1 John 2:3-6 - Keeping God's Commandments

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A.      And by this we know that we have come to know Him (v.3)

1.       If we keep His commandments (v.3)

2.       If we keep His word (v.5)

B.      The Result:

1.       The love of God is perfected in us (v.5)

2.       Assurance: We know that we have come to know Him (v.3)

C.      This is related to obedience

The Test: Do we keep His commandments?—1 John 2:3, 5

If we keep His commandments (2:3)

1.       Jesus related the keeping of His commandments to loving Him.

a.       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."

b.       John 14:15 – "If you love Me, keep My commandments.

2.       Jesus related the keeping of His commandments to His Lordship over your lives.

a.       Luke 6:46 – "But why do you call Me `Lord, Lord,' and do not do the things which I say?

b.       Matthew 7:21-23 – "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.  "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?'  "And then I will declare to them, `I never knew you; depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness!'


A Cathedral in Germany displays and engraving which says,

“Thus speaketh Christ our Lord to us:

‘You call me Master and obey me not.  You call me light and see me not.  You call me the way and walk me not.  You call

me life and don’t live with me.  You call me wise and follow me not.  You call me fair and love me not.  You call me rich

and ask me not.  You call me eternal and seek me not.  If I condemn you, blame me not.’”

3.       Jesus related the keeping of His commandments to following His example.

a.       "You call me Teacher and Lord, and you say well, for [so] I am.  "If I then, [your] Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also ought to wash one another's feet.  "For I have given you an example, that you should do as I have done to you.  "Most assuredly, I say to you, a servant is not greater than his master; nor is he who is sent greater than he who sent him.  "If you know these things, blessed are you if you do them

b.       We are to “walk as He walked

4.       Jesus related the keeping of His commandments to

a.       Loving God completely

b.       Loving our neighbor as ourselves

Owe no one anything except to love one another, for he who loves another has fulfilled the law. (Romans 13:8).

If we keep His words (2:5)

keep” is a continuous action; to continue on and not stop; a day by day obedience

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.  "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. (John 14:23-24 NKJV)

1.       When we draw near to God, keeping His Word, we begin to establish a relationship with Him.

a.       Just as a boy who meets a girl and begins to draw near to her.

b.       He begins to know her and develop affection for her.

1)       The same with God, the more we draw near to Him, keeping His Word, learning about Him, the more we love Him!  “Love of Christ constrains me

c.        The only way to know somebody is to get near to that person.

2.       If I am in Him, His love is being perfected in my life.

a.       There are those who are easy to love.

b.       Those who are difficult to love.

c.        Those who are impossible.

1)       But I know that I am “in Him” & God is working in my life when

a)       I begin to love those that are impossible for me naturally to love.

b)       Supernaturally we can love those who we can not love naturally.

2)       You cannot mentally prepare yourself to love someone, you will fail!

a)       Only God can do this in you – Philippians 2:12-13

The Result:

We know that we have come to know Him (v.3)

What does it mean to know Christ?

To possess eternal life (John 17:3)

1.       The word know comes from the Greek gnosko which is to know by experience.

2.       The vast majority of Americans declare that they believe in God.

3.       Just knowing about or believing about God does not mean you possess eternal life

Many people are deceived into thinking they have eternal life.

1.       They declare that they know Him.

They profess to know God, but in works they deny Him, being abominable, disobedient, and disqualified for every good work. (Titus 1:16 NKJV)

2.       Jesus said to the Pharisees in John 5:39

"You search the Scriptures, for in them you think you have eternal life; and these are they which testify of Me. (John 5:39 NKJV)

3.       This is one issue that you do not want to be deceived about, your eternal life.

4.       2 Corinthians 13:5, Paul tells us that we need to examine ourselves

Obedience: What is it?—v.3

The real evidence of a true Christian is a changed life.

Charles Haddon Spurgeon

“Of what value is the grace I profess to receive if it does not dramatically change the way that I live?  If it doesn’t change the way that I live, it will never change my eternal destiny.”

