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1 John Bible Study, Day 17: What Love Is

Today’s passage: 1 John 3:16–20

Focus verse: This is how we know what love is: Jesus Christ laid down his life for us. And we ought to lay down our lives for our brothers and sisters. (1 John 3:16)

The ultimate expression of love is to die for another, to sacrifice ourselves for the good of someone else. Jesus exemplifies this highest form of love by dying as a human sacrifice for us—for all people, for all time.

His death covers the penalty our sins deserve, thereby making us right with Father God.

In the same way, we should be willing to lay down our lives for our brothers and sisters in Christ. Yes, this may mean to actually die for them so they can live. But in practical terms our call to sacrifice may be less demanding.

John writes that we prove God’s love in us when we have pity on our brother and sister in need. The most direct application is to share what we have with them, to give our possessions to those in Jesus’s church—our brothers and sisters. 

Having pity on them, however, doesn’t always mean giving them our belongings. At times we may need to say no. 

This isn’t a justification to not help them with tangible solutions, but to note that giving them what they lack isn’t always the answer.

Sometimes our generosity could enable them to continue to make the same ill-advised decisions or persist in the same wrong behaviors that caused the situation in the first place.

In these instances, the wise thing is to say no. We offer them tough love. This is how we can best take pity on them.

Another way to take pity on our brothers and sisters in need is to pray for them. As strange as it seems to say, in this case we must ensure that prayer isn’t our default position but a secondary one.

We get this understanding when John implores us to not love with words only but with actions and in truth (1 John 3:18). In this way we can have a clear conscience, knowing that we responded rightly and can therefore rest in God’s presence.

We must remember that we are not to accumulate wealth for ourselves. Instead, we are to store up our treasures in heaven (Matthew 6:19–21).

God blesses us—just as he did Father Abraham—so that we can bless others (Genesis 12:2). Yet we need to balance this with a call to be a wise steward of what God has given us (Matthew 25:14–30).

These passages give us much to contemplate when we consider how to best take pity on our brothers and sisters in need.

Questions:

  1. How can we lay down our lives for our brothers and sisters? 
  2. Who are we willing to die for?
  3. When have we tried to help someone with our words when we should have acted?
  4. When should we love others in prayer?
  5. How can we better help those in need?

Discover more about Jesus’s great love in laying down his life for us in John 10:11–18.

Tips: Check out our tips to use this online Bible study for your church, small group, Sunday school class, or family discussion. It’s also ideal for personal study. Come back each Monday for a new lesson.


Discover practical, insightful, and encouraging truths in Love One Another, a devotional Bible study to foster a deeper appreciation for the two greatest commandments: To love God and to love others.

Peter DeHaan writes about biblical Christianity to confront status quo religion and live a life that matters. He seeks a fresh approach to following Jesus through the lens of Scripture, without the baggage of made-up traditions and meaningless practices.

Read more in his books, blog, and weekly email updates.

Categories
Bible Study

1 John Bible Study, Day 16: Love One Another

Today’s passage: 1 John 3:11–15

Focus verse: For this is the message you heard from the beginning: We should love one another. (1 John 3:11)

John tells his audience that we are to love one another. 

It’s not a new command but one we’ve heard from the beginning. He first mentions this in 1 John 2:7–8. And now he tells us what this command is: we are to love one another. It’s that simple.

Saying that we’ve heard this from “the beginning” centers on Jesus. 

When an expert in the law asks Jesus to name the greatest command, he says it’s to love God.

Then he tacks on a second one—which makes it the second greatest command—to love others. In a most effective manner, these summarize everything in the Old Testament (Matthew 22:35–40). 

We are to love God and love one another.

Jesus also talks about the importance of loving one another in his Sermon on the Mount. In that message he tells his listeners to love others in the same way that they love themselves (Matthew 7:12).

He says the same thing, although more succinctly, in his Sermon on the Plain (Luke 6:31). 

Though it’s through Jesus that we get this essential command to love one another, we find it throughout the Old Testament. All the commands God gives his people either relate to their relationship with him or their relationship with others.

