eluding our idols: twenty questions on 3 John

This coming Sunday (Feb. 15) at 9:00 a.m. some of our adult classes at MoSt Church will continue in a study entitled Eluding Our Idols. It’s a close look at what’s commonly known as John’s letters (1, 2 & 3 John). To help you get ready for this encounter with Scripture and our discussion of it, you’ll find the following here: (a) the text of 3 John and (b) twenty questions and exercises to go along with this reading.

receiving the word

The elder, to my dear friend Gaius, whom I love in the truth. Dear friend, I pray that you may enjoy good health and that all may go well with you, even as your soul is getting along well. It gave me great joy when some believers came and testified about your faithfulness to the truth, telling how you continue to walk in it. I have no greater joy than to hear that my children are walking in the truth. Dear friend, you are faithful in what you are doing for the brothers and sisters, even though they are strangers to you. They have told the church about your love. Please send them on their way in a manner that honors God. It was for the sake of the Name that they went out, receiving no help from the pagans. We ought therefore to show hospitality to such people so that we may work together for the truth.

I wrote to the church, but Diotrephes, who loves to be first, will not welcome us. So when I come, I will call attention to what he is doing, spreading malicious nonsense about us. Not satisfied with that, he even refuses to welcome other believers. He also stops those who want to do so and puts them out of the church.

Dear friend, do not imitate what is evil but what is good. Anyone who does what is good is from God. Anyone who does what is evil has not seen God. Demetrius is well spoken of by everyone—and even by the truth itself. We also speak well of him, and you know that our testimony is true.

I have much to write you, but I do not want to do so with pen and ink. I hope to see you soon, and we will talk face to face. Peace to you. The friends here send their greetings. Greet the friends there by name. (3 John NIV)

wrestling with this word

1. Who is “the elder” (vs.1a)?

2. How would your bodily health be doing if it was based on your spiritual health (vs. 2)?

3. Circle every occurrence in 3 John of the phrase “the truth.”

4. When you hear the phrase “the truth” among disciples today, what is typically discussed?

5. To what does “the elder” have reference in 3 John when he uses the phrase “the truth?”

6. Make a comprehensive list of all the people (or groups of people) mentioned in 3 John.

7. According to 3 John, how can you tell if one is walking in the truth (vs. 4)? Make a list.

8. A person’s character is just as important as the content of what they teach. T or F? Explain.

9. Which is discussed most in 3 John: one’s actions toward others or one’s beliefs about God?

10. Who speaks well of Gaius (vs. 1-4)? Who speaks well of Demetrius (vs. 12)?

11. That some abuse hospitality mustn’t cause us to become inhospitable (vs. 5-8). Discuss.

12. Travelers must be treated in a God-honoring way (vs. 6b). What might that look like?

13. “… for the sake of the Name they went out …” (vs. 7a)? What does that mean?

14. Vs. 7b could mean “And so, if you don’t help them, who will?” And, perhaps what else?

15. Of whom does Diotrophes speak and what does he have to say about them (vs. 9-10)?

16. Drink in vs. 10’s drama. What can happen to a church if intolerable behavior is tolerated?

17. Why might Gaius need encouragement not to imitate Diotrophes (vs. 11a)?

18. What role does Demetrius play in this letter? (vs. 11-12)

19. Have believers seen God? How do you know (vs. 11b)?

20. What significance is there in greeting the friends “by name?” (vs. 14).

eluding our idols: twenty questions on 2 John

This coming Sunday (Feb. 8) at 9:00 a.m. some of our adult classes at MoSt Church will continue in a study entitled Eluding Our Idols. It’s a close look at what’s commonly known as John’s letters (1, 2 & 3 John). To help you get ready for this encounter with Scripture and our discussion of it, you’ll find the following here: (a) the text of 2 John, (b) twenty questions and exercises to go along with this reading, and (3) a selection from an ancient Christian writing known as The Didache.

receiving the word

The elder to the elect lady and her children, whom I love in the truth, and not only I but also all who know the truth, because of the truth that abides in us and will be with us forever:

Grace, mercy, and peace will be with us from God the Father and from Jesus Christ, the Father’s Son, in truth and love.

