473:  Self-Examination and Salvation

473: Self-Examination and Salvation

Scriptures teach that our heart is deceitfully wicked, even to the point it will deceive itself (Jer. 17:9).  And this often happens in regards to true salvation, or the difference between saving faith and non-saving faith.  That is why we are commanded to examine ourselves, to take on the difficult task of self-examination, in order to see if we are truly saved.  And often this self-examination is both painful and revealing.  Consider the following:

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 (reprobates, those not approved,  those who fail the test).

Ouch!  That stings.

How can we go about looking at our spiritual lives in the light of Scripture?  What questions do we ask ourselves?  How is the process of self-examination and salvation accomplished?

And how can we know we are saved and not disqualified?


Self-Examination and Salvation

The answer is found in 1 John.  In fact, one of the key goals of 1 John is for believers, people like you and me, to be able to know we have eternal life.  Look at what John says towards the end of his book:

1 John 5:13 – These things I have written to you who believe in the name of the Son of God, (why) that you may know (what) that you have eternal life, and that you may continue to believe in the name of the Son of God.

Using 1 John as our source, let’s look at each of the following questions in detail in order to determine our spiritual state.  After all, what could be more important than that?

    1.  Do you enjoy having fellowship with Christ and His redeemed people? – 1 John 1:3
    2.  Would people say you walk in the light, or walk in the darkness? – 1 John 1:6-7
    3.  Do you admit and confess your sin? – 1 John 1:8-9
    4.  Are you obedient to God’s Word? – 1 John 2:3-5
    5.  Does your life indicate you love God rather than the world? – 1 John 2:15
    6.  Is your life characterized by “doing what is right”? – 1 John 2:29
    7.  Do you seek to maintain a pure life? – 1 John 3:3
    8.  Do you see a decreasing pattern of sin in your life? 1 John 3:5-6
    9.  Do you demonstrate love for other Christians? – 1 John 3:14
    10.  Do you “walk the walk,” or just “talk the talk”? – 1 John 3:18-19
    11.  Do you maintain a clear conscience? – 1 John 3:21
    12.  Do you experience victory in your Christian walk?  – 1 John 5:4

Again, don’t take this time of self-examination lightly.  These may be the most important questions you have ever asked yourself.  And your answers may indicate if you exercise saving faith or non-saving faith.  And the difference between the two is the difference between heaven and hell.  So set apart some time for this self-examination and let’s look at His Word together.

To download the slides to this message, click – HERE

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Our Latest Posts:

472: Have You Experienced Regeneration or Conversion?
471: How to Experience the Peace of God
Our Uncertain Times
470: The Theater of Your Mind
469: What’s the Point of the Lord’s Supper?

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472:  Have You Experienced Regeneration or Conversion?

472: Have You Experienced Regeneration or Conversion?

One of the most frightening truths is the fact that many who claim the name of Christ, who profess salvation, are actually lost and on their way to eternal separation from Him.  How can that be?  How can someone be so duped into believing they are saved when, in fact, just the opposite is true?  The answer is found in our understanding of the difference between regeneration (being born again) and conversion (exercising faith and repentance).  Conversion must follow regeneration for true salvation to take place.  If the order is reversed, nothing eternal happens.

Often, with good intentions, we focus on getting someone to convert to Christ by emphasizing their need to recite the “sinner’s prayer”— which focuses on faith (Romans 10:9-10) and repentance.  But without regeneration (being born again), the converted individual (who prayed a prayer) is not saved.  They have made a verbal assent (faith) to a code of ethics or a religion or a way of life, but without a supernatural change in nature.  And it is only the change in nature (regeneration) that leads to salvation.  Sadly, the converted, yet unregenerate sinner, becomes another unsaved, baptized, deceived, church member.

This is exactly what Jesus spoke of in His Parable of the Sower (Matt. 13) and warned about at the end of the Sermon on the Mount.  Consider carefully His words:

Matthew 7:21-23 – “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.  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?’  And then I will declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from Me,
you who practice lawlessness!'”

