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					                                        I JOHN
                                          Chapter 3


3:1     See how great a love the Father has      Depression days also taught us thrift and
        bestowed upon us, that we should         frugality.... We also learned the value of
        be called children of God;       and     money and the importance of avoiding
        such we are. For this reason the         credit.” Finally, Dr. Sweeting says, “The
        world does not know us, because it       Great Depression strengthened our faith.... I
        did not know Him.                        look back with gratitude for the lessons we
        How great is the love the Father         learned.”
        has lavished on us, that we
        should be called children of God!        Dr. Sweeting offers an example of the
        And that is what we are! The             positive effect that dire circumstances can
        reason the world does not know           have on us. God wants our trials to have a
        us is that it did not know him.          purifying--or sanctifying--effect on our
        Behold, what manner of love the          characters (Jas. 1:2-4). He also wants our
        Father hath bestowed upon us, that       anticipation of heaven to have the same
        we should be called the sons of          purifying effect.
        God: therefore the world knoweth us
        not, because it knew him not.            We certainly have all the reasons we need
                                                 to motivate us toward holy living as we look
3:1 As believers, our self-worth is based on     forward to Christ’s return. God has lavished
the fact that God loves us and calls us his      His redeeming love on us for no other
children. We are his children now, not just      reason than His great grace. We have gone
sometime in the distant future. Knowing that     from being God’s enemies to being His
we are his children should encourage us to       children--literally, His “born ones” who are
live as Jesus did. For other references about    also God’s heirs.
being part of God’s family, see Romans
8:14-17; Galatians 3:26-27; Galatians 4:6-7.     But as satisfying as being God’s heirs is
                                                 now, John says that so much more awaits
3:1ff 1 John 3:1 tells us who we are—            us in heaven that we can’t grasp it. We can
members of God’s family (“children of God”).     be sure it will be far beyond anything we can
1 John 3:2 tells us who we are becoming—         imagine or dream.
reflections of God. The rest of the chapter
tells us what we have as we grow to              John does give us one important glimpse of
resemble God:                                    what will happen; he says that when Christ
                                                 appears our bodies will undergo a
C. H. Spurgeon                                   transformation that will make us “like him.”
I have read this chapter many times in your      We’re called to be like Jesus Christ
hearing, but we cannot read it too often, for    spiritually right now. But when He comes
it is full of the deepest and most important     back for His church, “We will all be changed-
instruction. God grant that fresh light from     -in a flash, in the twinkling of an eye” (1 Cor.
above may shine upon it as we listen once        15:51-52). We will be able to imitate Christ
more to the familiar words!                      without the battles of sin.

TODAY IN THE WORD                                C. H. Spurgeon
Dr. George Sweeting, the former chancellor       If you never used your eyes to good purpose
of Moody Bible Institute, tells how enduring     before, use them so now:
the hardships of the Great Depression
“taught my family many life-building lessons.    Let the truth of our adoption amaze us, the
We learned the importance of each family         adoption of such unworthy
member as we struggled to meet the               ones as we were to so high a relationship
monthly     mortgage      payment....    The     “that we should be called the sons of God.”

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                                          I JOHN
                                             Chapter 3


                                                            Victory over sin
There is no need to say to whom this last                   Love for others
sentence refers; the pronoun “Him” is quite                 Confidence before God
sufficient to indicate our Lord Jesus whom
the world knew not. Every living, loving heart      Oswald Chambers
must at once have thought of “Him” who is           On the chapel wall at Eagle Village, a
the chief, the firstborn, the only-begotten         residential treatment center for boys near
Son of God.                                         Hersey, Michigan, hang the portraits of two
                                                    twelve-year-old boys; Rick and Rosy. The
Charles Stanley                                     pictures bring to mind a tragedy that
One of the most devastating failures in a           happened several years ago. Boys from
Christian’s life is the inability to embrace the    Eagle Village were on a canoe expedition on
pure love of God. What prevents a believer          Lake Superior when they pulled ashore to
from accepting His unconditional love?              make camp. Rosy spotted something
                                                    floating in the water, so he pushed off in a
Our own relationships:                              canoe to retrieve it. Strong winds quickly
Ironically, the way we love each other can          blew him offshore. The staff recognized his
distort how we perceive God’s love. As              peril and started off in two canoes to rescue
imperfect people, we exhibit imperfect love.        him. When Rick saw that his best friend was
Conditional responses, wrong motives, and           in danger, he insisted on going along. The
emotional highs and lows taint our                  wind tossed all three canoes until finally they
understanding of God’s pure love.                   capsized. The staff members all made it to
                                                    shore. But Rick and Rosy were both lost in
Guilt                                               the depths of Lake Superior. A plaque
Our remorse over sinful behavior can subtly         between the pictures is inscribed: Rick, who
convince us that we are unworthy of God’s           loved enough to give his life for another.
love. This is a trap of the Devil. We have the      Rosy, who was loved enough to have
assurance of Scripture that the Father loves        another pay that price.
us completely, regardless of our actions.
                                                    This story calls to mind what manner of love
Legalism                                            the Father has bestowed on us. He loved us
Many people view the Bible as a simple rule         enough to give His Son to die as payment
book; a collection of dos and don’ts. If you        for our sin. And we were loved enough that
base your view of divine love on your ability       He would willingly make that sacrifice. Our
to uphold every biblical precept, you are           salvation is the best demonstration of the
doomed to failure. God gave us His Word for         power of love.
instruction and inspiration, not as a
measuring stick by which He distributes                   The true measure of God's love,
love.                                                    Is that He loves without measure.

Misinterpretation of divine discipline              C. H. Spurgeon
Make no mistake; God definitely disciplines         As we are called the sons of God, we are to
His children when they go astray. However,          be made like his only-begotten Son; and
He is a trustworthy Father; His discipline and      here is the beginning of the likeness, that, as
love are intimately connected. He corrects          the world did not know him, and therefore
our behavior when necessary for our benefit,        crucified him, so it does not know the other
not as a form of punishment. Jesus already          sons of God, and therefore spends its
paid the price for our sin; God will not make       malice upon them whenever it can. Yet what
us pay a second time.                               a marvelous thing is this, — what a wonder
                                                    of divine condescension, that we who were
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                                          I JOHN
                                             Chapter 3


the slaves of Satan, the children of                expert at loving!
disobedience, the heirs of wrath, should be
called the sons of God! We can well accept          John exclaims See what love the Father has
the consequence of such a position without          given to us in order that we should be called
any very great sorrow: “Therefore the world         the born ones of God. The scriptures find a
knoweth us not, because it knew him not.”           healthy area of comparison between the
                                                    procedures leading to natural birth and
C. H. Spurgeon                                      those leading to spiritual birth. The
Behold it, wonder at it, and never cease to         production of children bears a direct
admire it. Is it not one of the greatest            relationship to love. Our new birth in Christ
marvels that even God himself has ever              is the product of God's love exclusively. To
wrought that we should be called the sons of        become the born ones of God implies the
God?                                                importation of part of God's own self into our
                                                    being. The apostle Paul declared that the
It does not know the Father, then how               importation of natural birth is part of Adam
should it know the children? It did not know        himself and that thus, by natural generation,
the elder Brother, — the firstborn among            I am bent toward sin. However, the apostle
many brethren, — and as it did not know             further declares that to be a child of God I
him, how should it know us?                         must lose this Adamic importation and
                                                    receive a direct seed from God Himself. This
Coming of Christ:                                   is accomplished for me by the miracle of
    Pure in heart                                  Christ's death and resurrection. Thus we
    Resolute in purpose                            read, If any man be in Christ he is a new
    Sanctified in life                             creation.
    Ardent in love
    Patient in trial                               John goes on to declare that since Jesus, in
    Expectant in attitude                          the flesh was rejected as the Son of God so
    Faithful in service                            we too, who are born of God, will be rejected
                                                    in the minds of unbelievers. The rejection is
Illustration                                        not as to our person or our work but to our
The Chacabo Indians of northern Bolivia             claim that we are of God. Too often this idea
have a peculiar way; at least to the minds of       of rejection has been equated with being
English speakers, of declaring ownership. A         unpopular in society because we are
man know for his running ability is called          Christians. Nothing is further from the truth.
habati ibo: an owner of running. Likewise, a        Jesus was wanted for His work but He was
murderer is called ati hibo: an owner of            rejected for His claim to be God. It is
killing. Thus, being an owner of something          doubtless true that Jesus, if He had dropped
signifies that a person has special ability in a    this statement, would have had no earthly
certain activity.                                   difficulty. So it is with believers. We are
                                                    acceptable for what we are but the world
Linguists Gilbert and Marian Prost used the         rejects our claim that what we are is
phrase to introduce new concepts from               because we are the children of God by the
Scripture. A priest became an owner of              miracle of regeneration.
worship. But how would they express God is
love since in the framework of the Chacabo          We do not know what we shall be but
language love is always a verb and cannot           because of our relationship to God in Christ
meaningfully correspond with a noun? They           and by this Divine importation to our nature
simply used the ownership pattern. God is           we shall be similar to Christ. This is a
love became God is an owner of loving. The          purifying thought.
Chacabos interpret this to mean: God is an
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                                        I JOHN
                                           Chapter 3


Our Daily Bread                                   we'd sail past the breakwater, hoist the sails,
In an article in Moody Monthly, Craig             and head out to open water. But as soon as
Massey told about being in a restaurant           I'd see any cloud formation coming our way
when he heard an angry father say to his 7-       or the wind seemed to be piping up, I'd head
year-old son, “What good are you?” The            back towards shore, take the sails down,
boy, who had just spilled his milk, put his       and regain my normal breathing pattern only
head down and said, “Nothing.” Years later,       when we were safely tied up in the slip. Most
Massey said he was disgusted with his own         of the time, it was fun having a friend along,
son for a minor infraction. He heard himself      but in a storm I knew this kid wouldn't be
ask what he called “the cruelest question a       much help.
father can ask.” He said, “What are you
good for anyway?” His son replied,                Other times, however, my dad would come
“Nothing.” Immediately he regretted the           home from work and we'd go out together.
question. As he though about this, he             When I was sailing with my dad, I'd actually
realized that the question was all right but      look for cloud formations and hope for heavy
the answer was wrong.                             air. I loved the feel of the strong winds and
                                                  huge waves!
A few says later when his con committed
another manor offense, he asked, “What are        My dad had sailed across the Atlantic
you good for?” But before his son could           Ocean. He had endured five days of sailing
reply, he hugged him and kissed him and           through a hurricane. He was a veteran, and I
said, “I’ll tell you what you’re good for.        was confident that he would be able to
You’re good for loving!” Before long,             handle anything Lake Michigan could throw
whenever he asked the question, his son           at us. Everything changed when my dad
would say, “I’m good for loving.”                 was on board.

As parents, we don’t realize how demeaning        3:2     Beloved, now we are children of
and cruel we can be to our children. Not a                God, and it has not appeared as yet
child in this world is good for nothing. Let’s            what we shall be. We know that,
give them the love and respect they deserve               when He appears, we shall be like
and need from us: especially when they                    Him, because we shall see Him just
make mistakes. After all, isn’t that exactly              as He is.
what our heavenly Father has done for us?                 Dear friends, now we are children
                                                          of God, and what we will be has
   Humans were made to run on love,                       not yet been made known. But we
    And they do not function well on                      know that when he appears, we
             anything else.                               shall be like him, for we shall see
                                                          him as he is.
Facing Challenges with the Father:
                                                          Beloved, now are we the sons of
    God, fatherhood of                                   God, and it doth not yet appear what
    Trust                                                we shall be: but we know that, when
                                                          he shall appear, we shall be like
When I was first learning how to sail my                  him; for we shall see him as he is.
dad's sailboat out of Lake Michigan, he
would often say to me, "Go ahead and take         3:2-3 The Christian life is a process of
the boat out, but take a friend with you."        becoming more and more like Christ (see
                                                  Romans 8:29). This process will not be
A 42-foot sailboat on a body of water the         complete until we see Christ face to face (1
size of Lake Michigan is a big responsibility.    Cor. 13:12; Phil. 3:21), but knowing that it is
But always up for a challenge, I'd find a         our ultimate destiny should motivate us to
junior high friend to accompany me, and
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                                        I JOHN
                                           Chapter 3


purify ourselves. To purify means to keep         Oh, for the blessed vision! Meanwhile, let us
morally straight, free from the corruption of     be content to look at him by faith, and to be
sin. God also purifies us, but there is action    ever growing more and more prepared for
we must take to remain morally fit (see 1         that brighter vision which is yet to be ours.
Tim. 5:22; James 4:8; 1 Peter 1:22).
                                                  Believer’s are called:
C. H. Spurgeon                                         Children
It is enough to make the lame man leap as              Saints
the hart to hear that blessed, and to know it          Christians
to be true.                                            Brethren
                                                       Sheep
In proportion to our view of Christ is our             Servants
likeness to him. Those who never saw him               Friends
are not like him at all; those who have in a
measure seen him are in a measure like            Study Note
him, they who see him as he is are like him.      The great climatic thrill of the New
                                                  Testament is the fact that Jesus will come
There is a transforming power about the           again. There are several Greek words that
image of Christ when it is seen by the soul:      are used relative to the second advent and
“We shall be like him; for we shall see him       each has its own particular shade of
as he is.”                                        meaning. The word used in this instance is a
                                                  word that means to appear openly, or
Be like Him:                                      publicly. This word could never possibly
     Glory                                       permit of the idea of a mystical, spiritual
        (of His immortality)                      return of Jesus Christ. There are those who,
     Purity                                      in thinking of the second coming of Christ,
        (of His spotlessness)                     endeavor to spiritualize, but these Greek
     Eyes                                        words are precise and in this case John is
        (of His penetration)                      speaking of a real, visible and public re-
     Capacity                                    appearance of Christ.
        (of His endurance)
     Voice                                       There is tremendous speculation involved as
        (of His power)                            to the exact manner of Christ's appearance,
     Hand                                        but the reality of it can never be denied.
        (of His administration)                   John states that it is not yet manifested or
     Effectiveness                               publicly evident what we shall be like, as
        (of His ministry)                         believers, at the coming of Christ. We shall
     Glory                                       be like Jesus.
        (of His personality)
                                                  The second coming is referred to by John as
C. H. Spurgeon                                    well as Paul as a hope. This word may
And that vision will be transforming and          carry, in natural terminology, the connotation
transfiguring. The pure in heart see God,         of uncertainty but this is in no wise the
and they are pure because they see God.           sense of its Biblical use. The writer to the
                                                  Hebrews can refer to hope as an anchor
There is both action and reaction, when God       safe and steadfast. The Greek word is more
has purified us we shall see Christ and when      explicit than our translation for it means to
we see Christ as he is, our purification will     confidently expect with pleasure. For the
be complete. When will that day arrive?           believer, there is no sadness involved in the
                                                  second advent of Christ, and it is and has
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                                          I JOHN
                                           Chapter 3


