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I JOHN - II JOHN - III JOHN OUTLINE I JOHN - EPISTLE OF LOVE I. II. III. IV. V.

CHAPTER ONE CHAPTER TWO CHAPTER THREE CHAPTER FOUR CHAPTER FIVE

II JOHN - EPISTLE OF WARNING III JOHN - EPISTLE OF EXAMPLES

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Lesson l EPISTLE OF LOVE Chapter One INTRODUCTION: Throughout history, the church has had to contend with false prophets and false doctrine. This was no less true in the Apostle John’s day. At the time John wrote, an influential group began to trouble the church. They claimed to know all the mysteries of the universe, but denied much of what our Lord and His Apostles taught. They denied that Christ had “come in the flesh” (I John 4:3). Without going into great detail about this heresy, suffice it to say that false doctrines die hard. Even today, we are combating certain elements of this same heresy. There are those who deny the Virgin Birth, who say it is impossible for there to have been a “God-man”. John says this is the “spirit of anti-Christ” (I John 4:3b). Others say, as they did in John’s day, that it is possible to live above sin, to be completely sinless. “No”, John said. “No one is totally without sin”, (I John 1:8, 10). Against all false teachers, we are to be on our guard; and if a teacher or teaching is questionable, we are to “try the spirits whether they are of God” (I John 4:1). I. THE REALITY OF THE INCARNATION (Verses l, 2). A. John’s message is of Jesus Christ. He has four great things to say in these verses about Jesus. 2. 3. 4. B. l. 2. 3. 4. l. He was from the beginning. Beyond time in eternity past. God took upon Himself an actual human body. One that could be seen and felt (see also John 1:1 - 14). He is the Word of Life. The source and fountain of life. He is eternal. He had always been with the Father (John 1:1, 2). John also presents four evidences from his own personal experience of Christ. He says that he has heard Him. "Faith cometh by hearing...” He says that he has seen Him. “Look and live” He says that he has looked (gazed) on Him. To look saved, to gaze makes one holy. He says that his hands actually touched Christ. He was no phantom or mere vision.

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Lesson 1 (cont’d) II. THE WAY TO HAVE FELLOWSHIP WITH GOD (verses 3 - 10). We can only have fellowship with God when we walk in the light (verses 5 - 7). “God is light”, which means He is absolutely holy and without any trace of evil. Sin cannot exist in His presence anymore than darkness can exist in the presence of physical light. Light is life-giving (John 1:4). Verse six does not mean that a man must be perfect before he can have fellowship with God; if that were the case, all of us would be shut out. But it does mean that he will never think light of sin and the nearer he comes to God, the more terrible sin will be to him. Any believer who walks in the light of the Word of God discovers sin in his life. But he knows that the same blood that cleansed him at the beginning of his Christian life, daily cleanses him from all sin (verse 7). B. We can only have fellowship with God when we confess our sins, (verses 8-10). There are multitudes of people today who have deceived themselves. They actually believe they have no sin. But it is all a deception. They are living a lie. The sad part of this deception is that when a person has fooled himself into believing that there is no sin in him, he cannot commit sins and justify himself, saying that he can commit no sin. It is the same as saying that sin does not exist; but is only an error of the mind (Christian Science). A.

CONCLUSION: Before we are willing to confess our sins, we must readily acknowledge that we have sinned (verse 10). To “confess” means to acknowledge and tell God our true state. “Tell it like it is”, in other words. The sin could be spelled out. What is the end result when we come clean with God and forsake our sins? God forgives us and cleanses us through the Blood of Christ and restores our fellowship. 1. Throughout history, the church had to contend with what? 2. What are we to do with teachers/teaching, that is questionable? 3. John's message is of whom? 4. Who took upon Himself a human today? 5. If God took on a human body, then who is Jesus Christ? 6. If we say we fellowship with God and walk in darkness, we do what? 7. We discover sin in our lives when we do what? 8. Can we fellowship with God with unconfessed sin in our lives?

