The First Epistle of John
A Transcript of James Battell’s Verse-By-Verse King James Bible Study
Available at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dIccCShvixs
Chapter 1, verses 1-3: “That which was from the beginning, which we have heard, which we have seen with our eyes, which we have looked upon, and our hands have handled, of the Word of life; (For the life was manifested, and we have seen it, and bear witness, and shew unto you that eternal life, which was with the Father, and was manifested unto us;) That which we have seen and heard declare we unto you, that ye also may have fellowship with us: and truly our fellowship is with the Father, and with his Son Jesus Christ.”
The First Epistle of John, chapter 1 verse 1 starts with the apostle John, now an elderly man dealing with the fact that they had seen Christ. They had physically handled Him, seen Him, and had been associated with Him.
The word “that” is neuter, starts right at the beginning of verse 1, and several times God the Father, God the Son and God the Holy Spirit are spoken of in a neuter. It’s not disrespectful; it’s a fact that the AV correctly starts out this part of Scripture using the neuter to refer to Jesus Christ.
The two keywords here are “fellowship” and “we.” Now the apostle John was one of twelve men handpicked by Jesus Christ, and of course, Judas Iscariot was a devil, according to John chapter 6. And he fell, that the Scripture would be fulfilled.
But nonetheless, the Lord chose twelve men to be His disciples, His apostles. And of course, “apostle” and a “disciple” are synonymous, but normally when we speak of an apostle, we speak of somebody who has been handpicked and sent out.
Today a person that is saved is a disciple the moment that they believe on the Lord Jesus Christ.
So, we no longer have apostles, as such. There are no handpicked people today that represent the Lord. If you are born again, then you are a saint of God, and you have as much authority as the next person has.
The same goes for prophets. There are no prophets today per se. A prophet in the New Testament was somebody who had the gift of foreknowledge. They could tell you what was going to happen in the future, and they were normally chosen during the intertestimonial period, from law to grace, and normally they were given the task of articulating what the Lord was doing through the office of the apostles.
Again, the Scripture hadn’t yet been written. The apostles were using the Old Testament. And of course, three-quarters of the Bible were already in circulation before Jesus Christ turned up; that, of course, is the Old Testament. The apostles quoted the Old Testament extensively. Paul quotes the Old Testament 80 times in the Book of Romans. Jesus quotes the Old Testament 60 times in the gospels alone. Jesus held the Pharisees accountable by the Old Testament.
Today, we have the Old and New Testament, and we can hold people accountable by the word of God. It’s not our authority; it’s not our opinion. We are simply examining man in light of Scripture.
The second part here is fellowship. When you read through 1 John chapter 1 carefully, you see something very clear: that the word “fellowship” means union with God, not salvation. And I’ll come to that in a moment.
Chapter 1, verse 4: “And these things write we unto you, that your joy may be full.”
Of course, John is speaking in the plural here on behalf of the apostles. He’s writing this epistle himself, but he’s writing as an apostle, as an older man, as an elder brother, somebody who was chosen and worked alongside other men, and that is a sign of humility.
Chapter 1, verse 5: “This then is the message which we have heard of him, and declare unto you, that God is light, and in him is no darkness at all.”
There’s no evil; there is nothing wicked in the Lord. What you find throughout Scripture is the Lord will allow sinful man to do what he wants to do.
Revelation 17:17: God says He will put it in man’s heart to do all of His will.
Go back to Exodus: you find Pharaoh, a pagan, a sinful man, with a wicked heart, completely contrary to the things of God, and he was out to destroy the children of Israel. So, he starts out already guilty, and the Lord hardens his heart, then Pharaoh hardens his heart, then God hardens his heart, and this continues until Pharaoh’s destruction. Pharaoh was already lost; he was already a pagan before he even came into contact with Moses as a prophet of God.
There are occasions in the Old Testament, alongside Exodus, where the Lord allows evil spirits to deceive wicked men. In 2 Thessalonians chapter 2, Paul says that those who refuse to believe the truth will be deceived. God Himself will send strong delusion (verse 11), and that is a reference to the Tribulation.
And in Matthew 24, Jesus said if it were possible, even the elect would be deceived. Now, we know that it’s not possible, because we know that once we are saved we are sealed and He that has begun a good work in us will complete it. So, we know that our salvation is fixed the moment we believe on the Lord Jesus Christ.
But if you are not saved, if you’re an enemy of God, if Satan has blinded you, according to 2 Corinthians 4:4, then you are an enemy of God. And if you are an unsaved person pretending to be saved, then you are the tares from Matthew 13, and the tares are going to be gathered up and bundled and thrown into the fire.
This is a very serious fact. There are a lot of people that pretend to be saved and are not saved, and I’ve said this before, there are people who are saved who have no assurance of being saved, and there are those that are not saved who do have assurance of being saved. It’s a farce, but it’s a sad fact nonetheless.
Chapter 1, verses 6-7: “If we say that we have fellowship with him, and walk in darkness, we lie, and do not the truth: But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship one with another, and the blood of Jesus Christ his Son cleanseth us from all sin.”
Nobody got saved by confessing their sins to the Lord Jesus Christ.
Go to Romans chapter 10. Look at verse 9: “That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved. For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation. For the scripture saith, Whosoever believeth on him shall not be ashamed. For there is no difference between the Jew and the Greek: for the same Lord over all is rich unto all that call upon him.”
Look at verse 13: “For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.” That’s a reference to the Old Testament. Man has always been saved the same way: by calling on the name of the Lord, which simply means to acknowledge God as your Creator, and in faith in the Lord Jesus Christ.
In fact, go to the Book of Acts. Look at Acts 26:18: “To open their eyes, and to turn them from darkness to light, and from the power of Satan unto God, that they may receive forgiveness of sins, and inheritance among them which are sanctified by faith that is in me.” So turning from darkness to light, from the power of Satan unto God, is a complete repentance, it’s a complete change of mind. And once you’ve repented, once you’ve changed, once you’ve turned from your pre-salvation condition, then God will save you.
Look at Acts 20 verse 21: “Testifying both to the Jews, and also to the Greeks, repentance toward God, and faith toward our Lord Jesus Christ.” You have to acknowledge the Father to get to the Son. Repentance towards God and faith in and of and through our Lord Jesus Christ.
Go to Acts 16: a couple more verses I want to give you to cement this fact. Acts 16 verse 31: “And they said, Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shall be saved, and thy house.” And, of course, the house was saved (by the time you get to verses 33 and 34) by believing in God. So, you’re saved by your faith in Christ, and faith is what repentance is. Repentance, as I say, is a change of mind, and that change of mind grants you faith, faith in the Lord Jesus Christ.
And possibly in the future I will do a longer video going through repentance, because some good people, some saved people, believe that repentance is a turning from sin in order to then be saved. And that is a problematic teaching because the moment you tell somebody they have to turn from all of their sin in order to get saved, the question then is asked, “How do I know if I’ve turned from all of my sin? How do I know if God has received me?”
