To The Reader,
This month we are going to be going through the Epistle of 1 John. The format will be different from the past. I will be doing less writing, and more directing to various portions of Scripture that will help us understand John’s message in this short letter. There will be questions on each day that will guide us to further grasp important doctrinal truths and bring us to a deeper appreciation of John’s message to us; the message of the Holy Spirit to us through John’s pen.
The examination of 1 John is going to be my own devotional study which I am sharing with you. There is an important message in this book, and that message is assurance. Our Lord wants all of His “little children” (1 John 2:1,12,13, 18, 28; 3:7,18; 4:4; 4:21) to be assured of their salvation, of their relationship with Him. It is not His will that there be any uncertainty when it comes to salvation and standing in eternal matters.
Let’s pray together that the Holy Spirit will use this book to increase our faith and bolster our assurance. May He open our hearts to this letter that was especially created for His “little children.”
Scripture Reading: 1 John 5:13
Does it seem strange to you to begin our trek through 1 John by going to the last chapter? Well, there is a reason for this. This verse is the theme for the entire letter: “…that ye may know that ye have eternal life….” It is not the Lord’s will that His own go through life uncertain of their salvation and of their hope of heaven. No! It is the will of our Lord that all of His “little children” have full confidence in these most important matters that pertain to salvation and eternal life. Look at 5:14; “And this is the confidence that we have in him….” (See also 2:28; 3:21) Compare this with the following passages: Romans 8:15-17, 26, 28. These verses speak of things certain, of things “we know” and are assured of.
1. What is salvation? See 1 Corinthians 15:1-4; John 1:1-11; Romans 10:9-13.
2. What part does the Bible play in the assurance of salvation? See Romans 3:20; 7:7; 1 John 5:13; Psalms 19:7-12.
3. Why is it important that believers have assurance and confidence in their relationship with Jesus Christ? See 1 John 1:4 (Compare John 10:10)
Father, grant us Your assurance. Help us to know, to know assuredly and without question our doubt that we are saved, that You are our God and that we are Your children. Amen!
Scripture Reading: 1 John 1:1-3
“…the Word of life….”
“Life” is that special attribute of and gift from God. “And the Lord God…breathed into his nostrils the breath of life….” (Genesis 2:27) He could create and give life because He is life. See John 1:1-4. He is life! There is absolutely no life apart from Him. Please examine the following passages: John 5:21,26; 11:25; 14:6; 1 Corinthians 15:45; Colossians 3:4; 1 John 5:11. Understand this, beloved, He is life, all life. All plant and animal life comes from Him. All human life comes from Him. And, all spiritual life originates from, and is sustained by Him. He is eternal life! The undeniable fact is that none have life apart from Him; physical life, and certainly spiritual and eternal life. Our physical life is a gift from our heavenly Father, and our spiritual and eternal life are His special gifts granted to us through our faith in His death, burial and resurrection.
1. How could it be said that unbelievers are “dead in trespasses and sins?” See Ephesians 2:1-9; 5:14; Matthew 8:22; Luke 15:24,32; Genesis 2:17.
2. How can the “dead in trespasses and sins” know and have life?
See John 17:1-3.
Lord Jesus, I praise You for life; for life I am enjoying at the present, for the spiritual life that You have given me through the Holy Spirit, and for eternal life that I will enjoy with You forever. Amen!
Scripture Reading: 1 John 1:4
Joy that is personal, full, and that belongs to me as a gift of the Lord Jesus Christ is a wonderful thought. I look around me at the sorrow, anger and frustration that seems to consume the vast majority of people I see. What a tragedy to go through life like that! Of a certainty this is not the will of God for humanity.
Consider the message of the Lord Jesus Christ that was given in John 15:11 and 16:24. Look at Paul’s prayer for the believers in Ephesus found in Ephesians 3:14-21. The Lord longs for His people to have joy. The word means gladness and calm delight. Believers can experience that regardless of the circumstances they find themselves in, for joy is not found in circumstances, but in Jesus. He said, “…that my joy might remain in you..,” and “…that they might have my joy fulfilled in themselves.” (John 15:11 and 17:13) Jesus had joy regardless of the fact that the majority of those around Him either rejected Him, or else followed Him hoping to get to see some miracle or be the recipient of some miraculous provision. (See John 6:26) In like manner, our joy comes from our standing in Christ and our relationship to Him. Amen!
1. How does the joy of the world differ from the joy of the Lord? See Hebrews 11:25; 1 Peter 1:6-9.
2. Describe briefly the benefit of experiencing and knowing the joy of our Lord. See Nehemiah 8:10; Isaiah 61:10; Romans 15:13.
Lord, fill my heart with your joy. Cause me to joy in Your salvation, in Your precious Word, and in the presence and power of the Holy Ghost. In Jesus Name I pray, Amen!
Scripture Reading: 1 John 1:5
God is light, and there is no darkness in Him at all. There is no hint of the darkness of dishonesty, of cruelty, of immorality or wickedness. Earlier we saw that He is life, and life and light go hand in hand, do they not? We are told that we could have no life without light. Watch your flowers. They will follow light. He created in them the need for light, so they move their blooms through the course of the day in search of its warmth and illumination. O, may we ever be thus like the flowers of His creation!
