PTB3-15:  The Little Epistle of I John.

35-1:   I JOHN:  FAITH CONTENDING AND SECURITY.

John, the Apostle that was always laying at the breast of Jesus, had perfected love and wanted to pass it on to us, for in perfected love there is no fear of the judgment day.

We Apostles from the very beginning hears, saw, and even handled the Word of life. Since this life was manifested, we bear witness and testify to you of eternal life which was with the Father.  We pass on to you what we have seen and heard in order that you may have fellow- ship with us since our fellowship is with the Father and His Son.  These things are written for “full joy”.  (NOTE:  Before in Colossians we have completeness in Christ and now full joy.  Our cup is running over!)

The message that Jesus delivered and which you heard was:  (1) God is light; and (2) There is no darkness of sin in God; (3) Those that have fellowship with God live in that light of a sinless habit; (4) They have fellowship with other Christians; and (5) The blood of Jesus cleanses from all sin.  (NOTE:  The blood of Jesus takes on an even larger emphasis later on in I John as a witness to Jesus.)

What to do in case of sin—and we will sin, further if any says that he does not sin, he is a liar and the truth is not in him:  CONFESS OUR SINS TO GOD.

What God will do when we confess our sins to Him:  (1) Forgive us our sins; and (2) Cleanse us from all unrighteousness,  internally and externally. 

 {**NOTE:   Here is another case of persons who may feel secure, but who can not be among the secures as they say that they do not sin, making God and the Word of God a liar.  Since the truth can not be in them that is the same as Christ can not be in them, and therefore there is no security of the believer.  The book of I John as supplemented with II and III John is the ultimate clarification of the security of the believer.**}

  Don’t sin and don’t make it a habit to sin, but if it happens you have the Advocate with God the Father, and that Advocate is the Righteous Jesus Christ.  He Himself is the Propitiation for our sins and the sins of the whole world.  Not to sin is the keep the commandments of Jesus; and we know that we know Him— the Security of the Believer—if we keep His commandments, and the person who claims to know Him—the insecure believer—while not keeping his commandments is a liar.  (NOTE:  In order to see how much the Apostle John is faith contending—that is, is after the elimination of contentious faith, we need only look at how often up to this point he has called these practitioners of contentious faith “liars”.  Rather, he does not call them liars, only identifies the type of individual who is a liar).

The Kind of Person  Who is a Liar, the same kind of person  who is a practitioner  of

Contentious Faith—

1.  Walk in darkness while claiming to have fellowship with God, I John 1:6.  

{**Also carefully note what a lie is:  it is the opposite of doing the truth.  You might say it is also the opposite of the good Christian Conscience that is willing to live honestly in all things!**}

2.  To say we have no sin is self deception with the truth not in us which is the equivalent of a lie, I John 1:8.

3.  If we say that we have not sinned, worse than being a liar, we make God a liar, and that is the ultimate in contentious faith, I John 1:10.

4.  The person who says he knows Jesus, and yet does not keep Jesus’s commandments is a liar, and once again the truth is not in him. And in order to see how much the Apostle John under the leadership of the Holy Spirit is after the liar, alias practitioners of Contentious faith, we briefly trace the liars through the rest of I John.

5.  He is a liar and an antichrist who denies that Jesus is the Christ, I John 2:22.

6.  The man who says that he loves God yet hates his brother is a liar, I John 4:20.

On the more positive side, THE PERSON WHO KEEPS THE WORD OF GOD IN HIM IS THE LOVE OF GOD PERFECTED; AND EVEN AS WE HAVE TRACED THE LIAR THROUGH- OUT THE BOOK OF I JOHN, WE SHOULD NOW TRACE THE PERFECTING OF THE LOVE OF GOD.  How the Love of God is Perfected inside the human spirit?

1.  By the keeping of the Word and words of Jesus, I John 2:5.

2.  I John 3:2 does not use the word perfected, but perfection is there—

“Beloved, now are we the sons of God, and it doth not yet appear what we shall be; but we know that, when he shall appear, we shall be like him; for we shall see him as he is.” (I John 3:2 KJV)  

**NOTE:  We will find the necessity to separate perfection in love from perfection.**}

3.  If we love one another, God dwells in us, and the love of God is perfected in us, I John 4:12.

4.  This is the way our love is made perfect:  since God is love, those that dwell in God dwell also in love, I John 4:16,17.