                A changed life begins with obedience to God.  This means:

1.       That you will have to stop doing certain things.

2.       Start doing other things.

We should pray to be taught obedience – Psalm 119:35; 143:10

Make me walk in the path of Your commandments, For I delight in it. (Psalms 119:35 NKJV)

Teach me to do Your will, For You are my God; Your Spirit is good. Lead me in the land of uprightness. (Psalms 143:10 NKJV)

A true believer cannot remain in rebellion against God

Genuine faith will provoke some degree of obedience.  In fact, Scripture often equates faith with obedience, obedience is to believe & to believe is to obey.

1.       See John 3:20-21

2.       See John 3:36 – “He who believes in the Son has eternal life; but he who does not obey the Son shall not see life, but the wrath of God abides on him.

"For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life. (John 3:16 NKJV)

What does it mean to believe in Christ?

It means more than accepting and affirming the truth of who Jesus is—God in Human flesh--& believing what He says.

1.       Real faith has its heart in its willingness to obey

2.       But because we are still in this body of flesh, no one will obey perfectly – 2 Corinthians 7:1; 1 Thess. 3:9-10

3.       But the desire to do the will of God will ever be present in a true believer

For I know that in me (that is, in my flesh) nothing good dwells; for to will is present with me. (Romans 7:18)

4.       Romans 7 is a classic text describing the believer’s struggle with his sinful flesh.

Paul acknowledged his own disobedience, he wrote that the desire to do good was his consuming passion,

“For what I am doing, I do not understand. For what I will to do, that I do not practice; but what I hate, that I do. (Romans 7:15 NKJV)


Jesus does not allow for “faith” that gives lip service to the truth and then goes ahead in sin

"Hypocrites! Well did Isaiah prophesy about you, saying:  `These people draw near to Me with their mouth, And honor Me with their lips, But their heart is far from Me. (Matthew 15:7-8 NKJV)


God looks at your heart more than your religious activities.

The Results of Disobedience

The Disobedience of Saul 1 Samuel 15:1-23

                Saul Did Not Completely Obey God’s Command

                Verses 1-9


1.       In (v.1) Samuel said, “listen to the words of the Lord,” he did not. 

2.       In (v.3) Saul was told to completely kill a sinful nation, including the livestock as well as the people.

3.       In (v.9) Saul spared Agag and the best of the sheep, oxen, fattlings & lambs, but was not willing to destroy them utterly.

Application: When God tells us to get rid of sinful practices in our live, we disobey when we hold on to them.

Saul Was Filled with Pride

Verses 10-13

1.       Saul turned his back from following the Lord, by not carrying out God’s commands--DISOBEDIENCE

2.       God had made Saul king of Israel when Saul did not think much of himself.

3.       After his success, in (v.12) he set up a monument for himself, & not the Lord PRIDE!

4.       In (v.14) Saul lies by saying he has carried out all the commands of the Lord.

Application: When faced with temptation, we can make the same mistake if we rely on our own strength & not God’s.

Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord and in the power of His might. (Ephesians 6:10 NKJV)

Saul Tried to Rationalize His Actions

Verses 14-31

To make up for his poor disobedience, Saul told Samuel that he had planned to offer to God as a sacrifice the sheep & oxen he had kept.

1.       In (v.21 &30) note that Saul say he brought back the livestock to sacrifice to the Lord “your God.”

Application: Sometimes we think that we can justify our behavior by keeping up a religious front or going through a few rituals.

Although you may be able to fool some people, you cannot fool God!

Thus, the test of true faith is this: does it produce obedience?

If not it is not saving faith—disobedience is unbelief—real faith obeys.

God will honor those whose hearts are fully devoted to Him.

Obedience is Right – Ephesians 6:1

1.       Since your parents brought you into this world.

2.       Since they have more knowledge & wisdom than you.

3.       It is right that you obey your parents.

Obedience is Commanded – Ephesians 6:2

1.       Paul cited the fifth commandment (Exodus 20:12; Deuteronomy 5:16).

2.       Honor your parents means much more than just obeying them, it means to:

a.       Show them respect & love.

b.       To care for them as long as they need us.

c.        And to seek to honor them by the way that we live.

