The Test of Truth

November 2, 2018 Preacher: Gareth Franks Series: Letters of John - Knowing, Walking & Living the Truth

Topic: Christian Living Scripture: 1 John 2:24–29

Home Group Study

Sermon Date: 02 November 2018

Text: 1 John 2:24-29

Opening Discussion: Greg Gilbert in his book, “What is the Gospel?” says, “The gospel of Jesus Christ stands at the very centre of Christianity, and we Christians claim to be about the gospel above all else. It’s what we intend to found our lives upon and build our churches around. It’s what we speak to others about and it’s what we pray they also will hear and believe.” If you were asked, in one or two sentences, to define the gospel, how would you answer?

Observation - What does God’s word say?

John has warned us that we are in the last hour, with many deceivers trying to lead us astray from the truth. Since the days of the early church, Satan has actively opposed the truth of God’s Word, especially with regard to the gospel. The false teachers were claiming to have special revelation apart from the Word, but their revelations were subjective philosophical nonsense. By way of contrast, the apostles had been with Jesus Christ. They had heard His teaching and seen His miracles. They saw Him risen from the dead. They knew that the entire Old Testament pointed to Jesus Christ. Jesus Christ fulfilled all of its prophecies and its law.

What are your observations?


  • Luke 24:44-45
  • Matthew 5:17-18
  • Romans 10:4
  • 1 John 2:24-29

Meaning - What does God’s word mean?

The gospel is not the result of philosophic speculations or mystical revelations. It is the witness to Jesus Christ Himself, written in the New Testament by men who had seen the risen Lord. You can’t learn the gospel by having a mystical, aesthetic experience. You can’t attain a knowledge of the gospel through philosophy or logic. But you can learn the truth of it in God’s Word, which tells about Jesus Christ. Any deviance from the truth of the gospel is heresy. It is spiritual deception, coming straight from Satan himself. With this danger in mind, John warns us,

To be ready for Christ’s coming, develop discernment by abiding in Him as little children.

From the beginning, these believers had heard the teaching of the apostles, especially their teaching on the core issue of the gospel. John begins this letter with the words, “What was from the beginning,” which refers to Jesus Christ Himself. The person and work of Jesus Christ is the gospel. When John tells us to abide in what we heard from the beginning, he does not necessarily mean that you should never change the beliefs that you have held since childhood. To do so would only perpetuate error if your parents had been wrong! Rather, he means, if you began with the gospel and with the sound doctrine of the apostles, whose teaching is the foundation of the church (Eph.2:20), why depart from these sure truths for the religious speculations of these false teachers? We have the apostles teaching in the New Testament. In this passage, the apostle continues the theme of avoiding spiritual deception. He shows us how to develop the discernment that we need to persevere in the faith by abiding in these certainties.

Read: John 15:1-11

What are your observations from these verses?

Application - How must I change?

  •  Is there a Truth to be believed?

 “Abide” is one of John’s favorite words. He uses it more than all other New Testament writers combined—24 times in 1 John. Nowhere in scripture are we commanded to be “in Christ”, but we are however commanded to “abide in Christ”. Why do you think this is so? What is the difference?

  •  Is there an Attitude to be fostered?

Some argue that verse 27 teaches that you must not have teachers or even use commentaries to help you understand the Bible. Why (biblically) is this a serious mistake?

  • Is there a Behavior to be changed?

John indicates in verse 28, that there are two possibilities when Jesus Christ comes: either you will have confidence or you will “shrink away from Him in shame.” Is John referring to believers who will be ashamed at the Lord’s coming, or to the heretics and those who have followed them in their denial of the deity of Jesus Christ? Give reasons for your answers.


“Little children” (v.28) implies that abiding in Christ is simple, not something that you need a graduate degree to understand or practice. In fact, Jesus said in Matthew 18:3, “unless you are converted and become like children, you will not enter the kingdom of heaven.” There are bumper stickers that read, “Simplify.” That’s not bad advice in all areas of life, but it is especially appropriate for your walk with the Lord. Ask yourself these basic questions:

  • Do I spend consistent, regular time alone with the Lord in the Word?
  • Am I trusting God by drawing near in prayer to His throne of grace in all of my trials?
  • Do I memorize and meditate on God’s Word, applying it to my life?
  • Am I faithful as a steward of all that God has entrusted to me, maintaining integrity and putting off greed?
  • Am I growing in holiness, developing the fruit of the Spirit by walking in the Spirit?
  • Am I judging, confessing, and forsaking sin, beginning on the thought level?
  • Am I working at maintaining and deepening the relationships with those in my life, especially in my immediate family? This includes truthful, loving communication; listening; kindness; patience; forgiveness; and, humility.

This isn’t rocket science! It is basic Christian living and those who have applied these things have endured terrible suffering and even martyrdom, but have believed in and received the gospel promise of eternal life with much joy.



Closing Prayer: Lord and God, we need the real Jesus, who is offered in the gospel. We find Him by going to His word and by being taught by the Holy Spirit, who always points to Him. Help us then to abide in it and Him and to come to know Him, who to know aright is life eternal. We ask this in Jesus’ name. Amen.

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