Summary: Message 15 from 1 John focusing on loving one another as the ultimate test of sonship.
The Ultimate Test 1John 3:11-23
John wrote these letters in the latter years of his life. He wrote as a tender father would write to His dearly loved children. It is filled with tenderness and endearing language. “Beloved, dear children, my little children, brethren, dear friends.” He is tender, yet tough. He writes as a loving yet protective father to warn them against destructive false teaching and deadening faulty living. He emphasizes the wonder of being a child of God who is light and love.
He used words like “fellowship”, “abide in”, “be in”, walk in light, love God, love one another.
John interspersed a few clear declarations of his purpose throughout the letter.
1. That we might have fellowship with God and each other. 1:3
2. That we might have joy 1:4
3. That we might not sin 2:1
4. That we might not be deceived 2:26
5. That we might be assured of eternal life 5:13
This is a very difficult letter to logically outline as John interweaves some specific themes all through the letter. The character of God as light and love runs strong. The character, privilege and responsibility of being children of God runs strong. The responsibility to love fellow brothers and sisters is prominent. The admonition to live holy (walk in the light) is abundantly clear and frequent. Almost everything in this letter could be organized under the two headings of light and love. The first two chapters focused on “God is light” and His children must walk in the light if they are to enjoy fellowship with Him.
Light = Purity, enlightenment, truth, warmth, energy, life, eternity.
John introduced Jesus in his gospel as the “Light of the world.” Followers of Jesus are said to be the “light of the world”. Matt 5:14
God called us to be His children. We are reborn, anointed of His Spirit with His DNA, His divine nature, His seed. As His children, we were born to walk in the light. The implications of being children of light are all through the letter. The first three chapters are full of issues related to waling as children of light.
Walk in the light.
Keep His commandments.
Abide in truth.
Light is shinning and darkness is passing away.
Our sins are forgiven.
Overcome the evil one.
His word abides in you.
Abide in His word.
Beware of false teachers / anti-christs.
We have an anointing from God.
Abide in Him.
You will be like Him.
Be like Him now.
Jesus came to take away sin.
Jesus came to destroy the works of the devil.
Chapter three focused on God is love and the implications of our connection to the God of love.
God is love and both declares and demonstrates that love. There is definitely an overlapping of the concepts of light and love. In fact it is actually an interweaving. If you walk in the light you will love. If you love, you will walk in the light. They are like two sides of a coin; two wings of a plane.
Love the brethren.
God’s love is perfected in us.
Don’t love the world but God.
God’s love is in us.
Abide in the light and you’ll love the brethren.
The Father called us because of His great love.
Christ laid down His life for us.
We should lay down our life for our brethren.
John’s letter is also a study in contrasts.
Light / darkness
Walk / stumble
Life / death
Love / Hate
Truth / lie
Christ / anti-christ
Spirit / spirit
Believe / not believe
Eternal life / eternal punishment
Children of God / children of the devil
Abide / rebel
Practice righteousness / practice sin
Have the Son / don’t have the Son
The logic of the letter is really quite simple.
God is light (pure) and God is love (passionate).
Because of His great love, He invited us into His community or family.
Through the sacrifice of Jesus and ministry of the Holy Spirit we are reborn into His family.
As children of God we are encouraged and enabled to live purely and passionate.
We are to walk in the light and love the brethren.
I. The God of light 1:1-2:28
A. The Message – God is Light 1:1-5
B. The Implications 1:6-2:28
II. The Children of light 2:29-3:23
There are five factors to consider in relation to genuine children of God.
A. The “Likeness” factor 2:29-3:3
B. The “righteousness/sin” factor 3:4-10
1. The nature of sin – sin is lawlessness
2. The contrasting nature of God’s children and the devil’s children
No one who abides in Him practices sin
No one who practices sin has seen Him or knows Him.
The one who practices righteousness is righteous (of Christ), just as He is righteous and practices righteousness 3:7