1 John 2: 6-17
Context: Koinonia (New Testament fellowship – actually, biblical fellowship in general!), and furthermore, the big question here is as follows: How do we know when we are in fellowship with God? That’s what John is trying to explain here. He’s road-mapping out what their (and our) path should look like.
End goal: God wants a close, personal, intimate relationship with us, but…
God also wants us to have all of that with each other.
The goal of every disciple was to be like his teacher. You wanted to be like your rabbi. It was the culmination of all of your learning. We want to “abide” with Him, our teacher – the Teacher. That abiding with Him is biblical koinonia.
Question: What is keeping His commandments?
Answer: We need to get away from lists. Strictly adhering to the list doesn’t work; however, being like Him, keeping His words (His WORD) is how we get closer to Him and His nature. Again, this is koinonia, or the end result is koinonia.
It’s okay that we’re not at koinonia right now. We mess up and this whole journey is a process. Personally, I don’t think we’re close to biblical koinonia in our own church. The problem is when we become content with where we are – when we we’re fine with not being in koinonia with Jesus.
End goal: Being able to look in a mirror and see the image of Christ is the end all, be all. It’s where we want to end up.
Greek word for “brethren” is adelphos, which means quite literally being from the same womb.
John is saying here that we are and we will be a family now and in the Kingdom
John is saying:
This isn’t old. None of this is old. The 2 biggest commandments are love your God and love your neighbors with all you heart, body, mind, and soul – with everything. If you keep those Words, you’ll fulfill the law; however, only 1 person kept these 2 commandments perfectly – Jesus.
Every part and thing about God is worthy of love, and it’ll probably make us love Him even more.
The claim being made here is that to know God is to love God.
It’s not a novel idea, but it’s new. What makes it new?
OLD: Nation of Israel
NEW: A plethora of believers – a new spiritual group called “the ones.”
The whole crux of 1 John is that it’s a map. A map doesn’t offer suggestions, but it does offer you factual-based instructions on getting from point a to point b. It shows the true intent and purpose of God, as well as the true nature of God. God is love.
FALSE CLAIM #3: “(I am) in the light.”
The Greek word for “brother” is adelphos, which means to be from the same womb.
Think about this: the proof of being in the Light is genuine koinonia – having true love for the children of Christ.
Again, if our ultimate goal is to become like Christ – to be conformed to the image of Christ, we must remember that it’s not something we can do so much on our own as it is a matter of faith. We must place our faith in Him.
IF WE WALK IN THE LIGHT, the natural result will be that we all love one another.
So, what is the Light? The Light is Jesus. If one abides in Jesus, he/she abides in the true Light.
We referenced a verse in Psalm, and as we did this Pastor Latta said something that caught my ears, “The Old Testament is instructions for the New Testament.” It’s not useless. It’s fundamental.
What does one see in the Light? He/she sees a deep and abiding love for His children. We see the cross – the greatest sign of love given to us by Jesus Himself.
Question: Why die for us?
Answer: It’s the nature of God. God is love. It’s His core nature, so why not trust Him? In the image of Christ on the cross, we see both justice and redemption – both profound love and commitment.
This is a direct counter to verse 9.
Greek word for “stumbling” is skandalon.
The use here is the phrase, “no cause for stumbling,” but this doesn’t refer to SINLESS PERFECTION. Besides Jesus, that doesn’t exist
Analogy: In darkness, you can’t see the things upon which you’ll stumble. You won’t be able to see the rock in your way. With the light, however, you’ll be able (hopefully) to avoid those.
Context: There are false teachings occurring in John’s church, which is why he is setting up these tests to the claims made by these false teachers.
John concludes this epistle with this thought: He who hates his brother or sister in Christ becomes a tool for Satan. To hate your eternal brother or sister is to keep permanent residence in darkness regardless of your personal evaluation of yourself.
The feeling that comes from this is hatred, and it’s the heart of Satan.
KOINONIA IS THE HEART OF GOD
We struggle, but there’s nothing wrong with struggling. In referencing Romans 7, we see that Paul is decrying his sinful flesh. Over here is sinful flesh (bad/darkness/Satan), but over there is Paul’s spirit saying, “I don’t want to be like that (pointing to the sinful flesh).” Now, we have a dilemma.
The above struggle leads to guilt because you want to be perfect – you want to be completely on one side, but the ugliness of the flesh keeps you in sin; it keeps us all in sin.
