John provides seven clear-cut proofs of salvation, and today we look at Evidence #4.
If you are born again, life-changing evidence of salvation will remove doubts and fears about your relationship with God.
Remember, the Bible teaches us there are no do-overs. When we die we enter heaven or hell. Therefore if you want to spend eternity in heaven you must make sure you know and do what Jesus Christ commands. In fact, even Paul warned the Christians at Corinth to examine themselves to make sure they were really in the faith so they would not find out they were deceived and lost at Judgment Day. (2 Corinthians 13:19)
So how do we do examine ourselves? The apostle John wrote the letter, we call 1 John and tells us how and why. He says, “These things I have written to you who believe in the name of the Son of God, that you may know that you have eternal life, …” [1 John 5:13]
So it is clear, the purpose of the first letter of John is the “assurance of salvation.” John wrote to give proof to the people who claim to be Christians that they actually were saved by offering evidence. These truths will prove whether we are alive in God, or as we say, born again. Please make sure you sit down and read the entire letter of 1 John!
And also please read the first three articles if you have not already because this one is based on them, as we work through John’s letter.
Now consider this, John will not let go of the idea that complete and total lifestyle change is the proof of salvation. First, he demanded a new love for other Christians in our local church. Next, he said if we do not turn away from sin we are not in a relationship with God. And also, he demanded a commitment to the mission of Jesus that He commanded His followers to fulfill, as proof of a real salvation experience.
Next, he forces us to answer this very powerful question.
Here is how. He makes this statement. “Do not love the world or the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the father is not in him.” [1 John 2:15;5:19]
John first demanded that we love the church, God’s people. But this is much deeper because it deals with the motive and affection of our hearts toward God Himself. It cuts deeply to the way we think about the world around us. This means a Christian must make a complete change of allegiance from loving the things here in this world and exchange his heart’s passion to God.
We must completely turn upside down and think like Jesus. Our hearts must feel like He did and become strangers in a strange land. True believers love God and what He loves. They focus on God and cling to His Kingdom, feeling like odd ducks, away from home and missing their heavenly Father.
Christ taught these concepts to the apostles and John recorded this part of a prayer of the Lord Jesus in John 17:14-19 (NLT), “I have given them your word. And the world hates them because they do not belong to the world, just as I do not belong to the world. I’m not asking you to take them out of the world, but to keep them safe from the evil one. ”
“They do not belong to this world any more than I do. Make them holy by your truth; teach them your word, which is truth. Just as you sent me into the world, I am sending them into the world. And I give myself as a holy sacrifice for them so they can be made holy by your truth.”
With the believer’s passion and focus pointing to God, his heart grows in an ever-increasing love toward God. And understand, this love causes the Christian to joyfully walk in holiness and work for His Kingdom.
Let me clarify this idea for you. In Matthew 22:37-40 the Lord commands, “‘You must love the LORD your God with all your heart, all your soul, and all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment.”
You see, love not fear motivates the true follower of Jesus.
James warns everyone in James 4:4 (NLT), “…Don’t you realize that friendship with the world makes you an enemy of God? I say it again: If you want to be a friend of the world, you make yourself an enemy of God.”
A true Christian changes sides in his heart! This means breaking from rugged individualism and self-centered living, and instead, the Christian embraces the ways of God Almighty.
And we are not just talking about obeying God’s commands by force or fear, BUT by love. They love God’s culture or social structure which is carefully designed and described in the New Testament. It is the opposite of the world’s way of life.
John reveals this truth by saying, “Do not love the world or the things in the world.” [1 John 2:15;5:19]
Look around you! He is talking about the world you are living in. The world is full of voices calling everyone to love whatever you want except God. It encourages you to please yourself. It beckons everyone to disregard God’s commands. The world demands freedom from the true God telling everyone what to do and preaches “pursue peace and happiness for yourself because that is the supreme way of life. You are your own god. Make up your own mind what your truth is!”
Our Lord Jesus reveals this conflict between the world and God in John 15:18-19 (NLT) “If the world hates you, remember that it hated me first. The world would love you as one of its own if you belonged to it, but you are no longer part of the world. I chose you to come out of the world, so it hates you.“
This makes the world God’s enemy. The voice of evil seeps through all the media, music, movies, video games, and television. The strong pulling voice of pride, greed, and selfish indulgence echoes through the minds of everyone in this world.
But this world is not free and did not create these ideas. Everyone is enslaved to a dark master.
