Sermon #11                                                                                                                               1 John Series


            Title:                 Saying and Knowing


Honesty before God


            Text:                            1 John 2:3-6

            Subject:                     Honesty before God

            Date:                          Sunday Evening — May 20, 2012

            Tape #                       1 John #11

            Readings:     Darin Duff and Frank Hall



The title of my message is Saying and Knowing, or Honesty before God. Our text will be 1st John 2:3-6. With wise discrimination, the Apostle John here draws a clear line of distinction between saying “I know Christ” and knowing Christ. The one who knows Christ, he acknowledges as a heaven-born soul, a true believer. But the man who merely says that he knows Christ deceives his own soul.


“And hereby we do know that we know him, if we keep his commandments. 4 He that saith, I know him, and keepeth not his commandments, is a liar, and the truth is not in him. 5 But whoso keepeth his word, in him verily is the love of God perfected: hereby know we that we are in him. 6 He that saith he abideth in him ought himself also so to walk, even as he walked.” (1 John 2:3-6)


It seems to be John’s purpose, his constant aim all the way through this epistle, to point out the difference between fact and delusion, reality and profession, between those who are in Christ and those who merely say that they in him.


With your Bibles open, turn to a few of these passages.

·      In the sixth verse of chapter one, John has been speaking of those who walk in the light and have fellowship with God, then he says, “If we say that we have fellowship with him, and walk in darkness, we lie, and do not the truth.”

·      In our text, he speaks of those who know Christ, and he adds, “He that saith, I know him, and keepeth not his commandments, is a liar, and the truth is not in him.”

·      Further on in verse nine, speaking of those who have the light, the Apostle says, “He that saith he is in the light, and hateth his brother, is in darkness even until now.”

·      Once more, in chapter four and verse twenty he says, “If a man say, I love God, and hateth his brother whom he hath seen, how can he love God whom he hath not seen?”


Proposition: It is one thing to say that you know Christ, but it is something else to know him. It is one thing to be something, but it is quite another to pretend to be.


That is precisely the point John makes in our text.


“And hereby we do know that we know him, if we keep his commandments. 4 He that saith, I know him, and keepeth not his commandments, is a liar, and the truth is not in him. 5 But whoso keepeth his word, in him verily is the love of God perfected: hereby know we that we are in him. 6 He that saith he abideth in him ought himself also so to walk, even as he walked.” (1 John 2:3-6)


James was inspired of God the Holy Spirit to tell us the same thing in the second chapter of his epistle.


(James 2:14) “What [doth it] profit, my brethren, though a man say he hath faith, and have not works? can faith save him?”


(James 2:17-20) “Even so faith, if it hath not works, is dead, being alone. 18 Yea, a man may say, Thou hast faith, and I have works: shew me thy faith without thy works, and I will shew thee my faith by my works. 19 Thou believest that there is one God; thou doest well: the devils also believe, and tremble. 20 But wilt thou know, O vain man, that faith without works is dead?”


Many say they have faith, but few live by faith.“If we say that we have fellowship with God and walk in darkness, we lie.” We are not telling the truth. — “If we say that we have no sin, (no sinful nature; no depraved nature), we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us. If we say that we have not sinned, (that we are not guilty sinners and we are not sinners by practice and by choice, conduct and walk), we make God a liar.” We lie, we deceive ourselves and — “We make God a liar and His Word is not in us.” That is not my judgment. That is God’s Word.


A preacher may say that he is sent of God, and yet be a wolf in sheep’s clothing. A man may say that he is one of God’s children, but he may only be a pretentious hypocrite. We may say that we pray, and yet never send up a prayer from our hearts to God. We may say to our fellowmen that we are Christians, and yet we may never have been born again, never have been washed in the blood of Christ, and never have obtained the faith of God’s elect. I urge you, my friends, do not be content with a mere profession of religion. Do not be content with simply saying that you know Christ. Seek to have your professed faith verified by the witness of heaven, by the witness of the Word of God, and by the witness of your own conscience. It is not written, “He that says he believes shall be saved.” It is, “He that believeth, and is baptized, shall be saved.” It is not the man who says that he has confessed his sins that shall be forgiven; but “He that confesseth and forsaketh his sins shall find mercy.” Many will say, “Lord, open to us,” to whom Christ will say, “Depart, ye cursed, I never knew you,” “Depart from me, ye workers of iniquity.” Let us not be deceived by an empty profession. Standing before him who searches the hearts of men, let us learn the difference between saying and knowing, between a mere religious profession and the real possession of the grace of God.


