1 John 2:3-8 by Charles Clough
Series:1 John
Duration:44 mins 1 sec

© Charles A. Clough 2013

Charles A. Clough
1 John Series

Lesson 10 – The Preamble Continued: Fellowship with God the Son

17 Nov 2013
Fellowship Chapel, Jarrettsville, MD

(Opening prayer)

One of the things ... term salvation has three parts. A lot of confusion happens because we don’t distinguish the three parts. What I’m talking about is in 1 John the traditional problem in interpreting this epistle is—is it dealing with the first phase of salvation or the second phase of salvation. Think of three words: justification, where instantly we are born again and justified with the righteousness of Christ. Second would be sanctification, which is the time from when we became a Christian until the time we die. That’s sanctification, phase 2. Then phase 3 is when we go to be with the Lord—resurrection body, BEMA seat, and all the rest. That’s glorification.

So there are different ways of describing this. You can think it in kind of an abrupt way— phase 1, phase 2, phase 3. You can think of it in terms of justification, sanctification, glorification. You can think in terms of past, present, and future. You can think it as getting saved, growing, death, and resurrection—whatever vocabulary is comfortable for you, as long as you are able mentally to distinguish those three phases. This epistle deals with phase 2. This deals with growth and sanctification.

We’ve tried to again and again back to this fundamental diagram [Slides 2 and 3] because whenever you come to the Word of God you need to remember that you are breaking with a pagan tradition. That pagan tradition is increasingly influential in our society. What is described as progressivism in our culture is regressivism. We are regressing culturally back to a neo-pagan consistency in the culture.

This is why our business (the top down management, the elite) want desperately to eliminate the Christian influence from the public square. It’s all right to keep the Christian influence inside the four walls of the church; but we mustn’t let the Christian influence go out into the public square. What this is—a tremendous peer pressure, in some cases legal pressure—to act functionally in society like a pagan even though you’re a believer in Jesus Christ. This is where the rubber meets the road; and it’s always the same thing.

… this bottom line. Always think in terms of the bottom line. Paganism’s end result is it eliminates my guilt before God; or it’s an attempt to eliminate my guilt before God. “I am uncomfortable knowing I am a sinner. I am uncomfortable knowing God is there. I am uncomfortable realizing that I am ultimately responsible and will have to face Him face-to-face. That makes me uncomfortable. I don’t like that, so I’ll create a worldview that supports the way I want to live.”

That’s the dynamic that’s going on here. You have to recognize this … always … area of society that you seem to be involved with.

[Slide 4] On the Bible side we are talking about a reality with ultimate responsibility. The big idea that’s going on in this struggle on the Bible side there is always the Creator/creature distinction. That is the fundamental idea: the Creator/creature distinction. If you don’t get involved in all the details, don’t lose the forest for the trees.

All right now in John what we’re seeing is we’ve dealt with the outline there from 1 John 1:5 through 2:11. That’s the first section. That’s the preamble. We’ve already looked at 1 John 1:5 down to 2:2 with God the Father. The emphasis there is on our relationship to God the Father. The relationship is to Him as the one …

NKJ 1 John 1:5, “… that God is light and in Him is no darkness at all.”

[Slides 5–7] That’s the fundamental ethical ultimate authority. We have to set that against what we see in the pagan culture, which is a mixture of good and evil. We have those three responses [Slide 10]. We went through these before. This is the way we can respond to the light. There are choices involved, because as believers even we can disobey and we can sin. The first response that we had you see in v1 John 1:8, you’ll see that it’s not responsive to the light.

“I don’t have sin, so I really don’t have to deal with this.”

Where you see that functionally happening even in evangelical circles is where you see the New Age influence because the New Age influence is always talking about enlightenment, feeling, mystical things, contemplative prayer. That is actually diverting attention from the fact that apart from Jesus Christ we’re cosmic criminals; and we’ve got a problem with a holy God who is our Creator and Judge. Now we’re saved, but the Christian can be out of fellowship. Just because we’re saved doesn’t mean we’re in fellowship. We have to constantly adjust to that. The way of adjustment is in 1 John 1:9. We acknowledge. When He points something out, we acknowledge. We respond to that.

