Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Wednesday is 1 John Day!

God has blessed me this week! I could go on forever on the blessings he has bestowed, but I didn't realize how much I'd grow just by reading a short book every day of the week. Not only is it helping me reach my goal of reading the Bible in a year, but it's also drawing me closer in my relationship with God as I learn more about Him.

Monday I was able to cross Titus off my list, Tuesday Philemon and today I can cross off 1 John! If you want to see what I wrote for the others check out these links:
In the mean time, here are my notes from 1 John:

This book took so much longer to write about because there's SO MUCH TO IT! In all honesty, this should've been a 2 day study, especially since today was a busy one... but I was amazed at what 1 John had to offer.

Author: Obviously, it's John. However, I really struggled coming up with which John on my own. I knew of two John's: John the Baptist and John, Jesus' disciple. My immediate guess was John, Jesus' disciple. So after this guess I went and looked in my first Bible I had as a child that has author, purpose, theme, categories written in it before each book and also in Kyle's study Bible. Both agreed that it was John, Jesus' disciple. E-Sword commentaries also agreed. So I'm going to stick with my original guess. This is what I know about him: He was the "beloved disciple," he stood at the cross as Jesus was crucified, Jesus called Mary his mother and John her son - so Jesus entrusted John to the caring of his mother here on earth, and he saw Jesus resurrected.

Audience: John keeps talking to his audience using the pronouns we, our, us, and you. He also refers to his audience as children quite frequently. He does not say any one name specifically. If you read chapter 2, verse 12-14 he says he is writing to children, fathers, and young men. He also gives the reason why! My immediate guess was that John was writing to everyone who has life because of Jesus Christ. This didn't strike me as a letter written to a specific individual or a church, that's why I think it's written for Christians as a whole.

Purpose: Chapter 2, verse 1 stuck out to me because of John's choice of words: "I am writing these things to you so that you...." It's basically stating, "I'm writing this because..." or "This is why I'm writing this...." No matter how you state it, it definitely strikes me as the "why" or the purpose behind his writing. "My little children, I am writing these things to you so that you may not sin. But if anyone does sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous." (2:1) HOWEVER, chapter 1, verse 5 is also promising because John begins the statement with "This is the message we have heard from him and proclaim to you..." John was Jesus' disciple and was witness to His miracles, teachings, death, and resurrection, so it would make since that John's purpose is to share with us Jesus' message. (???) "This is the message we have heard from him and proclaim to you, that God is light, and in him is no darkness at all." (1:5) Thankfully, the two verses connect. Jesus = light = life. If we do not sin we are in His light, however, Jesus is life (light) and because he died for our sins we have life. ALSO, 2:12-14 begins with "I am writing to you... because..." or "I write to you... because..." Ugh. I'm really struggling with finding the exact purpose verse (if you couldn't already tell). If you read that little poem, it all goes back to the same message of the previous verses: we are sinners, we are forgiven, Jesus has existed from the beginning of time, etc. John also restates the purpose in 5:13, "I write these things to you who believe in the name of the Son of God that you may know that you have enternal life." Perhaps he is just repeating the purpose over and over again so there is no question to the reader why he wrote the book. So despite the fact I can't pick one of these, thankfully, I can go back and connect the verses, and it all relates to Jesus being LIFE and Christians need to follow in His perfect example.

