culture, and most importantly, developed a heart for them.

Patrick escaped his captors and returned to England in his early twenties. In those years God had touched Patrick’s heart. He stepped foot once again on British soil, now a Christian. He studied for vocational ministry, and led a parish in Britain for nearly twenty years. At age 48 (past the life expectancy for a man in his century), when most retire; Patrick began his most accomplished ministry. Patrick and a team of dedicated missionaries took the Gospel to the ‘pagan’ Irish. The rest of the story is what movies are made of…

Whether God plans for us to evangelize a nation or a neighbor, no one can accomplish such a task without love in action. Last week we ended with the Apostle John’s encouragement, “Little children, let us not love in word or talk but in deed and in truth.” This week John continues this thought with the result statement, “By this we shall know that we are of the truth.” It is by loving one another in deed and in truth that we can reassure our hearts before God.

There are two themes which reoccur regularly throughout this letter; assurance before God and love for one another. Assurance that God is for us and that we are in a right relationship to him and genuine visible practical love for our brothers and sisters in Christ go hand-in-hand in the life of a true believer. John wants his readers to understand the amazing power that confidence before God has toward freedom to live a life of radical love. The only way we can exercise Christian love, the kind of love that lays down its life for another, is if we are first confident that the almighty God loves us. That he is for us and not against us. This confidence is the most valuable thing, the most freeing thing that anyone could ever possess. It was in this confidence and love that Patrick took the Gospel into the darkness in Ireland. Instead of coasting out life, he gave nearly thirty years transforming an entire nation. Patrick is a prime example of John’s precepts in chapter three.

Confidence Gains Strength (Vs 19-20)

19a:                 “In this [the love and obedience we exhibit; vv. 11–18] we will know that we are of                               the truth.”

19b–20:           “We will reassure our hearts in his presence whenever our hearts condemn us,                                     because (1) God is greater than our hearts, and (2) God knows all things.”

 

Motivation for Prayer (Vs 21-22)

Take on the nature of the Father

Love what God loves, Hate what God hates

Union between Faith and Love (Vs 23)

Cannot believe without loving

Cannot love without believing

Abiding in God, and God in us (vs 24)

Not human effort

By the Spirit

LIFE APPLICATION

Confidence in God frees us to love.

Loving each other is reassuring evidence that we are in the truth.

Living a Balanced Life Week 10 (Teaching Outline)

Living a Balanced Life

(An In-Depth Study of First John)

Week 10

Commentary

Loving the Brothers and Sisters

1 John 3:11-18

 Outline

To genuinely love someone is to forget about self. The thought that connects this week’s text and the preceding paragraph that we studied last week comes in 1 John 3:10. “By this it is evident who are the children of God, and who are the children of the devil: whoever does not practice righteousness is not of God, nor is the one who does not love his brother.”  The first clause of that verse sums up the previous paragraph (3:4–10) in which John argued that a lifestyle of righteousness, or of not sinning, is the essential evidence of being a child of God, indwelt by the very seed of God (v. 9), increasingly sharing the nature of him in whom there is no sin (v. 5). On the other hand, a lifestyle of habitual, persistent, unrepentant sin is clear evidence of being not a child of God but a child of the devil, sharing the nature of him who has been sinning from the beginning (v. 8).

Verse 11 begins with the conjunction “for” and shows that in John’s mind verse 11 is the foundation of the idea in verse 10. Verse 10 makes the shift from the idea of practicing righteous in general to loving your brother specifically. The reason he can make that shift is that the command to love one another was what his readers had heard from the beginning. The moral imperative for Christians to love one another was at the heart of the apostolic gospel. And it still is. From the very beginning, from the very first time they heard the gospel, John’s readers knew beyond a shadow of a doubt what God would expect. God expects it only because God empowers it. What God empowers John’s readers to do is both simple and profound; love your brother.

Doctrine is of the essence of the gospel—doctrine about the character of God; about human sin; about the mediator, Jesus Christ, who is the God-man; about his life, death, and resurrection to forgive the sins of his people and give them eternal life; about the need for a personal response of faith to appropriate the work of Christ into one’s own life. But it is equally true that the essence of the gospel includes the moral imperatives of repentance and of a new life of love lived under the lordship of Christ and empowered by his Spirit. Any gospel you believe, any gospel you proclaim that does not include both doctrine and ethics (truth and love) is only half a gospel, totally out of balance, radically distorted, hopelessly deficient. Both doctrine and ethics are at the heart of the gospel because they are so inextricably linked. Therefore, righteous living void of love is hollow religion. This section of text calls for balance in a way that is not optional in relation to salvation.

