Seven Tests of Our Walk With God

2 Timothy 2:15

Be diligent to present yourself approved to God, a worker who does not need to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.

It is so important that we “rightly divide” God’s Word.  Paul is telling Timothy how important it is to study God’s Word.  It takes effort (be diligent).  We need to be committed to knowing God’s Word.  

Paul commended the Christians in Berea because they did not take what they heard lightly, they studied to see if it was true according to scripture.

Acts 17:11 – These were more noble than those in Thessalonica, in that they received the word with all readiness of mind, and searched the scriptures daily, whether those things were so.

In 1 John we are shown seven tests of our walk with God.

  • They all begin with one of two phrases:
  • “If we say”
  • “He that says”
  • It’s not what you think
  • It’s not what you believe
  • It’s not what Grandma taught you
  • It’s not what you see on television
  • It’s not what the church might tell you
  • It’s not what your Sunday School teacher might tell you
  • It’s not what your Pastor may tell you
  • IT’S WHAT “THUS SAYS THE LORD!”
  • It’s what God’s Word states – not one verse out of context but the whole of God’s Word rightly divided.

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  • False fellowship

1 John 1:6 – If we say that we have fellowship with Him, and walk in darkness, we lie and do not practice the truth.

2 Corinthians 6:14-16 – Do not be unequally yoked together with unbelievers. For what fellowship has righteousness with lawlessness? And what communion has light with darkness? And what accord has Christ with Belial? Or what part has a believer with an unbeliever? And what agreement has the temple of God with idols? For you are the temple of the living God. As God has said:  “I will dwell in them and walk among them.
I will be their God, and they shall be My people.”

  • False sanctity

1 John 1:8 – If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us.

James 3:2 – For we all stumble in many things. If anyone does not stumble in word, he is a perfect man, able also to bridle the whole body.

  • False righteousness

1 John 1:10 – If we say that we have not sinned, we make Him a liar, and His word is not in us.

Romans 3:23 – for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.

  • False allegiance

1 John 2:4 – He who says, “I know Him,” and does not keep His commandments, is a liar, and the truth is not in him.

John 15:4-7 – Abide in Me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in Me.  “I am the vine, you are the branches. He who abides in Me, and I in him, bears much fruit; for without Me you can do nothing. If anyone does not abide in Me, he is cast out as a branch and is withered; and they gather them and throw them into the fire, and they are burned. If you abide in Me, and My words abide in you, you will ask what you desire, and it shall be done for you.

  • False behavior

1 John 2:6 – He who says he abides in Him ought himself also to walk just as He walked.

John 13:15 – For I have given you an example, that you should do as I have done to you.

  • False Spirituality

1 John 2:9 – He who says he is in the light, and hates his brother, is in darkness until now.

1 Corinthians 13:2 – And though I have the gift of prophecy, and understand all mysteries and all knowledge, and though I have all faith, so that I could remove mountains, but have not love, I am nothing.

  • False Speech

1 John 4:20 – If someone says, “I love God,” and hates his brother, he is a liar; for he who does not love his brother whom he has seen, how can he love God whom he has not seen?

James 1:26 – If anyone among you thinks he is religious, and does not bridle his tongue but deceives his own heart, this one’s religion is useless.

The Tongue

James 3:1-12

My brethren, let not many of you become teachers, knowing that we shall receive a stricter judgment. For we all stumble in many things. If anyone does not stumble in word, he is a perfect man, able also to bridle the whole body. Indeed, we put bits in horses’ mouths that they may obey us, and we turn their whole body. Look also at ships: although they are so large and are driven by fierce winds, they are turned by a very small rudder wherever the pilot desires. Even so the tongue is a little member and boasts great things. See how great a forest a little fire kindles! And the tongue is a fire, a world of iniquity. The tongue is so set among our members that it defiles the whole body, and sets on fire the course of nature; and it is set on fire by hell. For every kind of beast and bird, of reptile and creature of the sea, is tamed and has been tamed by mankind. But no man can tame the tongue. It is an unruly evil, full of deadly poison. With it we bless our God and Father, and with it we curse men, who have been made in the similitude of God. Out of the same mouth proceed blessing and cursing. My brethren, these things ought not to be so. Does a spring send forth fresh water and bitter from the same opening? Can a fig tree, my brethren, bear olives, or a grapevine bear figs? Thus no spring yields both salt water and fresh.

