1 John 3. And I had hoped to deal this morning with testing the spirits. But as I wrestled with what exactly I should pull out of these verses and stress, I was somewhat convinced that I should not move beyond chapter 3 into 4. Lord willing, next week, I intend to deal with testing the spirits. I want to kind of transition into that today by looking at these last two verses of 1 John 3. Let's read them together.
"And this is His commandment, that we believe in the name of His Son Jesus Christ."
Now, that's interesting. I'll just pause right here for a moment. I've always looked at this as kind of a companion verse to that which we find in Acts 17 where we are commanded - "God commands all men everywhere to repent." Here we have a commandment to believe. Yes, we are invited to believe. Yes, God exhorts us to believe. He earnestly pleads with us to believe. He reasons with us. "Come, let us reason together." But remember, behind God's invitation, when the people didn't show up to the banquet, the Master was angry. It's expected that you will answer the invitation. It's commanded. Isn't it amazing God has to command us to not go to hell? God has to command us to have life. Do you recognize that? You are not at liberty to go to hell. Did you ever think about that? God commands us to believe on His Son and be saved. And, we've been looking at this: "...To love one another, just as He commanded us."
Now, notice this, "Whoever keeps His commandments abides in God and God in him." And this is what I want us to focus on. We've been looking at those things. Remember? I told you before, John is circular. He's like the bee that flies around the flower. He keeps hitting the same things over and over. Whereas sometimes as he's circling, he begins to introduce some new truth. Well, here in this last sentence of 1 John 3, John introduces something to us that he has not yet introduced. "By this we know that He..." I'll just put "God" in there. "By this we know that God abides in us, by the Spirit whom He has given us." That's where I want our attention. That last sentence. Now, let's think about this. "By this we know that He abides in us." Now, that may just seem - He abides in us. Stop and think. He abides in us. We have Scripture. We have Scripture. We live in an age - and I'm sure all the ages have been like this ever since man has fallen - we're so circled by the ideas of the world and by the deceptions and by people's opinions. But we have the Word of God. We can come to it. We can stand on it. This is truth. That's why we preach. Have you ever thought about it? The foolishness of preaching? Do you ever think about you guys actually come to this place every week and you sit there and you actually listen to a guy that stands in a pulpit. Does it ever just once in a while you think that's ludicrous that we do that? Why do we do that? Well, because God designed it. But see, what it is, it's the channel of truth. Because I'm not preaching to you without this book in front of me. I have this thing here. The idea of a preacher is somebody who is able to come up and stand before you and give you the facts as they are found in this book. That's what we do. That's what this is all about. This is all about giving you a steady diet of God's Word - not of my opinions. And the beauty is we can dive in here wherever we dive into this book, we find truth. And one of the truths that we find repeatedly in 1 John is that the Bible does not shy away from defining Christianity. Over and over and over. I mean, we need this. We need this. Because we've got religion all around us that doesn't correctly define Christianity. We've got a world that looks out there - they've got all their opinions. We've got the news. The news has ideas about Christians. Who was it? Oh, it was Brandon Davidson who just did a message on Coptic Christians. You know how they were making a big deal about the Coptic Christians in Egypt because a number of them were beheaded by ISIS? And Brandon responded by showing that these Coptic Christians don't really fit the definition of biblical Christianity. But you see, the world, they interpret things however they want to interpret them. But, John knows - God knows who inspired John - that we live in a world where we need to be reminded again and again and again what true Christianity looks like. That's what we have. We need the facts. Our only hope in this world - is it not true? Our only hope in this world rests in being a Christian. There is no hope outside of being a Christian. There is no other hope. And so it's important that we define what it is. The title of my message: "How You Know You're a Christian." Now, obviously, John's been showing us numerous ways we can know we're a Christian. What are some of the other proofs? - you can just glance right there. You're right here in 1 John, but we've already looked at these. "By this we know that we have come to know Him..." How? "If we keep His commandments." We read that in v. 23. V. 24, "Whoever keeps His commandments abides in God." (There at the beginning of v. 24.) We saw it back in 1 John 2:3. "This we know, that we have come to know Him, if we keep His commandments." Again, this is kind of reiterated in 1 John 2:5. "Whoever keeps His Word... in him truly the