1, 2, 3 John and Jude: Established in Truth ... Marked by Love

1, 2, 3 John and Jude: Established in Truth ... Marked by Love

by John MacArthur

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Overview

In the face of false teachings about Jesus, the apostle John took a direct approach. “I heard Jesus speak,” he wrote. “I saw him . . . I even touched him.” Just as we would write about someone we knew and loved, John told the early believers the truth about the Savior. But he didn’t let them off the hook without an examination of their lives. “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us” (1 John 1:9).

John was not alone in his concern about the influence of false teachers in the early church. Jude, a half-brother of Christ, also wrote to the believers. In his letter, he firmly warned against defecting from true biblical faith, urged all believers to fight for truth, and encouraged all followers of Jesus to stand firm in spite of intense spiritual warfare.

The Mac Arthur Bible Studies provide intriguing examinations of the whole of Scripture. Each guide incorporates extensive commentary, detailed observations on overriding themes, and probing questions to help you study the Word of God with guidance from John Mac Arthur.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780718035181
Publisher: HarperChristian Resources
Publication date: 06/28/2016
Series: MacArthur Bible Studies
Pages: 128
Sales rank: 650,937
Product dimensions: 5.90(w) x 8.90(h) x 0.50(d)

About the Author

John Mac Arthur has served as pastor-teacher of Grace Community Church in Sun Valley, California, since 1969. His ministry of expository preaching is unparalleled in its breadth and influence. In more than five decades of ministry from the same pulpit, he has preached verse by verse through the entire New Testament and several key sections of the Old Testament. He is Chancellor of the Master’s University and Seminary, and can be heard daily on the Grace to You radio broadcast (carried on hundreds of radio stations worldwide). He has authored numerous bestselling books, including Twelve Ordinary Men and One Perfect Life.

For more details about John Mac Arthur and his Bible-teaching resources, contact Grace to You at 800-55-GRACE or gty.org.

Read an Excerpt

1, 2, 3 John and Jude

Established in Truth ... Marked by Love


By John MacArthur

Thomas Nelson

Copyright © 2007 John MacArthur
All rights reserved.
ISBN: 978-0-7180-3537-2



CHAPTER 1

Christ and Sin

1 John 1:1–2:2


Drawing Near

The apostle John was older when he wrote these three little epistles. His mature faith and godly example come through strongly. It is always a blessing to spend time with an older saint — someone who has known the Lord and walked with Him for a long time. List one or two "mentors" in your life, those mature Christians you greatly respect. Describe some of their unique qualities.

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The Context

As an eyewitness to Jesus' ministry, including His death and resurrection, and as one of the three most intimate associates of the Lord (together with Peter and James), John begins his first epistle by affirming the physical reality of Jesus Christ's having come "in the flesh" (see 4:2–3 NKJV). In this way, John accentuated the gravity of the false teaching that was permeating the church. He strongly affirmed the historical reality of Jesus' humanity and the certainty of the gospel. Although the false teachers of John's day claimed to believe in Christ, their denial of the true nature of Christ (i.e., His humanity) demonstrated their lack of genuine salvation. This affirmation of a proper view of Christ constitutes the first test of genuine fellowship.

Next, John affirms the reality of sin, in order to counter the false teachers who denied the existence or importance of sin. This was a second test of fellowship: Those who deny the reality of sin demonstrate their lack of genuine salvation.


Keys to the Text

Confess: This word comes from the Greek word homologeo, and means "to say the same thing." To confess our sins means to agree with God about them. This is a characteristic of all true Christians. They agree with God about their sin. That means they hate their sin; they don't love it. They acknowledge that they are sinful, and yet they know they are forgiven and that they have an Advocate with the Father.

Advocate: The Greek word is parakletos, literally, "one who is called to our side" This Greek term refers to the position of a comforter, consoler, or defense attorney. John 16:7 translates this word as "Helper" (literally "one called alongside"). Perhaps a modern concept of the term would be a defense attorney. Although Satan prosecutes believers night and day before the Father regarding their sin, Christ's High-Priestly ministry guarantees acquittal. In John 14:26 and 15:26, the Holy Spirit is called the Advocate for believers. The Holy Spirit works within us to comfort and help us and also pleads our case before the Father in heaven.


