Hebrews, James, Peter, John, Jude,

Southern Christian University

Lesson on I John #2, & II, III John 

James A. Turner


Read all of the references to help you grow in the grace and knowledge of the Lord.


We begin this Class Session with I John 3:18, "My little children, let us not love in word, neither with the tongue; but in deed and truth."  You remember chapter two of James, that was what some of them were doing that James wrote to, they were loving in word and tongue, by saying, “be ye warmed and filled” and not giving them the things that they needed, and you remember how James talked about that, that faith without works is a dead faith.  Sometimes when a good lesson is given on the subject of giving, you may hear some sister or brother say, well, there are things that are more important than giving.  Well, I know that a person cannot buy his way to heaven, but at the same time, the Lord teaches us to give as we have been prospered (I Corinthians 16:1-2), and in II Corinthians 8:24, Paul in exhorting the Corinthians to be liberal in making contributions to the poor in Judea made the statement “show the proof of your love,”  He was talking about sending brethren ahead that they would have the contribution ready, and he encouraged them to show the proof of your love in the context by being liberal in their giving.  So John says a man who is not willing to help his brother, the love of God does not dwell in him, and Paul is pretty well saying the same thing. 


Verse nineteen, "Hereby shall we know that we are of the truth, and shall assure our hearts before him."  Remember Ephesians 4:29, “Let him that stole steal no more, but let him labor working with his hands, at the thing which is good that he may have to give to them that are in need  So the Lord's standard is that we are not only to have the goal of making enough that we can properly support our own family but having something up and beyond that that we can give to those in need.  And every child of God should have that goal before him to work hard and use wisely what God has blessed him with, so that he will have to give to those that are in need.  And remember Jesus said on the Sermon on the Mount, “when thou givest alms, be not like the hypocrites who sound the trumpet.”  He did not say if but when, and so there should be some alms giving other than our giving to the church.


I personally believe that every Christian should give at least ten percent of his income in  church contributions and that there is room for giving and helping those that are in need like John is talking about here, up and beyond church contributions.  So if we are ready and have that spirit and want to help those that are in need and we can help, then John is saying then that God's truth is dwelling in us, and we can assure our hearts that we are in covenant relationship with God, in good standing.  "Because if our hearts condemn us, God is greater than our heart, and knoweth all things. In other words, if we think that we should give and do not give, our hearts and conscience are going to condemn us.  Verse twenty-one, Beloved, if our hearts condemn us not; we have boldness toward God, and whatsoever we ask, we receive of him, because we keep his commandments, and do the things that are pleasing in his sight." John really emphasizes keeping the commandments of the Lord in all of his books. Verse twenty-three, "And this is his commandment, That we should believe in the name of his Son Jesus Christ, and love one another, even as he gave us commandment."  The latter part of that verse is referring to what Jesus said in that last long discourse to his apostles as recorded in John 13:34, "A new commandment give I unto you, That ye love one another; even as I have loved you.  By this shall all men know that ye are my disciples, if you love one another as I have loved you."  So John wants us to practice the Lord's commandment, to love one another.  He emphasizes that over and over in this book.  In fact he emphasizes love in all of his books., and there is no wonder then he is called the apostle of love by so many.  "And he that keepeth his commandments abideth in him, and he in him, and he in him.  And hereby we know that he abideth in us, by the Spirit which he gave us."  So John says that we can know whether we are faithful to the Lord  “by the Spirit which he gave us  Notice that Spirit is capitalized which means that the translators think it is talking about the Holy Spirit. STUDENT:  Does that hold true all the way on every case where there is a little s? BROTHER TURNER:  They think it is the human spirit.  Now, the translators can be mixed up, but when capitalized, they think it is talking about the Holy Spirit.  Now, how does the Holy Spirit testify?  Well, look at the verse again.  "And hereby we know that he abideth in us."  that Christ abideth in us, in other words, that we are his faithful children.  "By the Spirit which he gave us."  Now, just exactly how does the Spirit that he has given us tell us that we abide in him? STUDENT:  By the proof.  It is going to be known by the proof, so if his Spirit dwells in us, then people are going to see including the Spirit produce some good works. BROTHER TURNER:  And another passage you might want to put down at the end of that verse is Romans 8:16 where Paul says, “his Spirit testifies with our spirit that we are sons of God, and if sons then heirs of God and joint heirs with Christ  In other words, the word of the Lord is given by the Holy Spirit, and it tells us what to do, and our spirit tells us whether or not we have done according to the Holy Spirit's instruction.  And so his Spirit -- and, again, there it is capitalized.  “His Spirit testifies with our spirit that we are sons of God.” 


Chapter Four

"Beloved, believe not every spirit, but prove the spirits whether they are of God:  Because many false prophets are gone out into the world."  There were many false prophets in the days of John and when we look at all of the passages of the Old Testament and the New Testament, we can pretty well conclude that from almost the beginning of time, there have been many false prophets in the world; and I believe we are to understand that there will be false prophets in the world until the Lord returns.  There are just so many passages in the New Testament which emphasize that there are or there will be false teachers. Jesus in the Sermon on the Mount, Matthew 7:15said, "Beware of the false prophets, that come to you in sheep's clothing, but inwardly they are ravening wolves.  By their fruits, ye shall know them."  So Jesus said,  “Beware of the false prophets” that pretend to be the Lord's sheep, but are the devil's goats instead.  And you remember what Paul said to the Ephesian elders, Acts 28:29, "Take heed unto yourselves, and all the flock over which the Holy Spirit has made you bishops to feed the church of God, which he purchased with his own blood.  For I know this, that after my departing, grievous wolves shall enter in among you and of your own selves shall men arise drawing away disciples after them." 