been for centuries the confident expectation      opened, he sprang in without fear. As
of the saints.                                    Christians, we know little of what is on the
                                                  other side of death, but we do know one
The appearing of Christ as a confident            thing--our Master and Savior is there, and
expectation should be the impetus for purity      that is enough! When the door opens, we
of life. We cannot tell the day or the hour       shall pass through with gladness, for we
when the Son of Man will come but, knowing        shall see Him."
that His coming is a certainty, we should live
our lives so as to be ready at any day or         Yes, if we know Jesus as our Savior, when
hour.                                             we consider our death, it is enough to know
                                                  that we shall see Him.
Now:
       Relationship     love affair               For the Christian, death means heaven,
       Reconciliation   agreement                          happiness, and Him.
       Illumination     interpretation
       Emancipation     liberation
       Nearness         intimacy                 His Return:
       Union            juxtaposition                 Promised           Christ
       Abiding          unfailing                     Declared           Men
                                                       Announced          Peter
We Will See Him                                        Described          Paul
We know that when He is revealed, we shall             Urged              James
be like Him, for we shall see Him as He is. --         Affirmed           John
1 John 3:2                                             Quoted             Jude

Death ushers the believer into the presence       Oswald Chambers
of the Savior (2 Cor. 5:8). Yet many dread        Naturally, we are inclined to be so
that step from earth to heaven because God        mathematical and calculating that we look
has told us so little of what will happen.        upon uncertainty as a bad thing. We imagine
                                                  that we have to reach some end, but that is
A man who was very ill said to his physician,     not the nature of spiritual life. The nature of
"Doctor, I am afraid to die. What happens to      spiritual life is that we are certain in our
a Christian in that hour of death?" The           uncertainty, consequently we do not make
doctor, who was also a believer, softly           our nests anywhere. Common sense says;
answered, "I don't think anyone really            Well, supposing I were in that condition. We
knows."                                           cannot suppose ourselves in any condition
                                                  we have never been in.
As he walked across the room to leave the
man's home, he wished he could say                Certainty is the mark of the common-sense
something more comforting. As he stood            life; gracious uncertainty is the mark of the
holding the doorknob, there came the sound        spiritual life. To be certain of God means
of scratching and whining from the other          that we are uncertain in all our ways, we do
side. When he opened the door, his faithful       not know what a day may bring forth. This is
dog sprang into the room to greet him.            generally said with a sigh of sadness; it
                                                  should be rather an expression of breathless
Turning to the patient, the physician said,       expectation. We are uncertain of the next
"Did you notice that dog of mine? He had          step, but we are certain of God. Immediately
never been in your house before. He did not       we abandon to God, and do the duty that
know what was inside this room--only that         lies nearest, He packs our life with surprises
his master was here. When the door was            all the time; we do not believe God, we only
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                                           I JOHN
                                              Chapter 3


believe our belief about Him. Jesus said,            Conversion of a sinner takes only a moment;
Except ye ... become as little children.                 Growth of a saint takes a lifetime.
Spiritual life is the life of a child. We are not
uncertain of God, but uncertain of what He is        Believe also in Me, said Jesus, not Believe
going to do next. It we are only certain in our      certain things about Me. Leave the whole
beliefs, we get dignified and severe and             thing to Him, it is gloriously uncertain how
have the ban of finality about our views; but        He will come in, but He will come. Remain
when we are rightly related to God, life is full     loyal to Him.
of spontaneous, joyful uncertainty and
expectancy.                                          Follow Me to the:
                                                          Manger              of humility
Believer’s Outlook:                                       Nazareth            of ministry
     Meet Christ                                         Jordan              of surrender
     See Him as He is                                    Wilderness          of temptation
     Received by Him                                     Mount               of instruction
     Stand before Him                                    Place               of transfiguration
     Rewarded by Him                                     Field               of service
     Be like Him                                         Garden              of Gethsemane
     Be with Him                                         Cross               of Calvary
                                                          Tomb                of resurrection
Our Daily Bread                                           Throne              of ascension
We as Christians may get discouraged at                   Hope                of glory
times by how unloving, impatient, and selfish
we really are. From our hearts we cry out,           C. H. Spurgeon
“will I ever be any different?” In today’s           Not merely in heaven, or when we come to
Scripture, John answers with an emphatic             die, but now, in this place, in our pain, in our
YES! We can change. Here’s why: God has              sorrow,     ay,       notwithstanding        our
showered on us a marvelous love that                 imperfections and infirmities, “Beloved, now
allows all who trust Jesus as Savior to be           are we the sons of God,”
called “children of God. We also bear a
unique family similarity that will burst forth       We are made like unto Christ; but when he
one day into full-bloomed likeness. In Christ        was here, it did not then appear what he
we are already perfect; in our daily walk we         should be. If you had seen the lowly
are becoming more Christlike. And the hope           Nazarene, who was “despised and rejected
that one day we shall be like Him motivates          of men,” could you have guessed what he
us to purify ourselves.                              will be in his glory when it shall please God
                                                     to judge the world by Jesus Christ? So, in
Dr. Ida Scudder, a missionary doctor in India        like manner, “it cloth not yet appear what we
for many years, was once asked by a                  shall be.”
Muslim woman, “Why is it you don’t eve
seem to lose your temper when others are             Every spiritual sight of him is transforming.
abusive to you?” A Hindu friend who knew             Our looking at him here makes us what we
Dr. Scudder answered for her. “Don’t you             are, our looking at him at the last shall make
know why? It’s because Dr. Ida’s God is              us like what he is.
patient and loving, and she’s like her God.”
God is changing us, but we must confess              Oh! what joy to know that the medicine for
our sins, and love one another. This will            our souls is taken in at the eyes of faith, and
keep love’s shaping power working in our             by the sight of Christ we are healed
lives.
                                                     Body:
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                                          I JOHN
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       Sinless                                    The converse is also true, that he who is
         (outward acts as well as inward            begotten of God loveth.
         inclinations)
       Incorruptible                              We do not presumptuously and
         (body is exempt from decay after           habitually yield to known sin.
         the resurrection)                          The Apostle is not speaking of some
       Painless                                   isolated act into which a man may fall under
         (no sensation of physical or mental        unexpected temptation, but of habitual
         discomfort)                                courses of inconsistency and wrongdoing.
       Spiritual                                  Test yourselves, therefore, whether he are
         (condition opposed to materialism)         indeed born again.
       Beautiful
         (having qualities that delight the         God’s People Are:
         eye)                                           Harbored
       Powerful                                       Holy
         (forceful,     authoritative    and            Helped
         influential)                                   Honored
                                                        Hidden
It's our privilege, not only to be children, but        Happy
to know that we are such. Such we are. The              Heavened
world knows us not; but God knows us, and
we know Him, and we know that we are his            Billy Graham
sons and daughters, through regeneration            The government in God's kingdom is
and faith. How do we know?                          unique. It is not a democracy where the
                                                    people govern, but a Christocracy where
We believe His word.                                Christ is the supreme Authority. In a
By faith we have received Him, we do trust          government      of     unredeemed       men,
in his name; then, by the authority of that         democracy is the only fair and equitable
text, if there were no other, we may claim to       system. But no democracy can ever be
have been born into the divine household.           better than the people who make it up.
                                                    When men are selfishly motivated, the
We have the witness of the Spirit.                  government will be inequitable. When men
The fact that our hearts look to God as             are dishonest, the government will be the
Father, and appeal to Him with the infant's         same. When everyone wants his own way,
cry. Abba, is a proof that we are born again.       someone is going to get hurt. But in God's
Do not look for an audible voice in your            kingdom,     Christ    is   King.    He     is
heart, but notice whether the thought of the        compassionate, fair, merciful, and just.
fatherly love of God towards you is not             When He is sovereign in men's hearts,
becoming more familiar and precious. It is          anguish turns to peace, hatred is
not the perception of your childship, but of        transformed into love, and misunderstanding
his fatherhood, which will reassure you.            into understanding. Not only this, but God's
                                                    kingdom is lasting. The history of man has
We are led by the Spirit.                           been a continuous series of half successes
If we are led by the Spirit, we shall love the      and total failures. Prosperity exists for a
things we once hated, and hate those we             time, only to be followed by war and
once loved. Our choices, tastes, methods of         depression. Twenty-six civilizations have
life, habits, and companionships, will              come and gone, and man still battles with
undergo a radical alteration.                       the same problems, over and over again.
                                                    But the kingdom of God will abide forever.
We love the people of God.                          The fluctuations of time, the swinging of the
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                                          I JOHN
                                            Chapter 3


pendulum from war to peace, from                   in His humiliation, for we are to be exalted
starvation to plenty, from chaos to order, will    with Him.
end forever. The Bible says, And of his
kingdom there shall be no end. Luke 1:33           Beloved, now are we the sons of God. That
                                                   is easy to read, but it is not so easy to feel.
Soul:                                              How is it with your heart this morning? Are
         Perfect                                 you in the lowest depths of sorrow? Does
           (ultimate form of excellence)           corruption rise within your spirit, and grace
         Holy                                    seem like a poor spark trampled under foot?
           (free from evil and morally perfect)    Does your faith almost fail you? Fear not, it
         Instructed                              is neither your graces nor feelings on which
           (educated and informed)                 you are to live: you must live simply by faith
         Developed                               on Christ. With all these things against us,
           (having reached full growth and         now, in the very depths of our sorrow,
           development)                            wherever we may be, now, as much in the
         Strengthened                            valley as on the mountain, Beloved, now are
           (prepared for action and vigorous       we the sons of God. Ah, but, you say, see
           exertion)                               how I am arrayed! My graces are not bright;
         Active                                  by righteousness does not shine with
           (performing quickly, lightly, and       apparent glory. But read the next:
           easily)
                                                   It doth not yet appear what we shall be; but
No:                                                we know that, when He shall appear, we
                                                   shall be like Him. The Holy Spirit shall
         Temptation
                                                   appear, we shall be like Him as He is.
           (enticement of a person to commit a
           sin)
                                                   Our Daily Bread
         Conflict
                                                   As Charles Simeon, the great nineteenth
           (state     of  disagreement    and
                                                   century English preacher, lay mortally ill in
           disharmony)
                                                   his Cambridge home, he realized that his
         Suffering                               time on earth was fast slipping away. He
           (state of prolonged anguish and         turned to those at his bedside and asked,
           privation)                              Do you know what comforts me just now? I
                                                   find infinite consolation in the fact that in the
C.H. Spurgeon                                      beginning God created the heaven and the
Behold, what manner of love the Father hath        earth. His friends asked how that thought
bestowed upon us. Consider who we were,            could give solace as he faced death. He
and what we feel ourselves to be even now          answered with the confidence of one about
when corruption is powerful in us, and you         to meet the Lord, Why, if God can bring all
will wonder at our adoption. Yet we are            the wonder of the worlds out of nothing, He
called the sons of God. What a high                may still make something out of me!
relationship is that of a son, and what
privileges it brings! What care and                To think of the glory that awaits God's
tenderness the son expects from his father,        children, to have a spirit perfectly pure and a
and what love the father feels towards the         resurrected body that will enable us to enjoy
son! But all that, and more than that, we now      eternity to its fullest, staggers the
have through Christ. As for the temporary          imagination. The great changes we will
drawback of suffering with the elder brother,      experience in glory are beyond our
this we accept as an honour: Therefore the         understanding.
world knoweth us not, because it knew Him
not. We are content to be unknown with Him
                                                                                                  9
                                         I JOHN
                                            Chapter 3


