Wednesday, October 5, 2011

First Letter of John

God is Light & Love

The following notes are from Pastor Zac Poonen's sermon on 1 John.
  • John wrote all of his letters just a few years before he died and these writings reflect the perspective of a mature Christian.
  • What's important in 1 John is not only what he says, but what he doesn't say.  He says nothing on church government, the pattern of fellowship, speaking in tongues, healing, prosperity...  
  • The theme of the letter is that God is light and love.  These are the two eternal realities.
  • Practically for us that means life and fellowship; if you love one another you will have fellowship.
  • The life of God - a life of purity, humility, love, and goodness - should be in you.  Everything else we can obtain is a waste of time.
  • If we have church meetings, organized service, preaching, etc. but don't have true fellowship, then we have missed the main thing and are wasting time.
  • Even in a Christian home, the most important thing is that the life of God is in the husband, wife, and children and that there is fellowship.
  • Humility is the ground from which all of these other things can grow.  Our calling is to humble ourselves.
  • We can be friendly to all, but are only called to fellowship with those who also have the life of God within.
  • The cross is the means by which we come to fellowship with God first, and then each other; there is no fellowship with it.
  • The life of Adam is what causes conflict and prevents fellowship amongst believers.  The way to the tree of life is for the sword to fall on the life of Adam.  Both Adam's "good" and "bad" attributes must be placed on the altar.  Only then can God raise it from the dead and use it for His glory, because it has been sanctified.  Such is the only way we can serve God.
  • Joy is an essential part of the Christian life because it is an essential part of Heaven.  The Holy Spirit brings the atomosphere of Heaven into our hearts.
  • Satan says if you give your life completely to God you will be miserable and without joy.  Yet God says that in Him our joy will be complete (verse 1:4); this is because our joy is not dependent upon our circumstances.
  • Only if we walk in the light as He is in the light does the blood of Jesus cleanse us from all sin (verse 1:7).
  • Even a mature, Godly Christian still has sin in his life (verse 1:8).  There will never be a time in our life when we can say we are free from sin.  The Christian life is a struggle at every stage because of sin as we grow in Him.
  • The balance in Scripture is that we should not sin, but we may sin (verse 2:1).
  • Obedience to God is the evidence that we know Him (verse 2:3).  Our responsibility as a Christian is to walk as He walked.  
  • John then writes to 3 specific groups of people: babes in Christ; the spiritually young, and the spiritually mature.
  • Babes in Christ need to know that their sins are forgiven and that God is their loving Father.
  • Young Christians need to know that you overcome Satan by the word of God abiding in you.
  • Mature Christians need to know God, intimately and personally.
  • To all 3 groups John exhorts then not to love the world (2:15).
  • We need preachers like John who are powerful that they can drive the spirit of anti-christ out of the church.
  • Everyone who has the hope of the Second Coming of Christ will spend his life purifying himself (verse 3:3).  Jesus' blood cleanses us (verse 1:7) but we must also purify ourselves.
  • Jesus came to take away sin (verse 3:5) and destroy the works of the devil (verse 3:8).
  • It is a tremendous encouragement to know that we can still make something good out of our lives, even if we have wasted 90% of our life; we can still come to the Lord and be made new.
  • No one who is born of God keeps on committing sin (verse 3:9).
  • There are only two categories of people in the world: children of God or children of the devil (verse 3:10).
  • The balance of God's love abiding in us is seen in John 3:16 and in 1 John 3:16.  God's love was shown in that Jesus gave His life for us.  Similarly, our love is shown as we lay down our lives for each other (verse 3:16).
  • If your conscience itself is telling you about sin, then imagine how much more sin is there of which God is aware.  But, God does not hold us responsible for what we do not see.  It is enough to keep free from what your conscience tells you is wrong (verse 3:20-21).
  • One of the most important requirements for answered prayer is a clear conscience (verse 3:22).
  • We must test every spirit.  If something is of God then it will edify and bless you in the things of God.
  • There are three things which should be emphasized in order to build up the church: Obedience to God's commands; Love for one another; the humanity of Jesus Christ.
  • John 1:18 and 1 John 4:12 both state that "no man has seen God at any time".  When Jesus was here, God could be seen in Him; He was the visible expression of the Father in bodily form (John 1:18).  People could see the manifestation of God in Him.  Now, the church is the Body of Christ, bearing about the manifestation of God to the world (verse 4:12).  
  • I am to live in this world exactly like Jesus.  I can have authority over Satan just like Jesus had authority over Satan (verse 4:17).
  • Keep yourselves from anything that takes the place of God in your life (verse 5:21).


  1. Amen to first John. This book always puts me on track again. I like the point that Zac made about this coming from a mature Christian. It's good to know that if I'm not around any mature Christians, I can always turn to 1st John and hear from one. Good stuff.

  2. An excellent exposition!


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