To the Galatian brethren, Galatians one beginning with verse six, "I marvel that ye are so soon removed from him that called you into the grace of Christ unto another gospel:  Which is not another gospel; only there are those that trouble you and would pervert the gospel of Christ.  But though we, or an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel unto you than that which we preached unto you, let him be accursed."  There were willful false teachers doing their evil work in the churches of Galatia. and there are still willful false teachers in the world.  In regard to those, the Judaizing teachers the truth had been made as plain as it possibly could be made plain, but they were willful false teachers that Paul had to stand against as long as he lived.  In Philippians chapter three verses two and three, "Beware of the dogs, beware of evil workers, beware of the concision  Note the three ways that he is referring to the same people, to those false Judaizing teachers:  As dogs, as evil workers, of the concision.  In the same chapter beginning with verse eighteen, "For many walk, of whom I told you before, and now tell you even weeping, that they are enemies of the cross of Christ:  Whose God is the belly, and whose glory is in their shame."  So there have been many false teachers in the church and in the world, and there are still many false teachers in the world. Now, it is bad enough for man to be teaching false doctrine when he is teaching wrong, because he has not studied enough, but that is not nearly as bad as being a willful false teacher. 


I Timothy chapter four verses one through three, "Now the Spirit speaketh expressly, that in the later times some shall depart from the faith, giving heed to seducing spirits, and doctrines of demons; having their conscience seared as with a hot iron; forbidding to marry, and commanding to abstain from meats, which God created to be received with thanksgiving by them which believe and know the truth."  So Paul told ahead of time two of the false doctrines that they would teach, and down through the ages the Catholic Church, the apostate church, has been teaching those two things mentioned by Paul. In Paul's last epistle II Timothy chapter four he says, "I charge you before God, and before Christ Jesus, who shall judge the living and the dead at his appearing and his kingdom; preach the word; be urgent in season, out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort with all longsuffering and teaching.  For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but having itching ears, they will turn away their ears from the truth, and turn aside unto fables."  Those are a few of the passages, by no means all of them.  Well, you remember how we studied from II Peter chapter two and the first part of chapter three, and Peter says they are coming.  They are going to come turning the grace of God into lasciviousness.  And Jude says they have come.  And so we need to give heed to what John said, "Beloved, believe not every spirit, but prove the spirits whether they are of God."  How do we prove the spirits?  How do we prove the teaching? STUDENT:  Comparing it to what the Bible says. BROTHER TURNER:  All right.  By comparing it to what the Bible says.  And remember Paul said, “let God be true and every man a liar (Romans 3:10)  If any man teacheth contrary to what the Bible teaches, then we are not to believe him, we can know that he is a false teacher. 


Of course, we think that is still during the miraculous age of the church, and the churches would probably have inspired men that would be able to determine whether or not they were teaching correctly.  But at least they are admonished to be on guard, because many false prophets have gone out into the world.  "Hereby know ye the Spirit of God:  Every spirit that confesseth that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh is of God."  A lot of the statements of John could be taken from the context of the book and the rest of the Bible,  and used to teach false doctrine.  A person could remove this from the context and teach false doctrine, could he not?  “Every spirit that confesses that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is of God.”  False teachers usually use passages out of context and the average person does not know they are out of context or contrary to other passages. I would guess that you could go out on the streets of our city and ask one after another, “Did Jesus Christ come in the flesh? The greater percentage would say yes, but many of them are not children of God.  Please keep in mind that basic rule of interpretation that a right interpretation is in harmony with all other references, and if an interpretation is contrary to other passages it is wrong (I Corinthians 13:34). But when John makes a statement like this, keep it in proper context, he is writing to Christians.  And a statement like this means that every spirit that confesses Jesus has come in the flesh, is ready to confess the virgin birth and everything else that the Bible has to say about Jesus, and, of course, continuing to follow his commandments too.  The Gnostics or aniti-christ were saying that Christ had not come in the flesh.  They denied the incarnation or the humanity of Christ (John 1:14). "And every spirit that confesseth not that Jesus is not of God:  and this is the spirit of the anti-christ."  So the anti-christ were saying that Christ did not come in the flesh.  "Whereof ye have heard that it cometh; and now it is in the world already." 


Verse four, "Ye are of God, my little children, and have overcome them:  because greater is he that is in you, than he that is in the world."  I believe he is referring to these anti-christs when he said you have overcome them.  Turning back to chapter two and verse twenty-six, "These things have I written unto you concerning them that would lead you astray."  These false teachers were trying to lead them astray.  They had gone out from the faithful brethren, but they were trying to lead the faithful brethren astray.  And John I believe is saying to them, my faithful brethren, you have won the victory over them.  "Because greater is he that is in you (Christ and God)  than he that is in the world."  The devil was in those false teachers.  "They are of the world:  therefore speak they as of the world, and the world heareth them." I would guess that these faithful brethren were asking themselves the question, “Is it us that are wrong, we are not seemingly making much progress, and look at the progress that they are making.”  They probably had a big following after them, and do we not sometimes reason that way today?  If there is a church over here that is not holding on to sound doctrine, but they really are pulling in the people, are we not prone to ask ourselves the question are we being faithful to the Lord?  They are making a lot more progress than we are making!  But remember the Lord does not judge progress the way we may judge progress, and John is saying the world is hearing them.  So they had a big following!  There are a lot of people that want to have enough religion to soothe their conscience.  They want it pretty well mixed up with a lot of social events and the kind of teaching that they want to hear.  And some of the largest churches in respect to membership, may be in the main, more of a big social club than following the way of the Lord.  Now, it does not have to be that way.  We can surely have large churches with faithful brethren.  But, anyway, the world hears those that teach what they want to practice.  John says, “the world heareth them.” 


