A little bit over two weeks ago I met a woman at the local mall in the food court named Judy. I have been going to the mall for a few months now to talk to people about the gospel. Her interview from about 2 1/2 weeks ago is here. She called me that night and said she wanted to study the Bible with me and start coming to church. She has been coming for two weeks now. A brother and sister in Christ went to spend some time with her today to study the Bible with her some more, and she decided today to submit her life to Christ and to be baptized. Praise God for her obedience to the Gospel and for His mercy towards all of us! Please be praying for Judy and her family. Hopefully over the next few weeks I can spend a lot of time with them and can be an influence on them for Christ!
Have you ever wondered if you were truly saved? What is the difference between someone who just claims to be a Christian and someone who actually is a Christian? Jesus said, “Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven” (Matthew 7:21). Jesus makes it clear that it is not enough just to call Jesus your Lord, but you must obey him as the Master of your life. Many who claim to be Christians live in the world and don’t look any different from those who have not been converted. The reason is because they have not been converted either. If nothing has changed in your life then you’re not converted. Conversion means “change”. You are supposed to become a new creature (2 Corinthians 5:17).
So how do we know if we have truly been converted to Christ or if we are just saying “Lord, Lord”? Please pay attention to this, because it is very important: God wants us to examine ourselves. “Examine yourselves, to see whether you are in the faith. Test yourselves. Or do you not realize this about yourselves, that Jesus Christ is in you? – unless indeed you fail to meet the test! I hope you will find out that we have not failed the test” (2 Corinthians 13:5-6). How can we examine ourselves? Ultimately we must look at the Bible because it is a mirror (James 1:22-25). You see your true reflection in a mirror. God will show us who we truly are when we look into His Word.
“So That You May Know”
An excellent place to start is the book of 1st John. The purpose of 1st John was to give true Christians assurance of their salvation (it is also very helpful in examining ourselves to see whether or not we are in the faith). “These things I have written to you who believe in the name of the Son of God, so that you may know that you have eternal life” (1 John 5:13).
Examine yourself in light of these verses from 1st John:
True Christians walk in the light.
“This is the message we have heard from him and proclaim to you, that God is light, and in him is no darkness at all. 6 If we say we have fellowship with him while we walk in darkness, we lie and do not practice the truth. 7 But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus his Son cleanses us from all sin” (1 John 1:5-7).
If we walk in the light, then Jesus blood cleanses us from our sins. If we walk in the darkness (even though we may claim to be Christians), we don’t have fellowship with God. ”Walk” is an important word here. What is the primary path/direction of you life? Light or darkness? Let’s say you made the plan to walk all the way home from school one day on the curb. Your home is about 500 yards from the school building. If you walked on the curb for about 150 yards, fell off the curb, then got back on it, and finished the whole walk home on the curb, you can honestly say that you walked on the curb the whole way home. But if you went that same 150 yards on the curb, fell off, walked another 300 yards on the road, and then got back on the edge of the sidewalk for the final 50 yards, you cannot honestly say that you walked on the edge of the sidewalk the whole way home.
With the previous illustration in mind, you cannot say you are walking in the light if you are there only part of the time. If you are really a Christian, it is going to show in a DAILY practicing of the truth, and if you fall off of the curb (into the darkness), then you get right back on the curb instead of enjoying a life living in sin.
True Christians know God, which is proven by keeping God’s commandments
“And by this we know that we have come to know him, if we keep his commandments. Whoever says ‘I know him’ but does not keep his commandments is a liar, and the truth is not in him” (1 John 2:3-4).
If we keep God’s commandments, we can be confident that we know Him. But, if we say we know Him and don’t keep His commandments, we are deceiving ourselves. Remember, we cannot say that Jesus is our Lord if we are not doing what He commands.
True Christians admit their sins, confess them to God, and find forgiveness
“If we say we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. If we say we have not sinned, we make him a liar, and his word is not in us” (1 John 1:8-10).
True Christians don’t hide their sins, ignore them or downplay them. All of us have sinned. It is so important to confess our sins to God. God is faithful and He will forgive His children when they confess. You need to call sin what it is when you see it in your life. It is not a minor infraction. Whether you want to call it a “little white lie” or not, it is still a lie! Don’t rename your sins to make them sound better to ease your conscience. Your sin is rebellion against the Creator! If you are doing this, your fruits are showing that you may not have been converted. You must see sin as a terrible thing against God!