There is other vocabulary in the Bible. For example, here is one from Jeremiah. Iniquity is a Jeremiahism. So, there is a varied vocabulary from book to book in the Bible.

That’s another kind of vocabulary. First … we use in the Communion service.

NKJ Matthew 7:1, “Judge not, that you be not judged.”

Same thing. It is adjusting to who God is. So that’s the emphasis here.

Now I want give you a practical illustration of why this isn’t just theologically …

I’ve been doing research recently for a thing I’ve been writing. I acquired a book called Counseling the Hard Cases: True Stories Illustrating the Sufficiency of God’s Resources in Scripture. This is written by a group of pastors and professors who are trained in biblical counseling, part of what is called the Nouthetic Counsel approach started by Jay Adams back in the ’60s. Adam’s point was the Bible is sufficient unto every good work including counseling. In this situation he illustrates the point.

I thought this is a wonderful quote.

The biblical counseling movement has long been caricatured by its various critics as shallow, superficial, and largely ineffective for the greater challenges men and women face in this life. Those critics might cite instances of people giving bad or even hurtful advice while claiming to be doing biblical counseling. But authentic biblical counseling is simply biblical wisdom ...

I want to read how it looks—how after you get into the Word of God, what happens when you’re dealing with some of these cases. The case that is in this particular chapter I am dealing with is of a young man who was involved with same-sex attraction, homosexuality. He comes to this pastor for counseling. Fortunately, this particular pastor also happens to be a professor at a Christian university and is trained in this particular counseling method. He has this very interesting way he starts. This is how he thinks about it.

He doesn’t start with a diagnosis that the culture gives this young Christian man. The culture is calling this young Christian man a homosexual. What he’s doing here is warning that when you start, you don’t start with a worldly label for this person. You go back to what the Scriptures have to say about the person. Here are the words of wisdom that he does here. I thought very good example of coming to terms with the God who is there who is holy.

The critical issue is how I consider Jason.

Jason is this man, hypothetical name for this person.

Do I see him as the product of his biological make up? Do I see him as the product of his genetic code? Do I see him as the result of poor relationship with his same-sex parents, the outcome of early sexual stimuli, or one who fears rejection by others due to low self-esteem?

These are all the factors. These are all dynamics that work; but they’re not the ultimate things.

Here is what he says.

If I accept contemporary secular explanations for homosexuality as part of the cause—as part of the cause—then I am ultimately accepting culture as the authority for understanding and helping Jason.

Let me read that sentence again.

If I accept contemporary secular explanations for homosexuality as part of the cause, then I am ultimately accepting culture as the authority for understanding and helping Jason. Or, I can take the perspective that the ultimate cause of Jason’s homosexual behavior is his sinful heart and then all of these important pieces of data (not denying the data) make up various significant influences or pressures to which his sinful heart responded.

That’s what we’re talking about—ultimate responsibility. It’s not saying, “My mother dropped me on my head when I was a baby and that’s my problem.” Or, “I had Twinkies and that’s why I went into the 7-11 store and blew away the cashier.”

These are all excuses. God doesn’t accept those.

God says, “I created you to be responsible to Me.”

So, if we’re going to solve the problem; you don’t start up here. You start down here where the problem is. This is why he can go through. You’ve all heard these labels. There is case after case where they have a person who has actually … These are authentic counseling cases that have been written up.

Here’s one: Marianna, a lady surviving sexual abuse. Here’s Brian, obsessive-compulsive disorder. Sarah, post-partum depression. Mary, paralyzing fear. Ashley, an anorexic. So we could go on.

In each case, they’re denying that those labels are ultimate. Those are cultural labels put on to the problem due to the fact that there are these other issues there, but the ultimate issue is how these people responded in life with their choices to these situations, some of which were bad; but they still responded.

So their ultimate responsibility doesn’t go away because somebody is maltreated. Yes, it was maltreatment. Yes, it was unjust. But that’s not the issue. The ultimate issue is how I respond to that injustice, to that tragedy, to that kind of thing. It’s a sobering way. It sounds at first glance when you hear this, it sounds like it’s being cruel to the person.

