God became my king and what this means
Key text: 1 John 2:3-11
God is king that is indisputable; for He is God; so by the very definition of being God is the controller and determiner of all things.
However this sovereign and all power being has allowed us his creatures to live outside of his rule. The issue of living outside of that rule is that we live outside of His goodness and His love; and ultimately we deny the reason for our own existence when we do this. This does not mean that He does not have control; however it does mean that man by his choices can disobey God and reap the consequences of that choice.
So tonight I want to do a once off sermon called God has become my king and what this means. Our passage for tonight is 1 John 2:3-11. If you have your Bibles you can start turning there.
I always find it a great mystery how this sovereign God who has to be in control of all things has allowed us to be as free as we are.
We have to recognise that men are the authors of their own destruction; they birth sin by their own desires to go their own way. In this I have to recognise that I have myself brought many problems and pains into my life due to the fact that I have gone my own way so many times.
I have to accept the fact that these are due to the fact that I don’t serve God and He is not leading me when I sin.
But in the end of 2002 this changed on a profound way; I met God and He became my king. What I want to look at tonight is what it might mean that God has become my king. So in light of this let us look at 1 John 2:3-11.
3We know that we have come to know him if we keep his commands. 4Whoever says, “I know him,” but does not do what he commands is a liar, and the truth is not in that person. 5But if anyone obeys his word, love for God is truly made complete in them. This is how we know we are in him: 6Whoever claims to live in him must live as Jesus did.
7Dear friends, I am not writing you a new command but an old one, which you have had since the beginning. This old command is the message you have heard. 8Yet I am writing you a new command; its truth is seen in him and in you, because the darkness is passing and the true light is already shining.
9Anyone who claims to be in the light but hates a brother or sister is still in the darkness. 10Anyone who loves their brother and sister lives in the light, and there is nothing in them to make them stumble. 11But anyone who hates a brother or sister is in the darkness and walks around in the darkness. They do not know where they are going, because the darkness has blinded them.
John starts with this interesting statement; "We know we have come to know Him if we obey His commandments.
To know Him is to obey Him
The only way that God can truly become our King is if we know Him to be King.
The way John states this places emphasis on the fact that knowledge leads to obedience; not the other way around. What do I mean by this? Well, as the rest of the NT teaches we see that faith in God – thereceiving of love by God – leadsto obedience.
The danger is placing our hope in our obedience; this would be the same as trusting in the Law to save. No, we know Him, and His love, we understand His light and this moves within us a response of obedience; in fact if there is no obedience it shows us that we don’t fully know Him.
The illustration of the 10 ton truck – which I have used often – is what we are talking about here. You cannot say you know God and then live as if you have not; it simply makes no sense.
Many of us fall into this trap of thinking I must prove that I know God by following what He asks of me. I don't think this is what John is talking about here. He is saying if we know him there is an undeniable response of obedience.
So you shouldn't be saying I must show my knowledge of God by following what He asks of me. You should be simply seeking to know Him. Knowing Him has the implication of obedience.
I am often stumped at trying to overcome a certain sin, I put things in place and try my best to be aware of it and overcome it by will. Most of the time I find myself being more bound by that sin than by being released of it.
The interesting reality is as I have rested myself in my condition in Christ (no condemnation, forgiven, free) and as I simply seek Him it is in that knowing him that I find my greatest freedom.
This becomes the “contradiction” of the reality of faith; when we make it about us and our betterment and our righteousness we loose it; however when we surrenderto God and find rest in Him there we find obedience.
The journey does not become “to obey”; rather obedience comes from knowing. So the journey we all need to take is to know Him!
So an obvious and extremely important question needs to be asked and answered here tonight. How do I know Him?
John tells us this in the rest of the passage
Moving from darkness into the light
John says anyone who claims to know God must walk as Jesus did. Again it seems that we must force obedience in order for God to love us; or even the converse of this (which is equally dangerous) we will know that we know Him because we walk in perfect obedience. This is a great interpretation for anyone who can actually deceive themselves enough to think that they walk like Jesus.
Let me ask a stupid question; who among you walks like Jesus? Now we can conclude one of two things this church is filled with people who do not know God or John is forcing his reader to conclude that knowing God leads to Christ-likeness.
I think the rest of the verse justifies the latter as we see that John then goes immediately into a contrast of light and darkness. A metaphor that John often leans on in his writings. Ametaphor that he further justifies with the great command of love.
John is saying walk in light; if you hate your brother you are in darkness. These are the metaphors that he is leaning on and these metaphors justifies the fact that it is again the knowledge of God that leads to obedience not obedience that leads to the knowledge of God.
Walking in light, church, is a matter of walking openly and honestly before someone. In other words we walk in a way that we know God and He knows us; there are no masks between us.
This is a little bit of a hobby horse for me at the moment; however I have personally found the great freedom from being myself before God; not pretending before Him, no longer praying the prayers that I think He wants me to pray; but praying raw honest real prayers (not flippant prayers – but deep prayers). It is in this place that I am willing to connect; and it is here; strangely that I find “energy” for obedience.
No one will change by their intellect being challenged; it is when we challenge the heart that people will find the will to overcome.
God challenges our heart; as He shows His unmeasurable love to us; and it is this love that encourages us to overcome. I don’t know if you have ever been in that place where you know something is destructive and wrong; and you desire to change it; however whenever you are tempted it seems you just don’t have the energy or will to actually go through with what you deeply desire to do.
I believe we find ourselves there because we have engaged intellectually but we have not dealt with the heart of the issue.
An example of this was recently I have been struggling with stress about finances; for the first time in my life I was having panic attacks about it. And this was weird for me because I am not a stressed character. I generally have a things will work out demeanor. The problem was I felt I couldn’t talk about this because, I have to be the strong one, people are looking up to me I have to be strong for them. Also added to this was the fear of I don’t want to become one of those people who always complain. So I bottled it up. I knew that God had my finances in His hand and I was being as faithful with them as humanly possible. But I was not finding freedom from my stress. In fact I was becoming more and more stressed. And my prayer life was becoming more and more plastic. I was filled with platitudes of declarations of trust (what I thought God wanted me to prayer).
The freedom from my stress only came when I broke down and actually became real with it. I stop pretending; I gave up and surrendered to God and to those who I trust around me.
And it was only when I started to be real with myself and before God that I stripped down the masks and said here I am this is who I am warts and all; that I actually discovered God’s incredible love and care for me, and I truly discovered the emotional energy to overcome my stress.
I walked in the light… I took myself out of isolation and darkness; I stopped hiding and said to God and people; I am needy; I need help. Again I was amazed at the people God had around me to carry and I was amazed at the sufficiency of God in the midst of my stress. In this I discovered again; not practical means to overcome; but love. And ironically all the seeking after the practical means had isolated me from that which would have healed me; love. And it was love that empowered me to walk in trusting obedience to God!
That is why I can say with more and more confidence that knowing God leads to obedience and not the other way around!
So church I want to encourage you; seek Him! Know Him as deeply as you can; know Him in ways that are far deeper that intellectualizing God; rather know Him in the way that you can say my God is enough! I know Him. That intimacy of really engaging the father heart of God.
Tonight I don’t call us to be more and to do more; that will come; I call us to be less before Him; to trust Him more; to be more vulnerable before Him and we too will discover that if we know Him; and I mean truly know Him;we will obey Him! It is inevitable it is a consequence and product of knowing the unmatched and unsearchable love of God for us in Christ Jesus!
I believe this will lead us to be more people- more like Jesus.