John is one of my favorites, at least these later writings of his, because he is the apostle of love! I like how he starts out I John, it reminds me a little of Peter's comments in II Peter, as John also claims to be an eyewitness to the things of Christ. "That which was from the beginning, which we have heard, which we have seen with our eyes, which we have looked at and our hands have touched--this we proclaim concerning the Word of life. The life appeared; we have seen it and testify to it, and we proclaim to you the eternal life, which was with the Father and has appeared to us. We proclaim to you what we have seen and heard, so that you also may have fellowship with us. And our fellowship is with the Father and with his Son, Jesus Christ. We write this to make our joy complete."
John talks about the importance of walking in the light, walking in obedience to Christ. "If we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus, his Son, purifies us from all sin."
He also says that we are not to love the world. "Do not love the world or anything in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him...the world and its desires pass away, but the man who does the will of God lives forever."
I also appreciate John's comments in II John and III John, regarding news that his children are walking in faith. In II John he says, "It has given me great joy to find some of your children walking in the truth," and in III John, he admits that, "I have no greater joy than to hear that my children are walking in the truth."
Following are just a few of my favorite love quotes from I John:
"If anyone obeys his word, God's love is truly made complete in him. This is how we know we are in him: Whoever claims to live in him must walk as Jesus did."
"Anyone who claims to be in the light but hates his brother is still in the darkness."
"How great is the love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God! And that is what we are!"
"This is the message you heard from the beginning: We should love one another."
"This is how we know what love is: Jesus Christ laid down his life for us. And we ought to lay down our lives for our brothers. If any one has material possessions and sees his brother in need but has no pity on him, how can the love of God be in him? Dear children, let us not love with words or tongue but with actions and in truth."
"This then is how we know that we belong to the truth, and how we set our hearts at rest in his presence whenever our hearts condemn us. For God is greater than our hearts, and he knows everything."
"Dear friends, let us love one another, for love comes from God. Everyone who loves has been born of God and knows God. Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love."
"And so we know and rely on the love God has for us. God is love. Whoever lives in love lives in God, and God in him. In this way, love is made complete among us so that we will have confidence on the day of judgment because in this world we are like him. There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment. The one who fears is not made perfect in love. We love because he first loved us."
"If anyone says 'I love God,' yet hates his brother, he is a liar. For anyone who does not love his brother, whom he has seen, cannot love God, whom he has not seen."
"This is love for God: to obey his commands. And his commands are not burdensome, for everyone born of God overcomes the world. This is the victory that has overcome the world, even our faith."
I love that John says that the reason he is writing is "so that you may know that you have eternal life."
I think the message of these three letters can best be summed up by a quote from II John, in which he says, "I am not writing you a new command but one we have had from the beginning. I ask that we love one another. And this is love: that we walk in obedience to his commands."