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      Nurturing people in the image of God since 1868.                                                                          POB 397/520 Dry Creek Rd./Smithville, TN

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WHAT DO YOU KNOW

Sometimes people are as clear as mud in the things they say. Staten Island Borough President James P. Molinaro was quoted in the New York Times as saying, "History, you can't beat our history. Our history is very historical." And then there is this statement from Bobby Brown. While discussing his upcoming reality show in People magazine, Brown reassured his fans, "You can expect Bobby to be Bobby. If Bobby ain't Bobby, Bobby can't be Bobby" (both quotes from Reader's Digest, 1/05, p 125).

We live in a world that is no longer clear and certain about anything. Our's has been called a post-modern age where millions of people no longer believe there is any such thing as absolute truth. The great virtue of our day is unquestioning openness and uncritical tolerance. The only absolute in this fuzzy thought system is that there are no absolutes. In this atmosphere, you are suspect if you speak with clarity, confidence, and certainty. It was in a very similar atmosphere that the apostle John penned a short little letter on spiritual confidence and security two thousand years ago. That letter is the little book we know as I' John. Controversy about Christ and the nature of truth and exactly who was and who wasn't a Christian was swirling in John's day, creating doubt and discouragement. In the face of that controversy and uncertainty, John speaks with confidence and conviction about the things God's children can know. In the remainder of this space let us list just a sample of the things John is certain we can know:

    -2:3, 5 "Now by this we know that we know Him, if we keep His commandments. . . .But whoever keeps His word, truly the love of God is perfected in him. By this we know that we are in Him?”

    -3:18-19, "My little children, let us not love in word or in tongue, but in deed and in truth. And by this we know that we are of the truth, and shall assure our hearts before Him."

    -4:6 -- “We are of God. He who knows God hears us; he who is not of God does not hear us. By this we know the spirit of truth and the spirit of error." ("us" in this context includes the apostle John and other inspired men who preached the truth about Jesus Christ, as well as those today who preach what these inspired men wrote)

    -5:20, "And we know that the Son of God has come and has given us an understanding, that we may know Him who is true; and we are in Him who is true, in His Son Jesus Christ. This is the true God and eternal life."

These are all things we can know by faith.  Now, what do you know?

Dan Gulley
Smithville church of Christ