Session 6: 1 John Commentary

We encourage you to have each disciple read 1 John and have follow up conversations with it.  It is a great opening to them truly understanding what the Gospel is and how we are supposed to live our lives.  This will set the tone and a firm foundation as you continue your walk together. Feel free to walk along side them as you read it together or have them read it alone and do follow up discussions to ensure they have a good understanding of what they read. Below is a walkthrough guide to support you as you navigate the scripture with your disciple. 

1 John: Written by the Apostle John

This book was written about 50 years after the ascension of Jesus (about 85AD) during a time when the secular world was trying to break up the church. 

  • Take Aways:

    V. 1-4: John takes these first few verses to overly emphasize that everything he is going to be speaking about is things he has personally experienced. This is not just here-say or his thoughts on the matter, this is relationship with God through Jesus upon encounter, not knowledge. Each of us have had unique experiences with Christ that have shaped our relationships. We proclaim what we experienced. Your experiences give more credence (believability and impact) to your testimony. We each are uniquely qualified to share based on our experiences. There is power in your testimony. 

    V. 5: John starts his message saying this is what I received from Him and these are not my own ideas. He's not adding anything extra, just sharing what was shared with him by Jesus.  So often we tell people about Jesus and we try to throw in our own ideas too.  Or we share the parts we agree with and dismiss the parts we don't. The word of God is not written in pencil for us to erase or change.  It is written in ink with the expectation that we should be the ones to change to its will.  

    V. 7: John is calling us to walk in the light. There are 3 things that will occur when we remain in the light with God. 

    1. We will have fellowship with one another.  When we walk in the light we flock to those who are also in the light.
    2. We walk in relationship with God. 
    3. We will be purified of all sin through the blood of Jesus. 

    V. 8-10: Self righteousness is a trap for us to fall into. It can be very easy for us to get to a place where we feel like we are good. See Proverbs 20:9, Who can say I have kept my heart pure, I am clean and without sin. We have to be aware of where we are and see the flaws in us so we can confess those sins (James 5:16) to be forgiven and be purified of all unrighteousness. I have to truly repent from the heart.

    Picture a magnified vanity mirror with lights around it.  From a distance, everything looks okay.  As you draw closer and closer to it you will begin to notice more and more flaws in yourself. (pores, bumps, etc...) You have not changed, but your imperfections have been exposed in the light.  This is what its like when you draw closer to God and walk in the light.  What once we thought was okay in low light become exposed in the bright lights and get purified as we confess and repent. (This is the process of Sanctification)

    Chapter Recap:

    After my initial encounter with Jesus, I am proclaiming to people my experience with him. But that’s just the beginning not the end. We have to choose to walk in the light everyday. In doing so, we will walk humbly, recognizing our sin and our need for a savior.  As we walk in the light the more sin we will see, allowing us to be purified of such sin so we can walk more and more in the image of Christ. Only those who are remaining in Him (in the light) will see the truth of who it is they are. 

    Application Questions:

    1. How can your personal testimony be used to reach other people?
    2. Do you feel you are walking in the light as John shares with us in v 5-7?
    3. What areas to you feel you are not walking in the light?
    4. Considering verse 9, how has confession of sin helped you walk away from that sin?
  • Take Aways:

    V. 1-2: This may seem to be a contradiction to verse 1:10, but it is a reiteration that we should have a desire to walk in the light. John knows that we are unrighteous people and reminds us that we have a need for a forgiver and our acceptance to follow Christ atones for our sins and anyone else who chooses to follow HIm. 

    V. 3-5: John repeats what he said in his Gospel verse 14:15. Love is not a feeling, but love is an action. To truly love is to act upon the feelings that you are proclaiming. EG. If you claim you love your spouse, but only see them a couple times a week, never show them affection, never do the things they ask of you, and never desire to make them happy, it would be a challenge to say that you really truly loved them. No matter what you say. 