I was overjoyed to find some of your children walking in the truth, just as we have been commanded by the Father. But now, dear lady, I ask you, not as though I were writing you a new commandment, but one we have had from the beginning, let us love one another. And this is love, that we walk according to his commandments; this is the commandment just as you have heard it from the beginning—you must walk in it.

Many deceivers have gone out into the world, those who do not confess that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh; any such person is the deceiver and the antichrist! Be on your guard, so that you do not lose what we have worked for, but may receive a full reward. Everyone who does not abide in the teaching of Christ, but goes beyond it, does not have God; whoever abides in the teaching has both the Father and the Son. Do not receive into the house or welcome anyone who comes to you and does not bring this teaching; for to welcome is to participate in the evil deeds of such a person.

Although I have much to write to you, I would rather not use paper and ink; instead I hope to come to you and talk with you face to face, so that our joy may be complete.

The children of your elect sister send you their greetings. (2 John NRSV)

wrestling with this word

1. Circle every occurrence of these words in the text above (2 John): abide, love, truth and walk.

2. In the text above (2 John NRSV), underline each instance of the phrase “do not.”

3. Where was this letter penned? Who wrote it and to whom? Answer with only 2 John in mind.

4. What is this letter is about? What problem does is it address? What remedy is prescribed?

5. What specifically do the false teachers John has no use for teach (vs. 7-11)?

6. What makes the specific error/problem John is talking about here so evil and dangerous?

7. Read the selection from The Didache (11-13) found below. Cf. 176-178, too.

8. Who is the “lady” and “her children” spoken of  in vs. 1,5? Who are her sister’s children (vs. 13)?

9. What is “the truth” John speaks of in this letter (vs. 1-4)? Make sure your answer fits the context.

10. What specifically are we told in this letter about God the Father (vs. 3,4,9)?

11. What exactly do we see affirmed about Jesus Christ in this letter (vs. 3,7,9)?

12. What is grace, mercy, and peace. Define each these three words with three sentences. Why use these three words in this letter’s greeting? What do they have to do with the rest of this letter?

13. John’s main point is vs. 7-11. How do vs. 4-6 anticipate/preempt a poor solution to the problem?

14. What other issue(s) are worthy of tagging someone as a “deceiver” and “antichrist” (vs. 7)? Why?

15. How does the misapplication of vs. 9 (removing it from its context) actually constitute grave error?

16. Give some specific examples of misunderstanding and problems you’ve seen arise from the misapplication of vs. 9.

17. Wouldn’t the “safe” course be to just refuse to give aid to any and all travelling teachers who seek shelter and support? That way we’d know we’d never accidently help a false one. Engage.

18. Since precious few churches today are challenged with the problem of providing support to people who claim to follow him, but who deny his incarnation, of what use is 2 John to us today?

19. What happens when we try to walk in love, but without “the truth?” What happens when we seek to walk in “the truth” but do so without love?

20. What does vs. 12 say you about how the inspiration of Scripture worked?

a similar word in The Didache

Now, you should welcome anyone who comes your way and teaches you all we have been saying. But if the teacher proves himself a renegade and by teaching otherwise contradicts all this, pay no attention to him. But if his teaching furthers the Lord’s righteousness and knowledge, welcome him as the Lord.

Now about the apostles and prophets: Act in line with the gospel precept. Welcome every apostle on arriving, as if he were the Lord. But he must not stay beyond one day. In case of necessity, however, the next day too. If he stays three days, he is a false prophet. On departing, an apostle must not accept anything save sufficient food to carry him till his next lodging. If he asks for money, he is a false prophet.

