Unleashing God's Truth, One Verse at a Time

Examine Yourselves Whether You Be in the Faith, Part 1

Selected Scriptures

Code: 1377

As I said at the beginning of our fellowship this morning, the Lord’s supper, I believe is the most wonderful, the most sacred, the most unique act of worship that the blood bought church of Jesus Christ can ever experience.  It is sacred in many ways.  It is sacred because it is a sacred memory of the cross.  The bread speaks of His body and the cup speaks of His blood, and they point to the cross where His body was crucified and His blood was shed.  And so it’s sacred because of its memory.  But more than that the table of the Lord is sacred because it is a present communion with the living Christ.  He meets us here.  The apostle Paul says “the cup which we drink and the bread which we break, is it not the body and the blood of the Lord, Jesus Christ?”  We literally commune with Him here.  And thirdly it is sacred, I believe, because Jesus said in Luke 22:19 and 20, “Do this.”  And so it is sacred because it is an act of obedience.  And obedience is a sacred and holy thing. 

And so the Lord’s table is special.  I come to the Lord’s table as often as I possible can.  And very often in my own life I take the most common things in my hand, and in my heart they become symbols of the body and blood of Jesus Christ because this is so meaningful to me.  And, yet, as I think about it, who rarely or never for long periods of time come to the Lord’s table, even as there are many who are never obedient in baptism.  And I guess my approach was always well, maybe they are just ignorant, they don’t understand the importance of the Lord’s table, or they don’t understand the importance of baptism.  They don’t know what it is to make a public testimony in obedience to the act of baptism.  They don’t know what it is to commune with Jesus Christ and the body and to celebrate the cross.  They are just ignorant.  And I guess I’ve told myself, too, “Maybe they are just disobedient, maybe they just are acting carnally.”  But then lately I’ve been thinking something else, and this is the message I want to share with you this morning.

I have been thinking lately that if someone has no desire for testimony in baptism and if someone has no fellowship at the Lord’s table, maybe it isn’t that they are a weak Christian maybe it’s that they are not a Christian at all.  The may think they are but they are not.  What about you?  Are you a Christian?  You say, “Well I’m a Christian.  I believe.  I made a decision for Christ.”  And believe me, there are a lot of people who point to the past to verify Christianity or to salvation.  And the Bible never points to the past; the Bible never talks about a decision in the past.  Are you really a Christian?  You say, “Well, I came to Jesus.  I invited Jesus into my life.”  Is that enough?  Let me show you something.  We all know I Corinthians chapter 11 talks about communion.  Now let me just remind you briefly of it.  I Corinthians Chapter 11 in verse 27.  “Wherefore, whosoever shall eat this bread, and drink this cup of the Lord, unworthily, shall be guilty of the body and blood of the Lord.

Now that’s pretty strong.  I’ll tell you something.  You know what is worse than never coming to the Lord’s table?  coming to the Lord’s table when you don’t deserve to be there, that’s worse.  Because to do that is to eat and drink unworthily and be guilty of the body and blood of the Lord.  And so verse 28 says, “Let a man examine himself, and so let him eat of that bread, and drink of that cup.  For he that eateth and drinketh unworthily, eateth and drinketh judgment to himself.”  It’s very serious to come to the Lord’s table.  It is serious for a believer to come to the Lord’s table while entertaining sin in his life.  It is serious for a Christian to come to the Lord’s table where he does not repent of everything and desire above all things righteousness and holiness and turning from any known sin.  Serious.  But what is even more serious is to come to the Lord’s table and drink unworthily because you're not a Christian at all.

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 in verse 5, and I want you to note what it says.  Second 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 see whether you are in the faith.  Prove yourself. 

You say, “John, how do I 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 at 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 cut 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.  I want to give you a new criterion by which you evaluate whether you are redeemed or not.  I want to tell you how a citizen of the kingdom really lives.”  You want to prove yourself.  Here is the proof.  You take your life this morning and let the Spirit of God compare it with the facts of the sermon on the mount and the result will be an examination and the end result will be whether you are a Christian or not.  Here is the standard, and the key to it all is one word.  Now watch this.  It is the word righteousness.  That’s the key. 

Jesus is saying in the Sermon on The Mount, if you are a child of the King, if you are really converted, if you really belong to God, if you’ve really been redeemed, the characteristic of your life will be righteousness.  And there are a lot of people who claim to be Christians and you look a long time to find any righteousness in their lives.  Somebody said to me last week there’s a lady in our church who says she is a Christian, and ever since she has been a Christian she has been living with a man who is not her husband.  And I Corinthians 6 says, “Fornicators do not inherit the Kingdom of heaven.”  Why?  Because that is a constant state of unrighteousness.  And conversion is characterized by righteousness. 

Look at it in verse 20; this is the key verse to the whole sermon.  Chapter 5, verse 20.  Jesus says, “I say unto you that except your righteousness shall exceed the righteousness of the scribes and Pharisees, you shall in no case enter into the kingdom of heaven.”  Listen, they went to the temple every day, the paid tithes, they fasted, they prayed, they were religious freaks, if you will.  And He says I don’t care about all of that unless your righteousness, this is minimum requirement, exceeds that, you will in no case enter My kingdom.  You see righteousness is the sine qua non; righteousness is the issue; righteousness is that which sets us apart as converted, and righteousness is simply a long word for living right, living under God’s standards, living by God’s definition. 

