1 John 1:4; 5:13
LET'S TAKE A TEST
Intro: The early church had been birthed in power. It grew like wildfire and
the Lord truly blessed the fledgling church. However, it wasn't many days
until heresy began to creep into the church. One of the earliest perversions
of Christianity to make an appearance was known as Gnosticism.
There were many versions of Gnosticism, but the primary areas of
agreement was that knowledge and not the cross was the means to
salvation. In other words, the Gnostics believed that only through initiation
into the "special" knowledge they alone possessed could anyone hope to
be saved. They also believed that all matter was evil. This meant that
Jesus Christ did not really have a flesh and blood body. If matter was evil
then Christ could not have had a physical body. It only appeared that He
had died. Some did believe that Jesus died, but the spirit of Christ left Him
before the cross. This, of course, eliminated the cross and the resurrection
as the basis of salvation. Since they believed all matter to be evil, they did
not believe in living holy lives. They believed the body could be allowed to
do as it pleased since body and spirit were separate one from the other.
As these teachings began to filter their way into the church, some people
found their faith undermined and they began to doubt their relationship with
the Lord. Our text verses tell us plainly that John felt led to write this book
to offer assurance to his readers. He wants them, and us, to know that we
can know for sure that we are saved. We do not have to live in doubt.
Many do, but it does not have to be that way.
To aid us in knowing for sure whether we are saved or not, John gives
his readers a simple test they can take to determine where they stand with
the Lord. In some ways, it is kind of like the achievement tests they made
us take in school. Those tests were broken down into sections that revealed
where we stood in relation to our peer group throughout the country. John's
test reveals where a person stands in regard to this matter of salvation. His
is a simple test, broken down into five sections. I would like for us to take
this test together this evening. You will not need a number two pencil. All
you will need is an honest heart. Take the test, see where you stand and
if corrections need to be made, they will be allowed. Let's examine the
sections of John's test and our own hearts tonight. Let's take a test!
I. THE COMMANDMENT SECTION
A. 1 John 2:3-6 - Simply stated, the person who is saved will have a
desire to walk in obedience to the revealed will of the Lord. This is
the same standard applied by Jesus Himself - John 14:15.
B. 1 John 4:6 - The redeemed individual will receive the Word of God
and will conform his/her life to it!
C. 1 John 5:3 - The saved person will experience a joy in their heart
when they receive a commandment from the Lord. God's demands
will not be "grievous" to them, but they will be a pleasure and a
delight to the soul! (Ill. Psa. 1:1-3; Psa. 40:8; Psa. 119:35; Psa.
D. Is there something within you that wants to do the will of God? You
may not do it completely or perfectly, but is there a pull within you
that makes you want to do what God wants? That is not naturally
within man, it is supernaturally placed within man when he is saved!
E. How did you do on this section? Grade your own papers please!
II. THE COMPASSION SECTION
A. 1 John 2:9-11 - The genuine believer will always be marked by true
love for his brothers and sisters in Christ. A person who displays no
love for the redeemed is not a child of God!
B. 1 John 3:14-22 - The true Christian loves his brethren, as we have
already said. But, this is a love that is seen and not just said! It is
a love that transcends all hurts and personal attacks. It is our
unexplainable love for people, in spite of their attitudes and actions
towards us, that gives us assurance of our salvation. (Note: Verses
20-21 tell us that there are times when doubt may arise and our own
heart will attempt to condemn us. That is, we may feel that we are
not saved. John wants us to know that we are not to rely on what
our heart says! We are to look at the evidence and rest in the grace
of God. Just because I may not feel saved, does not change the
fact that evidence says that I am saved.)
C. 1 John 4:20-21 - True believers love the rest of God's family!
Without this supernatural love for the brethren a person is simply not
saved, regardless of what they may say!
D. How are you doing? Again, please grade your own papers only!
III. THE CHRISTLIKENESS SECTION
A. 1 John 3:4-10 - These verses reveal the truth that genuine believers
live a different life than the world around them. They have been
changed by the power of God and are different, 2 Cor. 5:17! A
saved person will develop a new pattern of life that will increasingly
become more and more like Jesus Christ, 1 John 2:6. The saved
individual will not be able to live a life of habitual, unconfessed,
unrepentant sin! They will sin, 1 John 1:8-10, but there will be a pull
in the heart to make it right with God and to separate from that sin!
