Introduction: I like to read books about brains. No one is really
sure how people think or how they process information so quickly.
How long does it take you to recognize a familiar face? How long
does it take to determine a person’s relative age? Matching faces
and determining age are tasks which are very difficult for a
computer. One thing we do know about our brains is that repeating
something strengthens our ability to understand it. Have you ever
read a book which had a “review” at the end of each chapter? That
is what we are doing this week. We are going to do something we know
works for our brains: strengthen our understanding of the wonderful
things John wrote. Let’s plunge right into our review of 1 John and
see how this all fits together!

  1. Two Paths

    1. Read 1 John 1:5-7. What two choices do we have in life?
      (We can walk on the path of light or we can walk on the
      path of darkness.)

      1. Can we trust people to accurately tell us on which
        path they are walking? (No. 1 John 1:6 reveals that
        some lie about it.)

      2. How can we know which path we are taking? What if we
        can’t trust ourselves to tell the truth about our
        life? (We know we are on the light path if we live
        by the truth. We have fellowship with others on the
        light path. We are making progress along the path.)

      3. What about walking on the light path saves us from
        sin? Is it the choice, the walk, the truth or what?
        (“The blood of Jesus … purifies us from all sin.”)

      4. If Jesus’ blood purifies us from sin, then why am I
        getting all of this exercise walking along the light
        path? Walking is work! Walking takes effort! (John
        paints a picture of the progressive Christian life.
        We are constantly moving with the purpose of going
        in the right direction.)

  2. Conditions on the Light Path

    1. Read 1 John 2:1-2. How important is commandment-keeping
      for those on the path of light? (John says our goal is
      not to sin.)

      1. How serious a problem is it if we sin? (Good news!
        Jesus covers our sins with the sacrifice of His

    2. Read 1 John 2:3-6. Let me repeat the same question I just
      asked. In light of these verses, how serious a problem
      is it if we sin? (John writes that our actions are a
      polygraph (truth tester) for our claim that we “know”

      1. What would John say about a person who said they
        were saved by grace but then knowingly sinned
        because they thought it didn’t matter – since they
        were saved by grace? (John tells us that person does
        not really know Jesus. That person is lying (to
        himself and others) about having a relationship with

    3. Read 1 John 2:9-11. There are a lot of commands out
      there. How can I know if I am a commandment keeper – and
      thus not lying about being on the path of light? (We love
      our fellow Christians.)

      1. Read Matthew 22:36-40. How does Jesus connect the
        law of love to the Ten Commandments (and every other

      2. We talk about the importance of Sabbath-keeping. Is
        that the most important command? (No. It is not the
        “foundational” command, which is to love.)

        1. Does Sabbath-keeping have anything whatsoever
          to do with love? (Every command of God has
          something to do with love. In this case it is
          loving both God and ourselves by taking time
          out of our busy schedule to worship God and to
          rest from work.)

    4. Read 1 John 2:15-17. Is there a good and bad love? If we
      are on the path of light, are we forbidden to love our
      car, our home, our job, our money, or our pet? (This is
      not easy to describe, but I have seen John’s point played
      out in some of the churches which I have attended. In
      some churches, your job and your wealth are important. In
      others, the people don’t seem to care much about that.
      John tells us that the attitude of those on the path of
      light is that possessions and position are desires
      connected with the world.)

      1. Are we being completely impractical and unrealistic?
        After all, money, power, position are all important
        as a practical matter, right? (John answers the
        “practical” argument in 1 John 2:17. He says that
        all of these practical things are going to burn.
        They will pass away. So, let’s be truly practical
        and focus on the things which will not pass away.)

  3. Improvements on the Light Path

    1. Read 1 John 3:1-3. Do you (did you) admire your father or
      mother? If so, did you try to live up to their

      1. Why? (You felt an obligation. You felt it was right
        to live up to the expectations people had of you.
        You did not want to let your parents down.)

      2. My father used to say, “You are Don Cameron’s sons
        and I expect you to behave!” What does John say to
        us in 1 John 3:1-3 that sounds like my father? (He
        says we are children of God and we should work to be
        like our Father in Heaven.)

        1. Contrast that to the person who says “I’m
          saved, and what I do does not matter.” Would a
          person with that attitude really know God as a

    2. Read 1 John 3:7-8. What is the disputed point on which
      John does not want us to be led astray? (Whether or not
      our actions matter.)

      1. What is John’s crystal clear point about our
        behavior? (Righteous people do right things.
        Unrighteous people do sinful things. Want to know
        whether you are on the path of light or the path of
        darkness? Look at your actions. This is not

    3. Read 1 John 3:11. What is the ultimate standard for our
      right actions? (Again, John hammers the point that the
      ultimate standard is whether we love one another.)

      1. How many of your sins arise because of selfishness?
        You love yourself more than others?

  4. Walking in Love

    1. Read 1 John 4:7-8. I struggle with this idea of loving
      others. I like lots of people. But, to love them like I
      love myself is not easy. How do we become more loving?
      (The source of love is God. Knowing more about God, being
      “born” of God improves our ability to love.)

    2. Read 1 John 4:9-11. Can you say that you really love God?
      Who made the first move in the relationship between you
      and God? (God did. He sent His Son to live and die for us
      at a time when we did not love Him.)

      1. Have you ever heard someone say, “I’ll forgive that
        person when they ask for forgiveness?” “I’ll treat
        that person with respect when they learn to show
        respect?” What does John suggest about this
        attitude? (If we are to love as God loved, we love
        people before they are loveable.)

    3. Read 1 John 4:12. Is John saying that it is hard to love
      because we have not seen God? Or, is he saying something
      else? (I think John is saying that people do not see God,
      they see you. If God’s love lives in your heart, then you
      are the way in which others “see” God’s love.)

      1. How is that for responsibility? The view that others
        have of God rests on your shoulders!

    4. Read 1 John 5:3-5. John tells us this responsibility to
      love God and others is not burdensome. Is that a promise?
      (We start by knowing God. Reading and studying about Him
      and His ways. We then obey Him. Once we get rolling down
      this path, continuing is not burdensome. We just need to
      get started.)

    5. Friend, how about you? If you feel your love is a quart
      low, will you commit to making the effort to know God
      better and to obey Him? How about asking the Holy Spirit
      into your heart today to help move you along in this

  5. Next week: John’s Letter to the Chosen Lady.