*(Blue lettering is Scripture.)
*(Brown lettering refers to original Greek language.)
We who call ourselves Christians are told to take a good look at ourselves.
*Examine yourselves to see whether you are in the faith; test yourselves…
(2 Corinthians 13:5 )
*Make sure that the light you think you have is not actually darkness.
(Luke 11:35 NLT)
When someone makes counterfeit money, they don’t want it to be obvious. So, they don’t make it look like ‘Monopoly Game’ money. Instead it usually looks so close to the real thing that it’s hard to see that it’s actually phony and worthless. Likewise, Satan would like to fool as many as possible with a counterfeit salvation. He doesn’t care if you act ‘religious’, as long as you don’t have a genuine relationship with God.
Even in Paul’s day, there were people who would take things out of context and twist words of Scripture into meaning something different than their intent, and then they would preach & teach this to other people:
Some of his (Paul’s) comments are hard to understand, and those who are ignorant and unstable have twisted his letters to mean something quite different, just as they do with other parts of Scripture. And this will result in their destruction. (2 Peter 3:16 NLT)
Here is one such example of a verse that has been twisted into a ‘counterfeit’ meaning:
If you openly declare that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. (Romans 10:9 NLT)
Some people, even ones who call themselves ministers, want you to believe that all you have to do is say the words out loud, and believe that God raised Jesus from the dead (even the demons believe that) and then you will be saved. You can pretty much do anything you want now! After all, you ‘said the words’, maybe you even ‘went up front during an alter call’.
Here’s the thing, during the time of the book of Romans, there was great persecution of Christians. There was a good chance that if you openly professed Christ, it could lead to your death. So proclaiming it openly like this would be evidence of what was in your heart. Not likely you would do this, if you didn’t really believe and entrust yourself to Him and love Him.
The next verse – (Verse 10) says: For with the heart one believes (meaning entrusts) and is justified, and with the mouth one confesses and is saved.
We see in the above verse that first, one believes WITH THE HEART and is justified, and this change inside is what makes someone willing to confess Jesus whatever the cost.
If all you have to do is say some words out loud, why would Jesus say the following:
27And if you do not carry your own cross and FOLLOW me, you cannot be my disciple. 28“But don’t begin until you count the cost. For who would begin construction of a building without first calculating the cost to see if there is enough money to finish it? (Luke 14:27.28 NLT)
Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength. (Mark 12:30 NIV)
*The critical question for our generation – and for every generation – is this: If you could have heaven, with no sickness, and all the friends you ever had on earth, and all the food you ever liked, and all the leisure activities you ever enjoyed, and all the natural beauties you ever saw, all the physical pleasures you ever tasted, and no human conflict or any natural disasters, could you be satisfied with heaven, if Christ were not there? – John Piper
WHAT DOES NOT SAVE US?
- Simply speaking certain words
- Good works
WHAT DOES SAVE US?
- For by GRACE you have been saved THROUGH FAITH… (Ephesians 2:8 ESV)
And without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to him must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who earnestly seek Him.
Hebrews 11:6 NIV
GREEK: earnestly seek
Verb – Present Participle Active – Dative Masculine Plural
Strong’s 1567: To seek out, seek out after, require. From ek and zeteo; to search out, i.e.investigate, crave, demand, worship.
For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever BELIEVES in him shall not perish but have eternal life. (John 3:16)
But, what does it mean, TO BELIEVE, and what does it NOT mean:
Strong’s Concordance (Greek)4100 pisteúō pisteuó: to believe, entrust
Original Word: πιστεύω
Part of Speech: Verb
Phonetic Spelling: (pist-yoo’-o)
Definition: to believe, entrust
Usage: I believe, have faith in, trust in; pass: I am entrusted with.
You say you have faith, for you believe that there is one God. Good for you! Even the demons believe this, and they tremble in terror. (James 2:19 NLT)
Our actions are evidence of what we really believe and trust in:
But don’t just listen to God’s word. You must do what it says. Otherwise, YOU ARE ONLY FOOLING YOURSELVES. (James 1:22 NLT)
Why do you call me ‘Lord, Lord,’ and not DO what I tell you? (Luke 6:46 ESV)
Jesus replied, “Anyone who loves me will obey my teaching. (John 14:23 NIV)
And we can be sure that we KNOW him if we obey his commandments. 4 If someone claims, “I KNOW God,” but doesn’t obey God’s commandments, that person is a liar and is not living in the truth. 5 But those who obey God’s word truly show how completely they love him. THAT is HOW we know we are living in him. 6 Those who say they live in God should live their lives as Jesus did. (1 John 2:3-6 NLT)
And THIS is eternal life, that they KNOW you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom you have sent. (John 17:3 ESV)
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 will enter. 22 Many will say to Me on that day, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in Your name, and in Your name cast out demons, and in Your name perform many miracles?’ 23 And then I will declare to them, ‘I never KNEW you; LEAVE ME, YOU WHO PRACTICE LAWLESSNESS.’
