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Series Theme: FRAMEWORKS: The First Letter of John

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Frameworks: 1 John 4 & 5


(The objective of these ‘Frameworks' is to provide an easy-to-read layout of the text in order then to use these individual verses for verse-by-verse study or meditation. To focus each verse we have also added in italic a simple comment of what is happening)


(To go to Chapter 5)



FRAMEWORKS: 1 John 4: Discernment & the Way of Love


v.1-6 Test Opposing Spirits
v.7-11 God's Love energizes our love
v.12-16 Expressions of God's Life in us
v.17-21 Principles of Love


[Chapter Synopsis: The presence of the Holy Spirit indwelling us distinguishes us from unbelievers as through us He extols Jesus and attracts other to believe. But it is His presence in us that enabled us to be born again, born to love as Jesus loves, for God is love, and as He expresses Himself we will love others. Without that love our relationship with Him is questionable.]



v.1-6 Test Opposing Spirits


v.1 (test out who and what is false) Dear friends, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God, because many false prophets have gone out into the world.

v.2,3 (when the Spirit leads, He will glorify Jesus but anyone who denies Jesus is of the enemy) This is how you can recognize the Spirit of God: Every spirit that acknowledges that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is from God, but every spirit that does not acknowledge Jesus is not from God. This is the spirit of the antichrist, which you have heard is coming and even now is already in the world.

v.4 (we are overcomers because Jesus [who is Lord of all] lives in us) You, dear children, are from God and have overcome them, because the one who is in you is greater than the one who is in the world.

v.5 (unbelievers express the attitudes and ways of ‘the world' we considered earlier) They are from the world and therefore speak from the viewpoint of the world, and the world listens to them.

v.6 (because we come from God, others from God will listen to us, but others won't!) We are from God, and whoever knows God listens to us; but whoever is not from God does not listen to us. This is how we recognize the Spirit of truth and the spirit of falsehood.


[Passage Synopsis: This is about ‘behind-the-scenes' realities, the Spirit who resides in us and the spirit of the enemy who rejects Jesus.]



v.7-11 God's Love energizes our love


v.7 (back to the basics – love – to be expressed among us, which is the natural flow in those who have been born again) Dear friends, let us love one another, for love comes from God. Everyone who loves has been born of God and knows God.

v.8 (no love = no God. A key declaration – God IS love) Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love.

v.9 (God demonstrated His love by sending Jesus ) This is how God showed his love among us: He sent his one and only Son into the world that we might live through him.

v.10 (it's not that we loved Him but that He loved us first, seen in Jesus' sacrifice) This is love: not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins.

v.11 (with this love in mind, let's love one another) Dear friends, since God so loved us, we also ought to love one another.


[Passage Synopsis: The same message keeps on coming through – God loves us so we can love one another.]



v.12-16 Expressions of God's Life in us


v.12 (our love for one another as believers, is an expression of God living in us) No one has ever seen God; but if we love one another, God lives in us and his love is made complete in us.

v.13 (we know we are united with Him by His Spirit He has given us) This is how we know that we live in him and he in us: He has given us of his Spirit.

v.14 (so we testify to these truths – Jesus is the Saviour of the world) And we have seen and testify that the Father has sent his Son to be the Savior of the world.

v.15 (the one who truly believes and declares that Jesus is the Son of God shows God indwells them) If anyone acknowledges that Jesus is the Son of God, God lives in them and they in God.

v.16 (thus God's love in us and through us is what it is all about ) And so we know and rely on the love God has for us. God is love. Whoever lives in love lives in God, and God in them.


[Passage Synopsis: And more! As believers our love reveals God's presence in us, His Spirit flowing through us. But it's more than this, it's the words of testimony and declaration that come forth at His prompting.]



v.17-21 Principles of Love


v.17 (love through us reveals Jesus in us) This is how love is made complete among us so that we will have confidence on the day of judgment: In this world we are like Jesus.

v.18 (his love for us delivers us from fear) There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment. The one who fears is not made perfect in love.

v.19 (a powerful declaration of truth) We love because he first loved us.

v.20 (saying you love God but hate your brother is impossible) Whoever claims to love God yet hates a brother or sister is a liar. For whoever does not love their brother and sister, whom they have seen, cannot love God, whom they have not seen.

v.21 (love God? then love your brother) And he has given us this command: Anyone who loves God must also love their brother and sister.


[Passage Synopsis: And even more about love. Jesus' love in us sets the way to eternity, delivers us from fear, and releases us to love and acts as a clear sign of who we are, for you cannot love God if you don't love others.]



