Resemble the Father
1 John–Lesson 6
John’s theme for the first two chapters was God’s holiness. In chapter three the focus changes to God’s love. Believers must imitate God’s holiness and love to experience continual fellowship. Holiness and love are possible only when we walk in the light. Moment-by-moment obedience, with confession when darkness (sin) interrupts the light, allows the Holy Spirit to reveal the things of Christ to us, control us, enable us, and empower us to continue walking in fellowship with the Lord.
“But if we walk in the light, as He is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus, his Son, purifies us from all sin.”
1 John 1:7
(Note: It is important to understand that John is teaching believers about “fellowship” with God, not “salvation” in the following verses.)
1. Read 1 John 2:28-29. The last two verses of 1 John 2 begin a shift in emphasis which introduces chapter three. Once again, John begins this new section by addressing believers with fondness. From verse 28, what is John’s exhortation?
2. How does “continuing (abiding) in Him” allow the believer the freedom described in verse 28 when Christ returns?
3. What is understood to be true of a believer who is not continuing (abiding) in Him?
4. A believer who does not continue (abide) in Christ will suffer fear and shame at the judgment seat of Christ. Read 1 Cor. 3:10-15, 1 Cor. 4:5, and 2 Cor. 5:9-10. What is judged? What is gained? What is lost? (Note: Only believers are judged at the judgment seat of Christ. Believers who failed to abide will not lose their salvation, but they will lose rewards. See 1 Cor. 3:15.)
5. Shame and sorrow for an undisciplined life will only be temporary. What is revealed in Rev. 21:4?
6. You may not think that a believer should think about rewards, but the Giver certainly does. “The rewards are meant to provide a powerful incentive for an obedient life.”1 Read Rev. 22:12. What does Jesus say about rewards?
7. Read 1 John 2:29. In the Holman New Testament Commentary, the writers state that the phrase “does what is right” in verse 29 can mean “practices righteousness.” This definition does seem to fit the context of John’s theme of continuing (abiding) in Christ. What practical test does John provide to determine if someone is a true follower of Christ? (Note: John is still refuting the antichrists that have crept into his flock. The false teachers claimed to be born of God, but they lived sinful lives, totally disregarding Christ’s righteousness through their denial of His incarnation and sacrificial atonement for sin. Remember that righteous living is the result of being born of God, not a means of salvation.)
8. Review 1 John 2:28-29. How does your life measure up to John’s exhortation? What inward or outward areas of your life do you need to change in order to continue to walk as Jesus walked? Journal these thoughts and insights. Make this an ongoing matter of prayer.
9. Perhaps it is the phrase “born of Him” that causes John to burst forth with the wonder of God’s grace and love in 1 John 3:1. Read 1 John 3:1-6. Define “lavished” (Note: the KJV uses the word “bestowed”). Use your definition of “lavished” to paraphrase the first two sentences of verse 1.
10. According to verse 1, what must the children of God accept? What are the implications connected with our acceptance of this truth? Read John 1:10 to help with your answer.
11. Believers should celebrate their wondrous kinship with God. Wow! We are the children of God! Really! According to 1 John 3:2 and 2 Cor. 3:18, what are believers experiencing? What will we eventually become?
12. According to Eph 4:24 and Eph. 5:8-9, what traits of Jesus should believers imitate to resemble Him? How are we able to do this?
13. Review 1 John 3:3. What hope is John writing about? What does this hope motivate believers to do? Review 1 John 1:9, and explain the meaning of “purifies himself.”
14. There are many interpretations of 1 John 3:4 which can make this verse very difficult and confusing. In keeping with the context–continuing (abiding) in Christ and fellowshipping with God in the light with the purifying from sin through moment-by-moment confession–this author believes that John once again wants believers to know that they will sin, and that when they do, sin is lawlessness which is darkness. Read verse 5. What does John want believers to understand about sin? How does John reassure believers?
15. Explain “And in him is no sin.” Read 2 Cor. 5:21 to help with your answer.
16. In 1 John 3:6, John uses the phrase, “in Him,” meaning the state of continuing (abiding) in Christ. What does John mean by the first sentence? Review 1 John 1:7, 9.
17. From 1 John 3:6, what is true of unbelievers? (Note: The phrase “continues to sin,” is a characteristic of darkness.)
18. Salvation is not determined by whether we sin or not. Another’s salvation can’t really be judged by whether they sin or not, because believers do at times sin (1 John 1:8). What does determine a believer’s salvation? Read Rom. 6:23, Rom. 5:8, Eph. 2:8-9, John 5:24, and John 3:16 for help with your answer. (Note: A person’s behavioral patterns may warn us to: lovingly exhort them in the area of their sin (Heb. 3:13), share the gospel with them (Matt. 28:19-20), or avoid being yoked with them (2 Cor. 6:14).
19. Do you resemble the Father? What steps do you need to take to increase your Christ likeness?
20. Like John in 1 John 3:1, express in praise your awe for the grace and love of God for you.
Those who live in the light do what is right.
They resemble their Father. They reproduce His character.
Trust and Obey
When we walk with the Lord
In the light of his Word
What a glory he sheds on our way!
While we do His good will;
He abides with us still,
And with all who will trust and obey.
Trust and obey, for there’s no other way
To be happy in Jesus, But to trust and obey.2
Journal your thoughts and insights.
1 Nelson’s New Illustrated Bible Commentary, Earl Radmacher, Ronald B. Allen, H. Wayne House
2 Trust and Obey Genesis 5:24 Hymn By: John H. Sammis
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