Summary: we are a people whose actions of love are evidence of a transformed heart. There is assurance.
How To Know That You Know That You Know: 1 John 2:3-14
The People Of God: Studies in 1 John Sept. 25, 2005
What is “for sure”? (invite responses). I have one more…
Last week I kicked off our fall sermon series through the book 1 John. It is a fairly brief epistle, written by Jesus’ disciple John near the end of his life, probably 40 or 50 years after the death and resurrection of Jesus, and it is written with a pastor’s heart. John is writing to urge those who look to him with respect to one main thing that pops up repeatedly throughout the letter – that we who are Christians need to love one another deeply.
As we walk through this series, we are looking for answers and insights into one main question: “what does it mean to be the people of God?” Last week I challenged you to read the whole epistle – now I’d like to check on your homework… how many of you read 1 John this past week? (hand out “rewards”…) .
Last week we looked at chapter 1 and the first two verses of chapter 2, again looking for answers to the question “what does it mean to be the people of God?” We discovered two main things last week – that we are forgiven and that we are a fellowship. This morning we are going to look at the next section, 2:3-14. Here we are going to discover that we are a people whose actions of love are evidence of a transformed heart. And of that, we can be sure.
1 John 2:3-14 (NRSV)
3 Now by this we may be sure that we know him, if we obey his commandments. 4Whoever says, ‘I have come to know him’, but does not obey his commandments, is a liar, and in such a person the truth does not exist; 5but whoever obeys his word, truly in this person the love of God has reached perfection. By this we may be sure that we are in him: 6whoever says, ‘I abide in him’, ought to walk just as he walked.
7 Beloved, I am writing you no new commandment, but an old commandment that you have had from the beginning; the old commandment is the word that you have heard. 8Yet I am writing you a new commandment that is true in him and in you, because the darkness is passing away and the true light is already shining. 9Whoever says, ‘I am in the light’, while hating a brother or sister, is still in the darkness. 10Whoever loves a brother or sister lives in the light, and in such a person there is no cause for stumbling. 11But whoever hates another believer is in the darkness, walks in the darkness, and does not know the way to go, because the darkness has brought on blindness.
12I am writing to you, little children, because your sins are forgiven on account of his name.
13I am writing to you, fathers, because you know him who is from the beginning.
I am writing to you, young people, because you have conquered the evil one.
14I write to you, children, because you know the Father.
I write to you, fathers, because you know him who is from the beginning.
I write to you, young people, because you are strong and the word of God abides in you, and you have overcome the evil one.
Do you ever have doubts about your salvation? It is quite natural, quite common, especially when we are being mindful of eternity and we want to be sure. Maybe sometimes you look around at others, hear about something God is doing in their life, or see how God is blessing them, and you see that in stark contrast to your own life and start to wonder – am I really loved by God? Am I really one of God’s children? Do I really know Him? Sometimes those questions sneak in, often at those times when we get an honest glimpse of our sin. And we start to wonder.
John has some good news, a high call, and a sharp tone. The good news is one of assurance. Do you wonder how you can know for sure that you know God? Look at what John says: “we may be sure that we know him, if we obey his commandments”. The obedience of our lives is the evidence of our relationship.
Note first what it is not: it is not how we feel. Our emotional realities change, and are temporary, and are influenced by all manner of external and physiological factors. They are good, but not enough. We don’t always feel close to God, we don’t always feel loved by God, we don’t always feel like we are secure. Our culture majors on the emotional; our Bibles do not.