“He that hath an ear, let him hear” is repeated several times in the Bible, especially in chapters two and three of Revelations.  Perhaps since we have two ears and only one tongue, we would be better off if we listened more than we speak.  When tempted to speak, let us remember that our ears cannot cause anger, disagreement and chaos.  A good rule to possibly follow when tempted to speak before thinking is “Shut up.”

Ephesians 4:29 – Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen.

James speaks about stumbling in word – we are all guilty of that.  If we do not stumble in our words, James says we would be perfect and able to bridle the whole body.  He uses the example of how we put bridles in horses’ mouth so that we can control them and how a small rudder can be used by the pilot to direct a large boat.  This is clearly an area where many of us do not succeed – controlling our tongue.  Perhaps we could use a roll of duct tape.  Walmart sells it for about $3.50 a roll.  Many of us may need the extra wide and super strength version.

Luke 6:43-45 – For a good tree does not bear bad fruit, nor does a bad tree bear good fruit. For every tree is known by its own fruit. For men do not gather figs from thorns, nor do they gather grapes from a bramble bush. A good man out of the good treasure of his heart brings forth good; and an evil man out of the evil treasure of his heart brings forth evil. For out of the abundance of the heart his mouth speaks.

How many times have you heard someone say something and then follow it up with “I didn’t mean to say that”?  According to the Bible, you did.

A song our children used to sing says “It only takes a spark to get a fire going.”  The tongue is unruly, evil and full of deadly poison according to James.  How often do we praise and worship God and then turn around gossip, lie, curse, call others names. 

While no one tames the tongue on their own, thanks be to God who gives us the Holy Spirit who can empower us to get victory over our words. 

If the church will work at cleaning up our tongue – what a difference it could make in our world. 

Little Words – Big Meanings

1 Thessalonians 5:17

pray without ceasing,

  • The Gettysburg Address contains 272 words and was spoken by our sixteenth President, Abraham Lincoln, to dedicate a National Cemetery.  One of the statements in that address was “The world will little note, nor long remember what we say here, but it can never forget what they did here.”  What student in school has not heard of the Gettysburg Address or, possibly, had to memorize it.
  • Edward Everett, a great orator of that day spoke before Lincoln and later wrote “I should be glad if I came as near to the central idea in two hours as you did in two minutes.”
  • The Lord’s Prayer contains a mere 67 words, and most Christians can easily pray that prayer.
  • The length or volume of a prayer or statement of scripture does not necessarily indicate the meaning or the intent of that prayer or statement. 

I Kings 18:20-41 – “So Ahab sent for all the children of Israel, and gathered the prophets together on Mount Carmel.  And Elijah came to all the people, and said, “How long will you falter between two opinions? If the LORD is God, follow Him; but if Baal, follow him.” But the people answered him not a word. Then Elijah said to the people, “I alone am left a prophet of the LORD; but Baal’s prophets are four hundred and fifty men.  Therefore let them give us two bulls; and let them choose one bull for themselves, cut it in pieces, and lay it on the wood, but put no fire under it; and I will prepare the other bull, and lay it on the wood, but put no fire under it.  Then you call on the name of your gods, and I will call on the name of the LORD; and the God who answers by fire, He is God.”  So all the people answered and said, “It is well spoken.” Now Elijah said to the prophets of Baal, “Choose one bull for yourselves and prepare it first, for you are many; and call on the name of your god, but put no fire under it.”  

So they took the bull which was given them, and they prepared it, and called on the name of Baal from morning even till noon, saying, “O Baal, hear us!” But there was no voice; no one answered. Then they leaped about the altar which they had made.  And so it was, at noon, that Elijah mocked them and said, “Cry aloud, for he is a god; either he is meditating, or he is busy, or he is on a journey, or perhaps he is sleeping and must be awakened.”  So they cried aloud, and cut themselves, as was their custom, with knives and lances, until the blood gushed out on them.  And when midday was past, they prophesied until the time of the offering of the evening sacrifice. But there was no voice; no one answered, no one paid attention.

