GOD's Truth About How We Can Know Him

Discussion in '2003 Archive' started by Baptist Bible Believer, Apr 27, 2003.

  1. Baptist Bible Believer

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    IF you are a child of God the most imortant single desire of your heart should be "How can I know Him as much as I possibly can". Well, here is a study that is designed to do just that!

    Will the redeemed of the Lord be blessed by these studies, or will they go by the boards unnoticed and unwanted. These studies are designed to build us up in our most holy faith.

    Lord willing, we continue this study of the great epistle of First John, a short, five-chapter book of the Bible that is packed full of some of the most extraordinary teaching concerning the Gospel and the doctrines of Christianity.

    This study is based on the book, "God's Truth Made Simple" written by Mrs. Paul Friederichsen, written in 1966.
     
  2. Baptist Bible Believer

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    The word "know" is used some 38 times in the book of First John. This is not a message of "maybe" or "I hope so." This message is as sure as the character of God Himself. God's Word is truth as well as eternal. " For ever, O LORD, thy word is settled in heaven. ... The entrance of thy words giveth light; ... They word is true from the beginning: and every one of thy righteous judgments endureth for ever " (Ps. 119:89, 130, 160).

    Even though one does not have a higher education in secular things, he can still know God's Word, for the Lord speaks to the heart as well as to the mind. There are Christian workingmen and homemakers who know the reality of God's truth even better than some Christian university professors. Why? Perhaps because the uneducated take what God says by faith and at face value, while the educated Christian person is so often occupied in analyzing and outlining and dissecting and teaching God's Word that he has little time to meditate on it and apply it to his everyday life.

    In the First Epistle of John, God has given us at least seven sure truths in verses that contain the word "know."


    1. We can KNOW the need of a Saviour . 1 John 2:4, 11; 5:1-6, 15; 4:6, 8; 5:19.

    2. We can KNOW the Saviour . 1 John 2:13, 14, 29; 3:5, 29; 5:20.

    3. We can KNOW obedience to Him . 1 John 2:3-5, 29; 5:2, 18.

    4. We can KNOW obedience to Him . 1 John 2:18-19; 4:2, 6.

    5. We can KNOW power in prayer . 1 John 5:14-15.

    6. We can KNOW the message to give to others . 1 John 2:20-27; 3:14.

    7. We can KNOW salvation for sure . 1 John 3:2, 14, 19, 24; 4:13; 5:9-13, 19.


    We will not attempt to cover all these in these posts, for they have already been touched upon in the other studies, but we will consider something on the on the subject of knowing God personally in DELIVERANCE (salvation), DEDICATION (growth), DISCERNMENT (knowing truth from error), DEPENDENCE (eternal security) .
     
  3. Baptist Bible Believer

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    WE CAN KNOW GOD PERSONALLY

    Satan knows and believes about God, but he does not know Him as his God. The unsaved can know about God, but He is not their God. They may accept the good things of life and admit that they come from God; they may be grateful for them, but still not realize that God intends that His goodness should lead men to repentance (Rom. 2:4). They MUST come to repentance, and they MUST accept the Saviour before they can know God personally. " Ye shall seek me, and find me, when ye search for me with all your heart. And I will be found of you, saith the LORD " (Jer. 29:13-14).

    1 JOHN 3:6. " Whosoever sinneth [continues on in persistent sin] hath not seen him, neither knoweth him ."

    The ungodly might be " ever learning and never coming to the knowledge of the truth ." Even as the Pharisees, who prided themselves in their religious knowledge and practice but knew not God and rejected Christ, so the unsaved person flounders in spiritual blindness.

    True, no one can know God fully and absolutely, for finite minds cannot fathom the infinite: only God can full know Himself. But we can come to know Him as our God and personal Saviour and Friend.

    All who know not God are " blind leaders of the blind ."

    I. KNOWING GOD BEGINS WITH DELIVERANCE (SALVATION)

    " And they that know thy name will put their trust in thee: for thou LORD, hast not forgotten them that seek thee " (Ps. 9:10).

    To know God is to love and prize Him above all others.

    We should be able to say with the Apostle Paul, " I count all things but loss for the excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord " (Phil. 3:8). It is vitally important to know God personally, and to KNOW that we know Him.

    To know implies not only that we are informed about Him but that we know we have believed on Him and have trusted our soul's salvation to Him, and that we have fellowship and communion with Him. There must be the transaction of trust and faith, of receiving Christ -- the moment of decision. God gives us the contract of salvation, but we are to receive with open hand and heart.

    1 JOHN 5:20. " And we know that the Son of God is come, and hath given us an understanding, that we may know him that is true ."

    Christ entered into our guilt that we might enter into His glory!

    This promise is for those who have come to Him. Jesus said, in His high-priestly prayer, " This is life eternal. that they might know thee the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom thou has sent " (John 17:3).

    1 JOHN 2:13. " I write unto you, little children [new Christians], because ye have known the Father ."

    Small children know some things, but their knowledge is very limited. Likewise a new Christian knows some things. For instance, he knows God is his Father, but he still has much to learn about the hevenly Father's character and power. The new Chrisitan knows his sins are forgiven, but this is about all. Thank God! that is quite enough to begin with, but the babe in Christ should begin to grow.

    The

    new

    babe

    in

    Christ

    should

    begin

    to

    grow!
     