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Lesson #1 Answer Key Epistle of Love CHAPTER ONE 1. False Prophets and False Doctrine 2. “Try them whether they be of God” 3. Jesus Christ 4. God 5. God 6. Lie and do not the truth 7. Walk in the light of God’s Word 8. No

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Lesson 2 EPISTLE OF LOVE Chapter Two INTRODUCTION: We have already seen that God is light and in order to have fellowship with Him, we cannot walk in darkness (1:5). Our lives must be above reproach. On the other hand, we must face up to the reality of sin in our lives. If we do wrong, as sometimes God’s people do, we must acknowledge it and confess it. Only in doing so, can fellowship with our Heavenly Father be restored (Amos 3:3). If fellowship is only to be maintained by walking in the light, how may we do so? I. BY HAVING THE RIGHT ATTITUDE TOWARD SIN (verses 1, 2). A. We are told not to sin (verse 1). This is very plain language. It is no more plain though, than what a loving parent would tell a child. A child is told not to steal, not to tell a lie, not to speak ill of another person. What would you think of a parent who would do otherwise? Suppose God had said here in this verse, “Don’t sin unless you have to; or, let the situation determine whether a thing is right or wrong” (situation ethics). If the Scriptures are plain on anything, it is that we are not to sin, that sin is against God, it brings sorrow and heartbreak and its wages is death. B. Our provision if we should sin, (verse 2). It has already been noted that no Christian is absolutely perfect. In spite of his best intentions, he may, at times, be guilty of sins of omission or commission. What then? The answer is that we have an advocate (attorney) with the Father who is none other than Jesus Christ. Just as an attorney is called to the side of a client in trouble, so the Lord Jesus is in heaven to defend the sinning Christian from the charge of the accuser of the brethren. Paul speaks of Christ as being at the right hand of God making intercession for us (Romans 8:34; Hebrews 7:25; 9:24). “Propitiation” means atonement or covering.

II.

BY KEEPING OUR LORD'S COMMANDMENTS (Verses 3 - 8). Obedience to the commands of Christ is proof of a truly converted person, one who is walking in the light (verse 3). If a man professes to know Christ, yet refuses to submit to His commands, he is a liar (verses 4 - 6). This is a very solemn statement. It would lead us to believe that many professing Christians, those to whom the Word and example of Christ are of less value than the morning newspaper, are living a lie. III. BY LOVING THE BRETHREN (verses 9 - 11). Hatred of a fellow believer is evidence that a person is not in the light. Love, on the other hand, belongs to the realm of light where fellowship with God and with our brethren flourishes. The Christian who loves will never be a stumbling block in the path of a fellow believer. Hatred not only kills fellowship, but breeds spiritual ignorance and blindness. Lesson 2 (cont’d) IV. BY TURNING ASIDE FROM THE WORLD (verses 12 - 17). 69

The last sentence of verse 14 gives the secret to walking in light and overcoming the world. “The world” in this instance means, not the world of nature, but the world system which is under the control of Satan (Matthew 4:8, 9; Ephesians 2:2; 6:2). Man is subject either to Satan’s world system or to God’s (Galatians 6:14; II Peter 2:20). V. BY REFUSING TO GIVE HEED TO FALSE DOCTRINE (verses 18 - 29). Behind all false doctrine is the spirit of anti-Christ. The word “Antichrist” is found only in I and II John and nowhere else in the Bible (2:18, 22; 4:3; II John 7). This is the man of sin that shall appear in the last days (II Thessalonians 2:1 - 12). The many antichrist spoken of by John in I John 2:18 will culminate in the coming of the Antichrist, at some future time. “Antichrist” means one who is opposed to Christ, but is under the guise of Christ. CONCLUSION: Notice the stress in these verses on letting the truth abide in us in the person of Christ (verses 24, 27, 28; compare John 15:5 - 7). Verses 20 and 27 teach us that the Holy Spirit is the teacher of the believer as well as His final authority in spiritual matters. When we are yielded to Him, we will not be swept aside by the winds of false doctrine. 1. If we occasionally sin, we can still have fellowship with God. True or False 2. What are we to do when we sin? 3. In our lesson, what are the scriptures plain about? 4. What is Christ doing in Heaven on our behalf? 5. In our lesson, what is “a very solemn statement”? 6. The Christian who loves will never be a _________ to others. 7. What is the secret to walking in the light / overcome the world? 8. What is behind all false doctrine? 9. What does “Antichrist” mean?