IF YOU HATE THE PERSON (even if they deserve it), you are NOT – your HEART IS NOT in agreement with Christ.
Remember that John is experiencing everything we’re talking about here. He’s experiencing it with his church, who doesn’t have koinonia. The choice to John is simple: you can have heart of Christ or a heart of Satan.
Knowing this, our focus should be on koinonia because it’s the core, and what think of as fellowship (social events, gatherings, etc.) should be the natural byproduct of said koinonia (deep, intimate, slow walk with Christ – a relationship).
What we’ve learned:
IF WE KNOW HIM, we’ll keep His Word.
IF WE ABIDE IN HIM, we’ll walk in the same manner that He does.
IF WE ARE LIVING IN THE LIGHT, we’ll love our brothers and sisters the same way He does.
à It’s a comparison between knowing and doing. IF WE REALLY DO KNOW HIM AND HIS NATURE AND HIS TEACHING, we will act on it.
Fellowship with Him
(Explained further below
Achieved by loving Him (1st and 2nd greatest commandments).
Achieved by studying Him as a true New Testament disciple.
Achieved by loving ALL who are born through Him. This is the natural result of #1 and #2 (2nd commandment),
All teaching needs to be proven by its results. We need to evaluate the truth of all teaching based on comparison to apostolic (biblical) teaching.
What we know is proven by actions – by the fruits of our labor. Biblical knowledge is experienced and not just learned.
The natural result of becoming like Christ isn’t just shown by how much I love Him, but by how much I love His children.
The measure of my maturity in Christ is how much I love my brothers and sisters in Christ. This is how we determine the qualification of any teacher.
WELCOME TO KOINONIA!
Context: There were a ton of traveling preachers during this time. Inevitably, questions arose, such as: how do you judge which preachers are worthy? These teachers were making a ton of money, but many of them weren’t doing so with the best of intentions.
Look at Paul! He travelled a ton and was even called a “seed picker,” which isn’t a compliment by the way.
So, which preacher is the best? The one who flashes a light on and into the darkness.
*Here’s a sad truth: many Christians don’t want to be fed. The Holy Spirit challenges us and shines His light unto the world.
Our call to fellowship is much higher. The goal of a pastor is purifying the gold – 100%! Don’t be a traveling preacher. Here, John is warning his followers to beware of these preachers.
God and Jesus want us to grow in our faith. Maturity is our calling, and this leads to the end result. The individual end result is loving God with all your heart, mind and soul, whereas the group end result is koinonia.
Question: Does God have needs?
Answer: He’s not needy, BUT He has a need to pour Himself out, to give. This is the nature of love, the nature of God. GOD IS LOVE.
In this verse, John is addressing a specific group: new believers. Nothing bad is meant by the term, but young or new anything need supervision. The recently saved need guidance, which is why John speaks to them with such tenderness.
John is practically yelling out to them, “PLEASE, GET WHAT I’M TRYING TO SAY!”
To us, this isn’t a big deal.
To ancient Jews, your name was everything.
In the authority – in the name of the law.
Jesus is divine. There is eternal security with Him.
John is now speaking to the “fathers.” The fathers are the spiritual elders within John’s group of followers. This group might’ve possibly already brought individuals to Christ.
“from the beginning”
*Remember that the word know invokes an intimate, deeply personal relationship.
John is saying once again, “GET THIS PEOPLE!”
Why did these young people stay? Why didn’t they leave? Because these young guys and gals knew God – they knew the truth. Hence, study the Word of God. Learn the truth for yourself!
Referenced Psalm 119:11 – Learn the Word of God and guard it in your heart.
If you live in a mud puddle, you’re going to get muddy. IF YOU LIVE IN SIN, you will constantly and continuously sin.
The love here is agape love. It’s biblical love. John is trying to teach his followers how to love. He’s also warning them.
STOP considering the world as precious. Don’t love the world! You see: there’s nothing wrong with love’ it’s what you love. For 2 reasons:
The world doesn’t love us. It most certainly didn’t love Jesus.
The world is deteriorating; it’s decaying (referenced verse 8).
To pledge allegiance to one side is to declare war on the other.
Verse 16 and 17
Adam and Even (Genesis 3:6) is referenced here. The allure of sin is derived from our flesh.
Here, we also get the theme of John’s argument. Do we have a sin nature? No. Do we have flesh? Yes. Sin comes from our flesh. Beat this into your brain! Do we have love of the world? No. We should have love of the Father.
While the world is passing away, we are eternal.