Unleashing the Text

Read 1 John 1:1 — 2:2, noting the key words and definitions next to the passage.


1 John 1:1–2:2 (NKJV)

1 That 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

2 the 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

3 that 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.

4 And these things we write to you that your joy may be full.

5 This is the message which we have heard from Him and declare to you, that God is light and in Him is no darkness at all.

6 If we say that we have fellowship with Him, and walk in darkness, we lie and do not practice the truth.

7 But if we walk in the light as He is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus Christ His Son cleanses us from all sin.

8 If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us.

9 If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.

10 If we say that we have not sinned, we make Him a liar, and His word is not in us.

2:1 My little children, these things I write to you, so that you may not sin. And if anyone sins, we have an Advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous.

2 And He Himself is the propitiation for our sins, and not for ours only but also for the whole world.


1) In verses 1–4, John stated his purpose for writing this epistle. What was that purpose?

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2) How did John describe his experience with Christ in the opening sentences of his epistle?


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3) What does the Bible mean when it says God is light? (Use a concordance to look up other verses that refer to God in these terms.)

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4) What did John mean by the phrase "walk in the light"? What does this manner of life demonstrate?

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5) According to John, what are the signs that a person is deceived and not living by the truth?

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6) What is God's response to those who honestly confess their sins?

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Going Deeper

For more insight about light and darkness, read Romans 13:11–14.

11 And do this, knowing the time, that now it is high time to awake out of sleep; for now our salvation is nearer than when we first believed.

12 The night is far spent, the day is at hand. Therefore let us cast off the works of darkness, and let us put on the armor of light.

13 Let us walk properly, as in the day, not in revelry and drunkenness, not in lewdness and lust, not in strife and envy.

14 But put on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make no provision for the flesh, to fulfill its lusts.


Exploring the Meaning

7) What added insights does the apostle Paul provide in Romans 13 about the importance of being light in the midst of a dark world? How does he contrast these two ways of living?

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8) Why was John so adamant in the opening paragraph of his epistle about his firsthand experience with Christ?

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9) What does confession have to do with gaining forgiveness in 1 John 1:9? How is admission of sin and guilt a prerequisite to salvation?

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10) Why did John have such a high view of Christ, the "Word of life"?

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Truth for Today

Many people doubt whether Jesus ever really existed, but many historians have written about the Lord Jesus Christ. Around AD 114, the Roman historian Tacitus wrote that the founder of the Christian religion, Jesus Christ, was put to death by Pontius Pilate in the reign of the Roman emperor Tiberius (Annals 15.44). In AD 90, the Jewish historian Josephus penned a short biographical note on Jesus: "Now there was about this time Jesus, a wise man, if it be lawful to call Him a man, for He was a doer of wonderful works, a teacher of such men as received the truth with pleasure. He drew over to Him both many of the Jews and many of the Gentiles. He was Christ" (Antiquities 18.63). Jesus was a man in history. And His claims are true.


Reflecting on the Text

11) John began this epistle by telling of his personal encounter with Jesus. What is your testimony to the reality of Christ? When did you first know He is the way, the truth, and the life, and when did you put your faith in Him?

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12) Are you walking in the light and living in joy because of your fellowship with Christ and other believers? If not, what sins do you need to confess and forsake today?

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Personal Response

Write out additional reflections, questions you may have, or a prayer.

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Additional Notes

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CHAPTER 2

Obedience and Love

1 John 2:3–17


Drawing Near

If a stranger approached you on the street corner and asked, "What must I do to be saved?" how would you respond?

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If that same stranger inquired, "Tell me how you know for sure that you are right with God and headed for heaven," how would you respond?

