Considering all of the recent events that are plaguing this culture, I truly believe that it time for those who profess Christ as their Savior to check their pulse. What do I mean? It’s time for us to ensure that if we profess that Christ is our Savior, that we belong to Him. Are you a genuinely converted, blood bought believer? What do they look like? What should they possess?
A few weeks ago at our church, I taught a bible study lesson on this subject using the First Epistle of John (1 John). To really stress my point, I would like to share that lesson with you.
If you are a true Christian there are at least 12 things that you must have or do:
True Christians Confess Their Sins.
1 John 1:8-10 NASB
If we say that we have no sin, we are deceiving ourselves and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, He is faithful and righteous to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. If we say that we have not sinned, we make Him a liar and His word is not in us.
Confess means to admit your sins and profess your belief in God. Confess means to say the same thing about sin that God does. True Christians acknowledge God’s perspective about sin.
God’s attitude toward sin with strong feelings of hostility, disgust, and utter dislike. For example, sin is described as putrefying sores (Isaiah 1:6, NKJV), a heavy burden (Psalm 38:4), defiling filth (Titus 1:15;2 Corinthians 7:1), a binding debt (Matthew 6:12-15), darkness (1 John 1:6) and a scarlet stain (Isaiah 1:18).
Continual confession of sin is an indication of genuine salvation. Genuine Christians must admit and forsake their sin. Since God has said that all people are sinners to deny that fact is to blaspheme God with slander that defames his name.
True Christians Keep God’s Commands:
1 John 2:3-5 NASB
By this we know that we have come to know Him, if we keep His commandments. The one who says, “I have come to know Him,” and does not keep His commandments, is a liar, and the truth is not in him; but whoever keeps His word, in him the love of God has truly been perfected. By this we know that we are in Him:
Obedience to God’s commands shows genuine fellowship with Him. It’s carrying out the will of God. If we love God, we will obey Him, not always and not perfectly, but our desire is to obey Him and our lives give evidence of that desire. When we love God and obey Him, we naturally have love for one another. Obedience is commanded by God, not only because it glorifies Him when we obey, but because it is the best for us. Obedience brings joy, comfort and peace in a world where such things are hard to find, mainly due to disobedience and rejection of God and His Word.
True Christians Walk as Jesus Walked:
1 John 2:6 NASB
the one who says he abides in Him ought himself to walk in the same manner as He walked.
The word walk derives from a word which means Behave. True Christians behave as Jesus did. Jesus’ life of obedience is the Christians pattern. Those of us who claim to be Christians ought to live as He did since they possess His Spirits presence and power. Scripture tells us in Ephesians 4, not longer walk as the gentiles (non believers), but put on Christ (our example)
True Christians Hate the World:
1 John 2:15-17 NASB
Do not love the world nor the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh and the lust of the eyes and the boastful pride of life, is not from the Father, but is from the world. The world is passing away, and also its lusts; but the one who does the will of God lives forever.
While God is love, we see from the passage that there’s a certain type of love that God hates. (What kind of love is that?) When it says that God hates the world, its not referring to the physical, material world. He’s referring to the invisible systems of the world. The world that’s evil and dominated by Satan. He referring to those things that bring opposition against God, His word, and His people.
The world’s systems and ideologies may seem attractive to us, but it’s deceptive. (Genesis 3) This world that we live in is only temporary. It’s headed for destruction. God’s will on the other hand is permanent and unchangeable. Those of us who follow God’s will, will abide as His people forever.
True Christians Remain in Fellowship with God:
1 John 2:19 NASB
They went out from us, but they were not really of us; for if they had been of us, they would have remained with us; but they went out, so that it would be shown that they all are not of us.
Once you are truly saved by grace through faith, you remain in fellowship with God. This is an attribute of genuine salvation. The Bible teaches that those who are born again will continue trusting in Christ forever. God, by His own power through the indwelling presence of the Holy Spirit, keeps or preserves the believer forever. This wonderful truth is seen in Ephesians 1:13-14, where we see that believers are “sealed with the Holy Spirit of promise, who is the guarantee of our inheritance until the redemption of the purchase possession, to the praise of His glory.” When we are born again, we receive the promised indwelling presence of the Holy Spirit that is God’s guarantee that He who began a good work in us will complete it (Philippians 1:6). In order for us to lose our salvation after receiving the promised Holy Spirit, God would have to break His promise or renege on His “guarantee,” which He cannot do. Therefore, the believer is eternally secure because God is eternally faithful. True Christians will remain in fellowship with God. Not because of their own power or might, but simply because Holy Spirit empowers them to do so.
True Christians Practice Righteousness:
1 John 2:28-29 NASB
Now, little children, abide in Him, so that when He appears, we may have confidence and not shrink away from Him in shame at His coming. If you know that He is righteous, you know that everyone also who practices righteousness is born of Him.
