Beulah Baptist Church
Tuesday, February 25, 2020

I John - Jude

Introduction: The author is John the Apostle the same one who wrote II, III John, gospel of John and the Book of the Revelation. The book was written to the church at large and the purpose of I John was to let the Christians know that by believing on the Son of God they could have eternal life. He also wrote to defend the faith and to strengthen the church against false teachers and heretical doctrine. John often confronted the beginning stages of nosticism. Nosticism said the human body was evil this teaching resulted in two different attitudes toward the body and life. Number one some said the body needed to be controlled and disciplined and taken care of as much as possible by controlling its urges and appetite and keeping it fit the corruption of the body could be controlled more easily. Number two others said that what was done with the body mattered little for it was evil and doomed to death. Therefore if a person took care of his spirit he could eat, drink and be merry and do whatever else he wanted within his body. The parallel with the false teaching of today is clearly seen some concentrate on the body and its health through recreation and discipline seeking to overcome the evil that is the corruption, disease, aging and dying of the body as much as possible. While others live as they please eating, drinking and partying as they wish thinking that it matters little now how they live. Just think how many people feel that they can do their own thing, what they want when they want just so they believe in God and worship occasionally and do a good deed here and there. The point to see is this each person gives attention to the spiritual only as he wishes only as much as he feels is necessary to keep his spirit in touch with God but his concentration is the body and its pleasure whether pleasure is that exhibition of discipline and control or the stimulating of the flesh. There are millions and have been since Christ who believe that they are saved and acceptable to God just so they have been baptized, belong to a church, practice the rituals of the church and worship here and there. They think they can pretty much live like they want during the week that is eat, drink, party, seek the pleasures and possessions of the world, whore, curse and be immoral here or there what they do with their bodies just so its not to serious in their minds does not matter that much. What they think is just so I have been baptized and belong to the church I can do anything I want to do. Let me say this God will let you do anything you want to do but you will have to pay for that. If you are a child of God you will be chastened and disciplined in this lifetime. The Bible says judge yourself so that you will not be judged and if you are not a child of God you will be judged at the Great White Throne Judgment. Note how the truth destroys this teaching. The human body is not evil. Jesus Christ the Son of God came to earth in a human body therefore the body could not be evil for God cannot be touched with evil He is perfect. The conclusion is shocking and convulsive for the life of man. Since the body is honorable it means that everything a man does with his body is important to his spiritual welfare. What he does with his body determines his relationship and destiny with God. It is totally impossible to keep one’s spirit right with God and let one’s body go on its own way. A person is a person both body and spirit therefore he is to honor God with his body and his spirit just as Jesus Christ did with the body given to Him by God. [Rom. 12:1-2] I John is an epistle combating false teachers and error. Not only that I John is an epistle of Christian assurance of salvation and eternal life. I John is, the epistle of tests written to give the reader test after test by which he could prove whether or not he knows God. I John is a personal and spiritual epistle not so much written from a doctrinal point of view although it is filled doctrinal teaching its emphasis is personal righteousness, purity, love, knowledge and loyalty to Jesus Christ. This is an epistle that stresses love and it stresses that Jesus Christ did come as a man. It stresses that Jesus Christ is the Savior who cleanses us from all sin. It’s an epistle that stresses the Spirit living within the believer. It’s an epistle that stresses separation from the world [I John 2:15-17]. This is an epistle that stresses righteousness and obedience to God’s commandments [I John 2:3-8] and we ought to be striving to live a righteous life.
I.   The Great Testimony of John: The Son of God has come to earth 1:1-5
The aim of this study is to gain a greater conviction that Jesus Christ is the Son of God. Memory verse: 1:5
In verse 1 we can see that Jesus Christ has always existed and He has proven who He is and revealed who He is [v 2] by identifying with men and in verse 3 came to earth with a most glorious purpose and in verse 4 we see that we might have fellowship with God and with His Son Jesus Christ so that our joy might be full. In verse 5 Jesus Christ preached the most wonderful message that God is light and in Him is no darkness at all.
Have you ever wondered what God’s angels do between assignments? Imagine them sitting around discussing their experiences. What would they have to say? Take a peek and see for yourself listen to the angel Gabriel and his apprentice let’s say Arthur. Throughout this study you will find these angels in a variety of settings. The first setting is Christmas in a little town called Bethlehem. Why is it taking so long asked Arthur the apprentice who was learning the ropes first class from his mentor, Gabriel. Arthur proceeded with his line of questioning it has taken thousands of years to get to this point and now nine months later Mary is still with child. Gabriel took notice of his apprentice frustration and said Arthur what appears to you to be slow but our Master has never been late for anything including His birth. Suddenly Gabriel saw Mary move in the corner of his eye wait look at Mary there He comes, quick Arthur we’ve got to find the shepherds and tell them that the Son of God has come to earth. And with the same excitement John tells his readers that the Son of God has come to earth.
John jumps right into what he wants to tell his readers what he has to say is of unparalleled importance. He must get right to the point that God’s Son has come to earth. God is no living out in outer space someplace like so many people think and say God has not forgotten the earth. God is not unconcerned and disinterested in the world the very opposite is true God loves and cares for the world and us and He has proven it in the most supreme way possible God has sent His only Son into the world. This is the glorious testimony of John.
I. Jesus Christ has always existed [v 1]
What is meant by, that which was from the beginning is that Jesus Christ, existed before the world was ever created. He was living and has always been living He possessed life. He possessed the energy, force, and power of life. He was the very embodiment of life and life was wrapped up in Him for He is the very energy and force of life itself. Jesus Christ has been here forever, in eternity past, eternity present and eternity future. Jesus Christ has always been here and will always exist. Christ did not have a beginning He was not created He was from the beginning with God. Our Lord and Savior knows what the other world is all about for He has come from there therefore all that He has told us is true we can trust His Word. He came from the Spirit world [the third heaven] to be born of the Virgin Mary and to die for our sins and provide us with eternal life and He has gone back to God to make intercession for our prayers. We have a Savior who has always been around. He is not and new and improved remake of a failed attempt to save man from their sins. This doctrine puzzles a lot of people and it puzzles the angels. Lets use again Arthur for an example.
Arthur says to Gabriel you have been around a long time what was it like before Jesus joined the Father’s team? Arthur asked. Why Arthur, Gabriel said, every angel in good standing knows that Jesus Christ has always been. Before the universe existed throughout all eternity He existed Jesus has always possessed the nature of God Himself. But why did He become a man asks Arthur because only God can save man from their sins Gabriel responded. Throughout history men in acts of heroism have given up their lives to save others but every person they save eventually died. Jesus Christ who has always existed was the only One who could die for all men and save them from eternal death. See II Corinthians 5:21; I John 2:2; I Timothy 2:3-6; See also notes on Calvinism from Romans
Is it essential that you understand the pre-existence of Christ or just believe it?
Why is the doctrine of the pre-existent Christ so important?
What percentage of God is Jesus how can you answer critics about the Deity and pre-existence of Christ? 100%
II. Jesus Christ has proven who He is [v 1]
How has Jesus Christ proven who He is? By partaking of human flesh and becoming a man and letting people hear, see, look upon and handle Him. Jesus actually partook of flesh and blood and became a man and spoke to men [Heb. 2:14-15] One of the great needs of man is a word from God that tells us the truth about God and about life about who we are and why we are here and where we are going [John 8:31-32]. John and the early believers saw the Son of God with their eyes, men saw Him in the flesh just as men see all other men but note something John says they saw Him with their eyes. He wants us to know that Jesus Christ was not a phantom or a ghost or a Spirit but that Jesus Christ was real and had actually became a man. More than just John heard Him and handled Him thousands can testify to this. They saw His resurrection and conquest of death for man [Acts 1:21-22]. They looked earnestly and intently upon Jesus in order to understand Him and to seek and grasp the significance of Jesus Christ personally. Let’s see if we can make an application. A person will never see and understand who Christ is just by glancing at him. If a person wants to know Christ he has to look intensely and seriously. He has to seek to understand if Christ is really who John and other believers say He is. [Jer. 9:24] [Lk 24:39] Christ told them to handle Him. Jesus Christ did everything He could to show man that He has come to give man the chance to live life eternal [Heb. 1:3]
When God became a man He took on human flesh why is this important to your being able to relate to God? The answers very obvious in the flesh Jesus Christ was tempted like you and I are and He never gave in to a temptation and that shows us that He never gave into sin and never sinned and it shows us that only the sinless Son of God can die for your sins and my sins. Who but Jesus Christ both God and man could have endured all He did on this earth? Do you think He suffered any less physically or emotionally because He was God? Does the testimony of John and the other apostles really strengthen your belief in Christ as God’s Son? Are you living and witnessing like we really believe it?
III. Jesus Christ has revealed who He is the Word of Life [vv 1-2]
Jesus is the Word of Life and this means two things. First of all Jesus Christ Himself is the Word. Remember what a word is it is the expression of an idea a thought in the mind of a person. A word describes what is in the mind of a person. And John is saying that in the life of Jesus Christ God was speaking and demonstrating just what He wanted to say to man. This means the most wonderful thing it means that God has given us much more than mere words in the Holy Scriptures. God has given us Jesus Christ the Word and as the Word Jesus Christ was the very pattern of what God wished to say to man. The very image of the ideal man in God’s mind was demonstrated by the life of Jesus Christ. For Jesus is the perfect expression of all that He wishes man to be. Jesus Christ was God’s utterance God’s speech God’s Word to man for He is the Word of Life who came to show us that the very essence of life is in God Himself. Secondly, Jesus Christ Himself is the good news the gospel of life. Therefore when He came to earth He brought the word of life to man. His acts, his teaching tells man how to live and Jesus Christ alone is the Word of Life. The Word tells man how to conquer death and how to live life abundantly both now and in eternity. This is the great thing Jesus Christ has revealed to man. Jesus Christ has showed us that life never dies or ceases to be. Life is the very energy of living abundantly of experiencing love of experiencing Christian joy and peace just as God experiences. Life never lacks and never ceases to experience the fullness of life to the ultimate. Jesus Christ has shown us that if a man really wants to live he has to put life into the hands of God for true life exists only in God. God has given us His written Word and has given us His Son as the Living Word what more could God have done for us?
IV. Jesus Christ came to earth for the most glorious purpose [vv 3-4]
John was writing to people just like us who struggle just like we do and he said we’ve seen and heard and so testify that Jesus Christ has come to earth and we want to have fellowship with you and we want you to have fellowship with Him and we want you to be very joyful people. And I cannot overstress that for too many times we Christians forget that we are more than conquerors through all things and we ought to live a victorious life. Jesus Christ came that men might have fellowship with Jesus and with God and also with one another. This is a most wonderful declaration for it means that God is not far off someplace in outer space like a lot of folk teach that He is. God cares about what happens to and He has not left us to fend for ourselves upon the earth with nothing but death and the grave to look forward to. God is not like that as a matter of fact the very opposite is true. God has revealed Himself through the Lord Jesus Christ to show that He loves and deeply cares for us and He has shown us He wants to fellowship us. Jesus Christ came to show us that, we can have fellowship with God by living by the Spirit and walking in the Spirit [Gal. 5:16] in this way we become acceptable to Him. This means that we can walk with Him and talk with Him and share with Him and have Him walk with us throughout the day caring for us as we take each step. We can trust Him to help us meet our needs and to help us as we struggle with the trials and temptations of life and know that He will give us a life of joy, peace and love. That He will deliver us from a life of sin and death giving us life eternal.
Fellowship is one of the greatest blessings of being a Christian. Just imagine with me now just how rich you really are. You have an opportunity to have intimate with Father and with the Son and with other believers. Let me ask you a question are you taking full advantage of this opportunity? Arthur the angel has become awestruck as he and Gabriel observe some believers who live in dark in dark wretch dwellings. Gabriel, says Arthur, I’m fighting some feelings of envy. What’s eating at you Arthur? Gabriel responds. Just look at these believers they’re worshiping the Master with a genuine passion even though their circumstances are not good they are enjoying heart to heart fellowship with the Father and with the Son. And look how they’re caring for each other in those dismal and dreary shanties there is a bright and warm glow in their hearts and not only their hearts but on their faces. I hope they never take for granted what they have. Angels like us can only imagine what it is to be like a human being and have that kind of intimacy with God and Arthur sighed aloud wishing that he had a soul that could fellowship with God and wishing he had a soul that could fellowship with man.
Do you ever squander your fellowship opportunities with God? What can you do to become a better steward of your time with Him?
What can you do to spend more fellowship time with other believers?
Jesus Christ came that our joy might be full. Joy means an inner gladness a deep-seated pleasure it is the depth of assurance and confidence that ignites a cheerful heart. It is a cheerful heart that leads to cheerful behavior. Joy is divine possessed and given only by God its roots are not in, earthly or material things or cheap triumphs it is the joy of the Holy Spirit. A joy based in the Lord it is God’s very own joy. [John 15:11] Jesus Christ not only wanted to save us but He wants us to be joyful people rising above the circumstances. [Acts 13:52; Rom. 14:17; Gal. 5:22; I Thess. 1:6] are we leading our people to be joyful? Secondly joy does not depend upon circumstances or happiness. Happiness depends upon happenings but the joy that God implants in the believers heart overrides everything even the matters of life and death [Ps. 5:11; II Cor. 6:10; 7:4] we ought to be joyful so much so that the lost can see it and desire it. Not only that but joy springs from faith [Rom. 15:13; Phil. 1:25; II Tim. 1:4; Matt. 2:10] Just as they anticipated seeing the Savior we ought to anticipate those people that fellowship with us in the Lord and long to see them and have a desire to see them and make this life what it should be and then have a great desire to see the Lord coming back to earth. Joy’s future rewards makes and keeps one faithful [Heb. 12:2; Matt. 25:21]. The source of the believer’s joy we have the fellowship of the Father and of the Son that brings us joy. Victory over sin death and hell brings joy [John 14:28] Repentance brings joy [Lk. 15:7, 10]. The hope of glory brings joy [Rom. 14:17; I Peter 4:13; John 15:11]. The commandments of Christ and the will of God brings joy, obeying and doing a good job stirs joy in the believer’s heart [John 15:11; 17:13]. Then prayer brings joy and you have to know it does because you’ve seen what prayer can do [John 16:24]. Converts bring joy and hearing that others walk in the truth brings joy [III John 4] it is not enough just to lead them to Christ but we have to teach people the Word of God and as we teach our reward is joy. Not only that but giving brings joy [II Cor. 8:2; Heb.10:34]
V. Jesus Christ has preached the most wonderful message [v 5]
The message included two wonderful things first of all it included that God is light. What does this mean? It means several things God is light by nature and God is light by character. Light is what God is within Himself and within His being within His essence, nature and character. God dwells in the splendor, glory and brilliance of Light. Wherever He is the splendor glory and the brilliance of light shines out from His being. In fact there is not even the need for the sun when God’s glory is present. [Rev. 21:23]. God is light in that He reveals the truth of all things. Jesus Christ is the light and He tells us that God is holy, righteous, and pure. Light is the symbol of purity and holiness. Light has no spots of darkness and blackness has no spots of sin and shame light is sincere. Jesus the light reveals and shows clearly the nature and destiny of all things. His light beams in, spots, opens up, identifies and illuminates things and shows them as they really are. The light of Jesus Christ shows the truth about the world and man and God. The light of Christ reveals that God loves and cares for man and wants man to love and care for Him. The light guides and allows a man to walk out of darkness because Jesus is the light. His light does away with darkness and chaos. The empty chaos of creation, was routed by, the light given, by, God [Gen. 1:3] Jesus is the light that saves. In what ways has satan tried to put out God’s light in your heart? What steps do you take to keep the darkness out? In what ways can God’s light reveal darkness in your life? When He shows you some darkness do you do something about it?
There is a second thing about the most wonderful message that Christ preached and that is that there is no darkness in God. What does this mean? The word darkness describes both the state and works of a person. Generally speaking it symbolizes evil and sin, everything that life should not be and that a person should not do. Observe that none of the descriptions of darkness are true of God. First of all the darkness means that a man is ignorant of God. The darkness means that a person is vain in his imaginations and thoughts about God [Rom. 1:21]. It means that a person does not walk in the love and light of Christ [John 8:12]. It means that a person is blind to the light of Christ and stumbles about throughout life [John 11:9-10]. The darkness means that a person does not understand the darkness powerlessness to extinguish the light [John 1:5]. The darkness means that a person does not see the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ [II Cor. 4:6]. Darkness not only means that man is ignorant of God but it also means evil behavior and deeds. First of all the darkness means that a persons deeds are evil and that he hates the light [John 3:19-21]. Secondly it means that a person walks in the darkness of hate and antagonism against others [I John 2:9-11]. Thirdly the darkness means that a person lives a secretive life a life that is gripped by the hidden things of darkness, a life that cannot bear the light [I Cor. 4:5]. The believer has been given a most glorious hope that God’s light will never grow dim.
Arthur says, Gabriel, what is that coming dark cloud? Gabriel answers, o that’s Lucifer, he’s plotting his final ultimate attempt to snuff out God’s light. What a fool he is does he really think putting our master on a cross will snuff out the light? replied, Gabriel. Arthur don’t look its not a pretty sight those nails, that crown of thorns, that spear in His side how they must hurt but wait did you hear that Arthur He said it is finished. Then darkness griped the world as never before. Evil began to dance a diabolical jig at the foot of the cross with gleaming red eyes that peered through the darkness, Lucifer looked at the limp body of Jesus and said so you’re the light of the world. Ha, ha, ha, ha. Never again will you be the light of the world in my world again. And then Lucifer walked down the steps and returned to hell. But that’s not the end of the story three days later a burst of light revealed that death had been defeated and God’s glorious light would reach the heart of every believer’s personal hell. Gabriel said Arthur do believers really understand what the Master has done for them? Gabriel thought for a moment and said they will if they never forget how dark it was before God’s light filled the close room of their hearts.
The darkness speaks of man’s nature and means that he is the very embodiment of darkness [Eph. 5:8] The darkness means that a person’s eye is focused upon evil and their being is full of darkness [Matt. 6:22-23]. It means that a person is an unbeliever and has communion with darkness [II Cor. 6:14]. It means that a man is unfruitful in his life [Eph. 5:11; I Thess. 5:4-5; II Peter 2:9-10]. The darkness means that a person is under the power of satan and that his sins are not forgiven him [Acts 26:18] The darkness means the place of punishment and hell where all ungodly shall be placed in the final judgment [Eph. 6:12]
In what ways can you keep darkness from enveloping your life?
II. The Three Misconceptions of Man [1:6-2:2]
A. Misconception 1: Man can fellowship with God and still walk in sin [1:6-7]
We cannot fellowship with God and walk in darkness to say we do is a lie and not the truth. The truth is we must walk in the light and then we have true fellowship and we are cleansed from sin. The aim of this lesson is to understand one clear simple fact you must walk the walk with God not just talk the talk. Memory verse: I John 1:6
The great testimony of John the apostle is that we can fellowship with God and His Son Jesus Christ. But wait a minute man shouts we already have fellowship with God and we already worship God and feel safe and acceptable in our religion. We do not need someone else to show us how to become acceptable to God. We can reach God on our own and secure His approval by ourselves. We don’t need anyone else telling us how to approach God and how we should worship God and secure His approval. That’s what, mankind says, and so in this particular section we’ll take up the great subject man objects to the idea that Jesus Christ is the Son of God. Man objects to the idea that the way he worships is wrong and man objects to the idea that he has no merit with God. Man objects to the idea that he himself is unacceptable to God and this is the reason many object John’s declaration and that declaration is the Son of God has come to earth. Jesus Christ came so that man might have true fellowship with God but man objects to the idea that he needs help in reaching God. He feels, all sufficient in, himself, and he rejects the idea that he cannot reach God on his own. This passage strikes at these objections and exposes their fallacies.
A hiker, in the north country was met on his journey by a snowshoe salesman. Hi buddy shouted the salesman, how about a pair of quality snowshoes for your journey he asked. Scanning the clear path ahead of him the hiker politely refused the salesman’s offer. He calculated that he could beat the coming storm on the way to the ski lodge. As the hiker traveled the weather suddenly became worse the clear path was soon covered by a white blanket of snow struggling to find the path the hiker stepped into snow bank and sank to his knees. By this time he was getting cold, panic began to set in he struggled to take steps toward his destination that warm ski lodge where all his friends would be gathered around the fire place with a hot cup of cocoa. The hiker was stuck and he knew it. He said with fatalistic resolution if only I had bought those snowshoes. When his hope had almost faded away that same salesman greeted him again. Hi buddy, want those snowshoes now don’t you. This time the sale was transacted and they walked on top of the snow and waiting for them was warm fellowship and life. The point of this story is that hikers cannot walk in snow banks without snowshoes and believers cannot have warm fellowship and life with God without getting rid of the sin in their lives. This brings us to the first basic misconception that man, can have fellowship with God and still walk in sin.
Note that the first misconception that is held by most people on earth. Most people believe that they can fellowship with God even while they walk in darkness and sin.
1. We can fellowship with God and walk in darkness [v 6]
    A. This is a lie.
   B. This is not the truth.
 Let’s ask the question why do men object to the Deity of Jesus Christ? Because they believe that man can walk in darkness and fellowship with God at the very same time. What does it mean to walk in darkness and we need to note four significant facts about this. First of all the world is in the dark about God. When it comes to God man is in darkness for he cannot see God or talk with God and cannot even be sure God exists why? Because man’s physical senses and flesh can know only the things of the physical world. If there is a God and if there is a spiritual world man has absolutely no way to penetrate it. Man can take all of technology, science and intellect and all of his creative reasoning and he will never be able to penetrate the spiritual world not with his physical and material nature. The physical and material world will never be able to cross over into the spiritual world. Man and his world are completely in the dark about God. No matter how religious or how much of a spiritist that person may be no person from the physical world can cross over into the spiritual world to find out if God exists much less fellowship with God. Secondly how then can man ever know God and fellowship with God? There’s only one way God has to leave the spiritual world and God has to leave the spiritual dimension and God has to enter the physical world and God has to enter the physical dimension. God has to come to earth and God has to reveal Himself to mankind. This is the only conceivable way man could ever fellowship with God. This too is the glorious gospel and this is what John is declaring the Son of God has come to earth. Thirdly, note the foolishness of man. Man rejects the Son of God and declares we can have fellowship with God and walk in darkness. Man declares he can find God on His own and man declares he can relate to God. Man declares he can be good enough to fellowship with God and secure God’s approval all by himself. Man believes he can use his own mind and reason to find out enough about God to become acceptable to Him and fellowship with Him. Man believes he can use his hands, energy and do enough to please God and secure His approval. Man says we can have fellowship with God and walk in darkness. But, people, that’s, a misconception. Here’s the way man thinks. If he believes in God and does halfway right then his belief and good deeds will put God in debt to him because he’s good and pays his debts on time and keeps his hair cut and reads his Bible a little bit and goes to church twice a month and because he puts money in the offering plate God will never reject him. Rather he says God will accept me therefore man concludes that he can reject Jesus Christ has the Son of God. He concludes he can fellowship and become acceptable to God by believing God exists and by doing just enough good to please God. Man thinks that he can have fellowship with God and still walk in darkness. But I John 1:6 says. Fourth note what the scripture says to any of us who say this we lie and do not the truth. No matter how great our minds and thoughts imagine God to be, no matter how many good works we do we are not doing the truth and note a thinking person and an honest person knows this for no person can cross over into the spiritual world. If we are ever to know God, God Himself has to come to us. Whatever we do by taking any approach to God other than by the Son of God we take a false approach. God’s word is strong and it needs no defense we are to defend it we are to proclaim it. And God’s Word says if a person says that he is saved then lives in the darkness of this world he is lying. Now, I want to be clear on something a man can be in darkness he can be saved and yet because he continually habitually practices sin he can lose fellowship with God. And really if he continually habitually practices sin then his salvation can be questioned by other people [I John 2:9-11], so the Word of God is strong and it says this if a person says he is saved and then lives in the darkness of this world continually habitually practicing sin then he lies. God is light. Therefore if a person walks in darkness he commits one sin and that breaks his fellowship with God unless he asks for forgiveness from God. One sin will do that for a Christian. He must ask for forgiveness. He is not fellowshipping with God. Light and darkness cannot dwell together. A person has to choose where he wants to live. He has to choose whether to live in the light of God or in the darkness of this world. [Acts 17:23] – you see man has the wrong idea about God if he thinks for one minute he can walk in darkness and sin in this world and still have an intimate relation of fellowship with God. It just doesn’t work that way.
This is a strong warning to the believer. The believer cannot walk in the darkness of this world and expect the light of God to guide him throughout life. Here’s the story of one man who lived a lie.
Aaron was a salesman with a strong personality and not only did he have a strong personality but he had lots of charisma. His image was very important to him he loved the applause of men and would feed his ego by seeking out popular places to make his appearance. Trying to become one of the guys was his excuse for compromising his values to sell more profits. On Sunday morning he went to church in public he even talked like a Christian, but in reality Aaron led a double life and did whatever he felt was necessary to get ahead in business. When it came to his Christian life Aaron talked the talk but he did not walk the walk. It did not take long before his double standards and hypocrisy began to affect the reputation of the business. Aaron’s employer took him aside and said Aaron I really appreciate all that you do like meeting your sales goals but for your own good I’m going to ask you to take a break from working outside of the office. I want you to take a close look at your lifestyle you are making choices that no longer affect just you alone. Until you can make some changes in your lifestyle I’m taking you off the road. You know Aaron did? Aaron exploded in a rage. His employer had seen past his smooth exterior into his darker inner self. The light of God’s Spirit had exposed Aaron’s true intentions. Let me ask you a question when God shines His light on you what kind of things will be exposed in your life?
2. We must walk in the light [v 7]
A.    Then we have fellowship.
B. Then we are cleansed from sin.
Man must walk in the light if he is to have fellowship with God. What is the light of God? First the light of God is the revelation of God Himself. The Lord Jesus Christ came to earth to reveal God. Secondly the light of God is the revelation of just how God wants us to live upon the earth. When the Son of Man came to earth He told us and showed us just exactly what God expects of us. Therefore to walk in the light means to believe in the Son of God and follow Him. And if we walk upon earth following Jesus and practice doing what He said to do then we’re in the light just as He is in the light and note this is just exactly what the verse says. This means two most wonderful things. Number one if we walk in the light of Christ then we have fellowship with Christ, with God and with all other believers. Jesus Christ showed us how to relate to God and therefore when we walk in the light of Christ we do what Christ did we approach God through Christ just as Christ showed us. The result is glorious it means that we know and actually fellowship with God. It means that we know and fellowship with His Son and all who believe and walk in His light. This is what the Bible is trying to get us to do. Now note this it is both impossible to walk in light and darkness at the same time. If we walk in darkness we are not walking and fellowshipping with God it is totally impossible. Secondly if we walk in the light of Christ then the blood of God’s Son cleanses us from all sin. This is a critical point to note. It was not enough for God’s Son to come to earth and reveal God to man. Man is sinful and has transgressed God’s law and chosen to live just as he wants to live on the earth and man has ignored, disbelieved, rebelled, cursed, disobeyed and rejected God. Therefore when a law is broken a penalty has to be paid. The lawbreaker has to pay or else someone has to step forward and pay the penalty of sin for him. This is what Jesus has done. He not only came to reveal God to us He came to take away all our sins and transgressions. He suffered the punishment for us. He bore the condemnation for us. The blood of Jesus Christ was shed for all of us. Therefore to walk in the light of Christ we walk believing that Jesus Christ the sinless Son of God died for our sins. It means that we believe that His blood cleanses us from all sin and paid the penalty for our sins and we are now free from the guilt of sin and now God accepts us as He sees us covered by the blood of Christ. The word cleanses is in the present tense this means that the blood of Christ continually cleanses us from sin minute by minute hour by hour. This means also that if we walk in the light of Christ then His blood is always cleansing us from our sins. If we walk and fellowship with Jesus Christ then we are constantly confessing our sins and living in open confession before our Lord and Savior. We are to walk and acknowledge God in all our ways praying and confessing our shortcomings all day long. The believer who walks in fellowship with God like this is being constantly cleansed and this should be our great desire to be in communion and perfect fellowship with God. Confessing our sins as we commit them all day long and asking Jesus to forgive us and cleanse us from all unrighteousness. This is the point so often missed by man. He cannot erase the sins of his past. He has no way to pay the penalty and judgment for his sins and they have already been committed therefore the penalty has to be paid. Note the payment has to be made by someone who is perfect for God is perfect. Only perfect sacrifices can be acceptable to God. So this is the terrible dilemma that man faces for who is perfect other than God? No man is. That leaves only One, only the Son of God is perfect. This is the reason the Son of God had to come to earth [Rom. 5:8-9].
Little children have a unique way of framing God’s Word in ways that strike the heart of the matter. This is one little girls interpretation of John 3:16. Dr. Walter Wilson was visiting in a home when the members of the family were asked to quote Bible verses. One little girl said she’d quote John 3:16 and she quoted John 3:16 this way; “For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son so that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish but have internal life.” The point is this if you walk in the light of Christ His blood will cleanse you from all sin. This cleansing happens from the inside out so the little girl was right thank God for internal life.
Let me ask you some questions; are you walking the walk with God or are you just talking the talk? Are you conscious of walking in the light of Christ? If you’re not walking in the fellowship of God, Christ and other believers, who then, are you, walking with?
B. Misconception #2: Man is not totally sinful and depraved [1:8-9]
The aim of this lesson is to acknowledge your sinful nature to continually go before God in confession. Memory verse: John 1:8 – remember all through this John is talking to Christians.
Who is the real you? Years ago there was a popular television program with a panel of three people claiming to be the same person. It was the contestant’s task to try and guess which panel member was the person being described. At the end of the show the host would say would the real John Doe please stand up. After a moment of suspense the real so and so would stand to his feet. Now the Bible says man is sinful and depraved. The world says man is basically good and getting even better now in a moment of truth will the real you please stand up and state that you are who the Bible says you are. This is the reason many persons object to Jesus Christ. This is the reason many people accept Him as a great religious teacher but reject His claim to be the Son of God and the Savior of the world. They are unwilling to accept the fact that man is depraved and totally sinful this is the great subject of this passage.
The second great misconception about the Son of God coming to earth is this man says he is not totally depraved and the Bible says he is deceiving himself. Man objects to the idea of Jesus Christ having to die for our sins. He counters we are not so sinful that we cannot handle the problem of sin ourselves. We can change our behavior and act responsibly. Man has the capacity to transform and discipline himself and to control his own life. Man has the ability to live a reasonable and responsible life he can resolve to change and live a decent moral life. Man has the power to please God Himself man can do good, and make himself acceptable to God. Man says man is not so terrible a sinner not deep down within he can become a moral and righteous person on his own. He only needs three things. Number one he needs to be educated to understand him and the world that’s what man says. Number two he needs to have a set of moral values and religious worship that can encourage him in his values. Number three man says he needs to use his technology and science for moral and just cause. The point is this man rejects the idea that he needs someone to die for his sins. Man rejects the idea that he cannot become acceptable to God on his own. Man objects to the idea that the perfect sinless Son of God had to come and die for his sins. Man objects number one because it means he must admit that he is sinful totally sinful and totally depraved. Number two it means man is so sinful and depraved that he is totally unacceptable to God. Number three it means that man is so sinful and depraved that he cannot become acceptable to God by his own efforts. Number four it means that man is so sinful and depraved that he cannot no matter what he does secure God’s approval. Number five it means this man is so sinful and depraved that he can never fellowship with God that all of his prayers and all of his worship and all of his thoughts about God are vain and empty unless he comes to know Jesus Christ as his personal Savior and then we he sins to ask God to cleanse him from all his sins.
1. We are totally sinful and depraved [v 8]
The misconception is forcefully stated that is we have no sin. Note the word sin is not plural but singular so this is talking about sin as a root within man. Sin is a part of man’s nature as a principle, a law, a force and, energy within man. Persons who say they can approach God on their own are saying they have no sin, no nature, principle or root of sin within them. They’re saying three things #1 that they can handle sin themselves and they can change their lives and stop sinning enough to please God and become acceptable to Him. #2 they’re saying that they do not need the Son of God to come to earth and die for their sins. #3 men are saying that they can control their lives enough to keep from sinning. What a misconception! Listen heaven and hell is at stake and what you do with Jesus determines your eternity. Very clearly the Bible is declaring that we must not only accept Jesus Christ as our personal Savior but after we accept Jesus Christ as our personal Savior we must have a desire to walk and talk and fellowship with God for if we walk in darkness we can have no fellowship with God. Scripture is very clear on this misconception we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us. If we cannot keep from sinning this means that we have a root of nature of sin within us. To say any differently is, to deceive ourselves and deny, the truth. Sin is coming short and missing the mark of God’s perfection this is the reason no person can ever live with God. God is perfect therefore only perfection can live in his presence. Man is totally sinful therefore man can never live in God’s presence and if the objector misses this then he will miss the eternal salvation that is in Jesus Christ our Lord.
