The following qualities will be in the life of a new Christian that has truly been born again.
6. Victory over sin and the world. I John 3:3-10 “And every man that hath this hope in him purifieth himself, even as he is pure. Whosoever committeth sin transgresseth also the law: for sin is the transgression of the law. And ye know that he was manifested to take away our sins; and in him is no sin. Whosoever abideth in him sinneth not: whosoever sinneth hath not seen him, neither known him. Little children, let no man deceive you: he that doeth righteousness is righteous, even as he is righteous. He that committeth sin is of the devil; for the devil sinneth from the beginning. For this purpose the Son of God was manifested, that he might destroy the works of the devil. Whosoever is born of God doth not commit sin; for his seed remaineth in him: and he cannot sin, because he is born of God. In this the children of God are manifest, and the children of the devil: whosoever doeth not righteousness is not of God, neither he that loveth not his brother.” I John 5:4-5 “For whatsoever is born of God overcometh the world: and this is the victory that overcometh the world, even our faith. Who is he that overcometh the world, but he that believeth that Jesus is the Son of God?” I John 5:18 “We know that whosoever is born of God sinneth not; but he that is begotten of God keepeth himself, and that wicked one toucheth him not.“
7. Rejection, misunderstanding from the world. I John 3:13 “Marvel not, my brethren, if the world hate you.“
8. Good Works will be evident. I John 3:17-22 “But whoso hath this world’s good, and seeth his brother have need, and shutteth up his bowels of compassion from him, how dwelleth the love of God in him? My little children, let us not love in word, neither in tongue; but in deed and in truth. And hereby we know that we are of the truth, and shall assure our hearts before him. For if our heart condemn us, God is greater than our heart, and knoweth all things. Beloved, if our heart condemn us not, then have we confidence toward God. And whatsoever we ask, we receive of him, because we keep his commandments, and do those things that are pleasing in his sight.“
9. The Holy Spirit will be active. I John 3:24 “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.“
10. One will have evidences of Answered Prayer. I John 5:14-15 “And this is the confidence that we have in him, that, if we ask any thing according to his will, he heareth us: And if we know that he hear us, whatsoever we ask, we know that we have the petitions that we desired of him.“
Are these ten characteristics that we have examined over the past two days evident in your life? If not, enter today into a new relationship with Christ!
Saturday evening Shelli was “exercising” in our bedroom. She was bouncing up and down on this large green ball. I am unsure of the “exercising” part of this hilarious routine of bouncing up and down; but, if it helps Shelli’s self-esteem to know that she exercising, then so be it.
I suddenly hear this blood-curdling scream and then what I witnessed defies all laws of gravity. With one unbelievable move, Shelli went from bouncing on this green ball to under the sheets and wrapped up in a tight cocoon in the middle of our bed – all in one motion. Shelli is screaming, “kill it, kill it, kill it!”
On the green ball was a three inch cockroach! (Thanks to new shoes purchased at Foot Locker, we inherited two cockroaches.) I picked up a shoe, smacked this cockroach, who was paralyzed too from the screaming that was emanating from beneath the comforter, and although the cockroach met his maker, my hand bounced off of the green ball with great authority. This green ball is interesting. I dutifully picked up the dead cockroach and took him to the toilet where he was unceremoniously removed from the premises.
Because the cockroach had touched Shelli’s arm, she had to immediately go take a shower. Out of the corner of my eye, I saw the second cockroach make his way from the Foot Locker bag and head for Shelli’s dresser. By now, Jennifer and Jonathan are involved. I pulled the dresser away from the wall and Jonathan shined the flashlight; awe or uggh, there he was on the back leg of the dresser. I handed Jennifer a shoe for each hand and told her as I pulled the other side of Shelli’s dresser away from the wall to smack him.
She was too squeamish and said she could not do it. So, I pulled the other side of the dresser away from the wall and there he was. I smack him good; however, he took off running even though his “innards” was oozing. Jennifer now starts screaming! He disappeared. Now, Shelli was still in the shower and wanted to know what was going on with the commotion she heard from Jennifer and the “smack.”
Jennifer was hysterically laughing at this point (by the way, the same Jennifer who caught the eight inch lizard last week with no fear, is now afraid of a three inch cockroach) and spills the beans to Shelli. Shelli is now all paranoid, tiptoes to the bed and refuses to sleep on her side of the bed. She insists on sleeping with the lights on and the TV on in our bedroom and on my side! Ok, I finally fall asleep only to be awakened by a panicked Shelli around midnight; she saw a shadow, so we had to explore the possibility that the cockroach had come out from hiding. It was not him; nor did we ever determine exactly what the shadow was.
