A Journey Through First John The Joy That Lasts Forever
A Journey Through First John Published by Dancing Pen Books www.dancingpenbooks.com All Scripture quotations, unless otherwise noted, are taken from the New King James Version, Copyright ÂŠ 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved. Quotations marked KJV are from the King James Version.
A Journey Through First John
That which was from the beginning, which we have heard, which we have seen with our eyes, which we have looked upon, and our hands have handled, concerning the Word of lifeâ€” the life was manifested, and we have seen, and bear witness, and declare to you that eternal life which was with the Father and was manifested to usâ€” that which we have seen and heard we declare to you, that you also may have fellowship with us; and truly our fellowship is with the Father and with His Son Jesus Christ. And these things we write to you that your joy may be full. 1 John 1:1-4
The Joy That Lasts Forever
A stroll along a palm-studded beach, a relaxing snooze beside a blazing fireplace on a rainy afternoon, a fine meal with friends-- such are the things that bring us cheer. Falling in love, the birth of a long-awaited child, the return of a loved one from a war-- these things bring us joy, even great joy. When an angel suddenly appeared before the shepherds on that famous winter night in Bethlehem two thousand years ago, he said to them, “Do not be afraid, for behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy which will be to all people (Luke 2:10).” This is the same enduring joy that John describes in First John, a letter that he wrote eighty years later: “And these things we write to you that your joy may be full (1 John 1:4).” What is the reason for this incredible joy? The angel declared it to the awestruck shepherds: “For there is born to you this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord (Luke 2:11).” Just as the shepherds beheld the newborn Christ as He lay in a manger among the lowly animals, so did John behold Him in his adult life. Yet John experienced much more of Christ than the shepherds. When Christ revealed himself to be the God and Savior of all mankind, John was there. When Christ walked along the dusty roads of Palestine, spreading the Good News of His coming to thousands of lost and weary souls, John was there. When Christ walked upon the storm-tossed waves
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of the Sea of Galilee, John was there. When Christ died upon the cross and rose from the dead after three days in the grave, John was there. His friendship with Christ was so deep that he referred to himself as “the disciple whom Jesus loved (John 21:20).” It was a friendship so wonderful, so enduring, so filled with joy that it gave John an irresistible passion to introduce his friend, Savior and God to everyone he knew. So let us begin the introduction. The angel announced that Christ is our Savior, the only person in heaven and on earth who can deliver us from our sins. John declares that this same Savior has existed for all eternity, that by Him all things were created in heaven and on earth. He is the Word of Life, expressing the perfect mind and will of God in everything He says and does. He is the express image of the invisible God. He IS eternal life, the conqueror of death. He is the one and only source of the joy that lasts forever. Through John’s letter Christ speaks to us directly. He calls us to His side with a still, soft voice that will one day thunder from the heavens. He reaches out to us with a powerful hand that can free us from the prison of sin and death, the same hand that will one day strike the world in judgment for its rebellion against Him. This same Christ who raised Lazarus from the grave and turned water into wine, this awesome God who spoke the entire universe into existence, this God of Israel and of the Gentiles, wants each of us to be able to say, just as John did, “I am the disciple whom Jesus loved.”
QUESTIONS FOR THOUGHT AND DISCUSSION
The Joy That Lasts Forever Joy Comes From Understanding the Word Of Life Joy Comes From Declaring The Word Of Life Joy Comes From Knowing The Word Of Life 1. What is John’s purpose in writing the introduction to his letter (1 John 1:3-4)? 1 John 1:3: …that which we have seen and heard we declare to you, that you also may have fellowship with us; and truly our fellowship is with the Father and with His Son Jesus Christ. 1 John 1:4: And these things we write to you that your joy may be full. 2. What is the difference between happiness and joy? Happiness is fleeting and depends on circumstances. Joy rises above all emotions, giving us comfort and hope, even in the midst of tragedy. 3. Who is the Word of Life? John uses the word “Zoe” for life, meaning that Jesus is the essence and the source of all life. John 1:14: And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we
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beheld His glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth. John 1:18: No one has seen God at any time. The only begotten Son, who is in the bosom of the Father, He has declared Him. Colossians 1:15-16: He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn over all creation. For by Him all things were created that are in heaven and that are on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or principalities or powers. All things were created through Him and for Him. Hebrews 1:1-3: God, who at various times and in various ways spoke in time past to the fathers by the prophets, has in these last days spoken to us by His Son, whom He has appointed heir of all things, through whom also He made the worlds; who being the brightness of His glory and the express image of His person, and upholding all things by the word of His power, when He had by Himself purged our sins, sat down at the right hand of the Majesty on high. Revelation 19:11-16: Now I saw heaven opened, and behold, a white horse. And He who sat on him was called Faithful and True, and in righteousness He judges and makes war. His eyes were like a flame of fire, and on His head were many crowns. He had a name written that no one knew except Himself. He was clothed with a robe dipped in blood, and His name is called The Word of God. And the armies in heaven, clothed in fine linen, white and clean, followed Him on white horses. Now out of His mouth goes a sharp sword, that with it He should strike the nations. And He Himself will rule them with a rod of iron. He Himself treads the winepress of the fierceness and wrath of Almighty God. And He has on His robe and on His thigh a name written: KING OF KINGS AND LORD OF LORDS. 4. What point is John trying to make when he writes, “which
Questions · 9 we have heard, which we have seen with our eyes, which we have looked upon, and our hands have handled (1 John 1:1)?” He is testifying to the humanity of Jesus. This directly refutes the Gnostic heresy that Jesus was a spirit. John 20:25-28: The other disciples therefore said to him, “We have seen the Lord.” So he said to them, “Unless I see in His hands the print of the nails, and put my finger into the print of the nails, and put my hand into His side, I will not believe.” And after eight days His disciples were again inside, and Thomas with them. Jesus came, the doors being shut, and stood in the midst, and said, “Peace to you!” Then He said to Thomas, “Reach your finger here, and look at My hands; and reach your hand here, and put it into My side. Do not be unbelieving, but believing.” And Thomas answered and said to Him, “My Lord and my God!” 5. Can those who have never seen Christ in the flesh have the same joy as those who did? Absolutely! John 20:29: Jesus said to him, “Thomas, because you have seen Me, you have believed. Blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed.” 1 Peter 1:8: …whom having not seen you love. Though now you do not see Him, yet believing, you rejoice with joy inexpressible and full of glory. 6. How should we respond toward others upon receiving the joy of Christ? 1 John 1:3-4: …that which we have seen and heard we declare to you,
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that you also may have fellowship with us; and truly our fellowship is with the Father and with His Son Jesus Christ. And these things we write to you that your joy may be full. Matthew 28:19-20: Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.” Amen. 7. How do we know that we are in fellowship with the Word of Life? 1 John 3:24: …by this we know that He abides in us, by the Spirit whom He has given us.
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