Over the past year, I preached through 1 John to our “Next-Gen” ministry. After 19 sermons of verse-by-verse exposition, I can’t speak for every person who sat through the series but I can speak for myself: my heart and mind were transformed by the Word. Preaching never gets old. Not because I get to monologue for 35-45 minutes uninterrupted, but because of what studying God’s Word does to my soul.
While most Christians won’t get to experience life in a pulpit, every Christian can experience the life-changing effects of studying God’s Word. Both preachers and people get to study the Word, relish in truth, and enjoy being on the receiving end of the Holy Spirit’s work through illumination!
1 John is a special letter that can work wonders on your heart. Here are five transforming truths that you will find when you study this five-chapter book in the Bible:
Fellowship is vital for believers (1 John 1:3-7).
If we are genuine Christians, we are given the joyous opportunity to fellowship with God and with other believers in the truth. A genuine faith will lead to genuine relationships — primarily with our God and our family in Christ.
Our lives should be distinctly different than the world (1 John 1:5-7, 9; 2:3, 15-17).
Believers are not saved by good works, but they are to be known by their good works. They are called to look different than the world around them so that people will know who they belong to — Christ. This will include the way we deal with sin. Genuine Christians will sin, but they’ll also face their sin by turning to Christ (1 John 1:9).
You can be confident that your faith is the real thing (1 John 2:28-29).
Some people do not believe you can ever be confident about your salvation. Some religions, like Catholicism, teach that you have to do many good deeds in order to keep your salvation. John draws a line in the sand inspired by a divine reality: you can be confident when you meet Christ one day because abiding in Him has made you righteous.
False teaching must be called out in order to protect the church (1 John 2:18-26).
As a loving shepherd, John knows that his role includes calling out danger in order to protect the church. Like a caring parent, he warns of pitfalls and predators so that the children of God do not fall prey to the deceitful schemes of the Devil. This is good, right, and healthy.
Genuine Christians love each other because God loved them first (1 John 3:11-24; 4:7-21).
The phrase “hateful Christian” is an oxymoron. Like oil and water, these two elements do not mix unless we’re talking about a Christian who hates sin. Jesus originally said, “By this all people will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another” (John 13:35). John heard this from Christ himself, wrote it in his first gospel letter, which now repeats it for Christians far and wide. We do well to listen, and to love.
Have you ever studied 1 John? I believe every Christian should! Here are some helpful commentaries you can use you accompany your study: