LET’S TAKE A TEST

The early church had been birthed in power. It grew like wildfire and the Lord truly blessed the fledgling church. However, it wasn’t many days until heresy began to creep into the church. One of the earliest perversions of Christianity to make an appearance was known as Gnosticism.

There were many versions of Gnosticism, but the primary areas of the agreement was that knowledge and not the cross was the means to salvation. In other words, the Gnostics believed that only through initiation into the “special” knowledge they alone possessed could anyone hope to be saved. They also believed that all matter was evil. This meant that Jesus Christ did not really have a flesh and blood body. If the matter was evil then Christ could not have had a physical body. It only appeared that He had died. Some did believe that Jesus died, but the spirit of Christ left Him before the cross. This, of course, eliminated the cross and the resurrection as the basis of salvation. Since they believed all matter to be evil, they did not believe in living holy lives. They believed the body could be allowed to do as it pleased since body and spirit were separate one from the other.

As these teachings began to filter their way into the church, some people found their faith undermined and they began to doubt their relationship with the Lord. Our text verses tell us plainly that John felt led to write this book to offer assurance to his readers. He wants them, and us, to know that we can know for sure that we are saved. We do not have to live in doubt. Many do, but it does not have to be that way.

To aid us in knowing for sure whether we are saved or not, John gives his readers a simple test they can take to determine where they stand with the Lord. In some ways, it is kind of like the achievement tests they made us take in school. Those tests were broken down into sections that revealed where we stood in relation to our peer group throughout the country. John’s test reveals where a person stands in regard to this matter of salvation. His is a simple test, broken down into five sections. I would like for us to take this test together this evening. You will not need a number two pencil. All you will need is an honest heart. Take the test, see where you stand and if corrections need to be made, they will be allowed. Let’s examine the sections of John’s test and our own hearts today. Let’s take a test!

I. THE COMMANDMENT SECTION

A. 1 John 2:3-6 – Simply stated the person who is saved will have a desire to walk in obedience to the revealed will of the Lord. This is the same standard applied by Jesus Himself – John 14:15.

B. 1 John 4:6 – The redeemed individual will receive the Word of God and will conform his/her life to it!

C. 1 John 5:3 – The saved person will experience joy in their heart when they receive a commandment from the Lord. God’s demands will not be “grievous” to them, but they will be a pleasure and a delight to the soul! ( Psa. 1:1-3; Psa. 40:8; Psa. 119:35; Psa. 119:47.)

D. Is there something within you that wants to do the will of God? You may not do it completely or perfectly, but is there a pull within you that makes you want to do what God wants? That is not naturally within man, it is supernaturally placed within man when he is saved!

E. How did you do on this section? Grade your own papers, please!

II. THE COMPASSION SECTION

A. 1 John 2:9-11 – The genuine believer will always be marked by a true love for his brothers and sisters in Christ. A person who displays no love for the redeemed is not a child of God!

B. 1 John 3:14-22 – The true Christian loves his brethren, as we have already said. But, this is a love that is seen and not just said! It is a love that transcends all hurts and personal attacks. It is our unexplainable love for people, in spite of their attitudes and actions towards us, that gives us assurance of our salvation. (Note: Verses 20-21 tell us that there are times when doubt may arise and our own heart will attempt to condemn us. That is, we may feel that we are not saved. John wants us to know that we are not to rely on what our heart says! We are to look at the evidence and rest in the grace of God. Just because I may not feel saved, does not change the fact that evidence says that I am saved.)

C. 1 John 4:20-21 – True believers love the rest of God’s family! Without this supernatural love for the brethren, a person is simply not saved, regardless of what they may say!

D. How are you doing? Again, please grade your own papers only!

III. THE CHRISTLIKENESS SECTION

A. 1 John 3:4-10 – These verses reveal the truth that genuine believers live a different life than the world around them. They have been changed by the power of God and are different, 2 Cor. 5:17! A saved person will develop a new pattern of life that will increasingly become more and more like Jesus Christ, 1 John 2:6. The saved individual will not be able to live a life of habitual, unconfessed, unrepentant sin! They will sin, 1 John 1:8-10, but there will be a pull in the heart to make it right with God and to separate from that sin!

B. Ill. There are times when I will call home and an older child in that home will answer the phone. Often, it is impossible for me to distinguish the difference between that child’s voice and that of one of its parents. The inflections, pronunciations, and sound of the voices are about the same. The reason? The fruit doesn’t fall far from the tree!

C. The same is true in a spiritual sense. You are going to resemble your spiritual father whether it is God or the devil. You will manifest the characteristics of your spiritual father.

