Saturday, April 30, 2016

First John Chapter Three

Overview:
John describes God’s wonderful love for us, how hope as His children should motivate us to pure lives. Righteous living should be expected when we know what sin is, that Christ came to destroy it, and that one truly born of God will not persist in sin (v. 19). True righteousness includes loving one another, even as Christ loved us, which in turn gives us confidence and assurance that we are abiding in Him and are of the truth (v. 1024).

Restated – Verse 1 tells us who we are – members of God’s family (“children of God”). Verse 2 tells us who we are becoming – reflections of God. The rest of the chapter tells us what we gain as we grow to resemble God: (1) victory over sin (v. 3; v-9) (2) love for others (v. 11-18), (3) assurance; boldness before God (v. 19-24).

Points to Ponder:

 

·         God’s love for us, and our love for one another

·         The meaning of “God’s children” (v. 1,2)

·         The definition of sin, and the meaning of “does not sin” (v. 6,9)

·         The outworking of love, and the assurance it gives of our salvation

 

Observation: What does the passage say?


v. 1-3
 
God’s Love, God’s family
v. 4-10
 
Sin and sinning as believers
v. 11-22
 
Love others
v. 23-24
 
Obey God, love others.

Record observations and write questions that come to mind from each verse.
 

Observation Questions:


1.       What are the main points of this chapter?
 
2.       What should motivate us to live pure lives? (v. 2-3)
 
3.       What “appearing” is John referring to in v. 2?
 
4.       How is sin defined by John? (v. 4)
 
5.       Are Christians sinless? (3:6-10) Does John mean that Christians do not sin: At all? Inadvertently? Deliberately? Habitually?  

6.       What is true of one who abides in Jesus? (v. 6) 

7.       What was the purpose of Christ’s coming to earth? (v. 8) 

8.       What is true of one who has been born of God? (v. 9) 

9.       What distinguishes children of God from children of the devil? (v 10) 

10.   What serves as evidence that we have passed from death to life? (v. 14)
 
11.   How do we know what true love is? How then should we live? (v. 16-18)
 
12.   What gives us assurance and confidence that we are of the truth? (v. 19-23)

13.   How can we know that Christ abides in us and we in Him? (v. 24)

 

Interpretation: What does the passage mean?


 

1.       In verse 1, what does it mean that the world doesn’t know us? Why is the world’s knowledge of Christians related to their knowledge of God? 

2.       What is John’s purpose in mentioning the second coming of Christ in verses 2-3? How does this set the stage for his discussion of sin and righteousness in verses 4-10? 

3.       John uses verse 4 to define sin as lawlessness. What does lawlessness mean? Is it more related to the breaking of the law or an inability by nature to keep the law? (see Romans 8:5-8). 

4.       John develops the idea of abiding or remaining in verse 6. What does it mean to abide? What relationship does the ability to abide have with the possibility of living righteously? 

5.       John mentions God’s seed and being born of God (v. 9). What does that mean? Is being born again the same thing as making a fresh start or turning over a new leaf? Why or why not? 

6.       Are Christians sinless? (3:6-10) Does John mean that Christians never sin? Ever? 

7.       How do we balance John’s claims in verse 6 that there should be no sin in those who believe with his previous statements in the book that support the idea that believers will sin? 

8.       What does John mean in verse 20 by saying God is greater than our hearts? 

9.       How are answered prayers and obedience connected? (v. 18-22)

 

Application: How does this passage apply to me?


1. What does it mean in verse 2 that you will be like Christ? What will be different about you when He appears than the way things are now? 
2. Do you ever struggle with doubt that you are a child of God? How does this passage affect your perspective that you are His child? 
3. How should hope in the return of Christ (verse 3) affect the lifestyle of a Christian? Does the prospect of the second coming impact the way that you live? 
4. How often do you focus on the second coming of Christ? Do you have trouble focusing on His return because of today's problems and challenges?
5. How would you feel is Jesus returned right now? Excited? Relieved? Ashamed?
6. In verses 6-9, John uses verbs that emphasize continuous action (keep on, practice, continue) to state that Christians do not practice sin or keep on sinning. Are there any habitual sins in your life? What are you doing to eliminate them?
7. Verse 6 emphasizes the importance of abiding or remaining in Christ as the means to not sin. How well are you abiding in Christ these days? How could you improve on that?
8. What is one thing you learned from this week's study that you can directly apply to your life?

Sources:
The Holy Bible, New International Version © 1973, 1978, 1984 International Bible Society
Executable Outlines, Copyright © Mark A. Copeland
Serendipity Bible for Groups Third Edition, Zondervan Publishing Grand Rapids © 1998
The NIV Study Bible, 10th Anniversary Edition, Zondervan Publishing Grand Rapids © 1995
Life Application Bible New Revised Standard Version Tyndale House Wheaton © 1988, 1989, 1990

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