While a prophet is making ecstatic utterances, you must not test or examine him. For “every sin will be forgiven,” but this sin “will not be forgiven.” However, not everybody making ecstatic utterances is a prophet, but only if he behaves like the Lord. It is by their conduct that the false prophet and the [true] prophet can be distinguished. For instance, if a prophet marks out a table in the Spirit, he must not eat from it. If he does, he is a false prophet. Again, every prophet who teaches the truth but fails to practice what he preaches is a false prophet. But every attested and genuine prophet who acts with a view to symbolizing the mystery of the Church, and does not teach you to do all he does, must not be judged by you. His judgment rests with God. For the ancient prophets too acted in this way. But if someone says in the Spirit, “Give me money, or something else,” you must not heed him. However, if he tells you to give for others in need, no one must condemn him.

Everyone “who comes” to you “in the name of the Lord” must be welcomed. Afterward, when you have tested him, you will find out about him, for you have insight into right and wrong. If it is a traveler who arrives, help him all you can. But he must not stay with you more than two days, or, if necessary, three. If he wants to settle with you and is an artisan, he must work for his living. If, however, he has no trade, use your judgment in taking steps for him to live with you as a Christian without being idle. If he refuses to do this, he is trading on Christ. You must be on your guard against such people.

Every genuine prophet who wants to settle with you “has a right to his support.” Similarly, a genuine teacher himself, just like a “workman, has a right to his support.” Hence take all the first fruits of vintage and harvest, and of cattle and sheep, and give these first fruits to the prophets. For they are your high priests.

If, however, you have no prophet, give them to the poor. If you make bread, take the first fruits and give in accordance with the precept. Similarly, when you open a jar of wine or oil, take the first fruits and give them to the prophets. Indeed, of money, clothes, and of all your possessions, take such first fruits as you think right, and give in accordance with the precept. (The Didache, 11-13)

eluding our idols: twenty questions on 1 John 5.6-21

This coming Sunday (Feb. 1) at 9:00 a.m. some of our adult classes at MoSt Church will continue in a study entitled Eluding Our Idols. It’s a close look at what’s commonly known as John’s letters (1, 2 & 3 John). To help you get ready for this encounter with Scripture and our discussion of it, you’ll find the following here: (a) the text of 1 John 5.6-21 and (b) twenty questions and exercises to go along with this reading.

receiving the word

6 This is the one who came by water and blood: Jesus Christ. Not by water only but by water and blood. And the Spirit is the one who testifies, because the Spirit is the truth. 7 The three are testifying— 8 the Spirit, the water, and the blood—and the three are united in agreement. 9 If we receive human testimony, God’s testimony is greater, because this is what God testified: he has testified about his Son. 10 The one who believes in God’s Son has the testimony within; the one who doesn’t believe God has made God a liar, because that one has not believed the testimony that God gave about his Son. 11 And this is the testimony: God gave eternal life to us, and this life is in his Son. 12 The one who has the Son has life. The one who doesn’t have God’s Son does not have life.

13 I write these things to you who believe in the name of God’s Son so that you can know that you have eternal life. 14 This is the confidence that we have in our relationship with God: If we ask for anything in agreement with his will, he listens to us. 15 If we know that he listens to whatever we ask, we know that we have received what we asked from him. 16 If anyone sees a brother or sister committing a sin that does not result in death, they should pray, and God will give life to them—that is, to those who commit sins that don’t result in death. There is a sin that results in death—I’m not saying that you should pray about that. 17 Every unrighteous action is sin, but there is a sin that does not result in death.

18 We know that everyone born from God does not sin, but the ones born from God guard themselves, and the evil one cannot touch them. 19 We know we are from God, and the whole world lies in the power of the evil one. 20 We know that God’s Son has come and has given us understanding to know the one who is true. We are in the one who is true by being in his Son, Jesus Christ. This is the true God and eternal life. 21 Little children, guard yourselves from idols! (1 John 5.6-21 CEB)

wrestling with this word

1. Circle every occurrence of “know” in this text, and so, make a list of what we Christians “know.”

2. Underscore the statements in this text that are most startling to you. What are they?

3. How is it Jesus Christ “came by [both] water and blood?” (vs. 6) Why is this important?

4. “ …the Spirit, the water, and the blood … are united in agreement.” (vs. 8) About what?