Obedience Brings Blessing – Ephesians 6:2b-3).

1.       This promise originally applied to the Jews as they entered Canaan, but Paul applies this to believers today.

That it may be well with you

That you may live long on the earth. - Paul is stating a principle.

2.       This means you will escape a good deal of sin and danger and thus avoid things that could threaten or shorten their lives.

3.       You must obey your parents if not God says this is rebellion against God

4.       The Last Days is a result of Rejecting God’s Word – 2 Timothy 3:1-5

Let us hear the conclusion of the whole matter: Fear God and keep His commandments, For this is man's all. (Ecclesiastes 12:13 NKJV)

The results of obedience

1.       Assures that one is a friend of God’s Son, of Christ Himself – John 15:14

2.       Assures that one is accepted into the family of God – Mark 3:34-35

3.       Perfects love – 1 John 2:5

4.       Proves that one knows God – 1 John 2:5

5.       Purifies the believer – 1 Peter 1:22

6.       Removes the discipline of God – Luke 1:59-66

7.       Saves one and gives assurance of salvation – Hebrews 5:9

Hebrews 5:9

                This is not regarding commandments, rules, regulations.

                It is obedience to “the faith” (Romans 1:5)

                God wants us to obey Him by believing in Jesus Christ

                Those who do not obey the Bible says that God will bring retribution on them (2 Thess. 2:7-9)

Is a characteristic of saints – 1 Peter 1:14-16

Is an obligation – Acts 4:19, 20; 5:27-29 Note: (v32) to those who obey Him.


1.       As doers of the Word – Romans 2:11-15

2.       As wise and foolish builders – Matthew 7:24-27


1.       Commanded by God – Deuteronomy 13:4

2.       It is not an option if one is a believer – Jn 14:15, 23-24

3.       To keep God’s commandments – 1 Jn 5:2-3; Eccl. 12:13

4.       God expects obedience – Matthew 2:13-18 Joseph obeyed the angel to flee to Egypt

5.       To obey Christ – 1 Peter 1:2

6.       To obey God rather than men – Acts 5:29

7.       To obey leaders – Hebrews 13:17

8.       To obey until Jesus returns – Luke 12:41-48

9.       To seek and pursue obedience – 1 Peter 1:14

Importance of obedience

1.       Failure to obey results in eternal punishment – 2 Thessalonians 1:7-9

2.       Is a duty not a service – Luke 17:7-10

3.       Is the foundation of discipleship – Luke 6:46-49

4.       Obedience is to believe, & to believe is to obey – Hebrew 5:9

The results of obedience

8.       Assures that one is a friend of God’s Son, of Christ Himself – John 15:14

9.       Assures that one is accepted into the family of God – Mark 3:34-35

10.    Perfects love – 1 John 2:5

11.    Proves that one knows God – 1 John 2:5

12.    Purifies the believer – 1 Peter 1:22

13.    Removes the discipline of God – Luke 1:59-66

14.    Saves one and gives assurance of salvation – Hebrews 5:9

Questions Often Asked.

How can a person know whether their sin is a temporary failure of proof that they are unsaved?

1.       Scripture shows that believers sometimes sinned grievously and over long periods of time.

a.       David is one example (2 Samuel 11-12; Psalm 51)

b.       Lot (2 Peter 2:7-9)

2.       Christians who sin in such a fashion should not expect to enjoy assurance, however.

David testified that he had forfeited the joy of his salvation (Ps. 51:12)

3.       When believers sin, they,

a.       Dishonor Christ (1 Cor. 6:15-17)

b.       Grieve the Holy Spirit (Eph. 4:30)

c.        Subject themselves to discipline of a loving Father (Heb.12:5-7)

4.       If you can continue in sin without experiencing divine discipline, something is terribly wrong!

No one who persists in willful, deliberate sin and rebellion against the Lord should be encouraged with any promise of assurance.

If we know someone who willfully persists in disobedience to God, follow the process of Matthew 18:15-20 & call that person to repentance.

Do not ever encourage someone like this with the promise of eternal security because this person may be holding on to a false hope.

