Overcoming the Evil One — 1 John 2:14

I write to you, children, because you know the Father. I write to you, fathers, because you know him who is from the beginning. I write to you, young people, because you are strong and the word of God abides in you, and you have overcome the evil one (1 John 2:14).

John addressed his readers as “beloved;” those he loved as Jesus Christ loved them and him. He wrote to those of all ages and levels of spiritual maturity who followed Jesus, and he commended each believer for their spiritual growth. For example, a new believer may not know much more than the fact that their heavenly Father loves them and has granted them the assurance that their sins have been forgiven and they have received the gift of eternal life. Spiritual children grow into spiritual young people, and John placed his emphasis on them. Knowing that their heavenly Father will protect them, the new follower of Jesus Christ can look forward to becoming spiritually strong through the power of the Holy Spirit who indwells them. The new follower of Jesus Christ can look forward to learning more about Jesus Christ, the Word of God, as they obey the commandments and teachings of Jesus Christ that the apostles preached and published for people to study. No evil one can take a believer’s relationship with the Father and the Son from them, and as they follow Jesus and His teachings, they will overcome the evil one. The evil one can be anyone who tempts a believer to sin, but particularly the devil who knows about our human weaknesses, who will exploit them, and who will try to lead people astray; however, by trusting in Jesus, anyone can spiritually overcome the evil one. — L.G. Parkhurst, Jr.

Thinking Further

1. What do you think the commandments were that John referred to?

2. If a believer in Jesus says, “I am in the light,” what do you think he means?

3. What can keep a believer in Jesus from stumbling?

4. What can cause stumbling?

5. What did John say about young people who were believers in Jesus?

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What If a True Christian Sins? — 1 John 2:1

My little children, I am writing these things to you so that you may not sin. But if anyone does sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous (1 John 2:1)

Among the gospel writers, none of them expressed the tender love of Jesus Christ for His followers more than John, for he addressed his readers as “My little children.” Everything John wrote expressed the love of Jesus Christ that flowed in and through him. John knew the damage that sin could do to someone and to those they loved. John defined sin as lawlessness, and because he loved his brothers and sisters in Christ, he did not want them to act lawlessly. John also recognized that no follower of Christ will act, live, and speak perfectly until they meet Jesus face-to-face, either when Jesus Christ comes again or when they go to heaven to be with the Lord. John knew that every follower of Jesus would do something lawless sometimes, but lawlessness was the exception to the standard by which they habitually lived. To avoid utterly crushing the spirit of his fellow believers, John encouraged them by writing that if we do sin, we have an advocate, a defense attorney, who will plead for and  represent us before God our Father. There will be no better Defense Attorney in our behalf than Jesus the Messiah, the Son of God, because Jesus “is the atoning sacrifice for our sins” (1 John 2:2). Our Advocate will only need to say in our behalf that He justly and mercifully died a sacrificial death for us so we would not suffer eternal punishment. Moreover, the Father and He had agreed to graciously give eternal life to all who would follow Him.

Thinking Further

1.  Why do you think John called his readers “My little children”?

2. What reason did John give for writing them?

3. If anyone sins, what good news did John give his readers?

4. What did John say was necessary for Jesus to be “the atoning sacrifice”?

5. How can we be sure that we know Jesus?

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How to Find Joy in the Light — 1 John 1:4

We are writing these things so that our joy may be complete (1 John 1:4).

John wrote his letters to believers, but he also wanted everyone to find complete joy in Jesus. He wanted everyone to have the everlasting joy that his friends and those in Christian fellowship possessed. John’s letter tells us how we can have everlasting joy beginning with and based on fellowship with the Father and with His Son Jesus Christ. John wrote that Jesus revealed himself as the life that was from the beginning, the eternal life, and the word of life, even as John began his gospel saying, “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God” (John 1:1). John also briefly stated the message of Jesus Christ that he heard and proclaimed: “God is light and in him there is no darkness at all” (1 John 1:5). Remember how you have felt walking into a totally dark room without light and then switching on the light to see. The light kept you from stumbling into various objects and hurting yourself. The light overcame the darkness in the room, and you walked safely. John’s gospel and letters remind us that moral and spiritual darkness exists in the world; however, there is no darkness in God. Therefore, the Father sent Jesus, the light, into the world to keep us from stumbling into situations the darkness hides. From experience we know that in a lighted room and in the world, “The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it” (John 1:5). John’s letter teaches us how to walk in the light that pushes back the darkness so we can have joyful fellowship with God and other believers.