But, if you present the word of God correctly, that it’s faith in Christ alone, total faith, minus any works, then the person can have assurance they are saved. And Romans 8 says that the Holy Spirit gives us assurance that we are saved.
But the moment you put works in the equation, or Lordship salvation, or even conditional security, which the Arminians promote, then you take any assurance, any joy that a person has from them, and you leave them dangling, and that’s not something that I would want to be associated with.
So, back to verse 7, the word of God says that if we walk in the light, as He is the light, we have fellowship one with another, and Jesus Christ’s blood cleanses us from all sin.
Now again, fellowship here, in the context, is to confess your sins in order to stay in fellowship with Him. You were saved from Hell. You were saved from your sin. You were saved from God’s judgment the moment you believed on Him. But, when you fall into sin, and all Christians will fall into sin, as has been said before, you can fall inboard but you can’t fall overboard. And here, to make your fellowship solid with the Lord, you have to confess your sins and you will be cleansed from your sins.
Chapter 1, verse 8: “If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us.”
A lot of Christians out there are teaching entire sanctification, something which John Wesley taught, and it means, in essence, that a person that is saved can be victorious, can be sinless. And that’s a wonderful view to hold, but it’s an incorrect view to hold.
If you go through the Old Testament, you’ll find some of the best men that ever lived sinning, sinning after they were saved, and they were chastised. And David, if you read his life story very carefully, paid a huge price for his sins.
If you are saved and you sin, if you live after the flesh, you will be chastised day and night. And you will lose your peace, you will lose your joy, but one thing that the Bible does not teach is you will lose your salvation. And I’ve already dealt with that in other videos.
Chapter 1, verse 9: “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.”
Verse 9 makes it crystal clear that you can confess your sins and He will cleanse you from all of your sin. No sin that a saved man or woman can or will ever commit will ever separate you from the love of God. Romans 8 speaks about your salvation, not your fellowship. But verse 9, referring to your fellowship, makes it clear that if you confess your sin, He will cleanse you from your sin.
And there are some people that I’ve spoken to over the years that believe that somebody who is saved and then goes out and commits a particular sin cannot be forgiven.
Now, here it says you can be forgiven. So like everybody that you speak to, everybody that you listen to, whether it’s on the radio, or YouTube, or the Internet in general, just check them out in light of Scripture. Don’t take my word for it; check it out yourself.
Chapter 1, verse 10: “If we say that we have not sinned, we make him a liar, and his word is not in us.”
A very critical verse to finish the first chapter on.
Again, going back to Wesley’s holiness position (that you can be saved and not sin), and John here says that if we say we haven’t sinned, we make Him a liar. You’ve got to be very careful here. There are some people that can deceive themselves. The problem with deception is that those that are deceived don’t know they are deceived.
But the great news from the first chapter here is that if we do sin (and we will sin, because we are flesh and we’re still living in a fallen world), but the great thing is, the great news here, is that if we sin, or when we sin, if we confess our sins, He will cleanse us from our sins and we will be restored unto full fellowship with God.
Chapter 2, verses 1-2: “My little children, these things write I unto you, that ye sin not. And if any man sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous: And he is the propitiation for our sins: and not for ours only, but also for the sins of the whole world.
Again, “the whole world” there would be the whole world, without exception. Jesus Christ died for everybody that ever lived and will ever live. And I’ve dealt with this in my video on limited atonement, so you may want to watch that video in light of this video.
“My little children”: simply a term. John’s an old man by now. And like I said from the Timothy video, Paul was probably about 70, give or take a few years, and he would consider Timothy, possibly 30, 40 years younger than him, being a young man.
But here, John is an elderly man, much older than Paul was, and this is very much a spiritual term, “my little children”.
Now you can’t read into the text here what the Catholics would have you believe: that the early Church called their leaders “father”. That’s very much a Jewish custom.
Luke 16 speaks about the rich man in Hell, and he calls Abraham “father”. And there are many times in the Old Testament where the Jews would speak of the patriarchs in a sort of a spiritual manner, but in the New Testament, the people of God for today, for this dispensation (and yes, we have replaced the Jews), if you are a saved man or woman today, you are a person of God.
And until the Tribulation, when the Church has been raptured and God returns to Israel, we are the people of God. That does not mean that we hate the Jews; that does not mean that we speak negatively or critically or harshly to the Jews. We pray for them because Romans 11 says they are loved for the Father’s sake.
So, there’s no room for the saved man or woman to be anti-Semitic whatsoever, and unfortunately Replacement Theology, whether you like it or not, is anti-Semitic in the sense that it takes the Jews’ right from them and gives it to the Church.
Now, like I say, we are the people of God for today, for now, for the Church age. But we know that that is a limited ministry for the Church. Once the Church has been raptured, the Lord turns to the Jews and you have a rerun of Pentecost.
And if you go back to the Book of Acts, you find that the early Church was predominantly Jewish, and it was Jewish men, and women, of course, but predominantly men, that turned the world upside down. In 100 B.C., there were no Christians in the world. By 100 A.D., there were about 10 million saved men and women around the world. And that was down to a group of fishermen, simple men, and of course the apostle Paul, who was a scholar, and I believe the greatest man that ever lived post-John the Baptist.
But here, Jesus is spoken of as the propitiation, the covering, the atonement. He is the Author of life, and He didn’t just die for the Church, He died for everybody. But you have to personally receive Him in order to be saved.
Verse 1, just quickly: John is pleading with the children not to sin. As a parent would plead with their children not to be bad, not to misbehave, not to be wicked, not to be rebellious, so on and so forth, John is appealing to the Church (the early Church, the young Church, the people that he’s writing to) not to sin.
Chapter 2, verse 3: “And hereby we do know that we know him, if we keep his commandments.”
This term “commandments” has been used and abused over the years by many different people and the average person will read this and go straight back to the Ten Commandments and say that the Ten Commandments are these commandments, and they’re not.
Go to Mark chapter 12, verse 28: “And one of the scribes came, and having heard them reasoning together, and perceiving that he had answered them well, asked him, Which is the first commandment of all? And Jesus answered him, The first of all the commandments is, Hear, O Israel; The Lord our God is one Lord: And thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind, and with all thy strength: this is the first commandment. And the second is like, namely this, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. There is none other commandment greater than these.”
So, the whole of the commandments, the whole of the law is summed up in verse 30 and 31. I want to show you another example of this.
Go to Romans. Look at Romans 13:8: “Owe no man any thing, but to love one another: for he that loveth another hath fulfilled the law.”
Now, “another” here is a reference to a saved person. When you love another brother or sister, you have fulfilled the law.
Okay, so when we get to this part of scripture about keeping the commandments, we need to be so careful that we don’t go back to Exodus 20 and slap the Ten Commandments on a person today, and by doing that, put them back under the law, because that’s what you are doing in essence. And I’ll get back to the commandments here later.