You say that you love the Lord, but you struggle with sin in you life constantly.  Should you doubt your salvation?

1.       All of us struggle continually with sinful thoughts, sinful attitudes, sinful habits, and sinful desires (1Jn 2:1-2).

2.       It is those who do not struggle—those who deliberately and eagerly delight in their sin, are the ones who need to have their false sense of security shaken.

Can a true Christian “backslide”?

1.       Yes, of course, if by that you mean they can regress into a period of spiritual dullness or disobedience.

a.       Those who do will receive God’s discipline (Heb. 12:6-11)

b.       Those who are not disciplined are not true sons (v.8)

Backsliding is not a perpetual (ongoing) state of willful rebellion or ungodly indifference.

a.       Matthew 7:21-23

b.       1 John 3:4-10

Backslider – is used sometimes to describe someone who has forsaken Christ and abandoned the faith

This is someone who has never truly been saved.

a.       John 8:31 cf. John 6:66

b.       1 John 2.18-19

All believers go through times when they do not grow or are set back in their growth by sin

But a true believer will always come back.

a.       The prodigal Son


How is this eternal life attained?

1.       Not by being good, righteous, or religious.

a.       Our righteousness is as filthy rags (Isaiah 64:6)

b.       The Pharisees were as good as you could become by the law yet Jesus said that unless your righteousness exceeded that of the scribes and Pharisees you would not enter the Kingdom of heaven.

c.        Jesus said to them, that they were as white-washed sepulchres (tombs) they might look good on the outside, but within they were full of dead mens bones.

d.       Jesus said that they were of their father the devil.


Paul Lost His Religion To Gain Christ—He Counted All Things Loss For Christ (3:7-8)

A once for all experience

Matthew 7:14—"Enter by the narrow gate; for wide is the gate and broad is the way that leads to destruction, and there are many who go in by it.

-He was on that wide gate that lead to destruction—Eternal Punishment 

-Building his life on Sand—Matthew 7:26

And if Paul would have died he would have stood before the Lord and said, `Lord, Lord, was I not circumcised the eight day, of the stock of Israel, of the tribe of Benjamin, a Hebrew of Hebrews, concerning the law a Pharisee, concerning righteousness which is in the law, blameless?  Jesus would have said, ‘I never knew you, depart from Me’!

It’s easy to say, ‘I love you Lord.  He’s so good!”  But how does you love for Him affect the way you live?

Is Jesus going to say that to you?

Are you building your life on sand or the Solid Rock?

When you stand before Jesus, is He going to be your Judge, or Savior?  Condemn you, or welcome you?

It’s your choice!

Paul gave up all his religious treasure for the treasure of knowing Christ deeply and intimately.

That is the essence of Salvation—an exchange of something worthless for something valuable. 

Jesus illustrated the exchange in this way: “The kingdom of heaven is like treasure hidden in a field, which a man found and hid; and for joy over it he goes and sells all that he has and buys that field.  “Again, the kingdom of heaven is like a merchant seeking beautiful pearls, “who, when he had found one pearl of great price, went and sold all that he had and bought it. (Matthew 13:44-46 NKJV). 

Those two men found something of a far greater value than anything they owned.  They sold all they thought was valuable for what was truly valuable.  Jesus Christ is our treasure & our pearl—He became the supreme object of our affections. 

Is that true of you?  Is there anything in your life that competes with Christ?  Is there anything in the world that capture your allegiance, devotion, and love more that Him?  Do you still desire to know Him as you did when you were first saved? 

If not, you have compromised your relationship with Him and are dallying with the trash of the world. 

John F. MacArthur, The Power of Integrity, Crossway Books; p.17,18

Christ Wants Intimate Communion With You Through Prayer & Faithful Study of & Obedience to God’s Word.

Philippians 1:21—Paul made a total commitment to follow Jesus Christ

After these things He went out and saw a tax collector named Levi, sitting at the tax office. And He said to him, "Follow Me." (Luke 5:27 NKJV)

Jesus says to you today, “FOLLOW ME!”


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