Actually it’s being hopeful to the person because if your problem and my problem is our mothers dropped us on our heads when we were babies, what can you do about that now? Can you change that? That’s part of your history. You can’t change your personal history. So where is the hopefulness? Where is the opportunity to change? It isn’t there.

The opportunity to change is only there because it’s down in the place where you can do something about it. You can’t do anything about the bad things that have happened to your life. That’s history. It’s all over. It’s written—gone. It’s past. I can’t change the past. All I can do is change in the present. So I can change my attitude to how I respond. So that’s what this whole thing is.


That’s an interesting thing—that counseling makes you feel better about who you are. But that’s the best they can do on a secular basis. But the power of the Word of God is we can go a lot further than that. We can legitimately change who you are—not us, but regeneration. The Lord can do that.

Well, today what we’re going to do is move on to the next section. If you’ll look at the outline at the top we’re going now to 1 John 2:3–8. Now you’ll notice the label here instead of fellowship with God the Father who is not seen, now we’re going to be dealing with the fellowship of the Son who is seen and heard.

Now looking at this … Let’s read 1 John 2:3 and just stop in verse 6. This is a chunk of Scripture; and it’s loaded with material; and we’re hopefully going to get 80 percent through this. It is very slow going; but we want to go slow so we appreciate the way John is writing this. He’s writing this to be read. The way John writes is it’s packed with ideas and information so you have to go slow through this.

I’m reading out of the New King James. You may have different translations.

NKJ 1 John 2:3, “Now by this we know that we know Him, if we keep His commandments.

4 “He who says, ‘I know Him,’ and does not keep His commandments, is a liar, and the truth is not in him.

 5 “But whoever keeps His word, truly the love of God is perfected in him. By this we know that we are in Him.”

I guess we’ll stop actually in 1 John 2:5. What do you notice? These are three verses. What pattern do you observe in these three verses that we said is a style of John? Yes. See how he starts off—positive in verse 1 John 2:3.

NKJ 1 John 2:3, “Now by this we know that we know Him, if we keep His commandments.”

Then he says in verse 4.

NKJ 1 John 2:4, “He who says, ‘I know Him,’ and does not keep His commandments, is a liar, and the truth is not in him.”


NKJ 1 John 2:5, “But whoever keeps His word, truly the love of God is perfected in him. By this we know that we are in Him.”


See that style? It goes on over and over and over in John’s writings. In this epistle it’s just part of the structure of it. You want to watch that and observe how it flows because that helps you—how you understand it.

Now let’s look at 1 John 2:3. Notice the two verbs.

Watch, and of course, I don’t know whether they teach diagramming any more in English. Back when I went to school, we had to diagram sentences. The advantage of diagramming a sentence is you start taking it apart and see what the subject is and the verb is and some of the prepositions. It forces you to observe. If you want a Bible study tool some time, try this—even in the English. Diagram the sentence.

All of a sudden you think, “Oh! I didn’t see that before.”

It forces your eye to see where the word is connected. So, let’s look at the first one.

NKJ 1 John 2:3, “Now by this”

I’ll come back to the “by this” because you’ll notice “by this” also occurs in 1 John 2:5. It’s one of John’s favorite expressions. There is a certain grammatical rule that has been developed of understanding these “by this’s”. We’ll postpone that for a moment.

NKJ 1 John 2:3, “Now by this we know that we know Him”

That’s the verb in the Greek ginosko, which is a verb that means … There are two words in the Greek—usually use oida and ginosko. Ginosko has the emphasis on “I perceive, I learn, I observe, and I know.” Oida is “I know two plus two is four.” It’s used to kind of know knowledge that you are already aware of that’s just part of you. So ginosko here means that he recognizes or he has come to know. Why is the verb used twice? Immediately when you look at this sentence, it should stand out to you that this verb is used twice. Well, we have to know a little bit more about the verb.

The chart that you have on the handout as well as the slide [Slide 11] that you’re seeing is number of times in this little epistle that John uses ginosko. So when you look at the chart, which is a series of observations in the text, what does this tell you about the epistle?

