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Summary: Introduction to 1 John. (PowerPoint slides to accompany this talk are available on request – email: gcurley@gcurley.info)

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Ill:

• Mrs Fisher the primary school teacher was at home recovering from surgery;

• She heard the letter box bang on the door,

• Then her husband entered the room bringing in the post,

• One of the letters was a get well card from her class which 2nd year class which read;

• “Dear Mrs Fisher, your class wishes you a speedy recovery by a vote of 15-14”.

The object of John’s letter:

• Letters are usually written for a reason;

• And that is true for 1 John.

• John was a fisherman who one day heard Jesus say; ‘follow me’.

• He left his nets and followed Jesus.

• This letter was penned about sixty years after he first heard Jesus say ‘follow me’.

• Written in Ephesus around about A.D. 100.

Notice:

(1).

• The letter contains no opening and no closing greetings.

• But the experts confidently assure us that it was John the apostle who wrote it.

• You can invest in a Bible commentary and read for yourself why!

• The early Church leaders are recorded as saying John wrote this letter.

• i.e. Papias who was Bishop of Hierapolis (near Laodecia) around a.d.125,

• i.e. Irenaeus Bishop of Lyons and Vienne in Southern France around a.d.185

(2).

• The letter has no destination;

• We have no clues as to where it was sent.

• But it was written to Churches John knew well;

• He refers to them again and again – in fact 9 times as ‘My dear Children’,

• He refers to them 6 times as ‘Dear friends’ (AV: ‘Beloved’)

• And the writer often uses the person pronoun ‘I’;

• There is a close relationship here, a bond.

(3).

• All though this letter was written to counteract certain false teachings;

• Primarily to Christians around about Asia Minor.

• It was a general letter written to groups of Christians everywhere.

(4).

• As you read through 1 John,

• It would do us all good to read the whole letter every week during our studies (10 mins max)

• If you do that you will notice that;

• John does not lay out his thoughts in a linear, point by point fashion.

• e.g. the way the Apostle Paul does in his letters and teaching.

Ill:

• John orchestrates his subjects

• e.g. ‘Love & hate, life & death, light & darkness, truth & error’ like themes in a symphony.

• He begins with a simple proposition then adds a contrasting idea.

• Then he waves in new themes;

• And new contrasts that crescendo and fall in waves.

• Wherever you open his letter you will find some variation of his basic message;

• When you believe the right things about God;

• You will demonstrate that by right living.

(1). Why did he write the letter?

• Answer: If you scan the letter;

• John gives us four reasons why he wrote this first letter.

REASON 1: HE WANTS THE CHRISTIAN’S TO BE SATISFIED:

• Chapter 1 verse 4:

• “We write this to make our joy complete.”

Quote: Warren Wiersbe:

“Fellowship is Christ’s answer to the loneliness of life.

Joy is his answer to the emptiness, the hollowness of life”.

• Although John only once uses the word ‘Joy’ in this letter;

• Joy weaves itself through the entire letter.

Quote:

• The communist revolutionary Karl Marx wrote:

• “The first requisite for the people’s happiness is the abolition of religion”.

• The apostle John tells us in verse 3 the very opposite is true:

• The first requisite for the people’s happiness is fellowship.

• And he tells us who that fellowship needs to be with;

• “Our fellowship is with God the Father and his Son Jesus Christ”.

• Fellowship with God is not only the privilege of a Christian;

• But it is also the Christian’s source of constant joy!

REASON 2: HE WANTS THE CHRISTIAN’S TO BE SINLESS:

• Chapter 2 verse 1:

• “I write this to you so that you will not sin”.

• Again and again in these early chapters John mentions sin.

• He draws our attention to it because it is sin that breaks that relationship with God;

• And sin which robs us of our joy and fellowship.

Ill:

• A party of school children were being showed around a hospital;

• And the nurse who was giving them a tour round asked if anyone had any questions;

• One child asked,

• "How come the people who work here are always washing their hands ?"

• The nurse gave the answer;

• "They are ’always washing their hands’ for two reasons.

• First they love health; and second, they hate germs".

John wants every Christian to love God and hate sin.

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