“THE EVIDENCE OF OUR SALVATION” 1 John 3:1-10
INTRO – Vicki & I sort of go through phases in our TV viewing habits & preferences.
- “Diners, Drive-Ins, & Dives”, “Chopped,” & “Beat Bobby Flay”
- “King of Queens”
- “Family Feud”
- Used to be the “Tonight Show,” but Jimmy Fallon has gotten way too political for our liking.
Several years ago, it was this show: (“Law & Order” video) Would watch it almost every night. In each episode, you would see the interaction between the different components of law enforcement in solving crimes & bringing the criminals to justice. There would be the police work of the detectives & members of the NYPD, & work of the attorneys on both sides, along w/ the judge & the jury.
One of the most important aspects of each case was the gathering of evidence. Definition of “evidence”:
- That which tends to prove or disprove something; grounds for belief; proof.
- Something that makes plain or clear; an indication or sign
- LAW: Data presented to a court or jury in proof of the fact in issue, & which may include the testimony of witnesses, records, documents, or objects.
Today, I want us to look at the evidence of our salvation. Look at definition of “evidence” again:
- What are those things that will prove that we truly know Christ as our Savior & Lord?
- What will we find in our lives that will make it plain or clear that Jesus is living in us & we are living for Him?
- What kind of data could be presented from our lives that would give proof that we belong to Christ?
Evangelist Greg Laurie said this: “If you were arrested for being a Christian, would there be enough evidence to convict you? By “evidence,” I don’t mean how many Bibles you own, or how many bumper stickers you might have on your car with Christian sayings on them. I mean hard evidence. If your family members, neighbors, and coworkers were interviewed and asked the question, “Is (your name here), in your opinion, a real Christian?” we might not be happy with the response.”
We have to be careful not to let this dissolve into a performance-based relationship. I’m not talking about doing these things in order to HAVE a relationship w/ the Lord – I’m talking about the things we do BECAUSE we have a relationship w/ the Lord. Sometimes we feel like we have to “do the dance to get the hug,” as Dave Busby used to say. If we aren’t careful, we can move into a place in our walk w/ God where we begin to believe that the only way we will receive His approval is if we act a certain way & behave a certain way. Truth is that, when we are in Christ – when we have trusted Him alone for our salvation, we are already completely accepted by Him – PERIOD! No performance is going to enhance that, & the no lack of performance is going to diminish that. Nail that down, Christ-follower! YOU ARE ACCEPTED BY GOD!!! Live out of who you are – totally, completely, unconditionally loved & accepted by God!
Now, don’t let the enemy twist that truth into a lie by leading you to think that you can act & live any way you want to since you are already accepted by God. That’s definitely not what we are talking about. We have an abundance of Scriptures that teach us & show us who we are to live as a result of being totally accepted by God. So we are NOT talking about being accepted by God. We are talking about the ongoing practices in our lives that give evidence of our ongoing relationship w/ Jesus.
- These are things we are going to do BECAUSE we dedicated our lives to Jesus.
- These are ways we are going to act BECAUSE we are accepted by God.
- These are principles we are going to live by BECAUSE we are loved by the Father.
- These are directions we are going to go BECAUSE we gave our hearts to the Lord.
- These are evidences of an everlasting relationship w/ Jesus Christ as Savior & Lord!
We are going to strive for purity – v. 1-3 – Look at what John says in v. 1 & in v.2 – In those back to back verses, he repeats this foundational truth: WE ARE CHILDREN OF GOD! This is our position now & it dictates how we are to live. That fact ought to dominate our thoughts & our lives at all times, & lead us to live lives of holiness & purity. Look at these verses:
- 2 Cor. 7:1 – “Therefore, since we have these promises, dear friends, let us purify ourselves from everything that contaminates body and spirit, perfecting holiness out of reverence for God.”
- Hebrews 12:14 – “Make every effort to live in peace with everyone & to be holy; without holiness no one will see the Lord.”
- 1 Peter 1:15-16 – “But just as he who called you is holy, so be holy in all you do; for it is written: ‘Be holy, because I am holy.’”
- 2 Tim. 1:9 – “He has saved us & called us to a holy life…”
- Romans 12:1 – “I appeal to you therefore, brothers, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy & acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship.”
- Psalm 24:3-4 – “Who shall ascend the hill of the Lord? And who shall stand in his holy place? He who has clean hands &a pure heart, who does not lift up his soul to what is false & does not swear deceitfully.”
In our nation’s Declaration of Independence, Thomas Jefferson declared that one of the inherent & unalienable rights of men is the “pursuit of happiness.” As children of God, we must realize that the preeminent desire of God & His demand on our lives is that we not necessarily pursue happiness, but pursue holiness. Our lives must reject worldliness, must remind others of His goodness, & must reflect His holiness.