True Christians love their brothers and sisters in Christ
“Whoever says he is in the light and hates his brother is still in darkness. Whoever loves his brother abides in the light, and in him there is no cause for stumbling” (1 John 2:9-10).
“We know that we have passed out of death into life, because we love the brethren. He who does not love abides in death. 15 Everyone who hates his brother is a murderer; and you know that no murderer has eternal life abiding in him. 16 We know love by this, that He laid down His life for us; and we ought to lay down our lives for the brethren” (1 John 3:14-16).
“Beloved, let us love one another, for love is from God, and whoever loves has been born of God and knows God. Anyone who does not love does not know God, because God is love” (1 John 4:7-8).
“If anyone says, ‘I love God,’ and hates his brother, he is a liar; for he who does not love his brother whom he has seen cannot love God whom he has not seen. And this commandment we have from him: whoever loves God must also love his brother” (1 John 4:20-21).
The Bible is pretty clear that we must love one another to have fellowship with God. This love is more than a nice feeling that we have towards the children of God. This love is an active love. IT is dedicated to helping your brethren get to heaven and doing whatever you can to help them grow. This love is to imitate Jesus’ love which was willing to even give His own life so others could be saved. These verses seem pretty clear, if you are not actively showing love to your brethren, you cannot begin to say you love God or know Him. The final passage says that if you do not love your brother, you actually hate them! You either do one or the other.
True Christians serve the saints
“By this we know love, that he laid down his life for us, and we ought to lay down our lives for the brothers. But if anyone has the world’s goods and sees his brother in need, yet closes his heart against him, how does God’s love abide in him? Little children, let us not love in word or talk but in deed and in truth. By this we shall know that we are of the truth and reassure our heart before him” (1 John 3:16-19).
We must follow the example that Jesus gave us of how to serve one another. It is one thing to speak well, it is totally another thing to be among God’s people serving them (Please read Matthew 21:28-32; 25:31-46). Remember that you will not be judged based on your words alone, but also your actions.
True Christians don’t love the world
“Do not love the world or 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 desires of the flesh and the desires of the eyes and pride of life—is not from the Father but is from the world. And the world is passing away along with its desires, but whoever does the will of God abides forever” (1 John 2:15-17).
We cannot love the world and God. If we lay up for ourselves treasures on earth, it will all pass away. God will not permit idols/other gods in the lives of His people. If we love worldly things, we do not love God! Do we love to watch wickedness on TV? Do we laugh at the very things God hates? Ask yourself this question: “If someone was to line up10 people that are your closest friends and/or family members, what would they say you love the most in life?” What would they say is the most important thing to you? If that answer does not have God at the top of the list, you need to examine yourself more in depth to see whether you are truly in the faith. Can you say along with the psalmist, “Whom have I in heaven but you? And there is nothing on earth that I desire besides you. My flesh and my heart may fail, but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever” (Psalm 73:25-26).
True Christians believe and practice true doctrine
“Let what you heard from the beginning abide in you. If what you heard from the beginning abides in you, then you too will abide in the Son and in the Father. And this is the promise that he made to us—eternal life” (1 John 2:24-25).
“Whoever confesses that Jesus is the Son of God, God abides in him, and he in God” (1 John 4:15).
“Everyone who believes that Jesus is the Christ has been born of God” (1 John 5:1).
We must stick to what the Bible says and persevere in the true doctrine (teaching) of God. If we go away from truth, we cannot abide in the Son or the Father. This is another reason that diligent study of the Bible is imminently important. Are you testing “the spirits to see whether they are from God”? If you are not testing everything that you are taught to the word of God, it can be very easy to believe things that are false. No matter how much you may respect your teachers, remember that they are only men. Don’t even just take your parents or your grandparent’s word for it. Check it out! They are fallible. They can be wrong. Make sure the doctrine you believe is God’s teachings and not man’s. If you do not believe true doctrine, you are not practicing true doctrine.
If you have studied this material and believe that you have not been truly converted to Christ, make sure you take care of this as soon as possible! You are not promised another day of life. Jesus could return tomorrow or you could die. If you have any questions regarding this material, or would like assistance in obeying the gospel of Christ, please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org or call us @ 724-505-1615.