Thank you for joining me for part two of our study in 1st John. Last week we did an overview of the entire letter, if you missed this lesson, then click here: The Christianity Test Part 1.
This week we will take a closer look at 1 John chapter 1.
The main theme of 1st John is “The Christianity Test”. Many people profess to know Christ, but do not live a Christian lifestyle. They go to church on Sunday, but live like the world Monday-Saturday. The book of 1st John has much to say about this type of “Christian”. A Genuine Christian will bear fruit in their lives. This fruit comes as a result of the Holy Spirit living inside of a believer. This fruit cannot be counterfeited forever. A counterfeit will not be able to produce genuine fruit throughout their lives, especially when going through a trial. A person can pretend to be a friendly, loving person, but you turn up the heat in their lives and the real personality will shine through.
- Make sure you have your 1st John printout from lesson 1
- You will need 3 different colored highlighters.
- The apostle John gives us several reasons for writing the letter of 1st John. Use one of your colored highlighters to highlight each of these verse.
- Mark every verse which characterizes a Counterfeit Christian with the second colored highlighter.
- Mark every verse which characterizes a Genuine Christian with the third colored highlighter.
Why did the apostle John write this letter? As you study 1st John you will notice that the apostle John gives several reasons for writing 1st John. The first reason is given in 1 John 1:4 (make sure you highlight this verse). He says he wrote this letter so that our joy may be full. Is your joy full? If it is not, perhaps you will be filled with the joy of the Holy Spirit as you study 1st John. I looked up some cross references to the word joy so we can understand the joy a Christian should be experiencing. According to the Bible, we should be “exceedingly joyful in all our tribulation” 2 Cor. 7:4. In 2 Corinthians 8:2, the church of Macedonia had great joy even though they were in great affliction. According to James 1:2 we should “count it all joy” when going through a trial. Are you joyful in every circumstance? As you study the Bible and grow in Christian maturity, you will learn to experience this type of joy.
The Christianity Test
In 1 John 1:5-10, we see a series of 5 “if” statements. This will begin the Christianity Test, which occurs throughout all 5 chapters of 1st John. John will give us characteristics of Counterfeit Christians and for Genuine Christians. Many people do not understand what it really means to be a Christian. Some believe they are Christians because they grew up in a family who attended church. Others believe that if their good deeds outweighs the bad, they will end up in heaven. As we examine these “if” statements, you might wish to make two lists. You should make one list for the positive statements that John makes for a Genuine Christian and the other list is for the negative statements referring to the Counterfeit Christian. This unsaved person may be unaware of his eternal state. This is what your list should look like:
Genuine Christian List
- “But if we walk in the light as He is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus Christ His Son cleanses us from all sin” 1 John 1:7 (NKJV).
- “If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness” 1 John 1:9 (NKJV).
Counterfeit Christian List
- “If we say that we have fellowship with Him, and walk in darkness, we lie and do not practice the truth” 1 John 1:6 (NKJV)
- “If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us” 1 John 1:8 (NKJV).
- “If we say that we have not sinned, we make Him a liar, and His word is not in us” 1 John 1:10 (NKJV).
If you know of someone who professes to be a believer in Christ, but the characteristics of a Counterfeit Christian apply to them, then start to pray for their salvation. I don’t recommend going to them immediately and telling them you don’t believe they are saved, because this will not go over well. Give it some time and ask the Lord how to approach them.
I hope as we study this letter that you will, “Examine yourselves as to whether you are in the faith. Test yourselves” 2 Corinthians 13:5 (NKJV). If you suspect at the end of this study that you are lost or are unsure, then pray and ask the Holy Spirit to reveal the truth to you. If you believe that a loved one is lost, then pray for an opportunity to share with them.
I hope you will join me next week as we examine 1 John 2. We will continue to add to the lists that we started today.