When in doubt, how do you know that you know?
SEPTEMBER 7, 2020
Zach Van Dyke:
When in doubt, how do you know that you know? Let’s talk on Key Life.
You’re listening to Key Life. We believe that because of what Jesus has done, God will never be angry at you again. Zach Van Dyke is teaching us this week. Zach serves as the teaching pastor at Summit Church right here in Orlando, Florida. If you’ve been trying to earn God’s approval, we invite you to hang out.
Zach Van Dyke:
And thank you Matthew for that introduction. And I’m so glad to be with you all. I have just turned 40, so that means now you got to listen. You really got to listen to me. I’ve got the wisdom of a 40 year old man, who’s had six children. Which I think makes me more like a 60 year old man. But anyways, I am so glad to be with you this week. In fact, uh, I’m wrapping up a three part series that I started back in, I guess July called When In Doubt, where we’re looking at I John, the letter that John wrote to the early church right before his death. And, um, and it’s really just a letter to say, Hey, I want you to know all this. I was there with Jesus, when he started his ministry. I was there at the foot of the cross. I was there when he resurrected from the dead, I’ve seen him. I’ve touched him. I ate with him. I’ve had my whole life radically change because of this man. And, and now I’ve spent the last 60 or so years of my life following him and building his church. And, and I’ve seen so much, I’ve seen all of my other fellow disciples martyred for the sake of Christ. I’ve seen the church go through ups and downs and divisions and fighting. Um, and now as an old man, these are, these are the things that I want to leave with you. And one of the things that I think comes out in this letter is that John really understands the human heart. He understands that even as believers, we sometimes struggle with doubt. That as believers, even knowing what Jesus has done for us and knowing that Jesus said, Hey, if you’re going to follow me, you got to pick up your cross and follow me. He doesn’t, he doesn’t sugar coat it. Jesus does an act like, Hey, believe in me and everything’s all rainbows and unicorns and hunky dory. Like he says, it’s going to be hard. The world hated me. It’s going to hate you. You’re going to have struggle. He says, in this world, you will have struggles, but take heart, for I have overcome the world. But, but he doesn’t say, I’m going to, I’m going to spare you from all the struggle. And John is an old man, knows that. And he’s looking, especially at some of these newer, younger believers. And he knows that our heart is going to be bent towards just taking the parts that we like. The parts that make us feel good, that really just kind of want a comfortable Christ. And John’s like, no, don’t settle for that because it’s only the real Christ that will give you what you need in crisis. It’s only the real Christ that will give you what you need when you lose your job, or are you, you’re going through a separation in your marriage or. Or you’ve got a prodigal son or a pandemic hits the entire world. He’s saying, listen, a comfortable Christ. Isn’t going to be worth dink in any of those circumstances, only the true Christ. And he says, I know this Christ, I love this Christ. I’ve been walking with this Christ for most of my life. You need to know him too. And so as we kind of wrap this series up this week, I really want to look at the end of the letter, like, what is, what’s the last little bit of wisdom that John offers to us of the church. And, uh, and we’re going to look at that. And, um, and you know, I want, I want you to know that I think, John more than anything thing wants us to know that we know. That we really know that we know Jesus, because he knows that knowing Jesus is a matter of life and death. In fact, towards the end of his letter in I John 5:11-12, he writes,
And this is the testimony, God has given us eternal life, and this life is in his son. Whoever has the Son has life; whoever does not have the son does not have life.