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Lesson #2 Answer Key Epistle of Love CHAPTER TWO 1. False 2. Acknowledge and confess sin to God 3. Not to sin 4. Making intercession for us 5. If a man professes to know Christ, yet refuses to submit to His commands, he is a liar. 6. Stumbling Block 7. The Word of God, (verse 14) 8. The spirit of antichrist 9. One who is opposed to Christ but is under the guise of Christ.

Lesson 3 EPISTLES OF LOVE Chapter Three INTRODUCTION: The third chapter of I John warns us that there are counterfeit Christians, “children of the devil” (verse 10). A true child of God lives a righteous life and loves his fellow Christians. The first ten verses of the chapter deal with righteous living and the remainder of verses deal with brotherly love. I. A. RIGHTEOUS LIVING (verses 1 - 10). God’s love is an incentive to live a holy life (verse 1). While we were His enemies, God loved us and sent His Son to die for us. His matchless love in making us His children should lead us to behavior which is befitting to the family likeness. Such a relationship is unknown by the world because it does not know the Savior, and such knowledge comes only through personal experience. Christ’s return is an incentive to a holy life (verses 2, 3). Verse l tells us what we are and verse 2 tells us what we shall be. When our Lord appears, all true believers will see Him and will become like Him (Philippians 3:20, 21). This means that they will have new, glorified bodies, suited to heaven. In view of this, we should keep our lives clean (verse 3). Two reasons why Jesus came and died: To take away our sins (verses 4 - 6). Note the definition of sin in verse 4. Sin is lawlessness or rebellion. The Scriptures make it clear that we have all sinned (Romans 3:23). Christ appeared as the answer to the sin problem; to remove sins and make a clean life possible. He is our example (verse 5). This does not mean that once a person is saved, he never sins again. This would be a contradiction of I John 1:8, 10). What it does mean is that he no longer lives in sins; his life is no longer characterized by sin. To destroy the works of the devil (verses 7, 8). A life characterized by sin shows that a person has not really seen or truly known God. Sin is characteristic of the devil and Christ came to destroy the works of the devil. Christians cannot practice what their Lord and Savior came to destroy. A new nature is within us (verses 9, 10). The Christian does not practice sin because he has a new nature within him, and that new nature cannot sin. John calls this new nature God’s “seed”. Of course, the old nature is still a part of us, and when we yield to it, we stumble and fall (Galatians 6:1, 2).

B.

C. 1.

2.

D.

Lesson 3 (cont’d) II. BROTHERLY LOVE (verses 11, 12). Christians love one another because they have all been born of God; they are all in the same family. Love for one another is an identifying characteristic of Christians. The example of Cain is given as an illustration and warning of one who was “of that wicked one” (a child of the devil) and thus without God’s love (verse 12). His hatred found its logical outcome in murder. B. The attitude of the world toward Christians is generally one of hate (verse 13). This attitude originated with satan who is the father of hate (verse 10). Love gives evidence of a new life (verses 14) while hate furnishes evidence of spiritual death (verse 15). C. The supreme example of love was Christ’s death on our behalf (verse 16a). Christian love involves sacrifice and service (verses 16b, 17). Loving “in word or tongue” without deed is hypocrisy, not genuine love (verse 18; see James 1:22). D. John names three wonderful blessings that will come to a believer who practices Christian love: 1. Assurance (verses 19, 20). A Christian who practices love grows in his understanding of God’s truth and enjoys a heart filled with confidence before God. Sometimes our heart accuses us wrongly, but God will never make such a mistake (II Timothy 2:19). Once you confess your sin and it is forgiven, you need not condemn yourself. No Christian should treat sin lightly; but no Christian should be harder on himself than God is. 2. Answered prayer (verses 21, 22). If we expect to have our prayers answered, we must live a life of obedience to God’s will. 3. God abides in us by His Spirit (verses 23, 24). We ought to abide in Him by yielding to the Spirit and obeying the Word. A.

1. What two incentives are given to live a righteous life? 2. What two reasons did Jesus come and die for? 3. The Christian doesn’t ______ sin because he has a ______ ______ within, and that new nature _______ sin. 4. Why do Christians love one another? 5. Love gives evidence of a _______ _____. 6. What was the supreme example of love the world has ever seen? 7. What is involved in Christian love? 8. Name three blessings that come to those who practice Christian love.

