1 John 1:1-4
- Read through the text and identify 15 things these 4 verses reveal about Jesus
- Identify 20 Characteristics of Wisdom from this opening Chapter of Proverbs
1 John 1:5-10
- John contrasts the walking in light v. walking in darkness: What are the benefits of walking in the actual day light? What are the dangers of walking in actual complete darkness? Within the metaphor John is using, what does it mean to walk in darkness v. walking in the light?
2 Insights for your consideration:
You cannot enjoy the benefits of union with Jesus if you cherish and protect your sin.
Truth is not something we simply profess or proclaim, it’s something we practice (v. 6) Our pattern of life will either confirm that we really do believe the gospel is ultimate reality, or, our pattern of life will reveal that we believe in another “truth” more deeper deeply than the gospel.
Consider the following questions:
- Where does wisdom come from? v. 6
- Where does wisdom take root in our lives? v. 10
- By what means is wisdom attained? v. 1-5
- What are the benefits of wisdom? v. 6-15
- What does wisdom spare us from, or the lack of wisdom make us vulnerable to? v. 16-19
1 John 2:1-6
- John continues to speak to the dangers of a duplicitous life, a life that professes to follow Jesus but which bares no resemblance to Jesus. John calls Jesus, the Righteous. How does the righteousness of Christ work with the forgiveness of Christ to justify sinners? Why are both necessary?
- What seems to be the connection between the love of God for us, and our obedience to God?
Proverbs 3 This chapter is a treasure trove… read it slow. Breathe it in. There are incredibly rich truths in virtually ever verse in this text. Because our theme for January is Wisdom, let me hone in on 2 sections with a couple of questions for you to consider:
- What is the relationship between wisdom and humility? Particularly in v. 1-12, identify at least 5 ways these are tied to each other.
1 John 2:7-14
v. 7, John says he is writing “no new commandment,” but one that has been “from the beginning.” However, in v. 8, he is says “it is a new commandment that I am writing to you.” What is the “old” commandment, and in what we is it “new”? How can both be true?
If the state of our relationships and our hearts toward those in the family of God is a primary indicator, where are you walking right now?
Are there any relationships in your church family or with other followers of Jesus that could be defined by avoidance, irritation, coldness or hostility? What would God have you do to turn your heart toward them, and thus toward Him and the light?
3 insights that I find helpful and instructive based on v. 12-14:
The two addresses to “little children,” suggest to me that children and adolescents need fear and insecurity alleviated, and assurances of the Father’s love for them, and that’s it not because of them, but because of Jesus (for his name’s sake v. 12).
The two addresses to “young men,” indicate that young men (and women too) are prone to feeling defeated and weakened and getting overwhelmed by life. They are tempted to give in to despair and discouragement. They need to be encouraged, championed, reminded of their gospel identity, and the power of Christ in them.
The two addresses to “fathers,” tells me that more seasoned men and women can grow tired of and calloused to the gospel over time. They can lose their wonder and awe and passion. They need to be reminded to hold fast and firm to their faith, to guard against apathy and drift, and to keep to the old roads that have proven true.
Perhaps you see yourself in one of those three stages, and you can also see that our struggles aren’t new. I wonder if this might help enhance our own self-awareness, emboldened our own self-disclosure, and guide us in how to encourage and one another.
We know that wisdom comes from God, but based on this chapter, God uses fathers and mothers as a normal means to impart wisdom to a young person. Certainly some of us have wise parents, but some don’t. Even for those who don’t, wisdom is still learned typically through the teaching, instruction and the example of others in our lives. Two things to reflect on:
From who have you most learned wisdom in life? Write a note, send a text, make a phone call or something to communicate with one or more of those people who you have learned wisdom from.
Who is in your life that you can learn wisdom from? Take the step today of telling them you appreciate their wisdom, their example (or whatever) and expressing a desire to learn wisdom from them. (This may be whole life related, or it may be in just a certain area of life.)
I John 2:15-17
- John speaks of “the world” in it’s negative sense - the systems, structures, values, beliefs, morality, etc. that run counter to the Kingdom of God. He describes what that includes in v. 16 and John’s instruction is not to love it - don’t value, embrace, cherish and internalize or hold worldly things as dear to you. We all struggle with some element of this. So what aspects of “the world” do you cling tightly to, set your affections on, identify with?
- Whatever those worldly loves are for you, take 1 or 2 of them, and let’s pretend you attain them. Follow that out… what impact will that have on your soul, your ego, your character, your relationships with God and others, etc.? In what ways can you see the truth that those things are passing away (they won’t last or satisfy)?
Take some time to repent today of those misplaced loves and how they’ve take root in your heart and done damage in your life. Ask the Spirit to rid you of those loves and to orient your heart toward Jesus.
- All of Chapters 5 and 7, and much of Chapter 6, focus on the “adulterous” woman. How does wisdom play into sexual purity?
- If you were take the warning of wisdom in this chapter, what would change immediately in your life? If you were wise enough to see the existential threat that sexual immorality is to your soul, and to be honest about your vulnerability to temptation, what changes would you make to your life?
Proverbs pays a disproportionate amount of attention to this issue, because it has disproportionate control and influence in our lives. The destruction of men, women and children, of marriages, families and societies is incalculable. TAKE THIS SERIOUSLY.
Sexual immorality, adultery, fornication, pornography and lust, in countless forms, is calling out from the street corners. What steps do you need to take this week to silence and turn it away. Linking the wisdom of Proverbs to the truth of 1 John, what do you need to do to walk in the light, confess sin, flee from darkness, walk in the truth, etc. Start this year off by refusing to this issue be a hidden and secret struggle. Drag it into the light, drench it the blood of Jesus, and give God room to work through His Spirit, His word and His people.