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Lessons Testing You

Family Devotions:
M. Ye Must Be Born Again...........................................................................John 3:1-8
T. Try the Spirits............................................................................................I John 4:1-6
W. Whosoever Believeth................................................................................I John 5:1-5
T. Knowing the Father and Son....................................................................John 17:1-5
F. Led by the Spirit of God............................................................................Romans 8:10-17
S. The Gospel of Christ..................................................................................I Corinthians 1:18-24
S. Embraced in Grace....................................................................................Ephesians 1:3-6

Devotional Reading: II Corinthians 2:14-17

Memory Selection: For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord. Romans 6:23


In the academic realm test are given to determine how much people know or have learned. How else could we determine if the student is ready to move on to new materials? Some elementary things must be grasped and becomes the foundation upon which higher learning continues. If the students have not learned the basics, they are not ready to move on to more complex matters. Test are an invaluable resource to make such evaluations and we can easily grasp this concept.

In a similar way, there are issues of a spiritual significance which must be grasped in order to understand other biblical teachings. If we try to build upon false or erroneous concepts, we are less likely to discover God’s wonderful truth; therefore, our faith must rest solidly upon the teachings of God’s word. The inspired word of God gives us valuable information that will help us tremendously in our spiritual pursuit of holiness and service to Christ our Lord. Obviously, it is of utmost importance that we test our beliefs against the acid test of the Bible. It is the purpose of this quarterly to emphasize the value of such spiritual testing. This final lesson will help us in our consideration of the tests of life and death.

As Jesus talked to Nicodemus, He spoke about the new birth. Jesus said, “Marvel not that I said unto thee, Ye must be born again” (John 3:7). Clearly, Nicodemus did not understand the concept of being born again. He asked, “How can a man be born when he is old? can he enter the second time into his mother's womb, and be born?” (John 3:4). Approximately two thousand years have passed since their conversation and men still wrestle with these questions and the word which Jesus spoke. With the brief explanation Jesus gave, many are left wondering about the meaning and importance of the new birth. Today, some apparently deny the existence of a “new birth” while other wonder “have I been born again”? Hopefully this lesson will help some make that determination within their own hearts and lives.

The Test of Belief

1. Please read I John 5:1-5. This passage begins and ends with the idea of believing that Jesus is the Son of God. Throughout the word, some believe while others do not believe in Christ. Discuss the reasons this is true.

It is difficult for many to understand how we become believers in Christ. Some would tell you that it is simply a matter of personal decision, while others feel that one must first experience grace (the new birth). When Jesus spoke to Nicodemus, He declared that a person must be born again before he can “see” (John 3:3) or “enter” (John 3:5) the kingdom of God. The question we must ask is this: Is Jesus the final authority? Of course, therefore according to Him the Holy Spirit moves sovereignly and at God’s discretion (John 3:7-8). By the Holy Spirit we are born again and thereby can see and enter the kingdom of God.

The indwelling of God’s Holy Spirit begins at the time of the “new birth.” It is the Holy Spirit, the third Person of the God-Head (I John 5:7) Who gives us our knowledge of Jesus Christ. Man cannot discover and understand Who Jesus Christ really is apart from the Spirit of God. Paul said, “But the natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him: neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned” (1 Corinthians 2:14). The natural man is void of God’s Holy Spirit, an unregenerate person. Paul reminds us that in order for us to understand spiritual matters we must have the Spirit of God; therefore, the identity of God’s only begotten Son can only be understood by the work of the Spirit of God within us.

When John spoke of believing that Jesus is the Son of God, he was telling us that the Holy Spirit must be involved. So, if you believe that Jesus is the sinless Son of God, it is because of the indwelling of the Holy Spirit. The idea set forth by the word “believeth” is by definition - to adhere to, trust, rely on (Young’s Analytical Concordance to the Bible). According to John, those who adhere to, trust in and rely upon Jesus for salvation from sin are people who have already been born again. Notice that John did not make an offer or promise you would receive something if you did believe, but rather belief is the evidence of the new birth. Paul wrote, “And when the Gentiles heard this, they were glad, and glorified the word of the Lord: and as many as were ordained to eternal life believed” (Acts 13:48). The gospel of Jesus Christ was preached and those who were ordained to eternal life through God’s electing grace, were touched by the Spirit of God and thus believed. If you truly believe Jesus is the Son of God, the test declares the work of grace in your life. What a blessing!

The Test of Divine Leadership

2. Please read Romans 8:8-14. While many wonderful subjects are addressed in this chapter, Paul here focuses our attention upon a spiritual life. He tells us that we owe a great debt to God. Discuss the leadership of the Holy Spirit in the lives of those saved by God’s amazing grace.

