Thursday, April 3, 2014
Are You a Genuine Believer?
A few months ago I began a private Bible study on the book of First John called With the Master: Before the Mirror of God's Word by Susan Heck. I highly recommend this book to anyone that really wants to dig deep into God's Word. It has greatly encouraged me in my walk with the Lord!
I thought I would share with you some quotes from her study:
She points out that you can know for sure if you are a genuine believer or not. God's Word doesn't leave us in the dark. We can KNOW we are walking in the Truth when we compare our lives to what the Word of God says:
Will have joy
Will not practice sin and will walk in the light. 1 John 1:5-7
Will seek the Truth
Will be discerning of false teachers
Strives to be like Christ in every way
Confesses their sin
Will love the Word
Will hate sin, run from it, and avoid it.
Will joyfully obey the Lord. His commandments wont be burdensome.
Our lives will be characterized by loving others. 1 John 4:7-12
Produces fruit of the Spirit- love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, gentleness, faithfulness, goodness, and self-control.
Has the indwelling of the Holy Spirit
No fear in the coming judgment or rapture
Practice lawlessness- Matthew 7
Hides or denies their sin
Have no desire for the Word, for obedience, to be with God’s people, or to be in God’s house.
Loves the world
Produces works of the flesh- adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lewdness, idolatry, sorcery, hatred, contentions, jealousies, outbursts of wrath, selfish ambitions, dissensions, heresies, envy, murders, drunkenness, revelries, and the like. Gal. 5:19-21
"If we are not loving other believers and our sense of the love of God for us isn’t being matured in us, then we have no basis for assurance of eternal life." Susan Heck
“If I have not compassion on my fellow servant even as my Lord had pity on me… then I know nothing of Calvary’s love.” Amy Carmichael
"Is your life characterized by doing what is right, by fighting hard against sin? Have you seen change and growth in your walk since you first believed in Christ? If you hate sin, and are convicted when you sin, if you confess your sin, and determine to turn away from it, then more than likely, you are a child of the King; you have been born of God. However, if you continually practice sin, if you have no conviction when you break God’s holy law, if you can easily behave as if there is no law, if you have no seen change in your life since you became a Christian, then I would say, as John would say, you have not come to know Him."
You cannot hate someone and think you are on your way to heaven.
A person who claims to be a Christian, and yet has an ongoing pattern of sin in their life, proves to be a spurious Christian, one who does not have a regenerated heart. If there is no change, if there is no growing toward Christ’s likeness, then John would say this person is of the devil.
We do NOT become righteous as we practice righteousness, or our salvation would be by works. Doing righteousness is a sign that we ARE righteous.
Do you love the brethren? Do you really love the brethren? Are you patient with people, especially your husband and your children and those in your family? Love is very patient. Are you kind to others? Does it show in your tone of voice and in your body language? Love is kind. Are you jealous of other people, wanting what they have? Do you envy their position, their looks, or their material possessions? Love is never jealous or envious. Do you boast around others about how great you are or what you have accomplished? Do you secretly think you are better than others and judge others in your heart? Love is never boastful, pround, or haughty. Do you always insist on your own way? Do you pout when you don’t get your own way? Do you resent the time or energy that you give to others? Love is not selfish, nor does it demand its own way. Do you cut people off in traffic? Do you treat your children or husband as second-class citizens? Are you abrupt on the phone with others? Love is not rude. Are you agitated and frustrated with others or with circumstances that God allows? Do others know it is that “time of the month” by your feelings, do you bring it up to them? Do you remember all the mistakes your husband has made? Love does not hold grudges and will hardly even notice when others do you wrong. Do you secretly rejoice when others excel, especially in the things of Christ? Love is never glad about injustice, but rejoices whenever truth wins out. Are you loyal to your marriage, to your children, to your friendships, to the leaders in your church? If you love someone, you will be loyal to them no matter what the cost. You will always believe in them, always expect the best of them, and always stand your ground defending them.
The Gnostics claimed to be in the light and yet they looked with disdain on those who did not have the same superior knowledge that they claimed to have.
When we have an attitude of hatred, unforgiveness and bitterness towards others, we cannot progress in our spiritual walk.
The test of our religious experience is whether it produces a reflection of the life of Jesus in our daily life; if it fails this elementary test, it is false.
God’s forgiveness and cleansing of the believer’s sins are not dependent on their confession of specific sins on a sin-by-sin basis. The condition is that they are, as believers sharing in the New Covenant promise, characterized by continually confessing their sins as they grow in an intimate relationship with God, who has revealed Himself as holy!
The Greeks loved knowledge, and to them the gospel message was to simplistic. To them Jesus was not enough, and so they added Christ plus knowledge.
The fact that you and I have partnership with the living God and that we have eternal life should bring us joy as nothing in this life can.
Beware of the person that can articulate a good testimony and even speak fluently regarding the Scriptures, but does not live a holy life. He who says, “I know him”, but doesn’t keep His commandments, is a liar, and the truth is not in him. 1 John 2:3,4
There is a vast difference between sinning and walking in darkness. Christians do sin, but they do not walk in sin. Christians do sin, but they hate sin. Christians do sin, but they sin less and less as they are conformed to the image of Christ. Christians do sin, but they do not claim that sinning does not matter, as the Gnostics were claiming.
Are you a genuine believer?