Chapter 2, verses 4-5: “He that saith, I know him, and keepeth not his commandments, is a liar, and the truth is not in him. But whoso keepeth his word, in him verily is the love of God perfected: hereby know we that we are in him.”
Again, obedience to the gospel is clear. If you’re born again you’ll love the Lord, you’ll follow Him and you will obey Him.
You won’t be perfect, you won’t be sinless, but your heart will always be right with Him, and you’ll always strive to do what is right in His eyes.
Chapter 2, verse 6: “He that saith he abideth in him ought himself also so to walk, even as he walked.”
Chapter 2, verses 7-9: “Brethren, I write no new commandment unto you, but an old commandment which ye had from the beginning. The old commandment is the word which ye have heard from the beginning. Again, a new commandment I write unto you, which thing is true in him and in you: because the darkness is past, and the true light now shineth. He that saith he is in the light, and hateth his brother, is in darkness even until now.”
Again, a brother here is another Christian. If you’re saved and you hate your brother or sister in the Lord, then John says you are in darkness, even until this very moment. And according to the first chapter you need to confess your sin to be restored unto fellowship.
Chapter 2, verse 10: “He that loveth his brother abideth in the light, and there is none occasion of stumbling in him.”
Again, when you walk in the light, when you follow the Lord, when you read the word of God and have a good prayer life and you obey the Scripture, then your testimony, your relationship with Him will be strong, and you won’t be stumbling around in the dark.
Chapter 2, verse 11: “But he that hateth his brother is in darkness, and walketh in darkness, and knoweth not whither he goeth, because that darkness hath blinded his eyes.”
Again, this is pretty serious. There’s no reason to hate another Christian. You can dislike somebody. You can have a fallout with another brother or sister in the Lord, but the moment that it becomes hatred, again, get on your knees, go back to verse 9 and 10, confess your sin and God will restore you unto fellowship.
Chapter 2, verse 12: “I write unto you, little children, because your sins are forgiven you for his name’s sake.”
Past tense! You’ve already been saved. Not for your sake, not for your works, but for His name’s sake. We are saved in spite of ourselves, not because of ourselves.
Chapter 2, verse 13: “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.”
This knowledge here (this reference to knowing the Father) is an intimate knowledge. It’s not just a head knowledge, it’s a heart knowledge. These people have been circumcised in their hearts, and they know the Lord intimately in the sense that a man knows his wife, similar sort of a connotation there.
Chapter 2, verse 14: “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.”
The word of God is sharp and powerful and quicker than any two-edged sword. To know the will of God you must know the word of God, you need to meditate on the Bible.
I had a conversation with a chap some years ago in a town called Blackpool. It’s the Vegas of the north of England. And he came up to me in a wheelchair; he was quite an aggressive character. And I told him he had to read the Bible every day to mediate on it. And he was very upset with me, and he made his case that the Bible didn’t need to be read every day, and he asked me where did it say that? And I gave him the references, and he sort of waved his stick at me and off he went in his automatic wheelchair, his electric wheelchair, I should say.
But here you are told to be strong, and you are strong when you abide, when you feed on the word of God.
Chapter 2, verses 15-16: “Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world. If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, is not of the Father, but is of the world.”
You can appreciate something that is in the world, but the moment you love it, the minute you make it the centre of your life, then you’ve fallen from grace. And that means you have fallen from your standing with the Lord. Not your positional standing, but your practical standing! You are now in the flesh! And again go back to verse 8 and 9 and confess your sin to the Lord.
I had the opportunity to go to Romania some years ago and I met a very godly American couple. They’d given up their life in Texas. They’d had a good quality of life, and they were in Romania, a very poor country.
And I went in November some years ago, and it was a freezing cold month. And I can remember the female missionary out there with her computer on, listening to pop music on the radio. And she was appreciating the music. She wasn’t loving the music. She appreciated it, and perhaps it took the edge off her day.
Now, until you’ve been in a position of being a missionary in a third-world country, a nation which is steeped in wickedness, a nation which is antagonistic to the gospel, until you’ve been in a part of the world where things are tough, you might want to just refrain from judging particular people.
So, I believe that you can appreciate something. You can appreciate music. You can appreciate films. You can appreciate things that are in the world, but you don’t love the things that are in the world. Or, put it this way, you can separate the music from the people, too.
But nonetheless it goes back to a Christian’s liberty. We have liberty in the Lord, we can do things that other religions won’t let you do. But, the moment that our liberty causes somebody else to stumble, then we have to take a step back and reevaluate the whole thing.
But here, John is saying to you not to love the world. And you shouldn’t love the world. You should love God with all your heart, mind, soul and strength. And then love your neighbour as yourself, and of course 1 Timothy speaks about loving your family. So, love the Lord your God, love your brother or sister in the Lord, and of course, love your family also.
But, appreciating some of the things of the world in doses, in and of itself, isn’t sinful.
Chapter 2, verse 17: “And the world passeth away, and the lust thereof: but he that doeth the will of God abideth for ever.”
Now, the will of God here, first and foremost, is to believe. Total belief on the Lord Jesus Christ, according to John chapter 6. Believe He is who He says He was, and when you believe on Him you have done the will of God. Then, you continue on as His disciple; you abide in Him.
Chapter 2, verse 18: “Little children, it is the last time: and as ye have heard that antichrist shall come, even now are there many antichrists; whereby we know that it is the last time.”
“Last time” and “latter times” are different. Different meanings, different events! The “last time” in this part of Scripture would be God’s calendar, God’s timetable. And in the last time, He revealed Jesus to the world.
The “latter times” are eschatological, meaning the days, the years, months, the moments building up, or leading up, I should say, to Christ’s return.
But here, John is saying that there are many antichrists that are in the world. Matthew 24 says that many would come in His name saying, “I am Christ.”
And when you look at that part of Scripture you think of the Catholic popes. They claim to come in the place of Christ and they have titles which, according to those that know the Latin language, calculate to 6-6-6.
1 Peter speaks about the false prophets that make merchandise out of gullible people, and when I think of that part of Scripture I look about the televangelists – all the guys and girls on God TV, on Trinity Broadcasting Network, Revelation TV, Premier radio, any “Christian” TV or radio station that you care to name – nearly always have these types of people on their slots because they have the checkbooks. They can afford the television/radio time. And all they are doing is pushing a prosperity message that God wants you healthy and wealthy, and you become healthy and wealthy by writing a check out to these ministries.
The false prophets were around in John’s day, and these false prophets are around today, and they will be with us right up until the Second Advent.
Look at verse 19:
Chapter 2, verse 19: “They went out from us, but they were not of us; for if they had been of us, they would no doubt have continued with us: but they went out, that they might be made manifest that they were not all of us.”
This is an interesting part of Scripture. The false prophets are spoken of in verse 18. And in verse 19, “they” (again, the false prophets, the antichrists) are referred to as going out from the Church.
This is apostasy. These people started with the Lord (they’d have you believe), but they went out. And these people that go out were never saved to begin with.