In his book, The Pursuit of Holiness, Jerry Bridges wrote, “To live a holy life is to live a life in conformity to the moral precepts of the Bible & in contrast to the sinful ways of the world.” This means we will continually strive for purity in our lives.
- Purity in the things we allow our eyes to see.
- Purity in the things we allow our ears to hear.
- Purity in the things we allow to come out of our mouths.
- Purity in the things we allow our minds to dwell on.
Which leads to the next point:
We are going to stop practicing sin & lawlessness – v. 4-6, 8-9 – Doesn’t mean that we aren’t going to sin. Already seen that provision has been made for us when do sin:
- 1 John 2:1-2
- 1 John 1:9
But it does mean that we aren’t going to make a constant practice of sin.
- Matthew Henry: “He cannot continue in the course or practice of sin. He cannot so sin as to dominate him a sinner in opposition to a saint or servant of God. Again, he cannot sin comparatively, as he did before he was born of God, & as others do that are not so.”
- Someone once said, “Christians aren’t sinless, but they should sin less.”
It is no longer going to be dominant focus of our lives. It is not going to be our lifestyle. Our mind is not consumed w/ thoughts of the temporary pleasures of sin, thoughts of how to sin & when to sin. We aren’t constantly making intentional plans to sin. John makes it abundantly clear in these verses that the person who continues to “practice” sinning & lawlessness doesn’t truly know Jesus. In fact, he gets even stronger in v. 8 when he says that the person who “makes a practice of sinning is of the devil.” That’s serious business right there! When we sin, we are following in Satan’s footsteps, as if we are his offspring.
Listen to the way that the Amplified Bible translates v. 9: “No one who is born of God [deliberately, knowingly, and habitually] practices sin, because God’s seed [His principle of life, the essence of His righteous character] remains [permanently] in him [who is born again—who is reborn from above—spiritually transformed, renewed, and set apart for His purpose]; and he [who is born again] cannot habitually [live a life characterized by] sin, because he is born of God and longs to please Him.”
We just can’t keep on sinning after the “seed” of God – the nature of God through the powerful working of the Holy Spirit in us has been implanted in us.
- Yes, you can & still will sin, but you’ll be miserable.
- Yes, you can & still will sin, but you’ll find that the fleeting pleasures of sin will leave you in a terrible, desperate condition.
- Yes, you can & still will sin, but when you do, as Proverbs 26:11 says, you’ll be like a dog returning to its vomit.
- Yes, you can & still will sin, but sin will take you farther than you want to go, keep you longer than you want to stay, & cost you more than you want to pay.
So, instead of practicing sin & lawlessness…
We are going to start practicing righteousness & love – v. 7, 10 – Here’s the progression:
- Jesus is perfectly righteous.
- He lived a perfectly righteous life.
- He imputes His righteousness to you when you accept Him as Savior.
- You begin to live a righteous life w/ Him as your perfect example.
Remember – We don’t start practicing righteousness so we will be accepted by God. There’s no way that that would happen. We simply cannot do that. We would have to live an absolutely perfect life for that to happen. No, we practice righteousness b/c we are already accepted by God. The righteousness of Christ is credited to us – imputed to us – so that, when God looks at us, He doesn’t see our sin, but He sees the perfect righteousness of His Son. Our living out that righteousness in a practical, everyday way is the evidence that we have been changed & that we are the children of God. When we practice love toward others, we are giving evidence that we belong to Christ!
CONLUSION – Billy Bray – little, wiry coalminer in Cornwell, England. Lived a horrible, vile life before he came to know Christ in Nov. 1832. After that, though, was a flaming evangelist for the Lord.
Cluster of unsaved families lived on a mountain near his home. Billy would work underground all day, then come out of mines & head to that mountain where he would go door-to-door sharing the Gospel. Soon, every person on that mountain was saved, & a church house built.
Church of England sent Rev. W. Haslam to pastor those people. When Billy heard the new preacher preach, he was upset b/c he believed that the preacher himself wasn’t truly saved. Billy told him how he felt.
Haslam was shaken. Next Sunday, stood to preach, & announced his text, Matt. 22:42 – “What think ye of Christ?” As he began to preach, he came under conviction during his own sermon, & gave his life to Christ as he preached.
Billy heard about it & came to see the pastor. When Haslam answered the door, Billy asked, “Converted, kind sir?” Haslam: “Yes, thank God, I am.” Billy so happy, grabbed Haslam, picked him up & carried him around the room shouting, “Glory, glory, the parson’s converted! Glory be to God!” Haslam’s wife heard noise, came into room. Billy asked, “Be the missis converted?” She said, “Yes, thank God!” He didn’t pick her up, but grinned ear to ear & said, “Oh, I be so happy, I can hardly live. Glory! Glory be to God!”
CONCLUSION – So, question for you & me today: “Converted, kind sir?” “Be the missis converted?” If so, is there true & strong evidence in our lives?