5.  Perfected love has no fear of the Day of Judgment, I John 4:17,18.

35-2:  Eternal Life in I John.

Surely as we would see Eternal Life in I John, we would also see the Security of the Believer in I John; and in doing so it would become apparent from the Word of God itself the relation- ship  between  the  Security  of  the  Believer,  Faith,  and  Faith  Contending.    Why  is  Faith Contending necessary?  Because some who claim to be Christians are liars, and the truth is not in them, not in their spirits.

1.  Eternal Life in I John 2:13.

Note where this is approximately halfway in the epistle of I John as if to divide it in two parts, and that helps to stress another interesting aspect of I John in that unlike Paul’s epistles those addressed are mentioned shortly before this beginning of an eternal life emphasis, in I John

2:12-14- –

“I write unto you, little children, because your sins are forgiven you for his name’s sake. I write unto you, fathers, because ye have known him that is from the beginning.  I write unto you, young men, because ye have overcome the wicked one.  I write unto you, little children, because ye have known the Father.  I have written unto you fathers, because ye have known him that is from the beginning.  I have written unto you, young men, because ye are strong, and the word of God abideth in you, and ye have overcome the wicked one.”  (I John 2:12-14  KJV)

*  Little children have two characteristics:  (1) Their sins are forgiven in the name of Jesus;

and (2) They have known the Father.

*  Young men addressed have three characteristics:  (1) They have overcome the wicked

One, Satan, mentioned twice; (2) They are strong; and (3) The Word of God abides in them.

*  Fathers, the elders, have the single characteristic repeated twice that they have “known him that is from the beginning”.  We naturally take that to mean that these are first Christians that knew Jesus Himself.

So there is little doubt as to who the epistle of I John is addressed to:  (1) It is addressed to many Christians who knew Jesus at the same time that the Apostles knew Jesus; (2) It is addressed to their young men that have the Word of God abiding in themselves, being strong in the Lord and having overcome Satan; and (3) It is addressed to little children below the age of youth who have reached the age of accountability having come to know God the Father personally and having been forgiven of their sins.

Now with this background of who John wants to feel secure about their salvation of eternal life, we come to the first usage in I John of Eternal Life—

“Let that therefore abide in you which ye have heard from the beginning.  If that which ye have heard from the beginning shall remain in you, ye also shall continue in the Son, and in the Father.  And this is the promise that he hath promised us, even eternal life.  “ (I John 2:24,13  KJV)

Also the point is made here by the Apostle John has been emphasized previously from the epistles of Paul:  that is, that eternal life is conditional.  Notice the conditional “if”, “if that which ye have heard from the beginning shall remain in you…”  See that, it must remain!  What you heard from the beginning, and this is especially to those Fathers who heard Jesus for them- selves, must remain in you, and that is when you receive security and eternal life.

 Eternal Life in I John 3:1-3.

Here the words “eternal life” are not found; but the substance as first we find the assurance of being “sons of God” (I John 3:1) and then those who have this hope, which also reminds us of the Apostle Paul’s “Christ in you, the hope of glory”.  Look at it closely and then a few comments will be made about it—

“Beloved, now are we the sons of God, and it doth not yet appear what we shall be:  but we know that, when he shall appear, we shall be like him; for we shall see him as he is. And every man that hath in him purifieth himself, even as he is pure.”  (I John 3:1-3  KJV)

*  You can see how I John comes behind the Gospel of John where the Apostle has made it clear that “as many as received him to them gave he power to become sons of God”.

*  The Hope assured us by Christ being inside us is the assurance that at the Second Coming we shall be like Him for we will see Him as He is.  The internal image of Christ in us becomes also an external image at the Second Coming.

*  Again a conditional statement about those who are secure in this hope are also those that purify themselves.  They purify themselves because Jesus is pure, and if the image is to reflect the pure Jesus, it must also be pure.

3.  Eternal Life in I John 3:14.

Here while only the word “life” is used instead of “eternal life”, we know it is eternal life since this life is the opposite of death—

“We know that we have passed from death unto life, because we love the brethren.  He that loveth not his brother abideth in death.”  (I John 3:14  KJV)

4.  Eternal Life in I John 3:15.

Eternal life is negative here, letting us know that faith contending is also involved as certain practitioners of contentious faith are eliminated from the security of the believer by being murderers in that they hate Christian brothers—

“Whosoever hateth his brother is a murderer; and ye know that no murderer hath eternal life abiding in him.”  (I John 3:15  KJV)

NOTE:  Abiding in Jesus is another way to say security of the believer, or no fear of judgment since if you abide in Jesus you also abide in His love or keep His commandment to love.