Thinking Further

1.  What did John declare to his readers?

2. What did John want his readers to have?

3. What was the message that John proclaimed?

4. What did John say is the result of walking in the light?

5. What did John say is the result of confessing our sins?

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International Bible Lesson — Romans 5:1-11

The Uniform Lesson Series from the Romans 5:1-11 Archives (2016) — The Way to Peace with God

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Romans 5:1-11

International Bible Lesson

“For if, while we were God’s enemies,
we were reconciled to him through the death of his Son,
how much more, having been reconciled,
shall we be saved through his life!”

(Romans 5:10).

Jesus Justifies and Reconciles God’s Enemies

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The Only Reason to Become a Christian — John 21:20-25

This is the disciple who is testifying to these things and has written them, and we know that his testimony is true (John 21:24).

Why should someone become a Christian? Christians can think of many lasting benefits for becoming a Christian; benefits beyond what we can even begin to imagine that will only increase throughout eternity. As we study the New Testament, we learn how Jesus Christ made these benefits possible for His followers by His death, burial, and resurrection. Unfortunately, some people believe in God only for the benefits, and they remain selfish and self-centered, thinking only of themselves and of what God will give them in the future. Satan accused Job of trusting in and honoring God only for the benefits, but Job showed Satan that he served God because God was worthy to be loved. In John’s gospel, we learn the best reason to become a Christian. The best reason to follow Jesus is because Christianity is true, and because Christianity is true the followers of Jesus turn from selfishness and self- centeredness to God-centeredness, to loving God supremely, to obeying God, and to loving others as Jesus Christ has loved them. From the way John’s gospel concludes with these words by one who knew John, “his testimony is true,” we know the greatest, most important, and the only real reason for becoming a Christian — because Christianity is true. Thinking further, John used the words true and truth far more than any of the other gospel writers. Depending on the translation, in John, John’s Letters, and Revelation, John used the word “true” or “truth” 82 times. Dr. Francis Schaeffer concluded: “There is only one reason, and not two, for becoming a Christian, and that is because Christianity is true.”

Thinking Further

1.  Why do you think Peter was concerned about the future of John?

2. When Peter asked about the future of John, how did Jesus answer him?

3. Can you think of one or more ways Peter and John differed as Apostles?

4. Why do you think John wrote about the circulating rumor?

5. What do you think was the most important declaration that John made about his gospel?

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From Fear to Faith to Love — John 21:9-19

Jesus said to them, “Come and have breakfast.” Now none of the disciples dared to ask him, ‘Who are you?’ because they knew it was the Lord (John 21:12).

After Jesus’ resurrection, the first two times He appeared to His disciples they were hiding in a room behind locked doors, and He frightened or surprised them. The final time John recorded Jesus’ appearance may surprise us. Before Jesus called His first disciples, He helped them catch fish. He had just finished speaking to the crowds from their boat, and He “paid” them by telling them where to fish. After they obeyed Him and let down their nets, they began bringing in so many fish that their nets began to break. Then, Peter exclaimed, “Go away from me, Lord, for I am a sinful man!” (Luke 5:8). Instead, Jesus called Peter, James, and John to follow Him. After Jesus had taught His disciples for three years and had risen from the dead, Jesus could still help His disciples catch fish and keep their net from breaking. This time, after Jesus told them from the shore where to fish and John said, “It is the Lord,” Peter jumped out of the boat and waded one hundred yards to shore to be with Jesus. He knew the depths of the love and forgiveness of Jesus. Beginning with nothing, Jesus could create a charcoal fire, cook fish, bake bread, and serve breakfast to His disciples. As the Word made flesh and risen from the dead, Jesus could still make anything by simply speaking the word. In John 10:27, Jesus said, “My sheep hear my voice. I know them, and they follow me,” and that is why the disciples did not need to ask, “Who are you?”