D. Did you come through that section alright? Please keep your eyes on your own test results. God called us to bear fruit, not inspect it!

IV. THE COMPANION SECTION

A. 1 John 3:24 – Not only will the genuine believer have the external marks of salvation, such as a desire to obey the Lord, a desire to do His will, a love for the brethren that manifests itself in action rather than mere words and a life that is marked by a resemblance to the Lord Jesus, but the believer will also have the inner evidence of the Spirit of God, 1 John 4:13.

B. At the instant of conversion, the Spirit of God takes up residence within the spirit of the believer. This is the Baptism of the Holy Spirit, 1 Cor. 12:13. His Spirit within our hearts gives us the assurance that we are saved, Rom. 8:16.

C. His job in us is to seal us, Eph. 4:30; lead us, John 16:13; and to give us assurance of our salvation; Eph. 1:13-14; 2 Cor. 1:22; 2 Cor. 5:5. The presence of the Spirit of God in our lives is proof positive that we belong to the Lord!

This is a mysterious thing, but it is absolutely essential for the assurance of one’s salvation. When the Spirit of God is present in your life, He will speak to your heart. He will tell you things. He will guide you. He will warn you. He will lead you. He will feed you. He will comfort you. He will teach you the truth. He will rise up within your heart and confirm the reality of your adoption into the family of God, ***Rom. 5:5***. Like a mother who wraps her arms around that insecure child everyday and expresses her undying love, the Spirit of God does the same things for the redeemed child of the Lord. (Note: To put it simply, when you get saved, there is a spiritual instinct placed within you. You immediately begin to desire those things that pertain to God, His Word, His work and His worship. This will not be a passing thing, but it will endure throughout life because of the presence of the Spirit in your heart.)

D. Do you have the inner voice of the Holy Spirit within your heart? His voice may be hard to hear at times because of all the noise from all the other things in our lives, but it can be heard nonetheless! Is there a desire for the things of God? Do you desire His house? Do you long to be with His people. Do you find yourself needing a word from the Bible? Do you ever find yourself needing to seek the Lord in prayer? Friends, this is not naturally within man! This is put there by the work of the Spirit of God!

V. THE COMMITMENT SECTION

A. 1 John 5:1 – The true believer is one who is trusting Jesus Christ and Him alone for their soul’s salvation. They believe all the Bible says about Him and they have embraced Jesus as their only hope by faith. That is the essence of salvation! It is more than just an intellectual assent to the facts, it is a personal acceptance of those things for oneself as your only hope of Heaven, Acts 16:31!

B. 1 John 5:13 – John tells us that this faith in Christ is the ground of our hope! What are you trusting to take you to Heaven? Don’t trust a prayer you prayed. Don’t trust a warn sensation you felt. Don’t trust what someone told you. You must trust Jesus and Him alone. Nothing else will ever suffice to save the soul! This is the clear message of 1 John 5:9-12! How does one trust Jesus? By faith! You merely come to the place where you understand that nothing else will do the job but Jesus and you simply lean on Him alone for salvation. (Note: It may happen in the context of prayer. It may happen in just an instant when trust is transferred to Jesus. It always happens only when there is a conscious decision to turn from a life of sin to faith in Christ and His finished work on the cross.)

C. How did you do in this section of the test? What are you trusting to save your soul? Is your faith in Jesus or the church? Is your faith in Jesus or your profession of faith or some prayer you prayed? Is your faith in Jesus or in the good things you think you have done? Faith that does not rest in Jesus Christ is not saving faith at all!

D. How did you score in this area? I think this is where most people miss the boat when it comes to salvation!

When we took those achievement tests, the results would come back and everyone was reduced to a percentage. Some were in the 90 percentile range, other lower, some much lower. That was OK with that kind of test. This test requires 100% to pass, anything else fails! How did you do? Are you living with doubt and fear? You don’t have to. Get it settled tonight. Are you absolutely sure that you are saved? Then you ought to be the first on down here thanking Him for His love and grace in your life!

