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 biblical.
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?
If not….why not?
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 possess?
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!