Take the Test!
By Richard S. Dickson
January 8, 1995
Tonight, I have bad news for you. We are going to take a test. Fortunately for us all, there are no papers to grade, no pencils to sharpen, and only you will know if you pass or not because it is a self-graded test.
As a young student, I used to think that tests were a cruel and unusual form of punishment. Many of you also feel that way, and unfortunately so do many teachers, but as an educator I learned that tests are really a teaching method. They help us know how much we know. Tonight, I hope you will follow along, take the test, and grade yourself. I hope that everyone present will pass, but I realize that there may be some here tonight who cannot. If so, we will give the solution at the end of the test.
It was Paul who first wrote "test yourselves to see if you are in the faith; examine yourselves! Or do you not recognize this about yourselves, that Jesus Christ is in you-unless indeed you fail the test?" 2 Corinthians 13:5 (NASB)
Tonight, let's turn to the book of 1 John for our test. John, who was so close to Jesus, in this book approaches the simplicity and directness that we find characteristic of Jesus in the gospel accounts.
We will first of all take as a given that we can know that we are children of God. In 1 John 5:13 we read: "These thing have I written unto you that believe on the name of the Son of God; that ye may know that ye have eternal life, and that ye may believe on the name of the Son of God."
These things? What are these things?
Since we know we can know, how can we know. (I better repeat that.) Since we know we can know, how can we know. As we look at 1 John, we see four (4) instances (or tests) spelled out by which we can know that we are children of God, that we are 'saved.' Let's look together at these four tests.
I. The first test is found in 1 John 2:3-5.
"And hereby we do know that we know him, if we keep his commandments. He that saith, I know him, and keepeth not his commandments, is a liar, and the truth is not in him. But whoso keepeth his word, in him verily is the love of God perfected: hereby know we that we are in him."
In other words, if you know God you will obey God.
So the first test is to: Do we keep His commandments.
If we do God perfects His love in us (2:5).
- (Greek) teteleistai - brought to end, accomplished, finished (Vine's Expository Dictionary)
- the word Christ used on the cross - "It is finished." (John 19:30)
If we do God answers our prayers (3:22).
If we do we abide in Him and He in us (3:24).
If we do we show our love for God (5:3). And they are not grievous (burdensome - Vine's) - they do not place a burden on the Christian (5:3).
To believe (3:23) - see John 1:12
To love one another (3:23) - see John 15:12
II. The Second Test is found in 1 John 2:29
"If ye know that he is righteous, ye know that every one that doeth righteousness is born of him."
In other words, if you know God you will live like God.
Practice Righteousness - "poion ten dikaiosunen"
To do or live out (1) right actions and (2) a right relationship (w/Jesus) (Vine's)
Because God is light with no darkness in Him (1:5)
He who abides in God does not sin (3:6)
Righteous sin (see chap. 1), but confess and turn (repent)
He who does righteousness is righteous (3:7)
He who does sin is of the devil (3:8) - To do righteousness is characteristic of God, to do sinfulness (wickedness) is characteristic of the devil. Their character is from the devil. (Expositor's Bible Commentary, Vol. 12, 1,2,3 John, Glenn W. Barber, p. 315)
III. The Third Test is found in 1 John 3:24 & 4:13.
"And he that keepeth his commandments dwelleth in him, and he in him. And hereby we know that he abideth in us, by the Spirit which he hath given us." 1 John 3:24 (KJV)
"Hereby know we that we dwell in him, and he in us, because he hath given us of his Spirit." 1 John 4:13
In other words, if you know God, the abiding presence of His Spirit is in you.
A. Has to be His Spirit - test the spirits (4:1-3)
"Has Jesus come in the flesh?"
Recalls 1 Corinthians 12:3
B. Listen to godly leaders (4:6) not worldly leaders (4:5) (See John 8:47)
C. The Spirit bears witness (5:6-7)
1. Witness to us
2. Witness to the world through us
The Fourth (and final test we find here) is in 1 John 3:14.
This is the most absolute of the tests. Up to this point "know" is "ginosko" - a coming to know, recognize or understand. It's an experiential knowledge. It suggests a progress of knowledge. Here, as in 5:13, the word to "oida" - to have seen or perceived. This word suggests a fulness of knowledge. (Vine's) If we pass this final (and possibly greatest test), we can have full assurance that we know and are known of God.
"We know that we have passed from death unto life, because we love the brethren. He that loveth not his brother abideth in death." 1 John 3:14
In other words, if you know God, you will love like God.
The 4th test is Love of the Brethren (brothers and sisters in Christ, fellow believers)
Look around you. Think about this morning. How about your neighbors or co-workers. Do you hold a grudge? Harbor unforgiveness?
Glenn Barker (Expositor's) states it this way: "Love is denial of self for another's gain."
Illus. - both of us are in line for a single promotion, and I recommend you to the boss.
Illus. - You put your fence on my side of the property line, and I give you the deed to that piece of property.
It doesn't matter who you are or what you've done, I am willing to sacrifice my dreams, my ambitions, my possessions, even my life for you. That is love. (Read 1 Cor. 13:4-7)
Let's check our answers to the test:
__ Do I obey His commandments? (do I know Him)
__ Do I practice righteousness in my life? (am I born of Him)
__ Does His Spirit abide in me? (do I dwell in Him)
__ Do I love all my Christian brothers and sisters in the way God loves me? (have I passed from death to life)
If you got all the answers right, congratulations you have passed the test. You know that you have eternal life.
If, on the other hand, you found yourself lacking, you have 2 possible solutions:
Bow your heads and close your eyes. Search your own heart. No one can take the test for you.
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