Never Look Away Spontaneous Outro [feat. Kevin Jones]

NOW AVAILABLE!! THE EMERGING SOUND VOL 5 http://pands.video/tes5

 

Refrain

Oh oh

Verse 1

Lord, we come with a song
Of our confession
Lifting up our prayer to You
Give us hearts of eager expectation
That only long to be with You

Chorus

The saints of God will sing
The praise of Christ will ring
As the bride will turn her gaze
Oh the saints of God will see
The returning of our King
We will never look away

Refrain

Oh oh

Verse 2

We rejoice and we stand
With holy reverence
Christ the groom has called His bride
No more waiting
And no more severance
Now she runs to join His side

Chorus

The saints of God will sing
The praise of Christ will ring
As the bride will turn her gaze
Oh the saints of God will see
The returning of our King
We will never look away

Verse 3

Love makes its way
For the procession
There’ll be a feast and we will taste
Every tribe every tongue every nation
Every heart will cry Your name

Chorus

The saints of God will sing
The praise of Christ will ring
As the bride will turn her gaze
Oh the saints of God will see
The returning of our King
We will never look away

Lord, we come with a psalm of our confession
Lifting up our prayer to You
Give us hearts of eager expectation
That only long to be with You

Chorus:

The saints of God will sing
The praise of Christ will ring
As the Bride will turn her gaze
Oh the saints of God will see
The returning of our king
We will never look away

We rejoice and we stand with holy reverence
Christ the groom has call His bride
No more waiting, no more severance
Now she runs to join His side

(Repeat Chorus)

Love makes its way for the procession
There’ll be a feast and all will taste
Every tribe, every tongue, every nation
Every heart will cry Your name

Ending:

Turn your eyes upon Jesus
Look full in His wonderful face
And the things of earth
will grow strangely dim
In the light of His glory and grace

Song by People & Songs feat. Kevin Jones

Rightly Dividing The Word Of Truth

WISDOM FROM OSWALD CHAMBERS

There is no allowance whatever in the New Testament for the man who says he is saved by grace but who does not produce the graceful goods. Jesus Christ by His Redemption can make our actual life in keeping with our religious profession.

Verse

Do your best to present yourself to God as one approved, a workman who does not need to be ashamed and who correctly handles the word of truth. second Timothy 2:15

Thought

There is a dangerous tendency among us to treat Scripture passages that condemn our practice as non-universal, restricted in application to the historical and cultural context in which they occur. Therefore they are not applicable to us in our cultural context. At issue is the identification of universal principles in the Word and accurate application of them to us today.

You may compromise the text to make/support your point. This perversion of the text will lead to a distortion of doctrine and a misrepresentation of God. Your students become dependent on you and your personality. They are tethered to you and your theology. Your students can only grow to know as much bible as you do. Students approach the bible with “what does this mean to me attitude”. Students come to the scriptures to fix problems rather than to be transformed by the scripture into the image of Christ.

Prayer

Help me, O Lord, to discipline myself to seriously study Your Word, accurately interpreting and applying it to my own situation no matter what others do, in Jesus’ name amen.

Father, Let Your Kingdom Come (featuring Urban Doxology, Liz Vice, and Latifah Alattas)

In June, musicians, pastors, writers, and scholars from around the country gathered together in NYC to collaborate on a series of worship songs for a new worship record themed around faith and vocation. This song was written by Latifah Alattas, Ben Cooper, Isaac Wardell, Orlando Palmer, and Liz Vice.

 

[Chorus]
Hallelu, hallelujah
Father, let Your kingdom come
Hallelu, hallelujah
Father, let Your kingdom come
Hallelu, hallelujah
Father, let Your kingdom come
Hallelu, hallelujah
Father, let Your kingdom come

[Verse 1]
May the works of my hands bring You joy
May the works of my hands bring You joy
May the works of my hands bring You joy
May the works of my hands bring You joy
And so we sing…

[Chorus]
Hallelu, hallelujah
Father, let Your kingdom come
Hallelu, hallelujah
Father, let Your kingdom come
Hallelu, hallelujah
Father, let Your kingdom come
Hallelu, hallelujah
Father, let Your kingdom come

[Verse 2]
May the words from my mouth speak Your peace
May the words from my mouth speak Your peace
May the words from my mouth speak Your peace
May the words from my mouth speak Your peace

[Chorus]
Hallelu, hallelujah
Father, let Your kingdom come
Hallelu, hallelujah
Father, let Your kingdom come
Hallelu, hallelujah
Father, let Your kingdom come
Hallelu, hallelujah
Father, let Your kingdom come

[Bridge]
You make all things new
You make all things new
In places, we don’t choose
You make all things new

[Chorus]
Hallelu, hallelujah
Father, let Your kingdom come
Hallelu, hallelujah
Father, let Your kingdom come
Hallelu, hallelujah
Father, let Your kingdom come
Hallelu, hallelujah
Father, let Your kingdom come

[Bridge]
You make all things new
You make all things new
In places,

we don’t choose
You make all things new

[Interlude]

[Chorus]
Hallelu, hallelujah
Father, let Your kingdom come
Hallelu, hallelujah
Father, let Your kingdom come
Hallelu, hallelujah
Father, let Your kingdom come
Hallelu, hallelujah
Father, let Your kingdom come

THE PROBLEMS OF PRAYER

Prayer is godly, beneficial and necessary. I hope your prayer life has been jump-started this week, and that you have a deeper burning desire to be in constant, effective prayer.

