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Lecture 12 James, 1 Peter, 2 Peter, 1 John, 2 John, 3 John

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Back to James

Do James and Paul disagree?


What then shall we say that Abraham, our forefather, discovered in this matter? 2 If, in fact, Abraham was justified by works, he had something to boast aboutbut not before God. 3 What does the Scripture say? Abraham believed God, and it was credited to him as righteousness. 4 Now when a man works, his wages are not credited to him as a gift, but as an obligation. 5 However, to the man who does not work but trusts God who justifies the wicked, his faith is credited as righteousness. 6 David says the same thing when he speaks of the blessedness of the man to whom God credits righteousness apart from works (Romans 4:1-6)

Lecture 12 James, 1 Peter, 2 Peter, 1 John, 2 John, 3 John 8 For it is by grace you have been saved, through faithand this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God 9 not by works, so that no one can boast. 10 For we are Gods workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do. (Eph 2:8-10) 14 What good is it, my brothers, if a man claims to have faith but has no deeds? Can such faith save him? 15 Suppose a brother or sister is without clothes and daily food. 16 If one of you says to him, Go, I wish you well; keep warm and well fed, but does nothing about his physical needs, what good is it? 17 In the same way, faith by itself, if it is not accompanied by action, is dead. 18 But someone will say, You have faith; I have deeds. Show me your faith without deeds, and I will show you my faith by what I do..... 24 You see that a person is justified by what he does and not by faith alone. (James 2:14-18, 24) The key question is a changed life the result of salvation or the basis of salvation?

Talking about Suffering


If you are not a Christian, what is your attitude to suffering? If you are a Christian, what place do you see suffering has in the Christian life?

1 Peter

Who authored the letter?

The date of the letter

The audience of the letter is likely..... Because: The futile lifestyle of the readers ancestors and peers (1:18; 4:3)

Lecture 12 James, 1 Peter, 2 Peter, 1 John, 2 John, 3 John and the language of becoming a people found in 1 Peter 2.10.

What else were they going through? (1:6; 3:13-17; 4:12-19; 5:9).

In this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while you may have had to suffer grief in all kinds of trials (1 Pet 1:6) It is better, if it is Gods will, to suffer for doing good than for doing evil. (1 Pet 3:17) Dear friends, do not be surprised at the painful trial you are suffering, as though something strange were happening to you (1 Pet 4:12) Resist him, standing firm in the faith, because you know that your brothers throughout the world are undergoing the same kind of sufferings. (1 Pet 5:9)

A proposal three different categories of suffering

General Suffering

Suffering Together

C.S. Lewis Love anything, and your heart will certainly be wrung and possibly broken. If you want to make sure of keeping it intact, you must give your heart to no one, not even to an animal. Wrap it carefully round with hobbies and little luxuries; avoid all entanglements; lock it up safe in the casket or coffin of your selfishness. But in that casket safe, dark, motionless, airless it will change. It will not be broken; it will become unbreakable, impenetrable, irredeemable. The alternative to tragedy, or at least to the risk of tragedy, is damnation. To love is to suffer together, to open yourself to compassion. Suffering for being a Christian

Lecture 12 James, 1 Peter, 2 Peter, 1 John, 2 John, 3 John

Reading the New Testament, it is hard to avoid the conclusion that suffering for living as a Christian is a normal part of Christian experience

Peters reasoning:

21 To this you were called, because Christ suffered for you, leaving you an example, that you should follow in his steps. 22 He committed no sin, and no deceit was found in his mouth. 23 When they hurled their insults at him, he did not retaliate; when he suffered, he made no threats. Instead, he entrusted himself to him who judges justly. 24 He himself bore our sins in his body on the tree, so that we might die to sins and live for righteousness; by his wounds you have been healed. 25 For you were like sheep going astray, but now you have returned to the Shepherd and Overseer of your souls. (1 Pet 2:21-25) Not just applauding the cross imitating it

So 1 Peter says Dear friends, do not be surprised at the painful trial you are suffering, as though something strange were happening to you. (1 Pet 4:12)

What is the narrative arc of a Christian in the New Testament?