Even now God's transforming power is at            C. H. Spurgeon
work in us. At conversion we became                Discouragement and despair will not purify
children of God and were made alive                you, doubt and darkness will only make you
together with Christ. But that is not all. Paul    worse than you were before; but the
said that in the future God will show the          indulgence of this blessed hope that you are
exceeding riches of His grace in His               to be like Christ will help you to purify
kindness toward us in Christ Jesus. No             yourself, “even as he is pure.” Therefore,
wonder the apostle John exclaimed with             beloved, have hope in God. Remember that
astonishment, It has not yet been revealed         it is one of Satan’s tricks and snares to try to
what we shall be. Glorious prospects await         discourage you, but it is God’s will to
those who have trusted Christ for salvation.       increase your hope, for thereby you increase
God is not done with us yet. The best is yet       in purity.
to be.
                                                   Power of His Coming:
 While you prepare a place for us, Lord,               Comfort              in sorrow
        Prepare us for that place.                     Joy                  in persecution
                                                       Purifier             in life
3:3     And everyone who has this hope                 Outlook              of expectation
        fixed on Him purifies himself, just as         Confidence           in confession
        He is pure.                                    Patience             in trial
        Everyone who has this hope in                  Strength             in endurance
        him purifies himself, just as he is
        pure.                                      C. H. Spurgeon
        And every man that hath this hope          The great object of the Christian’s hope is
        in him purifieth himself, even as he       perfect purification. If we expect to be like
        is pure.                                   Christ, we look for it in the putting away of
                                                   sin, and in the girding on of all manner of
The End of Growth                                  excellence, and holiness, and loveliness, for
Second Peter 3:18 commands believers to            therein will lie our likeness to Christ. Oh, that
“grow in the grace and knowledge of our            God would give us more and more of this
Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.” Your                Christ-likeness!
response to this verse is either action or
inaction. If you desire to mature in Christ,       John MacArthur Jr.
you will experience blessing, usefulness,
and victory by following the biblical path of      Second Peter 3:18 commands believers to
glorifying God. And as David discovered,           “grow in the grace and knowledge of our
you will also experience joy: “I have set the      Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.” Your
Lord always before me…. Therefore my               response to this verse is either action or
heart is glad” (Ps. 16:8, 9).                      inaction. If you desire to mature in Christ,
                                                   you will experience blessing, usefulness,
The apostle John summed up the goal of             and victory by following the biblical path of
spiritual growth when he said, “Beloved, now       glorifying God. And as David discovered,
we are children of God; and it has not yet         you will also experience joy: “I have set the
been revealed what we shall be, but we             Lord always before me…. Therefore my
know that when He is revealed, we shall be         heart is glad” (Ps. 16:8, 9).
like Him, for we shall see Him as He is” (1
John 3:2). The growth process will end on          The apostle John summed up the goal of
the day that we see Jesus Christ and               spiritual growth when he said, “Beloved, now
become like Him.                                   we are children of God; and it has not yet
                                                   been revealed what we shall be, but we
                                                   know that when He is revealed, we shall be
                                                                                             10
                                          I JOHN
                                             Chapter 3


like Him, for we shall see Him as He is” (1         rebellion can either be an open defiance or a
John 3:2). The growth process will end on           hidden resistance: either way it’s a refusal to
the day that we see Jesus Christ and                do as God commands. Today’s passage
become like Him.                                    puts this in terms of “sin” and “breaking the
C. H. Spurgeon                                      law.”
It is the nature of this divine hope, — this
                                                    Because believers are children of God,
hope of being like Christ — that it helps us
to grow day by day more like him; and so we         focusing on our true identity and all that God
purify ourselves, as Christ is pure.                is doing in us has the effect of purifying us
                                                    (v. 3). Even more, Jesus came to take away
3:4     Everyone who practices sin also             our sins (v. 5). For these two reasons, John
                                                    declares that no one who remains in Him
        practices lawlessness; and sin is
                                                    can keep on sinning, or living in rebellion,
        lawlessness.
        Everyone who sins breaks the                against God. If fact, John says that the
        law; in fact, sin is lawlessness.           person who persists in defying God has
        Whosoever committeth sin                    probably never known Him (v. 6).
        transgresseth also the law: for sin is
        the transgression of the law.               In the midst of this passage is a very
                                                    important truth about the nature of our Lord
3:4ff There is a difference between                 Jesus Christ. So far, John has taken great
                                                    care to show that Jesus is both fully human
committing a sin and continuing to sin. Even
                                                    and fully God. But he also wants his readers
the most faithful believers sometimes
                                                    to know that as fully human, Jesus is also
commit sins, but they do not cherish a
                                                    completely without sin. Although He is able
particular sin and choose to commit it. A
believer who commits a sin repents,                 to understand our weakness and to
confesses, and finds forgiveness. A person          intercede for us (Heb. 4:15), “in him is no
                                                    sin.”
who continues to sin, by contrast, is not
sorry for what he or she is doing. Thus this
                                                    Doctrine of Sin:
person never confesses and never receives
forgiveness. Such a person is in opposition             Author of sin
to God, no matter what religious claims he              Course of sin
or she makes.                                           Nature of sin
                                                        Wages of sin
TODAY IN THE WORD                                       Sin of sins
Writer Doris Greig relates the following: “The          Judgment of sin
story is told of a little girl who was riding in        Sacrifice for sin
the car with her daddy. She decided that she
wanted to stand in the front seat, but her          C. H. Spurgeon
father commanded her to sit down and put            This is the best definition of sin that can be
on her seat belt. She refused, so he told her       given; let none of us ever tolerate any other
a second time to sit down. Again she                idea of sin but that it is “the transgression of
refused. Her father said, 'If you don’t sit         the law.”
down immediately, I’ll pull the car over . . .
and spank you!’ This moved the little girl to       Not to let us live in them at ease, not to
obey, but in a few minutes she said quietly         make sin become a pardonable matter, so
to her daddy, 'I’m sitting down outside, but        that we might indulge in it, and yet hope to
I’m still standing up inside.’ ”                    escape from its consequences. Oh, no! “He
                                                    was manifested to take away our sins.”
As cute as this little girl may have been,
there’s nothing cute about rebellion. Spiritual     Study Note
                                                                                                 11
                                          I JOHN
                                             Chapter 3


The word commit in the A.V. is an                   the Holy Spirit within us on every occasion,
unfortunate translation of the Greek word           although we have the physical and material
which means rather to continually proactive.        possibility of sinning, the sin will become
This section has no reference to the                impossible. If, however, we consistently and
occasional sins of the believer, for which          continually practice any given sin with total
there already is Divine provision. It does,         oblivion to the standards of the Holy Spirit,
however, refer to the consistent engagement         who is within us, then the conclusion must
in the same sin by a believer. The claim to         certainly follow that we are not born again.
sinlessness that appears in this section has        No believer can consistently practice sin and
to be understood within the above context. If       enjoy doing it if the Holy Spirit is present and
John is here referring to sinless perfection in     convicting.
the life of a believer and, at the same time
as we have noted, reveals God's provision           C. H. Spurgeon
for the believer's sin, then we are faced not       And there will never be a better definition of
only with a scriptural contradiction but also a     sin than this. However men may
denial of human experience.                         philosophically try to mar it, this simple
                                                    statement will be better than any that they
There are those who, in order to justify the        can give us: “Sin is the transgression of the
idea of sinlessness in the life of the believer,    law.”
set the standard of perfection not in
relationship to the holiness of God but to an       3:5     And you know that He appeared in
arbitrarily attainable standard of human                    order to take away sins; and in Him
experience. We must remember that our                       there is no sin.
righteousness before God is that which is                   But you know that he appeared
imputed by Christ and not that which is                     so that he might take away our
practiced by the believer. It is on this basis              sins. And in him is no sin.
that our eternal salvation is secured, even if              And ye know that he was
our temporal experience fails.                              manifested to take away our sins;
                                                            and in him is no sin.
The meaning of this portion of Scripture, and
expressly the statement, He cannot sin              3:5 Under the Old Testament sacrifice
because He is born of God. is perhaps               system, a lamb without blemish was offered
illustrated in the following way. Although I        as a sacrifice for sin. Jesus is “the Lamb of
am a preacher I have an intense interest in         God, who takes away the sin of the world”
sports cars. Several years ago I saw a              (John 1:29). Because Jesus lived a perfect
particularly attractive European model on           life and sacrificed himself for our sins, we
display which I would have appreciated              can be completely forgiven (1 John 2:2). We
immensely as my own. The gentleman                  can look back to his death for us and know
standing by the automobile informed me that         that we need never suffer eternal death (1
I could buy a lottery ticket for 25 cents that      Peter 1:18-20).
would give me a chance for this automobile.
I could certainly, at that moment, have             C. H. Spurgeon
physically given him this small amount, yet I       That is to say, if sin is the habitual course of
said to him, I can't. The physical and              our life, we do not truly know the Lord. He
material possibilities were there but the           who walks with God endeavors with all his
overriding spiritual standards that govern my       might to be free from am, and he is
life forbade me to do this thing. The word          sanctified by abiding in Christ.
cannot then is a moral word in this case
rather than a word of physical and material         Whatever he does, it does not contribute to
impossibility. It is true to say that if we obey    sin, but is the deadly antagonist of sin,

                                                                                                 12
                                         I JOHN
                                            Chapter 3


                                                   If I murmur in the least at afflictions; if I am
Our Sins:                                          in any way uncharitable; if I revenge my own
    Confession                                    case; if I do anything purely to please
    Propitiation                                  myself, or omit anything because it is a great
    Substitution                                  denial; if I trust to myself; if I take any praise
    Cancellation                                  for any good which Christ does by me; or if I
    Emancipation                                  am in any way proud, I shall act as my own
    Supplication                                  and not God's. I purpose to be absolutely
    Absolution                                    His.

Consecration Of Jonathan Edwards                   Sin & Sins:
I claim no right to myself—no right to this             Sin is the root
understanding, this will, these affections that           (sins are the fruit)
are in me; neither do I have any right to this          Sin is the cause
body or its members—no right to this                      (sins are the effect)
tongue, to these hands, feet, ears, or eyes.            Sin tells what we are
                                                          (sins proclaim what we have done)
I have given myself clear away and not                  Sin is condemned
retained anything of my own. I have been to               (sins are forgiven)
God this morning and told Him I have given
myself wholly to Him. I have given every           Define Consecration As Blank Sheet
power, so that for the future I claim no right     "Will you please tell me in a word," said a
to myself in any respect. I have expressly         Christian woman to a minister, "what your
promised Him, for by His grace I will not fail.    idea of consecration is?"
I take Him as my whole portion and felicity,
looking upon nothing else as any part of my        Holding out a blank sheet of paper the
happiness. His law is the constant rule of my      pastor replied, "It is to sign your name to the
obedience.                                         bottom of this blank sheet, and let God fill in
                                                   as He wills."
I will fight with all my might against the
world, the flesh, and the devil to the end of      Eight Questions:
my life. I will adhere to the faith of the             For whom did Christ die?
Gospel, however hazardous and difficult the            For what did He die?
profession and practice of it may be.
                                                       Why did Christ come into world?
                                                       Did God put His Son to death?
I receive the blessed Spirit as my Teacher,
                                                       Did Christ die willingly?
Sanctifier, and only Comforter, and cherish
all admonitions to enlighten, purify, confirm,         What did He do with our sins?
comfort, and assist me. This I have done.              Where did He bear our sins?
                                                       Is it necessary to repeat?
I pray God, for the sake of others, to look
upon this as a self-dedication, and receive        Jim Elliot's Diary
me as His own. Henceforth, I am not to act         In a diary entry, Jim Elliot, the Auca Indian
in any respect as my own. I shall act as my        martyr, wrote, "God, I pray Thee, light these
own if I ever make use of any of my powers         idle sticks of my life, that I may burn for
to do anything that is not to the glory of God,    Thee. Consume my life, my God, for it is
or to fail to make the glorifying of Him my        Thine. I seek not a long life, but a full one,
whole and entire business.                         like You, Lord Jesus."

                                                   Christ’s Character:
                                                                                                  13
                                        I JOHN
                                           Chapter 3


       Holy                                      the full, clear light of the new day—broke in
        (in His nature)                           upon his soul.
       Harmless
        (in His actions)                          3:6     No one who abides in Him sins; no
       Undefiled                                         one who sins has seen Him or
        (in His life)                                     knows Him.
       Separate                                          No one who lives in him keeps on
        (in His service)                                  sinning. No one who continues to
       Meek                                              sin has either seen him or known
        (in Spirit)                                       him.
       Humble                                            Whosoever abideth in him sinneth
        (in heart)                                        not: whosoever sinneth hath not
       Devout                                            seen him, neither known him.
        (in purpose)
                                                  C. H. Spurgeon
Livingstone's Last Birthday                       If this declaration related to any one act of
When Stanley found Livingstone, the great         sin, none of us could ever say that we have
missionary who spent thirty years in darkest      seen or known him, but it relates to the habit
Africa, he wanted him to come back to             of sin, — if we love sin, and live in sin, if the
England with him, but Livingstone refused to      main course of our life is sinful, then we
go. Two days later he wrote in his diary:         have “not seen him, neither known him.”
"March 19, my birthday. My Jesus, my King,
my Life, my all, I again dedicate my whole        Study Note
self to Thee. Accept me, and grant, O             Hope is confident expectation, certainty
gracious Father, that ere the year is gone I      about the future. If we know our destiny is to
may finish my work. In Jesus' name I ask it.      be like Jesus, this sense of our true identity
Amen." A year later his servants found him        will move us to be like Him now.
on his knees dead.
                                                  The man who dwells in Christ is the holy
                                                  man; but the man who lives in Bin is no child
Christ’s Faultlessness:                           of God, for he proves by his evil conduct that
    He did no sin                                he has no vital union with Christ. The fruit of
    In Him was no sin                            Christianity is holiness; and if thy life be a
    He knew no sin                               sinful one, if that be the main run and tenor
    He was holy                                  of thy life, thou art none of his.

