A. If we consider the three epistles of John as one (and we properly do so) then John is seen to be the author of three books
1. Gospel of John - Epistle of John - the Revelation
2. They differ in the fact that:
a. one is history - one is doctrine - one is prophecy
b. they" are alike in that their emphasis is upon the deity of Christ
B. The Gospel of John is the Deity of Christ in life and death
1. The Epistle of John is the deity of Christ in doctrine and experience
2. The Revelation of John is the unveiling of the deity of Christ in eternal glory
a. the Gospel takes us back to the history of yesterday be the Epistle faces us with the practice of today
c. the Revelation carries us into the future of tomorrow's glory
C. All three center their message on a common theme - the Person of the Divine Christ.
II. The Commonality of the Triad
A. There are a number of things common to the three letters
1. In the Gospel there is life - in the Epistle there is love - the Revelation there is light
2. The Gospel is the work of a Narrator
3. The Epistle is the work of a Commentator
4. The Revelation is the work of a Revelator
B. The Gospel goes back into the eternal past
1. The Epistle leads us to life in the immediate present
2. The Revelation unfolds for us the eternal future
C. The Gospel was written that "we might believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God".
1. The Epistle was written that "our joy might be full"
2. The Revelation was written that "we might know, the things which shall be hereafter"
XII. The Key Word in the First Chapter - FELLOWSHIP
A. Fellowship is one of God's greatest gifts
1. We were created with the need for fellowship
a. we are restless and insecure until we have this experience
b. while there is much discussion about fellowship, little is understood of its basis. responsibilities and fruits
2. John wrote this letter in 100 AD in order for Christians to recapture the thrill and fellowship of the early church
B. By 100 AD many were now second and even third generation Christians
1. Pentecost was now 70 years in the past
2. The ectascy of the first days had to some extent passed away
a. Christianity was now a thing of habit - half hearted, nominal and traditional
b. people had grown use to it and something of the wonder of it was lost
c. Jesus knew us - he predicted - the love of many shall wax cold (Matt. 24:12)
d. John was writing at a time when the flame of devotion had dried to a flicker
IV. The Result of this Coldness
A. The result of this was that members of the church found the standards of the church a burden and a weariness
1. They were failing to he saints in the New Testament sense of the Word
2. The New Testament word for saint is HAGIOS which is commonly translated holy
a. it's basic meaning is different
b. the temple was hagios because it was different from other buildings
c. Sabbath was hagios because it was different from other days
d. Jewish nation was hagios because it was different from other nations
3. All of this involved ethical demand
a. we as Christians are to be hagios different - In what respect?
b. there is to be a new kindness, a new service, a new forgiveness
c. once the thrill and enthusiasm wore off, it became more difficult to stand against the world and to refuse to conform to their standards and practices
V. The Peril Perceived
A. There is nothing noted in this Epistle of the Church being persecuted
1. The peril John notes is not persecution but seduction - it was not without, but within
2. Our problem today is not persecution but intellectualism
a. these are not people trying to destroy our faith, but to improve it
b. their aim is to make our faith respectable
B. They knew the philosophical currents of the day and felt the time had come to bring Christianity into the mainstream of secular
1. How might we be guilty today of this same thing?
2. We try to reconcile the Bible with evolution
3. We try to reconcile biblical truths with scientific thought to make us appear more intellectual
4. We fear the scorn of worldliness, so we try to bring our faith as close to secular thought as we can.
C. My friends, we are hagios
1. We are different - We are if we belong to the Lord.
2. Do you belong to Him?