5. How do the words of vs. 6-12 chastise the group that left and encourage those who remained?

6. It’s all about having the Son in your life (vs. 12). So, who “has the Son?” Who doesn’t? (vs. 6-12)

7. John says disciples can know they have eternal life. (vs. 13) What is “eternal life?”

8. What does vs. 14 tell us about God’s character and ways?

9. Is John saying (vs. 15) believers always get what they ask for from God? What does he mean?

10. John describes prayer life (vs. 14-16a) with words like these: confidence, relationship, God will give, received. What four words or phrases would you choose to describe your prayer experience?

11. Is in some way the forgiveness of others by God dependent on our prayers for them (vs. 16)?

12. We pray for the spiritual health of others (vs. 16). You pray most for physical or spiritual health?

13. “… there is a sin that does not result in death.” (vs. 17b) Say what? Splain that.

14. All who are born of God are expected to actively distance themselves from sinning (vs. 18a). How?

15. Can Satan “touch” disciples who don’t keep their “guard” up? (vs. 18b) In context: how to guard?

16. Which statement can you most quickly and readily affirm: you’re “from God” or “the whole world lies in the power of the evil one?” (vs. 19) Why? Can you affirm both?

17. Gnaw on the affirmations of, and the encouragement within, vs. 20. What does this do for you?

18. “This is the true God and eternal life.” (vs. 20b) What is the “this?”

19. Brainstorm a list of some of the “idols” John dealt with in this letter, 1 John. (vs. 21)

20. Tell us about one thing this study of 1 John has underscored in your mind or done for your ways.

eluding our idols: twenty questions on 1 John 4.16b-5.5

This coming Sunday (Jan. 25) at 9:00 a.m. some of our adult classes at MoSt Church will continue in a study entitled Eluding Our Idols. It’s a close look at what’s commonly known as John’s letters (1, 2 & 3 John). To help you get ready for this encounter with Scripture and our discussion of it, you’ll find the following here: (a) the text of 1 John 4.16b-5.5 and (b) twenty questions and exercises to go along with this reading

receiving the word

4.16b God is love, and those who remain in love remain in God and God remains in them. 17 This is how love has been perfected in us, so that we can have confidence on the Judgment Day, because we are exactly the same as God is in this world. 18 There is no fear in love, but perfect love drives out fear, because fear expects punishment. The person who is afraid has not been made perfect in love. 19 We love because God first loved us. 20 If anyone says, I love God, and hates a brother or sister, he is a liar, because the person who doesn’t love a brother or sister who can be seen can’t love God, who can’t be seen. 21 This commandment we have from him: Those who claim to love God ought to love their brother and sister also.

5.1 Everyone who believes that Jesus is the Christ has been born from God. Whoever loves someone who is a parent loves the child born to the parent. 2 This is how we know that we love the children of God: when we love God and keep God’s commandments. 3 This is the love of God: we keep God’s commandments. God’s commandments are not difficult, 4 because everyone who is born from God defeats the world. And this is the victory that has defeated the world: our faith. 5 Who defeats the world? Isn’t it the one who believes that Jesus is God’s Son?

wrestling with this word

1. How exactly does a person go about making sure they “remain in God?” (4.16b)

2. Why is it crucial, not just good, for us to know that God “remains in us?” (4.16b)

3. How is it that when mature, perfected love is in us, confidence for, not fear of, the Judgment Day fills our heart? (4.17a)

4. When are we “exactly the same as God in this world?” (4.17b)

5. Is there to be any fear in the heart of one who loves? (4.18a) Does your view sync with 4.18a?

6. Restate 4.18b in your own words.

7. The cure for fear is _____. (4.17-18)

8. Just how strong/earnest is your quest to be “made perfect in love?” (4.18b) Score it 0-100.

9. Which comes first: God’s love for us or our love for him? (4.20)

10. How do we know our love for God is real? (4.20)

11. To love each other as brothers is God’s command to us. (4.21) When, where, and how did he declare such? Be as specific as possible with your answer.

