Summary: The importance of obedience in knowing Christ
Getting to Know Christ I John 2:1-6
INTRO.: Verse one of this chapter is John’s warning to his readers not to think too lightly of sin. In the previous verses, he has written two things that might lead to shallow thinking about sin. (1.) He has written that everyone sins, and (2.) He has written about forgiveness in a way that tends to make it sound so easy as to suggest sin might be excusable if we simply acknowledge it. Either of these thoughts might make the shallow minded reader think much too lightly of sin. So John tells his readers he is writing so they sin not.
John declares, as does Paul in Romans 6, that living in sin is inconsistent with the Christian calling. There is a fable about a flock of sheep that walked past a pig sty. One little lamb saw the pigs having a great time and jumped into the mud with them. His mother immediately called him away and cleaned him up. As she did so, she proclaimed, "sheep don’t wallow." neither do God’s sheep wallow in the muck of the world.
Knowing Christ involves obedience and abiding in Christ includes imitating His style of life.
You see, knowing Jesus involves much more than merely knowing the facts about Him. Knowing Christ implies a personal, intimate relationship between Christ and the believer. Of all the things we may know in this life, the most important is to know Christ and be known by Christ.
I. The surpassing importance of knowing Christ is seen in the two titles John uses to describe Him.
A. He is our "advocate."
1. This is a legal term in the original language ("paraklete".) It refers to one who appears in court and speaks for the cause of another. The "counsel for the defense."
2. Jesus "intercedes for us" (Rom. 8:34.) He is the one "appearing in the presence of God for us" (Heb.9:24).
3. Jesus didn’t just die for us then go to Heaven and forget us. His ministry continues. He stands beside us to defend us from every attack and slander by the enemy.
B. He is the "atoning sacrifice" for our sins:
1. It is He Who makes it possible, by His sacrifice, for us to come into the Presence of the Father.
2. The "mercy seat" of the Old Testament was a gold overlaid, very ornate lid that sat on the Ark of the Covenant. The Ark contained the two tables of stone on which the ten commandments were engraved. Thus, it stood between the Law and the people and served as covering for their sins. It was symbolic of Christ, Who covers the sins of believers with His blood.
3. The implication is, if He has paid such a tremendous price for our salvation, He will certainly present a powerful advocacy for us.
C. John further states that Christ’s atoning sacrifice is intended for all the world:
1. If this were not true, we would probably not be Christians today, because Christianity began clear on the other side of the world.
2. There are still others who don’t know Jesus, so we must send the Gospel around the world. Missions is an essential part of God’s plan for His Church.
3. Christianity is both universal and exclusive. I Tim. 2:4, 5. No other "path to God" is valid. All other religion is idolatry.
II. How can we get to know Christ?
A. There must be an intellectual knowledge, even though knowing Jesus goes far beyond the knowledge of facts about Him.
1. Christianity is a religion with a Book. This means God intends us to read and study His book.
2. He had communicated with us on an intellectual level.
3. The more we know about God and His creation and the atonement made by His Son, the better equipped we are to serve Him.
B. Then, we must know Him on an emotional level:
1. He wants us to love Him as He loves us.
2. This grows out of our intellectual understanding. The more we know about Him, the more we love Him. This is always true, even of human love. It grows or diminishes as knowledge increases.
3. The emotions are off and on, up and down, so we must go beyond the feeling level in knowing Jesus. Human emotions are not always trustworthy.
C. So, we must also know Him on a volitional level. There comes a time when we must make a decision to "obey Him." I John 2:3.
1. Then knowing Jesus becomes a decision of the will. A commitment and determination to live for Him.
2. This parallels interpersonal relations. If a boy and girl come to know each other, they may fall in love. If they are serious about their love, they will make the commitment we call marriage. Their life style changes then.