Inter-Community Church of God
April 18, 2021 Service
      • Psalm 4GS-NETBIBLE

  • The Results of God’s Love

    As we continue into the richness of the 1st letter of John the Apostle, we are going to find some interesting and challenging themes. Last week I spoke about our needs met in God’s Son, the first result of God’s Love that was most of chapter one.
    We will be in chapter 2 mostly today.
    Now, I wonder, if I ask you for the major themes in 1 John, what would you say?
    I am pretty sure most of you would say that the major theme is God’s love and our need to love one another. That is definitely a theme in 1 John, but it is not, I repeat, it is not the major theme in the letter.
    Well then, maybe you would say that it is about the light of God and the darkness of sin—and are we walking in the light or the shadows? I covered a lot of that theme last week from chapter 1. But, important as the light and darkness theme is, it also is not the major theme in 1 John.
    So, what are the themes that are most repeated in the letter John wrote to the Church in his day?
    I went through all 5 chapters, and found that the major themes, just by the number of times the words are repeated in the letter, are these:
    The First Major Theme, and I’m really glad this is clear in the analysis, is God and his Son Jesus Christ. These basic names of God are repeated more than 50 times. So, I guess we better keep that theme in mind as we continue to mine the Results of God’s Love as John shares it in this marvelous letter.
    Now, the Second Major Theme is Life-Eternal Life, that is. When you think about it for about 2 seconds, of course this is a major result of God’s love. 28 times it appears. All along our way, this gift of Eternal Life we can have because of the sacrifice of Jesus Christ the Son of God to cover our sins will be clear. So keep looking for it.
    The Third Major Theme in 1 John is Knowing. It covers knowing God, knowing we have life, knowing we are walking in the light, knowing that we are the children of God. Knowing Him—in the person of Jesus Christ and in the person of God the Father— is the theme of today’s message.
    Now, the Fourth Major Theme in the letter is Sin. Now, when we are in the Bible, sin is kind of expected to show up. But very few letters in the New Testament cover Sin as clearly and honestly as does 1 John. And John speaks a lot about the difference between righteousness in all its forms and the opposite, sin. Again, it will show up over and over, as it did already in our study from chapter 1.
    The next theme is being “in God” or “in Christ”, which happens to tie with the number of times the word Love is used positively. It is also the same as the number of times John addresses his readers as “Dear Friends” or as his “Dear Children.”
    Following those are the very important themes of following the Lord’s commands or commandments, then the theme of Truth. We get the negative themes of not loving, hate, and lying to round it out.
    So Love is 6th out of 10 positive themes, when we include Light on the list. Not quite the major theme of the letter of 1 John, even though most of us learned that because of the “1 John 4:7 & 8” chorus we elders learned in the early 70s.
    >>>So today, we will take the first of the major themes that is an action rather than a concept or name: Knowing; or specifically, “To Know Him”.

    To Know Him

    When we have the word “know” in Bible and it is about a person instead of about a fact, the most common meaning is not the same as we use the word in our daily lives.
    We want to find out if you “know that guy” that you just said hello to in the mall. Or we wonder if you know a particular celebrity or a particular professor or pastor or other miscellaneous person. That is a pretty light-weight version of knowing someone. It can be anything from just name recognition, or someone you met in your work, or someone you follow on social media, or someone you went to school with.
    The most common Biblical meaning of the word “know” when it is a relationship between God and us, or between God’s son and ourselves, is a very intimate term. It is fully knowing a person. Knowing them heart to heart or soul to soul. It is the meaning of the word when Adam knew his wife Eve and she conceived a son. It is the meaning we experience in a very long-term positive relationship with a spouse or a child. It sometimes is the definition of how you know your best friends and confidants. To know Him, to know God, to know Jesus Christ, is to get bare-naked in terms of our hearts and souls. No barriers. No lies. No half-truths. No excuses. Just knowing, deeply, intimately, and fully.
    >>>So let’s see if we can get an idea about what that means from some of the times the theme is used in the second and 3rd chapters of 1 John.
    Knowing Him Means . . .

