Presentation on theme: "Title Page. Lesson Thirteen I John 2:12-13 12 I write unto you, little children, because your sins are forgiven you for his name’s sake. 13 I write unto."— Presentation transcript:
I John 2:12-13 12 I write unto you, little children, because your sins are forgiven you for his name’s sake. 13 I write unto you, fathers, because ye have known him that is from the beginning. I write unto you, young men, because ye have overcome the wicked one. I write unto you, little children, because ye have known the Father.
I John 2:14 14 I have written unto you, fathers, because ye have known him that is from the beginning. I have written unto you, young men, because ye are strong, and the word of God abideth in you, and ye have overcome the wicked one.
I John 5:13 13 These things have I written unto you that believe on the name of the Son of God; that ye may know that ye have eternal life, and that ye may believe on the name of the Son of God.
Focus Verse I John 5:13 These things have I written unto you that believe on the name of the Son of God; that ye may know that ye have eternal life, and that ye may believe on the name of the Son of God.
Focus Thought John’s epistles constitute what may be the final addition to the inspired Scripture. He assures us that we can overcome sin and worldliness and stand firm in the truth until the end.
Introduction John wrote in his old age many years after all other New Testament Scripture was complete. As the last surviving apostle, John lived to see some things that the other apostles did not. Some things had changed in Israel:
Introduction (1)Jerusalem and the Temple were destroyed; (2)Christianity was distinguished from Judaism— the synagogue had expelled the church; (3)Judaism had been reformed from the Old Testament sacrificial system to a new Rabbinical system; and (4)divisions and heresies, such as Gnosticism, were attacking the church. Together, these factors reflected momentous changes that greatly influenced the very fabric of church life toward the closing years of the first century.
Introduction According to tradition, all the apostles except John had experienced martyrdom by this time. As the last remaining apostle, John’s testimony and recollections about Jesus and the early church would have been highly valued. Therefore, John was viewed as a living link to the past and a keeper or custodian of true Christian teachings.
Introduction During the upheaval that accompanied the passing of most of the apostles and the subsequent “landslide away from apostolic teaching” (F. F. Bruce, The Epistles of John, 14), the church needed an apostolic voice to address these changes and steer the church through difficult times. John, a man with many identities—the son of Zebedee (Matthew 4:21), apostle (Matthew 10:2), beloved disciple (John 13:23), elder (II John 1:1), and seer or prophet of Patmos (Revelation 1:9-10)—stepped up to that role at a crucial hour.
Introduction Not counting his Gospel, John composed four writings that encouraged and strengthened the church during this tumultuous era. His three epistles dealt largely with a schism that rocked the churches in Asia Minor, one in which former members who had departed from the church were propagating heresy and attempting to secure inroads back into the church.
Introduction John wrote another work, the Book of Revelation, during a period of unsettling persecution and addressed the church’s struggle with complacency, spiritual lukewarmness, heresy, and immorality. Through the inspiration of the Holy Ghost, John served as the conduit through which God would provide the first-century church with the last Word.
I. Passing the Torch (A) Passing the Torch to the Next Generation Like Paul before him, John sensed the desperate need to pass on the torch of truth. Paul had recognized that truth must reach the following generations, a pattern that Timothy’s family had observed and that Paul mandated that Timothy continue in his ministry. (See II Timothy 1:5; 2:2.)
I. Passing the Torch (A) Paul had appointed younger men to continue his mission: Titus, who was to superintend the churches of Crete; and Timothy, who was assigned to set things straight in Ephesus, the same city in which traditional history says John later settled and ministered. (See Titus 1:5; I Timothy 1:3.) John, like Paul, answered the call before his “departure” to install solid leadership and convey the mantle of truth to the new generation of believers.
I. Passing the Torch (A) A.Eyewitnesses to Jesus Christ In the opening to his first epistle, John emphasized his eyewitness status and role as a leader who passes on truth. He, along with some unnamed followers of Christ, had personally experienced the events of Jesus’ ministry and passion. John highlighted this role by repeatedly employing the vantage point of the first person plural: “we have heard... we have seen... we have looked upon” (I John 1:1, emphasis added).
I. Passing the Torch (A) John bore witness to “the Word of life” that was “from the beginning,” and declared it to the readers of the epistle (I John 1:1-2). The purpose behind this announcement of truth was to promote fellowship both with the heavenly Father and among believers.
