1 John Chapter Three

A Spiritual Paternity Test

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In our study of 1 John chapter three, we will look at how we can tell who a person's father is according to the Bible. Today, it can be hard to tell who the father of a child is and it has become common to get a DNA test to tell for certain. In this study, we will see how the Bible contains the most accurate paternity test of all.

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1 John 3:1

How great is the love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God! And that is what we are! The reason the world does not know us is that it did not know him.

This is one of the most beautiful and profound verses in all of the Bible as we are told of our relationship with God. We also see that there is a big difference between us and the world.

1 John 3:2

Dear friends, now we are children of God, and what we will be has not yet been made known. But we know that when he appears, we shall be like him, for we shall see him as he is.

Many are living and hoping to be saved but, as we see here, we are saved today and are children of God through the blood of Jesus Christ. We are also being saved as we are being transformed to be more like Christ in our thoughts and actions. We will be saved in the future when Jesus comes back and takes us out of this sinful world. At that point, we will finally see Him as He is and we will see us as He designed us to be without any effects from sin.

1 John 3:3

Everyone who has this hope in him purifies himself, just as he is pure.

When we come to faith in Jesus and realize how holy and pure He is, we want to be pure out of our love for Him. We are no longer ruled by sin as the focus of our life is changed.

1 John 3:4 & 5

Everyone who sins breaks the law; in fact, sin is lawlessness. But you know that he appeared so that he might take away our sins. And in him is no sin.

Sin is anything that is not in the will of God. We all are not in the will of God 100% of the time as we battle our own wants that are contrary to His will. But, Jesus who had no sin came to be the perfect sacrifice for our sins and through Him our sins are taken away.

1 John 3:6

No one who lives in him keeps on sinning. No one who continues to sin has either seen him or known him.

If you are in Christ, sin will not control you and you will not make a lifestyle of it. We still commit sins but we do not live in the sin and are not happy and content with the sin. The good news is that God has given us the power through the Holy Spirit to live a holy life.

1 John 3:7 & 8

Dear children, do not let anyone lead you astray. He who does what is right is righteous, just as he is righteous. He who does what is sinful is of the devil, because the devil has been sinning from the beginning. The reason the Son of God appeared was to destroy the devil's work.

As children of God, we will seek to be like Jesus and that means we will do the right things. Those who are not children of God will live in sin just as the devil has from the beginning. The good news is that Jesus came and brought us victory over the work of Satan.

1 John 3:9

No one who is born of God will continue to sin, because God's seed remains in him; he cannot go on sinning, because he has been born of God.

If you are saved, then you have God living in you through the Holy Spirit. The Spirit will not allow you to be at peace and still living in a pattern of sin. We all will commit sins but living happily in a lifestyle of sin is a clear warning sign that the Spirit is not in control of your life.

1 John 3:10

This is how we know who the children of God are and who the children of the devil are: Anyone who does not do what is right is not a child of God; nor is anyone who does not love his brother.

As we see here, we are not all children of God. To be a child of God you must accept Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior. If you are a child of God, people will be able to tell it. You will try to be like Jesus as you were called to be His disciple and so you will do what is right. You will also be known by your love for others because God is love and He lives in you.

1 John 3:11

This is the message you heard from the beginning: We should love one another.

John is reminding us of Jesus' command to love one another (see John 13:34). It is not a new message in that Jesus was constantly calling us to love and telling us to demonstrate that love by our actions.

1 John 3:12

Do not be like Cain, who belonged to the evil one and murdered his brother. And why did he murder him? Because his own actions were evil and his brother's were righteous.

Cain got jealous of his brother when God favored him because of his offering. This jealousy led to Cain killing his brother. The same type of thing happens today even among believers as some get jealous when they see God's favor on others. This can then lead to backbiting and assaults on their character. Instead, we should rejoice when we see God at work and showing favor to our brothers and sisters because it is all for the glory of God.

1 John 3:13

Do not be surprised, my brothers, if the world hates you.

If you are following Jesus, you will face opposition and even hatred. The good news of Jesus is foolishness to those that are perishing and so they will not understand you. These people will make fun of what they do not understand and in many cases will do everything they can to stop you.

1 John 3:14

We know that we have passed from death to life, because we love our brothers. Anyone who does not love remains in death.

The second part of our paternity test is the test of love. God is love and so, if we are His children, we will show love to others. If we are His children, we have life but if we are not then death still has a hold on us.

1 John 3:15

Anyone who hates his brother is a murderer, and you know that no murderer has eternal life in him.

Hate is the opposite of love and since we know that God is love then the opposite of God is death and hell. It is a tough lesson but there is no room for hate in the heart of a believer.

1 John 3:16

This is how we know what love is: Jesus Christ laid down his life for us. And we ought to lay down our lives for our brothers.

We hear the word "love" thrown around so much today that we have actually lost the understanding of what it means. This verse gives us the real definition and it does not even resemble the concept that is in the world today. Quite simply, to love someone is to be willing to give up your life so that they may live. That, my friends, is what Jesus demonstrated on the cross for all of us.

1 John 3:17

If anyone has material possessions and sees his brother in need but has no pity on him, how can the love of God be in him?

This is not a popular part of God's Word in our society but Jesus did not have a fancy home, car, or anything else while He was here on earth. We can agree that Jesus is our example so we have to ask ourselves why we are so caught up in material things.

1 John 3:18

Dear children, let us not love with words or tongue but with actions and in truth.

The word "love" is thrown around too much today and John is telling us here that it is an action word. Many will say they love someone or something but then their actions do not bear witness to that professed love.

1 John 3:19 & 20

This then is how we know that we belong to the truth, and how we set our hearts at rest in his presence whenever our hearts condemn us. For God is greater than our hearts, and he knows everything.

Love conquers fear and, if we love, then we know we are God's children and we "belong to the truth" as Jesus is the Truth. Without fear, we have peace with God even when our hearts remember our past sins. God knows His children and His love is greater than all.

1 John 3:21 & 22

Dear friends, if our hearts do not condemn us, we have confidence before God and receive from him anything we ask, because we obey his commands and do what pleases him.

If we are God's children we can be confident when we ask Him for His blessings. He is better than any father we could imagine here on earth and so He wants to give good things to His children. We listen to Him and obey because we want to please Him just as earthly children want to obey a father that they love and respect.

1 John 3:23

And this is his command: to believe in the name of his Son, Jesus Christ, and to love one another as he commanded us.

It is not hard to understand what God wants from us and John gives it to us as clear as possible here. First, we must believe in Jesus Christ, the Son of God who died for our sins and rose again. Second, after we are saved, we are to love each other in the same manner that Jesus loves us.

1 John 3:24

Those who obey his commands live in him, and he in them. And this is how we know that he lives in us: We know it by the Spirit he gave us.

Are you doing what Jesus said and have you got the Spirit? Those are the two questions that we each should ask ourselves. If you can answer yes to both of them, then the paternity test results are back and God is your Father!