As we’ve already mentioned, this comes from the Ten Commandments too. We first love God (commandments one through four) and then we love others (commandments five through ten).

This is why Jesus says the greatest command is to love God and the second greatest is to love others. Everything else in the Old Testament underscores these two (Matthew 22:37–40).

We find this command to love others hidden in the Levitical law too. Quoting the words of Father God, Moses writes that we are to love our neighbors in the same way we love ourselves (Leviticus 19:18), which Jesus later quotes in Matthew 22:39.

Paul reiterates this in his letter to the church in Rome. He says we should owe no outstanding debt other than the continuing debt to love one another. When we do this, we fulfill the Old Testament commands (Romans 13:8). 

In his letter to the church in Galatia, Paul confirms that we can keep the entire law by obeying the singular command to love our neighbor as much as we love ourselves (Galatians 5:14).

This command to love one another as we love ourselves is the essence of the Golden Rule. We are to treat others the way we want them to treat us.

This means doing for them the same things that we’d like to receive ourselves. It also means not doing to them the things we don’t want to receive. The Golden Rule is based on the Bible, going back to Leviticus 19:18.

This idea of loving one another as we love ourselves permeates Scripture. It’s been there since the beginning.

Questions:

  1. What must we do differently to more fully obey God’s essential command to love our neighbor? 
  2. Beyond that, how well do we obey God’s greatest command to love him?
  3. What is an area where your love shines?
  4. What is an area where you need to love better?
  5. Is it wrong to love others more than we love ourselves? Why?

See John’s instructions to love one another in John 13:34, John 13:35, 1 John 3:11, 1 John 3:23, 1 John 4:7, 1 John 4:11, 1 John 4:12, and 2 John 1:5.

Tips: Check out our tips to use this online Bible study for your church, small group, Sunday school class, or family discussion. It’s also ideal for personal study. Come back each Monday for a new lesson.

Read the next lesson or start at the beginning of this study.


Discover practical, insightful, and encouraging truths in Love One Another, a devotional Bible study to foster a deeper appreciation for the two greatest commandments: To love God and to love others.

Peter DeHaan writes about biblical Christianity to confront status quo religion and live a life that matters. He seeks a fresh approach to following Jesus through the lens of Scripture, without the baggage of made-up traditions and meaningless practices.

Read more in his books, blog, and weekly email updates.

Categories
Bible Study

1 John Bible Study, Day 15: Destroying the Work of the Devil

Today’s passage: 1 John 3:6–10

Focus verse: The reason the Son of God appeared was to destroy the devil’s work. (1 John 3:8)

Our passage for the day is one that troubles most people. It talks about sin. John writes that when Jesus lives in us, we won’t keep on sinning. If we know him, we can’t. By doing what is right, we prove we’re a child of God.

But if we don’t do what’s right, we’re not his children.

Ouch! That’s convicting.

Some well-intentioned teachers try to explain this verse away. They say it doesn’t mean all sin. Instead, it refers to habitual sin or intentional sin.

Yet even with these rationalizations, we may still have a reason to worry. But John doesn’t give us those explanations. He says sin, period. Therefore, it’s wrong to try to reinterpret this passage through our perspective or what we wish it said.

Paul, however, gives us some help. He says we are spirit, soul, and body (1 Thessalonians 5:23). That is, we are a spirit, we have a soul, and we live in a body.

When we repent of our wrongdoing (our sin) to follow Jesus, our spirit is immediately and permanently made sinless.

The spirit part of us is sanctified—that is, made right and set apart as holy—as soon as we believe in Jesus as our Savior. Theologians call this positional sanctification. 

Yet this doesn’t address our soul and our body.

Our soul—comprising our mind, will, and emotions—begins to align with our sanctified spirit. This is a process of ongoing sanctification. 

Our body is the last to move toward the sinless condition of our spirit. This is a lifetime process, but through God’s grace we can inch closer to it each day.

Tucked in the middle of this passage, however, is the key to this issue of sin. John reminds us that Jesus—the Son of God—came to destroy the work of the devil. Jesus came to overcome sin.