FRAMEWORKS: 1 John 5: Overcomers


v.1-4 Loving God means loving His children
v.5-12 Belief & Testimony that Overcomes
v.13-15 Concluding Assurances
v.16-21 More on the Battle Against Sin


[Chapter Synopsis: The interaction between love and obedience that follows being born again is seen resulting in us living lives as overcomers, responding to that conviction that Jesus is the Son of God, testified to by the Father, and a conviction that we have eternal life and an intimate relationship with the Father. Finally there is the reminder of the battle where we may need to pray for others who stumble to restore them to God, while maintaining our own distinctiveness from those in ‘the world' who are under the sway of the enemy, constantly reminding ourselves that we are children of God with all that that involves.]



v.1-4 Loving God means loving His children


v.1 (everyone who truly believes in Jesus will be born again, developing our love for God and for one another) Everyone who believes that Jesus is the Christ is born of God, and everyone who loves the father loves his child as well.

v.2 (we'll love one another when we love and obey God) This is how we know that we love the children of God: by loving God and carrying out his commands.

v.3,4 (love for God is expressed by obeying Him and this overcomes ‘the world' and its values) In fact, this is love for God: to keep his commands. And his commands are not burdensome, for everyone born of God overcomes the world. This is the victory that has overcome the world, even our faith.


[Passage Synopsis: The divinely supernatural life starts and finishes with believing in Jesus as Saviour and Lord, and our love for him is expressed in our obedience to him, and it is his that enables us to combat ‘the world']



v.5-12 Belief & Testimony that Overcomes


v.5 (overcomers are believers in Jesus) Who is it that overcomes the world ? Only the one who believes that Jesus is the Son of God.

v.6 (this is Jesus who came and lived in the flesh, was baptised and died on the Cross) This is the one who came by water and blood—Jesus Christ. He did not come by water only, but by water and blood. And it is the Spirit who testifies, because the Spirit is the truth.

v.7,8 (all those facts agree – Jesus is the Son of God) For there are three that testify: the Spirit, the water and the blood; and the three are in agreement.

v.9 (this is the testimony the Father has given of His Son) We accept human testimony, but God's testimony is greater because it is the testimony of God, which he has given about his Son.

v.10 (if you believe in the Son, you believe the Father's testimony of him) Whoever believes in the Son of God accepts this testimony. Whoever does not believe God has made him out to be a liar, because they have not believed the testimony God has given about his Son

v.11 (God's testimony declares that eternal life comes through His Son ) And this is the testimony: God has given us eternal life, and this life is in his Son .

v.12 (‘in Christ' you have [eternal] life) Whoever has the Son has life; whoever does not have the Son of God does not have life.


[Passage Synopsis: Triumph for believers comes in their testimony that Jesus is Lord and Saviour. It is a testimony revealed in his life on earth, at the time of his baptism and before he was crucified by the voice of the Father so there is no doubt – eternal life cvoems through believing in Jesus.]



v.13-15 Concluding Assurances


v.13 (John writes to confirm these truths) I write these things to you who believe in the name of the Son of God so that you may know that you have eternal life.

v.14 (thus ‘in Christ' we know when we pray God hears us) This is the confidence we have in approaching God: that if we ask anything according to his will, he hears us.

v.15 (and if he hears us when we pray His will, He will answer) And if we know that he hears us—whatever we ask—we know that we have what we asked of him.


[Passage Synopsis: This relationship with the Father through the Son is certain and leads to eternal life and an intimacy of relationships seen in prayer.]



v.16-21 More on the Battle Against Sin


v.16 (pray for stumbling brothers or sisters and save them, at least where it is not apostasy that leads to death) If you see any brother or sister commit a sin that does not lead to death, you should pray and God will give them life. I refer to those whose sin does not lead to death. There is a sin that leads to death. I am not saying that you should pray about that.

v.17 (some sin will not lead to death [that which is not apostasy, a total turning from God]) All wrongdoing is sin, and there is sin that does not lead to death.

v.18 (where there is a true ‘new birth' there will not be sin and as long as our hearts are set on God He will keep us) We know that anyone born of God does not continue to sin; the One who was born of God keeps them safe, and the evil one cannot harm them.

v.19 (remember the distinction – we are children of God, no longer those under Satan's sway) We know that we are children of God, and that the whole world is under the control of the evil one .

v.20 (Jesus has come to help us understand these things, and to keep us) We know also that the Son of God has come and has given us understanding, so that we may know him who is true. And we are in him who is true by being in his Son Jesus Christ. He is the true God and eternal life.

v. 21 (so as children of God, keep clear of the stuff of the enemy) Dear children, keep yourselves from idols.


[Passage Synopsis: We need to recognise that life is a battle and so pray for those believers who stumble. Where some have totally turned away, your prayers will bounce off them. Where there are believers still aiming for God, even if they stumble, He will keep them. Remember the distinction: you are a child of God; the others follow the enemy. Let Jesus teach you and give you understanding but steer clear of the enemies activities.]