Now it is Sunday; Shelli is terrified to walk around in her own bedroom. We go to church, come home, go back to church, get back home around 10:00 p.m. last night. Shelli walks into our house and informs me that she is now brave and that we have to find that cockroach or she cannot sleep in our house. She tiptoes up the steps; I turn on the light; she looks around and all is clear; she screams for as she looks into our bathroom, THERE HE IS! I grab a shoe; smack him good. He also has been unceremoniously dismissed from this life.
Whew! We were able to sleep with the lights out and TV off. We have had an eight inch lizard and two cockroaches and lots of terrifying screaming. Our neighbors have to be deaf for surely they would have called the police by now! I have not figured it out yet, but surely I can come up with a sermon illustration…
Excerpt from an essay by Mark Alexander Publisher, The Patriot Post
Memorial Day was first observed as Decoration Day to commemorate those who died in the War Between the States. It is a day set aside in deference to American Patriots who pledged and delivered their lives to Support and Defend the Rule of Law enshrined in our Constitution.
Since our nation’s founding, more than one million American Soldiers, Sailors, Airmen, Marines and Coast Guardsmen have paid the ultimate price in defense of our nation, and it is their final sacrifice that we honor with solemn reverence. Our Founders clearly understood that the burden of sustaining Liberty would be calculated in human sacrifice. As John Adams noted, “I am well aware of the toil and blood and treasure that it will cost to maintain this Declaration, and support and defend these States.” So, on this last Monday in May, millions of American Patriots will honor the service and sacrifice of these uniformed Patriots by participating in respectful commemorations across the nation.
Who were these brave souls?
On 12 May 1962, Gen. Douglas MacArthur addressed the cadets at the U.S. Military Academy, offering this description: “Their story is known to all of you. It is the story of the American man at arms. My estimate of him was formed on the battlefields many, many years ago and has never changed. I regarded him then, as I regard him now, as one of the world’s noblest figures — not only as one of the finest military characters, but also as one of the most stainless. His name and fame are the birthright of every American citizen. In his youth and strength, his love and loyalty, he gave all that mortality can give. He needs no eulogy from me, or from any other man. He has written his own history and written it in red on his enemy’s breast.”
Gen. MacArthur continued: “In twenty campaigns, on a hundred battlefields, around a thousand campfires, I have witnessed that enduring fortitude, that patriotic self- abnegation and that invincible determination which have carved his statue in the hearts of his people. From one end of the world to the other, he has drained deep the chalice of courage. As I listened to those songs in memory’s eye, I could see those staggering columns of the First World War, bending under soggy packs on many a weary march, from dripping dusk to drizzling dawn, slogging ankle deep through mire of shell-pocked roads; to form grimly for the attack, blue-lipped, covered with sludge and mud, chilled by the wind and rain, driving home to their objective, and for many, to the judgment seat of God. I do not know the dignity of their birth, but I do know the glory of their death. They died unquestioning, uncomplaining, with faith in their hearts, and on their lips the hope that we would go on to victory. Always for them: duty, honor, country. Always their blood, and sweat, and tears, as they saw the way and the light.”
On Memorial Day of 1982, President Ronald Reagan offered these words in honor of Patriots interred at Arlington National Cemetery: “I have no illusions about what little I can add now to the silent testimony of those who gave their lives willingly for their country. Words are even more feeble on this Memorial Day, for the sight before us is that of a strong and good nation that stands in silence and remembers those who were loved and who, in return, loved their countrymen enough to die for them. Yet, we must try to honor them not for their sakes alone, but for our own. And if words cannot repay the debt we owe these men, surely with our actions we must strive to keep faith with them and with the vision that led them to battle and to final sacrifice.”
He continued, “Our first obligation to them and ourselves is plain enough: The United States and the freedom for which it stands, the freedom for which they died, must endure and prosper. Their lives remind us that freedom is not bought cheaply. It has a cost; it imposes a burden. And just as they whom we commemorate were willing to sacrifice, so too must we — in a less final, less heroic way — be willing to give of ourselves. It is this, beyond the controversy and the congressional debate, beyond the blizzard of budget numbers and the complexity of modern weapons systems, that motivates us in our search for security and peace. … The willingness of some to give their lives so that others might live never fails to evoke in us a sense of wonder and mystery. One gets that feeling here on this hallowed ground, and I have known that same poignant feeling as I looked out across the rows of white crosses and Stars of David in Europe, in the Philippines, and the military cemeteries here in our own land. Each one marks the resting place of an American hero and, in my lifetime, the heroes of World War I, the Doughboys, the GI’s of World War II or Korea or Vietnam. They span several generations of young Americans, all different and yet all alike, like the markers above their resting places, all alike in a truly meaningful way.”