Lesson #3 Answer Key Epistle of Love

CHAPTER THREE 1. 2. a. God’s love b. Christ’s return a. To take away our sins b. To destroy the works of the devil

3. Practice - new nature - cannot 4. They’ve been born of God 5. New life 6. Christ’s death 7. Sacrifice and service 8. a. Assurance b. Answered prayers c. The abiding Spirit of God within us

Lesson 4 EPISTLE OF LOVE Chapter Four INTRODUCTION: This chapter has to do primarily with our attitude toward our brothers and sisters in Christ. John is also careful to point out how we may recognize not only the true Christian message, but those who profess and practice it. There are three important truths that stand out in this chapter. I. 6) A. SOME IMPORTANT TRUTHS CONCERNING FALSE PROPHETS (verse 1 -

A warning (verse 1). In Biblical times men realized the perils of false prophets. Deuteronomy 13:1 - 5 states that the false prophet may promise signs and wonders and perform them. The spiritual power is there, but it is evil and misdirected. Thus, we are admonished to “try the spirits whether they are of God”. False prophets are everywhere. Because they work in the spiritual realm, they are deceptive and we must be constantly on our guard. B. The two tests of belief (verses 2, 3) 1. To be of God a spirit must acknowledge that Jesus is the Christ, the Messiah. To deny this is to deny that He is the fulfillment of the promises of God and that He is the Son of God (deity). 2. To be of God, a spirit must acknowledge that Jesus has come in the flesh. To deny this is to deny His incarnation. Scripture is clear on this point (John 1:14). Every Christian heresy can be traced to a faulty view of Christ’s person and work. C. We need not fear the heretic (verses 4 - 6). The true Christian is “of God”, which means he has the Spirit of God within him and this Spirit is greater than all the evil spirits which surround us and seek to lead us into error. II. SOME IMPORTANT TRUTHS CONCERNING HUMAN AND DIVINE LOVE (7-9) A. Love has its origin in God (7, 8). God is by His very nature love and therefore to be like God and be what he was meant to be, man must love. If this love comes from God, he will love the right things. B. Love is a family characteristic (verses 7, 8, 16). Love is the great bond of fellowship which binds believers to one another and to their Lord. C. God’s love is demonstrated in Jesus Christ (verse 9). The great proof of God’s love for humans was His giving of His only begotten Son (John 3:16).

Lesson 4 (cont’d) D. E. When love comes, fear goes (verses 17, 19). When we love God with all our hearts, we have no reason to fear either the unpleasant circumstances of this life or the judgment to come. (NOTE: Fear entered the world along with sin). Our love for others proves our love for God (verses 20, 21). How inconsistent to say that we love God, but hate our brother. With characteristic bluntness, John says that a man who claims to love God and hates his brother is nothing other than a liar. The way to prove that we love God is to love the ones whom He loves. SOME IMPORTANT TRUTHS CONCERNING JESUS CHRIST (verses 9-15). He is the bread of life (verse 9). All men have existence, but all do not have life -- spiritual life. The eagerness with which men seek pleasure shows that there is something missing in their lives (John 14:6; Galatians 2:20). He is the restorer of the lost relationship with God (verse 10). In Old Testament times, when a man sinned, his relationship with God was broken and the sacrifice of an innocent animal was an expression of sorrow for sin, designed to restore the lost relationship. Jesus, the “lamb of God”, by His life and death, made it possible for man to enter into a new relationship with God. He is the Savior of the world (verse 14). Sinners need to be saved and they need to look no further than to Jesus for this transaction (Luke 19:10; Acts 4:12). He is the Son of God (verse 15). Jesus was the unique and “only begotten Son of God”. He was God manifest in human flesh. To confess that Jesus is the Son of God means more than to acknowledge that He was a great religious leader..it declares that you believe Him to be “Immanuel”, the one true God and Savior of the world.

III. A. B.

C. D.

1. What are three important truths that stand out in this chapter? 2. List the two tests of belief. 3. Love has its origin in who? 4. When love comes, what leaves? 5. Our love for others proves what? 6. Who brought fulfilling life to mankind? 7. We lost our _____ with _____ and through _____ it is ______. 8. Jesus was _____ manifest in _____ _____.