He’s writing to Christians; and what does he want? He wants them to know. Right? He’s saying, “by this we know.” Now think of it. In 21 verses he’s using “know” 25 times. It would appear, if you think this epistle is being read to illiterate people in the different churches probably in Asia Minor, John is writing this to be read to pastors. In it he is repeating himself.

Actually, if you count the number of verbs, you’ll see in the diagram in verse 3 it’s used twice. In verse 13 it’s twice. In 1 John 3:1 it’s used twice. In 4:6 it’s used twice. There is a tremendous emphasis on knowing here in this epistle. We can’t interpret the epistle without anchoring ourselves. Why is John emphasizing—notice, notice, notice, notice. Here’s why. Look at 1 John 2:28. I’m going to show you three verses that we’ll get to and when we get into the argument of the epistle; all this other stuff is introduction to the argument. But when we get into the actual flow of the argument, you’ll see that this is central to his issue. In 1 John 2:28:

NKJ 1 John 2:28, “And now, little children, abide in Him, that when He appears, we may have confidence and not be ashamed before Him at His coming.”

Notice confidence. So in 1 John 2:28 the argument that he’s getting at is he wants believers to be able at have confidence in that moment of history when Jesus Christ returns and we face Him face-to-face.

“I want you to have confidence at that point in your experience.”

Then if you turn over to 1 John 3:21, here again he uses this word confidence; but here it’s used in terms of prayer.

NKJ 1 John 3:21, “Beloved, if our heart does not condemn us, we have confidence toward God.

NKJ 1 John 3:22, “And whatever we ask we receive from Him, because we keep His commandments and do those things that are pleasing in His sight.”

So that’s confidence in prayer. What’s interesting in this flow of the argument of the apostle is the confidence that we have in prayer is related to the confidence we have as we anticipate facing Him face-to-face. That’s the same kind of thing. This is the first time I’ve seen this when I started studying 1 John, that the confidence in prayer is somehow related to confidence before God face-to-face.

Then I thought, “Well, why is that unusual?” It’s not. In prayer what are we supposed to be doing? We’re talking to Him. So the confidence that we have that in prayer is related to the confidence we have in thinking that.

Finally, in 1 John 4:17 this is the third time he uses it. This one is often misquoted, but has to be understood in the flow of the argument.

NKJ 1 John 4:17, “Love has been perfected among us in this: that we may have boldness in the day of judgment;”

Now that’s a look ahead. That’s where John is going with this.

Let’s come back to the verb “know”. Why is he emphasizing know, know, know, know in the light of his ultimate argument? If His ultimate argument is to have confidence, what do you need to have the confidence? You have to know the things that God wants us to know. So, John’s theme is quite clear here.

People have approached this epistle saying, “Oh, it can’t be diagramed. John, this is very messy. You can’t diagram the argument of the apostle.”

Well, the argument is there. It’s just you have to kind of understand John and his way of talking.

Let’s go back to 1 John 2:3; and let’s go back to the two verbs again—know and know.

NKJ 1 John 2:3, “Now by this we know that we know Him,”

Two tenses—the first case is where he knows we know (present tense) that we have come to know Him (perfect tense.) Oh, well that’s interesting. He wants us to be able to know in the present that we have come to know Him—that is that we are in fellowship. He wants to get us in a position where we are confident that we’re in fellowship with the Lord.

So He says:

NKJ 1 John 2:3, “Now by this we know that we know Him, if we keep His commandments.”

Now we get into something and we have to stop here. How does John think when he is talking? Is this Jewish legalism? The law—is he putting Christians under the Law here? What does he mean by “that we might keep His commandments?”

I said when we started this epistle; this epistle is actually John the Apostle’s development of the Upper Room Discourse. So, we have to go back to the Gospel because only in John’s Gospel do we get the intimacies of that last final briefing before Jesus goes to the Cross. That Upper Room Discourse you remember begins in John 14 after Judas leaves. After Judas leaves everyone in that room is a believer. Then Jesus begins to share things.