Know this, child of God, the only “light” in our sin-darkened world is that of our Lord. There is the light of His Word, (Psalms 119:130) of His Holy Spirit, (Daniel 5:11,14) and of His people. (Matthew 5:14-16) All true light emanates from our Lord, for “God is light.” You and I have the duty as His followers to “walk in His light,” (Ephesians 5:8; 1 John 1:7; reflect His light in our dark world, (Matthew 5:16; Romans 13:11-14; Philippians 2:5-11) and avoid all of the works of darkness around us. (John 8:12; 12:46; 2 Corinthians 6:14) Also, remember that John’s goal in this letter is assurance for the follower of Christ. It is reassuring to me that the Lord has caused me to be able to distinguish between the light and the darkness that is in our world, and has given me a distaste for those dark things that displease Him. Praise Him for His light!
1. Write down a few of the “works of darkness” that come to your mind as you meditate on the fact that God is light.
2. Why is the “darkness” of wickedness and unbelief so prevalent in our world? See John 3:19.
3. Where does darkness originate? See Ephesians 6:12; Acts 26:18; 2 Corinthians 4:4; Colossians 1:13.
Lord Jesus, thank You for rescuing me from the darkness of sin and of this sin-sick world. I praise you for delivering me from the prince of darkness and giving me your light. Help me to walk in Your light. Amen!
Scripture Reading: 1 John 1:6-7
Saying and doing are two completely different things. Ananias and Sapphira said that they sold their possession for a certain amount of money, but they were lying. (See Acts 5:1-11) It could have been said of them, they “do not the truth.” A testimony is a wonderful thing, when it is truthful. When one says, “I am in fellowship with the Lord,” and in reality that person is walking “in darkness,” Scripture declares that he is not doing the truth. On the other hand, walking in the light results in a wonderful fellowship with the Lord and with others who are thus walking. Walking with Him on a regular basis results in an ongoing cleansing from those things that defile us. Beloved, if we are walking in the light, the hidden things of the darkness are revealed and we are able through His power to avoid them. Let’s walk in His light.
1. Satan transforms himself into an angel of light, but in reality he is the ruler of the darkness of this world. (2 Corinthians 11:14; Ephesians 6:12) Briefly describe how light represents God and darkness the devil. See Isaiah 42:6-7; John 1:4-9; 8:12; 9:5.
2. See 1 John 2:10-11. Describe “stumbling” that happens when walking in spiritual darkness.
Father, I praise You for the light you have given us in Your Word, and for the Light of the world, the Lord Jesus. Help me Father to ever walk in Your light that I stumble not.
Scripture Reading: 1 John 1:8-10
One of the most difficult things to do for some people is the acknowledging of wrong doing. “Not me! I didn’t do it, and I never would.” Many are that way when it comes to sin. The Bible is clear, we are all sinners. (Romans 3:23) Honestly, to deny that is to argue with the inerrant Word of God. That is an argument none will ever win. The Bible gives us the prescription when it comes to dealing with sin. “If we confess our sins…he will forgive us…and cleanse us….” It really could not be more simple than that. Confessing is just acknowledging that what God has decreed is so, that He is right and we are wrong. It is saying, “Lord, You are right. This that I have done, said or thought is sin. Please forgive me in Jesus’ Name.” No other action on our part can rid us of wrong doing and bring the peace that comes through forgiveness.
1. Psalms 51 is the psalm of David’s repentance concerning his sin with Bathsheba. Compare that with Judas Iscariot’s confession in Matthew 27:3-5. What was the difference, and what was the result?
2. Biblical confession brings “forgiveness,” and “cleansing.” See Psalms 51:14. Guilt can rob the soul of joy, (Psalms 51:12) but forgiveness restores and heals. Which do you suppose is God’s perfect will for His little ones?
Lord Jesus, I praise You for forgiveness and cleansing. Help me to ever be honest with You and with Your Word, acknowledging my sins and forsaking them. Help me to ever walk in Your light. This will result in a greater assurance of my relationship with You. Amen!
Scripture Reading: 1 John 2:1-2
We are all sinners, and sin is a reality that must be dealt with. It cannot be ignored. It certainly cannot be tolerated or excused. Remember, child of God, Jesus was “manifested to take away our sins,” (1 John 3:5) not so that we could continue to be overcome by them. The message in our verses today is clear: do not sin, but if you do there is a remedy. We should never condone our sin, makes excuses for our sin, and certainly we should never make accommodations for sin. “Sin not!” It is impossible to state it any more directly or simply. But, “if any man sin” we have a solution, a remedy, that which we can do to free us and to allow us to have victory over our shortcomings. “We have an advocate,” and Jesus Christ the righteousness is that Advocate. He is the “propitiation for our sins….” Turn to Hebrews 9:5 and look at the word “mercyseat.” The mercyseat was the place where Israel found mercy. It was that covering of gold over the Ark of the Covenant where the blood sacrifice was applied on the Day of Atonement, thus providing forgiveness and mercy. The Greek word translated “mercyseat” in Hebrews 9:5 is the same that is used in 1 John 1:2, where it is translated “propitiation.” Jesus is our “propitiation,” our “mercyseat,” the place where we find forgiveness, pardon and mercy. That, beloved, is where we take our faults and our failures. It is there we find peace and assurance. Amen!
