SINGING>> Blessed be the Lord God almighty who reigns for evermore.
ROBERT >> The question this morning, do you keep the commandments of Christ, comes from 1 John 2:3-6. Let’s read it together.
“Now by this we know that we know Him, if we keep His commandments. He who says, I know Him, and does not keep his commandments, is a liar, and the truth is not in him. But whoever keeps His word, truly the love of God is perfected in him. By this we know that we are in Him. He who says he abides in Him ought himself also to walk just as He walked.”
John is talking about obedience. I know that is a dirty word to some people; but our connection with God depends upon it. We will do as he has told us. This is how we know that we know him.
Look again at verse 3 and verse 4. “By this we know that we know Him, if we keep His commandments. He who says I know Him, and does not keep his commandments is a liar, the truth is not in him.”
Now, the knowledge that John is talking about here is not a mere intellectual knowledge of God. There are some who know there’s a God, and they know all about God. Some are even scholars in the Bible. But for many of them, it’s a purely intellectual pursuit without a real relationship that comes from submitting to God’s will for their lives.
In Titus 1:16 the Bible says, “They profess to know God, but in works they deny Him, being abominable, disobedient, and disqualified for every good work.”
Now, I know for others it’s more an emotional experience with God, more a feeling than anything else. They wouldn’t trade their feelings for a stack of Bibles. They have no use for rules in their relationship with the Lord.
But Jesus asked in Luke 6:46, “Why call Me Lord, Lord, and not do the things which I say?”
To truly know Jesus is to have a close, intimate, personal relationship based on the knowledge of God as revealed in the scriptures. Our faith comes by hearing God’s word according to Romans 10:17. You see, we come to know God as we learn his word, as we believe his promises, as we obey his commandments.
For example, in Hebrews chapter 11 we read about great men and women of faith. In chapter 11 verse 7 it says that, “By faith Noah, being divinely warned of things not yet seen, moved with godly fear prepared an ark for the saving of his household, by which he condemned the world and became heir of the righteousness which is according to faith.”
You see, Noah heard God’s word, he believed it, he acted upon it; and in doing that, he saved his household.
In verse 8 we read about Abraham. “By faith Abraham obeyed when he was called to go out to the place which he would receive as an inheritance. And he went out not knowing where he was going.”
Again, Abraham believed what God said and acted upon it.
Look at verse 30 of Hebrews 11. “By faith the walls of Jericho fell down after they were encircled for seven days.”
It was not until Israel truly believed God and then did what God said, marching around that city for seven days, that the walls finally came down. Those who think they know Jesus and do not keep his commandments are lying to themselves and everybody else.
In Matthew 12:50, Jesus said, “For whoever does the will of My Father in heaven, is My brother and sister and mother.”
He was talking about that greater spiritual family, that it consists of those who do his word, who keep his commandments.
In John 15:14, he said, “You are My friends if you do whatever I command you.”
Keeping the commandments of God demonstrates that we are truly the friends of Jesus Christ.
And in Hebrews 5:8-9 we learn that Jesus is the author of eternal salvation unto all those who obey Him.
And so what we see here from 1 John chapter 2 as we look at this idea of keeping the commandments of God, we know that we know him, we know that we’re still connected with him, that we’re staying connected if we’re keeping his commandments. But if we do not keep his commandments, we cannot say that we really know him, that he is our friend, that we’re part of his family, that we have that genuine relationship and connection with Jesus Christ.
But secondly, I want you to notice from verse 5 of 1 John 2 that keeping his commandments is how his love is perfected in us. Let’s read it together. “But whoever keeps His word, truly the love of God is perfected in him. By this we know that we are in Him.”
I know a lot of people who say I love Jesus. They put it on Facebook and sometimes they’ll wear T-shirts about it or maybe some jewelry that says it. I remember one time with my father we were going down the road and we pulled up behind another car, and it had a bumper sticker on the back, said Honk if you love Jesus. And I asked dad, “Are you going to honk?” He said, Well, I believe I’ll show my love for Jesus in another way. You see, it’s not enough for us to put it on our T-shirts or honk our horns;
“Jesus says if you love me, keep My commandments,” John 14:15.
In John 14:21 the Bible says that, “He who has My commandments and keeps them, it is he who loves Me. And he who loves Me will be loved by My Father, and I will love him and manifest myself to him.”
