1John 2:18-19, 24
The Big Five

The most important question in the world is, "Are you saved?"  There
are several different ways to phrase the question. "Have you been
born again?" "Where will you spend eternity?"  But one of the best
ways to phrase it to church people is, "Are you sure you saved?"

Notice Johnís train of thought in these verses.
    1. \\#18\\ It is the last times.
    2. \\#18\\ There are many anti (false) christs in the world.
    3. \\#19\\ The ones who are false quit on God.
    4. \\#19\\ Those who quit, were not of us. That is, they were not
        Christians.
    5. \\#24\\ His conclusion - Christians will not quit on Christ.

Now, I cannot tell if you are saved or lost.  No one can, but there
is more to salvation than
    1. Walking the aisle.
    2. Praying the sinnersí prayer.
    3. Crying a few tears.
    4. Being baptized.
    5. Even than believing that Jesus is the Son of God who died on
        the cross for sins.

By the time John wrote his last writings, it was obvious that many
who professed Jesus as their Savior did not possess Jesus as their
Savior. In this epistle, John gave five tests that every person needs
to give to themselves, tests that will reveal to you whether you are
going to heaven or not.

What are these tests?

I. The first test from Johnís writing is the Abiding Test.
    A. That is what John was saying in our text verse.
        1. If you abide in the things of God, you are Godís.
        2. If you do not abide in the things of God, you are not His.
    B. The Abiding Test was spoken of by Christ Himself.

John 15:5  I am the vine, ye are the branches:
He that abideth in me, and I in him, the same
bringeth forth much fruit: for without me ye
can do nothing.
6  If a man abide not in me, he is cast forth
as a branch, and is withered; and men gather
them, and cast them into the fire, and they
are burned.

        1. Jesus was speaking of some staying with Him and some not.
        2. Those who do not are cast into the fire.
        3. Fire in the Bible often represents judgment.
    C. So a sign that I am saved is that I ABIDE in Christ.  What
        does that mean?
        1. The word "abide" means "to continue, to stay, to dwell, to
            endure, to be present."
        2. I take it that there are two ways to abide.
            a. Will you stay in the fellowship until the end?
                (1) That is actually the most obvious meaning of the
                     words "to abide," is it not?

1John 2:18 Öthey were not of US;
Öif they had been of USÖ
they were not all of US.

                (2) This is what lead John to this topic to begin
                     with. People inside the church were quitting.
                (3) Today, there is a mass abandoning of the house of
                     God, even by pastors who are shutting down their
                     worship services.
                (4) Such behavior is due to the fact that churches
                     are placing the emphasis on what makes the
                     people happy rather than on what makes God
                     happy.
                     (a) Convenience makes people happy.
                     (b) Worship makes God happy.
                (5) I am not saying that everybody who quits church
                     is lost because that just isnít so.
                (6) However, the Bible says that if they quit
                     abiding, they are not Christís.
            b. Will you stay in the things of Christ until the end?
                (1) Going to church is one thing.  Staying in the
                     things that are Christian is another.
                (2) It is sad, but many that are in churches today
                     are not participating in "Christian" things.
                     (a) Many churches and individual Christians,
                          have abandoned the Bible.
                            i. I am not speaking of reading an
                                inferior Bible translation now. I
                                mean they just donít use the Bible at
                                all.
                           ii. Sunday sermons in those churches are
                                merely philosophical speeches
                                designed to bring out the best in
                                man.
                     (b) Many have given up praying.
                     (c) Many no longer have any expectation in God.
                     (d) Many no longer believe in God as the
                          Creator.
               (3) Now, you can call yourself a Christian, you can
                    sit in a church with a steeple or a cross, you
                    can have a form of religion, but if you are not
                    abiding in the things of Christ, John says that
                    you are not Christís.
        3. That is the Abiding Test.

II. A second spiritual test of salvation is the Sinning Test.

1John 3:6  Whosoever abideth in him sinneth not:
whosoever sinneth hath not seen him, neither
known him.

    A. Please understand that John was not saying that Christians do
        not sin.
        1. We do.
        2. In fact, John had already addressed that issue.

1John 1:8  If we say that we have no sin, we
deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us.

    B. What John was saying is that Christians do not get into sin
        and stay there.
        1. It is one thing to stumble and fall into the mud.  It is
            an entirely different thing to build a mud castle and to
            move inside it.
        2. Christians, true Christians, have been reprogrammed so
            that they cannot continually live in sin.
    C. I worry about some folk.
        1. They say they are Christís but they are living in
            deliberate sin.
        2. They lay claim to a salvation experience when they were
            small or years ago, but there is no conviction about what
            they are doing now.
        3. Friend, if you have been out of church longer than you
            were in it or if you have been living years in activities
            that you know are sinful, something is wrong.
        4. You are failing the Sinning Test!
        5. Why is it not possible for a Christian to live permanently
            in sin?
        6. The answer to that question actually takes us over into a
            third spiritual test of salvation.

