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1 John – Full Joy in Obedience and Victory

1 John 1:4 – And these things we write to you that your joy may be full. (NKJV)

The Apostle John writes “these things” in 1st John that your joy “may be full” (v.1.4) What things?

  • Full joy comes from fellowship with God, walking in the light. (1.5-7)
  • Full joy comes from confessing our sin (1.9)
  • Full joy comes from having Jesus as our Defender (2.1)
  • Full joy comes with knowing God; evidenced by our obedience and love (2.3-11)
  • Full joy is obtainable for all Christians in every stage of maturity (2.12-14)
  • Full joy through loving the things of God and not of the world (2.15)
  • Full joy is cultivated by righteousness (2.28) and purity (3.3)
  • Full joy comes from loving in deed and truth, not just words (3.18)
  • Full joy is the result of loving as Christ loved which casts fear from our lives (4.18)

John writes “these things” all through the book of 1st John. These “things” give us assurance of our salvation and confidence that we are in right standing with God. Assurance of salvation is the height of “full joy”, for what it in this life can steal your joy when you are assured of an eternity in Heaven?

In closing this series of lessons, I want to give you a list of “these things” so that you can reference them when your joy seems to have taken a vacation. You can be assured and joyful when you:

  • Walk in the light
    1 John 1:7 But if we walk in the light as He is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus Christ His Son cleanses us from all sin. (NKJV, emphasis mine for all following verses)
  • Confess your sins
    1 John 1:9 If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.
  • Keep God’s commandments
    1 John 2:3 Now by this we know that we know Him, if we keep His commandments.
  • Love your fellow Christians
    1 John 2:10 He who loves his brother abides in the light, and there is no cause for stumbling in him.
  • Do not love worldliness
    1 John 2:15 Do not love the world or the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him.
  • Let truth abide in you
    1 John 2:24 Therefore let that abide in you which you heard from the beginning. If what you heard from the beginning abides in you, you also will abide in the Son and in the Father.
  • Practice righteousness
    1 John 2:29 If you know that He is righteous, you know that everyone who practices righteousness is born of Him.
  • Purify yourself
    1 John 3:3 And everyone who has this hope in Him purifies himself, just as He is pure.
  • Practice righteousness and love your brother
    1 John 3:10 In this the children of God and the children of the devil are manifest: Whoever does not practice righteousness is not of God, nor is he who does not love his brother.
  • Lay down your life for others
    1 John 3:16 By this we know love, because He laid down His life for us. And we also ought to lay down our lives for the brethren.
  • Love in action not just words
    1 John 3:18 My little children, let us not love in word or in tongue, but in deed and in truth.
  • Obey God
    1 John 3:24 Now he who keeps His commandments abides in Him, and He in him. And by this we know that He abides in us, by the Spirit whom He has given us.
  • Love one another
    1 John 4:7 Beloved, let us love one another, for love is of God; and everyone who loves is born of God and knows God.
  • Confess Jesus Christ
    1 John 4:15 Whoever confesses that Jesus is the Son of God, God abides in him, and he in God.
  • Love your brother
    1 John 4:21 And this commandment we have from Him: that he who loves God must love his brother also.
  • Believe in Jesus
    1 John 5:1 Whoever believes that Jesus is the Christ is born of God, and everyone who loves Him who begot also loves him who is begotten of Him.
  • Pray according to God’s will
    1 John 5:14 Now this is the confidence that we have in Him, that if we ask anything according to His will, He hears us.
  • Keep yourself from sin
    1 John 5:18 We know that whoever is born of God does not sin; but he who has been born of God keeps himself, and the wicked one does not touch him.

The Apostle John opens the book giving the reason for writing it: that we may have full joy. What a blessing to be able to evaluate our spiritual lives against such a straightforward and easy to understand set of truths.

When your life lacks joy it may be because of fear, worldliness, disobedience or a lack of love. Turn to the book of 1John and prayerfully ask God to reveal what could be stealing your joy.

    Heavenly Father, thank you for showing us how to have a life of full joy. Help us to love, to obey and to practice righteousness so that we can have confidence and assurance in our salvation. In Jesus name, Amen.

Contemplation: Is your life characterized by joy? If no, can you identify any areas that don’t match up to the commands and instruction in 1John? Do you even believe that “full joy” is possible? If not, which other parts of the Bible do you not believe?

Application: Full joy. Elusive for most, possible for all. Full joy comes on God’s terms not our whims. But full joy from God is immune to the circumstances of this life. John lays it out in terms we can all understand. Love, obey, believe, confess.

  1. What is the most obvious Bible truth you have learned today?
  2. What change in your life needs to be made concerning this truth?
  3. What specific thing will you do today to begin that change?