So let’s turn to John 14 to see if we can understand “keep His commandments” originally the way Jesus taught that. In John 14:6 here’s the background. This is the stunning verse. This is the verse by the way that actually the Lord used to lead me to Christ. Because when I was in college I was like many college students looking around all different religions and thinking Christianity was so narrow minded because it was making an exclusivistic claim. Of course, John 14:6 is an exclusivistic claim of Christian faith.

NKJ John 14:6, “… I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me.”

Now you can’t get much more exclusivistic than John 14:6. That’s the continuing theme started by the way in 2000 B. C. with Abraham. Once God confined revelation to the Jewish subset of the human race, we have exclusivism. Revelational exclusivism began in 2000 B. C. So here we have a continuation of it.

Now it comes down to Jesus. In this section, He starts in verse 6 that area of the discourse where He’s coming out with this dogmatic exclusivistic claim of Himself. Now this has ramifications. It’s this ramification that answers the question —what does John mean by “keeping His commandments” as a sign of fellowship?

Let’s look down further in the text. Let’s go down to John 14:10. Or, let’s start with verse 9. Phillip in response to verse 6 asks Him:

NKJ John 14:9, “… Show us the Father?”

Let’s start with verse 7. Let’s get the flow. Jesus makes the exclusivistic claim and then He adds:

NKJ John 14:7, “If you had known Me, you would have known My Father also; and from now on you know Him and have seen Him.”

Notice what Jesus just did there. Look carefully.

NKJ John 14:7, “If you had known Me,”

Didn’t those guys know Him? They’d been with Him for three years. Well, of course they knew Him. Were they believers by this point? Of course, they were believers. Yet He is saying, “You still don’t really know Me.”

He says:

NKJ John 14:7, “If you had known Me, you would have known My Father also;”

That suggests that the term “knowing Christ” is a synonym for knowing the Father. Watch that. Watch that line, the identity. Knowing the Son is identical to knowing the Father. This has ramifications if you follow it out.

NKJ John 14:8, “Philip said to Him, ‘Lord, show us the Father, …’ ”

So Phillip is thinking, “I see Him. He’s in the room with us. But I don’t see the Father here. So you’re saying Jesus if we know You, we know the Father. But I don’t see the Father. So show us the Father.”

That’s what Phillip is doing. You probably would have asked the same thing. Now watch the answer.

NKJ John 14:9, “Jesus said to him, ‘Have I been with you so long, and yet you have not known Me, Philip?’ ”

Watch this because here’s where we get into this “keep His commandments” thing.

“He who has seen Me has seen the Father; so how can you say, ‘Show us the Father’?”

Now imagine yourself in this room. There Jesus sits physically. He says that if you know Me, you know the Father.

“But I can’t see the Father empirically. I can’t touch Him. I can’t hear Him. I can’t see Him.”

But Jesus comes back to us and He says, “If you are listening to Me, you are listening to the Father.”

What is that saying now about how I consider Jesus Christ?

NKJ John 14:10, “Do you not believe that I am in the Father, and the Father in Me?”

There’s where John’s use of the locative “in” is not the same as Paul when Paul says, “We are in Christ (soteriologically).” Here it’s not a soteriological issue for the Father to be in the Son. It’s a metaphysical thing.

So He says:

“I am in the Father, and the Father in Me?”

Now watch as we’re getting closer to verse 10, which will be critical to understand 1 John 2:3.

NKJ John 14:10, “The words that I speak to you I do not speak on My own authority; but the Father who dwells in Me does the works.

NKJ John 14:11, “Believe Me that I am in the Father and the Father in Me, or else believe Me for the sake of the works themselves.”

So look carefully at verse 10.

NKJ John 14:10, “Do you not believe that I am in the Father, and the Father in Me? The words that I speak to you I do not speak on My own authority…”

Now if that’s true, what must be the meaning of “keep Jesus’ commandments” as far as our fellowship with God? His commandments are the Father’s commandments, are they not? If His commandments are the Father’s commandments, then keeping His commandments is fellowship with the Father. This does wonders to New Testament authority by the way.

Let’s look further in this discourse.

NKJ John 14:12, “Most assuredly, I say to you, he who believes in Me, the works that I do he will do also; and greater works than these he will do, because I go to My Father.

