Statement of Faith
The Four Most Important Things We Could Ever Tell
Listen to this week's message!
Map to the Church
Enhance your daily reading of God's word. Click here for free, printable Bible Reading and Prayer Journal sheets!
AM Bible Study Archives
"The Proof Is In the Walk"
1 John 2:3-6
Wednesday AM Bible Study
September 14, 2005
One of the goals of John's first letter is to show his readers how they may
have assurance of salvation (1 John 5:13). Assurance isn't essential to
salvation; but it is very beneficial to and desirable for the full enjoyment
of fellowship with Christ.
Throughout John's letter, he offers three types of "tests to show his
readers whether or not they have fellowship with Christ: the test of
"belief" (2:21-24), the test of "love" (2:7-11), and the test of "obedience"
(2:3-6). These different tests take the matter of our fellowship with
Christ out of the realm of mere "feelings" or "words" and into the realm of
actual, experiential practice.
These three tests are expounded on in several places in this letter; and
each time, John views them from a slightly different angle. This morning's
passage concerns itself with the "obedience" test.
I. THE TEST OF OBEDIENCE GIVES ASSURANCE (v. 3).
A. John says that we will know that we know Christ by the fact that we keep
His commandments. To "know" Jesus, in this sense, is another way of saying
that we have fellowship with Him. John has already described "fellowship"
with Christ as the truth being in us (v. 4), God's love being perfected in
us (v. 5), and being "in" Christ (v. 5) or "abiding in" Christ (v. 6).
These all describe a far deeper relationship than a mere verbal profession
or feeling of emotion. They describe God's sovereign initiative toward us.
And here, we see one more - in this case, an act on our part - that of being
obedient to Christ's commandments.
B. To "know" Christ refers to a knowledge gained by personal relationship
and experience. The word is used twice in this verse: the first time
describes an ongoing, progressive action; and the second time describes an
act completed in the past and true forever more. It is literally saying, ".
. . We know (ongoingly) that we have come to know Him . . ."
C. This is making the assertion that we can positively know that we have
fellowship with Christ by the fact that we are obeying Him. This doesn't
mean that we will never sin (as 1:8-2:22 make clear); but rather that we "keep" (as an ongoing and prevailing habit of life) His commandments.
II. THE TEST OF OBEDIENCE MAKES DISTINCTIONS (vv. 4-5a).
A. John is blunt. He says that someone who claims to know Christ, while
not keeping His commandments, is a liar.
1. They say that they "know" Him in the sense that they have the truth
dwelling in them (v. 4), that the love of God is perfected in them (v. 5),
and that they abide "in" Christ (vv. 5-6). They are claiming to have a
life-changing relationship without the life-change.
2. They are claiming to walk in fellowship with one who is "light" (1:5-7);
and yet still walk in darkness - which is to suggest that God does not really
walk in light, and is to make a very blasphemous claim about God's
B. But he goes on to say that for whoever keeps His word, the love of God
has been perfected in him. This isn't to say that God's love is imperfect;
but simply that, when we obey Christ, the intention of God's love toward us
reaches its goal bringing us into conformity with the character of Christ
(Eph. 4:13; Titus 2:11-14).
III. THE TEST OF OBEDIENCE MOTIVATES BEHAVIOR (vv. 5b-6).
A. The one who claims to abide in Christ ought to walk as He walked. He
walked in absolutely consistent obedience to His Father:
1. He always did that which pleased the Father (John 8:29).
2. As the Father gave Him commandment, so He did (John 14:31).
3. It was His food to do the will of the Father and to finish His work
4. He didn't seek His own will but the will of the Father (John 5:30).
5. He came to do the will of Him who sent Him (John 6:38).
6. No one was able to convict Him of sin (John 8:46).
7. He was able to end His life having completed the will of the Father
B. And so, those who claim fellowship with Him will do as He did (John
15:9-11; 14:15, 21, 23-24; 15:14; Luke 6:46).
* * * * * * * * * *
John ends as he begins: that it is by this test that we may know that we
truly have fellowship with Christ. Do we obey Him? Do we see that He has
progressively tranformed our behavior? Do we increasingly want to live as