So what are we to do?


How Can You Tell if You’ve Experienced Regeneration or Conversion?

The Scriptures repeatedly admonish us to examine ourselves to see if we are truly saved, if regeneration has taken place.

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 (reprobates, those not approved, those who fail the test).

And you can do this by asking yourself the following questions (from 1 John):

    1.  Do you enjoy having fellowship with Christ and His redeemed people? – 1 John 1:3
    2.  Would people say you walk in the light, or walk in the darkness? – 1 John 1:6-7
    3.  Do you admit and confess your sin? – 1 John 1:8-9
    4.  Are you obedient to God’s Word? – 1 John 2:3-5
    5.  Does your life indicate you love God rather than the world? – 1 John 2:15
    6.  Is your life characterized by “doing what is right”? – 1 John 2:29
    7.  Do you seek to maintain a pure life? – 1 John 3:3
    8.  Do you see a decreasing pattern of sin in your life? 1 John 3:5-6
    9.  Do you demonstrate love for other Christians? – 1 John 3:14
    10.  Do you “walk the walk,” or just “talk the talk”? – 1 John 3:18-19
    11.  Do you maintain a clear conscience? – 1 John 3:21
    12.  Do you experience victory in your Christian walk?  – 1 John 5:4

Don’t take this lightly.  These may be the most important questions you ever ask yourself.  And your answers may indicate if you are truly His.  Do you want to know?  If so, then keep listening.

To download the slides to this message, click – HERE

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Our Latest Posts:

471: How to Experience the Peace of God
Our Uncertain Times
470: The Theater of Your Mind
469: What’s the Point of the Lord’s Supper?
468: Following Jesus in Real-Time

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471:  How to Experience the Peace of God

471: How to Experience the Peace of God

Peace seems like such an elusive commodity today.  After all, it seems we are surrounded by ever-increasing chaos and turmoil with no end in sight.  What are believers to do in a climate like we are facing today?  We are to strive to experience the peace of God.  Note, not peace with God, which is something quite different.  But the peace of God.  It is a peace that only comes from Him, the peace He also experienced while on earth, the indescribable, supernatural peace of God.

Paul tells us exactly how to find this peace.  Consider the following:

Philippians 4:6-7 – Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God; and (the promise) the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.

But what kind of peace is that?  And how can I experience that promised peace?  Is it something I muster up myself?  Or is it something I internalize myself?  Or does it, like faith, come from outside of myself?  And, if so, how can I obtain this peace of God?


How Can I Experience the Peace of God?

Great questions.  But the answer is simple.  The peace of God is a gift from our Lord, left to each of us as a part of our inheritance in Him.  It is the peace Jesus personally experienced while on earth, facing untold trials, tribulation, betrayals, and spiritual attacks.  And He gives us, as a gift, this very peace as a promise— a promise so wonderful it cannot be described or even understood.

Notice what our Lord said about how to experience the peace of God.

John 14:27 – “Peace (what) I leave with you, My peace (what) I give to you; (contrast) not as the world gives do I give to you.  Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid.”

Jesus is going away and His disciples are troubled (John 13:33-36).  But He promised to leave them a gift, something that helped Him persevere during His dark days.  And that was His peace.  Not peace like the world gives, which is primarily a lack of conflict and is temporary at best.  But a peace that passes all understanding (Phil. 4:7).  His peace.  The peace of God.

Do you realize the peace of God is also offered to you?  It is part of your birthright as a child of God and a joint-heir with Christ (Rom. 8:17).   All we have to do is receive this gift to experience the peace of God.  Are you ready?  Then keep listening.