“For all that is in the world – the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life – is not of the Father but is of the world.” [1 John 2:16; 5:19]
Lust is simply strong desires. What the body calls out for and demands is lust. What your eyes see and your heart agrees is the next thing you cannot live without, is lust. The self-sufficient pride that rules the hearts of men to do what they want, when they want to, is NOT from the Father!
The world is so evil because Satan controls the world. Satan is full of hate, murder, and lies and does everything to defy God and destroy the people God loves.
1/ Satan’s darkness rules this world. “Satan, who is the god of this world, has blinded the minds of those who don’t believe. They are unable to see the glorious light of the Good News. They don’t understand this message about the glory of Christ, who is the exact likeness of God.” [2 Corinthians 4:4 (NLT)]
2/ He is a tyrant ruling over the world and controlling nations. “For we are not fighting against flesh-and-blood enemies, but against evil rulers and authorities of the unseen world, against mighty powers in this dark world, and against evil spirits in the heavenly places.” [Ephesians 6:12 (NLT)]
3/ These wicked and invisible beings deceive the whole world. “The angel threw him into the bottomless pit, which he then shut and locked so Satan could not deceive the nations anymore until the thousand years were finished. Afterward he must be released for a little while.” [Revelation 20:3 (NLT)]
4/ People the world over have their minds controlled by these dark forces. “So I tell you and encourage you in the Lord’s name not to live any longer like other people in the world. Their minds are set on worthless things. They can’t understand because they are in the dark. They are excluded from the life that God approves of because of their ignorance and stubbornness. Since they no longer have any sense of shame, they have become promiscuous. They practice every kind of sexual perversion with a constant desire for more.” [Ephesians 4:17-19 (GW)]
The Devil’s powerful army of supernatural beings works at keeping mankind confused and disconnected from their loving Creator. In this type of bondage, people are enslaved by the “normal” things of life and driven by strong delusion and selfish desires [lust] for what they see to buy and own, by the fleshly desires of uncontrolled pleasure and partying, and their opinion is that they are doing fine apart from God telling them what to do.
This is why God calls them the “sons of disobedience.“
This overwhelming force of darkness leaves mankind stuck in a science fiction type of existence oblivious to what is real and eternal. Humanity is cursed by sin, blinded by Satan, and broken inside and out. It reminds me of the movie trilogy, The Matrix. People are locked inside a container as slaves, and living in a dream world. This type of mask of delusion is really happening to mankind today.
His way is available to all. “…as His divine power has given to us all things that pertain to life and godliness, through the knowledge of Him who called us by glory and virtue, by which have been given to us exceedingly great and precious promises, that through these you may be partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust.” [2 Peter 1:3-4]
Our God has always been involved in mankind’s business. He sent His Son and lived among men, taught His ways, and then paid for all our rebellious hatred and crimes by taking the death penalty in our place. He supernaturally acted in human history from the beginning and will continue until the end of time.
He has given us promises as recorded in His Word. He has provided freedom from the things that destroy us through Jesus. And He has given His Spirit to allow people to escape the corruption that destroys humanity.
This dark force and it influences is like a flood that forces humanity to drown in hatred, selfishness, immorality, drunkenness, drugs, war, greed, depression and endless desires for things that never satisfy. The “world or the things in the world” are tainted and poisoned by the vicious enemy of God. The smell of hell is on everything. Nothing of the world drew Jesus to love our broken world the way it was corrupted and ruined, except humanity. He loved us!
And the whole point is, our loving God frees us from self-destruction. That is why Paul could write, “…in which you once walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, the spirit who now works in the sons of disobedience,” [Ephesians 2:2]
1 John 5:18 (NLT)
We know that God’s children do not make a practice of sinning, for God’s Son holds them securely, and the evil one cannot touch them.
Breaking free from this tremendous force of slavery is only possible through the miracle of salvation. Only God can rescue the drowning people of this world swept away in the flood of sin and death to a new life of freedom. New Year’s resolutions will never work.
John says, “And the world is passing away, and the lust of it [strong desire for it], but HE WHO DOES THE WILL OF GOD abides forever.” [1 John 2:17; 5:19]
Only Christians have God’s power to do right and consistently obey God. “But you are not controlled by your sinful nature. You are controlled by the Spirit if you have the Spirit of God living in you. (And remember that those who do not have the Spirit of Christ living in them do not belong to him at all.)” [Romans 8:9 (NLT)]
And only the saint that loves God and proves His salvation in this way will live forever in heaven.
