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If We Keep His Commandments


1 John 2:3-6

At different times I have had people ask me what the difference is doctrinally and practically between the “church of Christ” and all the other churches and religious groups.

Why? Why are there so many differences? Why do we individually as well  as a congregation of the Lord’s church, do what we do?

Well, the answer to those questions can be found in the passage that was read. Let me explain.

If you remember John writes this letter to Christians who were being influenced by the Gnostics…and in verses 3-6 he is specifically dealing with the influence of the Libertines and the Antinomians.

The Libertines basically said that “what you do in the flesh has no bearing on the spirit…that the flesh and the spirit are two completely different entities…so you can do whatever you want in the flesh and still have fellowship with God…or you can still have salvation. (What you do in this world will have no effect on the world to come.)

Recently a man was asked why he was a member of a certain religious group here in Brady and he said, “Because they allow me to do whatever I want and still be saved.”

The Antinomians were a little different but just like the Libertines their ideology and influence is very common today…in fact it is one of the most common ideologies in the realm of Christianity today.

Not long ago I was visiting with a man and I asked him  where he attended church. His reply was, “I am a member at (and he named the group) but I don’t go to church.”

Antinomianism is basically the doctrine that says, “Once you are saved you are always saved.”

Well, here in these verses John counters that kind of thinking. Look what he says starting in verse 3:

“And by this we know that we have come to know Him, if we keep His commandments.”

John wrote this letter to tell Christians that we can have “fellowship” with God, Jesus, the apostles, and others who are faithful; 1:3-4.

Now, will you be perfect? No!  Will you at times violate what He commands? Yes, chapter 1 vs. 8 and 10 tell us that.

Now, second, can you save yourself by commandment keeping? No! Romans 3:20 tells us that “no one is justified by law-keeping!”

The third thing out of this verse is really very plain.

In fact, look at the next verse: “The one who says”…this is what they say…people say a lot of things that are contrary to what God says…

“The one who says (this is the same guy as the one back in 1:6), “I have come to know Him,” and who does not keep His commandments, is a liar, and the truth is not in him.”

I want you to notice something here in this verse…notice the “I have”…that is present indicative…

Now, how does God feel about a liar?

Now look at verse 5:

…but whoever keeps His word (that is present indicative), in him the love of God has truly been perfected. By this we know that we are in Him.

In these three verses did you pick up on the three things that are connected to “keeping His commandments…or keeping His word?”

But what if we ignore His commandments…if we reject His commandments?

Look at verse 6: …the one who says…there again it is not what “they” say that counts…it is what God says that counts…

…the one who says he abides in Him ought himself to walk in the same manner as He walked.

If we claim to abide in Him we should walk in the same manner that He walked.

Now let me ask you this: Is the man who does not keep God’s commandments…who does not know God…who does not love God…who does not abide in God…does that man have fellowship with God?

Listen, John doesn’t tell us this so we can have a self-righteous, pious attitude.

Now just a little bit ago I mentioned some things that we, as a body of the Lord’s church do that sets us apart from many other groups. (baptism; communion each Sunday; a plurality of elders; no instruments of music in or worship; etc.)

The answer is, we take commandment keeping serious.

Some of you have heard remarks like: “You church of Christer’s need to lighten up a little…don’t be so serious.”

A firm belief in what John says right here is what makes us different from many others.