John knows, choosing to receive or reject this testimony is the most crucial decision anyone can make in their life. And it’s a yes or no. It’s not a, I don’t know? Or, I’m not sure? It’s kind of like if I were to ask you, are you married? There’s only two answers to that question. Yes or no. It’s not maybe either, either, you know, you have life or you have death. John States very clearly. If you do not have Christ, if you do not have Jesus Christ in your life, however, full your life may seem at the moment, it’s going to end. It’s not everlasting. And listen, the life that John refers to that he’s been writing about is as much has as much to do with the here and now as it does with the future. Eternal life. Isn’t just a future reality. Eternal life begins now. It’s about living the life God had in mind when he thought you up, Jesus said, I’ve come so that you may have life and life abundantly. He didn’t mean one day you’ll have life and life abundantly. He said, I’ve come right now. Right now you can have life and life to the full. So listen, I know many of you on here are probably believers, but if you’re not. You need to know, and I’m going to say this as clearly as I can, either your life right now is on a trajectory towards death. So you might as well eat, drink and be merry, for tomorrow you die. Or it’s headed towards everlasting life. Knowing Jesus is a matter of life and death. So the question that John kind of ends the letter with is have you accepted this testimony? Have you accepted the testimony that God has given us eternal life. And that, that life is found only in his son. Jesus Christ. Now, maybe you haven’t made that choice yet. Maybe even think you have, because you grew up in the church and you still go to church and that’s just like your family’s always been Christian, but you’ve actually never really wrestled with that question. You’ve never really thought about, do I actually accept the testimony? Or maybe you just blatantly know you haven’t cause maybe you still have lots of questions or doubts. Maybe you need more time to examine the evidence. The first week of this series, back in July, I talked a lot about that. Uh, John begins his letter saying, listen, I’ve seen him. I’ve touched him. I’ve ate with him. I know that this is true, but maybe you don’t know that it’s true. So, my encouragement that that first week in July was, Hey, go back and examine the evidence, go and look at the historical accounts, go and read the gospel. See for yourself, if you believe that Jesus in fact was who he said he was. And that, that if Jesus really is who he said he was, and he really was from the dead. You have to do something with him. So I would encourage you. If you still have doubts and questions, you should keep asking them and you should keep, uh, wrestling with that and you should examine the evidence and you should find a Christian that you know, and you trust and ask them your questions. I’m sure they’d be delighted to kind of walk through that with you, even if your questions are all about the dinosaurs, like, you know, at least at least wrestle with it, because if it’s true, it’s a matter of life and death. I have a friend who I met with several times because she had all kinds of doubts and questions and every time we met, I kept thinking. She already believes like she’s already, she already believes that Jesus is who he says he is. She just, she just has a lot of the same doubts and questions that I have as a, as a, as a, as a known Christian. And so finally, when one day when we were meeting, I was just like, listen, you already, you’re already there. You already believe you just have doubts and questions, like any thoughtful Christian might have. So maybe, maybe you’re even closer than you think. Now again, I know the majority of you are Christians and you know, you’re a Christian, but my guess is, is every once in a while you struggle with doubts. And so, this is for you as well. This isn’t just for the person who’s kind of on the fringe or someone who knows that they’re struggling with doubts this week really will be for, for all of us. And in fact, when John writes this letter at the end of the letter in verse 13, he says,
I write these things to you who believe in the name of the Son of God so that you may know that you have eternal life.
So no matter where you find yourself at this moment, if you stick with me all week, You come back tomorrow and Wednesday and Thursday, you stick with me. I will give you a very specific way to know that in fact, you do know. I’m going to give you, you have a very specific way to know whether or not you truly are a Christian. How’s that? How’s that for promises. So you gotta tune in all week to get there. Uh, but as we wrap up today, I just want to read to you the passage that we’re going to be spending all week looking at. This is I John chapter five. I’m going to start reading in the first verse.
Everyone who believes that Jesus is the Christ is born of God, and everyone who loves the Father loves his child as well. This is how we know that we love the children of God, by loving God and carrying out his commands. In fact, this is love for God to keep his commands and his commands are not burdensome. For everyone born of God overcomes the world. This is the victory that has overcome the world– even our faith. Who is it that overcomes the world? Only the one who believes that Jesus is the son of God. This is the one who came by water and blood, jesus Christ. He did not come by water only, but by water and blood. And it is the spirit who testifies because the spirit is the truth. For there are three that testify: the spirit, the water and the blood: and the three are in agreement. We accept human testimony, but God’s testimony is greater because it is the testimony of God, which he has given us about his son. Whoever believes in the Son of God accepts this testimony. Whoever does not believe, God has made him out to be a liar because they do not believe the testimony God has made about his Son. And this is the testimony, God has given us eternal life, and this life is in his son. Whoever has the Son has life. Whoever does not have the Son does not have life. I write these things to you who believe in the name of the Son of God, so that you may know that you have eternal life.
And listen, if you stick with me all week, you will see that it really is all about grace.
Thank you Zach. Pastor Zach Van Dyke there, beginning this final week of his series on doubt and teaching us from I John 5. This is important, life-changing stuff. Please be sure to join us again tomorrow and for the rest of the week. Hey, a question for you. Have you ever had a family member hook you up with a deal? Maybe they got you free tickets or managed to get you a discount. That’s kind of what we do with the Key Life CD family. The Key Life CD family is what we call the group of folks who get two free CDs from Steve each and every year as funds permit. No cost ever, no commitment ever. They just show up in the mail, like little gifts, which of course they are. The audio is from talks from various events where Steve speaks throughout the year. Get in on this now by calling 1-800-KEY-LIFE. That’s 1-800-539-5433. You can also drop an email to Steve@keylife.org and ask for those CDs. By mail, send your request to
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