Thinking Further

1.  How many times did Jesus appear to His disciples?

2. What fish did Jesus use to feed His disciples?

3. What do these verses tell us about Christians who sin being given another opportunity to serve Jesus?

4. What did Jesus ask of Peter before He restored him as an apostle?

5. What type of love has Jesus shown for His people (His sheep)?

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Loving Leads to Doing — John 21:1-8

That disciple whom Jesus loved said to Peter, “It is the Lord!” When Simon Peter heard that it was the Lord, he put on some clothes, for he was naked, and jumped into the sea (John 21:7).

When Bible students think of the Apostle Peter, three or four events usually come to mind. He was the first disciple to confess that Jesus of Nazareth was the long-expected Messiah, and Jesus blessed him. On the night the Romans arrested Jesus, in his effort to defend Jesus, Peter cut off the right ear of Malchus, a servant of the high priest, so Jesus healed Malchus. Then, unhappily, during Jesus’ trial, three times Peter denied that he knew Jesus, as Jesus had foretold. But Jesus loved Peter as He did all His disciples, so He began the process of restoring Peter to the apostleship He had planned for him. After Jesus’ death, burial, and resurrection, before Jesus appeared to any of the other disciples, He first appeared to Peter. We do not know anything about their conversation, but Jesus totally transformed Peter. Peter came to love Jesus so much that the moment he learned Jesus was on the shore of the Sea of Galilee he alone jumped in the water and swam and wadded 100 yards to see Him. Then, when Jesus asked His disciples to bring Him some of the fish they had caught, Peter was the one who jumped up immediately to obey Jesus. As Peter confessed His love for Jesus, Jesus commissioned Peter three times to care for His people. Despite Peter’s previous misunderstandings and sins, after Jesus forgave him, Peter sought every opportunity to be with Jesus and the first to obey Him.

Thinking Further

1.  What reasons might Jesus have had for telling His disciples to go to Galilee where He would meet them? See Mark 16:7.

2. Who among the disciples seems to be a natural leader? Can you give one or more examples?

3. Why do you think the disciples went fishing?

4. What do you think the disciples learned from their fishing experiences with Jesus?

5. How do you think John knew that it was the Lord?

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Three Gifts That Changed The World — John 20:19-25

Jesus said to them again, “Peace be with you. As the Father has sent me, so I send you.” When he had said this, he breathed on them and said to them, “Receive the Holy Spirit” (John 20:21-22).

On the first day of the week, Jesus rose from the dead and appeared to His disciples as they hid behind locked doors, afraid they might be arrested, tried, and crucified too. Jesus showed them His side and His hands, and then He gave them three gifts. First, Jesus gave them His peace. His peace is not as the world gives, peace that is only a temporary pause in hostilities. Jesus gives peace that can quiet a violent storm or calm a trembling heart. Second, Jesus gave them a new purpose. He sent them out to do as He did. Third, Jesus gave them the Holy Spirit. As their Advocate and Comforter, the Holy Spirit would remain with them and in them forever, just as He does today in the life of everyone who trusts in Jesus. After Jesus ascended into heaven, the Holy Spirit remained with His disciples and they came to know Him better. Because they came to know the Holy Spirit, just as they came to know Jesus, they rejoiced when the Holy Spirit clothed them with power from on high and filled them on the Day of Pentecost just as Jesus promised (see Luke 24:49; Acts 1:8; ). Just as the Father had sent Jesus in Holy Spirit power, Jesus sent His disciples in the power of the Holy Spirit to proclaim boldly the good news about Jesus and His love. Furthermore, Peter proclaimed that the Holy Spirit would remain in everyone who repented and believed in Jesus (Acts 2:38-39).