Now, we all know that genuine prayer has the power to accomplish great things. In truth, there is no limit to the potential of prayer, James 5:16; Matt. 17:20. However, while prayer is unlimited in it’s potential, it can be severely hindered or even rendered totally ineffective. I want to take time to point out some attitudes and activities that can and do create problems in our praying. Today, we will talk about the Problems of Prayer.

I. James 4:3 SELFISHNESS

Anytime we bring a prayer before the Lord that is based on wrong motives, we can be certain that it will fail. We must be certain that our prayers are for His glory, 1 Cor. 10:31, and that our motives are pure. (His kingdom must be paramount in our thoughts.)

 II. Ezekiel 14:3 IDOLATRY

An idol is anything or anyone that takes God’s place in our lives or weakens our dependence upon Him to any degree. He is to have the first place and anything that comes before Him is an idol. (People’s idea of what an idol is!) (Some very real idols in our society – any idea, object, philosophy, habit, occupation, sport, loyalty or person that lessens our loyalty to God.) (Alan Redpath, “Our God is the person we think most precious, for whom we would make the greatest sacrifice, and who moves our heart with the greatest love. He, or it, is the person who, if we lost him, would leave us desolate.” Unless God is in the Number 1 position, our prayer life will be hindered. (He will not share His glory with another – Ex. 20:1; Isa. 42:8.

III. Mark 11:25 UNFORGIVENESS

God forgives and He expects His people to be in the forgiving business as well – Eph. 4:32. Any other response by the child of God will prove to be a hindrance to effective praying.

IV. Psa. 66:18; Isa. 59:2 UNCONFESSED SIN

The primary hindrance to prayer is found in the area of unconfessed, unrepented of sin. Even though we have been saved and forgiven, unconfessed prayer will still come between the Lord and us. (We are justified by faith, we continue in fellowship by confession – 1 John 1:9) All sin in our lives must be brought into the light of God’s judgment – Pro. 28:13. You may have unconfessed sin in your life that is hindering you today. You may be committing a sin and not even realize that you are sinning, but it is hindering your prayer life, It is making the heavens appear to be brass. Perhaps we need to pray as the Psalmist did – Psa. 139:23-24.

V. 1 Pet. 3:7 PROBLEMS IN THE HOME

When there is a problem between a husband and a wife, or between the occupants in the home, effective prayer will be hindered! (Literally “one flesh” When there is a break in fellowship, we are out of line with God’s pattern for our lives and therefore, we are in sin!)

Notice some particular features of this verse:

1. It is addressed specifically to husbands – Why? The husband is responsible before God as the head of the home – Eph. 5:22-23.

2. Men are told to “dwell with them: – Literally, “to be aligned to.” The husband is to take the time to find out all he can about his wife. He needs to know what makes her tick. Until we are able to understand our wives, we can never be in line with their feelings and needs. When the home is out of alignment, hindered prayer results!

3. Men are told to do this “according to knowledge” – Literally, “with understanding” Most women need more than most men are willing to give. Men need to be sensitive to their partner’s needs. (Two-way communication is essential to keep an open relationship and an open prayer line to God!)

4. Men are told to give honor to their wives – Honor means to “hold in high value.” “Weaker vessel” refers not to moral or spiritual weakness, but to physical strength. The picture is of a delicate, priceless, extremely fragile vase. We must realize that our wives are something of intense beauty and value, but something that is infinitely fragile and easily shattered. We men need to learn how to hold our wives in honor. Otherwise, she will be broken before you and your own spiritual life will be shattered. (How He treats His bride – Eph. 5:25!)

5. Discord in the home hinders our fellowship with God.

VI. James 1:5-8 A LACK OF FAITH

Without question, faith is an essential part of prayer. The lack of faith hinders God’s ability to move in power – Mark 6:5 God demands our faith in prayer. However, God can do a lot with a little – (The loaves and fishes – John 6!) – Matt. 17:20. Even our doubts and weaknesses, when sowed with a little faith can real harvest of glory in our lives – Mark 9:14-29! (The early church Acts 12!) God honors faith because genuine faith honors Him – Mark 9:23; Matt. 21:22.

Prayer can change the world, but only an unhindered prayer can reach God’s ear! Has the Holy Spirit struck a nerve in your life today? If so, I invite you to come before Him and deal with those shortcomings He has revealed, so that you and I might enjoy unhindered, effective praying.