Skip to comments.Examine Yourselves Whether You Be in the Faith, Part 1
Posted on 11/21/2013 11:02:12 AM PST by redleghunter
Paul calls for an examination in another passage and I want you to notice this. It's the last chapter of II Corinthians, Chapter 13, and verse 5, I want you to note what it says, Il Corinthians 13:5, just the first sentence, "'Examine yourselves, whether you are in the faith; (prove it, is what he's saying) prove yourselves." You say to someone "are you a Christian?" 'Yes.' What do you base that on? 'Well so many years ago I made a decision.' That means nothing. The Bible never verifies anybodies salvation on the basis of the past, It's always on the basis of the present, And if you don't have the evident proof of real salvation in your life now, there's a very real possibility you're not a Christian at all, no matter what happened in the past. So examine yourself, to se whether you are in the faith prove yourself. You say John' how do do that? How do I know if I'm really a Christian? I believe! (Maybe you've even been baptized.) I go to church, I, think I'm a Christian.' Look with me Matthew Chapter 5 and let's find out. When Jesus had arrived on the scene, the Jews had already decided what right-living was all about. They had already built their own code. They had already developed their own system, and they had it pretty cu and dried and pretty well laid out that this is what it was to be holy, and it was all external, it was all self-righteousness and works, and Jesus came and shattered that thing and He said I want to give you a new standard for living.
(Excerpt) Read more at gty.org ...
Billy Graham said it best recently, nothing new, many have said this truth, however this is Billy.. its also what I believe.... I paraphrase
I know I am a Christian and am going to Heaven, NOT because I have preached to many, NOT because I go to Church, NOT because of any good deeds I do, but, only because of The Cross of Christ, what Jesus did for me, shedding his blood on the cross, dying for me
Yes works should follow if it was a genuine conversion when we humbled ourselves and asked Jesus into our lives, asking forgiveness for sins, thanking Him for dying on the Cross for our sins, asking him to Be Lord of our life etc.
To completely turn back on God and go the other way is one thing.
But I believe in once saved always saved before I would believe that our salvation vanishes every time a mistake is made, so if those are my choices I believe once saved always saved.
Now if a person is voting for children to be aborted, for God`s Word to be removed from public square and classroom, for Barack Obama, for Bill Clinton, for John Kerry or Al Gore, or even yes Jimmy Carter, then I think we can ask was that persons conversion to Christ ever sincere or genuine
I certainly challenge
Personally I don’t think Christians should be watching modern sitcoms or movies at all. I think all these things are something to be considered.
Liberals love to quote Scripture such as ...let Him without Sin cast the first stone, they say it as if nothing can be questioned at all, they say Jesus was kind and compassionate, absolutely, but he also says go and sin no more
Now I am a sinner saved by grace nothing more, just a dirty rotten sinner saved by the grace of The Lord Jesus Christ and what he did on the Cross for me, but its NOT judging to say that Christians should not vote to kill Gods unborn children, or should not vote to have Christ/God removed from the Public square
It`s only common sense , if people have no concern for a unborn child, or are fine with teaching children that its OK to be homosexual, then yes I challenge absolutely
Even NON Christians realize that abortion is murder, so I don’t think saying we are deceived is a excuse at all
To become a Christian one needs to ask Jesus into their life, attempt to turn from their sin, when if we sin there is forgiveness
Jesus come into my life, thank you for dying on the cross for me, I turn to you Lord God, from my sins through faith in Christ Jesus, come into my Life Lord Save me...
a prayer along those lines would be a very good start
But at some point we have to reach a point when we are not always falling on our faces from various pleasures of the flesh
A single Christian can have zero sex life. Outside of marriage their is no sex life available for a single Christian (not even self gratification)
A single Christian needs to be celibate
The Bible says nothing shall separate us from the love of God
Romans 8 v38,39
For I am persuaded that neither death nor life ,nor angels nor principalities nor powers nor things present nor things to come, nor height, nor depth, nor any other created thing ,shall be able to separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord
Assuming that our conversion was sincere, that is pretty awesome promise
And Jesus promised to forgive us our sins along the way if we honestly confess and repent
But this idea that salvation can come from works of any kind is from the pit, none of us are good enough by our own merits to be saved, only the blood of Christ, our righteousness is as filthy rags
Excellent post. Did you get a chance to review the entire sermon? JM recieved a lot of flak for this sermon and the book that followed.