Observations & Applications:
  • This is by far my favorite observation! 1 John 1:1 is similar to John 1:1 and Genesis 1:1...
    • 1 John 1:1, "That which was from the beginning, which we have heard, which we have seen with our eyes, which we looked upon and have touched with our hands, concerning the word of life -"
    • John 1:1, "In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God."
    • Genesis 1:1-3, "In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth. The earth was without form and void, and darkness was over the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God was hovering over the face of the waters. And God said,"
    • The connections here AMAZE me! I get goosebumps thinking about it and my fingers cannot type fast enough! In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth, with what? Well, he SAID it, with his WORD. The other aspect you must think about is this: the Spirit of God was hovering over the face of the waters! The trinity is already mentioned in the first chapter of the Bible - in the beginning. So that means God, aka Jesus, aka the Holy Spirit created the earth with His Word! So in John 1 he capitalized Word because God was the Word, He said it and it came to be! Now in 1 John the author reiterates this amazing concept that Jesus IS GOD because from the beginning "... life was made manifest..." JESUS IS LIFE! He created life in the beginning and His whole plan was to give us life through HIM! Wow, thank you Jesus for opening my eyes to that amazing connection!
  • I think of that first paragraph where John talks about "seeing with our own eyes," and being able to "testify" to it, and "proclaim it" and realized that because of his discipleship process WITH Jesus himself, following him, watching his miraculous signs unfold, seeing him crucified, being witness to his resurrection - he is MORE than qualified to talk about the life manifested to us through Jesus Christ! What an amazing opportunity and John wants to share that joy with his readers. (1:4)
  • I highlighted vs 8-10, because I remembered a sermon from our Pastor where he said, "If you don't understand how sinful you are, you will never truly understand the depth of God's grace." (I wrote it in the cover of my Bible... =) John basically says the same thing here, we must understand that we are sinners, confess our sins in order to be cleansed. Otherwise "the word" (aka Jesus) is not in us (vs 10).
  • I love 2:6, "whoever says he abides in him ought to walk in the same way in which he walked." As Christians, Jesus is our example to follow. We must live as He lived. John lays out how to do that throughout this book!
  • vs 10 gives direct instruction to Christians, in fact, John calls it a commandment, "Whoever loves his brother abides in the light, and in him there is no cause for stumbling." (This goes back to the purpose. Jesus is the way in which we should walk (the light), light = life, so if we follow the light (Jesus) we will love our brother.
  • vs 15-17 I highlighted as well. If we love the world and the things in this world, we do not have room for the Father. I struggle with this one because I do love my life. I love my husband, the fact that I'm having a baby with him, I love our house, church family, and I'm not ready to leave all that just yet. But John tells us the world is passing away along with these desires, so my one true desire should be in Jesus Christ. Not that those things listed are bad things to love, but to make them priority over being with Jesus in heaven, none should compare. With all of my heart, I do want to live my life glorifying God and that means having faith in HIS plan for my life, as it says at the end of verse 17, "... whoever does the will of God abides forever." If that means packing up and selling all my earthly possessions (because I cannot hope in this world) then I will do just that.
  • John mentions the antichrist, or "those who are trying to deceive you" in 2:18-27, but we can have confidence in "the promise that he made to us - eternal life." (2:25) and that we are not alone! If we confess with our mouth and believe in our hearts that Jesus is Lord we will be saved (Romans 10:10), by doing this we have invited the Holy Spirit to live in us. Just as John says in verse 23, "No one who denies the Son has the Father. Whoever confesses the Son has the Father also." That's such a comforting thought, but it's also a reminder of the need to be engrossed in His Word! (Remember the connection with Jesus, the creation, His Word, etc.) John says in verse 24, "Let what you heard from the beginning abide in you. If what you heard from the beginning abides in you, then you too will abide in the Son and in the Father." Which amazes me, because what was in the beginning? HIS WORD! So if we listen to God's Word and we accept Jesus Christ as our savior, we will not fall to false teachings!
  • 2:28-29 points back to the purpose: if we abide in him we will not be ashamed when we die and meet him face to face.
  • I highlighted 3:6 because once we become believers our old life disappears. The desires of the flesh are still there, yes, and it's hard to overcome those fleshly desires, but we now have hope in a new life. The goal of every believer is to live a life for Christ, so "No one who abides in him keeps on sinning..."