    V. 6: To live as Jesus did means to constantly be doing the will of the father and to constantly be in the light. Consider Matt 7:21-23Not only is Jesus our savior, but he is our example. He is authority and servant. He surrendered to the fathers authority, to the fathers love for the people, and to the fathers mission. Her holds authority over us and gives us the example of what servitude looks like. I must submit, love, and be on mission as He is. 

    V. 7-11: The way we love one another shows who we are in Christ and shows we are his disciples. See John 13:35. He says nothing will make us stumble in the light, but unforgiveness takes us out of the light and pulls us in the darkness. He points to a very important truth he told his disciples about forgiveness. Matt 6:14-15

    What does it look like to love others as Christ loved us?

    V. 12-14: John takes a slight turn in the way he presents his message here. In this section he gives address to different ages in a 6 line poem.  He wrote it this way to get your attention and to put emphasis on it. There is something for all of us, we all need to hear it. He wants us all to know that we can overcome sin that can negatively impact their fellowship with god and each other. He lists the three (spiritual) maturity stages as follows: 

    1. Little children: brand new Christians who have been forgiven and are learning how to live.
    2. Young men: those Christians who have been battling and growing; fighting the world to be with God. 
    3. Fathers: mature Christians who have had little children and young men disciples of their own. They have learned the truth and work to share it with others. 

    V. 15-17: He shows again his purpose for writing the book as people are getting lured away.  The world will lure us away.

    3 ways the world will lure us out of the light and into the darkness:

    1. lusts of the flesh: satisfying things such as improper sexual desire, overindulgence (gluttony), or laziness (sloth).  
    2. Lust of the eyes: pornography, jealousy, coveting others things (trucks, boats, jobs, spouses...)
    3. Pride of Life: It could be materialistic things... our toys, our status, the things we have to show for us, the position we have (job or communal). 

    Anything that will not continue on in the kingdom of heaven is not of this world and we should not have love for it. 1 Peter 2:11-12 says we should live as aliens in this world, not comrades. We should always desire to do Gods will, not our own will. 

    V. 18-23 John is speaking now about people who were in the church who were lured away into the world and against the teachings of Christ.  He’s saying if any are lured away, they never were truly in Him. They were in essence wolves in sheep's clothings. For if you are in him you have to remain in him.  With this comes the presence of the Holy Spirit in your life. The One that will continually give you truth. 

    V. 24-27: Consider John 15:5. It takes intentionality to stay connected. It takes prayer, reading the Bible, and community. These are the ways you communicate and fellowship with God. John reminds us here that all of this leads to what was promised, eternal life. (Titus 1:2) So continue your fellowship with the Holy Spirit. He is our teacher, sustainer, keeper. John 10:4-5 My sheep know my voice. The Holy Spirit is the one who leads us, so if we are being led astray and can’t hear him, it is our desires doing the leading.  We need to go back and check ourselves and course correct. 

    V. 29: Our actions show our hearts. John tells us we can see who is born of HIm (or born again or saved) by who is doing what is right.  It is not by a prayer or a mere admittance of repent and belief, but belief is shown through the actions of those made righteous by the one who has always been righteous. 

    Chapter Recap:

    Everything starts with Jesus. He is our savior and redeemer. Our love for Him is shown through our willingness to follow his commands. One of which is loving others. If we hate others, it shows we don't truly have love for God. We have to love God to be able to truly love others and we must love others to show we truly love God. No matter where we are in our spiritual maturity, the message is the same for all of us. We are to focus our eyes firmly on things of God and not of the world. As the things of this world die, we will too if we follow them. There are going to be many who try to steer us away. Claiming they know the truth. We have to remember the truth only comes from God and is bestowed on us by the Holy Spirit. The Spirit is always the one that reveals the truth and not our own eyes, so we must always remain in God so that we will always see the truth.  Finally John reminds us that our evidence of someone who is remaining in Christ is shown through their actions. 

    Application Questions:

    1. What are areas of your life you need to surrender to gods will in?
    2. What areas of your life are you still worldly in?
    3. What is the Holy Spirit telling you?
    4. If the Holy Spirit isn’t talking to you, why not. Are you plugged in and connected?

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