Believing and Receiving
I. What JOHN has said thus FAR. (Chap. 1-4)
1. The TRINITY’S table of “FELLOWSHIP”. (1:1-4)
2. Living in LIGHT not DARKNESS. (1:5-3:11)
3. Letting LOVE flow TO and THROUGH you. (3:1-4:21)
We are wrapping up 1st John today, but the text has to be seen in context of the whole book. So let’s start by remembering the ground we have covered so that it’s fresh in our mind as we walk through the home stretch.
1. Kid’s Question: Who is your closest friend and why?
2. What has stood out to you this far about the first four chapters of 1st John and why?
II. The importance of BELIEF/FAITH. (5:1-12)
1. Rescuing BELIEF from the ENLIGHTENMENT. (v.1-12)
2. Belief/Faith is a PARTICIPATORY and RELATIONAL. (v.1)
3. Belief/Faith leads to LOVE and OBEDIENCE. (v.2-5,12)
All we have to do is believe. The problem is that we have a stunted understanding of what that word actually means. We’ve inherited it from our culture and forces that were in play before we were born, but still impact our thinking when it comes to belief. John’s going to help us expand our understanding of what it means to believe.
3. How do you understand “belief”? How can you know what you “believe”
4. True or False – Your actions will always flow from what you truly believe? Why do you say that?
III. A CLOSING with CHALLENGES. (5:13-21)
1. SINS that do and don’t LEAD to DEATH? (v.16)
2. SIN is an ISSUE… (v.16-28)
3. …but the point is PRAYER and FELLOWSHIP. (v.13-15, 19-20)
John wanders as he writes…all being led by the Holy Spirit, but you have to wonder why he closes the book with a reference to the “sin that leads to death”. If we are’t careful that’s all we will see and we will forget the whole purpose for the book he has written.
5. What would you say, in your own words, is “the sin that leads to death”?
6. How does prayer in fellowship with the Trinity look? How does that compare to your own experience of prayer?
IV. MAKING our joy COMPLETE. (1:4)
1. LIVE moving TOWARD God. (1:2-3; Ps. 86:11)
2. Let light keep you HUMBLE and HONEST. (2:5-9)
3. Practice receiving LOVE and rejecting FEAR. (4:16-19)
4. KEEP yourself from IDOLS. (5:21; Jonah 2:8)
At the very beginning John says that he is writing to “make our joy complete.” (1:4) So how do we take these chapters to heart and accomplish all that John was hoping would happen through his writing? As we reflect on the book as a whole there are a few things that stand out.
7. What is harder for you, living transparently in the light or receiving love and rejecting fear? Why is that?
8. What are the idols that seek to pull you away from the table of the Trinity? How can you “keep yourself” from them?