[A New Four-Letter Word -
C. S. Johnson shares this family lesson:]
["My son, Michael, was four years old the night I found him
sobbing uncontrollably in the hallway. Concerned, I knelt next to him and drew
[" 'What's the matter, sweetheart? Are you hurt?' He shook his
head and turned to me, but I was unprepared for his response.]
[" 'Daddy said a bad word to me!' he sobbed. I almost laughed
out loud. I had known my husband 12 years and had rarely heard him raise his
voice. But Michael had heard him say something, and I was curious enough to want
to know what it was.]
[" 'Honey, what bad word did Daddy say?' And seeing a chance
for sympathy, my sensitive four-year-old stopped crying and blurted out—'Obey!']
["I never think of that incident now without asking my
Heavenly Father to keep me from believing, as my son did, that 'obey' is a bad
word." —Bible Illustrations]
of Divine Discipleship (vs 3) [–
“And hereby we do know that we know him,
if we keep his commandments.” – How do you know when someone really knows
someone else? How do you know when
you really know someone else? What
are those things that mark our lives when we come to a real knowledge of who
someone really is? We know that we
really know someone, or have a real relationship with someone by the way they
impact our lives, or the influence they have upon us.
This is exactly what our text is alluding to.
The apostle John, through the inspiration of the Holy Spirit is saying,
you will know that you know God by the way God influences the way you live your
Absolute Relationship (Rev 3.20;
[– “And hereby we do know that we know
him, . . .” – How do you really know when you have a relationship with
Almighty God? The answer to this
question has and continues to evoke theological and philosophical debate.
However the question is eternally answered by God Himself in this text.
But to fully understand what the text is saying we must understand what
is meant by the word know.]
[To know that you know someone, as stated in this text,
means far more than to just have a knowledge about someone.
The Greek language uses the word translated “know” in this text to speak
of the deepest and most intimate relationship that two individuals can have.]
ginosko ghin-oce'-ko (gk) - 1) to
learn to know, come to know, get a knowledge of perceive, feel 2) to know,
understand, perceive, have knowledge of 3)
Jewish idiom for sexual
intercourse between a man and a woman 4) to become acquainted with, to
[This word know is used to speak of how a man knows
his wife through sexual relations, hence it is speaking of the deepest and most
intimate knowledge that a couple can have.
Therefore, in your relationship with God, this text is asking you to
evaluate how well you know God. Do
you have the deepest and most intimate relationship that an individual can have
[Scripture reveals that God wants to have a deep,
personal, intimate, spiritual relationship with His children.
This is expressed in passages like:]
20 Behold, I stand at the door, and
knock: if any man hear my voice, and open the door, I will come in to him, and
will sup with him, and he with me. ]
20 Neither pray I for these alone, but
for them also which shall believe on me through their word;
21 That they all may be one; as thou,
Father, art in me, and I in
that they also may be
one in us:
that the world may believe that thou hast sent me.
22 And the glory which thou gavest me I
have given them; that they may be one,
even as we are one: 23
I in them,
and thou in me, that they may be made perfect in one;
and that the
world may know that thou hast sent me, and hast loved them, as thou hast loved
[Through passages like these we discover the essence
of what John has expressed throughout first John thus far, that there is a
communion to cherish
which is the
common ground we know through the
indwelling presence of the Holy Spirit in our hearts and lives.]
[God’s desire through creation, and the very special
creation of mankind, is to establish an intimate love relationship between human
beings and Almighty God. It is the
message of the Word of God and goal of the New Birth through our Lord Jesus
[So, just how do you
know that you have this supernatural, spiritual, intimate relationship with God?
Through the way you live your life!]
Resignation [- . . .
if we keep his commandments – Other
words that help us to understand the context of this resignation might include
surrender, yielding, and willful submission.
What God is saying to us in this text is that
there will be an outward
manifestation of your inward transformation through the New Birth. To
the natural mind, and on the surface of this text, it seems like John is saying
if you are not obeying the law of God then you are not a child of God.
Hence, there seems to be an argument for legalism here.
However, this text does not point toward legalism at all, instead it
points the Christian to Lordship.]
[There is a vast difference between Legalism and
Lordship. In the end they are both
seeking the same outward reality, but the means to the end are very different.]
of the Law (Legalism)
is the attempt to force some standard upon ones life.
Governments establish laws and ordinances all the time, some are good for
society, some are not. Many choose
to accept and cooperate with the established laws, whether they agree with them
or not, others choose a more difficult path and resist the established laws and
in the process discover the consequences of such lawlessness.
These laws are foreign to our lives, they come from outside sources that
demand a certain conduct or there is a penalty to be rendered and paid. ]
[Governments are not the only sources of legalism in
our lives. Families can render
certain laws of conduct. Religious
systems or Churches render certain laws of conduct.
