Exploring 1 John Session 6 1 John 2:3-6
Exploring 1 John Session 6 1 John 2:3-6
This is session 6 in our exploration of 1 John. We are going to forgo a recap, instead, if you have missed any of the sessions you can find them in video, audio and written form on our website, www.hbcc.life or in video on YouTube, our channel is HBCC Life
There have been times of reflection when I was so puzzled about my thoughts and actions that I have had to ask myself “Do I Really Know God At All?” You’ve probably never wrestled with such thoughts but from time to time I battle with an internal disconnect when it comes to living as a believer and living in a world corrupted by sin. Most recently I was once again reminded that in my heart I am a non-practicing pacifist.
The congregation the Apostle John is writing to was experiencing a disruption of the fellowship because some leaders in the church said they knew God; that they had an intimate relationship with God; a higher knowledge of God, but their behaviors didn’t corroborate their testimony. With their mouths, they would say “I know God.” But their deeds were full of disobedience, their actions were unloving, they broke the commands to love God and love others causing disunity within the congregation.
If you have ever questioned your salvation, wondered if your relationship with God is good, that you are indeed walking in the light, our teaching today will help you find an affirmative answer to those types of questions. If you have ever wondered if some teacher, preacher, pastor, prophet is legit, our teaching today will help you discern an answer.
1 John 2:3-6 (MSG)
3 Here's how we can be sure that we know God in the right way: Keep his commandments.
4 If someone claims, "I know him well!" but doesn't keep his commandments, he's obviously a liar. His life doesn't match his words. But the one who keeps God's word is the person in whom we see God's mature love. This is the only way to be sure we're in God. Anyone who claims to be intimate with God ought to live the same kind of life Jesus lived.
There are a right way and a wrong way to know God. The wrong way divorces knowledge from relationship. The right way marries relationship with knowledge. You can know about God through intense study of the scripture. You can memorize the entire Bible. You can be doctrinally sound, aligned with orthodoxy, and have correct theology. You can preach and teach the Word of God. But, they still only have a religious knowledge about God, an intellectual knowledge about God.
Jesus is teaching.
John 5:39-40 (MSG)
"You have your heads in your Bibles constantly because you think you'll find eternal life there. But you miss the forest for the trees. These Scriptures are all about me! And here I am, standing right before you, and you aren't willing to receive from me the life you say you want.
Knowledge without relationship results in not knowing God. Jesus says “receive me” not a doctrine, or a philosophy, or a theology.
The feeling you get as you read the scripture is that God wants you to know Him. He wants to enjoy an intimate relationship with you. The result of knowing God is salvation (John 17:3). This type of knowledge only comes with close personal contact. Contact with God comes as we practice the seven habits of a disciple. In the history of the church, there are 7 practices that those whose life indicated an intimate relationship with God reported that they habituated. Those seven are 1. Reading and studying the scripture. 2. Prayer. 3. Fellowship. 4. Service. 5. Worship. 6. Obedience. 7. Contemplation.
A worn illustration is that the spiritual disciplines are like reading love letters, talking to the one you love, hanging out with the one you love, meeting the needs of the one you love, celebrating life with the one you love, doing everything that strengthens your relationship with the one you love and refraining from anything that would hinder it. It might be best to think of contemplation as those heart to heart serious talks that iron out little problems in the relationship we share. Daily engaging in these activities cause relationships to grow deeper, become fuller, and more intimate.
This is how things work. God sends to you an invitation, it can be very subtle, to you it may seem anonymous, but it results in inner awareness. You can call it an uninformed spiritual awakening.
You realize that your life isn’t everything you want to be, that something is missing, that things are messed up. That is especially clear in the quality of your relationships with others. You may even despise yourself. You are hurting from the inside out. You hear the good news of the gospel. Jesus makes people new, gives them a new lease on life, empowers His disciples to live their lives to the full, to become the person that God has always intended for them to be. To enter into the gospel you acknowledge the state of your soul, the quality of your life, the sins that plague you. Acknowledging the mess you are in, you believe the gospel that Jesus makes it possible for you to be forgiven of your sins and be restored to sanity, to wholeness, to righteousness. Acknowledging, believing you respond to the gospel by committing to God to be a Jesus follower, you make a sacred vow to learn how to live as a disciple. Acknowledging, believing, committing you ask God to accept your faith. God receives your faith, forgives your sins, reconciles your estrangement with Him, declares you to be right with Him, sends the Holy Spirit to take up residence within. Suddenly you know the love of God. It lightens your soul, it opens spiritual eyes, you realize you’ve been changed. Those changes occur because you now have an introductory knowledge of God. You’ve met. Have you met God? The only way you get to know someone is first by meeting them. Acknowledging, believing, committing, asking is the way you meet God because of the atoning sacrifice Jesus has created the opportunity for that meeting, a meeting so that you can know God. Do you want such a meeting? You now know how to arrange one. If you do please let me know. I want to encourage you to develop this meeting into an incredible love affair.