To download the slides to this message, click – HERE

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Our Latest Posts:

Our Uncertain Times
470: The Theater of Your Mind
469: What’s the Point of the Lord’s Supper?
468: Following Jesus in Real-Time
Global Upheaval

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Our Uncertain Times

Our Uncertain Times

The following article is from Jan Markell with Olive Tree Ministries.  She speaks with such wisdom regarding the uncertain times in which we live and the failure of the church to be the church.  I pray you will read this and vow to be different.  After all, from a Biblical perspective, we are not living in uncertain times, but in exciting, prophetic times.

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So many write to me expressing shock, and even horror, at the tide of our times here in 2020.  They see America crumbling under the weight of sin, debt, violence, immorality, and strong delusion.  Right is wrong, black is white, evil is good, and good is evil.


We Are In the Center of the Storm

People of faith are in the bulls-eye so to speak!  Churches are inconvenient.  The remnant of true believers is growing smaller while the Laodicea churches are mushrooming!  Many churches have not even re-opened yet, and some are saying they won’t until 2021!

Many don’t even know how to think about the future much less plan for it.  People write about “uncertainty”.  Will things get worse?  Probably.  How can we plan ahead if the turmoil is going to continue?


A Word Fitly Spoken

Then a pastor sent me this e-mail:

“We don’t live in uncertain times.  Not at all! These times are as certain as any time in all of human history, and the God of the universe laid out this time in great detail, point by point, and in fact, with all the detail needed by His people, to live in times of absolute certainty!  So no, there’s nothing uncertain about the times we live in to the believer who is seeking to live by every word that proceeds from the mouth of God.”


It’s All Aligning

He is right!  The Bible outlined all the “things to come” in great detail and they are shaping up:

  • The global government has to form and it is in the process.  All governments will become more authoritarian along the way! With the new CDC report that just 6% of Covid deaths are directly attributed to the virus, the “pandemic” was but the crisis the globalists couldn’t let go to waste.
  • God is sending a final warning to a sinful world.
  • For the Church, God is shaking us up, trying to wake us up so that we will look up!  There is Tribulation stage-setting going on such as today’s lawlessness— a precursor of what is to come when the Church is gone.
  • We are in the predicted last days’ perilous times (2 Timothy 3).
  • America is going to lose international power so that the European power player can arise.
  • Politics are important but they won’t save America.  Government will be quite dysfunctional until Jesus rules from Jerusalem.  Only a nation “under God” can be blessed and we have one political party that is at war with God.  They want government to be god.
  • There are terrible consequences when a nation goes astray and succumbs to a Romans 1 mentality.  The Church is still here to put a lid on total chaos and some delusion as well.  Just wait until we are gone.


Are the Pulpits Still Silent?

I have referenced an April LifeWay poll before but it takes on even more meaning now.  It revealed that a “vast majority of pastors see end times in our current events.”  Are they talking about this from their pulpits and re-assuring their people?  I do not think so.

Are they sharing about our glorious future, giving assurance to people?  How about talking about the “blessed hope” now that hope in the world is fading?

I am not optimistic that they are! Rather, are they telling people that they can have their best life now?  Hasn’t that all been proven to be a lie?  Are they giving some end-time warnings?

A whopping 97% of those polled by LifeWay Research believe Jesus Christ will literally and personally return to earth again and 55% expect Jesus to return in their lifetime.  This makes for tremendous sermon material! It also calms the mind and soul in troubled times.

Pastors, please don’t be silent!  Some people are losing things precious to them: businesses, jobs, even lives, or the lives of loved ones.  Depression and suicides are at all-time highs.


The Most Certain Times in All of Human History!

Are they, then, re-assuring their people as my pastor friend did?  Let me quote him again.  He said, “We don’t live in uncertain times. Not at all!  These times are as certain as any time in all of human history, and the God of the universe has laid out this time in great detail, point by point, and in fact, with all the detail needed by His people to live in times of absolute certainty.”

A secular talk show host said that “A blanket of darkness has been thrown over us.”  But the believer cannot and must not think that way!  An opportunity has been handed to us!  Desperate people are more inclined to listen.