Sham Religion


I want you to buckle your seatbelt and stay with me today. I am going to tell you the truth. I hope I’m not your enemy for telling you the truth. Our Lord said, “Beware of false prophets.” Peter said, “As there were false prophets among the people of Israel, there shall be false teachers in your midst.”

The first thing I have to say is this. — The religion of this generation is sham religion, fake, put-on, counterfeit, sham religion.


(Philippians 3:18-19) “For many walk, of whom I have told you often, and now tell you even weeping, [that they are] the enemies of the cross of Christ: 19 Whose end [is] destruction, whose God [is their] belly, and [whose] glory [is] in their shame, who mind earthly things.”


There is more hypocrisy, sham, show and pretense in religion today than in any other era. Did you know that? The religion of this age is as fake as a three dollar bill.


Why is this true? It is amazing to me that in the area where there should be total honesty with God, there is no honesty.


God knows all things. God looks on the heart. — “Man looketh on the outward, but the Lord looketh on the heart.” — “All things are naked and open to Him with whom we have to do.God is not deceived and God is not mocked. We can fool people and deceive people. We can even fool ourselves, but we can’t God.


In the area of religion, we should have total honesty with God, total honesty with others and total honesty with ourselves, and be truthful and candid with others. In the area where there should be total honesty, there is more pretence and hypocrisy than in any other area of the whole world.


I’ve been around a long time. I’ve been preaching the Gospel for 44 years. I have travelled all over this world and have preached in many, many countries. I know this, that in religion today (especially the TV variety), preachers and religious leaders are dishonest.


Big business, contemporary (contemptible), “let’s have a good time with Jesus” religion is taking the world by storm. The preachers and religious leaders are totally dishonest with God and with people. They claim to be what they are not. They claim to feel what they do not feel. They claim to experience what they do not experience. And they claim to see what they do not see. They even claim to hear what they do not hear. They claim to do what they cannot do and to know what they do not know.


Fake Healers


Second, these religious promoters of self, these con artists, claim to be able to heal sick people. They cannot and they do not. They claim to be able to put their hands on people and heal them. They cannot and they do not.


God heals sick people. Christ is the Great Physician. When it pleases Him, He will heal. All healing is of God. God said, “I kill; I make alive.” God heals people. God hears the prayers of His people, my prayers and your prayers. He heals the sickness if it pleases Him and will bring glory to His name. — “He relieves our distresses according to His will.”


Everybody has got to die. When a preacher tells you that if you are sick it is because you don’t have enough faith, that is not true. They will tell you that if you are poor, you don’t have enough faith. They will also say, “If you don’t have a job, you don’t have enough faith.”


James 5 tells us: “Is there any among you sick?” Don’t send for a faith healer. “Call the elders of the church and let them pray over him, anointing him with oil.” If he has sinned, God will forgive him. The prayer of faith will save the sick. God is able to heal and God does heal. I pray for people that God might make them well. Sometimes He does and sometimes He doesn’t, according to His own will. It is His doing if they live; and it is His doing if they die.


These charlatan preachers do not have any special powers to heal the lame, heal the blind, heal the deaf, or heal the sick. They do not have it, and they are not doing it. They get on television and they can sell their witchcraft and their false promises in the name of Jesus. They will even tell people to lay their hands on the television and they will be healed. They brag about how they have broken crutches and healed sick people. The hospitals are full of sick people. None of them are walking up and down the halls healing anybody. They are fakes, charlatans, selling snake oil religion.


Tongue Babblers


I will tell you something else: these sweet smiling, charming charismatics (People with good sense used to call them “Holy-rollers”.) claim to speak in tongues. They do not and they cannot. The tongues in which the Apostles spoke were other languages in which they preached the Gospel. The scripture says, “Every man heard the gospel in his own language, in his own tongue (language).” This so-called gibberish and jibber-jabber is not a language. It’s just tongue babbling, jibber-jabber. Nothing else. It’s fake. It’s put on. Some of them even rehearse it. They’ll even teach you how to do it.


Illustration: “Tie my tie. Tie my bow-tie.