12. Do you believe 5.1a? Explain. Would you say our tribe in Christendom is well known for believing/practicing this Scripture? Why?

13. How does a believer practice 5.1a?

14. What does it mean to “believe that Jesus is the Christ?” (5.1a)

15. John speaks of believers being “born from God.” (5.1a) What does “born from God” mean?

16. How might the expression of Christianity be very different if all believers everywhere truly, deeply, and consistently believed/practiced 5.1 with mature love? How might those yet to believe be different?

17. How is it that lovingly obeying God gives love to our kin in Christ? (5.2)

18. John says that “God’s commandments are not difficult.” (5.3b) But experience says they are at times. When are they difficult for us, and why?

19. All who are born of God “defeat the world.” (5.4a) What does that defeat/victory look like? What does it not look like?

20. What enables Christians to defeat the world? (5.4b-5)

eluding our idols: twenty questions on 1 John 4.7-16a

This coming Sunday (Jan. 18) at 9:00 a.m., some of our adult classes at MoSt Church will continue in a study entitled Eluding Our Idols. It’s a close look at what’s commonly known as John’s letters (1, 2 & 3 John). To help you get ready for this encounter with Scripture and our discussion of it, you’ll find the following here: (a) the text of 1 John 4.7-16a and (b) twenty questions and exercises to go along with this reading.

receiving the word

Dear friends, let’s love each other, because love is from God, and everyone who loves is born from God and knows God. The person who doesn’t love does not know God, because God is love. This is how the love of God is revealed to us: God has sent his only Son into the world so that we can live through him. This is love: it is not that we loved God but that he loved us and sent his Son as the sacrifice that deals with our sins.

Dear friends, if God loved us this way, we also ought to love each other. No one has ever seen God. If we love each other, God remains in us and his love is made perfect in us. This is how we know we remain in him and he remains in us, because he has given us a measure of his Spirit. We have seen and testify that the Father has sent the Son to be the savior of the world. If any of us confess that Jesus is God’s Son, God remains in us and we remain in God. We have known and have believed the love that God has for us. (1 John 4.7-16a CEB)

wrestling with this word

1. Circle every occurrence in this passage (4.7-16a) of the forms of the word “love.”

2. In this text (4.7-16a), underscore every direct statement regarding the fact that God loves us.

3. “God is love.” (4.8,16) What hinges on the truth or falsity of this statement?

4. Make a list. Why exactly, did God send his Son into the world? (4.9-10,14)

5. “… so that we can live through him.” (4.9) What does it mean for us to “live through” Christ?

6. Read Romans 5.6-11 in connection with 1 John 4.10. What similarities/difference do you see?

7. How, or why, do you suppose that “no one has ever seen God?” (4.12a)

8. Can God remain in us if we do not love each other? (4.12b) How can lack of loving be idolatry?

9. What does “made perfect in us” mean? (4.12b) Compare renderings (NIV, NLT, The Voice).

10. What does it look like when God’s love is “made perfect” in, and among, Christians? (4.12)

11. Engage this statement: “God’s purpose for us is for his love to be made perfect in us.” (4.12)

12. “… we remain in him and he remains in us …” (4.13a) What’s the difference?

13. Closely compare 4.9 with 4.13. How do these verses say the same, and yet different, things?

14. Read Romans 8.9 in connection with 1 John 4.13. Thoughts?

15. “… he has given us a measure of his Spirit.” (4.13) Meaning? How is this measure expressed?

