1John 1:3-9

Sunday Morning Bible Study

April 1, 2001


Today is “April Fool’s Day”. Some have called it “National Atheist’s Day” because the Bible says,

(Psa 14:1 KJV)  The fool hath said in his heart, There is no God.


The Athiest and the Bear

An atheist was walking through the woods, admiring all that the “accidents” that evolution had created. “What majestic trees, What powerful rivers, What beautiful animals!”, he said to himself. As he was walking alongside the river he heard a rustling in the bushes behind him. Turning to look, he saw a 7-foot grizzly bear charge towards him. He ran as fast as he could up the path. He looked over his shoulder and saw the grizzly was closing. Somehow, he ran even faster, so scared that tears came to his eyes. He looked again and the bear was even closer. His heart was pounding and he tried to run faster. He tripped and fell to the ground. He rolled over to pick himself up but the bear was right over him, reaching for him with its left paw and raising its right paw to strike him. At that instant the atheist cried, “Oh my God!....” Time stopped. The bear froze. The forest was silent. Even the river stopped moving. As a bright light shone upon the man, a voice came out of the sky, “ You deny my existence for all these years, teach others that I don’t exist and even credit creation to a cosmic accident. Do you expect me to help you out of this predicament? Am I to count you as a believer?” The atheist looked directly into the light, “It would be hypocritical to ask to be a Christian after all these years, but perhaps you could make the bear a Christian. “Very well” said the voice. The light went out. The river ran. The sounds of the forest resumed. ...and then the bear dropped his right paw, brought both paws together and bowed its head and spoke: “Lord, for this food which I am about to receive, I am truly thankful.”

Introduction to 1John

Author: John the apostle.

This is one of the “General Epistles” because it was sent to the church in general, not to a specific church or person.

:3 That which we have seen and heard declare we unto you, that ye also may have fellowship with us: and truly our fellowship is with the Father, and with his Son Jesus Christ.

declareapaggello – to bring tidings (from a person or a thing), bring word, report; to proclaim, to make known openly, declare

fellowship koinonia – fellowship, association, community, communion, joint participation. from koinos – common. The New Testament was written in koine Greek, the common Greek, the language that the entire world shared.

It is the word used for “communion”, when we take the bread and grape juice and we all share in the same food, we all share in the same Lord:

1Co 10:16 The cup of blessing which we bless, is it not the communion of the blood of Christ? The bread which we break, is it not the communion of the body of Christ?

One of my favorite ideas in this word is the idea of a sharing of resources:

Ro 15:26 For it hath pleased them of Macedonia and Achaia to make a certain contribution for the poor saints which are at Jerusalem.
Our fellowship with each other ought to be a sharing of each other’s resources. Not just finances, but all that we have.
When it comes to having fellowship with God, I love the idea that God would want to share His resources with me.


Correct fellowship

This seems to be John’s main goal in his letter to the church, that we’d have the correct kind of fellowship.
Fellowship is having something in common with someone else.
Some people have “soccer fellowship” because they take their kids to the same soccer team.
Some people have “work fellowship” because they all work at the same place, all hate the same boss, and all complain about the same lousy work conditions.
Some people have “bar fellowship” because they all hang out at the same bar, for various reasons.
Some people have “church fellowship” because they all happen to go to the same church, sometimes for different reasons, but they’re still at the same church.
John is saying that he wants to make sure that our basis for “having something in common” is the right one. Are we together for the right reasons?
If our soul supply of “resources” depends on looking to other people, we’re going to have problems.

Our energy crisis in California is based on the fact that we don’t have enough electricity. We are becoming increasingly dependant upon other states, outside sources to bring in enough electricity.

If we have enough generators inside California, we wouldn’t be having this problem.

It’s okay to receive “resources”, strength, encouragement from people. Part of our fellowship needs to be with “each other”.

There’s a sense in which we all have little teeny power outlets in us, that others can hook up to for a little “charge”.


When someone’s car battery dies and they need a jump start, we can pop open our hood and connect our battery to theirs with a jumper cable.

But when we become too dependant on others, if we’re only looking for the encouragement we can get from others, we’re settling far short of what God has for us. Encouragement from other people comes across at little twelve volt bursts. But the encouragement, support, and resources we can receive directly from God comes across in megawatts.

Draw on God’s resources.

:4 And these things write we unto you, that your joy may be full.

may be fullpleroo – to make full, to fill up, i.e. to fill to the full; to render full, i.e. to complete; to fill to the top: so that nothing shall be wanting to full measure, fill to the brim

God wants you to have full joy.

(Isa 55:10-11 KJV) For as the rain cometh down, and the snow from heaven, and returneth not thither, but watereth the earth, and maketh it bring forth and bud, that it may give seed to the sower, and bread to the eater: {11} So shall my word be that goeth forth out of my mouth: it shall not return unto me void, but it shall accomplish that which I please, and it shall prosper in the thing whereto I sent it.

I believe that if you will take seriously the things that John is writing to us, you will find a new joy, a full joy in your life.