And as for us, why do we endanger ourselves every hour? 31 I die every dayI mean that, brothersjust as surely as I glory over you in Christ Jesus our Lord. 32 If I fought wild beasts in Ephesus for merely human reasons, what have I gained? If the dead are not raised, Let us eat and drink, for tomorrow we die. (1 Cor 15:30-32)

I consider that our present sufferings are not worth comparing with the glory that will be revealed in us. (Rom 8:18)

Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! In his great mercy he has given us new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, 4 and into an inheritance that can never perish, spoil or fadekept in heaven

Lecture 12 James, 1 Peter, 2 Peter, 1 John, 2 John, 3 John for you, 5 who through faith are shielded by Gods power until the coming of the salvation that is ready to be revealed in the last time. 6 In this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while you may have had to suffer grief in all kinds of trials. (1 Pet 1:3)

Now it is important here to unpack this:

1. The idea is not that Christians want to suffer 2. The idea is not that Christians seek to be offensive quite the opposite 1 Tim 2:2 (that we may live peaceful and quiet lives); Heb 12:14 (make every effort to live at peace with all men). 3. But it does seem to happen regularly that living and witnessing as a Christian brings hostility. 4. So Christians suffer as Christians because I would rather suffer than have people not hear the gospel I would rather suffer than give up on God and his promises

The Future of our Salvation Lots of ideas surrounding hope and future things to be received see 1:3, 13, 21; 3:5, 15

Does not deny that salvation is already, in some sense, a present possession (1:22-23), 1 Peter speaks in terms of Christs return as the time when Christians will fully experience their salvation (1:5, 13; 5:1). Salvation is as much (or more) the end of Christian experience as the beginning (J. Ramsey Michaels) The three tenses of salvation saved, being saved, and will be saved. We dont have it all right now and you shouldnt expect to get it all right now.

Lecture 12 James, 1 Peter, 2 Peter, 1 John, 2 John, 3 John

Testifying to Jesus by our life and speech


The link between living and speaking the gospel Who is going to harm you if you are eager to do good? 14 But even if you should suffer for what is right, you are blessed. Do not fear what they fear; do not be frightened. 15 But in your hearts set apart Christ as Lord. Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect, 16 keeping a clear conscience, so that those who speak maliciously against your good behavior in Christ may be ashamed of their slander. 17 It is better, if it is Gods will, to suffer for doing good than for doing evil. (1 Peter 3:13-17)

1 John
Written by the apostle John (part of three letters he writes) Probably written in the 80s or 90s. Addressed to a context where false teachers have recently left the congregation, leaving them in profound confusion. Three big concerns for 1 John:

Incarnation
1 John 4:2 This is how you can recognize the Spirit of God: Every spirit that acknowledges that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is from God 1 John 5:5 Who is it that overcomes the world? Only he who believes that Jesus is the Son of God.

Love for One Another


Anyone who claims to be in the light but hates his brother is still in the darkness. 10 Whoever loves his brother lives in the light, and there is nothing in him to make him stumble. 11 But whoever hates his brother is in the darkness and walks around in the

Lecture 12 James, 1 Peter, 2 Peter, 1 John, 2 John, 3 John darkness; he does not know where he is going, because the darkness has blinded him. (1 John 2:9-11) 11 This is the message you heard from the beginning: We should love one another. 12 Do not be like Cain, who belonged to the evil one and murdered his brother. And why did he murder him? Because his own actions were evil and his brothers were righteous. 13 Do not be surprised, my brothers, if the world hates you. 14 We know that we have passed from death to life, because we love our brothers. Anyone who does not love remains in death. 15 Anyone who hates his brother is a murderer, and you know that no murderer has eternal life in him. 16 This is how we know what love is: Jesus Christ laid down his life for us. And we ought to lay down our lives for our brothers. 17 If anyone has material possessions and sees his brother in need but has no pity on him, how can the love of God be in him? 18 Dear children, let us not love with words or tongue but with actions and in truth. 19 This then is how we know that we belong to the truth, and how we set our hearts at rest in his presence 20 whenever our hearts condemn us. For God is greater than our hearts, and he knows everything. 21 Dear friends, if our hearts do not condemn us, we have confidence before God 22 and receive from him anything we ask, because we obey his commands and do what pleases him. 23 And this is his command: to believe in the name of his Son, Jesus Christ, and to love one another as he commanded us. 24 Those who obey his commands live in him, and he in them. And this is how we know that he lives in us: We know it by the Spirit he gave us. (1 John 3:11-24) 7 Dear friends, let us love one another, for love comes from God. Everyone who loves has been born of God and knows God. 8 Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love. 9 This is how God showed his love among us: He sent his one and only Son into the world that we might live through him. 10 This is love: not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins. 11 Dear friends, since God so loved us, we also ought to love one another. 12 No one has ever seen God; but if we love one another, God lives in us and his love is made complete in us. 13 We know that we live in him and he in us, because he has given us of his Spirit. 14 And we have seen and testify that the Father has sent his Son to be the Savior of the world. 15 If anyone acknowledges that Jesus is the Son of God, God lives in him and he in God. 16 And so we know and rely on the love God has for us. God is love. Whoever lives in love lives in God, and God in him. 17 In this way, love is made complete among us so that we will have confidence on the day of judgment, because in this world we are like him. 18 There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment. The one who fears is not made perfect in love. 19 We love because he first loved us. 20 If anyone says, I love God, yet hates his brother, he is a liar. For anyone who does not love his brother, whom he has seen, cannot love God, whom he has not seen. 21 And he has given us this command: Whoever loves God must also love his brother. (1 John 4:7-21) If you dont love other people, you dont love God.