    Keeping His Commandments

    Now, John is a Jew. He grew up in the shadow of the Temple as a cousin to the high priest.
    1 John 2:3 CSB
    3 This is how we know that we know him: if we keep his commands.

    You Don’t Know Him By Saying So

    1 John 2:4 CSB
    4 The one who says, “I have come to know him,” and yet doesn’t keep his commands, is a liar, and the truth is not in him.

    You Know Him If You Keep His Word

    1 John 2:5–6 CSB
    5 But whoever keeps his word, truly in him the love of God is made complete. This is how we know we are in him: 6 The one who says he remains in him should walk just as he walked.
    Knowing Him Means . . .

    Setting the World Aside

    The question is this: What’s first in your life? Is it doing what God wants or is it doing what you want? We are masters of bad choices. We get drawn aside from God at every turn. Everything we surround ourselves with can be something that we can want more than God.
    John is clear as crystal again as he tells us, . . .
    1 John 2:15 CSB
    15 Do not love the world or the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him.
    That’s harsh, isn’t it? We were born into this world, we have breathed its air, eaten its fruit, enjoyed its scenery, dug precious stones from the dirt, celebrated the animals, and been taught to love or hate the seasons and the weather.

    Worldly Temptations in Three Phrases

    1 John 2:16 CSB
    16 For everything in the world—the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride in one’s possessions—is not from the Father, but is from the world.

    Stick With What Lasts Forever

    1 John 2:17 CSB
    17 And the world with its lust is passing away, but the one who does the will of God remains forever.
    Knowing Him Means . . .

    Letting God In To Stay

    1 John 2:27 CSB
    27 As for you, the anointing you received from him remains in you, and you don’t need anyone to teach you. Instead, his anointing teaches you about all things and is true and is not a lie; just as it has taught you, remain in him.
    Knowing Him also means to . . .

    Make Sure You Stay In Christ

    1 John 2:28 CSB
    28 So now, little children, remain in him so that when he appears we may have confidence and not be ashamed before him at his coming.
    Since Christ is Righteous,

    His Life in Us Make Us Righteous

    1 John 2:29 CSB
    29 If you know that he is righteous, you know this as well: Everyone who does what is right has been born of him.
    Knowing Him Means . . .

    Sin No Longer Rules Our Lives

    1 John 3:5 CSB
    5 You know that he was revealed so that he might take away sins, and there is no sin in him.
    1 John 3:6a CSB
    Everyone who remains in him does not sin.
    The problem with persistent practice of sin is that . . .

    Sin Proves Our Relationship is Faulty

    It only takes a second to realize the truth of this statement. If our lives are lived with the knowledge of a loving God who has given his own Son as the atoning sacrifice for sin, it should be simple and clear that . . .
    1 John 3:4 CSB
    4 Everyone who commits sin practices lawlessness; and sin is lawlessness.
    You know how this works. For instance, you tell a lie. Then you have to tell another lie to cover up for the first lie. Then you have to tell another lie to try to protect yourself. It doesn’t take long for that first lie to take control of your life, and make you a bigger liar than you thought possible.
    Now, that is not good news, because it shows we are more content in our sins than in God’s presence. So now we are in danger of denying our savior, denying our salvation, denying our relationship with God, because. . .
    1 John 3:6b CSB
    Everyone who sins has not seen him or known him.
    Salvation is the free gift of God through Jesus Christ. Relationship is the powerful result of being freed from the power of sin in our lives. He came to take away the sin in our lives.
    Take it away. Make it a non-factor. Remove it. Move us closer to the one who loves us, in whom there is no sin.
    Knowing Him means . . .