love of God is perfected. By this we may know that we are in Him." See, you get these: "We know." "By this we know..." "We know that we know Him if we keep His commandments." "We know we know Him if we keep His Word." , "You may be sure that everyone who practices righteousness has been born of Him." So you've got this: "keeping His commandments," "keeping His Word," "practicing righteousness." , "We know that we've passed out of death into life," how? How can you know you're a Christian? How can you know you've truly passed from death to life? "Because we love the brothers." You see, he's been hitting this all along. What we have here is we have a new one. We have a new proof. Before we look at the proof, I just want you to see something about what a Christian is. I think sometimes we need to stop and think, what is a Christian? Well, somebody that's been saved. Yeah, but we have to think about what it is that we've been saved from. Do you ever recognize when Adam would walk in the garden in the cool of the day, what happened? God came to him and walked with him. Have you ever thought about what he lost when he fell into sin? Brethren, look at chapter 3:24 and the beginning of the last sentence there. "By this we know that He abides in us." John wants us to be clear about what it means to be a Christian, and here in this last verse of 1 John 3, here is the basic premise. A Christian is a home for God. Let that sink in a second. I mean, that's what it talks about. Abiding. God abides. You look up the meaning of that word. That's to make a home with. John is saying, Christian, do you understand, you are a dwelling place for the Most High? Does Paul not say, "you are God's temple"? God dwells in you. That's what it is to be a Christian. God comes to us. God lives in us. God makes His temple - we are the dwelling place of God. That's what we lost. That's what Adam lost when he fell. We lost God. We lost God with us. We lost the life of God in the soul of man - abiding in us, dwelling with us, communing with us, communicating, fellowshipping with us. We lost Him. Like the KJV says - God says to Abraham, "I am thy exceeding great reward." That's the reward. That's the treasure. It is Christ. It is God. It is the Spirit. It is this Triune Godhead dwelling in us. Manifestly dwelling in us. That's what this is all about. That's what he's laying on the table here. Brethren, we need to face the reality of what a Christian truly is. A Christian is no ordinary man like everybody else out there. We're not just like everybody else, but we go to church. Brethren, think with me. Think with me just about dwelling places of God. I mean, if you think in Scripture, burning bush. God dwelt in the burning bush. Moses sees a burning bush. It's burning. It doesn't get consumed. I'm going to go over and check that out. And God says, "Stop, Moses. Stop right there. You take your shoes off your feet." Why? Because where God dwells, it's holy ground. You think about the holy of holies inside the tabernacle. The shekinah glory was so intense, you did not go in there or you died - except one man once a year and only with blood. The place where God dwells is a holy place. It is a fearful place. It is a place unlike all other places. Think about Heaven. Heaven is the place where we think of where God dwells. And Isaiah looks at it as His beautiful and holy habitation. That's what it's like where God dwells. And then you think about this. John says to be a Christian is to be one of these places - we are the temple. Inside that temple was the same thing that was inside that tabernacle. The tabernacle became the temple. Inside there is the holy of holies. It is where the manifest glory of God dwells. And what we are being told in Scripture is we are that temple. You see what God saves people for - to inhabit them; to dwell with them; to walk with them; to fellowship; to manifest His glory there. That's what it is to be a saint. It's not this Catholic idea - Saint Anthony - we were talking about meanings of names the other day. San Antonio. What's that? I don't even know who Antonio was. It might not have even been a true saint whatsoever, but we have true saints in here. And what does it mean? To be a saint is to be a holy one. We're holy ones because we are the place where God dwells. What is a Christian? We need to come back to that again and again and again. We need to be clear on this. We are the church of the living God. If there is going to be somebody in this world that need to be faithful to be communicating truth, it's got to be us. It's got to be those of us that have the Word of God. What is a Christian? A Christian is this - is a Christian a moral person? Is a Christian simply a good person? Is it simply a member of this church? No. That's not it. A Christian is one who God comes to and manifests His presence in. This is a spiritual reality. The life of God possesses them. Now, here's the thing. Here's what you need to see in the last part of the last sentence. Read it with me. "By this we know that He abides in us." By this we know we are a temple of God. By this we know we are His holy habitation. How? "By the Spirit whom He has given to us." See, John says, your Christianity can be proven. That's what he says here. If you