The book of First John, especially the first three chapters, truly reveals the nature of our fellowship and growth in God through Jesus Christ. The first four verses set the tone for this, especially in the Message:
I. John 3:1-4- From the very first day, we were there, taking it all in– we heard it with our own ears, saw it with our own eyes, verified it with our own hands. The Word of Life appeared right before our eyes; we say it happen! And now we’re telling you in most sober prose that what we witnessed was, incredibly, this: The infinite Life of God himself took shape before us.
We saw it, we heard it, and now we’re telling you so you can experience it along with us, this experience of communion with the Father and his Son, Jesus Christ. Our motive for writing is simply this: We want you to enjoy this, too. Your joy will double our joy!
He starts out the second chapter like this: I. John 2:1-3 (NKJV)
My little children, these things I write to you, so that you may not sin. And if anyone sins, we have an Advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous. And He Himself is the propitiation (atonement, mercy seat) for our sins, and not for ours only but also for the whole world. Now by this we know that we know Him, if we keep His commandments.
Then, he write about three dimensions or dynamics of growth:
1) little children, 2) young men, and 3) fathers:
I. John 2:12-14- “I write to you, little children, Because your sins are forgiven you for His name’s sake. I write to you, fathers, Because you have known Him who is from the beginning. I write to you, young men, Because you have overcome the wicked one.
I write to you, little children, Because you have known the Father. I have written to you, fathers, Because you have known Him who is from the beginning. I have written to you, young men, Because you are strong, and the word of God abides in you, And you have overcome the wicked one.”
Three areas that we all have to deal with in each dimension, just as Jesus did in Matt. 4:1-11, is found in I. John 2:15-17:
“Do not love the world or the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For all that is in the world- 1) the lust of the flesh ( Jesus tempted by Satan to turn “stones into bread”), 2) the lust of the eyes (All these things I will give you if you will fall down and worship me.) 3) and the pride of life (“If you are the Son of God, throw Yourself down…It is written, ‘You shall not tempt the Lord your God.”) — this is not of the Father but is of the world. And the world (cosmos) is passing away, and the lust of it; but he who does the will of God abides forever.” (number, my emphasis)
I. John 3:1-3 (Message)
What marvelous love the Father has extended to us! Just look at it–we’re called the children of God! That’s who we really are. But that’s also why the world doesn’t recognize us or take us seriously, because it has not idea who He is or what he’s up to.
But friends, that’s exactly who we are: children of God. And that’s only the beginning. Who knows how we’ll end up! What we know is that when Christ is openly revealed, we’ll see Him– and in seeing Him, become like him. All of us who forward to His Coming stay ready, with the glistening purity of Jesus’ life as a model for our own.
I. John 3:7-9 (Msg.) Little children, let know one deceive you. He who practices righteousness is righteous, just as He is righteous. He who sins is of the devil, for the devil has sinned from the beginning. For this purpose the Son of God was manifested, that He might destroy the workds of the devil. Whoever has been born of God does not sin, for His seed remains in him; and he cannot sin, because he has been born of God.
I. John 3:18-21 (NKJV) My little children, let us not love in word or in tongue, but in deed and in truth. And by this we know that we are of the truth, and shall assure our hearts before Him. For if our heart condemns us, God is greater than our heart, and knows all things. Beloved, if our heart does not condemn us, we have confidence toward God.