You cannot teach conditional security from this verse. You don’t have a person who’s saved one moment, and then losing their salvation the next moment. People who fall away and stay fallen away were never saved to begin with.
But, you’ve got to be careful with that also, because in 1 Corinthians you have people that are saved falling into sin and not confessing their sin, and Paul says they are sleeping, which is a metaphor for being with the Lord.
In 1 Corinthians 5, there’s a saved man who’s sleeping with his mother. Incest! And Paul deals with that guy, and in the end he’s put out of the church.
It’s not always easy to deal with these parts of Scripture, and I do appreciate that, for those that hold to conditional security, they have verses which they go to, normally Hebrews and 1 Peter, which I’ll look at on another video.
But, I’m looking at verse 19 here and now, and verse 19 speaks about those that went out and they permanently departed from the Church, from the body of Christ. And they went out because they were not of the Lord to begin with. Again, these are the false converts, and Jesus speaks about these people in Matthew chapter 7:21-23. He says, “many will stand before Him on that day”, the Great White Throne, and they call Him, “Lord, Lord!” They’re crying out to Him. They have this belief that they are saved, and He says I never knew you. “Never”, meaning never! Not that “I did know you, until you fell into sin and then didn’t repent”, but that “I never knew you,” which means quite clearly they were never saved to begin with.
Chapter 2, verses 20-22: “But ye have an unction from the Holy One, and ye know all things. I have not written unto you because ye know not the truth, but because ye know it, and that no lie is of the truth. Who is a liar but he that denieth that Jesus is the Christ? He is antichrist, that denieth the Father and the Son.”
When I look at verse 22, I think of the Jews. Now I’ve already spoken about the Jews a few moments ago, and we pray for the Jews, we witness to Jews, we’ve given out Bibles to Jewish people. We love Israel, we’ve been there once. We’re pre-millennial, and we will always be defenders of the Jewish people because, according to John 4, salvation comes from the Jews.
The Jews were God’s people. They were His chosen vehicle in the Old Testament. Jesus Christ was a Jew, the Apostles were Jews, and the Jews wrote the Bible (Old and New Testament), so we love the Jews.
But here John, who is also a Jew, I should say, makes it crystal clear that those that deny that Jesus is the Messiah are antichrists. And I always think of the Jews when I look at verse 22.
Chapter 2, verse 23: “Whosoever denieth the Son, the same hath not the Father: (but) he that acknowledgeth the Son hath the Father also.”
From verse 23, I think of the Muslims. They deny that Jesus is the Son of God, and they too fall into the category of antichrists. We pray for Muslims. We witness to Muslims. Many Muslims in the Middle East are getting saved. There are thousands of people in the Middle East that are getting saved all the time.
If you want to go to a country, if you want to see a revival, you need to go to the Middle East. You need to go to Africa! You need to go to Eastern Europe! You won’t find a revival in Britain, America or Canada, France or Germany, or anywhere in the Western world. But you’ll find it in the Middle East. You’ll find it in Africa, and in Eastern Europe.
Chapter 2, verse 24: “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.
Again, you shall know the truth and the truth shall make you free, and you are my disciples if you continue my word. Again, it’s to continue on with the Lord to get a full reward at the Judgment Seat.
Chapter 2, verse 25: “And this is the promise that he hath promised us, even eternal life.”
Again, that’s a promise given to all men without exception. But those who personally appropriate it (those who receive it) are going to be saved.
Chapter 2, verse 26: “These things have I written unto you concerning them that seduce you.”
False teachers seducing the early Church, referred to in verse 1 of chapter 2 as little children.
And Jesus said if you cause one of these little ones that believe in me to stumble, it had been better that you didn’t live. This is how seriously God looks at people who cause young Christians to stumble. And He says better they were dead, that they were to have a millstone put around their neck. So, woe unto you if you’re out to trip up young Christians!
Chapter 2, verse 27: “But the anointing which ye have received of him abideth in you, and ye need not that any man teach you: but as the same anointing teacheth you of all things, and is truth, and is no lie, and even as it hath taught you, ye shall abide in him.”
This is amazing. It says here that the anointing which you have received of Him abides in you, and you don’t need anyone to teach you. You already know what you know. Now, you need the word of God to grow in grace, to understand the basic elements of the Godhead, of what God wants from us. But, here it says we don’t need anyone to teach us. Incredible!
Chapter 2, verse 28: “And now, little children, abide in him; that, when he shall appear, we may have confidence, and not be ashamed before him at his coming.”
This is a reference to the Judgment Seat of Christ. And when we go before the Judgment Seat of Christ, we don’t have any shame. We want to go there and get a full reward.
But this reference here “to appear” could be a reference to the Rapture. It could be a reference to the Second Advent. I personally believe it’s a reference to the Rapture, and when we go up in the Rapture we have the Judgment Seat, and that he’s saying that we can have confidence.
Similar language to 1 Thessalonians 4, to “comfort one another with these words.” There’s a surety there. There’s a confidence that we’re going to be okay.
Chapter 2, verse 29: “If ye know that he is righteous, ye know that every one that doeth righteousness is born of him.”
Again, when you’re born again, you are transformed from within, and your righteousness will be evident in your life.
You won’t be perfect, you won’t be sinless! And, hopefully you won’t be one of those “holier than thou” people, but there’ll be something within you which is different to those that are around you.
And if you’re a young Christian and you’re just trying to find your feet, just keep walking with the Lord. Don’t run, just walk! Take it easy, take it slowly and feed on the word of God, and God will grow you in grace, and you will be righteous, you will be pure because He is righteous and He was sinless. And all saved people long to be like Jesus Christ is.
Chapter 3, verse 1: “Behold, what manner of love the Father hath bestowed upon us, that we should be called the sons of God: therefore the world knoweth us not, because it knew him not.”
This term “sons of God” (when you go through the Old Testament) nearly always refers to angels. So, when the angels fell, it could just be that the Church, the saved people, become the spiritual sons of God, and in a roundabout way replace the angels. Now, we don’t become angels, as such. We’re like angels, in the sense that we don’t procreate in Heaven, but this expression “sons of God” no doubt has a very pure and a very holy meaning to it, and a very special connotation.
So, the angels fell and were cast into Hell, but the men and women that are saved today, and yesterday, and tomorrow, will be called the sons of God. And that’s because the Father has loved us.
Chapter 3, verse 2: “Beloved, now are we the sons of God, [present tense] 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.”
Again, this could be a reference to the Rapture or the Second Advent. Personally, I go with the Rapture. And when He comes with the Rapture, we will see Him as He is and we will be like Him. We shall be bone of His bone and flesh of His flesh. We will be conformed totally to His image.
Chapter 3, verse 3: “And every man that hath this hope in him purifieth himself, even as he is pure.”