III. The third test of salvation is the Conviction Test.

1Jo 3:9  Whosoever is born of God doth not commit
sin; for his seed remaineth in him: and he cannot
sin, because he is born of God.

    A. The Bible says that God has put His seed into us and so we
        cannot continually sin.
        1. What is Godís seed that has been planted within us?
        2. I believe it is the Holy Ghost.
        3. Jesus described the ministry of the Holy Ghost in the
             believer.

John 16:7  Nevertheless I tell you the truth; It
is expedient for you that I go away: for if I go
not away, the Comforter will not come unto you;
but if I depart, I will send him unto you.
8  And when he is come, he will reprove the world
of sin, and of righteousness, and of judgment:

13  Howbeit when he, the Spirit of truth, is
come, he will guide you into all truthÖ

    B. God has implanted Himself within us.
        1. Whether we like it or not, Christians are different.
        2. God has put a Person and power in us that is repelled by
            sin.
        3. So when we get too close to sin, the Holy Spirit
            "reproves" or convicts us so much, that we must get away
            from it.

Joseph has a big, black dog named Toby.  Toby, like all dogs, wants
to wonder the community and just come home to eat.  In order to stop
that, Joseph has tried several training or shock collars.  The idea
is that you put a small battery-powered collar around the dogís neck
and when he gets too close to the boundary, the collar starts
beeping.  If the dog continues, the collar sends a small voltage of
electricity to the dog in an attempt to turn him around.

    C. The Holy Ghost is our collar.
        1. When we get too close to sin, He starts beeping.
        2. The beeping is our conviction.
        3. That conviction keeps us away from sin or at the least it
            makes it too uncomfortable for us to dwell in sin for
            long.
        4. If the Holy Ghost does not beep when we get too close to
            sin, it is a strong indication it is because He is not in
            us.
        5. If the Holy Spirit is not in us, we are not saved.

IV. A third spiritual test of salvation is the Understanding Test.

1John 1:8  If we say that we have no sin, we
deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us.
9  If we confess our sins, he is faithful and
just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us
from all unrighteousness.
10  If we say that we have not sinned, we make
him a liar, and his word is not in us.

    A. John is addressing the notion that some who profess Christ
        have.
        1. That is, that once they are saved, they never sin again.
            a. As I have already noted, that is not true.
            b. Christians do sin.
        2. Notice, John specifically states that error twice
            \\#8,10\\.
        3. Both times, he says that if that is what is believed, they
            are missing something.
            a. \\#8\\ The truth in not in them.
            b. \\#10\\ The Word, which is where one gets the truth,
                is not in them.
        4. What does it mean to be missing the truth or "His Word"?
            a. If the word is missing then understanding is missing.
            b. If understanding is missing then the Teacher is
                missing.
            c. If the Teacher is missing then the Holy Ghost is
                missing.
            d. If the Holy Ghost is missing then salvation is missing.

Ro 8:9 ÖNow if any man have not the Spirit of
Christ, he is none of his.

    B. The bottom line here is that Christians, true Christians, have
        some measure of understanding because the Holy Ghost is
        inside of them.
        1. That does not mean that Christians canít get things wrong.
        2. The fact that there are so many different Christian
            religions clearly demonstrates that not all Christians
            believe everything alike.
    C. However, somethings just canít be missed if the Holy Ghost is
        inside of us.
        1. One must understand who Jesus is.
        2. One must understand what Jesus has done.
        3. One must have some understanding of sin and its ravishes.
        4. One must have some understanding of repentance.

V. A fourth spiritual test of salvation is the Loving Test.

1John 2:15  Love not the world, neither the
things that are in the world. If any man love
the world, the love of the Father is not in him.

    A. John speaks of at least three love tests in this epistle.  If
        we are savedÖ
        1. We will not love the world.
        2. We will love God.
        3. We will love His people.
    B. John says if anyone loves this world, the love of the Father
        is not in him.
        1. Thatís blunt and plain.
        2. Do Christians sometimes stray and sin in the world? Sure.
        3. Do they get comfortable and abide in it?  No.
        4. As we have already seen, they cannot for Godís seed is in
            them.
    C. Some who profess to be saved are just too much in love with
        this world.
        1. I know that what constitutes "loving the world" is a
            subjective call.
        2. I am not anotherís judge or jury, but God is.
            a. Some are so far out into the world that they canít
                even see the shoreline.
            b. And some have always been like that.
            c. There was never a point in their life where their love
                for the world ever waned at all.
        3. Christians wonít have that kind of love for the world.
            Their great love is for the things of God.

I close with one more Bible verse.

2 Corinthians 13:5  Examine yourselves, whether
ye be in the faith; prove your own selves. Know
ye not your own selves, how that Jesus Christ is
in you, except ye be reprobates?

The question of being saved is important.  It is the whole question
of life.  Make sure today that you are not just coasting.  Examine
yourself.  Apply this Biblical tests.  Your soul depends upon it.

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