There are those who say that man is not responsible for his sin therefore he cannot be charged with sin. They say that man acts the way he does because of his upbringing, his parents, society, his environment, his education or lack thereof. They say he acts the way he does because of his playmates and his associates. They say man is a product of his environment. Therefore God cannot charge man with guilt man just is not responsible for his behavior. For this reason, God nor society, can hold man accountable for his actions. The reason man sins they say is because someone else made him do it. Well the problem with this is that its only partly true environment and upbringing do affect us and have some bearing on our actions. But this is not all that we are, we are not just robots responding to trigger of environment we are free moral creatures with a free will that chooses to sin or not to sin and it is deception to deny that fact. The problem is not our environment we sin because the Bible says in Romans 5:12; Wherefore as by one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin; and so death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned. We inherited our daddy Adam’s nature he had a sinful nature and every man born with the exception of Jesus Christ has been born with a sinful nature [Rom. 7:11-15]. We sin because there is a root a nature within us and to object to what is so clear is to be deceived [James 1:13-16]. The person who thinks he can control sin enough to become acceptable to God has a low view of God and too high a view of himself. Think how weak man really is and how weak his flesh is he’s not only sinful by his acts but he walks short of God’s glory everyday and he is so corruptible that he dies after just a few brief years on this earth [Matt. 7:21-23]. Let’s be point blank do you think you’re a sinner? Many people have a hard time with that charge.
Mrs. Smith an elderly woman sure did and here’s her story. An elder from a big church downtown went to visit Mrs. Smith in her home. It was this elder’s practice to help confirm someone’s assurance of their salvation when he went to visit. After he went to he said to Mr. Smith are you a sinner? My how Mrs. Smith was shocked sir how dare you. I’ll have you I was a charter member of the first church and for years I have sung in the choir. I have been the president of the women’s auxillary. I’ve never stolen a thing. I’ve never killed anyone. Listen to me preacher I’m a good person. But the elder was not fazed by a verbal rebuke. He asked her have you ever sinned? Once again she unloaded a verbal barrage on him. Before she could reload he said Mrs. Smith do you believe the Bible is God’s Word? Well of course I do she replied I’ve been reading the Bible all my life. He then opened the Bible on her table to I John 1:9 and read it to her and here’s what it said. If we confess our sins he’s faithful and just to forgive us our sins and cleanse us from all unrighteousness. After he finished reading he said Mrs. Smith the Bible says that Jesus cam to save sinners has He came to save you? For the first time in her life Mrs. Smith realized that she was also a sinner who was in need of God’s grace. She said preacher do you think that God will still save an old woman like me? The preacher took her by the hand and led her in prayer for God asking God to forgive her sin and save her. Her salvation was made clear in the Lamb’s Book of Life. Jesus did not die for perfect people He died for sinners.
Do you know someone, who denies, their sinfulness? What can you do to reach them?
2. The truth is we must confess our sins [v 9]
Man deceives himself if he says that the Son of God did not die for his sins. The Son of God came to die for our sins and it’s His blood that cleanses us from sin. Therefore if we will confess our sins God will be just to forgive us our sins and He will do even more He will cleanse us from all unrighteousness.
#1 – to forgive our sins means that God forgives the guilt of sin.
God justifies us and counts the death of Christ as our punishment. Jesus Christ bore our sins. We don’t ever wan tot ask for God’s justice because penalties have to be paid and if we ask for God’s justice we will die and go to hell. We need to ask for God’s mercy and in God’s mercy we need to ask God to justify us and treat us as if we’ve never sinned when you accept the blood of Jesus Christ.
#2 – to cleanse us from all unrighteousness means that God cleanses us from all the dirt, pollution and condemnation of sin. Not a single stain or spot of sin remains on us. We stand before God sinless and perfect no contamination.
#3 – how do we know that God will forgive our sins and cleanse us? How do we know that God will count the death of Jesus as the punishment for our sins? Because of I John 1:9
#4 – God is perfectly just and righteous therefore He must condemn and punish sin. But notice something God is also perfect love and mercy therefore He must demonstrate His love and mercy providing a way of forgiveness for man. This is exactly what He has done in Jesus Christ. [Is. 44:22; 53:6-7]
Have you ever overslept in the morning fearing that you’d miss a meeting, be late for school or late for work or miss a plane at the airport? And because you were running behind you decided to skip the shower. You just through on your clothes and headed out the door. How did you feel as you went through the day? Unclean. Maybe self-conscious, afraid of offending someone or attracting attention, wondering who might know or suspect you didn’t take a shower that morning? You may have even been so uncomfortable that you determined never to let it happen again. You should be that self-conscious and more about your spiritual cleansing. Everyday you should get rid of whatever sin is dirtying and contaminating your life. You should allow Christ to free you of guilt and shame of sin.
Asking God to forgive us of our sins should be an ongoing process in our lives so that we are never out of fellowship with Him. Let me ask is it enough to confess our sins without repenting that is changing your sinful ways? What happens to you when God cleanses you and forgives you? Who is the real you? Deep down you know who you are. God’s Word only confirms what you know that you are a sinner and that you are totally depraved that is the bad news. The Good News is that Jesus Christ died for the sinner.
C. Misconception #3 – Man can become sinless and righteous on his own [1:10-2:2]
[v 10] the misconception is that we can become righteous and sinless on our own. [2:1] – the truth is we’re sinful and should not sin. [2:2] – a provision is made if we do sin; [A] Jesus Christ the advocate [B] Jesus Christ the propitiation the perfect sacrifice for our sins. The aim of this study is to struggle not to sin but to Christ when you so sin. Memory verse: 1:10.
Now do you think a habitual criminal could remain straight if he had a key to the local bank? Oh he might be able to resist the stacks of money for a day or two but eventually because of his inclination to steal the temptation will be too great. What about you what is your greatest temptation? What is your weakest point? When faced with this temptation day after day do you have the power to resist it always? The answer is no isn’t it. As studied in the previous passage the nature of all men is to sin and to slip and fall. The point is this fallen man does not have the power to become righteous and sinless on his own. Fallen man needs an advocate one who will defend him and clear his name before the judge and help him stay straight. Every man will stand before their Judge one day it will be to your great advantage if you’re Judge is also your Savior.
Despite all the sin in the world that swirls around and engulfs human lives and society some people say they can become righteous on their own. They say they can become so righteous that God will approve their behavior and God will accept them because of their own righteousness and because of their own sinlessness. They say they do not need a Savior they are able to save themselves. They say the Son of God does not need to die for man because they can become righteous and sinless on their own. There are those who object to the idea that Jesus had to die for sin and they object to the preaching of sin and the idea that they are sinners and need the blood of God to cleanse them.
1. Can we become righteous and sinless on our own? No. [v 10]
This misconception is forcefully stated we have not sinned. How can any person conceivably claim this? They take those words from the text out of context. They say we’ve not sinned and yet the Bible says if we say we have not sinned we make Him a liar and yet some people say we’ve not sinned. Who would make such a claim in light of all the sin that swirls around and engulfs man in society? How can any person conceivably claim this? Yet there are many people that do and many people that object to being called sinners. They believe that they are righteous and good enough that God would never reject them. They believe that they can become good enough and sinless and righteous enough for God to accept them. They accept Jesus Christ as a great moral teacher and as a founder of Christianity. One of the great religions of the world and they claim to be Christians and follow the teachings of Jesus Christ but they reject His deity. They look upon the death of Jesus Christ as the death of a martyr, as a great man who was showing us that we should be willing to pay any price for what we believe in even death. Who would make such a claim? Who would say we have not sinned? Who is that who objects to be called a sinner? Two classes of people number one there is the religious perfectionist. This is the person who actually believes that he can achieve a state of sinlessness. Often he believes in Christ but he believes that once he is saved that he can live so righteous and so pure a life that he can achieve a state of sinlessness and righteousness before God. He believes that the Holy Spirit will help Him to walk perfectly before God. We cannot do that for I John 1:10 says if we say we have not sinned we deceive ourselves and make Him a liar. The second group of people is the social perfectionist. This is a person who is a social Christian who accepts Jesus Christ as a great teacher but rejects Him as the Savior from sin. He objects to being called a sinner and he objects to the fact that he is sinful enough that he can be termed a sinner. He believes that he is righteous and sinless enough that God would never reject him. He believes he is too good for God to reject. He cannot accept the fact that he bad enough and sinful enough for God to reject. Note what the problem is with these two objectors. They just do not have a clear view of what sin is. To them sin is the great violation of law or morality the thing that society looks upon as gross sin that is, murder, fraud, abuse these kind of things that would grab a neighbors attention and cause talk. But they fail to see what sin is to God. God is perfect. Therefore to God sin is any imperfection. Sin is coming short of God’s glory and sin is missing the mark of God’s perfection. This is the reason no person can ever live with God because God is perfect. Therefore only perfection can live in His presence. To God man is a sinner and this is what the objector needs to see. God’s Word plainly tells us that we are sinners and it tells us throughout the Bible. If we deny sin we make God out to be a liar. In addition to that we show that God’s Word is not in us therefore we are not acceptable to God. No matter what we may claim we are not acceptable to God if God’s Word is not in us. If we call God a liar if we say that we do not need God’s Son to save us from sin if we say we can become good enough and righteous enough and sinless enough on our own to be acceptable to God [Rom. 3:23].
Taking responsibility for your actions is a very important part of being a Christian. Years ago a comedian made this expression popular. He said the devil made me do it. When you fail to take the blame for what you’ve done you’ve only shifted the blame for your sin to someone else. There was once a man named Andy who was a perfectionist. Andy made no allowances for mistakes. He felt he did not make any mistakes and he felt others made mistakes because they were not as committed as he was. One day this self-righteous man’s glass house was shattered. Andy was given the opportunity to accept some major responsibilities within his organization. Before the board he agreed to accept their offer a day after all the plans were set in place Andy called the chairman of the board on the telephone. Andy said I’ve changed my mind. Don, the chairman was confused. One day this man was ready to take responsibility and the next day he completely changed his mind. Don asked what has happened? Was there some misunderstanding? After a long pause Andy replied, no I just made a rush decision. Don said, but you can’t back out now we were counting on you to do what you said you would do won’t you reconsider? Andy bluntly told Don, if I take over that responsibility two things could happen. Number one if the project succeeds you and the board will get the credit for it because you laid the foundation for it. Number two if it fails it will be my fault and I’ll be blamed for its failure. Andy’s failure to take responsibility caused irreparable damage to his reputation within that organization. Because of his pride he could not admit to the fact that he was wrong. In his view it was better to be wrong than to admit wrong. Do you know what one of the hardest things in the world to do is to get man to say I am, a sinner. [Lk. 18]
Is it hard for you to admit being wrong? Is it hard for you to admit being sinful? What things prevent people from admitting there’s sin in their lives? In your opinion what is considered sin and add to that how does God define sin?
2. The truth is we are sinful but we should not sin [2:1]
This is a tender exhortation as John addresses the believers as “my little children” they are very, very dear to him. He was their pastor their spiritual father and they were his spiritual children the ones under his care. He loved them with the love of a tender caring father therefore he must exhort them. He must exhort them in the areas where they needed the strength where was that? In sinning we need to be exhorted not to do it. The implication in this verse is that we don’t ever sin. These things just refer back to all that John has just said to the fact that all have sinned and all do sin. Because of man’s nature and the very fact that he lives in a corruptible world he cannot keep from sinning. But note the strong exhortation sin not. I’m writing these things unto you that you sin not. The believer lives in a corruptible world and he is housed in a body of flesh that is so easily aroused and so easily attracted to eat more, be more, have more and receive more, but the believer is to fight against sin and he is not to give into sin. He is to cast down imaginations and struggle to captivate every thought for Christ [II Cor. 10:5]. He is to do all he can to become more and more like Jesus Christ to be a stronger and stronger witness for righteousness in the world. He will never achieve perfection. He will never ever be sinless as long as he is in the flesh and in this corruptible world but he is to struggle to be just as good as he can be. He is to grow in righteousness and gain ground. The believer is to become more and more like Christ as long as he is on this earth. Let’s make an application; believers must prove that they are sincere when they come to Christ for the forgiveness of sins. Christ has no place for hypocrisy and no place for half-hearted commitment. He can look at our lives and tell whether we love him or not. Whether we’re sincere or not, He can look at our struggle against sin and tell whether we really want to follow Him, or not. The genuine believer struggles against sin he fights, wrestles and wars against sin with every ounce of energy he has. He does all he can to please God and to receive God’s approval [Is. 1:16]. The Lord says we ought to want to be clean and put away evil doing from the eyes of the Lord [I Peter 2:11]. Have you ever made a conscious effort not to sin for a day? Did you succeed? Is it possible to not ever sin again, why or why not? Does God to allow you to practice the same sin again and again then come for the forgiveness, why or why not? The believer struggles against sin with every ounce of energy he has, in what ways do you struggle to keep from sinning? Do you try as hard as you should?
3. The provision is made if we do sin [2:1-2]
The believer is not to sin but if he sins he has the most wonderful provision that is Jesus Christ the Son of God, Himself. Two things are said that show the wonderful provision that God has made for us. First of all, Jesus Christ is our advocate. The word advocate means someone who’s called in to stand by the side of another. The purpose is to help in any way possible. This is the word used of the Holy Spirit. An advocate is a picture of a friend called in to help a person who is troubled or distressed or confused. An advocate is the picture of a commander called in to help a discouraged and dispirited army. An advocate is the picture of a lawyer called in to help a defendant who needs his case pleaded. Sin causes the believer to become confused, discouraged and dispirited. Sin separates the believer from God and makes him guilty of transgression worthy of condemnation and punishment. But Jesus Christ is the believer’s advocate. He stands before God and pleads the case of the believer. Note two significant points. Number one what is it that gives Jesus Christ the right to plead the case of the believer? Jesus Christ is the righteous one who secured the ideal righteousness for man and therefore He is the only One who can stand before God. Why? Because God is perfect and only a perfect person can stand in God’s presence. This is the reason man must approach God through Jesus Christ. Only the righteousness of Christ has been approved to stand as the advocate before God in heaven. This means a most wonderful thing God will never turn down a person who has Jesus Christ as his advocate. Secondly, what is it that Jesus Christ pleads? Well He does not plead the reputation of the believer or the works of the believer, nor does He plead not guilty in the sense that the believer did not commit sin. He does not plead the personal righteousness of the believer nor does He plead that the believer as been as good as he can be. What then is it that Jesus Christ pleads? Again note the verse we have an advocate with the Father Jesus Christ the righteous. There’s the answer. Jesus Christ pleads His own righteousness [Rom. 8:34]. Secondly, Jesus Christ is the propitiation for sins. Propitiation means to be a sacrifice a covering a satisfaction a payment an appeasement for sin. It means to turn away anger and make reconciliation between God and man.
Now remember that God is holy and God is just. He is perfect love but He is also perfect holiness and justice. Therefore He must execute justice against the sinner. He must judge and condemn sin. His justice must be perfectly satisfied and there is only one way that His justice can be perfectly satisfied and that is it must be cast against the perfect sacrifice. There had to be a perfect man who could step forward and take the sins of all upon Himself and pay the price for all. This is the glorious gospel, Jesus Christ the ideal and perfect man sacrificed His life for us and His death covered the sins for all men. He died as the perfect sacrifice for our sins. Therefore God the Father accepts Jesus sacrifice as the covering for our sins, as the satisfaction for our sins, as the payment of the penalty for our sins, as the appeasement of His wrath against sin. When Christ carries your case before God He pleads His death and His righteousness and God accepts Jesus’ righteousness and death for man. It is by this that we become acceptable to God. This means then that if a man wants to have an advocate in the court of God’s perfect justice then that man needs to have accepted Jesus Christ, as His Savior for Jesus is the only one God accepts. A person is not covered by the advocacy of Christ unless he comes to Christ. [Heb. 2:17]
Imagine that you just committed a capital crime and you cannot afford a lawyer so one is appointed for you. The prosecutor is mean-spirited and has an agenda to convict you and settle for nothing less than the death penalty. So there you are taking your place in court, the baliff shouts all rise, for the Kings of kings and Lord of lords, the righteous judge of Israel. You stand to your feet and are humble and fearful you know that this Judge has the power over your life. You know that you are guilty and have already reconciled yourself to the worse case scenario being found guilty and sentenced to death. As you take your seat you wonder where your court appointed attorney might be he has yet to take his seat next to yours. On the other side of the court is your adversary he wants nothing more than to see you put to death. He walks briskly up to the judge and says your honor this man’s guilty of a capital crime he is a sinner and a hypocrite. I know that he is now a Christian but he used to be in my employment as an agent of evil I want justice and I want it now. I demand that you find him guilty and put him to death. As you sit there your heart sinks. Your court appointed attorney has still not taken his seat next to yours. Then all of a sudden the judge leaves His chair and walks over to you. Waiting for him to lower the boom on you he says I’m going to take your case. I know you are guilty but if you’ll recall I already paid your penalty with the nail prints in my hands. I declare unto you and to your prosecutor that I find you not guilty and your case is dismissed. What a profound truth that is. Though satan stands before God accusing you and the believers in your church the genuine believer can take heart for the judge is also the Savior.
Propitiation means to sacrifice in order to appease. It means to satisfy, cover and pay the penalty for. It is a sacrificial word. Now when things go wrong man has always offered to fast and pray and serve with renewed vigor. Or else he offers to give up something meaningful, pleasurable or some possession. There’s a feeling that this kind of denial and sacrifice appeases and satisfies God. It is true that God told Israel to offer sacrifices but He did it for a reason to teach Israel and through them the world that the answer does not lie in human or animal sacrifice. A human sacrifice cannot bring about a right relationship with God. Man’s problem is too deep for human sacrifice. His condemnation to severe for human sacrifice, his disease too deep for human sacrifice, his infection too deadly for human sacrifice the paraphernalia of earthly sacrifice could never put things right with God. The reason is simply stated man’s sin has cut him short and severed his relationship from God. Man’s sin has put God out of arm’s reach. Man instinctively senses this therefore when a man fails to get satisfaction from his sacrifice he often returns to the practices of his former behavior. What man needs is to be disinfected and now beyond a shadow of a doubt that God does accept him and is satisfied with him, then he needs power to live for God. This comes about through propitiation. Four things need to be said about propitiation. Number one God is the One who has to be appeased and satisfied. He is the One who has to be propitiated. It is not speaking about reconciliation. The Bible never says that God has to be reconciled to man. God is already friend of every man and God loves every man [I Tim. 2:4-6]. It is man that needs to be reconciled to God. It is man who holds enmity and ignores, neglects and rejects God thus God is the One who has to be appeased. There is another thing here God is righteous and holy and therefore only a person who is righteous and holy can be with God. Number two Jesus Christ is the satisfaction and the propitiation for sins. Christ was completely righteous and holy, the ideal man this means that His death was the perfect and ideal sacrifice. God was able to secure His justice for sin by casting it against Christ. Number three propitiation means coverage. Christ covered our sins so that God can no longer see them [Rom. 3:25; Heb. 2:17; I John 2:2]. There is no limited atonement Christ died for all and He seeks all. Number four propitiation finds its type in the mercy seat that is in the lid of the ark of God [Heb. 9:5; Luke 18:13].
III. The Proof That One Really Knows God: Seven Tests, [2:3-29]
A.   Test 1: Keeping God’s Commandments [2:3-6]
The aim of this lesson is to prove that you know God by keeping His commandments. Now I’m not talking about a works salvation but we are talking about working after your salvation. The context of I John 2 is that you are in perfect fellowship with God with your sins forgiven. In [v 3] the verses says and hereby do we know that is we are in perfect fellowship with God with our sins forgiven. It doesn’t say we aren’t a child of God nowhere in this verse does it say that we aren’t a child of God it says that we know Him if we keep His commandments. In fact [v 12] in this passage says, that we are, a child of God so John is talking about Christians and so the context of this is perfect fellowship. However [v 4] we see the professing man. He says that he knows God that is he is in perfect fellowship with God but he does not keep God’s commandments. In [v 5] we see that the obedient man keeps God’s Word. In [v 6] we see that the responsible man lives up to his profession. Memory verse: 2:4
Just as you would go to your doctor and get a checkup so must the believer go to the Lord and get a spiritual checkup. Why? If you fail to take good care of your spiritual life you will become sick. At the end of your spiritual checkup your doctor will give you some instructions to keep you healthy. It’s up to you to follow the instructions. What kind of instructions does the Great Physician give you in order to keep you spiritually healthy? In this section Jesus Christ tells us what to do. But the question remains will you do what the Great physician says and follow orders just as you follow your family doctors orders?
How do we know that we are living in fellowship with God? We live in a day when many people are not even interested in knowing God. They could care less about knowing God they want to live like they want and get all the possessions and enjoy as much of the world as they can. To know God is the furthest thing from their minds. But this is dangerous ground for if God really exists then the rejecters of God are going to miss out. They are going to miss out on the purpose meaning and significance of life. They’re going to miss out on real love and joy and peace and the abundance of a rich and full life both now and eternally. If God really exists and they fail to know Him their going to miss out on all that life really is. Why? Because God created life and He knows what life should really be. Therefore if we do not know God then we miss out on all that God meant life to be. But this is not all the rejecters of God will face. If God exists then it means that all those that reject God must face His holiness and must face His justice. They must stand before Him and face God’s judgment. The point is clear we must know God. Unbelievers must know God they must accept God and Christians must know God and fellowship with God. But how can we know if we’re really fellowshipping with God? There are seven tests and the first test is the discussion of this passage do we keep God’s commandments?
1. We know that we know Him if we keep His commandments [v 3]
Man faces an enormous problem a problem that any thinking and honest person can see. If God really exists no man can know Him by his own reasoning, energy and effort. No matter how much thought, creative thinking and inner feelings a man may have man can never know for sure that God exists in and of himself. There is a clear reason for this man lives in a physical and material world and a physical and material world cannot penetrate or crossover into the spiritual world. If man is ever to know God then God has to crossover into the physical world and reveal Himself to man and this is what God has done in the person of Jesus Christ [John 3:13; 13:3]. Jesus is the only One who has ever crossed over from the spiritual world to the physical world and has gone back to the spiritual world thereby showing us that God does exists and that if a man wants to know God then he must come to know God’s Son Jesus Christ for He is the way to know God [John 14:6]. How do we know if we know God? If we know Jesus Christ then we know God. Note exactly what the verse says, hereby we know that we know Him if we keep His commandments. This verse explicitly says that after we get saved and we say we know God we can prove it if we keep His commandments. Now when we say we know God I’ll remind you again we’re talking about are we in fellowship with God? What are God’s commandments? [I John 3:23] God’s chief commandment is this that we believe on the name of Jesus Christ and that we love one another. There are two things said here, first of all to know God we must believe on His Son, Jesus Christ. Secondly, to know God we must love one another. Love covers all the commandments of God. If we love one another we will not hurt or cause pain for one another and we will be keeping all the commandments of God and this is exactly what scripture says [Rom. 13:8-10]. How do we know if we know God? Let’s take a test have you accepted Jesus Christ, God’s Son? If you believe in Jesus Christ and love one another and surrender all you are and all you have to Jesus Christ and you love one another. Unless we are doing these two things we are not in fellowship with God. No matter what a person may say he is not fellowshipping with God if he has not given his saved life to Jesus Christ and keeping the commandments to love Jesus Christ and loving one another. No matter what a person may say he does not know God if he has never given his life to Jesus Christ. And he is not in fellowship with God if he backbites, steals from his brother, lies, commits adultery or does anything else against his brother. If a person is really in fellowship with God he wants to please God and know more and more about God and the only way he can know more about God is to follow God. He has to do the things that God does to walk in love as God does [John 7:16-17]. Now the fact is that Christian people can commit these sins against one another [Gal. 5:16] and Paul is talking to Christians and the he goes down to [vv19-21] and he says that they, which do such things, shall not inherit the kingdom of God. Now people say nobody is perfect and that means that nobody is going to heaven. But the passage doesn’t that it says walk in the Spirit and you’ll not fulfill the lust of the flesh. However there are some fleshly Christians [I Cor. 1:2] all saved people are called to be, saints, that is they are sanctified, set apart for God and because they are set apart for God they can be called saints. Paul is saying that these fleshly Christians were still saved by the grace of God and he says in [v 4] that God have given them grace by Jesus so they are saved people. But in chapter 3 we see that they are walking by the flesh. These people couldn’t take the meat of the word of God they had to take the milk and Paul said they were yet giving way to the flesh. [James 1:13; I John 1:8] says that we as Christians must recognize that we give way to the flesh at times but then it says in [I John 1:9; 2:1-2] God is faithful to forgive us our sins and cleanse us from all unrighteousness. Let’s make an application.
Some people seek to know God they seek after God but they do it the wrong way. For example some speculate about God and this is the route most people take in trying to know God. They imagine what God is like and hold that image in their mind and try to live by what they imagine. They have their own teachings about what God is like and they govern their lives by that image. Secondly some seek to know God by mystical or emotional experiences. They seek to know the spiritual world and its focus through spirits, astrology, séances and magic and a whole lot of other man made mystical experiences. Let’s ask would you know God better if you were more obedient to these two commandments?
2. The Professing Man [I John 2:4]
He says he knows God but he does not keep His commandments. Now from the unsaved standpoint a man who says he knows God and does not keep His commandments this is a man who is making a false profession. But at the same time John is writing this to Christians and so what we have is a Christian who is out of fellowship with God. He is telling a lie and the truth is not in him. It is absolutely impossible to fellowship with God and not to keep His commandments. Why? For one clear reason if God really exists then He created us and we came from God and He created us for a specific purpose and reason therefore He is bound to tell us why He created us and what He wants is to do and how He wants us to do it. He would defeat His purpose if He did not. Therefore God would never leave us groping and grasping and trying to find out the truth. He would be a God of hate if He left us in the dark and God is the farthest thing from hate. Jesus Christ has shown us that God is a God of love and He has given us the Holy Scriptures to tell us what to do. But more than this God has shown us His love by giving us His Son to live it out right before our eyes. Jesus Christ lived out the will of God. The point is this if a person says he knows God and does not keep His commandments he is a liar. We should want to fellowship with God just like Jesus Christ did. Now note something this person is making a false profession. His knowledge of what he thinks and who he, thinks God is false. That is he can be a Christian and be out living a life of sinful pleasure and telling folk he’s walking with Jesus he has no idea what God expects of him. If he says he knows Jesus Christ you will know it by the way he treats other people and the way he treats Jesus Christ. There are a lot of counterfeit non-genuine people who do not know God and we can tell because they do not keep the commandments of God. The man is a liar the verse says and the truth is not in him whether he is saved or lost he is making a false profession. He can be a Christian walking in darkness with sins un-confessed and un-forgiven and when he states he is in fellowship with God he is lying.
Is it possible to know God and not keep His commandments? Is it possible that many people who say they know God and are not keeping His commandments are lost? What areas of your life need attention? What conclusions would you draw if someone claimed to know God but did not obey God’s commands? Could they justifiably draw the same conclusions about you? What are some things that keep men from obeying God?
3. Now the obedient man keeps God’s Word and knows God and loves God. [v 5]
 Note how obedience is tied to knowing and loving God. The only way to know anyone is to get near them or study them and learn them, learn all about their will, desires, and wants, their nature, thoughts and behavior. And the same is true of God. The only way to get near Him is to study Him and learn all we can about His will, desires and wants. Learn all we can about His nature, thoughts and behavior. But how can we do this when God is in the spiritual world a world far removed from this world? The only answer is through Jesus Christ. Remember Jesus Christ to reveal God and show us all about God. Therefore to know God we must draw near to Jesus Christ and follow the example He left us. We must follow the word of Christ we must strive to keep the Word of God, living exactly as Christ lived. This is the person who knows and fellowships with God. Note a most wonderful result a person who keeps God’s Word and has the love of God perfected in His life. When we draw near God and begin to keep His Word we begin to establish a relationship with God. It is just like a boy who meets a girl and begins to draw near her. He begins to know her and develop affection for her. And the more he associates with her the more he loves her and so it is with God. The more we draw near Him the more we learn about Him and the more we love Him. The word keep means a continuous action it means to keep on and not to stop. If you stop you’re going to break fellowship with Him. If we keep God’s Word day, by day we learn to love God more and more and His love becomes perfected in us. The obedient person is the person who knows God and loves God. He is the person who knows the love of God and all the fullness of life that God’s love brings. No matter what a person may profess no matter how religious a person may be if he does not obey God he is not in fellowship with God either that or he is unsaved. [Matt. 7:25-27] The believer must know God and he must do what God says to do for example to be in fellowship with God listen to this story;
Dr. W. D. Robertson was once approached, by a lady who objected to any kind of ritual in a church service. She said Dr. Robertson I hear that you are introducing some dreadful innovations in your church service. He replied, indeed what innovations have we introduced? She said oh I hear you read the commandments in your service. Is that all you hear, Dr. Robertson replied. We have introduced a far greater innovation than that we try to keep the commandments. Are you a keeper of the commandments or are you just a knower?
4. The Responsible Man. [v 6]
The responsible man lives up to his confession. Now the word walk means a continuous action it means to keep on walking. If a person says he abides in Christ then he must be a responsible person. He ought to walk as Jesus walked. In fact the word ought means debt, constraint, obligation, a person who professes Jesus Christ and claims he knows God and is in fellowship with God is obligated to walk as Jesus Christ walked. He is in debt to try to walk as Christ walked. How did Christ walk on the earth? There are several answers He walked believing and trusting God. He walked worshiping and praying to God. He walked in fellowship and communion with God. He walked giving and sacrificing all he had to God. He walked seeking and following after God. He walked teaching and telling others about God. He walked loving and caring for others just as God said to do. He walked obeying and keeping all of God’s commandments. Now we’re sinners [Rom. 3:23; I Jn. 2:1-2; James 2:10] so without doubt to walk and fellowship with God being in this flesh this old nature is going to be a battle
[Rom. 7:15] but the responsible man the man who lives what he professes he lives it out. He tries to walk just as Christ walked upon the earth. He walks in the footsteps of Christ [Rom. 6:4]
In today’s world people are crying out to commitment to convictions. Unbelievers are growing weary of Christians who are failing to live up to what they are preaching. But take hope there is still some believers who practice what they preach. The president of a large organization was known from shore to shore and even in foreign lands, in the world’s eyes he had it all he had fame and a guaranteed job for life. Most men would have agreed except for the man himself. His wife for many years became so ill that she required constant attention. Advice came freely put your wife in a nursing home or hire a live-in nurse and keep your position. Put your ministry first. But this man refused being financially able he made the decision to resign and take care of his wife himself. And after he resigned he was asked why did you give up such a wonderful opportunity? Wonderful opportunity he said, you do not understand. God has sent a wonderful opportunity my way I count it a privilege that I’m the best person on the face of the earth to minister to my wife. She needs me and I need her. Other men can take over the organization but only I can take care of her. There is a man who lived up to his profession. His act of responsibility did more in one day to convict others to act responsibly than what a shelf full of how to books could have done. You know what the Bible says in [Acts 10:38] it says and Jesus went about doing good.
