Week of: June 6, 2011
Sharing by: Pam Crawford
1 John 2:3-6
“We know that we have come to know him if we obey his commands. The man who says, “I know him,” but does not do what he commands is a liar, and the truth is not in him. But if anyone obeys his word, God’s love is truly made complete in him. This is how we know we are in him: Whoever claims to live in him must walk as Jesus did."
Oh my, “walk as Jesus did.” How is that possible? Jesus was a perfect, sinless man. He loved all people, and He is the Master when it comes to forgiving others. I certainly fall short of those characteristics so I may be tempted to wonder, am I doomed? You might read that word “liar” in verse 4 and end up walking away feeling a bit challenged by this statement yourself.
When we read God’s Word it is important that we explore the “context” of how it is written in order to better understand what the writer is trying to relay. Begin always by asking God to help you discern what He is trying to say to you.
Over the past month I have been giving some insight into how to understand and how to study the Bible. It is also important to point out the importance of reading the “Vital Statistics” of a particular book before you dive into it. Not all Bibles give you this information in the front of each chapter, so you might have to seek out that information on your own. Although I use several different translations as I study God’s Word, I do rely on the Life’s Application Bible for an overall glimpse into the particular book that I am studying. Before I share what I learned about 1 John 2:3-6, let me share some components of this book. I have taken this information from the Life’s Application Study translation.
Purpose: To reassure Christians in their faith and to counter false teachings.
Author: The Apostle John
Written to: The letter is untitled and was written to no particular church. It was sent as a pastoral letter to several Gentile congregations. It was also written to all believers everywhere.
Date written: Probably between A.D. 85 and 90 from Ephesus
Setting: John was an older man and perhaps the only surviving apostle at the time. He had not yet been banished to the island of Patmos, where he would live in exile. As an eyewitness of Christ, he wrote authoritatively to give this new generation of believer’s assurance and confidence in God and their faith.
Key verse: “I write this to you who believe in the Son of God, so that you may know you have eternal life” (5:13).
Key people: John, Jesus
Special features: John is the apostle of love, and love is mentioned throughout this letter. There are a number of similarities between this letter and John’s Gospel – in vocabulary, style, and main ideas. John uses brief statements and simple words, and he features sharp contrasts – light and darkness, truth and error, God and Satan, life and death, love and hate.
As I studied this book I learned that “First John was written to help us know the reality of God in our life through faith in Christ, to assure us that we have eternal life, and to encourage us to remain in fellowship with the God who is light and love. It is also for the purpose of countering false
teachings” (LASB). So what might John be trying to help us understand when he uses the word “liar” and tells us ”whoever claims to live in him must walk as Jesus did?” Could it be that he is warning us of the same thing Jesus’ brother James warns us of in James 1:22; “Do not merely listen to the Word and so deceive yourselves. Do what is says.” May I suggest that they are both trying to help us grasp the importance of “putting into action what we learn.” This is how we begin to walk like Christ. We can’t just sit and observe religion and it's traditions; we have to become active participants to what God reveals through His Word. For example if you read that you are to refrain from gossip, or being drunk, what would that mean to you? Do you take it seriously or do you think those instructions were only for people in Bible times?
When I read and then studied the following verses in the Book of Ephesians, I began to become convicted to make some changes in my own life. I found out very quickly that my walk did not always align to God’s Word and thus I began my journey from simply doing church on Sunday mornings, to applying what I was taught Monday through Saturday. Please hear me, I have not yet arrived! God shows me on a regular basis the things He desires that I adjust. I do not share these verses for the purpose of condemnation. I share them only to help you better understand what the Apostle Paul, John and Jesus’ brother James were outlining for those who desired to become “Children of the Light.”
Ephesians 4:17-32 (NIV translation)
“So I tell you this, and insist on it in the Lord, that you must no longer live as Gentiles do, in the futility of their thinking. They are darkened in their understanding and separated from the life of God because of the ignorance that is in them to due to the hardening of the hearts. Having lost all sensitivity, they have given themselves over to sensuality so as to indulge in every kind of impurity, with a continual lust for more.
You, however, did not come to know Christ that way. Surely you heard of him and were taught in him in accordance with the truth that is in Jesus. You were taught with regard to your former way of life, to put off your old self, which is being corrupted by its deceitful desires; to be made in the attitude of your minds; and to put on the new self created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness.
Therefore each of you must put off falsehood and speak truthfully to his neighbor, for we are all members of one body. In your anger do not sin. Do not let the sun go down while you are still angry, and do not give the devil a foothold. He who has been stealing must steal no longer, but must work, doing something useful with his own hands, that he may have something to share with those in need.
Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen. And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, with whom you were sealed for the day of redemption. Get rid of all bitterness, range and anger, brawling and slander, along with every form of malice. Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you.”
“The Good News will seem foolish to those who forsake faith and rely on their own understanding. For the believer you will begin to reflect parts of Christ’s character and carry out your special role in his work. You will desire to put on the new nature, head in the new direction, and have the new way of thinking that the Holy Spirit gives.” The bottom line to this lesson: James 4:17 “Anyone, then, who knows the good he ought to do and doesn’t do it, sins.”
In Christ by grace,