He sets this in motion when he dies on the cross as the ultimate sin sacrifice. As a result, he takes away our sins—past, present, and future—to make us right with Father God. This is the first phase of destroying the devil’s work.

Yet it won’t become final until we reach the end of time when Satan is tossed into the lake of burning sulfur (Revelation 20:10) so that God can usher in a new heaven and a new earth (Revelation 21:1).

The work of Jesus to defeat Satan began two thousand years ago, yet it remains in process today. So too is our sanctification, our moving from a sinful life to a sinless future. God will complete this for us, just as he will one day conclusively deal with the devil. 

God will sanctify us through and through (1 Thessalonians 5:23).

John later writes that when we acknowledge Jesus as God’s Son, he lives in us and we in him (1 John 4:15). John doesn’t mention sin in this verse. This is because through the sanctifying work of the Holy Spirit, sin no longer needs to be an issue for us.

Questions:

  1. What is your view of sin?
  2. How can we better deal with our struggle with habitual or intentional sins?
  3. How should we let God’s Word inform our perspective about sin? 
  4. What are we doing to allow the sanctifying work of the Holy Spirit move us toward sinlessness?
  5. What does sanctification mean to you?

Discover more about sanctification in John 17:17–19, Romans 15:16, 1 Corinthians 6:11, and 1 Peter 1:1–2.

Tips: Check out our tips to use this online Bible study for your church, small group, Sunday school class, or family discussion. It’s also ideal for personal study. Come back each Monday for a new lesson.

Read the next lesson or start at the beginning of this study.


Discover practical, insightful, and encouraging truths in Love One Another, a devotional Bible study to foster a deeper appreciation for the two greatest commandments: To love God and to love others.

Peter DeHaan writes about biblical Christianity to confront status quo religion and live a life that matters. He seeks a fresh approach to following Jesus through the lens of Scripture, without the baggage of made-up traditions and meaningless practices.

Read more in his books, blog, and weekly email updates.

Categories
Bible Study

1 John Bible Study, Day 14: Jesus Takes Away Our Sins

Today’s passage: 1 John 3:4–5

Focus verse: But you know that he appeared so that he might take away our sins. (1 John 3:5)

John reminds us that anyone who sins breaks the law. He’s talking about the law of Moses. Sin is something we all do. We’re all guilty of breaking God’s law.

The Old Testament of the Bible—especially the first five books—tells us in immense detail what to do and what not to do.

A failure to follow these rules is a sin, be it a sin of commission (doing the wrong thing) or a sin of omission (not doing the right thing).

No one can obey every one of these Old Testament rules. This means that everyone has sinned and falls short of meeting God’s expectations (Romans 3:22–24). 

To address this, God gave them an annual rite, a ceremony to symbolically take away the people’s sins. This solution was temporary; it needed to be repeated each year.

As such, the annual animal sacrifice gave only a partial response to take away the people’s sins—to make atonement (amends) for their mistakes (Leviticus 16:34).

Each year the people sinned—every one of them—whether in big ways or small. Even the tiniest slipup made them guilty of breaking the entire law (James 2:10).

Each year, everyone fell short of what the law decreed. Each year the annual sacrifice would cleanse them from their sins for the prior twelve months.

Then they’d repeat the process one year later. This continued year after year, throughout their entire lives, giving them only brief reprieves from the guilt of their sins.

This is why Jesus arrived here on our planet over two thousand years ago. Our Savior lowered himself to come to earth and walk among us, his creation. He became God in flesh and lived among us (John 1:14).

He did this to offer a permanent solution to the problem of our sins. He died as the ultimate sin sacrifice—not an animal sacrifice, but a far pricier human one.

In this way Jesus permanently took away our sins. It served as a final act, a conclusive sacrifice for our sins.

Jesus came to earth so that he could die in our place to take away our sins. His once-and-for-all sacrifice removes all our guilt, both past and present—the mistakes we have committed and the mistakes we will commit. 

Questions

  1. What is your attitude toward sin?
  2. When we see someone else sin, how well do we do at offering them the grace and mercy that Jesus gives us?
  3. How should we act, knowing that Jesus took away our sins? 
  4. Although Jesus freed us from our sins, in what ways do we let them continue to weigh us down?
  5. How can we better thank Jesus for taking away our sins?

