Rev. Ronald C. Purkey claims no originality for this Bible study outline.
However, every Bible study posted on this website has been taught by Rev. Purkey.
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INTRODUCTION: Our message today is found in the second half of 1 John 3.
A. The love of Jesus Christ has been the most compelling force in all history!
The Apostle Paul could write to his Corinthian converts and say, "The love of Christ constrains me," 2 Corinthians 5:14). It drove him out into all the cities of the ancient world. Throughout the centuries that have followed, the love of Christ is the one force that has succeeded in breaking through the hard crust of human hate and suspicion. Time and time again it has melted the cruel, stopped the rebellious, and changed the hardhearted.
B. The love of Jesus Christ is the theme to which we now come in 1 John 3.
John has been talking about maintaining fellowship, maintaining truth, maintaining righteousness, and now he comes to the theme of maintaining love. It begins in 1 John 3:1-10 and continues in our lesson for today.
I. HATRED IN THE HEART. (1John 3:11-15))
A. The Message Of The Lord. (1 John 3:11)
(1 John 3:11) For this is the message that ye heard from the beginning, that we should love one another.
John often speaks in this epistle about “the beginning.” The beginning he is talking about is the incarnation of Christ.
“For this is the message that ye heard from the beginning, that we should love one another.” John is merely reaffirming here what the Lord Jesus had taught: “By this shall all men know that ye are my disciples, if ye have love one to another” (John 13:35).
Note: When the Apostle John became too infirm to preach, he used often to say no more than this, "Little children, love one another." His hearers at last wearied of it, and said, "Master, why dost thou always say this?" "It is the Lord's command," he replied; "and if this alone is done, it is enough."
B. The Sin Of Abel’s Brother. (1 John 3:12)
(1 John 3:12) Not as Cain, who was of that wicked one, and slew his brother. And wherefore slew he him? Because his own works were evil, and his brother’s righteous.
Cain is identified as a spiritual child of the devil. His brother Abel is identified as a child of God. Cain’s act of murder was the height of hatred, and therefore came from the wicked one: “He that committeth sin is of the devil; for the devil sinneth from the beginning. For this purpose the Son of God was manifested, that he might destroy the works of the devil” (1 John 3:8).
C. The Animosity Of The World.
(1 John 3:13) Marvel not, my brethren, if the world hate you.
1. Don’t be surprised.
John says, “Don’t act as if some strange or weird thing has happened to you if the world doesn’t accept you, because the world is not going to accept you.” John makes it very clear all the way through this epistle that he is merely passing along the teachings which the Lord Jesus Christ Himself gave.
In John 15:18-19 the Lord Jesus said, “If the world hate you, ye know that it hated me before it hated you. If ye were of the world, the world would love his own: but because ye are not of the world, but I have chosen you out of the world, therefore the world hateth you.”
2. Don’t be obnoxious.
The child of God needs to recognize that the world will hate him. There is an offense of the Cross, but we should guard against magnifying the offense by making ourselves objectionable and obnoxious. Many Christians do that, but they would be obnoxious whether they were Christians or not. Those Christians need to ask God to change them.
D. The Tie That Binds. (1 John 3:14)
(1 John 3:14) We know that we have passed from death unto life, because we love the brethren. He that loveth not his brother abideth in death.
Love for fellow believers is evidence that one has passed from the realm of death to the sphere of life. The tense of the verb have passed indicates that something experienced in the past has continuing and permanent results in the present. Therefore John is saying that Christians, who have experienced Christ’s salvation in the past, should demonstrate their salvation by loving their fellow believers in the present.
E. The Sure Way To Not Please God. (1 John 3:15)
(1 John 3:15) Whosoever hateth his brother is a murderer: and ye know that no murderer hath eternal life abiding in him.
Those who do not love their fellow Christian brothers and sisters are not living in the light but instead are living in the darkness. “But he that hateth his brother is in darkness, and walketh in darkness, and knoweth not whither he goeth, because that darkness hath blinded his eyes.” (1 John 2:11).
