If We Keep His Commandments
If We Keep His Commandments
Sunday, February 10, 2008
"And by this we know that we have come to know him,
if we keep his commandments." (1 John 2:3, ESV)
1.There is a difference between head knowledge and experiential knowledge. There is a difference between knowing about someone and actually knowing them. Today John tells us that “we know that we have come to know him, if we keep his commandments.”
"Thus says the Lord: “Let not the wise man boast in his wisdom, let not the mighty man boast in his might, let not the rich man boast in his riches, but let him who boasts boast in this, that he understands and knows me, that I am the Lord who practices steadfast love, justice, and righteousness in the earth. For in these things I delight, declares the Lord.”" (Jeremiah 9:23-24, ESV)
2.John is declaring a knowledge that changes the man, rather than makes the man puffed up with pride thinking he has gained something. John tells of this knowledge and the assurance that we know Him because we long to obey Him.
3.It is the whole object of this letter - to declare the doctrine of assurance to the believer. The three pillars of 1 John are "And we are writing these things so that our joy may be complete." (1 John 1:4, ESV) "I write these things to you who believe in the name of the Son of God that you may know that you have eternal life." (1 John 5:13, ESV) "We know that we are from God, and the whole world lies in the power of the evil one." (1 John 5:19, ESV)
4.You cannot separate belief from conduct. The world is holding to the lie that you can believe one thing and do another. This is impossible because you do what you believe. So when the apostle John brings us the truth that the Christian can be assured of his salvation in that God has brought about fundamental changes in his life. The world says it does not matter what you do just believe and you are the real deal.
5.John says “And by this we know that we have come to know him, if we keep his commandments.” Because of this we are seeing three simple tests. (1) A Christian has been given a sure knowledge of who he is in Jesus Christ. This involves truth. (2) He has given the Christian a desire to pursue and obey the commandments of Christ. This involves righteousness. (3) He has given the Christian a new relationship with other believers. This involves love.
6.It is impossible to overestimate the importance of these three elements in the Christian life. Truth! Righteousness! Love! We need them all. Indeed, it is only when all three are present that any of us can claim to have entered into a real Christian experience.
7.(1) Love without righteousness is immorality, though today in some religious circles it is called the “new morality.” (2) Righteousness without doctrine is legalism. This is the kind of religion that existed in Christ’s day in Judaism and against which he was so outspoken. (3) Doctrine without love is a bitter orthodoxy. It is the kind of truth that is rigorously perfect, in a sense, but which does not win anyone.
8.The moral test (the test of righteousness or obedience) is the test of practical righteousness in the believer’s life. It does not mean that the Christian must be without sin—indeed, John says that the one professing to be without sin deceives himself and makes God a liar (1:8, 10)—but it does mean that he must be progressing in righteousness so that his profession is increasingly matched by his conduct.
9.The social test (the test of love) is the test of the Christian’s relationship to other Christians. Does he love them? Since God is love and since love comes from Him, anyone claiming to know God but failing to show love for others is either self-deceived or is attempting to deceive.
10.The doctrinal test (the test of belief in Jesus Christ) is theological, for it is John’s claim that no one who fails to believe that the preexistent Son of God, the Second Person of the Trinity, became flesh at a fixed point in time and history and died for our sin can be a Christian.
11.Today we want to examine the one proof that we really do know Him. This ultimate proof of true faith and that my eyes have been opened to the gospel and its message is this: I have seen myself as a condemned sinner, I have forsaken sin, I have repented, and I am striving with all my might to “keep His commandments.” Because it is no use saying “I believe” and then living as if you believed nothing. It is no use saying “I believe I am such a sinner and that nothing but the death of Christ can save me” and then continue to live that kind of life. It is impossible, says John; “we give a proof of our repentance by the life which we live.”
12.A person’s acts prove what faith they have. Obeying His commandments proves that we know Him. It means repentance and turning from sin to holiness of life. These are the ultimate proofs of the genuineness of a true Christian profession. (James 2:17)
Three Questions to Ask Yourself:
1. Do I have a present trust in Christ for salvation?
2. Is there evidence of a regenerating work of the Holy Spirit in my heart?
3. Do I see a long term pattern of growth in my Christian life?
13.Ask yourself the three questions above. Examine your life today and see if you are obeying Him. If you find yourself failing the test then here is your opportunity for a brand new start. “And by this we know that we have come to know him, if we keep his commandments”