Paul goes to great length to make a comparison between and spiritual and carnal life. If the “Spirit of God” also called the “Spirit of Christ” (Romans 8:9) dwells in us, we belong to Jesus. What a glorious thought to consider! When God said through Paul, “But ye are not in the flesh” it did not mean that our natural bodies disappeared at the moment of the new birth; rather, though in our temporal bodies, we are no longer carnal but spiritual individuals, temples of the Holy Spirit. The indwelling Holy Spirit not only quickened us into Divine life (Ephesians 2:1) but He also leads us. As the Holy Spirit lives in us, He exerts a spiritual leadership which enables us to know God’s perfect will. Clearly, there are times when He leads but we do not follow as we should and in such times we sin and need to repent.

The new birth may be compared to our natural birth. If that were not so Jesus would not have made the comparison in John 3:6. He said, “That which is born of the flesh is flesh; and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit” (John 3:6). Obviously, one is not an exact overlay of the other, but the similarities can be used to help us learn more about our spiritual life in Christ. Just as we have a natural birth and from that point grow and learn from our parents; even so, we are born of God and begin to grow spiritually and learn from our heavenly Father. As parents usually teach their children what is right or wrong, God also teaches us the difference between good and bad. One of the principal ways He does that is by the influence of the Holy Spirit within. This is called the leadership of the Holy Spirit.

The words of Paul help us to recognize that we will feel leadership within that will encourage us to walk in the paths of righteousness and will condemn our hearts by His word of truth. Without this Divine leadership, it would be difficult if not impossible, for us to know how to live in God’s will and for His glory. The Holy Spirit gives us a witness within that we are saved and belong to God (Romans 8:16). This He does for us by His leading influence. Since He daily leads us, we are reassured that we are the children of God and have spiritual life. Romans 8:14 says, “For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, they are the sons of God” (Romans 8:14). Since God has ordained that His Holy Spirit dwell within His redeemed children, it behooves us to follow His leadership and live by His influence a life that will glorify Christ, bless His church and shine a light into this sin darkened world in which we now live.

The Test of the Gospel

3. Please read I Corinthians 1:18-24. At the very outset of the passage Paul states that the preaching of the cross of Christ enables us to identify those who have spiritual life. Discuss how God calls us by His power and its effect upon our lives.

Clearly, the gospel affects some people differently from others. Some hear the preaching of the cross of Christ and their souls are filled with hope and joy. Others may hear the same preaching and are filled with anger and indignation. As Paul preached Christ, he saw these different responses. He knew that some were offended by the cross of Christ. Why? Because it reminded them of the fact they had been instrumental in that horrible, inhumane event. Paul mentioned specifically “the offence of the cross” in Galatians 5:14. He was not naive, he knew some would be offended, nevertheless, he preached the cross saying, “For I determined not to know any thing among you, save Jesus Christ, and him crucified” (1 Corinthians 2:2). The fact that some today find it distasteful must not deter us from preaching about our crucified Saviour. Let us be faithful to Him!

While some may hate the preaching, others are richly blessed thereby. Many of us never tire of hearing how Jesus died on the cross for our sins and thus paid our debt completely. Paul said, “For I delivered unto you first of all that which I also received, how that Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures” (1 Corinthians 15:3). The preaching of Christ’s sacrificial death is foremost and we can be assured that many world-wide will joyfully embrace it. It is not that we find pleasure in the suffering and pain our Lord endured, but that in spite of it He was willing to lay down His life for our salvation and indeed for all His elect. We need to understand that when people are born again and possess the Holy Spirit within, they can embrace the truth of God’s word by faith and find hope and assurance of salvation through the shed blood of Christ.

When the cross of Christ was preached on the Day of Pentecost, many were touched and moved. Acts 2:37 says, “Now when they heard this, they were pricked in their heart, and said unto Peter and to the rest of the apostles, Men and brethren, what shall we do?” (Acts 2:37). No doubt the Holy Spirit “pricked their hearts and led them to seek God’s will for their lives. There are people who are “cut to the heart” (Acts 7:54) and they will go so far as to destroy those who preach the cross. Thank God, by His Spirit we have been quickened and made to say “Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved” (Acts 4:12). How we respond to the preaching of the cross of Christ is certainly indicative of the condition of our hearts and souls. What a test, the preaching of the cross!


There are of course other tests of life and death. It is not all that difficult when we examine physical life and death. If there is no pulse, no breath; it is rather obvious the person is dead. Even so, we have considered some evidences of spiritual life. If a person does not now possess them it may be that God has not yet bestowed His grace upon them. Perhaps at a later date and time, God may touch them as He has us and these test will aide us in recognizing the presence of God’s Spirit in their lives. Remember, these are not conditions which must be met in order to be saved for then salvation would be by works not grace. They are given by God to identify the family of God and bring praise and glory to His Son, Jesus Christ, our beloved Saviour and Lord.

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This page last updated on June 17, 2014