Luther's First Bible Study                        3:7     Little children, let no one deceive
Luther's biographer tells us that the first               you; the one who practices
word of the Bible Luther ever read, out of the            righteousness is righteous, just as
Bible at Erfurt, was the story of Hannah and              He is righteous;
"her child lent to the Lord forever;" (cf: 1              Dear children, do not let anyone
Samuel 1-2).                                              lead you astray. He who does
                                                          what is right is righteous, just as
That beautiful narrative, so full of fresh,               he is righteous.
prophetic meaning to his ritual-laden spirit,             Little children, let no man deceive
drew him on to the study of the whole Holy                you: he that doeth righteousness is
Word—until, he came to the text, "The just                righteous, even as he is righteous.
shall live by faith." (Romans 1:17). And then,
it was as through the gates of the morning—       C. H. Spurgeon


                                                                                                14
                                             I JOHN
                                                Chapter 3


Because you are little, you are apt to be                       might destroy the works of the devil.
deceived. There is a great blessedness in                       He who does what is sinful is of
being little children, but there is also some                   the devil, because the devil has
danger connected with such a condition, so                      been sinning from the beginning.
we must beware of those who would                               The reason the Son of God
deceive us.                                                     appeared was to destroy the
                                                                devil's work.
The test of a man’s real character must be                      He that committeth sin is of the
what he does, not what he professes; not                        devil; for the devil sinneth from the
what he boasts of, but what is really the                       beginning. For this purpose the Son
manner of his life.                                             of God was manifested, that he
                                                                might destroy the works of the devil.
Study Note
False teachers have little concern for                 3:8-9 We all have areas where temptation is
morality, as the pressure in some churches             strong and habits are hard to conquer.
to ordain practicing homosexuals makes                 These weaknesses give the devil a foothold,
clear. John warns us not to be deceived.               so we must deal with our areas of
Those who 'do what is sinful' are of the devil,        vulnerability. If we are struggling with a
not God.                                               particular sin, however, these verses are not
                                                       directed at us, even if for the time we seem
C. H. Spurgeon                                         to keep on sinning. John is not talking about
He is practically righteous, he is truly               people whose victories are still incomplete;
righteous; but let no man talk about being             he is talking about people who make a
righteous before God while he is willfully             practice of sinning and look for ways to
indulging in sin. This cannot be; thou must            justify it.
be divorced from sin, or thou canst not be
married to Christ. The gospel demands and              Three steps are necessary to find victory
also creates holiness of character; and                over prevailing sin.
wherever it works effectively upon the heart
and conscience, it produces purity in the life.                Seek the power of the Holy Spirit
                                                                and God’s Word;
C. H. Spurgeon                                                 Stay away from tempting situations;
You must judge a tree by its fruit; if it brings                and
forth good fruit, it is a good tree, and if it                 Seek the help of the body of Christ
brings forth evil fruit, it is an evil tree. Do not
be deceived about that matter, for there               Be open to their willingness to hold you
have been some, who have dreamed of                    accountable and to pray for you.
being righteous, and of being the children of
God, yet they have lived in sin as others do.          C. H. Spurgeon
They have been self-deceived; it has been a            He sinneth not with any pleasure, it is not
mere dream on which they have relied.                  the course of his life. There are, alas! in the
Practical godliness is absolutely needful to a         best of men, infirmities and imperfections
true Christian character, and a man is not             and failures would God these were all
righteous unless he does that which is                 removed! Still, the man is not what he used
righteous.                                             to be; though he is not what he shall be, he
                                                       is not what he once was.
3:8      the one who practices sin is of the
         devil; for the devil has sinned from          Christ’s Death:
         the beginning. The Son of God                     Predicted He would die
         appeared for this purpose, that He                Manner of His death
                                                                                                   15
                                          I JOHN
                                            Chapter 3


        Said He would die
        Showed love in dying                      C. H. Spurgeon
        Died for our sins                         That is to say, this is not the course, and
        Destroyed the devil’s works               habit, and tenor of his life; there is sin in
        Died that we might live in Him            much that he does, but he hates it, loathes
                                                   it, and flees from it.
Study Note
The word here is yo, 'to undo.' All sinful acts    Satan’s Activities:
reflect the character of Satan. Yet the harm           He provokes
done by Satan can be and is a being                    He resists
undone by Jesus. How? Through Christ,                  He tempts
God's own seed has been planted in the                 He desires
personality of the believer. The devil's work          He transforms
in us is being unraveled by God, so surely             He incites
that no one who is born of God will continue
to sin. This does not mean the believer will       Satan's Existence Makes Headlines
be sinless. It does mean that he cannot go         So what did New York's John Cardinal
on sinning, because he has been born of            O'Connor do to cause newspapers and
God.                                               television newscasts across the country,
                                                   even Time magazine, to report his behavior?
Doctrine of Sin:                                   The big news was that he said he believed
    Author of sin                                 the Devil exists.
    Course of sin
    Nature of sin                                 Time magazine asked, "Was O'Connor
    Wages of sin                                  seriously suggesting that demons ware
    Sin of sins                                   loose in the land?"
    Judgment of sin
    Sacrifice for sin                             Ironically, recent issues of Time had stories
                                                   on mass-murdering sociopaths, "wilding"
C. H. Spurgeon                                     gang      rapes,    brutal   wars,   heinous
He did not come to make us easy while              negligence!
under the devil’s sway, but to fetch us out
from the tyrant’s dominion, and lead us to         3:9     No one who is born of God practices
live a godly, sober, righteous, pure life unto             sin, because His seed abides in
his praise and glory.                                      him; and he cannot sin, because he
                                                           is born of God.
Ever since he became a devil, he has                       No one who is born of God will
continued to sin. It was sin that changed the              continue to sin, because God's
angel into a devil, and a sinner he has                    seed remains in him; he cannot
always remained.                                           go on sinning, because he has
                                                           been born of God.
Sin’s:                                                     Whosoever is born of God doth not
        Hindrance is removed                              commit sin; for his seed remaineth
        Guilt is answered for                             in him: and he cannot sin, because
        Author is overthrown                              he is born of God.
        Gulf is spanned
                                                   3:9 “No one who is born of God will continue
        Pollution is removed
                                                   to sin” means that true believers do not
        Power is broken
                                                   make a practice of sinning, nor do they
        Victory is destroyed                      become indifferent to God’s moral law. All
                                                                                             16
                                        I JOHN
                                           Chapter 3


believers still sin, but they are working to      commission came to this frightening and
gain victory over sin. “God’s seed remains in     factual conclusion:
him” means that true believers do not make
a practice of sinning because God’s new life      " 'Every baby starts life as a little savage. He
has been born into them.                          is completely selfish and self-centered. He
                                                  wants what he wants when he wants it—his
3:9 We are “born of God” when the Holy            bottle, his mother's attention, his playmate's
Spirit lives in us and gives us Jesus’ new        toy, his uncle's watch. Deny him these
life. Being born again is more than a fresh       wants, and he seethes with rage and
start; it is a rebirth, receiving a new family    aggressiveness, which would be murderous,
name based on Christ’s death for us. When         were he not so helpless.
this happens, God forgives us and totally
accepts us; the Holy Spirit gives us new          "He is dirty. He has no morals, no
minds and hearts, lives in us, and begins         knowledge, no skills. This means that all
helping us to become like Christ. Our             children, not just certain children, are born
perspective changes too because we have a         delinquent.
mind that is renewed day by day by the Holy
Spirit (see Romans 12:2; Ephes. 4:22-24).         "If permitted to continue in the self-centered
So we must begin to think and act                 world of his fancy, given free reign to his
differently. See John 3:1-21 for more on          impulsive actions to satisfy his wants, every
being born again.                                 child would grow up a criminal, a thief, a
                                                  killer, a rapist.' "
C.H. Spurgeon
“What,” say you, “does a Christian never          New Birth Proofs:
sin?” Not with the new nature. The new                Righteousness of life
nature never sins; the old nature sins. It is         Separation from sin
the darkness which is dark; the light is not          Love to others
darkness. It is not possible that the Christ
                                                      Faith in Christ
who dwells in us could sin. What sin there is
                                                      Loving the Lord
in a believer comes from the remnants of
                                                      Victory
corruption. The spirit which is implanted
never can sin and never can have
                                                  A Stubborn Child's Real Want
communion with sin, any more than light can
                                                  I once heard of a spoiled child who was in a
have communion with darkness.
                                                  dreadful fit of temper because his nurse
                                                  would not let him have a valuable vase from
Sin & Sins:
                                                  the cabinet.
     Sin is the root
       (sins are the fruit)
                                                  Hearing him crying loudly, his mother went
     Sin is the cause                            into the room and asked, "What do you
       (sins are the effect)
                                                  want, darling?" Said the boy, "I want that!"
     Sin tells what we are                       pointing to the vase. "Yes, darling, you shall
       (sins proclaim what we have done)          have it," said the mother unwisely, but
     Sin is condemned                            wishing to make him happy.
       (sins are forgiven)
                                                  But when she put it before him the child
Studies Support "Original Sin"                    simply lifted up his voice and yelled afresh.
Ray Stedman wrote, "The clearest                  "Why, what do you want?" asked the mother
statement on original sin I have ever read        again. "I want—I want," said the boy
comes from a report of the Minnesota Crime        between his sobs. Then the words came out
Commission. In studying humanity the              with a rush, "I want to have something that I
                                                                                             17
                                          I JOHN
                                             Chapter 3


mustn't." So the forbidden tree had a fatal         moral boredom and life-weariness. The
attraction for Eve.                                 church     is tired,   discouraged  and
                                                    unastonished. Christ seems to belong to
Seven Secrets:                                      yesterday.
    Word of God                  power
    Will of God                  continuance       The prophetic teachers have projected
    Love of God                  service           everything into the dim future where it is
                                                    beyond our reach; unavailable! They have
    Born of God                  holiness
                                                    dispensationalized us into a state of spiritual
    Presence of God              assurance
                                                    poverty and they have left us there! But
    Faith in God                 victory
                                                    regardless of such teachers, the course of
    Spirit of God                discern           spiritual victory is clear; let us trust what the
                                                    Word of God continues to say to us!
C. H. Spurgeon
Love is the essential mark of the true child of     The Scriptures are open and plain. Jesus
God. “God is love;” and, therefore, he that is      Christ is our Savior and Lord. He is our great
born of God must love. Hatred, envy, malice,        High Priest, alive and ministering for us
uncharitableness, — these are not the               today. His person, His power and His grace
things to be found in the children of God; if       are the same; without change, yesterday,
they are found in you, you are not one of his       today and forever!
children.
                                                    C. H. Spurgeon
3:10    By this the children of God and the         Some people try to deceive us with the
        children of the devil are obvious:          notion that all men are the children of God;
        anyone who does not practice                but John, writing under the inspiration of the
        righteousness is not of God, nor the        Holy Spirit, shows how false that idea is.
        one who does not love his brother.          Holiness and love distinguish the children of
        This is how we know who the                 God from the children of the devil.
        children of God are and who the
        children of the devil are: Anyone           Illustration
        who does not do what is right is            The conscientious Bible translator cannot be
        not a child of God; nor is anyone           too careful in his work. He must constantly
        who does not love his brother.              be alert to recognize wrong meanings which
        In this the children of God are             native speakers of the language may derive
        manifest, and the children of the           from a passage. Sometimes this may
        devil: whosoever doeth not                  require an additional word or phrase which
        righteousness is not of God, neither        is not in the Greek, similar to the italicized
        he that loveth not his brother.             words and phrases which translators of the
                                                    King James Version used to fill out the
C. H. Spurgeon                                      meaning of Scripture.
Holiness and love are the marks of the true
child of God; and where these are not to be         Kenneth and Barbara Williams had an
found, a man must not bolster himself up            experience like this in translating Acts for the
with any notion that salvation is his, for he is    Chuj Indians of Guatemala. The Chuj
no child of God.                                    attribute many phenomena of nature to the
                                                    activity of Satan. Thus, it was easy for them
A.W. Tozer                                          to misunderstand the initial rendition of the
As Christian believers, we stand together in        first part of Acts 4:31 The place in which
the evangelical faith, the historical faith of      they were gathered was shaken. One Chuj
our fathers. Yet, we must confess that many         gave the Williams this explanation: The devil
congregations seem bogged down with
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                                         I JOHN
                                            Chapter 3


shook the place. Then because the people           on a few very important topics and keeps
were all frightened, God sent the Holy Spirit      returning to them. In today’s passage, we
to them. The solution was to add by God            come back to the theme of love, which in
after the word shaken to specify the agent of      many respects sets the gospel of Christ
the action.                                        apart. Having reminded his listeners of the
                                                   command to love, John illustrates it with two
C. H. Spurgeon                                     starkly contrasted examples: first, the
An unlovely spirit is also self-condemnatory       negative example of Cain, and then the
as being an unholy spirit; in fact, want of        perfect example of Jesus.
love is want of righteousness. There are
some who profess to                                John had already made the link between sin,
be so righteous that they condemn                  hatred, and the devil (v. 8). The example of
everybody else, and they have no                   Cain is a chilling portrait of a child of the
bowels of compassion for those who are             devil (v. 10), for we see that Cain was
suffering in consequence of their                  jealous of his brother’s righteousness. It
fault. But oh, beloved, it is one thing to hate    wasn’t even that he was coveting a
sin, and it is another thing to                    possession or physical characteristic of
hate the sinner! Let your indignation burn         Abel, but rather that he couldn’t tolerate that
against everything that is evil;                   his brother did what was right. Cain
but still, towards him who has done the            represents the “world” here, and John wants
wrong have ever the gentle                         his readers to know that those who hate do
thought of pity, and for him present the           not have eternal life. Moreover, the actions
prayer that he may leave his sin,                  of Cain reveal why the world hates true
and turn unto his gracious God. It may be          believers (v. 13).
difficult to reach this point; but
there should always be just that happy             In welcome relief to the example of Cain is
mixture in the mind and heart of the               the supreme example of Christ, who laid
child of God, — love to the sinner and             down His life on our behalf. What a contrast!
hatred of his sin.                                 Cain took another life; Christ gave His own
                                                   life. Love like this can never be
3:11    For this is the message which you          counterfeited. It may be possible to put on a
        have heard from the beginning, that        pretense of love; indeed, Cain may have
        we should love one another;                feigned affection for his brother. But given
        This is the message you heard              enough time, hatred can’t be masked. In
        from the beginning: We should              Cain’s case, his hatred led him to murder.
        love one another.
        For this is the message that ye            C. H. Spurgeon
        heard from the beginning, that we          So that, when you see a man filled with hate
        should love one another.                   and envy and malice, it is because his own
                                                   life is not holy. There is no exception to this
TODAY IN THE WORD                                  rule, true holiness and love always go
Recent polls show that the average                 together; where love is absent, holiness
American church member gives between 2             must be absent, too.
and 3 percent of his or her annual income to
charity, including the local church! Our           And there is no hate like that, — the hate of
passage for today offers a significant             a bad man towards a good one, not for
challenge to the people behind this                doing him any wrong, but simply for
disturbing statistic.                              rebuking him by the silent eloquence of his
                                                   holy life. Men who love sin cannot endure
You may have noticed that 1 John focuses           the sight of virtue; and if they cannot kill the

                                                                                                19
                                         I JOHN
                                            Chapter 3


good man, they will try to kill his reputation.    and Cain’s jealous anger drove him to
They sneer, and say, “Ah, he is as bad as          murder. People who are morally upright
others, no doubt, if you could only find him       expose and shame those who aren’t. If we
out!” That is exactly the spirit of Cain, “who     live for God, the world will often hate us,
was of that wicked one, and slew his               because we make them painfully aware of
brother.”                                          their immoral way of living.

