If you were to write a book about something, it would probably be about something you love and are good at: hiking, biking, computers, the Bible, etc. John loved walking with and talking about Jesus, so that’s what he wrote about.
John began writing toward the end of his life. We’ve already covered the first book he wrote: the Gospel of John, and the final 5 books of the Bible contain 4 more written by him: 1, 2, 3 John and Revelation.
John is a great source when it comes to learning about Jesus. You can tell by the many personal, first-hand details that he includes in his Gospel that he was right there with Jesus. John was the only disciple at the foot of Jesus’ cross, the one whom Jesus entrusted the care of his mother to, the first to run to the empty tomb and the first to believe. He even begins this first letter with…
“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—” – 1 John 1:1
John 1:1 talked about the Word (Jesus), and 1 John 1:1 begins in a similar way.
There’s so much talk about fellowship that you’d almost expect the crock pot to make an appearance at some point. Thankfully there are no mentions of crock pots, but lots of talk about Godly fellowship (yes, it’s possible without involving a crock pot).
The first, most important Person to be in fellowship with is Jesus, of course. He points that out from the very beginning. An oft-quoted verse from 1 John is…
“If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” – 1 John 1:9
The way to stay in fellowship with Jesus is to be constantly aware of your sin and its ability to take you out of fellowship with Christ and separate you from joy, victorious living, and God’s plan. It’s a devastating enemy that has spiritually fatal results for many. GO TO WAR AGAINST SIN! Confess it, cut it out, and move on.
Oh, what’s that? You don’t struggle with sin? Since you accepted Christ, you don’t sin anymore? WRONG…
“If we say we have not sinned, we make him a liar, and his word is not in us.” – 1 John 1:10
In addition to loving Jesus, we are also called to love others. It’s not just a good idea – it’s a main indicator of where you stand with Jesus!
Love and obey Jesus? YES!
Love others even when you don’t feel like it? YES!
Love the world and the things of it? NO!
It’s also important to address something that may be a little confusing depending on which Bible translation you’re reading. It’s something that comes up pretty often in 1 John. Compare the two translations below…
NKJV: “He who sins is of the devil, for the devil has sinned from the beginning. For this purpose the Son of God was manifested, that He might destroy the works of the devil.” – 1 John 3:8
ESV: “Whoever makes a practice of sinning is of the devil, for the devil has been sinning from the beginning. The reason the Son of God appeared was to destroy the works of the devil.” – 1 John 3:8
Do you see the difference? Although I teach from the NKJV and believe its translation to be very accurate, I think the ESV captures the real meaning behind this verse (and others like it) in 1 John. The NKJV makes it sound like if you ever sin as a Christian, it’s all over – you’re not a Christian after all. The ESV captures a more Biblically contextual meaning by pointing out the real problem: making a practice of sinning. As soon as you give your life to Jesus, the process of sanctification begins in your life – God begins making you more and more like Him. You’re not sinless, but you sin less and less and less… In other words, you stop practicing sin and you begin to practice righteousness. It’s a whole new way of life.
Embrace this new life. It’s the life Jesus has planned for you and it’s the BEST possible way to live!