1 JOHN 1:1-4 1That which was from the beginning, which we have heard, which we have seen with our eyes, which we have looked upon, and our hands have handled, concerning the Word of life—2the life was manifested, and we have seen, and bear witness, and declare to you that eternal life which was with the Father and was manifested to us—3that which we have seen and heard we declare to you, that you also may have fellowship with us; and truly our fellowship is with the Father and with His Son Jesus Christ. 4And these things we write to you that your joy may be full.
In today’s teaching I would like to focus on these powerful words stated by John – “… that you also may have fellowship with us…” In generally we all will agree that John is saying that John is writing from his own experience and letting us know that we can have the same experience. Let us look a little closer to these awesome words and learn some awesome truths through this passage.
FIRST LESSON: We have seen in 1 John 5:19 that every Christian can know without a doubt that they are saved and will go to heaven. Again John is sharing the same message. Salvation is a definite thing and a certain experience. Christians are aware what they have and possess. Christians don’t have to be in doubt about their salvation. We see the same theme being repeated in the bible. Looking at 2 Timothy 1:12 notice the words from the apostle Paul that he “knows” his God. This leads us to ask ourselves some questions like do we know for sure that we are saved? Do we have a living relationship with God or is it just tradition and a set of rules? Is God real for us affecting our daily life? If not we better invite Jesus into our lives so we can be sure of our salvation. Also having this assurance of salvation is essential to having this joy that we talked about in 1 John 1:4.
SECOND LESSON: The second lesson we can learn from these few words is that through these words John is saying that we can experience the same as he does. This shows us that every Christian experience in the life of a believer is always the same. If our experience is against God’s word it is not correct, it is from the devil. If nobody experienced it or is experiencing it at the moment we better test the spirit, maybe it is not from God but from the devil. The Christian experience is one which is possible for all and not just a few chosen ones.
Every Christian can experience the same as his brothers and sisters. This also means that we can have the same experience as the early church… signs, wonders, miracles, etc. It is available for all Disciples of Christ. Isn’t that awesome? All we have to do is believe it and desire it….
THIRD LESSON: Notice the word “us”, Christianity is not something you can do on your own. It is very important to have regular fellowship with other Christians so you can have prayer and bible study. In Hebrew 10:25 the apostle Paul says the same thing, encouraging Christians to meet up together on a regular basis. Be aware that having fellowship is not just socializing, although it can be part but it should be the smallest part of fellowship. Fellowship is studying and interacting about the things of God, spending time with other Christians in studying the word of God and prayer.
It happens so quick today that people leave a certain fellowship and just stay at home or don’t settle in a church but go from one place to another place. All these Christians are in great danger of falling away. Satan is like a lion that tries to separate their prey and when they are all alone and vulnerable the lion will attack to devour. Once a Christian leaves their church and don’t have regular fellowship anymore it will not be long before that person will fall away and no longer follow our LORD and Savior. Therefore John encourages every Christian to have fellowship so every Christian can be encouraged and strengthened in their walk with the LORD.
FOURTH LESSON: Christians not only know what they have, but they are also very anxious for all others to have it and experience it too. Notice how eager John is to share his testimony about what God has done in his life. Ask yourself are you anxious to share about everything God is doing in your life or has done in your life?
Notice that John is not using difficult words or theology to describe his experience. No he is using simple language and talking about his own experience what God has shown him and what God has done in his life. Being afraid to share the gospel because we don’t know enough of the bible is an excuse. Notice that according to John we don’t need to know the bible inside out to share the gospel. All we have to do is share our testimony and all Christians have a testimony otherwise we haven’t really been saved. Share your testimony with others what God has done and is doing in your life?
What is your attitude toward people around you? Compassion? Really all Christians should have a missionary spirit; this desire to share what they experience. Look and learn from John.
Summary of today’s teaching. John is challenging us as Christians that every believer can know without a doubt that he will be going to heaven. Also that Christianity is not just for some people but for everyone that is willing and open to receive from our Lord Jesus Christ. Also every Christian need to have regular bible study and prayer with other Christians so they can be encouraged and strengthened in their walk and never fall away or backslide. Finally all Christians should have a missionary spirit and share with the people around them how God has changed them and set them free from bondage.
STUDY GUIDE FOR SMALL GROUPS
· Start with 1 or 2 Icebreaker(s) if necessary
o What do you do when you feel lonely?
o Which rule in your parents’ house do you appreciate the most? Why?
