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"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.


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.


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 character.

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).


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 (John 4:34).

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 (John 17:4).

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 He lived?

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