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The Study of I & II & III John
I & II & III Book of JOHN – Introduction
1. John is one of the twelve disciples of Jesus Christ.
2. He had an intimate relationship with Jesus.
3. He was the last apostle who died around 100 years old.
4. He resided in Ephesus before his death.
5. The style of writing of I John is accepted as a letter
even though it does not contain salutation or greeting
at the end.
6. John appeared to have a very intimate relationship with
the receivers. There was no introduction of himself,
greetings, or description of the receivers in I John.
7. Initially, there was debate over the canonicity of II and
III John. By the 4th century, they were fully accepted
into the NT canon.
Key words: If, how, light, love, abide, anti-Christ, spirit.
Key verses: 1:7;5:20
1. We write this to make our or your joy complete. 1:4.
2. I write this to you so that you will not sin. 2:1.
3. I am writing these things to you about those who are
trying to lead you astray. 2:26.
4. I write these things to you who believe in the name of
the Son of God so that you may know that you have eternal
1.The test of a true fellowship with God.
2.Jesus Christ, the true God and eternal life.
I. The gospel is the word of life. 1:1-4.
a. Its origin: From the beginning; that is before the
creation of the world and man. Vs 1.
The word of life or the eternal life was
with the Father from the beginning.
He is equal with the Father and also the
co-author of His creation. Co 1:15-17.
John 1: 3.
b. Its manifestation:
The life has appeared to us. Vs 2.
John 1: 14, 17-18. He has make God known to
us. John 17:3, Eternal life is knowledge of
God which is a personal relationship with
Thus, the life appeared to us so that we may
have a personal relationship with God. It is
indeed God’s love and grace that cause Him
to reach out to us.
c. Its testimony:
The apostles are the eyewitnesses. They
have a personal relationship with Jesus.
i. They have heard.
ii. They have seen with their eyes.
iii. They have looked at.
iv. They have touched.
d. It s proclamation: By the apostles for the purposes of:
i. Fellowship with the Father and with his Son.
ii. Fellowship with one another.
iii. Complete joy within and among the believers.
The apostle’s message is a message of fellowship with God and other believers. Fellowship means intimate relationship and sharing. It also means partnership. Philippians 1:5. In other words, believers are called to be partners with God and with other believers. Fellowship speaks about relationship, while partnership speaks about mutual goal and responsibility. A complete joy can only comes from fellowship with God as well as with other believers of the body of Christ. It must be stressed that fellowship between believers is vitally linked to individual fellowship with God the Father. One cannot claim he has fellowship with God while he does not have fellowship with other believers. The reverse is also not true.
II. Walking in the light is the test of true fellowship
with the Father. 1:5-2:2.
1.God is light – In him there is no darkness, because
of the physical properties of light. Light and darkness
are totally incompatible. Where there is light, there is no
darkness. Thus the functions of light are :
a.Illuminates and exposes darkness. Nothing can hide in the
light. John 1:5 The light shines in the darkness, but the
darkness has not understood ( overcome ) it. Yes, darkness
may indeed overcome light when there is relatively little
light present. However, the light of God cannot be
overcome by darkness. It is sufficient to expose even the
deepest hidden darkness in our lives.
b.Enlightens our hearts from darkness. Light gives us
direction and understanding. It is a horrible thing to be
lost in darkness.
c.Gives out warmth and life.
2.Having fellowship with God is walking in the light.
Vs 6-7. To have fellowship with God is to walk with God.
To walk with God is to be side by side with Him going in
the same direction, not ahead or behind Him, but at equal
pace with God. Indeed it is our privilege to walk with
a.No one walks in the darkness has fellowship with God.
If any one claims the above, he lies and he is not living
in the truth.
b.Whoever walks in the light may be tested by the following:
i.Light illuminates our true needs before God. Vs 7.
- Need of fellowship with Him and other believers.
- Need of purification from all( every ) sins.
ii. Light enlightens our attitudes towards sin.1:8-2:2.
- Confession of our original sin. That is admission of our
- Confession of our personal sins. That is admission of
our wrong doings, and wickedness.
- Confession of the faithfulness and justice of God. That
is admission of God’s righteousness.
- Confession of the need of forgiveness and purification.
That is admission of the futility of salvation by our
- Acknowledges Jesus is the only provision of God for our
sins. Jesus Christ, the righteous one is our advocate
and atoning sacrifice for the sins of the world.
III. Light enriches our knowledge of God. 2:3-14.
1.Obedience is the only way to know God. Vs 3-4.
John 14:21 God reveals himself to those who
obey His commands. Obedience is not only the way to
know God but it is also the hallmark of those who
truly know God. To disobey His commands is indicative
of lack of truth in us. In other words, those who
disobey His commands do not know God, and is not living
in the truth.
2.Love is the perfect motive to know God. Vs 5.
Furthermore, love made our knowledge of God complete.
I Co 13:2. God’s love is truly made complete in us
when we are obedient to His words.