16. John emphasizes God “sent” the Son. (4.9,10,14) Why might John’s first listeners need this?

17. How do Christians today bear witness to Christ being this world’s Savior? (4.14)

18. What does Christ’s cross say to you? What does John conclude from Christ on the cross? (4.11)

19. In context, what does John mean when he says “confess that Jesus is God’s Son?” (4.15)

20. What’s the difference, if any, between “believing” and “knowing” God’s love for us? (4.16)

eluding our idols: twenty questions on 1 John 2.28-3.12

This coming Sunday (Jan. 11) at 9:00 a.m., some of our adult classes at MoSt Church will continue in a study entitled Eluding Our Idols. It’s a close look at what’s commonly known as John’s letters (1, 2 & 3 John). To help you get ready for this encounter with Scripture and our discussion of it, you’ll find the following below: (a) the text of 1 John 2.28-3.12 and (b) twenty questions and exercises to go along with this reading.

receiving this word

And now, little children, remain in relationship to Jesus, so that when he appears we can have confidence and not be ashamed in front of him when he comes. If you know that he is righteous, you also know that every person who practices righteousness is born from him.

See what kind of love the Father has given to us in that we should be called God’s children, and that is what we are! Because the world didn’t recognize him, it doesn’t recognize us.

Dear friends, now we are God’s children, and it hasn’t yet appeared what we will be. We know that when he appears we will be like him because we’ll see him as he is. And everyone who has this hope in him purifies himself even as he is pure. Every person who practices sin commits an act of rebellion, and sin is rebellion. You know that he appeared to take away sins, and there is no sin in him. Every person who remains in relationship to him does not sin. Any person who sins has not seen him or known him.

Little children, don’t let anyone deceive you. The person who practices righteousness is righteous, in the same way that Jesus is righteous. The person who practices sin belongs to the devil, because the devil has been sinning since the beginning. God’s Son appeared for this purpose: to destroy the works of the devil. Everyone who is fathered by God does not go on sinning, because God’s offspring remain in him; they cannot go on sinning, because they have been fathered by God. That is how it is clear who are the children of God and who are the children of the devil: everyone who doesn’t practice righteousness is not of God, particularly the person who doesn’t love their brother or sister. This is the message that you heard from the beginning: love each other. Don’t behave like Cain, who belonged to the evil one and murdered his brother. And why did he kill him? He killed him because his own works were evil, but the works of his brother were right. (1 John 2.28-3.12 CEB)

wrestling with this word

1. What exactly does it mean to “remain in relationship to Christ?” (2.28a) How might this call have been especially challenging to John’s original audience? How is it challenging to us today?

2. How real to you is the prospect of Christ’s future appearance? (2.28b)

3. What gives us the ability to delight in, not dread, Christ’s coming appearance? (2.28b)

4. How is 2.29 a rebuke to those who left? How is it confidence/motivation to those who stayed?

5. What descriptors or declarations in Scripture speak deeply to you of God’s love for you (3.1a)?

6. Since the world rejected Christ, should Christians expect/seek, better treatment by it (3.1b)?

7. “… we’ll see him as he is.” (3.2b) What is John telling us we’ll see God to be?

8. How is our holiness fed and fueled by hope (3.3)?

9. “… sin is rebellion.” (3.4) What does this tell you about sin? About you? About God?

10. Why is sin not to be trifled with? (3.5-6) What sin(s) have been called out thus far in 1 John?

11. “… don’t let anyone deceive you.” (3.7a) How can a person grow to become less deceivable?

12. What does John mean in 3.7b? What does he not mean?

13. A person belongs to the one they serve. (3.8a) Thoughts?

14. Christ came to destroy the devil’s work. (3.8b) How exactly did he do that?

15. Is John saying Christians can mature to such a point that they cease to sin? (3.9) Explain.

16. Compare 3.10 with 2.9-11. How are these texts similar? In what ways do they differ?

17. Which archery target ring is labeled “do right?” Which is labeled “do right by others?” (3.10b)

18. Why is it just so plain difficult at times for Christians to just love each other? (3.10b-11)

19. Why did God reject Cain’s sacrifice? Was it about his offering or his life? (3.12; cf. Gen. 4.7)

20. What lessons does John expect his readers to glean from the Cain and Abel account (3.12)?

eluding our idols: twenty questions on 1 John 2.18-27; 4.1-6

This coming Sunday (Jan. 4) at 9:00 a.m., some of our adult classes at MoSt Church will continue in a study entitled Eluding Our Idols. It’s a close look at what’s commonly known as John’s letters (1, 2 & 3 John). To help you get ready for this encounter with Scripture and our discussion of it, you’ll find the following below: (a) the text of 1 John 2.18-27; 4.1-6 and (b) twenty questions and exercises to go along with this reading.