That’s why you live a righteous life, to be like He is. You have the hope that He could come back at any moment and, therefore, you are always ready for Him. Your passport is stamped up and your suitcase is packed. The phone could ring, and like a good journalist that works for any news organization, he or she always has a bag packed and their passport ready to go at a moment’s notice.
The Rapture could come at any moment. The Rapture could be imminent. We don’t know exactly when it’s going to come, but we were told in the gospels to look for Jesus, not the antichrist.
And you would have thought that if the Church was going to go through the tribulation, we would have been told what to do and what not to do. But the gospels are quite clear that we are to look for Him, not the antichrist. Why? Well, the Church won’t be here.
Now, you’ll have people in the Tribulation that do get saved. They are called “Tribulation saints”, and it’s going to be pretty tough on them. But thankfully those that are saved today, in 2011, should the Rapture come today, will not go through the Tribulation. But should the Rapture start tomorrow, or next week, or next month, then the Church would have been taken out and those that are left behind were not saved pre the Rapture, and they will go through the Tribulation, get saved, and like I say, things will be pretty tough for them, but I’ve dealt with that in my Revelation series.
Chapter 3, verses 4-6: “Whosoever committeth sin transgresseth also the law: for sin is the transgression of the law. And ye know that he was manifested to take away our sins; and in him is no sin. Whosoever abideth in him sinneth not: whosoever sinneth hath not seen him, neither known him.”
This bit of Scripture does cause some confusion. So, Scripture with Scripture to get it right. Go back to the first chapter, verse 1:8: “If we [the saved people] say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us.” Verse 10: “If we say that we have not sinned, we make him a liar, and his word is not in us.”
So, get these two Scriptures clear! John is saying that if we don’t confess our sins, we are liars. And he says that He is our propitiation (2:2), and in verse 1, “we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ”.
So, we put these two verses together and we find that there are people that will sin and do sin, but here, he says: “Whosoever abideth in him sinneth not: whosoever sinneth hath not seen him, neither known him”. Now, I’m going to get to verse 9. I’m going to get back to verse 6 and try to tie these two verses in together.
Chapter 3, verses 7-8: “Little children, let no man deceive you: he that doeth righteousness is righteous, even as he is righteous. He that committeth sin is of the devil; for the devil sinneth from the beginning. For this purpose the Son of God was manifested, that he might destroy the works of the devil.”
Chapter 3, verse 9: “Whosoever is born of God doth not commit sin; for his seed remaineth in him: and he cannot sin, because he is born of God.”
Now, there’s no way, from verse 9, you can teach that Christians that are saved don’t sin.
If you go to the book of Galatians you find Peter, who was certainly saved, sinning. He was teaching another gospel. He was telling the Gentiles to be like the Jews, and it was so serious that Paul rebuked him before the entire Church.
That’s just one occasion of somebody that was willfully sinning, and you know that he was willfully sinning because Paul rebuked him to his face in front of everybody.
If it was just a one-off sin, done in error, then he would have taken him aside and quietly spoken to him. He didn’t do it in that manner because Peter was willfully sinning. There are people that are saved that do sin.
Now here, it says that your seed remains in you and you cannot sin. What is this seed? This seed is the new birth. When you were born again, you took on the new nature that comes from Heaven. Your old man has been crucified with Him, according to Romans 6, and you now have a new nature. You’re bone of His bone, flesh of His flesh, and you have been regenerated.
But the problem is, and the reality is, you still have the old nature, which is constantly fighting; the flesh and the spirit battle.
And Paul says in Romans 7, and I’m going to take you there now and read it, because what I don’t want is people to fall into this “holiness trap”. There’s nothing wrong with being holy. There’s nothing wrong with walking with the Lord and living a clean life. In fact, you should be doing those things. And if you’re not, then you need to start doing those things.
But you need to also keep Romans 7 verse 19 in mind: “For the good that I would I do not [present tense]: but the evil which I would not, that I do.” Does that sound like you? It sounds like me.
Verse 20: “Now if I do that I would not, it is no more I that do it, but sin that dwelleth in me.” There’s the old nature. “I find then a law, that, when I would do good, evil is present with me.” Again, the two natures clashing. Law and grace! The old nature and the new nature!
Verse 22: “For I delight in the law of God after the inward man”. He wants to be righteous! “But I see another law in my members, warring against the law of my mind, and bringing me into captivity to the law of sin which is in my members. O wretched man that I am! who shall deliver me from the body of this death?”
Verse 25: “I thank God through Jesus Christ our Lord. So then with the mind I myself serve the law of God; but with the flesh the law of sin.”
This is a very honest and accurate account of a saved man (and Paul was certainly saved) battling the old man. And this is an ongoing battle which affects every saved man and woman that I personally know, and I put it to you that you know also. So, just be honest with yourself when you get to verse 9.
Chapter 3, verse 10: “In this the children of God are manifest, and the children of the devil: whosoever doeth not righteousness is not of God, neither he that loveth not his brother.”
Again, back to this love of the brethren! It’s critical, and again, we’ll look at that in a few verses’ time.
I’ll say one other point here: that the children of God and the children of the devil are diametrically opposed, and the children of God are manifest, as are the children of the devil. And that is true in the eyes of the Lord, but it’s not always clear in the eyes of man. Judas Iscariot was a devil and the early Church didn’t even know that.
Chapter 3, verse 11: “For this is the message that ye heard from the beginning, that we should love one another.”
Again, love and hatred are diametrically opposed. If you’re born again, you love your brother; and if you hate your brother, then you’re in darkness. You need to repent and get right with God.
Chapter 3, verses 12-14: “Not as Cain, who was of that wicked one, and slew his brother. And wherefore slew he him? Because his own works were evil, and his brother’s righteous. Marvel not, my brethren, if the world hate you. We know that we have passed from death unto life, because we love the brethren. He that loveth not his brother abideth in death.”
Look at verse 15:
Chapter 3, verse 15: “Whosoever hateth his brother is a murderer: and ye know that no murderer hath eternal life abiding in him.”
So, here it’s deteriorated. Here, it’s gone beyond just confessing your sin and returning to fellowship with the Lord. Here, it’s saying that if you hate your brother, you are a murderer. And again, this is in reference to a Christian hating another Christian.
You can’t use this on an unsaved person. You can use this spiritually to show an unsaved person their sin. But this is speaking of a saved person hating another person and ultimately killing their brother, as did Cain do in verse 12.
Chapter 3, verse 16: “Hereby perceive we the love of God, because he laid down his life for us: and we ought to lay down our lives for the brethren.”
And again, Christ died for the sins of the world, but here it’s speaking about those that have appropriated the atonement, those who have received, those that have become the sheep, and those that are going to be saved. Okay?
So, Christ dies for everybody, without exception, but only those that are born again, only those that have received Him, are going to be saved. And they become the Church, the people of God.
Chapter 3, verse 17: “But whoso hath this world’s good, and seeth his brother have need, and shutteth up his bowels of compassion from him, how dwelleth the love of God in him?”