In verse 23 Jesus went on to say, “If anyone loves Me, he’ll keep My word; and My Father will love him, and we’ll come to him and make Our home with him.”
And in verse 24, “He who does not love Me does not keep My words; and the word which you hear is not Mine, but the Father’s who sent Me.”
You see, love is much more than a feeling. It is defined by the commandments. It’s the commandments of the scripture that teach us how to show our love. You might remember when the lawyer came to Jesus and asked him what was the greatest commandment in the law.
In Matthew 22:36-40 Jesus explained to him how that the greatest commandment, that first commandment, “is to love the Lord your God. And you remember the second like unto it, to love your neighbor as yourself.”
And Jesus said, On these two hang all the law. The whole law, you see, was just a demonstration of how to love God and how to love your neighbor. The apostle Paul was teaching the same thing in Romans 13:8-10 when he spoke of the law and its commandments and how that those commandments are a sum of the law, a fulfillment of the law. It is only by keeping the commandments of Christ that we can fulfill the law of Christ and truly show our love for him and for others.
“This is the love of God, that we keep His commandments,” 1 John 5:3.
But I might pause here for just a moment to think about something in regards to obeying the commandments of Christ. Not all obedience is motivated by love. Some obey because they have to, some do because they need to, and some because they want to. You see, a slave has to obey or he’s going to be punished. An employee obeys because he needs the paycheck. And a Christian, he wants to obey because he loves the Lord. And this is the way we learned obedience when we were children.
First we obeyed because we had to. If we didn’t, we got spanked. But as we grew up, we discovered that it could get us what we needed. And finally, we reached maturity and obey out of love. Sadly, there are too many baby Christians who constantly have to be warned or rewarded. But full grown Christians obey simply because they love Jesus. So John tells us that we know him if we’re keeping his commandments. And this is how the love of God abides, is perfected in our hearts, if we keep his commandments.
But let’s notice a final thing this morning. Keeping his commandments is also how we abide in him.
Read with me verse 6. “He who says he abides in Him ought himself also to walk just as He walked.”
We learn here in verse 6 what this obedient life looks like. It looks like the life of Jesus. You see, Jesus isn’t only our savior and our Lord, but he’s our example. He’s the model of what an obedient lifestyle would really look like. When you read about the way he conducted his life and the way he ordered his world, the decisions that he made, the priorities he treasured, the habits that he cultivated, that’s what an obedient life looks like. He is the perfect pattern.
Let me read with you from 1 Peter 2:21-24. Here it says, “For to this you were called, because Christ also suffered for us, leaving us an example that you should follow His steps. Who committed no sin, nor was deceit found in His mouth; who when He was reviled did not revile in return; when He suffered He did not threaten, but committed Himself to Him who judges righteously; who Himself bore our sins in His own body on the tree, that we having died to sins might live for righteousness, by whose stripes you were healed.”
One of the key statements in 1 John is this little phrase, Even as He. We read it before in 1 John 1:7. You remember there how we are to walk in the light as He is in the light.
And we see it again later in chapter 3 and in verse 3, where it says, “And every one who has this hope in Him purifies himself just as He is pure.”
And then again in verse 7 of chapter 3, “He who practices righteousness is righteous, just as He is righteous.”
And then finally in chapter 4 and verse 17,” Love has been perfected among us in this, that we may have boldness in the day of judgment; because as He is, so are we in this world.”
This has extremely practical application in our daily lives. For example, what do you do when your brother sins against you?
The answer, we’re to forgive even as God for Christ’s sake has forgiven you,
Ephesians 4:32. How are you, a husband, to treat your wife?
The answer, husbands are to love their wives even as Christ also loved the church,
Ephesians 5:25. How are you to care for your wife?
Even as the Lord cares for the church,
Ephesians 5:29. How are we supposed to treat our brothers?
“Love one another as I have loved you,” Jesus said in John 13:34-35.
You see, no matter what area of life it may be, we need to ask, What would Jesus do?
What would he do?
And then let him live out his life through us and let him live out his life through you.
In Galatians 2:20, the apostle Paul understood this so well when he spoke of his conversion and his new life in Jesus Christ. There he said, “I’ve been crucified with Christ. It’s no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me. And the life I now live, I live by faith in the Son of God who loved me and gave Himself for me.”
You see, the apostle Paul was allowing Christ to live in him and live his life out through him to all the world. Yes, John is teaching us here that this is how we know Jesus Christ, this is how his love is perfected in us. And this is how we follow the example, the model that Jesus has set for us in the scriptures.
