EPISTLES OF THE NEW TESTAMENT

 

1ST, 2ND, AND 3RD JOHN

Just Christians

 

1ST JOHN:            ...the anitchrist - he denies the Father and the Son.

 

2ND JOHN:           If anyone...not bring this teaching, do not take him into your house

 

3RD JOHN:            Diotrophes loves to be first

Because of the type of false doctrine John addressed, it is believed he wrote these letters about AD 90.  One of the prevailing heresies of this time was called Gnosticism, meaning Knowingism, or reaching God by how much we know of him.  Followers turned their thoughts inward in efforts to reach God who they saw as the essence of Good, all-inclusive Light.  They did not believe the average believer in Jesus was capable of reaching such heights; such mysteries were experienced by only an elite spiritual few.  Their turning inward de-emphasized the need to have a savior, have faith in God, or to love others.  Some gnostics became hermits to meditate.  Others became worldly, believing that their spirits were separate from everything their bodies did.

 

Gnostics believed:  (1) God is an unknowable being called the "Abyss."  (2)  God's fullness flows out from Him in ever-decreasing spiritualism and ever-increasing materialism, first through angels and then through man.  The earth (matter) was created by one of these lesser manifestations of God's fullness.  (3)  Man does not do evil because of his own free-will actions, but because he is in a material world and has not learned to become spiritual enough to re-absorb himself into God.  (4)  Christ is not needed to redeem us; that we must do for ourselves.  Christ was just one who attained an unusually high level of spiritualism, just like other great spiritual men such as Buddha.  (5)  Christ did not enter the body of Jesus until his baptism, and he left it just prior to the crucifixion; thus the incarnation and resurrection did not happen and have no meaning.

 

Gnosticism eventually had a branch called Arianism.  Today, as then, anyone is labelled an Arian who believes Jesus was a sub-god and/or that the Holy Spirit is part of the One God and not a separate "person."  Finally the "Apostles' Creed" was established.  This creed states in part, "I believe in God the Father almighty, creator of heaven and earth; and in Jesus Christ, his only son, our Lord, who was conceived by the Holy Spirit, born from the Virgin Mary, suffered under Pontius Pilate, was crucified, dead, and buried, descended to hell, on the third day rose again from the dead....I believe in the Holy Spirit...."  This creed emphasized "God in Three Persons."  Such creeds were avowed to at the point of baptism, being an enlargement of what Jesus originally said,  "Baptize in the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit" (Matthew 28:19).  However, the apostles never said this creed.  It was created in 325 AD by the Catholic Council of Nicaea.

 

Besides (1) heresies generated within the church by egotistical leaders, and (2) philosophies bombarding the church from other world religions/philosophies, (3) the church had also to contend with another major persecution from outside the church.  It began AD 81.  Foxe's Book of Martyrs gives this account:

 

"The emperor Domitian, who was naturally inclined to cruelty, first slew his brother, and then raised the second persecution against the Christians....He then commanded all the lineage of David to be put to death [since one of them was supposed to be King of the World].  Among the numerous martyrs that suffered during this persecution was Simeon of Jerusalem who was crucified.  Flavia, the daughter of a Roman senator was banished to Pontus near Russia.  A law was made that "No Christian, once brought before the tribunal, should be exempted from punishment without renouncing his religion."

 

By this time, all the apostles had been executed but John.  Matthias was stoned at Jerusalem, then beheaded; Andrew was crucified in Edessa; Mark was dragged to pieces in Alexandria, Thaddeus had been crucified at Edessa, Bartholomew was beaten and crucified in India; Thomas was speared in Parthia, Luke was hung in Greece, Simon the Zealot was crucified in Britain.

 

1ST JOHN

 

1:1       Christ was no figment of the imagination.  We [John and other apostles] have ___________________ him, we have ________________________ him with our own eyes, and our own hands have _____________________________ him.  Who was he?  He was the ____________________________ of Life.

 

1:9       If we claim we don't sin because our bodies are separate from our spirits, we _____________________________ ourselves and the _______________ is not in us.

 

2:3       We don't know God because of mysterious visions, etc., but by _____________________________ his _____________________________.

 

2:8       We need not search farther.  The Light, the Perfect Goodness of God we seek is the ________________________ light and is ________________________________ shining.

 

2:18-19  The antichrists did not come out from Christianity; they invited Christianity to become part of their religion.