Verse six, "We are of God:  He that knoweth God heareth us; he who is not of God heareth us not."  Let me turn back to the gospel of John, and Jesus, in that long discourse to his apostles taught the very same thing that is taught here by the apostle John.  John fifteen beginning with verse eighteen, "If the world hateth you, ye know that it hath hated me before it hated you.  If ye were of the world, the world would love its own:  But because ye are not of the world, but I chose you out of the world, therefore the world hateth you.  Remember the word that I said unto you, A servant is not greater than his Lord.  If they persecuted me, they will also persecute you; if they kept my word, they will keep yours also.  But all these things will they do unto you for my name's sake, because they know not him that sent me."  So Jesus gave warning in this last discourse, the world is going to hate you.  It hated me, and it is going to hate you.  And so John is emphasizing the same thing that Jesus emphasized in that last discourse to his apostles.  Okay.  Back to 4:6, "We are of God:  He that knoweth God heareth us, he who is not of God heareth us not.  By this we know the spirit of truth, and the spirit of error."  In other words, the person that has the right spirit wants to follow the truth, and he will hear the truth, and the person who wants to hear something else, he'll follow somebody who's teaching something else.  Sometimes we may find a brother in the church who more or less thinks that if we just do our job well, and we are just consistent all the time of doing our job well, that just about everybody is going to obey the Lord.  Well, the Bible doesn't teach any such thing!  Remember Jesus said many go in the broad way.  “that leadeth them to destruction ---  For narrow is the gate and straitened the way, that leadeth unto life, and few are they that find it (Matthew 7:13-14).”  And in the parable of the sower, three-fourths of the seed went the wrong way, and so the Bible teaches that the world as a whole has always gone the wrong way, and will continue to go the wrong way.  But there are some good and honest hearts out there like there were in Corinth (Acts 18:9-10), and the Lord has instructed us to go into all the world and preach the gospel to all (Mark 16:15-16; Matthew 28:18-20).. 


Verse seven, "Beloved, let us love one another for love is of God; and every one that loveth is begotten of God, and knoweth God."  That is another statement that could be taken out of the context of the whole book and come to a wrong conclusion, and especially with a person that doesn't understand what true love is.  But remember Jesus emphasized, if you love me you will keep my commandments, and when we keep the commandments of the Lord, then love is perfected.  "He that loveth not knoweth not God; for God is love.  Herein was the love of God manifested in us, that God has sent his only begotten Son into the world, that we might live through him."  So God has manifested his love to us in sending his only begotten Son to be an offering for our sins, and for the sins of the whole world.  You might want to write down Romans 5:6-8 by that where Paul said,  “For while we were yet weak, in due season Christ died for the ungodly. For scarcely for a righteous man would one die:  Yet peradventure for a good man some would even dare to die.  But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us."  So God has commended or he has manifested, his love for us by sending Christ to be an offering for sin. If you are hi-lighting, I suggest that you hi-light only begotten Son.  I believe John is the only writer of the New Testament that refers to Christ as the only begotten Son. In the gospel book, he referred to Jesus as the only begotten Son.  John 3:16, "For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life. For God sent not the Son into the world to judge the world; but that the world should be saved through him.  He that believeth on him is not judged:  He that believeth not hath been judged already, because he hath not believed on the name of the only begotten Son of God." Jesus was talking to Nicodemas, and notice that the person who does  not believe is already judged, because he has not believed, and think how so many are ready to take John 3:16 as just though it is an intellectual belief and not anything much more than that; but look at verse thirty-six of the same chapter.  "He that believeth on the Son, hath eternal life.  But he that obeyeth not the Son:  Shall not see life; but the wrath of God abideth on him."  So John is talking about an obedient faith and not just an intellectual faith that has convinced a person that Jesus is the Christ. 


Verse ten, "Herein is love, not that we loved God, but that he loved us, and   sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins." We would not know anything about love according to the fourth chapter of John, if God had not manifested his love toward us, we would not know what love is. Let me emphasize that the Bible teaches that it took a perfect sacrifice to satisfy the righteousness of God to forgive sin, and you might want to put down Isaiah 53:10-11.  There is no way that animal blood could satisfy the righteous judgment of God, and no way that we could have done it, because we are so imperfect; and it took Christ “who did no sin” to make satisfactory atonement for sin.  Verse eleven, "Beloved, if God so loved us, we also ought to love one another."  It must have been a problem in that day similar to the problem that we have in the church today. One of the great weaknesses in the church today is a lack of love.  When it comes to all the problems that arise in the church today, when you get down to the bottom of what is causing it, it is nearly always a lack of love. If we love one another, we can have our differences, and one brother may think this passage is teaching one thing and another ninety degrees in the other direction, but if we love one another  we can still get along. We will be ready to study and find the correct answer. Paul said to the Colossians, “Above all things put on love which is the bond of perfectness.”  God's love is perfected in us when we put on love, and it binds brethren together.  There is unity and there is peace when brethren love one another as they ought.