So let’s be clear, removing your heart from the crooked culture of the world that you once loved, to fully love God, is non-optional.
The world is not the believer’s friend in anything, anymore. The narrow road Christian is counter-cultural. The world is in conflict with the saint in almost every area. Jesus Christ is absolute in authority, and master of all of the Christian’s life.
All the world’s ideas are examined and everything of the world that contradicts the Bible is rejected. The life of holiness demands thinking in harmony with Jesus. Paul makes it clear in Galatians 6:14 (TLB) “As for me, God forbid that I should boast about anything except the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ. Because of that cross, my interest in all the attractive things of the world was killed long ago, and the world’s interest in me is also long dead.”
Instead of living life in pleasure, the follower of Jesus abandons the ways of the world and volunteers to be Christ’s slave. He loves Christ. He loves His Word and it is his only guide. He embraces a new way of life as a refugee and narrow road follower of Jesus in a world going the opposite direction.
They kiss the world goodbye. This is easily understood in marriage. Out of love, the couple kisses their old love interests goodbye and forever live life together. So it is with loving God, those who love God abandon the things that God hates. They join Him!
And this was clearly understood by the followers of Jesus who knew Him personally in the very first century. When Peter spoke to Jewish crowd in Jerusalem, he clearly got to them. So he answered them on what they should do to obey God…
“Peter’s words pierced their hearts, and they said to him and to the other apostles, “Brothers, what should we do?”
38 Peter replied, “Each of you must repent of your sins, turn to God, and be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ to show that you have received forgiveness for your sins. Then you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.39 This promise is to you, and to your children, and even to the Gentiles —all who have been called by the Lord our God.”40 Then Peter continued preaching for a long time, strongly urging all his listeners, “Save yourselves from this crooked generation!”
41 Those who believed what Peter said were baptized and added to the church that day—about 3,000 in all. [Acts 2:38-41]
The first Christians paid close attention to the fact that heaven was their home, and they were just passing through this world. Peter reminds all born again believers to be alert because we are just refugees, “Dear friends, I warn you as “temporary residents and foreigners” to keep away from worldly desires that wage war against your very souls. Be careful to live properly among your unbelieving neighbors. Then even if they accuse you of doing wrong, they will see your honorable behavior, and they will give honor to God when he judges the world.” [1 Peter 2:11-12 (NLT)]
So let’s make Evidence #4 clear with these final statements from John’s letter…
1/ The World Rejects True Christians!
“Therefore the world does not know us, because it did not know Him.” [1 John 3:1b]
Christ warned His disciples from the very beginning of His ministry what living for Him would be like in this sinful, lost world. He explained it like this…
Matthew 5:10-16 (NLT)
10 God blesses those who are persecuted for doing right, for the Kingdom of Heaven is theirs.
11 “God blesses you when people mock you and persecute you and lie about you and say all sorts of evil things against you because you are my followers.
12 Be happy about it! Be very glad! For a great reward awaits you in heaven. And remember, the ancient prophets were persecuted in the same way.
13 “You are the salt of the earth. But what good is salt if it has lost its flavor? Can you make it salty again? It will be thrown out and trampled underfoot as worthless.
14 “You are the light of the world—like a city on a hilltop that cannot be hidden.
15 No one lights a lamp and then puts it under a basket. Instead, a lamp is placed on a stand, where it gives light to everyone in the house.
16 In the same way, let your good deeds shine out for all to see, so that everyone will praise your heavenly Father.
The world is greatly influenced by the devil and they show it. They reject God, His Word, His Son, and His people. There is always conflict between the world and God in every aspect. They clash in their ideas of good and evil. Jesus stated, John 7:7 (NLT) “The world … does hate me because I accuse it of doing evil.” They will demand evil is good, while God says evil is horrible and all those who follow their lusts must be punished forever.
They will disagree about creation and the future. They will not understand God or His people. They hate God and resent everyone associated with Him.
2/ Overcoming the World Is Evidence of Salvation!
