WHO IS GOD? 1 John 1 April 3, 2011
Background • Author • Not identified in the text • John, the Apostle • Another John? • Date • Latter part of 1st Century • Recipients • Ephesus? • Churches in Asia?
Form • The letter lacks a personal greeting and a benediction, as is common in most letters of the time • This writing appears to be more in the form of a recorded sermon or a targeted theological work directed at a particular problem • Very difficult to identify a specific outline of the book, but rather a spiral discussion, with the author touching various topics and then circling back to revist them
As We Read ... • Remember that we have one side of what was probably a dialog • Even though this does not appear to be a personal letter, as such • When the writer addresses a specific issue or makes a specific statement or poses a specific question, he is likely dealing with a specific problem • John had probably become aware of problems within a church and was writing to address them
From the Beginning ... • 1 John 1:1 • 1What was from the beginning, what we have heard, what we have seen with our eyes, what we have looked at and touched with our hands, concerning the Word of Life— • Who or what is John talking about? • What are his credentials in this matter? • Why would he begin his letter in this fashion? • To defend his teaching and apostleship • To prove that Jesus was/is real!
The Life Manifested • 1 John 1:2 • 2and the life was manifested, and we have seen and testify and proclaim to you the eternal life, which was with the Father and was manifested to us— • A parenthetical statement in this lengthy Greek sentence • For what purpose? • To combat the argument that Jesus didn’t really come to earth in flesh • The life was manifested, and John was present to see it
Fellowship ... • 1 John 1:3 • 3what we have seen and heard we proclaim to you also, so that you too may have fellowship with us; and indeed our fellowship is with the Father, and with His Son Jesus Christ. • Why is fellowship with John important? • What does fellowship with each other mean? • How does this relate to fellowship with Jesus?
In the Original Text ... • What was from the beginning, • What we have heard, • What we have seen, • What we have looked at, • Touched with our hands, • Concerning the Word of Life, • The life was manifested, • We have seen and testify to the eternal life, • Which was with the Father, • That you too may have fellowship with us; • Our fellowship is with the Father, and with His Son Jesus Christ, • THIS WE PROCLAIM!
Joy Complete ... • 1 John 1:4 • 4These things we write, so that our joy may be made complete. • Why would this make John’s joy complete? • Why wouldn’t he be concerned about making his reader’s joy complete?
In the Beginning ... Revisited • John 1:1-5, 14 • 1In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. 2He was in the beginning with God. 3All things came into being through Him, and apart from Him nothing came into being that has come into being. 4In Him was life, and the life was the Light of men. 5The Light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not comprehend it. • 14And the Word became flesh, and dwelt among us, and we saw His glory, glory as of the only begotten from the Father, full of grace and truth. • How does this compare with the opening thoughts of 1 John?
God Is Light ... • 1 John 1:5 • 5This is the message we have heard from Him and announce to you, that God is Light, • John makes an absolute statement about God and then follows it up with a diametrically opposed counter statement • and in Him there is no darkness at all. • Why is this important? • It’s about “good” vs. “evil” • If we are going to be like God, we can have no “darkness” in us
If We Say ... • John then goes into a series of three “If We Say” passages: • If we say that we have fellowship with Him and yet walk in the darkness • If we say that we have no sin • If we say that we have not sinned • Each contrasts a heretical behavior with a proper one
Fellowship vs. Darkness • 1 John 1:6 • 6If we say that we have fellowship with Him and yet walk in the darkness, we lie and do not practice the truth; • Why would John make such a statement? • Well, first off, it’s true ... • This was likely part of the heresy that John was addressing • Those who claimed to be in fellowship with God, yet continued to live in sin – or “darkness”
Walking in the Light ... • 1 John 1:7 • 7but if we walk in the Light as He Himself is in the Light, we have fellowship with one another, • Those who walk in the light have fellowship with each other • What does it mean to have fellowship with each other? • And they have cleansing by the blood • and the blood of Jesus His Son cleanses us from all sin. • How does Jesus’ blood cleanse us? • Note the tense of the verb used here • Continual cleansing ...
We Have No Sin ... • 1 John 1:8 • 8If we say that we have no sin, we are deceiving ourselves and the truth is not in us. • How could anyone claim that they had no sin? • If they do make such a claim, it is certainly not true • Again, possibly part of the heresy that John was addressing • Those who claimed that they had no sin • Whatever the reason, these folks had deceived themselves and abandoned the truth
If We Confess ... • 1 John 1:9 • 9If we confess our sins, He is faithful and righteous to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. • To whom are we to confess our sins? • To God? • To our friends and family? • To a priest? • To Nick? • How does confession cleanse us?
A Paradox ... • If we step into the light ... • Our sin becomes apparent • But if we confess our sin, we speak the truth • If we stay in the light, our sin is washed away • Sin must be exposed to be forgiven • However, if we retreat to the darkness • We hide our sin • But, our self-deception continues • We continue to live the lie • Our sins remain with us, unforgiven
“We Have Not Sinned ...” • 1 John 1:10 • 10If we say that we have not sinned, we make Him a liar and His word is not in us. • A reiteration of the previous thought • Perhaps this deals with past sin, while the previous thought dealt with present sin • How do we make God a liar? • Bottom line? • We have all sinned • If we deny that fact, we are liars • And we make God a liar
Final Thoughts • Do we fully accept and understand the manifestation of God in Jesus as John describes it here? • Why is it important that we understand the character of God? • Why is it important that we understand the manifestation of Jesus Christ? • How does (should) this impact our daily walk?
Questions? • Next week • Christ: For All Ages (John 2:1-14)