B. Test 2: Loving One’s Neighbor [I John 2:7-11]
Regarding verse 10 we should note that a Christian out of fellowship with God has no perspective where he is going in life. And then in verse 11 it says he that hateth his brother now in the Greek it means a fellow Christian and so we are not talking about a man that’s lost or unsaved. We’re talking about one Christian who does not like another Christian in fact he hates him. So the context here is of Christians. So the aim of this lesson is to renew your commitment to love your neighbor. Memory Verse: 2:10
[v 7] – The Supreme command is to love
   a] it’s an old commandment
   b] it’s a new commandment that’s in Christ and His disciples [v 8]
   c] it is now made known by the true light [v 8]
[v 9] – The Professing man professes God but hates his brother
[v 10] – The Obedient man he loves his brother
   a] he abides in the light
   b] he does not stumble
[v 11] The Bitter and Hating man
   a] he is in darkness and walks in darkness
   b] he has no direction in life and he is blind
1. The Supreme Command Is To Love [v 7-8]
How do we know we are in fellowship with God? There is a test that will show us do we follow the supreme commandment and that is to love our neighbors. Note three facts about this commandment. Number one this is not a new commandment but an old one and it is the very first commandment they heard from the beginning of time. Do you know one of the very first things God ever said to man was that man must love his neighbor [Lev. 18:19]. Why then did John take a back door approach to the subject of love and not go ahead and just quote the commandment? John had a very good reason what John is about to say is new so new that people would say it was his very own idea and not the truth. Therefore John had to establish the fact that God had said the same thing from the very beginning of time. Now if the commandment to love had been there from the beginning of time how then can it be a new commandment? What is there about the commandment that might upset people and cause them to turn away from John’s exhortation? This is the second thing discussed by John it is a new commandment in that Jesus Christ gave love a new meaning. Jesus Christ loved His enemies, good people and bad people, righteous and the sinner, the acceptable and the rejected, clean but the dirty [Matt. 5:43-45]. Man has always found it easy to strike back at others. But Jesus Christ has showed us that we are to love everyone no matter what they have done to us. The only way we can become obedient children of God is to love as God loves. If we do not love then we are not in fellowship with God [John 15:13]. Jesus says a profound thing here the only way that people can tell that we are His disciples is by our love one for another. Our discipleship and our love for God can be measured by whether or not we love our brothers and sisters in the Lord. Thirdly, love is now made known by the true light that shines and erases the darkness.
2. The Professing Man [v 9]
Naturally there are those in life who pretend there always have been and always will be but a professing man professes God but hates his brother. This is talking about a fellow Christian and so we’re not talking about a man who is lost we are talking about a Christian who says he is in fellowship with God and hates his brother.
[II Cor. 13:5] How many people do just what this thing describes? No man walks in the light of God unless he loves his neighbors even the neighbors who stand against him. If we hate our neighbor and mistreat them and backbite and gossip against them then we’re not living in the light living in fellowship with Jesus Christ. We are living in the darkness of this world living like most people in the world live hating some of our brothers. [Matt. 6:23] Have you ever witnessed expressions of hatred by someone who claimed to be a believer? What deduction might you make about his relationship with God? What challenges do you face in having to love others who are not, loving towards you?
3. The Obedient Man [v 10]
He loves his brother. Two wonderful things are said about the man who loves his brother. Number one he is a man who abides in the light that is he is fellowshipping with Christ. He walks in love just as Jesus walked in love. What’s it mean to walk in love? [I Cor. 13:4-7]. Secondly the man who loves his brother has no occasion of stumbling in him. The first thing he walks in the light that is he loves God and then there is no occasion of stumbling in him that is there is nothing in him that can make him stumble. Nothing to trip him up and fall and destroy his life. You say how can this be said of any man? Because love is the great binding force of the universe God is love and therefore the closer we draw to God the more we learn to trust God’s care, provision, protection and power. When God is taking care of us there is absolutely nothing that can touch us [Rom 8:35-39]. The great need of man is love. Man needs to be loved but not with the sentimental passions of the world that come and go as freely as the falling star that shoots across the sky. Man needs to be loved with the love of God the kind of love just covered in the above circumstances. The kind of love that will help him to know that God cares for him and wants to deliver him and strengthen him against all the trials of life. The man who loves his neighbor like this will not fail to live the kind of life that he should live [John 13:35]. It doesn’t say you aren’t a Christian if you don’t love your neighbor the problem is the world just won’t know you are a Christian if you don’t love. Let’s illustrate, a practical way to love your brother is to hold him accountable. How is this an act of love?
Well Joe and Donald were true believers and good friends who loved the Lord and they wanted to make sure that they did not waver from the path of righteousness. Seeing many of their friends fall into sin they felt convicted to protect themselves. They too were human and struggled with temptation. After praying about how to stay accountable they agreed to meet weekly for a four question check-up and the first question dealt with their relationship with God and the question was is my relationship growing? The second question addressed their relationship with family and friends are my family and friends growing? The third question pressed into an area where most men struggle have I had any struggles in my thought life? The fourth question kept everything in perspective have I been absolutely truthful in answering the first three questions? Now what did this do for Joe and Don? While other men’s marriages were drowning their marriages were making healthy strides. While other men’s testimonies were slipping at work their testimony was real. And where other men lived in the perverted fantasies of their mind Joe and Don were captivating every thought and subjecting them to the obedience of Christ [II Cor. 10:5; Heb. 12:14]
The most loving thing you can do for someone else is hold them accountable and the most loving thing that you can do for yourself is have others hold you accountable. Remember this true love is not prideful. It doesn’t rejoice in someone’s wrong doing instead its kind and love is patient, helpful and caring.
4. The Bitter And Hating Man [v 11]
Remember the tense of his brother is that of a fellow Christian. Now if you approach it as if it is an unsaved person you could say that the bitter and hating man has no perspective in life and he is in darkness. But understand this is talking about a carnal Christian and this person differs from the professing person in that he does not profess to know God. He is man who is totally lost in the darkness of this world. Several things are said about this man. He is in darkness and walks in darkness. He is not in the light and he is not in Christ therefore he does not know God. He does not even profess to know God he is wrapped up in this world. He takes what he can and accumulates all he can no matter who it hurts. He cares little about other people except mainly family and friends. He is a man who lives plainly for the pleasures of the world. Therefore how he treats his neighbor matters very little to him just so he gets what he wants. If we put it in this context this is a lost man. He has no direction and he is blind he has no direction beyond this life and he is blind to it. He sees little if any meaning to life other than to get all its comfort. When a man hates or is bitter against a person it blinds him even more he often focuses about getting back at the person and loses sight of what he should be doing. He just cannot see the truth.
However the context of this is not of a lost person it is of a carnal Christian [II Peter 1:5-9]. Here the Bible makes it plain that a man that doesn’t love his brother is not necessarily lost. And in the context of I John 2:11 the brother speaks of a fellow Christian and Peter makes it plain that if a brother doesn’t love his brother he has forgotten that he was purged from his old sins and he is blind and can’t see afar off. A man, who, walks in his house in the dark is not going to walk as sure as he would in the daytime. Both Peter and John are saying the same thing that a Christian who walks in darkness is out of fellowship with God. And a lost person walking in darkness is blind because he has not seen God [II Cor. 4:4]. Just because a person is causing division doesn’t mean he is unsaved see the example from Peter’s life in [Acts 10, 15].
C. Test 3: Remembering Your Spiritual Growth [2:12-14]
The aim of the lesson is to effectively measure your spiritual growth. Memory Verse: 2:12
Step one is to remember your spiritual growth [v 12]
 A] You are God’s children forgiven for His Name’s sake.
 B] You have known God Himself who is eternal [v 13].
 C] You have overcome through God Himself [v. 13]
Step, two confirm who you are, your great relationship to God over and over again [v 14].
If you’ll recall you’re still in the Great Physician’s office getting your spiritual check-up. The third test you’re undergoing is designed to measure your spiritual growth. Sometimes a bump on the head can temporarily affect your memory. In the same sense the believer can also suffer from spiritual amnesia that is we forget sometime. Life is full of bumps to the idea. On a regular basis it is a good idea for you to get a check-up to measure how you have grown spiritually. If your memories of spiritual growth have faded allow the Great Physician to rekindle your thoughts toward Him and of Him. Do you remember how you have grown in Christ since your conversion? Are you growing?
The person who truly knows God has a spiritual growth and he has a spiritual growth to remember that is he can look back on it. Note there are three groups of people addressed by John, little children, fathers and young men. Note also that each one is addressed twice. From this two questions immediately arise. Who are these people? And why does John change tenses? Let’s take the first question is John addressing the various age groups in the church? Or is he talking about stages of spiritual growth. Notice a significant fact there are within the church other adults besides father’s and young men. It is doubtful that John would be referring to the various age groups within the church and addressing only fathers and young men among the adults. This points rather strongly then to John’s classification as being the stages of spiritual growth. So why does John change tenses from I am writing in [vv12-13] to I have written you in [v 14]? He does that for emphasis. John is driving home the point that believers must grow in Christ. They must confirm their growth in Christ.
1. Step one: Remember your spiritual growth [v 12-13] 
In God’s family there are various stages of growth and note what John is writing applies to every stage of the believers growth that is no matter who the believer is, how weak he is or how strong he is this message applies to the believer. This is a message for the entire church. Number one there are little children those who have just received Jesus Christ, remember this, your sins are forgiven you. You are no longer guilty of sin or have, need to be judged of sin or condemned for sin and you are no longer to be punished for sin. Because you are young in the faith and have just left the world with its sin and its pleasures you are more likely to forget what Jesus Christ has done for you. You must focus and concentrate upon Jesus Christ and guard against returning to the world and its enticements [Acts 5:31]. This goes for all believers. Then it talks about a second group fathers, spiritual fathers. Believers who are spiritually mature with a deep knowledge of God. What is the exhortation to these who such knowledge of God? To these who have so faithfully for so many years the exhortation is this. Remember you have known God from the moment of your conversion and you have faithfully and diligently served Him day, by day. You have fed upon the Word of God day, by day and set aside a time for prayer and learned to walk in prayer all day long. Day, by day you have learned to walk in communion with God striving for unbroken fellowship with Jesus Christ. And you have witnessed to the power of Christ and you have been loyal to the church and its ministry. Day, by day you have committed yourself to the needs surrounding you and reached out beyond to the world through your prayers and gifts and day, by day you have given all you are and to Christ and His mission. You are a spiritual father one who is deep and rich in Christ and His ways. The point is this the spiritually mature who do have a deep and rich knowledge of God must never forget where they have come from or how they grew in Christ. They must remember how they have gained such a rich and deep knowledge of God. Remembering and staying focused upon the Father is the only way a Christian can finish the race faithfully and receive his reward. The spiritually mature must remember and continue to grow [Matt. 7:24-27]. The third group is young men mature believers in Christ. These must remember how far they have come. They have fought a battle and have overcome the wicked one of course the fathers and little children have too. But it says this especially about the young men. The wicked one used to attack them at every turn no matter what they were doing or trying to do there the wicked one was. He attacked them with every temptation imaginable but especially with those sins that were so common before their conversion. The point is that believers who have walked faithfully with Christ over a long period of time have learned how to overcome the temptations of the wicked one. It was a difficult struggle and it always will be all along the way for it is never easy to deny yourself. It is never easy to say, Lord, I’ll follow you. It is never easy to say I’ll give it up and carry out your mission. In fact after we’ve committed our lives and possessions to Jesus Christ the wicked one attacks us more fiercely than ever before. Satan does not want to lose us and he does not want to lose our loyalty to sin. He wants to cause God just as much pain as possible. Why is that? You know that he rebelled against God and God cast him out of heaven. And then when God cast him out of heaven he comes to the Garden of Eden after God creates Adam and Eve and he still tries to put himself above God by taking God’s highest creation man and deceives man into sinning so that he will be a king over man. That’s all he ever wanted to be over God disowned people and Adam and Eve fell for it and we inherited Adam’s nature. Therefore right after we accept Christ satan attacks us with a fervor as never before. But a mature believer learns to overcome but he must remember how he overcame for satan stays after a believer as long as he is on this earth. How do believers overcome satan? Number one by drawing near to God praying and asking for wisdom [James 1:5]. Secondly believers overcome satan by using God’s Word. Quoting it over and over again in their minds to overcome temptation [Lk. 4:8]. Third believers overcome satan by learning and knowing that God allows temptation to teach endurance [James 1:2-3]. Fourth believers overcome by not yielding their body members to sin [Romans 6:13]. Fifth believers overcome by clothing themselves with the armor of God [Eph. 6:13] Sixth believers overcome by keeping on guard and watching for the tempter’s temptations [I Pt. 5:8]. Seventh believers overcome by not giving in to anger or giving place to the devil [Eph. 4:26-27]. The eighth way, believers overcome satan by submitting to God and resisting the devil [James 4:7]. A ninth way believers overcome by not giving in to the enticement of sinners [Pro. 1:10]. The tenth way believers overcome is by not entering into the path of the wicked [Pro. 4:14]. Of course all of this is done in light of Revelation 12:11.
An important pillar in the believer’s spiritual growth is knowing, how to overcome satan. Too many believers have run up the white flag of surrender during the battle. One night a little boy about five years old suddenly became sick. His tummy was causing him excruciating pain and mom and dad knew about it quickly. Holding him close to her chest mom did all she could to comfort that little boy. But no matter what she did it was to no avail. After spending a few moments in mom’s arms the little boy yelled out through his tears devil, devil get out of here, get out of here and the crying stopped at once. Apparently without a doubt Christ saw the little boys plea for help and His understanding that the suffering of this world is caused by satan and not by God. Within a few minutes the little boy fell into a peaceful sleep only this time his tummy was not hurting. Don’t misunderstand all that I know that some sickness is for the glory of God according to John 11:4. But by and large most sickness and pain is caused by satan. Satan doesn’t cause all the pain you experience but when he has his fingerprints on it you have the right to tell him like that little boy to get out of here. In whatever way he attacks you don’t surrender during the battle instead raise up the flag of victory. Victory in Jesus, my Savior forever, remember, that when you are in the battle.
2. Confirm who you are your great relationship to God over and over again [2:14].
Note the emphasis on the second exhortation to each of the believers. The stress is upon stirring up the believer’s relationship to God and to God’s Word. Believers no matter their stage or spiritual growth they must never forget who it is they know and this is the greatest privilege in all the world knowing God the Father, the privilege, of being adopted into the family of God, and becoming a son, or a daughter, of God. Little children, young believers they must remember they have known the Father they have just been adopted into the family of God, God Himself the Supreme Force and Intelligence of the universe is not some abstract energy way off in outer space. God is a Person, the Supreme Person in all, the world and He desires to get His Word across to man and become a Father to people. He wants to adopt people as His children to look after them. Therefore they come to God through Jesus Christ and they experience the privilege of adoption. They know God as their Father but notice something in this verse young believer’s must remember and focus upon God as their Father and not allow God to slip from their minds and they must come to God day, by day as their Father. They must do several things such as bringing their needs to God, trust God to look after them, ask and depend upon God to teach them, they must trust God to discipline them when they need it, must trust God and study God and His Word and do what it says, they must fellowship with God and love God and share His love and do nothing to shame God and share with others what a wonderful Father God is [Matt. 7:11]. There is a condition to our needs being met and the condition is we must be in fellowship with God. Next again comes the believers who have a deep and rich knowledge of God and they must remember everything that has been said to them in [vv 12-13]. In addition to this they must never give over to the sin of pride because God has been around since the beginning there is so much more to know about God therefore no matter how deep and rich a believers knowledge is there is still much more to learn. God is eternal and He has an eternity of things to share with us and therefore there is so much more to know that we can never feel as if we have arrived with God. Mature believers must remember from where they have come and continue to seek God. They have known God from the beginning that is from the very second they were saved and they must continue to grow in their relationship with God [I Cor. 13:11]. We need to grow in the nurture of God. The third group mentioned is young men. And they must remember three things. Number one they must remember that they are strong and must know their strength and hold to the confidence they have gained from reading God’s Word. They must remember where their strength comes from and how they became spiritually strong [Phil. 4:13]. Believers must never trust the flesh or their own mind for it will fail [John 15:5]. Secondly mature believers must remember that the Word of God abides in them. This is the key to spiritual growth and pleasing God. It is also the key to securing the approval of God. No matter what a person might think or say there is absolutely no spiritual growth apart from God’s Word. No person pleases or secures God’s approval without living in and studying God’s Word. Mature believers must never forget this [Acts 17:11].
Thirdly we must remember we have overcome the wicked one.
Over confidence in human strength has been the ruin of many people. The believer needs to be constantly reminded of God’s power or spiritual growth will not come. For example listen to this story. J. Wilbur Chapman once came to F. B. Meyer with the question what is the matter with me? So many times I seem half empty and so many times I seem utterly powerless what is the matter with me? Meyer put his hands on Chapman’s shoulder and said have you ever tried to breathe out three times without ever breathing in once? Thinking it might be some new breathing exercise Chapman answered I do not think I have. Well said Meyer, try it. So Chapman breathed out once and then he had to breathe in again. Don’t you know said Dr. Meyer that you must always breathe in before you breathe out and that your breathing out is in proportion to your breathing in? We must always fill the reservoir by prayer and meditative study of the Word before we can draw out for service. In other words what we put in our mind and our heart God’s Word we must meditate on it day and night, study it all the time, ready to give man an answer and has we breathe it in it will naturally come out. Inhale God’s Word and exhale spiritual growth that is the key to insuring a growing relationship with the Lord.
When are you at the greatest risk of forgetting that God is your source? Can you recall a time when you forgot to take in the Lord’s Word before you faced the enemy that is the world what was the outcome? What could you have done differently if you had just inhaled God’s Word, would you have been ready to exhale when you were tempted? What is the secret having God’s Word abide in you? Is it realistic to expect believer’s to read God’s Word everyday? Sure it is [Joshua 1:8].
D. Test 4: Loving Not The World [2:15-17]
1. Do you love the world that’s the test [v 15]
2. The Professing man he loves the world [vv15-16]
    b. He follows after the world [v 16]
        1. The lust of the flesh.
        2. The lust of the eyes.
        3. The pride of life.
    c. He’s not of God.
3. The obedient man that is he is not immortal [v 17]
The proof that one is really in perfect fellowship with God one proof is that this person does not love the world. The aim of this lesson is to test your loyalty are you addicted to God or to the world? Memory Verse: 2:15
How can you be sure that you really love God in perfect fellowship this fourth test is one of the best proofs do you love the world? As the Great Physician continues to give you a spiritual check-up his next test will get at the root of the problem and check to see if you have any bad blood that is if you have any of the world in your blood. The test will find any addictions that are in you. Are you addicted to the world? No believer would openly admit to this embarrassing addiction but this test will tell the true story. If this test comes back positive then you need to seek immediate attention from the Great Physician. Why is this problem so serious? If a person loves the world he does know God in perfect fellowship or in fellowship at all. No matter what a person may feel or think the scripture is clear and it’s in this forceful statement that a person who loves the world does not know God in fellowship.
1. Do you love the world that’s the test [v 15]
The man who loves the world does not love God. This is not saying that God does not love the man it says that a man who loves the world does not love God. A believer can tell whether or not he’s in fellowship with God by taking this test he can examine his life and see if he loves the world. Does this mean we’re not to appreciate the beauty, the splendor and the resources of the earth and heavens? The answer is absolutely not. For we live on the earth and God has given us the earth and the heavens to enjoy it. What does this scripture mean then to love not the world? First, the world means the earth and the heavens that are passing away. The world is corruptible and the world is deteriorating the world will eventually be destroyed. As believers we are not to love the world so much that we desire to stay here more than they desire to be with God in heaven. Secondly, the world is a system of man-made governments and societies and some are good and some are bad and none are perfect. Therefore believers must respect and be loyal to the good but reject and stand against the bad. Believers must love none of them not to the point where we are attached more to the world’s systems than we are to God and heaven. Third the world means a system of sin, lust, evil pride and rebellion against God. We are not to love the sinful system of this world. The believer’s eyes are to be focused upon God loving God before all else [Rom. 12:2]. When you gave your heart to Jesus Christ you made a specific promise to God not to love anyone or anything else more than Jesus Christ, yet the pull of this world for your love is a great temptation.
One day, president Abraham Lincoln was riding in a coach with a colonel from Kentucky. The colonel took a bottle of whiskey from his pocket and offered Lincoln a drink. Lincoln said no thank you colonel I never drink whiskey. A little while later the colonel took some cigars from his pocket and offered one to Mr. Lincoln. Again Lincoln said no thank you colonel. Then Mr. Lincoln said I want to tell you a little story. One day when I was about nine years old my mother called me to her bed. She was very, very sick. She said Abe the doctor tells me that I am not going to get well. I want you to be a good boy. I want you to promise me before I go that you will never use whiskey or tobacco as long as you live. I promised my mother that. I said mother I never will and up to this hour he said I’ve kept my promise. Would you advise me colonel to break my promise? The colonel put his hand on Mr. Lincoln’s shoulders and said I would not colonel have you break that promise for all this world. Its one of the best promises you ever made. I would give a thousand dollars if I had made my mother a promise like that and had kept it like you have done. I would be a much better man than I am.
The point is you have made a promise to save your love for God and when this world tempts you with all it has to tempt you with you ought to try to fight that temptation and love God. What are some examples of worldly temptation that you face every day? What can you do to prevent these things from taking control of your life?
2. The Professing Man [vv 15-16]
Note that in these two verses a particular man is being talked about here and note in verse 17 another man is being talked about. The first man is the professing man the man who makes a false profession. The second man is the obedient man the man who tires to do what God says. Four things are pointed out about this professing man. Number one he loves the world, (and when we talk about the professing man it is in the context of one who says he is in fellowship with God and yet loves the world). The people to whom John is writing are church members and yet, John, is having to charge them not to love the world. Some in the church had returned or apparently were contemplating returning to the world. Scripture pronounces the terrible truth that the love of the Father is not in them. Any person who loves the world does not love the Father. Now three things happen to believers that cause them to return to and love the world. First some begin to enjoy nature and the beauty of the earth so much that they no longer worship God regularly. They forsake the worship of God and the study of His Word in order to be out in nature that is fishing, golfing, hiking, camping and other forms of recreation that nature has to offer. Secondly some believers have become so love with man’s government and social organizations that they have become more attached and faithful to that than they do to God and His church and mission of salvation. Third some become so hungry for the world and its things that they begin to return to its pleasures and possessions.
Number two the professing man who says he is in fellowship with God follows after the world. There are three sins of worldliness according to the text.
a.       There is the lust of the flesh. Now the flesh has to do with feeling, touching, smelling, tasting, hearing and seeing. It is the seat of the desires and urges within the body. Note also that the desires and urges are not wrong. A man has to have desires and urges in order to live a healthy and normal life. But the desires of the flesh have to be controlled. If they are not controlled then the flesh begins to desire and want more and more and more. There are two times when the desires and urges of the flesh are wrong. Number one when the flesh desires and urges something that is totally forbidden by God. Number two is when the flesh habitually desires and consumes. Then it becomes indulgence and license. What are the sins of the flesh? Well they are far more than what people usually think and far more than the usual immoral sins of society. The works of the flesh are found in Galatians 5:19-21. And a believer will commit these sins unless he walks in the Spirit. Now to think that if you have done any of these things that you are not going to go into heaven well that’s not what the Bible says, the Bible says see [Rom. 3:10, 23, 6:23] so there is no one who has lived a perfect life. II Peter 1:4 identifies with the list of sins in Galatians 5 and show us that Peter is talking to Christians and he is encouraging them to do the right things. Peter says some of you have forgotten and given way to the flesh the old man. Now the Greek text on Galatians 5 is talking about doing those things continually and habitually practicing these things over and over again and because God’s got a grace He will allow you to do anything you want to do. But you lose rewards your salvation is based on God’s faithfulness. Your rewards are based on your faithfulness. Now a man who continually practices these things is probably lost. But if he’s saved and does these things he is certainly out of fellowship with God and losing rewards but if he habitually practices these things he’s lost and on his way to hell. I understand that people sin every day but it should not be the same sin over and over again. You repent from that sin and get forgiveness. Now you can sin a sin unto death. Let’s say a man goes out and commits adultery and he does it again and again and God keeps dealing with him and he is not willing to repent of that sin then that could be the sin for him unto death that we’ll talk about in I John. See [I Cor. 11:29-32; Titus 2:11-15]. Now the grace of God does not give us a license to sin as a matter of fact the grace of God teaches us that we ought not to sin because God loves you so much and we are to look for that Blessed Hope. John says we are going to sin and that we have an advocate if we do sin [I John 1:9; 2:1-2] and yet Peter says in the verses above that brother you have forgotten that you were purged from your old sins and then he says check and make sure of your election and calling in Christ Jesus. And Paul tells us to examine ourselves to make sure that we are in the faith. so if we are habitually committing the same sin over and over again and can’t get the victory over it and God’s not chastening us then we ought check and make sure we are saved we could be deceived and so we’re talking here about a professing man who says he is in fellowship with God and he’s not. In this list of sins we have heresies rejecting the fundamental beliefs of God, Christ, the scriptures and the church. Believing and holding to some teaching that isn’t true. Well a lot of people do that. Drunkenness is taking drink or drugs to affect one’s senses for lust or pleasure. Becoming tipsy or intoxicated partaking of drugs seeking a loose and immoral restraint for bodily pleasure. And revellings is taking part in drinking parties and other such immoral behavior.
b.      The lust of the eyes.
The eyes have to do with seeing and wanting to have what a person sees. Again there is nothing wrong with desiring what we see seeing and desiring is normal. It becomes wrong, first of all when we see and desire that which, is directly, forbidden, by God and secondly when we see and desire in order to consume it upon our lust and indulge. What are the sins of the eyes? [Matt. 5:28] lust of the eyes for sex; [Matt. 6:23] lust of the eyes for all kinds of evil; [Psalm 10:8] lust of the eyes after the things of other people; [Ecclesiastes 2:10] lust of the eyes after all the pleasures and possessions of the world; [Proverbs 23:29-31] lust of the eyes after wine, drugs and alcoholic drinks; [Leviticus 26:1] lust of the eyes after other gods.
c.       The pride of life.
The pride of life consists of two things. First means self-centeredness a person who is focused upon him self and wants people to notice him. It is a person whose mind and thoughts are on themselves and seeks attention through dress or looks and seeks attention through rank or wealth, seeks honor, recognition, fame, power, position, luxury, outshine others and he seeks importance. A man ought to be ambitious and he ought to do what he can for the glory of God, but here we are talking about a man who wants all the attention drawn to him self. Secondly it means self-sufficiency. This is a person who is completely focused upon him self and feels completely capable of handling life him self. It is a person who feels that self-image, public image, ego and personal strength are the basis of life and feels little if any need for God. He feels as if he can conquer whatever problems or circumstances confront him along the way. He feels that this world is an end within itself and that there is probably nothing beyond this life therefore he to get all he can while he is here. The pride of life describes a person who is arrogant, conceited, boastful, and feels better than others in looks and ability. What are the sins of the pride of life? [Rev. 3:17] pride of self-sufficiency; [Psalm 10:3] pride of wealth; [I Tim. 3:6] pride of position; [Leviticus 26:19] pride of power; [I Corinthians 8:2] pride of intelligence and knowledge; [Romans 2:19] pride of being better and superior; [Rom. 12:16] pride of conceit; [Psalm 36:2] pride of self-glory; [Luke 18:11] pride of self-righteousness.
Number three the professing man is not in fellowship with God he is of the world.
To be of God simply means to be born of God to be born again. We are talking about a professing man he is of the world and not of God and we’re talking about a man who is lost. However in the context we’re dealing with a fleshly man who is out of fellowship with God and he appears to the world as a lost man. We can never look at a man and say that he is lost because that is between him and God. We can however look at a man and say he appears lost because he continually habitually practices the same sins over and over again. And one key to that is that his sins are manifest that is open and he has no remorse about them he is proud that he has done these things and generally speaking we would say that he is lost but who are we to say that. God says judge nothing before its time. A professing man who is lost has not been born of God. A professing man who is saved is born of the Spirit yet he may live for the flesh. A professing man gives way to the old creature the flesh and he is not giving way to the Spirit [II Cor. 5:17; Gal. 5:16]. The professing man is still the old man of the earth not the new man of God. He still has the old corruptible dying nature of man that is if he’s lost and he is not applying the eternal incorruptible nature of God. Is there anyone who has never been self-centered or self-sufficient?
3. The Obedient Man [v 17]
The man, who does God’s will and it is God’s will that everybody gets, saved. This man knows that the world is passing away and it means something to know this for it means that the lust of the world will pass away as well [I Cor. 7:31] the world and the fashions of the world are passing away and yet a lot of people will choose the world over God. But the verse says that he that does the will of God abides forever. The lust of the world and the world will pass away. They pass away at death when a man dies he leaves behind all he has of the world and all he has secured. He will not even be able to take a single pleasure with him when he leaves the world. Now imagine this he cannot take one single thing the world will have passed away from him. For him as far as time it will be no more that is he will not have time for his lust and pleasures [II Peter 3:10-13]. This is the reason the wise man turns away from the world and its ways and turns to God. He wants God and all that, God has to offer a life that is both abundant and eternal. Therefore an obedient man will get saved and seek the will of God. The bottom line for the believer is to get saved and a lot of people will not make it to heaven because they want to do things their way and not God’s way. In short they are not obedient and are not willing to listen to God.
An aviation cadet on a practice flight temporarily stricken blind in a panic radioed that message to his control officer. He said to his control officer I have been temporarily struck blind. And the officer radioed back, follow my instructions implicitly. After keeping the blind cadet circling the field until the whole field was cleared and an ambulance had arrived. The control officer radioed to the man who had been temporarily stricken blind now lose altitude and now bank sharply you’re coming onto the field now and that cadet brought his plane to a safe landing. He was saved physically and later on his sight returned. He did that because he was obedient to the command and all the Lord is asking of us to be saved spiritually is to be obedient to his command and get saved. Sometimes you may feel like that pilot sometimes you may feel scared and unsure where life is taking you. But as a believer you have God’s promise God will bring you home safely to dwell with Him forever and ever.
E. Test 5: Guarding Against The Antichrists Or False Teachers [2:18-23]
Many antichrists teach that Jesus Christ as not come in the flesh and so the aim of this lesson, is to guard, yourselves against the false teachings of antichrist. Memory Verse: I John 2:18 – in this verse it says antichrist shall come singular and then it says antichrists plural and so with us in this world we have many antichrists and some of them are filling pulpits all around the world. But we need to be patient because our spiritual checkup will soon be complete. This next test consists of some simple questions. For example what kinds of food do you eat? Do you live off junk food or healthy meals? You have probably heard the expression garbage in garbage out and you are what you eat. This applies to your spiritual body as well as your physical body. If you do not maintain healthy diet you will become to sick to enjoy the life that God has given you to enjoy. Likewise if you do not feast on the right spiritual food you cannot enjoy God’s presence and all He has in store for you. For a variety of reasons believers have forsaken the wholesome Word of God in exchange for junk food offered by antichrist and false teachers. Are you guarding yourself against false teachers? Are you making your congregation aware of the fact that everybody who stands in the pulpit is not of God?
1. The warning against antichrist [v 18]
Some of them are false teachers leading people astray. Paul said, a heretic after the first and second admonition, reject him. If he is not consistent with scripture, trying to be a blessing, edifying the church, exalting Jesus Christ and magnifying the Word of God something is wrong with that preacher. Are you swallowing the deceptions of false teachers? Really this is a test of salvation a test that will show whether or not you know God. Here we’re not talking about fellowship so much as we are as to whether a man is saved or not. Because we have a warning against antichrist in verse 18 and note the tenderness with which John wants to issue this warning. Believers are facing a critical period in their lives the threat of false teaching a teaching that can stir questions and doubts in people’s minds. Note three facts, number one believers must know that this is the last time. Secondly believers must know that this is the time of the antichrist. The antichrist can burst upon this world’s scene at anytime that is the singular antichrist. Note that the Bible teaches there will be a personal antichrist a man who will arise in the end time who, will oppose and stand against Christ more fiercely than anyone has ever done. Antichrist does not mean the spirit of evil that sweeps the world it does not mean the spirit of false doctrine that is always presenting a problem for the church and believers. The spirit of evil and false doctrine, stand against Christ and they do great harm but this is not what is meant by the antichrist. The antichrist refers to a person who will come to be a world leader and believers must know that the antichrist will come and unless they know the teaching of the Bible they will not be prepared [II Thess. 2:8-9]. Third how do we know that this is the last time and that the world is about to end and Jesus Christ is about to return? 
    a. It is the end of time.
The reason we know that is because there are many antichrists right now who oppose, and stand against Christ. The antichrist has his forerunners just has Jesus Christ had His prophets and forerunners. Many false prophets are on the scene today. There are many persons, leaders, teachers and even preachers who are denying that Jesus Christ is the Son of God and that he has come in the flesh. How do we know that this is the last time?
     b. It is the time for antichrist.
