THE LESSON BACKGROUND. First John was probably written during the last decade of the first century and was sent to Christians under John’s pastoral care. This seems evident from his frequent use of the expressions such as “little children” and “beloved.” It is possible that this epistle was sent to the same seven churches John addressed in Revelation (see Revelation 1:4). The atmosphere in which I John was written differed from the setting of earlier New Testament epistles. The initial wave of persecution against Christians had subsided, and the church was at peace. But more subtle opposition had arisen within the church. False teaching about the Person of Jesus Christ threatened the church’s doctrinal foundations, and moral laxity undermined its witness. It is no wonder that in this letter the Apostle John drew sharp lines between truth and error, light and darkness, love and hate, and life and death. This week’s lesson uses such basic distinctions to clarify elementary truths about fellowship with God and man.
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