Discover more about the law and sacrifice for our sins in Romans 5:20–21 and Hebrews 10:1–18.

Tips: Check out our tips to use this online Bible study for your church, small group, Sunday school class, or family discussion. It’s also ideal for personal study. Come back each Monday for a new lesson.

Read the next lesson or start at the beginning of this study.


Discover practical, insightful, and encouraging truths in Love One Another, a devotional Bible study to foster a deeper appreciation for the two greatest commandments: To love God and to love others.

Peter DeHaan writes about biblical Christianity to confront status quo religion and live a life that matters. He seeks a fresh approach to following Jesus through the lens of Scripture, without the baggage of made-up traditions and meaningless practices.

Read more in his books, blog, and weekly email updates.

Categories
Bible Study

1 John Bible Study, Day 13: Children of God

Today’s passage: 1 John 3:1–3

Focus verse: See what great love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God! (1 John 3:1)

The Bible says that Jesus is God’s one and only Son (John 3:16–18 and 1 John 4:9).

However, God also calls us his children. How can we be God’s children if he has only one Son?

The Bible is full of paradoxes, but this isn’t one of them.

Scripture gives us two explanations for this seeming contradiction.

The first is adoption. 

In another letter, Paul writes that, through the Holy Spirit living in us, we’re adopted as children into God’s family. We can call him Father, Abba, or even Papa (Romans 8:15).

Parents of biological children accept whatever God blesses them with.

Parents of adopted children make a conscious decision to accept them and bring them into their family. They are children by the choice of their adoptive parents. They are chosen.

In the same way, God chooses us to be his children. He adopts us into his family.

Another truth builds on this, giving us a second way to understand how God can have only one Son yet many children.

The other metaphor to aid us in our understanding of our relationship with God is that of a bride and groom, with Jesus being the groom and we, the church, being his bride.

By virtue of this holy, spiritual union, Jesus, the only Son of God, brings the church into his family through marriage. This makes us, his church, the children of God through our union with the Lamb of God, that is, the Son of God.

As such, we are indeed God’s children. Scripture confirms it. 

This first occurs when God adopts us into his family through the Holy Spirit. The second will occur when we, as God’s church, marry his Son. Our marriage to the Son makes us children of the Father.

We are first adopted into God’s family and will later marry into it, doubly confirming us as children of God.

Questions:

  1. How can we find comfort knowing that Father God chose us and adopted us to be his sons and daughters? 
  2. What are the similarities between your earthly father and your Heavenly Father?
  3. What are the differences between your earthly father and your Heavenly Father?
  4. How has your earthly father helped you to better understand God?
  5. What are the implications that we will one day spiritually marry God’s Son?

Discover more about our adoption in Romans 8:23, Romans 9:3–4, Galatians 4:4–5, and Ephesians 1:4–6. Read about us being Jesus’s bride in Revelation 19:6–8.

Tips: Check out our tips to use this online Bible study for your church, small group, Sunday school class, or family discussion. It’s also ideal for personal study. Come back each Monday for a new lesson.

Read the next lesson or start at the beginning of this study.


Discover practical, insightful, and encouraging truths in Love One Another, a devotional Bible study to foster a deeper appreciation for the two greatest commandments: To love God and to love others.

Peter DeHaan writes about biblical Christianity to confront status quo religion and live a life that matters. He seeks a fresh approach to following Jesus through the lens of Scripture, without the baggage of made-up traditions and meaningless practices.

Read more in his books, blog, and weekly email updates.

Categories
Bible Study

1 John Bible Study, Day 12: Holy Spirit Anointing

Today’s passage: 1 John 2:26–29

Focus verse: The anointing you received from him remains in you, and you do not need anyone to teach you. (1 John 2:27)

Our verse for today contains two words that we’ve already read in 1 John 2: anointing and remain

In verse twenty, John reminds us of the fact that we received the anointing from the Holy One, that is, the Holy Spirit (1 John 2:20). John builds on this truth in today’s passage.