Because this is exactly what Jesus Christ said I the last days there would be many who would oppose and deny Him and the emphasis is on many. The world will be overflowing with false teachers and leaders and preachers and prophets who proclaim a false message of hope to the world a message that offers nothing beyond this life but judgment and hell. Note the forcefulness of John’s declaration we know he says that this is the last time. We know because there are many who are denying that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh. We know first of all because they are denying His Deity. Secondly they deny He is the Sinless Son of God who lived a perfect and ideal life and therefore secured a perfect righteousness for man. Thirdly they are denying His death and resurrection. That He died has the perfect sacrifice for man’s sins and that He arose from the dead to conquer death for man. People this is important Paul said in Romans 1:4 by the power of His resurrection Jesus Christ is declared to be the Son of God. They deny His lordship as the Lord and God of the universe and finally they are denying His return to earth that is they’re denying He is coming again to execute judgment upon every person who has ever lived upon the earth.
     c. There are many antichrists now.
There is even more to show us that we are in the last days. Not only is the world full of false teachers it is also full of false messiahs. People all over the earth are proclaiming that they or some other person are the messiah the savior of men. They’re declaring that they have the answer to man’s utopia, hopes and dreams and the great tragedy is that many people are following these antichrists and deceitful teachers of false hopes [Matt. 7:5].  
2. The origin of antichrist. [v 19]
a.       They were in the church.
    b. They left the church and did not continue in the church.
c. Their having left proves they were not genuine.
Where do antichrists plural word, come from? From within the church. False teachers hold positions within the church and note exactly what John says they went out from us or they were not of us. That is they were in the church but they were not true believers. They did not honestly believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God and Savior of the world and that He came in the flesh. They professed Christ, were baptized, joined the church and even became teachers and preachers in the church but they were not true believers. We are separating this thing from fellowship now to son-ship. So now we are talking about whether somebody is saved or not. [Matt. 7:15-23; I Tim. 1:7] so there are a lot of people who are teaching all over this world who have no understanding of what they are teaching and deep down inside even though they appear as sheep they are really ravening wolves. We would think that these antichrists would come from some cult but scripture is clear they come from the church and if you were the enemy wouldn’t you place your terrorists behind enemies lines? The best way these false teachers can do harm is to get in the church.
Ken was a Sunday school teacher in a large church in a comfortable neighborhood. The church was at one time very conservative. Members had grown up believing that the Bible was the Word of God from cover to cover but over time their foundation had shifted away from the authority of the scriptures. Eventually they found themselves believing just about anything but the truth. Ken was a product of that system that had moved off the focus of God’s Word and onto the problems of men. By the time he was asked to be a teacher in his church he taught from sources other than the Bible. Sources that did not have the power to change the problems of men it did not take long during Ken’s teaching term for satan to open fire on the entire class. And Ken became frustrated people were not changing for good in fact they were slipping further away from God and the church. One Sunday after another they had a flat lesson and Ken vented his feelings toward a fellow teacher. He said I don’t get it I teach my heart out every Sunday and all I get is blank stares. In as gentle way as possible the man in whom he confided said, Ken what do you expect you don’t believe the Bible to be the ultimate authority so how can you attempt to teach it.  
3. We have protection against antichrist. [vv 20-21]
    a. The Savior’s anointing.
God gives the believer two protections first He gives an unction that word means anointing and it is God who anoints us. What is the unction the anointing God gives us? It is the Holy Spirit and this is exactly what scripture declares [II Cor. 1:21-22]. Now why does God give us the Holy Spirit? One of the major reasons is to teach us all things [John 14:26]. What is meant by, all things? Does it mean that the Holy Spirit teaches us all the skilled professions of the world such as science, history or medicine? No, not in the technical sense it doesn’t mean that. But note the Holy Spirit does teach the believer to relate all professions to the truth. The believer knows that no profession stands as a god before men as though it were the answer to man’s basic problems. The Holy Spirit will also strengthen and help a believer learn whatever field or profession he wishes to enter but this is not the primary teaching, which concerns the Holy Spirit. The primary concern of the Holy Spirit is to teach the truth about Jesus Christ, man and this world as they relate to Christ and eternity. This means that any believer who has a question about some persons teaching can ask the Holy Spirit to teach, him, the truth. There is no excuse for any believer to be misled by false teaching. God has given them the Holy Spirit to protect them.
b.      The truth knowing it.
God gives the truth to the believer in two ways. First of all He gives us the truth in Jesus Christ [John 14:6]. God not only talks to man about Himself in the Word of God, God shows man what He is like in the person of Jesus Christ [John 10:30] Secondly God gives us the truth in the Word of God [John 8:31-32]. No matter how attractive or appealing a person may be or how much charisma a person may have or how much we may like a person if that person teaches a doctrine that differs from the Word of God it is a lie. It is a deception. This lays an enormous obligation upon the believer to study the Word of God and to depend upon the Holy Spirit to teach us. He will not teach a lethargic or lazy person. We must be diligent in studying the Word of God and in praying and seeking the Spirit of God. This is what Paul was saying in Galatians 5:16 and if you don’t the works of the flesh will be manifest Galatians 5:19-21 and this bothers a lot of people. But God has given the believer the great provision of God’s protection against antichrists or false teachers.
A lieutenant in the United States army on some far off battle front and his buddy were sent on some important mission when an enemy discovered them the lieutenant said to himself Lord its your responsibility now. As the lieutenant reached for his carbine a shot from one of them struck him in the breast and blasted him down. Thinking he was dead his pal grabbed his carbine and started blasting away with both guns. He received three bullet wounds but when he finished not one of, the enemy was left. The lieutenant wrote his sister in Pennsylvania he said he was amazed when I rolled over and tried to get up the force of that bullet had only stunned me dazedly I wondered why and pulled my Bible from out of my pocket and in utter mutinous looked at the ugly hole in the cover. It had ripped through Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers and it kept going where do you think it stopped? In the middle of Psalm 91 pointing like a finger at this verse; a thousand shall fall at thy side and ten thousand shall fall at thy right hand but it shall not come near thee. He said I did not know that such a verse was in the Bible and in utter humility I said thank you precious God. That soldier was fortunate but you too could protect your heart from a false teachers deadly bullet if you hide God’s Word in your heart.
Speaking on Galatians 5:19-21 Dr. Hayes stated that Christians can commit those sins but understand something [II Cor. 5:21] says, For he hath made him to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him. Jesus Christ made us righteous when He offered His blood at the cross of Calvary and we accept that blood we become righteous in God’s sight we are justified that is we are free from all guilt clear of every charge and we are just like we have never sinned. However because we do sin in the present have sinned in the past and will sin in the future we need to go to God everyday and confess our sins and get forgiveness [I John 1:7,9] for our sins to stay in fellowship with Jesus Christ. Dr. Hayes said Christians can commit those sins because David certainly committed the sin of adultery, Paul committed the sin of covetousness and the baby Christians at Corinth committed the sin of strife and division but turn your attention to James 1:13-16. But every man is tempted when he is drawn away of his own lusts, and enticed. There it is right there when he [man] is drawn away then he gives in to the sins of the flesh. James is talking to people in the faith and he says they are drawn away by there own lusts and this is the context of I John 2:15-17. James says Christians ought not to give into the sins of the flesh. Peter [II Peter 1:4-9] says anybody who lacks these things have forgotten that they were purged from their old sins. So Peter says in verse 10 we are to make our calling sure. Peter says just use this as a test basis, to make sure that you are really saved. He said I’m not questioning your salvation for I realize a Christian can get into situations where he has forgotten that he was purged from his old sins and lack love. Dr. Hayes stated to look at [I Corinthians 6:9] Know ye not that the unrighteous shall not inherit the kingdom of God? Here it is referring to the unsaved. Be not deceived: neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor abusers of themselves with mankind, Nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners, shall inherit the kingdom of God. Then not what Paul says, But such were some of you: but ye are washed, but ye are sanctified, but ye are justified in the name of the Lord Jesus, and by the Spirit of our God. Paul is saying here that unrighteous people who do these things will not inherit the kingdom of God. That’s an entirely different statement that he makes in Galatians 5:19-21, unrighteous are not saved people. Over in Galatians the context is that we walk in the Spirit so we will not fulfill the lust of the flesh. In Galatians Paul is speaking to righteous people [saved], that’s how David fits in. David was a man after God’s own heart yet he fulfilled the lust of the flesh but certainly he was not unrighteous. Jesus Christ had made David righteous. David believed that Christ was going to come and shed His blood and he placed his faith in Him.
A Closer Look At The Word Unction or Anointed
This is the anointing of the Holy Spirit, in the Old Testament only prophets, priests and kings were anointed. They were anointed by pouring oil upon there heads. The oil symbolized the Spirit of God coming upon them for service. Such anointing was the privilege of only a few chosen people but Jesus Christ changed this. He was anointed at His baptism not with the symbol of the Spirit the oil but with the Holy Spirit Himself [Luke 4:18; Acts 4:27; 10:38]. What John is saying is the same anointing is no longer just the possession of only a chosen few. It is the possession of every believer. Every believer can have the Holy Spirit. Every believer must have the Holy Spirit in order to be saved [Acts 8:17; II Cor. 1:21-22; Col. 1:28].
4. The false teachings of antichrist [vv 22-23]
a.       Denying Jesus is the Christ.
    b. Denying identifies a person as an antichrist.
c. Denying Jesus Christ denies God. [I John 4:2]
The false teaching is stated as plainly as human language can state it. Who is a liar but he who denies that Jesus is the Christ he is the antichrist. With that in mind see [I Timothy 3:16] Many people debate this and say that he could not have been all God because he was part man. And then say he could not have been part man because he was all God. And what they do is say that God would never come in the flesh. So the heart of the whole thing was in John’s day these people were going around saying that God had not come in the flesh and this is the false teaching of the antichrist. The false teachers are the forerunner of the antichrist who denies that Jesus is the Messiah. Two terrible things are said about this person. First of all he is a liar and second if he denies the Son, the Lord Jesus Christ, he also denies the Father. Why is this so? How is it that a person denies God if he denies Christ? The answer is two-fold. First if a person denies that God sent His Son into the world then his image of God differs entirely from the God who is the Father of Jesus Christ. God sent His Son into the world. Therefore if we picture a God who did not send His Son then our image of God differs entirely from the true and living God. The true and living God is love, perfect love. Therefore He has loved man perfectly. God has done the greatest thing that can be done for man. He has sent His only Son into the world to die for man’s sins. No greater love could ever be demonstrated for man no matter how long the world stands. Therefore if a man says that God did not send His Son into the world that Jesus Christ is no the Son of God that he has not come in the flesh then that man is thinking of some god other than the Father of the Lord Jesus Christ. Why? By denying Jesus Christ the Bible says the man denies the Father. By denying the Son the man does not have the Father he’s separated from the Father standing against and opposed to both the Father and His Son Jesus Christ. That man is doomed for he has denied that God loves the world enough to send His only begotten Son to save the world. Secondly any person who denies Jesus Christ is denying the New Testament because the New Testament says time and time again the Jesus Christ is the Son of God. He is the One Person who reveals God the Father to the world. Nobody else has ever done that [Matt. 11:27]. The point is clear any person who denies Jesus Christ is denying God as well. God is the only true and living God. Any person who denies that Jesus Christ is the Son of God that’s come in the flesh is a false teacher and a forerunner of the antichrist [Matt. 10:33]. The Bread of Life is the only thing that can satisfy the soul.
F. Test 6: Letting The Gospel Abide In You [2:24-27]
The aim of this study is to make the gospel a vital part of your life. Memory Verse: 2:25
Our spiritual checkup is almost complete just as our physical bodies sometimes need vitamins and supplements to keep us healthy so your spirit has its own prescription to keep you spiritually healthy. Jesus Christ the great physician has written a prescription for you and for every one of His patients with the goal of getting a good dose of the gospel into every body. Now how do you know if the gospel is really in you? How do you know if you really are in tune with God? This sixth test is a revealing proof does the gospel abide in you? How you live shows quicker than anything else whether or not you know God and whether or not you are in fellowship with God. If you have grasped the truth of the gospel and are striving to live it out then you definitely know God and are in fellowship with God. But the converse is also tragically true. If the gospel God’s Word is not within you then you do not know God. You are lost. Regardless of what you may feel or profess. Regardless of what others may think you do not know God if the gospel is not abiding in you. The gospel lives within the life of every genuine believer and the believer should strive to live out the gospel. We need to be very cautious with this word fellowship and unrighteousness, that is, a man can be declared righteous by Jesus Christ [II Cor. 5:21] once he puts his full trust in the gospel of I Cor. 15:3-4]. This is what we mean by fellowship and many times a man can be saved and out of fellowship with God. But most times a man is actually lost and we will talk about that in this section.
I.                   Does the gospel abide in you [v 24]
a.       It is the old unchangeable message.
Note that the word gospel is not used in the verse but rather that which we have heard from the beginning [I John 1:1-3]. What we heard from the beginning is the gospel. In [vv 22-23] we see they were denying the gospel therefore that which we have heard from the beginning is the gospel the Word of God itself [v 21]. It is the gospel preached by the apostles [I Cor. 15:3-4] and it’s the gospel of salvation [Titus 2:11-14].
b.      The evidence you are continuing in the Son.
Note the evidence of salvation of knowing God and John’s readers would resist the lies of the antichrist [I John 4:3]. They would continue abiding in fellowship with the Son and the Father. This word, remain means to abide, to dwell, to remain in fellowship with Jesus Christ and not to be carried away with false teaching or worldly pleasures or possessions. How do we know if we know God and are in fellowship with God? Is the gospel being lived out in our lives? Are we confessing Jesus Christ to be the Son of God? Do we really believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God? Are we letting Jesus Christ live out His life in us? Are we continually habitually giving way to the same sins over and over again? This is the final proof that we know God [Gal. 2:20]. Does the gospel message abide in you or does it come and go according to your circumstances? What some claim to be the gospel is nothing more than a watered down cause. Compromise has replaced conviction. The reality of the gospel or the reality of fellowship can be confirmed in your life when the Spirit propels you to remain consistent. This example makes a good point. The following is a Russian parable.
A hunter raised his rifle and took aim at a large bear when about to pull the trigger the bear spoke in a soft soothing voice. The bear said isn’t it better to talk than to shoot. What do you want? Let us negotiate the matter the bear said. Lowering his rifle the hunter replied I want a fur coat. Well good said the bear that is a negotiable question after all I only want a full stomach. So lets negotiate and compromise that is you want a fur coat and I want a full stomach lets sit down and talk about it. They sat down and negotiated and after a time the bear walked away alone. The negotiations had been successful the bear had a full stomach and the hunter had a fur coat but not the way he expected it. Compromises rarely satisfy both sides in equal measure. There can be no compromise with the Word of God either you’re in fellowship with God and His life is seen in you or you’re going your own way the way of the world. The Bible says in [Acts 17:28a] in Him we move and have our being. We ought to be living for Jesus Christ.
II.                The promise eternal life [v 25]
The great promise of God to man is that if we believe on Jesus Christ we can have eternal life. God has made many promises but this is the one promise that supersedes all the others. But note the thrust of the verse the evidence of our belief in Jesus Christ is our receiving eternal life. Verse 24 says if we live a worldly life then our salvation can be questioned. No doubt it can. That’s why Paul says give no circumspect of evil don’t even show people that you may be doing something wrong. What is eternal life? It is life real life it is the very life of God Himself. It is the very being, essence, force, energy, principle and power of life. It has to do with both quality and duration. To live forever in the present world with the world like it is, is not necessarily a good thing. The world and man’s body needs changing and that changed life is found only in eternal life the only being who can be said to be eternal is God. Therefore life, supreme life is found only in God. To possess eternal life is to know God. Once a person knows God and Jesus Christ whom He has sent that person has eternal life by trusting in the shed blood of Christ at the cross of Calvary that person shall live forever. But more essential that person has the supreme quality of life that is he can live out the very life of God Himself. Once a person believes in Jesus Christ he has eternal life he immediately receives it. It is not working it our and enduring to the very end he has already received eternal life. He begins to live eternally from that day onward and every day of his life thereafter he begins to live eternally. This is significant it means that we should be very careful about how we live everyday for everyday we live is another day lived in eternity if we trusted Christ we shall never die. When God is ready to move us from this physical world to the spiritual world [heaven] He simply transfers us all quicker than the blink of an eye [John 3:14-15].
III.             The warning some seduce us away from Christ [v 26]
Why is John writing this letter to believers? Because there were false teachers who were seeking to seduce and lead astray the believers. A false teacher is one who attempts to lead us away from Jesus Christ and the glorious truth that He died for our sins. [John 10:28] says that Jesus holds us in His hand and no man can pluck us out of His hand. Note the false teacher deceives people he teaches that a man can become acceptable to God by some way other than Jesus Christ. He teaches us that there are other religions, other ways and other approaches to God other than by Jesus Christ. He seduces us and leads people astray by getting them to follow some other teaching and the tense is a continuous action in the Greek. They will forever try to seduce people and lead people astray. Believers must constantly be on guard against false teaching because so much is at stake. We will abandon the faith if we listen to the deception and go astray. We must continue to follow Christ. We are not talking about losing salvation we are talking about being deceived and living a life out of fellowship with God the Father. We don’t want to be deceived out of that fellowship. If God sent His Son to provide man a way into eternity He is not going to allow man to approach Him any other way.
IV.             The provision of God to protect us is the Holy Spirit [v 27]
a.       He is the anointing and he abides in us.
The Holy Spirit is the anointing. It is the Holy Spirit who abides in us and teaches us the truth and seals us in Christ [Rom. 8:16-17]. What kind of relationship do you have with the Holy Spirit?
b.      He teaches us the truth.
Now certainly we can learn from others Paul said be you followers of me as I am also of Christ. But what the Bible is talking about here when it says you don’t need any man to teach you is very simply this if a man teaches or preaches something from the pulpit you be studying your Bible enough to let the Holy Spirit within you be able to relate to whether he is telling the truth or not. Let the Holy Spirit be the final authority.
c.       He seals us and assures us that we do abide in Christ.
Some people act as if the Holy Spirit does not exist; others fail to credit the Holy Spirit with being a person; others are intimidated by those who the Holy Spirit fills with His power and still others have the audacity to try to control the Holy Spirit. Now despite the misconceptions the Holy Spirit does have a very important role to play in the life of every believer.
Benjamin West the great painter speaking of Gilbert Stuart a brother artist famous for his beautiful coloring used to say to his pupils its no use to steal Stuart’s colors if you want to paint as well as he does you must steal his eyes. When we’re baffled in our efforts to live as Christ lived the record of His life how wonderful it is will not enable us to be like Him. What we need is His heart His nature only divinity within us can recognize divinity without. Without the Holy Spirit we cannot know Him as God. The Holy Spirit is our hope in Christ and in the truth. Do you give the Holy Spirit His proper place in your heart and in your life? Base your life on the truth that God has given.
To know God’s standards and to fail to do them leaves a believer immature in Christ [Heb. 5:12-6:6]
God will permit the believer to grow if we will give way to the Holy Spirit but God will not permit a believer to grow who will not. If you do not give way to the Holy Spirit and grow in Christ then God will not permit it. He is not obligated to show any lazy lethargic person anything in the Word of God [Heb. 6:3]. Then we have some difficult verses in [Heb. 6:4-6] and the Bible is saying this it is not saying you can lose your salvation as some denominations teach.
If you’re in an Algebra class and you go three-four days and make bad grades what you would like to say is I would like to start the class over. But you can’t turn the clock back so what you must do in that Algebra class is catch onto what you are doing and move forward to make better marks. And that’s what the writer of the Hebrews is saying. You can’t lose your salvation. You’re going to make some mistakes so go on to maturity. Then [Heb. 6:9-12] what you need to do in the Christian life is abide in the Holy Spirit and God will show you more things. The only provision you have against false teaching is the Holy Spirit showing you truth from the Word of God.
G. Test 7: Abiding In Christ [2:28-29]
The aim of this lesson is to make absolutely sure you are abiding in Christ. Memory Verse: 2:28
We are to be commended for allowing the Great Physician to give us a spiritual check-up. As He looks at your tests results He graces you with a tender smile. You return the smile and ask well doctor, am I going to make it? Now people that’s a good question and here’s the answer to every believer. The Great Physician will say yes, you’re going to be all right but you will not survive on your own. The only way I can guarantee your spiritual health is to have you move in with Me. That way I can give you the constant attention that you need. What a great blessing to live with the Great Physician will it work out? The final test of our spiritual check-up is the test of compatibility. Are you and Jesus Christ a good match, the only way for you to be compatible is for you to place your faith in Jesus Christ [Amos 3:3]. How do you know if you know God? Do you abide in Christ? When you abide in Christ you live in the very nature of God and you try to live like God lives. You live life like it should be lived and you try to all things right just like God. The person who does not abide in Christ does not know God.
I.                   The test: Do you abide in Christ [v 28]
The word, abide means to continue, dwell, stay, sojourn, rest in or upon. It is being set and fixed and remaining there. It means to stay and continue on in fellowship with Christ and to remain in Him and be settled in Him. We are to dwell in Christ by living the kind of life that He showed us how to live by being right with God and right with man just as Christ did. Now when a person abides in Christ what kind of life does he live? What kinds of things does he do? How does he behave toward God and man? First of all a person confesses that Jesus Christ is the Son of God [I John 4:15-16]. Secondly abiding in Christ means that a person walks and fellowships with Christ. He lives and moves and has his being in Christ. He has a consciousness of the Lord’s presence and from the Lord’s presence he learns from God and he draws the strength and the authority to live victoriously day, by day [I John 2:6]. Thirdly abiding in Christ means that a person walks in open confession before God. He walks hour, by hour opening his life up to God. He constantly confesses that he is short of God’s glory, confesses any known sin that he slips into. He does not walk in sin and he does not allow any sin to go un-confessed [I John 1:6-10]. Fourthly, it means that a person continues in the Word of Christ and knows the truth [John 8:31-32]. Fifthly it means that a person lets the Word of God abide in his life [I John 2:14]. Sixthly, means that a person experiences the Indwelling Presence and witness of the Spirit [I John 4:12-13]. Seventh abiding in Christ means that a person has the power to live life like he should [John 15:7]. Eighthly it means that a person dwells in love and unity with all other believers [John 17:21-23]. Ninth abiding in Christ means that a person bears fruit and lives a very fruitful life [John 15:5]. A very important part of abiding in Christ is the fruit you produce.
A century and a half ago there died a humble minister in a small village in England. He had never attended college and had no degrees. He was merely a faithful village minister. In his congregation was a young cobbler who he gave special attention teaching him, the Word of God. This young man was later to be renowned as William Carey, one of the greatest missionaries of modern times. This same ministry had a son a boy whom he taught faithfully and constantly encouraged. The boy’s character and powers were greatly affected by his father’s life. That son was Robert Hall, the mightiest public orator of his day. Whose sermons influenced the decisions of statesman and whose character was as saintly as his preaching was phenomenal. It seemed that the village pastor accomplished very little in life. There were no spectacular revivals but his faithful witness and godly life had much to do with giving India William Carey and England Robert Hall. You don’t have to be wealthy, famous, or educated to bear fruit in your lives. God expects every believer to live for Him wherever He has placed you in life. Regardless of the circumstances keeping on by abiding in Christ who knows who you will reach for Christ. The tenth way we abide in Christ by loving others, and lives and walks in love toward others [I John 4:12-13]. Eleventh it means that a person continues in the church and has not gone out from the church [I John 2:19]. Twelve it means that a person does not walk in continuous habitual sin [I John 3:6]. Another way of abiding in Christ means that a person possesses confidence and un-ashamedness in life that prepares him for eternity [I John 2:28]. We can avoid embarrassment then by fellowshipping now. Abiding in Christ means that a person actively surrenders himself to obey God’s commandments [I John 3:24]. It means that a person loves his brother [I John 2:10]. It means that a person does the will of God [I John 2:17]. Finally it means that a person experiences and receives the continuous presence of the Holy Spirit [I John 2:27].
II.                The purpose for abiding; that you may have confidence and not be ashamed at Christ return [v 28]
Note two significant points. First Jesus Christ is coming again and scripture emphatically declares this. He is coming to consummate human history and to judge the earth. He is going to judge every man and every woman who has ever lived [Matt. 16:27]. Secondly the task of believers is to be prepared for the return of Christ. How can we prepare ourselves? By doing just what’s discussed above abiding in Christ. The word confidence means boldness and assurance and it has the idea of unshakeable, boldness and assurance. If we abide in Christ now, today, and every day hereafter we can have confidence, boldness and assurance that when Jesus Christ returns to this earth we will be ready. And the word shame means to sense guilt and disgrace and feel embarrassment. Note a fact that is often ignored by believers a fact that is seldom if ever thought about. There shall be shame, disgrace and embarrassment when Christ returns. Some believers will shrink back from Christ. The picture of nothing but joy and rejoicing when Christ returns is not a true picture. There’s going to be a judgment of every man’s works no matter of what sort they are and there is going to be the judgment of sinners no matter who they are. The Christians will be judged at the judgment seat of Christ and a 1007 years later the unbelievers shall be judged at the Great White Throne judgment. Of course there will be joy for some believers who have been abiding in Christ. But there will be guilt, disgrace and embarrassment a shrinking back for those who have been walking unfaithfully [Acts 17:31].
III.             The proof of abiding; living a righteous life [v 29]
If a person abides in Jesus Christ he naturally will live a righteous life. This is the supreme proof that a person knows God and is in fellowship with God. You can always tell if a person knows God by the fruit and treasure of his life. Is he living a righteous life? Is he trying to live a life just like Jesus Christ said [Matt. 7:16-18]. There is one reason why a person who knows Christ lives a righteous life. Note how significant the reason is the person knows that Jesus Christ is righteous the sinless Son of God. This encourages him to walk day, by day to trust and cast himself upon his Lord and His righteousness. However some believers continue to walk in darkness and sin and some continually sin [I John 1:6, 8, 2:1]. The main question is are we doing righteous? Christ bore our sins in His body [I Peter 2:21-24] and if we really want to follow Christ we are going to have to suffer some, it is our flesh that commits sin so Christ could not offer His body He put His body on the tree so He offered His soul [Is. 53:3-10]. Christ had to offer His righteous soul for our sins. In His body, was, our sins so He did not offer His body. Don’t misunderstand me, He had to offer His body and His body shed blood but that had to be for our sin debt to be paid. But His soul was what was righteous while He was on that cross and all other times that’s why He said in Gethsemane my soul is exceedingly sorrowful unto death. Therefore a person who lives a righteous life has the nature of God. We are not talking about perfection we must confess our sins but a person who does not live a righteous life does not know God [John 3:3-5]. A person must be born again. The only way we can live a righteous life is with the help of our heavenly Father. Any attempt to live a righteous life without God’s help is like trying to move an un-moveable weight. Our righteousness if like filthy rags which weigh us down Christ’s righteousness sets us free to know God in a personal way.
a.       Knowing that Christ is righteous
b.      Being born again.
A. Test 1: Experiencing God’s incredible love [3:1-3]
 The aim of this lesson is to rejoice in God’s incredible love that is His incredible love for you. Memory Verse: 3:1. Does God require you to go through an obstacle course to prove your love for Him? The answer is absolutely not. But sometimes it seems like He does. What you do in this life will not make God love you anymore or any less. His love for you is unconditional however our love for Him often is. God allows us to see for ourselves how much we really love Him. Thus the spiritual obstacle course found in the next six studies will be proof of our love for God. What keeps you from loving God with all your heart? Is it fear? Is it ignorance? Is it a love for the world? God’s perfect love cannot be experienced without your personal involvement in the relationship. Hearing about the experiences of others will never satisfy the longing in your own soul. You must personally experience God’s love. The first test on the obstacle course is the barrier of love not experienced. For many an empty and indifferent religion has replaced an intimate relationship with God. A commitment to this kind of religion will only guarantee emptiness and barrenness. The believer must struggle to cross over the obstacles of love not experienced. Those who pass this test will gain the prize of experiencing the incredible love of God. This is the discussion of this section in John’s letter the love of God and our love for God. How can you really tell if you love God? How can you make sure that God is pleased with what love you show Him? If God loves us as the present passage says then it means that God is not off in outer space somewhere and that He is not reachable or that He is unconcerned with this world. It means that God is not mean, vengeful or cause all the bad things that happen to us. It means that God is not hovering over us looking for every mistake we make so that He can punish us. God is not like that. Since God is love it means that He will show us His love and act for us. It means that God cares for us and looks after us. It means that God will help us through all the trials and temptations of life. It means that God will save us from sin and the corruption and death of this world. That God will find a way to save us from the coming judgment of His holy wrath against sin. But notice something if God loves us and has demonstrated His love to us then He must expect us to respond. He must expect us to love Him. Love expects to be loved in return it always has and it always will. To know love we must receive love and we must share love. God loves us but we have to receive His love in order to experience it. We have to enter a loving relationship with God in order to know the love of God. If we do not love God then we can never know or experience God’s love for us. His love will never touch us it is absolutely essential that we love God if we wish to experience God’s love. But note this few people truly love God they have to walk through life without knowing God’s love and care. First of all they have to face all the trials and temptations of life all alone. They have no help except the help that man can give. They have rejected the love and help of God. Secondly they have to face suffering and sorrow and the death of loved ones all alone. They do not have the supernatural power of God to help because they rejected God. Thirdly they have to confront death without really knowing if God is on the other side waiting to judge them. Fourthly they have no hope beyond this life feeling that this life might be all but not quite sure wondering if perhaps there might be something after death. Any person can know God and His love by responding to it. We have to open up our hearts and our lives and receive His love and love Him in return.
I.                   The privilege of God’s love we are called children of God [v 1]
First it is the love of God that has bestowed the privilege of adoption upon us. No man is a child of God because of any work or merit of his own. Man has rebelled against God and has chosen to go his own way in life and has chosen to do his own thing. He has wanted little if anything to do with God and he has not wanted the restraints of God upon his life. He has preferred to make his own way in life therefore man has ignored, cursed and denied God. It is this that makes the love of God so amazing [Rom. 5:6, 8]. God’s love is the giving of His Son to the world. God bestowed His love upon us by giving Jesus Christ to die for our sins. It is the death of Jesus Christ that makes it possible for us to become the children of God. Secondly the world does not know nor understand believers. This explains why believers are ridiculed, mocked, ignored, opposed, abused, rejected and persecuted by the world. The world does not understand why believers separate themselves from the pleasures and things of the world; deny themselves and live sacrificially so they can carry the message of Christ to the world meeting the needs of the desperate; why believers go to church and talk so much about Christ. Note why the world does not understand believers? Because the world does not know Jesus Christ and if the world rejected Christ they are bound to reject God’s very own children. The world is unwilling to recognize that God is perfect and just. They want nothing to do with a lifestyle that demands all that a person is and has. They are unwilling to give sacrificially to carry the gospel around the world and meet the needs of the world. [Matt. 10:17] the world has always misunderstood and mistreated Christians.
II.                The great hope and mystery of God’s love eternal transformation [v 2]
Note the great declaration in this verse Beloved, now are we the sons of God it is not that we shall be God’s children but that we are already God’s children through faith in Christ. Now note the declaration again Beloved, now are we the sons of God, and it doth not yet appear what we shall be; the contrast is emphatic we know what we are now but we do not know what we shall be like when Christ returns. Oliver Green has an excellent statement on this point and I quote. What we shall be hereafter is not fully revealed but we know that we are sons of God now and that we are predestined to be conformed to His image of His dear Son [Rom. 8:29]. We know we shall be like Him, what is involved in this tremendous declaration we do not fully know now and even if God had seen fit to explain it to us we would not have been able to understand it with our poor limited and finite minds. Why do I say that? The scriptures tell us that after His resurrection that Jesus ascended to the Father and then returned to earth again perhaps in a matter of seconds. He entered a room where all the doors were closed and the windows were locked and appeared in the midst of His disciples [John 20:19-28]. He invited them behold My hands and My feet that it is I myself handle me and see for a spirit hath not flesh and bones as you see me have and they gave him a piece of raw fish and honeycomb and He took it and did eat before them [Lk. 24:36-43]. We cannot understand a body and personality like that. We cannot comprehend such tremendous truth with these finite minds therefore God did not explain in detail what it will mean to be like Jesus. We will just have to wait and have Him show us in that glorious resurrection morning. Note the words, when He shall appear we shall be like Him; for we shall see Him as He is. God is light therefore when we see God face to face we shall become light even as He is light. The believer is to be made just like Christ conformed to His very image this means that the believer shall be like Christ in person and in character. The believer shall possess a perfect body and being [I Cor. 15:51-57]. Believers are chosen to be holy and without blame eternally [Eph. 1:4; 4:24; 1:5; I Cor. 15:49]. It is more than just a general idea that believers are to be like Christ it is a definite idea that what Christ is, believers shall be [Rom. 8:28-29; Phil. 2:6]. The body that we will receive will be a body just like Jesus Christ has and that is made abundantly clear in the scriptures [Phil. 3:21]. Several changes, of the body are promised to the believer. Number one the body will not be corruptible but incorruptible [I Cor. 15:42]. Number two the body will not be a body of dishonor but a resurrected body of glory [I Cor. 15:43]. Third the body will not be a body of weakness but a body of power [I Cor. 15:43]. God’s plan for us is unshakeable.