 

2:20     In the Old Testament, high priests and kings were anointed as a form of coronation, to declare them in office.  In the new Testament, who has this anointing?

             All of you who know the _____________________.  The KJV of Revelation 1:6 says God has made us kings and priests.

           

2:22     The antichrist denies that Jesus is _____________________ [one and only] Christ.  (Christ means Messiah or Savior.)  They think they can save themselves by their own spiritual prowess.

 

3:1       God is not an impersonal abyss.  How great is the _____________________ the Father has __________________________ on us, that we should be called _________________________________ of God!

 

3:13     Do not be surprised if the world ___________________________ you.

 

3:14     Do not fear persecution.  The lost go from life to death.  The Christian goes from _________________________ to ___________________________.

 

3:15     In God's eyes, if we just ________________________________ our brother, we are a _______________________________.

 

3:16     Just as Jesus sacrificed his life for us, we ought to sacrifice _________________________ ____________________________ for the church.

 

3:17     If we have ______________________________ possessions and don't help our brother, the ___________________ of God is not in us.

 

3:18     Christianity is not just a philosophy of words and tongue.  It is ______________________________ and ________________.

 

3:22     God gives us anything we ___________________________ as long as it is in obedience to and pleasing with him.

 

4:1       Do not believe every spirit, but __________________________ the spirits, because there are many _______________________ prophets.

 

4:2       A true prophet will acknowledge that Christ came in the ________________________________.

 

4:3       These false prophets are also the _________________________________.

 

4:9       God is not impersonal, but loves us.  He had only _________________ Son, and sent him into the world so we might _______________________ through him.

 

4:10     This is possible because Jesus was an atoning (redeeming) __________________________ for our sins.

 

4:14     Once more John says, "we have ________________________________" and can personally testify that Jesus is the Son, the Savior.

 

4:15     That man we saw grow up and walk among man and finally be crucified - that man Jesus - was the ________________________ of God.

 

4:18     Perfect love drives out ________________________.

 

4:20     Anyone who cannot love his brother whom he has __________________ cannot love God whom he has __________________ _________________.

 

5:2       How do we know we love God?  _________________________________________________________________________

 

5:6       Jesus came into the world through a watery womb, and left the world through a _________________________ cross.

 

5:11     We do not become spiritual enough to earn eternal life.  God has __________________________ us eternal life as a free gift.

 

5:13     So, no matter how much you're challenged or persecuted, know that you have _______________________ ______________.

 

5:14     If we ask anything according to his __________________, he ___________________ us.

 

5:20     We do not understand God by our own spiritual prowess; it has come to us by ____________________________________.

 

 

                                                                                2ND JOHN

 

1:1       Does John identify himself as the Right Reverend, the Archbishop, the Pope, the anything that we consider impressive?  ________________  What does he call himself?  _______________________

 

            This letter is written to a ________________________ and her ___________________________.

 

1:5       John is old.  He has no new commandments to give.  He just repeats the same old command, that we __________________ one another.

 

1:6       All deceivers who say Jesus was just a good prophet but that's all are considered to be the __________________________.

 

1:8       We must watch out that we do not ________________________ what we have worked for - our reward.

 

1:9       Anyone who expands on the teachings of Christ and runs beyond them does ___________________ have God.

 

1:10     In this time of few hotels for traveling preachers, John warned this lady not to do what with false teachers?  ________________________________________________________

 

1:11     False teachers do what kind of work?  ______________________________

 

 

3RD JOHN

 

1:1       If he is the same person, Gaius was baptized in Corinth, Greece, by Paul (1 Cor. 1:14), and while Paul lived there, he stayed with Gaius (Romans 16:23).

 

1:5       Gaius was apparently showing hospitality to traveling brothers/preachers, even though they were ____________________________ to him.

 

1:7       Did the ministries of these men raise funds from non-Christians?  ____________________________  Can you think of some way churches today raise funds from non-Christians?  ___________________ _____________________________________________________________________________________

 

1:9       Diot-re-phes loved to be _____________________________________, so he had nothing to do with anyone else who might take over as first.

 

1:10     He ______________________ about the preachers John sent to them, and refused to welcome them.  He also disfellowshipped/excommunicated anyone who did.

 

 

NOTICE AT THE END OF EACH OF THESE LETTERS, JOHN SAYS HE WILL VISIT THEM, AND HE'S ABOUT 90 YEARS OLD!