They do not speak in another language. There are men who can preach the Gospel in other languages but they learn those languages. This business of speaking in tongues is phony. It’s something religious people use to con people.


They tell people who are saved by the grace of God, people who trust believe Christ and love their Redeemer, “If you can’t speak in tongues you don’t have the Holy Ghost, you’re not spiritual.” Let me tell you something: If you do speak in tongues, you don’t have the Holy Ghost.

  • If you are born again, you have the Holy Ghost. You can’t be born again without the Holy Ghost (John 3:3-8).
  • If you trust Christ, you have the Holy Ghost. You can’t have faith in Christ without the Holy Ghost (Ephesians 1:13-14).
  • If you know Christ, you have the Holy Ghost. You can’t know Christ without the Holy Ghost (1 Corinthians 2:10-14).
  • If you love Christ, you have the Holy Ghost. You can’t love Christ without the Holy Ghost (Galatians 5:22-23).


I want to say this as clearly as I can. I want the world to hear me. All this happy-clappy, lift you hands and praise Jesus, give Jesus a hand-clap, jibber-jabber, fake healer religion is as fake as voodoo witchcraft!


Word of Prophecy


Fourth, these false preachers say, that God speaks to them in a voice, that he gives them a word of knowledge or a word of prophecy. Peter tells us that God has given us a sure Word of prophecy (2 Peter 1:16-21). — I’m holding it in my hand. It is called “The Holy Bible,” “The Word of God”!


God does not speak to anyone in an audible voice. “No man has seen God at any time; the Son hath revealed Him. God who spake to our Fathers by the prophets, hath in these last days spoken to us by His Son.” God speaks through His Word. “No man knows the Father save the Son and he to whom the Son will reveal Him.”


I don’t understand why we are so deceived by these people. They say that God talks to them. They say that they walk along the road and God speaks to them in an audible voice. That’s not true; God speaks to us through His Word. That is how He speaks to men. He speaks through the Word and the Incarnate Word, the Lord Jesus Christ. Nothing can be added to the Word of God.


I see these preachers holding hands and closing their eyes and claiming a word of knowledge. They are trying to raise money now and they are praying for the sick. They say, “I see someone out there that has a bad back; I see someone out there who has a sore head; I see someone out there that has a stiff neck; I see someone out there who has a sprained ankle and I can see that God is healing them right now.” They do not see those things!


Only God is Omniscient and Omnipresent. The Lord Jesus said to Nathaniel, “I saw you under the fig tree before Philip found you.” What these men are doing is (and it seems to me that someone would understand this), out of the thousands of people listening to these far reaching programs, someone has to have a bad back. They are going to have to get somebody. Someone has to have a sore neck, a sprained ankle or somebody has an ingrown toenail. Someone out there has to have at least one of those things.


Others do not pretend to be Apostles, and do not speak in tongues, whose religion is just as fake. The so-called worship services of this age rival Hollywood productions. They use music for showmanship, emotionalism, entertainment, and theatrics to excite people. They try to work people up emotionally to a fever pitch. It is nothing but psychology. It is music, music, and music. It is the beat of the music. It is a glad time, a happy time. It’s a rejoicing time and a hallelujah time. It is like a salesman that is trying to get everyone to say, “Yes, yes, yes!”


Do they really call that the Spirit of God? It is a counterfeit spirit. It is another spirit. It is not the Spirit of God. People, who worship God, do so in humility. They bow before God and worship Him in sincerity and truth. They worship and praise God from the heart. Like the Publican in the temple who would not so much as lift his eyes to heaven, let alone his arm and hands. He smote upon his breast and said, “God be merciful to me the sinner.” Isaiah bowed before God and said, “Woe is me; I’m undone.” John fell at His feet as a dead man.


Apostles did not deal in such circus antics and pretense; and God’s servants today do not. They preached the Gospel. They preached Christ. God’s servants preach the Gospel. God’s servants preach Christ. You know what I am saying is so. Somebody needs to identify the sham religion of this age for what it is. Am I your enemy because I tell you the truth?


No Apostles


Fifth, there are no Apostles today. All who claim to be Apostles and claim to have apostolic gifts are frauds. There were three requirements for an Apostle:


1.    He had to have seen the risen Christ in the flesh. so that he could preach a resurrection of which he had himself been an eyewitness (1 Corinthians 9:1). Paul did, “As one born out of due time.”