In 1995 a devastating earthquake shook the city of Kobe, Japan. Thousands of people lost their lives and billions of dollars of damage was done to buildings and roads. It was reported that a Christian church in Kobe was also destroyed but in its courtyard a statue of Christ remained perfectly erect. Word of the statues survival spread all across Japan as people far and wide came to examine it the statue became a symbol of hope to a people whose world had fallen apart. There is a very practical point to that story no matter how shaky it gets here on earth one day every believer shall be like Christ incorruptible never decaying, deteriorating or dying. We shall be transformed from brokenness to stability from death to life and from sorrow to joy. When your world gets shaky just remember what you will have in heaven.
III.             The incentive of God’s love would be purity [v 3]
God wants a people just like Himself a people who are pure and holy and righteous. He wants us living with Him in fellowship and communion. He wants us serving Him forever and ever. This is the reason God has saved us in Jesus Christ and has given us the great hope of being eternally transformed all so we can live with Jesus Christ and God the Father in glory. If we keep our eyes on the great glory that lies ahead it should stir us to live pure lives. We should be stirred to live as Christ lived for God is going to purify us in every sense of the Word. In appreciation we should purify ourselves now while we walk on this earth we must seek to be pure even as Jesus Christ is pure. This is the proof that we love God do we understand the incredible love of God? Are we stirred to live pure lives because of His incredible love for us? [Matt. 5:8] It does not take much to cross the firing line between purity and perversion. Given the right set of circumstances Christians like to live in both worlds God’s and satan’s. Isaac Rankin shares this practical illustration with us and I quote just out of reach of my window is a wire that carries a heavy current of electricity for light and power. It is carefully insulated at every pull that supports it and it is carried well out of common reach. Yet the doves, the birds of the air light on it and take no harm the secret is that when they touch the full powered wire they touch nothing else they give themselves wholly to it. My danger would be that while I touch the wire I should also be touching the earth through the walls of my house and the current would turn my body into a channel for escape but they the doves rest wholly on the wire and experience no danger they are one with it and they are safe. So would God have us seek our safety in complete surrender to His power and to His love it is when we reach one hand to Him while we keep fast hold on something forbidden in the other that we’re in danger. What are you holding onto the purity, and love of, God, or the sin and dirt of, this world? Do you have duel loyalty? Why is purity such an important issue with God?
B. Test 2: Turning away from sin and it’s enslavement [3:4-9]
Now this test is turning away from sin and it’s enslavement and the aim of this lesson is to learn how to live victoriously over sin. Memory Verse: I John 3:6
Now think of some sin in your life that pulls you down and makes you feel guilty whose work is that? Is it God’s? Yours? Or it satan’s? Is it pleasing to God? If you are a true believer you have been freed from your sin. God has given you the power to have victory over your sin and it’s enslaving control in your life. This test is a difficult one but it is especially difficult if you are dragging a heavy ball and chain of sin behind you. The believer is in the race of life unfortunately many have slowed down by the habitual weight of sin. If you really want to show God you love Him break free from the chains of sin. If you live in sin you are enslaved by the habits of sin this is a clear sign that you do not love God but if you have turned away from the habits of sin broken by Christ and conquered in your life this is a clear sign that you do love God. If you’ve been born of God then you love God and if you have not partaken of the Divine Nature of God then you do not love God. When you love someone you want to know him and to please him, you want his approval and acceptance therefore you do all you can to please him and so it is with God. If you love Him you want to do all you can to please Him. You want His approval and acceptance. Therefore the person who loves God tries to live a pure and holy life he does not continually habitually live in sin. He does not continually habitually practice sin he lives in righteousness and he practices righteousness.
I.                   The need for deliverance; man is sinful [v 4]
Man is sinful and he has transgressed the law now few people like to be called a sinner and some even react to the statement that men are sinners and there is a reason for this. To most people sin is thought to be only the gross misdeeds of society the crimes that make the headlines of the newspapers or television. The sins committed by most people are not thought to be that serious they say. Most people think that while they might do a little wrong that it could never be interpreted as sin therefore to them they are only shortcomings, mistakes, failures, or psychological quirks or flaws of nature or a social cause. But this is not what sin is, not to God or the Bible according to the Bible sin is transgression to the law. It is violating the law of God. Several things need to be said;
-          Sin is choosing to go one’s own way in life doing one’s own thing instead of what God says
-          Sin is living like one wants instead of like God says
-          Sin is disobeying God not doing what God says to do
-          Sin is disbelieving God instead of believing what God has to say
-          Sin is ignoring and neglecting God instead of following and worshiping God as He says
-          Sin is rebelling against God instead of doing what God says
-          Sin is rejecting God and denying God instead of confessing God and becoming a follower of God
-          Sin is imperfection coming short of God’s glory
-          Sin is unbelief [Rom. 4:20]
-          Sin is missing the mark [Rom. 3:23; II Peter 2:18]
-          Sin is ungodliness and unrighteousness [Rom. 1:18]
-          Sin is transgression a stepping outside the law [Rom. 4:15]
-          Sin is trespassing indulging where one should not go [Eph. 2:1]
-          Sin is disobedience a refusal to hear and to do [Eph. 2:2]
-          Sin is lawlessness a rebellion against God’s will [I John 3:4]
-          Sin is iniquity an inward contempt that leads to the continual practice of sin [Rom. 1:21-23]
If man had never transgressed the law of God then he would have dwelt in the perfect nature of God. He would have always obeyed God therefore he would have always lived in the glory of God and never come short of God’s will and nature. But it was transgression that caused the fall of man [Is. 53:6]
II.                The provision for deliverance; Christ took away our sins [v 5]
Jesus came to take away our sins how is this possible that Christ took away our sins so that God can accept us? The answer is that He lived a sinless life. Note the words of, the verse, in Him is no sin. When Christ came He lived a sinless life and was perfect and righteous the perfect and ideal man. When Christ died He was the perfect sacrifice for our sins. When we really believe in Christ then God takes our faith and counts the sacrifice of Jesus Christ for us. Consequently being free of sin we are now acceptable to God.
Tape 7/Side 2
       A so-called higher critic spoke scornfully of the Bible story of man’s creation. With a grin on his face he said think of God taking a piece of mud in His hand and breathing on it and changing it into a man. In the audience was a man who had sunken low into the muck of sin but was now transformed by the wonderous grace of God he stood fiercely to his feet and said to the critic of God’s Word I will not discuss the creation of man with you but I will tell you this God stooped down and picked up the dirtiest piece of mud in our town He breathed upon it by His Spirit it was newly created. It was changed from a wicked wretch to a man who now hates his former sins and loves the God who saved him. I was that bit of mud this man acknowledge his sin and his Savior will you do the same?
III.             We have the proof of deliverance [vv 6-7]
A person abides or fellowships in Jesus Christ if he has turned from sin. When we accept Christ has our Savior from sin it means that we begin to abide in Him. Abide means to dwell, to continue, to stay, to sojourn and live in Christ. It means to live in Christ. Note three points about this. Number one if we abide in Christ we do not continue to sin. If we really accepted Christ as our Savior we love Him because He died for us and He paid such an enormous price to take away our sins that we should want to please Him. We dare not do anything to hurt Him or cause Him pain therefore we should strive to do all we can to please Him. The major thing we do is to turn away from sin and break the habits of sin all because our hearts and lives now belong to Him who has loved us and given Himself for us. Secondly if we sin then we have not seen Christ or have known Him. This does not mean that we have to perfect to be saved from sin. The Greek means this if we continue in sin habitually practicing sin then we may not really know Jesus Christ the chances are a fellow is lost. A true believer is still short of God’s glory. He still sins. He is still human flesh therefore he cannot keep from sinning not all of the time perfectly but sin is not the dominate focus of his life. He does not keep his mind on the comforts and pleasures of this life his focus is Jesus Christ and his mission of righteousness and salvation. He gives all that he has ministering to the desperate needs of the world. He continues to work and labor for righteousness upon the earth. But notice something the person whose focus is still on the world its pleasures and possessions the person who continues to sin probably has not seen Jesus Christ or known Him. Once a person sees Jesus Christ once a person really knows Jesus Christ that person focuses upon and gives His life to Christ. He strives to turn away from sin and strives to follow Jesus Christ. Thirdly we can be deceived about the matter of sin and righteousness. Many think that they are saved and acceptable to God because they have professed Christ, been baptized, joined the church, attended church, fellowshipped with Christians, read the Bible and prayed. They think that if they do these things that they can live just like they want to. They think they can just go ahead and enjoy a few of the world’s pleasures and continue to seek after more and more of the world’s comforts and possessions and they think God will still accept them. But note verse 7, Little children, let no man deceive you: he that doeth righteousness is righteous. The only person who is acceptable to God for fellowship is the person who lives righteously who follows after the righteousness of Christ to fellowship with Christ. The demand of Jesus Christ is clear [Luke 9:23]. The only person who is acceptable to God is the person who lives righteously after he is saved and who follows after the righteousness of Christ in fellowship and denies himself and follows Christ.
IV.             The great conquest of Christ in deliverance [v 8]
Note two significant points. First the person who sins is of the devil now this is a shocking statement to some people but Christ put it even more clearly [John 8:44]. This means that Satan was the first being to sin and Adam was the first person. Satan was the first who rebelled and sinned against God therefore every person who sins is a kin to Satan. He is following after Satan in the footsteps of Satan. Morally and spiritually he is the offspring the child of Satan no one thing is sure and that is sin is not of God. God is not the father of sin, evil, corruption and death the devil is the father of such things. Therefore when we sin we are not following the Father of love and righteousness we are following the father of sin and death. Our behavior is not of God it is of the devil it is by sin that we become followers of the devil, children of the devil and servants of the devil. It is by sin that we separated ourselves from God. It is sin that causes us to die and it is sin that will bring judgment upon us. It is sin that causes the righteousness and justice of God to fall upon us. It is sin that is un-confessed and un-forgiven that is going to separate the sinner from God for eternity. This is the reason that God hates sin so much. God created man to live with Him and sin has cut man off from God dooming man to be cut-off forever. But the glorious gospel is that God knows what to do about sin and He has the power to do it and He knows how to save man and destroy the works of Satan. Secondly this was the very purpose for the Son of God coming to earth that He might destroy the works of the devil. The works of the devil are destroyed by, Jesus Christ. His power and his rule over lives has been destroyed all by the death of the Son of God. Satan’s power to charge men with sin, is cast out men now have the power to escape the penalty of sin. Christ took the sins of men upon Himself and paid the penalty for their sins He died for the sins of the world [I Peter 2:24]. Satan’s power to cause death is now cast out men no longer have to die Christ died for man [Heb. 2:14-15]. Satan’s power to separate man from God is now cast out [I Peter 3:18]. Satan’s power to enslave men with the habits of sin and shame is now cast out by His death Christ made it possible for man to be free from sin. The believer cleansed by the blood of Christ becomes a holy temple fit unto God. A temple fit for the power and presence of God’s Spirit men can now conquer the enslaving habits of sin by the power of God’s Spirit [I Cor.6:19-20].
V.                The result of deliverance being freed from living in sin [v 9]
Note the verb to sin is in the present tense. To sin means to continue in sin, to constantly sin, to habitually sin, to practice sin and to live in sin. This needs to be clearly understood scripture is not saying that a person reaches sinless perfection while on this earth. No person can achieve the perfection of God and His glory such is utter nonsense according to scripture. What then is the meaning of the words he does not commit sin and he cannot sin? Once the divine nature of God has been implanted within the believer the believer cannot go living habitually continually in sin. He cannot continue and continue to sin. He cannot practice sin habitually for the Divine Nature of God will pester and provoke the believer convicting him to the point that he cannot stand it if he continues on. And if he continues on and on in sin it is evidence that he has never been born of God. The genuine believer loves God because of what God has done for him in Christ. It is this that keeps the genuine believer away from sin [Gen. 39:9]. Being born of God frees the believer from sin [John 3:4-5; II Cor. 5:17; Eph. 4:24; II Peter 1:4; I Peter 1:23; Gal. 5:16]. The Holy Spirit within the believer will keep the believer from continually habitually practicing sin because He stirs the believer to love and focus upon Christ and Christ’s mission. William Barclay says this and I quote: John is not setting before us a terrifying perfectionism in which he is demanding a life that is totally and absolutely without sin but he is demanding a life which is ever on the watch against sin. A life, which ever fights the battle, of goodness a life, which has never surrendered to sin, a life in which sin is not the permanent state but only a temporary aberration. A life in which sin is not the normal accepted way but the abnormal moment of defeat. John is not saying that the man who abides in Christ cannot sin but he is saying that the man who abides in God cannot be a continual deliberate sinner.
Freedom can never be fully appreciated unless the tyranny of bondage has been experienced salvation is too exciting to be taken for granted.
During a Texas revival meeting led by Mordecai Ham a man in the congregation was overcome by the love and mercy of God. He had killed four men and never dreamed that God could care for him. This man was so touched by the gospel that he stood up during that revival in 1910 and shouted saved, saved, saved. Jack Scofield the musician for the revival was so moved by this joyful outburst that he used these words to write that popular hymn saved, saved, saved the next afternoon. The inspiration for this wildly sung hymn came from that enthusiastic gratitude of a four-time murderer who had found the grace of God.
B. Test 3: Being marked by love [3:10-17]
The aim of this lesson is to test your love for God do you have a loving godly nature a compassionate nature. Memory verse: I John 3:17
Have you ever asked someone a question such as what do you want to eat? Only to have that person shrug there shoulders and answer I don’t care. How did that make you feel? Were you frustrated, angry or impatient? Maybe the person was quite innocent in his response but his lack of fervor just did not set right with you. You wanted to see some excitement some action a display of interest. Now in a society that is sadly marked by indifference one of the most difficult obstacles for the believer is to live out a life marked by genuine love and concern for others. Loving God and loving others must be a daily effort in a culture that puts self, first in a culture that can be indifferent to the pain and sorrow of others. Indifference is worse that hate because indifference requires no effort at all. It is cold, uncaring and unloving. Are you up to the task of putting aside indifference and showing love? Are you marked by love? The greatest proof of all that you love God is the mark of love. The great mark of loving God is, loving others.
I.                   Love reveals one’s true nature it shows that one is either a child of God or of the devil [v 10]
Note who it is that is not of God the person who does not try to live righteously is not of God. Secondly the person who does not love his brother is not of God. The person who mistreats, abuses, ignores, neglects or takes advantage of his brother is not of God. That is he is following the pattern of the devil and either he is doing that, as a Christian or he is unsaved. This is easily seen God is holy, righteous, pure, and love therefore any person who does not try to live a holy, pure and righteous life and who does not love cannot be of God. His life stands opposed to all that God stands for the things that he does are not of God, nor of the nature of God. Of course whose nature is unholy, unloving, unrighteous and impure that’s not God’s nature you know whose it is that’s the devils. This is not a pleasant thought but scripture declares emphatically that we are either a child of God or the devil. What determines whose child we are? Our lives will reveal exactly whose child we are. First of all a person who tries to live a righteous life after he has been saved and who loves his brother takes his nature from God. Secondly the person who lives an unrighteous life and mistreats his brother takes his nature from the devil. Now note a significant fact John defines righteousness as love and this is what he is really saying in this verse. The person who does not do righteousness is the person who does not love his brother. Righteousness is love and unrighteousness is failing to love and this is seen by, scanning this passage [vv 10-17]. The point is this love is righteous deeds in action and righteousness is loving, deeds in action [I John 2:10; Rom. 13:8-10]. How do you know if you really love God? Do you your brothers or do you hold things within you toward others? Do you think evil thoughts toward others? Grumble, criticize, gossip and seek to tear down others? [Matt. 22:37-39] 
II.                Love is the message heard from the very beginning [v 11]
The command is very straight forward we should love one another. Why? Because we need each other and we need each other desperately. God made us for relationships and when we fail to relate to one another we become very lonely. In a recent survey Leadership Journal reported of Americans who ate dinner last night 22% ate alone. Nearly ¼ of our nation experiences regular levels of isolation and loneliness. Those who ate in the company of others would do well to remember those who ate alone. Mother Teresa said the most terrible poverty is loneliness and the feeling of being unwanted. To love one another is not an option rather it is a command.
III.             Love does not persecute the righteous [vv 12-13]
The extreme case of persecution is used to illustrate the point and that is murder. Cain committed the very first murder on earth killing his own brother Abel [Gen. 4:1-15]. Why did he kill him? Because Abel was a believer, Abel believed God and that he was to worship God exactly like God said by the blood of a sacrificial animal. Cain did not accept such a belief he felt that if he brought of the fruit of his own hands then God would accept him because of his hard work, because he had worshipped and gave offerings to God. God accepted Abel’s worship and offering it was evident in his life by the way God blessed him and took care of him. But God rejected Cain’s offering, Cain did not have a real sense of God’s care or blessing upon his life. Therefore Cain became jealous and he became envious of Abel and he killed him. Now the point is two fold, first love does not persecute the righteous. Cain did not love his brother therefore he was of that wicked one the devil and he persecuted his brother. Secondly if we love Christ then the world will persecute us according to the verses [Matt. 24:9].
IV.             Love is the proof that is passed from death to life [v 14]
Note two things first the death here is spiritual death and eternal death. Spiritual death speaks of a person who is dead while he still lives [I Tim. 5:6]. He is a natural man living in this present world but he is said to be dead to the Lord Jesus Christ, God and spiritual matters. Several things;
-          A person who wastes his life in riotous living is spiritually dead [Lk. 15:32]
-          A person who has not partaken of Christ is spiritually dead [Jn. 6:53]
-          A person who does not have the Spirit of Christ in them is spiritually dead [Rom. 8:9]
-          A person who lives in sin is spiritually dead [Eph. 2:1]
-          A person who is alienated from God is spiritually dead [Eph. 4:18-19]
-          A person who sleeps in sin is spiritually dead [Eph. 5:14]
-          A person who lives in sinful pleasure is dead while he lives [I Tim. 5:6]
-          A person who does not have the Son of God as his Savior is spiritually dead [I John 5:12]
-          A person who does great religious works but does the wrong works is dead [Rev. 3:1]
     Love is the proof that we have passed from death to life. It is not the cause that we have passed over from
    death to life it is the proof that we have passed from death to life. Jesus Christ is the one who saves us from
    death and gives us life but once He has done this we are to love our brothers. And we can know if we have
    passed from death to life by our love for them.
V.                Love does not hate [v 15]
This means that he is not allowing eternal life to be abiding factor in his life. Many people feel that they will be acceptable to God and that God will never reject them. Yet they have feelings of dislike, anger, bitterness, envy, jealousy, sourness, resentment and irritability. But note what this verse says the person who hates his brother is a murderer. Hate is the very same thing as murder [Matt. 5:21-22]. Why? Because the person who hates has the very same feelings that the murderer does a spirit of anger a spirit of bitterness and contempt. The murderer reacts more violently but the heart of both is the same and God looks and judges by the heart. Some person can camouflage what is in their heart from other people but not from God, God knows the heart. The pulpit commentary has an excellent statement on this point and I quote. Love, is the only security against hate and as everyone who does not love is potentially a hater so every hater is potentially a murderer. A murderer is a hater who expresses his hatred in the most emphatic way. A hater who does not murder abstains for various reasons from this extreme way of expressing his hate but the temper of the two men is the same. Now note no murderer has eternal life abiding in him it is not a controlling factor in his life. The implication is that neither does any person who hates his brother. A person who does love his brother who has negative feelings swirling in his heart who has allowed his heart to become hardened against his brother does not have eternal life dwelling within him as an abiding factor. He has death, alienation, and division he has cut off fellowship with his brother and with God. He has put to death the relationship between him and his brother therefore he is cut off from God. His relationship with God has vanished and his fellowship with God has vanished [I John 2:9]. So if one brother in Christ hates another brother in Christ then he is going to be out of fellowship with God and he is going to appear to the world that he does not have eternal life abiding in him. Hating in the life of a believer is like cancer that grows at an incredible rate of speed is there a cure for the effects of hate? Yes there is its called love. How does love defuse hate?
Abraham Lincoln had a unique solution to the problem of hate. Listen to this story. Few people have had the tack that President Lincoln had when dealing with a situation that tempts one to use harsh measures. When the darkest clouds of the civil war were hovering over the capital many things done by the generals were not approved, by Lincoln or Secretary Stanton, Lincoln would take a long time to ponder over situations but Stanton would at times lose his temper and explode. One day Stanton came to see Lincoln about the doings of a certain general. Listening quietly Lincoln let Stanton show his anger and when the latter exclaimed I would like to write him a letter and tell him what I think of him Lincoln remarked very quietly why not do so? Sit down and write him a letter saying all you have said to me, Stanton was surprised for he thought that Lincoln would object to this. He declared that he would take the President at his word. Two days later he brought the letter he had written and read it to him when Stanton had finished Lincoln smiled and remarked that is all right you’ve have said all you told me you would, now what are you going to do with this letter? Stanton answered why I’m going to give it to him of course. Lincoln replied very quietly I wouldn’t I would throw it in the wastebasket. Stanton exclaimed what after spending two days on it. Lincoln answered yes it took you two days to write it and it did you a lot of good you feel a great deal better now and that is all that is necessary. Well the letter went in the basket and Stanton learned an important lesson in life. Perhaps there is someone in your path who needs your love and not your wrath this very day.
VI.             Love is the proof that one understands the love of Christ [v 16]
Jesus Christ laid down His life for us [Rom. 5:6, 8, 10]. Christ loved us enough to die for us even when we oppose and do things against Him. The point is this if we love God then we strive to follow His Son Jesus Christ and we love people just like He did. We love them when they oppose us and stand against us in fact love is the proof that we really understand the love of Christ. If we love those who do things against us then we know we experience the love of Christ but if we do not love those who oppose us then in reality we do not know the love or experience the love of Christ. We can know we know the love of Christ by our love for others [John 15:9].
VII.          Love has compassion and gives to meet the needs of people [v17]
Several things need to be said about this first, do not give if it is going to be burdensome to you [II Cor. 8:12-13]. The verse says the world’s goods and so if we have the bare necessities of life how can we shut off feelings for those in need? If we do this how can the love of God dwell within us? The answer is clear the love of God does not exist within a person who does not help those who he sees in need. Keep in mind that if he has the heart to help them but doesn’t have the means to help them God understands that. No matter what a person may profess if he does not have a heart to help those in need and see to the needs of the world then the love of God may not dwell within us. [Luke 12:33-34] A good way to check if you love God is to place your earthly possessions on the altar of His discretion.
A man by the name of Andy did this very thing listen to this story. Years ago Andy a graduate student who came from a mid-western farm was moved by the need of another brother. A new semester had come and one of his friends was $150 short of being able to stay in school. Andy did not have to think twice about what to do he gave his friend the money. Andy, made a tremendous sacrifice, most graduate students not have large reserves of cash to spare. A year later Andy had to drop out of school for a year to earn more money for his education. Did he ever regret giving that money to his friend, no not in any way, he later said to have done anything else would have been sin my brother had a need and I had the privilege of helping to meet that need don’t worry about me. God will take care of me too and God did. Andy finished his degree a year later just in time in God’s time, in God’s way and with God’s provision. The believer never loses when his motive is love even if he’s sacrificially given when he does not have it to give love is always worth the risk. However you are not commanded to [II Cor. 8:12-13]
D. Test 4: Having a clean heart [3:18-24]
The aim of the lesson is to strive to keep a clean heart in a dirty world. Memory verse: I John 3:21
Have you ever tried to walk through the mud without getting your shoes dirty or sit on a filthy chair without soiling your clothes? It can be done but it is very difficult to do. This test is like having to run on a dusty or dirty road it is extremely difficult to stay clean when you have to run through dirt. The very fact that the believer has to live in a dirty and fallen world means that becoming worldly and defiled by the world is a very likely possibility. Is it possible to run a clean race? Can a believer run in the world and not become a part of the world? The believer can if his love for God exceeds his love for the world. Do you have a clean heart?
I.                   A clean heart is brought about by loving in deed and not in word only [vv 18-19]
Most people have some feelings for an individual when they see him suffering and he has a need. And most people will talk about and express concern for that needy and suffering person. But note something if a needy and suffering person has done evil against us then the feelings of people change they no longer feel compassion and no longer are willing to reach out and help. They say he deserves it. He’s being paid back. God is judging him for his evil. He made his bed let him lie in it. He’s reaping what he’s sown. If he wasn’t so, lazy he would find work. He could better himself if he tried. Well why this attitude is sweeping their minds they still profess to love God and care for people. Note this is exactly what scripture is talking about the love we are to have is not only the love for our friends but also love for our enemies. The love that loves those who oppose us and do things against us this is what this exhortation is all about. To love only those who love us is to love only in theory and speech. It is not, loving like God loves. It is not practicing the love of God and note the result if we love as God does and love those who do evil then we know the truth. Therefore if we are to be of the truth then we must love those who do evil. If we do then our hearts will be assured, because we are loving, others, as He loves. A clean heart is not brought about by the loving the world but by loving in deed.
There are occasions when a minister visits widows where there are children in need and after the pastoral call the pastor bows in prayer and asks God to supply the need of that family. When at that time there are hundreds perhaps thousands of dollars in the bank to the credit of the big church with a tall steeple. The parishers in that church sing o how I love Jesus but they love Him in word and not in deed and in truth. [James 1:22] Talk is cheap how can you display a heart of love?
II.                A clean heart is brought about by God’s knowledge [vv 21-22]
Note the words if our heart, condemn us, everyone’s heart condemns then sometime and everyone knows what it is to sense wrong and condemnation. God has made our heart sensitive so that we can sense wrong doing why? So that we can correct our behavior and not destroy ourselves, God is greater than our hearts and he knows all things. This means two things first God knows everything about us He knows when we are good and we are bad [Ps. 139]. God knows everything we feel and everything we think and He even knows what we would have done under different circumstances [Ps. 38:4]. Secondly God knows how to assure our hearts and give us confidence toward God. God knows how to deliver us from the sense of guilt and condemnation. He knows how to remove all condemnation from our hearts forever. He knows of those times we showed love whether we remember it or not. How can God remove all the guilt and condemnation that weighs upon our hearts and lives? By loving us so much that He gave His only Son to die for us. When we come to understand this and receive Christ it is Christ who removes the sense of guilt and condemnation. He forgives and cleanses us from sin and we discover that our attitude with everyone changes, and we, want them to know the love of God just as we do. Our hearts should overflow with confidence knowing that all things are well with God. We are forever forgiven and cleansed through Jesus Christ [John 3:18].
III.             A clean heart is brought about by keeping the commandments [v 22]
If a child disobeys his father that child displeases his father. The only way that child can please his father is by obeying his father and so the same is true with God. If we are going to please God then we must strive to obey him. A father cannot reward that child if that child disobeys. A father just cannot grant that child’s request not if he wants to teach him good behavior and neither can God. If you sin you need to ask forgiveness for your sin because you have been disobedient and the only way you can be in fellowship with God and get your prayers answered is to get back in fellowship with God by confessing sin. The only way we can receive the things we ask of God is to obey God. He cannot reward our unfaithfulness and disobedience. This verse tells us how to receive an answer to our prayers in fact it tells us we can receive whatever we ask if we will do this one thing, obey God and keep His commandments. Keeping God’s commandments does two wonderful things for us number one it gives us everything we ask for in prayer and secondly it gives us a clean heart the most wonderful thing we could ever receive [John 14:23]. This should be the goal of every Christian but bear in mind that prayer should come from a pure heart because God hears everything we say both the good and the bad.
A large family sat around the table for breakfast one morning, as the custom was the father returned thanks thanking God for the food. Immediately after however as was his bad habit he began to grumble about hard times and the poor quality of food he was forced to eat the way it was cooked and more grumbling. His little daughter asked father do you suppose God heard what you said a little while ago? Why certainly the father replied with the confident air of an instructor. The little girl said and did he hear what you said about the bacon and the coffee? Why of course the father replied but not as confident as before. Then his little girl asked him again father which one did God believe? Did he believe you were thankful or did he believe you were on hard times and have to eat poor quality food?
Keeping God’s commandments can only be done with a heart that’s pure and when you pray what does God believe?
IV.             A clean heart is brought about by keeping the supreme commandment of God [v 23]
Note that God’s supreme commandment has two parts if a person wants a clean heart he must do two things above all else. First he must believe on God’s Son above all else. What does it mean to believe on the name of someone? A person’s name stands for what he is the kind of person he is and the kind things he has done. Therefore to believe on Jesus Christ is to believe on all that He stands for and all that He is. He is the Son of God our Savior and Messiah and the Great Advocate for man [I Jn. 2:1]. Secondly he must love all others.
V.                A clean heart is brought about by the Spirit dwelling within [v 24]
The person who believes in Jesus Christ and loves others dwells in God and God in Him. How do we know that God dwells in us? The Holy Spirit and this is made abundantly clear by the Spirit given us. Several things first, we dwell in God. This means that we live and move and have our being in God. Secondly God dwells within us this means that He lives and moves and His being within us, and that God makes a home in our hearts. The Holy Spirit seals us and lives within us, and this means that He can share with us, lead us, discipline us and convince us. All that is involved in living the Spirit of God does within us He is our constant and permanent companion. He never leaves us or forsakes us [Jn. 14:26]. The secret to the abundant Christian life is the source; the Holy Spirit given to all believers. The overflowing Christian life is a Spirit-filled life when there is more of Him within you than you within yourself.
Reuben Miller shares this practical visual aid on the ministry of the Holy Spirit. It was said Paul tells us to live victoriously and to avoid excesses of the flesh. Dwight L. Moody once illustrated this truth as follows; tell me he said to his audience how, can I get the air, out of this glass? One man said, suck it out with a pump. Moody replied that would create a vacuum and shatter the glass. After many impossible suggestions Moody smiled and picked up a pitcher of water and filled the glass there he said all the air is removed. He then went on to show that victory in the Christian life is not by sucking out a sin here and there but rather by being filled with the Holy Spirit. If we could only say more of Him less of me from sin Holy Spirit set me free.
E. Test 5: Testing the spirits of false teachers [4:1-6]
The aim of this lesson is to learn a foolproof way to test false teachers. Memory Verse: I John 4:1
The fifth obstacle is one of the trickiest ones to cross why? Because this obstacle is like quicksand on the surface it looks pretty harmless but one false step in the wrong place and the person has been sucked in. Once someone has been trapped, by the quicksand the worst thing he can do is struggle to get out. If he struggles he sinks even deeper. The only way of getting out is a timely and often laborious rescue by another person. It is obvious that it is much easier to stay out of the quicksand than it is to be pulled out by someone else. False teachers are like quicksand on the surface they look non-threatening and they look innocent but the false teacher lies in wait for the Christian as you come near. If you love God stay clear of false teachers, stay clear of quicksand. How do you know if you really love God? You can tell by the spirits of the teachers you are following. If you’re following the spirit of a true teacher then it is an indication that you love and if you are following the spirit of false teacher then it’s a clear indication that you do not love God. You must test the spirits of teachers throughout the world.
I.                   Test the spirits of teachers [v 1]
This is a strong charge given to believers and it brings out a significant fact that is, believers, can be misled, by, false teachers. What kind of spirits dwell within false teachers? First, a false teacher may have a spirit of light especially in industrialized societies. The spirit presents a way of life that seems to be the truth the very way to live. He presents a way of life that seems to be intelligent full of knowledge and enlightenment. His way seems to be the way to go the way to progress and development and satisfaction. Secondly a false teacher may have a spirit of righteousness. He may preach and teach righteousness a righteousness that stresses morality, goodness, education, development, community, justice, ministry, serving and helping. Thirdly a false teacher may stress the life and teachings of Jesus Christ all the good qualities of life all the traits that should characterize people and if they do God will accept them. There are many false teachers today. [II Cor. 11:13-15]
During a sermon a country preacher said to the congregation now let the church walk. Deacon Jones said, amen let it walk. Said the preacher let the church run. Deacon Jones said let it run. Said the preacher let the church fly. Amen brother said Deacon Jones let it fly. Now it’s going to take money to let it fly said the preacher. Let it walk said Deacon Jones let it walk. The false teacher might sound positive to a point but his motivation is always to hold back the work of Jesus Christ. Always.
