Knowing Jesus in our Daily Walk
KNOWING YOU JESUS
1 John 2:3-6
So far in John’s Epistle, we have been introduced to the word of life. This life appeared in Jesus who is described as the eternal life. John wrote his epistle so that we may know this eternal life in our daily experience. He says in Chapter 5:13: “I write these things to you who believe in the name of the Son of God so that you may know that you have eternal life.” Knowing eternal life begins as we walk in God’s light.
When we walk in God’s light, he points out the sin he wants us to confess. As we do this, Jesus purifies us from all unrighteousness. This could lead us to being laid back about sin, but no! In today’s passage, John says we know that we have come to know him if we keep his commandments. Those who say, I know him, but do not keep his commands are liars, and the truth is not in them. But if anyone keeps his word, truly in them God’s love is made complete. This is how we know we are in him, and it leads to our theme today: Knowing you Jesus; knowing you. We begin this journey by…
1 STARTING IN JESUS (vs.3-4)
1.1 Starting by keeping his commands
According to 1 John 2:3-4, we start with Jesus by keeping his commandments. The NLT says, “We can be sure that we know him if we obey his commandments.” The CEV says, “If we claim to know him and don’t obey him, we are lying and the truth isn’t in our hearts.” The Message says, “Someone who claims to know him but doesn’t keep his commandments is obviously a liar. His life doesn’t match his words.”
1.2 The commands of Jesus
The first thing to note is that the commands here are not the Law of Moses. In his gospel, John uses the word Law to refer to the Old Testament Law, but he uses the word command when referring to the teaching of Jesus. In his Epistle, John doesn’t use the word Law at all. John had learnt that the commands of Jesus are a new way of living motivated by the love of Christ and our love for him. Jesus said in John 14:15: “If you love me, you will keep my commandments. Galatians 5:14 says, “The entire law is fulfilled in one command: “Love your neighbour as yourself.”
1 John 2:4 applies this by saying that those who say they know him, but do not do what he commands, are liars and the truth is not in them. In other words, liars live in opposition to God’s word and God’s ways—they do not live according to the truth. 1 John 1:6 says: “If we claim to have fellowship with him and walk in the darkness, we lie and do not live out the truth.” It is like saying we have a great relationship with someone, but don’t see them, talk to them, or respect them!
1.3 A command to love
The commands of Jesus can be summed up in one word—love. In the gospels, Jesus said: “Love the Lord your God with all your heart, soul, strength, and mind, and your neighbour as yourself... all the law and the prophets hang on these two commandments.” Jesus said in John 13:34: “A new commandment I give to you that you that you love one another... as I have loved you.” This is what it means to know Jesus, and it should make a massive difference to the way we live in a world that doesn’t really understand love at all. This leads to a further point as move from starting in Jesus to…
2 STANDING IN JESUS (v5)
2.1 Making a stand for Jesus
1 John 2:5 in the NIV says, “If anyone obeys his word, God’s love is truly made complete in them.” The NRSV says, “Whoever obeys his word, truly in this person the love of God has reached perfection.” This is how we make a stand for Jesus.
2.2 Keeping God’s word
The first thing to note here is that the word obey in the NIV is too strong. The word is used consistently throughout the epistle and means to hold on to something. So it is probably better to use the word keep. Using the same word, John 14:21 says: “Whoever has my commands and keeps them is the one who loves me.” When we hold on to God’s word, his love is made complete in us. This could be God’s love for us or our love for God. Both are possible as John is reflecting on our love for God in response to his love to us. The Amplified Bible plays safe by saying: “Whoever keeps his word truly in them has the love of God and love for God been perfected.”
It is also important to notice from 1 John 2:5 that the word command has now become his word. God’s love is made complete or brought to maturity as we keep his word. When we keep God’s word or hold on to his word, we know God and walk with God. In John 14:23, Jesus said: “Whoever loves me will keep my teaching. My Father will love them, and my Father and I will come to them and live with them.” This is how relationships grow and mature—through mutual love and respect.
2.3 Maturity in Christ
In seeking to apply this, we need to remind ourselves about John’s main purpose for writing. He says in Chapter 5:13: “I write these things to you who believe in the name of the Son of God so that you may know that you have eternal life.” For this to happen, we need to keep his word—we need to hold on to it. When we do this, his love is made complete or brought to maturity in us. This is what it means to follow Christ today. To do this, we need to start in Jesus, we need to stand in Jesus, and we need to…
3 STAYING IN JESUS (v6)
3.1 Abiding in Jesus
Verse 6 continues the theme from the previous verses when it says, “This is how we know we are in him: whoever claims to abide in him ought to walk as he walked.” The NLT says: “Those who say they live in God should live their lives as Jesus did.”
3.2 Abiding means to walk as he did
The word abide in v6 means to stay in a settled place. John probably picked this up from Jesus when he said in John 15:4: “Remain in me, as I remain in you. No branch can bear fruit by itself—it has to remain in the vine.” John is saying the same thing in v6 only in a different way. He says whoever claims to abide in him or know him, ought to walk as he did—they should keep his commandments. To do this, we need to remain in the vine or stay in Jesus.
To remain in Jesus has challenging implications. John says whoever claims to abide in him, ought to walk as he did. In John 13:15 Jesus said, “I have set you an example that you should do as I have done.” 1 Peter 2:21 says, “Christ left us an example so that we should follow in his steps.” If we had the spirit of another person living in us, we would expect to exhibit some of their characteristics. It is like this with parents and children and it ought to be the same with God’s children. Ephesians 5:1 says we should imitate God like dear children.
3.3 Abiding means to bear fruit
The word ought in v6b relates to the idea of owing something, and so The Amplified Bible says: “Whoever says he abides in him ought [as a personal debt] to walk and conduct himself in the same way in which he walked and conducted himself.” In other words, our walk with God is something we owe to him for who he is as our creator, and what he has done for us as our redeemer. In response to who God is and what he has done for us, we ought to live a human life in this world, in union with God, and with the goal to be like his son.
A practical way to apply 1 John 2:3-6 in our daily walk is to personalise the verses. Try this now as we close: I know that I have come to know him if I keep his commandments. If I say, ‘I know him’ but do not keep his commands, I am a liar and the truth is not in me. But if I keep his word, truly in me God’s love is made complete. This is how I know I am in him… If I claim to abide in him, I ought to walk as he walked. Now we can sing…
All I once held dear