1 John – Confessing Christians in a Confused Culture
From the Series: Certainty – Absolute Truths That Bring Joyful Assurance
BY MAX FERNANDEZ
Part of the frustration with Christian churches (generic term) is that you may find their messages to be quite different. When someone is looking for the true, authentic Christian message, these differences can be confusing.
Then there is the confusion that is caused by Christians in life. They say that they follow Jesus Christ, but then they live a life full of lust, covetousness, selfishness, or behavior that is hurtful and in denial of the Christ they profess.
Confusion Within Celebrity Christianity
Of course, television, social media, and other online platforms offer a prolific number of celebrity speakers with messages speaking the name of Jesus.
Confusion at the Collegiate Level
At the collegiate level, there are teachers who are telling students what to believe: “This effect is strongest within Social Justice fields, which teach students to be skeptical of science, reason, and evidence….” (Pluckrose & Lindsay, 215).
Confusion Regarding Confession
There is a difference between a teacher who believes a truth and one who confesses truth. There is a difference between a church that believes Jesus and one who confesses Jesus.
Not everyone who says they are a Christian, is a Christian; and not everyone who claims to be preaching Jesus Christ is teaching truth. Discerning between what is truth and who is teaching the truth is required if we will experience true assurance or certainty. This passage will force us to distinguish between those who declare and those who actually confess that Jesus is the Christ come from God.
We must distinguish between true gospel confessors and false gospel professors.
Take Heed: Be Responsible with These Commands (1 John 4:1)
We must understand that there is a war with great consequences between Jesus Christ and all who are of the spirit of the antichrist. To be too distracted from this command is to choose to live with anxiousness rather than certainty. To be neglectful due to a noble cause or blessings is also a choice to improperly weigh the consequences.
TEST: Use the “Incarnate Jesus” Test
Test #1 for true Christian confession [over mere declaration] – Jesus is incarnate God (1 John 4:2-3)
Confession of Jesus Christ is a deep-seated conviction coupled with verbal declaration and a life of allegiance to Jesus Christ. True Christian teachers confess the historical Jesus of the Bible (and all that this entails: virgin birth, sinless life in material world, physical death, bodily resurrection, etc.). True Christian teachers live like and love like the Jesus of the Bible.
True Christian teachers live like and love like the Jesus of the Bible.
Trust: Believe in the Greater One
Affirmation for the confessing brethren who are testing the spirits (1 John 4:4)
The results of the test will expose some concerning results. The teachers are reputable and look successful. These teachers were once part of the body and possibly loved ones. Now that the truth is exposing people who may have a following, are we sure we are on the right side of things?
- John affirms THEIR IDENTITY, who they are—Ye are of God, little children
- John affirms THEIR VICTORY, that they are already overcomers—and have overcome them
- John affirms THEIR CAUSE OF CERTAINTY, the ultimate reason to trust who they are and why they are overcomers—because greater is he that is in you (Holy Spirit), than he that is in the world (spirit of antichrist).
Test: Use the “Hearing” Test
Test #2 for true Christian confession over mere declaration (1 John 4:5-6)
Relationship is known by what we say and to whom we listen (John 8:47, 10:3-5, 18:37).When we hear John speak of those who are of God and not of God based on hearing, he is exposing the reality of those who have truly been changed by the truth. They are predisposed to and already have a view of Jesus Christ that allows them to hear his voice. What dominates your speech and whom do you seek out for truth? For whom or what do you make time? Relationship is evident by discerning if someone has an appetite for God and is willing to patiently regard and endure truth.
How is the confusion within Christianity, confusion because of celebrity Christian teachers, and confusion at the collegiate level cured? There are two tests to determine true confessing Christians in the midst of a confused culture. The ultimate source of confidence in the midst of confusion is the indwelling Comforter—the Holy Ghost.
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