1-3 John

Walking In Truth & Love

01 - Introduction: Walking In Truth & Love

May 29, 2022 • Pastor Ronald H. Gann

The three small letters written by the apostle John—1-3 JOHN—were written to the third-generation church in around Asia minor who had lost the conviction of the first-generation church (and even struggled to maintain the beliefs of the second-generation church). John saw flagrant deceptions accepted as gospel truth and a lazy church that was slow to correct and quick to capitulate. Out of his remarkably retentive memory—no doubt quickened, inspired, and energized by the Holy Spirit—John wrote 1-3 JOHN to remind his readers about what it means to walk worthily in the manner of Christ.

02 - The Word Of Life

June 5, 2022 • Pastor Ronald H. Gann • 1 John 1:1–4

In the person of Jesus Christ there appears to be a living dichotomy, where two contrasting things exist in one man at the same time. That is, Jesus has both a divine nature and human nature. As such, he is the God-man who, as the 'word of life', brings life everlasting to those who believe in him as the Word of God made flesh. But how, exactly, does this wonderful truth affect and effect believers? In 1 John 1:1-4, the apostle John reminds us that the 'word of life' allows us to be in fellowship and communion with God whereby the life and likeness of Christ in us becomes more evident to those around us.

03 - Walking In The Light

June 19, 2022 • Pastor Ronald H. Gann • 1 John 1:5–10

To have genuine fellowship with a holy God, we must walk in the light, as God Himself is in the light. It’s easy to claim to have fellowship with God—as so many self-deceived people do—but it’s another thing altogether for it to be true. And so, in 1 John 1:5-10, the apostle John provides a litmus test that, to his inspired way of thinking, was sure to separate the sheep from the goats, the wheat from the tares, the straw from the chaff, and the authentic from the inauthentic. Let he who has ear to hear, let him hear!

04 - Walking In Assurance

June 26, 2022 • Pastor Ronald H. Gann • 1 John 2:1–6

God does not want believers to suspect that they might be saved; God does not want believers to simply cross their fingers and hope that they are elect. Rather, God wants us to know it and understand it so that we can walk in confidence and in the joy of our salvation. Our conduct, says the apostle John in 1 John 2:1-6, is but one piece of evidence for the assurance of our salvation; along with our confession of Jesus Christ as Lord, our conviction that he rose from the dead, and our conscience informed by the Holy Spirit that bears witness to both (Romans 8:16; 10:9-10 cf. 1 John 3:21).

05 - Walking In Brotherly Love (Part 1)

July 3, 2022 • Pastor Ronald H. Gann • 1 John 2:7–11

Brotherly love is a major theme of the New Testament. Jesus said, “A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another: just as I have loved you, you also are to love one another” (John 13:34). In a healthy family, brothers and sisters love one another and look out for each other, even if they do get on each other’s nerves from time to time. If one family member is in trouble, the whole family rallies around to help. The old adage “He ain’t heavy; he’s my brother” captures God’s ideal for His children. We are to love each other the way brothers and sisters do in a loving family.

06 - Walking In Sanctification

July 17, 2022 • Pastor Ronald H. Gann • 1 John 2:12–14

Gyms are filled to capacity today with people of all ages—both the vain and the health conscious—who exercise religiously hoping to improve their health and enhance their appearance. In the same way, and with the same tenacity, believers are called upon, indeed are expected, to build up their spiritual muscles (of their inner man) like athletes who work on their physical muscles (of their outer man). This is known as spiritual growth, graduating from immature children to the spiritually mature young men, and from spiritually young men to spiritually accomplished senior saints. While we cannot work for our salvation, we must work at it to perfect it if we ever hope to grow in Christ (Philippians 2:13-14). In short, we must train ourselves to be godly (1 Timothy 4:7-8).

07 - Walking In Faithfulness (Not Worldliness)

July 24, 2022 • Pastor Ronald H. Gann • 1 John 2:15–17

Few things are more devastating than watching someone walk away from the faith because they love the world and the things of the world more than they do Jesus Christ. John implies in 1 John 2:15-17 that if you are not abiding in Christ then you are abiding in the world. And unlike Christ who reigns eternally, the world will not. It is going to pass away one day and along with it all its desires, lusts, hedonism, and secularism. And when that day comes, in whom or in what will you be found connected to? Will you be found connected to the world by your love for it or will you be found abiding in Christ by your love for him? John pleads with all men everywhere: Don’t love the world. Instead, love Christ and hate what he hates.

08 - Walking In Truth (Part 1)

August 7, 2022 • Pastor Ronald H. Gann • 1 John 2:18–27

Ever since Satan and his demonic forces rebelled against heaven, there has been an evil power at work in this universe bent on unseating God from His throne and eliminating God’s people from His presence. As the original architect of this anti-God agenda, the Devil has always been the prime example of the anti-Christ spirit and the chief motivator of all anti-Christs that have come (and are yet to come). But who exactly are these many anti-Christs, in general, who will proceed the particular anti-Christ of Revelation 11-13? John gives the answers. What Jesus calls false prophets and what the apostle Paul refers to as false teachers, John calls anti-Christs They are, in a word, heretics who oppose Christ and His people at every turn.