This is what James 2 and Romans 4 are all about. James 2 says your works and faith are synonymous. Faith without works is dead; works without faith is dead. It goes both ways, of course.
If you’re saved, you have works and they will be seen in the sight of men. And when your works are manifest, the unsaved can see that you have faith, which reflects that you are born again.
The works don’t save you, in and of themselves. Paul said in Ephesians 2 that you were saved by grace through faith in Him alone. You were chosen for service, once you are born again, and off you go into ministry, as it were.
But salvation was a free gift, and again you are saved in spite of yourself, not because of yourself. But verse 17 makes it clear that if your brother has a need, deal with it. If you’re able to help a brother or a sister in the Lord, you should be doing that.
Chapter 3, verse 18: “My little children, let us not love in word, neither in tongue; but in deed and in truth.”
Again, don’t just be a hearer of the word but be a doer of the word. If you can help somebody, help that person.
Chapter 3, verses 19-21: “And hereby we know that we are of the truth, and shall assure our hearts before him. For if our heart condemn us, God is greater than our heart, and knoweth all things. Beloved, if our heart condemn us not, then have we confidence toward God.”
This is an interesting part of Scripture. Sometimes your heart will condemn you when it doesn’t need to condemn you. Sometimes you’ll have a complex over something which you don’t need to have.
And again, go back to the Scripture. Read it, pray on it and meditate, and wait for God to give you peace and assurance. And if you’re in sin, go back to the first chapter, confess it, and get back into fellowship with the Lord.
Chapter 3, verse 22: “And whatsoever we ask, we receive of him, because we keep his commandments, and do those things that are pleasing in his sight.”
Again, the commandments are mentioned again. And I’ve already dealt with that from Mark 12 and Romans 15.
Look at verse 23:
Chapter 3, verses 23-24: “And this is his commandment, That we should believe on the name of his Son Jesus Christ, and love one another, as he gave us commandment. And he that keepeth his commandments dwelleth in him, and he in him. And hereby we know that he abideth in us, by the Spirit which he hath given us.”
So, the commandment that I showed you in chapter 2, verse 3, has been defined in verses 23 and 24 of the third chapter (Scripture with Scripture) that you believe on the name of the Son of God. You believe that Jesus is the Son of God, the Christ, the Messiah, and you love one another.
They are the commandments that the Christian is bound by. And of course, the first part of that is what got you saved! You called on the name of the Son of God; you believed on Him. You trusted Him, and once you did that, then you loved the brethren.
And the main theme of 1 John is to walk in the light, as He is the light, to have fellowship one with another and to love your brother. And that, of course, is the theme of the New Testament, love. God is love, and that is true love. Not some mushy love, not some lustful love! But a true love, a love that put His Son on the cross.
And when we believe on His Son, we are born again. And we’re saved not because we are great people, but we are sinful people that have been saved by a very holy and remarkable God.
Chapter 4, verse 1: “Beloved, believe not every spirit, but try the spirits whether they are of God: because many false prophets are gone out into the world.”
When we judge a person or persons, we’re not using our own standard. We’re not using our own philosophy or our own intellect; we are simply examining these people in light of Scripture.
In Revelation chapter 2, the Lord Jesus commended the early Church for examining those who claimed to be apostles.
And the problem today is that for the most part, Christians do not want to examine ministries or ministers that they are happy to be around. They are quite content to have their ears tickled and to enjoy the doctrine which is being presented to them from the pulpit. But if you are a faithful Berean, you will examine everything that you hear from ministers or ministries around the world to make sure that they line up with Scripture.
Otherwise, according to Hosea chapter 6, you will perish, and the Bible’s quite clear that “my people perish”. And you can perish in different ways. You can perish through man’s philosophy and you can fall from your position (your practical standing) and go to the Judgment Seat with nothing.
As far as we are concerned we want people to get a full reward at the Judgment Seat, not a partial reward. So, examine everything that you hear, no matter how favourable you look at ministries and ministers. Check everything they say in light of Scripture, and when you do that, you are blessed by the Lord for examining the Scripture, but above all, you make sure that you are not being misled yourself.
Chapter 4, verses 2-3: “Hereby know ye the Spirit of God: Every spirit that confesseth that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh is of God: And every spirit that confesseth not that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh is not of God: and this is that spirit of antichrist, whereof ye have heard that it should come; and even now already is it in the world.”
Pretty clear! Those that confess that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh are of God, and those that do not confess that Christ is come in the flesh are not of God.
Now, I will just say this, that not only is this a reference to religions today and in yesteryear that deny the deity of Christ, that deny that Jesus was the Messiah, but in John’s initial mind he’s thinking of the Gnostics, the Gnostics being a group of people that deny that Christ had a literal body and that the deeds that you do in your bodies are not inherently evil and, therefore, they cannot contaminate your souls, which, of course, is false. Your soul will live forever, either in Heaven or in Hell, and that is why Christ came into the world, to destroy death and to make men alive.
The second problem with Gnostics, and there are many of those who are still around today, not the first crowd, who deny that Christ had a literal body, but that there is truth outside of the Bible, that somehow God still works through mystics, psychics, prophets, apostles, so on, so forth. And these people would have you believe that to get a full picture of God, you have to go to them.
And YouTube and other websites are full of people that are pushing another message, another gospel altogether, and most of it is hyper-Arminianism, a teaching, quite simply, that you can be saved one moment and lose your salvation the next moment. And not only that, you need to have this special relationship with the Lord, and the Bible’s not your final authority; this prayer life is your final authority.
Now, if you are saved you should have a very good prayer life, or a decent prayer life. If you’re a new Christian, you should start getting into prayer as often as you can. But nonetheless, everything that you pray for, everything you see and hear and decide to do and don’t do, should be checked in light of Scripture.
And these modern-day Gnostics have always been around and will always be around, but the faithful Berean who knows the word of God can easily decipher their false message compared to what the word of God clearly states.
Chapter 4, verse 4: “Ye are of God, little children, and have overcome them: because greater is he that is in you, than he that is in the world.”
It’s a pretty clear statement. You’ve overcome the antichrists by believing in the Lord. And by this stage, the Trinity of God, the tri-unity of God, the Godhead itself, dwells in you; Father, Son and Holy Spirit!
When you come across people that believe you can lose the Holy Spirit in today’s dispensation, today’s world, in reference to a person losing their salvation, they fail to understand that the whole Trinity, the Trinity itself, dwells within you, Father, Son and Holy Spirit.
And if you lose one member of the Godhead, you’d lose all three Members of the Godhead. And thankfully, you cannot lose your salvation, because it’s not yours to lose anyway. It was a free gift given to you when you believed on the Lord, and it was down to the Shepherd to get you from A to B, not down to you. You don’t hold onto the Lord’s hand, He holds onto your hand. He saved you, you don’t save yourself.
And He’s the author and finisher of our salvation. So, always keep your eyes on Him; not on yourself.