  4. Baptist Bible Believer

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    II. KNOWING GOD INCLUDES DEDICATION (GROWING SPIRITUALLY)

    " But grow in grace, and in the knowledge of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ " (II Peter 3:18). This does not say that we grow INTO grace but that we grow IN grace. We are to grow in spirituality and knowledge of the Lord which comes from communion and love and obedience. The better we know Him, the more we fall in love with Him.

    However, as the new Christian makes grogress in the Christian life, he will be conscious of his own weakness and be conrronted by temptations. The babe in Christ is apt to be unwise, unfaithful, and even unloving at times. The tempter seeks to trip him up, and baits him with the things of the world, and at times he becomes discouraged. But at other times he is elated, so much so that he is apt to let down his guard.

    A new Christian can be perfectly healthy and normal spiritually even when he is first " born from above ." His food is the milk of the Word; his breath is prayer; his exercise is witnessing for God and living a holy life . The young Christian grows normally into spiritual maturity as he follows these requisites for spiritual health.

    What a heartbreak it must have been for Paul to have to write to the Corinthians Christians, " And I, brethren, could not speak unto you as unto spiritual, but as unto carnal, even as unto babes in Christ. I have fed you with milk, and not with meat: for hitherto ye were not able to bear it, neither yet now are ye able. For ye are yet carnal " (1 Cor. 3:1-3)

    To be carnal is to walk after the flesh, to remain a babe in Christ, although a Christian for many years. These Christians to whom Paul wrote were weak and worldly believers, "fleshly" and self-centered and occupied with earthly things and people and ambitions insteat of spiritual - the were CARNAL.

    How sad it is to see Christians remaining
    in spiritual babyhood --

    giving the same testimony,

    quoting the same verses they always quote,

    praying the same phrases over and over again,

    and living the same undedicated life with the same worldly habits!

    They have not matured enough to know that there is anything more for them. They are selfish and sensitive, and keep the pastor busy visiting and soothing them! Either they are dispeptic and cranky from spiritual indigestion because they are not using the knowledge they have gained from the Word, or they are half starved because they are not eating normally.

    Between trying to spoon-feed some and "burp" others, the pastor is kept busy when he is not sticking pacifiers into the open, complaining mouths of quarreling and gossiping Christians. It's a wonder he gets any preaching done at all!

    " For when for the time [the long time they had been Christians] ye ought to be teachers, ye have need that one teach you again which be the first principles of the oracles [revealed truths] of God; and are become such as have need of milk, and not of strong meat. For every one that useth milk is unskilful in the word of righteousness: for he is a babe. But strong meat belongeth to them that are of full age, even those who by reason of use have their senses exercised to discern both good and evil " (Heb. 5:12-14).

    *********As Children of God, do any of us really want to be thought of as CARNAL? Is it true that some DO NOT WANT to learn to eat the strong meat of the word? **************
     
  5. Baptist Bible Believer

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    1 JOHN 2:13. " I write unto you, father, because ye have known him that is from the beginning ."

    This term "fathers" has nothing to do with the self-claimed title of some relgious leaders, for we are told not to call any man our spiritual father, " Call no man your father upon the earth: for one is your Father, which is in heaven " (Matt. 23:9).

    The fathers here represent the mature spiritual Christian. These "fathers" know the Lord in a deeper and fuller way than new believers; the seeds of spring have developed into the rich fruit of autumn. As inward grace transforms the wrinkled face with the radiance of joy, so the grace of God radiates from the life of the mature Christian to light up the lives of those around. The "fathers" know the Word and doctrine, and know how to obey and use it. They know the Lord and His will for their lives. " All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable ... for instruction in righteousness: that the man of God may be perfect [mature], thoroughly furnished [completely equipped] unto all good works " (II Tim. 3:16-17).

    The normal Christian becomes more and more yielded to God as he grows in grace. He is also weaned away from the baby-bottle need for signs and feelings and miracles. Instead, he is willing to believe God without any tangible demonstrations.

    The normal Christian constantly walks and talks with the heavenly Father as a personal Friend; he doesn't pray only at stated times each day; he confesses sin as soon as it occurs and so knows unbroken fellowship. He knows how to wait upon the Lord in prayer. He knows how to discern truth from error. His life is fruitful in witnessing to others. Christian reader, are you a normal Christian?

    However, even mature believers are not out of the reach of temptation by any means, and it seems that Satan works overtime to trip them up by anxieties and worry, by a cynical and critical spirit, or by covetousness and ambition. How important it is to call upon the Lord and to listen to His voice at just such times of testing as these!

    To babes and advanced children of God alike comes the challenge of the Apostle Paul: " That I may know him, and the power of his resurrection, and the fellowship of his sufferings, being made conformable unto his death " (Phil. 3:10).

    It is that last phrase that we stumble over:

    "... being made conformable unto his death ." That is the dividing line between the "little children" and the "fathers."

    Everyone desires to know the power of God, but few realize that power is a result of suffering and self-denial and subjection to God's will.
     
  6. Baptist Bible Believer

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    In each human heart is born the self or ego (the seat of our natural self-conscious being). This self was completely sold out to the devil until we were saved. Then we were born anew, and God gave us a new nature that is God-centered.

    Just as good and evil are opposites, and light and darkness, so are the new nature and the old nature (of the flesh, or the self-life). The believer is sensitive to the presence of the Holy Spirit, and longs for victory over the old ego.

    Even saved sinners, as human beings, are prone to cater to the old self, for the desire to build up oneself in the opinions of others is natural. It is the ego that gives people inferiority and superiority complexes and all the other complexes as well! It is human for a perosn to want to keep up with others, or to be better than others, or to have what others have, and so feel hurt when he cannot. So many personal problems stem from this giant self, the ego, which will plague us right up to the gates of glory, and we all know this only too well!