*  This theme of lack of respect for other Christians, the same as hate or the lack of love for Christian brothers, is not only in I John, but is an echo of what the Apostle James writes in the book of James—

But if ye have respect to persons, ye commit sin, and are convinced of the law as transgressors.”  (James 2:9  KJV)

*  It is also significant that the words before I John 3:15, and introduction to murder and to I John 3:15 is a reference to Cain and Able, also a characteristics of those of contentious faith condensed with in the prime book on faith contending, Jude and Jude 11.

“Woe unto them!  for they have gone in the way of Cain, and ran greedily after the error of Balaam for reward, and perished in the gainsaying of Core.”    (Jude 11  KJV)

*  This is a good one verse summary of practitioners of contentious faith:  (1) They commit murder by hate because of lack of love of other Christian brothers; (2) They work greedily for personal gain in the ministry like Baalism; and (3) They like Core strive to identify themselves and their group as the real people of God.

5.  Eternal Life in I John 3:24.

Once again this is the concept but not the words “eternal life” itself, or perhaps we should say this is the Security of the Believer again—

“And he that keepeth his commandments dwelleth in him, and he in him. And hereby we know that he abideth in us, be the Spirit which he hath given us.”  (I John 3:24  KJV)

*  Notice “pneuma” for “Spirit” is capitalized here since it refers to the Holy Spirit.

*  It provides the background for the spirits to be tested in the next verse which are human spirits and spirits of those who falsely claim to be Prophets and Apostles.

6.  Eternal Life in I John 5:11-13.

Three times eternal life is mentioned in these three verses as if having started on eternal life in the second chapter, it increases in intensity, and comes to a climax in this fifth chapter—

“And this is the record, that God hath given to us eternal life, and this life is in his Son. He that hath the Son hath life, and he that hath not the Son of God hath not life.  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.” (I John 5:11-13  KJV)

35-3:  Starting an Outline of I John, “From the Beginning”

A very good preliminary outline of I John can be made based on the places in I John where the words “From the beginning” are mentioned.

I.  I John 1:1, We Apostles are declaring to you the Christ-Word which was “From the beginning” in order that we may have fellowship with us which is with God the Father and the Son.  [The Fellowship of the Apostles, God the Father, and the Son of God.]

II.  I John 2:7, “From the beginning” twice, once with no new commandment and then with a new commandment with the challenge of the presentation of perfected love.  [While sinless- ness of life can not be perfected, the challenge of the fellowship of the Apostles, God the Father, and God the Son does entail the possibility of perfected love while still on earth.]  (NOTE:  We must realize that this is the Apostle John, the Apostle whom over a half of a century previously Jesus had noted as the Apostle of love; the person to whom Jesus had entrusted His own moth- er; and who over fifty years later had worked on perfected love to the extent that he had for him- self eliminated any dread of the Day of Judgment.)

      III.  I John 2:12-14,  John writes to them, has written to them, and continues to write to them about what has been “from the beginning” because the fathers were there at the beginning. [How well do you remember the Traditions of Jesus which were from the beginning?]  (NOTE: It is obvious that with the close of the First Century near at hand, approximately 94 A.D. when the Apostle John writes this epistle, that John is emphasizing “from the beginning” because the  Traditions of Jesus are about to be distorted.  It is time to remind all Christians— fathers, young, and children, what the beginning traditions of Christianity are all about.)

IV.  I John 2:24, Let the same Holy Spirit abide in you that you heard “from the beginning, and if that same Spirit of the Son of abides in you then you have eternal life.   {Have you changed internally from the influence of the Spirit to the influence of other spirits?]

V.  I John 3:11, This is the Message that you heard “from the beginning”, that we should love one another.  {The original message of love one another.]  

{**NOTE:  This being the last of the “from the beginning” statements, as we continue along in this book developing a thorough outline and exegesis of I John, we will have to find another theme besides “The Traditions of Jesus” with which to continue the outline, perhaps the theme of eternal life continues the outline.**}

You will want to free download this message on I John, more to follow, at SunGrist on:

In PDF: https://sungrist.org/PTB3_15FirstJohn.pdf

In Word: https://sungrist.org/PTB3_15FirstJohn.docx

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