Introduction: I’m in California! Over many years of visits to
California, I’ve learned that a certain (large) segment of the
California population is very concerned about looking young. This
group resists the natural order of life in which age is desirable
because it brings wisdom and dignity. Instead, everyone wants to
appear eternally young. Why is that? I think a large part of the
reason is that youth equals vibrant life. Age equals death. Youth and
life are exciting and attractive. Death is, well, dull. Our lesson
this week suggests another route to life (and youth). Are you
someone who wants to be eternally young? Do you desire the joy of
life? Let’s jump into our study and find out more about the way to
eternal life and youth!

  1. Witness for Life

    1. Lets read 1 John 1:2. Last week we discussed John’s
      statement that Jesus is “the Word” of life. Now John
      emphasizes the second part of the phrase: “the Life.” What
      is important about calling Jesus “the Life” when we have
      already called Him “the Word?”

      1. Have you ever heard someone talk about a subject and
        concluded that they didn’t know what they were
        talking about? (John tells us that Jesus not only
        gives us instructions about life (“Word”), but Jesus
        is life.)

      2. In what ways is Jesus “Life?” (Last week we learned
        that Jesus is our Creator, that makes Him the author
        of life. John testifies that Jesus was resurrected
        and is alive. That shows that Jesus has life now. The
        resurrection shows a “life” power even when death has
        taken place.)

    2. When John writes in 1 John 1:2 that “the Life appeared,”
      what point is he making? He twice uses the word
      “appeared.” Would you say (about another person) that they
      “appeared?” (No. Gods appear to humans. John tells us that
      God became a human and then God connected with other
      humans. “[T]he Eternal Life which was with the Father …
      appeared to us.” The focus is on God coming down and
      appearing to humans.)

      1. What does John teach is Jesus’ relationship to the
        Father in Heaven? (John is not ambiguous about this.
        He claims that Jesus was with the eternal God and
        then made His appearance as a human. Jesus had His
        origin in heaven. You either believe this or you do
        not. You cannot logically, like some religions and
        some people, believe Jesus was simply a wise rabbi or
        a good man. To do that makes Jesus and His closest
        associates outrageous liars. You either make the
        faith leap or you do not. There is no middle ground

    3. Read 1 John 1:3. What additional claim does John make for
      Jesus? (He tells us that in addition to Jesus’ origin
      being in heaven, Jesus is the “Son” of God. He paints a
      picture of the God of the Universe by calling one aspect
      “Father” and the other aspect “Son.”)

      1. This is radical stuff. Read Deuteronomy 6:4. This was
        one of the most important Bible texts in opinion of
        John’s Jewish contemporaries. How do we square this
        with John’s picture of Jesus being the Son of God?
        How can Jesus be God when there is only one God?

        1. Meditate a bit about Deuteronomy 6:4. Why would
          you write this unless your God had multiple
          aspects? (I think this reinforces the idea of
          the Trinity, the idea that Jesus and the Father
          are one God.)

      2. Read Genesis 1:1-2. The Hebrew for “God” in verse 1
        is a word which is plural. What does this teach us
        about the Trinity? (In both his gospel and his
        epistles John begins much like Genesis. It is in the
        beginning of Genesis we see God introducing to us the
        idea of the Trinity, including an introduction to the
        Holy Spirit. John explains that this Trinity includes
        Jesus as the Son and the Creator.)

  2. Witness for Joy

    1. Look again at 1 John 1:3. Why does John say he is giving
      his testimony about Jesus? What is his motive? (So his
      reader can have fellowship with John.)

      1. John is dead. Why do we care? What kind of fellowship
        does John have? (John says that his fellowship is
        pretty special. John fellowships with “the Father and
        with His Son, Jesus Christ.”)

    2. Notice the substance of John’s testimony in 1 John 1:3. He
      links “fellowship” to what he has seen and heard. How
      does that help us to fellowship with the Father God and
      with God the Son, Jesus? (If we do not understand the
      nature of God and that Jesus is God, we cannot have
      fellowship with God.)

      1. What is fellowship, anyway, that we should desire it?
        (Fellowship is getting to know someone, spending time
        with someone. John says, “Look, I’ve spent time with
        Jesus. I know Him. If you spend some time with this
        message you will be “spending time” with Jesus and
        you will get to know Him.”)

        1. Are you excited about studying this book? Having
          an opportunity to get to know Jesus and to
          fellowship with God?

    3. Read John 14:7-9. Jesus says that if we know Him we know
      the Father. Is John further explaining Jesus’ statement?
      (Jesus is God and a first hand witness of the things of
      heaven. John is a first hand witness of Jesus. We have a
      solid gold line of information.)

    4. Read 1 John 1:4. Shouldn’t this say John is writing to
      make your joy complete instead of his joy complete? After
      all, he already knows Jesus. He is already in this
      special fellowship club. He is offering to let us in on
      this very special fellowship club!

      1. Imagine someone saying to you that they would take
        you to the White House and (for free!) introduce you
        to the President of the United States. Wouldn’t it
        be obvious that the purpose was to make your day
        special instead of making the President’s day

      2. Now ratchet this up a million degrees and say you are
        being taken into the “club” of the Creator and Lord
        of the universe. Is this for your benefit or for His?

      3. Why does John have this logically backwards?
        (Something very unusual and special is being said
        here: God wants to fellowship with you. It gives God
        joy to fellowship with us!)

    5. Read John 15:15. What relationship does God want to have
      with us? What does Eternal Life have in mind for us?
      (Jesus calls us “Friends, for everything [Jesus] learned
      from the Father [Jesus] made known to you.” The next verse
      continues by saying that Jesus chose us, we did not choose
      Him. He wanted us to come to the oval office!)

      1. How does it feel to be a friend of God?

      2. Could you use more joy in your life?

      3. Sin has its pleasures, otherwise no one would ever
        sin. If you have experience with serious sin, can you
        testify that obedience to God brings real, lasting

        1. Consider the experience of the Governor of South
          Carolina. If he could re-write the history of
          the last few years, what do you think he would
          do? (For readers who do not know, the Governor
          has been deeply embarrassed, may have lost his
          family and has lost his potential to be Vice-President of the United States (just to mention
          three of a host of problems) because he was
          involved in a sexual affair with a woman from
          Argentina.) Do you think he has joy now?

    6. In 1 John 1:4 John includes himself in the “our joy.” When
      we introduce others to this circle of friendship with God,
      does it give us joy?

    7. Friend, would you like to be a friend of God? Would you
      like to enter the most powerful circle of insiders in the
      universe? Would you like lasting joy? If so, let’s
      continue next week on in our journey to read and
      understand John’s messages to us.

  3. Next week: Walking in the Light: Turning Away from Sin.