In our baptism to Jesus Christ, when we commit ourself to him, we seek his forgiveness, trusting in the blood of Christ shed on Calvary, that’s where we die to self to live for Jesus Christ.
Read Romans 6 and see how that in baptism we’re baptized into his death, we’re buried with him by baptism into death, we’re raised to walk in newness of life.”
As Paul said, “Reckon yourselves dead to sin but alive to Christ” in verse 11.
And then in verse 12, To present the instruments of your body as instruments of God, as instruments of righteousness. He’s telling us to use our lives in the service of God.
So let me ask you this morning, do you keep the commandments of Christ?
These are those who really know him, who love him, and abide in him. Let’s go back and think about what we’ve learned already in this series from 1 John. You know, our first question was this:
What do you think about Christ?
And we learned from the first verses of 1 John that Jesus the Christ was actually on equality with God. He was deity.
“In the beginning he was with God and he was God, and he became flesh and he dwelt among us,” 1 John 1:1 and 14.
He became one of us. And he really did walk on this earth and live and breathe just like any other human being. And yet he was without sin. Though he was tempted and though he was tried, he committed no sin according to Hebrews 4:15.
His apostles were with him for three and a half years. They saw him and they touched him, they talked with him, they sat and they ate with him. He was a living, breathing human being. And they saw that one, that perfect one, that innocent one give himself as a sin offering for us all on the cross of Calvary. They saw him shed his blood there. And he was placed in a tomb and raised the third day. And he appeared to them not on just one occasion, but on numerous occasions where they could investigate for themselves and see that, yes, Jesus really did live on this earth a perfect life; yes, he really did die for us; yes, he really was raised again. There’s no doubt about it.
Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God; as John calls him, the word of life, eternal life. It’s through him that we can have our salvation. Our connection with God is dependent upon what we think about Christ. But you remember our second question?
Are you really honest about your sin problem, from 1 John 1:5 going down through chapter 2 and verse 2?
John was reminding us about the fact that our God is holy, that he is absolutely sinless. “God is light, and in him is no darkness at all. And so if we say that we have fellowship with him and we walk in the darkness, we lie and do not the truth.”
We cannot live a life of high handed rebellion against God. We cannot continue on willfully in our sins and think that we can still stay connected with him. No, we must be honest about our sin problem, that our sin is a problem, that it does separate us from God. And therefore, we must make every effort to turn away from that sin and to live for Jesus Christ.
As he said, “If we walk in the light, we have fellowship with one another; and the blood of His Son cleanses us from all our sins.”
How thankful we are that we have forgiveness through the blood of Jesus Christ as we strive to seek after him. And when we are aware of our sins, let us not deny it, but let us confess it to Christ. And God is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. You might remember in 1 John chapter 2 in those first two verses how we’re reminded that Jesus Christ is our advocate when we do sin.
When we do fall short of the glory of God, sometimes we may sin out of ignorance, sometimes we may sin inadvertently and in a moment of weakness. But when we come to God, when we look to Jesus Christ, we can know that he stands there before the throne of God on our behalf. . He’s our advocate, he’s our intercessor. He pleads our case before the Lord. I’ve died for them, I’ve shed my blood for them, the price for their sins has been paid. And so we can be assured of his forgiveness.
What do you think about Jesus Christ?
And have you been honest about your sin problem? And do you keep the commandments of Christ?
We learned today that this is how we come to know him. This is how the love of God is perfected in us. And this is also how we abide in him, to live with Jesus every day and for him to live in us and out through us. Let me ask if you’ve ever made this connection with God.
Have you confessed Jesus as the Christ, the Son of God?
Being honest about your sin problems, come to him, trusting him to save you from your sin, giving yourself to him in the waters of baptism, being baptized into Christ, into his death, being buried with him so you can be raised to walk in newness of life?
If you’ve never made that connection with God, then please make every effort to do that today. Let us here at The Truth In Love know how we can help you and assist you in this.
Probably there are some out there who once have made that connection, but now they’ve lost that connection. I don’t know if you turned your back on the Lord and you quit living according to his commandments, you’ve gone back to your old ways, you’ve just lost faith for whatever reason. Come back to God. Come back to his church.
If we can help you, if we can pray for you, whatever we can do for you, we hope you’ll let us know how we can help you towards heaven today.