February 12 – Letters of John : 1 John 3:1-24

Read 1 John 3:1-24

When John was writing this letter, he was writing to people who were struggling with the difference between “them” (unbelievers) and “us” (believers). As we found out in 1:1-2:14, there was a lot of grey area in the Christian faith during this time. What is very important as John goes into detail in this chapter, is self-defining terms. When you look at these terms in a way that John did not intend, that opens the door for confusion and miscommunication.

Self-defining terms:

  • Sin (v.4) – living by your own rules
  • Believer (v.9) – someone who is born of God and refuses to live in rebellion
  • Love (v.16-17) – deliberately meeting a need simply because there’s a need, expecting nothing in return
  • Abiding in Jesus (v.24) – being obedient to Jesus

Unbeliever – denies Jesus as the Son of God and makes up his own rules, in contrast to God’s rules, and then abides in those rules

Contrast between believers (“us”) and unbelievers (“them”)

THEM (v.1,4,8,11-14)

  • They see believers, not as one of them, but as different from them (v.1)
  • When was a time an unbeliever pointed out a “flaw” in your Christian beliefs?
  • An unbeliever lives by their own rules
  • With sin being specifically defined as making up your own rules, what does verse 8 say about Satan and his plans?
  • In what way does this put sin in a different perspective for you?

If you haven’t seen it yet, the world isn’t super loving towards believers. In our world today, unbelievers (living by their own rules) don’t treat believers kindly. An unbeliever demonstrates their unbelief by their hatred of those who follow the Word of Christ.

While tolerant of other things or people, they may not be tolerant of you and your beliefs. They may plead with you to be tolerant of wrong while they are intolerant of what is right and true.

US (v. 1,2,3,5,7,9)

  • What does verse 1 say is a characteristic of a Christ follower?
  • What does verse 2 say about the hope that we have as a believer?
  • In what way does verse 5 speak against the “on the fence”, “not in or out” type of faith?

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