The Genesis To Revelation Bible Course
By WILLIAM M. GROOM, Th.M., D.D.
Lesson No. 62 – 1, 2, 3 John
Copyright, 1921 BY THE BIBLE STUDY PUBLISHING CO.
* KEY VERSE–1Jo 1:5-10.
* KEY PHRASE–“FULL ASSURANCE IS THE BASIS OF THE VICTORIOUS LIFE.”
Read the three epistles, and for family altar read:–
* Sunday–Fellowship with the Father and Son, 1 John,–1Jo 1.
* Monday–Test of fellowship in obedience and love,–1Jo 2:3-14.
* Tuesday–Warning against the Anti-Christ,–1Jo 2:18-29.
* Wednesday–Father’s love and the children’s lives,–1Jo 3:1-10.
* Thursday–Love of the brethren,–1Jo 3:11-24.
* Friday–Faith is the overcoming principle,–1Jo 5:1-13.
* Saturday–Walking in the truth, 3 John.
WRITER–John, the apostle who wrote also the fourth gospel and Revelation.
DATE and PLACE–Soon after the fourth gospel, about 90 A. D., while John was pastor at Ephesus.
TO WHOM WRITTEN–The first epistle to the churches in general, the second, to “the elect lady and her children,” the third, to a devout Christian named Gains.
OCCASION–Three classes of heretics had sprung up by this time.
1. The Edomites, who denied that Christ was really divine.
2. The Docetists, who said He was truly divine, but that He had no human side to His nature.
3. The Corinthians, who claimed that Christ was not perfectly human and perfectly divine until after His baptism. These errors concerning the person of Christ were unsettling believer’s faith in and fellowship with the Lord.
1. To set forth the true doctrine that Christ was perfectly divine and Perfectly human.
2. To teach how they may know that they have eternal life, and rejoice in the full assurance of the truth.
Great Fact I. God Is Light
John’s first message is that God is Light, and walking with Him in the light means fellowship with Him, and with one another, and the blood of Jesus Christ cleanseth us from all sin. We may know that we are walking in the light if we lay His commands to heart, especially the commandment to love the brethren. This keeping of God’s commandments, however, is inconsistent with the love of the world and with fellowship with false teachers. Walking in the light and abiding in Christ is the only hope of safety, for in Him we have eternal life.
LESSON–The world under Satan’s dominion is in spiritual darkness and death. Unspiritual people are blinded and have no light from heaven upon their daily pathway. We are commanded, however, to walk in the light, because:–
1. Light is purity, but darkness is impurity.
2. Light is love, but darkness is hatred.
3. Light is truth. but darkness is falsehood.
4. Light is peace but darkness is fear.
Great Fact II. God is Righteousness
1Jo 2:28 to 1Jo 4:6.
The apostle’s second message is that God is righteous, therefore, fellowship with Him depends on doing righteousness. He who lives sinfully belongs to the devil for he has sinned from the beginning, but the MOTIVE for living righteously is, that when we see Christ we shall be like Him, 1Jo 3:2. The TEST of whether we are living righteously is whether we love the brethren, 1Jo 3:14. Everyone who hates his brother is a murderer, and a murderous temper excludes him from eternal life. The REWARD for living righteously is a full assurance of salvation. Over forty times John uses the word “know” in his epistles because true religion is more than doctrine, something must be known and felt! We KNOW that Christ was manifested to take away our sins. We KNOW we have passed from death unto life. We KNOW that whatsoever we ask we shall receive of God. We KNOW that we are in union with Christ and He with us because He has given Ili some measure of His Spirit.
LESSON–The apostle is here contrasting one who lives a life of righteousness with one who lives a life of sin, and in 1Jo 3:9 he teaches that the truly regenerated man does not continually practice sin. It is one thing for a Christian because of a strong temptation to temporarily fall into sin, and the divine remedy for this is seen in 1 Joh 1:9. But if a Christian continually practices a sin he may well doubt his conversion. We should be as serious in our attitude towards sin as is God. He gave a Law to condemn it, a Saviour to redeem from it, a Spirit to destroy it, a gospel to testify against it, and a whole family of new-born sons to be living witnesses of His deliverance from its power.
