Summary: Practically every person you ask will claim that they believe in God. Most people claim to believe in God and have some idea in their minds about what God is like. So how can we tell if we really believe in God?
Tonight, we continue our study in 1 John. We have seen through this study that there are many misconceptions about God. We’ve looked at three of them. We took seven tests that proved if we really knew God. We just finished six tests that prove that we really love God. Now we take four tests that prove that we really believe God—or believe IN God.
Practically every person you ask will claim that they believe in God. Most people claim to believe in God and have some idea in their minds about what God is like. There are probably about as many ideas about what God is like as there are number of people because everyone has his or her own idea of what God is like.
You start thinking about the ideas about God and you think about the Hindus, the Muslims, the Buddhists, the Jews and the Christians. So who is right? Whose belief and idea of God is correct? One thing is for sure. If God really exists, and He does, then it is of utmost importance that we be correct in what we believe and think about Him because there will come a day when we will all stand before him and give an account to Him.
So how can we tell if we believe in God? How can we tell if our beliefs and concepts of God are accurate? Well this is the discussion in the last chapter of 1 John. There are four tests that will show us.
The test tonight asks the question, “Have we been born of God?” Have you been born again? If a person has been born of God then God has given that person His divine nature. But how can we tell if we have been born of God? There are 3 proofs.
The first proof is believing Jesus is the Christ. READ verse 1. That is a genuine proof that one has been born again—if that person believes that Jesus is the Christ, the Messiah, the Anointed One. The person that believes that Jesus is the Christ is given a new birth by God. And Scripture backs that up. Verse 1 has already shown us that a person is born of God if that person believes that Jesus is the Christ.
A person who is born of God loves God. He can’t help but love God because God does this wonderful thing for him. God recreates Him. Re-creation is a wonderful thing.
Yesterday we had a special day here at the church that is foreign to many. It’s called workday. And I appreciate all those who took their time to be here to make God’s property a prettier place. Back in September, 2002 when the construction site was being prepared for our new sanctuary, they disassembled the sidewalk cover that went out in front of the foyer.
They piled all the loose metal up next to the Faith Classroom. It sat for awhile. The spiders and bugs made it their home. The tree dropped piles of leaves on top of that pile of metal until you couldn’t tell what it was. Well a group of our men gathered and started laying out the metal on the patio where the picnic tables are just to see how it would compare to the size of the slab if it were ever erected.
They ended up putting it together that day. We have a nice patio cover now. But what I am saying is that these men took what looked like a worthless pile of metal and recreated it into a nice patio cover. A pile of metal that was in the way is now serving a useful purpose.
In the same way, God takes a person who thinks they are worthless—a person who thinks they are no good for anyone or anything—and God recreates that person into someone He can use for His glory. Paul said that if anyone is in Christ he is a new creation. The old has gone, the new has come.
And when we really think about what God has done for us, how He has recreated us and put His nature in us, how He sacrificed His only Son to save us, our hearts just flood with love for God. That’s what I mean when I say that a person who is born of God loves God and he can’t help but love God. And a person who loves God is going to love other believers as well. Why? Because God has given other believers a spiritual birth as well. They too have been born of God and made a new creation. We are all of the family of God.
And here’s the tough part of the test. If we have truly been born of God—if we have truly been born again—then we will love all our brothers and sisters in Christ no matter what they have done to you, no matter what they might have said about you, no matter how angry they have made you. Why? Because being born of God means we have the divine nature of God in us and God is love. I know it’s hard. But if you are in that state, you can rise above it. You are better than that. That’s why God accepted you into His family. And that’s only 1/3 of the test.