Thinking Further

1. . How many disciples saw Jesus on Resurrection Sunday?

2. How did Jesus get into the locked house?

3. What did Jesus show His disciples?

4. What blessings did Jesus give His disciples?

5. How did Jesus give His most important gift to His disciples?

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His Family Knows His Voice — John 20:11-18

Jesus said to her, “Mary!” She turned and said to him in Hebrew, “Rabbouni!” (which means Teacher) (John 20:16).

Prior to Jesus’ resurrection, His followers called Jesus, “Rabbi,” a title for human teachers. In some Jewish writings, the Jews addressed God as “Rabbouni,” the Teacher title reserved for God alone. Mary called Jesus “Rabbouni,” a title used only once in the Bible. When Mary heard Jesus’ voice and  saw Him looking at her by the tomb, she addressed Him as “Rabbouni,” as God, as her Divine Teacher.

 The Psalmists applied the title “Shepherd” to God. In Psalm 23:1, David prayed, “The LORD is my Shepherd, I shall not want.” In Psalm 80:1, Asaph prayed, “Give ear, O Shepherd of Israel, you who lead Joseph like a flock! You who are enthroned upon the cherubim, shine forth.” In John 10:11 and John 10:14, Jesus again applied the divine name for God,  “I AM,” to himself when He declared, “I am the Good Shepherd. The Good Shepherd lays down his life for the sheep” and “I am the Good Shepherd. I know my own and my own know me.” In John 10:27, Jesus explained, “My sheep hear my voice. I know them, and they follow (obey) me.” Jesus knew Mary and she knew Jesus by His voice. When Mary heard Jesus, her Shepherd, call her “Mary,” she knew that Jesus, her “Rabbouni,” her Teacher, had spoken. When Jesus talked with Mary, for the first time He called His disciples “His brothers;” then,  Jesus told Mary to tell them, “I am ascending to my Father and your Father, to my God and your God.” Mary obeyed Jesus and told them, “I have seen the Lord” (John 20:17,18). Jesus’ brothers and sisters still know His voice.

Thinking Further

1. After Peter and John returned home, why do you think Mary Magdalene remained weeping at Jesus’ tomb?

2. Why do you think Mary was unafraid when she saw the two angels dressed in white inside Jesus’ tomb?

3. Why do you think Mary did not recognize Jesus but thought he was the gardener? When did she recognize Him?

4. How did Mary address Jesus? Why do you think the title she used was important to her, and is important to all believers in Jesus?

5. What reason did Jesus give her for not allowing her to hold on to Him?

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July 4, 2021

The Evidence In The Tomb — John 20:1-10

So Mary Magdalene ran and went to Simon Peter and the other disciple, the one whom Jesus loved, and said to them, ‘They have taken the Lord out of the tomb, and we do not know where they have laid him” (John 20:2).

After Jesus’ friends took His lifeless body down from the cross and laid it in a tomb, they never expected to see Jesus alive on Earth again. They lost all hope, forgot His teachings about rising from the dead, and feared even more the enemies who crucified their Lord. Since Jesus’ disciples required convincing physical proof before they would believe that Jesus was alive again, their former hardheadedness is another good reason to believe that Jesus rose from the dead. When Mary Magdalene visited Jesus’ tomb and found His body gone, she assumed that someone had removed it; perhaps His enemies, who would bring more defilement and dishonor to His body. When Peter and the beloved disciple, most probably John, rushed to investigate, they saw Jesus’ grave clothes, but His body was gone. Who would defile themselves by removing a dead body from a tomb after first removing the grave wrappings? No one would. They did not know what could have happened to Jesus’ body, nor did they “understand the scripture that he must rise from the dead” (John 20:9). In order for Jesus’ disciples to believe that He lived again, Jesus had to meet them and convince them personally. Therefore, Jesus miraculously appeared in their midst. He spoke words of assurance to them. He showed them the healed marks in His nail-pierced hands and spear-riven side. Only after they saw Jesus alive and well, did they believe and rejoice that He had risen from the dead (John 20:11-31).

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July 4, 2021