Summary: This is the last message from 1 John summarizing the letter. It looks at the things that John says we need to know. The word appears 38 times in just 100 verses.
“Need to Know”
Today we will finish our study of John’s letter. I contemplated any number of ways to summarize John’s letter. I thought about going back over his specific statements regarding the purpose of his writing. John was very specific about his reasons for writing this letter.
“I have written…”
1. That we might have fellowship with God and each other. 1:3
2. That we might have complete joy 1:4
3. That we might not sin 2:1
4. That we might not be deceived by false teachers 2:26
5. That we might be assured of eternal life 5:13
I considered reviewing the obvious themes of John’s letter. John interwoven a number of specific beings throughout the whole letter. God is light. God sent his perfect son to take on flesh in order to deal with the issues that separate the God of light and the children of darkness.
Through faith in his son Jesus Christ we can become children of light. As children of light we need to walk in the light as he is in the light. God’s children of light no longer practice sin to confess their sin. God’s children obey God’s commandments.
God is also love. We are his children because of his great love. Because of his love we will be like him one day. Since we are children of love we need to love God and love others.
We cannot love God and hate people. These themes appear frequently throughout the whole letter.
Then I realized that John uses a particular term all through his letter. It appears in every chapter except the first one. Even the first chapter implies this word. It appears 38 times in 30 verses.
There are barely over 100 verses in the whole letter.
It is the term “to know”. The Greeks had two words for “to know”.
The first indicated a knowledge or perception that was complete.
The second indicated the knowledge that came through experience and could therefore increase.
The difference between the two could be illustrated in this way. I may “know” your name instantly and finally, but I still don’t really know you as a person.
The second term has to do with relationship and experience. It is this word that John uses throughout his letter. Our culture puts great emphasis on knowledge, education and experience.
Knowledge is power. Scriptures also put a great deal of emphasis on this experiential knowledge. The key is the source of that knowledge and the object of that knowledge.
Jesus summarized it very clearly in his grand prayer recorded in John 17.
"This is eternal life, that they may know You, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom You have sent. John 17:3
Peter indicated that we need to protect ourselves by a growing knowledge.
but grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. 2 Peter 3:18
The foundation of Christian maturity comes through the renewing of our thinking.
And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you may prove what the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable and perfect. Romans 12:2
The more we come to the knowledge of the truth the more we will walk in freedom. Only the true renewing of our thinking according to Scripture will transform our living. The whole Bible really is about information that we need to know. John’s whole letter is information that we need to know and live. As a means of summarizing John’s letter, I want to focus mainly on those 30 verses in his letter that actually use the word know. I have tried to categorize them and put them in some sort of logical order for our discussion and encouragement.
I. Know God and the word of life
Although the word “know” does not appear in the first chapter, it is obvious that John is writing so that we can know God. John testifies and proclaims the reality of Jesus Christ to be calls the “Word of Life” sent by the father to bear witness of the father. John writes as an eyewitness.
He reminds his readers that he saw in touched the word of life come from the father.
He wrote so they could know that they too could have relationship with the father and the son.
what we have seen and heard we proclaim to you also, so that you too may have fellowship with us; and indeed our fellowship is with the Father, and with His Son Jesus Christ. 1 John 1:3
John obviously writes this letter after the ascension of Christ and yet he speaks in terms of a profound current relationship not only with Jesus Christ but with the father. He wants to know that his readers could also enter into that kind of fellowship. John wrote to all maturity levels.