This past Sunday at Grace we talked about an UNUSUAL PROMISE from God. At the request of one of our web/tech guys, I’m putting some of the scripture, some added notes and the check list from 1st John in this blog. Let me start with a couple of added notes…
1. No one can earn their way into heaven. We are saved by faith through grace which is the gift of God and is clearly taught throughout the NT. Ephesians 2:8-9 is clear on this and Eph. 2:10 states that we do good works as a result of this. Titus 3:5 is clear that none of us can be saved by any works we do; our salvation is based on His mercy as we trust Christ and are born again by the renewing and regenerating that only the Holy Spirit can do in us.
2. James 2:14-26 says that if my faith is real then “works of that faith” or “good works” will follow. They don’t save me, but they are evidence of the fact that I am saved.
3. None of us will live up to the things that John wrote in 1st John as “tests” of salavation 100% of the time; that’s why we need God’s grace. As I stated Sunday, and have stated many times, the issue of testing your faith is one of direction not perfection. We all sin. I still sin. However, the bent of my heart is now in the direction of the things that John revealed in the book of 1st John.
4. In 2 Cor. 13:5, Paul was writing to the people who gathered as a part of the church in Corinth and challenged them to TEST themselves and make sure there was actual evidence that their lives had been changed by Jesus Christ.
5. Paul was clear when sharing his testimony with King Agrippa that people must repent of their sins and turn to God to be saved, and then they should show / prove / give evidence of this change by their lifestyle or the things they do.
6. John was clear that there are some very clear evidences that will be seen in a person who has “moved from death to life” or who is “a child of God”. He lists these things that help people test themselves as to their faith in 1st John.
Here’s some of the information from the message this past Sunday with a few added notes.
THE UNUSUAL PROMISE: You can KNOW you have eternal life. My purpose in writing is simply this: that you who believe in God’s Son will know beyond the shadow of a doubt that you have eternal life, the reality and not the illusion. 1 John 5:13 Msg
Paul – who wrote much of the New Testament says – if you’re not sure – you should do something about it. Test yourselves to make sure you are solid in the faith. Don’t drift along taking everything for granted. Give yourselves regular checkups. You need firsthand evidence, not mere hearsay, that Jesus Christ is in you. Test it out. If you fail the test, do something about it. 2 Cor. 13:5 (Msg)
TEST YOURSELF – IS THIS EVIDENCE IN YOUR LIFE?
1st OBEY THE WORD OF GOD
We can be sure that we know God if we obey his commands. Anyone who says, “I know God,” but does not obey God’s commands is a liar…”1 John 2:3-4a NCV
You may not & probably won’t understand everything in the Bible, but do you have a desire to do what God says and are you striving to obey what you already know from God’s Word? None of us will be perfect, but if you have no desire for the Word of God or have no desire to obey the Word of God then you need to evaluate your life and see if your faith is real.
2nd LIVE A CHRIST-LIKE LIFE
Here is how we know we belong to him. Those who claim to belong to him must live just as Jesus did. 1 John 2:5b-6 (NIrV)
Jesus lived a perfect life & none of us can live up to that because we’ve all sinned & messed up. The issue isn’t perfection – the issue is direction. Is the direction you choose – one that’s moving you closer to becoming like Jesus? All of us mess up. In fact, a verse from the book of wisdom that has really helped me and I’ve shared with others for years is Prov. 24:16 which states: “The godly may trip seven times, but they will get up again…” I’m so grateful for the truth of 1 John 1:9 which reminds me when I sin and blow it, I can confess it and God forgives me.
So – Do your attitudes & actions give evidence of someone who is pursuing a Christ-like lifestyle?
3rd STAY TRUE TO THE FAITH
They went out from us, but they did not really belong to us. For if they had belonged to us, they would have remained with us; but their going showed that none of them belonged to us. 1 John 2:19 (NIV)
Believers will look for ways to experience community & do life with other believers.
4th CHANGED NATURE
“Those who are born again because of what God has done will not keep on sinning. God’s very nature remains in them…” 1 John 3:9a (NIrV)
Pigs like to wallow in filth because that’s their nature. If you’re a believer, you’ve been given a new nature and while you’ll still sin – it’s not the habit of your life. You don’t want to live in willful habitual sin.
5th LOVE OTHER CHRISTIANS
10 So now we can tell who are children of God and who are children of the Devil. Anyone who does not obey God’s commands and does not love other Christians does not belong to God. 14 If we love our Christian brothers and sisters, it proves that we have passed from death to eternal life…” 1 John 3:10, 14a (NLT)
Love…doesn’t keep a record of wrongs that others do. 1 Cor. 13:4 CEV
6th EVIDENCE OF THE HOLY SPIRIT
When a person puts their faith & trust in Christ – the Holy Spirit comes to live in them.
How do we know that God lives in us? We know it because of the Holy Spirit he gave us. 1 John 3:24b (NIrV)
We know an apple tree is an apple tree because of the fruit it produces. If you’re really a Christian, there will be external evidence: fruit the Holy Spirit produces in you. I’m not talking about Spirit Gifts here, but fruit. Someone wrote me a note from Sunday and said “even an apple tree does not bare fruit at all times”. They were absolutely correct, so let me try to expand the analogy. Spiritual growth is a journey and we will have growth spurts and times when it seems like not much is happening; but it’s the Holy Spirit that produces fruit in us as we submit to Him. As Jesus said when He was speaking about a person’s character: “the tree is known by its fruit” (Mt. 12:33). The bottom line is that a person who has a genuine faith will at some point produce fruit; “the fruit of the Spirit” will be produced in their life at different times as they submit to God.
Gal 5:22-23a NASB says: “…the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control…”
7th HAVE THE SON OF GOD
This is what God told us: God has given us eternal life, and this life is in his Son. Whoever has the Son has life, but whoever does not have the Son of God does not have life. 1 John 5:11-12 (NCV)
Eternal life is found in Jesus Christ alone. NOTE: The thief on the cross never had a chance to do any of the things that John said were tests of salvation other than “have the Son of God.” That thief put his faith & trust in Christ just prior to his death, and Jesus told him that he would be with Christ in paradise. A simple accrostic I’ve used for years related to FAITH is: Forsaking All I Trust Him. That means I must put my faith in Christ and Him alone for salvation.
Here are a couple of other passages used in the message:
You say you have faith, for you believe that there is one God. Good for you! Even the demons believe this, and they tremble in terror. James 2:19 NLT
Yet some people accepted him and put their faith in him. So he gave them the right to be the children of God. John 1:12 CEV
People have to die once. After that, God will judge them. Heb 9:27 (NIrV)
Nothing in all creation is hidden from God’s sight. Everything is uncovered and laid bare before the eyes of him to whom we must give account. Heb. 4:13 (NIV)