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
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.
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
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
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.
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
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
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.
God wants you to have full joy.
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
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.
light – phos – A
picture of goodness, holiness, freedom from sin.
darkness – skotia –
A picture of sin.
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
He was talking about his close friend and counselor,
Ahithophel, who betrayed David and helped Absalom plot to take over the
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:
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.
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:
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
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
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.
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
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.
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:
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
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
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:
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.
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
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
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 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.