II.                The test to test the confession of teachers [vv 2-3]
What a man believes about Jesus Christ makes the teacher true or false. What a man confesses about Jesus Christ exposes his spirit a spirit of truth or a spirit of error. And note what it is that exposes the teacher the incarnation; did Jesus come in the flesh or not? Several things can be said;
-          The true spirit confesses that Jesus did come in the flesh that the incarnation is true if a teacher has the spirit of God in him then he confesses that the incarnation is true. If he confesses anything else then the spirit within him is not of God. Now note the confession in detail exactly what it is that a true teacher confesses that is Jesus Christ has come in the flesh.
-          First of all the true teacher confesses Jesus as the Savior of the world.
-          Secondly, the true teacher confesses Christ the name Christ means Messiah, the anointed one of God. It is, believing that Jesus is the fulfillment of all the scriptures, the promised Messiah.
-          Thirdly, the true teacher confesses that Jesus Christ is, the Son of God, that, God did send His Son out of heaven to come to earth to save man. This is the confession of a true teacher and every believer we must remember that a true teacher is indwelt by the Spirit of God himself therefore the true teacher will always confess the incarnation [Is. 7:14]
-          The false spirit denies that Christ has come in the flesh and he denies the incarnation and does not believe God took on human flesh and became a man.
-          The false teacher does not believe that Jesus is the Savior of the world. He may accept Christ as a great religious leader or teacher but he does not believe that Christ is the Savior. He believes that there are other ways to God that other people who believe in God will be acceptable to God as a follower of Christ.
-          The false teacher does not believe that Jesus is the Christ the promised Messiah and the anointed One from God. He does not believe that the scriptures are the inspired Word of God he accepts them only as great writings of religious people from the past. Therefore there are no prophetic promises of a coming Messiah or Savior to the false teacher Jesus Christ is only a great religious teacher only one way to reach God. He is not the anointed one sent to save man.
-          The false teacher does not believe that Jesus Christ is come from God he does not believe that Jesus is the Son of God or that Christ came out of heaven out from the spiritual world and dimension. He does not believe that God sent His Son into the world in human flesh as a man. He believes that Christ is a man just like all other men.
-          The false teacher will say three things first that Christ was not sinless, they will say He lived close to God but no man can achieve sinlessness they say.
-          Secondly the false teacher will say that Jesus Christ died but not as a substitute for man’s sins He died as a great martyr showing how we should be willing to die for the great cause of righteousness.
-          Thirdly they say that the great resurrection of Christ did not take place it is only a picture of the spiritual truth that man can live in God’s presence.
-          False teachers make one fatal mistake to deny that Christ has come in the flesh is to deny that man can ever be saved beyond this world. This is a fatal mistake, why?
-          Because man on his own can never know for sure if God exists or how to reach God if He does exists. No person has ever seen God or heaven and they never will not by physical or material technology. The physical world cannot penetrate or pass over into the spiritual world no matter what some persons may claim. If a man is ever to know God and the spiritual world then God has to come to earth for there is no other way. Therefore to deny that God sent His Son into the world is to deny that we can ever be saved.
-          God is perfect and man is imperfect therefore God could never let man pass over into perfection, why? Because man’s imperfection would affect the perfect world of God heaven would no longer be heaven it would no longer be perfect if God allowed imperfect beings to enter into it.
-          The consequences of denying that Christ has come in the flesh means several things first it means that God has not loved us enough to reveal Himself to us and yet [I John 1:2]; it means that God did not love us enough to send us the Word of Life and yet [I John 1:1]; it means that God has not loved us enough to show us eternal life and yet [I John 1:2]; it means this that there is no eternal life at all if Jesus did not come in the flesh [I John 1:2]; it means that there is no fellowship with God not for sure [I John 1:3] if Jesus Christ did not come in the flesh then it means that the message of hope and the scriptures are not true that is not for sure [I John 1:3]
-          If Jesus Christ has not come in the flesh then there is no joy beyond this life that is not for sure and yet [I John 1:4]; if Christ has not come in the flesh then Christ is not our advocate that we can go to when we sin to get forgiveness and yet [I John 2:2] says we can.
-          If Christ has not come in the flesh there is no forgiveness of sin as [I John 1:9; 2:2] declare. If Jesus has not come in the flesh then there is no perfect sacrifice there is no propitiation for our sins like [I John 2:2] says.
-          On and on the list could go but the point is clearly seen the false teacher destroys the hope of salvation and eternity with God we’re left without hope and without God in this world unless God has loved us and sent His Son into this world. Jesus Christ is the crux of the gospel and note the spirit of the false teacher is the spirit of antichrist. [I John 2:18-23] This is why John tells us in [I John 4:1] not to believe ever spirit but to try the spirits. [Matt. 10:33]
III.             Test yourselves [v4]
How can you test yourself? There are two ways. First of all ask yourself if you are of God that is have you been born of God has God given you a new birth? If you honor God’s Son by trusting and casting yourself upon the righteousness of His Son God takes care and honors you. God gives you a new life and a spiritual birth and He makes a new creature out of you that is He makes a spiritual man out of you. Secondly, ask yourself if you are overcoming the spirits of false teachers? The Spirit of God is in you and He enables you to overcome the spirit of false teachers and to conquer them. Therefore if you are following a teacher who denies that Christ has come in the flesh then you are not of God, not born of God but if you reject the teachings of men who come in the flesh and claim Christ as your Savior then you are born again. Now many false teachers are very persuasive they’re very personable, attractive, appealing, full of charisma, their ideas and teachings sound reasonable and appealing to man but if person has truly been born of God he has the Holy Spirit to help him see the error of the teaching. Note the words you have overcome them the Spirit of God does not fail. Therefore if a person is following some strange teaching of Jesus Christ he is most likely not born of God. Those who are truly born of God confess that Christ has come in the flesh and they confess the incarnation. They confess the righteousness and sinlessness of Christ and the burial and resurrection of Christ. [John 14:17]
IV.             Test the followers of teachers [vv 5-6]
We can look at the people who follow teachers and tell whether a teacher is false or not. First of all false teachers are followed by people who are worldly. False teachers are of the world they only have a natural birth they have never been born again the Divine Nature of God is not dwelling within their hearts. Secondly, false teachers speak of the world this means they teach a worldly or human approach to God. It means that man reaches God by being good and doing good. It means that man becomes acceptable to God by living a religious life. But notice something such approaches to God center on man and what he does. They are centered in the world not in God and what God has done to save man. They teach that man saves himself not God through His Son Jesus Christ. Thirdly the world hears false teachers the message of false teachers appeals to man. For if God has not sent His Son to earth then there is no absolute and infallible rule to govern man. Therefore we are free to find our own way to God the best way we can. If we stumble here and there it won’t matter that much. After all God will understand for He has left us to find our own way. This teaching of course tends to excuse sin and exalt man has his own savior. It tends to stress ego and self-image over God and His Spirit. It tends to give man the right to gain personal power and authority over others. It tends to give man the right to focus upon success, position, money, pleasures and possessions. It tends to stress man and his inner power that is his will power over God’s power. It tends to exalt man and his importance over God. Finally, it tends to focus upon the discipline and control of the flesh over the power of God and His Spirit [Rom. 1:20-22].
There is another way we can tell whether a teacher is false or not. True teachers, are followed, by people who know God they know God and they confess the incarnation. Therefore they follow the teacher who proclaims the Virgin Birth, the righteousness of Jesus Christ, the death of Christ that He was the perfect sacrifice for man’s sin holy and acceptable to God, they proclaim the resurrection of Jesus Christ that he conquered death for all men. Note what this verse is saying those who know God follow the true teacher and those who are not of God don’t hear the true teacher this is the way we know the Spirit of truth and the spirit of error. It’s been said that birds of a feather flock together and in these verses scripture clearly points it out.
In Jules Vern’s novel the Mysterious Allen, he tells of five men who escape a civil war prison by hijacking a hot air balloon. As they rise into the air they realize the wind is carrying them over the ocean watching their homeland disappear on the horizon they wonder how much longer the balloon can stay aloft. As the hour’s pass and the surface of the ocean draws closer the men decide they must cast overboard some of the weight for they had no way to heat the air in the balloon. Shoes, overcoats, weapons are reluctantly discarded and the uncomfortable aviators feel their balloon rise again but it is only temporary. Soon they find themselves dangerously close to the waves again so they toss their food. Better to be high and hunger than to die with a full belly. Unfortunately this too is only a temporary solution and the craft again threatens to lower them into the sea. One man has an idea they can tie the ropes that holds the passenger car and sit in those ropes then they cut away the basket beneath them. So as they sever the very thing they had been standing on it drops into the ocean and the balloon rises and not a minute to soon they spot land. Eager to stand on terra firma again the five men jump into the water and swim to the island. They live. Spared because they were able to discern the difference between what really was needed and what was not. The necessities that they once thought they couldn’t live without were the very things that almost cost them their lives. The best advice you can give to someone who is following a false teacher is to abandon ship and cling to the Rock, the Lord Jesus Christ.
F. Test 6: Loving One Another [4:7-21]
The aim of this lesson is to prove your love for God by loving others. Memory Verse: I John 4:21 This final test in the obstacle course can be compared to a relay race. Now why a relay race? Because a relay race can only be run one way, with others no one can win a relay race by running alone. The only way to win a relay race is by running with others, and the Christian life was never, meant to be run alone. It is only when believers bond themselves together in love that their will be real unity. Why is unity so important to God [John 17:21-22]. The one sure way to measure whether you love is this; do you really love your neighbors? All, of your fellow, men no matter who they are do you love them? Loving one another proves seven things.
I.                   Loving one another proves that we’re born of God and know God [vv 7-8]
Note two things God is love and therefore if a person loves God he becomes a loving person he takes on the very nature of God. If a person really loves God then he does what God does he loves everyone. When we love one another people see two things. First of all they see we’re born of God and that we have the nature of God. How do they see God’s nature in us? There is only one way by our love. They see us doing the very same thing God does by loving everyone. They see us loving the rich, the poor, the helpless, the suffering, the deserving, the un-deserving, the acceptable, the unacceptable, the good, the bad, the black, the white they see us loving everyone no matter who they are. Secondly people see that we know God and have been talking to God and learning about God and that we are doing what God says. That we are living and taking on the very nature of God, how do they see all this? By our love they see that we are, loving and caring just like God. Note another thing, verse 8 in particular the person who does not love others reveals something as well and that is he does not know God. Who is this person? It is the person who lives selfishly, who hoards, discriminates, steals, elevates himself and neglects others, and abuses, gossips, backbites, curses and gets angry, and hates and murders this person does not know God. [Matt. 22:39]
II.                Loving one another proves that we see God’s love [vv 9-11]
The very way we know that God is love is because He sent His Son into the world. Man has the most serious problem imaginable not only is he engulfed with all the evil of the world, but, he eventually dies and ceases to be upon this earth. He lives at most for just a few short years and then he is gone forever from the earth. But as stated God is love and He has proven His love by sending His Son to die for man’s sins so that man might live through Him. Secondly, note how we know the love of God that is by salvation. We know that God loves us because God saves man. How does God give us life through Christ? By, sending Christ, to be the propitiation for our sins. Thirdly the conclusion is compelling [v 11] if God loves us when we opposed Him and disobeyed Him and ignored Him then there is no other person that we should not love. If God went to such great lengths to give His very own Son to die for us then we should go to the very same lengths to love one another. We’re to love those who oppose us, do things against us, ignore us, distrust us, curse us, reject us, persecute us and who even kill us. Think for a minute how do you know God loves you? As you give that some thought here is a short story that will add some color to your imagination.
Many years ago a man found himself hiking in a mountain wilderness far from civilization he was lost and he knew it. What began as a miscalculation back at the home base station had turned into a dangerous adventure as he hiked back in a direction that looked correct he noticed over his shoulder smoke billowing from the forest wild fire he knew it was. The hiker quickened his pace as he began to worry about the oncoming fire what would he do he was lost and the fire would eventually consume him. After an hour he came to the edge of a great divide below him was a deep ravine on the other side was safety but getting across was impossible. As he walked a little farther down the great ravine he noticed that a tree had fallen and bridged the two sides. This was his way to escape certain death to walk across the tree and reach the other side in the same sense God has seen you in the wilderness you were lost and the eternal fires of hell would eventually consume you. But God had mercy on you as He placed a great tree, the cross of Calvary over the great divide between man’s sin and God’s holiness. There is no other way for a man to be saved each one must be led to the cross. And loving one another proves that you have accepted God’s love the provision of His Son who died for our sins. There is no greater way to show your love for others than by showing them the way of the cross.
III.             Loving one another proves that God’s Spirit is within us [vv 12-13]
First of all God is not known by sight [v 12] no person has ever seen God face to face [John 1:18]. Secondly how then can we know God? God is only known by love. Only by His Spirit who dwells within believers when a person believes in God’s Son, God plants His Spirit within the believers. And note what happens when God puts His Spirit within us we love one another. We continue to grow in love more and more ever completing and perfecting the love of God upon earth. Third, how do we know that we dwell in God and He in us? [v 13] we know by the Holy Spirit whom He has given to us. If a person does not have the witness of God’s Spirit within him he needs to evaluate his conversion. The likelihood is that he has never been saved even if he is in a backslidden condition the Holy Spirit is bugging him and urging him to repent and turn back to God [John 16:7-11].
IV.             Loving one another proves that are testimony and confession are true [vv 14-16]
This is the great testimony of John but note how it is the great testimony of every genuine believer as well. First of all there is John’s declaration that the early believers saw and testify that the Father sent His Son to be the Savior of the world. Secondly this is the great promise to the whole human race [v 15]. Thirdly this is the great testimony of John and the early believers [v 16]. What is it that they knew and believed? Three things and all three are very critical. First, God is love and he sent His to save the world. Second, believers must dwell and live in love with all their hearts. Thirdly, loving one another is the way we can tell that we are saved. [Rom. 10:9-10]
V.                Loving one another proves that God is going to deliver us from judgment [v 17]
A day of universal judgment upon all persons is coming when all people will be brought before the Great Judge Himself. Believers go to the judgment seat of Christ at the rapture and unbelievers to the Great White Throne judgment 1007 years later. Understand something Jesus said in [Matt. 12:36] but note a most wonderful thing we can be delivered from judgment we can approach the great judgment day boldly without dread without fear how? By loving one another perfectly in fact the fruit of love is having boldness in the day of judgment if we love perfectly and love as God loved then God will give us assurance in the day of judgment. How then is it possible to perfect our love while on earth? By living in the world just as Jesus did and this is to be the consuming passion of our lives. The more we grow and become perfected in love the more assurance and boldness we will have in the day, of judgment. Most people, even believers are wrong in their ideas about the return of Christ He is judge as well as Savior and believers are to be judged at the judgment seat of Christ. Some will be weeping even as others will be joyful it depends upon how we have lived and what we have done in our bodies in our work for Him [II Cor. 5:10]. The only way to be assured and have boldness in the day, of judgment is to live a life of love [Heb. 4:16].
VI.             Loving one another proves that God delivers us from fear [v 18]
This is an excellent verse on fear and how to conquer fear. There are four things that are said. First of all there is no fear in love that is if we really love someone there is no need to fear him. In fact if we really love someone we will not fear him. If we love the person sacrificially and give them our best then we have done all that we can do our lives and what we have done rest in God’s hands we will rest assured that we can do mo more. Note this for it is the promise of God that is when we really love someone and give sacrificially all that we can God will give us peace and assurance of soul that erases all fear, this is God’s promise to us no matter what people may do to us. God will give us a deep sense of His Spirit and reassurance that this is so. This is what Peter calls the spirit of glory and of God that rests upon the believer [I Peter 4:14]. Secondly perfect love cast out fear. This is critical to note for only a love that is growing will be blessed by God a believer cannot love one person and hold feelings against another person for this is not love. True love is impartial and there is no such thing as a heart filled with love and hate the true are incompatible. Therefore the only believer who knows the peace and assurance of God is the believer who is being perfected, growing and completing in love and fulfilling his love. Thirdly fear has torment, that is it thinks about and expects punishment or suffering or loss. A person feels that something is going to happen to them such feelings of course causes all kinds of disturbance and problems for people all to varying kinds of degrees. Give examples of fear. Fear cause anxiety and fear causes panic, alarm, dread and terror and it causes all kinds of phobias and neurosis and even the most serious of psychotic disorders. The torment of fear is one of the worst problems faced by man. Fourthly fear means that a person is not perfected in love. Two things need to be said about this. First the person is not fully grasping the love and care of God for him. Secondly the person is not loving other people like he should he is not growing more in love. His eyes are upon himself not upon God and others like it should. The more we love God and other people the more fear, is conquered in our lives. The reason is clearly seen in the promises of God. God loves us so much that He will comfort us and take care of us through all the trials of life no matter what they are. Four things, there is no need to fear people and what they can do to us God will strengthen us even through death [Ps. 23:4]. Second there is no need to fear judgment because God delivers us from judgment [Rom. 8:35-39]. Thirdly there is no need to fear the enemies of the dark for God will take care of us [Ps. 3:3-5]. Fourthly, there is no need to fear going without food or clothing [Matt. 6:31-33].
VII.          Loving one another proves that we love God [vv 19-21]
How do we know that we love God? There are three ways according to these verses. First of all we know that we love God because we know God’s love for us [v 19]. Secondly we know that we love God because we do not hate our brother [v 20]. If we love God and have His nature within us then we love our brothers. Note how strong this verse states the fact. We cannot see God but we can see our brothers and it is far easier to love someone in this world who we can see than it is to love someone who we cannot see. Therefore if we say that we love God and hate those we see we’re lying. Thirdly, we know that we love God because we keep His commandments [John 13:34-35]. Jesus Christ came into the world to save people not an institution and great care should be taken by the believer to make sure that this is the focus of his ministry. Walter B. Knight tells this story;
A budding high school orator delivered Lincoln’s Gettysburg Address calmly he began four score and seven years ago he gloried first when he came to the climatic final words. The government of the people, by the people and for the people shall not perish from the earth and the audience applauded. An old man hobbled slowly through the crowd and said to the young orator you did a great grand job son. You will be interested to know that I was present at Gettysburg when Lincoln delivered that memorial speech. But son you didn’t say it just like Lincoln did. You said government of the people, by the people and for the people. When Lincoln spoke those words he said government of the people, by the people, and for the people. Your emphasis is on the prepositions Lincoln’s was on people. Walter Knight then applies this story to the believer it was the needs of people not the slavish legalistic observance of the Sabbath which was of paramount concern to the Savior. The sight of hungry shepherd less people moved the heart and hand of the Savior in their behalf. The spiritual and temporary needs of people are of great concern to God more than any institution. No matter how old the institution and venerable the institution may be when religious institutions lose their primary concern for the spiritual and temporary needs of people heaven weeps and the zest to carry on fades and dies. Such institutions become soul less and are a distorted image of what they ought to be. Are major emphasis is to be on people. We must love respect and have unfeigned concern for people.
A . Test 1: Being Born Again [5:1-5]
The aim of this lesson is to affirm your belief in God, affirm it by being obedient to Him. Memory verse: I John 5:4 Now a great majority of people claim to believe in God most people even claim to have some idea in their minds of what God is like. Very few people claim to be atheistic or agnostic but note something peoples beliefs and ideas differ, quickly think about the different beliefs and ideas around the world. The beliefs and ideas of the Muslims, Jews, Hindus, Christians and so on the list could go. The reality is that there are just about as many ideas about God as there are people upon the earth for every person has his own mind and within his mind is his own idea about God. The fact brings about a critical question, who then is right? Now one thing is for certain if God really exists then it is of utmost importance that we be correct in what we believe and think about God for someday if He really exists we shall all stand before God and give an account to God. Ask the people if they really believe in God.
Imagine if you will that you have been asked to work for a firm that sells a service. The firm must employ only people who believe in what they’re doing. Who believe in their service because they will determine how successful the company is. The potential customers they are the company through careful screening the president of the firm seeks very special people. People who will know and believe in the product and who will know their customers who will know what pleases the boss. And likewise before God sends His workers into the fields of the world He requires them to undergo a series of screening tests. First and of utmost importance we must believe in God. How can we know if we truly believe in God? The first test is foundational we must be born again and everyone must take this test.
I.                   Believing Jesus is the Christ [v 1]
This new birth called regeneration in the Bible what is it? It means being born of God a rebirth of one’s spirit a new soul. It’s the regeneration of one’s spirit and behavior [II Cor. 5:17]. The new birth is so radical that is changes a person’s life that it can only be described as being born again. The new birth is necessary if one is going to be with God [John 3:1-5]. Secondly the new birth is a spiritual birth it is not the reformation of the old nature it is the actual creation of a new spirit within [John 1:12]. Thirdly the new birth is a definite experience by believing in Christ [I Jn. 5:1; I Pt. 1:23; James 1:18]. Fourthly the new birth is a changed life a totally new life. A person proves he is born again by doing righteous acts [I John 2:29] and by not practicing sin [I John 3:9] and by loving other believers [I John 4:7] and by overcoming the world [I John 5:4] by keeping himself [I John 5:18] by possessing the divine seed or nature [I John 3:9]. We should get alone with God and meditate and understand the depth of God’s love for us.
II.                Obeying and keeping God’s commandments [vv 2-3]
Do you really believe in God? Yes you do if you keep His commandments and note if you do not strive to keep His commandments. The person who really believes God who really casts himself upon God and relies upon God strives to do what God says. He believes on God’s Word and he believes God’s Word works therefore he strives to obey God. Do you really love God that’s what verse 2 is asking? The answer is yes if you strive to keep His commandments and no if you do not strive to keep His commandment. First of all our obedience and love for God prove that we love the children of God. To obey means we must love the other children of God no matter who they are or else he walks in darkness with no perspective in life and he is out of fellowship with God. Secondly our obedience to God proves our love for God. There is no other way to show God that we love Him except by striving to do what He says. Some people feel that God’s commandments are, grievous and they think that they restrict them way too much. They think it keeps them from the pleasures and possessions of the world. They feel that to be a Christian disallows a person from having fun and enjoying life. To them the demands of God are just too large a price to pay. Feeling that demanding all one is and has is too much to ask of one person. But the exact opposite is true. Scripture declares that God’s commandments are not grievous or too large for a man to carry. Now how can this be for there is no question that God demands the total allegiance of all one is and has? Five things;
-          First, Jesus Christ gives rest to the soul [Matt. 11:28-30]
-          Second, Jesus Christ never allows a trial or temptation to come upon a person more than that person can bear [I Cor. 10:13]
-          Thirdly, Jesus Christ gives person the greatest hope in all the world therefore when a person keeps his eyes on Christ the commandments of God become light and easy to bear [John 14:2-3]
-          Fourthly God gives all true believers His Spirit and the Spirit of God gives all believers the comfort, assurance, love, joy and peace that one could ever need or want [Gal. 5:22-23]
-          Fifthly, God gives the true believer fellowship with Himself and with Christ and then He floods the believers heart with joy [John 15:11]
A very practical proof of the new birth is a desire to please God.
One day the father of twins walked into the playroom and was struck by the whirlwind that must have come during the day. What a mess he said guys, before you come down for supper tonight I want you to put all these blocks back where they belong and then he turned and left the room. One of the twins got a gleam in his eye and he said I’m going to surprise Dad, I’m going to build him something with these blocks maybe a house or a giant tower, what are you going to do for Dad? The other twin looked him square in the eye and said I’m going to clean up this mess just like he asked us to do. Now how many times do substitute obedience with the idea that you’re going to do God a favor? God doesn’t want any favors all God wants is obedience. 
III.             Overcoming the world [vv 4-5]
First the person who is born of God overcomes the world. Secondly the victory that overcomes the world is our faith. Thirdly the person who overcomes the world is the person who believes that Jesus Christ is the Son of God. The world is overcome by faith and victory over the world comes by faith in Jesus Christ. Notice something the one thing man needs is victory over the world, why? Because the world is full of suffering, disease, accidents, corruption, hatred, bitterness, destroyed families, wickedness, drugs, drunkenness, envy, murder, war, backbiters, pride, arrogance, hunger, pain, homelessness, suffering, selfishness and greed. Then there is the most fatal of all corruption and death. Without exception we are all corruptible and we all die. The one thing we need above all else is victory over the world with all its corruptions and death. How then can he triumph overcome the world? By believing that Jesus Christ is the Son of God. What does this mean?
-          It means that God gives the believer victory over all the trials and temptations of life [John 16:33]
-          It means that God gives the believer victory over all the forces and difficulties of life [Rom. 8:35-39]
-          It means that God gives the believer victory over sin [Rom. 6:6-8]
-          It means that God gives the believer victory over death [John 5:24]
-          It means that God gives the believer victory over judgment [John 3:16]
-          It means that God gives the believer victory over fear and despair and fills him with love, joy and peace [John 14:27]
-          It means that God gives the believer victory over satan and all other forces [Eph. 6:11-13]
Are you overcoming the world or are you being overcome by the world? There is no mistaking the fact that believers are really warriors in a world that is out to destroy them. Imagine if you will a Christian warrior in the heat of battle. The setting is in the believer’s home in his comfortable lounge chair holding the televisions remote control as he flips from one channel to another. As he does this it does not take long for the enemy to appear on channel one profanity abounds and God’s name is being cursed. On channel 2 you see more skin than clothes. On channel 3 morality is mocked like it was a vice a sin. On channel 4 it’s the sin channel no further comments are necessary. The Christian believer begins to reel from the blows of the world he is ever so close to giving up and giving in he is drowning in the sewage filled waves. How can he save himself in this situation what turns the tide in the believer’s battle with the world? Faith and only faith scatters the enemy with a push of his hand on the off button the Christian warrior overcomes another attempt by the world to make him just like them. Overcoming faith is simply, believing that God can do a whole lot better job of providing what you need than the world, can provide. A good rule of thumb is I will set no worthless thing before my eyes.
Why do you think so many believers are overcome by the world? What is the key to victory over the world?
What does it mean to overcome the world? Can you overcome the world without faith and why is your own strength insufficient?
B. Test 2: Believing the witness about Christ: that He is the Son of God [Part I] 5:6-8
The aim of this lesson is to establish the undeniable truth that Jesus Christ is the Son of God. Memory verse: I John 5:7
In the mid 1990’s one of the most famous trials of all time took place in America. The world watched and listened day, after day and month, after month as a former football player turned actor and sports commentator was tried for the brutal murders of his ex-wife and a friend of hers. Witness after witness came forward with their own pieces of the puzzle but some pieces didn’t fit. Some witnesses said one thing and others declared the opposite to be true. So who was to be believed? It was a very hard and controversial case that may never rest or be satisfactorily answered partly because people did not know which witnesses to believe. Now if Jesus Christ stood on trial in today’s world how would He fare? Would witnesses come forward and testify that he is the Son of God. Praise God witnesses did come forward in John’s day and they continue to testify of this great truth in our day. C. S. Lewis the noted author once proposed that Jesus Christ was either Lord, liar or a lunatic. Call the witnesses again and see, for yourself, that Christ is neither liar or a lunatic He is the Lord. The question we must all ask is, do we believe in God? Is Jesus the promised Messiah of the OT prophecies? If a person believes in these witnesses then he believes in God. If he does not accept the witnesses to Jesus Christ then he does not believe in the true and living God. Why do we say this because God has sent His Son into the world to save men and God has also given us witnesses that Jesus was indeed the Son of God and if a man does not believe this then as scripture says he is without excuse.
I.                   There’s the mission of Jesus Christ [v 6]
John declares Christ mission in v 6a. To say that Jesus came by water [his baptism] and blood [his death] and John declares here that Jesus is the Son of God by His baptism [water] and His crucifixion [blood]. Both the water and the blood declare Him to be the Son of God and both are extremely important.
#1- the baptism of Christ is a great witness of Christ because it launched His mission or ministry upon earth. Two things happened at the baptism that were unusual first the Spirit of God came upon Christ in the form of a dove [John 1:32-34]. Secondly the voice of God proclaimed Jesus to be the Son of God [Matt. 3:17; Mark 1:11; Luke 3:22]. Does God stills speak today? There are many people including professing Christians who claim that it is impossible for an immortal God to speak to mortal men. Why it is that some people try to limit what God can do? Does God still speak through answered prayer?
A tavern was being built in a town that was dry that is they sold no alcohol. A group of Christians in a certain church opposed the town selling alcohol and began an all night prayer meeting asking God to intervene. Well lightening struck the tavern building and it burned to the ground. The owner of the tavern brought a lawsuit against the church claiming they were responsible. The Christians hired a lawyer claiming they were not responsible. So the judge said no matter how this case comes out one thing is clear the tavern owner believes in prayer and the Christians do not. Every time God answers prayer He proclaims again that Jesus Christ is God’s Son. Now has He ever spoken to you? [Heb. 1:1-2]
#2 – the blood of Jesus Christ declares Him to be God’s Son. It is by His death and cross that our sins are forgiven. Since Christ died for us and took our sin He took sin off of us and therefore we become acceptable to God.
II.                There’s the witness of the Holy Spirit [v 6]
Jesus is declared to be the Son of God by the Holy Spirit this is what the gospel is. What has happened upon the world’s scene in human history God Himself has sent His Son into the world to save man from sin, death and condemnation. Unless we believe in God’s Son God does not accept us we are still dead in our trespasses and sin. This means we stand condemned by God and shall never be allowed to live with Him. How can God get men to listen? There is only one way He must put His Spirit upon the earth to work within the hearts of men. The Spirit of God is truth and He can do nothing else but declare the truth. Jesus Christ is the Son of God sent into the world to save men [John 14:17]. How does the Spirit bear witness in the world?
#1 – the Holy Spirit bears witness by convicting the world of sin, righteousness and judgment [John 16:7-
#2 – He testifies by quickening giving life to men when they are willing to believe in Christ [John 6:63]
#3 – He bears witness by giving the believer assurance and guaranteeing his salvation [II Cor. 1:22]
#4 – He testifies by bearing witness within the heart of believers assuring them that they are the children of
       God [Rom. 8:16]
#5 – He bears witness by teaching the believer about Christ [John 14:26]
#6 – He bears witness by living within the believer and making his body, a holy temple unto God [I Cor.
     #7 – He bears witness by showing believers the things to come [John 16:13]
     #8 – He bears witness by giving the believers the power to witness [Luke 24:49]
     #9 – He testifies by proclaiming the things of God through believers [I Cor. 2:12-13]
   #10 - He testifies by leading and guiding the believer [John 16:13]
   #11 – He testifies by choosing believers for special ministry and gifting them for that ministry [John 15:16]
   #12 – He testifies by making alive the mortal bodies of believers at death [Rom. 8:11]
III. There’s the witnesses of heaven [v 7]
There are three persons in heaven who bear witness that Jesus is the Son. First there’s the Father, now how does the Father bear witness that Christ is the Son of God? Two primary ways, first the Father is behind everything the whole plan of redemption is His plan and work. He bears witness to His Son through everything that is happening in the hearts of believers and the life of the church. Secondly He bore a dynamic witness of Christ when Christ was on the earth [Matt. 3:17; John 3:34-35]. Thirdly He proclaimed witness by enabling His Son to do the very works of God [John 10:37-38]. Then we have the Transfiguration [Matt. 17:5] and then He raised Him from the dead [John 16:10].
Then there is the Lord Jesus Christ Himself [John 1:1; I John 1:1] How does Christ as the Word bear witness? Remember what a word is it is the expression of an idea, a thought, an image in the mind of the person. God had an idea, a thought, an image that he wanted to speak but He wanted to speak it in person therefore He sent His Son into the world to speak the Word of God.
Then there is the Holy Spirit, which we discussed above.
IV. There are the witnesses of earth [v 8]
There is the witness of the Spirit, the witness of the baptism, and the witness of the blood. Can you believe these witnesses and come to Christ? Let go of your sins and let God save you.