Message Heard from the Beginning (vs 11) 

Simple message – “love one another”

Profound in its essence – no Gospel without it; vs 3:10

Old Commandment – Love vs 2:7-10

Walking in the Light, free to love

Lifestyle of Love (vs 14) 

Proves we move from death to life

14a – love the “brethren”

14b- love for all

A lifestyle of love is a matter of life or death

Either Love or Murder (vs 15)

Matter of love or hate, life-giver or murderer (no one sits the fence)

John learned from Jesus (Matthew 5:21-22)

Example of Cain (vs 12-13)

Original account – Genesis 4 Cain murders Able

Able sacrificed in faith – Hebrews 4:11

Darkness wants to murder Light (1 John 3:19-20)

Example of Christ (vs 16)

We know love because we have seen love

  • Great Sacrifice
  • Meets our deepest needs
  • Had the greatest possible motive

LIFE APPLICATION

Allowing the worlds goods to be a vehicle of love not a source of pride

Allowing our eyes to “see” needs

Being righteous without love is a good definition of Religion. So, Religion is Rules without Relationship. Here is the illustration of Religion vs Gospel:

RELIGION: I obey-therefore I’m accepted.

THE GOSPEL: I’m accepted-therefore I obey.

*******

RELIGION: Motivation is based on fear and insecurity.

THE GOSPEL: Motivation is based on grateful joy.

*******

RELIGION: I obey God in order to get things from God.

THE GOSPEL: I obey God to get to God-to delight and resemble Him.

*******

RELIGION: When circumstances in my life go wrong, I am angry at God or my self, since I believe, like Job’s friends that anyone who is good deserves a comfortable life

THE GOSPEL: When circumstances in my life go wrong, I struggle but I know all my punishment fell on Jesus and that while he may allow this for my training, he will exercise his Fatherly love within my trial.

*******

RELIGION: When I am criticized I am furious or devastated because it is critical that I think of myself as a ‘good person’. Threats to that self-image must be destroyed at all costs.

THE GOSPEL: When I am criticized I struggle, but it is not critical for me to think of myself as a ‘good person.’ My identity is not built on my record or my performance but on God’s love for me in Christ. I can take criticism.

*******

RELIGION: My identity and self-worth are based mainly on how hard I work. Or how moral I am, and so I must look down on those I perceive as lazy or immoral. I disdain and feel superior to ‘the other.

THE GOSPEL: My identity and self-worth are centered on the one who died for His enemies, who was excluded from the city for me. I am saved by sheer grace. So I can’t look down on those who believe or practice something different from me. Only by grace I am what I am. I’ve no inner need to win arguments.

Living a Balanced Life Week 9 (Teaching Outline)

Living a Balanced Life

(An In-Depth Study of First John)

Week 9

Commentary

Sin and the Christian

1 John 3:1-10

 Outline

“You are what you eat.” This idiom has been around for centuries. In a culture focused on health and nutrition its meaning is clear; take in healthy food, be healthy. Of course, no one would say that just because you eat healthy you will never get sick. Most of the people in my immediate family eat healthy but all of us are prone to colds and flu on occasion. However, when a family member does catch a cold, recovery time is quick. A healthy body has a strong immune system. To be a member of a health conscience family is to be influenced, educated, and conformed to a healthy lifestyle.

In much the same light, John presents a section of text focused on the Christian and sin. To open the discussion, family is the main point. Listen to John’s opening comment, “Look at the sort of love the Father has given us!” (vs 1) This family is centered on the greatness of the Father. In particular, the love of the Father is in view when it comes to His greatness. In this great love, God has called us his children. To understand the meaning of being “born again” into the family of God, is to understand the lifestyle of righteousness. John states plainly, “No one who abides in him keeps on sinning; no one who keeps on sinning has either seen him or known him.” (vs 6) John, or any other Biblical author, can make this type of statement casually. John genuinely believes that the love of the Father has done much more than simply save us from sin.

