God commands each of us to ask ourselves a series of questions. These questions are all targeting the one very most important issue of all—the reality of our eternal destination. As we turn to 2 Corinthians 13:5, Listen to what God commands us two times in this one verse, to be asking ourselves this morning: 2 Corinthians 13:5 Examine yourselves as to whether you are in the faith. Test yourselves. Do you not know yourselves, that Jesus Christ is in you?—unless indeed you are disqualified. NKJV
Do you remember Christ’s warnings about one of Satan’s methods in Matthew 13:24-30? Jesus described an ongoing, covert (at night), campaign by Satan, to imitate and fake God’s work, by secretly sowing a crop of false followers of Jesus.
Beware of Christian Look-A-Likes: Because this Satanic campaign to infiltrate Christ’s Church by “Christian look-a-likes” is ongoing, God commands every person who testifies that they belong to Christ, to do a spiritual self-examination; and look for the evidence of genuine, healthy faith.
At the end of Christ’s greatest, and longest message we call the Sermon on the Mount in Matthew 7:21-23, Jesus warned that there will be many within Christ’s visible church who were convinced that they had genuine faith, but did not. Let’s stand and read Christ’s sobering words together this morning: “Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ shall enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father in heaven.22 “Many will say to Me in that day, ‘Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in Your name, cast out demons in Your name, and done many wonders in Your name?’23 “And then I will declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness!’ NKJV
Just before we examine some of the symptoms of those who have “dead faith” in Christ’s church, we need to work through the vital signs of “living faith”.
Vital Signs of Living Faith–These are some key questions that we should ask and answer for ourselves as an obedient response to the clear command of II Corinthians 13:5. Why not prayerfully ponder these questions not only with me now, but at another time, just by yourself and the Lord this week[1]?
True believers are “sin-confessors” (I John 1:9). Can you describe a time when you honestly realized you were a sinner and confessed this to yourself and to God?
1 John 1:9 If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. NKJV
True believers are “sin-forsakers” (Psalm 38:18; John 8:11).Can you describe a time when your heart stirred you to flee to Christ as the only escape from the wrath to come? Has your heart ever seriously grieved over the gravity of your personal sins that you agree with God that you have committed? Did you sincerely repent of your sins and turn from them? Or do you secretly love sin and want to enjoy it?
True believers are “forgiveness-holders” (Acts 13:38-39). Have you truly understood the Gospel of grace? That Christ died in your place, took your sins, and arose from the grave having fully satisfied God’s wrath against your sins? Have you understand and confessed that you cannot save yourself? Listen to these powerful, hope-giving words, recorded in Acts 13:38-39.
“Let it be known to you therefore, brothers, that through this man [Jesus Christ] forgiveness of sins is proclaimed to you, and in him everyone who believes is justified from everything from which you could not be justified in the law of Moses” (personal translation).
All true believers have complete forgiveness with all sins wiped away, even the deepest, darkest, and blackest; because all true believers have justification in Christ, His declaration of righteousness, over against every kind of sin we have ever done. How does He do this? The perfect life and death of Jesus Christ, God’s Son, pardons all debts and provides all righteousness for everyone who believes. The net result for each of us is that we who have been forgiven much, Jesus said, will love much (Luke 7:47).
True believers are “Christ-clinging” (Galatians 2:20; John 17:3). Are you presently clinging to Christ and trusting in Him alone, for your salvation? Can you describe to others a living relationship that you enjoy with Him through His Word and in His Spirit?
True believers are “endless-life-possessors” (Hebrews 7:16;I Timothy 4:15; II Peter 3:18). Can you identify how Christ has changed your life? Are you seeking to daily maintain good works, or are your works occasional and weak? Do you seek to grow in the things of the Lord? Can others tell that you have been with Jesus?
True believers are “Gospel-givers” Acts 5:20). Do you desire to share Christ with others? Or are you ashamed of Him?
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