1. Why do we still have problems with sin after having been saved? See Romans 3:23; 7:14-25.
2. How could an understanding of sin and its remedy aid in the assurance of my salvation? See Hebrews 2:14-18; 4:15-16.
Lord Jesus, help me to face the reality of my sins and to bring them to the “mercyseat.” Thank You for cleansing and forgiveness. Amen!
Scripture Reading: 1 John 2:3-6
The Epistle of 1 John is given to us to give us assurance of our salvation, of our relationship with Jesus Christ. Look at Verse 3; “…hereby we do know….” The thought of knowing is expressed 52 times in this short epistle. Do you get the idea? There are some things that we can know, things that the Lord wants us to know. One of the ways we know that we belong to Jesus Christ is our desire to “keep his commandments.” And that’s not just the Ten Commandments, but the idea is that we have a longing to do those things that He taught us to do in His Word. Does that mean we never fail to do those things? No, remember what we saw in Chapter 1, Verses 8-10. But it does mean that in our hearts we want to be obedient to His Word. In “keeping His Word,” His love is “perfected” in us with the result being assurance. The person that has no such desire is “a liar” when he or she claims to be Christ’s follower. The simple fact is, “He that saith be abideth in him ought himself also so to walk, even as he walked.” Amen!
1. What did the Lord Jesus have to say about those who claim to be His followers, and yet do not that obey His word? See Luke 6:6
2. Paul declared that the Spirit of God would bear witness with our spirits, assuring us that we are children of God. See Romans 8:16. Explain how the Holy Spirit might “bear witness” with our spirits concerning the keeping of Christ’s commandments.
Lord, in my heart I do have a longing to do those things that are pleasing in Your sight. I’m sorry that I don’t always succeed in that, and I seek Your forgiveness of my occasional failure to do so. Help me in this desire to be obedient to You, and thank You, Holy Spirit, for Your guidance in this area in my life. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.!
Scripture Reading: 1 John 2:7-11
John’s thoughts on assurance of necessity must deal with the subject of the “new commandment.” (See John 13:34) This new commandment has to do with love, and more particularly the love between brothers and sisters in Christ. Jesus said that love between disciples would be the identifying factor that all men might know the genuineness of their relationship with the Lord. One of the assurances of salvation comes from the fact of the way the saved view each other, their feelings toward one another. The person that “hates” a brother or sister in Christ is living a life that is inconsistent with the Scriptural concept of the evidence of salvation. How could someone who has been brought into a loving relationship with the Almighty through the grace of our Lord and Savior have a heart filled with hatred for a ‘fellow Christian?” The old song says, “Makes me love everybody, it’s good enough for me.” Amen!
1. God is love. (See 1 John 4:8,16) How has He demonstrated that love to us?
2. How can we demonstrate His love to one another and to the world around us? See John 13:35; 17:21
Lord, fill my heart with Your love, and help me to love others as you have loved. Forgive the hardness of my heart, and help me to walk in your love, understand the depths of Your love and show that love to all around me. In Jesus’ Name, Amen!
Scripture Reading: 1 John 2:12-14
“The wicked one” is Satan, the god of this world, the deceiver and tempter of humanity. Through faith in the Lord Jesus, the young men to which John was writing had overcome the tempter. The word translated “overcome” means to conquer, to carry off the victory. John used that word six times in this epistle. Note Chapter 5, Verses 4-5. Overcoming the adversary is only possible through faith, “and this is the victory that overcometh the world, even our faith.” The world, Satan’s domain, is impossible to overcome through natural strength, only through faith. Knowing the Lord is the key. The “fathers” were said to have known the Lord, He that is from the beginning. Thank God for the victory that is ours through our relationship with Him, and through our faith in His power.
1. Satan is ever warring against the Lord and His work. How can we mortals possibly “overcome” the supernatural adversary? See Ephesians 6:10-18.
2. How can this work to build assurance in the child of God? See Deuteronomy 20:3-4; Philippians 4:13
Lord Jesus, I praise You for victory that is mine through Your strength and grace!
Scripture Reading: 1 John 2:15-17
The “world” is not speaking here of this material universe that so marvelously testifies of the greatness of our God. Rather, it is speaking of the godless system that is so alienated from God and His Word. All that is in it is “the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life.” An honest look of the world around us reveals that clearly. For that reason, the child of God is warned not to love the world, nor the things that are in the world. They that have a love for the lustful and prideful things of the world are void of the love of God.
Child of God, all the things that thrill unsaved humanity in this world system will someday pass away. This is not so with the Lord and the things associated with Him and consequently, “he that doeth the will of God abideth forever.”
1. Think for a moment of the things that Satan offered our Lord in the temptation in the wilderness. See Matthew 4:8-9. He tempted our Lord with the world and all of its glory. What was Jesus’ response?
2. Why did the rich young ruler reject Jesus’ offer of salvation? See Matthew 18:16-24.
3. Is it wrong for God’s children to seek to have nice things or to better themselves in this life? Explain. See Proverbs 6:6-11 with 1 Timothy 6:17-19.
Father, all that I have You have graciously provided, from all things spiritual to all things material. Help me to never place too much emphasis in my life on the material, but rather on those things that will bring me closer to You and bring You honor and glory. In Jesus’ Name, Amen!
