We Have Passed Out of Death into Life
1 John 3:1-18
Tony Chute, Interim Pastor
Overview: The Apostle John describes Christians as those who have passed out of death into life, referring primarily to our status before God as once-condemned sinners who are now children of God. While it is true that the physical reality of death lies yet before us, and that our ultimate experience of glorification awaits future consummation, we are called and enabled by God to live now in a different way and at a different level than the rest of the world. The two areas which John draws to our attention include the lifelong pursuit of personal purity and the loving pathway of serving others, both occurring within the context of the local church. As we pass from this life to the life hereafter, we should live each day as those who have passed out of death into life.
01. Have you passed from death to life by receiving the grace of God to confess Jesus as the Son of God, thus making you a child of God?
02. Are you turning away from sin to distinguish yourself from the world, as a response to the finished work of Christ, and in anticipation of the return of Christ?
03. Do you cherish the people of God by serving them in every way that you can and contributing to the unity of the church as often as you can?
04. Will you pray that the Lord will use the recent deaths in our church, as well as our own impending deaths, to bring about revival and reprioritize our future plans?
Questions for Discussion and Discovery
1. John states that the world did not love God; therefore, the world will hate God’s people (verses 1, 13). What is it about God that the world hates? What examples of hatred toward God’s people have you experienced in your own life? What examples of hatred toward the church have you seen worldwide?
2. Does John teach that Christians can experience sinless perfection in verses 4-10? What clues do you find in this text and elsewhere in 1 John that indicate otherwise? How do the death of Christ and the return of Christ serve as both the basis and motivators for purifying ourselves?
3. Notice that John refers to the devil (verse 8) and to Cain (verse 12) and to the world (verse 13), all in the same context of hating God, His people, and His ways. How does this passage connect with Paul’s teaching on spiritual warfare in Ephesians 6:10-20?
4. In what specific ways do you “love the brothers” (verse 14)? Why does John warn us not to love in word only but “in deed and in truth” (verse 18)? Why are truth and deeds combined in the discussion of loving the brothers? Consider those who “love” without truth, and those who “love” without deeds.
5. How does your involvement at Northpoint help you to pursue purity and follow the pathway of love? What areas of church life can you contribute to according to God’s gifting and the needs of others?
For Further Reading: D. Martyn Lloyd-Jones, Life in Christ: Studies in 1 John (Crossway, 2002). Contains the volume Children of God, based on 1 John 3.