Summary: Series on 1 John, message is a challenge to examine one’s relationship with God.
Do We Really Know God?
Two men given same amount of land. Provided seed and tools. One gets to work. The other spends his time trying to be certain he has rightful deed (which he does). At the end of a year, which will have produced more, the one who was assured the land was his, or the one who feared?
I. A false disciple’s life is self-centered.
A. Explanation: John understood that not everybody who claimed relationship with God actually had one
B. Illustration: In the Mammoth Cave of Kentucky the fish in Echo River have eye-sockets, but no eyes. —Word Pictures in the New Testament
C. Argumentation: The person who walks in a self-centered lifestyle has no reason for assurance when it comes to relationship with God.
D. Application: We must look long and hard at the lifestyles we lead.
1. Are they consistently marked by disobedience?
2. Are they con. driven by hatred or indifference?
3. If so, we must recognize that we have been blinded — and turn away from false hope to a true relationship with God.
II. A true disciple’s life is Christ-centered.
A. Explanation: John argued that it was really possible to know one’s relationship with God.
B. Illustration: “We found ourselves on the same track with several carloads of Japanese wounded after we were freed from the Kwai prison camp. These unfortunates were on their own without medical care. No longer fit for action in Burma, they had been packed into railway cars which were being returned to Bangkok. They were in a shocking state. I have never seen men filthier. Uniforms were encrusted with mud, blood, and [filth]. It was apparent why the Japanese were so cruel to their prisoners. If they didn’t care for their own, why should they care for us? The wounded looked at us forlornly as they sat with their heads resting against the carriages, waiting for death. They had been discarded as expendable, the refuse of war. These were the enemy. They were more cowed and defeated that we had ever been. Without a word most of the officers in my section unbuckled their packs, took out part of their ration and a rag or two, and, with water canteens in their hands, went over to the Japanese train. Our guards tried to prevent us, bawling, “No goodka! No goodka!” But we ignored them and knelt down by the enemy to give water and food, to clean and bind up their wounds. Grateful cries of “Aragatto!” (“Thank you”) followed us when we left.…I regarded my comrades with wonder. Eighteen months ago they would have joined readily in the destruction of our captors had they fallen into their hands. Now these same officers were dressing the enemy’s wounds. We had experienced a moment of grace, there in those bloodstained railway cars. God had broken through the barriers of our prejudice and had given us the will to obey His command, “Thou shalt love.” Ernest Gordon, Through the Valley of the Kwai, Illustrations Unlimited, “Obey”
C. Argumentation: Only the person whose life actively demonstrates his or her faith has assurance that he or she really knows God.
D. Application: Everyone of us should evaluate the lives we are living.
1. Understand, I am not talking about being “good enough” to be saved.
2. But does my life reflect that I have been saved — does it give evidence that I really belong to God?
a. Am I seeking to walk in grateful obedience to the One I claim to love?
b. Am I reaching out in love to my brothers and sisters in Christ? Do I love “in deed” and not “word only?”
3. If the evidence warrants it, I can know that I am a child of God — and with that knowledge comes strength to live now, and hope for tomorrow.