Scripture Reading: 1 John 2:18-19
“…it is the last time….” How long ago were these words written? Actually, nearly 2,000 years ago, and yet John declared, “it is the last time.”John was living in the early days of the final dispensation prior to the Rapture, that being the dispensation of grace. See Ephesians 3:2. We have been living in that dispensation since the death, burial and resurrection of the Lord Jesus. This blessed time that is marked by free and complete salvation to all who will place faith in the Lord Jesus will continue right up until the Rapture of Christ’s Church. For that reason, John referred to his day in the following way, “…it is the last time,” or the last time prior to the coming of the Lord for His Church. Here’s something to think about, if John considered his day “the last time,” how much nearer are we today to the events surrounding the Second Coming of Christ. Beloved, I feel that we are much nearer than we may think.
1. What impact should the knowledge that we are living in the “last time” have on us as followers of Christ? See Romans 13:11-14; 1 Thessalonians 5:5-8.
2. Can you list some of the “signs” that the Lord has given us to make us aware of the lateness of the hour? See Matthew 24:3.
Lord Jesus, help me to be prepared for Your coming, and help me to serve you faithfully in the time you have allotted for me. In Your Name, Amen!
Scripture Reading: 1 John 2:20-23
Prophecy declares that an individual is coming that will be Satanically empowered (Revelation 13:2), who will rule the world through a revived Roman Empire. (Revelation 13:1-10) In our Scripture reading today, John called him “antichrist.” However, he also declared that “many antichrists” were in the world at the time of the writing of this epistle. The word “antichrist” comes from a Greek word meaning “an opponent of the Messiah.” In John’s day there were many “antichrists,” and in our day there are even more. Many are opposed to the Lord Jesus, despising and mocking Him, and ridiculing any who follow Him through faith. This will only increase the nearer we find ourselves to the Second Coming of Christ. Because of this, you and I must be knowledgable of the day, understanding of our adversary and his tactics, and walking closely with our Lord in the power and guidance of the Holy Spirit. Beloved, “who is a liar but he that denieth that Jesus is the Christ?” Thank God for truth, and for His reaching us with the truth that delivered us from the power of darkness in this evil world and granted us eternal life through our Lord Jesus Christ.
1. Scripture prophesies of the coming antichrist, attributing to him various titles. Can you list a few? See 2 Thessalonians 1-10; Revelation 13:1.
2. The “antichrist” will be the ultimate opponent to the Lord Jesus. Can you think of any examples of “antichrists” like John spoke of in his writings?
Father, we are living in the last days, and these are days of great deception of antichrist sentiments. Ground me in truth and help me to walk in Your light. This in itself will strengthen and confirm assurance of my relationship with you in my life. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
Scripture Reading: 1 John 2:24
There are three words in this one verse that all were translated from one Greek word; abide, remain and continue. The thought expressed is really fairly simple, but the impact is profound. First, “let that therefore abide in you which ye heard from the beginning….” What we have heard is the Gospel of the Lord Jesus. That Gospel entails everything Scripture has to say about the Lord Jesus, all the prophesies and details of His life and ministry. Second, we are promised that if we allow that to “abide” in us, the fact that it “remains” in us will enable us to “continue” in the Son and in the Father. Our continued walk with and fellowship with the Lord will be strengthened as we allow His Word to “abide” in us. Perhaps when the Spirit of God gave this to John to pen down he was reminded of the Lord’s word to him and his fellow disciples. See the following passages: Psalms 119:11; John 15:7; Colossians 3:16; Hebrews 2:1; Luke 2:1-2.
1. You and I who are saved find ourselves dwelling in tabernacles of clay yet to be redeemed. (See Romans 8:23) In order to overcome fleshly tendencies, it is incumbent that we maintain fellowship with our Lord. How does God’s Word assist in that process?
2. How does memorizing Scripture help to keep us from sin?
3. How does retaining God’s Word in your heart work to build assurance of your relationship with the Lord?
Lord, help me to allow Your truths to “remain” in my heart so that I may “continue” to walk in unbroken fellowship with You. Amen!
Scripture Reading: 1 John 2:25-27
The child of God faces temptations in this world continually; temptations to worldliness, carnality and spiritual coldness. We looked yesterday at the importance of allowing God’s Word to “remain” in us to help us to “continue in the Son, and in the Father.” The redeemed also have received an “anointing” to help us in overcoming those things that “seduce” us to succumb to worldly temptations. The “anointing” refers to the Holy Spirit, He that we “have received of him” and which “abideth in” us. (See John 14:17,26; 16:13) Look back to Verse 20, “But ye have an unction from the Holy One, and ye know all things.” The “unction” (Same Greek word translated “anointing” in Verse 27) is the Holy Spirit that indwelt you when you trusted Jesus Christ as Savior. He works in your life to teach you and lead you into all truth. It is through His work in your heart that you are enabled to “abide in him.” It is our duty to listen to His teachings, to follow His guidance, and to respond accordingly. It is through this process we can conquer those temptations that seek to seduce us and draw away from a close walk with our Lord.
1. In the Old Testament, the anointing oil was a type, a spiritual illustration of the Holy Spirit. When did you receive that “anointing” of the Holy Spirit? See 2 Corinthians 1:21-22; Ephesians 4:30.
2. How does the Holy Spirit guide us as followers of Christ? See John 16:13-15.
3. What happens when we fail to follow the guidance of the Holy Spirit in our lives? See 1 John 2:26; Ephesians 4:22-32.
Lord Jesus, help me to be sensitive to the Holy Spirit as He guides me into all truth, and help me to walk in the light of that truth. In Your Name, Amen!
