Learning, Living and Loving the Truth - A Survey of 1 John (I) Quick Facts about 1 John: Who is the author

of 1 John? The Apostle John, the son of Zebedee and one of “Boanerges”, the “Sons of thunder” (Matt 10:2-4; Mark 3:17, 9:54) Who is the audience? While we have no definite place, church history is unanimous in saying that this was a letter to the church at Ephesus, where the Apostle is said to have lived. Why was the epistle written? Internal Factors: There are three internal factors in the book which help us understand why the book was written: 1 John 1:4. And these things write we unto you, that your joy may be full. I John 2:1. My little children, these things write I unto you, that ye sin not. And if any man sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous: I John 5:13. These things have I written unto you that believe on the name of the Son of God; that ye may know that ye have eternal life, and that ye may believe on the name of the Son of God. External Factors: Acts 20:28 Take heed therefore unto yourselves, and to all the flock, over the which

the Holy Ghost hath made you overseers, to feed the church of God, which he hath purchased with his own blood. As Paul had predicted, the church at Ephesus was plagued with false teaching. The teaching essentially was an early form of the Gnostic heresy. Gnosticism basically afffirmed: 1. A dualism, which saw matter as evil and spirit as good 2. In its Christian form, it was a denial of Christ's humanity 3. It was a denial of any moral standard, because if matter is evil and God is only concerned with the spirit, then how I live in the body is irrelevant Why does this epistle matter in the 21st century? 1. Believers need to appreciate the truth all its fulness John 7:17 If any man will do his will, he shall know of the doctrine, whether it be of God, or whether I speak of myself. John 17:17 Sanctify them through thy truth: thy word is truth. 2. In every generation, truth comes under attack, both from within the church and outside it Jude 3-4 [3] Beloved, when I gave all diligence to write unto you of the common salvation, it was needful for me to write unto you, and exhort you that ye should earnestly contend for the faith which was once delivered unto the saints. [4] For there are certain men crept in unawares, who were before of old ordained to this condemnation, ungodly men, turning the grace of our God into lasciviousness, and denying the only Lord God, and our Lord Jesus Christ. Matthew 7:15 Beware of false prophets, which come to you in sheep's clothing,

but inwardly they are ravening wolves. 3. Truth is never devoid of living, dynamic application The Epistle from 33,000 ft Unlike most NT epistles, I John is difficult to put into a simple outline – it doesn't flow in a logical order, but revisits key themes in a spiral kinda way, but the outline we'll follow is more thematic than it is logical: I. Introduction II. Doctrine – Learning the Truth 1. Basic Training – 1:1-2:2 2. Spotting the Spirit of Antichrist – 2:18-27 3. True and False Doctrine: A Lesson in Discernment – 4:1-6 III. Doxology – Living and Loving the Truth 1. Basic Living – 2:3-17 2. Living in Light of Christ's Return – 2:28-3:24 3. Love, the Greatest of All – 4:7-21 IV. Conclusion – Our Victory in Christ – 5:1-21 With that, let's begin our walkthrough of 1 John. Introduction [1:1-4] [1:1] Iohn begins with a strong affirmation of Christ's humanity: • We heard the Christ • We saw Him • We didn't just see Him – we considered Him • We handled Him [1:2] A clear attack on the proto-Gnostic teaching which denied the human nature of Jesus. John is clear – what we saw is the basis of what we preached to you [1:3] The reality that God had indeed invaded human history, taking on the nature of His own creatures, was at the heart of the Gospel the Apostles proclaimed

[1:4] In the first of three “purpose clauses” in the book. This book is written to create true joy in the hearts of it Doctrine: Learning the Truth [1:1-2:2, 2:18-27, 4:1-6] After that packed introduction, John begins with the meat of this letter. Like I said in the beginning, 1 John is difficult to follow in any straight manner – so we'll consider the two main themes as they appear in the letter. A. Basic Training [1:1-2:2]: The first doctrinal section exposes us to two basic doctrinal truths, which in the context of the Ephesian church, were necessary to counteract the false teaching. 1. There is the need for a Biblical view of Christ [1:1-4] John here affirms Christ was truly human, while not diminishing His deity. In his Gospel, John records a lot of those statements (f. John 1:1-2, 14, 8:24. 58, 10:28-30). Elsewhere, other statements show us the Biblical teaching regarding the Christ – Php 2:5-11, 1 Tim 3:16. 2. There is the need for a Biblical view of sin [1:5-2:2] A number of statements are made to compose a Biblical picture of sin and its relationship to the Christ. • Sin brings about a break in fellowship with God – 1:5-6. Contrary to the example of the false teachers, God is light and light has no fellowship with darkness (cf. John 1:5, 2 Cor 6:14) • Only the blood of Christ – His sacrificial atonement for sinners – brings about fellowship with God – 1:7. (cf. 2 Cor 5:17-21, Ephesians 2:11-22) • The believer, far from sinning without any repercussion or feeling, struggles with sin – 1:8 (cf. Romans 7:14-25) • • However, the believer is not alone in His struggle – 1:9-2:2

◦ Forgiveness of sins is proclaimed in the Gospel ◦ We have an advocate – one who acts as our defense lawyer – before the Father, Jesus Christ. In chapter 2:1, we have the second of three purpose clauses. This book is written to the enlighten the Christian as to how to deal with sin Taking up the second core of doctrine in the book, we turn to one of the most clouded concepts in all the Bible – that of the antichrist. B. Spotting the Spirit of the Antichrist [2:18-27]: Rev. John Stott, evangelical Anglican minister and Bible expositor, has said: The devil distorts the church as much by ERROR as by EVIL Error and false teaching has plagued the church from the first century to the twenty-first, and in this section of the epistle, John discusses the antichrist. A lot of utter nonsense has made the rounds regarding the Antichrist and there are a couple of points we need to get straight:

Antichrist is not, and will not be, a world political leader. The term appears three times in your Bible – here, 1 John 4:3 and 2 John 7 – and in the contexts it appears in, it is in the context of religious deception The Antichrist is as much a spirit or attitude, as it is a person to be revealed at the point that 1 John is being written. As to the specific person, Scripture doesn't give us the identity of this person. I'd agree with the Reformers that the Papacy is the Antichrist, but I will concede that we don't have 100% assurance on that


Whatever the specific identity of the Antichrist, the focus here is on the spirit or attitude of the Antichrist. [2:18] This spirit characterizes the last days – the time between the first and second coming of Christ (cf. Acts 2:17, Heb 1:1, 1 Pet 1:20)

[2:19-25] Those who exhibit this Spirit start out within the church and soon came out from the church, exhibiting that they were never united to the true Head of the church • Matt 7:13-15 – they are called corrupt trees • 2 Peter 2:1-3 – they are said to deny the Lord, who as Creator, owns them