President Reagan concluded, “As we honor their memory today, let us pledge that their lives, their sacrifices, their valor shall be justified and remembered for as long as God gives life to this nation. … I can’t claim to know the words of all the national anthems in the world, but I don’t know of any other that ends with a question and a challenge as ours does: ‘O! say does that star-spangled banner yet wave, O’er the land of the free and the home of the brave?’ That is what we must all ask.”
Indeed we must.
For the fallen, we are certain of that which is noted on all Marine Corps Honorable Discharge orders: “Fideli Certa Merces” — to the faithful there is certain reward.
To the beneficiaries of the legacy of Liberty that they defended with their lives, I humbly ask that each of you observe Memorial Day with reverence.
We ask that you observe Memorial Day with reverence and we ask that you remember in your prayers the souls of all the fine young men and women who have over the decades, offered the ultimate sacrifice so that we all might be able to enjoy the freedoms that our Country and our Constitution provide.
We wish each of you a happy and blessed Memorial Day.
There are certain qualities that will characterize the life of a born again Christian. Consider the following ten qualities:
- Obedience to God. “If we say that we have fellowship with him, and walk in darkness, we lie, and do not the truth: But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship one with another, and the blood of Jesus Christ his Son cleanseth us from all sin.” I John 1:6-7. “And hereby we do know that we know him, if we keep his commandments.” I John 2:3. “He that saith he abideth in him ought himself also so to walk, even as he walked.” I John 2:6. “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.” I John 3:24. “By this we know that we love the children of God, when we love God, and keep his commandments. For this is the love of God, that we keep his commandments: and his commandments are not grievous.“
- Awareness of Sin. “If we say we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. If we say we have not sinned, we make him a liar, and his word is not in us.” I John 1:8-10
- Love for other Christians. “He that loveth his brother abideth in the light, and there is none occasion of stumbling in him.” I John 2:10. “We know that we have passed from death unto life, because we love the brethren. He that loveth not his brother abideth in death.” I John 3:14. “Beloved, if God so loved us, we ought also to love one another.” I John 4:11
- Change of desires, loves, affections. “Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world. If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, is not of the Father, but is of the world. And the world passeth away, and the lust thereof: but he that doeth the will of God abideth for ever.” I John 2:15-17
- Spiritual Understanding. “But ye have an unction from the Holy One, and ye know all things. … But the anointing which ye have received of him abideth in you, and ye need not that any man teach you: 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.” I John 2:20, 27
Tomorrow we will examine the second set of five qualities. Are these first five qualities in your life?
After you have received eternal life and are genuinely born again, God does not want you to live in doubt. He wants you to know you are His child. If you have truly repented of your sin and fully yielded to Christ as Savior and Lord of your life, then you can be sure that you are now born again. The Bible promises in I John 5:11-12, “And this is the record, that God hath given to us eternal life, and this life is in his Son, He that hath the Son hath life; and he that hath not the Son of God hath not life.“
Jesus Himself said: “He that heareth my word, and believeth on him that sent me, hath everlasting life, and shall not come into condemnation; but is passed from death unto life.” John 5:24. It is certain that the Holy Spirit, Who comes to live in your heart at the moment of salvation, will bring assurance deep in your heart. What a great verse in Romans 8:16, “The Spirit himself beareth witness with our spirit, that we are the children of God.“
God will not fail to save any person who repents of his sin (hates it and turns from it) and willingly asks Jesus into his heart as his Savior and Lord. God cannot refuse to save anyone who does that. His promise is true, sure, eternal, and unfailing. “For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.” Romans 10:13
But perhaps you still have doubts. You know God could not fail to do the saving, but you know something is wrong. God tells us in His Word that certain things will be evident in our lives if we are truly born again. Just as breathing, heartbeats, and brain activity are medically accepted evidences of physical life; there are Biblical evidences of spiritual life. The book of I John was written to Christians to let them know some of these evidences so that they could be certain that they possessed spiritual life.
“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.” I John 5:13.
Tomorrow we will begin to look at specific qualities that will be evident in a changed life.