Verse twelve, "No man hath beheld God at any time:  if we love one another, God abideth in us, and his love is perfected in us.  Hereby we know that we abide in him, and he in us, because he hath given us of his Spirit."  This makes at least a second time, he emphasizes that we judge ourselves by his Spirit, by what the word of God teaches, whether or not we are living in harmony with it.  "And we have beheld and bear witness that the Father hath sent the Son to be the Savior of the world."  John is emphasizing that they were eyewitnesses of Christ, and we know that he is come, and God his sent him to be the savior of the world. Verse fifteen,  "Whosoever shall confess that Jesus is the Son of God, God abideth in him, and he in God."  Again, he is talking about that kind of confession where a person is very sincerely confessing Jesus to be the savior, and with that spirit, Lord speak and I will obey, and he continues in that way.  "And we know and have believed the love which God hath in us. God is love; and he that abideth in love abideth in God, and God abideth in him.  Herein is love made perfect with us, that we may have boldness in the day of judgment:  Because as he is, even so are we in this world."  In other words, we are learning to love as Christ loved and as God loved, and therefore we can have boldness in the Day of Judgment. 


Verse eighteen, "There is no fear in love; but perfect love casteth out fear:  Because fear hath punishment.  And he that feareth is not made perfect in love."  Now, on the surface, verse eighteen seems to be contrary to a number of passages in the Bible.  Do you remember how Solomon closed the book of Ecclesiastes by saying, “this is the end of the matter, all has been said.  Fear God and keep his commandments for this is the whole duty of man.”  And in the book of Proverbs, he says the beginning of wisdom is to fear God and keep his commandments.  But, anyway, the Bible just over and over says that we are to fear God, and here John says, that perfect love casteth out fear.  Well, we know that God is not the author of confusion (I Corinthians 13:34).  He does not say one thing in one place in the Bible and turn around and contradict it somewhere else.  What is the difference?  How can one writer say, “fear God and keep his commandments” and John says, “perfect love casteth out fear  STUDENT:  There are different meanings of the word fear.  There has to be. BROTHER TURNER:  Okay.  It turns on that.  The difference here, John is talking about that it casts out fear, that is fear of terror, and afraid to stand before God in judgment, where those other passages are talking about proper respect and reverence for God (Hebrews 12:28-29).  But you can see from the context that John is talking about when a man knows that he had been manifesting his love toward his brethren, he knows he's keeping the commandments of God, then as he has already stated he has great boldness in the day of judgment; and here “perfect love casteth out fear  He says he that feareth.  In other words, he that feareth of that kind of fear of terror of standing before the Lord in judgment is not made perfect in love.  “We love because he first loved us.”  “If a man say I love God and hateth his brother, he is a liar.  For he that loveth not his brother whom he hath seen cannot love God whom he hath not seen  That is a passage that if you have not committed to memory, you should do so.  It is a very needed passage in our day.  It was very needed then when John wrote it, and it has been needed ever since. STUDENT:  Isn't this one of these cases in twenty down, down to twenty-one back over yonder in chapter 3:14, and each case is referring to your brother loving your brother.  Is all that just another Christian? BROTHER TURNER:  Well, I think that is the primary emphasis in this book.  But, surely, we are to love others.  The Old Testament and the New Testament teaches that we are to love our neighbors as ourselves. STUDENT:  Well, all throughout this chapter he is talking about love, also loving others.  BROTHER TURNER:  Well, it looks like to me in the context he is talking especially about brethren in Christ, and you know that sometimes hate builds up in a church, and a brother really hates another brother, and it surely ought not to be.  And remember John has already said that such a brother is a murderer,  “and you know that no murderer hath eternal life dwelling in him.”  But he just emphasizes this again and again how wrong it is not to have proper love for your brethren.  And so the very plain statement, “if a man say I love God and hateth his brother, he is a liar.  For he that loveth not his brother whom he hath seen cannot love God whom he hath not seen.”  In other words, association is supposed to help build that love.  When we see one another and have fellowship with one another, that is to help build that loving bonding relationship, but we have not seen God.  So this is a very simple but very meaningful statement.  "And this commandment have we from him, That he who loveth God love his brother also."  Remember Matthew twenty-two when they were asking him the questions, and one question, which is the great commandment? Jesus said, “love the Lord thy God with all thy heart and with all thy strength and all thy mind.  This is the first and great commandment.  And a second is likened to it, thou shall love thy neighbor as thyself  So the Lord has commanded that we love our brother, and love our neighbor.


Chapter Five

"Whosoever believeth that Jesus is the Christ is begotten of God:  And whosoever loveth him that begat.  (God or Christ)  Loveth him also that is begotten of him."  God, Christ, and the Holy Spirit, all three are involved in that begetting process, and John says that, “Whosoever believeth that Jesus Christ is begotten of God, loveth him also that is begotten of him.  By the way, we never did come back and discuss the only begotten Son of God.  Surely this means that he is the only one of a kind, and it may include more and probably does than the virgin birth.  He is the only begotten Son in the sense that he was born without the agency of man, the virgin birth,  and he is the only begotten Son that God has raised him from the dead to die no more (Acts 13:33).  In the first chapter of Hebrews, we read that this day have I begotten thee.  Verse five, "For unto which of the angels, said he at any time, Thou art my son. This day have I begotten thee?”  It emphasizes two things, the virgin birth, Christ born without the agency of man, and also his death, that he had been raised from the dead to die no more. Paul also quoted Psalms 2:7 in the synagogue at Antioch of Pisidia and applied it to the resurrection of Christ, and that must be the primary meaning. I believe Brother Hugo McCord in his translation of the New Testament translated only begotten as the only unique Son, and that would carry the idea as the only one of a kind. 