Great Fact III. God. Is Love
1Jo 4:7 to 1Jo 5:21.
We are called sons through the love of the Father, 1Jo 3:1, and He manifested that love by sending His Son to be an atoning sacrifice of our sins, 1Jo 4:10. We should show our love to Him by loving one another, 1Jo 4:7. He who loves has fellowship with God, 1Jo 4:16. But the absence of love destroys this fellowship, 1Jo 4:19-21. Victory over the world comes only through love and faith in Jesus Christ, whose coming was attested to by water and by blood, and by the Spirit. Yea, God Himself testifies that His Son came into the world, 1 Joh 5:9. In Christ, we not only overcome the world but have eternal life, 1Jo 5:13.
LESSON–We have not seen the greatest gift of all–the heart of God, the love of His heart, the heart of His love, and yet when we look at the cross we have a glimpse of it. The Cross was the only way God had of showing us His heart. It was Infinite Love striving to reveal itself, seeking to pour out its fullness. Christ did not die that God might love men. He died because God had from everlasting to everlastingly loved man, the Cross is not the cause, but the effect of the love of God. It is not even necessary that we should be worthy for God to love us. He loves us because of Himself. We are saved by grace. Our salvation does not depend upon what we are, but upon what God is–and God is love!
Great Fact IV. God Is Truth
John here declares his joy at finding some guided by the Truth. Walking in truth is to love one another, but this love is manifested in keeping God’s commandments, and in steadfast loyalty to the genuine doctrine of the gospel. There are many imposters in the world, but whoever in the name of progress departs from Christ’s teachings possesses not God. One should not extend any hospitality or show any friendliness to false teachers for by doing so one share in their wicked work, II John.
LESSON–To countenance a teacher of error, to wish him God-speed, is to approve his evil works and to share his guilt. We are “partakers of other men’s sins,” not only when we take their side of the question, but also when we keep silent instead of condemning them.
Great Fact V. God Needs Fellow-Workers
John had sent out some preachers with letters of commendation to the various churches, and among others to that of which Gaius and Diotrephes were members. Diotrephes, however, through jealousy or some other personal reason, declined to receive these preachers and exerted his authority to make the church act the same way, even threatening to exclude those who differed from him in the matter. Gains alone had not been intimidated but had welcomed to his home the repulsed preachers, who, when they returned to the church at Ephesus, testified of his courage and kindness. John hoped soon to visit the church and bring the proud Diotrephes to account for his overbearing conduct.
1. Preachers going forth for the sake of the Name, whether at home or abroad, should be welcomed and entertained worthily by churches and Individuals. By such action, one shares in the missionary’s labors and becomes a fellow-helper.
2. Churches should not encourage those who are eager for pre-eminence in the church, and who insist on having their own arbitrary way. A healthy and happy church is one in which every member esteems each other more highly than himself, Php 2:3.
Questions on the Lesson
1. Give the keyword and key verse.
2. Who was the writer and how many books did he write?
3. What was the occasion?
4. Give the purpose.
5. Name the great facts.
6. How may we know whether we are walking in the light?
7. Give the four contrasts between the light and the darkness.
8. What the motive for living righteously?
9. What the reward for living righteously?
10. Explain 1Jo 3:9.
11. What did God do about sin?
12. Through what are we called sons?
13. How did God show His love?
14. How must we show our love to God?
15. What three witnesses testified to Christ’s coming?
16. How did God show His heart?
17. What is walking in truth?
18. What should be our attitude toward teachers of error?
19. Tell the story of the Third Epistle.
20. How may we become fellow helpers of God’s servants
21. How should the churches regard those when love the pre-eminence?
And herein do I exercise myself, to have always a conscience void to offence toward God, and toward men. — Acts 24:16 KJV