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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