As already stated, the major purpose in John writing I John is that we may know. He wants us to have assurance of our salvation that we may know what true fellowship with God is and that we may know the gifts God has for His Children. Due to the structure of the book some believe I John wasn’t written as an epistle. Rather, they believe this was a written sermon the apostle preached. Whether it was an epistle or a sermon His purpose is clear. His purpose was to be both evangelistic and encouraging.
This is clearly an evangelistic letter since John stated in the second verse of the first chapter that his purpose is to, “proclaim to you the eternal life.” He then said in the next verse, “What we have seen and heard we proclaim to you also, so that you too may have fellowship with us; and indeed our fellowship is with the Father, and with His Son Jesus Christ.” In other words, John was stating that he was letting us know these things because he has fellowship with the Father and Jesus and he wants us to have fellowship with them as well. This should be the heart of every believer toward the non-believer. John’s heart was that we know what true salvation is. Thus, he states seven times throughout I John “by this we know.”
John clearly had a deep love for the recipients of this word. Multiple times he affectionately called them “My little Children.” Not in a demining way. Rather, in a way that a loving father would call on his children. He also frequently called them “beloved.” John loved the church and wanted the best for them. The best for them was that they truly knew Jesus. John apparently assumed that they were true Christians. He spoke this evangelistic word to them as though they were all Christians. He said in I John 1:3, “See how great a love the Father has bestowed on us, that we would be called children of God; and such we are.” However, he also knew that some may have believed in vain as Paul stated in I Corinthians 15: 2. Because he loved them, he wanted them to know.
Clearly, he was speaking to Christians and non-Christians. To the non-Christian he was evangelistic. To the Christian he was encouraging. The gospel isn’t only intended to bring the lost to salvation. This of course is its main purpose. The gospel is also intended to be encouraging to those who are saved. It is encouraging to have the assurance of your salvation reinforced and know that you know. For those who were saved John proclaimed seven more “we knows” to encourage the Christian in his position in the Lord. If you know that you know Christ as Lord and Savior I pray that this study will be encouraging to you. If you are unsure of your position in Christ or you know that you do not know Him, I pray this study will be evangelistic leading you to the saving knowledge of Christ-so you will know.