want proof of the fact that a man is a Christian - one who has God dwelling in him - John says here it is. Every individual who possesses the Holy Spirit may know that he himself is such a dwelling place for God. But then of course, the next question: Well, how can I know if I possess the Spirit? But I think you can all feel this, John expects that we can tell. Don't you get that feel? By this you can know that God abides in you, how? "By the Spirit whom He has given us." He expects us to be able to know if we have the Spirit. You can see that right off. Every individual who possesses the Holy Spirit - he believes he's going to know they possess Him. That's the proof. And that's the proof that God has taken up residence in us. How can we know? What is the proof? Holy Spirit. He's certainly not the only proof, but it's one of the proofs. You know this very well, many of you. Romans 8:9, "Anyone who does not have the Spirit of Christ does not belong to Him." So here it is. We're face to face with this great truth of Scripture. You have the Spirit or you don't. If you have the Spirit, God abides in you. If you don't, He doesn't. That's what he's laid on the table here. It's very clear. This is our Christian reality. We have the Holy Spirit. It's essential. The Holy Spirit is essential to your Christian life, to your Christian standing, to your Christian experience. I'm afraid we forget how essential this is. I forget how essential this is. You know what? Every time I read through John and I come across our Lord Jesus' words where He says to His disciples, "Nevertheless, I tell you the truth, it is to your advantage that I go away." Why? Why is it to our advantage? "For if I do not go away, the Helper - (or the Comforter) - will not come to you. But if I go, I will send Him to you." I often want Jesus to come. I'm out in the field praying. I want Jesus to come. I long to be like the disciples, like John, who could lay at the breast of Christ. I want that. Don't you want it? I mean, I want that, and when I come to this, I find I don't fully believe it. Because I want that. Because I don't have what I want. I want to be able to touch. I want to be able to see. I want to be able to talk. We want that! And so when I come across this verse time and again - you know, we have to sit back and say, I need to believe that that's true. (Incomplete thought) Listen, Jesus is saying having the Spirit is more advantageous to you than to have Him do the things He did, incarnate, walking with His disciples, the way He did. This is better. This is more advantageous. We need to believe it. Which means, there's some advantage. And this is where John is pulling from. There is an advantage in your life that is observable. And you can tell where that advantage is. You can tell where the Spirit is. And by that, by the evidences of His presence, you can know that you are one of these dwelling places of God. That's his basic argument through here. And we see this truth reaffirmed in chapter 4:13. You can just look there. , "By this we know that we abide in Him and He in us because He has given us of His Spirit." So, the thing I want to ask is this - this is the next obvious question. What sort of proof is this? I mean, you say to me, "how can I know I'm a Christian?" And I say to you, "by the Holy Spirit." What sort of proof is that? I mean, John the Baptist said this: God told me the One upon whom I see the Holy Spirit descend is Him. Okay, John saw the Spirit descend like a dove and it remained on Jesus Christ. And God had told him, you're going to know the Messiah; you're going to know the One you're the forerunner to because the Spirit of God is going to descend on Him and rest there. But how do we know? I mean, how do we know by the Spirit? We don't see that. I've never seen that. What are the evidences? What sort of proof is this? Well, I'll tell you, I have twelve. Jesus said it's to our advantage. Well, there are advantages. There's proofs. And I get all these from Scripture. I've got twelve of them. And I don't want to go any further than this today. I'm going to give you twelve proofs that Scripture gives to us that are evidences of the presence of the Holy Spirit, which in turn is evidence that God abides in us and we abide in Him. That we're real; we're genuine. So what are these things? What are they? How to know you are a Christian. That's the title. Or, how to know you have the Spirit by which you know you are a Christian. So here's the first one. Jesus Christ told us this. John 16:8 - you can mark these down. You can try to turn to all of them, but I'm going to go through them fast and I think by the time you get there, I'm already going to be done with the point. So, you might just want to hear these. I'll give you the reference because I want you to see that all of these are truly coming from Scripture. John 16:8, The Holy Spirit - "He will convict the world concerning sin and righteousness and judgment. Now, you think here. We're going along in our life. We're going along happy in our sin. Remember that? Remember how that was? You're looking forward to your sin. But then something happens. What happens? Something happens. Something happens in the conscience. Suddenly, there's a disturbance. That's what conviction