Summary: We show we know God when we do what He says.
Just Do It
Rev. Brian Bill
Do you ever try to accomplish too much at the same time? Sometimes I think I’m a master at multi-tasking but then something usually happens to remind me that I should be doing only one thing at a time.
This past Tuesday morning, I stopped by Thornton’s for a large cup of coffee on my way to the office. When I arrived in the parking lot, I got out of the car, put my briefcase over my shoulder, grabbed the salad I made for lunch and then remembered my coffee. I leaned back into the car, grabbed my java and balanced it on the lid of my salad container and headed toward the church office door. Everything was going well until my phone rang and I reached down to answer it. When I did, my coffee cup fell, spilling boiling brew on my arm and my stomach. Not to get off my game, I continued my phone call and then walked in the building, thankful that I still had some caffeinated Joe to get me through the morning.
My arm still hurts today. Hopefully it will serve as a reminder to focus on just walking. We’ve been learning in our study of 1 John that God is committed to giving us confidence in our Christianity. He wants us to know that we can trust the truthfulness of our faith because Jesus was and is a real person. John was an eyewitness. Because it’s true, we’re to share it with others and we’re to share our lives with fellow followers, all in a spirit of joyfulness.
By the way, how are you doing at reading 1 John? I talked to a man this week who told me he’s been reading the whole book twice a day! There are great things happening in the women’s Bible Study as they tackle it and some of our Connection Groups are drilling down on this letter as well.
Last week in 1 John 1:5-2:2 we discovered three distinguishing marks of a Christian. A Christ-follower:
• Lives in the light
• Faces their failures
• Strives to not sin
I see two additional descriptions of a disciple in 1 John 2:3-11. If we get these two traits, and live them out at home and in the context of all of our relationships, we won’t have to do too much multitasking.
• Live as Jesus lived (3-6)
• Love as Jesus loved (7-11)
Here’s the big idea for today: We show we know God when we do what He says. Among other things, the Apostle John is a great teacher. He uses repetition and other methods to reinforce the fact that we can be confident in our Christianity as he continuously calls Christians to walk the talk. For instance, the word “know” is used over 40 times in this brief book. Partly this is because he is confronting the false teachers who believed the spiritually elite were the only ones in “the know” and the rest were in the darkness. The word John most often uses for “know” means “to know experientially,” not just to know something intellectually. This idea in Hebrew was used of the intimate relationship between a husband and wife.
1. Live as Jesus lived. Let’s look first at verse 3: “We know that we have come to know Him if we obey His commands.” There’s a big difference between knowing about God and actually knowing God. I like how J.I. Packer puts it in his classic book, Knowing God: “What were we made for? To know God. What aim should we have in life? To know God. What is the eternal life that Jesus gives? To know God. What is the best thing in life? To know God. What in humans gives God most pleasure? Knowledge of himself. Knowing God is more than knowing about Him; it is a matter of dealing with Him as He opens up to you, and being dealt with by Him as He takes knowledge of you.”
The test of whether or not we know God has more to do with our behavior than with our beliefs. Real deal Christianity is marked by a life of obedience. To claim to know God without acknowledging His claim on us is shallow and hollow. The emphasis on the word “obey” is on the continuous nature of the action. One Bible teacher has called it, “daily, detailed and disciplined obedience.”
John is saying that we can know that we know God by our desire to grow in obedience. If we truly know God then we should grow in God. Our knowing must lead to growing. If we claim to be in the light, then we must do those things that are right. We can know that we know if we do what He says we should do. Jesus said it plainly in John 14:15, 21: “If you love me, you will obey what I command…Whoever has my commands and obeys them, he is the one who loves me.”