The Epistles of John Bible Study 1 John Chapter 3 Part 4

Let’s finish off chapter 3: 1 John 3:16-24

v16: He laid down His life: G-d manifested His love for humanity by giving up His life for us. 

  • Laid down: Gave up
  • We also ought to lay down our lives: Messiah lived sacrificially. He gave up, He let go, He did not hold on to His life. We too need to live in this way. We must not hold onto our lives at all cost. We are called to live sacrificially (Matt 16:25). 

v17: World’s goods: Material things. It is not wrong to have material possessions as long as they do not possess us. They can be a blessing if utilised for Kingdom purposes. 

  • Shuts up his heart: The wealthy man spoken of here has no compassion for the one in need. The abundant resources of the wealthy man are not the problem. What he does with the resources, and the state of his heart, is. 

v8: My (little) children: In the Greek text it does not call them “little children” as some Bibles translate it. This is a term of endearment. John is speaking here like one who has authority – as a father. He is providing, teaching, discipling, and giving wisdom to those he considers part of his family – those who are part of the community of faith.

  • Let us not love: The implication is that we ought not to.
  • But in deed: We should love with works (doing things/actions), but those actions need to be according to the truth. We need to realize that resources are limited and therefore we need to give in a way that is truly meeting legitimate needs.

v19: Assure our hearts/Our hearts are persuaded: John is speaking about an inner condition. The Holy Spirit confirms things to us – inwardly we have that confirmation from our hearts that we are doing the right thing. 

v20: If our heart condemns us: John is speaking about something different. He is saying that if our hearts condemn us then it might be confirming to us that we are out of the truth. 

  • G-d is greater than our heart: G-d knows all things. He knows what our problems are. He can go to work and set things straight in our lives. He can bring about a change. If we find that our hearts are not at peace, we need to take a spiritual inventory of our lives. As we evaluate ourselves and arrive at a right conclusion, we need to repent of those things that are not in line with G-d’s will, those things that are not pleasing to Him. He is the only One who can bring about a righteous change into our lives. Until we repent, we are not ready to pray and are not ready to receive from G-d.

v21: If our heart does not condemn us: When we are right with G-d (His thoughts are our thoughts) there is agreement between us. When our hearts are right before G-d, we are ready to pray in a way that He will hear.

v22: Whatever we ask we receive from Him: There are times when we are not ready to pray, to beseech G-d or ask Him for things. This is due to our hearts not being established or correct before Him. When we are deceived and are not thinking properly we do not have that confidence spiritually. G-d needs to bring about a change. He is greater than our hearts. He can change them and can conquer those obstacles. If, however, the situation is such that we do have confidence before G-d, we are right with Him, we are thinking in a G-dly way, wanting the purposes of G-d then we should ask, and we will receive from Him.

  • Do those things that are pleasing in His sight: When we keep the commandments of G-d we are doing what is pleasing before Him. 

v23: Believe on the name of His Son: This is when salvation happens and where the change begins -causing us to become that new creation. Our hearts are transformed and we begin to be able to hear from G-d consistently. When we go before Him He will show us those things that are not right and those things that are right. When we are in that proper state we can then bring our petitions before G-d and know that He is going to respond. This all begins with this primary commandment – believing in the name of Yeshua. There is no other way that we can have access to the Father – the only way is through Messiah Yeshua, His Son. 

  • Love one another: What this Scripture does is so significant. When we know the name Yeshua (when we have accepted Him and believe in Him) then that will manifest itself in our lives in a commitment to loving each other. Loving G-d and loving others sums up the law and is the main message and character of the Torah (Mark 12:28-34). 

v24: He: Anyone

  • Commandments: Written in the plural
  • He who keeps His commandments: We are going to grow and mature and are going to desire to keep all of His commandments.
  • Abides In Him: Everyone who keeps the commandments remains in Messiah.
  • He in him: And Messiah will be in him (in anyone who keeps His commands)
  • By the Spirit whom He has given: This is the proof that Yeshua remains us! The word order emphasises our utter and total dependence on G-d. If we are going to walk with Him, be pleasing to Him, reflect His character, do His will etc then we are absolutely dependent on His Holy Spirit. When we believe in the name of Yeshua we become a recipient of His Spirit. His Spirit then works in our lives to bring about change. It is the Spirit who convicts us. He gives us the ability to keep His commands, to be obedient etc. True believers, those who remain in Him, are going to demonstrate Him in their lives. If we set aside the commandments of G-d we do something that is very unwise. We need to realise that there is unity between what Yeshua taught and what Moses taught. More often than not, what Yeshua taught can be directly linked to the commandments of Moses. If it cannot be directly linked it still meets with the same righteous character that the law describes. The law is not an instrument that makes us righteous. We are not saved by keeping the law. However, the law does define for us what righteousness is. Being saved, we are going to demonstrate the righteousness of the law. 

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