Context: Most serious students of the Bible have concluded that the letter written by John the Apostle is a response to the false teaching that was gaining ground among the first century Christians. Gnosticism, as it is called, taught that Jesus could have never been God’s Son or God in the flesh because the perfect form of God could never exist in the material world that changes and degrades constantly. Jesus may have been a step in a better understanding of God’s perfection, but Jesus Himself was not God. This heresy produced many aberrant and sinful beliefs among immature believers as some became captive to the false teachers of a gnostic gospel.
The Joy of Grace is available to anyone who will navigate these harbors:
The Harbor of John’s Eyewitness Testimony (1 John 1:1-4)
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— 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— that which we have seen and heard we proclaim also 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. And we are writing these things so that our joy may be complete. ESV
John 21:24 – This is the disciple who is bearing witness about these things, and who has written these things, and we know that his testimony is true. ESV
2 Peter 1:16-18 – For we did not follow cleverly devised myths when we made known to you the power and coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, but we were eyewitnesses of his majesty. For when he received honor and glory from God the Father, and the voice was borne to him by the Majestic Glory, “This is my beloved Son, with whom I am well pleased,” we ourselves heard this very voice borne from heaven, for we were with him on the holy mountain. ESV
The Harbor of Light (1 John 1:5-7)
This is the message we have heard from him and proclaim to you, that God is light, and in him is no darkness at all. If we say we have fellowship with him while we walk in darkness, we lie and do not practice the truth. But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus his Son cleanses us from all sin. ESV
Genesis 1:3 And God said, “Let there be light,” and there was light. ESV
2 Corinthians 4:4-6 – In their case the god of this world has blinded the minds of the unbelievers, to keep them from seeing the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God. 5 For what we proclaim is not ourselves, but Jesus Christ as Lord, with ourselves as your servants for Jesus’ sake. 6 For God, who said, “Let light
shine out of darkness,” has shone in our hearts to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ. ESV
The Harbor of True Confession (1 John 1:8-10)
If we say we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. If we say we have not sinned, we make him a liar, and his word is not in us. ESV
Psalm 32:5 – I acknowledged my sin to you, and I did not cover my iniquity; I said, “I will confess my transgressions to the Lord,” and you forgave the iniquity of my sin. ESV
Romans 10:9&10 – because, if you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For with the heart one believes and is justified, and with the mouth, one confesses and is saved. For the Scripture says, “Everyone who believes in him will not be put to shame.” ESV
For Small Group Discussion:
Opening Question: What is something that was really difficult at one time but led to real joy?
Main Point: Following Jesus is not always easy but we can experience joy in our relationship with Him.
Read/Tell the Story: 1 John 1:4-10, James 1:2-4
Supporting Scripture: John 10:10, Matthew 5:3-12, Galatians 5:22-23, Hebrews 12:2