Book Intro: I John

I John: LIGHT/LOVE
Book Intro: I John
Pastor John Weathersby
Sunday December 12, 2021

I’d like to talk with you today about my ideas on Engineering.

But I know you’re not here for that – you’re here because we gather around the proclaimed authoritative, life-giving Word of God

Isaiah 55:11 (ESV)
11  so shall my word be that goes out from my mouth;
it shall not return to me empty,
but it shall accomplish that which I purpose,
and shall succeed in the thing for which I sent it.

And praise God for that. Perhaps you’ve noticed some of our purposeful wording and phrasing here. Let me introduce you to two:

1: Platform
2: Church-based organization

Hebrews 10:25 (ESV)
25 not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day drawing near.

Proverbs 27:17 (ESV)
17 Iron sharpens iron,
    and one man sharpens another.

Romans 1:25 (ESV)
25 because they exchanged the truth about God for a lie and worshiped and served the creature rather than the Creator, who is blessed forever! Amen.

We do this because we want to be accurate. Our desire is to be found pointing to God, not aggrandizement, and to then stay enamored with His Word.

As such, we’re opening the book of 1 John today. If you’ve never been here for our book openings, they’re the farthest we’ll be away from Verse by Verse study. These book openings last one day, then tee us up to better understand the rest of the study. For example, in 1 John, we’ll start today, 12/12, then 6/5, close the book in 1 John 5:18-21 before moving into a systematic series study that will allow us to finish the Psalms in 15 years.

With that said, let’s jump in and talk about 1 John together.

Often books of scripture will jump right out and tell us who wrote them. This one doesn’t. It is traditionally thought to have been written by John the Apostle, and that sounds conceivable. We do know that in 1 John 1:3, we read:

1 John 1:3 (ESV)
3 that which we have seen and heard we also proclaim to you, so that you too may have fellowship with us; and indeed our fellowship is with the Father and with His Son Jesus Christ.

There are early writings that attribute the book to John the Apostle, rush as Polycarp who quotes from 1 John, speaking of it as John had written it, Dionysius of Alexandria found a lack of calling out himself by name to be consistent with John as a common practice.

This means whoever wrote this book was an eyewitness to Jesus’ own life and ministry. One John’s style and even the words and language it uses are very similar. Perhaps you’ve been so close to someone before and spent so much time together you get used to not only their mannerisms but even the very way they speak – like Hans and Anna.

As you embark on reading the scripture and you take on something like John (1, 2, 3), note their style and manner of writing. It is interesting to think of them as a single unit from a single author.

Most people would place this book as having been written somewhere inside ninety to 100 After Christ, around the same time that John’s gospel would generally be dated.

The language of the book is deeply loving, personal, and full of delicate care. We see John’s 1st epistle addressing “children” 1:1, 12, 28, 3:7,18, 4:4, and 5:21 levering words that make us think “dear child,” “little child” or “children of God” this book is deeply pastoral, concerned with error in the lives of believers see 2:7, 3:13, 3:2, 3:21 for the specific address(es) to those who believe in what John witnessed through Jesus.

John 1:1, 12, 28 (ESV)
The Word Became Flesh
1 In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.
12 But to all who did receive him, who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God,
28 These things took place in Bethany across the Jordan, where John was baptizing.

John 3:7, 18 (ESV)
7 Do not marvel that I said to you, ‘You must be born again.’
18 Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only Son of God.

John 4:4 (ESV)
4 And he had to pass through Samaria.
John 5:21 (ESV)
21 For as the Father raises the dead and gives them life, so also the Son gives life to whom he will.

I John 2:7 (ESV)
The New Commandment
7 Beloved, I am writing you no new commandment, but an old commandment that you had from the beginning. The old commandment is the word that you have heard.

I John 3:13, 2, 21 (ESV)
13 Do not be surprised, brothers, that the world hates you.
2 Beloved, we are God’s children now, and what we will be has not yet appeared; but we know that when he appears we shall be like him, because we shall see him as he is.
21 Beloved, if our heart does not condemn us, we have confidence before God;

In 1:1, 2:7, 2:13, 2:14, 2:24, and 3:11, he references “the beginning” – why, because the book is battling against a kind of heresy that is reported to have “secret knowledge.” Secret knowledge can feel interesting. You have something other don’t, but spoiler alert, God doesn’t want secrets or hidden knowledge. That would be stupid – the Bible in our hands is no accident. It is a great work designed to assure you of its divine authorship.

I John 1:1 (ESV)
The Word Became Flesh
1 In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.

I John 2:7, 13-14, 24 (ESV)
The New Commandment
7 Beloved, I am writing you no new commandment, but an old commandment that you had from the beginning. The old commandment is the word that you have heard.
13 I am writing to you, fathers,    because you know him who is from the beginning.I am writing to you, young men,    because you have overcome the evil one.I write to you, children,    because you know the Father.14 I write to you, fathers,    because you know him who is from the beginning.I write to you, young men,    because you are strong,    and the word of God abides in you,    and you have overcome the evil one.
24 Let what you heard from the beginning abide in you. If what you heard from the beginning abides in you, then you too will abide in the Son and in the Father.

