Lovers of God
The letter of 1 John reminds us of who we are as Christians, which necessarily flows from rightly understanding who Christ is. Responding to false teachers, the letter provides clear identifiers of true believers. It draws heavily on the language and themes from the Gospel of John such as light, life, love, sin, obedience, and family. Rather than a logical-sequential argument that builds from one passage to the next, topics are introduced and then returned to multiple times. Therefore, each of our teachings will begin with a particular passage but draw significant insight and expression from parallel passages in 1 John and the Gospel of John. Our goal, like John's, is to provide clear expressions of a faithful Christian life by looking at both our identity and our activity as Christians. Join us in our study of 1 John!
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We encourage you to spend some time with God this week and go a bit deeper on this topic. Please consider these study questions for further reflection:
The way God says we show Him love is to obey the commands He gives us. Notice we're not commanded to love God, we're told IF we love Him, we show it by obeying. How is it different to feel we HAVE to obey God vs we WANT to obey God? What is the difference in attitude and what causes it?
When we focus on following the 'rules' of religion vs the relationship with God, we are focusing on actions that appear righteous on the outside, but don't necessarily show a changed heart. When we focus on loving God, our obedience is a byproduct of that love. Do you feel burdened to obey God, or do you have a desire that comes out a deep love for Him?
We will fail in following God's commandments because we ARE sinners. Yet, if we confess our sin to Him, He forgives us completely. It is only because of His perfect love that we are delivered from this 'body of death', as Paul says in Romans 7:24-25. If you know that God forgives your sin and wants you to obey Him, what is stopping you? Do you trust God that His way is the RIGHT way for your life?
Additional Scriptures to explore: 1 John 2:1-6; Matthew 25:34-36, 40; John 14:15, 21; Matthew 6:1; 1 John 5:3; Romans 7:18-19, 24-25