2.    He had to receive his gift, his message, his gospel directly from Christ (Galatians 1:11-12).

3.    He had to be sent from the Lord himself (John 20:21; Acts 26:15-18).


Now, those men were Apostles. They were sent by the Lord Jesus Himself. They had special gifts and credentials to prove that they were sent from God. They had the power to speak in other languages. They had the power to heal the sick, make the lame to walk and the blind to see, and even to raise the dead. But there are no Apostles today. Am I your enemy because I tell you the truth?


This religious world ridicules and makes light of the local church, especially small churches in little towns and villages and cities, churches of our Lord Jesus Christ, preaching the Gospel in their communities. The humble, simple preachers of the Gospel, who have no bands, diamond rings, big cars, and fine homes, no entertainers, or no super-stars are ridiculed. They are just simple preachers of the Gospel. They search the Scriptures and teach their neighbors and teach their friends the truth of God. I read something again this week that Bro. Henry Mahan wrote thirty years ago.


“God’s church is not an electronic box in the house. It consists of people who meet in His name to worship Him, praise Him, and preach His Gospel. They don’t need bands, they don’t need entertainment, they don’t need promoters, and they don’t need salesman. They meet in a humble spirit before the Lord and call on His name and preach His Gospel. They have been doing it ever since the cross of Christ. He has never left Himself without a witness. There is somebody in this perverse, superstitious, traditional-bound generation that is speaking for God Almighty. His sheep are going to hear his voice.”


Four Reasons


Now, go back to our text (1 John 2:3-6), and I will give you four reasons for this charade, today’s religious charade and spectacle in the name of God.


(1 John 2:3-6) “And hereby we do know that we know him, if we keep his commandments. 4 He that saith, I know him, and keepeth not his commandments, is a liar, and the truth is not in him. 5 But whoso keepeth his word, in him verily is the love of God perfected: hereby know we that we are in him. 6 He that saith he abideth in him ought himself also so to walk, even as he walked.”


1.    These people do not know God. They just do not know God.


Paul says, — “They have a zeal of God but not according to knowledge. They are ignorant of God’s Holiness.” Read Romans 10:1-3. Paul said, — “I would like to see these people saved. They do not know God. They have a zeal for God but not according to knowledge. They are ignorant of God’s Holiness and God’s Righteousness. They are going about to establish their own righteousness.” In Matthew they said, “Lord, have we not preached in your name and cast out devils and done many wonderful works?” He will say, “I never knew you; I don’t know you.” “Thou thoughtest I was all together such a one as thyself,” God said. God is not who you think He is. God is who He is!


The Lord God is in His Holy Temple. “Let all the earth be silent before Him. Be not rash; be not hasty to utter anything before God. God is in the heavens and you are upon the earth. Holy and Reverend is His name.” I don’t need to sell God. I don’t need to promote God. God doesn’t need a cheerleader. Almighty God rules and reigns and what He wants He gets. He said, “Everything under the heaven is mine. The earth is the Lord’s and the fullness thereof, the world and all they that dwell therein.” I don’t have to sell God. I don’t have to promote God or lead cheers for Jesus. He is on the throne. “He is King of King and Lord of Lords.”  


I feel like the thief on the cross who said to the other thief, “Don’t you fear God?” I want to say that to my whole generation of preachers, “Don’t you fear God? There is no fear of God before their eyes.”


2.    Another reason for this religious charade and sham and show is that men love the applause of men. They love the approval of men.


That is what they seek. He said, “You love the praise of men rather than the praise of God.” Our Lord said, “You seek the honor that comes from men,” the applause and approval and praise that comes from men and not the honor that comes from God.


Our Lord said in Matthew 6, “Don’t you be like the Pharisee and the hypocrite that loves to pray standing on the street corner. You do your praying in the closet.” Men want to tell about their fasting. They wants the whole world to know that they are fasting. They look so sad while they fast. They want everyone to know it. Our Savior says, “When you fast and pray, wash your face and comb your hair. Put on your good clothes so that it will not appear to men that you are fasting. Don’t tell them your communion with God and God will hear you.”


When you give alms, “Don’t do it to be seen of men.” Don’t sound the trumpet in front of you. “Let not your left hand know what your right hand is doing.” Many go along with this religious farce, just because they don’t want to buck the trend and buck the tide. Peter stood on Pentecost and he said, “You better deliver yourself from this perverse generation. You better come out from among this religious generation.”