09 - Walking In Abidance

August 14, 2022 • Pastor Ronald H. Gann • 1 John 2:28–29, 1 John 3:1–3

The apostle John was a vocal proponent of the doctrine of eternal security—namely, that God secures a believer from ever permanently falling away (John 6:37-39; 10:28-29 )—just as he was also a proponent of a believer’s personal responsibility to abide and persevere in Christ (John 15:1, 4-5). As such, John gives three evidences in 1 John 2:28-3:3 that mark a genuine believer's spiritual condition, with abidance in Christ being first on the list (followed by our position in Christ as God's children and our pursuit of purification and righteousness).

10 - Walking In Righteousness

August 21, 2022 • Pastor Ronald H. Gann • 1 John 3:4–10

In 1 John 3:4-10, the apostle John presents a dichotomy of sorts—a dichotomy, not between deep faith versus shallow faith, or a strong Christian versus a weaker one. Rather presents a dichotomy between saving faith and non-saving faith, between a true Christian and a fraudulent one. And his takeaway is straightforward. Those saved by grace through faith in the finished work of Jesus Christ—who trust in what Christ accomplished on the cross rather that what they must accomplish for him under the Law—live like it. That is, they practice righteousness, not sinfulness. They love one another rather than lust after each other. A true Christian, John says, does not and will not use their freedom from the Law as an excuse to practice lawlessness.

11 - Walking In Brotherly Love (Part 2)

August 28, 2022 • Pastor Ronald H. Gann • 1 John 3:11–18

Throughout history people have used various means and several external methods to identify themselves as spiritual. What ultimately marks a true believer in Jesus Christ is not whether they wear a necklace with a cross on it or a label pin in the shape of a dove. Rather, the mark of a true Christian is that they have been transformed by the Holy Spirit through faith in Jesus Christ and thereby live a transformed life. That transformed life, says John in 1 John 3:11-18, should be evident by a love for God and a love for others that results in obedience to both.

12 - Walking In Confidence

September 11, 2022 • Pastor Ronald H. Gann • 1 John 3:19–24

The Word of God gives the prescription for HOW we are to be saved (believe and confess). The Work of Christ secures the WAY we our saved (atonement and sacrifice), and the fruit of the Spirit bears evidence THAT we are saved (good works that bespeak a transformed life). Those three things, in and of themselves are the bedrock upon which we have assurance of salvation. In 1 John 3:19-24 John adds a fourth criterion: the conscience. And while the human conscience is not the end all to be all (as it can give bad readings on occasion), it is still a respectable guide (if informed by the Word of God) for knowing our standing before God.

13 - Walking In Discernment

September 18, 2022 • Pastor Ronald H. Gann • 1 John 4:1–6

The apostle John knew that his readers were under attack from false teachers—first the Gnostics and then the antinomians. Now, as chapter 4 unfolds, he gives his readers a safeguard as to how to test those who claim to teach the truth so they can know with certainty that what they teach falls within the pale of orthodoxy. And in doing so, John also gives his readers reasons as to why such testing is crucial, as well as the guidelines for how it should be conducted. He lays out a strategy that all Christians can and should use for distinguishing between the true gold of biblical orthodoxy and the “fool’s gold” of false teachers.

14 - Walking In Brotherly Love (Part 3)

October 2, 2022 • Pastor Ronald H. Gann • 1 John 4:7–21

Because God loved us before we ever loved Him and gave His only Son, Jesus Christ, for the propitiation of our sins, we ought to love others with the same sacrificial love. It is to such practical Christian living—brotherly love and service to others done in the power of the Spirit as we produce the fruit of the Spirit—that all Christians are called to live out in their freedom in Christ. And when doing so, we have fulfilled the Law of Christ—to love God, and to love others as ourselves.

15 - Walking In Victory

October 9, 2022 • Pastor Ronald H. Gann • 1 John 5:1–5

Because of the love that God has showered upon us, though in our natural state we were unlovable, believers are overcomers. We are invincible and unconquerable. We have overcome Satan, the world, sin, and even death—even though all four still plague us and, in some cases, even beat us from time-to-time. Yes, we will succumb to Satan’s temptations on occasion. Yes, we will fall victim to the world’s allurements every now and then. Yes, we will give in to the corruption of our own hearts (our unredeemed flesh) once in a while. But even though we may lose some of these battles here and there, John tells us in 1 John 5:1-5 that our overall victory in the war with the world is assured on account of our faith in God's love and what He accomplished on our behalf on the cross.