Summary: Why did John write the letter of 1 John?
It's become very popular in our day for people to describe themselves as "spiritual." What this usually means is they're open to anything and everything. And in this day, where truth is seen as purely subjective, for a person to be "spiritual" can mean almost anything. This has led to confusion. A confusion that needs to be challenged with clarity.
The clarity needed to challenge the confusion of our age must come from those with a personal relationship with the God who has revealed Himself in the person of Jesus Christ, who said, "I am the truth."
1 John is the effort of John, the beloved disciple, to share how Christ followers might live our faith in such a way as to counter the spiritual confusion of this world with spiritual clarity. John wrote this letter in an effort to equip God's people to live out and live for the truth in our daily lives. Through-out this book, John tells why he wrote. He wrote:
1) To help believers deal with the assurance of their salvation.
"I write these things to you who believe in the name of the Son of God so that you may know that you have eternal life." - l John 5:13 (NIV)
2) To help believers discern between truth and error.
" I am writing these things to you about those who are trying to lead you astray." - I John 2:26 (NIV)
3) To teach believers how to deal with and overcome sin.
"My dear children, I write this to you so that you will not sin. But if anybody does sin, we have an advocate with the Father – Jesus Christ, the Righteous One." - I John 2:1
4) To help believers discover the "joy of their salvation."
"We are writing these things to you so that our joy [in seeing you included] may be made complete [by having you share in the joy of salvation]." - 1John 1:4 (Amplified)
John says the Word of Life has been revealed in the person of Christ.
1. John's Message - vs. 1-2
A. The Eternal Reality of Christ - v. la
Now, this is something which, though beyond our ability to grasp, we are called on to accept by faith.
This shouldn't bother us, however, since there are lots of things we readily accept without understanding.
I don't understand electricity. They say that one electron touches another electron and all of that, but I don't know why it happens to go one way instead of the other way. I don’t understand electricity, but I accept it, and benefit from electrical power.
Likewise, to benefit from Christ's coming into this world, I must accept Him as the eternal God, come into this world to draw us unto Himself.
"The exclusive claim of Christianity about Christ is not centered on our belief that Jesus was right about God. It is centered on our claim that God was fully present in Christ to reconcile the world to Himself (2 Cor. 5:18). It is the theological claim about Jesus (that He is God) that makes the spiritual claims of Jesus potent. Jesus' words are right because those words are God's words (Jn. 14:10b). Jesus' “way” is not superior because it promotes a higher ethic or because it champions values that resonate with our spiritual sensitivities. Jesus' way is true because in Him we find God drawing us to Himself." - Gary Burge, commentary on John
"Depend on it, my hearer, you never will go to heaven unless you are prepared to worship Jesus Christ as God." - Charles Spurgeon
B. The Historical Reality of Christ - v. lb
Josh McDowell, in his book, Evidence That Demands A Verdict, identifies eleven different ancient historical sources which identify Jesus Christ as a person of history (pages 81-87).
"Some writers may toy with the fancy of a ‘Christ-myth,’ but they do not do so on the ground of historical evidence. The historicity of Christ is as axiomatic for an unbiased historian as the historicity of Julius Caesar. It is not historians who propagate the ‘Christ-myth’ theories." - F. F. Bruce, former Rylands professor of biblical criticism and exegesis at the University of Manchester
The word translated, "looked at," is the word from which we get the word, “theater”; and means "to intensely gaze upon, to study, to
John says when Jesus appeared on the stage of history, that he, along with others, looked Him over and found Him to indeed be the very Word of Life - the ultimate revelation of God to mankind!
C. The Experiential Reality of Christ - v.2
Christianity is not just knowing Christ in a historical sense. It's knowing Him in personal experience.
"And this is eternal life: that people can know you, the only true God, and that they can know Jesus Christ, the one you sent." - John 17:3 (Easy to Read)