The other word is remain. John has encouraged us—implored us—to hold on to what we’ve heard from the beginning, to ensure it remains in us. In this way we’ll remain in the Son and the Father so that we may receive the eternal life Jesus promised (1 John 2:24–25).

Now John ties these two thoughts together. 

He wants to make sure that the anointing we received—the Holy Spirit—remains in us. This anointing is real and not fake. We can count on it. We need to remain in him just as we need to be certain this anointing stays with us.

The reason to remain in Holy Spirit anointing is in the middle of this passage and is easy to pass by. But don’t skip it. It’s important.

When the Holy Spirit’s anointing remains in us, we do not need anyone to teach us. Instead of needing human instructors, the Holy Spirit will tell us all we need to know.

I repeat, through the Holy Spirit we do not need anyone to teach us. The Bible says so.

Most people who go to church do so for the music or the message. For the latter, they go so they can hear a professional member of the clergy teach them about God. 

Yet John makes it clear that when we have the anointing of God’s Holy Spirit, we don’t need ministers to teach us. We need to teach ourselves—to feed ourselves—not depend on someone else to do it (1 Corinthians 3:2, Hebrews 5:12–14, and 1 Peter 2:2–3).

This isn’t to suggest that listening to sermons is bad. But we shouldn’t depend on other people as our only source of biblical teaching. Instead, we should rely on the Holy Spirit as our principal source of spiritual truth. Teaching from others should come secondary, if needed at all.

Jesus confirms this. 

He promises that Father God will send to us the Holy Spirit, who will teach us all things and help us remember what Jesus said (John 14:26). The Holy Spirit arrives at Pentecost, just as Jesus promised. And the Holy Spirit is still in our world today, teaching us what we need to know.

As we read, study, and meditate on Scripture, we should do so in tandem with the Holy Spirit. We should seek his guidance to help us understand the Bible. Some things he reveals right away, and other things unfold over time. And when we struggle to recall a passage of Scripture—especially the words of Jesus—the Holy Spirit will remind us of the text.

Questions:

  1. What does Holy Spirit anointing mean to you?
  2. How is the Holy Spirit at work in your life?
  3. How well do we do at relying on the Holy Spirit to teach us? 
  4. If we depend on others to instruct us, while excluding the Holy Spirit, what must change?
  5. What is your practice to read, study, and meditate on Scripture?

Discover more about God sending us the Holy Spirit in John 6:63, John 14:16–17, and John 15:26.

Tips: Check out our tips to use this online Bible study for your church, small group, Sunday school class, or family discussion. It’s also ideal for personal study. Come back each Monday for a new lesson.

Read the next lesson or start at the beginning of this study.


Discover practical, insightful, and encouraging truths in Love One Another, a devotional Bible study to foster a deeper appreciation for the two greatest commandments: To love God and to love others.

Peter DeHaan writes about biblical Christianity to confront status quo religion and live a life that matters. He seeks a fresh approach to following Jesus through the lens of Scripture, without the baggage of made-up traditions and meaningless practices.

Read more in his books, blog, and weekly email updates.

Categories
Bible Study

1 John Bible Study, Day 11: Eternal Life

Today’s passage: 1 John 2:24–25

Focus verse: And this is what he promised us—eternal life. (1 John 2:25)

After warning us to be on alert for the antichrist, John encourages us to make sure we hold on to the good news of Jesus—on what we heard from the beginning.

We started our journey with Jesus by believing in him for the forgiveness of our sins and our salvation. 

We need to hold on to this and not lose sight of it. It must remain in us. And with this good news remaining in us, we then remain in Jesus and in Papa. As a result, we will receive what Jesus promised us: eternal life.

The phrase eternal life doesn’t occur in the Old Testament, just in the New Testament. John’s biography of Jesus, the gospel of John, mentions eternal life more than any other book in the Bible. And his first letter, 1 John, comes in second.

John, it seems, has much to say about eternal life. Perhaps this is because of his advancing years when we believe he wrote these two books. Or it might be that his amazing revelation from God gave him a fuller perspective of eternal life.

Regardless, we should consider what John says on the subject.