John knows that to be in the family of God, God MUST be in the family. John refers to this as each and every child having the seed of God inside.  “No one born of God makes a practice of sinning, for God’s seed abides in him, and he cannot keep on sinning because he has been born of God.” (vs 9) In other words, something in this adoption into God’s family goes far beyond earthly adoption. If I find a child and want to take him into my home, I cannot cause the child to be born again. I take him and I love him with the personality and temperament that he has from his biological parents. I influence with love, but I do not get into the very nature of the person and change it. But God does. The love that John has in view here in verse 3 is not the love that merely takes care of paper work and adopts. John sees it as much more. God moves in, by his Spirit, his seed, John calls it, and imparts something of himself to us, so that we take on a family resemblance.

This is the foundation from which John will submit the remainder of his argument. God’s children, though sometimes found in sin, do not live a lifestyle of sin. To be at home with God means to be at home with the very nature of God. John returns to the concept that the child of God will behave in a manner that is similar to his Father’s nature. The one who is “born of God” will not continue in sin.

Children of God (vs 1-3) 

Beyond Rescue

Beyond Adoption

Children of God are:

  • Led by the Spirit of God
  • Lights in the world
  • Heirs of All Things

False Teachers (vs 4-7)

Jesus come in the flesh (vs 7)

  • False teachers disconnect Spirit and flesh (4:1-3)
  • False teachers- you can be righteous yet do no righteousness (vs 4-7)
  • Yet humanity has been folded into the Godhead forever

The Reason the Son of God Appeared (vs 8) 

Destroy the works of the devil

The works of the devil are sins

Sin is lawlessness (rebellion)

How did the Son of God destroy the devils works? (vs 8-9)

His appearing (life, death, resurrection; the Gospel)

New Birth (You must be born again, John 3:3-7)

The Gospel and not sinless perfection

Vs 9 “makes a practice of sinning”

Remember verses 8 and 10 from chapter 1

LIFE APPLICATION

Presumption – lukewarm toward sin

Despair – works will never be good enough to prove I’m born of God

Run to the Advocate

Living a Balanced Life Week 8 (Teaching Outline)

Living a Balanced Life

(An In-Depth Study of First John)

Week 8

Commentary

The Abiding Word

1 John 2:18-29

 Outline

As we come to the end of chapter two one thing is abundantly clear; John loves God and John loves the children of God. In John’s day, just like today, truth for a majority was relative. To those who left the church and sound doctrine, truth changed with popular culture. They saw themselves as “progressives”. They understood truth as the latest teaching designed by the human heart. John assures his readers that the truth never changes. Whether the 1st century or the 21st century, “that which was from the beginning”, the message delivered by Christ to the Apostles and then to the church, has not changed. Nothing new has been added. The message is the Gospel. Inside this truth is found a deep and abiding love for God which overflows toward others. John reaffirms the core of Christianity, saying that either we exhibit the sound doctrine, obedience, and love that characterize all Christians, or else we are not true Christians.

In John’s mind, the truth does not originate from inside a person. If a person is found with the truth in them, John makes it clear that God is at work. John makes this point with the use of two words that are not common to most casual conversations; “abiding” and “anointed”. Truth is revealed by an anointing of the Spirit of God and an abiding in the Word of God. It’s no wonder John strongly encourages us to “abide in Him”. (1 John 2:28) This being the case, John would agree that a professing Christian that is never abiding in the Word of God and never praying is living a life that is prone to following lies (antichrist).

However, in this section of Scripture, filled with warnings about the spirit of antichrist found in this last hour, rests some of John’s most encouraging and assuring words to all those who are truly born again. John is confident that the truth is in you by the power of the Holy Spirit. (vs 20) He is confident that the truth that you heard from the beginning is such a part of your life that you will abide in the Son and the Father. (vs 24) In other words, both a theological depth and an intimate personal experience with the truth (God) is found in the life of every believer. This keeps life balanced. This establishes and maintains our system of values. Despite the power of the spirit of antichrist in the world, John knows believers will persevere. He remembers Jesus’ teaching… “I have said these things to you, that in me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation. But take heart; I have overcome the world.” (John 16:33)

Understanding the Times

Verse 18 is chiastic in structure:

A. This is the last hour

B. Antichrist is coming

B′. Many antichrists have come

A′. This is the last hour

The first part of v. 19 (like v. 18) is chiastic:

A. They went out from us

B. They did not really belong to us

B′. If they had belonged to us

A′. They would have remained with us.