We are down to verse two of chapter five.  "Hereby we know that we love the children of God, when we love God, and do his commandments."  Jesus said, “if you love me, you will keep my commandments.”  And so when we keep his commandments, we know that we love God and we love the children of God.  "For this is the love of God, that we keep his commandments:  And his commandments are not grievous."  You may want to hi-light not grievous, that needs to be emphasized!  We are to understand that everything that God has commanded us is for our benefit, that God is a good and benevolent God.  He has not commanded anything that is not for our well being.  Jesus said, “Come unto me all ye that labor and are heavy laden and I will give you rest.  Take my yoke upon you and learn of me, for I am meek and lowly in heart, and ye shall find rest unto your souls, for my yoke is easy and my burden is light  Some go too far in stressing that we are to count the cost of the kingdom without emphasizing we need to count the cost of the devil's kingdom.  Now, there is a cost of discipleship, but Jesus says, “my yoke is easy and my burden is light.”  And, surely, if a person would make a proper contrast of following the way of the Lord and following the way of the devil, he can see that the Lord's way is the easy way in comparison.  The Bible says the way of the transgressor is the hard way, and surely it is.  Think how the disease of AIDS has taken so many lives today because of the following of the way of the world and the way of the devil. STUDENT:  The way of the transgressor is what? BROTHER TURNER:  Is hard.  And any time we regard God's commandments as being burdensome or grievous, God is not pleased. 


If we had plenty of time, I would like to turn back to the Old Testament and read several passages.  In Malachi chapter one, God wanted somebody to close the door so they would not offer unto him sacrifices in vain.  Instead of offering a perfect animal, they were taking those sick and diseased animals and offering them up and counting the Lord's table polluted.  And he says I wish somebody would close the door, talking about close the door of the temple, because of their attitude.  Well, just a number of the prophets that speak out against that spirit of not wanting to do.  In Amos the fourth chapter where it talks about how the people wanted the new moon and the Sabbath day to be over so that they could go about their business of cheating the poor, and that God was not going to forget their conduct. Now, I want to try to encourage those who count the Lord's way a hard way, I still want to try to encourage them to come on, and maybe they will change their attitude.  But that is just not the right attitude, and it needs to be changed!  If a person goes to church with the spirit I am here because I know I am commanded to be here. He  does not have the right spirit, and he needs to change his spirit! He ought to do it because he loves the Lord and he knows that the Lord is a good and benevolent God, and that his way is by all odds the best way.  Jesus said, “God is a Spirit, and they that worship him must worship in spirit and truth (John 4:24)."  “For whatsoever is begotten of God overcometh the world:  And this is the victory that hath overcometh the world, even our faith."  That is the basis of one of our good songs, right?  “Encamped along the hills of light, ye Christian soldiers rise.  Faith is the victory we know, That over comes the world ---- glorious victory, That over—comes the world.” We need to think of this passage when we sing that song, that faith is the victory, and that the only way of victory is through proper faith in the Lord. 


Verse five, "And who is he that overcometh the world, but he that believeth that Jesus is the Son of God?"  Believe everything about Jesus and ready to obey his commands is the spirit of the whole, the whole Epistle.  So there is no way to overcome the world, except through proper faith and trust in God.  "This is he that came by water and blood, even Jesus Christ; not with the water only, but with the water and with the blood."  When it says that Christ came by water and the blood, what two things do you think he is talking about?  He said not with water only but also with the blood.  Not water only but with the water and with the blood, the blood would be talking about what? STUDENT:  It would be the blood he shed. BROTHER TURNER:  Yes, His death on the cross when he shed his blood to make atonement for sin.  What would he be talking about Christ coming by water?  Do you not think he would be talking about Jesus going from Galilee to the Jordan to be baptized of John the Baptist, or John the Baptizer?  It was on that occasion the Spirit descended as a dove upon him and a voice from heaven said, “this is my beloved son in whom I am well pleased  And that is emphasized then in this reading in verse seven.  "It is the Spirit that bears witness, because the Spirit is truth."  And the Spirit bore witness on that occasion when Jesus was baptized of John.  Again, on the occasion when Jesus was transfigured, Matthew seventeen, the Spirit, again, said, “This is my beloved Son in whom I am well pleased, hear ye him.”  So the Spirit surely testified.  "There are three who bear witness, the Spirit  (the Holy Spirit)  And the water, and the blood:  And the three agree in one." 


Do you remember from the first chapter of the gospel of John beginning with verse twenty-nine how John tells that he did not know that Jesus was the Christ, except he had been told that on whomsoever ye see the Spirit descending.  They were cousins, but John did not know that Jesus was the Christ until the occasion of his baptism.  Now, we have a different reading in the King James Version.  And I would like to at least call attention to it.  Do any of you have the King James Version?  "that there are three that bear witness in heaven," does it not read in one verse? STUDENT:  "the Father, the Word, and the Holy Ghost." .