    BBB: So many will have a great ideal of ourselves until we get there, and we suddenly see ourselves through the eyes of God. What a disappointment that will be then, unless we can learn to start seeing ourselves through God's eyes today - and start doing something about it.

    Some Christians in mental distress, instead of going to the Word of God and claiming His victory, go to an unsaved psychiatrist or counselor who gives them unsaved advice from his own unsaved unhappy heart or from what he had read from other unsaved and unhappy writers!

    The main problem of Christians boils down to the conflict between the flesh (the self) and the spiritual nature: our acts against our conscience; our wants against the promised supply of God. In so much of our conflict, we turn our eyes away from the Lord and look at what we want and our environment instead of trusting Him.

    Oh, Christians, let Christ be the very center of gravity of your whole life. He is not only GREAT, He is the GREATEST! Instead of being intoxicated with self, let Him fill your horizon, and then you will not limp along spiritually but will be strong and vigorous for God.

    It is possible for a believer to live in such a backslidden state that he acts like the unsaved. God grant that we may leave our grovelling in the much of self-centeredness!

    Earth offers mere phantom and transient pleasures. Worldly indulgences, ambitions, and pleasures are all counterfeits of things that are real, and they are followed closely by anxiety, trouble, and problems. But when Christ is our life, we are "complete in him," and He is our remedy for sin day by day, and our complete satisfaction. He sought us, bought us, and brought us to Himself!

    " If ye then be risen with Christ, seek those things which are above, where Christ sitteth on the right hand of God. Set your affection on things above, not on things on the earth. For ye are dead, and your life is hid with Christ in God. CHRIST ... OUR LIFE " (Col. 3:1-4).
     
  7. Baptist Bible Believer

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    The believer is " hid with Christ in God " or, literally, "bound up in the same bundle" with Christ in God. Is Christ your very life? Are you interested in things merely pleasurable, or things spiritual and important? Which? At conversion a Christian experiences a radical change; Christ becomes the Christian's very life, his ALL IN ALL.

    " For ye are dead " does not mean that Christians are dull and dead personalities; just the opposite! They have new life. As Christ died to deliver from sin, so He lives to give power over sin. When He died, those who belong to Him died too. As He rose from the dead, so believer in Him were raised to live a new life with Him. He died FOR sin, and they died TO sin; thus they are no longer to live IN sin. The dead do not indulge! The DEAD IN SIN do not indulge in the blessings of God, and the DEAD TO SIN do not indulge in the enticements of Satan.

    A dying man has little interest in earthly politics or lusts or possessions.

    How indelibly this was impressed upon us when we were expecting to be killed by the enemy during the invasion of the Philippines. Our few possessions in our little bamboo hut and the vegetables we had worked so hard to raise all faded into a mere shadow and the only thing that really counted was that we would so soon see the Lord face to face. We gathered together as a family to make sure that our small children really understood what it meant to accept Jesus as their own Saviour. We have done this with them before, but this time we prayed with them again and tried to prepare them for what might come. There was little interest concerning personal ambitions, or physical appearance, or degrees of health -- all these had faded into nothingness in the light of eternity.

    Christian, are you really counting yourself dead to the things of sin, or are you still grasping at the straws of your old life apart from God? It is time to allow Him to produce some self-conviction and self-condemnation and self-crucifixion in your life instead of constant self-pity, self-excusing, self-exoneration and self-justification. " Ye that love the LORD, hate evil " (Ps. 97:10).

    Since Christ is our life, then when He shall appear we shall appear with Him. He will be the Celebrity of all celebrities in person!
     
  8. Baptist Bible Believer

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    III. KNOWING GOD INCLUDES DISCERNMENT (KNOWING TRUTH FROM ERROR)

    1 JOHN 2:20. " But ye have an unction from the Holy One, and ye know all things ."

    No one needs to tell the child of God what is right or wrong if he is really in fellowship with the Lord and in touch with the Word. The Holy Spirit is the "unction" or anointing which we have from God at salvation. He is the anointing from the Anointed One -- Christ. He gave this promise of the Holy Spirit to the apostles before He returned to heaven: " I will pray the Father, and he shall give you another Comforter, that he may abide with you for ever; even the Spirit of Truth; ... he dwelleth with you, and shall be in you. I will not leave you comfortless: I will come unto you " (John 14:16-18).

    When the believer is lead by the Spirit of God, he does not need to listen to men's theories and speculations about heavenly things . Christ also told His followers, " I will send him [the Holy Spirit] unto you ... when he the spirit of truth, is come, he will guide you into all truth " (John 16:7, 13). This is the same blessed Spirit who rested upon Christ Himself: " And the spirit of the LORD shall rest upon him, the spirit of wisdom and understanding, the spirit of counsel and might, the spirit of knowledge and of the fear of the LORD " (Isa. 11:2).

    With such a teacher, even the uneducated may understand spiritual things! Certainly a Christian does not need to turn to uncoverted philosophers to give him light, for they are walking in their own imaginations and will end up in outer darkness. " They obeyed not, nor inclined their ear, but walked everyone in the imagination of their evil heart " (Jer. 11:8).

    We can know the truth, and the truth will free us from depending upon humanism and from being deceived by Satan-inspired doctrines and new-agers. Christianity is not building air castles or mansions of soap bubbles; Christianity is not conjecture and surmise. What God has revealed to man is all in black and white -- the written scriptures .

