Are You A Christian?
Heart to Heart

Do not be deceived! Professing to be a Christian and attending church does not make someone a Christian any more than professing to be a car and sitting in a garage makes someone a car. There must be visible fruit in a professing Christianís life and evidence of progressive sanctification. A Christian is someone who loves the Word of God and desires it above all other pastimes; studies Godís Word and meditates upon it; delights in Godís commandments; strives to be obedient to Him in all their ways; frequently grieves over their sins; confesses and repents of sins; shares their faith with others; and teaches others all that God has commanded. Christians are prepared for good works and are enabled to fulfill Godís purpose and will by the power of Godís Holy Spirit. We can judge others by their fruit and should.†††††

At our conferenceís Praise and Worship last year, Brannon Howse gave a marvelous presentation on how we can know that we are truly Christians based on First John. I did not have paper at the time, so I asked Callie Koenig if she would send her notes to me, which she kindly did. First, Brannon gave his personal testimony of how for most of his life, he actually thought he was saved until just recently, when he realized that he was not really a Christian. He went on to give examples of how others think that their immoral children or grandchildren are really saved because they once made a profession as a child. He then used the analogy of his own son and the ridiculous attempt of others to pressure children into professing Christ. When he went to pick up his young son from Sunday School, apparently the children were all praying the sinnerís prayer after the Sunday School teacher asked them if they all wanted to go to heaven. Well, as Brannon so clearly stated, what child would refuse such a request? You can get any child to pray a sinnerís prayer because all children would rather go to heaven instead of hell. And see how this leads parents to hang on to the hope that their son or daughter is really saved because they made a profession when just young children, even though their grown children are living very rebellious, immoral lives? However, we know from scripture that a genuine Christian bears visible fruit because Godís Spirit actually inhabits their being.†††††

Brannon then uses the First Book of John to exhort professing Christians to examine their lives to make certain of their salvation. There are three tests:

1.††††† The Moral Testókeeping the commandments, since our life should have the hallmark of obedience: (2:3-6; 3:5-10; 5:1-3)

2.††††† The Social Testólove for others, believers, and a love for the study of Godís Word: (2:6,9-11,14,21; 3:1,14,16,23; 4:7-12)

3.††††† The Doctrinal Testódo we promote salvation by Christ alone: (2:22,23; 4:14,15; 5:6-12)††††††

Then there are the Hallmarks of a Christian/Characteristics of Christians:

1.††††† Admit we are sinners (1:8)

2.††††† Keep His commandments (2:6; 3:24)

3.††††† Abide with Christ (5:6; 2:29; 3:7-9)

4.††††† Not harboring hate for your brothers (2:9-11; 3:15; 4:16,20)

5.††††† Do not love the world or the things of the world (2:15)

6.††††† Proclaiming Jesus is the Christ (2:22; 4:5,6)

7.††††† The hope and longing for the return of the Lord (3:2,3)

8.††††† Desire to serve and help other Christians (3:17,18)

9.††††† Love being with believers and studying Godís Word (2:15; 5:1; 1:1-3)

10.Reject false teaching (2:24)