Love:                                              C. H. Spurgeon
       Source           God’s love                That was the real evil at the bottom of his
       Measure          Christ’s love             great crime; it was the wickedness of Cain’s
       Might            Holy Spirit               character that made him hate the good that
       Credentials      Obedience                 was in Abel; and, therefore, after a while, he
       Outcome          Labor                     slew his brother, “because his own works
       Character        Selfless                  were evil, and his brother’s righteous.”
       Object           Believer
                                                   Study Note
Need For Love                                      The Genesis 4 story illustrates several
Bertrand Russell, commenting on the                truths. The wicked tend to hate the
complexities of this world and its most            righteous. Hatred expresses itself in evil acts
urgent need, said:                                 like murder. Hostility itself is diabolical in
                                                   origin. Thus, hostile Christian is a
"The root of the matter is very simple and an      contradiction in terms. One who hates is a
old-fashioned thing, a thing so simple that I      murderer in his heart and cannot be one
am almost ashamed to mention it, for fear of       who has eternal life.
the derisive smile with which wise cynics will
greet my words. The thing I mean—please            3:13    Do not marvel, brethren, if the world
forgive me for mentioning it—is love,                      hates you.
Christian love, or compassion."                            Do not be surprised, my brothers,
                                                           if the world hates you.
                                                           Marvel not, my brethren, if the world
3:12    not as Cain, who was of the evil                   hate you.
        one, and slew his brother. And for
        what reason did he slay him?               C. H. Spurgeon
        Because his deeds were evil, and           See, Cain hated Abel, and the world hates
        his brother's were righteous.              the saints. It is the very nature and spirit of
        Do not be like Cain, who                   the world to hate those who are not of the
        belonged to the evil one and               world.
        murdered his brother. And why
        did he murder him? Because his             Perhaps he will do it on what he calls
        own actions were evil and his              “principle.” He thinks it is wrong to help his
        brother's were righteous.                  needy brother, so he says; but however he
        Not as Cain, who was of that wicked        may put it, the Holy Spirit asks this
        one, and slew his brother. And             searching question, “Whose hath this
        wherefore slew he him? Because             world’s good, and seeth his brother have
        his own works were evil, and his           need, and shutteth up his bowels of
        brother's righteous.                       compassion from him, how dwelleth the love
                                                   of God in him?”
3:12-13 Cain killed his brother, Abel, when
God accepted Abel’s offering and not his           C. H. Spurgeon
(Genesis 4:1-16). Abel’s offering showed
that Cain was not giving his best to God,
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                                           I JOHN
                                              Chapter 3


This hatred is too old for you to wonder at it.      After Confederate General Robert E. Lee
If it began with the first man who was born          retired from military life, he was named
into the world, even with Cain, do not marvel        president of Washington and Lee University
if it should spend some of its fury upon you.        in Lexington, Virginia. Originally named
                                                     Washington Academy because of a $50,000
As Cain hated Abel, so worldlings hate the           gift from George Washington, the name of
saints, whose holiness is a continual rebuke         the school was changed in 1871 in honor of
to the ungodly.                                      Lee who served as its president from 1865-
                                                     1870.
3:14     We know that we have passed out
         of death into life, because we love         While Lee was president of the University, a
         the brethren. He who does not love          new student came into Lee's office and
         abides in death.                            asked for a copy of the school's rules and
         We know that we have passed                 regulations.
         from death to life, because we
         love our brothers. Anyone who               Lee replied that the school had no printed
         does not love remains in death.             rules. Our only rule is kindness, he replied.
         We know that we have passed from
         death unto life, because we love the        We Know:
         brethren. He that loveth not his                We Are in Him
         brother abideth in death.                         (walking on earth as He walks in
                                                           heaven)
C. H. Spurgeon                                           All Things of Truth
Love becomes the distinguishing mark of the                (freedom from deceit or falseness:
new life.                                                  veracity)
                                                         No Lies in Truth
No matter though he may be outwardly                       (no untrue declarations)
religious, and may think that, by doing
                                                         Born Again of Him
certain external actions, he will save himself,
                                                           (partaker of the divine nature and
there is no truth at all in his religion, for the
                                                           life of Christ)
very essence of true religion is that a man
                                                         Will Be Like Him
lives not unto himself, but unto God, and for
                                                           (unrestricted freedom to choose)
the good of his fellow-men.
                                                         No Sin in Him
Such self-sacrifice as this is the very highest            (no falling away or missing the path)
form of love to the brethren, and is a                   Have Eternal Life
following of the example of Christ, who “laid              (union with God is eternal life)
down his life for us.”                                   He Lives in Us
                                                           (maintains His earthly existence in
Rules:                                                     us)
        Deny             yourself                       In filled with H.S.
        Love             brothers                         (filled to satisfaction or excess)
        Look             others                         No Spirit of Error
        Minister         faithful                         (no deviation from correctness)
        Sympathize       sorrow                         We Live in Him
                                                           (maintain existence His way)
        Allow            preferred
        Seek             Lord                           Love His Children
                                                           (deep and ardent affection)
School's Only Rule: Kindness                             No Willful Sinning
                                                           (tenaciously unwilling to yield)

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                                           I JOHN
                                             Chapter 3


       He's Coming Back                           C. H. Spurgeon
         (to go again to a former place)            He would get rid of that brother if he could,
                                                    and he is therefore a murderer in spirit, for
C. H. Spurgeon                                      the essence of murder is not the dagger or
What a warning this is against the evil spirit      the poison, but the desire to put out of
of hate, revenge, and all that kind of feeling!     existence or to do the utmost harm to the
These things are not compatible with the            one who is hated. The essential element of
possession of the life of God. Where hatred         murder lurks within the bosom of all hatred.
lives, there is no life of God in the soul. That
evil must be shot to the very heart, by the         His action is Cain-like, he is not of the
arrows of almighty grace, or else we are not        chosen seed, he has not the life of God
free from the dominion of the devil. Every          abiding in him.
man who hates another has the venom of
murder in his veins. He may never actually          Study Note
take the deadly weapons into his hand and           Here are three important Greek words
destroy life; but if he wishes that his brother     whose meanings are not adequately
were out of the way, if he would be glad if no      portrayed in the English translation.
such person existed, that feeling amounts to
murder in the judgment of God. It is not the        The first word is that translated life in verse
lifting of the dagger, nor the mixing of the        15. This word means the principle of being
poison, that is the essence of the grime of         alive. It is the power by which we move and
murder, it is the hate that prompts the             have our beings. This power is, for all
commission of the deadly deed; so, if we            creation, rooted in Christ. When it says that
never commit the crime, yet, if the hate be in      Christ is the way, the truth and the life it
our heart, we are guilty of murder in the           uses this same Greek word.
sight of God, and eternal life cannot be
abiding in us.                                      The second Greek word appears in the next
                                                    verse 16 and is also rendered life in our
3:15     Everyone who hates his brother is a        English translation. Jesus laid down His life
         murderer; and you know that no             for us. This is quite different for it means the
         murderer has eternal life abiding in       soul or spirit.
         him.
         Anyone who hates his brother is            The third word related to Life is in verse 17
         a murderer, and you know that no           and, there, is translated world's goods. The
         murderer has eternal life in him.          Greek word actually should be rendered the
         Whosoever hateth his brother is a          means of life. This refers to our material
         murderer: and ye know that no              possessions.
         murderer hath eternal life abiding in
         him.                                       These three areas of life are important for
                                                    us. The first assures us that the principle of
3:15 John echoes Jesus’ teaching that               being alive is our eternally. It points up the
whoever hates another person is a murderer          reality of existence in eternity. It is as real
at heart (Matthew 5:21-22). Christianity is a       and conscious as that we now know
religion of the heart; outward compliance           although on a much higher plain and free
alone is not enough. Bitterness against             from all sin.
someone who has wronged you is an evil
cancer within you and will eventually destroy       The second phase of life in verse 16 reveals
you. Don’t let a “bitter root” (Hebrews 12:15)      that the extent of Christ's sacrifice was
grow in you or your church.                         beyond the physical. This verse excludes
                                                    the possibility of Christ's death being merely

                                                                                                 22
                                           I JOHN
                                              Chapter 3


physical like that of the martyr. He laid down       counsel when he told us to Be swift to hear,
His soul. It is this part of man that originally     slow to speak, slow to wrath; for the wrath of
possessed the image of God which was                 man does not produce the righteousness of
spoiled by sin. It is here also that man's           God. Let's not forget that whoever hates his
condemnation must be placed. It is,                  brother is a murderer. How important it is,
therefore, in this area that Christ also             therefore, never to nurture hatred's bitter
suffered judgment for us. We are exhorted            fruit!
to lay down this part of our being for the
brethren. It is not necessarily that we are to                      Hate, like acid,
lay down our physical life but that the whole              damages the vessel in which it is
spiritual content of our being goes out in                stored and the object on which it is
service and sacrifice for the brethren.                                poured.

The last phase in verse 17 points up our             Oswald Chambers
material or worldly possessions as being             The Bible never deals with proportionate sin;
under the control of the Holy Spirit for the         according to the Bible an impure thought is
good of the brethren if necessary. See in            as bad as adultery; a covetous thought is as
this connection Acts 4:32-37.                        bad as a theft. It takes a long education in
                                                     the things of God before we believe that is
Oswald Chambers                                      true. Never trust innocence when it is
Few of us are actually murderers, but we are         contradicted by the Word of God. The tiniest
all criminals in potentiality; and one of the        bit of sin is an indication of the vast
greatest humiliations in work for God is that        corruption that is in the human heart. That is
we are never free from the reminder by the           why we must keep in the light all the time.
Holy Spirit of what we might be in actuality         Never allow horror at crime to blind you to
but for the grace of God.                            the fact that it is human nature like your own
                                                     that committed it. Saints are never horror-
Our Daily Bread                                      stricken because although we know that
One of the worst cases of hatred I have ever         what our Lord says about the human heart is
come across is found in a will written in 1935       true, we know also of a Savior who can save
by a Mr. Donohoe. It says, Unto my two               to the uttermost.
daughters, Frances Marie and Denise
Victoria, by reason of their unfilial attitude       3:16     We know love by this, that He laid
toward a doting father ... I leave the sum of                 down His life for us; and we ought to
$1 to each and a father's curse. May their                    lay down our lives for the brethren.
lives be fraught with misery, unhappiness,                    This is how we know what love is:
and poignant sorrow. May their deaths be                      Jesus Christ laid down his life for
soon and of a lingering malignant and                         us. And we ought to lay down our
torturous nature. The last line of the will is so             lives for our brothers.
vicious I shudder to quote it. It reads, May                  Hereby perceive we the love of God,
their souls rest in hell and suffer the                       because he laid down his life for us:
torments of the condemned for eternity.                       and we ought to lay down our lives
                                                              for the brethren.
Such utter contempt didn't develop in a day.
It had to grow over a long period of time. We        3:16 Real love is an action, not a feeling. It
should never allow our minds to become               produces selfless, sacrificial giving. The
fertile soil for the seeds of hatred. We would       greatest act of love is giving oneself for
do ourselves a world of good by heeding the          others. How can we lay down our lives? By
words of Paul, Do not let the sun go down            serving others with no thought of receiving
on your wrath. And James gave wise                   anything in return. Sometimes it is easier to

                                                                                                 23
                                         I JOHN
                                            Chapter 3


say we’ll die for others than to truly live for
them—this involves putting others’ desires                 Christ gave Himself for us
first. Jesus taught this same principle of love     that we might give ourselves for others.
in John 15:13.
                                                   Love:
Seven Secrets:                                            Passion of Love
    Word of God                  power                   Purity of Love
    Will of God                  continuance             Power of Love
    Love of God                  service                 Pre-eminence of Love
    Born of God                  holiness                Persuasiveness of Love
    Presence of God              assurance               Protection of Love
    Faith in God                 victory                 Perfection of Love
    Spirit of God                discern
                                                   C. H. Spurgeon
Remembered By A Nail                               The master-love, the chief love that ever
By this we know love, because He laid down         was in this world,
His life for us. --1 John 3:16
                                                   That is still the test; truthful love proves that
Emil Mettler, a restaurant owner in London,        “we are of the truth,” children of the God of
was known for his generosity. He often fed         truth, and so assures and tranquillizes our
people for nothing. If a representative of a       hearts before him.
Christian organization came in and told him
of a need, he would open his cash drawer           Our hearts shall be calm, confident, and
and give a sizable donation.                       happy before God, when we know that true
                                                   love flows within them.
One day Emil opened his cash drawer in the
presence of a missionary official who              Superlatives:
noticed a nail among the bills and coins.              Seen                 highest form
Surprised at what he saw, the man asked,               Revealed             lowest stoop
"What's that doing there?" Emil picked up              Made known           purest grace
the 6-inch spike and replied, "I keep this with        Manifest             greatest sacrifice
my money to remind me of the price Christ              Unveiled             sublime essence
paid for my salvation and what I owe Him in            Bestowed             mightiest power
return."                                               Communicated         intense blessing
Emil used that nail to remind himself that he      Rembrandt In "The Crucifixion"
owed the Lord a great debt of love and             Rembrandt, the Dutch painter who
gratitude because Jesus had laid down His          flourished in the seventeenth century, put
life for him (1 John 3:16-23). Emil used that      upon canvas his idea of the crucifixion of our
simple object to stimulate his own generosity      Lord. If you should look carefully at the
as he remembered the Savior's sacrifice.           figures in the shadows behind the cross, you
                                                   will notice that one of the men helping to nail
How often do we think about the sacrifice on       Jesus to the cross has the features of
Calvary where Jesus paid the penalty for our       Rembrandt himself.
sin with His own death on the cross? Emil's
example inspires us in the midst of our most       The artist was signifying that he had a hand
mundane activities to remember not just the        in the crucifixion. Through his faults, failures,
thorns, the nails, and the spear-thrust, but       and sins, he had joined those who actually
the loving heart of Him who gave His life for      put our Lord to death.
us.
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                                           I JOHN
                                              Chapter 3


