1 John 2:18-27
The reality of deception and spiritual warfare is not fringe and sensational, it's ordinary and everyday. John says in v. 21 that he's writing because of those who trying to "deceive" you. This is a constant threat which we must guard against vigilantly and diligently.
The primary nature of that deception is to diminish the glory and worth of Jesus (v. 21).
John's statement in v. 27 doesn't denounce all teaching, it's denouncing all teaching that diverges from the gospel. This has to be the case because if John is denouncing our need for any teaching at all, than there is no reason we should listen to that particular teaching.
The grounds for assurance of salvation is not open profession of faith, but the observable presence of the Spirit (v. 20). John, like Paul in the book of Acts isn't assuring anyone of salvation just because they said a prayer or made a confession. The NT writers indicate the importance of assurance of salvation, but it's always rooted in the Spirit's presence and power in us and transforming us.
What do you believe about Jesus? Write a paragraph confessing what you believe about Jesus (v. 22-23). Consider, and maybe ask someone you trust, if what you believe lines up with what Jesus claims and the Bible says.
In what ways is the Spirit's presence and power observable in your life?
In what ways do you see the infinite worth of Jesus diminished in your own heart, mind and life? How will you treasure Christ today and ascribe worth to him?
Wisdom is personified throughout this chapter and speaks in the first person. Write one sentence summarizing each of these 4 sections:
v. 1-11 - The character of what wisdom speaks.
v. 12-21 - How wisdom relates to peoples.
v. 22-31 - How wisdom impacts your work.
v. 32-36 - The importance of wisdom to your life.
1 John 2:28-3:3
We tend to get caught up in whatever is right in front of us. Our immediate circumstances exert control over us. The meeting we're about to have with our boss awakens fear. The argument we just had with our spouse arouses anger. The news we just got about someone's health leads to anxiety. The gift we just received leaves us on cloud nine. We ride the wave of emotions and are prisoners of the emotional moment. But John says "abide" in Jesus. What's happening at any moment is real, but let the reality of Christ's love for you and grace to you be the defining reality of each moment. 2 Questions:
v. 28-29 - What might it look like for you to live each moment in view of Jesus' return at any moment?
v. 1-3 - What might it look like for you to live each moment today as if you are completely love by God?
"My deepest awareness of myself is that I am deeply loved by Jesus Christ and I have done nothing to earn or deserve it." - Brennan Manning
This chapter contrasts 2 women - the woman wisdom and the woman folly. Make two columns and list 7-10 characteristics of each "woman".
1 John 3:4-10 A few thoughts:
Sin is Lawlessness The gospel frees us from rigid legalism. Praise Jesus for that. Because legalism is so destructive and in conflict with the gospel, law tends to get a bad rap. Notice this, that Law is not sin. Lawlessness is sin. The law is good. It brings structure and clarity. It creates standards for the sake of safety, and a framework for people to flourish. Law is not our problem, but lawlessness.
Righteousness is Law Righteousness on the other is the keeping of the law. All the chaos that lawlessness brings, law intends to put in order. The law is exists and is enforced for our benefit, and those who keep the law, do so to their own benefit and the benefit of others. The problem is 1 John 1:8,10, which tells us we're all sinners; we're all lawless.
Grace is Life 1 John 3:10 tells us those who do "not practice righteousness are not of God." Because of our struggle with sin, this is a damning statement from John. Only the fullness of Jesus, and grace upon grace, can keep us from despair here. In Jesus, by grace, the death sentence for our lawlesness is served. In Jesus, by grace, the righteous requirement of the law is satisfied. In Jesus, by grace, lawless men and women like us, are forgiven sin, freed from the law, and fueled for obedience to the law that once bore witness against us.
Read today's blog "Two New Ways To Think About Sin", for a deeper and helpful analysis of this text.
From v. 8, 14 & 31, what is describe the relationship between wisdom and words.
1 John 3:11-15
2 Key Things:
John summarizes the message God has been sending from the beginning. All the commands of God, and the whoel law of God is intended to lead us into loving one another.
Everyone in our culture, even the most devout secularists, celebrates and affirms the ideal of love. Ultimately, though, the command to love one another is still just a summary of the law. It sounds better and more beautiful than "obey the law," but it's just a catch all for what the law intends. And the law, however it may be packaged, is still powerless to save. The law still condemns and accuses us because we are remain unable to keep the law. The ideal of love and the command to love cannot produce in us what it requires of us.
Here's an experiment... try to love today. Just love everyone. In other words, see how you do trying to value everyone in your life over yoruself today, and do everything within your power to make life better for those around you, even if at some expense to yourself.
- Righteousness is referred to in 12 out of 31 verses in this chapter. Wickedness is mentioned 8 more times. v. 29 says again that wisdom linked to the heart. It seems that wisdom and folly are the internal realities, the seeds which produce the outward realities of righteousness and wickedness.
1 John 3:16-24
How did yesterday go? Did you love everyone perfectly? Yeah, did I. But today, v. 16... that's where life is found. Just let v. 16 wash over you today. "He laid down his life for us."
John clarifies something in this text. We cannot simply love as we are commanded to. We will not be able to love others if we do not abide in the love of Christ toward us. v. 23 joins the command to love one another to the command "believe in the name of His Son Jesus Christ..."
That's why v. 24 also says that "whoever keeps his commandments abides in God, and God in him." Our obedience flows from believing the total obedience of Jesus for us. Our love for one another flows from faith in the love of Christ for us.
Try this today... meditate all day on the love of Jesus for you. Consider your guilt and his grace; your rebellion and his redemption. As your day unfolds, make your aim to focus on the mercy of Jesus, and the total acceptance you have in Jesus.
- v. 15-16 - How are you at listening to advice and overlooking insults or offenses?
- v. 18 - Sarcasm is so rampant in our lives. Focu today on using your words to bring "healing" rather than "sword thrusts".
- Proverbs 12 spoke of listening to advice. The danger there is listening to unwise advice, of which there is plenty. In 13:20, Solomon says, "He who walks with the wise grows wise, but a companion of fools suffers harm." Wise people hang out with wise people. Are you surrounding yourself with wise friends? Are their wise people in your life you may consider spending more time with?
- v. 8 and 14 - Does your life reflect intentionality and thoughtful consideration, or impulsiveness? Are you pursuing some vision for your life, or is life just happening to you?