Sometimes we have the notion that “joy” comes when we get some new “thing”.
As you’ll see in 1John, real joy doesn’t have much to do at all with “things”.
It has to do with taking God’s Word seriously and letting it mold your life, letting it bring changes to the way you do things.

:5 This then is the message which we have heard of him, and declare unto you, that God is light, and in him is no darkness at all.

the messageepaggelia – announcement; promise

declare untoanaggello – to announce, make known; to report, bring back tidings, rehearse

lightphos light; metaph. God is light because light has the extremely delicate, subtle, pure, brilliant quality; of truth and its knowledge, together with the spiritual purity associated with it A picture of goodness, holiness, freedom from sin.

darknessskotia darkness; the darkness due to want of light; metaph. used of ignorance of divine things, and its associated wickedness, and the resultant misery in hell

A picture of sin.

at alloudeis – no one, nothing

God is totally pure and holy, there isn’t even a hint of sin with Him.


You can trust Him.

Some of us know what it’s like to be betrayed by another person.
We experienced a relationship where we felt safe with someone, we thought we could trust them.
And then they did something to betray us.
Sometimes it’s a father or a mother who has betrayed us. Sometimes it’s a spouse or a close friend.
King David knew about this when he wrote,
(Psa 41:9 NLT) Even my best friend, the one I trusted completely, the one who shared my food, has turned against me.

He was talking about his close friend and counselor, Ahithophel, who betrayed David and helped Absalom plot to take over the kingdom.

David was also writing prophetically about what Jesus would experience when Judas would betray Jesus.

Don’t think of Judas as the only guy among the twelve wearing the black leather robe. Until the very end, none of the other disciples had a clue that Judas would be the one to betray Jesus. In fact, at the last supper, if you follow the events of John 13, you’ll realize that Judas was sitting in the place of honor at the Last Supper. He was the one sitting at Jesus’ right hand. And he betrayed Jesus.

For those of you who have been betrayed, something very important needs to get into your head.
God is NOTHING like the one who betrayed you. He has no “dark motives”. He isn’t going to turn on you and stab you in the back. 
Even when you go through difficult times, God has not turned on you, you just don’t understand yet what He is doing.

:6 If we say that we have fellowship with him, and walk in darkness, we lie, and do not the truth:

we sayepo – to speak, say. Aorist subjunctive – “if we should say …”

fellowshipkoinonia – fellowship, association, community, communion, joint participation, intercourse

The Gnostic Heresy:

Some of the Gnostics felt that since a person’s physical body was evil, and that there was nothing that could be done about it, that you might as well just party hearty, because there’s nothing that can be done.

And John is saying that you can’t claim to have known God, or claim to have a relationship with God, if there is a continuing pattern of unrepentant sin.


Talk is cheap

You’re going to find John using this phrase or a form of it quite a few times, “If we say …
The Gnostics, as well as many people, are good at saying certain things, but what people “say” isn’t always the truth.
(1 John 1:6 KJV) If we say that we have fellowship with him, and walk in darkness, we lie, and do not the truth:
(1 John 1:8 KJV) If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us.
(1 John 1:10 KJV) If we say that we have not sinned, we make him a liar, and his word is not in us.
(1 John 2:4 KJV) He that saith, I know him, and keepeth not his commandments, is a liar, and the truth is not in him.
(1 John 2:6 KJV) He that saith he abideth in him ought himself also so to walk, even as he walked.
(1 John 2:9 KJV) He that saith he is in the light, and hateth his brother, is in darkness even until now.
(1 John 4:20 KJV) If a man say, I love God, and hateth his brother, he is a liar: for he that loveth not his brother whom he hath seen, how can he love God whom he hath not seen?

Jesus said,

(Mat 7:21 KJV) Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven.


Don’t be self-deceived

A person, who thinks they know God, but is living a life in the dark, has deceived himself. John goes on in his letter to lay out three areas where people deceive themselves:
1)     I’m not bad
(1 John 1:8 KJV) If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us.

The wording here is referring to our “sin nature”. Some people want to refuse to believe that they have anything bad inside of them. They want to believe that all people are basically “good”.

The problem is, God doesn’t agree with you. The Bible says,

(Rom 3:23 KJV) For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God;

Don’t ignore your problems.

You only tend to deceive yourself and prolong the problems.


For some people, the pain of self-realization is just too much to bear. British painter and engraver William Hogarth was once commissioned to paint the portrait of an exceptionally ugly nobleman. As was his custom, he depicted the subject with the utmost frankness and realism. When the nobleman saw the portrait, he refused to pay for it, and a bitter discussion ensued. Eventually Hogarth, needing the money, sent a letter to his client, saying that a certain showman who specialized in exhibiting freaks and monstrosities was interested in the portrait. Unless Hogarth received payment within three days, he would embellish the picture with a tail and other appendages and sell it to the showman for exhibition. The nobleman paid up, then burned the portrait.

2)     I don’t have to obey
(1 John 2:4 KJV) He that saith, I know him, and keepeth not his commandments, is a liar, and the truth is not in him.
Sometimes we agree wholeheartedly with #1, and we say, “Yes, I am a sinner, and I can never be anything else”. We know we have sin and frankly we don’t think it’s any big deal to change.
But John is saying that if we think we’re walking in the light, but we are continuing to willfully disobey God, we are self-deceived.

