The Holy Spirit moved John to write the book of John. (2 Peter 1:20, 21). A short statement John quoted from Jesus was in chapter 13, verse 17, where Jesus said, “If ye know these things, happy are ye if ye do them.” Those words fill less than two lines in many Bibles. However, they say so much. Please take a few moments to digest what Jesus said.
First, consider the context of the words. The time of the context of the words of Jesus is “before the feast of the Passover.” (John 13:1a). “Jesus knew that his hour was come that he should depart out of this world unto the Father.” (Verse 1b). He “loved his own which were in the world…unto the end.” (Verse 1c). The “supper being ended, the devil…now put into the heart of Judas Iscariot, Simon’s son, to betray him.” (Verse 2). The Wiley, beguiling adversary, the lying devil is always busy. (John 8:44; 1 Peter 5:8; 1 Corinthians 11:3; Ephesians 6:11-20). Be careful! If he got Judas, an apostle, he can get you. Jesus then washed the disciple’s feet, while explaining some things to them. (Verses 4-15). He then told them, “The servant is not greater than his lord; neither is he that is sent than he that sent him.” (Verse 16).
It is at this point that Jesus says, “If ye know these things, happy are ye if ye do them.” (Verse 17).
Jesus immediately refers to Psalm 41:9, “which the Holy Ghost by the mouth of David spake before concerning Judas, Yea, mine own familiar friend, in whom I trusted, which did eat of my bread, hath lifted up his heal against me.” (Compare Acts 1:16, 17). Read verses 18ff.
Second, Jesus indicates that they should know what He was talking about, when He says, “If ye know these things.” The inspired apostle Paul (1 Corinthians 2), wrote, “Wherefore be ye not unwise, but understanding what the will of the Lord is.” (Ephesians 5:17). Earlier, in chapter 3, verse 4, Paul told the Ephesian saints (1:1), “Whereby, when ye read, ye may understand my knowledge in the mystery of Christ.” All of this harmonizes with the words of Jesus, “And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall set you free.” (John 8:32). Jesus also said, “sanctify them through thy truth: thy word is truth.” (John 17:17). As truth is designed to free one from sin, “My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge: because thou hast rejected knowledge, I will also reject thee,….” (Hosea 4:6). Let us, therefore, “Study to shew thyself approved of God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.” (2 Timothy 2:15). Studying the word, let us “shun profane and vain babblings: for they will increase unto more ungodliness. And their word will eat as doth a canker (gangrene, margin): of whom is Hymenaeus and Philetus; Who concerning the truth have erred, saying that the resurrection is past already; and overthrow the faith of some.” (Verses 16-18; Compare Matthew 15:7-9; Galatians 1:6-9).
Third, DOing what we know the Lord says brings happiness. One could know what the Lord teaches from Genesis 1:1 through Revelation 22:21, yet DO NOTHING about it. Jesus did not say, “If ye know these things, happy are ye.” He added, “happy are ye if ye do them.” DO! Years ago, a preacher said, “Most of us already know more than we are doing.” It is possible that every New Testament Christian knows what the government of the New Testament Church ought to be, that is, each congregation is to be overseen by qualified elders (Acts 20:28; Hebrews 13:7, 17; 1 Timothy 3:1-7; Titus 1:5-16), who are assisted by qualified deacons (1 Timothy 3:8-13; Acts 6:1-8), with qualified evangelists (Acts 8:5ff; 2 Timothy 4:2), and working members. (Acts 8:4; 1 Corinthians 15:58). Are you DOing this?
The worship of the church included gospel preaching (Acts 2:42; Mark 16:15; 1 Corinthians 15:1-4), fellowship, or giving (Acts 2:42; 1 Corinthians 16:1, 2; 2 Corinthians 8), breaking of bread, communion (Acts 2:42; 1 Corinthians 11:17-34; Acts 20:7), prayers (Acts 2:42), and singing. (Ephesians 5:19; Colossians 3:16; Hebrews 12:9). This worship is to be done without forsaking the assembling, as the manner of some is. (Hebrews 10:25). Are you DOing this?
One must know what to be called, that is, a name which God would give. (Isaiah 62:1, 2). In the New Testament, “the disciples were called Christians….” (Acts 11:26). The Church promised and built by Jesus was called “churches of Christ” after the founder and builder. (Matthew 16:13-19; Romans 16:16). Are you DOing this?
The mission of the first century church was to plant the seed of the kingdom, the word of God, producing fruit after it’s kind. (Matthew 13:3-8, 18-23; Luke 8:4-15). The apostles were told, “Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature.” (Mark 16:15, 16; Matthew 28:18-20). They were to teach the lost how to be saved, that is, hear the word of God (Romans 10:17), believe (John 8:24; Hebrews 11:6), repent of sins (Luke 13:3, 5; Matthew 21:28-32, confess their faith (Matthew 10:32, 33; Acts 8:37), and be buried in water baptism to be saved, enter Jesus and His Church. (Romans 6:1-5; Mark 16:16; Galatians 3:26, 27; 1 Corinthians 12:13). This was faithfully done by them. (Colossians 1:23). It has come all the way from Jerusalem to wherever you are, reading this. Are you DOing this?
The church you read about in the New Testament was a benevolent church, helping the fatherless and widows in their affliction. (James 1:17). Gus Nichols said he counted over one thousand (1,000) times the Old and New Testaments picturing God’s people giving to the needy. Are we DOing what we should?
1 Corinthians 14:12 speaks of Christians seeking to “excel to the edifying of the church.” Paul’s parting words to the elders from Miletus were that they be built up and receive an inheritance among all them which are sanctified. (Acts 20:32). Jude ended his book by calling upon his readers to build up themselves on their most holy faith, being faithful, and receiving eternal life. (Jude 20, 21). Are we DOing this?
Every Christian has one or more talents. (Matthew 25:14-30). We are expected to use what we have to the glory of God. He expects to receive what He has given plus others. Are we using our talents properly? Are we DOing what we should?
Elders are to be busy in the work of the Lord! Deacons are to work diligently in the Lord’s kingdom! Preachers are to fight a good fight, finish the course and keep the faith! YES! YES! YES! However, each Christian is to do the same thing! Are we DOing what we know?
A lesson like this can cause one to give up and quit. Hopefully, it will cause each of us to repent of anything we need to stop and/or begin. Let’s let this lesson cause us to do better/right!