Summary: Sin in a person’s life is not what determines if they are truly a Christian or not, John tells us one practical way to evaluate ourselves in our Christian walk.
A pastor and his wife were vacationing in Estes Park, Colorado, and were having breakfast in a local coffee shop. It was empty except for four men at another table. One was mocking Christianity; in particular, the resurrection of Christ. He went on and on about what a stupid teaching that was. The pastor could feel the Lord asking: ‘Are you going to let this go unchallenged?’ However, the pastor thought to himself, “I don’t even know these guys. They are all bigger than me. They all have cowboy boots on and look mighty tough.” The pastor was agitated, yet too frightened about doing anything, but, deep in his heart he knew that he had to take stand for Jesus.
Finally, he went over and challenged him and said, “I’ve been listening to your conversation, and you don’t know what you’re talking about “ He then did his best to give him rundown of the proofs for the resurrection. The skeptic was speechless, and the pastor felt half dead.
Now, you have to admire this pastor’s courage and his determination to be a witness, regardless of how difficult it was for him. Many Christians would have just sat there in fear or fumed about the ignorance of these men in the restaurant that day. (Story adapted from pastor Rodeny Buchanan)
Yet, I wonder if there wasn’t different approach that might have been more positive, and more affective than just rattling off a list of rational arguments for the resurrection. It seems to me that the pastor missed the most important and impressive proof of the resurrection — his own life. Would it not have been more effective to walk over to the men at the table and say something like this:
“You know, I couldn’t help but overhear your conversation, and found it very interesting. If you don’t mind, I would like to pay for all of your breakfasts. The reason I want to do this is that, because of the resurrection, Jesus Christ has changed my life and lives in me, and wants to communicate his tremendous love for you.”
What we believe as Christians is of the upmost importance - But of greater importance is our walk with Christ; Our walk with Christ may show if we really believe what we claim to believe or our walk may reveal that our faith is...not really faith.
The Apostle John has been explaining our faith in Jesus Christ here in the book of 1 John. First we have seen John teaching us that our faith is personal, not a philosophical statement. He taught us that we place our faith in a person and that person is Jesus Christ. We don’t place our faith in philosophical statements. It is not the power of our personal faith that makes things happen in our life, it is the power of the one who we place our faith in that makes things happen in our life.
Second, John explained how sin and faith and sin go together. We saw that God already knows we have sinned, we are the ones who have to own up to our sin. Simply put, John told us that personal confession is a powerful key that will help guide us in remaining in relationship with God. Very powerful insight.
John now takes things a step further this morning as he addresses the question - How can I know that I am saved, How can I know that I truly am in relationship with God?
Many Christians come to a point in their lives where they question whether they really are a Christian or not. Though not every Christian has felt this way, many Christians do. So, if this is a question you have wrestled with in your life, your not alone. Many people give their life over to Jesus Christ and they know that they know that they know - and there is never a question of the validity of their faith, but for others, there is always that lingering question in the back of their minds, “Is this Christianity for real?”
Sometimes people seem come to church for safety reasons if for nothing else: We know that automobiles cause 20% of all fatal accidents. We know that 17% of all accidents do occur in home. We know that 14% of all accidents happen to pedestrians. We also know that 6% of all accidents happen by air, rail, or ship. Yet only... .001% of all deaths occur in worship services in church, and these are related to previous physical disorders. Hence, the safest place in the world for you to be at any time is church.
This question of whether we are really Christians or not can be answered from a number of different angles - John, being practical, answers it from a practical perspective. John tells us that assurance of our Christianity lies with our defender Jesus Christ, our Attitude and our Action. John gives us something we can observe in ourselves, and others.