is. It's a disturbance. Suddenly, we're troubled. We feel something. Sin suddenly is not just the vomit of the dog that I want to run over and can't wait to get to. There's a hesitation. That doesn't mean I totally lose the pull of that sin, but there's a check in my soul. Something isn't right any longer. That's what he's talking about here. Conviction. There's a gnawing disturbance. There may be a hollowness or an emptiness. Things are not right. Something is wrong. Something is happening. This is the Spirit's doing. I used to be able to easily dismiss my sin. I could justify it like that. But then something happened. And you can't just dismiss it so easily. I used to think of God out there. Oh, He understands my sin. He just overlooks it. But now something had happened. I could no longer enjoy my sin as I once did. I'm unsettled. This is what Jesus says the Holy Spirit will do. You know, my friends, my family couldn't understand me. You know, the people out there still enjoy all their sin who are your companions in the sin, who run with you in the sin, suddenly there's a check in your spirit - they don't understand you. What's wrong with you? You need another drink. Shrug that off. But you can't shrug it off. Why? Because of the Spirit of God. And He's speaking. What's the next thing? That's not all. There's something else. We read in Romans 8:14, "All who are led by the Spirit of God are sons of God." So the Spirit not only convicts, the Spirit leads. I mean, something else happens. Suddenly - well, it may not be so sudden. Sometimes it's not as sudden. In some it's sudden. In some, it happens almost undiscernibly like the rising of the sun, but it's happening. What's happening? Desires. My desires, my impulses, I'm being led in ways I was never led before. What led me before? Animal passions. Base lusts. My desire for what I wanted led me. But something happens. I'm being led by desires I never had before. There's impulses that shoot through me that are rising beyond my bodily appetites. I'm being pulled by something else. And you know what? You know it. You know it. It's different now. And people are looking at you - what's wrong with you? Well, you feel it inside. I'm being pulled. I'm being pulled away from that sin. It's a pull towards God. That's what it is. It's a pull not just forward, it's a pull upward. You feel something happening. There's leadership. There's conviction. There's leadership. How about the thought life? You know, in Romans 8:5, we get this: "Those who live according to the Spirit set their minds on the things of the Spirit." So, if you live according to the Spirit - what does that mean? According to His power; according to His presence; according to His operation in your life; what happens to your mind? What happens to your thoughts? The mind is drawn towards things of God. You know that! You know that! Not only did conviction come; not only did this lead come, but suddenly your mind - you are thinking about spiritual things. They're on your mind now. You wake up and you start thinking about eternity. You start thinking that there is a God out there who I'm going to have to give an account to. You start thinking about what is the cross all about. What did Christ actually do? You're troubled. You're thinking of eternity. You're thinking of judgment day. Suddenly the mind is going to these other things. Any interest in religion before, you know it was mechanical. How can I do my thing? I remember how it was. It's this idea of the good and the bad and hopefully the good will outweigh. Once in awhile, you need to do something kind for one another. But suddenly, your thoughts are not just mechanical thoughts about religion. The thoughts. The Spirit pulls the mind towards God and towards the Word of God. The thought life. Led to think about God and think about sin and think about eternity and think about judgment. One becomes amazed. Isn't that what happens? We wake up and suddenly we're amazed that we didn't think about the things that we're thinking about right now; that we walked so long in the dark. Then, oh, there's more. What? In John 16:14, Jesus says this. The Holy Spirit will glorify Me. You know what? We basically spend our lost lives dismissing the Christ of the Bible. Trivializing Him. But then, it happens. I mean, it happens. Suddenly, gradually, it happens. We see Christ as we've never seen Him before. It sets us back. The Spirit causes us to see. He doesn't just make it possible for us to see. He sets Christ before us and gives us eyes to see Him. That happens. He causes us to wake up. I mean, there suddenly is an attraction. We behold a beauty, a magnificence in the Lord Jesus Christ. Christians, do you remember that happening? He's no longer just a historical figure. He is the historical figure. You recognize that everything revolves around Him. You begin to recognize, wow - everything in Scripture is about Him! Everything about creation is for Him and in Him and through Him and He sustains it all. And suddenly, you just recognize, He's not just one among many. He is the One. Everything else revolves around Him. He is like the sun in the solar system. Everything revolves around Him. Everything has to do with Him. Everything comes back to Him. However you saw