Many people think of eternal life as beginning when our physical bodies die. We might do better to think of eternal life beginning as soon as we acknowledge Jesus as our Savior.

In this way we can look at three phases of eternal life.

With our life eternal beginning the day we follow Jesus, we can start our experience of eternal life today.

While many Christians coast through their life, content to wait for death so they can join Jesus in heaven, they miss so much of what life with Jesus can—and should— look like now.

Our time here on earth is finite and fleeting. We must make the most of it. We do this when we tell people about Jesus, encourage others on their faith journey, and work to advance the kingdom of God. There’s so much to do. Let’s make every moment count. 

The second aspect of eternal life begins at our death. When our time here on earth is over, we will join Jesus in his spiritual paradise. This will happen immediately for us, just like it did for the thief on the cross (Luke 23:43).

This heaven exists now, and we need not wait for it to materialize at some future date. Jesus is there waiting for us to join him, just as with Stephen (Acts 7:55–56). What a glorious day that will be.

Yet this paradise is not our final home, but our temporary residence. At the end of this age, we will experience a new heaven and a new earth. This is the third and never-ending part of our eternal life.

We’ll live there with Jesus and Father God (Revelation 21:3–5). In this new heaven God will wipe away our tears. We will no longer experience death, mourning, crying, or pain. Those things are gone as God makes all things new (Revelation 21:5–10).

Questions:

  1. How can we hold on to the good news about Jesus?
  2. Are we making the most of our remaining time here on earth for Jesus? 
  3. What temporal pursuits should we stop doing to make room for spiritual activities that matter more?
  4. How can we anticipate heaven while still giving the proper attention to the present here on earth?
  5. What do you most anticipate about heaven?

Discover more about eternal life in Matthew 19:29, John 3:15–17, Romans 6:22–23, and 1 Timothy 6:12. Read more about paradise in 2 Corinthians 12:3–4 and Revelation 2:7.

Tips: Check out our tips to use this online Bible study for your church, small group, Sunday school class, or family discussion. It’s also ideal for personal study. Come back each Monday for a new lesson.

Read the next lesson or start at the beginning of this study.


Discover practical, insightful, and encouraging truths in Love One Another, a devotional Bible study to foster a deeper appreciation for the two greatest commandments: To love God and to love others.

Peter DeHaan writes about biblical Christianity to confront status quo religion and live a life that matters. He seeks a fresh approach to following Jesus through the lens of Scripture, without the baggage of made-up traditions and meaningless practices.

Read more in his books, blog, and weekly email updates.

Categories
Bible Study

1 John Bible Study, Day 10: Antichrists

Today’s passage: 1 John 2:18–23

Focus verse: As you have heard that the antichrist is coming, even now many antichrists have come. (1 John 2:18)

After John tells us to not love the world, he warns us about antichrists too. Anti means against and Christ means Messiah.

Therefore, an antichrist is someone who is against the Messiah, that is, someone who opposes Jesus and his saving work. We can also think of the antichrist as someone who is antichristian or who opposes Jesus’s church.

John affirms that there is one antichrist who is coming, as in the antichrist. Yet many antichrists will precede him—both then and now. 

They have not come from the world, from outside our community, to oppose us. Instead, they originate from within. They were once part of Jesus’s church but left, proving that they were never part of it to begin with.

Who are these antichrists? Anyone who denies that Jesus is our Messiah. And by denying him they also deny the Father who sent him.

The opposite of denying Jesus is to acknowledge him. In doing so we have the Father as well. Jesus’s church includes all who acknowledge him.

The word antichrist only shows up in four verses in the Bible, all of them written by John—two of which are in today’s passage. Since John also wrote the book of Revelation, you may assume he talks about the antichrist in his end-time depiction. He does not.

Though he may allude to the antichrist, John doesn’t mention him once by name in his epic prophecy about the last days. The beast in John’s vision may be the antichrist (Revelation 11:7), or he may be the dragon (Revelation 13:1). Which is it?

In parallel fashion, Paul talks about “the man of lawlessness,” one doomed for destruction (2 Thessalonians 2:3–4). Based on Paul’s description, this person sounds much like one who is against Jesus, as in the antichrist—or at least an antichrist. 