Scripture Reading: 1 John 2:28-29
We looked at abiding in Him earlier, and the importance of the Child of God maintaining a consistent walk and fellowship with the Lord. Remember, the theme of 1 John is assurance, and nothing builds assurance more than a consistent “abiding” in the Lord and in the the things of the Lord. I found something out in playing the guitar. Even the simplest songs, the most simple arrangements become difficult when play is not maintained regularly. The more regularly I practice, the more easily I hit the right notes and chord progressions that make pleasant sounds. That may be a poor illustration, but I have also found that the more consistently I walk with the Lord, spending time in His Word and fellowshipping with Him in prayer, the more confidence I have in my relationship with Him.
Another assurance builder is the fact of a desire to do righteous things, to live righteously. I don’t always succeed one-hundred percent of the time doing those things that are pleasing to God, but in my heart I have a desire to do so. Is that desire in you? If so, that is just another assurance builder in your life. Praise God for that, for that does not come from you, but from His Spirit working in your life.
1. Why is the inner desire to do those things that please God an assurance builder? See Romans 7:14-18; 8:3-11, 14-17.
2. What is meant by doing righteousness? See Matthew 7:16-18; Titus 2:12-14; Romans 2:6-8; Ephesians 5:9.
Father, help me to live righteously. I need Your strength and guidance in this, and I need You to work in my heart to intensify the desire to do those things that please You. Please forgive me of those times when that desire is not what it should be in my life. In Jesus’ Name, Amen!
Scripture Reading: 1 John 3:1-3
“Behold what manner of love the Father hath bestowed upon us, that we should be called the sons of God.” “We!” As great and loving a man as John was, he was aware of the fact that at “his best state,” he “was altogether vanity.” (Psalms 39:5) John knew himself to be a sinner and undeserving of the least of God’s favors, especially that of being called a “son of God.” It was John’s inspired pen that wrote in the Gospel of John, “as many as received him, to them gave He power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on His name….” (John 1:12) From his words in 1 John, that had never ceased amazing this beloved Apostle; “that we should be called the sons of God.”
Beloved, the Lord made us sons and daughters of God through the New Birth, and since that spiritual birth He has continued to work on us to bring us to the place of being “like Him.” O, to be Christ-like in our lives! We shall be some day when we stand in His presence, for we “shall be like Him; for we shall see Him as He is.” Praise His Name! Until that day comes, may He continue to work in our lives that we might be purified “even as He is pure.”
1. As being children of God, born again through faith in the Lord Jesus, has our sin-nature been eradicated? See 1 John 1:8-9.
2. If my sin nature has not been eradicated, is it possible to overcome sinful tendencies and temptations? See 1 John 2:1-2; Romans. 6:1-14.
3. Write down ways in which you can work as a believer to insure that might be purified, “even as He is pure.”
Lord Jesus, in reality I am far from perfect, but I am your child and you have forgiven me of all sins. Help me to follow You more closely, and to find the purity in this life that You know is best for me. In Your Name, Amen!
Scripture Reading: 1 John 3:4-5
The next verses in 1 John are very important, so we will examine them closely over the next few days. Remember, the theme of the Book of 1 John is assurance, and these verses are an important part of establishing assurance for the believer.
No attempt at understanding Biblical assurance is possible without a realistic look at sin, which John declares to be the transgression of the law of God. See Romans 3:10; 7:7; James 2:9-10. We are sinners, but sinners that have been saved by God’s grace. Amen! And, while it is true that our sin nature has not been completely eradicated through our salvation, we have been given the abiding presence of the Holy Spirit. His Spirit indwelling us enables us to overcome sin in our lives as we follow Him. See 1 John 2:14 with John 6:13. We have already seen in the first chapter the fact that we still have to deal with sin even though we have been born again. To deny that is to find ourselves in a condition John called self-deception. But does this contradict what we read in our verses today? Not at all! When John wrote, “Whosoever abideth in him sinneth not,” he was speaking of a habitual practice of sinfulness. The true follower of Christ will not continually and unreservedly live in a sinful condition. The Lord will not permit it. The Holy Spirit that indwells us will not allow us to live such lives continually.
When the Lord Jesus prophesied of the coming ministry of the Holy Spirit, He said, “And when he is come, he will reprove the world of sin, of righteousness, and of judgment.” (John 16:8) He certainly does that for the child of God. And, for this cause, the child of God will not continually live in a sinful condition. Amen!
1. Does the believer have a responsibility when it comes to dealing with sin personally? See Romans 5:12; Ephesian 4:17-32
2. How can a realistic understanding of sin aid the believer in the area of assurance. See Romans 7:14-25
Father, I praise You for the security I have in Christ, and the assurance that is brought to my heart through the ministry of Your Word and the Blessed Holy Spirit. In Jesus’ Name, Amen!
Scripture Reading: 1 John 3:6
The Bible says much about the necessity of “abiding” in Christ. See the following passages: John 12:46; 14:16; 15:4,6,7,10. To “abide” in Christ means to continue in His teachings, in fellowship with Him and in the leadership of His Spirit. For the child of God, abiding in Christ involves abiding in His commands given, and obedience is required. Abiding in Him keeps us from succumbing to temptations and aids us in having that overcoming victorious Christian life.