Result: We live in a last hour of great deception.

The WORD and the SPIRIT

Anointed: Truth is a gift (vs 20; 27)

Abiding: Truth never changes (vs 24a)

Persevering: Truth always keeps (19, 24b, 2 John 9)

LIFE APPLICATION

Lifestyle of the anointed is to abide

Abiding gives rise to:

  • Growth in understanding
  • Power to practice the truth
  • Ever increasing confidence

Living a Balanced Life Week 7 (Teaching Outline)

Living a Balanced Life

(An In-Depth Study of First John)

Week 7

Commentary

Seek First the Kingdom

1 John 2:15-17

 Outline

It has been said that the human heart is an idol factory. It should be abundantly obvious that God, our creator, designed us to worship. For, worship we do. The problem, ever since the rebellion in the garden, is we worship idols and not the only one worthy of worship. John is not unaware of the allure of created things. He knows that everything the world offers is not only temporary, but if worshipped (or loved) always leads the worshipper away from God.

Therefore, our text for this session contains one bold commandment; “Do not love the world or the things in the world.” John learned at the feet of Jesus. No doubt he remembers the time that Jesus gave similar warnings…“No one can serve two masters, for either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and money.” (Matthew 6:24) John, like Jesus, is saying that no one can love both the world and God at the same time. John is stating that our allegiance must not be divided. Our affection must be focused and specific.

John’s view of love for God comes from the understanding that the highest form of love is founded on loyalty and commitment. For John, and for us, to form allegiance with the world is to declare opposition to God. Once again we come face-to-face with a life balance issue. John is not requiring us to rid ourselves of material possessions. He is simply and boldly requiring us to rid ourselves of misguided affections. He is requiring that the way we live our life reflect the way Jesus lived his. “But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.” (Matthew 6:33)

The question we ask ourselves would be…is my desire for home, family, and career first and foremost a desire for God? Do I desire dinner because I desire God? Do I want a job because in it I will discover God and love God? Do I long for a spouse because I am hungry for God and hope to see him and love him in my husband/wife? Do I desire the child and the healthy body and the good night’s rest and the morning sun and the great book and the evening with friends for God’s sake? Do I have an eye for God in everything I desire? (See Colossians 3:17; 1 Corinthians 10:31.)

Main Point (vs 15) 

Do not love the world or the things in the world.

Four reasons why:

  • If you love the world, you don’t love God
  • Everything of the world is not of God
  • The world is passing away
  • The one who does the will of God abides forever

What is the world’s?

  • The desires of the flesh
  • The desires of the eyes
  • The pride of life

John’s Idea of Eternal Life 

Faith (believe) and Love for God

  • Inseparable
  • “Trust in Christ” and “Love for God” to John are the same
  • No love for God, no saving faith

Example – Repentance 

Big difference between ‘self-righteous repentance’ and ‘gospel-centered repentance’

Self-righteous: repentance only out of fear of God’s anger and punishment; repentance for ‘being bad’ or ‘doing wrong things’

Gospel-centered: repentance out of love for God and his commands, knowing He loves us always as a Father loves his child; repentance not merely from bad actions, but from the very desire to seek the flesh/world/sin instead of God; from a desire to have a living and active relationship with God

LIFE APPLICATION

Boast only in the Lord

God is in ALL of life, Desire God!

Living a Balanced Life Week 6 (Teaching Outline)

Living a Balanced Life

(An In-Depth Study of First John)

Week 6

Commentary

The Victorious Christian Life

1 John 2:12-14

 Outline

I share my father’s name. At 16 years of age, I walked into the showroom of my local motorcycle dealer and financed the motorcycle of my dreams with that name. This was a time in banking before social security numbers. The bank assumed that my father was purchasing this rocket ship. I lived in a small town and conducted business with a small town banker and before the deal was closed my banker discovered that it was my father’s 16 year old son that was requesting the loan. In spite of the fact I had no credit experience, the banker approved the loan. His reasoning???… “the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree”.  I rode off in a blaze of glory!

Like me riding the coattails of my father’s credit history, the Apostle John assures every true believer that they are victorious in the name. The first and most fundamental offering of encouragement John gives his readers is the fact they are forgiven of sins and that forgiveness remains effective in their lives. This forgiveness occurs because the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ made the mercy and grace of God available to those who repent of their sins and believe in the name of Jesus.