13 “And whatever you ask in My name, that I will do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son.

 14 “If you ask anything in My name, I will do it.”

By the way that’s a whole section that’s coming up in the epistle. Then in John 14:15 Jesus goes on and says:

NKJ John 14:15, “If you love Me,”

See, here is exactly the sentence that we’re looking at over in 1 John 2:3.

NKJ John 14:15, “If you love Me, keep My commandments.

16 “And I will pray the Father,”

Now watch what happens. This is what John learned and this is what he means by fellowship.

NKJ John 14:15, “If you love Me, keep My commandments.

16 “And I will pray the Father, and He will give you another Helper, that He may abide with you forever—

 17 “the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it neither sees Him nor knows Him; but you know Him, for He dwells with you and will be in you.

 18 “I will not leave you orphans; I will come to you.

 19 “A little while longer …”

He goes on about the world, but watch what happens here.

NKJ John 14:19, “A little while longer and the world will see Me no more, but you will see Me. Because I live, you will live also.

NKJ John 14:20, “At that day …” from Pentecost “you will know that I am in My Father, and you in Me, and I in you.

NKJ John 14:21, “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.”

That’s what John heard in the Upper Room Discourse; and that is what is in John’s mind as he writes this epistle that he wants read to the Christian churches.

Then he says, verse 23—another case.

NKJ John 14:23, “Jesus answered and said to him …”

Let’s look at Judas.

NKJ John 14:22, “Judas (not Iscariot) said to Him, ‘Lord, how is it that You will manifest Yourself to us, and not to the world?’ ”

See, they’re thinking in terms of what we would think. We’ve asked the same thing.

NKJ John 14:23, “Jesus answered and said to him, ‘If anyone loves Me, he will keep My word; and My Father will love him, and We will come to him and make Our home with him.

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.’ ”

There’s the background that is on John’s mind as he comes over.

Let’s go back to 1 John 2. John’s writing out of that background of the Upper Room—never left him and he wants to share that insight that he learned in the Upper Room with believers. So, he uses the same language.

So in 1 John 2:3 he says:

NKJ 1 John 2:3, “Now by this we know that we know Him, if we keep His commandments.

4 “He who says, ‘I know Him,’ and does not keep His commandments, is a liar, and the truth is not in him.

 5 “But whoever keeps His word, truly the love of God is perfected in him. By this we know that we are in Him.”

In that chunk of Scripture he capsulizes the uniqueness of the relationship we have with God the Son. [Slide 9] In the previous passage our relationship with God the Father is looking as His nature that:

NKJ 1 John 1:5, “… God is light and in Him is no darkness at all.”

“I am a sinner and I have to get in harmony with His nature if I’m to walk with the Lord.”

Now with the Son, the Son has done what that the Father hasn’t done? [Slide 8] What in the Trinity is unique about the Son is not true of the Father? What did the Son do in history? The Son became a man. He’s incarnate. So of the three in the Trinity, which One is the only One who is seen? It’s the Son. He’s the only One that’s incarnate. That makes Jesus a unique person. So that means … these are the crucial texts besides the ones that we— John 14 and that area. See this gives you the flavor of know. See how he’s using “know?”

“You have not known Me, Phillip.”

“He who has seen Me has seen the Father.”

“The words I speak to you I do not speak on My own authority, but the Father who dwells in Me does the works.”

“These words are the Father’s words.”

There are the words “word.” So there’s verb know. Here’s John 17 when Jesus prays the high priestly prayer.

NKJ John 17:8, “For I have given to them the words which You have given Me; and they have received them, …”

“Them” is the words.

“and have known surely that I came forth from You; and they have believed that You sent Me.”

Notice “known, known, known surely”—the emphasis.

NKJ John 17:8, “For I have given to them the words which You have given Me; and they have received them, and have known surely that I came forth from You; and they have believed that You sent Me.”

See what he’s gathering? Our relationship with Jesus Christ is the same as a relationship with God.