The only way for us to become good at something is to practice at it.
True Christians Do Not Practice Sin:
1 John 3:4-10 NASB
Everyone who practices sin also practices lawlessness; and sin is lawlessness. You know that He appeared in order to take away sins; and in Him there is no sin. No one who abides in Him sins; no one who sins has seen Him or knows Him. Little children, make sure no one deceives you; the one who practices righteousness is righteous, just as He is righteous; the one who practices sin is of the devil; for the devil has sinned from the beginning. The Son of God appeared for this purpose, to destroy the works of the devil. No one who is born of God practices sin, because His seed abides in him; and he cannot sin, because he is born of God. By this the children of God and the children of the devil are obvious: anyone who does not practice righteousness is not of God, nor the one who does not love his brother.
Genuinely converted Christians are incompatible with sin. Practice in biblical context focuses on habitual practice. Although genuine Christians have a sin disposition and do commit and need to confess their sins that isn’t the unbroken pattern in their life. A born again believer (a true christian) has a built in check or guard against habitual sinning due to a new nature. The sin check is called what? (Holy Spirit) True Christians can’t practice sin because it is incompatible with the work of Christ. Christ died to sanctify the believer and to sin is contrary to Christ’s work of breaking the dominion of sin the believers life. (Romans 6:1-15)
Only 2 types of people exist in this world. Children of God and Children of Satan. Children of God practice righteousness and Children of Satan practice sin. Which person are you?
True Christians Love the Brethren
1 John 3:11-22 NASB
For this is the message which you have heard from the beginning, that we should love one another; not as Cain, who was of the evil one and slew his brother. And for what reason did he slay him? Because his deeds were evil, and his brother’s were righteous. Do not be surprised, brethren, if the world hates you. We know that we have passed out of death into life, because we love the brethren. He who does not love abides in death. Everyone who hates his brother is a murderer; and you know that no murderer has eternal life abiding in him. We know love by this, that He laid down His life for us; and we ought to lay down our lives for the brethren. But whoever has the world’s goods, and sees his brother in need and closes his heart against him, how does the love of God abide in him? Little children, let us not love with word or with tongue, but in deed and truth. We will know by this that we are of the truth, and will assure our heart before Him in whatever our heart condemns us; for God is greater than our heart and knows all things. Beloved, if our heart does not condemn us, we have confidence before God; and whatever we ask we receive from Him, because we keep His commandments and do the things that are pleasing in His sight.
All through this epistle when are hearing the word LOVE. Its not just a mere optional duty to love, if you are a true Christian, its positive proof that one has truly been born again. (1 Peter 1:22-23)
Submit to Scripture
1 John 4:6 NASB
We are from God; he who knows God listens to us; he who is not from God does not listen to us. By this we know the spirit of truth and the spirit of error.
Genuinely converted believers respond to God’s Word because they know the voice of God.
John 8:47 says He who is of God hears the Words of God; for this reason you do not hear them, because you are not of God.
John 10:3 says To Him the doorkeeper opens, and the sheep hear his voice and he calls his own sheep by name and leads them out.
True Christians Have the Spirit
1 John 4:13 NASB
By this we know that we abide in Him and He in us, because He has given us of His Spirit.
In order for us to respond to the Gospel call, our hearts must be regenerated by Holy Spirit who resides in us. How do we know that Holy Spirit dwells in us? What’s the evidence?
But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law. And those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires. If we live by the Spirit, let us also keep in step with the Spirit.
True Christians Confess Jesus is God
1 John 4:15 NASB
Whoever confesses that Jesus is the Son of God, God abides in him, and he in God.
When are confess Jesus is the Son of God, we rest on the fact that we couldn’t be in right relationship with God on our own. When we make this confession, we attest to the fact that God became flesh through His Son that we might be saved from the consequence of unforgiven sin.
True Christians Overcome the World
1 John 5:4 NASB
For whatever is born of God overcomes the world; and this is the victory that has overcome the world-our faith.
Overcome means to conquer or be victorious. If we are born of God (genuinely converted, blood bought believer) we are victorious over the schemes of the devil.
Our new birth makes it possible to overcome the world and all of its temptations, but our victory–on a practical level is not automatic. Believing rightly, loving unconditionally, and obeying joyfully comes from the word of God. Overcoming the world requires our humble submission to the teaching of Scripture.
Do you find the temptation to sin, strong? Do you find the commandments of God to be burdensome? Do you struggle you struggle to know the will of God in the face of so many alternatives? Do you find your faith lacking? Faith comes from hearing, and hearing by the word of Christ. If we are to overcome, if we are to be everything that God intends us to be than we must give ourselves to the reading and applying of God’s Word.
As believers, its important that we examine ourselves in light of scripture to know if we are in the faith. People can make assumptions all day, but if we mirrors ourselves after God’s word, there’s no questions.