receiving this word

Little children, it is the last hour. Just as you have heard that the antichrist is coming, so now many antichrists have appeared. This is how we know it is the last hour. They went out from us, but they were not really part of us. If they had been part of us, they would have stayed with us. But by going out from us, they showed they all are not part of us. But you have an anointing from the holy one, and all of you know the truth. I don’t write to you because you don’t know the truth but because you know it. You know that no lie comes from the truth. Who is the liar? Isn’t it the person who denies that Jesus is the Christ? This person is the antichrist: the one who denies the Father and the Son. Everyone who denies the Son does not have the Father, but the one who confesses the Son has the Father also.

As for you, what you heard from the beginning must remain in you. If what you heard from the beginning remains in you, you will also remain in relationship to the Son and in the Father. This is the promise that he himself gave us: eternal life. I write these things to you about those who are attempting to deceive you. As for you, the anointing that you received from him remains on you, and you don’t need anyone to teach you the truth. But since his anointing teaches you about all things (it’s true and not a lie), remain in relationship to him just as he taught you. …

Dear friends, don’t believe every spirit. Test the spirits to see if they are from God because many false prophets have gone into the world. This is how you know if a spirit comes from God: every spirit that confesses that Jesus Christ has come as a human is from God, and every spirit that doesn’t confess Jesus is not from God. This is the spirit of the antichrist, which you have heard is coming and is now already in the world. You are from God, little children, and you have defeated these people because the one who is in you is greater than the one who is in the world. They are from the world. So they speak from the world’s point of view and the world listens to them. We are from God. The person who knows God listens to us. Whoever is not from God doesn’t listen to us. This is how we recognize the Spirit of truth and the spirit of error. (1 John 2.18-27; 4.1-6 CEB)

wrestling with this word

1. “It is the last hour.” (2.18-19) What does that mean? What does it not mean?

2. How does 2.18-19 & 4.3b contradict commonly held (mis)understandings about the end of time?

3. An antichrist is someone who ____? (4.2-3)

4. What does 2.19 say to you about the importance and place of the church in the life of a believer?

5. “… you have an anointing … and … know the truth.” (2.20,27) In context, “the truth” is “Jesus is the Christ” (2.22) What is the “anointing?” How can it “teach?” (2.20,27) Do we have it today? Explain.

6. The writer says he writes his readers because they already know the truth. (2.21) Then why write?

7. Consider what the “liar” in 2.22-23 believes/does. Are there such out and about in the world today?

8. Note 2.23. Is there anything about the Father and the Son that you see as being at cross purposes?

9. The words “remain” and “if” are huge in 2.24. Why might the readers be tempted to cut their roots?

10. How does seeing “eternal life” as something that has already begun color your take on life? (2.25)

11. Read 2.26. Deception was a real danger for the original audience. How big a problem is it today?

12. How do we know if/when something is big/dark enough to label it “a lie” of an antichrist spirit?

13. “… you don’t need anyone to teach you the truth.” (2.27) What were those who departed saying?

14. “Dear friends, don’t believe every spirit.” (4.1) How gullible/naive are you? Score yourself.

15. To deny Jesus’ humanity is huge. (4.2-3a) Which is harder for you to grasp: his humanity or deity?

16. How might the readers have “heard” what they did (4.3b)? How do you “hear” teaching today?

17. If someone asked if you were a “Christian,” you’d say “Yes!” Are you “from God?” (4.4a)

18. In what sense can the writer say that his reader’s have “defeated” the false prophets? (4.4)

19. “… the one who is in you is greater than the one who is in the world.” (4.4) This promise is ____.

20. 4.6 is quite a claim. Who are the “us” and what makes their claim credible, the acid test? (cf. 1.1-4)