Thanks for posting. Read it and then some more on that site. Great stuff.
Im finding that Im having some issues with what John MacArthur is saying. Ive never paid much attention to him but have had a couple of encounters with his speeches lately that bother me. When I got to the part where he says if you are really saved there will be righteousness, there will be holiness, the red flags went up and they didnt go back down as I read the rest of the transcript. Sure there will be a changed life and as the new Christian grows there will be more but his focus on what WE are to do is somewhat troubling. Its Christs righteousness and holiness that show through. The whole thing reminded me of the Catholic approach to man doing the work. I see many who do good works and rely on those good works as their entry into salvation.
He’s setting up standards for behavior that no one can meet.
I liked him a lot at one time. But I’ve noticed over the years that he’s become very severe and harsh in his approach.
We don’t all come to Christ broken to the depths of our soul over our sinfulness. I don’t think you really reach that point right away. The unsaved person does not have that kind of spiritual sensitivity. That comes later, IMO.
The point is not how perfect we are but that we are being conformed to the image of Christ.
Even Lot was called *righteous Lot* in 2 Peter, hardly a term I’s use to describe Lot. Not to mention David and his adultery and murder. What? Was he not saved? And yet God calls him *a man after my own heart*.
I believe his previous sermon series before this one was on “dead faith” and Jame’s epistle. I think JM saw what happened with televangelism and easy believism and is being reactionary in these sermons. I read an interview transcript on what motivated his book on this sermon. It was having close friends through Christian schools and seminary who went on to deny Christ or live in sin without remorse. I am in the middle of “The Gospel According to Jesus Christ” and he makes the point, as he does in this sermon, the compass heading should have done a 180 when we were saved.
I think his point is the examination. Some kids who grow up in Bible believing Christian churches and make that altar call, are baptized go off to school and then they either move on to be faithful Christians showing the fruits, or you never hear from them or when you do it is not a good report. I did not get the impression he is saying those are not saved, he is just saying if someone repents and has saving faith you will see a change no matter how small and that person will hate the sin that used to enslave them.
I did not get at all that JM is promoting a faith+works salvation. The boldest point I think he made is, well there is a litmus test for us and not others to judge us.
Thus, the title of examining ourselves.
I am reminded of a “Way of the Master” Ray Comfort video where he encountered a man who was clearly a crossdresser and transvestite. When asked if the ‘man’ was saved, the man said “yes I made an altar call many years ago and am living the life God wants me to live.” Of course Ray pointed out to the man the same points JM did in this sermon. I think with all the debates on this forum about works based salvation, we never get to the meat of “if you love Me you will obey Me.” If we say that here (as I just did:)) the responses would be “see works are necessary for salvation.” Well John Mac is not saying that. He is saying what the Bible says. If we are a new creature we will act like one. We won’t be perfect, but those things that kept us from Christ will no longer command us. And it is with this changed heart we love to obey.
I think that is exactly what JM is getting at. A new child of God will be conformed to the image of Jesus Christ. That is what Romans 8 tells us, it is a promise. My take on this sermon (from 1978 during the outbreak of televangelists-'touch the screen to get saved') is JM is saying exactly what you just posted. We who have saving faith will bear the fruit of the work God is doing in us. We won't be perfect (JM says that) and we will sin (JM says that too) but when we do fail Him we will repent (Holy Spirit convicts us) and hate with all our being what we did. I think we all agree that is very Biblical. Perhaps JMacs approach may seem rough around the edges, but what good pastor isn't:)
"Being confident of this very thing, that HE which hath BEGUN a good work in you will PERFORM IT until the day of Jesus Christ." (Philippians 1:6).
It is the Holy Spirit who is in us who has begun the good work in us. And HE will continue to do so until Christ comes for us.
We now have peace with GOd through the finished work of Christ. (Rom. 5:1-11).