BROTHER TURNER:  And if you wonder why that is left out, it is based on the conclusion of translators, based on the reading of most of the better manuscripts, that it had been added.  Verse nine, "If we receive the witness of men, the witness of God is greater:  For the witness of God is this that he hath born witness concerning his Son."  The voice from heaven on two occasions said, “This is my beloved Son in whom I am well pleased.”  And that last time “hear ye him.”  "He that believeth."  Think of all the New Testament references that bears witness that Jesus is the anointed one that God has sent, to be the savior of the world.


We believe men who have a record of telling the truth when they bear witness of something, and so John is emphasizing the witness of God is greater than that of man.  Man can be mistaken or he may not be truthful, but there is no lie or error in God,  he is not mistaken about anything!  "For the witness of God is this, that he hath born witness concerning his Son.  He that believeth on the Son of God hath the witness in him:  He that believeth not God hath made him a liar; because he hath not believed in the witness that God hath born concerning his Son."  That is essentially what is said in John 3:18, "He that believeth on him is not judged:  But he that believeth not on him is judged already, because he hath not believed on the name of the only begotten Son of God."  So a person who does not believe on Christ in the true sense, John says is a liar.  Think of the times that John raises something and says if man does not do this or that, he is a liar.  Verse eleven, "And the witness is this, that God gave us eternal life, and this life is in his Son."  That is in harmony with all of those passages from the apostle Paul where he emphasized in Christ, in Christ the beloved, in whom, and all those other ways that he refers to a person being in Christ, and we know the final act that puts one into Christ.  On the basis of proper faith and repentance and confession, one is baptized into Christ (Galatians 3:26-27; Romans 6:3-7), and if he continues to follow Christ then, he has eternal life.  Every obedient believer has eternal life in promise.  And remember Jesus said that he that cometh to God must believe that he is. Jesus said, John 14:6, "I am the way, the truth, and the life; no one cometh unto the Father, except by me."  So no one can have eternal life who does not obey Christ.  "He that hath the Son hath the life; and he that hath not the Son hath not the life."  Of course, it is talking about spiritual life in Christ leading to eternal life (John 5:24-25; Ephesians 2:1-6). 


Verse thirteen, "These things have I written unto you that you may know that ye have eternal life, even unto you that believe on the name of the Son of God."  It looks like that this is emphasizing the fact that one of the primary purposes of the book of John is to assure all these brethren that are faithful in these churches that this Epistle went to when it first went forth, and, of course, to us today that Christians can know that they are in a saved condition. They were evidently raising some doubts because of the anti-christs trying to lead them astray, as to whether or not they were in a saved relationship with the Lord.  And John wanted to assure them that they were in a saved relationship.  We need to do a good job of assuring brethren who are humble and faithful before the Lord that they are in a saved relationship with the Lord. STUDENT:  Do you have a problem there, though, when you talk to somebody because you don't know what -- none of us really reveal to other people all of the inside of us.  And somebody says, I feel like I am a sinner, and there may be faith on the inside.  And you talk with them and try to give them this assurance, and they do not need assurance, they need repentance. BROTHER TURNER:  Well, that may be the case too. STUDENT:  And sometimes you really do not know that.  And we live in a very troubled society as you well know, and we find folks that wind up in jail. BROTHER TURNER:  Well, you need to emphasize that John is here telling us how that we are to know whether we are in a saved relationship or in a lost condition.  He emphasizes both ways. A man who has bitterness and hate in his heart towards his brother, all he has to do is read the epistle of John and learn that he is in a lost condition.  Evidently, with most of the brethren they were trying to walk humbly before the Lord.  And John wanted to assure those brethren that there is real security in Christ for those who continue to hear and follow Christ (John 10:27-29).


Verse fourteen, "And this is the boldness which we have toward him, that, if we ask any thing according to his will, he heareth us:  And if we know that he heareth us, whatsoever we ask, we know that we have the petitions which we have asked of him.  If any man see his brother sinning a sin not unto death, he shall ask and God will give him life for them that sin not unto death. There is sin unto death, not concerning this do I say that you should make requests."  John is saying if you see a brother sinning, sin that is not unto death, spiritual death, then pray for him, that God will give him life, but if you think that he has gone the way of sin unto death, I do not ask you to make requests for such a person.  It looks like he does not say it would be wrong to, but he said not concerning this do I say that he should make requests.  In I Timothy five Paul was talking about the widows that had left their first pledge and were going the way of the world, giving themselves to pleasure.  He said, “She that giveth herself to pleasure is dead while she liveth.”  In Ephesians chapter two, Paul said to the Ephesians  "And ye did he make alive when ye were dead in your trespasses and sin."  I John 5:16 coupled with the sixth chapter of the book of Hebrews teaches very clearly that a child of God can turn back into sin in such a way that he will never be redeemed.  Turn to Hebrews the sixth chapter beginning with verse four, "For as touching those who were once enlightened, and tasted of the heavenly gift, and were made partakers of the Holy Spirit, and tasted the good word of God, and the powers of the aged to come, and then fell away.  It is impossible to renew them again into repentance; seeing they crucify to themselves the Son of God afresh, and put him to an open shame.  For the land which hath drunk the rain that cometh oft upon it, and bringeth forth herbs meet for them for whose sake it is also tell, receiveth blessing from God:  But if it bear thorns and thistles it is rejected, and is nigh unto a curse; whose end is to be burned."  So both of these passages teach that a person can turn away from God in such a way that they cannot be restored. 