Things really aren’t falling apart. In fact, they are orchestrated. To suggest something is falling apart is to say they are out of God’s control. Nothing could be further from the truth as it concerns the last days.  It’s just that your average Christian does not know the road map through the final days even though the Bible spends almost one-third of its pages talking about them!

In fact, everything is falling into place. Stay cool. Look up. The King is coming. It may be today! And you can’t throw a blanket of darkness over anyone with an eternal perspective.

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Our Latest Posts:

470: The Theater of Your Mind
469: What’s the Point of the Lord’s Supper?
468: Following Jesus in Real-Time
Global Upheaval
467: We Are Living in Bonhoeffer’s Germany
466: How to Seek God’s Face

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470:  The Theater of Your Mind

470: The Theater of Your Mind

When you read anything, including Scripture, there’s something that happens that is called the theater of your mind.  It is in the theater of your mind that you take descriptive text and add details to make the story more personal, more alive, more kinetic.  For example, consider this simple description:  “It was raining.  As he walked to the car, he pulled his coat tight around himself and quickened his steps.”

Now, what scene are you seeing in your mind?  And what details have you added to make this descriptive statement more descriptive?  How hard was it raining?  Was this a rural setting or a side street in New York City?  Or was the man on his front porch walking across his lawn to his car, or was he coming out of a restaurant or an office building in downtown Chicago?  Did this take place in winter, maybe mid-January?  Or was it in early Spring, during the first week of May?  What was the color of his coat?  How old was the man?  Was he dressed in a tuxedo like he was heading to a wedding?  Or was he tired, in worn-out overalls, on his way home after spending twelve hours in a wheat field on a John Deere Harvester?  How do you see this in the theater of your mind?

There is no right or wrong answer.  You are the one who adds these secondary elements to what you read and paints black and white text with a pallet of colors you make up in your own mind.  We all do this.  Everyone does this when we read descriptive text.


How Does the Theater of My Mind Help Me Understand Scripture?

And the same thing happens when we read, for example, the gospels.  We tend to focus on the red print, the words of Jesus, to systematically glean doctrine and truth.  But we skim over the black print, the descriptions of people and places where Jesus spoke and performed miracles, creating stick figures or silhouettes of the characters in Scripture.  And by using the gift of having a theater in your mind, it can greatly increase your experience with Scripture.  You will, in effect, see everything differently.

Now rest assured, we are not adding to His Word nor or we taking anything away.  We are simply imagining some details to make the story more alive.  And we are wondering what we would have seen, or heard, or felt if we were actually watching a biblical scene play out before us.

Matthew 19:13 – Then little children were brought to Him that He might put His hands on them and pray, but the disciples rebuked them.

Imagine you were there with Jesus when this event took place.  How old were the children?  How many of them were brought to Jesus?  And who brought them?  The disciples?  Others who were listening to Jesus?  Maybe the mothers of the children?  Who did the disciples rebuke?  Jesus?  The mothers?  The children themselves?  Someone else?  And how did Jesus respond?  What was the expression on His face?  Was He angry?  Annoyed?  Hurt?  Satisfied?  Sad?


But What are the Right Answers?

There are no answers to any of these questions in Scripture.  But as you read this single passage and let your mind focus on the words, you will begin to develop a picture in your mind of what this event might have looked like.  And as your mental theater begins to expand, so will your emotions.  And you will find you will begin to feel as you read the text what you would have felt had you been there personally, two-thousand years ago, as a first-hand witness.

And once you master this tool, Scripture will begin to take on an entirely new experience for you.

So join us as we learn how to experience the Word of God using the Theater of Our Minds.

To download the slides to this message, click – HERE

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Our Latest Posts:

469: What’s the Point of the Lord’s Supper?
468: Following Jesus in Real-Time
Global Upheaval
467: We Are Living in Bonhoeffer’s Germany
466: How to Seek God’s Face
America’s Civil Wars – Then and Now

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