“December 2–8. 1–3 John; Jude: ‘God Is Love’” Come, Follow Me—For Individuals and Families: New Testament 2019 (2019)
“December 2–8. 1–3 John; Jude,” Come, Follow Me—For Individuals and Families: 2019
Record Your Impressions
When John and Jude wrote their epistles, the predicted Apostasy was underway, a result of both intense persecution and corrupt doctrine. Some false teachers even questioned whether Jesus Christ had actually appeared “in the flesh” (see, for example, 1 John 4:1–3; 2 John 1:7). So the Apostle John began his first epistle by giving his personal witness of the Savior: “This is the testimony which we give of that which was from the beginning, which we have heard, which we have seen with our eyes, which we have looked upon, and our hands have handled, of the Word of life” (Joseph Smith Translation, 1 John 1:1 [in 1 John 1:1, footnote a]). But perhaps the strongest message of John’s epistles is love: God’s love for us and the love we should have for Him and all His children. After all, John had personally experienced the Savior’s love (see John 13:23; 20:2), and he wanted the Saints to feel that same love in the face of hardship and opposition, for “there is no fear in love; but perfect love casteth out fear” (1 John 4:18).
If you were to choose one or two words to describe God, what would they be? In his epistles, John used the words “light” and “love” (1 John 1:5; 4:8, 16). As you read 1 John, ponder John’s experiences as recorded in the Gospel of John, and consider how these experiences may have taught John about the light and love of God. What personal experiences have taught you that God is light and love?
Does the goal of becoming Christlike ever seem too lofty to you? Consider John’s encouraging counsel: “Little children, abide in him; that, when he shall appear, we may have confidence … [and] we shall be like him” (1 John 2:28; 3:2). What do you find in 1 John 2:24–3:3 that gives you confidence and comfort as a disciple of Jesus Christ? As you study John’s epistles, look for other principles or counsel that can help you in your effort to become more Christlike.
Joseph Smith Translation, 1 John 4:12 clarifies that “no man hath seen God at any time, except them who believe” (in 1 John 4:12, footnote a; see also John 6:46; 3 John 1:11). The scriptures record several instances when God the Father has manifested Himself to faithful individuals, including John himself (see Revelation 4; see also Acts 7:55–56; 1 Nephi 1:8; Doctrine and Covenants 76:23; Joseph Smith—History 1:16–17).
The idea of overcoming the world appears multiple times in John’s writings. John recorded Jesus saying, “In the world ye shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world” (John 16:33). And in Revelation 2–3, John recorded the Lord’s promises to those who overcome the world. What did John say about overcoming the world in 1 John 5:3–5? As you read 1 John 5, look for what we must do to overcome the world and gain eternal life. What might overcoming the world look like in your life? You could also find answers and insights in Elder Neil L. Andersen’s message “Overcoming the World” (Ensign or Liahona, May 2017, 58–62).
As you read the scriptures with your family, the Spirit can help you know what principles to emphasize and discuss in order to meet the needs of your family. Here are some suggestions:
To help your family ponder John’s teachings, gather in a dark room and let family members experience the difference between walking “in darkness” and walking “in the light.” How does hatred cause us to walk in darkness and stumble? How does loving each other bring light into our lives?
What in these verses increases the “confidence” that we have in God and in our ability to receive answers to our prayers? You could also search “Prayer” in the Bible Dictionary, Guide to the Scriptures (scriptures.lds.org), or Gospel Topics (topics.lds.org).
Are there any commandments that we consider “grievous” or difficult to follow? How does our love for God change the way we feel about His commandments?
Are there any spiritual dangers that have “crept in” to our lives and family? (Jude 1:4). How can we follow Jude’s admonition to “earnestly contend for the faith” and resist these dangers? (Jude 1:3). What can we do to ensure that “peace, and love, be multiplied” in our family? (Jude 1:2).
For more ideas for teaching children, see this week’s outline in Come, Follow Me—For Primary.