Jesus chose. This is His perfect life. Here’s where we collide with the culture. I showed this back when we were introducing some of John’s thoughts. This is the argument that goes on and on and on. You’ll encounter this in The History Channel stuff. You’ll encounter it in National Geographic. You’ll encounter it in Time Magazine. Every Christmas they’ll have some sort of way that Jesus can’t possibly be who He is.

“We don’t know for sure anything; but we know one thing for sure, Jesus can’t be who He said He was.”

That’s the usual. But here’s the problem and relate this now to what we’ve just done with the identity between the Father and the Son. The Father is not seen. The Father is seen in the Son.

Down at the bottom of this chart, there we have the real Jesus Christ. The words kerygmatic is the word for the preached one. The New Testament message is the kerygmatic Christ. That means Jesus’ explanation, the explanation of who Jesus is. He is the Christ. He is not just Jesus the Nazarite carpenter. He is more that Jesus the Nazarite Jewish carpenter. He is the Christ.

He didn’t go around with a label on Him saying, “I am the Christ.” That is something the Holy Spirit teaches us who this Jesus Jewish carpenter is. He’s really the Son of God, Incarnate. That’s why these two have to be the same and that’s what John’s epistle is saying.

How you treat Jesus’ words is how we treat God the Father. You can’t separate this; but the world wants to, because at the bottom (remember the two-view chart [Slide 4]) what is the bottom agenda of the world always? To relieve what? Ultimate responsibility before God. So now faced with this, what does the world do? It splits it apart. We have the historical Jesus (whoever that is) and we separate the historical Jesus (the real person) from this New Testament interpretation of who this person was.

Now we can say to our pagan relief that, “Phew! Thank goodness that Jesus isn’t who He claimed to be. He’s what scholars have separated out from the New Testament. Now we have the Christ in the New Testament.”

In modern day it’s the spin. It’s the church spin that they put on this Jewish carpenter. People at the university level get this all the time. Going to a nice Catholic university taught by Jesuits, they would deny this. So here’s the point that you want to understand the implication now as we go into this section. We’re going to wind up here. We’re not through yet. We’ll have to finish up next week.

Let’s go to 1 John 2:3, 4, 5, and 6 once again.

NKJ 1 John 2:3, “Now by this we know that we know Him, if we keep His commandments.”

That is we submit to the authority of the New Testament. That’s what this is saying.

NKJ 1 John 2:4, “He who says, ‘I know Him,’ and does not keep His commandments, is a liar, and the truth is not in him.”

You see this all over our circles today. Professing Christians that could care less about the Bible. They’re on Christian campuses. They’re on the faculty of Christian organizations. Only 17 percent of faculty on Christian campuses today believe in a literal Genesis. But boy they sure can accept the sacrificial donated money that comes in from Christian parents thinking they are giving to the faculty to teach their Christian kids.

“That’s okay. We can accept the donations, but we don’t believe in a literal Genesis.”

This is unethical. This is stealing done in the name of Christ. That’s why I’ve often said if you’re going to get unbelief, go to a state university; the tuition is cheaper.

NKJ 1 John 2:4, “He who says, ‘I know Him,’ and does not keep His commandments, is a liar, and the truth is not in him ...”

Notice how John doesn’t mince words here. Either you keep the Jesus commandments and submit to the authority of His teachings; or you don’t. It’s simple. It’s one or the other. If you don’t, you’re a liar and you can’t say you know Him. You can go through all the mysticism, the burning candles, contemplating your navel, whatever it is; but it’s not knowing Christ.

Finally, we come to verse 5.

NKJ 1 John 2:5, “But whoever keeps His word, …”

And we have to do work now on the perfection of the love. We’ll deal with that next week.

“truly the love of God is perfected in him.”

Now he concludes with another “by this.” Remember what I said. This is bracketed on the top and on the bottom.

“By this we know that we are in Him.”

It means the same thing.


What Joe is pointing out here is what proceeds. This is why I wanted to be careful when we read “keeping His commandments.” I tried here for the last ten to fifteen minutes to try to protect you from the legalistic interpretation of keeping His commandments. The word tereo means to watch over and honor. It’s the idea of recognizing the authority of Jesus’ teaching is the authority of the Father more than just the legalistic thing.

(Closing prayer)