    Some think they must know all about all religions before they can know truth from error. How wrong this is! Know the truth, and all errors will stick out like a sore thumb! No need to read pages of slander about a loved one before we can know if we love a good or bad person. We know what he is like just by knowing him!

    1 JOHN 2:21. " I have not written unto you because ye know not the truth, but because ye know it, and that no lie is of the truth ."

    The Christian's mind is enlightened to know the truth by the indwelling presence of God, his heart is sanctified by believing the truth, and his life is empowered as he obeys the truth. There is no shortcut to knowledge, but God does open the understanding of what we have learned by reading His Word and meditating on it.

    In some people you see great evangelistic activity with little knowledge of the word; then again in others you see dead orthodoxy with sound doctrine but little knowledge of the the Lord! It is possible to be sound in doctrine and active in evangelism, and yet have little time for loving God. There must be in the Christian a balance of truth, zeal, and love.
     
  9. Baptist Bible Believer

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    1 JOHN 2:24. " Let that therefore abide in you which ye have heard from the beginning ."

    This does not refer to something that might have been taught in some church or that someone has always believed; this is speaking of the truth which the inspired writers had given to the believers from God, the message of His Who was from the beginning. This is the gospel of the abiding presence of Christ: that the Holy Spirit indwells the believer and is to feel completely at home in his life and take full control. Can this be said of you, dear reader? Is the Holy God really "at home" in your heart and life -- at ease and comfortable? Are you completely satisfied in Him? If not, then there is sin in your life.

    1 JOHN 2:24. " Let that therefore abide in you which ye have heard from the beginning. If that which ye have heard from the beginning shall remain in you, ye also shall continue in the Son, and in the Father ."

    The Christians to whom John wrote were exhorted to stick to the teaching originally given them. If they did, John said, they would continue living in fellowship with the Father and the Son.

    This passage is dealing with knowing the truth and abiding in harmony with God, and is not inferring that a Christian can lose his salvation. Salvation is God's gift by grace, and the Holy Spirit is the abiding seal, a guarantee that we can never be lost again . The Apostle Paul, writing to the Ephesian believers said, " Ye were sealed with the Holy Spirit of promise " Eph. 1:13). When were they sealed? The first part of the verse tells us: after they trusted in Christ subsequent to their hearing the word of truth, the Gospel of their salvation. The seal indicates ownership.

    We belong to God, and no one can pluck us out of His hand (John 10:28-29). He holds us securely and forever!

    But this does challenge us to possess our possessions and to hold on to the truth we have received. God desires " that we henceforth be no more children, tossed to an fro, and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the sleight of men, and cunning craftiness, whereby they lie in wait to deceive; but speaking the truth in love, may grow up unto him in all things, which is the head, even CHRIST " (Eph. 4:14-15). The Apostle Paul told the Colossian believers GOD's purpose: " To present you holy and unblameable and unreproveable in his sight: if ye continue in the faith grounded and settled, and be not moved away from the hope of the gospel, which ye have heard " (Col. 1:22-23).
     
  10. Baptist Bible Believer

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    1 JOHN 2:27. " The anointing which ye have received of him abideth in you "

    The SPIRIT OF GOD never leaves us. He does abide. This anointing is not tongues of fire, or oil on the head, but the inward presence of GOD Himself. This is not a fitful emotion, not a capturing of excitement or rapturous ecstasy, but the serene presence of a holy Person who endues us with wisdom to discern truth from error .

    All believers have received the gift of the HOLY SPIRIT, and He is the Spirit of truth and error. He has never left the church, and there is no need to pray and emotionalize in order to receive this gift from God. He is already in us!

    Remember, John wrote after 90 A.D. But in all his writings, inspired by GOD, he mentions NOTHING of signs and miracles and demonstrations and emotions to be given to believers. All such primitive demonstrations had long since ceased, and now the church DEPENDED only upon the written Word of God rather than upon gifts of healings and tongues. The gifts of the SPIRIT in our day are the gift of grace to bear suffering rather than healing, the gift of wisdom to know truth from error, the gift of faith to believe GOD without any special manifestation .

    1 JOHN 2:27. " And ye need not than any man teach you ."

    This does not infer that Christians cannot learn anything from other Christians. GOD has ordained pastors to preach and teachers to teach. " When he [CHRIST] ascended up on high, he ... gave gifts unto men ... And he gave some, apostles; and some, prophets; and some, evangelists; and some, pastors and teachers; for the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ " (Eph. 4:8, 11-12).

    To be taught by the SPIRIT does not mean that we become presumptuous and are unwilling to be taught by Spirit-filled men and women of GOD who have spent years in studying the Word, and have had years of experience teaching the Word. Such have been given to the church by GOD.

    Believers taught by the Spirit do not need to accept any teachings which are not in harmony with the Word of GOD. The opinions and philosophies of men who do not know GOD are emptiness and vanity. In such cases, a Christian can say, " I have more understanding than all my teachers: for thy testimonies are my meditation " (Ps. 119:99).
     
  11. Baptist Bible Believer

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    1 JOHN 2:27. " But as the same anointing teacheth you of all things, and is truth, and is no lie, and even as it hath taught you, ye shall abide in him ."