Further, Daniel’s vision in the Old Testament describes a beast who will speak against the Lord and persecute his people (Daniel 7:23–25). Some Bible scholars view this as a prophecy about the antichrist.

Jesus, in his own end-time prophecy, warns his followers to make sure that no one deceives them by claiming to be him (Matthew 24:4–5, Mark 13:5–6, and Luke 21:8). Are these antichrists? Could one of them be the antichrist?

Any of these biblical passages could be what John alludes to when he says that we’ve already heard the antichrist is coming. Being warned, we must guard against being deceived by anyone who speaks against Jesus, whether an antichrist or the antichrist.

Sandwiched in the middle of John’s teaching about the antichrist is a comforting reminder that we have the anointing from the Holy One.

This is the Holy Spirit Father God sent us when Jesus returned to heaven (Luke 24:49 and John 15:26). This Holy Spirit anointing tells us what is true. We covered this in Day 6.

The opposite of this Holy Spirit truth is a lie. Anyone who denies that Jesus is our Messiah is a liar and an antichrist.

Questions:

  1. How should we react to John’s teaching about these antichrists? 
  2. How worried should we be about antichrists?
  3. What is a biblical response when we encounter an antichrist? 
  4. How can we rely on the Holy Spirit to reveal God’s truth to us?
  5. How can we depend more on the Holy Spirit and worry less about the antichrist?

Discover more about antichrists in the Bible’s other two mentions in 1 John 4:3 and 2 John 1:7.

Tips: Check out our tips to use this online Bible study for your church, small group, Sunday school class, or family discussion. It’s also ideal for personal study. Come back each Monday for a new lesson.

Read the next lesson or start at the beginning of this study.


Discover practical, insightful, and encouraging truths in Love One Another, a devotional Bible study to foster a deeper appreciation for the two greatest commandments: To love God and to love others.

Peter DeHaan writes about biblical Christianity to confront status quo religion and live a life that matters. He seeks a fresh approach to following Jesus through the lens of Scripture, without the baggage of made-up traditions and meaningless practices.

Read more in his books, blog, and weekly email updates.

Categories
Bible Study

1 John Bible Study, Day 9: Love Not the World

Today’s passage: 1 John 2:15–17

Focus verse: Do not love the world or anything in the world. (1 John 2:15)

John reminds his audience to not love the world or anything in it. Loving what the world offers is incompatible with loving God, as Jesus commands us to do. 

We can’t have the world’s love and the Father’s love inside us at the same time. Jesus says we cannot serve two masters, for we can only love one at a time and will therefore hate the other (Matthew 6:24 and Luke 16:13).

Though Jesus talks about the love of money in these two passages, loving money exemplifies loving the things of the world.

In his prayer just before his execution, Jesus acknowledges that his disciples and followers are not of this world, just as he is not of this world (John 17:16). The same applies to us today. If we are not of this world, why should we love what it offers?

John mentions three worldly temptations we should guard against: the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life (1 John 2:16).

The Lust of the Flesh

The lust of the flesh refers to a physical craving or desire. It’s a longing to find satisfaction or fulfillment from the world that we live in. We can think of this as pursuing our old sinful nature even though we have a new nature through Jesus.

We must put on our new self, one that aligns with our Lord (Colossians 3:10).

The Lust of the Eyes

Just as our body can lust, so too can our eyes. The things we look at can distract us from Jesus. We covet what we see in the world around us, craving what others have. We want to be like them and have what they have. 

This can include wealth, possessions, and relationships. Though these pursuits have their place, when we chase them with wrong motives or out of a disregard for others, we live with a worldly focus that does not honor Jesus.

The Pride of Life

The third category addresses our own arrogance over what we’ve done, the things we own, and the esteem we receive from others. We want to impress them, to impress the world, with our accumulations and standings. The lust of the eyes feeds into the pride of life.

Though we live in the world, we need to not act as the world does or let its many sinful distractions influence us. These things are temporary, but what we do for God lives on. 

