How Do You Know You are a Christian?

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How do you know you are a Christian? If you call yourself a Christian, Christ follower, Believer, or whatever other label that is out there, you must answer the question.

Searching the internet I find that some believe they are a Christian because they were born into a Christian family, attend church every Sunday, have been baptized, or walked the aisle. While others believe they are a Christian because they live in the United States, or because they are a good person. Are these adequate answers? I don’t think so. If these answers will not do, then what makes you a Christian?

The book of 1 John answers the question for us. Let’s see what it says.

How Do You Know You are a Christian?

  • You know you are a Christian if you walk as He walks (1 John 1:5-7).
  • You know you are a Christian if you confess your sins (1 John 1:8-10).
  • You know you are a Christian if you keep His commandments (1 John 2:3-6; 3:19; 22-24; 5:2-4).
  • You know you are a Christian if you love one another. We cannot be a Christian if we hate others (1 John 2:9; 3:10-15; 4:7-12; 4:16-21; 5:1).
  • You know you are a Christian if you do not love the world (1 John 2:15-17).
  • You know you are a Christian if you remain steadfast in your faith until the end (1 John 2:19).
  • You know you are a Christian if you confess that Jesus is the Son of God (1 John 2:22-23; 4:3; 14-16; 5:5; 10; 13).
  • You know you are a Christian if you continue in the doctrine you have heard from the beginning (1 John 2:24-25).
  • You know you are a Christian if you confess that Jesus is the Christ (1 John 2:28; 5:1).
  • You know you are a Christian if your life is not characterized by continual sinfulness (1 John 3:1-9; 5:18).
  • You know you are a Christian if you confess that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh (1 John 4:2).
  • You know you are a Christian if other Christians agree with you rather than the world (1 John 4:5-6).
  • You know you are a Christian if you believe that Jesus is the Savior of the world (1 John 4:13).
  • You know you are a Christian if you believe that God has given you eternal life through His Son (1 John 5:11-12).

 Questions for Reflection

  1. Can you answer these questions yes?
  2. Do you believe you have to answer all these questions yes in order to be a Christian?

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Will You Celebrate on Judgment Day?

Will you celebrate on Judgment day? This is the question I asked my congregation in my last sermon, and the question I want you to think about as well.

Exposition

This last week I preached over 1 John 4:13-21. In that section, John provides his readers with confidence for the Day of Judgment by giving two tests.

These two tests ask the questions:

(1) Do you have the Holy Spirit residing in you?

The way in which you know you have the Holy Spirit residing in you, is by confessing that Jesus is the Son of God (1 John 4:15). The reason our profession provides us with assurance that we are children of God is because without the Holy Spirit, we would not make that confession (1 John 4:2-3).

(2) Do you love your brother?

The reason loving our brother provides us with assurance that we are the children of God is because without God first working His love in us, we would not love others (1 John 4:16-17). God has to first break our hard hearts with the gospel, changing our will and affections, before we will love our brothers in the way that God loves us – self-sacrificially (1 John 4:19). When we love others in the same way that God loves us, then God’s love is said to be perfected with us (1 John 4:17). Perfect love casts out fear for the Day of Judgment (1 Jn 4:18).

So then, if we can answer yes to these two tests, then we can be assured that we will celebrate on the Day of Judgment.

Application

Even though, we who are assured of their salvation will celebrate on Judgment Day, it is clear from the book of Revelation that a Day of Judgment is coming. God will judge the nations and those who are not His children will be destroyed and thrown into the lake of fire. Those who are His children will live for all of eternity with Him in the new heavens and new earth (Revelation 20:11-21:5). Knowing that this judgment is coming, we should seek to evangelize our neighbors, friends, and families.

In addition, knowing that we are going to celebrate on Judgment Day should cause us to look forward to that day because we know at that time we will live for all of eternity with our heavenly Father and His Son, Jesus Christ, who is our Savior, for all of eternity in a new heavens and a new earth free from the bondage of sin, death, persecution, illness, and heartache.

Confessing Sin the Key to Vertical & Horizontal Fellowship

This last Sunday, I preached over 1 John 1:5-10. Part of John’s message is that admitting we are sinners and confessing our sin is the only way we can experience true fellowship with God (Vertical) and with one another (Horizontal). In 1 John 1:7,9 we read:

But if we walk in the light, as He is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus His Son cleanses us from all sin…If we confess our sin, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.

John tells us that we have fellowship with one another if we walk in the light. The same light that God Himself walks in. A light we are able to walk in by confessing our sins. Let’s look at this one piece at a time.

Confession of Sin

In order to confess our sin, we have to first understand sin. Sin is more than just breaking the commandments of God, even though it is that. Sin is more heinous though. It is an outright attack and denial of who God is. It is to follow ourselves rather than to follow God. Now that we understand the heinousness of sin, we can answer the question:

What does it mean to confess sin?

It means that we first recognize we are a sinner, that we have rebelled against God to seek after the things of the world, thinking ourselves to be wiser than God.

Second, it means that we confess to God our rebelliousness against Him. We confess that we have tried to go at it on our own because we thought that our wisdom was greater than His. And in doing so we have sinned against Him.

The Cleansing Blood of Christ

When we confess our sins, Christ acts as our propitiation. He removes our sin and the wrath of God from us. In doing so, He is our substitute, standing in our place, taking the punishment we deserve because of our sinfulness.

Once we confess our sins, Christ’s blood cleanses us from all unrighteousness. When God looks down on us, He sees Christ’s blood and not our sin. This results in our relationship with God being reconciled.

It also shows that Christ’s blood is the only way we are cleansed from our unrighteousness, meaning our works will not do. Thus, confessing our sin, not performing works, is the only way we can be reconciled to God

Walk in the Light

Our confession of sin results in a changed heart and the indwelling of the Holy Spirit (Jer. 31 & Acts 2). Our changed heart and the Holy Spirit empowers us to live in accordance with the commandments of God, as well as we are able to walk in the light with Him.

Because of Christ’s cleansing blood, we are freed from the bondage of sin. Where we once lived for ourselves, we now have the ability to live for God. Where we once used one another for personal gain, we now have the ability to love and serve each other. This means that the cleansing blood of Christ not only results in us having fellowship God, but it also results in us having true fellowship with one another.

Conclusion

When we confess our sins, recognizing Christ is our Savior – that He is the one who took our punishment for us – then we are cleansed from all our unrighteousness and our relationship with God and one another is restored. John’s message then is that true fellowship with God and one another only happens when we confess our sins. There is no other way. May we all recognize this truth, confess our sins, and be saved from all unrighteousness, which results in true fellowship with both God and one another.