The Key to Knowing God

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The Key to Knowing God

First John 2.3–6

Don Ruhl • Savage Street, Grants Pass, Oregon • December 29, In the year of our Lord, 2013



  1. Knowing your family, 
    1. knowing your health,
    2. knowing history,
      1. serve us well, but
      2. do any of those surpass knowing God?
  2. Knowing the state of your finances, 
    1. knowing enough to graduate,
    2. knowing your job
      1. will help you succeed in life, but
      2. do any of those surpass knowing God?
  3. If you do not know God, 
    1. does any other form of knowledge matter?
    2. If you know God,
      1. does it matter if you do not know anything else?
      2. Knowing God serves as the foundation
        1. for all other knowledge and wisdom, and
        2. all other knowledge and wisdom will eventually disappoint
          1. without knowing God.
          2. Knowing God, and His Son Jesus, tops everything.
  4. Therefore, knowing God should move us daily to seek that knowledge. 
    1. Yet, can we truly know that we know God?
    2. You do not have to leave it to guess work, because
      1. you can know that you know God, but
      2. you also have to use the key to knowing that you know Him.


  1. First John 2.3 – The Key to Knowing God

    3 Now by this we know that we know Him, if we keep His commandments (1Jo 2.3).

    1. The Spirit declares that we can know that we know Jesus, in this context,
      1. giving us confidence and peace.
      2. Why did John have to say that we can know that we know Jesus?
        1. If it is based on
          1. dreams,
          2. visions,
          3. feelings,
          4. experiences,
            1. John would be making a useless statement, because
            2. a Christian would know automatically.
        2. He had to present a concrete way of knowing that we know Jesus.
    2. However, John put a condition on knowing that we know Jesus.
      1. Did you see the condition for knowing that you know Jesus?
      2. Christ has done a million things for us; He wants something in return.
        1. The thing that will let us know that we know the Lord
        2. is whether we keep His commandments.
    3. The Lord Himself knows that we stumble on this point,

      8 If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us (1Jo 1.8).

      1. He compensates for that,

        1.9 If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. 10 If we say that we have not sinned, we make Him a liar, and His word is not in us. 2.1 My little children, these things I write to you, so that you may not sin. And if anyone sins, we have an Advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous (1Jo 1.9–2.1).

      2. However, we cannot use that to excuse ourselves
        1. from keeping His commandments, because
        2. He provides the spiritual energy to do His commandments,
          1. if we so desire to do them,

            12 Therefore, my beloved, as you have always obeyed, not as in my presence only, but now much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling; 13 for it is God who works in you both to will and to do for His good pleasure (Phi 2.12–13).

          2. Do you desire to do His good pleasure?
          3. Do you want to keep His commandments?
    4. Failing to obey Him, yet,
      1. still claiming to know Him,
      2. does not fool Him.
        1. We only fool ourselves and
        2. anyone who wants to believe the same thing about themselves.
  2. First John 2.4 – Profession Is Insufficient

    4 He who says, “I know Him,” and does not keep His commandments, is a liar, and the truth is not in him (1Jo 2.4).

    1. We cannot separate knowing Jesus from keeping His commandments.
      1. Let us not deceive ourselves that profession alone means we know Jesus.
        1. We must confess the Lordship of Jesus, but
        2. He wants to see whether we do the will of His Father or not,

          21 “Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ shall enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father in heaven. 22 Many will say to Me in that day, ‘Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in Your name, cast out demons in Your name, and done many wonders in Your name?’ 23 And then I will declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness!’” (Matt 7.21–23).

        3. How would you answer this question from Jesus?

          46 “But why do you call Me ‘Lord, Lord,’ and not do the things which I say?” (Luke 6.46).

        4. Does the action backup the profession?

          16 They profess to know God, but in works they deny Him, being abominable, disobedient, and disqualified for every good work (Tts 1.16).

      2. To know Jesus Christ means
        1. we hear what He says, and
        2. we do what He says.
    2. John told us that disobedience implies two things:
      1. The claim of knowing the Lord is a lie, and
      2. the truth is not in that person.
  3. First John 2.5 – The Love of God Perfected

    5 But whoever keeps His word, truly the love of God is perfected in him. By this we know that we are in Him (1Jo 2.5).

    1. Not only can we know that we know Him,
      1. if we keep His commandments, but
      2. the Holy Spirit says the love of God has been perfected in that person.
        1. We receive the love of God, but
        2. the very nature of His love
          1. moves us to show Him that we love Him in return, and
          2. we show that by keeping His word.
            1. God has not loved us to keep us as we are.
            2. He has loved us
              1. to move us out of what we are and
              2. to move us into being what we should be.
                1. How can I say I have God’s love in me, but then
                2. not do what He says?
    2. In John 14, Jesus emphasized the way to show that we love Him,

      15 “If you love Me, keep My commandments” (John 14.15).

      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” (John 14.21).

      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” (John 14.23).

      1. How then can anyone argue that we do not have to obey Him?
      2. How can anyone claim to know Jesus without obeying Jesus?
  4. First John 2.6 – Imitating Christ

    6 He who says he abides in Him ought himself also to walk just as He walked (1Jo 2.6).

    1. Abiding in Jesus means to live as He lived.
    2. How did Jesus walk?
      1. Our text asks us to do
      2. what Jesus did.
        1. He kept the commandments of the Father.
        2. He had the love of the Father in His heart and
          1. the reason we know that
          2. is because of what we see in the Gospels.
            1. We hear Him teach in the Gospels.
            2. We see Him work in the Gospels.
    3. In my judgment, John recorded something in John 4
      1. that summarizes the life and
      2. truly sums up everything about Jesus.
        1. As Jesus traveled from Judea to Galilee,
        2. He passed through Samaria.
          1. He stopped at a well outside of a town in Samaria called Sychar,
          2. while His disciples went into town to buy food.
            1. Then they went back out to where they left Jesus,
            2. where He had been talking to a woman,

              31 In the meantime His disciples urged Him, saying, “Rabbi, eat.” 32 But He said to them, “I have food to eat of which you do not know.” 33 Therefore the disciples said to one another, “Has anyone brought Him anything to eat?” 34 Jesus said to them, “My food is to do the will of Him who sent Me, and to finish His work” (John 4.31–34).

              1. To Jesus, doing the will of the Father
              2. was like eating food.
                1. Where does eating rank on your list of priorities?
                2. Where does doing God’s will rank on your list?


  1. In First John 2.3–6, the apostle put 
    1. knowing Jesus,
    2. keeping His commandments,
    3. the truth,
    4. the word,
    5. the love of God,
    6. walking as Jesus walked, and
    7. abiding in Him
      1. on the same level.
      2. John did not emphasize one over the others, nor
        1. did he teach that some are less important.
        2. He taught us that
          1. knowing Jesus is the same as keeping His commandments, and
          2. keeping His commandments is the same as knowing Jesus.
  2. What more can I say to show you 
    1. the importance of knowing Jesus and of keeping His commandments?
    2. If you say, Nothing, are you ready to start obeying Him right now?