After you have received the gift of eternal life, God doesn’t want you to live in doubt. He wants you to know that you have received eternal life and a new relationship with Jesus Christ. This is the theme of the entire book of I John in the New Testament. God gives us undeniable evidence such as:
The Promise of the Written Word. The Bible, of course, is God’s written Word, it is full of passages which reaffirm the believer’s assurance. Perhaps the most familiar verse is I John 5:13, “These things have I written unto you that believe on the name of the Son God: that ye may know that ye have eternal life, and that ye may believe on the name of the Son of God.“
We also see The Promise of the Living Word in I John. God’s Living Word is His Son, Jesus Christ. A word is an instrument of communication. Jesus Christ is the one final, ultimate instrument which God the Father used to communicate to man. One statement of promise which Jesus Himself made about eternal life is found in John 6:47, “Verily, verily, I say unto you, he that believeth on me hath everlasting life.“
We also see The Presence of the Holy Spirit promised to us. The Holy Spirit, one of the three Persons in the Trinity, is also involved in assuring the believer of his salvation. Romans 8:16 states, “The Spirit himself beareth witness with our spirit, that we are the children of God.“
When you receive Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior, you enter into a relationship with God. you become a child of God (John 1:12). You are born into a family (John 3:3-7). The Bible compares this spiritual birth into God’s family with the physical birth into your earthly family. When you were born as the child of your father and mother, a relationship was established. Even though you may disown your parents, or they disown you, you cannot change the relationship: they are still your parents and you are still their child.
Nothing can alter this same fact spiritually. At the moment of your spiritual birth, you become a child of God. He is your Father, you are His child, and nothing can break that relationship.
Some would argue and say our relationship with God is broken when we sin. We cease to be His child. Simply this is not true. Our fellowship with God is broken, but not our relationship. When David had committed adultery and murder, he prayed in confession to God, “Restore unto me the joy of thy salvation!” (Psalm 51:12) He did not pray, “restore unto me thy salvation.” He did not need to, David’s relationship with God had not been altered, just his fellowship or his joy.
God does not want you to live in a fog. He wants you to know that you are His child.
We must believe in Jesus Christ. The kind of faith mentioned in Ephesians 2:8-9 that we examined yesterday, is not just any faith. It is trusting Jesus Christ, alone, to save you for all of eternity. This is saving faith. This faith is not just a belief in certain facts. A man may say, “I believe in marriage. I’ve read all the books on marriage I can find. I attend weddings every week, and I now know much about marriage. Yes, I believe in marriage.”
Fine, but does all this make the fellow married? No. He has just believed facts. He has experienced nothing… he has not put the facts into his life. Just believing that Jesus Christ is the Provider of eternal life does not give you eternal life. You must accept Him into your life by faith. You may see a chair and believe that it exists and that it will hold you up. But until you apply those facts to your life and sit in the chair, you have exercised no faith or belief in the facts.
In the same way, you may believe about Jesus without believing in Him. James 2:19 “Thou believest that there is one God; thou doest well: the devils also believe, and tremble.“
The important question is… Do you want to receive the eternal life that Christ offers to you? No other question is more important than this one. Your answer determines your destiny. If you are willing to transfer your trust and hope of working your way to heaven from yourself and your abilities to Christ and Christ alone, you can receive eternal life. Are you willing? Will you receive Jesus Christ as your Saviour?
Jesus said, “I tell you, Nay: but except ye repent, ye shall all likewise perish.” Luke 13:3
A simple, faith prayer: Lord Jesus, I want You to come into my life. I am a sinner. All my life I have trusted in myself, but now I place my trust in You. I accept You as my Savior and Lord. I now repent of my sins and ask You to help me live for You. I gladly receive your gift of eternal life. I know I don’t deserve it, but I thank You for it. In Jesus’ name, Amen.
Did you pray and believe. Let me know and I can rejoice with you. Tomorrow we will examine how you can live free of doubts regarding your new decision to trust Jesus Christ.
But why did Jesus Christ become a man? The Bible says He did it in order to pay the price for man’s sin and to purchase eternal life to give man as a free gift. II Corinthians 5:21, “For he hath made him to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him.” Jesus came into the world to deal with our sins. How did he do that?
More than 600 years before Jesus Christ was born, the prophet Isaiah was inspired by God to write these words describing Jesus: “All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned every one to his own way; and the Lord hath laid on him the iniquity (sin) of us all.” Isaiah 53:6
Peter described it like this: “Who his own self bare our sins in his own body on the tree, that we, being dead to sins, should live unto righteousness: by whose stripes ye were healed.” I Peter 2:24.
Our sins were placed on Jesus when He died on the cross. The awful price of man’s sin was paid by the only One who could pay it: the infinite, perfect Son of God. When Jesus cried, “It is finished” in John 19:30, He was saying, “It is paid; the work is done. The debt of your sin is cancelled.” That is amazing!
God’s solution: Jesus Christ is the answer. he is God’s grace personified. But does everyone receive the gift He purchased? The Bible says no, for there is one more necessary decision and we discover the key to receiving this gift in Ephesians 2:8-9, “For by grace are ye saved through faith and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: not of works, lest any man should boast.“
The key is faith. Tomorrow we will examine this key.