    The anointing is not an IT. The anointing is a Person -- the HOLY SPIRIT. JESUS, speaking of the HOLY SPIRIT, called Him the " Spirit of truth " (John 14:17). JESUS told His disciples this about the ministry of the SPIRIT: " When he, the Spirit of Truth, is come, he will guide you into all truth " (John 16:13).

    And as the HOLY SPIRIT guides the believers in CHRIST into all the truth, He teaches them to abide in CHRIST.

    This ministry of the HOLY SPIRIT in revealing spiritual truth to Christians is described by Paul the Apostle in this way: " Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which GOD hath prepared for them that love him. But GOD hath revealed them unto us by His SPIRIT: for the SPIRIT searcheth all things, yea, the deep things of GOD. ... Now we have received, not the spirit of the world, but the SPIRIT which is of GOD; that we might know the things that are freely given to us of GOD. Which things also we speak, not in the words which man's wisdom teacheth, but which the HOLY GHOST teachest; comparing spiritual things with spiritual. But the natural man [the man without GOD] receiveth not the things of the SPIRIT OF GOD: for they are foolishness unto him: neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned " (I Cor. 2:9-16).
     
  12. Baptist Bible Believer

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    KNOWING GOD INCLUDES DEPENDENCE (ETERNAL SECURITY)

    This matter of assurance of salvation, which springs from COMPLETE DEPENDENCE upon GOD to keep us to the end, is one of the dividing lines between all truth and error. Assurance of salvation ties in closely with the issue of salvation by faith alone, for the moment anyone intimates that a child of God can lose his spiritual sonship, or that a new creation is CHRIST can lose his new nature, he is guilty of error.

    The teaching that a child of GOD can lose his salvation is based on the error that salvation is earned by being good or holding out to the end, and heaven is gained by being faithful .

    1 JOHN 5:13. "These things 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 ."

    This entire book of First John is for the saved ones, the children of GOD, so this promise is for those who are in CHRIST. We may know for sure -- not maybe -- and not even "GOD willing," for GOD is willing. He said so! The whole purpose of this inspired writing is that we may KNOW. To say we are saved is not presumption but simple belief in what GOD says. To refuse to believe what GOD says is to call Him a liar.

    Scripture gives us no leeway for doubt. GOD has given us the witness and the written Word, and so each child of GOD can say, " I know whom I have believed, and am persuaded that he is able to keep that which I have committed unto him against that day " (II Tim. 1:12). When our earthly body dies, we continue to live with Him for all eternity. Hallelujah!

    I was calling the attendance roll in one of my classes one morning, and I came to the name of one of the very faithful members who had died during the week. Without thinking, I called her name. There was silence. Then I remembered, Quietly, I answered for her, "Present, with the LORD!" It was a moving moment. How glorious to know for sure that those who belong to Him will always be with Him! The LORD JESUS in His high-priestly prayer, prayed, " FATHER, I will that they also, whom thou hast given me, be with me where I am; that they may behold my glory, which thou hast given me " (John 17:24). Surely the prayer of CHRIST is not going to be denied!

    1 JOHN 5:9. " If we receive the witness of men, the witness of God is greater ."

    So many of our everyday business transactions are based upon promises. The finance company loans and charge accounts are granted upon promises to pay. The bank promises to "on demand." Your check is a promise that you have money in the bank. We take the promises of men in dozens of ways every day, and every paper dollar bill is promise that the government has gold to back it up. But everyone knows that many, many people are unfaithful and fail to keep their promises. But GOD cannot fail; He cannot lie. GOD alone can be trusted. However, people often will trust lying men, and then doubt the holy GOD. The "witness" of GOD is His eternal Word, which is based upon His holy and eternal character.
     
  13. Baptist Bible Believer

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    1 JOHN 5:9. " For this is the witness which he hath testified of his SON ."

    GOD has testified concerning CHRIST in the Old Testament prophecies. All the Bible from cover to cover has one main theme -- salvation -- and one Hero, the SAVIOUR. In the Old Testament alone there are some 333 fulfilled prophecies about JESUS CHRIST. GOD testified about CHRIST at His Baptism. We read in Matthew 3:17 about " a voice from heaven, saying, This is my beloved SON, in whom I am well pleased ."

    In the first chapter of John's Gospel, John says that GOD told him, "Upon whom thou shalt see the SPIRIT descending, and remaining on him, the same is he which baptizeth with the HOLY GHOST " (John 1:33). And John added, " And I saw, and bare record that this is the SON OF GOD (John 1:34). GOD gave further testimony concerning CHRIST in the New Testament through the apostles and propets of the early church.

    The Old Testament says, "CHRIST is coming!" The New Testament says, "CHRIST has come! and the Epistles say, "CHRIST is coming again!"

    Peter, speaking to the Sanhedrin, boldly told them they had crucified " JESUS CHRIST OF NAZARETH, ... whom GOD raised from the dead, ... This is the stone which was set at nought of your builders, which is become the head of the corner. Neither is their salvation in any other; for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved " (Acts 4:20-23).

    1 JOHN 5:10. " He that believeth on the Son of GOD hath the witness in himself ."

    When we have believed GOD's Word and received His SON, then we have the assurance within our hearts that we belong to Him. The believing comes before the witness. " The SPIRIT itself [Himself] beareth witness with our spirit, that we are the children of GOD " (Rom. 8:16).

    A chrysalis could never understand or keep the laws that will be his life when it becomes a butterfly; it must be reborn first. It must enter that new existence before it can live the new life. So we cannot know GOD nor His will until we are born from above, and then we -- like the chrysalis -- experience a wonderful change. We know we live; our new manner of life proves it. We know we live because we have new desires and new interests and new practices that issue from the new nature born of GOD.