Then Elijah said to all the people, “Come near to me.” So all the people came near to him. And he repaired the altar of the LORD that was broken down.  And Elijah took twelve stones, according to the number of the tribes of the sons of Jacob, to whom the word of the LORD had come, saying, “Israel shall be your name.”  Then with the stones he built an altar in the name of the LORD; and he made a trench around the altar large enough to hold two seahs of seed.  And he put the wood in order, cut the bull in pieces, and laid it on the wood, and said, “Fill four water pots with water, and pour it on the burnt sacrifice and on the wood.”  Then he said, “Do it a second time,” and they did it a second time; and he said, “Do it a third time,” and they did it a third time.  So the water ran all around the altar; and he also filled the trench with water.  And it came to pass, at the time of the offering of the evening sacrifice, that Elijah the prophet came near and said,

 “LORD God of Abraham, Isaac, and Israel, let it be known this day that You are God in Israel and I am Your servant, and that I have done all these things at Your word.  Hear me, O LORD, hear me, that this people may know that You are the LORD God, and that You have turned their hearts back to You again.”   

Then the fire of the LORD fell and consumed the burnt sacrifice, and the wood and the stones and the dust, and it licked up the water that was in the trench.  Now when all the people saw it, they fell on their faces; and they said, “The LORD, He is God! The LORD, He is God!”  And Elijah said to them, “Seize the prophets of Baal! Do not let one of them escape!” So they seized them; and Elijah brought them down to the Brook Kishon and executed them there. Then Elijah said to Ahab, “Go up, eat and drink; for there is the sound of abundance of rain.”

Our prayers to God do not need to be long, full of big words and “spiritual” words.  Just talk as you would to a good friend.  He wants honesty and is not impressed with false piety.  

  • In this famous story that shows the mighty power of God we find a perfect example of few words and great manifestation of results.  Sixty-three words are contained in the KJV of the Bible.  Yet, look at the great results.
  • How about Joshua’s declaration in Joshua 24:15, only 11 words at the end of the verse and quoted by many.  “But as for me and my house, we will serve the LORD.”
  • John 11:35 and only nine letters but everyone knows “Jesus wept.”
  • 1 Thessalonians 5:16 is the second shortest verse in the Bible.  “Rejoice evermore.”
  • Other short verses or statements include the following and have profound meanings to all.
  • I Thessalonians 5:17 – “Pray without ceasing.”
  • I Thessalonians 5:19 – “Do not quench the Spirit.”
  • I Thessalonians 5:20 – “Do not despise prophecies.”
  • I Thessalonians 5:25 – “Brethren, pray for us.”
  • Hebrews 13:1 – “Let brotherly love continue.”
  • Matthew 6:11 – “Give us this day our daily bread.”
  • Matthew 7:1 – “Judge not, that you be not judged.”
  • “Follow Me.” was spoken to the rich young ruler and at the call of several disciples.  Christ calls to us also to follow Him.

Rev 3:20 – “Behold, I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears My voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and dine with him, and he with Me.”

Little words – bit meanings

“Here I am Lord.  Use me!

Continue in Prayer

Colossians 4:2, 5-6

Continue earnestly in prayer, being vigilant in it with thanksgiving.  Walk in wisdom toward those who are outside, redeeming the time. Let your speech always be with grace, seasoned with salt, that you may know how you ought to answer each one.

Not just continue in prayer, but do it “earnestly”.  That word implies to be serious, having a purpose.  To be earnest in prayer is to be steadily pursuing it.  We are to be vigilant in our prayer life.  To be vigilant means to be alert, to do it with a great deal of care.  Thanksgiving is also to be a part of our prayer life.  As we give thanks to God, our hearts are encouraged. 

Without prayer the child of God is weak and will fall into temptation and yield to the pressures of the world. 

How many times do we hear a prayer request from a friend and we say we will pray, then we forget all about it?  Or, we pray one time and move on.

Satan knows your weaknesses and will exploit them especially at times of sickness, loss, depression or discouragement.  If you give him an inch, he will want more.  Do not give in to his deceptive practices.

Know how to treat, speak and behave toward your Christian neighbors.  Then you will be able to tell him/her about Jesus and perhaps even win them to the Lord.

Your speech should always be wholesome and full of truth. 

God’s grace will work through you as you follow the leading of the Lord.

1 Thessalonians 5:17 – Pray wthout ceasing.

Ephesians 6:18 – praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, being watchful to this end with all perseverance and supplication for all the saints—

2 Corinthians 10:4-5 – For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal but mighty in God for pulling down strongholds, casting down arguments and every high thing that exalts itself against the knowledge of God, bringing every thought into captivity to the obedience of Christ,