                                                     want to keep to themselves, who are unable
Christ’s Death:                                      to interact even on a social level with other
    Basis of faith                                  Christians who are different from them, do
    Spring of love                                  not emulate the kind of biblical love John is
    Window of hope                                  talking about. As we have said before, we
                                                     do not love perfectly, but we can have a love
    Joy of reconciliation
                                                     that is genuine.
    Motive of affection
    Soul of praise                                  Love among believers means meeting the
    Theme of Gospel                                 needs in the family of God. It means bearing
                                                     the burdens of those who are weak. It
R. C. Sproul                                         means giving up our privileges for those who
John emphasizes the need for Christians to           are not as strong as we are. It means
show love to one another, stressing the              helping them with their sin and their
point time and again. He also holds up love          suffering. It means rejoicing with those who
for others as one of the main evidences of           rejoice and mourning with those who mourn.
our salvation: “In this the children of God          True Christian love is not bound by
and the children of the devil are manifest:          inconvenience or social differences, but it is
Whoever does not practice righteousness is           set free through sacrifice and service.
not of God, nor is he who doesn’t not love
his brother. For this is the message that you        Evidence of:
heard from the beginning, that we should                 Faith
love one another. Do not marvel, my
                                                         Discipleship
brethren, if the world hates you. We know
                                                         Union
that we have passed from death to life,
because we love the brethren. He who does                Grace
not love his brother abides in death.” He                Friendship
also writes, “Beloved, let us love one                   New Birth
another, for love is of God; and everyone
who loves is born of God and knows God.              C. H. Spurgeon
He who does not love does not know God,              Indeed, it cannot be there at all; he has the
for God is love.”                                    love of himself, and not the love of God,
                                                     dwelling in him.
Though Christians should show love to all
people, for we are commanded to love our             The Substitute:
neighbors and even our enemies, these                    God-provided
verses are talking specifically about loving             Sin-made
other believers. A person who professes to               Curse-bearing
know Christ cannot possibly say that he                  Life-sacrificing
loves the head of the body without loving the            Grace-imparting
whole body. To say that you love Christ but              Holy-inspiring
do not love the members of His body is a
contradiction.                                       Our Daily Bread
                                                     The missionary noticed that the woman who
A lot of people claim to love other people in        was helping the family with household
the church, but they prove by their actions          chores and with the local language was
that their love is not genuine. True Christian       upset. So she asked some questions and
love is sacrificial. At the very least, it is the    learned that the helper was pregnant, and
kind of love that makes you want to                  that she and her husband had decided to
rearrange your priorities in order to be with        abort the baby because they felt they
other believers. Professing believers who            couldn't afford a second child.
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                                         I JOHN
                                             Chapter 3


The missionary immediately contacted her            wife, the more convinced I became that what
friends in the United States for financial          he really needed was not a wife. He needed
assistance. She then sat down with her              a goldfish, the pretty kind with the long tail
helper and told her that for the next 2 years       that floats around, or maybe a Golden
at least, there would be enough money to            Retriever—but even a dog will make
take care of the child.                             demands on you emotionally. A goldfish,
                                                    though, just sits there and looks pretty and
The husband and wife were not Christians,           doesn't ask you to communicate. It doesn't
and they didn't have convictions against            ask you how your day was or expect you to
abortion. But when they heard the news,             listen to how its day was. The last thing he
they were ecstatic. The economic aid gave           needed was a wife, because his whole
them confidence that they could care for            understanding of why the world existed was
their child, so they chose not to abort. The        to meet his needs.
missionaries felt they had done something to
show Christ's love to this family (1 Jn. 3:18).     Abiding in Christ:
                                                        Not practicing sin
Isn't that the way it's supposed to be? We              Keeping God’s commandments
are surrounded by needy people. They're                 Bearing fruit
not likely to hear us if we only preach to              Loving each other
them, but they may listen if we do something            Walking as He walked
to help them. That, in turn, may open their             Continuing in His Word
hearts to hear the really good news about               Faithfulness to His truth
salvation through faith in Jesus.
                                                    Open Season On Christianity
To reach people for Christ, get practical.          Angela Guidry, a straight-A-student at Sam
                                                    Houston High School in Moss Bluff,
 People don't care how much you know                Louisiana, was scheduled to give a
 unless they know how much you care.                valedictory address at her graduation. But
Me-First Marriage                                   when a guidance counselor reviewed the
    Companionship                                  speech, she told Guidry to eliminate
    Marriage; Needs                                references to her Christian faith. Rather than
    Relationships                                  change her address, Guidry did not speak.
    Self-Centeredness                              Her case is now in federal court.
    Selfishness
                                                    When Scott Klika mentioned his Christian
A man told me he had been dating a woman            faith to a group of adult patients at a private
for several years, and she was starting to          psychiatric    hospital    in   Green      Bay,
wonder if they would ever marry. He told me         Wisconsin, his supervisors asked that he not
he didn't know if he could marry her                bring up the subject again. Three months
because, as he said to me, "I don't think she       later, though he had not spoken further
makes me happy."                                    about his beliefs, he was fired. According to
                                                    Klika, his supervisors told him his faith was
I asked him why not, which was a mistake.           not in keeping with the beliefs of the
He went on and on explaining all the                hospital.
reasons why she didn't make him happy.
                                                    After columnist Cal Thomas learned his
Finally I interrupted and asked, "What kind         appearance on ABC's "Good Morning
of wife would make you happy?" The more             America" had been canceled, he called the
he described what he was looking for in a           network to ask why. According to Thomas,

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                                             I JOHN
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he was told that the producers feared he               C. H. Spurgeon
would quote Bible verses on the air.                   Full assurance comes very much this way,
                                                       by a practical carrying out of the law of love.
Do these cases and scores of others like
them prove an anti-Christian bias in                   What Makes You Tick?
America? "Yes," says a growing collection of           Let us not love in word or in tongue, but in
evangelical   leaders.     In   government,            deed and in truth. --1 John 3:18
education, media, law, and business,
Christians remain the last group that can be           In our zeal to introduce people to Christ, we
ridiculed and discriminated against with               must not forget that the Holy Spirit often
impunity.                                              uses adverse circumstances to increase
                                                       their sense of spiritual need. He may also
3:17     But whoever has the world's goods,            use those same circumstances to help us
         and beholds his brother in need and           share the love of Christ with them.
         closes his heart against him, how
         does the love of God abide in him?            Author Jennifer Rees-Larcombe was
         If anyone has material                        burdened for a neighbor named Diana but
         possessions and sees his brother              couldn't seem to get close to her. One
         in need but has no pity on him,               evening she and several friends were
         how can the love of God be in                 praying for Diana when the doorbell rang. It
         him?                                          was Diana's husband. He was desperate.
         But whoso hath this world's good,             His wife had recently broken her leg and
         and seeth his brother have need,              ankle and wouldn't be able to walk for
         and shutteth up his bowels of                 several months. "Do you know of anyone
         compassion from him, how dwelleth             who could look in on her every day?" he
         the love of God in him?                       asked.

3:17-18 These verses give an example of                Saddened, yet grateful for this opportunity,
how to lay down our lives for others—to help           Jennifer and her friends began cooking,
those in need. This is strikingly similar to           cleaning, and shopping for Diana. Several
James’s teaching (James 2:14-17). How                  months later, she noticed Diana reading a
clearly do your actions say you really love            Bible. Diana explained, "I wanted to find out
others? Are you as generous as you should              what makes you Christians tick, so I asked
be with your money, possessions, and time?             my husband to buy this Bible." Soon they
                                                       started attending Jennifer's church, and
C. H. Spurgeon                                         eventually they both received Christ.
Love that consists only of words is utterly
worthless, if it is true love, it must prove itself    Are you burdened for someone who needs
by kind deeds and gracious actions.                    the Lord? Keep praying and keep loving
                                                       them "in deed and in truth" (1 John 3:18).
3:18     Little children, let us not love with         They'll wonder what makes you tick, and in
         word or with tongue, but in deed and          time they'll find out it's Jesus!
         truth.
         Dear children, let us not love with                     A helping hand can open
         words or tongue but with actions                   the door of a person's heart to the
         and in truth.                                                    Gospel.
         My little children, let us not love in
         word, neither in tongue; but in deed          Our Daily Bread
         and in truth.                                 The favorite words my wife likes to hear
                                                       from my lips, next to “Let’s eat out tonight,”

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                                        I JOHN
                                           Chapter 3


are the words, “I love you.” But they are
meaningless to her if I don’t show my love        The missionary noticed that the woman who
by the way I treat her. This is true in all       was helping the family with household
relationships. We must do more than just          chores and with the local language was
say we care about people who are needy,           upset. So she asked some questions and
lonely, or depressed. We must show it.            learned that the helper was pregnant, and
                                                  that she and her husband had decided to
Many years ago a couple told me about an          abort the baby because they felt they
elderly widow who had no family or close          couldn't afford a second child.
friends. She lived next door and they often
invited her over for their evening meal. One      The missionary immediately contacted her
snowy afternoon the wife saw the neighbor         friends in the United States for financial
head for the city dump pulling a small            assistance. She then sat down with her
wagon. When dusk arrived and she had not          helper and told her that for the next 2 years
yet returned, the husband became                  at least, there would be enough money to
concerned and set out to look for her.            take care of the child.

He eventually found her near a pile of            The husband and wife were not Christians,
debris, sitting on her car, head down.,           and they didn't have convictions against
oblivious to the snow: a picture of               abortion. But when they heard the news,
despondency. He touched her shoulder and          they were ecstatic. The economic aid gave
called ber by name. With a start, she looked      them confidence that they could care for
up and said, “You are God’s answer to my          their child, so they chose not to abort. The
prayer. I just told Him that I was here alone,    missionaries felt they had done something to
that only He knew, and that nobody cared.         show Christ's love to this family (1 Jn. 3:18).
He just showed me that you care.” The man         Isn't that the way it's supposed to be? We
gently led her home where she rested and          are surrounded by needy people. They're
shared a meal with him and his wife. That’s       not likely to hear us if we only preach to
loving in deed and in truth.                      them, but they may listen if we do something
                                                  to help them. That, in turn, may open their
    True compassion is love in action.            hearts to hear the really good news about
                                                  salvation through faith in Jesus.
C. H. Spurgeon
You notice how the apostle constantly writes      To reach people for Christ, get practical.
about knowing. Take your pencil, and
underline the word “know” in John’s Epistles,      People don't care how much you know
and you will be surprised to find how              unless they know how much you care.
frequently he uses it. He is not one of those
who suppose, or fancy, or imagine, or have        A.W. Tozer
formed a certain hypothesis; but he knows,        The taking over of the romantic love ideal
and he tells us what he knows, in order that      into our relation to God has been extremely
we also may know.                                 injurious to our Christian lives. The idea that
                                                  we should fall in love with God is ignoble,
Love hath a knowledge which is peculiarly         unscriptural, unworthy of us and certainly
her own, — a full assurance which none can        does no honor to the Most High God!
take from her.
                                                  We do not come to love God by a sudden
Get Practical                                     emotional visitation. Love for God results
Let us not love in word or in tongue, but in      from repentance, amendment of life and a
deed and in truth. --1 John 3:18                  fixed determination to love Him. Then as

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                                         I JOHN
                                            Chapter 3


God moves more perfectly into the focus of         actions and words that match up. Do
our hearts, our love for Him may indeed rise       yours?
and swell within us till like a flood it sweeps
everything before it.                                      Children are more likely to do
                                                        what you do than to do what you say.
But we should not wait for this intensity of
feeling. We are not responsible to feel but        Our Daily Bread
we are responsible to love, and true spiritual     A father, leading his family in their
love begins in the will. We should set our         devotional time, prayed about the needs of
hearts to love God supremely, however cold         the poor widow across the street. He listed
or hard they may seem to be, and go on to          the things she needed, and he proceeded to
confirm our love by happy and careful              tell the Lord just how to send them. Tears of
obedience to His Word. Enjoyable emotions          sympathy rolled down his wife's cheeks. But
are sure to follow!                                one member of the family, the couple's son,
                                                   wasn't praying. He was thinking. When the
Live Honestly                                      father said Amen, the son walked over to
Let us not love in word or in tongue, but in       him with his hand held out. Dad, he said,
deed and in truth. --1 John 3:18                   give me your wallet and I'll go over and
                                                   answer your prayer myself.
As children grow up, we who are parents or
leaders pray that they will learn to               That youngster knew that prayer and
discriminate more and more between right           practice go together. Our conversation with
and wrong. But be prepared! Eventually             God must be followed by action. When we
these children will compare our actions with       pray for the Lord to send out laborers into
our words. If what we do and what we say           His harvest, we must make ourselves
don't match up, they will be confused, not         available. When we pray for the salvation of
knowing which to follow—our actions or our         friends, we must make ourselves available.
words.                                             When we pray for the salvation of friends,
                                                   we must be purifying hope should make us
In his second letter to Timothy, Paul could        ethical in our business, good stewards with
honestly say, "I thank God, whom I serve           our budgets, and Christ-honoring in our
with a pure conscience, as my forefathers          lifestyle.
did" (1:3). His actions and his words agreed.
Paul then described Timothy's faith as             John explained this concept in his first
"genuine" and pointed to his spiritual             epistle. He said we shouldn't restrict our love
heritage: the genuine faith of his                 to words; we must demonstrate it with our
grandmother Lois and his mother Eunice             deeds. And later he said that whatever we
(v.5). Later in his letter, the apostle urged      ask we receive from Him because we do
Timothy, "Continue in the things which you         those things that are pleasing in His sight.
have learned and been assured of, knowing          The genuineness of our prayers will be
from whom you have learned them, and that          evident in our willingness to practice what
from childhood you have known the Holy             we pray.
Scriptures" (3:14-15). Christians whose
actions and words are consistent can                     Our good deeds are often the best
influence generations of people for Christ.                   answers to our prayers.