That’s why it’s important to not love the world or anything in it.

Questions:

  1. What does the lust of the flesh mean to you?
  2. What does the lust of the eyes mean to you?
  3. What does the pride of life mean to you?
  4. Which of these three areas do you struggle with the most? 
  5. What worldly pursuits do you need to turn away from?

Discover more about loving the world in John 12:25, John 15:19, and 2 Timothy 4:9–10. Then read what God did out of love for his world in John 3:16–17.

Tips: Check out our tips to use this online Bible study for your church, small group, Sunday school class, or family discussion. It’s also ideal for personal study. Come back each Monday for a new lesson.

Read the next lesson or start at the beginning of this study.


Discover practical, insightful, and encouraging truths in Love One Another, a devotional Bible study to foster a deeper appreciation for the two greatest commandments: To love God and to love others.

Peter DeHaan writes about biblical Christianity to confront status quo religion and live a life that matters. He seeks a fresh approach to following Jesus through the lens of Scripture, without the baggage of made-up traditions and meaningless practices.

Read more in his books, blog, and weekly email updates.

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Bible Study

1 John Bible Study, Day 8: Love Your Brother and Sister

Today’s passage: 1 John 2:7–11

Focus verse: Anyone who loves their brother and sister lives in the light, and there is nothing in them to make them stumble. (1 John 2:10)

John launches into a discussion about an old command and not a new one. Then he pivots just as quickly to talk about a new command. Which is it?

This is confusing until we realize who the author is. John delights in tapping our imaginations with his playful, poetic prose. 

As such, the old command and the new command are one in the same. But John doesn’t tell us what this old/new command is. At least not in this passage. Elsewhere in his letter, it’s clear that this command is love. 

He says this most clearly in 1 John 3:11 when he says the old command, which we’ve heard from the beginning, is to love one another. Later, in 1 John 3:23, he writes that we are to believe in Jesus and love one another, just as he commanded us to live.

To discover more about the old part of this command to love, all we need to do is look at the Old Testament. In a broad sense, all the commands we read there either relate to loving God or loving others, our brothers and sisters. 

Many of the Old Testament commands prescribe the right way to worship God—that is to love him properly—through their rituals and celebrations.

The rest of the Old Testament commands instruct the people how to rightly interact with others—that is, to love them properly through their daily interactions.

We even find these two aspects of love when we look at the Ten Commandments. The first four commands relate to our relationship with God, which is loving him. The last six relate to our relationship with others, which is loving them.

With this as our background, Jesus arrives on earth. He personifies love to his creation. His life and teaching all relate to love, modeling it for us to follow.

When asked what Old Testament command is the most important, Jesus says to love God with all our heart, soul, mind, and strength. Then he tacks on a second one, to love our neighbors as much as we love ourselves.

Everything else we read in Scripture flows from these two commands, and they stand as the greatest of all (Matthew 22:36–40 and Mark 12:28–31).

Anyone who claims to follow Jesus—that is, follows the light or walks in the light of Jesus—but doesn’t love his brothers and sisters is still in darkness. Yet when we love our brothers and sisters as he commanded us, we prove that we walk in his light.

And when we live in the light, we will not stumble. 

Questions

  1. Are our lives marked by the love of Jesus? 
  2. In the same way that Jesus loved us, who do we need to do a better job at loving? 
  3. How can we connect loving God with loving others?
  4. How can we connect worshiping God with loving him?
  5. What can we do to walk in light?

Discover more about love in John 15:13 and 1 John 3:16.

Tips: Check out our tips to use this online Bible study for your church, small group, Sunday school class, or family discussion. It’s also ideal for personal study. Come back each Monday for a new lesson.

Read the next lesson or start at the beginning of this study.


Discover practical, insightful, and encouraging truths in Love One Another, a devotional Bible study to foster a deeper appreciation for the two greatest commandments: To love God and to love others.

Peter DeHaan writes about biblical Christianity to confront status quo religion and live a life that matters. He seeks a fresh approach to following Jesus through the lens of Scripture, without the baggage of made-up traditions and meaningless practices.

Read more in his books, blog, and weekly email updates.