We now have the ministry of reconciliation, that God has given believers (2 Cor. 5:14-21). Ours is a life of a new creature, saved and commissioned to preach that commission to the lost. Not to be focused on ourselves, but Christ. And the Holy Spirit as He leads, directs, and perfects our life for the glory of God.
And doing it in a carnal way it seems to me. He seems to be focusing on the external. Even the question am I a Christian followed by some external law keeping criteria puts the focus on the carnal. I realize its a fine line sometimes but like you say we are being conformed and to demand that all Christians exhibit the same holiness or righteousness to determine if they are saved is not what scripture teaches. That level of expectation would have the tendency to drive new Christians into believing they must not have been saved after all.
Can you imagine a just born again Christian comparing themselves to his list of what it takes to be holy or righteous to determine if they are indeed saved? I surely wouldnt want them to. I cant look into his heart and determine what he meant but can only hear the tone of his words.
Scripture tells us believe on the Lord Jesus Christ and you will be saved and thats good enough for me. After someone professes with their mouth and believes in their heart Ill leave it to the Holy Spirit to write into their heart unless I see direct contradiction to what scripture teaches at which time we are to exhort, rebuke or correct.
The external examination simply smacks of legalism. The external can too easily be faked and then self glory expecting salvation on ones own merit.
The problem I have is that we all struggle with some sin that seems to be a particular weakness for us.
*The sin that so easily besets us*.
Now, I can not do the sin in my flesh, in the body. I have the self-control, but the thought life???
That’s another matter. And Jesus teaches that even thinking some things is the same as doing them. Hating = murder. Lust = adultery.
So the outside can be clean and the inside not.
He comes perilously close to advocating a works based salvation. I honestly think that it’s that kind of severity what has driven people away from churches.
I know how this is coming across sounding, but I do think there needs to be more coming along side someone who is struggling. Not to condone the sin but to encourage. It’s the speck and the log thingie.
Encourage the weak.
Did he make up his own list? Will have to look at it again. I only caught the Bible references. Will check again.
I will post part 2 tomorrow.
Excellent post. You have loads of company with struggling.
I will confess you are all taking this sermon like angels compared to how I reacted the first time I heard it.
We have to remember the title is examine ourselves. Your own admission of struggling and hating your sin is what JM is pointing out in the Gospels and epistles.
I think the overarching point is if the inside is dirty one won’t care what the outside looks like.
The other problem with depending too much on the external is those who think they are saved because they prayed a prayer some time and added works to it.
There’s a lot of thinking out there that works added to *faith* saves someone and can end up giving a false sense of security.
Some of the most committed believers I know, who loved the Lord deeply, still occasionally swear, drink on occasion, and have even been known to go to bars on occasion!
Turns out some of the best witnessing I’ve done was in a bar with some friends. It’s an unbelievably relaxed, non-judgmental atmosphere. Better than many churches I’ve been in, sad to say. And both those people ended up eventually accepting Christ and are genuinely saved.
Well said! I shuddered when I read that as I thought about the doubt he could be putting in the hearts of any new Christians who think they all at once would be holy and righteous in their own eyes in order to be saved. How many would just walk away thinking they must have been unworthy?
THAT is certainly true.
I am reminded of a friend long ago.
To say the guy was rough around the edges is the understatement of the century. He pushed many of the Christians at church right over the edge.
However, considering where he came from, he made LIGHT YEARS of progress spiritually. I always contended that if all the other Christians who condemned him so freely made as much spiritual progress as he had, that church would have transformed the community. You wouldn't recognize it.
But, no, in their self-righteous back patting, they weren't like him.
Maybe on the outside....
On the inside, I daresay that God was more pleased with his sincere heart than his social decorum.
And there were things in his life that would have been considered blatant sin for someone else. Problem is, he had SO much baggage, that there just some things that had to wait.
In essence, God was dealing with what HE saw as most necessary, not what we think is.
IMO, if someone is making progress, that's all I care about.
That has always amused me that Christ Himself made water into wine for the guests to drink but some of todays so called Christians hyperventilate.
>> Turns out some of the best witnessing Ive done was in a bar with some friends.<<
Same here. Its really, really sad that people feel more welcome in a bar than they do in many churches. I loved country song where the guy went to church and ended up sitting outside.