C. Test 3: Believing The Witness About Christ: That He Is The Son Of God [Part II] 5:9-15
The aim of this lesson is to accept the great witness of God Himself that Jesus is the Son of God. Memory Verse: I John 5:13]
What kind of things convinced you that God was real? Was it someone else’s testimony? An experience you had in your own life? Was it reading God’s Word? Would you believe in your heart anything that you knew was a lie, a farce? How can you explain the survival of Christianity the following of one man for thousands of years? The reason is this Christianity is historical and its true not mythological and false. Believers can take comfort in knowing that there is more evidence for the historical life of Christ than there is for the English writer William Shakespere. Skeptics from every generation have set out to disprove the claims of the scriptures and every skeptic has failed in his impossible mission. When all of the facts are covered the witness of the Bible stands true.
I.                   There is the witness of God, Himself [v 9-12]
God’s witness is far greater than the testimony of men according to verse 9. We usually believe the testimonies of men about one another. Spouses believe one another children believe the word of their parent and teachers, business men believe the word of their employers. We all accept the reports of the news media and the word of friends every day. This being so how much greater is the witness of God? Men however tend to twist the facts of what they hear. This is not the case with God He has never lied and He has never deceived. What God says is always true, has been true and always will be true. Therefore what God has said about His Son should be believed. Every human being should believe God’s Word about His Son.
Secondly, God’s witness lives within the heart of every believer according to verse 10. Now when a person believes in God, God implants the witness of God within that person, what is that witness? It is the Spirit of God Himself [Eph. 1:1-14; John 1:12-13].
Thirdly, God’s witness is rejected by unbelievers according to the latter part of verse 10 this is strong language but every person who does not believe in God’s Son makes God a liar. How can this be? Because the lost man, does not believe in the record of the witnesses, of God’s Son, [John 3:36].
Fourthly God’s witness is clearly stated in verses 11-12. Nothing could be any plainer God has given us eternal life in His Son. The one thing man wants to do is to live forever but notice to live forever in a corruptible world such as ours would not necessarily be a good thing. This world is full of evil, corruption and death. Therefore what we have now is not real life it is not what life was meant to be. The life that God gives eternal life was the life that man was meant to live. Secondly, the person who has the Son has life and the one who does not does not have life.
 Life is the energy, the power and the source of living [John 17:3]. Life is the opposite of perishing [John 5:24]. Life is eternal it is the very life of God Himself. The idea of eternal life is also quality a certain kind of life that knows love, joy, peace, power and responsibility [John 10:10]. Life is satisfaction [John 6:35]. Life is security and enjoyment [John 10:10] Life is found only in God He is the source and author of life [John 5:26]. Life has now been revealed clearly in Jesus Christ [John 1:4-5]. The secret to finding life in Christ is to stay focused on Christ.
II.                There is the witness of John [v 13-15]
John bears testimony of two glorious things. First he bears testimony that a believer can be assured of eternal life. We can know that is we can be perfectly assured by experience that we have eternal life. We can experience eternal life and all that life was meant to be now and in eternity. How? John says there are two ways. First of all we receive eternal life by heeding the scriptures and by believing in Jesus Christ as only the person who believes in Jesus Christ has life. John’s testimony says that a believer can be assured of answered prayer. This is conditioned based on asking according to His will. We can have confidence that God hears our prayers if we are in Him, that is Christ. We can approach God in Christ and Christ alone any person who wishes to approach God must come in the name of Christ. We can have confidence that God hears our prayers if we ask according to His will. His will for us includes all the great things of life. First of all it is the will of God that we experience the Fruit of the Spirit. It is the will of God for us to have the provisions and necessities of life [Matt. 6:31-34]. It is the will of God for us to be protected and delivered through all the trials and temptations of life [Is. 41:10]. It is the will of God for us to be delivered from sin, death, condemnation and the fear of death [John 5:24]. It is the will of God for us to be delivered through severe persecution and trouble to be delivered into the presence of God [Acts 7:54-56]. The point is this we can boldly know that God will hear our prayers if we ask according to His will. It is foolish to ask God if we do not believe that He will hear us.
D. Test 4: Living Free Of Sin [5:16-21]
The aim of this lesson is to declare war against sin and live free from it. Memory Verse: I John 5:18 this verse means that you don’t habitually continually practice sin because every body knows you are going to sin [I John 2:1]. This death is physical death and its probably because of continually practicing the same sin over and over not repenting of that sin and it separates you from God and so God takes the spirit, God takes the body to save the spirit. Now do you think God is powerful enough to overcome sin? Maybe you really believe that Jesus died for your sins but have you allowed His death to set you free from a life of sin? Modern man has fabricated a creature of convenience called the carnal Christian. There is such a thing as a carnal Christian [I Cor. 3:3] however [Romans 8:6] says to be carnally minded is death. That’s always thinking about things that oppose God so there is such a thing as a carnal Christian. But modern man has made it a convenient thing to say well I do those things because I’m carnal he may be telling the truth but he is also excusing himself in that he’s a carnal Christian. The rules of behavior have been changed from a life of purity and godliness to a life of self-gratification. A carnal minded Christian winks at sin and says this is who I am so don’t judge me. God does not wink at sin He hates it and He hates it so much that He has provided man with a solution but do we really believe it to be true? If you are living in sin and not trying to overcome sin it could be clear proof that you do not believe in God. But if you are living a life of righteousness a life that is free from sin this is clear proof that you do believe in God. A person who wants to be acceptable to God must live, strive to live a righteous life and he must do that so that fellowship is unbroken. No person must ever think that he can live a life of sin and be acceptable unto God. He can still be a son of God but his state can change between being in fellowship with God and out of fellowship with God and when he’s out of fellowship with God even though he’s saved he is unacceptable to God because he’s living in sin, living imperfect, he’s not trying to overcome it, he’s not trying to get the victory and God is perfect. Now the test of whether or not you believe in God is a test of sin, are you living in sin or not? This passage discusses the great subject of how to live free of sin.
I.                   By praying for a sinning brother [v 16]
We live free of sin by praying for sinning brothers. If we’re praying for believers who are living in sin then we are concerned about sin about living righteous lives. Scripture is clear we are to pray for sinning brothers but note something there is one time when we are not to pray for sinning brothers when is that time? When he has committed a sin unto death. God has given each believer to pray for those who have been captured by the master of sin that is Satan. The prayers of God’s people go along way toward setting the captives free.
Let’s take a closer look at this word sin. It’s a difficult passage in v 16 it is one of those passages where there are almost as many different interpretations as there are words in the passage. The one thing that is clear is this the passage is a severe warning a warning so severe that one must walk ever so righteously and trust in Christ to grant the power to overcome sin. There are several passages of scripture that issues a severe warning and speak of the sinful behavior of believers [I Cor. 3:11-15, especially v. 15]. Sinful behavior that causes the loss of all reward by fire a loss so great that one is stripped as much as a burned out building. It is the loss of all except the bare salvation of oneself. That’s what we were, talking about earlier God would turn the body over to Satan but He would save the soul. Sinful behavior that destroys the flesh, so that the Spirit can be saved [I Cor. 5:5] and then sinful behavior that causes death for a believer [I John 5:16] and then you’ll remember [I Cor. 11:29-30] and from these we can see sinful behavior that merits the death of a Christian. Sinful behavior that merits no escape in other words you just keep sinning and sinning and sinning and the writer of Hebrews says how shall we escape if we neglect so great a salvation?
[Heb. 2:1, 3]. Then there is sinful behavior that causes one to miss God’s rest in [Heb. 4]. Finally there’s sinful behavior that entangles a person in the pollutions of this world after he has come to the knowledge of Jesus Christ [II Peter 2:20] that is he is a carnal Christian he just goes back into the world, back into bondage and he never experiences the joy and grace of God. There are two basic positions on the sin unto death that need to be looked at and need to be studied. First of all there’s the first position that see sin unto death as being spiritual and eternal death. Some who hold this position believe that, it can only be committed, by, a person who makes a false profession. Others, think it can be committed by genuine believers. Note these facts first of all the word brother in verse 16. The word brother means either true believers or professing believers who commit the sin unto death is a church member. Secondly note that the words life and death must correspond if it is spiritual and eternal life that God gives to a person then the sin unto death has to be to spiritual and eternal death. Now what kind of life is John talking about physical or spiritual? The context, points strongly to spiritual and eternal life this is the whole discussion of the passage [I John 5:12]. If the life God gives is spiritual and eternal then the sin unto death must correspond because note what the full verse says. Does this mean that a believer can commit sin that he is doomed to spiritual and eternal death forever? If so what do we do with a passage of scripture that assure Christ that He will never lose a single brother who believes in Him. Passages such as these [John 10:28-29; Rom. 8:29; Phil. 1:6] so you cannot die a spiritual eternal death if you are in Christ Jesus, God keeps the believer by His power [I Peter 1:5]. Does the sin unto death mean that a believer can commit sin to the point that he is doomed to spiritual and eternal death? Once a person is born again can he be unborn? No. Once a person receives the divine nature of God and is has been incorporated into the very fiber of his being can that divine nature be unincorporated? No. Once a person has been given the incorruptible nature can he again become corruptible? No. Once a person has been created a new creature in Christ can he become an old creature again? No. Now he can let the old man rule his life but that doesn’t means he is not born again or losing his salvation it simply means he is out of fellowship with God. Once a person is transformed from the old man into the new man can he be re-transformed into the old man? No. Once the Spirit of God has entered into a man and made the man a holy temple does the Spirit ever leave the man? No. Once the Lord Jesus Christ enters into a person does God ever lose the life to such a point that His Son has to leave the life? No. All this would have to be possible and have to happen if the sin unto death refers to the genuine believer. Does the sin unto death refer to a genuine or a professing believer? Does the sin unto death refer to a person who looks like a brother but is a false believer? John himself refers to some professing believers who had committed the terrible sin of denying Christ he calls them antichrists. These persons had all been in the church but they had forsaken Christ and left the church [I John 2:19] so picture the scene there would still be family members and friends who would want them to be led to Christ and is church. Therefore they would be praying for them to return but note that there sin was so great that John does not encourage people to pray for them. He does not forbid it but he does not encourage it. Note what John says about these antichrists [I John 2:18-19] and this is talking about unsaved people. So what is the sin unto death? Marvin Vincent the Greek scholar says that it is the tendency to cut the bond of fellowship with Christ. It is whatever breaks the fellowship with the soul and Christ and by consequence with the individual and the body of believers for there is no life apart from Christ. He says the sin arises from the character of a person who is an alien to God that is the person never knew God not really his profession was false to begin with. Kenneth Weast who is also a Greek scholar says this the sin unto death occurs in the context to which John is writing that said that Jesus did not come in the flesh. It would be designated to those who John says is antichrist, who, did not belong to the true Christian body of believers. Weast also quotes the Greek scholar Henry Alford he says there are those who have gone out from us who are not of us being called antichrists who have not Christ in them who we are not even to receive into our houses or to greet them [II John 10-11] this seems to be the sin of the persons pointed out here namely that Jesus Christ is not the incarnate Son of God. This alone of all sins bears upon it the stamp of severance from Him who is the life itself as the confession of Christ with the mouth and with the heart is a confession of salvation so the confession with the heart and mouth that Jesus is not the Christ is a sin unto death. A. T. Robertson says, John conceives of a sin that is already deadly enough to be called unto death. There is a distinction in Hebrews 10:26 of sinning willfully after full knowledge of sins and ignorance Jesus spoke of the unpardonable sin which was attributing to the devil the manifest work of the Holy Spirit. It is possible that John has this idea in mind when he applies it to those who reject Jesus Christ as God’s Son and set themselves up as antichrists. William Barclay says, the Greek for sin unto death means the sin which is going towards death, the sin whose end is death and the sin which if continued in must finish in death. The sin is persistent sin, obstinate sin, cold-blooded sin, wide open sin, purposeful sin it is committed by a man who rejoices in sin, who persists in sin, who never thinks of temptation as a sin, who glories in his sinning, who boasts in his sin, is proud of his sin, who is proud that he knows how to get away with sin and he delights in his sin. In life it is a fact that there are two kinds of sinners so long as a man in his heart of hearts hates sin and hates himself for sinning and knows that he is sinning he is never beyond repentance and therefore never beyond forgiveness. But once a man begins to revel in sin and makes sin the deliberate policy of his life and loses all sense of the terror and awfulness of sin and the feeling of self-disgust he is on the way to death for he is on the way to a state where the idea of repentance will not and cannot enter his head. The sin unto death is the state of a man who has listened to sin so often and refused to listen to God so often that he has come to a state where he loves his sin and where he regards sin as the most profitable thing in the world. The conclusion would be one of two conclusions. First there are some who conclude that the sin unto death refers to a professing believer one who has made a false profession therefore he was never really born-again or filled with the Divine nature. Because of this the person is easily led back into the world and sin, he leaves the fellowship of the church and returns to the pleasures and possessions of the world. He stands opposed to Christ. Secondly there are those who conclude that the sin unto death refers to genuine believers the person who commits the sin unto death was genuinely converted but now he commits the sin unto death and now becomes un-converted. There is no question that some of the warnings of scripture given to the believers are some of the most difficult passages to interpret in all of scripture. Now perhaps God has deliberately made them this way to warn us how terrible sin is and we must watch and guard against sin. That sin points to a false profession and that sin does lead to severe and deadly consequences and we need to make sure that our profession sure and steadfast that we cannot deliberately, willfully sin and be obstinate and hardened in sin not without suffering the most severe consequences.
The second position of the sin unto death is referring to physical death. Briefly stated these commentators say the person is a genuine believer who falls into sin so deeply that he has to be severely disciplined by God and taken on home by God. Looking at the passages dealing with the sinful behavior of believers and say that a believer can continue in sin and practice sin and there is no question about this the believer still has freedom of choice. And despite the tug and pull of the Holy Spirit within every believer knows what it is to succumb and give into sin. Most believers even know what it is to practice sin for a while without repentance. It is only the long-suffering of God that convicts and leads that person to repentance. This position would say this perhaps its possible for a believer to continue in sin so long that he reaches a point of no return. He is so rooted and imbedded in sin that God knows he will never repent. Now if such is possible only God can know it. Only God can know the heart of a man to such a point that he knows the future of man. If man reaches that point of no repentance his testimony and service on earth are forever ruined and forever useless in fact he has brought a dishonor to the name of Christ. He has harmed the Lord’s cause and so long as he is on earth he will continue to add to the sin of the world he will bring abuse to the name of Christ. His very purpose for living upon the earth as a Christian is lost and gone forever. The desire to return to the Lord and witness to His saving grace will never be aroused in his heart again and only God can know that. And in spite of all this, God still loves him and God has determined for Christ’s sake that His purpose will be fulfilled in every single believer [Rom. 8:29]. Not a single believer shall be plucked out of God’s hand [John 10:28] thus God takes the believer on to heaven to be with Him. God takes the believer on to be with Christ as He did with those people in [I Cor. 11:29-30]. Now there are several examples in scripture that seem to be warning and speaking to men about the same sinful behavior. There is;
-          The example of Moses’ death [Duet. 32:48-52]
-          The example of Israel and the golden calf [Ex. 32]
-          The man who gathered sticks on the Sabbath right after it was instituted [Num. 15]
-          There is the example of Korah who questioned Moses [Num 16:31]
-          The example of Achan [Joshua 7:16 & following]
-          The example of Ananias and Sapphira [Acts 5:1-11]
-          There’s the example of the man who had slipped into shameful immoral sin [I Cor. 5:1-5]
-          There’s the example of those who had slipped into sin and were mocking God by partaking of the Lord’s Supper without repenting [I Cor. 11:25-30]
So this sin unto death then is where the believer just continues to commit sin over and over again and he comes to a place where God knows he never intends to repent from it and God takes him on home so the name of Christ will not be shamed any longer. Now Oliver Green says this, what is the sin unto death? The best place to find the answer is in Paul’s letter to the church at Corinth. If you will study the 11th chapter of I Corinthians in its entirety you will find that some of the believers were grievously misbehaving at the Lord’s Table making gluttons of themselves and drinking and making themselves intoxicated for this the Bible says many are weak and sickly among you and many sleep that it they’re dead. Paul also warned the Corinthian Christians that if they would judge themselves and repent of their misbehavior in the house of God and straighten up God would not be forced to judge them but if they did not judge themselves God would have no alternative but to judge and to chasten them that they should not be condemned with the world [I Cor. 11:32]. The sin unto death therefore is continually rebelling against the light of God’s Word. When a believer knows what he should do, when he is convicted of what he should do and yet he refuses to obey the Holy Spirit and the Word of God he is in danger of committing the sin unto death. We have another incidence of this in [I Corinthians 5:1-5] when immorality was found in the church. A young man had taken his father’s wife and was guilty of fornication. There are those who will not agree that this young man was saved and committed the sin unto death but Paul clearly told the church what action to take in this matter. In the name of our Lord Jesus Christ when we are gathered together in My spirit with the power of Jesus Christ to deliver such a one unto satan for the destruction of the flesh that the spirit may be saved in the day of the Lord Jesus [I Corinthians 5:4-5]. It is clear then that the sin unto death has nothing to do then with the salvation of the soul it has to do with the destruction of the body, such a person will suffer loss but he himself will be saved yet so as by fire [I Corinthians 3:12-15]. All reward is lost and such a one will stand before God empty handed. What will that mean I confess I do not know but according to the passage from I Corinthians the person who loses his reward will suffer loss, not loss of soul and spirit but loss of reward. Oliver Green gives an excellent illustration from the life of Abraham. He says there is a sin unto death and when a believer reaches that point there is no sense in praying for him. In the life of Abraham we find an illustration of a time when it was useless to pray in [Gen. 18:20-30] God revealed to Abraham that He was to destroy Sodom and Gomorrah. Abraham knew that his nephew Lot and his family were living in Sodom so he drew near to God will thou also destroy the righteous with the wicked? With God there is a stopping place and Abraham had reached the limit in his intercession for Sodom for God knew that there was not ten righteous souls in all of Sodom. God ceased communing with him and left him. When God departed from him what He actually said was this; Abraham there is no need to pray any longer or make any more request. Pray no more for Sodom for that city must be destroyed. When a city or an individual has committed such sin there is no reason for any Christian to pray for that city or individual. There are times when, we should no longer pray or witness to certain people concerning things spiritual Jesus said give not that which is holy unto dogs neither cast ye your pearls before swine lest they trample them under their feet and turn again and rend you [Matt. 7:6]. The answer to sin is repentance and confession and has long as a person is still alive he can repent and God will forgive him and restore him into the fellowship of Jesus Christ. As long as we are living there is still hope. There’s the assurance of forgiveness and cleansing if we’ll only repent and confess [Luke 13:3].
III.             By keeping yourself from sin [vv 17-18]
How do we live free of sin? By keeping ourselves from sin and unrighteousness. Two things are essential in order to live free of sin. First we must know that all unrighteousness is sin. Too many people think to lightly of some sins. As a matter of fact they even rank sins feeling that some sins are not so bad and are more acceptable to God. They feel that some sins are small and others are big that some are white and others black, some are permissible and some not permissible, that some are acceptable and others are not acceptable but note what scripture says, all unrighteousness is sin. There is not a single act of unrighteousness that is not sin. There is only one sin that is ranked as a sin unto to death. And that sin is either apostasy denying that Jesus is the Son of God or else obstinate and persistent sin that just refuses to repent.
God tells us about the sin unto death to warn us that we can turn away from Christ so often that we become engulfed and encrusted with sin so hardened that we can not break away but make no mistake all unrighteousness is sin and if we persist in sin we are moving toward becoming so engulfed that we border on the line of the sin unto death. Now the point is this, the way we live free of sin is to know that all unrighteousness is sin. There is no rank with God concerning sin we must repent and forsake all sin [Rom. 1:18]. We keep ourselves from sin by being born of God all of our sins past are removed from us. But notice something what about the sins we commit now and the sins we’ve committed since we first believed in Christ, how do we keep free of those sins? Again by the keeping power of God’s Son if we genuinely confess our sins and if we are sincere and if we struggle against sin and keep coming to Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of sin then the blood of Jesus Christ continues to cleanse us from sin. His perfect sacrifice stands for and covers sin forever and ever. The point is the most striking and wonderful in all the world we can be free of sin through Jesus Christ all we have to do is cast ourselves upon Him continually [I John 1:9].
The word keepeth in verse 18 means that Jesus Christ continually keeps His eye on those who truly trust Him. He knows who they are for they are always coming to Him, always walking, fellowshipping and communing with Him, always praying, praising, confessing their shortcomings and sins. Note that the wicked one does not touch the genuine believer. This does not mean that the genuine believer never sins. The word touch means to grasp hold of and grip. The idea is that satan can not touch the genuine believer to harm him for the genuine believer is under the keeping power of Jesus Christ. His sins are covered under the blood of Jesus [Heb. 9:22].
IV.             By knowing that you are born of God and the world is under the power of Satan [v 19]
How is the world under the power of satan? A couple of ways first satan has brought corruption and deterioration to the world. The world is passing away. Therefore you ought not become to attached to the world but become attached to God and to heaven. Second it means that satan has affected the governments and societies of the world. He has corrupted the minds and the rules of man. No government and no set of laws are perfect in governing the nations of the earth. Therefore believers must respect and be loyal to the good but must reject and stand against the bad. Believers must not love any organization more than they love God not to the point that they are more attached to the systems and organizations more than they are to God in heaven. Romans 13, tells us that we are to obey the rulers God has set before us. Thirdly it means that satan has infected and injected the world with sin, lust, evil, pride and rebellion against God. The world is full of people who are in rebellion against God. How does a believer live free from sin and gain victory over sin? By knowing that the world is corrupt and that he must not touch the world and he must separate himself from the worldliness of the world and live for God for he is born of God [John 15:19].
Dr. Dwight L. Moody did not appear on the platform as usual at the beginning of a service but had Mr. Sanke his song leader say that Mr. Moody will come on the platform looking different than you ever saw him at the preaching hour. With their curiosity sufficiently peaked and at the time of the sermon, Mr. Moody appeared with a tremendous pack strapped onto his shoulder. He walked slowly across the platform and then turned and walked back. Then he asked the audience do you think that I could preach like Jesus would want me to preach with this load on my back? However it is made up of fine things there is no whiskey or dice in it. It is made up of clothes and many other harmless things, some of you are trying to serve Christ while you carry a load of weights on your back. Jesus said you must be different you must be separated from the world you must leave some otherwise harmless things behind you. What’s keeping you from being as fully committed to serve Jesus Christ, as you ought to?
V.                By receiving the spiritual understanding that is given by Christ [v 20]
Note the understanding that is being spoken about is the spiritual understanding that is given by Christ and by Christ alone. Understanding in other areas of life will not deliver us from sin. Deliverance from sin is not found in understanding emotion, behavior, psychology, medicine, sociology, education, philosophy or religion, now all these things are important and all have their place in society but there is only one understanding that can deliver us from sin and that is the spiritual understanding that Christ gives. Christ gives us spiritual understanding so we can know at least three things.
-          First, that Christ gives us the knowledge of God.
-          Second, Christ gives us the knowledge that we are in God and in His Son and have been born of God and are secure forever and ever.
-          Third, Jesus Christ gives us the knowledge that we know the true God who lives eternally.
VI.             By keeping yourself from idols [21]
This exhortation closes the first epistle of John and note the tenderness with which he addresses the believers he counts them as his little children in the faith. As a preacher we are to encourage the church in love and build them up. Note another fact as well it is addressed to believers because it is believers who must guard against and protect themselves from idols. An idol is anything that takes place in a person’s life. An idol is anything that consumes man’s focus and man’s concentration that consumes his energy and efforts more than God. A person can make an idol out of anything in this world. Several different kinds of idols exist; houses, lands, jobs, positions, wives, children, cars, boats, sports, money, comfort, television, sex, food, possessions, pleasures, recreation and John is saying set God before idols. All the peace, security and assurance of life, is found in the worship of God and His Son Jesus Christ [Luke 12:15; Is. 42:8].
II John Outline
Is the elect lady who was very dear to John? Or is she a church who is symbolically referred to as the elect lady? Now opinions vary and it really doesn’t make that much difference because either conclusion does not affect the message. However when all the facts are considered the evidence points heavily to the elect lady being a very precious lady who loved the Lord with all of her heart. Remember in that day there were no church buildings the church met in homes that were large enough to handle the crowd. The purpose of the letter was two-fold. First of all it was to exhort the lady to love all believers no matter what they did and apparently she had taken a stand for Christ against false teachers. And some in the church were criticizing, backbiting and turning against her and she needed to love them in spite of their rotten and ungodly behavior. The second purpose for writing was to exhort the lady to continue to stand against false teachers and not to let them into her home. Therefore the importance of refusing hospitality to false teachers cannot and could not to that lady be overstressed. There are some special features about the second epistle of John and that is its general epistle first all not written to a specific church. It is a highly personal letter written from the heart of a tender pastor who deeply loves this dear lady in the Lord. II John is an epistle governing traveling preachers, prophets, evangelists, and missionaries. After the apostles died off a clash arose over the ministers of local churches and the traveling ministers. There were some false ministers who had begun to fill the pulpits of some local churches and others who had begun traveling about taking advantage of the Christians who were kind enough to provide food and lodging for them during their ministry and stay [II John 10]. Because of this abuse there were some who began to oppose all traveling ministers. For example Diotrophes of III John is an example of this. III John shows that the conflict had become so heated that Diotrophes was even trying to have church members expelled if they accepted the traveling ministers. The third special feature of II John is that it is an epistle combating false teachers and their doctrinal error.
Greeting: The elect or chosen lady [vv 1-4]
The aim is to have a testimony wrapped up in the truth. Memory Verse: Psalm 86:11
I.                   The elect lady was elect chosen by God [v 1]
Elect means to be chosen by God and to be one of His chosen followers and this is exactly what Paul said about believers. This dear mother was chosen by God to be one of His elect and dear followers. We are not talking about the doctrine of election here. First of all she was elected to be holy. The word holy means separated or set apart sanctified. Secondly she was elected to be one of the beloved followers of God. God had called her to turn away from the old life that had been disobedient to God. She had been elected to live holy and acceptable before God [Rom. 12:1-2]  
II.                She was loved in the truth [vv 1-2]
Note two points this tells us how we are to love one another. We are to love just as John and the early believers loved in the truth. First it means we are to love one another in Jesus Christ [John 14:6]. Secondly, Jesus Christ said that the Word of God is truth [John 17:17]. Now all that a person should be is spelled out in the Word of God. This is significant for it means that we are to love one another as Jesus Christ loved and has the Word of God instructs us to love. Notice this is a love that is entirely different from the love that is displayed in the world. The world’s love focuses upon infatuation and passion, feelings and sentimentality, personal pleasure and gratification and loving those who love us. But the love of Christ and the Word of God is a love that loves people sacrificially. That loves people if they are unlovely and unattractive and reaches out to people even when they don’t deserve it. It is a love that tells us we are to do as he did and that is to love a person regardless of who he is. This means a most wonderful thing it means that no matter who we are or what we have done or how terrible we have been we are loved by, Jesus Christ. But in addition to Christ it means that there are others, a multitude of Christ followers who love us. No matter how we might feel how lonely and empty there is a multitude of people who love us. Now the lonely and empty people just need to get up and go to church and God’s people need to get up and go out to the community more and more to reach the lonely and empty people. Secondly, we are to love for the truth’s sake. The sake of Christ and we want to please Jesus Christ and nothing pleases Christ more than our loving one another. To all those who feel unloved they can know this that genuine believers will love them, embrace and care for them the lonely and empty just need to get up, and go find a church, of true believers [John 15:9].
III.             She lived in truth and love [vv 3-4]
The grace, mercy and peace are with true believers. The idea is, this, believers know the fullness of God in Christ in truth and love. God and Christ fill their hearts with all the fullness of life that is with grace, mercy and peace.
IV.             She had children who walked in the truth [v 4]
Note that John is so far away that he is writing her instead of visiting her, but some of her children had been in the city where John was and John has seen them and noted that they were walking in Christ. In fact John says, they were a dynamic testimony of the truth. They were walking just as we have been commanded to walk. Why were the children in the city where John was? We are not told but we are told that John has seen them long enough to observe them and they were walking in Christ. A couple of lessons, first, what a dynamic witness the mother had been to her children she had reared them to know the Lord and to live in His Word. Secondly, no matter where we are we are to live for Christ. No matter where the road of life takes us we should walk in Christ and live a dynamic testimony for Christ [II Cor. 5:17].
II.                The commandment of love [vv 5-6]
The aim of this lesson is to set a dynamic course in life a course marked by love. Memory Verse: II John 6
Think of a soldier whether he is the army, air force or marines. When he is given a command by, an officer is he being given an option? I mean by that can he choose which order to obey or disobey? Or is it necessary to be completely obedient at all times. Now imagine the lawlessness if soldiers refused to obey all the orders or if they could decide when to obey or not to obey. Now when God gives a commandment does the believer always have to obey it? Unfortunately many Christians take the liberty of picking and choosing which of God’s commandments they wish to obey or not obey. But this kind of behavior should never be. Note the commandment in this passage that is the commandment of love. In the clearest terms John tells us love is not an option it is a way of life.
Two things are said that make up the outline of these verses. First love is not a new commandment found in verse 5. The dear lady was under attack because she had refused to open her home to false teachers. For this she was being criticized, talked about, hurt, mistreated, abused and murmured against. But note John’s exhortation to her. He says love them in verse 5. We must love one another no matter how they mistreat you, murmur about you or hurt you we are to just love them. The point is this love is the very first commandment that man ever received from God and it is the very first commandment that we ever received from Christ. It is even the first commandment when we become a believer love is the first commandment of the church itself. God has said from the beginning that we are to love they neighbor [Lev. 19:18; John 13:35] and note another fact about this dear lady of God she was being exhorted to love those who were mistreating her. She was not being told to love her friend but not her enemy. She was not being told to love the good but not the bad. She was not being told to love the righteous but not the sinner. She was not being told to love the acceptable but not the unacceptable. She was not being told to love the friendly but no the abusive. She was not being told to love the kind but not the criticizer. This was a totally new concept of love. Man has always thought he was to love his friends and that it is okay to mistreat those who mistreat him. John instructs this lady to love those who had mistreated her. How? How can we possibly love those who mistreat us? There is only one way that is we must love as God loves and possess the love of God within our hearts and lives. The capacity to love those who are impossible to love is the one great distinguishing mark of Christianity. Love covers a multitude of sins even those of your enemies. See notes on[I Thessalonians-A Church of Strong Love] regarding the differing kinds of love. Secondly in verse 6 love, is a behavior a way of life.
III.             The warning against deceivers and false teachers [vv 7-13]
The aim of the lesson is to guard yourself and others from false teachers. Memory verse: II John 10
Now would you become alarmed if you saw a car driven by a stranger and it pulled up to your child on the playground? What if the stranger got out of the car and offered your child a piece of candy, or money, or offered to take the child for a ride in his car? Now no doubt you would be extremely alarmed and concerned for the safety of your child. As a responsible parent you’re first response would be to snatch your child away to safety, tell the stranger to leave and get his, license number and call the authorities. Friend, as frightening as this scene is it is just as frightening and just as scary and just as dangerous when God’s children are enticed away from the truth by deceivers and false teachers. Likewise it is the role of every responsible believer to protect God’s children from these evil people. It is your responsibility to protect the innocent. To tell the deceiver to leave and to warn others about the dangers lying in wait and one of the greatest problems facing believers is false teaching. False teaching abounds everywhere no matter where we turn there are false teachers and deceivers who go by the name of Christ but they are anything but followers of Him. But their teaching is cunning and it contains enough truth that millions are ensnared by its seduction and this is the importance of this passage.
I.                   Guard against deceivers [v 7]
A deceiver is an imposter who claims to know and follow Christ but he is not, for he does not live as Christ taught us to live and he does not believe the truth about Christ. He lives and teaches something entirely different that what Christ lived and taught. Note three significant facts. First, there are many deceivers in the world. They are in every area of society. Imposters who claim to be a Christian but they do not live for Christ nor do they believe what Christ taught. By their lives and by their beliefs and teaching they deceive people. Through every day conversation and sharing and from the teaching positions of the world they ensnare people into the nets of their false beliefs. The mission of the deceiver is simple that is to deceive. Their mission is to distort the truth and the false teacher is an agent of satan because satan is the father of lies do not trust anything one of satan’s disciples say to you. A deceiver will try to convince that the devil is not real, not really. A deceiver is a person who denies that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh and that He is the Son of God. He denies the deity of Jesus Christ. See notes on Galatians regarding grace versus works. The verse says Jesus Christ has come in the flesh and note these words are in the present tense. Secondly the deceiver denies that Son of God could ever come to earth. He denies that God’s Son came the first time and he denies the second coming as well. Third, note that the deceiver is called an antichrist. He is a forerunner of the antichrist [I John 2:18]. Jesus said in Matthew 7:15-23 and so we have been warned to protect ourselves against deceivers and false teachers. We must be on guard against false teachers.
