Episode #231. Today we’ll read 1 John chapter 1 together: John makes a declaration for all those who testify about Christ and describes what fellowship with God is and what it is not.
Joy: You’re listening to the Lifting Her Voice podcast, Episode #231. Today we’ll read 1 John chapter 1 together: John makes a declaration for all those who testify about Christ and describes what fellowship with God is and what it is not.
Welcome to the Lifting Her Voice podcast. I’m your host, Joy Miller, and I invite you to grab your Bible and join me as we simply read God’s word together. Some things require discipline and sometimes that’s just not easy to muster by yourself, no matter how badly you want to do it or how much you know you should. It’s just easier to do it with a friend. So refill your coffee or tea, get comfortable in your favorite chair and follow along as I read aloud. I’m so glad you’re here!
Today, we begin the book of 1 John. This is the same John that wrote the Gospel of John. Jesus called him one of the Sons of Thunder and we also know him as the disciple whom Jesus loved. In case you’re still confused by all the Johns you heard stories about in childhood Sunday school, this is not John the Baptist.
John was old at the time he wrote the three letters we’re about to read. We already discussed that first Paul and then Peter were both martyred in the mid-60s AD. John probably wrote these letters about twenty years later between 85 and 90 AD. Actually, the letter doesn’t identify John as the author. But no one argues it because of all the ancient historians who say so, including Irenaeus, Clement of Alexandria, Tertullian, and Origen. We’ll talk more about the end of his life in the introduction to the book of Revelation.
John talks a great deal about Gnosticism and warns against it in all three of his letters. Gnosticism is the heresy that contends that all matter is entirely evil, and all spirit is entirely good. It follows that the body is to be treated harshly and pretty much denies or explains away Christ’s humanity. Salvation is attained not through faith in Christ but by special knowledge. John’s purpose in writing to believers was to expose this false teaching and the teachers who taught it and to assure believers of their salvation. It sounds ridiculous to us today, but people were ensnared in this sin right and left.
It seems to me – and this is just me talking – that we as humans have trouble embracing grace. Unearned favor. We think we have to earn it. We think we have to do something. And that’s how false teaching like Gnosticism gets a foothold. I’m interested to know your thought at Lifting Her Voice.com, Facebook, Instagram or Twitter.
1 John Chapter 1
Prologue: Our Declaration
What was from the beginning, what we have heard, what we have seen with our eyes, what we have observed and have touched with our hands, concerning the word of life — that life was revealed, and we have seen it and we testify and declare to you the eternal life that was with the Father and was revealed to us — what we have seen and heard we also declare to you, so that you may also have fellowship with us; and indeed our fellowship is with the Father and with his Son, Jesus Christ. We are writing these things so that our joy may be complete.
Fellowship with God
This is the message we have heard from him and declare to you: God is light, and there is absolutely no darkness in him. If we say, “We have fellowship with him,” and yet we walk in darkness, we are lying and are not practicing the truth. 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. If we say, “We have no sin,” we are deceiving ourselves, and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, he is faithful and righteous 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.
I thought seriously about doing the first and second chapters of 1st John together since there are only ten verses in chapter one. But I decided to stay the course.
You probably noticed right off the similarity between 1:1 and the 1:1 in his Gospel. I think he likes to talk about beginnings. He also refers again to the Jesus as the Word of Life. Here, let me read those first few verses of the Gospel of John:
In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was with God in the beginning. All things were created through him, and apart from him not one thing was created that has been created. In him was life, and that life was the light of men. That light shines in the darkness, and yet the darkness did not overcome it.
You get a sense in the last paragraph why Jesus called John and his brother, James, the Sons of Thunder. He doesn’t hold back drawing a line between those who are true followers of Christ and, well, liars.
He ends up with the familiar and oft-quoted verse 9 which gives us this simple direction: If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. Yes, it is an exercise in casting off pride. But, oh, what a wonderful promise it is. Let’s pray.
Lord, here I am again, thanking You for sending Jesus. Thank You for Your great and precious promises. You have refuted the false teachers with the reality of the Gospel. You have given us Your joy again. Thank You. Amen
Thank you for joining me here today. I pray God will grow in you what has been planted and watered here. In this time of unprecedented struggle worldwide, we can look to God for guidance and comfort. Be sensitive to those in your circle of influence who need a word of encouragement and invite them to join us. If you like this show, it would be great if you give it a five-star review. Don’t forget to subscribe wherever you get your podcasts. See you right here tomorrow. Be well!
Unless otherwise noted, all Scripture quotations are taken from the Christian Standard Bible(r), Copyright (c) 2017 by Holman Bible Publishers. Used by permission. Christian Standard Bible(r) and CSB(r) are federally registered trademarks of Holman Bible Publishers.
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