Our Communities and Society render certain laws of conduct.
No matter what the source of a standard of conduct may be it is foreign
to us and is a form of legalism.]
[What really needs to be expressed here is that
legalism comes from outside influences that we either choose to accept or
reject. Legalism in your spiritual
life, based on the written law of God (the Bible), will never result in the type
of intimate relationship that you desire to have with God and that God wishes to
have with you. You can read the
Bible, memorize Scripture, and strive to live a moral life based upon God’s
Word, but apart from the required relationship provided through our Lord Jesus
Christ, your morality and legalism will remain cold, dead and empty.
There is no spiritual satisfaction in legalism.]
of Lordship – The text written through John does not suggest nor condone
legalism. Instead it points to
Lordship. Lordship looks remarkably
like legalism. Legalism and
Lordship both seek to end up in the same place, obedience to Almighty God.
The difference between the two is dynamic.]
[What legalism attempts through the cold letter of the law,
lordship accomplishes through the vibrancy of life in Christ.]
[Legalism is based upon the Bible in your hand, Lordship is
based upon the living Word (Jesus) in your heart.]
Compulsion - The essence of what John is saying here is that when the Lord
Jesus Christ moves into your heart and life you will find that you cannot help
but trust Him and obey Him. Why?
Because His friendship assures you that He loves you as much as the Bible
says He loves you. His personal
testimony assures you that His promise of an eternal home is just as secure and
sure as His touch in your heart.
Hence, what the law
could not do in our hand or head, the Lord undeniably does in our heart.]
[Those who have Jesus dwelling in their heart will
find that they cannot help but surrender to His Lordship in their life.]
[Their “want to” is
[These don’t go to Church because they have to, they
go to Church because they love the Lord and want to.]
[But wait a minute, their want will then become a have
to, because they have learned to love the Lord so much that they then find
themselves compelled to go to Church.]
[These don’t read their Bible daily because they have
to, but they read it because they want to.
But then their want to turns to compulsion and they find themselves
having to read the Bible because they just can’t help themselves.]
[These don’t give their tithes and offerings because
they have to, but because they want to.
But then their want to turns into compulsion and they find themselves
having to give their tithes and offerings because they just can’t help but
of Devilish Delusion (vs 4) [–
“He that saith, I know him, and keepeth not his commandments, is a liar, and the
truth is not in him.” – The Apsotle John now returns to the distinctive
difference between a profession and a confession.
We must recall that to confess is to “say the same thing” and in the case
of spiritual matters we must always find ourselves saying the same thing as
Notice in this text:
Profession (vs 4; Matt
4.1-11; 2 Cor 11.13-15; Matt 7.21-23) [– “He
that saith, I know him, . . .” – There
are many who hold an intellectual knowledge of the Bible and the things of
God, but lack the evident marks of a true relationship with God.
Clearly the devil holds a knowledge of the things of God and the Word of
[The devil quoted from the Word of God when he
tempted our Lord in the wilderness (Matt 4.1-11).]
[The devil and his demons must have a knowledge of
the things of God and the Word of God if they will effectively present
themselves as the ministers of righteousness as noted in:]
13 For such
are false apostles, deceitful
workers, transforming themselves into the apostles of Christ.
14 And no marvel; for Satan himself is
transformed into an angel of light. 15
Therefore it is no great
thing if his ministers also be transformed as the ministers of righteousness;
whose end shall be according to their works. ]
[Jesus noted many who not only have a knowledge of
the things of God and the Word of God but also claimed to do mighty and
wonderful works in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ, but whom the Lord did not
know and were condemned when He said,]
21 Not every one that saith unto me,
Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will
of my Father which is in heaven. 22
Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy
name? and in thy name have cast out devils? and in thy name done many wonderful
works? 23 And then will I profess
unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity.]
is a devilish profession that accompanies those who have a form of godliness,
but lack the transforming power of a real relationship with our Lord Jesus
Christ (cf. 2 Tim 3.5). If you
think that a mere knowledge and acknowledgement of the things written in the
Word of God is enough to save you from an impending eternal damnation, then you
had better hear the Word of God revealed through the apostle John and hear it
No mere profession will
give you an entrance into the eternal joy and promise of heaven.]
Rebellion (vs 4; John 4.15; James 2.18-20)
[- He that saith, I know him,
and keepeth not his
commandments . . . –
To keep the written Word
of God with great joy, reflects the presence of the indwelling living Word of
This is the
testimony of the Word of God and especially the New Testament.]