I. Passing the Torch (A) The word “fellowship” comes from the Greek word koinonia, which means “partnership, i.e. (literally) participation, or (social) intercourse, or (pecuniary) benefaction: KJV - (to) communicate (-ation), communion, (contri-) distribution, fellowship.”
I. Passing the Torch (A) Fellowship with John and his associates ultimately entailed fellowship with the Lord Jesus Christ (I John 1:3). Connection to God could come only through the revelation of His Son and through association with those divinely chosen to represent Him. (See John 14:6; I John 2:23; 4:6.)
I. Passing the Torch (A) Since John was engaging heretics who were wreaking havoc with the church, he also emphasized the tangible nature of Jesus’ body. The heretics denied that Jesus had come in the flesh and probably represented a false teaching current at that time known as docetism (from the Greek word, dokein, “to seem”). (See I John 4:2-3; II John 7.)
I. Passing the Torch (A) Docetists taught that Jesus only seemed or appeared to be human. In reality, they asserted, Jesus was a divine apparition or spirit being without real human flesh. The implications of this false teaching in relation to the Christian gospel are both clear and appalling. If Jesus only appeared to have a human body, what did this mean for cardinal doctrines such as the Incarnation, the Crucifixion, and the Resurrection?
I. Passing the Torch (A) Because of such false claims denying Jesus’ humanity, John employed imagery in the introduction to his first epistle that appealed to the reader’s senses: “which we have heard, which we have seen with our eyes, which we have looked upon, and our hands have handled” (I John 1:1; emphasis added). John used such imagery to show clearly that Jesus, contrary to the teaching of the docetists, did indeed exist in a human body and was truly human.
I. Passing the Torch (A) A similar stress on Jesus’ tangible nature underlies Luke’s account of Jesus’ resurrection appearance to His disciples when in fear they mistakenly thought “they had seen a spirit” (Luke 24:37).
Luke 24:38-39 “And he said unto them, Why are ye troubled? and why do thoughts arise in your hearts? Behold my hands and my feet, that it is I myself: handle me, and see; for a spirit hath not flesh and bones, as ye see me have” (Luke 24:38-39).
I. Passing the Torch (B) B.Confidence in the Next Generation Despite the fact that John wrote his first epistle with an eye toward the heretics, his main concern was pastoral—cultivating, strengthening, and equipping the true believers who remained faithful to the apostolic doctrine. Although the church was facing a disturbing situation, John had not given up hope. He was confident that believers from the next generation would be willing and able to receive the torch of truth.
I. Passing the Torch (B) John directly addressed and uplifted the recipients of his letters. He twice mentioned the aim of his remarks as being to “little children,” “fathers,” and “young men.” The precise identity of these groups is not entirely clear. Several times, he called his entire audience “little children,” but it is unclear whether he was referring to age groups or levels of spiritual maturity.
I. Passing the Torch (B) What is clear, however, is that John encouraged his audience by drawing attention to their positive attributes. Paul used this approach before making a request of Philemon, and John used the same approach before making a request of Gaius. (See Philemon 4-7; III John 3-6.)
I. Passing the Torch (B) John edified the believers by affirming their spiritual state or condition (I John 2:12-14). They had received forgiveness of sins, despite the contrary allegations of the heretics. Furthermore, John noted three times in the passage that they knew God, implying a certain and intimate experience with Him.
I. Passing the Torch (B) While the church was experiencing a crisis, John was attempting to cultivate an attitude of certainty by reminding them of their intimate understanding of God. John likewise bolstered the confidence of the believers’ relationship to God and truth through the expression “we know.” (See I John 2:3; 3:2; 4:6, 13; 5:2, 18-20.)
I. Passing the Torch (B) Many years earlier, Nicodemus had approached Jesus with an air of self-assurance: “Rabbi, we know that thou art a teacher come from God” (John 3:2). Soon Nicodemus’s apparent confidence was shattered as he failed to comprehend a concept as elementary as the new-birth experience (John 3:3- 9).
I. Passing the Torch (B) Jesus called him to task for this failure: “Art thou a master of Israel, and knowest not these things?” (John 3:10). Jesus continued, “We speak that we do know, and testify that we have seen” (John 3:11). Following in the steps of his Master, John confidently affirmed in his first epistle that “we know,” despite the arrogant claims of his opponents.
I. Passing the Torch (B) John also acknowledged the victory that God’s children had experienced. (See I John 2:12-14.) They may have felt discouraged, and it may have seemed as though they had lost the battle. However, John saw them in a different light. Far from being defeated, they had conquered the enemy!
