Fighting the Inner Chaos
Topic: Sunday Message Verse: 1 John 2:12–2:14, 1 John 2:15–2:17, 1 John 2:15,
A 13-week message series in the book of 1 John
The Bible is Different
Discovering answers in the Bible is different than asking questions to a digital assistant or looking online. The Bible isn't a reference book. Nor is it a collection of alphabetized factoids. No, the Bible is something different and better. The Bible was written in the context of:
> HISTORY. (over the span of many centuries before and after Jesus)
> PERSONALITY. (multiple human authors w/ unique personalities)
> RELATIONSHIP. (one person to another person, or group, or nation)
The Bible can be frustrating as you read through it, because the answers aren't always straight-forward. But if you’re willing to keep on reading and stick with it, you’ll also find it incredibly fascinating and fulfilling. Because unlike Google or Wikipedia, the Bible wasn’t just written to inform-minds; it was written to change hearts, to bring peace, to give confidence, to transform lives, and to spread hope by pointing us to the only One who’s capable of doing all that for us and that’s Jesus.
John the Author
The Apostle John actually wrote five books of the 27 total that make up the New Testament and those five books were written for different reasons.
The Gospel of John -- past history (Jesus’ 1st coming)
The Letters of John (1,2,3 John) -- present experience of Christians
The Revelation of John -- future hope (Jesus’ 2nd coming)
Even though there is a real divide of time, language, geography, and culture between us and those original Christians that John addresses in 1 John, we share some of the same struggles and we actually live in the same era of history between the two comings of Jesus. That's why John's instruction way back when is just as relevant for us today.
1 John 2:12-14 NIV
12 I am writing to you, dear children,because your sins have been forgiven on account of his name. 13 I am writing to you, fathers,because you know him who is from the beginning.I am writing to you, young men,because you have overcome the evil one. 14 I write to you, dear children,because you know the Father.I write to you, fathers,because you know him who is from the beginning.I write to you, young men,because you are strong,and the word of God lives in you,and you have overcome the evil one.
Encouragement--words of comfort
For all Christians ("dear children"), John points us to from FORGIVENESS from God and FELLOWSHIP with God in Jesus.
For mature Christians ("fathers"), John reminds us of our FOUNDATION in Jesus.
For still maturing Christians ("young men"), John tells us we're in a spiritual FIGHT but that we have victory because of Jesus.
1 John 2:15-17 NIV
15 Do not love the world or anything in the world. If anyone loves the world, love for the Father is not in them. 16 For everything in the world—the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life—comes not from the Father but from the world. 17 The world and its desires pass away, but whoever does the will of God lives forever.
Exhortation-words of challenge
Love is a big deal to John. However, he also recognizes that it’s not enough that we love, but that we also that we love the right things. Not all loves are the same. Loving the world (the unseen, spiritual forces of evil that are hostile to God) and the things in this world will crowd out our love for God. Not only that, but the world and its desires WILL pass away--to invest our love there is foolish. BUT the one who does the will of God will last forever.
1 John 2:15 MSG
15 Don’t love the world’s ways. Don’t love the world’s goods. Love of the world squeezes out love for the Father. Practically everything that goes on in the world—wanting your own way, wanting everything for yourself, wanting to appear important—has nothing to do with the Father. It just isolates you from him. The world and all its wanting, wanting, wanting is on the way out—but whoever does what God wants is set for eternity.
Choose Your Adventure--Encouragement or Exhortation
What do you need more today: Encouragement or exhortation? Comfort or challenge? Let's be humble before God and truthful with ourselves, letting John's words guide us accordingly. Whatever we choose, all roads lead us back to the forgiveness from God and the fellowship with God that is ours because of Jesus.
1. What stage of life would you say you‘re in right now? What are the sweet spots and sticking points for you in this season?
2. In 2:12-14, “little children,” “fathers,” and “young men” most likely represent stages of spiritual maturity. What are the strengths of each stage? The potential weaknesses?
3. Where are you in your spiritual maturity? What group would you place yourself in? Explain.
4. John sometimes uses “world” in a neutral way - the world of people (2:2 and 4:9). More often he uses “world” in a negative way - the value-system that opposes God (3:1, 13; 4:5; 5:19). How does that help you understand God’s warning to us in 2:15-16?
5. What are ways these days that our love for the Father can get misplaced? What does John say in verses 15-17 that motivates us to guard our hearts and do God’s will?
1 John series start page
Check out this link for more information about our 1 John series Discussion Groups. You can also access the electronic version of our 1 John journal here.