God's Man | 1 John Part 9
The epistle, or letter, of 1st John is written to all of us in general and specifically to the church at Ephesus. John is writing this as he nears the end of his life. The Ephesian church is not that different from our own American church. John speaks about the Ephesians in Revelation chapter 2 verse where he writes that “… You have forgotten your first love.”
There are 4 issues that are impacting the church at Ephesus.
1. An Easy Familiarity with Christ – The believers that John is writing to are the older children and younger Grandchildren of the believers that Paul met in Acts 19. He spent 2 years with them and God lit a fire there. The issue is that over time the intensity of the fire was being maintained. This lead to a rejection of the High Standard…
2. The High Standards that Christianity Sets – The church was called to be set apart. They were called to be different. They would be hated for that difference. The church had begun to reject this. They didn't “really” want to be different. They wanted to be liked. The church was not in danger of be persecution. It was in danger of being changed.
3. Seductions/Threats from the Inside – This came and fulfilled the warning that Paul left to the Ephesians in Acts 20:29-30, “I know that after I leave, savage wolves will come in among you and will not spare the flock. Even from your own number men will arise and distort the truth in order to draw away disciples after them.”
The thought was to improve it. Give it intellectual respectability. Make it sound like popular philosophy.
4. Gnosticism – This came out of popular culture of Rome at the time. The Gnostic elevated the spirit over the body. In fact they despised it. The spirit was planted in this dirty soil. The Gnostic hoped to overcome the evil in the body. Stoics, Freedom through denial/willpower and the Epicureans, Freedom ultimately through Indulgence.
This is the backdrop on which this letter is painted. Over the last 8 days I have been sharing my notes from when I was studying through this book. Consider these quick hits.
If you know that he is righteous, you know that everyone who does what is right has been born of him.
How great is the love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God! And that is what we are! The reason the world does not know us is that it did not know him. Dear friends, now we are children of God, and what we will be has not yet been made known. But we know that when he appears, we shall be like him, for we shall see him as he is. Everyone who has this hope in him purifies himself, just as he is pure. - 1 John 2:29 - 3:3
- Should be NOT Will be. It is what we are not what we are becoming!
- We are different because He was different.
- All will be revealed when He returns. We will be like Him. We will not be Him but we will be like Him
- We strive to be hagios/holy because we believe in Him. It is not an oppressive weight. It is a privilege.
Everyone who sins breaks the law; in fact, sin is lawlessness. But you know that he appeared so that he might take away our sins. And in him is no sin. No one who lives in him keeps on sinning. No one who continues to sin has either seen him or known him. - 1 John 3:4-6
- The Law was never meant to save. It was there to reveal men’s sins.
- Sin shows how much we need Him. He takes away the sins of the world.
- If we find ourselves stuck in continuous sin we should examine ourselves.