Children put a searchlight on the quality of       Laundry Love
our lives. "Do as I say" is not the highest        Let us not love in word or in tongue, but in
standard, but rather an honest life that           deed and in truth. —1 John 3:18
invites, "Do as I do." That means having

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                                         I JOHN
                                            Chapter 3


When James Cates was a university                  consciences bother them. John has these
student, he worked the night shift as a            people in mind in this letter. How do we
houseparent in a residential treatment             escape the gnawing accusations of our
center. One of his responsibilities was the        consciences? Not by ignoring them or
sometimes overwhelming task of doing the           rationalizing our behavior, but by setting our
laundry for 23 teenage boys.                       hearts on God’s love. When we feel guilty,
                                                   we should remind ourselves that God knows
The laundering process was hard on the             our motives as well as our actions. His voice
clothes, so when a troubled young resident         of assurance is stronger than the accusing
named Jake was given a new shirt from his          voice of our conscience. If we are in Christ,
mother, James offered to wash it separately.       he will not condemn us (Romans 8:1;
Soon other boys began asking him to                Hebrews 9:14-15). So if you are living for the
include a favorite article of clothing in his      Lord but feeling that you are not good
“special” load. It was a small act of kindness,    enough, remind yourself that God is greater
but it meant a lot to the boys.                    than your conscience.

Twenty years later, after establishing a           TODAY IN THE WORD
successful practice as a therapist, teaching       Psychologists     sometimes        distinguish
at a university, and being published in            between “false” and “real” guilt. Real guilt is
scholarly journals, Cates wrote: “With time to     feeling remorse when one has actually done
look back and reflect, no client I have ever       something wrong. For example, if a
known and no service I have ever performed         business person knowingly sells an inferior
means more to me than Jake and his shirt,          product to an unsuspecting client, then that
and those special loads of clothes.”               business person should be bothered. “False”
                                                   guilt, however, is feeling badly when one
A simple act of caring is a powerful               has not done something wrong, or
expression of God’s compassion in our              continuing to feel badly after an issue has
troubled world. The apostle John wrote, “My        been dealt with.
little children, let us not love in word or in
tongue, but in deed and in truth” (1 John          Many Christians approach their heavenly
3:18). Is there some “washing” you can do          Father with a continual sense of
today?                                             condemnation, or a guilty conscience, that
                A little kindness                  isn’t appropriate. The Bible repeatedly
           can make a big difference.              stresses that we must confess our sins
                                                   before the Lord. In fact, 1 John contains
3:19    We shall know by this that we are of       some of the clearest teaching on this (1
        the truth, and shall assure our heart      John 1:7, 9). But the Bible also clearly
        before Him,                                teaches that God forgives our confessed
        This then is how we know that we           sins. We are to stand confidently before
        belong to the truth, and how we            Him, because we have been washed clean
        set our hearts at rest in his              in the blood of Jesus Christ. Even though
        presence                                   Satan continues to whisper accusations, we
        And hereby we know that we are of          rest confidently on Jesus’ righteousness and
        the truth, and shall assure our            do not shrink away in shame (1 John 2:28).
        hearts before him.
                                                   That’s the point stressed in today’s passage.
3:19-20 Many are afraid that they don’t love       John further links this point to the assurance
others as they should. They feel guilty            that comes from living out our faith in
because they think they are not doing              “actions and in truth” (v. 18). In other words,
enough to show proper love to Christ. Their        John links confidence and obedience.

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                                        I JOHN
                                           Chapter 3


Obedience doesn’t increase our confidence,        spiraling in rising thermals, hunkered down
rather it confirms it. The reverse is             in the tops of trees. Seeing them, really
sometimes easier to understand: we lose           seeing them for the first time in my life, I
confidence when we try to hide our                understood that I was not seeing them with
disobedience.                                     my own eyes but with Edward's eyes. He
                                                  was not there, so I was seeing them for him.
So John encourages his readers that their         He was absent—or was he? He was present
righteous actions can assure them that they       in me.
really do belong to the truth. But even when
this isn’t the case, John reminds his readers     Our Hearts:
that “God is greater than our hearts” and             The Gospel’s Target
knows our true status as His children.                The Spirit’s Abode
Because we are His children, we have                  The Lord’s Residence
confidence before Him. And as His children,           God’s Testing House
we long to obey Him. John then issues two             Faith’s Concern
commands that summarize his major points:             The Believer’s Assurer
to believe in Jesus Christ and to love one            The Spirit’s Tablet
another.
                                                  Heart Break
C. H. Spurgeon                                    The divorce of pioneer heart surgeon
The love that will pass this test will bring a    Christian Barnard, 48, from his first wife
restful assurance of peace to the heart.          Louwtjie, 47, was not exactly friendly.
                                                  Louwtjie simmered while he married a
Present though Absent                             younger, wealthier woman, but she publicly
    Christ, humanity of                          branded her ex-husband a liar when his
    Empathy; intimacy                            memoirs appeared with some unflattering
    Knowing God                                  comments on their 21 years together. Now
    Presence of God                              Barnard has announced that he has written
    Relationships                                a new book Heart Attack, aimed at "helping
                                                  the heart sufferer toward a better
My husband, Edward, is devoted to hawks           comprehension of his disease."
and especially to the golden eagles that are
returning to our part of Georgia. Driving         Simultaneously, Louwtjie announced that
down the highway with him can be a test of        she, too, has written a study of heart
nerves as he cranes over the steering wheel       problems—though ones not necessarily
to peer at the wing feathers of a particularly    connected with vascular stress. "It's a
large bird. Is it an eagle or just a turkey       message of hope to all the women in the
vulture? He has to know, even if it means         world who find themselves in a similar
weaving down the road for a while, or             position to mine," she said of her
running off it from time to time. My view is a    forthcoming autobiography. The title: Heart
bit different: "Keep your eyes on the road!" I    Break.
yell at him. "Who cares what it is? I'll buy
you a bird book; I'll even buy you a bird—        3:20   in whatever our heart condemns us;
just watch where you're going."                          for God is greater than our heart,
                                                         and knows all things.
A couple of summers ago, we spent two                    whenever our hearts condemn
months apart, and I thought I'd get a break              us. For God is greater than our
from hawks. Instead I began to see them                  hearts, and he knows everything.
everywhere—looping through the air,                      For if our heart condemn us, God is
                                                         greater than our heart, and knoweth
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                                         I JOHN
                                            Chapter 3


        all things.                                If you have trusted Jesus as your Savior and
                                                   your heart condemns you at times,
C. H. Spurgeon                                     remember that He knows all about it and still
If you, with your narrow knowledge of right        loves you.
and wrong, — your imperfect understanding                     Guilt is a burden God
of your own motives, — if you find reason to           never intended His children to bear.
condemn yourself, what must be your
position before the bar of the all-seeing,         Prayer:
heartreading God? That little flutter in thy           Rises               forgiving heart
bosom, my friend, that trembling, that                 Recognizes          will of God
uneasiness, what means it? It not this a               Rests               promise of Christ
forewarning of the sounding of the trumpet             Relies              purpose of Christ
of the great assize, when thou wilt have to            Reckons             power of God
stand before the Judge of all the earth, and           Responds            Spirit of God
answer for thyself to him? It is easy to               Rejoices            answer from God
deceive thy fellow-man, but it is impossible
to deceive thy God.                                C. H. Spurgeon
                                                   Faith worketh by love, we believe on the
Ever Feel Condemned?                               name of the Lord Jesus, God’s well-beloved
God is greater than our heart, and knows all       and only-begotten Son and that faith leads
things. —1 John 3:20                               us to love all who bear his holy name.
God knows us better than we know                   It is not everyone who can have whatever he
ourselves. He's aware of our weaknesses,           chooses to ask of God in prayer. This
the memories of sins that seem to                  privilege is only granted to those who “keep
predispose us to fail again and again. He          his commandments, and do those things
knows our heredity and upbringing, the past        that are pleasing in his sight.”
and present influences that push us in the
wrong direction. J. I. Packer calls these the      Sermon Note
"latent forces" of our existence as well as        Our Love to God
the "patent facts."                                Tied to Him by a deep affection of faith
At my stage of Christian growth, I struggle        Love Our Brothers
with attitudes and actions over which I seem       Condition of being closely tied to another
to have little control. I identify with
Dostoevsky, who said, "It is nature asserting      Rest Upon Jesus
its rights." Paul called it "sin that dwells in    Freedom from labor, responsibility, or strain
me" (Romans 7:17). It has made me guilty
of much, and capable of much more. That's          Longing of Holiness
why my heart sometimes condemns me,                A fervent hope, wish, or goal
even though I'm a believer.
                                                   C. H. Spurgeon
God knows all about the forces that drive          Which we do not; and, therefore, our
me. He also knows the intent of my heart-          condemnation can never be so heavy as the
that I want to love others and desire to do        condemnation which God will bring upon us.
right. He knows my shame when I fail and is
quick to forgive when I confess (1 John 1:9).      Let the man, whose own conscience
This wonderful truth sets my heart at rest         accuses him, question himself as to how he
when I feel condemned, for "God is greater         will stand in the presence of the all-seeing
than my heart, and knows all things" (3:20).       God.
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                                                 judgment. He knows that we are dust and as
3:21    Beloved, if our heart does not           our God He is loving and patient towards us.
        condemn us, we have confidence           If it were true that the Lord would put the
        before God;                              Christian on the shelf every time he failed or
        Dear friends, if our hearts do not       blundered or did something wrong, I would
        condemn us, we have confidence           have been a piece of statuary by this time!
        before God
        Beloved, if our heart condemn us         It is surely true that God will bring judgment
        not, then have we confidence             when judgment is necessary, but the
        toward God.                              Scriptures say that judgment is God's
                                                 strange work. Where there is a lifetime of
3:21-22 If your conscience is clear, you can     rebellion, hardened unbelief and love of sin,
come to God without fear, confident that         judgment will come. But God watches over
your requests will be heard. John reaffirms      us for spiritual growth and maturity, trying to
Jesus’ promise that whatever we ask for will     teach us the necessity for fully trusting Him
be given to us (Matthew 7:7; see also            and coming to the place of complete distrust
Matthew 21:22; John 9:31; John 15:7). You        of ourselves. We have met God, and can
will receive if you obey and do what pleases     now say with Paul, That the excellency of
him because you will then be asking in line      the power may be of God and not of us.
with God’s will. Of course this does not
mean that you can have anything you want,        C. H. Spurgeon
like instant riches. If you are truly seeking    Other people may condemn us, but that
God’s will, there are some requests you will     does not matter; they may impute to us
not make.                                        wrong motives, and misrepresent us, but
                                                 that is no concern of ours so long as we
C. H. Spurgeon                                   have confidence toward God.
If we can feel in our own bosoms that, by
divine grace, we have been led to be             3:22    and whatever we ask we receive
honest, and upright, and true, before the                from Him, because we keep His
Lord, “then have we confidence toward                    commandments and do the things
God.”                                                    that are pleasing in His sight.
                                                         and receive from him anything we
Study Note                                               ask, because we obey his
Some look at such sayings as if our hearts               commands and do what pleases
do not condemn us as a condition we must                 him.
meet before God will answer our prayers.                 And whatsoever we ask, we receive
Yet, clearly John intends to encourage us.               of him, because we keep his
When we love, and our hearts do not                      commandments, and do those
condemn us, we know we are in a                          things that are pleasing in his sight.
relationship with God in which He can
answer our prayers.                              C. H. Spurgeon
                                                 Notice those conditions of answered prayer;
A.W. Tozer                                       we cannot expect God to grant us our
This is surely one of the great realizations     wishes if we do not conform to his will.
that can come to us in the Christian life, we    Holiness has a great deal to do with power
can put our complete confidence in the God       in prayer. It is not every man who prays who
who has revealed Himself to us! It was a         shall have whatever he asks for; but it is put
gracious day in my early Christian               so here, and it is notable that it is so put,
experience when I realized that it was not in    “Whatsoever we ask, we receive of him,
God's character to pounce upon me in             because we keep his commandments, and