Reading the great devotional classics I have been put to shame by testimonies of the love and devotion, the faithfulness and commitment, the patience and endurance of those who know God. Their love affair with God, their knowledge of God is backed up by the deeds of their lives. Their lives are highlighted by their great love for God and their great love for others.
When you first meet someone you know little about them. As you spend time with them your knowledge of them grows. Think of your relationship with your best friend. Think back to when it started, to your introduction to one another. You didn’t know a whole lot about them, their ideas, the way they conduct their life, their likes, dislikes, their goals or desires these all took time to gain an understanding of who they are. Knowing someone is both event and process.
That process is ongoing, it grows, it matures, as it does the relationship becomes more intimate. Along the way, someone might ask you if you know this person who is your best friend and your reply is “Yeah, I know him; I know her” and you do. It is through being with someone over time that you get to know them.
“If someone claims, "I know him well!" but doesn't keep his commandments, he's obviously a liar. His life doesn't match his words” (1 John 2:4 (MSG). John is telling us that we are to grow in our knowledge of God and you can gauge how well you know God by measuring against two standards. Those standards are loving God as demonstrated in your keeping His commands, and loving others as demonstrated in your respect and caregiving for people.
1 John 2:5 (MSG)
But the one who keeps God's word is the person in whom we see God's mature love. This is the only way to be sure we're in God.
Being mature is taking responsibility for your life. In our culture when you reach the age of 18 you are considered an adult. But actually, when you can provide for your basic needs you are adulating. Maturity doesn’t mean perfection. There are still things you get wrong, there are still things you need to change, there are still things you need to do, but there is also an internal motivation to take care of and deal with your responsibilities. The more experience you gain the more you mature. You have been given the power to overcome sin, to overcome the temptation to disregard God’s will, to overcome the temptation to act selfishly. You are not trapped in a perpetual cycle of guilt and shame because you fail in loving God and loving others, destined to sin every day, every moment of every day. But as you mature, if you do sin, you take responsibility for your actions, confessing them, correcting them, reconciling with those you have sinned against, and immediately resume loving God and loving others. The idea here is that the more you know God, the more you mature in love, the less you will sin. When loving God and loving others is your intent, when it is what you determine to do every day, in every way, with everyone, you are maturing and you can be sure that you are in God, that you are experiencing a right relationship with Him. Consistent actions that demonstrate your love is the only sure way to know that you have everything right with God.
1 John 2:6 (MSG)
Anyone who claims to be intimate with God ought to live the same kind of life Jesus lived.
A follower of Jesus is to live like Jesus. This is expected. To put it as simply as possible to live like Jesus is to love God and love others. If you need more details than that, then indulge yourself in the 7 habits of a disciple. Christians are to be lovers, selfless rather than selfish. Your loving actions identify you as one who knows God and affirms that you know God. If you ask yourself “Do I really know God?” “Am I in a saving relationship with God?” the answer is found in your actions.
Jesus gave all His disciples this warning:
Matthew 7:15-21 (NIV)
"Watch out for false prophets. They come to you in sheep's clothing, but inwardly they are ferocious wolves. By their fruit, you will recognize them. Do people pick grapes from thornbushes or figs from thistles? Likewise, every good tree bears good fruit, but a bad tree bears bad fruit. A good tree cannot bear bad fruit, and a bad tree cannot bear good fruit. Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. Thus, by their fruit, you will recognize them.
21 "Not everyone who says to me, 'Lord, Lord,' will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only he who does the will of my Father who is in heaven.
The good fruit is love. It grows because you have come to know God. Knowing God begins with an introduction that takes the form of acknowledging, believing, committing, and asking to enter into the light. The daily practice of the 7 habits of a disciple is a way to mature in your relationship with God. Maturing is becoming experienced in loving God and loving others. It is your continual maturation as demonstrated by your love for God and love for others that is living life as Jesus lived. Such action is proof that you know God that you are walking in the light. Walking in the light produces good fruit. God’s love matures in us.
If you ever wonder if some teacher, preacher, pastor, prophet knows God look at how they are living their lives off the stage, how they behave out of the spotlight, look at how they treat others, where their interests lie. Legitimate servants of God produce good fruit in their daily lives not just from a pulpit.
If you ever wonder if you know God, consider how you are living your life, if its full of obedience to God and full of respect for others as you seek to meet needs out of your abundance rest assured that you do indeed know God. The proof is in the fruit.
We close with this question:
Do you know God?