B. Ill. There are times when I will call a home and an older child in that
home will answer the phone. Often, it is impossible for me to
distinguish the difference between that child's voice and that of one
of its parents. The inflections, pronunciations and sound of the
voices are about the same. The reason? The fruit doesn't fall far
from the tree!
C. The same is true in a spiritual sense. You are going to resemble
your spiritual father whether it is God or the devil. You will manifest
the characteristics of your spiritual father.
D. Did you come through that section alright? Please keep your eyes
on your own test results. God called us to bear fruit, not inspect it!
IV. THE COMPANION SECTION
A. 1 John 3:24 - Not only will the genuine believer have the external
marks of salvation, such as a desire to obey the Lord, a desire to do
His will, a love for the brethren that manifests itself in action rather
than mere words and a life that is marked by a resemblance to the
Lord Jesus, but the believer will also have the inner evidence of the
Spirit of God, 1 John 4:13.
B. At the instant of conversion, the Spirit of God takes up residence
within the spirit of the believer. This is the Baptism of the Holy Spirit, 1 Cor. 12:13. His Spirit within our hearts gives us assurance that we
are saved, Rom. 8:16.
C. His job in us is to seal us, Eph. 4:30; lead us, John 16:13; and to
give us assurance of our salvation; Eph. 1:13-14; 2 Cor. 1:22; 2
Cor. 5:5. The presence of the Spirit of God in our lives is proof
positive that we belong to the Lord!
This is a mysterious thing, but it is absolutely essential for the
assurance of one's salvation. When the Spirit of God is present in
your life, He will speak to your heart. He will tell you things. He will
guide you. He will warn you. He will lead you. He will feed you. He
will comfort you. He will teach you the truth. He will rise up within
your heart and confirm the reality of your adoption into the family of
God, ***Rom. 5:5***. Like a mother who wraps her arms around
that insecure child everyday and expresses her undying love, the
Spirit of God does the same things for the redeemed child of the
Lord. (Note: To put it simply, when you get saved, there is a
spiritual instinct placed within you. You immediately begin to desire
those things that pertain to God, His Word, His work and His
worship. This will not be a passing thing, but it will endure
throughout life because of the presence of the Spirit in your heart.)
D. Do you have the inner voice of the Holy Spirit within your heart? His
voice may be hard to hear at times because of all the noise from all
the other things in our lives, but it can be heard nonetheless! Is
there a desire for the things of God? Do you desire His house? Do
you long to be with His people. Do you find yourself needing a word
from the Bible? Do you ever find yourself needing to seek the Lord
in prayer? Friends, this is not naturally within man! This is put there
by the work of the Spirit of God!
E. Is He there?
V. THE COMMITMENT SECTION
A. 1 John 5:1 - The true believer is one who is trusting Jesus Christ
and Him alone for their soul's salvation. They believe all the Bible
says about Him and they have embraced Jesus as their only hope
by faith. That is the essence of salvation! It is more than just an
intellectual assent to the facts, it is a personal acceptance of those
things for oneself as your only hope of Heaven, Acts 16:31!
B. 1 John 5:13 - John tells us that this faith in Christ is the ground of
our hope! What are you trusting to take you to Heaven? Don't trust
a prayer you prayed. Don't trust a warn sensation you felt. Don't
trust what someone told you. You must trust Jesus and Him alone.
Nothing else will ever suffice to save the soul! This is the clear
message of 1 John 5:9-12! How does one trust Jesus? By faith!
You merely come to the place where you understand that nothing
else will do the job but Jesus and you simply lean on Him alone for
salvation. (Note: It may happen in the context of prayer. It may
happen in just an instant when trust is transferred to Jesus. It
always happens only when there is a conscious decision to turn from
a life of sin to faith in Christ and His finished work on the cross.)
C. How did you do in this section of the test? What are you trusting to
save your soul? Is your faith in Jesus or the church? Is your faith
in Jesus or your profession of faith or some prayer you prayed? Is
your faith in Jesus or in the good things you think you have done?
Faith that does not rest in Jesus Christ is not saving faith at all!
D. How did you score in this area? I think this is where most people
miss the boat when it comes to salvation!
Conc: When we took those achievement tests, the results would come back
and everyone was reduced to a percentage. Some were in the 90 percentile
range, other lower, some much lower. That was OK with that kind of test.
This test requires 100% to pass, anything else fails! How did you do? Are
you living with doubt and fear? You don't have to. Get it settled tonight. Are
you absolutely sure that you are saved? Then you ought to be the first on
down here thanking Him for His love and grace in your life!