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Background info –
Author – John
Date – 90 - AD
Throughout the book of 1 John there is no persecution mentioned, as a result this suggest’s a date prior to A.D. 95 when persecution broke out during the end of Domitian’s reign. (A.D. 81-96)
Audience – Believers
Theme – “Tests of Eternal Life”
By the grace of God we will come to see how the theme “tests of eternal life” is taught throughout the book. We will look three specific tests that are laid out in the book of 1 John.
We must understand the condition at the time the book was written –
False prophets are very prominent –
Gnosticism. A movement in early Christianity, beginning already in the first century, that
(1) emphasized a special higher truth that only the more enlightened receive from God,
(2) taught that matter is evil, and
(3) denied the humanity of Jesus. MacArthur, J., & Mayhue, R., eds. (2017). Biblical Doctrine: A Systematic Summary of Bible Truth (p. 929). Crossway.
Doetic Gnostics – Denied the humanity of Christ
Cerinthian Gnostics – distinguished between Jesus and Christ
Docetism was an early Christian heresy that promoted a false view of Jesus’ humanity. The word Docetism comes from the Greek dokein, which meant “to seem”; according to Docetism, Jesus Christ only seemed to have a human body like ours. Docetism allowed that Jesus may have been in some way divine, but it denied His full humanity. Hardcore Docetists taught that Jesus was only a phantasm or an illusion, appearing to be human but having no body at all. Other forms of Docetism taught that Jesus had a “heavenly” body of some type but not a real, natural body of flesh. Docetism was closely related to Gnosticism, which viewed physical matter as inherently evil and spiritual substance as inherently good. Early church fathers fought valiantly against Docetism, especially Ignatius of Antioch (c. AD 35–107). Ignatius rightly taught that, if Jesus had not actually shed His blood on the cross, then His death was meaningless. Ignatius saw that there was no possible way to align the deception of Docetism with the truth of Christianity.

The Message of John – 1:5-7

1 John 1:5–7 NASB95
5 This is the message we have heard from Him and announce to you, that God is Light, and in Him there is no darkness at all. 6 If we say that we have fellowship with Him and yet walk in the darkness, we lie and do not practice the truth; 7 but if we walk in the Light as He Himself is in the Light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus His Son cleanses us from all sin.
The indications of a faulty faith -
Walking in the darkness – 1:6
1 John 1:6 NASB95
6 If we say that we have fellowship with Him and yet walk in the darkness, we lie and do not practice the truth;
Hating your brother – 2:9, 11, 3:15
1 John 2:9 NASB95
9 The one who says he is in the Light and yet hates his brother is in the darkness until now.
1 John 2:11 NASB95
11 But the one who hates his brother is in the darkness and walks in the darkness, and does not know where he is going because the darkness has blinded his eyes.
1 John 3:15 NASB95
15 Everyone who hates his brother is a murderer; and you know that no murderer has eternal life abiding in him.
Loving the worlds goods – 2:15-17
1 John 2:15–17 NASB95
15 Do not love the world nor the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. 16 For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh and the lust of the eyes and the boastful pride of life, is not from the Father, but is from the world. 17 The world is passing away, and also its lusts; but the one who does the will of God lives forever.
By not loving – 4:8
1 John 4:8 NASB95
8 The one who does not love does not know God, for God is love.
Turn with me to 1 John 5:13 - this is the reason for the writing of this book -
1 John 5:13 NASB95
13 These things I have written to you who believe in the name of the Son of God, so that you may know that you have eternal life.
The word “know” is a very important word. The sense of the word means to know (cognitively) to be cognizant or aware of a fact or a specific piece of information; possess knowledge or information about.
Know – understand (the word “know” is an action verb, the point is that as believers we continue to do the action)
Who do people say that Jesus is?
Remember Matthew 16:13-15 (turn and read together)

1. Know that Jesus is the Christ -

You must remember that false prophets called the Gnostics are going around to the believers teaching that Christ is of no value, and that He was never human – (we was simply a ghost - this was developed through what is called docetism)
1 John 4:14–15 NASB95
14 We have seen and testify that the Father has sent the Son to be the Savior of the world. 15 Whoever confesses that Jesus is the Son of God, God abides in him, and he in God.
Testify – witnessed the Father sending his Son to the be the Savor Vs. 15 – confess – admit/declare – Jesus is the Son of God. The point is that Jesus is 100% God and 100% man. (Man – Incarnation)

hypostatic union. The union of Jesus’s divine and human natures in one person, without confusion, without change, without division, and without separation.