    1 JOHN 5:10. " He that believeth not GOD hath made him a liar; because he believeth not the record that GOD gave of his SON ."

    Why do some people refuse to believe? Perhaps because they do not want to be involved with righteousness. Perhaps they don't want to change their pattern of living. Some might think they have plenty of time to be religious when they are old.

    Now too long ago, a young husband said to me, "I'm not ready to become a Christian yet. I don't want to settle down and live a dull life. I'm young, and I want to live a little."

    He tried all that the world offered, and lived recklessly and foolishly, thinking he was having a good time. But today he is a broken man. He was smashed up in an auto accident while intoxicated, and his wife and child were killed. That young man has plenty of time now to think and grieve.

    Others do not believe because they are too proud to admit that they need a SAVIOUR. How dreadful it will be when they have to face Him as their Judge some day!

    Some do not believe because they do not believe the message of salvation is true. They are calling GOD a liar, and trusting their own reason and warped intellect instead of the revealed Word of God.

    Others say that they do believe, but they have never received CHRIST personally. They have not "believed unto salvation."
     
  14. Baptist Bible Believer

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    1 JOHN 5:11. " And this is the record, that GOD hath given to us eternal life, and this life is in his SON

    We have the record. GOD does not leave His message to word of mouth; it has been written down so there can be no mistake. " Thus saith the LORD !" is written throughout the record -- the Bible.

    Salvation is by faith. And the person who has faith believes GOD even though there is no sign or feeling at all. Some one says, "I feel I am saved. I've always felt that I belonged to GOD." That is no proof! To begin with, none of us has always belonged to GOD; all of us needed to be born again. Besides, feelings change with the weather or health and circumstances, and cannot be trusted. It matters not how we feel, or what we feel; assurance comes from FACT -- what GOD and CHRIST have done, and what GOD has promised!

    Still others feel that their baptism and confirmation or taking communion is helping to keep them saved. They feel the church is their security as long as they are faithful and pay their pledge and attend once in a while. Theirs is a false security.

    If you should ask me, "How do you know you are saved?" I would answer, "How do I know that I am MARRIED? Because my husband and I have mutual friends? Or because we've been together for thirty years? Or because we have community property? Indeed not! Those experiences do not make us married! But I do know that I was present when we were married, and I said, 'I do,' and He said, 'Him that cometh to me I will in no wise cast out. I do receive you!"

    I have a certificate, too -- the Word of GOD which says, ' He that hath the SON hath life .'"

    Oh, yes, there have been feelings of joy and assurance that have followed that day of decision, but they are the RESULTS and not the PROOF. Thank GOD our security does not depend upon our feelings or our faithfulness, but upon our dependence upon Him!

    1 JOHN 5:12. " He that hath the SON hath life; and he that hath not the SON OF GOD hath not life ."

    What a plain, clear statement -- and in one-syllable words! Possessing CHRIST, we have life -- GOD's life, spiritual life, abundant life, which is eternal: " For what is your life? It is even a vapour, that appeareth for a little time, and then vanisheth away " (James 4:14).

    But spiritual life includes everything for time and eternity. CHRIST is the Giver, and He is the Gift. This is not just an endless existence, but the soul's well-being forever. This is CHRIST's own life given to us -- and not in limited measure. He says, " I am come that ye might have life, and that ye might have it more abundantly " (John 10:11).
     
  15. Baptist Bible Believer

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    In 1 John 5:12 we see two divisions of humanity -- the haves and the have-nots! In which are you?

    The sentence of death is already recorded against the Christ-rejecter, even though he is still physically alive. " He that believeth not is condemned already, because he hath not believed in the name of the begotten SON OF GOD " (John 3:18). " He that believeth not the SON shall not see life; but the wrath of GOD abideth on him " (John 3:36).

    If you have received CHRIST, you have life! " He that believeth on the SON hath everlasting life " (John 3:36). This is GOD's promise. The security of the believer is dependency on God's keeping power, and not upon our holding-on power. Praise His name!

    The sovereign GOD knows who are His -- "those that are sanctified by GOD THE FATHER, and preserved in JESUS CHRIST" (Jude 1). Just think! Set apart by the FATHER and preserved by CHRIST! No wonder we have assurance! We are not embalmed like a dead body and preserved in a glass case, neither are we preserved and pickled like relish on the pantry shelf. We are preserved ALIVE! Assurance of salvation is not necessary our our safety, but it is needful for our satisfaction and for glorifying GOD.

    Let me give you another illustration -- which may be helpful. Suppose someone asked you, "How do you know your house belongs to you?" Would you say, "Well, I've lived in it for so long," or "My father lived here and I feel it is mine," or "I like it here, so it must be mine"?

    None of these answers would hold up in court. Get out the deed! That's your proof!

    1 JOHN 5:19. " And we know that we are of GOD ."

    This statement leaves no loopholes for doubt. But just in case you need further proof, here are some more verses from the Gospel of John: John 1:12; 3:16, 18, 36; 5:24; 6:39-40, 47; 10:9, 28-29; 14:1-3, 16; 17:3, 9, 11-12; 20:31.

    And here are some verses from the epistles of Peter: 1 Peter 1:1-5, 18-21; 3:18; 2 Peter 1:1-3.

    Again, here are some verses from the pen of the Apostle Paul: Rom. 3:24-28; 5:1, 9; 8:1, 28-39; Eph. 1:1-23; Phil. 1:6; I Thess. 1:4; II Tim. 1:9-12.
     