John wrote, “For every child of God defeats this evil world, and we achieve this victory through our faith. And who can win this battle against the world? Only those who believe that Jesus is the Son of God.” [1 John 5:4-5 (NLT)]
A child of God is a child of obedience. Like a mighty river of life, the grace of God explodes from within the true believer and he defeats the influence of the world that tries to darken His soul. Paul explains this victory of salvation, “Dear friends, you always followed my instructions when I was with you. And now that I am away, it is even more important. Work hard to show the results of your salvation, obeying God with deep reverence and fear. For God is working in you, giving you the desire and the power to do what pleases him.” [Philippians 2:12-13 (NLT)]
By faith, which is the strong clinging to and relying upon Jesus Christ, anyone can receive victory over this suffocating force of sin and darkness. Paul explains that “Those who belong to Christ Jesus have nailed the passions and desires of their sinful nature to his cross and crucified them there. Since we are living by the Spirit, let us follow the Spirit’s leading in every part of our lives.” [Galatians 5:24-25 (NLT)] It does not say should, ought to, supposed, etc. Christians have nailed their sinful desires and they were killed.
Remember the “passions and desires of their sinful nature” is the strong lust that everyone was born with and controlled by until saved from sin by Jesus Christ.
3/ Only True Christians Overcome the World
John says, “Who is he who overcomes the world, but he who believes that Jesus is the Son of God.” [1 John 5:5]
The evidence that you have eternal life is that you really are saved from the overwhelming power of the world. Only God can break this power that destroys humanity. Only Jesus, the Son of God, broke the power of sin at the cross 2000 years ago. All are welcome, but most refuse to believe and follow Jesus.
Only a born again real believer can experience the mighty power of God to pull them from the strong addicting force of the world and all it offers. The natural world we know can only be left behind through the supernatural power of Jesus Christ. The step from being “a son of disobedience” to “a son of obedience” takes one of the most unpopular choices.
Jesus explains this through a farming story.
13 Then Jesus said to them, “If you can’t understand the meaning of this parable, how will you understand all the other parables?
14 The farmer plants seed by taking God’s word to others.15 The seed that fell on the footpath represents those who hear the message, only to have Satan come at once and take it away.
16 The seed on the rocky soil represents those who hear the message and immediately receive it with joy. 17 But since they don’t have deep roots, they don’t last long. They fall away as soon as they have problems or are persecuted for believing God’s word.
18 The seed that fell among the thorns represents others who hear God’s word,19 but all too quickly the message is crowded out by the worries of this life, the lure of wealth, and the desire for other things, so no fruit is produced.
20 And the seed that fell on good soil represents those who hear and accept God’s word and produce a harvest of thirty, sixty, or even a hundred times as much as had been planted!” [Mark 4:13-20 (NLT)]
Nothing in this world can stop a true believer because he loves God and God loves him. Not the devil, sin, people, problems, persecution, worries, wealth, lust for things or circumstances. He does overcome, win the battle, change allegiance, work for God’s Kingdom and experience a total change of life through the Good News of Jesus.
“For every child of God defeats this evil world, and we achieve this victory through our faith. And who can win this battle against the world? Only those who believe that Jesus is the Son of God.” [1 John 5:4-5 (NLT)]
Whose side are you really on? God or the devil? The Kingdom of God or the world and all it offers?
1 John 5:18-21 (NLT)
18 We know that God’s children do not make a practice of sinning, for God’s Son holds them securely, and the evil one cannot touch them.
19 We know that we are children of God and that the world around us is under the control of the evil one.
20 And we know that the Son of God has come, and he has given us understanding so that we can know the true God. And now we live in fellowship with the true God because we live in fellowship with his Son, Jesus Christ. He is the only true God, and he is eternal life.
21 Dear children, keep away from anything that might take God’s place in your hearts.
So I must ask, do you pass this test? If not, please stop right now and make a change. Repentance starts with getting real with God and yourself.
AN EXAMPLE PRAYER WOULD BE LIKE THIS
Just like I am subject to the laws of my nation, I realize you are my Almighty Creator and ruler of the universe. You are the only one who is all powerful, good and fair. Because of this, you have the right to establish the law of the world and I now bow to your authority. I have broken your law _________ [fill in the blanks], and I am filled with sadness in how I have acted. Please forgive me! I accept your offer of forgiveness through Jesus dying in the place of my judgment. I turn from all the crimes I am practicing, I have no excuses, And I now am grateful for your mercy. I choose to follow my Lord Jesus by obedience to His commands all my days. AMEN.
Now remember, there are things we can disagree on, but you cannot disagree with the Bible over your salvation and eternal life. Unless you allow God through the Bible to direct your faith and beliefs you will be lost forever. God so loves you He gave His Word to be clear and concise to prevent you from being confused and miss His gift of eternal life.
If you do not know how to repent and follow Jesus contact us immediately through our website.
We want to get to know you now and also see you in heaven someday.