I. Passing the Torch (B) John reminded them, “Ye are strong, and the word of God abideth in you, and ye have overcome the wicked one” (I John 2:14). He reminded them later in the epistle that exercising faith or confidence in God is the key to triumphant Christian living (I John 5:4).
II. Overcoming the World and Sin (A) Overcoming the World and Sin Who was this “wicked one” that the believers had overcome? In other places in John’s writings, he referred to the enemy by designations such as Satan (John 13:27), the devil (I John 3:8, 10), or the Antichrist (I John 2:18, 22; 4:3).
II. Overcoming the World and Sin (A) However, evil is not so much a spiritual figure or even an individual that one can clearly identify. (See I John 2:15-18.) Rather, it is the entire system of beliefs and practices controlled by the forces of evil, namely the world (Greek, kosmos). Certainly, this system is at odds with all for which God stands.
II. Overcoming the World and Sin (A) A.Love Not the World John admonished, “Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world. If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him” (I John 2:15). To remain victorious, a believer has to detach himself from worldly desires and remain allied to the things of God.
II. Overcoming the World and Sin (A) The world sends out a magnetic-like force that is constantly trying to pull us in its direction, and we should reject and oppose its principles and resist its enticements. Moreover, to “love the world” is tantamount to being devoid of the indwelling of the Father’s love (I John 2:15).
II. Overcoming the World and Sin (A) John categorized the three major elements of worldliness that manifest themselves in improper behaviors and attitudes: (1)the lust of the flesh, (2)the lust of the eyes, and (3)the pride of life (I John 2:16).
II. Overcoming the World and Sin (A) The primary reason that we should avoid these allurements and “heart conditions” is to please God so that we can abide with Him forever. (See I John 2:17.) As Paul reminded the Corinthians who struggled with the immoral society around them, “Flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God” (I Corinthians 15:50).
II. Overcoming the World and Sin (A) Furthermore, Paul admonished the Colossians to “set [their] affection on things above, not on things on the earth” (Colossians 3:2). They were to “mortify therefore [their] members which are upon the earth; fornication, uncleanness, inordinate affection, evil concupiscence, and covetousness, which is idolatry” (Colossians 3:5).
II. Overcoming the World and Sin (A) Such wicked and indulgent behaviors corrupt people and tie them down to the evil, earthy system, which in turn disqualifies them from inheriting eternal life. We should not allow such lusts and desires to control us, “for whatsoever is born of God overcometh the world” (I John 5:4).
II. Overcoming the World and Sin (B) B.Sin Not John made it clear that sin does not characterize the life of a Christian. Those believing in God should not sin, although they might occasionally succumb to temptation, in which case they should repent and experience God’s forgiveness (I John 2:1-2). A true Christian will not follow a lifestyle consistently marked by evil thoughts and practices. To sin is to violate God’s commandments, “for sin is the transgression of the law” (I John 3:4).
II. Overcoming the World and Sin (B) Our Savior was not only sinless (otherwise He would have been disqualified), but He came for the very purpose of removing our sins (I John 3:5). Therefore, the person who remains in God does not habitually sin (I John 3:6; Greek present tense, meaning here “continually or customarily sinning”). Despite what others may claim, sin is sin, and the way someone lives does indeed matter.
II. Overcoming the World and Sin (B) The lifestyle that one follows identifies his spiritual condition. In addition, the characteristics of a person’s way of life reveal that person’s spiritual parentage. The devil’s children sin, whereas God’s children do not (in a habitual sense) (I John 3:7- 10). God’s offspring reject a life exemplified by sin, persevere in a righteous walk with God, and as long as they abide in God are exempt from being tainted by the devil’s hand (I John 5:18). They are effectively rendered off-limits to Satan’s wicked touch!
III. Standing Firm in the Truth (A) Standing Firm in the Truth In informing his audience about the dangers posed by heretics, John admonished them to remain in the truth, a major theme of emphasis in John’s epistles. (See I John 1:6, 8; 2:4, 21, 27; 3:18-19; 4:6; 5:6; II John 1, 3, 4; III John 1, 3-4.) John rejoiced to learn that his spiritual children walked in truth. Moreover, He admonished Gaius to assist and show hospitality to traveling missionaries, for in so doing he would be supporting the truth (III John 5-8).