it, Christ - when the Spirit comes, Christ just is getting bigger and bigger and bigger and bigger. That's what happens. There's no greater proof of the Spirit's presence in an individual or in a church than this. You want to look for evidences of whether the Spirit of God - people love to talk about the Spirit of God, but one thing we find about the Spirit, He is not self-promoting. He is Christ-promoting. You can tell His presence not by where there's a lot of talk about the Spirit. You can tell the Spirit's presence when you find them preoccupied with Christ. That's where the Spirit is. That's what we find here. Isn't that what happens? You begin to find I have no hope without Him. I begin to face all the facts about Him. It is Him. I recognize without the incarnation, there is no hope for me. I recognize that if He doesn't go to the cross, there is no hope. I recognize if He doesn't rise from the dead, there is no hope. I recognize Him ascending to God - in that is my hope. All of this - what Christ did, all the way through, my hope is built on that. I begin to see these things. He came. He was incarnate. He did these miracles. He went on trial. He faced Jerusalem. He went there. They beat Him and they buffeted Him. They scourged Him. They laid that cross on Him. He went up there to Calvary. They nailed spikes in His hands and they crucified Him. And you begin to look at all this and you recognize, this is not just some other part of history to throw out there like the study of World War II. This is it. Everything revolves around this. That's what the Spirit does. Our eyes are opened to it. We're rocked by the reality. They crucified Him. And suddenly, the Spirit does this. How do you relate to this? This is a proof of the Spirit's presence which in turn is the proof that we are God's temple. We're going along. We're going along absorbed with all else but Christ. Then something happens. We sing it in the song. Almighty love arrests that man. We're arrested. We're spiritually arrested. And like Paul, we talked about a few weeks ago, "Who are You, Lord?" "I am Jesus." And suddenly, that name... that name's not a curse word. That name's not just religious terminology. The Spirit opens our eyes and our soul and draws it out to Christ. The Spirit always glorifies Christ. Our estimation of Christ is altogether reworked by the power and influence of the Spirit. This is Christianity. That's Christianity. Being absorbed with Christ. Honoring Christ. Finding in Christ our all. This is the heart and soul of Christianity. Brethren, I remember how it was. Suddenly Christ's deity is the most important thing you ever imagined. The cross is the most important thing you ever imagined. The resurrection - the most important thing you ever imagined. Christ's perfect obedience - the most important thing you ever imagined. Pleasing Christ - the most important thing. You say, they can't all be most important, but that's the way it is. The Spirit shows you one thing about Christ after another, and it's like that's the greatest thing! Oh, look over here! That's the greatest thing! Because everything about Him is just so great and for the first time in your life, you're made aware. That's what the Spirit does. What else? What other proofs that the Spirit's there? Romans 5:5 says, "God's love has been poured into your hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us." So when the Holy Spirit has been given to us, it seems like by nature all of us - now, you think about this - by nature, all of us create a god of our own imagination. This god approves of us. This god loves us whatever condition we're in. I mean, that's the sort of god that appeals to the natural man. But what happens? The Spirit brings conviction of sin. The Spirit hits our consciences. We're aware of sin and judgment and how righteous God is to bring us to judgment. It breaks in upon us that there is a living Almighty God out there with whom we have to do, and He's so holy, He can't look upon sin. I mean, this is what we're awakened to. This god of our imagination - like a mist that goes away. Suddenly, we are face to face with a big God. And what this is all about is when we see this holy God - we see this God who cannot look upon sin - not the God of our imagination. The true God. The living God. The terribly holy, holy, holy God of Scripture before whom the seraphim shield their faces. The Spirit says that God loves me. He loves me! He gave His Son for me. That's what's being communicated. You just look at the context of Romans 5. He showed His love, and it's shown on the cross. And suddenly the Spirit communicates that. I remember my brother-in-law Rick. He said he was laying in bed one morning, and just like a lightning bolt... he was musing on, contemplating the cross, and God just said, "Rick, it's for you." "I did that for you." That's what happens. The love of God. He sent His Son to die for me. And this one's so closely related. Romans 8:15 "You've received the Spirit of adoption as sons." Here's the Spirit. The Spirit of adoption. We receive Him. What does He do? "...By whom we cry, 'Abba, Father.'" There it is. God is not just some distant power anymore. He's no longer the pushover god of our imaginations. He's the God of Scripture. But He no