Chapter 4, verses 5-9: “They are of the world: therefore speak they of the world, and the world heareth them. We are of God: he that knoweth God heareth us; he that is not of God heareth not us. Hereby know we the spirit of truth, and the spirit of error. Beloved, let us love one another: for love is of God; and every one that loveth is born of God, and knoweth God. He that loveth not knoweth not God; for God is love. In this was manifested the love of God toward us, because that God sent his only begotten Son into the world, that we might live through him.”
Substitutionary atonement! Jesus Christ died in the place of sinners.
On the cross He says “my God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me?” He’s speaking there on behalf of a lost sinner, and He takes your place.
He went to Hell, He scooped up the righteous dead, and took them up to glory with Him. And the unsaved dead, the wicked dead, He left in Hell and they’re still there to this day.
So, without His substitutionary atonement, without Him dying in your place, you could never go to Heaven when you die.
Now, if you don’t believe in that, that’s fine; when you die, you’ll go before the Lord Jesus Christ, according to John chapter 5, and He will judge you and He will examine you in light of the Ten Commandments, and He will examine you in light of Himself. And you will fall very short. Paul says in Romans 3 that we fall short of the glory of God. We continue to fall short of God’s glory!
This is why conditional security does not work. If you could lose your salvation, you would lose your salvation! Because people sin every day in thought, word and deed. God demands perfection. Jesus said to be perfect, as your Father in heaven is perfect (Matthew 5:48), and Peter also said the same thing, to be holy for God is holy (1 Peter 1:16).
And of course you can’t be perfect, in and of itself, without His imputed righteousness. And you can only be holy, again, once you are born again and you’re walking in the Spirit.
Chapter 4, verse 10: “Herein is love, not that we loved God, but that he loved us, and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins.”
Again, He died for us and He saved us in spite of ourselves, not because of ourselves.
Chapter 4, verse 11: “Beloved, if God so loved us, we ought also to love one another.”
Again, that’s pretty much the main theme of 1 John: loving the brethren and walking in the Spirit.
Chapter 4, verse 12: “No man hath seen God at any time. If we love one another, God dwelleth in us, and his love is perfected in us.”
This is very much a belief that I hold to: that people have never seen God the Father, yet! And I use the word “yet” deliberately. I believe that when deity appeared in the Old and New Testament, it was always Jesus Christ, a pre-incarnation of Jesus Christ.
Moses saw Deity, and I believe that was Jesus, and according to Matthew 5, when we go into the Millennium we will see God as He is, a reference to the Father. But here, John says nobody has seen God at any time. That’s a pretty clear statement, and you get some more of that in verse 20.
Chapter 4, verse 13: “Hereby know we that we dwell in him, and he in us, because he hath given us of his Spirit.”
The Holy Ghost!
Chapter 4, verse 14: “And we have seen and do testify that the Father sent the Son to be the Saviour of the world.”
Chapter 4, verses 15-16: “Whosoever shall confess that Jesus is the Son of God, God dwelleth in him, and he in God. And we have known and believed the love that God hath to us. God is love; and he that dwelleth in love dwelleth in God, and God in him.”
This isn’t a mushy love; this isn’t a sentimental love. This is a true love! Never mind Romeo and Juliet. This is the real deal here.
God sent His Son, His only Son, into the world to die for sinners. Islam doesn’t believe that; Islam curses people that believe that. Every other religion in the world teaches that if you live a good life, chances are you’ll make it on Judgment Day. The Bible says you must be born again. Scripture says neither is there salvation in any other name whereby ye must be saved (Acts 4:12). There’s only one God and one Mediator between men and God the Man, Christ Jesus.
So, it’s come to Christ, according to John 14:6, or don’t come at all. You come His way, or don’t come at all.
And when you come to Him, truly humbled, truly on your knees or on your face, calling out to Him like a beggar, trusting Him and believing on Him and through Him, then God will save you. But, like I say, if you don’t come His way, then it’s best not to come at all.
Chapter 4, verse 17: “Herein is our love made perfect, that we may have boldness in the day of judgment: because as he is, so are we in this world.”
Again, that’s a reference to the Judgment Seat of Christ. And it’s my hope and prayer that, for those that are saved, they’ll get a full reward at the Judgment Seat. There are crowns given out at the Judgment Seat, and the worst thing that can happen to a saved man or woman at the Judgment Seat is that they lose their millennial inheritance.
I can think of nothing worse than losing your right to reign with Christ, a right which He has given you. He gave it to you when you were saved. And when Christians live after the flesh and don’t deal with that, then there’s every chance they will lose their millennial inheritance. And I just plead with anybody who’s listening to this video, if they’re in some kind of sin, to get out of it, confess it, and get on the right track with the Lord.
Chapter 4, verse 18: “There is no fear in love; but perfect love casteth out fear: because fear hath torment. He that feareth is not made perfect in love.”
That’s a very true statement. When you’re anxious, when you’re insecure in a particular area, it just robs you of your peace and your joy. And many times the hearts condemn us when they need not condemn us. And many times we put ourselves under pressure when we don’t need to put ourselves under pressure.
And like I say, if you walk with the Lord, if you keep your eyes on Him, and if you’re in the Scriptures every day, then chances are you’ll have a good, peaceful life, and these anxieties will recede.
Chapter 4, verses 19-20: “We love him, because he first loved us. If a man say, I love God, and hateth his brother, he is a liar: for he that loveth not his brother whom he hath seen, how can he love God whom he hath not seen?”
Again, no man has seen God at any time. And John is quite clear here that if you hate your brother who you’ve seen, and in the context, it’s a Christian speaking of another Christian, then how can you love God who you have not seen?
No, nobody has seen God at any time. I’ll just say this one more time. When you hear these people on the radio, on television, that have claimed to have seen God the Father, like Joseph Smith, from the Mormons, or Mr. Moon of the Moonies, you know they’re lying, because the word of God says they’ve never seen God at any time. Only the apostles saw Jesus Christ. Only that first-century Church, that initial audience that Jesus revealed Himself to, only they saw Him!
Pilate saw Him, Herod saw Him, but they were blinded by His majesty. They didn’t really see; they just saw a man standing in front of them, whereas the apostles saw the second part of the Godhead.
So, again, when you know the Scripture, you can pretty much write off these false prophets, these mischief-makers, these Gnostics, and go straight to the word of God and you know who’s genuine and who is not genuine.
Chapter 4, verse 21: “And this commandment have we from him, That he who loveth God love his brother also.”
Again, if you’re out of fellowship with another brother or sister in the Lord, confess your sin and get back into fellowship with that person.
Chapter 5, verses 1-2: “Whosoever believeth that Jesus is the Christ is born of God: and every one that loveth him that begat loveth him also that is begotten of him. By this we know that we love the children of God, when we love God, and keep his commandments.”
Again, obedience to the gospel, obedience to the Lordship of Christ is a good sign that you are saved, that you are born again, and that you have a good testimony and a good relationship with the Lord. You’ll never be perfect. You’ll never be sinless, but you’ll have that desire within you to walk with Him and to honor Him.