1 John 2:22–23 NASB95
22 Who is the liar but the one who denies that Jesus is the Christ? This is the antichrist, the one who denies the Father and the Son. 23 Whoever denies the Son does not have the Father; the one who confesses the Son has the Father also.
1 John 4:2 NASB95
2 By this you know the Spirit of God: every spirit that confesses that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is from God;
1 John 5:1 NASB95
1 Whoever believes that Jesus is the Christ is born of God, and whoever loves the Father loves the child born of Him.

2. Know His Commandments -

1 John 2:3 NASB95
3 By this we know that we have come to know Him, if we keep His commandments.
“know” - (ginosko) - verb, present, active, indicative, first person, plural - finite verb - know; underdstand
Sense: to know (experientially) - to know or have knowledge about (someone or something); normally as acquired through observation or the senses.
What are some of God’s Commandments?
Galatians 5:22-23 - fruit of the Spirit
Mark 12:28-34 - Greatest Commandment
1 John 5:2–5 (NASB95)
2 By this we know that we love the children of God, when we love God and observe His commandments. 3 For this is the love of God, that we keep His commandments; and His commandments are not burdensome.
4 For whatever is born of God overcomes the world; and this is the victory that has overcome the world—our faith. 5 Who is the one who overcomes the world, but he who believes that Jesus is the Son of God?
How do you and I view the Commands of God? If we are truly saved then we do not view them as a burden
1 John 3:24 NASB95
24 The one who keeps His commandments abides in Him, and He in him. We know by this that He abides in us, by the Spirit whom He has given us.
This is the second test we must pass if we are truly saved – Let me ask you a question – How are you doing on keeping the commands of God?

3. Know Brotherly Love -

1 John 3:16 NASB95
16 We know love by this, that He laid down His life for us; and we ought to lay down our lives for the brethren.
“know” - (ginosko) - verb, perfect, active, indicative, first person, plural - finite verb - know; understand -
Snese: to know (experientially) - to know or have knowledge about (someone or something); normally as acquired through observation or the senses.
We know love by looking at an example – who’s example is it?
What did his example look like?
Compassion when he was rejected
Loved even while people hated his guts
Demonstrated benevolence despite people’s actions
The challenge is that as believers we ought to lay down our lives for our fellow brothers –
The term for love in our text is Agape – “Benevolence/brotherly love”
The Greek word agape is often translated “love” in the New Testament. How is “agape love” different from other types of love? The essence of agape love is goodwill, benevolence, and willful delight in the object of love. Unlike our English word love, agape is not used in the New Testament to refer to romantic or sexual love. Nor does it refer to close friendship or brotherly love, for which the Greek word philia is used. Agape love involves faithfulness, commitment, and an act of the will. It is distinguished from the other types of love by its lofty moral nature and strong character. Agape love is beautifully described in 1 Corinthians 13. gotquestions.org
What are practical ways that we can do this today?
1 John 3:19 NASB95
19 We will know by this that we are of the truth, and will assure our heart before Him
The word “By” is a preposition that helps link a thought together within a phrase or sentence – look at verse 18 to discover what the preposition is linking together.
1 John 3:18 NASB95
18 Little children, let us not love with word or with tongue, but in deed and truth.
The point is for believers to know for sure of their salvation they must not only love in word and talk rather in deed and truth.
“Love one another” (with a benevolent love)
1 John 3:11 NASB95
11 For this is the message which you have heard from the beginning, that we should love one another;
3:14 – plural active verb – continual pattern of life for a believer in Christ.
1 John 3:14 NASB95
14 We know that we have passed out of death into life, because we love the brethren. He who does not love abides in death.
4:7 – plural active verb – continual pattern of life for a believer in Christ
1 John 4:7 NASB95
7 Beloved, let us love one another, for love is from God; and everyone who loves is born of God and knows God.
PURPOSE OF THE BOOK - 5:13 – “so that you may know that you have eternal life…”
1 John 5:13 NASB95
13 These things I have written to you who believe in the name of the Son of God, so that you may know that you have eternal life.
Have you ever wondered if you are saved? It is time to address that questions right here, right now -
3:10 – You are either Children of God or Children of the devil –
1 John 3:10 NASB95
10 By this the children of God and the children of the devil are obvious: anyone who does not practice righteousness is not of God, nor the one who does not love his brother.
Your life will be demonstrating one of two things -
Either a pattern of righteousness
Know that Jesus is the Christ - cognitively
Know the Commandments - experientially
Know brotherly Love - experientially
Or a pattern of unrighteousness
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