Christianity Test Strips
August 29, 2021
Christianity Test Strips
1 John 2:3-11
-Series from 1, 2, 3 John, “Keeping Jesus Central”
*For the Christian, the single most important focus is Jesus Christ!
-Today: John moves into some teaching that leads one to consider their own genuineness as a believer.
-He gives some proofs of being a true believer in Jesus Christ.
-In the next 9 verses, we see a bit of a litmus test of what true Christianity is.
(Commentator–D. Akin) 3 – fold test (3 questions):
- Do I believe the right things about Jesus? (1:5-2:2)
-understanding & believing the Gospel
2. Do I obey the commands of God? (2:3-6)
-a life lived in obedience to the Savior
3. Do I love others? (2:7-11)
-loving those around me because of His love toward/in me
-2 things that happen that reveal that one truly knows Jesus as their Savior:
I. Obedience Reveals Authenticity (1 John 2:3-6)
-The certificate of authenticity for believers is their desire and practice of obeying the Words/teaching of Jesus.
-In the Great Commission (Mt. 28:19-20) Jesus tells us to make disciples of others by teaching them His words: “Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them…Teaching them to observe (to attend to carefully) all things whatsoever I have commanded you…”
-Jesus commissions us with the assumption that disciple-makers are first disciples who are learning and obeying His words/teaching.
-So here, John points out that obedience is a litmus test of true Christianity.
-The way a person and those around him/her know whether or not that person is a true follower of Christ is directly related to whether they are following Jesus’ teaching.
-John gives 4 things that true, salvation-based obedience does/reveals:
1. Personal Assurance (3) And hereby we do know that we know him, if we keep his commandments.
-The verbs “know” & “keep” are in the present tense and are in the active voice = “we are knowing that we know Him if we are keeping His commandments.”
-One of the greatest personal assurances of true salvation in Christ is a desire and practice of keeping God’s Word.
-The pattern of a believer’s life is one that places God’s Word and the following of it in a place of priority and regular practice.
-Knowing God and obeying God are interconnected truths.
-One cannot claim to know God if the practice of their life is not obeying Him.
2. Public Observation (4) He that saith, I know him, and keepeth not his commandments, is a liar, and the truth is not in him.
-“saith” = to lay forth or express something in words
-“One who is saying, “I am knowing God,” and is not actively keeping His commandments is lying and the truth of God is not in that person.”
-How others see us obeying God’s Word or not doing so reveals to them whether or not we are true believers.
-Mt. 7:16, “Ye shall know [false teachers/false believers] by their fruits.”
-When we claim Christ, but don’t follow Christ, it’s obvious to others.
3. Continual Love (5) But whoso keepeth his word, in him verily is the love of God perfected: hereby know we that we are in him.
-“The one who is guarding God’s Word in their life has learned of and is interacting with God’s love and that’s a way we know we are truly in Christ.”
-(Kenneth Wuest—The New Testament, An Expanded Translation) “in this one the love of God has been brought to its completion with the present result that it is in that state of completion.”
-The love of God has done something in that person’s heart that is reflected in that person’s actions.
-3 things that are true about God’s love in relation to a true believer’s life (in this specific order):
A. It is a love that is RECEIVED from God.
-Psalm 36:7 “How excellent is thy lovingkindness, O God! therefore the children of men put their trust under the shadow of thy wings.”
-Romans 5:8 “But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.”
*There is no question that God has showed us His love!
B. It is a love that is RETURNED to God.
– 1 John 4:19 “We love him, because he first loved us.”
-Matthew 22:37 “Jesus said unto him, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind.”
*To receive the love of God is to live to return that love in a personal and tangible way. (i.e. worship / obedience)
C. It is a love that is REFLECTED to Others.
-1 Corinthians 13:4-7 “Charity suffereth long, and is kind; charity envieth not; charity vaunteth not itself, is not puffed up, Doth not behave itself unseemly, seeketh not her own, is not easily provoked, thinketh no evil; Rejoiceth not in iniquity, but rejoiceth in the truth; Beareth all things, believeth all things, hopeth all things, endureth all things.”
*Receiving the love of God allows one to show that kind of love toward those around them.
-A part of this litmus test of true Christianity is seeing this love of God at work within us and through us toward others.
4. Practical Christlikeness (6) He that saith he abideth in him ought himself also so to walk, even as he walked.
-“If a person is saying they are a follower of Christ, they will have a life that practices the kind of life Jesus lived.”
-As we are growing in our knowledge of Jesus and His Word, we and others will begin to see parts of His image being re-made in us.
-Romans 8:29 “For whom he did foreknow, he also did predestinate to be conformed to the image of his Son…”
-2 Corinthians 3:18 “But we all, with open face beholding as in a glass the glory of the Lord, are changed into the same image from glory to glory, even as by the Spirit of the Lord.”
-The work of God in us leads to the life of Christ through us.
-1 Cor. 11:1, “Be ye followers of me, even as I also am of Christ.”
-True salvation is God’s enablement for us to live the life He originally intended and that kind of life was perfectly exemplified and made possible by Jesus Christ.
II. Love Results from Authenticity (1 John 2:7-11)
-John: “The life of a true follower of Christ is so affected by the love of God that that love flows out toward the people around that person.”
-What John points out about love shown to others can be categorized in 2 ways:
1. Foundational (7) Brethren, I write no new commandment unto you, but an old commandment which ye had from the beginning. The old commandment is the word which ye have heard from the beginning.
–John is speaking here like his readers already know of some commandment from a previous time…
-John 13:34-35, “A new commandment I give unto you, That ye love one another; as I have loved you, that ye also love one another. By this shall all men know that ye are my disciples, if ye have love one to another.”
-In addition, God’s OT law in Leviticus 19:18 says, “Thou shalt not avenge, nor bear any grudge against the children of thy people, but thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself: I am the Lord.”
-The concept of love for a child of God was nothing new…it was actually foundational to being a child of God and in this context, a follower of Jesus Christ.
2. Representative (8-11) v. 8, Again, a new commandment I write unto you, which thing is true in him and in you: because the darkness is past, and the true light now shineth.
-Essentially: “To love as Christ loves is to show Christ to others.”
-Loving the people around us is evidence of the love that is in us.
-(vv. 9-11) He that saith he is in the light, and hateth his brother, is in darkness even until now. He that loveth his brother abideth in the light, and there is none occasion of stumbling in him. But he that hateth his brother is in darkness, and walketh in darkness, and knoweth not whither he goeth, because that darkness hath blinded his eyes.
-The presence or absence of love is representative of where a person is with Christ.
-If people can be ok with hating each other, something is wrong and John says that something might be evidence that one is not truly a disciple of Christ.
-The love especially among believers is a special love that is reflective of the love God shows us.
-When we look at Jesus’ love toward us, loving becomes easier.
-It’s not about someone else’s deservedness of our love–it’s about the undeserved love we’ve received through Jesus.
1. True salvation is revealed by a desire and practice of following God through His Word.
2. True salvation produces a love for others that looks like Jesus.