II.                Watch yourself do not lose the things you have already received that is receive a full reward [v 8]
Note that John is writing this to a dear mother and her children. False teaching was so rampant that the family unit itself needed to be on guard. The family needed to consider what teachers they were listening to and sitting under. Why? Less they lose the rewards for the good works they had already done. Believers are to be rewarded for their labor for Christ but there is a danger that they could lose their rewards now what is that danger? By heeding false teaching. If we heed false teaching the Bible says we will lose our rewards. No matter how much charisma a teacher may have, no matter how much we may like that person, no matter how persuasive that person may be we must not listen to him if he is denying that Jesus Christ is the Son of God and come to earth as a man. If we are led astray we will lose our reward. I’m not talking about salvation I’m talking about rewards earned after salvation [Ps. 62:12]. This is a strong warning the believer can lose his rewards. The believer is never to rest on his accolades and become passive toward the truth.
There’s the story told of a city slicker who decided to become a farmer. He bought a farm and moved his family out to the country. The man who sold the city slicker the farm said mister it’s pretty simple out here, Till the soil, plant the seed, pull the weeds, pray for rain and then harvest the crops. The city slicker had gotten a good deal on the farm and it was a good farm with plenty of rich soil and excellent irrigation. At harvest time the city slicker felt he would be known as a great farmer. But this is not the end of the story. During the growing season the city slicker thought he would save some labor costs and not pull the weeds. He reasoned the crops would grow faster than the weeds and would smother out whatever weeds would shoot up. But what he discovered was a rude awakening when harvest time came it was one of the saddest days of his life. What should have been a bumper crop of a lifetime turned out to be a lifetime supply of weeds, the city slicker had been given the opportunity of a lifetime but he lost it all because the weeds had choked out the crops. He lost his reward. And in the same sense the Christian believer can have a field of blessings in store but if false teaching is allowed to take over it will ruin the fruit in a believers life. What I’m saying is this you have come too far to turn back keep on weeding out the lies and deception. Remember there is a harvest time coming.
III.             Do not go too far stay in the doctrine of Christ and prove your salvation [v 9]
The person who does not abide in the teachings of Christ does not have or possess God. The Greek word means to transgress against God by going too far, by trying to move out ahead of Christ. There are many teachers, preachers and laymen alike who would like to be progressive and creative and come up with a novel idea and make some advancement in thought. They want people to recognize and approve them therefore they try to impress people. In doing so they go beyond Christ and what Christ taught. They twist or branch off from the teachings of Christ and John is warning that if a person does this then he does not have God. He is not saved or truly born of God. The only person who is truly born of God is the person who stays in the teachings of Christ. This does not mean that believers are not to be creative and thoughtful it means that believers are not to move out beyond what Christ taught and is. Notice it is the teachings of Christ that we are to follow not the teachings about Christ. What are some of the teachings of Christ? [John 1:14; 3:14-15; 5:23; 6:35; 10:30; 17:3; 20:30-31]
IV.             Do not receive a deceiver, do not compromise guard your testimony [vv 10-11]
Remember this that most of the churches of that day and time met in the homes of prominent members and it is likely that the church was meeting in the home of this dear lady and her children. If not, then she had refused to provide room and board or to welcome some false teachers into her home. The charge here is strong and it’s meaning is clear false teachers are not to be allowed into our church or our homes. There is no greater danger to a church or a home than the threat of false teachers. False teachers doom the souls of people they shut them off from Christ and any person who is shut off from Christ is not acceptable to God. Therefore the church and the members of our families must be protected at all costs from all false teachers. Note we are not to encourage the false teacher at all. We are not to welcome him into our house or tell him God speed or tell him good luck at the next house. If we encourage him God counts us as a participant in his evil deeds. This means we do not support false teachers or deceivers by allowing them to speak with any group of our church. Any person who denies that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is the most dangerous person alive for he can doom us by causing us to lose our reward. No matter what we may feel or think God’s is both love and just. And His justice must be executed the same as His love has been demonstrated. The point is this God’s justice stands more against those who teach that Jesus Christ is not His Son than against any one else. Bear in mind that Christ died for false teachers and the Bible says that, but at the same time they are going to have swift destruction brought upon them for the way they handled the Word of God [II Peter 2:1; Matt. 7:6; Gal. 1:6-9]
V.                Much exhortation is needed [vv 12-13]
John had much to say to this dear lady and her children but it would be better to say it to her face to face. Therefore John planned a trip to visit her and the other believers in the area. Note how important the gospel is even for believers, so important that John would plan a special trip to share the glorious teachings of Jesus Christ and remember that John was already an elderly man, but he thought that he needed to go and tell those people to take a stand against false teachers and stand for the true gospel of Jesus Christ. This lady had a sister and this is significant for it shows how the gospel had spread around to the whole family. First one sister was reached for Christ and then the other sister and then the children of both families. Our duty is to do all we can to reach our families for Jesus Christ [I Peter 3:15]. 
III John
III John is written to Gaius and the purpose of this thing is to warn against rejecting true ministers and spiritual leadership.
I.     The spiritual and beloved leader: Gaius, a man who helped much [vv 1-8]     
The aim of the lesson is to set the standard for leadership within the church. Memory Verse: III John 4
What expectations do you have of those who lead you whether in be in the workplace, school, church or government? In previous generations a leader was expected to be brave, a servant, be honest, diligent, capable and to be sacrificing. But through the years something has gone terribly wrong people have come to expect much less of their leaders even from the highest offices in the country. Unfortunately holding a high position no longer guarantees honesty, trustworthiness or capability. When it comes to the spiritual leaders should your expectations be higher or lower than for other leaders? Do you expect them to be loving, spiritual and truthful? In an age where leadership often falls at every turn and is non-existent in other places leaders like Gaius must be raised up, but if you have no expectations then don’t expect very much from your spiritual leader. Leadership within the church is critical. Church leaders are chosen to lead people to Jesus Christ therefore how leaders live and behave is of critical importance their lives affect the whole church. Their behavior often determines the growth of believers and whether or not the church has a dynamic ministry for Christ. This is what the III John is all about leadership within the church. Three leaders are seen two were godly men and one was a troublemaker. The first man Gaius is the picture of the spiritual and beloved leader a man who took the lead within the church by reaching out and helping all those needed help.
I.                   Gaius, he was well beloved [v 1]
Note that John calls Gaius beloved 4 times in verses 1, 2, 5, 11, Gaius was dear to the heart of John but their friendship was not the main reason for their bond. The main reason for their bond was Jesus Christ. Gaius had trusted Christ has his Savior and he was faithful to the call God had given him. He was a faithful leader in the church and he did his job well. He lived for Christ and he performed his functions in the church for Christ. John loved Gaius because he was both a dear friend and a servant of Christ [John 13:34-35].
II.                He prospered spiritually despite ill health [v 2]
Gaius was apparently a man who suffered from some disease or illness or at least was subject to being sick a lot. His health crossed John’s mind and John wanted him to know that he was thinking of him and wanting his health to prosper. Note two things first of all Gaius soul did prosper he was growing spiritually stronger and stronger in Christ and in the fruit of the Spirit. He experienced the fullness of God day, by day [Gal. 5:22-23]. He experienced both eternal and abundant life. John wanted Gaius to prosper in all aspects of his life and for him to be satisfied. Success does not mean money as much as it means joy and inner peace. A common misconception is that prosperity involves only material wealth but God’s standards are much purer and higher.
III.             He walked in the truth [vv 3-4]
Note two significant facts. Gaius the church leader had a strong testimony among the believers of the church. Some of the believers had visited the city where John was and had shared the testimony of Gaius with John. What they shared was this that Gaius walked in the truth. This means that he walked in the truth of Jesus Christ and in the truth of God’s Word [John 14:6]. Gaius walked as Christ walked he patterned his life after Jesus Christ. And Christ said that the Word of God is true [John 17:17], all that a person should be is also written out in the Word of God therefore Gaius lived out the truth for he walked in God’s Word and he lived as God’s Word said he was to live. Secondly Gaius brought joy to the hearts of the believers and John. John was joyful over the life that Gaius was livng and that he walked in the truth. Note another significant fact Gaius was apparently standing firm in the truth despite the opposition from another church leader and a clique that the divisive leader had drawn around him. What a man Gaius must have been it is difficult enough to stand against the normal temptations and trials of life but when fellow believers begin to attack us it makes standing up for the truth even more difficult, the tendency, is to just back off and keep silent letting things just run their course but not Gaius. He stood up for the truth of Christ and God’s Word. He stood against those in the church who were not following the truth who were damaging and destroying the church by their divisiveness [Luke 9:23].
IV.             He helped Christian believers and strangers [vv 5-8]
This tells us why John was writing to Gaius and the church. There were some who did not like the idea of traveling ministers and holding meetings in their church. They were opposed to any kind of minister and ministry that was not settled within the church itself. They did not therefore want the traveling evangelists, prophets, ministers preaching and teaching in their church. They saw no use for their ministry. They felt first of all that believers could learn all they needed to know from their own ministers and others in the settled ministry. Secondly, that they did not need help in reaching out to the lost and thirdly that they could carry out the mission of Christ without the help of traveling ministers. Note three significant points first, Gaius was doing all he could to help the traveling minister. He was opening his home and supporting them so much that he had a strong testimony among the believers of his hospitality. And note that he even opened his home to strangers in order to reach them for Christ. Secondly Gaius is to continue to receive and support the traveling ministers according to verse 6. Gaius is told that this is the godly way and there are two strong reasons why. First traveling ministers are to be received and supported as they go forth for Christ. Secondly we need to receive and support them because we need these fellow laborers in Christ. We must labor together to carry forth the mission and message of Christ. Every church should support a missionary. All Christian leaders should open their homes to all aspects of the ministry [Rom. 12:13]. For thousands of years God has used the homes for ministry. Long before churches God used the homes to spread the gospel of Jesus Christ. Now more than ever before the church of Jesus Christ is in need of men and women who will lead others to follow Christ more closely. With the privilege of leadership comes the great responsibility to be found faithful as leader of God’s people. The life of Gaius had set the standard for leaders in the church. Your expectation for church leaders should be framed around Gaius’s character traits. He was well beloved. He walked in the truth and he helped Christian believers and strangers.
II.   The divisive church leader and the Godly minister [vv 9-14]
The aim of this lesson is to learn how to defeat the schemes of the divisive church leader. Memory Verse: III John 11.
Now whenever an electrical appliance breaks down it is the repairmen’s job task to carefully probe until he can find the source of the problem. As he traces the problem he examines the wiring he examines the switches, he examines the motor and eventually he discovers the cause for the appliances failure. Like any appliance a church can also go bad and stop working. Now what is the source of the chaos? There was once three people who were in an argument over which profession was the oldest. A surgeon who was well known for his great skill and not so great humility swelled up his chest and said my Bible says God made Eve by cutting a rib out of Adam, gentlemen that makes mine the oldest profession in the world said the surgeon. No way responded the mechanical engineer before that happened God made the earth in six days in spite of the chaos. It took a engineer to pull off something that overwhelming. As was to be expected the politician had the last word. Yes he said but who created the chaos. Well as God sends key people to strengthen the church satan also sends his people to suck the life out of the church. A divisive church leader has left his fingerprints of chaos on more than one church. Now what can be done about it if anything at all? A divisive leader is one of the most serious problems that ever, confronts, a church. When a church has within its ranks a divisive leader the very life and ministry of the church are threatened. A divisive leader always carries a church through one of its most traumatic experiences. He usually gathers a clique of others around him into a group of opposition. And when he goes this far he becomes much more of a threat to the life of the church. This is the very reason III John was written. There was divisive leader in the church who was causing serious problems and in writing John covers the traits of the divisive leader and he tells us how to handle him.
I.                   The divisive church leader [vv 9-11]
All we know about Diotrephes is what is mentioned here for this is the only time he is mentioned in scripture. But a great deal is given here. We can tell that he was a prominent leader in the church he had authority to reject John’s letter and remember that John was not only an apostle but one of the three closest to Christ. He also had enough authority to stop traveling ministers from speaking in the church. He even had the authority to throw people out of the church. All of this points to his being a minister of one of the highest offices in the church such as a deacon. What an enormous opportunity and privilege he had. Holding such a high calling in the church he could have been a dynamic example of what a believer should be. An example of love, care, ministry, outreach, evangelism and of purity of life but the legacy of life he has left behind is a far cry from being a testimony. His legacy is division. After his death the major thing remembered about him is that he was the person who caused division in the church. Diotrephes loved to be preeminent he loved to be first in the church according to verse 9. He wanted people recognizing him as the most important leader in the church. He wanted people coming to him to ask for advice and counsel. He wanted people seeking him first. He wanted all new ideas in ministry and programs brought to him first he wanted to be in on all major discussions in business meetings. He wanted to have the major say so in all decisions. He wanted the right to approve or disapprove who did what in the church. Secondly he rejected ministerial leadership. John had written some previous letters to the church and he rejected John’s authority as a minister of God. In fact he would not allow John’s letter to be read before the church. This is the very reason John had addressed the letter to Gaius. Diotrephes had destroyed John’s first letter to the church. Therefore John sent the letter to Gaius who is another leader in the church. Now when a person wants his own way in the church authority matters very little. In fact this is usually the way we can tell if a person, is wanting to be recognized if he is rejecting the appointed authority in the church [Phil. 2:3-4]. The third thing about Diotrephes is he criticized, talked about and censored the minister. He was bitter and divisive regarding the minister John. He went about overflowing with talk and rattling on about the matter letting the members know that he opposed the minister [Matt. 12:36]. Fourthly, he opposed those who stood behind the minister. The issue within the church was whether or not to support traveling evangelists, missionaries, prophets and teachers. Some in the church led by Diotrephes felt that the only legitimate ministers were ministers of local churches. They felt that ministers such as those listed above were not needed. But note that John knew better he knew that Christ had called and appointed specific offices for His church. He knew that believers needed the help of many ministers. Fifthly, Diotrephes had to be disciplined he was destroying the church by driving out those who stood behind the minister. He was disturbing every facet of church life destroying the testimony of the church before the world. He was affecting the fellowship of the believers and affecting the enthusiasm of the church causing gloom and disheartened spirit to set in. He was affecting the ministries and programs of the church and very few felt like participating. He was affecting the outreach to the lost for outsiders looked upon the church as being hypocritical and he was affecting the offerings of the church. John says that he will deal with Diotrephes when he visits the church the idea is that he as the minister of God will lead the church to discipline Diotrephes [Matt. 18:16-17]. Sixthly, Diotrephes was not to be followed and this is a strong warning issued by John, do not follow that which is evil but follow that which is good he said. A divisive leader is not to be followed if he is bucking against the minister and other leaders of the church. No matter who he is or what his position his leadership is to be rejected if he begins to sow seeds of divisiveness. Note the reason why and it is shocking. A divisive leader does evil and the person who does evil is not born of God. No matter what the divisive person claims no matter how great a leader or how long he has been in the church the divisive leader is not born of God and how could he be? For God is good and only a person who does good is born of God [Rom. 12:9].
II.                The godly leader who stands for the truth [v 12]
Again as with Diotrephes all we know about Demetrius is what is said here. He could have been a church leader who stood toe to toe with Diotrephes. If so then John is telling Gaius to lead the church in supporting him. Note three strong facts about him. First, he had a strong testimony among all believers. Secondly he had a strong testimony for walking in the truth and thirdly he was highly esteemed by other leaders. The evidence points to the fact that he could have been one of the traveling ministers with John. It also points to the fact that he could have been one of those opposed by Diotrephes and not allowed to speak in the church. Whatever the case he is a dynamic example of what a church leader should be. He is not a cowardly man he is willing to personally deliver the third letter of John to Gaius and to the church and deal with the problems of division. This should be the testimony of all church leaders. A life that is rooted and grounded in Christ is the very purpose for which God calls church leaders [Proverbs 22:1]. A life that is rooted and grounded in Christ will always respond in a positive way even when the trials of life hit you.
III.             Conclusion the problem in the church was so severe that a personal visit was needed by John [v 14]
The problem in the church was so severe that John would write no more he would visit the church instead. He had a lot that he wanted to say to Gaius and the other believers but he needed to say it face to face and not in a letter. John wishes peace upon all them. Secondly he sends greeting from mutual friends this was saying to Gaius and the church that they were not being rejected, by other churches and believers they were not being frowned upon because they could not handle the divisive leader. Thirdly he asked Giaus to greet his friends for him. Now the divisive church leader is a cancer to the body of Christ. A divisive church leader can destroy a church.
Tape 12/Side 1
I. The description of true believers [vv 1-2]
In verse one what we have is a picture of a true minister and a picture of a true believer. Now Jude says, that he is the servant of Jesus and brother of James and what he is doing here is showing some of the greatest humility in all the world. That is, Jude, according to Mark 6 is a half-brother to Jesus Christ he comes from Mary and Joseph was his father. When Jude walked the face of this earth while Christ was still alive Jude was an unbeliever. He did not believe his brother was the Messiah or the Savior of man’s sins and so when he starts this thing off he says he is the servant of Jesus Christ. This word servant meant that he was chained to Jesus Christ a slave for Christ and this is a trail of humility because he didn’t believe Christ was the Messiah and when he saw Christ die on the cross of Calvary and the events that followed especially the resurrection he knew that his brother was the Messiah. So instead of claiming fame and saying I’m Jude the brother of Jesus he says I’m Jude the servant of Jesus and the brother of James. Now why would he say that? James is also the brother of Jesus and the head of the church at Jerusalem and he had a great following and very few people knew about Jude. He is playing off of James’s reputation and following and he’s saying I’m James brother now listen to what I have to say as the Holy Spirit as spoken to me. So he is trying to get his audience to pay attention to him and give himself some credibility.
We are saved by God’s grace and preserved in Jesus Christ that is eternally secure. I like that because the verse 24 says that God can keep you from falling. Jude is writing not to any particular church but to a body of believers called by God. Every believer receives mercy, peace and love. You must have the mercy of God before you can receive the peace of God. [I Cor. 15:58; John 12:26; Ps. 100:2]. A minister of God ought to have two very basic traits that is he ought to have the trait of being the servant and slave of Jesus Christ. Secondly, he ought to have the trait of humility and the fact is Jude meets both of these. The fact is Jude was the half-brother of our Lord and that’s glorious evidence that Christ is who He says He is. He claimed deity throughout all His earthly life [Phil. 2:6-11]. Jude was a humble man and the secret to true humility, is to keep, ourselves out, of sight. We must keep ourselves out of sight if we desire to be a blessing to others. The true believer, or minister, is, a person who humbles themself and surrenders to Jesus, as a slave, and serves Him.
II.                The warnings against apostasy: The characteristics and judgment of false teachers [vv 3-16]
The aim of this lesson is to stand warned that is to guard against false teachers [I Tim. 4:1-2]. We must stand and guard against false teachers if we fail we will be deceived and led to believe a lie and possibly be doomed for eternity. Here is the thrust for the letter of Jude the very purpose for which Jude writes. It is one of the most horrifying pictures in the Bible, a picture of the characteristics and judgments of false teachers.
      A. Stern warning about false teachers [vv 3-10]
      The reason we need to talk about false teaching is because there is a terrible danger to believers and that is false teaching. Strong warning against false teachers are also issued by Paul in Galatians, Colossians, Thessalonians, Timothy and Titus. There are severe warnings all throughout Hebrews and Christ gave severe warnings throughout the gospels. No matter who the person is and how attractive and influential he may be if he denies Jesus Christ and God’s Word he is a false teacher. Jude had wanted to write about the common salvation and Jesus dying for him and show how much he loved his brother dying for his sins and yet and still he says the Holy Spirit constrained him and it was needful for him to write that we earnestly contend for the faith. Jude says that there were false teachers who had crept into the church and the Holy Spirit constrained him to write about them and to expose them. False teachers are not God-called teachers they choose to lead in a church as a profession or as a way to serve people and teach the morals and virtues of the world. The idea is that they enter the church unnoticed [Titus 1:16]. Here’s what these people do;
-          They come in full of personality, charisma and charm, most of the time they are nice looking people, friendly people, they are administrative people they know how to run a business, and all the time they are doing this they are teaching false doctrine. Every person in the church would like to believe that if a man is a preacher or calls himself a preacher that he would certainly believe the Bible to be the Word of God and Jesus to be God’s Son so therefore they don’t question him very much especially if he is full of charisma, personality, grace and love folks in a worldly way and they say this is what we want to be the friendliest church in town and little by little this man’s who crept in unawares starts doing things that would displease the Lord.
-          Since false teachers come into the church the best thing to do is to study the truth about Jesus and the Word of God and if you are faithful in this the Holy Spirit will protect you from false teachers
-          Note false teachers are destined to judgment according to verse 4. Because false teachers reject Jesus Christ there is a judgment waiting for them [II Peter 2:1]
-          False teachers are ungodly they do not live like God. False teachers are not pure, moral, loving, deceptive, and they don’t teach the love of God
-          They are lasciviousness and this word means immorality, indecency, shamelessness, license without restraint and here is what this means it is one thing for a man to have an evil thought and not let anybody know in other words that is between him and God. It’s another thing for a man to display that, that is I’ve had an evil thought and I’m going to do thus and so and I don’t care who knows it. It is open shamelessness. They turn the grace of God into filthiness and they deny God.
-          What is it that makes a teacher true or false? One thing in particular and that is when a man confesses Christ has come in the flesh and is God’s Son and died for the sins of the world on the cross of Calvary then that man is a true teacher.
-          False teachers are sure to be judged [vv 5-7]. Jude says that what happened to Israel is going to happen to all false teachers. What are the sins of Israel that brought judgment upon them? Lust, Idolatry [Ex. 32], Tempting God. Our freedom in grace stops when we go further than the Word of God says we can go [Deut. 6:16], murmuring, complaining and grumbling God likens that to spiritual adultery against God. Then Jude uses the example of the fallen angels if God judged Lucifer and the fallen angels how much more will he judge men and false teachers who lead people astray? Then we are given the example of Sodom and Gomorrha because the people were leading homosexual lives, they lived ungodly unrighteous lives and the point is if God would judge two cities and all the people in them he will certainly judge false teachers.
-          False teachers are filthy dreamers and this means two things that false teachers engage in the things of the world the lust of the eyes, the lust of the flesh they don’t struggle to keep their thoughts clean and pure. The result is thoughts and dreams of success and grandeur and personal recognition, honor and sexual misbehavior. False teachers defile the flesh through their dreams. Secondly they reject authority they stress the right to do their own thing and not heed the Law of God.
-          False teachers scoff at the idea of angels and spiritual beings in particular satan and fallen angels in [vv 9-10]. They question whether there are spiritual beings living in a spiritual world just as we are in the physical world. The idea of another dimension is questioned they do not believe in a spiritual world. They believe that man is his own God and can create his own laws. The idea that God is exalted at the right hand of God and that believers will some day rule the world is scoffed at. They say that Christ isn’t coming back. But notice two things first false teachers do that which even the highest angels would not dare to do and that is to rebuke the devil. The angels themselves do not dare to rebuke and mock the principalities of the spiritual world. Secondly, they make a foolish mistake being like brute beasts, which have no understanding they speak about, things of, which, they, have, no understanding. No person has ever been to the spiritual world so he cannot speak about that which he knows nothing about.
Tape 12/Side 2
B.     Stern warning about false teachers [vv 11-16]
This is what we talked about precisely in [vv 3-10] having people’s admiration because of advantage. So the aim of these six verses is to stand warned and guard against these false teachers [Titus 1:15]. Now considering that the risk of being deceived is so great is there anything that you can do to protect yourselves? You can determine in your heart that you will guard your heart and defend the truth. As you become intimately aware of the characteristics of false teachers you will start doing your part in defending the truth. At a time when so many are being led astray will you take a stand for God’s Word?
Jude says in [v 11] that they go the way of Cain that is they go the way of unbelief. There was nothing wrong with the offering that Cain brought because we see in the scriptures that one can bring a grain offering the problem was with Cain’s attitude and it was Cain didn’t believe in this blood stuff. I believe that I can go my own way to heaven and I want you to look upon me the same as you look upon Abel. God was displeased with Cain’s way because Cain did not believe that blood was needed to enter heaven. False teachers go the way of Cain and they have a woe on them, which means they have grief, anguish and distress. All false teachers shall be doomed to an eternity of grief, anguish and judgment and it’s all because of unbelief. Then it says they go after the Balaam they way of worldliness and all false teachers seek the way of the world and when they do that they lead people in destruction [Matt. 7:13; Num. 22]. Then they after the way of Core that is the way of rebellion. He wanted to serve where he had no right to serve and the point is this, false teachers follow the way of rebellion and rejection of authority. They rebelled against the rejected authority of God and the ministers that God has placed in His church and most of all they rebel and reject the supreme authority of Christ Himself. That is they reject His deity and that He purchased the church through His sacrificial death and they choose to go their own way and do their own thing. They use the church and believers for their own ends.
The Bible says that these false teachers are spots and blemishes upon the fellowship of the church according to [v 12]. The Greek word for spots can mean submerged rocks or hidden reefs that can wreck a ship and tear the bottom out of it. And false teachers are hidden reefs, which can wreck the fellowship of it. Now the love feasts mentioned here were called love feasts, by the early church they were fellowship meals that the church celebrated after the service on worship day. And each family brought what they could. This of course meant that the wealthy brought plenty of food and the poor brought very little or nothing to bring. And you have to remember that some of these early believers were slaves and so they had nothing they could bring. So some of the believers could share the warmth of their hearts as the fellowshipped together as they shared the food of these love feasts with the poor and slaves. It was a time when the Holy Spirit could draw the hearts of believers together in love, joy and caring and sharing. It was a time the Holy Spirit used to bind believers together in warmth and tenderness. The point is this fellowship among believers is a wonderful time to grow and share together but when false teachers are present the scene is entirely different. False teachers dirty the name of Christ and soil the fellowship of the church. They profess to be believers and are even teachers of God’s Word but are not pure and just. Their false teaching disturbs genuine believers and causes division within the fellowship of the Christ. And those who are not rooted and grounded in Christ always follow the false teachers. False teachers spoil the Spirit of Christ among the church. False teachers have no fear of God or do they care about the damage they are doing to the fellowship of the church. Their interest is to boost themselves forward. Now note that false teachers are filled with instability and emptiness and two illustrations are given. They are like clouds that bring rain to the farmer but when the clouds arrive they driven away by the rushing winds of the storm. That’s the way these false teachers are they offer a false hope to the people. Their hope is unstable and empty. The second illustration is they are like fruit trees that seem to be flourishing and promise fruit but when harvest time comes there is no fruit it is withered away [Matt. 7:15] and Jesus said you shall no them by their fruits.
The next thing according to [v 13] is that they teach things that are shameful. The picture is that of a sea that rages back and forth in the fierce winds of a storm. When the storm passes along the seashore there is all kinds of debris and the sight is repulsive it is shameful. Thus it is with false teachers for what they teach is shameful and it brings shame upon the Name of Christ and the name of the church. Their teaching is nothing more than useless debris that does not belong in the church of Jesus Christ [Luke 6:46].
The Bible says in [vv 14-15] that they are doomed to be judged by the Lord Jesus Christ, Himself. Christ is coming to earth to judge false teachers. He is coming with 10,000 of His holy ones. The words ten thousands means thousands upon thousands, multitudes and millions upon millions an unlimited number of holy beings. He is coming to judge the world and the present passages deals with the fact that He is coming to judge false teachers those who taught something else other than the fact that Jesus Christ is the Son of God sent into the world to save men. False teachers will be judged for two things. First, for all their ungodly deeds [Matt 16:27] and secondly for all the untrue, harsh and defiant words said against the Lord Jesus Christ [Matt 12:34]. These false teachers are murmurers and complainers who are dissatisfied with everything because they do not have Christ to guide them and help them through life [Is 44:20]. They walk after the flesh and reject the authority of the scriptures and of the Spirit. And they flatter people for personal gain and know nothing at all about God’s call to the ministry.
III. The exhortation to believers [vv 17-25]
In these verses the aim should be to learn how to repair the damage caused by these false teachers. Memory Verse: v 21
Now everybody’s bought an appliance at one time or another in their life and when something goes wrong with that appliance you can turn to your owner’s manual and find the trouble shooting guide and find out what is wring with the appliance. In the same sense the Christian believer has been given a troubleshooting guide for correcting the problems that false teachers bring into the church. Once again you hope that you will never have to use it but it is good to know where to go if you ever need help. If you carefully follow Jude’s instructions you can keep the church in good working order. If you troubleshoot the problems as they arise instead of letting them go until it completely breaks down. What can we do about false teaching in our midst? This is the final exhortation and it tells believers what to do in the face of false teachers. Today we are living in the age of grace and this period of history is called these last times, these last days, and the last day and the last time. Jude says that we need to remember that the apostles said mockers would come [II Cor. 11:11-15] and they would walk after their own ungodly lusts and they cause division in the church. True believers must do all they can to rid the church of false teachers.
The false teacher believes a man is, saved, by God, by keeping the rules and rituals of the church things such as baptism, circumcision, confirmation and the Lord’s Supper and by attending church services when possible. False teachers believe a person is acceptable to God if he has done these things no matter what kind of life he lives. False teachers believe that the most important thing a man can do is to take his spirit and believe in Christ and be baptized. They believe and teach that if a man does this then God understands if a man slips into sin and commits gross ungodly sin all the time. They believe that a man is eternally secure because he believes just say I do whether I do or not, and has been baptized and they think that a man’s life can be worldly just so he has done those two things just mentioned. Jesus said in [John 15:19], note how sensual and carnal and how worldly this kind of teaching is. That is just say I believe in Christ and, be baptized and live any way I want to and everything’s okay. Well, that’s stupid because it doesn’t say anything about repentance and holy and separate living. So when you live right and stand for Christ things will not be easy because Jesus said the world will hate you and false teachers do not have the Spirit of God in them.
Jude says [vv 20-21] that we need build ourselves up. Now the believer builds himself up in four different ways. We build ourselves up by laying a foundation of holy faith. Secondly the believer builds by praying in the Holy Spirit. Thirdly the believer builds himself up by keeping himself in the love of God [I John 3:10]. Fourthly the believer builds himself up by looking for that glorious day of Christ’s return. Then Jude says to be compassionate and seek to restore doubters to the Lord Jesus Christ. How are we to do that? The Bible says by striking fear in them. We must warn them of God’s judgment and eternal doom if they turn against deny and reject God’s Son. Believers are to guard against agreeing with those who live according to the flesh by rejecting all false teaching and worldly ways as they seek to restore.
Finally [vv 24-25] note how great a message on the believer’s security. What is the source of the believer’s security? Who is it that keeps the believers secure in this world? It is God who is able to keep the believer from falling. Not only is God able to keep us from falling, but, He is able to make us blameless when we come face to face with Him that great day because of the name of Christ. God is able to do this and He will do this is we keep approaching Him in the Name of Jesus Christ. God is the only wise God and He is our Savior according to the Bible. God alone is the One who can rule in dominion and power. We live in a world where few things are sure. There is little security and life is so short but one thing you can count on is God who keeps you in the hollow of His hand. Through every generation believers find themselves in the same position that is in the loving hands of Jesus Christ our Savior. Ours is the same great privilege as the leader of the reformation, Martin Luther. When Martin Luther was in the throes of the reformation and the pope was trying to bring him back into the Catholic church he sent a cardinal to deal with Martin Luther and to buy him with gold. The cardinal wrote to the pope the fool does not love gold. The cardinal when he could not convince Luther said to him what do you think the pope cares for the opinions of a German farmer. The pope’s little fingers are stronger than all Germany. Do you expect your princes to take up arms to defend you? You a wretch worm like you are. I tell you no the cardinal said and where will you be then Luther? Luther’s reply was very simple he said, I’ll be then where I am now, in the hands of Almighty God. Let’s close with this thought. Place your hand into God’s hand and He will keep you by His power.