III. Standing Firm in the Truth (A) A.Recognizing Truth One reason John was confident his audience would remain in the truth was that they possessed “an unction from the Holy One” (I John 2:20) that remained with them. This unction or anointing (Greek, charisma) instructed them in God’s ways and helped them discern good from evil, and truth from falsehood. (See I John 2:27.)
III. Standing Firm in the Truth (A) When Jesus addressed His disciples in His farewell discourse, they became anxious upon hearing the shocking news that He would depart from them (John 14:1). Yet, he reassured them by noting that the Comforter (Greek, parakletos) would come and abide with them (John 14:16-18; 16:7). This Comforter was the Holy Ghost, who would teach “all things, and bring all things to your remembrance, whatsoever I have said unto you” (John 14:26).
III. Standing Firm in the Truth (A) Years later, John reminded the recipients of his first epistle that the Comforter—the unction or divine presence of God—was present with and guiding them in truth as they faced heretics who tried to sway them from the truth.
III. Standing Firm in the Truth (A) God’s people were not to be gullible and be persuaded by every self-proclaimed prophet (I John 4:1). Yet, how exactly could they distinguish who was propagating truth from who was peddling false doctrine? One way that Jesus had given was to examine the prophet’s lifestyle:
III. Standing Firm in the Truth (A) “Beware of false prophets, which come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ravening wolves. Ye shall know them by their fruits” (Matthew 7:15-16). Jesus thus offered an ethical or moral means to recognize a false prophet.
III. Standing Firm in the Truth (A) The apostle John also provided his recipients with a two-fold doctrinal test. First, if someone denied “that Jesus is the Christ,” that person was “a liar” and “antichrist,” and did not possess the Father (I John 2:22-23). Second, if someone did not confess “that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh,” they were not of God but were deceivers and had the antichrist spirit (I John 4:2-3; II John 7). Those who failed this test were clearly revealed for who they were—heretics.
III. Standing Firm in the Truth (A) On the other hand, those who both affirmed that “Jesus is the Christ” (I John 5:1) and confessed “that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh” (I John 4:2) were of God. God’s children and the devil’s children were thereby differentiated by means of a Christological test. A prophet’s view and understanding of Jesus were all-important in determining his spiritual origin.
III. Standing Firm in the Truth (B) B.Leaving Truth Knowing how to distinguish a genuine prophet from a false one was an especially timely concern to those whom John addressed in his epistles, for a group had recently seceded from that Christian community, causing a rift or schism. John declared that their leaving the church proved they were counterfeits all along. (See I John 2:19.)
III. Standing Firm in the Truth (B) Interestingly, John used the same word here when he noted that “they went out” (Greek, exerchomai) as he used to narrate when Judas—after Satan entered his heart (John 13:27)—“went... out” into the night to betray Jesus (John 13:30).
III. Standing Firm in the Truth (B) Judas was a prototype of the secessionists, for both broke fellowship with the truth. John noted that the secessionists were antichrists, and their departure simply confirmed that mankind was living in “the last time” (I John 2:18). The presence of these ungodly, false teachers was another sign that the end of the ages was drawing near (Jude 18-19).
III. Standing Firm in the Truth (B) The danger posed by these divisive teachers was more serious because of their effort to secure inroads back into the church. They apparently were traveling from house to house, propagating their false views and trying to mislead the faithful people of God. They were looking for a platform from which to declare their novel approach to “truth.”
III. Standing Firm in the Truth (B) John wished to block the efforts of these false teachers before they could wreak too much damage. They must not be allowed to encroach upon the church. In this regard, John wrote his second epistle to “the elect lady and her children” (II John 1), likely a symbolic reference to the members of a nearby house church. The secessionists apparently had not arrived there yet, so John warned the church that they were on their way. He advised the following measures:
III. Standing Firm in the Truth (B) 1. Continue walking in God’s commands (II John 6). 2. Beware of deceivers or antichrists who deny that “Jesus Christ is come in the flesh” (II John 7) and have departed from “the doctrine of Christ” (II John 9). These were dangerous people who would try to rob them spiritually (II John 8). 3. Show them no hospitality. They were not to receive such a person into their house church or even to “welcome him” (II John 10, NIV), for if they did, they were in essence supporting and participating in his wickedness (II John 11).
III. Standing Firm in the Truth (B) While these measures may seem drastic and even callous, they were imperative since these secessionists were God’s enemies—agents of Satan—propagating false doctrine. John had to protect the churches from their influence.