When we walk with the Lord,
In the light of His Word,
What a glory He sheds on our way.
While we do His good will,
He abides with us still,
And with all who will trust and obey.
1. What happens in the life of a believer that does not continually “abide” in Christ and His Word? See John 15:1-17 (Note the words abide, continue and remain are all translated from the same Greek word)
2. In light of the truths taught in John 15:1—17, how does this factor in when considering assurance?
Blessed Savior, help me to ever abide in You and Your Word that I might bring forth fruit in my life that will bring You glory. In Christ’s Name, Amen!
Scripture Reading: 1 John 3:7-10
Our pigs like to wallow in the mud. They do this because they are pigs, and pigs don’t have sweat glands. So, when they get hot, they start looking for some mud to lie in; the nastier and yuckier the better. Our sheep don’t do this. It’s just not in their nature.
There is a deep spiritual truth illustrated in this. The children of the devil are - well, they’re children of the devil. And children of the devil like to wallow in the mud of sin. Because they have the Holy Spirit abiding within them, the children of God are not so inclined. It’s not that they are sinlessly perfect, for they’re not. It’s just that they have a different Lord than the children of the wicked one, and with that difference they find themselves loathing the mud pits of sinfulness. God’s children still have to deal with sin, and they do this through repentance (1 John 1:8-9) and through endeavoring to follow the leadership of the Holy Spirit, but they are no longer “servants to sin.” (See Romans 6:1-14) It is through this truth that “the children of God are manifest, and the children of the devil.” (1 John 3:10) Aren’t you thankful that God made you His child when you trusted Christ as Savior?
1. Why are the unsaved so prone to doing those things that violate Scriptural principles? See John 8:44-47.
2. Why was the Son of God manifested? See 1 John 3:8 with John 12:31; 16:11; Romans 16:20; Revelation 20:10.
May it ever be clearly manifest in my life that I am Your child through grace. Help me to walk in holiness after Your example. In Jesus’ Name, Amen!
Scripture Reading: 1 John 3:11-19
“And hereby we know that we are of the truth, and shall assure our hearts before him.” The word “assure” means to convince or to persuade. It is certainly the Lord’s will that we be convinced and persuaded of our relationship with Him, that we know that we know we are saved. It has never been His will that there be nagging doubts and questions about that. One of the ways that we can know that we are saved is by the way we feel about brothers and sisters in Christ. Will we always agree on everything? Will we always appreciate what other believers say or do? No! But, beloved, there will be a feeling of love in our hearts toward those who are in our spiritual family, the church of the Lord Jesus.
John gives a contrast, using Cain as an example. Read Genesis 4:1-12. How many times in the history of the world has the story of Cain been repeated; a story of jealousy, anger and wicked action? Too many times to be sure! The child of God that is walking with the Lord may get their feelings hurt, and may even be angered by the actions of others, but will never react in a wicked or violent way. That is not the way of the One they follow.
1. There will be differences and misunderstandings between brothers and sisters in Christ. That is a given. How should these be dealt with? See Matthew 5:23-23; Proverbs 25:9; Romans 12:17-18; 1 Peter 3:8.
2. How does an honest look at ourselves, our weaknesses and faults, help us in our attitude toward our fellow Christians? See Hebrews 5:1-3.
Lord Jesus, help me to ever love others the way You love. Help me to have the right relationship with brothers and sisters in Christ. Amen!
Scripture Reading: 1 John 3:20-23
Look at the word “confidence” in Verse 21. The Greek word used means “freedom in speaking, unreservedness in speech.” The thought expressed is that we may come before God and speak without having the feeling of fear, shame or unworthiness. How could that be possible when He is so high and holy and we are just sinners? It’s possible because of the salvation He has provided, and the promises given to us as His children. That “confidence” comes to our hearts when we are endeavoring to do those things that please Him, keeping His commandments. When we are honestly trying to do the things He has required of us in His Word, we can have all confidence in coming before Him in prayer. Admittedly we are not worthy, and we are still all sinners who have been saved by faith in Christ, He has made us worthy through His gracious work in our lives. Consequently, we can enter into His presence with boldness. (Hebrews 4:16) Incidentally, the word translated “boldly” in Hebrews 4:16 comes from the same Greek word translated “confidence” in 1 John 3:21. The promise for those who are thus seeking to be obedient to God’s will as revealed in His word is given in Verse 22; answered prayer. And that, beloved, builds assurance in our lives.
1. What were our Lord’s thoughts on those who claim to be followers and do not obey His commands? See Luke 6:43-49.
2. Look at the following passages: John 4:34; 5:30; 6:38; 14:31; 15:10; 17:4. What example did Jesus leave for His followers to imitate concerning obeying the will of God?
Father, forgive me for those times I have not been obedient to You and Your will for my life. Help me to follow the example of my Savior that I might please You. In Jesus’ Name, Amen!
Scripture Reading: 1 John 3:24
We noted that the theme of 1 John is, “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.” (1 John 5:13) Also, we saw how many times the word “know” is found; a word that speaks of assurance. Please read carefully our verse for today, noting carefully the phrase, “And hereby we know….” John is saying, “This one truth builds assurance in our lives as God’s children….” That truth is that the Holy Spirit abides within our hearts, and has since the day we placed faith and trust in Christ. Look at what Paul said about that in Romans 8:12-17. The Spirit of the Lord bears witness with our spirits, assuring us that “we are the sons of God.” Amen!