longer presents Himself to me as an angry God whose wrath I'm under. But now, look at that. The Spirit makes us conscious of the fact that He who is the Most High God is my Father. He cares for me. He loves me. He sent His Son to die for me. I cry to Him now as a Father. Father, Father. What a title! Christian, when you pray - I hear some Christians that address God as God. Now, theologically, there's nothing wrong with that. But it always feels impersonal to me. To keep addressing God repeatedly as God, when the Spirit comes and says, He is God, but He makes Himself known to you as your Father. Not just as Father - Abba. I mean, what an endearing word. Do you know this reality? Brethren, we want true Christianity. The kind of Christianity that God is not just a far away power, not the pushover god of my mind, but it is the God of Scripture in all of His highness and transcendence and vastness. He's personally come to me and He says, "I'm your Father." This is an operation of the Spirit. By this we know God dwells within and we're real. How about this? Romans 8:16. "The Spirit Himself bears witness with our spirit that we're children of God." There's the Spirit on the witness stand. The devil can come and sling his accusations. But the witness is this: "I own you as My own. You are My child. You are My son." But there's still sin. "Yes, but you're My child. I've sent My Son to die for your sin. You belong to Me. I bought you with a price. I brought you into My family." The Spirit bids us to see this sonship. He witnesses to us. What does a witness do? What do you want a witness to do when they go on the stand? Just give the facts. Tell the truth. That's it. That's what the Spirit's doing. You want to know what the truth is? You haven't just been saved from sin, you've been saved from just wandering, lost. God has brought you into His household. He's your Father. You're His son. He's bestowed His love upon you. That's it. The Spirit does that. The Spirit witnesses. How about number 8? Romans 8:13, "By the Spirit, you put to death the deeds of the body." If you do that, you live. That's life. Remember? We're alive. We're Christians if we have the Spirit. By the Spirit, we know that God abides in us. If you have the Spirit, what do you do? You put to death the deeds of the body. The daily practice of killing sin matters because it's an evidence of whether the Spirit's there or not. And look, a lot of people in the world, they intend to make changes in their life. They make New Year's resolutions to make changes in their life. They grit their teeth to make changes in their life. But I'll tell you this, true change - radical change, the purity that God desires from us - the only way that we can do that; the only way that we truly can put off these deeds is by the Spirit. God's Spirit is the Holy Spirit. He will not leave God's people unholy. God's Spirit is a mighty Spirit. He is more powerful than our sin. I mean, this is the thing. When the Spirit is put within the child of God, you have to think about this. You've got sin. You've got the Spirit. Sin is viewed in Scripture as this kind of dark force or a dark lord. "Sin reigning in the mortal body." That's how Scripture describes it. Then you have the Spirit who comes up and takes residence in the Christian. You've got these competing powers, but who's stronger? Of course, the Spirit is. And the Spirit will always win. The Spirit will always win. He is in the business of making saints; of making holy people. Men can create. Men in their own strength - think about what men in their own strength can do. Well, they can come to church. They can create religious settings. They can do that. They may create morality or formality or civility. Customs, rituals, ceremonies - all that's possible. Church attendance, baptism. But there's no mistaking it. Whenever and wherever somebody's desire - you have to think about this. This is really what it is. We're not told that the Spirit comes in and turns off bodily desires. You know how it is we put to death the deeds of this body? It's not because all of a sudden you've lost all your longings to please this body and gratify this body. What happens? Your desires to please Christ become stronger. That's what happens. It's a battle of desire. And where the Spirit is - look, just because you get saved doesn't mean you lose sexual desire. Just because you get saved doesn't mean you lose desire to feel pleasure or to feel relaxation; to feel good; to eat food; to drink. The body has appetites. But what happens is it's like Joseph. Do you think there was temptation in Joseph when Potiphar's wife came? I mean, she's the wife of a high ranking official. She's probably beautiful. And who's going to know? God's going to know. And there's a desire there. I'm not going to sin against God this way. I know He's watching. My fellowship with Him is more important than my gratifying this bodily appetite. And that's where the battle is won. Our desire for other things become greater. And that is the proof that there's just no other explanation when that happens than the Spirit of God is doing that. And where He does that, God has taken up residence. How about number nine? Christlikeness. Many of you know this. "We all with unveiled face