(Matthew 7:21-23 NASB)
So we are lying if we say we have fellowship with God but go on living in spiritual darkness; we are not practicing the truth. (1 John 1:6 NLT)
For it is not the hearers of the law who are righteous before God, but the doers of the law who will be justified. (Romans 2:13 ESV)
What good is it, dear brothers and sisters, if you SAY you have faith but don’t show it by your actions? Can that kind of faith save anyone? (James 2:14 NLT)
*28 So we are made right with God through FAITH and not by obeying the law……..31 Well then, if we emphasize faith, does this mean that we can forget about the law? Of course not! In fact, only when we have FAITH do we truly fulfill the law. (Romans 3:28-31 NLT)
We must believe (trust in, cling to, rely on) Him, love Him with all our heart, and TURN FROM the darkness to the light:
17…..Yes, I am sending you to the Gentiles 18 to open their eyes, so they may TURN FROM darkness TO LIGHT and from the power of Satan to God. THEN they will receive forgiveness for their sins and be given a place among God’s people, who are set apart by faith in me.’
(Acts 26:17,18 NLT)
…repent and believe in the gospel. (Mark 1:15 ESV)
Now repent of your sins and turn to God (TURN TO LIGHT), so that your sins may be wiped away. (Acts 3:19 NLT)
STRONG’S GREEK CONCORDANCE (repent)
3340 metanoeó: to change one’s mind or purpose
Original Word: μετανοέω
Part of Speech: Verb
Phonetic Spelling: (met-an-o-eh’-o)
Definition: to change one’s mind or purpose
Usage: I repent, change my mind, CHANGE THE INNER MAN (particularly with reference to ACCEPTANCE OF THE WILL of God), repent.
8For you were once darkness, but NOW you are light in the Lord. Live as children of light. (Ephesians 5:3-8 NIV)
God’s seed is planted in our hearts when we hear the Gospel. When it takes root and germinates and begins to grow, this is a ‘new creation‘ that is ‘birthed’ within us
……‘I planted the seed and Apollos watered it, but God made it grow.’ (1 Corinthians 3:6)
Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a NEW CREATION. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come. (2 Corinthians 5:17 ESV)
5 Jesus answered, “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born of water and the Spirit, he cannot enter the kingdom of God. 6That which is born of the flesh is flesh, and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit. 7Do not marvel that I said to you, ‘You must be born again.’ (John 3:5-7 ESV)
New believers have a lot to learn about God and His ways. However, if you have called yourself a Christian for 20 years, but there still isn’t any real growth in your life, you haven’t really changed much, you have no yearning or longing to know Him more, and you barely ever look at His Word, then perhaps you really should examine yourself. This is what we are ALL told to do. Make sure our faith is real.
When someone is a new baby, they need food and water to grow. Otherwise they will get sickly and die. If you have no appetite or you are just to lazy to eat and feed on the Word of God, what will happen?
Like newborn infants, long for the pure spiritual milk, that by it you may grow up into salvation,…
(1 Peter 2:2 ESV)
Then Jesus declared, “I am the bread of life. (John 6:35 NIV)
But those who drink the water I give will never be thirsty again. It becomes a fresh, bubbling spring within them, giving them eternal life.” (John 4:14 NLT)
If I choose which things to obey…then who is really the Lord of my life?
Jesus told a parable about a farmer scattering seeds. Some fell among thorns and never grew. Other seeds fell on good soil:
14The seeds that fell among the thorns represent those who hear the message, but all too quickly the message is crowded out by the cares and riches and pleasures of this life. And so they never grow into maturity.15And the seeds that fell on the good soil represent honest, good-hearted people who hear God’s word, CLING TO IT, and patiently produce a huge harvest. (Luke 8:4-15)
Yes, just as you can identify a tree by its fruit, so you can identify people by their actions.
(Matthew 7:20 NLT)
Satan throws accusations at all believers and tries to make them doubt God and their salvation. But, we can examine ourselves, and KNOW WITH CONFIDENCE that we belong to God:
16 …..The Spirit himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God,…
(Romans 8:16 ESV)
I have written this to you who believe in the name of the Son of God, so that you may know you have eternal life. (1 John 5:13 NLT)
…..He (Satan) has always hated the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he lies, it is consistent with his character; for he is a liar and the father of lies. (1 John 8:44 NLT)
Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.
(James 4:7 ESV)