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  "That ye might walk worthy of the Lord unto all pleasing, being fruitful in every good work, and increasing in the knowledge of God;"
 . . .  Colossians 1:10  . . .
Five Reasons John Wrote the Letter of 1 John

Pastor David L. Brown, Ph.D.


My second favorite New Testament book is The Epistle of 1 John. Paul’s Epistle to the Romans is my favorite New Testament Book. Dr. R. A. Torrey said of 1 John, "There is no book in the whole Bible that is more profitable for Christians to study, and especially young Christians, than the First Epistle of John, for this epistle was written by John, under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, for the specific purpose of meeting the needs of young Christians."

In studying for this series of messages I found that some ancient sources refer to the letter as The Epistle of John to the Parthians because they believe it was written specifically to those believers living in Parthia. Some students of the Bible believe that the letter was possibly written from Ephesus. What I find interesting is that the author of this little letter does not identify himself. However, it is quoted or referred to by the early Christian writers as the undoubted production of the apostle John. For instance; Polycarp, (70 – 168 A.D.) who was the pastor of the Church at Smyrna, referred to this Epistle as the work of the Apostle John. Polycarp would have been in a position to know who the author was because he was a disciple of the Apostle John. (For more information about Polycarp see my article at -- Irenaeus of Lyons, (125-202 A.D.) a disciple of Polycarp, Oregin of Alexandria (185-254 A.D.) and Cyprian of Carthage (200-258 A.D.) all attribute this little letter to the Apostle John. The Old Syriac version of the New Testament, which probably written in the late first century is another early witness, attributing 1 John to the Apostle John.

Regarding the time of the writing of this little letter, I must tell you that we do not know for sure. I speculate that it was probably written near the end of the first century about 80 to 95 A.D.

That brings me to the purpose for which the letter was written. John lists fives reasons he wrote his letter.

  • That We Might Have Fellowship - 1 John 1:3 "That which we have seen and heard declare we unto you, that ye also may have fellowship with us: and truly our fellowship is with the Father, and with his Son Jesus Christ."

The key word here is fellowship. It is the translation of the Greek word koinonia (koy-nohn-ee’-ah; 2842), which means to be made a partner; joint participation. When a person trusts Jesus Christ as their Savior, there is fellowship on two levels. First there is fellowship or partnership with other believers. This is indicated by this phrase in verse 3 "…that ye also may have fellowship with us…" Turn to Acts 2:42 "And they continued stedfastly in the apostles' doctrine and fellowship, and in breaking of bread, and in prayers." Genuine born-again believers meet together. Why? Because, fellowship with other believers strengthens and encourages them. They join together to pray, study the Word (doctrine) and join together to remember Jesus Christ in communion. Fellowship with other believers reminds us that we are not alone. We share and bear each other’s burdens (Galatians 6:2). We encourage each other to fulfill our responsibility of sharing the Gospel (Philippians 1:3-5).

The second level of fellowship is our fellowship with God and His son the Lord Jesus Christ. Before the fall of our first parents, Adam and Eve fellowshipped with God. Fellowship with God is a key reason that God created mankind. In a coming message we will look at our fellowship with God.

There is a second reason John wrote this epistle was…

  • That We Might Have Joy - 1 John 1:4 "And these things write we unto you, that your joy may be full."

When you are in fellowship with other believers and the Lord, there is real happiness. You are at peace with God and have the peace of God. Psalms 16:11 expresses this kind of joy. "Thou wilt show me the path of life: in thy presence is fulness of joy; at thy right hand there are pleasures for evermore." Real joy is to be found in the Savior.

The next reason that John wrote this letter was…

  • That We Do Not Sin 1 John 2:1 "My little children, these things write I unto you, that ye sin not. And if any man sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous:"

The goal of the believer is to keep himself or herself from sin. We are called to live a holy and pure life (1 Peter 1:16). Holiness and happiness are inseparable; sin and misery are at the opposite end of the spectrum.Years ago I heard a preacher say, "Christians are not sinless, but Christians do sin less." It is clear that John does not expect us to be perfectionists. This is clear from verses 8-10. However, John makes it clear that loose-livers, like some of the Gnostics who went to all sorts of excesses without shame, is not appropriate for believers. John wants believers to know that the Lord Jesus Christ is the believer’s advocate. The Greek word translated advocate is paraklesis. It means "one who pleads another’s cause before a judge, a pleader, counsel for defense, an advocate."

Believing friend, John wants you to know though Satan accuses believers to God when they sin (Revelation 12:10), Jesus Christ is at the right hand of God making intercession for us (Romans 8:34)

The next reason that John wrote this letter was…

  • That We Might Be Victorious Over Deceivers - 1 John 2:26 "These things have I written unto you concerning them that seduce you."

The word seduce is a translation of the Greek word 4105 planao (plan-ah’-o; 4105) which means to lead astray from the truth into error. The sense is, these wolves were trying to lead these believers astray: they lay in wait to deceive, and attempted to deceive them, by walking in craftiness, and handling the word of God deceitfully (Ephesians 4:14). In light of their efforts, these believers were to identify them, shunned and avoided them. As we will see the Apostle points them out, and shows who they are.

The next reason that John wrote this letter was…

  • That We Might Know That We Are Saved - 1 John 5:13 "These things have I written unto you that believe on the name of the Son of God; that ye may know that ye have eternal life, and that ye may believe on the name of the Son of God."

There is a question that I have asked to many people over the years: "Do you know for sure you’re are going to Heaven when you die?" I put that question to you this morning. I can tell you that many of the people I have asked that question respond "you can’t know for sure." If you find yourself of that opinion, your are mistaken. John says, "…ye may know that ye have eternal life" by believing on the name of the Son of God." I would urge you to real the epistle of 1 John for yourself. It is only five chapters, yet it is a powerful letter.

  • In conclusion, John gives five reasons he wrote his letter…
    • That We Might Have Fellowship With Him - 1 John 1:3
    • That We Might Have Joy - 1 John 1:4
    • That We Do Not Sin – 1 John 2:1
    • That We Might Be Victorious Over Deceivers – 1 John 2:26
    • That We Might Know That We Are Saved - 1 John 5:13

Please click here for the Most Important Message of the Bible Concerning You. "
Is any of the following a blessing to you today?
"Heaven and earth shall pass away, but my words shall not pass away."
Matthew 24:3

"Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved."
Acts 4:12

"But as it is written, Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God hath prepared for them that love him."

1 Corinthians 2:9

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First Baptist Church of Oak Creek

10550 S. Howell Ave. - Oak Creek, WI 53154

Phone: 414-762-7575

Pastor: David L. Brown, Ph.D.

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