beholding the glory of the Lord are being transformed into the same image..." What same image? Well, the image of the Lord. "...From one degree of glory to another. For this comes from the Lord who is the Spirit." Here's another operation of the Spirit. What does the Spirit do? Transforms us into the likeness of Christ. Now, this is kind of similar to the last one. Killing the appetites of the body. How is it similar? Well, it's kind of the opposite. This one here in 2 Corinthians comes at us from the positive side, whereas Romans 8 comes at us from the negative side. Romans 8 is the negative - we kill sin. Here in 2 Corinthians, we have the positive. It's the image of Christ - more and more resembling Him. It's like the mercury rising in a thermometer. It's just going up and up and up. That's how it is in our life. What is that? Well, if you imagine, sometimes people do these time lapse photography. You've seen that kind of thing? You know, I saw just recently, I was on Drudge and I saw somebody did that on Hillary Clinton from when she was in her 's or whatever to now. And they just went through all these photos, and they kind of morphed them into one another. But you've seen time lapse photography maybe of a flower or something. But if you can do time lapse photography on a Christian, this is an operation of the Spirit. But if you do the time lapse, they are becoming more and more beautiful. And I'm not saying a time lapse on your outer body. Because that's getting uglier and uglier. I say that based on Scripture. The outer man is what? (Wasting away). There you go. Except for my wife. Seriously, she is becoming more beautiful all the time. But if you could time lapse us spiritually, you know what you see? It's like wow! The ugliness, the blemishes are falling off. The wrinkles are disappearing. How is that happening? The Spirit. That's what happens. The Spirit. Christikeness. We heard it from our brother. It's like the dawn shining brighter and brighter until the full day. That's how it is. If you look at the sun, you can't visibly see it, but it is by degrees climbing higher in that sky. And it's the same way here. You know how it is with people's children? We just went out to the Community conference and you see people - you see people and it's like the last time I saw you, you were this big! And you just went forward and bang! There's this difference. Well, that's how it is if a true Christian - if you don't see them for five years, there should be noticeably something more Christlike. Why? Because that Spirit has operated. This is exactly what He does. How about fruit? This is the tenth. Galatian 5:22. You know this very well. "The fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control. Against such things, there is no law." Once the Spirit comes in, fruit. Fruit begins to show. And I know this is similar to the last one. I have fruit trees in my yard. I have a lemon tree. (Thank you, Haney's.) And it bears. I have two fig trees. And I have a number of peach trees. And all of them are producing already this year. Fruit. The fruit is coming out. The trees are known by their fruit. And I'll tell you this, where the Spirit is cultivating and fertilizing and gardening, beautiful things come forth. That's what we have. Beautiful things grow. Love. Love for God. Love for the brethren. A joy. Brethren, a joy the world can't take away. Why? Because our hope is in something higher. Our hope is outside this world. Our hope is beyond our circumstances. Brethren, do you know that even if CPS showed up at my door and took my two youngest children away, my hope in Christ is unshaken. I have a joy that transcends my circumstances in this world. A joy that passes understanding. There's peace in the soul; a sense of sins forgiven. This is what the Spirit does. The Spirit makes unkind people kind, and harsh people gentle. He changes people. People say, "Oh, you got religion." I'll tell you this, if it's God's religion, you're going to get more than that. You're going to get a lot more than that. You're going to get this - self control. You're going to become good by degrees, but it's real, it's true. Brethren, this is what our Bibles teach us. This is what it says about what true Christianity is. This is what it says about where the Spirit is. Eleven: Alienation. You say, what do you mean by that? Ephesians 4:30. "Do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God by whom you were sealed for the day of redemption." Look, the Spirit is the member of the Godhead that we are told is grieved by our sin. I mean, listen, David describes this sort of thing in Psalm 32. Don't turn there, but listen. David says this, "When I kept silent..." In other words, when I did not deal with my sin before God, "my bones wasted away through my groaning all day long. Day and night Your hand was heavy against me, my strength was dried up by the heat of summer. Selah. I acknowledged my sin to You. I did not cover my iniquity. I said I will confess my transgressions to the Lord, and You forgave the iniquity of my sin." And I would just ask you, Christian, do you know this? Do you know this about the presence of the Holy Spirit? Do you know the reality of the bone-wasting work of the Spirit? You know what I mean. (Incomplete