  16. Baptist Bible Believer

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    1 JOHN 3:19. " And hereby we know that we are of the truth, and shall assure our hearts before him ."

    Because Christians perceive the love of GOD for them in laying down His life for them (1 John 3:16), they respond to this love by loving GOD and by loving the brother who has need (v. 17). Christians who love in deed and truth and not merely in word (saying that they love their brethren but doing nothing for them when they are in need) can say, " Hereby know we that we are of the truth and shall assure our hearts before him ." One of the marks by which a Christian can KNOW that he is born of GOD is his love for GOD's children -- "the brethren."

    "Heart" is a term used so often in Scripture to designate the center of our being, our innermost feelings. The unsaved man has a conscience (or center of reason and being) that is untrustworthy because of sin. A " conscience seared with a hot iron " (1 Tim. 4:2) is not a dependable guide. It is only when the heart is surrendered to the will of GOD that the conscience can be trusted at all.

    1 JOHN 3:20. " For if our heart condemn us, GOD is greater than our heart, and knoweth all things ."

    Certainly, when we face sin in our lives and let it remain unconfessed, the LORD also sees it. He is far more sensitive to sin than we are, and will have to rebuke and discipline His wayward child unless he confesses and forsakes it. He knows the secret sin we try to cover up, and He sees and discerns the motives behind our apparent good deeds. So if we look into our hearts and see insincerity and sin, and are convicted, how much more does GOD see? Be sure of this, you cannot hide your sin, and it must be dealt with -- either by you in self-judgment, or by GOD in chastening.

    1 JOHN 3:21. " Beloved, if our heart condemn us not, then have we confidence toward GOD ."

    This verse was not written to the unsaved who have a disregard for GOD and a complacent spirit that leads them to say, "My heart doesn't condemn me!" And they go on in their sins.

    This verse was written to people whom John addresses as "beloved." The beloved are the children of GOD, and they have confidence toward GOD because their hearts do not condemn them. The reason their hearts do not condemn them is their confidence that they were acquitted of all charges of a holy GOD against them when they believed in CHRIST as the ONE who died for their sins. They are justified by faith (Rom. 5:1). GOD looks upon them through the person of CHRIST, and sees them as they will be in eternity. His all-seeing eye sees them as He is going to make them. And even though they are not yet perfect, He calls them His beloved.

    Oh, what grace! We are not merely subjects of the KING but we are the beloved children of the KING. And as we live in this world, we have confidence toward GOD because our hearts condemn us not. We KNOW we are saved. But this certainty should not mean that we become careless or that we will be unfaithful. We seek to please Him because He loves us (we are His "beloved") and we love Him.
     
  17. Baptist Bible Believer

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    1 JOHN 3:24. " And hereby we know that he abideth in us, by the SPIRIT which he hath given to us ."

    The HOLY SPIRIT (GOD Himself) indwells us forever! How, then, could we ever be lost? The only way we could lose our salvation would be to be taken out of the hand of ALMIGHTY GOD, and for Him to be taken out of our heart. This is an impossibility! To do this, the robber must be stronger than GOD! JESUS CHRIST said, " And I give unto them eternal life; and they shall never perish, neither shall any man pluck them out of my hand. My FATHER which gave them me, is greater than all; and no man is able to pluck them out of my FATHER's hand. I and the FATHER are one " (John 10:28-30). You see, even Satan cannot pluck the saint out of the FATHER's hand, and certainly we cannot take ourselves out of His hand, and neither will He let us fall through His fingers! With GOD THE SPIRIT indwelling us, and GOD THE FATHER and GOD THE SON holding us, we have not just security, nor double security, we have a three-fold security! Glory to GOD.

    "Eternal" means eternal -- not just a short time but forever. We have eternal life, which begins the moment we receive the eternal SON OF GOD, and He will remain with us forever. This life is also called everlasting life. " For GOD so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten SON, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life " (John 3:16). In the Greek text of this verse, the word "have" is in the present tense, which expresses continuous action, and so we may say that one who believes on CHRIST "shall continue to have everlasting life." The verse means just what it says -- one who believes in CHRIST will have life forever!

    Some, when quoting the passage in II Peter 2:22, apply it to a Christian, maintaining he can lose his salvation. However, that whole chapter is speaking of those who know the truth and come to the knowledge of the Saviour, but have never been saved at all. We have people today -- people who sample Christianity, even attend Bible classes and join a church, get baptized and live a moral life, but they do not believe, they have never been born again. When they turn away from the truth, then " it is happened unto them according to the true proverb, The dog is turned to his own vomit again; and the sow that was washed to her wallowing to the mire ."

    God never speaks of His children as dogs and swine! We are the sheep of His pasture! It is impossible to lose something you never had. These false teachers never had salvation at all, so they didn't lose salvation.

    Other favorite passages for presenting such an argument are Hebrews 6:4-9 and Hebrews 10:26-39. These passages refer to Jewish inquirers who came to the very brink of believing in JESUS as the MESSIAH and SAVIOUR and then went back to the law of Moses and the sacrifices of Judaism. They had understood the message of the grace of GOD and had "sampled" the blessings of Christianity by meeting with the Christians in their fellowship meetings. These Jewish inquirers had even "gone along" with the miracles of the HOLY SPIRIT so evident in apostolic times. They were like Simon the sorcerer (Acts 8:9-24), who followed along with the apostles and evidenced some belief and was baptized but never was saved. His believing was the kind James mentioned in James 2:19: "The devils also believe, and tremble." They were persuaded about the truth but did not believe unto salvation.

