Sermon on I John 4:13,14-God Only Knows (Sermon Brief)

The people who know about knowledge let us know that recorded human knowledge now doubles every six to eight months. Who knew?

This means, if we start to read right now, and we read every minute of every day for six months and we retain all the information read, we are still behind by the same body of information we are behind right now. Therefore, where and how we store information, how we retrieve that information and the values by which we put together all our information matter now more than ever.

John, the good pastor, writes we get our information, as believers, from the Holy Spirit, in whom we are and who dwells us as well, I John 4:13.

Christian knowledge of the Holy Spirit first comes to us from Jesus in the wonderful fourteenth chapter of John’s gospel. Therein, Jesus tells us these things about the knowledge we get from the Holy Spirit, to wit:

  • The Holy Spirit communicates perfect knowledge perfectly. Perfect knowledge, by its very nature, must have lasting value. Two plus two is still four, so that knowledge has value. The Holy Spirit still communicates Christian knowledge of the Christ to Christians, so that knowledge is still valuable and…
  • …The Holy Spirit knowledge is dependable, in that this knowledge is dependable. Holy Spirit knowledge is not to inspire a frenzy but to calm and inform us, according to Jesus. Frenzy dissipates, while the Spirit remains the same…
  • …and gives us knowledge that towers over similar knowledge. For instance, the Wesleyan doctrine of justification, the grace that pardons, uses much the same language as other systems of justification, but with this crucial difference, that justification is transformational, not merely transactional. Grace transforms us, the Spirit says, thus perfecting us in love, through grace, by faith. We can give a positive answer to the question, “Are we getting better?’ for the Spirit is perfecting us in love. We have this information stored in us and retrievable by us, in the Holy Spirit of God…

We store our information/knowledge within as the Holy Spirit indwells us and we retrieve that information by the Holy Spirit, who updates us constantly, I John 4:13b. Today, when we buy computer hardware, we do not have to buy software for an OS. We can buy a subscription that imbeds the OS in our hardware and updates automatically, so we always run the newest system. This prevents us from buying a system one day that will not communicate with the newer system that comes out tomorrow. We are constantly updated.

Sounds good, but it comes at a price. If we want the updated systems, we have to be alert and pay a price. We have to pay twice; first, we have to pay attention and then we have to pay the price for the subscription.

Jesus taught cost counting. In Luke 14, Jesus teaches cost counting as vital for Christian living. You have to pay attention to your situation, Jesus says, and see if you have enough to pay the price. We have to make a conscious commitment, then, to walk with Jesus.

Imagine, if we stay alert to holiness and retrieve knowledge from the Holy Spirit of God, we literally cannot get left behind.

 

But, we have to pay attention. That means we get some things settled, doesn’t it? For instance, the early Christians had to settle on Jesus over all others, as in I John 4:14. The statement in that verse seems basic and simple enough. Few among us would question its meaning or truth: God has sent His Son as Savior of the World. Simple, basic Christian statement, easy to accept, except, in the time it was written, there is a fellow titled Caesar, and one of his other titles, wait for it, you guessed it, is “Savior of the World.”

And, Christians of the 1st century are constantly in trouble because they insist Jesus, not Caesar, is Savior of the World.

No one outside the Church goes with them on this one. Jesus is dead, Caesar is alive. Caesar, through his representatives, put Jesus to death. Jesus could not even save Himself, let alone the world. The Romans did not even leave Him His clothes. Caesar wins, Jesus loses. A lot of faith has to go into this statement, God has sent Jesus His Son to be Savior of the World.

Then, time passes, and so does Caesar. He dies, but does not return from the dead. The Roman empire vanishes, the government disappears. No one in their right mind thinks much of Caesar anymore but Jesus, well, He goes on and on.

If we settle this truth, that Jesus is the Savior of the World, then we do not have to sift through the knowledge the Holy Spirit has in us, for we have settled on certain values and do not need to review them in each circumstance. We are rebels with a cause, revolutionaries as the world sees us, because we settled on Jesus and so live by His standards. We have infinite, updated information about Him within us, available to us, constantly updated as we grow so that we cannot be left behind so long as we follow Him.

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