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To live a righteous life | 1 John 1:1-5 | Series introduction




Read 1 John 1:1-5


The Book of 1 John was likely written between A.D. 85-95.


 The Book of 1 John seems to be a summary that assumes the readers' knowledge of the gospel as written by John and offers certainty for their faith in Christ. The first epistle indicates that the readers were confronted with the error of Gnosticism, which became a more serious problem in the second century. As a philosophy of religion, it held that matter is evil and spirit is good. The solution to the tension between these two was knowledge, or gnosis, through which man rose from the mundane to the spiritual. In the gospel message, this led to two false theories concerning the person of Christ, Docetism—regarding the human Jesus as a ghost—and Cerinthianism—making Jesus a dual personality, at times human and at times divine. The key purpose of 1 John is to set boundaries on the content of faith and to give believers assurance of their salvation.


Definition of Righteous:  acting in accord with divine or moral law: free from guilt or sin

                                                2. morally right or justifiable

                                                3. Arising from an outraged sense of justice or morality


The Point:  To live a righteous life pleasing to God we must know God, know His word, and apply His teachings to our lives.


1.     Jesus is the true manifestation of God’s word found in human form giving us a perfect example of righteousness to live by.


“What was from the beginning, what we have heard, what wee have seen with our eyes, what we have looked at and touched with our hands, concerning the Word of Life—and the life was manifested, and we have seen and testify and proclaim to you the eternal life, which was with the Father, and was manifested to us—”


--1 John 1:1-3


What the author is saying here is to simply look at the example which Christ gives us to learn how to live righteous and pleasing to Him on this Earth.  It is not a hard concept to know but it is hard discipline to learn and follow as modern Christians.  We must base everything we do on our lives on the life of Christ—would Christ do this? Would Christ love this?  How do we know who Christ is? By Praying and reading His word daily, studying the scriptures, and understanding the right way of interpreting Christ and His words through scripture.


i. The idea of the Logos – of the Word – was important for John and for the Greek and Jewish worlds of his day. For the Jew, God was often referred to as the Word because they knew God perfectly revealed Himself in His Word. For the Greek, their philosophers had spoken for centuries about the Logos – the basis for organization and intelligence in the universe, the Ultimate Reason which controls all things.

ii. It is as if John said to everyone, “This Logos you have been talking about and writing about for centuries – well, we have heard Him, seen Him, studied Him, and touched Him. Let me now tell you about Him.”

– Enduring Word Commentary





2.       To live righteous lives we must be in relationship with Jesus; our church community must make Jesus, His word and worship to Him the centre of their church


“…what we have seen and heard we proclaim to you also, so that you too may have fellowship with us; and indeed, our fellowship is with the Father, and with His son Jesus Christ.  These things we write, so that our joy may be complete.”


--1 John 1:3-4


The author of this letter is encouraging the Christians he is writing to but reminding them in their fellowship with each other and with God Himself.  There is encouragement here with saying that we are a part of God’s overall Christian community even though we are in different churches and/or different regions.  As the readers today this also encourages us and our church; reminding us that as we read and study 1 John together we can find joy knowing that we are learning from past Christian communities through the power of God’s word and Holy Spirit. 


The Christian life is never meant to be lived isolated.  We are called to live together, to be in community with one another, and to go to church reminding ourselves of God’s joy which comes from our salvation given to us by God. 


ii. “The Greek word koinonia is derived from the word koinos, which very literally means common, in the sense of being shared by all.” (G. Campbell Morgan) The use of the word in Acts 2:44 is very helpful: Now all who believed were together, and had all things in common. The word common is the ancient Greek word koinonia.


-Enduring Word Commentary



3.     There is a heavenly joy in living a righteous life that cannot be found in living for the sinful pleasures of this world.


“…These things we write, so that our joy may be made complete.  This is the message we have heard from Him and announce to you, that God is Light, and in Him there is no darkness at all.”


--1 John 1:4-5


There is joy in being with God’s community, living life together, God gives us so much joy especially in times that can be joyless or hard.  The result of this fellowship is joy. 



“ but God has chosen the foolish things of the world to shame the wise, and God has chosen the weak things of the world to shame the things which are strong, and the base things of the world and the despised God has chosen, the things that are not, so that He may nullify the things that are, so that no [t]man may boast before God.  But [u]by His doing you are in Christ Jesus, who became to us wisdom from God, [v]and righteousness and sanctification, and redemption,  so that, just as it is written, “Let him who boasts, boast in the Lord.”


1 Corinthians 1:27-31


God works in our lives.  He makes us more holy; this is called sanctification; He makes us more like Him and less like the world.  This is the tension that every Christian life in.  Through this series we will examine ourselves as followers of Jesus.  We will also understand that this work of righteousness is something that comes after someone is saved—we do not need to be righteous for us to repent and be saved! This is an amazing gift of grace that God gives us.  Because of our sinful nature we will continue to sin and continue to walk in this tension of living more like Him.  The quest for us is…are we living within God’s commands?  Do we love what God loves and hate what God hates?  Are we living for Christ or living for the darkness in the world?



 If we are truly saved; we will want to live righteous lives. In this series we will learn how to do that and what this transformation looks like in our lives. God loves us so much that He wants us to live excellent lives that will please Him.

The Point:  To live a righteous life pleasing to God we must know God, know His word, and apply His teachings to our lives.

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