"SECRETS OF THE ABUNDANT LIFE" The Secret Of Loving Is Knowing INTRODUCTION 1. We come to the final lesson in this series concerning "Secrets Of The Abundant Life" (cf. Jn 10:10 ) that Jesus offers 2. In previous lessons we have examined four of these "secrets": a. The secret of living is bearing fruit - Jn 15:8 b. The secret of bearing fruit is abiding - Jn 15:5 c. The secret of abiding is obeying - Jn 15:10 d. The secret of obeying is loving - Jn 14:15 3. Of course, that leads us to next question: "What is the secret of loving?" [Stated simply...] I. THE SECRET OF LOVING IS KNOWING A. THIS TRUTH DEMONSTRATED IN HUMAN RELATIONSHIPS... 1. True love between husband and wife is based upon knowledge and understanding of one another 2. Strong friendships are also based upon knowing each other well 3. Brethren who love one another are those who have made the effort to know each other B. SO IT IS IN OUR RELATIONSHIP WITH GOD... 1. The more we come to know God and Jesus, the more we will love Them! 2. Especially when we grow in our understanding of Their love for us - cf. Jn 3:16 ; 1 Jn 3:16 3. Only those who have come to know God have learned to love both man and God - cf. 1 Jn 4:8 [Knowing God, then, is the first major step in the process of living "the abundant life": 1) By knowing God, we come to love Him 2) By loving Him, we will obey Him 3) By obeying Him, we will abide in Him 4) By abiding in Him, we will bear fruit 5) By bearing fruit, we will experience the joys of abundant living But before we conclude this series, one last question should be raised: "How can we come to know God in such a way as to produce this 'chain-reaction' that leads to the abundant life?" The answer is simple...] II. THE KEY TO KNOWING GOD A. WE COME TO KNOW GOD THROUGH COMMUNICATION... 1. Is this not true in our human relationships? a. Where there is communication, knowledge of one another grows b. Where there is little or none, relationships flounder -- And so it is with our relationship with God! 2. Communication with God is a two-street... a. He speaks to us through the Bible, written by men inspired by the Spirit of God - cf. 2 Pe 1:21 ; Jn 16:12-13 ; 1 Co 14:37 b. And we speak to God through prayer - cf. Ph 4:6-7 ; 1 Th 5:17-18 3. As simple as it may sound, reading the Bible and praying to God can be the catalysts starting the "chain-reaction" that will lead one to experience "the abundant life" a. The value of God's Word in bearing fruit is described in Ps 1:1-3 b. The value of prayer to receiving blessings from God was taught by Jesus in Mt 7:7-11 B. WE ALSO COME TO KNOW GOD THROUGH EXPERIENCE... 1. Sharing experiences with friends and loved ones certainly helps us to know them better 2. As we go through life, walking with God and Jesus, we will experience such things as: a. Their love for us b. Their strength that is imparted to us -- Both of which (love and strength), Paul prayed that the Ephesians would experience and comprehend - cf. Ep 3:14-21 3. Experiencing such blessings from God will not only help us to know God better, but to love Him more - e.g., Ps 116:1-2 CONCLUSION 1. What we find, then, is that "the abundant life" can become a self- perpetuating cycle! a. For if we are willing to "know God" (by giving Him our minds as read His Word and pray)... b. ...then we will "love God" (and give Him our hearts as we learn of His love for us) c. Loving God we will then "obey God" (and in so doing, give Him our wills since we are motivated by love) d. Obeying God, we will "abide in Him" (and thus benefit from His strength) e. Abiding in Him and benefiting by His strength, we will "bear fruit" (and thereby enjoy the blessings found in the very act of doing so) -- And through the experience of bearing fruit and walking with God, our knowledge of Him will increase, and the cycle starts all over again! 2. Why not expose yourself to "the abundant life" that Jesus offers? a. Give yourself a chance to know God by reading His Word b. Coming to know God is the most important thing you can do in life - cf. Jer 9:23-24 1) For to know God is to love Him 2) To love God is to obey Him 3) To obey Him is to abide in Him 4) To abide in Him is to bear fruit for Him 5) To bear fruit is to experience "the abundant life" the Vine offers to His branches If you already know of His love for you, but have not yet obeyed His gospel (cf. Mk 16:15-16 ; He 5:9 ), why not do so today?