I John 3:11 (ESV)

This epistle or letter addresses this idea of antinomian Gnosticism that presented a threat to the church.

“what is antinomian John” – I’m glad you asked!

You know what anti is. Increasingly Americans are anti-everything like personal choice and freedom, for example. But the second, Nomian, is more tricky. Nomian is from the greek noms, which are simply the law. These folks were against the law, meaning that there are no moral laws left that we need to follow. They would argue – that the law was conquered in Christ, that it was abolished, and that we are not bound to any of it.

Paul also dealt with the same in,

Romans 6:1–2 (ESV)
Dead to Sin, Alive to God
1 What shall we say then? Are we to continue in sin that grace may abound?
2 By no means! How can we who died to sin still live in it?

Steven Furtick once said something super cool! He said, “God broke the law for Love.” I bet people were swooning for him after he said that. It sounds fantastic and meaningful. Like the time Drew told me that something made God more robustly sovereign.

Do you know that people sit across a table developing these hook statements months in advance of a sermon, preparing graphics and social posting campaigns, writing blogs, etc. – Furtick doubled down. He illustrated his heresy.

He told a story where a kid falls, the parent drives breaking the speed limit to save the child (significant fall, I guess), and in the same way, God broke the law for love.

Everything I just said is foolish. Either 1 of 2 things is true – 1) he is dishonest and manipulating people’s feelings and shouldering be teaching or 2) or has no personal understanding of God and Theology and shouldn’t be teaching.

These are the only two outcomes. John and Paul found Antinomianism as a threat to the church. Luther, well, let’s just say Luther wasn’t on board.

This thorough dusting off of antinomianism is early dismantled – Jesus said it is finished because he satisfied every element of the law:

Matthew 5:18 (ESV)
18 For truly, I say to you, until heaven and earth pass away, not an iota, not a dot, will pass from the Law until all is accomplished.

God didn’t break the law:

Romans 3:30–31 (ESV)
30 since God is one—who will justify the circumcised by faith and the uncircumcised through faith.
31 Do we then overthrow the law by this faith? By no means! On the contrary, we uphold the law.

God doesn’t show His love by breaking the law (which is a reflection of His character and nature) but by keeping it:

Romans 5:8 (ESV)
8 but God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.

1 John 4:10 (ESV)
10 In this is love, not that we have loved God but that he loved us and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins.

If you want to have the spoiler alert go to 1 John 5:3, otherwise just know that the anti-law view was flat, simple, and wrong. Be assured that God is not hiding the truth about himself like some weird sadistic game of salvation, hot or cold, He sent His son, Jesus, into the world to live out His Character, split time in half, create apostles and ultimately disciples and His church who’ll all positioned to point truth to you and me!

I John 5:3 (ESV)
3 For this is the love of God, that we keep his commandments. And his commandments are not burdensome.

Like so many times before, wrong again, Stevo.

Why say all that as we talk about the purpose of the book of 1 John, written to “small children” in a loving way warning about anti-law and secret knowledge teaching – because we too live in a world of doctrinal and theological error. But not error like who, whoops I just fell up the stairs with a bowl of spaghetti staining the carpet FOREVER, but more significantly – threatening the fidelity of the truth of who God is which draws people to himself and from their sin.

Consider this.

Two years ago, I packed up my things to double major in mechanical and civil engineering – quite a task I’ve taken on. However, when I went to school, it got tough. I dropped out, but not to be dissuaded from the task. I developed my schools of thought I documented them, and created a conversation around my theories on bridge making and roadway pitch/construction. They’re catching on, yay guys – I’m successful!

Some of my graduates have gone on to land their first working jobs, significant firms all over the US. They’re killing people with garbage infrastructure that never had a chance at working because they’re not based on anything real, just my crazy ideas sold on a bed of emotion.

This is John’s point.

There is no truth where Church-based organizations celebrate and foist up lies. And the truth we’re after in the Church is vastly more important than anything on the crust of this earth. It is everything.

We must be sharp, and that is John’s point –

1 John 1:1–3 (ESV)
The Word of Life
1 That which was from the beginning, which we have heard, which we have seen with our eyes, which we looked upon and have touched with our hands, concerning the word of life—
2 the life was made manifest, and we have seen it, and testify to it and proclaim to you the eternal life, which was with the Father and was made manifest to us—
3 that which we have seen and heard we proclaim also to you, so that you too may have fellowship with us. Indeed our fellowship is with the Father and with His Son Jesus Christ.

Fellowship WITH us, as we’re all in Christ, not in Stephen Furtick, or Methodism/catholicism/baptisms, Truth in the Word, and ONLY there.

Pray, Observe, Apply.

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