15 If ye love me, keep my commandments.]
18 Yea, a man may say, Thou hast faith,
and I have works: shew me thy faith without thy works, and I will shew thee my
faith by my works. 19 Thou
believest that there is one God; thou doest well: the devils also believe, and
tremble. 20 But wilt thou know, O
vain man, that faith without works is dead?]
[The reason so
many lost people can find so many hypocrites within the doors of Christian
churches today is because so few professing Christians have heard the Word of
God and have developed a life changing relationship with the Lord Jesus Christ.
If you find it hard to live a life that reflects and honors the Lord
Jesus Christ then perhaps you are tangled up in this worlds religious legalism
and what you need is the life changing relationship developed by receiving the
Lord Jesus Christ as your personal Lord and Savior.]
[If you find that you are trying to force yourself to
live your life for Christ, then you need Jesus Christ to become a part of who
you are, so that His Lordship will flow out of your heart through your life
rather than trying to force His Lordship into your heart from what you know.
The only way that can happen is for you to “agree with God” confess your
rebellion and sins and accept the Lord Jesus Christ as your personal Lord and
[God is calling you to inspect the fruits of your life
through this passage. What do your
actual actions proclaim about your relationship with God.
The Mark of a born again Christian will be a life
willingly lived out
for the Lord Jesus Christ, and sin will never be the predominant mark of such a
Deception (vs 4; 1 Cor 6.9-10; Gal 5.19-21)
He that saith, I know him, and keepeth
not his commandments, is a liar, and the truth is not in him. – Many have
convinced themselves that they are saved and secure in the Lord Jesus Christ
while they are living in wantonness and sin.
Hear what God says through the Apostle John, you are lying to yourself,
you are deceived, you are lost and undone in your sin.
A born again Christian
will never be able to be happy and content while living in sin.]
[This truth is a recurring one throughout the New Testament.
The Bible declares:]
9 Know ye not that the unrighteous shall
not inherit the kingdom
of God? Be not deceived:
neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor abusers
of themselves with mankind, 10 Nor
thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners, shall
inherit the kingdom
of God. ]
19 Now the works of the flesh are
manifest, which are these;
Adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lasciviousness,
20 Idolatry, witchcraft, hatred,
variance, emulations, wrath, strife, seditions, heresies,
21 Envyings, murders, drunkenness,
revellings, and such like: of the which I tell you before, as I have also told
you in time past, that they
which do such things shall not inherit the kingdom of God.]
[Some would enter into an argument about whether or not
people can loose their salvation at this point.
I do not believe anyone can loose their salvation once they are truly
saved. However, the point here is not really about whether or not one can loose
their salvation. The point is
simple, if you think you are saved and you are living in sin, then you are
deceiving yourself, you are not saved at all, you are on your way to Hell, you
need to receive the Lord Jesus Christ as your personal Lord and Savior.
Stop lying to yourself!]
of Developed Dedication (vs 5-6) [–
“But whoso keepeth his word, in him
verily is the love of God perfected: hereby know we that we are in him.
6 He that saith he abideth in him ought
himself also so to walk, even as he walked.” – The end of the message is
simple and sure.
A completed Christian will be a
Completed Christian (vs 5) [- But
whoso keepeth his word, in him verily is the love of God perfected: hereby know
we that we are in him. – The heart is the issue here.
If you have received the Lord Jesus Christ then you will know the
perfection inferred in this text.
The important thing to
remember here is that you spiritual maturity or completeness is linked to the
presence of Christ in you, not your knowledge of Christ.]
- teleiow tel-i-o'-o (Gk) – To make
fully complete or to fully mature.]
[A Christian can never begin to mature in Christ until
he first receives the Lord Jesus Christ into his heart. You will know that you
are “in him” when He is working in and through your life.]
[His presence is evidenced in you through your desires
and your desires are manifested through your actions.
Hence, if Christ is in you then you will want to live for Christ.
If Christ is not in you then there will be no desire within you to live
[Hence, your spiritual
maturity or completeness is linked to your relationship with the Lord Jesus
Christ rather than your knowledge of Him.
Compliant Christian (vs 6) [- He
that saith he abideth in him ought himself also so to walk, even as he walked. –
How can you know that you are a born again Christian.
Do you want to live a life that honors and glorifies God?
Do you feel deep, heartfelt conviction whenever you feel like you have
sinned and let God down? If you do
then you are evidencing the manifestation of Christ living in your heart and you
can be confident that you are a born again Christian.
Now let that deep conviction and desire guide you to transform your
outward actions into a life conformed to the image of Christ.]
[By the way, a life conformed to the image of Christ is
not one that is acceptable to your pastor, deacons or church.
It is one that sincerely lives in obedience to the written Word of God
through the indwelling and living Word of God in you.]
Church, Mar 23, 2008, Evening