    The Spirit Confirms Our Relationship

    1 John 3:24 CSB
    24 The one who keeps his commands remains in him, and he in him. And the way we know that he remains in us is from the Spirit he has given us.
    To know Him means that we have our lives completely invested in God through Jesus Christ. And it means that we keep our hearts soft to hear his voice to do His will. His presence in our lives will make us different than before we knew him. If there hasn’t been a change, there is a problem.
    That problem is that our stubborn hearts still want to do life our own way, not God’s way. Trying the “Christian Thing” without the Spirit of God in our lives will end in disaster.
    True confidence in our salvation is not a matter of mind but of heart. It is in our hearts that the Spirit that God gives lives. It is from the core of our being that the Spirit of God communes with our spirits to make us holy, righteous, faithful followers of God’s heart.
    And remember, Jesus made the law of God easier by defining it as the law of love. Love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your mind and with all your strength. Love your neighbor as yourself. And love one another as Jesus has loved us.
    These aren’t the only verses in this letter that speak of knowing him; but in this section, we have the essentials, the core, the heart of knowing God’s heart through Jesus Christ.
    If you have a more intimate relationship with the World than with God, do you know him? Have you kicked sin out so you can let God in?
    In the Sermon on the Mount, our Savior Jesus said,
    Matthew 7:21–23 LEB
    21 “Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter into the kingdom of heaven, but the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. 22 On that day many will say to me, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and expel demons in your name, and perform many miracles in your name?’ 23 And then I will say to them plainly, ‘I never knew you. Depart from me, you who practice lawlessness!’
    i don’t know about you, but when I read in the Bible that it is Jesus speaking, not Paul or John or Luke or Peter, I pay it more attention. And it is Jesus that is warning us about the disaster of giving God lip service but not giving God priority and control in our lives. It doesn’t make any difference if you are a preacher or exorcist or healer. The only thing that makes the difference is that you do the will of the Father in heaven.
    That will is first that you believe in the one whom he sent: Jesus Christ. Believe what the Bible says about who he is and about why he came, to be the blood sacrifice for our sins, once for all.
    But belief in who Jesus is as the true Son and gift of God’s love is not enough really. We famously quote the verse that tells us,
    James 2:19 CSB
    19 You believe that God is one. Good! Even the demons believe—and they shudder.
    But that is just an aside if we don’t take it to heart. James, too, is pretty hard on people who are Christian in name only with no evidence of God at work to change our behavior from the inside out.
    James 2:20 CSB
    20 Senseless person! Are you willing to learn that faith without works is useless?
    The evidence of true faith is faithful, or righteous, behavior.
    — If we say we have fellowship with Him yet we walk in darkness, we lie and the truth is not in us.
    — If we say Jesus is Lord but we refuse to do God’s will in our lives, we won’t enter the Kingdom of Heaven.
    1 John 2:6 ESV
    6 whoever says he abides in him ought to walk in the same way in which he walked.
    The world won’t relent in its temptations to draw us away from the results of God’s love. We are bombarded daily with how we should give in to the the lust of the flesh, the selfish desires of our eyes, and the boastful pride of what we have. The world never tempts us to trust in God or to do His will. It always tempts us to pull away.
    But the results of God’s Love should be clear not just in relieving our fear of death, but also in the conduct of our lives. The Children of God act like the children of God, not the children of the devil.
    What is the Holy Spirit of God telling you about your intimate and personal relationship with the Father and with his Son Jesus Christ today?
      • 1 John 2:3CSB

      • 1 John 2:4CSB

      • 1 John 2:5–6CSB

      • 1 John 2:15CSB

      • 1 John 2:16CSB

      • 1 John 2:17CSB

      • 1 John 2:27CSB

      • 1 John 2:28CSB

      • 1 John 2:29CSB

      • 1 John 3:5CSB

      • 1 John 3:6aCSB

      • 1 John 3:4CSB

      • 1 John 3:6bCSB

      • 1 John 3:24CSB

      • Matthew 7:21–23CSB

      • James 2:19CSB

      • James 2:20CSB

      • 1 John 2:6CSB

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