Lesson #4 Answer Key Epistle of Love CHAPTER FOUR 1. a. Truths concerning false prophets b. Truths concerning human and Divine love c. Truths concerning Jesus Christ a. That Jesus is the Christ; the Messiah b. That Jesus has come in the flesh

2. 3. God

4. Fear 5. That we love God 6. Jesus 7. Relationship - God - Christ - restored 8. God - human - flesh

Lesson 5 EPISTLE OF LOVE Chapter Five INTRODUCTION: “What do you know for sure?” is a question we frequently hear asked. The desire for certainty goes deep into the heart of every human being. What does Christianity have to offer in the way of certainty? Christians have many certainties upon which they may anchor their hopes. They are not afraid to say “We know!” This word occurs 39 times in John’s brief letter; eight times in this fifth chapter. In these 21 verses, John points out six certainties on which we can build our lives with confidence. I. BELIEVING ON JESUS CHRIST RESULTS IN A NEW BIRTH (verses 1 - 4). The verb used is in the present tense - “is”. This contradicts certain cult groups such as Herbert W. Armstrong’s, who teaches we are born again at the time of the resurrection of our bodies. A person is born again immediately upon believing that Jesus Christ is the Son of God. Jesus made it clear that without such an experience, it is impossible to enter the Kingdom of God (John 3:1 - 8). In these verses, John emphasized three things to look for in the born again believer: 1) a love for the children of God; 2) a willingness to keep God's commandments; 3) and the ability to overcome the world. II. JESUS IS THE SON OF GOD (verses 5-10). A. Water (verse 6). This refers to His baptism in the Jordan (Matthew 3:13 17). When Jesus was baptized, the Spirit descended like a dove and rested upon Him; then the voice of the Father said, “This is my beloved Son”, the Father thus attested to the uniqueness of Jesus. B. Blood (verse 6). This refers to Christ’s death on the cross by which redemption from sin was accomplished (Hebrews 9:12). C. The Spirit (verses 6 - 10). The Spirit was given to bear witness to Christ (John 15:26; 16:14). We can trust the Spirit’s witness because “the Spirit is truth” (Romans 8:15). These three earthly witnesses - the Spirit, the water and the blood - all agree (verse 8). They attest the same truth, just as the three heavenly witnesses agree (verse 7). NOTE: The undeniable proof of the trinity here.

Lesson 5 (cont’d) III. BELIEVERS HAVE ETERNAL LIFE (verses 11 - 13). Eternal life is a gift - not something we earn (Ephesians 2:8, 9; John 10:27 - 29). John is saying that God’s true children have the certainty that when their earthly life on earth is ended, they have a heavenly home awaiting them (II Corinthians 5:1). IV. GOD ANSWERS PRAYER (verses 14, 15). Just as we have confidence that we are God’s children, so we have confidence when we bring our petitions to our heavenly Father in prayer. The one condition John points out here is that, when we pray, we must pray according to God’s will (Matthew 6:10). Since God has revealed His will through His Word, the study of the Word is a necessary prerequisite to a successful prayer life. V. CHRISTIANS DO NOT PRACTICE SIN (VERSES 16 - 19). The expression “sinneth not” (verse 18) means that a believer does not make a practice of sinning. He has new desires and appetites and is not under the bondage of sin. “A sin unto death” (verse 17) refers to persistent, willful sinning in a believer which leads to physical, not spiritual, death (see I Corinthians 5:1 - 5; Acts 5:1 - 11; I Corinthians 11:3). Sin has different degrees of seriousness (verse 17). “All unrighteousness is sin, but there is a sin which is unto (physical) death” - meaning it results in a lesser punishment. VI. THE CHRISTIAN LIFE IS THE TRUE LIFE (verses 20, 21). Jesus Christ is the true God. We know Him who is true and we are in Him who is true. We are in contact with reality. Unsaved people live in an atmosphere of pretense and unreality. Christians do not choose simply between good and bad; they choose between true and false. A person who lives for idols (verse 21 - money, pleasure, etc.) is living for that which is false and unreal. 1. Can a person know for certain he is saved? 2. What three things do you look for in a person who says they are saved? 3. What three witnesses in heaven and earth prove Jesus is God? 4. Do you earn eternal life? 5. Eternal life is in Christ, if you have Christ, you have what? 6. If we pray according to God’s will, will He answer our prayers? 7. What does “sinneth not” in verse 18 mean?

