How can you know for certain that you are born again? We’re continuing from our previous Little Lesson asking essentially the same question. How can you be certain that you really know the Lord, that you really have belief in Jesus, that you really are born again?
Because according to the Bible, born again people have the Holy Spirit living on the inside of them. Now, think about that just for a moment. How is it possible for the Holy Spirit to come inside of us and there not be any change on the outside? The Holy Spirit is the third person of the Godhead, the third person of the Trinity. He is God, and He comes to live on the inside of those who believe in Jesus. Well, God is God. How could you ever get God on the inside of you and it not manifest or show up on the outside in some form or fashion? You’d expect some changes, wouldn’t you?
Naturally, Scripture tells us specifically what those changes ought to look like when you really believe in Jesus, and there’s an entire book written in the New Testament pretty much for this purpose, just to help us be certain of our salvation, and that book is 1st John. John repeatedly lists three tests, a theological test, do you believe that Jesus is the son of God, a moral test, are you obeying God’s commandments, and a social test, and that’s the one we want to talk about on today’s Little Lesson. We’re going to go to 1 John, chapter 3, and verse number 14 to help us examine ourselves to see if we truly are born again. Are you ready?
1 John 3:14: “We know that we have passed out of death into life,” John writes, “Because we love the brethren.” There it is. If you love the brethren, not just anybody but specifically love the brethren, that’s how you know you’ve passed from spiritual death to spiritual life. John goes on and says, “He who does not love abides in death.” That’s pretty clear. He goes on, “Everyone who hates his brother is a murdered, and you know that no murderer has eternal life abiding in him.” We could paraphrase that and say anyone who hates his brother, that shows you’re not a brother. You think you’re a brother, but you’re not a brother.
Now, does this mean that Christians don’t sometimes get at odds with each other? Oh, no. Because remember, Jesus talked about what to do when we find ourselves at odds with our brother. If your brother sins against you, go to him privately and so forth. He gives us the steps of working towards reconciliation, but that’s all an indication of your love. Because you love the brethren, when there’s offense you work towards reconciliation. You don’t just say, “Well, I’m never going to talk to them again. I’ll never have anything to do with them again.” No, because that’s not what love would do. Love drives us to work for reconciliation.
Let’s continue with 1 John 3:16. “We know love by this.” Now he’s going to define this love for the brethren that marks us as Christians. “We know love by this, that he laid down his life for us.” He made a sacrifice, didn’t he? “And we ought to lay down our lives for the brethren.” Not necessarily saying that we have to die for the brethren, although some might find themselves in a situation where they would have to give their lives, but just laying down your life is a way of saying making a sacrifice for each other.
Then, interestingly enough, John specifies what he means by laying down your life for the brethren in 1 John 3:17, “Whoever has the world’s goods, and sees his brother in need, and closes his heart against him, how does the love of God abide in him?” That’s a rhetorical question obviously. “Little children, let us not love with word or with tongue, but in deed and truth. We will know by this that we are of the truth and will assure our heart before him.”
This is how you can know that you’ve passed from death to life, because you love the brethren. How do you know if you love the brethren? You’re willing to make sacrifices for the brethren. How do you know that you’re willing to make sacrifices for the brethren? Because you do make sacrifices for the brethren in practical ways. When you see a brother or sister in need, you don’t close your heart to them, but you reach out.
Christians are identified by their love for each other. As Jesus said, “By this shall all men know you are my disciples, if you have love one for another.” That’s why Jesus said in Matthew chapter 25 that there’s coming a day when there’s going to be a judgment of the sheep and the goats. To the goats he’s going to say, “I was thirsty, you didn’t care. I was hungry, you didn’t do anything. I was sick, I was in prison, you didn’t visit me. I was a stranger, you didn’t invite me in. Depart from me. I never knew you.” How do we summarize that? True Christians love true Christians, and those who have this world’s goods do what they can to meet the pressing needs of their fellow believers.
Again, we’re talking now about pressing needs. Jesus outlined them in Matthew 25 quite plainly, didn’t he? Hungry, thirsty, naked, not necessarily completely naked but you’re naked against the elements. You don’t have a coat. That’s why John said when people said, “What should we do to show our repentance,” he said, “Whoever has two coats, share with him who has none.” There you go. I was naked. He knew Jesus is going to say one of two things to everybody one day, either, “I was naked and you clothed me,” or, “I was naked and you didn’t clothe me.” John the Baptist went on to say, “Whoever has food, do likewise,” because he knew that Jesus is going to say one of two things to everybody one day, either, “I was hungry and you fed me,” or, “I was hungry and you didn’t feed me.” Christians are meeting the practical needs of those who are suffering lack of basic necessities.
I hate to give a commercial right now, but why should I be ashamed? Because the ministry that I’m so blessed to be the founder and the director of, Heaven’s Family, that’s what we’re all about is we’re trying to connect people who have this world’s goods with our brothers and sisters around the world who are lacking basic necessities and facing incredible challenges beyond even just lack of basic necessities. They are sometimes widows, or abandoned women, or orphans, or refugees, or victims of natural disasters, or they’re disabled, and many other categories of suffering Christians that we’re doing our best to meet the needs of. Thankfully, the Lord’s entrusted us with millions of dollars over the years to do that. Our staff, currently of about 37 people in the US and the UK, is working towards that end.
I’m so glad that many of you are partners with us in that. Why? Because you pass the test. Like us, you’ve really been born again, so therefore it shows you love the brethren. All right, thanks for joining me on today’s Little Lesson. Have a great day. God bless you.