How Can We Know?
John 14:1-7 ESV
“Let not your hearts be troubled. Believe in God; believe also in me. In my Father’s house are many rooms. If it were not so, would I have told you that I go to prepare a place for you? And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and will take you to myself, that where I am you may be also. And you know the way to where I am going.” Thomas said to him, “Lord, we do not know where you are going. How can we know the way?” Jesus said to him, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me. If you had known me, you would have known my Father also. From now on you do know him and have seen him.”
If we truly believe in Jesus Christ to be our Lord and Savior, our Lord is preparing an eternal home for us. And, one day he is going to come back for us to take us to be with him forever. And, that is a wonderful and awesome promise to the believer in Jesus Christ. So, we never have to fear death.
But, not everyone who says he believes in Jesus has true faith in him. Not everyone who professes his name knows the way to God, to salvation from sin, and to eternal life with God. Many may think they do, but they were fed a lie, and so they don’t really know. They know of him, but they don’t really know him. They may have even been told the truth, but they didn’t like the truth, so they exchanged it for a lie, for it made them feel better.
But, Jesus says that He is the only way to God the Father and to eternal life with God. And, by “Jesus” I don’t mean just his name, or only the parts about him that are acceptable to the masses. When Jesus says that He is the only Way to God the Father, He means His will, His ways, His commands, His truth, and His life, not some made up Jesus in the minds of those who want to continue on in their sinful practices without guilt and without true remorse.
Still You Don’t Know Me
John 14:8-11 ESV
Philip said to him, “Lord, show us the Father, and it is enough for us.” Jesus said to him, “Have I been with you so long, and you still do not know me, Philip? Whoever has seen me has seen the Father. How can you say, ‘Show us the Father’? Do you not believe that I am in the Father and the Father is in me? The words that I say to you I do not speak on my own authority, but the Father who dwells in me does his works. Believe me that I am in the Father and the Father is in me, or else believe on account of the works themselves.
It is possible to have been brought up in the gatherings of the church and still not know Jesus. And, it is imaginable that someone could even make a profession of faith in Jesus Christ and still not know him. And, it is feasible that someone could have even been a pastor or a bible teacher, perhaps for many years, and still not know Jesus. And, it is conceivable, as well, that many could think they have known Jesus many years, and that they still would not truly know him but only the “Jesus” they created in their minds.
For, knowing about Jesus and truly knowing him intimately and personally, are two different things. Acknowledging him for who he was historically and truly honoring him as the King of kings and Lord of lords, are different things, too. Thinking we have an intimate relationship with him and actually living in that intimate knowledge of him are two entirely different things, too.
But, we can’t make up our own Jesus, especially if we are making him in our image rather than in the image of God Almighty. We can’t create our own god to suit our lifestyles who will never confront us with our sins, who will never chastise or correct us, who will never discipline us or be angry with us, and who will always allow us to ignore his commands and to live in our sins while he just comforts, forgives, smiles on us, and pampers us in our sins.
If You Love Me
John 14:15-24 ESV
“If you love me, you will keep my commandments. And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Helper, to be with you forever, even the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it neither sees him nor knows him. You know him, for he dwells with you and will be in you.
“I will not leave you as orphans; I will come to you. Yet a little while and the world will see me no more, but you will see me. Because I live, you also will live. In that day you will know that I am in my Father, and you in me, and I in you. Whoever has my commandments and keeps them, he it is who loves me. And he who loves me will be loved by my Father, and I will love him and manifest myself to him.” Judas (not Iscariot) said to him, “Lord, how is it that you will manifest yourself to us, and not to the world?” Jesus answered 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. Whoever does not love me does not keep my words. And the word that you hear is not mine but the Father’s who sent me.
If we truly want to know Jesus and to have salvation from sin and eternal life with God then we have to listen to what this says and do it. The true Jesus of the Bible says that if we love him truly we will keep (obey) his commands. He doesn’t say we will never sin, but his word does teach us that his true followers listen to him and they follow (obey) him, in practice.
So, if we walk in obedience to his commands, not only will that show that we truly love him, and that we aren’t just mouthing the words “I love you,” but it will mean that we are loved by Jesus and by God the Father and that they have made their home with us. That will be the sign that we are truly in Christ and that He is in us. And, he will make himself known to us in many ways so that we know his voice, and so that we follow what he says.
And John repeated Jesus’ teaching on obedience in 1st, 2nd, and 3rd John, too. He said that we have come to know Him if we keep His commandments. But, he didn’t stop there. He said, too, that if we claim that we know Jesus, but we do not walk in obedience to his commands, that we are liars and the truth is not in us.
But, if we walk in obedience to our Lord’s commands, then his love is perfected in us. And, we will walk in the same manner in which Jesus walked in submission to God, in obedience to his commands, doing what he says, going where he sends us, saying what he calls us to say, and loving others the way in which he truly loves us.
And, that means we won’t coddle people in their sins or tell them that Jesus is okay with them continuing in their sinful practices. We will speak the truth to them, in love, because the love of God is being perfected within us. And, we will warn them that the Bible says that if we walk (in practice) according to our flesh (in sin) that we will die in our sins, not have eternal life with God. And, we will tell them, too, that if they claim to know Jesus, but they don’t walk in obedience to his commands, that they are liars who do not live by the truth (cf. 1 Jn. 1:5-9).
But, we aren’t being mean. We aren’t being harsh or unloving. We are being the ultimate in loving and kind, because we are telling them the truth that will save their lives if only they will listen, and if only they will heed the warnings. For to lie to people just to make them feel good is not love. It is hate. And, it is the ultimate in pure selfishness because we are thinking about ourselves, not them, for we want them to like us more than we want them to be saved from their sins and to have eternal life with God.
So, we need to be telling people the truth, for only the truth has the potential to lead them to genuine faith in Jesus Christ.
Lord, Send Me Anywhere
David Livingstone, 1813-1873
Frank Garlock, b. 1930
Lord, send me anywhere, Only go with me;
Lay any burden on me, Only sustain me.
Sever any tie, Save the tie that binds me to Thy heart—
Lord Jesus, my King, I consecrate my life, Lord, to Thee.