What kind of sin is unto death?  A rebellious spirit, where a person refuses to repent and turn back to the way that is right, I think is the sin that is unto death.  The Bible teaches that God will not separate a child of God from him for any light cause, but if a person goes that way of a rebellious spirit and continues in that course, finally he becomes so hardened that he is going to continue going the wrong way.  And remember I Timothy four one of those passages used awhile ago, “having their conscience seared as with a hot iron.”  A person can go contrary to his conscience until his conscience is seared, and then he continues in the wrong way. You remember what Peter said about those that escaped the defilements of the flesh and then turned back, and entangled in sin again that the last state is worse than the first. Verse seventeen, "All unrighteousness is sin:  And there is a sin not unto death."  All of God’s commandments are righteousness (Psalms 119:172), and if we break his commandments, it is sin.  But there is sin not unto death, because a child of God can repent, and as soon as he repents and asks the Lord to forgive him, he is forgiven.  I John 1:9, "If we confess our sins, he is just and righteous to forgive us of our sins and cleanse us from all unrighteousness." 


Verse eighteen, "We know that whosoever is begotten of God sinneth not, but he that was begotten of God keepeth himself, and the evil one toucheth him not." The actual meaning is that he does not live a life of sin, his life balances on the side of righteousness, and not on the side of sin.    Remember how Jesus said that those who hear and follow I give unto them eternal life and they shall never perish, and no one is able to snatch them out of my hand (John 10:27-29). A child of God can stumble, but he can get up and go again.  And remember Paul's statement concerning the weak in the church in Romans 14:4, “yea, he shall stand for the Lord hath the power to make him stand.”  Verse nineteen, "We know that we are of God and the whole world lieth in the evil one."  When he says the whole world, you remember that he is writing to assure these faithful brethren that they are in a saved relationship, but as far as the world as a whole, it was going the wrong way in the days of John.  The Bible teaches plainly that the world as a whole has always gone in the wrong way.  To say the world lieth in the evil one is referring, of course, to the devil, and he is the prince of the world.  "And we know that the Son of God is come, and hath given us understanding, that we may know him that is true, and we are in him that is true."  Do you see how he is assuring the brethren, we are in Christ, and he is the true one that has come to be our savior.  "Even in his Son Jesus Christ.  This is the true God, and eternal life.  My little children, guard yourselves from idols."  The bottom line is that an idol is anything that a person puts between himself and God.  It might even be a new automobile.  Paul in Ephesians 5:5 says that a covetous man “is an idolater,” and in Colossians 3:5, “covetousness which is idolatry Although we do not have so many people today that worship idol gods that they have made with their hands like so many of the people in the Old Testament did, there are still a lot of idols in the world, the wrong kind of spirit, like that spirit of covetousness.  A man who does not have anything to amount to anything, can still be covetous in spirit, and if a person has a covetous spirit, Ephesians 5:5 and Colossians 3:5 say that he is an idolater.






NT 4414A Hebrews, James, Peter, John, Jude

Southern Christian University

Comments On II John

James A. Turner


Read all the references, they will help you to “Grow in the grace and knowledge of the Lord.”


We are now ready to begin a brief study of II and III John. Please notice that these two Epistles are the shortest of all the books of the New Testament. There are only thirteen verses in II John and fourteen in III John. Both of these Epistles have several things in common. Both are very short, and John speaks of himself as “The elder” in both of them. As we noticed in our introduction, John, according to some of the early writers, lived to be a very aged apostle, and must have been very well known as “The elderVerse twelve of II John and verse thirteen of III John are very much alike which is strong indication that both books must have been written at about the same time.


Let us begin the reading of II John. “The elder unto the elect lady and her children, whom I love in truth; and not I only, but also all they that know the truth; for the truth’s sake which abideth in us, and it shall bide with us for ever: Grace, mercy, peace shall be with us, from God the Father, and from Jesus Christ, the Son of the Father,  in truth and love.” Several writers have reasoned that the elect lady is a church, or the universal church, but this is not logical. The church does not have children, and it would not be proper to mention a church and children in the same sentence.


John is writing to a Christian woman and her children, and notice that he is warning her about the anti- christ. This seems to be the primary purpose of this short Epistle. Notice John’s emphasis on love and truth in these three verses. In respect to truth he says, “which abideth in us, and it shall be with us forever

Jesus said, “Heaven and earth shall pass away, but my word shall not pass away (Matthew 24:35).” Peter said, “But the word of the Lord abideth forever (I Peter 1:25).” John also affirms that God’s “grace, mercy, peace shall be with us.” Consider this wonderful promise, and let us do our part to claim these in the fullest degree possible!


Verse four, “I rejoice greatly that I have found certain of thy children walking in the truth even as we received commandment from the Father.” This statement also shows that John is writing to a Christian woman, and he tells her that it brought rejoicing to him to see some of her children “walking in the truth Then he admonishes her about the commandment to “love one another” in verse five. Is not he referring again to John 13:34?


In verse seven he begins to warn her about the anti-christ. “For many deceivers are gone forth into the world, even they that confess not that Jesus cometh in the flesh. This is the deceiver and the anti-christ. Look to yourselves, that we lose not the things which we have wrought, but that ye receive you full reward.” In verse eight John in telling her that if she and her children followed the false teachers that they would lose their salvation in Christ.


