Friday, January 25, 2008

Examine yourself

How do you know you're saved? If you are not a Christian then this blog is not for you. But if you believe yourself to be saved then it is. Many will misunderstand.Some might get angry.And, forgive me in advance for not sugar coating it. And believe me when I say I'm preaching to myself as well.

It is important to ask yourself this question. The bible commands that we do:

2 Corinthians 13:5 "Examine yourselves, to see whether you are in the faith....."

And Jesus himself said that there would be many who would proclaim his name, but not be saved, and that you would know the true believers by their fruits:

Matthew 7 Beginning in verse 15:"Beware of false prophets, who come to you in sheep's clothing but inwardly are ravenous wolves. 16You will recognize them by their fruits. Are grapes gathered from thorn bushes, or figs from thistles? 17 So, every healthy tree bears good fruit, but the diseased tree bears bad fruit. 18 A healthy tree cannot bear bad fruit, nor can a diseased tree bear good fruit. 19 Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. 20Thus you will recognize them by their fruits.

21"Not everyone who says to me, 'Lord, Lord,' will enter the kingdom of heaven, but the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. 22 On that day many will say to me, 'Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and cast out demons in your name, and do many mighty works in your name?' 23 And then will I declare to them, 'I never knew you; depart from me, you workers of lawlessness.'

Look closely how Jesus speaks here. The lost man is repeating Lord twice when he speaks. In English if we want to emphasize something we say it louder, or put it in all caps, but the Hebrew style was to repeat it. So this was not only a man who believed he was saved, but he was putting emphasis on calling Jesus Lord. He was the type who was open and radical. In modern times he'd be the type to wear Christian t-shirts and have fish on his car. He was openly vocal about Jesus, and yet Jesus says he was lost.

So how do you know you are saved? Is it because you feel saved in your heart? What does scripture say about that?

Jeremiah 17:9 The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked; who can know it?

Does it just seem right?

Prov 16:25 There is a way that seems right to a man, but its end is the way to death

Is it because a preacher told you you were saved? Is it because you prayed a prayer and asked Jesus in your heart? And then, you looked around at all the other people sitting next to you in Church and you compared your life to theirs and when your life wasn't any worse than theirs you determined if they were saved you were ok too? What makes you think they're saved? Where in the bible does it say if you repeat a prayer after a preacher that you are automatically saved? Don't get your theology from a T-shirt or catchy song!

Praying a prayer does not save you. There are no magic words to get in to heaven. You are saved because when you prayed that prayer you repented and believed. Salvation only comes by faithin Jesus.

So how do you know that you are saved? Look above again at Matthew 7. Jesus says you'll be known by your fruit.A good tree can't produce thorns, and a thorn bush can't produce figs.

He says he who does the will of His father will be saved. Is this a message of salvation by works? NOT AT ALL! The one who does the will of the father does so as evidence of salvation, not to earn salvation. He doesn't do so by his own efforts but because when he met Jesus he was changed and was never the same. He was given a new nature and hates the things God hates. He walks the narrow path, and when he strays God snatches him back. When he sins he hates his own actions because God hates them. He cannot go astray and remain there because God won't let him. He repented, believed and continues to always because he is God's child.

Notice in Matthew 7 that the lost person uses many gifts of the spirit as evidence that he should be saved, but they were not. God never uses gifts as evidence, once again read the verse. You will be known by your fruit. So examine yourself and be sure your are in the faith. Don't compare yourself with others to determine your salvation, but to scripture instead. Your own church is full of people who come every week and sing praises to the Lord and believe their last breath here is their first breath with the Lord. But, sadly they are mistaken. Don't believe you were saved because a preacher told you you were after repeating a prayer but do so because when you prayed a prayer it reflected your repentant heart and you believed in the name of Jesus. You can KNOW you're saved. But KNOW you are saved for the right reasons!

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