1. How does the Holy Spirit “bear witness with our spirits?” See John 14:15-18, 26-29; 15:26-27; 16:7-15.
2. How does His speaking to us prove that we are children of God? See Romans 8:1-17; 1 Corinthians 2:12-14.
Lord Jesus, I praise Your Name for the assurance You have given me through the Blessed Holy Spirit. Holy Spirit, thank You for the “Comfort” You have given me. Help me to be sensitive to Your work in my life. In Jesus’ Name, Amen!
Scripture Reading: 1 John 4:1-6
“Hereby know we the spirit of truth, and the spirit of error.” There is definitely a “spirit of error” in the world, and it seems to be gaining ground every day. That is really not surprising in light of 2 Timothy 3:13. Note the following passages: Hosea 4:12; 2 Thessalonians 2:1-12. Often times the spirit of error is disguised to resemble truth. That is why believers need to be well informed in Scripture, because many will use the right words but assign to those words erroneous meanings. The bottom line is what is believed about Jesus Christ. The cult of the Jehovah’s Witness will declare that they believe that Jesus is the Son of God, but a closer look at their doctrine reveals a different doctrine altogether. The same is true with Mormonism.
A blessed truth is given in our verses that should cause us all to rejoice. There is a lot of error and deception in our world, but “greater is he that is in you that he that is in the world.” The Spirit of God will guide us in truth and save us from the deception that is so rampant in the world.
1. While it is true that “greater is he that is in you than he that is in the world,” can the “spirit of error” that is in the world have a negative impact on the true follower of Christ? See Matthew 24:4; Ephesians 5:6; 2 Peter 3:17.
2. We are told to “try the spirits.” How can this be achieved? See Acts 17:11; 1 Thessalonians 5:21.
Father, give me wisdom to know truth from error, and guide me in the truth of Your Word. In Jesus’ Name, Amen!
Scripture Reading: 1 John 4:7-12
God is love. What a simple yet sublime statement. It bespeaks a most definite attribute of our God, and it is so very important. God is holy. God is pure. God is just, and praise His Name, God is love. Because He is love, He made gracious provisions to redeem us back to Himself. Because He is love, He is merciful and forgiving. Because He is love, He gave His only begotten Son. Because He is love, and because of the, new birth we are called the “sons of God.” (1 John 3:1)
Our children used to sing the song that is based upon these verses. “Beloved, beloved, let us love one another, love one another. For love is of God, and everyone that loveth is born of God, and knoweth God.” It is a neat and very Scriptural little song, with a great message. One of the ways we know that He indwells us is in the fact that He fills our hearts with His love. Praise God for that!
1. “Beloved, if God so loved us, we ought also to love one another.” How is this to be demonstrated in our lives? See Romans 12:9-17; Galatians 5:13-15; Ephesians 4:32; Hebrews 10:24; 1 Peter 3:8
Father, fill my heart with Your love, and help me to share that love with all, especially with my brothers and sisters in Christ. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
Scripture Reading: 1 John 4:13-19
The indwelling Holy Spirit teaches us, guides us, comforts and strengthens us, and when necessary rebukes our hearts for wrongs committed. What a blessed truth! One of the things the Holy Spirit does in us and for us is that He gives us a first-hand experience of God’s wonderful love. He indwells us, assures us that we dwell in God, and demonstrates that to us by helping us to sense the love which God has for us. This love both casts out fears from our hearts and fills our hearts with confidence in our relationship with Him. Paul wrote, “For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind.” (2 Timothy 1:7) What an assurance builder is this!
1. Explain in your own words how Verse 17 gives us assurance of our relationship with Christ.
2. Again, in your own words, explain the message that is given in Verse 18. Keep in mind that “fear” is a reality in life that our Lord often dealt with. See the following verses: Matthew 28:5; Luke 12:7, 32; Revelation 1:17.
Lord Jesus, replace all my fears with faith in Your power and in Your provisions. Perfect that which is lacking in my love that my fears may be dispelled. In Your Name, Amen.
Scripture Reading: 1 John 4:20-21
Here is a question that must be faced; “Is my heart filled with hatred?Do I find myself filled with anger and frustration continually with others around me? Am I continually finding fault with, or condemning others around me? Is everyone else always wrong, while I am most usually always right? Is it a reality that I just can’t get along with anyone?” That could well help in determining a spiritual problem in your life, for “…this commandment have we from him, That he who loveth God love his brother also.”
1. Explain our Lord’s feelings on the subject of hatred. See John 15:19-23; Titus 3:1-3; Galatians 5:16-26.
2. Is hatred a work of the flesh or a work of the spirit?
3. If a heart is continually filled with feelings of hatred, is that heart a carnal heart or a spiritual heart?
Father, hatred is a carnal trait, and I see that all around me in our world. Fill my heart with Your love and take any thoughts of hatred away from me. In Jesus’ Name, Amen!
