Summary: John writes a wonderful letter to encourage us to walk with God and one another in the light of His word. We will see how important it is to speak truth and live by it.
1 John 1:1 What was from the beginning, what we have heard, what we have seen with our eyes, what we beheld and our hands handled, concerning the Word of Life--
2 and the life was manifested, and we have seen and bear witness and proclaim to you the eternal life, which was with the Father and was manifested to us--
3 what we have seen and heard we proclaim to you also, that you also may have fellowship with us; and indeed our fellowship is with the Father, and with His Son Jesus Christ.
4 And these things we write, so that our joy may be made complete.
5 And this is the message we have heard from Him and announce to you, that God is light, and in Him there is no darkness at all.
6 IF WE SAY that we have fellowship with Him and yet walk in the darkness, we lie and do not practice the truth;
7 but if we walk in the light as He Himself is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus His Son cleanses us from all sin.
8 IF WE SAY that we have no sin, we are deceiving ourselves, and the truth is not in us.
9 If we confess our sins, He is faithful and righteous to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.
10 IF WE SAY that we have not sinned, we make Him a liar, and His word is not in us.
So, what are some things we say that get us into trouble? What are some things we say that are false claims? What are some things we say that reveal where we stand with God and others?
The end of this chapter has three crystal clear “if” statements that have eternal consequences to them and timeless relevance in them.
If we say… John repeats this statement three times and each time he warns against false teachings that produce deceived disciples who abandon the truth of God for a lie. Lies do not bring life, and those who live by lies lose eternal life.
Jesus said in John 8:42-47 (read)
1 John helps us apply Jesus’ words to our lives and enjoy the blessings and benefits of walking in fellowship with Him and one another.
I personally am excited for us to study through first John together. It is one of the most simple and practical New Testament books on the ethics of the Christian life. It uses grand themes of the Christian faith to refute and correct false teachings. It has a beautiful positive message for every Christian and offers clear assurance of eternal life to obedient believers. John 5:13 states it concisely: These things I have written to you who believe in the name of the Son of God, in order that you may KNOW that you have eternal life.
1 John… Someone has called it “Little John.” (I suppose that would make the gospel “Big John”). We have studied through the gospel of John, John’s book of the Revelation of Jesus Christ, and now finally, we will finish our study of John’s writings in the New Testament as we go through these three small letters of John.
Let me introduce the book a bit before we look at those “if” statements at the end of chapter 1.
Many commentaries believe that these letters are the last ones written by John, and are even perhaps the very last biblical documents to be written in the cannon. Even though Revelation is the last book in the New Testament this does not necessarily mean that it was the last book to be written! It was collected as the last book because it is different than all the others. It is a prophecy. The New Testament is in this order: Gospels, history, Paul’s early epistles, late epistles, the general epistles (including 1-3 John) and finally, the one book of prophecy. Someone has noted that John’s Greek actually improves grammatically in the gospels and letters, with Revelation being the weakest Greek grammar of all of John’s writing. Therefore, if John is getting better at writing, he would have written Revelation first and the gospel and letters last. John has proven to be the most versatile writer in the New Testament, penning a Gospel, three epistles, and a book of prophecy.
It may interest you to know that only Revelation has John’s name as its author in it, and it does so four times. On the other hand, the gospel of John carefully preserves the author’s anonymity, nowhere does it openly say who wrote it. On the other hand, the letters of 1-3 John seem to assume that those who receive it will know who the writer is. It is warmly personal and filled with nurturing language. But when it speaks of those who are against the truth, it has some language of fire as well.