Monday, September 11, 2023

This is How We Know


Let’s be honest – sometimes the Bible can be a little confusing and having certainty about things can be a challenge.  Thankfully, the book of 1 John helps a mental midget like me by making it plain as day what I can know for sure.  The word “know” is found 44 times! The phrase, “this is how we know” is found seven times in just four of the chapters.  Let’s look at how we can be sure about some very important topics like salvation, love, the indwelling of the Holy Spirit, peace, and Christian unity.


1 John 3:16 - This is how we know what love is: Jesus Christ laid down his life for us.


Things to think about:

·       I’m so glad none of the uses of “this is how we know” is preceded by “You big dummy!”

o   Seriously, God wants us to have confidence in His love for us because many things conspire to stir up confusion including of our own doubting hearts, a world that doesn’t believe, and a powerful enemy.  


·       1 John 2:5-6 - This is how we know we are in him: Whoever claims to live in him must live as Jesus did.

o   Do ever really wonder if you’re saved?  If you have been fully accepted by God?  There’s a very easy test – are you sincerely trying to live your life like Jesus.

§  Maybe not perfectly, but honestly


·       1 John 3:10 - This is how we know who the children of God are and who the children of the devil are: Anyone who does not do what is right is not God’s child, nor is anyone who does not love their brother and sister.

o   We shouldn’t believe everything we hear and not everyone who claims to be a Christian really is.  Strong statement but if someone claims to be a Christian but their lifestyle is not in accordance with God’s principles and love their brother and sister cannot honestly claim to be of the faith.


·       This is how we know what love is: Jesus Christ laid down his life for us. And we ought to lay down our lives for our brothers and sisters.  If anyone has material possessions and sees a brother or sister in need but has no pity on them, how can the love of God be in that person? Dear children, let us not love with words or speech but with actions and in truth.

o   Tina Turner famously asked, “What’s love got to do with it?” EVERYTHING. 

o   What does love look like? It’s messy, sacrificial, and is more visible than audible.


·       1 John 3:18-20 - Dear children, let us not love with words or speech but with actions and in truth. This is how we know that we belong to the truth and how we set our hearts at rest in his presence:  If our hearts condemn us, we know that God is greater than our hearts, and he knows everything. 

o   A sensitive conscience, fuzzy theology, and a lying enemy in your ear can be very disquieting.  God knows this and has given us his comfort (a peace that passes all understanding).

Indwelling of the Holy Spirit

·       1 John 3:24 - The one who keeps God’s commands lives in him, and he in them. And this is how we know that he lives in us: We know it by the Spirit he gave us.

·       1 John 4:13 - This is how we know that we live in him and he in us: He has given us of his Spirit.

o   When we become believers, God seals us with His Spirit.  God loves us too much to let us be comfortable in not keeping His commands and loving one another.  That small voice in your heart, that Bible verse that suddenly comes to mind, that sermon that you’re sure was written just for you, are all confirmations of the Spirit living and moving in us.

Christian Unity

·       1 John 5:2-3 - This is how we know that we love the children of God: by loving God and carrying out his commands.  In fact, this is love for God: to keep his commands.

o   You can’t love God and not love His children, pure and simple.  How do we love His children, by keeping God’s commands.  It reflects poorly on the entire family of God when we disobey His ways.

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