3.Jesus Christ is our example to know God. Vs 6. To know
God, we must come to Jesus Christ and humble ourselves
and imitate Him. That is to walk as Jesus did. Paul
often urged us to imitate him as he imitated Christ.
What did Jesus did ? He came to bear the cross and to
do the will of the Father. Therefore, believers are
also called to bear the cross and do the will of the
4.A new commandment to love our brothers is the test of
our walk in the light. Vs 7-11.
The commandment to love one another is a message that
they have heard in the beginning or in the past, when
the Lord Jesus was still with them. John 13:34,
John 15: 12,17. John called this the old commandment.
But, now he was writing a new commandment to them to
love their brothers. The commandment is new not because
the content is new and that they have not heard before.
It is new because it s truth or the reality of this
commandment can now be truly experienced in Him
( Christ ), as well as among you ( the believers ).Vs 8.
Christ loves us and He laid down His life for us. I John
3:16, 4:9. The death of Christ on the cross is the
assurance of His love, and also the reason behind
to compel us to love one another. The darkness is
passing and the true light is shining. Therefore, our
mutual love of one another should be evident among
us and should be shining as the true light ( Christ )
is. Hate and love are incompatible as if with light and
darkness. Thus if one walks in the light, he must love
and not hate his brothers. He who hates his brother
is still in darkness. He has deceived himself and is
lost in darkness, because darkness has blinded his
5.The knowledge of God is relevant to all ages. Vs 12-14.
a. Believers are the dear children of God whose sins
have been forgiven on account of his name. Sins in
our lives are the main obstacle of knowing God.
God is light and holy. If we harbor unrepentant
sins in our lives, how can we approach our holy
Father. When Adam and Eve sinned, the first thing
they did was to hide from God. We are His children.
Thus, we should come to Him like children come to
b. John addressed some of them as fathers, implying that
they were the older and more mature Christians. Their
knowledge of God is experienced in their lives
because they have known Him. It is no longer a head-
knowledge but experiential knowledge. Knowledge of
God takes time and personal experience. How long have
you been Christian ? Should you be fathers now ?
c. John also addressed some of them as young men,
implying that they were younger in age and also
less experienced in the Lord. The young men are
characterized by their strength ( you are strong ),
their thirst of God’s word ( the word of God lives in
you ), and their ambition of victory over the evils.
When you first came to know Christ, were you like
that ? Have you been acting like the young men ?
IV. Light separates us from the world. 2:15-17.
- Definition of the world: Cravings of the sinful man;
lusts of his eyes, and boastings of what he has and
does. The world in other words is man-centered. The
world does not received the light. John 1:10-11.
- Warning not to love the world.
- Reasons not to love the world. If anyone loves the
world, the love of the Father is not in him. Thus, one
cannot have the Father and also the world
Simultaneously. After all, the world and its desires
will pass away.
- Love the Father; do his will and live forever.
V. Acknowledging Jesus as the Christ is the test of our
abiding in God.2:18-27.
1. Warning of the coming of anti-Christ in the last hour.
Vs 18. The coming of antichrists is indicative of the
last hour. John declared that many antichrists have come.
Therefore, the last hour is here. Hebrew 1:1 tells us
that in the last days, God spoke to us in His son. Thus,
we are living in the last days, and last hour. How do we
recognize the antichrists ?
a. They are counterfeit of the apostles. Vs 19. They have
left the apostles. Indeed, they did not belong to the
b. They are liars. Vs 22. They opposed and slandered the
truth. Their intention is to deceive others.
c. They denies Jesus is the Christ. Vs 22. In other words,
they denies Jesus is the Anointed one, the Messiah.
d. They denies the Father and the Son. Since the Father and
the Son are co-equal and one, it is absurd to think
that denying the Son has the Father. Therefore, whoever
acknowledges the Son has the Father also. Vs 23.
e. They are deceivers – trying to lead you astray. Vs 26.
2. God has given the anointed one, the Holy Spirit to
teach and guide us. Vs 20-21,24-27.
a. Believers have received an anointing from the Holy one.
b. Believers are the one who know the truth. Vs 21.
c. Believers are reminded to remain in or keep the truth
which is what they heard in the beginning. Vs 24.
d. Believers are urged to remain or abide in the Son and in
the Father. To remain or abide in the Son and in the
Father is to have eternal life. Remain in the Son and
Father and we will not be deceived and let astray. Vs 25.
e. Believers will be keep in the Father by the anointed one
who will remain in them and teach them all things. Vs 27.
3. Therefore, whoever abides in the Father must acknowledge
His Son Jesus as the Christ.
VI. Do what is right is the proof of being born of God. 2:28-3:10.
1. The confidence of being born of God.2:28-3:1
a. Confidence of the great love of the Father, knowing that
we are His children, Vs 28. 3:1, though the world does
not know us because it did not know God.
b. Continue to abide in him, knowing that we have continuous
fellowship with Him. Vs 28.
b. Awaiting his coming, knowing that we will be unashamed
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