Last Sunday I attempted to provide an extensive amount of background information about the book of 1 John, and someone suggested it might be helpful to post my sermon notes on the blog because he couldn’t get it all down.

Given that the way I format my notes together is not conducive to a quick upload onto the internet, my introduction is summarized below and the notes have been put in PDF format for you to download.  I trust you will find this helpful.

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Unfortunately, people who have been Christians for quite a while too often don’t know what it means to be a Christian.  They don’t know what they should know.  And all too often, they don’t know what they should know about their salvation and the certainty of that salvation.  What is good news, however, is that a book of the Bible was written to address that very issue — a book that we will begin studying this morning — 1 John.

There are two words for “know” in the Greek language.  One has the sense of cognitive understanding and intellectual awareness — “I know the governor of the state of Texas, Rick Perry.”  Well, that is, I know and comprehend that he is governor and I know how it is that he came to be governor.  The second word has the sense of experiential knowledge — “I know my wife.”  In every sense, I have a comprehension of who she is and how she functions from a daily interaction with her for more than 25 years.  And in this short letter, John uses those two words 40 times.  A few samples —

  • “By this we know that we have come to know Him, if we keep His commandments. The one who says, “I have come to know Him,” and does not keep His commandments, is a liar, and the truth is not in him; but whoever keeps His word, in him the love of God has truly been perfected. By this we know that we are in Him” (2:3–5)
  • “I am writing to you, fathers, because you know Him who has been from the beginning. I am writing to you, young men, because you have overcome the evil one. I have written to you, children, because you know the Father. I have written to you, fathers, because you know Him who has been from the beginning. I have written to you, young men, because you are strong, and the word of God abides in you, and you have overcome the evil one.” (2:13–14)
  • “See how great a love the Father has bestowed on us, that we would be called children of God; and such we are. For this reason the world does not know us, because it did not know Him. Beloved, now we are children of God, and it has not appeared as yet what we will be. We know that when He appears, we will be like Him, because we will see Him just as He is.” (3:1–2)
  • “You know that He appeared in order to take away sins; and in Him there is no sin. No one who abides in Him sins; no one who sins has seen Him or knows Him.” (3:5–6)
  • “Beloved, let us love one another, for love is from God; and everyone who loves is born of God and knows God. The one who does not love does not know God, for God is love.” (4:7–8)
  • “These things I have written to you who believe in the name of the Son of God, so that you may know that you have eternal life.” (5:13)

In every way, John wants the believer to know and be sure of his salvation.

In a sentence, this is what first John is about —

First John is written to assure readers of their salvation through tests of their doctrine and morality — what they believe and what they do (5:13).  

The believer in Christ is not kept by his works of righteousness, but his righteous works demonstrate (and give assurance) that he is kept.  And right believing will produce right living and result in a right confidence in Christ’s salvation.

So let’s start our study of this book by asking a few questions about what you know —

  1. What Do You Know About John?
  2. What Do You Know About 1 John?
  3. What Do You Know About Heresy (Living in the World)?
  4. What Do You Know About God?
  5. What Do You Know About Yourself?
  6. What Do You Know About Salvation?

Read the rest of the sermon in PDF format.

The audio for the sermon is here.