Lesson #5 Answer Key Epistle of Love CHAPTER FIVE

1. Yes 2. a. Love for the children of God b. A willingness to keep God’s commandments c. The ability to overcome the world a. Water b. Blood c. Spirit

3.

4. No 5. Eternal life 6. Yes 7. That a believer does not make it a practice of sinning.

Lesson 1 EPISTLE OF WARNING II John INTRODUCTION: John the Apostle was an old man when he wrote this epistle, for he refers to himself as “the elder” (verse 1). The emphasis and style of this letter is very similar to John’s other writings. When news reached him that one of his dear friends was threatened with trouble and heresy, he wrote her a word of encouragement and a word of warning. I. A WORD OF ENCOURAGEMENT (VERSES 1 - 6). This brief letter is addressed to "the elect lady". Though her name is not mentioned, she must have been a close personal friend of John’s and one whom he loved “in the truth”. She must have lived somewhere in the circuit of churches over which the apostle John had the oversight. In the first three verses of the chapter, the words “truth” and “love” are used repeatedly. In the teaching of the Scriptures, these two virtues are inseparably connected. True Christian love rests on “the truth”, that is, the Word of God which lives and abides forever. In Christ’s day, just as in these days, people were searching for truth. One of the most remarkable statements of our Lord while on earth was when He said, “I am the truth” (John 14:6). The search for truth is ended when one comes to know Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior. In the peculiar circumstances that prompted this letter, there are things to make John’s heart glad and things to make it sad. This is seen in verses 4 - 6. He “rejoices greatly” (verse 4) that some of these people are walking in the truth, but that very statement implies that some are not. For all things John has one remedy, and that is love (verses 5, 6). It is no new remedy and no new commandment; it is the word of Jesus Himself (John 13:34, 35). This is no soft sentimental love that John talks about here. It is not a love of sin and pleasure and ease. It is a love for God and God’s children. The only proof of our love for God is our love for the brethren and for the truth. II. A WORD OF WARNING (verses 7 - 14). There is a great contrast between these verses and the ones preceding them. John renews the theme which occupied a good portion of his first epistle and that is that the spirit of antiChrist was already at work in the world (verse 7). “Many deceivers” are said to have entered into that first century world. Deceivers came then and they come today, in many different guises. The most deceptive are those who pretend to be the friends of Christ but deny His claims of Deity (Jehovah’s Witnesses, Moonies, Modernists, etc.). Jesus warned us to beware of such false prophets (Matthew 7:15 - 20). The expression “look to yourselves” (verse 8) indicates the need for self-examination and watchfulness on the part of believers. A true follower of Christ is not apt to be “blown about by every wind of doctrine” (Ephesians 4:14). The danger John speaks of is not loss of salvation, but loss of reward. The fullness of their reward was threatened by the subversion of the antiChrists (I Corinthians 3:11 - 15). Lesson 1 (cont’d) The word “transgresseth” (verse 9) means “to go on ahead”. The false teachers claimed that they were the progressive ones, the advanced thinkers. But when anyone takes you beyond

what is written in Scriptures, he is going too far. We have all we need for our spiritual growth and development with the 66 books of the Bible. Devotional books and commentaries can be excellent tools to aid us in our understanding of the Word, but we do not need new revelations such as certain groups claim to have received (Mormons, Christian Science, etc.). What are we to do when a propagator of false doctrine comes to our home? John is very clear on the matter. They are to be given no hospitality (verse 10). This is the most effective way of stopping their work. They are not to be bidden God’s speed, for to do so would make us partakers of their evil deeds. 1. To whom was II John written? 2. What two virtues are used in Scriptures repeatedly and are inseparably connected? 3. Who is the truth? 4. When does the search for truth end? 5. What is the remedy for all things? And is it a new remedy and commandment? 6. How can the world know we are the children of God? (Read: John 13:34, 35 for the answer) 7. What is our only proof of our love to God? 8. Are there many deceivers in the world today? List some. 9. A true follower of Christ is not apt to be what? 10. The 66 books of the Bible gives us all we need for what? 11. Are we to bid God’s speed to those who come to our homes to teach false doctrine?

