Excerpts from 


"How to know that you KNOW Him"

By Pastor Steven J. Cole  - December 18, 2005

  Read the entire message at www.fcfonline.org/content/1/sermons/121805M.pdf

Flagstaff Christian Fellowship

Emphasis added in bold and italicized letters


1. God wants us to know Him. Christianity is not just knowing about God or knowing certain doctrines or following certain moral precepts. It is essentially to know God. Jesus said (John 17:3),

 “This is eternal life, that they may know You, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom You have sent.”

Christianity at its heart is, knowing God personally through Jesus Christ, who revealed God to us. If you do not know Him, you are not a Christian, no matter how correct your doctrine or how faithful your church attendance. You may have been raised in the church and you may always have adhered to Christian morality. But if you do not know God personally, you are not saved....

The apostle Paul was a rabbinical student steeped in Judaism. He knew the Hebrew Scriptures. He fastidiously kept the Jewish rituals and feasts....  But he wrote (Phil. 3:8),

“I count all things to be loss in view of the surpassing value of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and count them but rubbish so that I may gain Christ.”

Paul knew a lot about  God, but he didn’t know God personally until he came to faith in Jesus Christ. Do you know God personally through Christ? ... You begin there.

2. God wants us to know that we know Him. John writes (2:3), “By this we know that we have come to know Him….”

There is a difference between knowing and knowing that you know. It’s easy to claim that you know Him, but it’s also easy to be mistaken. John mentions (2:4) someone claiming, “I have come to know Him,” but John bluntly says that this person “is a liar, and the truth is not in him.”

Since we’re talking about eternal destiny, we don’t want to be deceived on this crucial matter! Because this subject is so important, it’s not surprising that the enemy of our souls has created some major confusion about it in our day. There are many evangelicals who teach that if a person professes faith in Christ, he is saved eternally and should be assured of his salvation, even if his subsequent life demonstrates no fruit to back up his claim. They argue that if faith must be validated
by any evidence, then it is not faith alone that saves.

The popular Four Spiritual Laws booklet also promotes the idea of giving immediate assurance of salvation to a person who prays to receive Christ. It uses 1 John 5:13, These things I have written to you who believe in the name of the Son of God, so that you may know that you have eternal life.” The logic goes, “You just prayed to receive Jesus, indicating that you believe in Him. Therefore, you should know that you have eternal life and that nothing can ever take it away from you.”

But the booklet ignores that “these things” refers to all that John has written, which includes three tests of genuine faith: obedience, love, and sound doctrine. That view of instant assurance based on a person’s profession of faith is foreign to what most of the godly men in church history have taught....

In the parable of the sower, those represented by the rocky soil that received the word with joy certainly would have claimed to believe. The same would be true of the thorny soil. But only the fourth type, the good soil, brought forth fruit with perseverance (Luke 8:5-15).

“ Now the parable is this: The seed is the word of God. Those by the wayside are the ones who hear; then the devil comes and takes away the word out of their hearts, lest they should believe and be saved. But the ones on the rock are those who, when they hear, receive the word with joy; and these have no root, who believe for a while and in time of temptation fall away. Now the ones that fell among thorns are those who, when they have heard, go out and are choked with cares, riches, and pleasures of life, and bring no fruit to maturity.

     "But the ones that fell on the good ground are those who, having heard the word with a noble and good heart, keep it and bear fruit with patience."  Luke 8:11-15

That parable shows that if a person truly believes, he will endure trials and root out the weeds of the world. But it takes some time to determine this. How can we know if a recent profession of faith is genuine, saving faith? Look at the fruit that comes from it. But fruit takes time to grow.

In 2 Peter 1:10, the apostle exhorts us to “be all the more diligent to make certain about His calling and choosing you;” Why would anyone need to be diligent to make certain about this, if assurance is something that accompanies initial faith? ...as many Scriptures indicate, this assurance is linked to how we live subsequent to our profession of faith.  

3. The way [to know] is by walking in obedience to His Word. John uses three somewhat overlapping ideas here, but there seems to be a progression in them.

A. Keeping God’s commandments is evidence that we have come to know Him (2:3-4). He writes,

"...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." 1 John 2:3-6

[John] states the other side, exposing the false claims of the heretics, “The one who says, ‘I have come to know Him,’ and does not keep His commandments, is a liar...' John doesn’t use diplomatic, nuanced language that leaves you thinking, “I wonder what he meant?” What part of liar don’t you understand?

We need to be careful, though, not to reverse the order of Scripture. We are not saved by keeping God’s commandments. We are saved by faith alone, but genuine saving faith necessarily results in a life of obedience to Jesus Christ. ...

Behind our text in John’s mind were Jesus’ words in the Upper Room. Jesus said (John 14:15), “If you love Me, you will keep My commandments.” He added (14:21),

He who has My commandments and keeps them is the one who loves Me; and he who loves Me will be loved by My Father, and I will love him and will disclose Myself to him.”

If we missed it, He repeats (14:23-24),

If anyone loves Me, he will keep My word; and My Father will love him, and We will come to him and make Our abode with him. 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.”

Just a few sentences later, Jesus emphasized (John 15:10),

If you keep My commandments, you will abide in My love; just as I have kept My Father’s commandments and abide in His love.”

...You will not obey His words if you do not know them. Since Jesus’ words are God’s words, we must study and know them so that they impact everything we do.

...Jesus doesn’t give out helpful hints for happy living. He isn’t a therapist in the sky, suggesting that you may want to try His techniques to see if they work for you. He issues commandments! This means that you are not free to pick and choose the commands of Jesus that... fit your agenda. He is the Lord.... His commandments are authoritative.... To the extent that you obey Jesus (and to that extent only) will you experience His love and to that extent only will you truly
know Him

So the issue is, purpose, direction, and focus. If the purpose and direction of your life is to please God by obedience to His commands, you can know that you know Him. It does not mean that you never fail, but that when you do, you get up and keep walking in obedience, seeking to please God with all your life.

Dr. Martyn Lloyd-Jones sums up these verses
(Walking With God [Crossway Books], p. 53):

 “If you have the life, it is bound to show itself, and if it does not, then you have not the life…. You cannot be receiving the life of Christ without becoming like Him. You cannot walk with God without keeping His commandments. You cannot know God without immediately, automatically loving Him. Love always manifests itself by doing what the object of its love desires.”

So ask yourself, first, “Do I know Christ?” Have you trusted in Him as the propitiation for your sins?

If so, ask, “Do I know that I know Him?” How? “Do I obey His Word and seek to walk as Jesus walked?” If that is the direction and focus of your life, then you can know that you know Him.

Personal note from Berit: These Biblical guidelines recognize our human weaknesses, faults and failures. Though we long to live in total and consistent obedience to our beloved Lord, we stumble and fall. But all the more, I thank Him for faithfully convicting me of my sins, reminding me of the cross, bringing me to repentance, and restoring to me the joy of His presence.

 "If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness." 1 John 1:8-9

  To read the entire message, please go to:  http://www.fcfonline.org/content/1/sermons/121805M.pdf

More of Pastor Cole's Biblical resources

  Home |Index | Persecution | Eternity | What it means to be a Christian