Scripture Reading: 1 John 5:1-5
In Luke 6:43-46 we read, “For a good tree bringeth not forth corrupt fruit; neither doth a corrupt tree bring forth good fruit. For every tree is known by his own fruit. For of thorns men do not gather figs, nor of a bramble bush gather they grapes. A good man out of the good treasure of his heart bringeth forth that which is good; and an evil man out of the evil treasure of his heart bringeth forth that which is evil: for of the abundance of the heart his mouth speaketh. And why call ye me, Lord, Lord, and do not the things which I say?” For the unsaved, the things which the Lord Jesus requires are grievous, which means burdensome and weighty. “Why don’t you….” “Why don’t you go…..” “I don’t understand why you insist on….!” The reason such questions and statements are made to God’s children is that the “commands” of our Lord seem “grievous” to the unregenerate. They just don’t make sense! Well, not to the world anyway!
One of the reasons this is true is because of Christ making His followers to be “overcomers” when it comes to the world and its influence. This is just another assurance builder for God’s children. In the original temptation of Eve, Satan convinced her that God was being cruel in forbidding her to eat of the forbidden fruit. He assured her that His commands were simply to “grievous.” They weren’t, but she fell for Satan’s deception and the rest is history. Aren’t you glad the Lord changed your heart and your opinions of His “commandments” when He saved your soul?
1. John gives us a rare glimpse into the heart and character of Judas Iscariot in John 12:1-8. Read this passage and write in your own words how Judas’ response to Mary’s worship revealed his spiritual condition.
2. Jesus’ “commandments” was not a reference to the Ten Commandments of Exodus 20, but a reference to all that He requires of His own as revealed in His Word. Can you think of one such “commandment” and explain how that obedience to that commandment is not “grievous.” (Suggestion: See Hebrews 10:24-25)
Scripture Reading: 1 John 5:6-12
The message in these verses have to do with the witness as to the Person and Work of the Lord Jesus. He came by “water” and by “blood.” I personally feel that the thought herein expressed is His humanity and His sacrifice of that humanity on the Cross. The three heavenly witnesses are the Father, the Word (See John 1:1-14) and the Holy Spirit. (Note one of the proof verses for the Trinity in Verse 7) The three earthly witnesses are the Spirit, the water (a reference to the Word of God. See Ephesians 5:26), and the “blood,” which again speaks of the sacrifice of Christ on Calvary. All the “witnesses” are testifying of the veracity of the message of the Son of God; i.e. His death, burial and resurrection. The saved have believed that “witness,” and have that “witness” in themselves. Some might ask you, “But how do you know these things to be true?” And your answer could be, “Because I have the witness in my heart!”
1. See Psalms 25:14; Romans 8:16; Galatians 4:6. If someone were to ask you how you know that your are a child of God, what would your answer be to that question?
2. Can you think of ways in your own life that the “witness” has manifested itself in your heart as to the Person and Work of the Lord Jesus?
Lord Jesus, I have believed the heavenly and earthly witnesses of Who You are and what You have done for me on Calvary. And, I praise You for the witness You have given in my heart to assure me of my relationship with You. Amen!
Scripture Reading: 1 John 5:13-15
“…that ye may know that ye have eternal life….” That’s the key to the Book of 1 John, and it is God’s great desire for you. He wants you to have assurance of your relationship with Him. Beloved, if you do not have that assurance, if there remains nagging doubts in your heart about your salvation, confirm that today. Call upon the Lord and ask Him to come into your heart. I would not wait another minute. Tell Him exactly what is in your thoughts. “Lord Jesus, I’m not really sure, so I trust You this day and ask You to save my soul. Come into my heart and be my Savior.” Do this today, and then move forward from this hour trusting His promise: “For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.” (Romans 10:13) From this time forward, if a doubt arises, and it certainly can, just go back to that promise given in Romans and claim its power in your life.
1. Write out a brief testimony of your salvation experience.
2. How does “these things…written” work to bring assurance of salvation to your heart?
Lord Jesus, thank you for Your Word and its work in my heart. I would never have known my need, and certainly Your provisions for that need, apart from Your Word. I praise You for this. Amen!
Scripture Reading: 1 John 5:16-21
Do Christians sin? Yes! (See 1 John 1:8-9) When there is sin in a believer’s life, and he does not repent of that sin when the Spirit of God reveals that sin to him, what happens next? (See Hebrews 12:5-10) John speaks of “a sin unto death.” This is a final means in which the Lord deals with the sinful follower of Christ who, after having been chastened for his sins, refuses to repent or to respond to chastisement. An illustration of this is found in 1 Corinthians 5:1-5. The thought is that the Lord will take the unrepentant Christian out of this life prematurely that refuses to respond to the Lord’s dealings with him concerning his sin. As a pastor, I do believe that I have witnessed this Divine act in a wayward believer’s life.
While the believer is still prone to sin, he cannot live a life of consistent, unrepentant sinfulness. The Lord will not permit this to happen. If an individual can continue in a life of disobedience to God’s will and Word without chastisement, it is an indication that that person was never a genuine follower of Christ.
Sin is a reality, and we understand the sinfulness of the world around us. There is something that we do know beyond question, and that is that Jesus Christ was manifested that He might die for our sins on the Cross, and that He did so that He might save us from all sin. While the world is full of falsehood, He is “true,” “and we are in Him that is true.” And, beloved, “This is the true God, and eternal life.” Praise His Holy Name! I’m not true, but He is, and His truth is in me and has given me eternal life. His truth as made me free. (John 8:32) He has sanctified me with truth, and His truth is the Word of God. (John 17:17) And, praise God, “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.” Praise the Lord we can know!!!