Summary: God wants us to know so that we can grow.
Knowing and Growing
Rev. Brian Bill
I love this time of year, not only because of Thanksgiving and Christmas but because of another holiday observed in Wisconsin…deer hunting. I haven’t gone in a long time but have fond memories of getting out of school to go hunting with my dad. I’ll never forget when I was 12 and carried a 20-guage pump shotgun for the first time. We arrived in the woods before dark, using flashlights to find our way. It was freezing. My dad told me where to sit while he went further into the woods. I think I drank all my hot chocolate and ate all my Snicker bars before the sun came up.
And then I heard some sounds and saw some movement in the distance. I picked up my gun and tried to still my heart rate. I first saw a doe and remembered my dad telling me that a buck often followed. I waited and then I saw him. I took aim and squeezed off a shot. The buck went down. But because I was so nervous I just keep firing, unleashing every slug I had. When I stopped shooting my dad made his way over to me (he waited until it was safe). He had a huge smile on his face and then he started laughing because while a couple of my shots hit their target, one slug went through the buck’s ear lobe, and the ground was all tore up near the deer from my errant efforts.
That reminds me of a lawyer, a doctor, and a preacher who went hunting together. When a prize buck ran past they all fired at the exact same time and the buck dropped. The problem was that there was only one bullet hole and they didn't know which of them shot it. They decided to take it to the registration center, hoping the agent could figure out who could claim the trophy.
The agent said, “Let me look at the deer. Sometimes I can figure it out.” He asked a few questions, examined the deer carefully, and declared, “The preacher shot this buck!” Amazed, the other two asked how he knew it was the preacher. Stooping down he pointed out the wound, “See here. It went in one ear and out the other.”
Friends, in order for us to know and to grow, we have to make sure that Scripture does not go in one ear and out the other. The Apostle John wants to make sure he’s hit the target so he gives five final blasts.
Have you noticed that we live in a culture that disses anything that’s dogmatic? In our politically correct climate, there is no tolerance for exclusive truth claims. It seems to me that we have more and more knowledge but less and less certainty. Many churches have caved as well, with some “emerging” leaders saying that you can’t know anything with any certainty. This religion of “certain uncertainty” is causing many to bail on their beliefs, leading some to become spiritual shipwrecks.
What do we know for sure? Can we be certain of anything? As the kids just reminded us, we need to read our Bibles in order to know what it is that God wants us to know. As we’ve seen in our fall series in I John, God wants us to know so that we can grow.
When I did a search this week, I came up with 33 different times that the word “know” is used in 1 John. Here are just a few…
2:3 – “We know that we have come to know him if we obey his commands.”
3:14 – “We know that we have passed from death to life, because we love our brothers. Anyone who does not love remains in death.”
3:16 – “This is how we know what love is: Jesus Christ laid down his life for us. And we ought to lay down our lives for our brothers.”
And in our passage today, I want us to see five truths that “we know.” The word “know” is found in five different sections and will make up our outline. Like shotgun blasts, we’ll go through them rather quickly…I just hope they don’t go in one ear and out the other.
1. Certainty of salvation. Check out verses 11-13: “And this is the testimony: God has given us eternal life, and this life is in his Son. He who has the Son has life; he who does not have the Son of God does not have life. 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.” Last week we learned that belief leads to new birth which must affect our behavior. I met with a guy this week who told me that something was missing in his life. His exact quote was, “There’s a void in my life.” As he heard the glorious message of the gospel and an explanation about the need for the new birth, he said, “I want to do that right now.” And he did. After receiving the gift of eternal life, I wished him “Happy Birthday” and told him that it was now time to grow and get the nourishment that he needs in order to do so. I gave him a Bible and some other material and he said he would be here today.