And when you stumble (and you will stumble), you confess your sins and He will cleanse you from your sins and away you go again.
Chapter 5, verses 3-4: “For this is the love of God, that we keep his commandments: and his commandments are not grievous. For whatsoever is born of God overcometh the world: and this is the victory that overcometh the world, even our faith.”
No works involved here! Faith in Christ alone! Sola fide was what the reformation was all about, that man was saved by his faith on the Lord Jesus Christ alone. Period! Without exception! Once you are saved, you’ll have good works in your life, and those works are there because you are saved, not to get saved and not to stay saved.
Chapter 5, verses 5-8: “Who is he that overcometh the world, but he that believeth that Jesus is the Son of God? This is he that came by water and blood, even Jesus Christ; not by water only, but by water and blood. And it is the Spirit that beareth witness, because the Spirit is truth. For there are three that bear record in heaven, the Father, the Word, and the Holy Ghost: and these three are one. And there are three that bear witness in earth, the Spirit, and the water, and the blood: and these three agree in one.”
There’s your unity in the Godhead: Father, Son and Holy Spirit. John chapter 2: Jesus said that He would raise Himself from the dead. Galatians chapter 1: He said that the Father would raise Him from the dead. Romans chapter 8: He said that the Holy Spirit would raise Him from the dead. Three in one, one in three, and the one in the middle died for me.
Chapter 5, verses 9-10: “If we receive the witness of men, the witness of God is greater: for this is the witness of God which he hath testified of his Son. He that believeth on the Son of God hath the witness in himself: he that believeth not God hath made him a liar; because he believeth not the record that God gave of his Son.”
When you’re talking to an unsaved person who perpetually rejects the gospel and speaks blasphemous statements against God, you’re dealing with a liar. And you need to be sensible, you need to make sure you don’t spend too much time with these sorts of people. Your time is precious, whereas their time is immaterial, really.
But, here it’s quite clear that if you deny Jesus as the Son of God you’re making God a liar, and you may just want to go back to chapter 2, briefly. Verse 22 says: “Who is a liar but he that denieth that Jesus is the Christ? He is antichrist, that denieth the Father and the Son.” Verse 23: “Whosoever denieth the Son, the same hath not the Father: he that acknowledgeth the Son hath the Father also.”
So, you can’t have the Son without the Father, and you cannot have the Father without the Son. They go together.
Chapter 5, verses 11-12: “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.”
Again, never mind coming to God your own little way, through your good works, through your circumcision, through your baptism, through your confirmation, keeping the Ten Commandments, being a good Buddhist or a good Hindu or a good Sikh or a good Muslim, or whatever religion you care to name! The only way you’re going to get saved is through the Lord Jesus Christ.
Chapter 5, verse 13: “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.”
You can know, here and now, that you’re saved, but only when you believe on the Son of God. Total faith!
Chapter 5, verse 14: “And this is the confidence that we have in him, that, if we ask any thing according to his will, he heareth us:”
Again, it has to be according to His will. Most prayers go unanswered because when we pray it’s not in line with His will. And I watched an ex-Catholic priest talking about why he was an atheist now, and he went to this part of Scripture and he said that he had prayed for all sorts of things, and these prayers had never been answered. And a quick reading of the Scripture would have told him that it has to be according to His will.
And if you take that part of the verse out, or if you don’t exegete it properly, then of course, a lots of prayers will go unanswered, because you’re praying amiss. You’re praying for things that God doesn’t want you to have.
But when you pray according to His will, He will always give it to you. But, but! It may not always come at the time that you expect it to come. It may come later, so you have to be patient.
Chapter 5, verses 15-20: “And if we know that he hear us, whatsoever we ask, we know that we have the petitions that we desired of him. If any man see his brother sin a sin which is not unto death, he shall ask, and he shall give him life for them that sin not unto death. There is a sin unto death: I do not say that he shall pray for it. All unrighteousness is sin: and there is a sin not unto death. We know that whosoever is born of God sinneth not; but he that is begotten of God keepeth himself, and that wicked one toucheth him not. And we know that we are of God, and the whole world lieth in wickedness. And we know that the Son of God is come, and hath given us an understanding, that we may know him that is true, and we are in him that is true, even in his Son Jesus Christ. This is the true God, and eternal life.”
Jesus Christ is completely God. When you sin against God, only God Himself can forgive you. So, this talk that Jesus was a good man, this talk that He was the brother of the devil, is complete foolishness.
There’s only one God! Isaiah spoke about the glory that God had, and the Gospel of John (the same author of this epistle) says that glory was found in the Lord Jesus Christ. And the Scripture says that there is only one God, I won’t share my glory with anybody else. And then Jesus comes along and He accepts worship, and He says: you call me Lord and Master, and so I am. A clear affirmation that Jesus was God and is God!
Like I say, when you sin against God, only God himself can forgive you. And I’ll just give one example of that.
Go to Acts chapter 20. Look at verse 28: “Take heed therefore unto yourselves, and to all the flock, over the which the Holy Ghost hath made you overseers, to feed the church of God, which he hath purchased with his own blood.”
Now, who hung on the cross? Jesus Christ hung on the cross! Luke is telling you that God’s blood purchased the Church. Jesus is God!
The apostle Peter says we are saved by His precious blood. And the whole of Hebrews is about the fact that Christ’s blood achieved what the blood of bulls and goats could not achieve. So, Acts 20:28 tells you that the blood of God Himself purchased the Church. Jesus Christ is God!
Okay, back to 1 John, chapter 5, verse 21, last verse:
Chapter 5, verse 21: “Little children, keep yourselves from idols. Amen.”
A very simplistic statement, but a very broad statement. Idols can be anything, from worshiping yourself, worshiping your house, worshiping your wife, your husband, your boyfriend, your girlfriend, your children, your animals. It could be absolutely anything that comes before you and God.
Once you put God number one in your life, everything else will fall into its place. You’ll still be jealous for your husband, you’ll still be jealous for your wife. There’s nothing wrong with that. There’s nothing wrong with being in love with somebody. There’s nothing wrong with having a relationship with somebody. There’s nothing wrong with being a doting parent or being content with what you have in the world.
But, here, this is a picture of idols, idols per se, and of course, idols for the Jews (go back to the Old Testament, and you’ll see clearly) was a huge problem. And John wants to make it crystal clear that idols in any shape or form must be obliterated from a Christian’s life.
And that goes for statues in the Catholic Church, images, even ministries! Even Christian ministries can become idols. You can have a massive pulpit, a massive congregation. You can have two or three hundred books that you’ve authored. You can have a following of several thousand people. You can have money in the bank through your tithing that comes into your church. The moment these things become an idol for you, then you’ve fallen from grace. You need to confess your sin to the Lord, and He will restore you to it.
And that finishes my unscripted journey through 1 John.
© Ex-Catholics For Christ 2019
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