1 John 4:7-8

This month I’m speaking on a summer series at the Cornerstone Church in Centerville, Ohio, on the theme “Tough Questions on the Existence of God.”

Last night I spoke on “How Do I Connect With God?” I pointed out that sometimes our connection with God is short-circuited. One of the ways this may happen is by an unscriptural attitude about our relationship.

If we’re not careful we may equate knowing about God with actually knowing God. Mike Cope in his book “One Holy Hunger” warned of this problem saying that we too often reduce our religion to “a data-based Christianity,” in which we become consumed with memorizing names, places, events, and scriptures without pausing to ask, “What is the message of Scripture” “What is the central point? What is it trying to accomplish?

The apostle John spoke of this issue in 1 John 4:7-8.

“Beloved, let us love one another, for love is of God; and everyone who loves is born of God and knows God. He who does not love does not know God, for God is love.”

John was writing to Christians. Baptized believers. People who were no doubt church-goers. But he said that if they didn’t “love one another,” they didn’t know God. This means “know” in the sense of a relationship. Communion. And connection. It’s an intimacy that leads us to both respect and seek to please the one we’re in a relationship with.

When a husband doesn’t live with his wife in an understanding and considerate way, listening to her, respecting her, and meeting her needs, she may bemoan, “You don’t even know me.” Reciting facts and figures about her name, height, weight, age, and place of birth won’t persuade her that you really know her. She wants you to understand how she feels. What she thinks. What she needs. She’s seeking a connection and a relationship.

Likewise, memorizing Bible verses, and reciting lists of names, places, events, and dates doesn’t prove that we know God. That we’re really connected to Him.  Knowledge about God doesn’t prove that we know God.

It is said of the Old Testament Priests, Eli, that his sons “were corrupt.” And that “they did not know the Lord” (1 Sam. 2:12). Do you think this means they didn’t know the law of Moses? Or the Ten Commandments? Or the Hebrew names of God? Of course not. They didn’t have regard and respect for the Lord. For His Word. His authority. And His guidance in their lives. They didn’t have a spiritual relationship with the Lord. They weren’t connected.

In our passage today, we’re warned that a lack of love toward the brethren will demonstrate that we don’t know God.

God is love. He loved us while we were yet sinners (Rom. 5:8). He loves us with an everlasting love. With patience. Grace. Mercy. And kindness. He expects no less of us in our relationship with one another.

In the shadow of the cross, Jesus admonished his disciples in a similar fashion. “A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another; as I have loved you, that you also love one another. By this all will know that you are My disciples if you have love for one another” (John 13:34-35).

The badge of discipleship is love. It begins in the family. The church-family. God’s family. When there is a lack of love shown to our brothers and sisters in Christ by envy, jealousy, anger, and in-fighting, we are showing to the world that we really don’t know the Lord.

Knowing God has a multitude of practical applications in our daily lives through honorable conduct the world can observe. (1 Pet. 2:12). Living by the Golden Rule. Practicing the 2nd Great Commandment. Displaying the fruit of the Spirit. And growing in the Christian graces. All of these demonstrate a connection to God.

So, the probing, penetrating, personal question for each of us today is–“Do I know God?”

–Ken Weliever, The Preacherman

1 Comment

Filed under Passage To Ponder

One response to “1 John 4:7-8

  1. Pingback: Weekly Recap: June 19-24 | ThePreachersWord

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.