Further warning is given in verse nine through eleven that if she assisted the false teachers she would be a party to their evil work. “Whosoever goeth onward and abideth not in the teaching, hath not God: he that abideth in the teaching, the same hath both the Father and the Son.” A few of our brethren today are not giving enough attention to verse nine. Some are doing things in the worship service of the church that they have no Bible authority to do. We are to do in worship only that which we are instructed to do. Verse ten, “If any one cometh unto you, and bringeth not this teaching, receive him not into your house, and give him no greeting for he that giveth him greeting partaketh in his evil work.” From verses eleven and twelve we learn that we are not to aid false teachers in propagating their false teachings, and if we do we are partakers of their evil work. “Having many things to write unto you, I would not write them with paper and ink: but I hope to come unto you, and to speak face to face, that your joy may be full.” Speaking face to face is usually more effective than any other method of communication. Letters, Emails, telephone calls etc. can be effective, but face to face is more effective and more joyous. John closes the letter sending greetings from her sister’s children.
















NT 4414A Hebrews, James, Peter, John, Jude

Southern Christian University

Comments On III John

James A. Turner


Read all the references, they will help you to “Grow in the grace and knowledge of the Lord.”


The apostle John wrote this short letter to the beloved Gaius to encourage him to continue the good work he was doing. Gaius was receiving into his home brethren who were strangers that had gone “forth for the sake of the name” and then setting them forward with the things they needed in their evangelistic work.


John had written to the church that Gaius was a member of to encourage the church to do this, but Diotrephes, “who loveth to have the preeminence” refused to receive the evangelists into his home, and he was putting out of the church those that did. John encourages Gaius to continue the good work that he was doing, and that he would take care of the wicked Diotrephes when he came.


 “The elder unto Gaius the beloved, whom I love in truth.” Note the similarity of verse one with the first verse of II John. This is another indication that both books were written at about the same time. “Beloved, I pray that in all things thou mayest prosper and be in health, even as thy soul prospereth.” Verse two show that Gaius was a beloved and faithful brother. He had considerable prosperity in order for him to send forward those evangelists with the things they needed, but John was praying that his physical health and financial prosperity would be as good as his spiritual well being. What would be the case with you if your physical health and financial prosperity were in keeping with your spiritual health? Would it be about the same, or more, or less?


Verses three and four, “For I rejoice greatly, when brethren came and bare witness unto thy truth, even as thou walkest in truth. Greater joy have I none than this, to hear of my children walking in the truth.” It is very probable that some of those that had “gone forth for the sake of the Name” had told John how Gaius had assisted them in their work, and John was very glad an thankful for the good work that Gaius was doing. Notice that John refers to Gaius as one of “my children” in verse four, and this emphasizes that the apostle was an old man when he wrote these Epistles.


“Beloved, thou doest a faithful work in whatsoever thou doest toward them that are brethren and strangers withal; who bare witness to thy love before the church: whom thou wilt do well to set forward on their journey worthily of god; because that for the sake of the name they went forth taking nothing of the Gentiles.” We therefore ought to welcome such, that we may be fellow-workers for the truth.”  If John was residing at this time at Ephesus where early writers say that he did, then it may have been in the church at Ephesus where brethren had born witness of Gaius’s love   as shown by the good work of receiving the evangelists and giving then things they needed for their work among the Gentiles. Please give careful attention to the principle of truth set forth in verse eight. Any time an individual or a church gives assistance to make a good work possible they become “fellow workers for the truth” in that good work. This is one of the primary ways that all of us can have a part in preaching the gospel to the world, which responsibility is binding on us today (Mark. 16:15-16; Matthew 28:18-20).


“I wrote somewhat unto the church, but Diotrephes, who loveth to have the preeminence among them, receiveth us not.” Do you suppose that this church had appointed that self-willed Diotrephes as one of the elders of the church? Sometimes churches today make such mistakes (Titus 1:7), and trouble is ahead for the church that does. Now, there is a difference in being strong willed and self-willed. Every elder in the church should be strong-willed and boldly stand for truth and righteousness, and always actively involved in the work of the Lord’s truth, but no elder should be self willed. In fact no Christian should be self-willed (Matthew 16:24; Galatians 2:20).


Verse ten, “Therefore, if I come, I will bring to remembramce his work which he doeth, prating against us with wicked words: and not content therewith, neither doth he receive the brethren; and them that would he forbideth and casteth them out of the church  Diotrephes had control in the church, but he was a wicked man. He had stopped the good work that the apostle had recommended that the church be engaged in with wicked words, and wicked words come from a wicked heart (Matthew 15:10-20; Proverbs 4:23). John told Gaius that he would take care of the wicked Diotrephes (verses ten and fourteen) when he came.


Verse eleven, “Beloved, imitate not that which is evil (Diotrephes) but that which is good (Demetrius). He that doeth good is of God: he that doeth evil hath not seen God.   Demetrius hath the witness of all men, and of the truth itself: yea we also bear witness; and thou knowest that our witness is true. I had many things to write unto thee, but I am unwilling to write them to thee with ink and pen, and we shall speak face to face. Peace be unto thee. The friends salute thee. Salute the friends by name. Let us thank God for the good teaching given in these fourteen verses!