    That those passages do not speak of a child of GOD losing his salvation is indicated by the words: "But WE are not of them who draw back into perdition; but of them that believe to the saving of the soul" (Heb. 10:39) and " But, BELOVED, we are persuaded better things of YOU, and things that accompany salvation, though we thus speak " (Heb. 6:9).
     
  18. Baptist Bible Believer

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    1 JOHN 4:13. " Hereby know we that we dwell in him, and he in us, because he hath given us of his SPIRIT ."

    Here we aer again directed to the fact of the indwelling SPIRIT OF GOD! We KNOW we are born again and children of GOD because the SPIRIT OF GOD indwells us, but " if any man have not the SPIRIT OF CHRIST, he is none of his " (Rom. 8:9).

    The amazing thing is, that in spite of all the wealth of Scripture proving the keeping power of GOD, some people prefer to get their teeth into some verse that MIGHT sound otherwise, and they worry that one verse to death trying to prove that GOD is a liar when He says the believer has eternal life and shall never perish. Why do people try to disprove such a wonderful truth?

    1 JOHN 3:2. " Beloved, now are we the sons of GOD, and it doth not yet appear what we shall be: but we know that, when he shall appear, we shall be like him; for we shall see him as he is ."

    This verse does not say that we shall see Him IF we are faithful; and it does not say that we shall be like Him IF we hold out to the end! It does teach we are the sons of GOD now, we shall be like Him, and we shall see Him. There is no qualifying requirements. Our becoming like CHRIST is all GOD's doing, all of grace, undeserved and unearned. " Even so, come, LORD JESUS !"

    The world says, "While there's life, there's hope." GOD says, "Even after life, there is hope!" Christians have a hope to live by.

    What comfort or peace could we have if our salvation depended upon our own faithfulness?

    Life would be full of fear lest we should be unable to "hold on" and "make it" to heaven, instead of being filled with the peace and confidence which is CHRIST's legacy to His own: " Peace, I leave with you, my peace I give unto you: not as the world giveth, give I unto you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid " (John 14:27). For the believer, this means releases from guilt and dread and from fear and frustration. This is the peace that continues to multiply as we grow in our knowledge and consequently in our trust. " Grace and peace be multiplied unto you through the knowledge of GOD and of JESUS OUR LORD " (II Peter 1:2).

    GOD's tranquilizer is " the peace of GOD, which passeth all understanding " (Phil. 4:7), which keeps the hearts and minds who trust in CHRIST JESUS and present all their requests to Him. Faith in GOD is confidence in Him even when He seems to act contrary to His promises, and appears to be contradictory in His providence.
     
  19. Baptist Bible Believer

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    1 JOHN 5:21. " Little children, keep yourselves from idols ."

    We are the temple of the living GOD. " What? Know ye not that your body is the temple of the HOLY GHOST, which is in you, which ye have of GOD, and ye are not your own? For ye are bought with a price: therefore glorify GOD in your body, and in you spirit, which are GOD's " (I Cor. 6:19-20).

    GOD is a jealous GOD, and rightly so. His jealousy is not sin, for He has a right to demand our worship. And when you put self first in your life, you are worshipping self, and this is idolatry. We are not to worship any other -- not even SELF. Self-confidence, self-interest, self-consciousness, self-occupation, self-will -- all make a pretty impressive show of spiritual idolatry!

    Oh, we Christians would never make ourselves graven images like the heathen do, but do we come close to worshipping THINGS and our own SELF?

    With all our modern enlightenment, are we so different from the heathen after all? We who know the living GOD, are we choosing to make unto ourself gods that will demand nothing of us and cost us nothing? Are we bowing to our own image, our own will, our ego? Lucifer's sin was pride, and caused him to be cast out of GOD's presence. In his pride he wanted worship that belonged to GOD alone.

    Christians, is this our sin? GOD forbid!

    " His servants ye are ... whom ye obey ... Now yield your members servants to righteousness unto holiness " (Rom. 6:16, 19).

    GOD calling yet! Shall I not hear?
    My sinful self shall I hold dear?
    Shall life's swift passing years all fly,
    And still my soul in slumber lie?

    GOD calling yet! Shall I not rise?
    Can I His loving voice despise?
    And basely His kind care repay?
    He calls me still; can I delay?

    GOD calling yet! And shall He knock,
    And I my heart the closer lock?
    He still is waiting to receive,
    And shall I dare His SPIRIT grieve?

    GOD calling yet! I cannot stay!
    My heart I yield without delay!
    Vain pride and sin, from thee I part;
    The voice of GOD has reached my heart!

    QUESTIONS TO PONDER

    1. Do the heathen know there is GOD? Rom. 1:19-21, 28.

    2. What is the main battle in the believer's heart? Gal. 5:17.

    3. What is a result of being sure of salvation? II Tim. 2:19.

    4. Can GOD keep His promise? Rom. 4:21.

    5. What does GOD give the believer? Rom. 15:13.

    6. Who begins and concluded our salvation? Phil. 1:6.

    7. What part should CHRIST have in our life? Col. 1:18.

    8. How long does GOD's faithfulness last? 1 Cor. 1:7-9.

    9. Who helps us do the will of GOD? Heb. 13:20-21.

    10. Who can separate us from GOD? Rom. 8:39.
     

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