The “haters” are not abiding in life but in death (verse 14). What they are doing is not of God but of the devil (verse 8). Eternal life is not abiding in these believers in the sense that it is not the controlling factor in their lives.
II. LOVE IN ACTION. (1 John 3:16-18)
A. Jesus Christ Is Our Example. (1 John 3:16)
(1 John 3:16) Hereby perceive we the love of God, because he laid down his life for us: and we ought to lay down our lives for the brethren.
This is the real proof that God loves us: God the Father gave His Son to die for us. That is the standard -- He is our example. Therefore, John says that we should be willing to lay down our lives for the brethren. Until you and I have come up to that high level, we are not exhibiting the love that we should have for the brethren.
B. Christians Are To Be Givers. (1 John 3:17)
(1 John 3:17) But whoso hath this world's good, and seeth his brother have need, and shutteth up his bowels of compassion from him, how dwelleth the love of God in him?
The “World’s goods” means “course of life,” “living,” or “livelihood,” and this same Greek word is translated life in 1 John 2:16. It refers to the material objects that sustain life. Therefore, the need that is mentioned is for food, clothing, and shelter.
Believers can lay down their lives for fellow believers (see verse 16) by giving some of their livelihood to those who are in need. By giving our material possessions to others, we can demonstrate the same type of self-sacrificial love that Christ demonstrated on the Cross of Calvary. Caution: (1) Help others if you can. (2) Don’t enable others to sin. (3) Ask God for wisdom in the matter so that you may make the right choice.
C. Our Actions Speak Louder Than Words. (1 John 3:18)
(1 John 3:18) My little children, let us not love in word, neither in tongue; but in deed and in truth.
To love “in word” is to speak loving words but to stop short of doing anything to prove that love. The opposite of “loving in word” is “loving in deed and in truth.” Actions do speak louder than words.
III. THE HOLY SPIRIT’S ASSURANCE. (1 John 3:19-24)
A. Blessed Assurance. (1 John 3:19)
(1 John 3:19) And hereby we know that we are of the truth, and shall assure our hearts before him.
1. The Holy Spirit’s assurance affects our future life.
John has made it very clear that it is possible to be ashamed at the appearing of Christ. One of the Lord’s commandments is to get the Word of God out, to take it to the ends of the earth (the “Great Commission”); that is our “Mission Statement.” Are we involved in that in any way? Are we involved in anything that reveals that Christ is the Savior of the world?
2. The Holy Spirit’s assurance affects our present life.
Believers come before the Lord when they pray. If our lives manifest these good things that John has talked about, we will have an assurance when we kneel before Him in prayer. God answers prayer!
If we are a child of God and are using our substance (whether we are rich or poor) to get the Word of God out, God will give us an assurance in our heart that we are in His will and are doing the thing He wants us to do. Then we have an assurance (1) when we go before Him in prayer and (2) when we stand before Him someday. Paul had this assurance when he said, “Henceforth there is laid up for me a crown of righteousness …” (2 Timothy 4:8).
B. Assured Salvation. (1 John 3:20)
(1 John 3:20) For if our heart condemn us, God is greater than our heart, and knoweth all things.
The child of God can have an assurance, but suppose we are not doing what we should be doing? Does that mean that we have lost our salvation or that we did not have it to begin with? John says, “For if our heart condemn us, God is greater than our heart, and knoweth all things.”
We don’t lose our salvation. If our hearts condemn us, God is greater than our hearts, greater than our lack of assurance. He is going to hear our prayer. Isn’t He a wonderful God? When we fail Him, He won’t fail us.
Note: Sonship is a "ship" that cannot be wrecked. When a person has truly been born into God's family, he cannot be “unborn.” What a glorious, comforting thought! But fellowship is a "ship" which can come to grief. Its passage across the sea of Christian experience is filled with danger; its journey is perilous in the extreme. Lurking dangers threaten its progress. John makes this clear in his epistles. Be on the alert for these powerful foes. Detect them; recognize them for what they are; steer clear of them. At least four enemies threaten our fellowship with God: (1) The devil, (2) The world, (3) Idolatry (anything we put before the Lord), and (4) False teachers.