  • I LOVE 3:16. It goes back to the servant attitude of Christ. He became the ultimate servant in giving His life so we might live, we ought to love one another in the same way: self-less, putting others needs before our own. "By this we know love, that he laid down his life for us, and we ought to lay down our lives for the brothers."
  • Actions speak louder than words. How many times have we heard that phrase? "... let us not love in word or talk but in deed and in truth." (3:18)
  • 3:23 reiterates the new commandment mentioned back in 2:7 "And this is his commandment, that we believe in the name of his Son Jesus Christ and love one another, just as he has commanded us."
  • Chapter 4 goes back to Romans 10:10, and 2:23. If we are truly of God then the Holy Spirit abides in us, because we asked him to. If that's the case we should not be ashamed to confess that Jesus Christ is GOD. It's a good test for others to see if they are of the world or of God. I think of how many times people try to offer advice that is not of God, I live my life by God's Word. It not only helps me know Him, but it shows me how to live my life as a Christian. Filter what you hear, is it of the world? Or is it from God?
  • 4:7 goes back to 3:16 and 2:7 and it's by far one of my FAVORITE verses, "Beloved, let us love one another for love is from God, and whoever loves has been born of God and knows God. Anyone who does not love does not know God, because God is love. In this the love of God was made manifest among us, that God sent his only Son into the world, so that we might live through him." It continues to say that "... if God so loved us, we also ought to love one another." IT ALL CONNECTS! It all goes back to the purpose.
  • 4:13-15 is another connection to Romans 10:10 and 2:23!
  • "God is love, and whoever abides in love abides in God, and God abides in him." (4:16) Love it.
  • I also LOVE 4:18-19, "There is no fear in love, but perfect love casts out fear. For fear has to do with punishment, and whoever fears has not been perfected in love. We love because he first loved us." We understand love because Jesus is a perfect example of love - He died for our sins, therefore, we have no fear of the day he returns! I put a big "Yay!" in my Bible next to this verse! =)
  • (5:4-5) "For everyone who has been born of God overcomes the world. And this is the victory that has overcome the world - our faith. Who is it that overcomes the world except the one who believes that Jesus is the Son of God?" Love it.
  • Again, 5:11-12 connects with Romans 10:10, 2:23, 4:13, "... this is the testimony, that God gave us eternal life, and this life is in his Son. Whoever has the Son has life; whoever does not have the Son of God does not have life." There is no way to deny that the only way to heaven is through Jesus Christ. It's said over and over again throughout the Bible (I mean look at how many connections there are here...!). If you deny Jesus Christ, you deny God, because Jesus is God. Whoever believes in Jesus Christ will be saved.
  • 5:14-15 (Ask and you shall receive...) If we have faith (5:4-5) and live our life according to God's purpose and God's glory, we can have confidence knowing He gives what we ask for as long as it's according to His will. I probably shouldn't, for example, go buy a lottery ticket and ask God for a winning number. =)
  • The last few verses of 1 John go back to his purpose statements. Think about all the verses that began with "I am writing this so you may know..." He's reiterating the importance of not sinning, loving your brother, that we are not alone if we believe in Jesus Christ because of the Holy Spirit, and most importantly so that you know that by believing in Jesus Christ you will be saved. "And we know that the Son of God has come and has given us understanding, so that we may know him who is true; and we are in him who is true, in his Son Jesus Christ. He is the true God and eternal life." (5:20)
  • The ending seems odd to me: "Little Children, keep yourselves from idols." But if you think about it, your focus should be on God, on Jesus Christ, on His Word. Love HIM and His ways, just as John says over and over again, then you're following the most important commandment: love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind. If you do this, His commandments will not be burdensome, you will gladly and joyfully follow Jesus Christ, because in Him is LIFE.
I'll be honest, I have loved this study the most so far, however, it has also proved to be the most challenging. My goal is to rightly handle God's word and so by publishing this others will be reading my notes. It makes me nervous, I do not want to lead anyone astray from what GOD has to say. Remember these are MY words, MY observations. I have a puny, tiny brain. Do not take what I have to say as "THE TRUTH." Haha, I'd laugh if you said, "Well, Becky said this about 1 John so..." I do hope that you gained something by reading my observations. What I do KNOW as TRUTH is this: Jesus Christ died on the cross for our sins and rose again, if you believe in your heart and confess with your mouth that Jesus is God, you will be saved. Hallelujah!

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