3 March 2019 PM – 1 John 2:3-6 – 1Jn2019 – Scott Childs
Introduction: A few weeks back, Gerhard’s grandparents visited from the UK. I met them, but I cannot say that I got to know them. I did not really have any fellowship with them. I do have fellowship, however, with Gerhard. We have spent much time together and we know each other quite well. Fellowship with God also requires knowledge.
Transition: In 1 John 2:3-6, the Apostle John points out three things that we must note about fellowship with God.
1. Note what it means to know Christ, v.3
a. There are two words translated “know” in this book
1) The first is in our verse. It is the word ginosko. We find it in 21 verses of First John. This word means to know experientially, to comprehend, to perceive.
a) For example, I know what it is like to make a snowman. As a child, I did it many times. I experienced making a snowman.
b) When John uses this word to say we know Christ, he is saying we know Him by experience. He is not talking about the fact of our salvation, but the fellowship we can have in knowing Christ as a friend.
2) The second is the word eido. We find this word in 15 verses of First John. This word describes a head knowledge, a factual knowledge or an awareness.
a) For example, I know that snow is frozen water crystals. I learned that fact. I am aware of that fact but I do not fully grasp it.
b) John first uses this word in (1 John 2:11) “But he that hateth his brother is in darkness, and walketh in darkness, and knoweth not whither he goeth, because that darkness hath blinded his eyes.” One who walks in the dark does not know factually where he is going.
3) Distinguishing between these two words “know” will help us rightly understand the rest of this book.
b. John assures us that we can know from experience that we truly know fellowship Christ.
1) In your heart, you know if you have experienced walking in fellowship with Christ.
2) When John uses this word for know, I believe he is using it as a synonym for walking in the light, abiding in Christ and fellowshipping with God.
2. Note what shows that we know Christ, v.3-4
a. We know Christ if we keep His commandments
1) Do you know of any Christian who always keeps all of Christ’s commandments? I don’t! We all fail more often than we should.
a) This is proof that this word “know” cannot mean to know Christ as Saviour. If it did, none of us would be saved because we fail to keep all of God’s commands.
b) Those who claim it is evidence of salvation say that keeping God’s commandments refers to a regular habit. The huge problem with that theory is that you must decide how often you can disobey and still habitually keep God’s commandments.
2) It is far better to understand that keeping Christ’s commands shows that we know Christ experientially and are walking in the light with Him. We are abiding in Christ. We are fellowshipping with Him. Fellowship depends on obedience.
3) If we obey Christ, we can walk in the light and have fellowship with God. If we disobey Christ, we are not walking in the light or have fellowship with God.
4) We know Christ experientially if we keep His commandments. What commands did John have in mind?
a) I have a list that someone compiled of 1,050 New Testament commands. That is a lot of commands!
b) Perhaps John spoke just of Christ’s commands. Even Christ spoke many commands.
c) John uses the word commandments 14 times in this book. One of the commands John identifies for us is Christ’s command to love other Christians. (1 John 4:21) “And this commandment have we from him, That he who loveth God love his brother also.”
d) John may not have had any specific command in mind. We must obey all that we know God commanded us to do in the Bible. When the Spirit of God convicts, we are to obey Him.
5) Here is an interesting connection. Jesus said, (John 15:10) “If ye keep my commandments, ye shall abide in my love; even as I have kept my Father’s commandments, and abide in his love.” This is a clear parallel between abiding in Christ’s love and knowing Christ experientially.
b. If we say we know Christ but disobey Him, we lie, v.4
1) We may claim to know Christ experientially and say that we are in fellowship with Him, but if we are not keeping His commandments, we are lying. The truth is not in our mouth.
2) It is impossible to know Christ’s fellowship and walk in disobedient darkness at the same time.
3) Note how this parallels with 1Jn 1:6. Fellowship with God and knowing God both hinge on walking in the light and obeying God’s commands.
3. Note what will happen when we know Christ, v.5-6
a. The love of God is perfected in us, v.5
1) When John wrote, “but whoso keepeth”, he used a subjunctive verb identifying a possibility if the conditions were met. We might but we do not always keep God’s Word.
2) When we keep God’s word by obeying it, the love of God is perfected in us. Opinions differ as to whether “the love of God” in this verse is God’s love for us, God’s kind of love in us, or our love for God. John uses it all three ways (1Jn 3:16; 3:17; 4:9; 5:3). I believe in this context it refers to our love for God. An obedient Christian has a love for God that has truly been perfected or matured by his keeping God’s word.
3) As we obey God’s Word, our love for God matures and this increases our assurance that we experientially know that we are in Christ. While a true Christian will want to obey God and love God, the primary context of this book is dealing with fellowship with God not salvation. In the next verse, John immediately explains being “in Him”.
b. We will abide in Christ, v.6
1) Being in Him is abiding in Christ.
2) This word “abiding” is a key word in this book. The Greek word meno is translated abide, remain, continue, and dwell in this book. Abiding in Christ describes staying in close fellowship and dependence on Christ. Abiding is NOT a synonym for salvation as some claim. No Christian has to hold on tightly to abide in Christ’s salvation. In this short book, John gives us a dozen reasons that abiding in Christ cannot equal salvation. If you want that list, send me an email and I will email it to you (email@example.com).
3) Those who are abiding in Christ ought (lit. are indebted) to walk as Christ walked. Walking in the light with Christ is essential to having fellowship with Him. If we walk in darkness, we cannot fellowship with God (1Jn 1:6).
4) How did Christ walk? Christ’s walk was constantly abiding in God. Robert Candlish says, “While his [Christ’s] feet were busy walking, his soul was resting in God.” That’s good! He walked in obedience to the Father (Jn 17:4). He walked in harmony with the Father (Jn 10:30). He spent much time in prayer with the Father (Mr 1:35). If we are to abide in Christ, we need to do the same.
5) Are you walking as Christ walked?
Conclusion: We have noted that “knowing” Christ is experiencing fellowship with Him. We have noted that “knowing” Christ is evidenced by obeying His commands. We have also noted that “knowing” Christ produces a maturing love for Him in our hearts and enables us to abide in Him by walking as He walked. How well do you really know Christ? If you have not been obeying His commands, maturing in love for Him and abiding in His footsteps, may that be your goal this week!
Song: O I want to Be Like Jesus, 320