Summary: God wants us to know so that we can grow.

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Knowing and Growing

1 John 5:11-21

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.

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