So, to help simplify registering for the bible study – simply email Brian Rhodus at firstname.lastname@example.org and he will be happy to add you into the bible study group.
Again, this is for anyone who would like to join physically or online. All lessons will be provided through video and PDF’s. There is a $5.00 cost for those attending in the class, because of the provision of the binder and hard copies, but if you are taking the class online, then you can purchase anything you’d like for storing each week’s lessons.
John’s epistles are written with the most relevant words of encouragement and warning for Christ’s church today. He writes for one purpose – to expose what is truth and what is error. He writes using the word “know” 42 times because the message was for readers to know the truth of four main themes that he spirals through the letter. He knew that there was nothing more important than the truth – it IS the radiant theme of the Word of Life. Many were professing Christ, but did not possess Christ. Many were being self-deceived ‘thinking’ they were Christians, and they were not and John’s heart was heavy with love and concern.
So, John writes from a loving fatherly polemical heart, addressing what the true Christians were to live certain of, while exposing to the pretenders the heresy they were believing and promoting. We see this all in our world today-especially in the post-modern emergent evangelical world. An easy believe-ism that has taken the irresistible grace of God to mean nothing more than an emotional experience; a walk down an aisle, filling out a card and being baptized. Surely all of those works validate genuine new birth? But John says, “No.” According to Matthew 7:20-23 there will be many people who have professed to be a Christian and were baptized, did good deeds, went to church, tithed, taught, preached, served … and will hear Jesus say, “Depart from Me. I never knew you, you who practice lawlessness (sin).” And John explains the truth of what the Word of Life says and does in the life of someone who has truly experienced the regenerating grace of God.
We will look at John’s key themes such as:
Certainty of Genuine Salvation – Are you certain that the words of Matthew 7:20-23 will not be said to you? And if so, on what basis? What distinguishing marks will a person possess and portray when they are truly regenerated by Almighty God, and are living as a child of God? What distinguishing marks will a person possess and portray when they are faking it, or are self-deceived into thinking they have experienced sincere salvation, yet, never have experienced real life in Christ. And can we actually know anything for ‘certain’ … isn’t it being more humble to admit that we don’t know for certain, only God knows? Certainty of salvation is one of the issues John addresses in his epistle more than once.
Certainty of Living an Obedient Life – What is obedience? What does that look like today in our evangelical circles? Do we even know with certainty what exactly ‘obedience’ is? Do we have a hatred of sin? And should we? Is confession a regular part of our walk with a holy God? Or isn’t just confessing that I’m a sinner the moment I ask the Lord to save me, enough? Does He really expect me to regularly ask forgiveness and not live in habitual sin when He’s provided grace? Does our life show the effectiveness that comes in obeying the Father’s will? And are we really, with absolute certainty, to even know His will? Obedience is another key issue John repeats.
Certainty of Joy – There is a special joy reserved only for those who live with the unwavering assurance of having been transformed by God – born again. This miracle of transformation creates a joy in a believer’s life that perseveres in the face of persecution.
Certainty of Love – For someone who professes to be a Christian, yet hates, (rejects, does not forgive, abandons, holds grudges, slanders, accuses), a brother or sister in Christ is not a child of God, they ‘abide in death and are murderers.’ 1 John 3:14,15. It is a mark of a true born again believer when they demonstrate forgiving and merciful love in truth toward their faith family. To do anything less is a mark of never having experienced new birth, according to the Word of Life we find in 1 John.
These themes spiral in John’s epistle with an enlarging and deepening lens that helps us all to follow the exhortation of Paul – “Test yourselves to see if you are in the faith; examine yourselves! Or do you not recognize this about yourselves, that Jesus Christ is in you—unless indeed you fail the test?” 2 Corinthians 13:5