3.    Another reason for this sad situation is nothing but greed and covetousness.


Illustration: The Preacher in Tennessee — “I’d give anything if I could preach like that in my church.”


Did you know that there’s money to be made in religion? Did you know that there’s money to be made in hawking Jesus like a snake oil salesman?


People are taking advantage of it too! There are people who have no call from God. It is evident that they don’t know the gospel. There are people with no convictions. They will change their convictions. They will change anytime to have a more exciting show. One religious leader said, “When your competitor gets a bigger bloom, you just get a bigger one.” I didn’t know that we were in competition. Religion today is show business.


These people have no conscience. They have no understanding of the Word of God. They can appeal to the natural, religious instincts of an audience and live lavishly off of their free gifts. People just keep sending their money in.


“Greed, the love of money is the root of all evil.” Read Jeremiah, Ezekiel, Micah, Haggai, Hosea, and Malachi. The Lord God said, “All the prophets and even the priests of the people are covetous men, greedy men.”


4.    Another reason for this corruption in religion is that preachers don’t know anything about the person and work of the Lord Jesus Christ. They don’t have a clue about what salvation really is.


Paul feared that when he was preaching, just a few years after Christ died on the cross and rose again, that men would pervert the Gospel and turn the professed church away from Christ. He said, “I fear, I’m afraid less by any means, as the serpent beguiled Eve, through his subtlety and craftiness, so your minds will be corrupted from the simplicity that is in Christ.” The serpent tricked her, deceived her, and led her astray.


The minds of multitudes in this dark age have been corrupted from the simplicity that is in Christ? Religion today is complicated and ceremonial. There is ritualism and you have to have special training. You have to have all these talents and big buildings. You have to have organizations. What happened to the simplicity of Jesus Christ?


Let me talk to you right where you are for a moment, just you and me. Are you a sinner? That’s all I am asking, are you a sinner? “All have come short of the glory of God.” Are you a sinner? You may say, “Yes preacher, I am.” Well, can you save yourself? Do you know that God is Holy? God is perfectly Holy. Your sins have separated you from that Holy God. You may say, “I know God is Holy.”


Did you know that God loves sinners? God was pleased to send His Son into this world in the flesh, bone of our bone, flesh of our flesh, to die on the cross and redeem sinners. Did you know that? Do you believe that? “Who shall ascend into heaven but He that descended, He that hath clean hands and a pure heart and has never sworn deceitfully?”


Do you believe the Word of God? Do you believe God? Do you believe that you are a sinner? Do you believe that Christ died for sinners? Do you believe that He is the only Savior? Do you? Then repent of your sins and turn from your sins. Confess your sins. Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ.


You don’t talk to me. You don’t need to call a counselor. Jesus Christ is the Counselor. You don’t need to pray with me. I have nothing to do with your relationship with Almighty God. I am just a voice telling the truth about God and the truth about men and the truth about Christ. — “Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved.” Life is to be had for a look at the crucified One. He says, “Look unto Me and be ye saved!


The Difference


(1 John 2:3-6) “And hereby we do know that we know him, if we keep his commandments. 4 He that saith, I know him, and keepeth not his commandments, is a liar, and the truth is not in him. 5 But whoso keepeth his word, in him verily is the love of God perfected: hereby know we that we are in him. 6 He that saith he abideth in him ought himself also so to walk, even as he walked.”


Here’s the difference between saying and knowing.

  • Religious people talk about their goodness. Those who know God keep His commandments, His Word, His Ordinances.
  • Religious people argue about the truths they believe. Those who know God have the Truth in them. — “Christ in you, the hope of glory!
  • Religious people talk and sing about the love of God. Those who know God have the love of God perfected in them. We have the love of God shed abroad in our hearts, creating faith in us by His Spirit and assuring us that we are His (Romans 5:1-11).
  • Religious people make a show of religion, holiness, spirituality, and holier than thou piety. Those who know the Savior walk as he walked in faith, bowing to the will of God, seeking the glory of God, serving the Kingdom of God.


That’s the difference between saying and knowing. Don’t you think it’s time for you to be honest before God? May God the Holy Spirit graciously make you and me honest before God, trusting Christ alone as our Savior.










Don Fortner



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