Charles Haddon Spurgeon writes,

“Sirs,” said the Duke of Wellington to an office of engineers who complained of the impossibility of executing the directions he had received, “I did not ask your opinion. I gave you my orders, and I expect them to be obeyed.” Such should be the obedience of every follower of Jesus. The words which he has spoken are our law, not our judgments or fancies. Even if death appears in the way, it is

Not ours to reason why- Ours, but to dare and die, and, at our Master’s bidding, advance through flood or flame.

John says that if you are not living a life which is trying to live in obedience to God, then you don’t know God.
3)     I hate him
(1 John 2:9 KJV) He that saith he is in the light, and hateth his brother, is in darkness even until now.
We may feel like we have very good reasons for hating someone. Perhaps they’ve been the one to betray us.
But God says that if you hate someone, you are walking in darkness. In fact, God says that you probably don’t even realize just how bad off you are:

(1 John 2:11 KJV) 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.

Do you want full joy? Do you want to have close fellowship with God? Then stop hating that other person. Stop justifying your reasons to hate them. You are only hurting yourself.

:7 But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship one with another, and the blood of Jesus Christ his Son cleanseth us from all sin.

cleanseskatharizo – to make clean; present tense, continuous action, continual cleansing.

There is a “cause” and “effect” thing going on here.

The “cause” is “walking in the light”. If we walk in the light, where God is (because God is light and in Him is no darkness), then two things happen:

1)     We have fellowship with one another.
That’s because we’re all in the same place, where God is, in the light. The thing that draws us together is our being in the same place, in the light.
2)     We experience cleansing.
This is because of the things we’ll see when we get to verse 9. God will be showing us our sin, and we’ll agree with Him and confess our sin, bringing cleansing.


He can cleanse you

We’re used to seeing those laundry detergent commercials on TV where they talk about those “really hard stains”.
Jesus can cleanse you from your really difficult stains.
"The Blood of Christ"
One night in a church service a young woman felt the tug of the Holy Spirit in her heart. She responded to God's call and accepted Jesus as her Lord and Savior. The young woman had a very rough past, involving alcohol, drugs and prostitution. But, the change in her was evident. As time went on she became a faithful member of the church. She eventually became involved in the ministry teaching young children. It not very long until this faithful young woman had caught the eye and the heart of the pastor's son. The relationship grew and they began to make wedding plans. This is when the problems began.
You see, about one half of the church did not think that a woman with a past such as hers was suitable for a pastor's son. The church began to argue and fight about the matter. So they decided to have a meeting. As the people made their arguments and tensions increased, the meeting got completely out of hand. The young woman became very upset about all the things being brought up about her past. As she began to cry, the pastor's son stood to speak. He could not bear the pain it was causing his wife to be. He began to speak and his statement was this: "My fiance's past is not what is on trial here. What you are questioning is the ability of the blood of Jesus to wash away sin. Today you have put the blood of Jesus on trial. So, does it wash away sin or not?"
Too often, even as Christians, we bring up the past and use it as a weapon against our brothers and sisters. Forgiveness is a very foundational part of the Gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ. If the blood of Jesus does not cleanse the other person completely, then it cannot cleanse us completely. If that is the case, then we are all in a lot of trouble. What can wash away my sins? Nothing but the blood of Jesus.
(Rom 8:1 KJV) There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit.

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

We’ve already talked about this.

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

confess homologeo – to say the same thing as another, i.e. to agree with, to concede; to confess, i.e. to admit or declare one’s self guilty of what one is accused of; to declare openly. For some who have a Catholic background, the idea of “confession” brings up certain memories, some of which are not correct. “Confession” isn’t just admitting you’ve sinned, it’s “agreeing with God”.

I admit I’ve sinned because when my action is against God’s ways, God says I’ve sinned.

I need to agree with God in having Jesus Christ pay for my sins.

I also need to agree with God that my actions need to change.


A counselor was trying to help a man who had come forward during an evangelistic meeting. “I’m a Christian,” the man said, “but there’s sin in my life, and I need help.” The counselor showed him 1 John 1:9 and suggested that the man confess his sins to God. “O Father,” the man began, “if we have done anything wrong—” “Just a minute!” the counselor interrupted. “Don’t drag me into your sin! My brother, it’s not ‘if’ or ‘we’—you’d better get down to business with God!” The counselor was right.

faithful pistos – trusty, faithful; that can be relied on

You can count on Him to do this.

just dikaios – righteous, observing divine laws

God is righteous, He is correct in forgiving us when we confess our sins.

How can God be correct in forgiving us when we simply confess our sins?

He has already paid the price of our sins. He’s already paid back the debt. Jesus died on the cross to pay the penalty for our sins.

to forgive aphiemi – to send away; to bid going away or depart; to let go, give up a debt, forgive, to remit; to give up, keep no longer

When we confess, God lets go of the debt that we owe him.


Receive God’s forgiveness

God wants you to be forgiven, but you need to step into the light. When you step into the light, you may find that you have lots of problems to talk to God about. But God will help you with each one.