thought) You know how it was when you're lost? You sinned and you were happy and you wanted more. That's not what happens in the child of God. You sin because you think it's going to make you happy, and your bones waste away. And it's not happy. Where'd the smile of God go to? Have you had that happen? You know what happens when God smiles on us? We can get careless. Oh, this is great! Sun shining. Birds singing. Life is great! It's wonderful to be a Christian. And you get sloppy in your Christian life. And what happens? Suddenly, you look up - where'd the smile of God go? And beyond that, you begin to feel it in your bones like David did. You feel this. Bone wasting. Why? Because God is grieved and it's the Spirit who expresses His grief. Why would He say don't grieve the Holy Spirit? Why? Because the Spirit of God is the one who so actively is doing all these things in our life. And it's so much to our advantage that we have Him, even beyond the advantage of what it was to have Christ Himself walking, and you grieve that Spirit, and you are going to bear the consequences. You don't want to say, well, I'm saved by the grace of God and I'm under the blood, and so you know what, my sin shouldn't matter. It should be forgiven. But you see what happened. It was forgiven in David, but it wasn't until he repented of it and he acknowledged it, and then the joy of his salvation returned. But this is another work of the Spirit. Christian, do you not know what it is to have that happen in your life? The Spirit is going to see to it: Sin is not going to be a joyful ride. He's not going to allow you to enjoy it like you once did. Christian, the Spirit sees to it that you hurt for sin. He'll make you groan under it. And here's the last one, and this really is going to lead out into what I want to deal with next week in testing the spirits. But you see this truth in 1 John 4:2, where we're going next week, but it would be this: right doctrine. John argues that - this is interesting - John argues that there are spirits behind doctrine. Whether good or bad. In fact, Paul talks about demon doctrines. When you hear people or religions that speak truth or that speak error, there are spirits behind that. And what he says here in 1 John 4:2, "By this we know the Spirit of God..." In other words, those who have the Spirit of God can be known. How? "Because every spirit that confesses that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is from God, and every spirit that does not confess Jesus is not from God." John argues that there's always spirits behind doctrine. The Spirit of God is the Spirit of truth. The Spirit of God is the Spirit who carried along the authors of Scripture. In fact, if you go down a little further, you can find that whoever is of God; whoever has the Spirit listens to us, John says. In other words, they listen to the apostles. They listen to the apostle's doctrine which is in here. You can know the Spirit of God because the Spirit of God will always affirm and assert what is written in Scripture. He will never contradict it. We can test the spirits that way. We can know the Spirit by which people are indwelt by their doctrine. And especially, he's saying, by their doctrine of Christ. Listen to what people say about Christ. His Person. His work. That's what we find here. The Spirit of God - mark a man's doctrine; especially His doctrine of Jesus Christ. Who Christ is; what Christ has accomplished. The Spirit always proclaims a glorious Christ. I mean, when you see doctrine; you hear doctrine; you read doctrine - doctrine is teaching - it sets forth Christ glorious. The Spirit always is going to proclaim a salvation that leaves us not boasting in ourselves, but boasting in the cross and boasting in Christ. That's absolutely essential. The Spirit shows us a Person. The Spirit shows the person that He indwells, that He is active in. He shows them that Christ matters. What we think about Christ matters. The real Christ. The biblical Christ. The true Christ. This is the Spirit of Christianity. Right doctrine. So you think about all these. If the Spirit is present, we have conviction, we have His leadership, we have a thought life with a mind set on the things of the Spirit, Christ is glorified, five - the love of God is shed abroad in our hearts by the Spirit; six - the Spirit of adoption causes us to cry, "Abba, Father;" seven - the Spirit bears witness that we are children of God; eight - by the Spirit, you put to death the deeds of the body; nine - by the Spirit who is the Lord we are transformed from one degree of glory to another in this image of Christ; ten - the fruit of the Spirit: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control - that is going to be evident; this grieving of the Spirit, the alienation that when Christians fall into sin, we grieve the Spirit; we reap consequences in the bone-wasting work of the Spirit; and then this last one, number 12, was right doctrine. The Spirit teaches us and leads us into the truth - especially the truth concerning Christ. These are 12 evidences. And remember what John says. "By this, we know..." By this, we know that God abides in us. We are the dwelling place of God. How? By the Holy Spirit. So that's what John teaches us in these passages.