Survey of the Bible - I John

Text: I John 1:1-4


I.         I John is a book about fellowship

            A.        Author

                        1.         The book has been universally received as being from John from its beginning

                        2.         Polycarp (A.D. 69 - 155), who knew John in his youth, specifically attributes it to John.

                        3.         Iraneus and Papias also attribute the book to John.

                        4.         The author is an apostle and an eyewitness - I John 1:1-3

                                    a.         The “we” refers to the apostles.

                        5.         The style is very similar to John, showing it was written by the same author.

            B.        Dating

                        1.         John was among the apostles in Jerusalem - Acts 8:14

                        2.         He was one of the pillars of the church there - Galatians 2:9

                        3.         Revelation 1:10 finds him in exile on Patmos, but we don’t know from the Bible where he was in between.

                        4.         Historical records indicate that he moved from Jerusalem to Ephesus at some point. The seven churches in Revelation are near Ephesus.

                        5.         Hints that Gnosticism was rising - I John 4:1-3

                                    a.         Gnostics, which means hidden knowledge, thought that the physical world was sinful

                                    b.         Therefore it denied that Jesus was really here in the flesh

                                    c.         The Gnostics also thought they were above others, so the rules didn’t apply to them. The result was immoral conduct.

                        6.         Last hour with antichrists sounds similar to Jesus’s statement - Matthew 24:23-25, 33

                                    a.         This would indicate I John was written before the destruction of Jerusalem

                                    b.         This is not a common or popular view

                        7.         Most likely after John and before Revelation, probably nearer to the Gospel of John’s time.

            C.        Audience

                        1.         Directed to mature Christians

                                    a.         Familiar with commandments - I John 2:7; 3:11

                                    b.         Know the truth - I John 2:21, 24

                        2.         John is close to these Christians

                                    a.         Calls them beloved - I John 3:2

                                    b.         Calls them his children - I John 2:1; 3:18

II.        Themes

            A.        Fellowship

                        1.         Fellowship with the apostles - I John 1:3

                        2.         Fellowship with God - I John 1:6

                        3.         Fellowship with brethren - I John 1:7

            B.        Confidence

                        1.         Through obedience - I John 2:3-6

                        2.         Through love - I John 4:17

                        3.         Through belief - I John 5:13

                        4.         These three topics: obedience, love, and believe then set up a three part cycle through I John

            C.        Purpose

                        1.         That your joy may be full - I John 1:4

                        2.         That you may not sin - I John 2:1

                        3.         That you may believe and know you have eternal life - I John 5:13

III.       Outline

            A.        Preamble - I John 1:1-4

                        1.         John’s qualifications

                        2.         John’s actions

                        3.         John’s goals

            B.        Conditions for fellowship - I John 1:5-2:27

                        1.         Obey - I John 1:5-2:6

                                    a.         Cannot have fellowship if we sin - I John 1:5-2:2

                                    b.         We know God through keeping His commands - I John 2:3-6

                        2.         Love - I John 2:7-17

                                    a.         A new, but old, command: love one another - I John 2:7-8

                                    b.         Love means not sinning against a brother - I John 2:9-11

                                    c.         This letter is written because - I John 2:12-14

                                                (1)       They have been forgiven (refer back to I John 1:5-2:2)

                                                (2)       They know God (refer back to I John 2:3-6)

                                                (3)       They have overcome sin and know the commandments (refer back to I John 2:7-11)

                                                (4)       Note pattern:

                                                            (a)       I am writing

                                                                        i)         little children

                                                                        ii)        fathers

                                                                        iii)       young men

                                                            (b)       I have written

                                                                        i)         little children

                                                                        ii)        fathers

                                                                        iii)       young men

                                    d.         Don’t love the world and its lusts - I John 2:15-17

                        3.         Unbelief of false teachers - I John 2:18-27

                                    a.         Those against Christ have left the fold - I John 2:18-19

                                    b.         They know the difference between truth and lies - I John 2:20-21

                                    c.         The liars are those who deny the Father and Son - I John 2:22-24

                                    d.         The great promise: eternal life - I John 2:25

                                    e.         God has taught them the truth - I John 2:26-27

            C.        Character of fellowship - I John 2:28-4:6

                        1.         Obey - I John 2:28-3:10

                                    a.         Obey so you can have confidence - I John 2:28-29

                                    b.         God showed us love, so we purify ourselves - I John 3:1-3

                                    c.         The difference between the child of God and the child of Satan is whether they make a practice of righteousness or sin - I John 3:4-10

                        2.         Love - I John 3:11-24

                                    a.         Love means not hating - I John 3:11-12

                                    b.         The world hates Christians for being who they are - I John 3:13

                                    c.         We aren’t saved if we hate our brethren - I John 3:14-17

                                    d.         We have to love in deed and truth, then we have confidence - I John 3:18-24

                        3.         Belief - I John 4:1-6

                                    a.         Don’t believe everyone - I John 4:1-3

                                    b.         You are from God and not the world - I John 4:4-5

                                    c.         Those from God listen to the apostles - I John 4:6

            D.        Consequences of fellowship - I John 4:7-5:21

                        1.         Love - I John 4:7-5:3

                                    a.         God is love - I John 4:7-10

                                    b.         Our response is love for each other - I John 4:11-13

                                    c.         God showed love by sending Jesus - I John 4:14-15

                                    d.         The confidence from God’s love - I John 4:16-19

                                    e.         Loving God means loving your brethren - I John 4:20-5:1

                                    f.         Love means keeping God’s commands - I John 5:2-3

                        2.         Belief - I John 5:4-15

                                    a.         We overcome the world through belief in Christ - I John 5:4-5

                                    b.         The witnesses to Christ - I John 5:6-9

                                    c.         The difference between truth and the lie is whether the testimony is received - I John 5:10-12

                                    d.         Through belief we have confidence - I John 5:13-15

                                    e.         Can’t ask forgiveness for someone who is sinning unto death- I John 5:16-17

                        3.         Obey - I John 5:18-21

                                    a.         A child of God doesn’t sin - I John 5:18-19

                                    b.         Jesus came that we might know him - I John 5:20

                                    c.         Stay away from idols - I John 5:21

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