Lecture 12 James, 1 Peter, 2 Peter, 1 John, 2 John, 3 John This reflects the teaching of Jesus.

Forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors. (Matt 6:12) And just in case we didnt get the point, Jesus tells the parable of the unmerciful servant 21 Then Peter came to Jesus and asked, Lord, how many times shall I forgive my brother when he sins against me? Up to seven times? 22 Jesus answered, I tell you, not seven times, but seventy-seven times. 23 Therefore, the kingdom of heaven is like a king who wanted to settle accounts with his servants. 24 As he began the settlement, a man who owed him ten thousand talents was brought to him. 25 Since he was not able to pay, the master ordered that he and his wife and his children and all that he had be sold to repay the debt. 26 The servant fell on his knees before him. Be patient with me, he begged, and I will pay back everything. 27 The servants master took pity on him, canceled the debt and let him go. 28 But when that servant went out, he found one of his fellow servants who owed him a hundred denarii. He grabbed him and began to choke him. Pay back what you owe me! he demanded. 29 His fellow servant fell to his knees and begged him, Be patient with me, and I will pay you back. 30 But he refused. Instead, he went off and had the man thrown into prison until he could pay the debt. 31 When the other servants saw what had happened, they were greatly distressed and went and told their master everything that had happened. 32 Then the master called the servant in. You wicked servant, he said, I canceled all that debt of yours because you begged me to. 33 Shouldnt you have had mercy on your fellow servant just as I had on you? 34 In anger his master turned him over to the jailers to be tortured, until he should pay back all he owed. 35 This is how my heavenly Father will treat each of you unless you forgive your brother from your heart. (Matt 18:21-35) We dont absorb love we overflow.

Sin and the Christian life


Everyone who sins breaks the law; in fact, sin is lawlessness. 5 But you know that he appeared so that he might take away our sins. And in him is no sin. 6 No one who lives in him keeps on sinning. No one who continues to sin has either seen him or known him. 7 Dear children, do not let anyone lead you astray. He who does what is right is righteous, just as he is righteous. 8 He who does what is sinful is of the devil, because the devil has been sinning from the beginning. The reason the Son of God appeared was to destroy the devils work. 9 No one who is born of God will continue to sin,

Lecture 12 James, 1 Peter, 2 Peter, 1 John, 2 John, 3 John because Gods seed remains in him; he cannot go on sinning, because he has been born of God. 10 This is how we know who the children of God are and who the children of the devil are: Anyone who does not do what is right is not a child of God; nor is anyone who does not love his brother. (1 John 3:4-10)

18 We know that anyone born of God does not continue to sin; the one who was born of God keeps him safe, and the evil one cannot harm him. (1 John 5:18)

And yet: 8 If we claim to be without sin, we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us. 9 If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness. 10 If we claim we have not sinned, we make him out to be a liar and his word has no place in our lives. 2 My dear children, I write this to you so that you will not sin. But if anybody does sin, we have one who speaks to the Father in our defenseJesus Christ, the Righteous One. 2 He is the atoning sacrifice for our sins, and not only for ours but also for the sins of the whole world. (1 John 1:8-2:2)

We should never be .... We should always be .... We should never be ....

2 John
For authorship and date, see similar info on 1 John Written to maybe one particular congregation to warn them of false teachers on the loose, and largely reiterates the themes of 1 John like believing in the Incarnation, and continuing to love one another. One text to clarify: If anyone comes to you and does not bring this teaching, do not take him into your house or welcome him. 11 Anyone who welcomes him shares in his wicked work. (2 John 10-11)

Lecture 12 James, 1 Peter, 2 Peter, 1 John, 2 John, 3 John

3 John
For authorship and date, see similar info on 1 John.

Beloved, I wish above all things that thou mayest prosper and be in health, even as thy soul prospereth (KJV) Dear friend, I hope all is well with you and that you are as healthy in body as you are strong in spirit. (NLT) Dear friend, I pray that you may enjoy good health and that all may go well with you, even as your soul is getting along well (NIV) Beloved, I pray that all may go well with you and that you may be in good health, just as it is well with your soul (NRSV)

Preparing for next Week on Revelation


Write down as many films about the future as you can name. What is your perspective on the future of the world are you hopeful? Are you worried?

Lecture 12 James, 1 Peter, 2 Peter, 1 John, 2 John, 3 John