Every verb in our text (vs 12-14) is in the perfect tense. In other words, the power in this name (Jesus), stands for the person and completed work of Jesus in its totality; Jesus proclaimed from the cross, “It is finished”. Therefore, John is stating that everyone who confesses the name of Jesus is saved and as a result of that confession they now have access to the power of that name.

John states that we overcome the ‘evil one’ (Satan). This victory implies battles. It is through prayer and the Word that every believer has communion with the Father and gains direction and power for the battle. In this session we will explore who this battle is with and how it is we overcome the enemy. This victorious strength comes from our faith in the Lord Jesus Christ, whose victory over the evil one grants us the ability to triumph. (1 John 5:4)

Why does John address three groups?

  • Little children – the church
  • Fathers – Leaders
  • Young Men – the strong

The pattern in John’s letter:

  • Assurance
  • Vigilance

Summing up the pattern so far in the letter:

  • (1:7) If we walk in the light…ours sins are cleansed (2:12) Your sins ARE forgiven!
  • (2:4) If you don’t keep the commandments, you are a liar and the truth is not in you (2:13) But you DO KNOW HIM!
  • (3:8) Live in sin and you are of the Devil (2:13) But you have OVERCOME the evil one!

Overcoming the evil one (vs 14b) 

Young men who are strong:

  • Overcome the evil one
  • Have the Word of God abiding in them (Prayer and the Word)

The Word of God overcomes Satan

Satan’s MO:

  • Accuse Christians regarding sins past (Rev. 12:10-11) / (1 John 2:1-2)
  • Tempt Christians into future sin (John 8:32; 17:17) / (1 John 2:14b)

LIFE APPLICATION 

Lies can only be defeated by the TRUTH

Let the Word abide in you!

Living a Balanced Life Week 5 (Teaching Outline)

Living a Balanced Life

(An In-Depth Study of First John)

Week 5

Commentary

Something Old, Something New

1 John 2:7-11

 Outline

Balance; the Bible can’t be understood deeply without it. Life can’t be lived to the full without it. John’s letter to his doubting readers strives to bring balance back in their lives with sound doctrine, and a call to love that necessarily promotes obedience. It is clear from the opening paragraph, that John knows the truth will spark the hearts of true Christians with love for God and love toward others.

Readers of this letter now realize that John is offering them a test. The point of the passage (verses 7–11) is that we should keep the commandment of love, and by so doing, confirm our standing in the light of God. John’s burden is still the same as in 2:3, “By this we may be sure that we know him, if we keep his commandments.” To those who keep, (desire, guard) his commandments John wants to give assurance. In the same way, to those who don’t keep his commandments John wants to strip away any false assurance. So in verses 7–11 he lays down the love commandment as the specific test of obedience. The test is virtually the same as 3:14, “We know that we have passed out of death into life, because we love the brethren.” Love is the living evidence of new birth and eternal life.

John is offering his readers the reassuring word that they are not receiving anything other than that which was from the beginning of their life with Christ. No bait and switch is going on. In other words, the truth that they heard from the beginning was and is a transforming truth. God offers you forgiveness, hope and the power to change; it’s a package deal. You either have it all, or you have nothing at all.

We have already made the connection between the ideas of… God is light and God is love. In this case light and love are synonymous. This is the sense of which John states the commandment is new. The light is already shining in the world, and Jesus is that light. (John 9:5) Jesus said that we Christians are the “light of the world”. (Matthew 5:14) The beam of light that shines out from God through Jesus and through us into the world is the beam of love. It’s no wonder that John’s letter speaks of love the way it does.

John’s idea of “Love and Living in the Light” 

The Commandment (Vs 7-8)

The Application (Vs 9-11)

The Commandment 

What commandment?

John 13:34 / 2 John 5

In what sense is it old?

3:14 / 1:3 / 1:5

In what sense is it new? 

                        Isaiah 60:19-20

“Already shining”

Why say it is both “old” and “new”? 

   OLD- to distinguish from the false teaching

NEW- to prevent future false understanding

The Application 

Standing in the light, or standing in darkness

There is a fountain of love in every believer

LIFE APPLICATION 

Christians do not see people as projects

Every relationship in the Christian life comes from love

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