IV. Maintaining Hope for the Future Maintaining Hope for the Future The Book of Revelation occupies the last place in the biblical collection or canon, and closes the Bible with a note of finality. Its final thoughts warn against tampering with the text of the book by adding to or subtracting from it (Revelation 22:18- 19), remind the reader of Christ’s soon return (Revelation 22:20), and end with a farewell greeting featuring a wish for grace (Revelation 22:21).
IV. Maintaining Hope for the Future John wrote the Book of Revelation, also known as the Apocalypse (from the first word of the book in Greek, apokalupsis), which consists of a series of oracles and visions that he received while incarcerated on the Aegean island of Patmos. He was exiled there “for the word of God, and for the testimony of Jesus Christ” (Revelation 1:9).
IV. Maintaining Hope for the Future Due to its sometimes bizarre, shocking imagery and strange, otherworldly references, the Book of Revelation has been a particularly difficult book to interpret. Because some have sensationalized and even abused its contents, many Christians have avoided studying it altogether. Although the book may be controversial, the Lord pronounced a blessing on all who read and obey the Book of Revelation (Revelation 1:3).
IV. Maintaining Hope for the Future Attempting to understand its details may be frustrating at times, but the central message of the Book of Revelation is clear: Jesus Christ is sovereign, and He will return to vindicate and reward His children and to judge the earth (Revelation 1:5-7). This two-fold theme is like a two-sided coin:
IV. Maintaining Hope for the Future (1)it is both a message of promise and comfort to the redeemed and (2)a message of admonition and warning to the unrepentant. As Paul made clear in his letter to the Romans: “Behold therefore the goodness and severity of God: on them which fell, severity; but toward thee, goodness, if thou continue in his goodness: otherwise thou also shalt be cut off” (Romans 11:22).
IV. Maintaining Hope for the Future (A) A.Judgment of God Part of the message that the Book of Revelation conveyed was that God is righteous and He will bring judgment upon a world in rebellion (Revelation 16:5-7). Even God’s unrepentant children are not exempt from judgment. Like Pharaoh, who resisted God’s plan to redeem Israel from Egyptian slavery and repeatedly hardened his heart, judgment will fall upon those who defy God’s will and refuse to repent of their wickedness (Revelation 9:20-21).
IV. Maintaining Hope for the Future (A) In fact, many of the plagues described by the book parallel those narrated in the Exodus story. (Compare, for instance, the first five trumpets of Revelation 8:7-11 and the first five vials of Revelation 16:1-11 with the corresponding plagues on Egypt in Exodus 7:14-10:29.) For the unrepentant person, the dreadful Day of the Lord— in which God sends plagues on the earth—will arrive.
Revelation 6:15-17 “And the kings of the earth, and the great men, and the rich men, and the chief captains, and the mighty men, and every bondman, and every free man, hid themselves... and said... hide us from the face of him that sitteth on the throne, and from the wrath of the Lamb: for the great day of his wrath is come; and who shall be able to stand?” (Revelation 6:15-17).
IV. Maintaining Hope for the Future (B) B.A New Jerusalem and Eternal Life Those who are redeemed will consist of “a great multitude, which no man could number, of all nations, and kindreds, and people, and tongues” (Revelation 7:9). “These are they which came out of great tribulation, and have washed their robes, and made them white in the blood of the Lamb” (Revelation 7:14). God will reward this throng with eternal life in His presence forever, and never again will they be hungry, thirsty, oppressed by heat, or sad (Revelation 7:15-17).
IV. Maintaining Hope for the Future (B) Furthermore, they will not have to endure the Great White Throne Judgment (Revelation 20:11-15), but they will experience the bliss of the New Jerusalem (Revelation 21:9-22:5) where “they shall reign for ever and ever” (Revelation 22:5). Thank God for His salvation!
Reflections God spared the apostle John from death to minister to His people during the momentous changes that occurred near the conclusion of the first century. During this period, John penned his epistles and the Book of Revelation, the last word of the biblical canon. As the last living apostle and eyewitness to the events of Jesus’ life, John passed on the torch of truth to the next generation.
Reflections He expressed his confidence in the people of God, admonished them to avoid sin and a love for the world, and encouraged them to stand firm against heresies. For those who remained faithful, God promised eternal life.
Reflections While many centuries have passed since John was commanded to take up his pen and write, God’s promises are still for us today!