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The Context

The first chapter of 1 John presents a doctrinal test of genuine salvation. Here in chapter 2, John cites a moral test of genuine fellowship: obedience to God's commands. While subjective assurance of salvation comes through the internal witness of the Holy Spirit (see 1 John 5:10), the test of obedience constitutes objective assurance that one is genuinely saved. John's argument is that obedience is the external, visible proof of salvation. The false teachers' failure to obey God's commands objectively demonstrated that they were not saved. Those who are truly enlightened and know God will be obedient to His Word.

Another aspect of the moral test of genuine fellowship is love. The primary focus of the moral test is obedience to the command of love, because love is the fulfillment of the law and is also Christ's new command (Matt. 22:34–40; John 15:12, 17). True enlightenment is to love. God's light is the light of love, so to walk in light is to walk in love.


Keys to the Text

World: This term comes from the Greek word kosmos. It does not refer to the physical earth or universe, but rather to the spiritual reality of the man-centered, Satan-directed system of this present age. It refers to the self-centered, godless value system and mores of fallen mankind. The goal of the world is self-glory, self-fulfillment, self-indulgence, self-satisfaction, and every other form of self-service, all of which amount to hostility toward God.


Unleashing the Text

Read 1 John 2:3–17, noting the key words and definitions next to the passage.


1 John 2:3–17 (NKJV)

3 Now by this we know that we know Him, if we keep His commandments.

4 He who says, "I know Him" and does not keep His commandments, is a liar, and the truth is not in him.

5 But whoever keeps His word, truly the love of God is perfected in him. By this we know that we are in Him.

6 He who says he abides in Him ought himself also to walk just as He walked.

7 Brethren, I write no new commandment to you, but an old commandment which you have had from the beginning. The old commandment is the word which you heard from the beginning.

8 Again, a new commandment I write to you, which thing is true in Him and in you, because the darkness is passing away, and the true light is already shining.

9 He who says he is in the light, and hates his brother, is in darkness until now.

10 He who loves his brother abides in the light, and there is no cause for stumbling in him.

11 But he who hates his brother is in darkness and walks in darkness, and does not know where he is going, because the darkness has blinded his eyes.

12 I write to you, little children, because your sins are forgiven you for His name's sake.

13 I write to you, fathers, because you have known Him who is from the beginning. I write to you, young men, because you have overcome the wicked one. I write to you, little children, because you have known the Father.

14 I have written to you, fathers, because you have known Him who is from the beginning. I have written to you, young men, because you are strong, and the word of God abides in you, and you have overcome the wicked one.

15 Do not love the world or the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him.

16 For all that is in the world — the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life — is not of the Father but is of the world.

17 And the world is passing away, and the lust of it; but he who does the will of God abides forever.


1) What is obedience, and why is it essential in the Christian life?

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2) What did John mean when he said that we must walk as Jesus did?

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3) In verses 9 and 10, John presented another test of true fellowship. What is it?

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4) To what three groups of people was John writing? What do these descriptive titles mean?

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5) What was John's strong warning in verses 15–17? What are the consequences of heeding/dismissing this command?

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6) According to this passage, what are we supposed to love, and what are we not supposed to love?

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(Continues...)

Excerpted from 1, 2, 3 John and Jude by John MacArthur. Copyright © 2007 John MacArthur. Excerpted by permission of Thomas Nelson.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

Table of Contents

Contents

Introduction to 1 John, 1,
1 Christ and Sin 1 John 1:1–2:2, 7,
2 Obedience and Love 1 John 2:3–17, 15,
3 Antichrists 1 John 2:18–27, 23,
4 Purity 1 John 2:28–3:24, 31,
5 True and False Doctrine 1 John 4:1–6, 41,
6 Love 1 John 4:7–21, 49,
7 The Victorious Life 1 John 5:1–5, 57,
8 The Testimony of God 1 John 5:6–12, 65,
9 Christian Certainties 1 John 5:13–21, 73,
Introduction to 2 John and 3 John, 81,
10 Hospitality, Part 1 2 John, 85,
11 Hospitality, Part 2 3 John, 93,
Introduction to Jude, 101,
12 Apostasy Jude, 105,

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