Test yourselves to
see if you are in the faith; examine yourselves! Or do you not recognize this
about yourselves, that Jesus Christ is in you-- unless indeed you fail the
test? 2 Corinthians 13:5 (NASB)
Every once and a while I am reminded of the dire straits
the church is currently in. Recently it was commentary I have heard by church
members and leaders of various "Christian" denominations in response
to a certain political leader's endorsement of a lifestyle choice.
It is further evidence that a person can "come to
Christ" without Christ ever coming to them. What I mean by this is that I
suspect that when some of these people meet Jesus face to face upon their death
they will be shocked that He does not know them.
Because of false teachers who are teaching false
doctrines there are an abundance of people who are completely deceived into
believing that they possess salvation!
“But woe to you,
scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you shut the kingdom of heaven in
people’s faces. For you neither enter yourselves nor allow those who would
enter to go in”. Matt. 23:13 (ESV)
Where has the high and holy calling of the Pastor of
Preaching gone? Where are the men who fearlessly and righteously proclaim the
Word of God to their congregations? I am
not talking about legalism and lists of dos and don’ts, I am speaking of the
exegetical preaching and teaching of the Bible-God’s Word as God intended it to
be understood. Proper interpretation that
leads to proper application!
We live in a church culture in which many preachers use
the Word to fit their own agenda whether it is church growth, seeker sensitive,
controlling by fear of judgment, how to have your best life now, and amassing
small fortunes by collecting “seed money,” or any other motive that is not
Because of this kind of teaching, we live in a church
culture that says, "Today a man can be saved without change."
How can a person be regenerated (saved, born again,
raised from spiritual deadness to life) and continue to think and believe in
ways that are completely contrary to Scripture? How can a person who professes
to belong to a Holy God continue without
remorse to live sinfully? How can someone who says they love God
endorse and support what God says is evil?
And since they did not
see fit to acknowledge God, God gave them up to a debased mind to do what ought
not to be done. They were filled with all manner of unrighteousness, evil,
covetousness, malice. They are full of envy, murder, strife, deceit,
maliciousness. They are gossips, slanderers, haters of God, insolent,
haughty, boastful, inventors of evil, disobedient to parents, foolish,
faithless, heartless, ruthless. Though they know God’s decree that those
who practice such things deserve to die, they not only do them but give
approval to those who practice them. Romans 1:28-32 (ESV)
Or do you not know
that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be
deceived: neither the sexually immoral, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor men
who practice homosexuality, nor thieves, nor the greedy, nor drunkards,
nor revilers, nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God. 1
Corinthians 6:9-10 (ESV)
I did not write the above passage of Scripture, it was
written under the influence of the Holy Spirit (2 Peter 1:20-21) for our
understanding and transformation (1 Timothy 3:16). I do accept and
believe it is the truth.
Church, we must
examine ourselves to be sure that we
as individuals are right in our beliefs and that those who teach us are rightly
dividing the Word of truth (2 Timothy 2:15)! You can know that you sit under biblical teaching; you can know that you truly are regenerated!
Does your life reflect the life of Christ in any way? Can
you look back on your life since you prayed that prayer or walked the aisle and
see a true difference in yourself? Oh, I am not talking about doing good deeds
before men, but can you see a change on the inside
where the Spirit of God resides in a person? I am not talking about perfection
either; but consistent growth and change. Change from what you once were to more
closely reflect the image and likeness of Christ.
Is there conviction when you sin? Do you hate your sin
and grieve when you commit sins the Bible mentions? Speaking of the Bible, do
you ever desire to read it? Is there a longing for the Word of God in your soul
that is so great you cannot stand to miss reading it? Is there a desire to
honor and glorify God that burns so hot within you that your thoughts, beliefs,
and desires are governed by it?
The consistent, accurate preaching of the Word of God
will bring these things about in the life of a regenerated Christian. Is it that you do hear good preaching but choose to ignore the admonitions? Is
your heart hard because of ongoing and unrepentant sin? Have you been deceived and
lulled into believing that you possess in Christ what you actually do not
These are weighty, heavy thoughts for a Monday morning,
but I believe more than ever that we are at a crossroads in history. Each of us will stand before God, some as
victors and some as fools. Examine
yourself today, and examine your church’s preaching and teaching ministry. Be
sure that you are in the faith!