Lesson #1 Answer Key Epistle of Warning II John 1. “The elect lady” 2. Truth and love 3. Jesus 4. When we come to know Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior 5. a. Love b. No

6. That we love one another 7. Love for the brethren and for the truth 8. Yes 9. “Blown about by every wind of doctrine” 10. Our spiritual growth and development 11. No

Lesson 1 EPISTLE OF EXAMPLES III John INTRODUCTION: This is the third and last epistle of John the Apostle. It is written to a Christian whose name was Gaius. Nothing more is known of Gaius than what is related here. Two other men undoubtedly members of the same church as Gaius, are also mentioned: Diotrephes and Demetrius. In our study today we will look at each of these three men to learn lessons that should help us to be better, stronger Christians. I. GAIUS (verses 1 - 8). Gaius must have been a close personal friend of John’s and a man of strong Christian convictions. Four times John uses the word “beloved” when referring to him (verses 1, 2, 5, 11). Verse 2 suggests that Gaius may have been in failing health, although we cannot be certain of this. One thing we do know is that Gaius enjoyed “soul prosperity” - that is, he was living as a Christian ought to live. He was growing in grace and advancing in his knowledge of the truth (I Peter 3:18). In verses 3 and 4, John tells us of a teacher’s greatest joy. It is to see his pupils walking in the truth. The language used in these verses implies that Gaius had been converted under the ministry of John. Our concern should not only be for the conversion of our friends but that they might walk in the truth as Gaius did. In verses 5 - 8, we come to John’s main object in writing. A group of traveling evangelists is on their way to the church of which Gaius is a member and John urges him to receive them and to give them support. The importance of showing hospitality is demonstrated by the following verses (I Peter 4:9; Hebrews 13:2; Romans 12:13; Titus 1:8). In the early church the Christian home was the place for Bible study and Christian fellowship. By showing hospitality to our fellow Christians, we become “fellow helpers to the truth” (verse 10). Such was this wonderful man, Gaius. II. DIOTREPHES (verses 9 - 11). Diotrephes, though a church member was the very opposite of the two other men mentioned in this letter. He “loved to have preeminence” - to be the boss. It he could not be the leader of something he would not be its supporter. He refused to acknowledge the authority of the pastor (verse 9b). This is an illustration of the bad influence of one ambitious and arrogant man in the church. Hebrews 13:7 and 17 tell us what is to be the attitude of church members toward their leaders. Diotrephes with his “prating” (to talk much to little purpose) constantly undermined John's influence, and injured his character. Not only that, he refused to treat his Christian brethren with the hospitality they deserved. He even used his influence to dismiss from the church those with whom he disagreed (verse 10). John's advice is that we follow not men such as Diotrephes. but "that which is good" (verse 11).

Lesson 1 (cont’d) III. DEMETRIUS (verses 12 - 14). Though little is known of Demetrius, enough is stated here to cause us to want to be like

him. He had “a good report of all”. He put his Christianity into practice in the presence of his friends. The expression, “of the truth itself”, means that his reputation was not based on “appearance”, but in truth and reality. It is possible for men to be deceived in the estimate of someone’s character. Such was not the case with Demetrius. Everything about his life bore testimony to the fact that he was a genuine Christian. CONCLUSION: We have before us here three examples. 1. Let us follow the example of Gaius, the hospitable Christian whose soul prospered. 2. Let us shun men like Diotrephes, and not be led astray by their empty talk. 3. Let us imitate Demetrius whose life was above reproach, and who was held in high esteem by his fellows. 1. This letter is about three men. list them. 2. To whom was this letter written? 3. What is a teacher’s greatest joy? 4. What was John's main objective in writing this letter to Gaius? 5. By showing hospitality to our fellow Christians, we become what? 6. What was Diotrephes main problem? 7. He refused to acknowledge the authority of who? 8. What happened to they that disagreed with Diotrephes? 9. What was John’s advice in dealing with men like Diotrephes? 10. What does the expression “of the truth itself” mean? 11. Did the bad character and power of Diotrephes change Demetrius’s Christian character?

Lesson #1 Answer Key Epistle of Examples III John 1. a. Gaius b. Diotrephes c. Demetrius

2. Gaius 3. To see his pupils walking in the truth 4. To receive and support some traveling evangelists 5. “Fellow helpers to the truth” 6. “He loved to have the preeminence” 7. Pastor 8. He kicked them out of the church 9. Don’t follow them 10. That his reputation was not based on “appearance” but in truth and reality 11. No