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                                          I JOHN
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do those things that are pleasing in his            people it's a suburb of Battle Creek,
sight.” This is not mere legality, this is not a    interrupted the woman. I had a cousin from
matter of work-mongering. When we                   there. Did you know the McDowell family?
become God’s children, he treats us as a            Stunned, Josh responded, Yes, I'm Josh
father treats his child. You know what you          McDowell! I can't believe it, said the woman.
do with a boy who is disobedient; he asks           I'm a cousin to your mother. Do you
you for something that he wants, and you            remember anything at all about my mother's
say, “No, I cannot grant you that; your             spiritual life? asked Josh. Why such. Your
conduct is such that I cannot let you have          mom and I were just girls, teenagers, when
the pleasures that otherwise I would be             a tent revival came to town. It was the fourth
pleased to give you.” But you have another          night and we both went forward to accept
boy, who is very careful in all things to do his    Christ. Praise God! shouted Josh, startling
father’s will; and you have marked the              the surrounding fishermen.
anxiety of his heart to be obedient to you,
and you say, “Yes, my dear child, you may           If we are obedient to God, He delights to
have whatever you want. I know that you             give us what we ask when it is in His will.
would not have asked for it if you had not          We should never underestimate God's
thought that it would be agreeable to my            desire to respond to our prayers. A surprise
mind; and as you have asked that which is           answer may be just around the corner.
suitable for me to give, you may have it, and
I am glad to give it to you.” So is it in the            When we get definite with God,
fatherly discipline of the house of God; if we             He'll get definite with us.
do those things which are pleasing in his
sight, we shall have power to prevail with          C. H. Spurgeon
him in prayer.                                      Notice the link between confidence as to our
                                                    rightness and power in prayer. When a child
In His sight:                                       has done wrong, and knows it, he cannot
     Condemnation                                  run to his father, and ask for favors as he
     Comprehension                                 used to do; he feels timid in his father’s
     Consecration                                  presence because of the sense of his guilt.
     Conduct
                                                    But if you and I know that we have
Our Daily Bread                                     endeavored with all our heart to love the
While Josh McDowell was attending                   Lord and our fellow-men and to act
seminary in California, his father went Home        righteously in all things, we have a saved
to be with the Lord. His mother had died            confidence which enables us to speak with
years earlier, but Josh was unsure of her           God as a man speaketh with his friend; and
salvation. He became depressed, thinking            this kind of confidence God greatly loves
that she might be lost. Then he became              and he listens to those who possess it. Such
obsessed. Though it seemed like an                  people may ask what they will of God; they
impossible request, he prayed, Lord,                have learned to bring their minds into
somehow give me the answer so I can get             conformity with the will of God’s, so the
back to normal. I've just got to know.              desire of their heart shall be granted to
                                                    them.
Two days later, Josh drove out to the ocean.
He walked to the end of a pier to be alone.         A Surprise Answer
An old woman sitting in a lawn chair, fishing,      Whatever we ask we receive from Him,
started talking to him. Where's your home           because we keep His commandments and
originally? she asked. Michigan, Union City,        do those things that are pleasing in His
Josh replied. Nobody's heard of it. I tell          sight. —1 John 3:22

                                                                                               34
                                        I JOHN
                                           Chapter 3


                                                            commandment.
When Josh McDowell’s mother died, he was
not sure of her salvation. He became              3:23 In the Bible, a person’s name stands
depressed. Was she a Christian or not?            for his or her character. It represents who he
“Lord,” he prayed, “somehow give me the           or she really is. We are to believe not only in
answer so I can get back to normal. I’ve just     Jesus’ words, but also in his very person as
got to know.” It seemed like an impossible        the Son of God. Moreover, to believe “in the
request.                                          name” means to pattern your life after
                                                  Christ’s, to become more like him by uniting
Two days later, Josh drove out to the ocean       yourself with him. And if we are living like
and walked to the end of a pier to be alone.      Christ, we will “love one another.”
There sat an elderly woman in a lawn chair,
fishing. “Where’s your home originally?” she      C. H. Spurgeon
asked. “Michigan—Union City,” Josh replied.       That is a great mystery, for us to dwell in
“Nobody’s heard of it. I tell people it’s a       God, and for God to dwell in us. It is even
suburb of—” “Battle Creek,” interrupted the       so, but only he who knows it can understand
woman. “I had a cousin from there. Did you        it. Experience alone can explain our dwelling
know the McDowell family?”                        in God and God dwelling in us.

Stunned, Josh responded, “Yes, I’m Josh           Faith and love-faith in Christ, and love to
McDowell.” “I can’t believe it,” said the         one another,-are here most happily joined
woman. “I’m a cousin to your mother.” “Do         together; let us never put them asunder.
you remember anything at all about my
mother’s spiritual life?” asked Josh. “Why        On:
sure—your mom and I were just girls—                       Believe on     Name of Son
teenagers—when a tent revival came to                      Build on       Holy faith
town. We both went forward to accept                       Put on         Holy habit
Christ.” “Praise God!” shouted Josh, startling             Go on          Enable Spirit
the surrounding fishermen.                                 Mediate        Lord’s things
                                                           Wait on        Power
God delights to give us what we ask when it
is in His will. Never underestimate His desire    Prayer Malfunction
to respond to our prayers. A surprise may be      This is His commandment: that we should
just around the corner.                           believe on the name of His Son Jesus Christ
                                                  and love one another. —1 John 3:23
       If you get definite with God,
        He’ll get definite with you.              In a box of my father's old tools I found a
                                                  hand drill that was at least 60 years old. I
3:23    And this is His commandment, that         could barely get the wheel to turn. The gears
        we believe in the name of His Son         were clogged with dirt, and the pieces that
        Jesus Christ, and love one another,       hold the drill bit in place were missing. But I
        just as He commanded us.                  wanted to see if I could get it to work.
        And this is his command: to
        believe in the name of his Son,           I began by wiping the accumulated dirt and
        Jesus Christ, and to love one             sawdust off the gears. Then I oiled them. At
        another as he commanded us.               first they turned hard and slow, but I kept
        And this is his commandment, That         working them. Soon the gears were turning
        we should believe on the name of          smoothly. Then I saw a cap at the top of the
        his Son Jesus Christ, and love one        handle. Unscrewing it, I discovered the
        another, as he gave us                    missing parts that would hold the bit in
                                                                                              35
                                        I JOHN
                                            Chapter 3


place. I placed them in the drill, inserted a
bit, and easily bored a neat hole in a piece       C. H. Spurgeon
of wood.                                           If he hath given us the Spirit of Christ, then
                                                   Christ himself is in us, if he hath given us the
Working with that old drill taught me              Spirit of love, that also is the evidence that
something about prayer. Jesus said we will         Christ himself abideth in us. Oh, for more of
receive from God what we ask of Him                that blessed Spirit in every one of us!
(Matthew 7:7-8). But there are conditions.
For example, John said we must obey God            Though this great truth of our dwelling in
and do what pleases Him (1 John 3:22).             God, and God dwelling in us, is a great
This includes believing in His Son and loving      mystery, it is a mystery concerning which we
one another (v.23). If we don't meet God's         need not be in doubt if we will learn of the
conditions, our prayers will be ineffective—       Holy Spirit what he delights to teach us.
just like that old drill.
                                                   Follow Me:
If your prayer-life is malfunctioning, make             Obedience is proof
sure you're meeting the conditions. When                Meaning of faith
you do, you can be confident that your                  Response of love
prayers will be effective.                              Evidence of union
                                                        Soul of holiness
              Faith and love                            Mark of abiding in Him
       are vital to effective prayer.
                                                        Brings the Holy Spirit
3:24    And the one who keeps His
                                                   College Applicant Accepted As
        commandments abides in Him, and
                                                   "Follower"
        He in him. And we know by this that
                                                   S.I. McMillen, in his book None of These
        He abides in us, by the Spirit whom
                                                   Diseases, tells a story of a young woman
        He has given us.
                                                   who wanted to go to college, but her heart
        Those who obey his commands
                                                   sank when she read the question on the
        live in him, and he in them. And
                                                   application blank that asked, "Are you a
        this is how we know that he lives
                                                   leader?"     Being    both     honest    and
        in us: We know it by the Spirit he
                                                   conscientious, she wrote, "No," and returned
        gave us.
                                                   the application, expecting the worst.
        and he that keepeth his
        commandments dwelleth in him,
                                                   To her surprise, she received this letter from
        and he in him. And hereby we know
                                                   the college: "Dear Applicant: A study of the
        that he abideth in us, by the Spirit
                                                   application forms reveals that this year our
        which he hath given us.
                                                   college will have 1,452 new leaders. We are
                                                   accepting you because we feel it is
3:24 The mutual relationship, living in Christ
                                                   imperative that they have at least one
as he lives in us, shows itself in Christians
                                                   follower."
who keep these three essential commands:

    1. Believe in Christ,                          Double Blessing:
    2. Love the brothers and sisters, and              Rest
    3. Live morally upright lives.                     Meetness
                                                       Supply
The Spirit’s presence is not only spiritual            Peace
and mystical, but it is also practical. Our            Keeping
conduct verifies his presence.                         Indwelling

                                                                                                36
                                        I JOHN
                                           Chapter 3


       Life and Joy                              C. H. Spurgeon
                                                  Oh, to be more and more under the saved
C. H. Spurgeon                                    influence of that blessed Spirit!
Holy Spirit, dwell in me, and teach me the
meaning of this precious Word, for Christ’s
                                                  Open It
sake! Amen.
                                                  01.  Who is someone (in history or alive
Experiencing God:
                                                       today) whose life is an example of
    Experiencing God                                  what it means to love?
    Faith                                        ___________________________________
    Holy Spirit                                  ___________________________________
    Incarnation                                  ___________________________________
    Knowing God                                  ___________________________________
    Perception and reality                       ___________________________________
    Spirituality                                 ___________________________________

There is a splendid moment in the movie           02.  Who is someone (in history or alive
Jurassic      Park,     when      world-class          today) whose life is an example of
paleontologist Allen Grant, who has devoted            what it means to hate?
his life to the study of dinosaurs, suddenly      ___________________________________
comes face-to-face with real, live prehistoric    ___________________________________
creatures. He falls to the ground,                ___________________________________
dumbstruck. The reason is obvious. It is one      ___________________________________
thing to piece together an informed but           ___________________________________
nonetheless imperfect image of dinosaurs          ___________________________________
by picking through fossils and bones. But to
encounter an actual dinosaur—well, there
can be no comparison.                             Explore It
                                                  03.  What message had the readers of 1
For many people, spirituality amounts to               John heard from the beginning? (3:11)
picking through the artifacts of faith that       ___________________________________
survive from long ago and far away. In that       ___________________________________
bygone era, humans saw God, heard his             ___________________________________
voice, and experienced his awesome, at            ___________________________________
times terrible, power. But that was then.         ___________________________________
Today, those kinds of gripping encounters         ___________________________________
with God—with a God who wasn't an
illusion, but Someone who was real,               04.  Why did Cain murder his brother?
Someone you could see, and touch, and                  (3:12)
feel—well, there could be no comparison.          ___________________________________
                                                  ___________________________________
Abiding in Christ:                                ___________________________________
    Not practicing sin                           ___________________________________
    Keeping God’s commandments                   ___________________________________
    Bearing fruit                                ___________________________________
    Loving each other
    Walking as He walked                         05.  About what should believers not be
    Continuing in His Word                            surprised? (3:13)
    Faithfulness to His truth                    ___________________________________
                                                  ___________________________________
                                                                                         37
                                         I JOHN
                                         Chapter 3


___________________________________             ___________________________________
___________________________________             ___________________________________
___________________________________             ___________________________________
___________________________________             ___________________________________
                                                ___________________________________
06.  How can a person know that he or           ___________________________________
     she has passed from death to life?
     (3:14)                                     12.  What is the result of not being
___________________________________                  condemned by one’s heart? (3:21-22)
___________________________________             ___________________________________
___________________________________             ___________________________________
___________________________________             ___________________________________
___________________________________             ___________________________________
___________________________________             ___________________________________
                                                ___________________________________
07.  What is the result of hating one’s
     brother? (3:15)                            13. What is God’s command? (3:23)
___________________________________             ___________________________________
___________________________________             ___________________________________
___________________________________             ___________________________________
___________________________________             ___________________________________
___________________________________             ___________________________________
___________________________________             ___________________________________

08. How do we know what love is? (3:16)         14.  What is the result of obeying God’s
___________________________________                  command? (3:24)
___________________________________             ___________________________________
___________________________________             ___________________________________
___________________________________             ___________________________________
___________________________________             ___________________________________
___________________________________             ___________________________________
                                                ___________________________________
09.  What question did the author ask his
     readers? (3:17)                            15.  How do believers know that God lives
___________________________________                  in them? (3:24)
___________________________________             ___________________________________
___________________________________             ___________________________________
___________________________________             ___________________________________
___________________________________             ___________________________________
___________________________________             ___________________________________
                                                ___________________________________
10. How should Christians love? (3:18)
___________________________________
                                                Get It
___________________________________
___________________________________             16.  How does the world hate believers
___________________________________                  today?
___________________________________             ___________________________________
___________________________________             ___________________________________
                                                ___________________________________
11.   What is God greater than? (3:20)          ___________________________________

                                                                                      38
                                    I JOHN
                                       Chapter 3


___________________________________                rather than actions?
___________________________________           ___________________________________
                                              ___________________________________
17.  When have you experienced the            ___________________________________
     hatred of the world?                     ___________________________________
___________________________________           ___________________________________
___________________________________           ___________________________________
___________________________________
___________________________________           23.  In what way does love result in life,
___________________________________                and hate result in death?
___________________________________           ___________________________________
                                              ___________________________________
18.  What does it mean to love one’s          ___________________________________
     brother?                                 ___________________________________
___________________________________           ___________________________________
___________________________________           ___________________________________
___________________________________
___________________________________
___________________________________
                                              Apply It
___________________________________
                                              24.  For what fellow Christian whom you
19.  When do you struggle with loving              have difficulty loving will you do
     other Christians?                             something kind this week?
___________________________________           ___________________________________
___________________________________           ___________________________________
___________________________________           ___________________________________
___________________________________           ___________________________________
___________________________________           ___________________________________
___________________________________           ___________________________________

20.  How do you demonstrate your love for     25.  How can you use your material
     fellow believers?                             possessions to love another believer
___________________________________                this week?
___________________________________           ___________________________________
___________________________________           ___________________________________
___________________________________           ___________________________________
___________________________________           ___________________________________
___________________________________           ___________________________________
                                              ___________________________________
21.  Why do we struggle with loving other
     Christians   with   our     material     26.  What specific step will you take this
     possessions?                                  week to put your love for another
___________________________________                Christian into action?
___________________________________           ___________________________________
___________________________________           ___________________________________
___________________________________           ___________________________________
___________________________________           ___________________________________
___________________________________           ___________________________________
                                              ___________________________________
22.   Why is it easier to love with words

                                                                                     39

				
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