1. Who remembers last weeks teaching? (Last weeks message was about the importance of declaring the word of God and also that we need to have confidence and need to know the God we serve.)
2. 1 JOHN 1:1-4 – please read this passage and meditate on the passage in 1 JOHN 1:3 “…that you also may have fellowship with us.” After meditating on this passage for a few minutes share your thoughts in the group…
3. In today’s teaching I want to discuss this passage and see what we can learn from these powerful words that John is sharing with us. In your own words what does this passage mean to you? (Do we all agree that John is writing to us from his experience and saying we can share in his experience?)
4. FIRST LESSON: As said before looking at 1 John 5:19 we saw that Christians are people who know what they have. Salvation is a definite and a certain experience. Christians are aware what they possess. They are not in doubt what have happened to them. Ask yourself do you have this assurance of salvation as John says we Christians should have? Do you know God and that who you are following is not a set of rules but a living person?
5. 2 TIM. 1:12 – When you look at this passage do you notice that the apostle Paul says that he “knows”, what does and who does he know? (He knows His God. There is no doubt that the God HE serves is worthy to be served.)
6. Can you say the same as John and Paul? Do you know God? Open up for discussion if the LORD leads…(Having his assurance of salvation is essential to having this joy that we talked about in 1 John 1:4.)
7. SECOND LESSON: John says we can experience with him this means that a Christian experience in the life of all believers is always the same. If our experience is against God’s word it is not correct, it is from the devil. If nobody experienced it before and nobody is experiencing it at the moment test the spirit, maybe it is not from God but from the devil. The Christian experience is one which is possible for ALL. We can experience exactly the same as the first disciples and apostles during the time of Jesus. The experience is not for certain personalities – it is for ALL. Do you believe this truth? Would you like to experience what John experienced? Please share… (It is available all we have to do is believe it.)
8. THIRD LESSON: Notice the word “us”, Christianity is not something you can do on your own. It is very important to have fellowship with other Christians. If you don’t have regular fellowship, prayer and bible study together with other brothers and sisters you will very quickly fall away and eventually even loose salvation. Share your thoughts…..
9. HEBREW 10:25 – What is the apostle Paul encouraging us to do as Christians? (Encouraging Christians to meet up together on a regular basis.)
10. Why do you think it is so important for us as Christians to meet up together? Think about what a wolf or lion does before he attacks his pray. (The lion will go for the weakest and will wait until his pray is separated from the flock so that he is vulnerable and weak, so that he can be attacked and devoured. Satan does exactly the same. Satan will try to discourage every Christian or if he can’t discourage him, he will try to get them too busy to have regular fellowship. What will the automatic result be? The Christians faith weakens and not long later Satan will attack the person and get the person to totally give up on following Christ.)
11. Do you recognize this pattern in your life? What should we as Christians be very careful of and what should be our priority in life? (Be sure to have regular fellowship and bible study. Belong to a church community where you grow and receive teaching. No matter what happens be sure to never withdraw from a fellowship, so you will never be on your own.)
12. FOURTH LESSON: Christians not only know what they have, but they are also very anxious for all others to have it and experience it too. Notice how eager John is to share his testimony about what God has done in his life. Ask yourself are you anxious to share about everything God is doing in your life or has done in your life? Please share….
13. Notice that John is not using difficult words or theology to describe his experience. No he is using simple language and talking about his own experience what God has shown him and what God has done in his life. Ask yourself are you afraid to share the gospel because you don’t know enough of the bible? Notice that according to John we don’t need to know the bible inside out to share the gospel. All we have to do is share our testimony and we all have a testimony otherwise we haven’t really been saved. Share your testimony what God has done in your life?
14. MATTHEW 9:36 – when we have this experience of salvation love and compassion should grow in our hearts for those who are lost and don’t have a shepherd. Ask yourself are you sorry for people in the world around you who lack this Christian experience and are under the power of satan? Are you angry with satan how is deceiving all these people and keeping them away from experiencing eternal life? Share your thoughts….
15. What is your attitude toward people around you? Compassion? Really all Christians should have a missionary spirit; this desire to share what they experience. Share your thoughts…
16. Please share in your own words how you feel about the whole teaching and what blessed you and strengthened you most?
Open up for ministry time if necessary…..