Remember, God is greater than your heart; He will hear your prayer. He is going to deal with you. He will hear and answer according to His will. “For if our heart condemn us, God is greater than our heart, and knoweth all things.” You can depend on Him. Even if you don’t have assurance, just keep on going.
C. Always Faithful. (1 John 3:21-22)
(1 John 3:21-22) Beloved, if our heart condemn us not, then have we confidence toward God. And whatsoever we ask, we receive of him, because we keep his commandments, and do those things that are pleasing in his sight.
Love in action gives assurance in prayer. When your life is pleasing to God, you can expect Him to hear and answer your prayer. That is something that is desperately needed today.
Remember the early church when persecution first broke out and the apostles were warned to stop preaching the name of Jesus. They went back and reported this to the other Christians, and the group went to God in prayer. They didn’t pray that the persecution would stop -- they didn’t pray anything like that. They began their prayer by saying, “Lord, thou art God” (see Acts 4:24).
D. Actually Concerned. (1 John 3:23)
(1 John 3:23) And this is his commandment, That we should believe on the name of his Son Jesus Christ, and love one another, as he gave us commandment.
In other words, John says, “Don’t say you believe on Him and then not love one another.” With one breath we praise the Lord and say we trust the Lord Jesus, but then we say how much we dislike someone else.
John is not talking about a “love in” which we just go up and put our arms around someone; John is not talking about the love that we just talk about! His love is not in our lips or our language but in our life. It will be expressed in genuine concern for the individual. (For example, we will not be gossiping about him or her.)
E. Abiding Spirit. (1 John 3:24)
(1 John 3:24) And he that keepeth his commandments dwelleth in him, and he in him. And hereby we know that he abideth in us, by the Spirit which he hath given us.
The Holy Spirit verifies these things to our hearts if we have not grieved Him. We grieve the Holy Spirit when we do not do His will. Jesus said, “If ye love me, keep my commandments” (John 14:15). If we do not do that, we grieve the Holy Spirit.
The Holy Spirit is given to every believer, as Paul makes clear in Romans 8:9, “But ye are not in the flesh, but in the Spirit, if so be that the Spirit of God dwell in you. Now if any man have not the Spirit of Christ, he is none of his.” The mark that you are a child of God is that you are indwelt by the Spirit of God, and it is the Holy Spirit who will verify these things and make them real to your heart.
CONCLUSION: A consistent lifestyle of heartfelt love that is practical and sacrificial is what God expects from His children. And this lifestyle of love comes through His Holy Spirit. God loves and helps His Children. He disciplines us when we are wrong, forgives us when we repent, and empowers us (through the Holy Spirit) to do His blessed will.
THOUGHT TO REMEMBER: “From Genesis to Revelation, here's the central message: God Almighty, the Lord Jesus Christ, the Spirit of God, the Triune God is in control of all things, period.” – Dr. Charles Stanley, in God Is in Control
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REFERENCES: References used in the Bible study are the King James Bible (KJV), Dr. J. Vernon McGee © Thru the Bible Radio Network ( www.ttb.org ), the Scofield Study Bible, the Believer’s Bible Commentary, Dr. Charles J. Woodbridge Bible Outlines, Dr. Lee Roberson’s Sermons, Dr. Charles Stanley: ( http://www.intouch.org/ ), Don Robinson’s Bible Outlines, Women’s Study Bible, The Bible Reader’s Companion Ed. 3, The Nelson Study Bible: New King James Version, KJV Bible Commentary, Wiersbe’s Expository Outlines of the New Testament ed. 4, Dr. David Jeremiah: ( http://www.davidjeremiah.org/site/ ), Dr. Cliff Robinson’s Bible Outlines, Wiersbe’s Expository Outlines of the Old Testament, With the Word Bible Commentary, Wiersbe’s “Be” Series: Old & New Testaments, RBC Ministries ( http://rbc.org/ ), selected illustrations, and other references.
REV. RONALD PURKEY’S OFFICE
E-mail: Ronald Purkey