In II Timothy 2:19 it says, “The Lord knows them that are His; – ” And who are they? – “they are those that name the name of Christ and depart from iniquity.”  In Titus 1 in verse 16, he says, “Certain ones profess that they know God, but in works they deny Him, because they are abominable, and disobedient.”  In other words the profession means nothing unless there is obedience there, unless there is righteousness, unless there is holiness, unless there is a departing from iniquity.  God has every right to expect that.  And I heard a fellow say the other day, and he was preaching, and he said, “isn’t it wonderful that you can come to Jesus Christ and you don’t have to change anything on the inside or the outside.”  That’s a lie right out of hell.  There better be a transformation. 

In II Corinthians 5:17 it’s well summed up, “if any man be in Christ he is a – ” what? – “new creation; old thing pass away and all things have become new.”  I John Chapter 1 verse 9 says Christians are constantly confessing their sins.  Being righteous in that sense, practical righteousness, does not mean that never sin.  It means that you deal with it when you do.  You confess and you turn from it and you repent of it and you despise it and you hate it.  You don’t love it.  It means…in Chapter 2, John says, “If you really love Me you’ll keep this… you’ll keep My commandments, and by this we know that we know Him, when we do what He commands us.”  Further in Chapter 2 he says, “a true believer will be one who will love his brother, he that hates his brother is in darkness even till now.”  Further on he says, “If any man loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him,” And James put it this way, “Don’t you know that friendship with the world is enmity against God, you adulterers and adulteresses.  You can’t be the friend of the world and the friend of God.”  Further on in Chapter 3, he says, “He that is born of God does not commit…continue to commit sin, he can’t because a new seed is in him and he cannot continue to commit sin.”

Now what am I saying?  I’m saying this.  God says if you are really saved there will be righteousness, there will be holiness, there will be a whole new approach to life.  You will have sin, yes, but you will see a decreasing frequency of sin, and when sin appears you will despise it and you hate it as Paul in Romans 7 did, and you will confess it and you will turn from it and you will repent of it and you will hunger and you thirst for that which is right, and you will obey and you will love your brother, and you will hate the evil system of the world.  That’s the way it is if you are really saved.  You can’t say “Well I’m a Christian,” and just go right waltzing down the same old path you’ve been on.  Prove it, You say you’re a Christian prove it. 

I guess maybe I’m not content any more with just saying if you claim to be a Christian you must be, and if you made a decision somewhere at a meeting or a conference, or you walked an isle or you went into an inquiry room or somebody took you through a little book, or whatever, or whatever, you’re okay.  I don’t think that that’s ever the Biblical criterion for salvation.  The Biblical criterion for salvation is right now, what is your life like right now.  And believe me, beloved, and I say this with an ache in my heart, I’m sure there are many people, and I say that, many people in Grace Church who are not Christians.  We don’t know that and maybe they don’t even face up to it.  You say, “What are the standards?”

Let’s look at Matthew 5 to 7, Sermon on the Mount.  Now, I want you to see the criteria.  Jesus sits down and teaches us the principles of living in His kingdom.  And here’s where it starts.  “Blessed are the poor in spirit – ” verse 3 – “for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.  And the emphatic Greek is indicated here.  There’s only, there’s alone, nobody else but them.  In other words, the only people who ever enter the kingdom are those who are broken in their spirit, those who face their spiritual bankruptcy, those who see themselves as sinners, those who know inside that they can bring nothing to God.  They are poverty stricken in terms of their own spirit.  They have nothing on which they can count.  They have no hope for themselves, poor in spirit.  

And the result is, in verse 4, “they mourn – ” And, again, emphatically – “and only they shall be comforted.  The only people who ever receive salvation, He says, the only people who ever come into His kingdom are people who are broken over their sin and who mourn over their sin.  And then in verse 5, they are people who are crushed into meekness, they alone inherit the earth, they alone are kingdom citizens.  And the upshot of all of that when you are broken in spirit, mournful and crushed to meekness is, verse 6, you will hunger and thirst after righteousness and only they will be filled.

Listen if you didn’t come to Jesus Christ broken over your sin, if you haven’t come to Jesus Christ literally shattered to the very depths of your being over your sinfulness, if you haven’t mourned Over your sinfulness, if you don’t hunger and thirst after righteousness more than anything else there is a good probability that you're not even a Christian.  That’s the criteria our Lord gives.  First of all, He says there will be the proper entrance into the kingdom.  That's where He begins the Sermon on The Mount.  A kingdom citizen can be determined by his own selflessness, his own self-despising, his own sense of inadequacy and bankruptcy and nothingness. 

There are a lot of people who come to Jesus because they think He’d like to get in on what they have.  We handle that that way, too.  We say, “Wouldn’t it be great if such and such a big famous thing became a Christian because, boy, the Lord could… – ” He doesn’t need that.  What makes you think…you think He needs their ability in addition to His power?  No sir.  If you don’t come to Jesus on His terms then you don’t come at all.  And His terms are brokenness, mourning, meekness and hunger and thirst for righteousness.  And who are these citizens of the kingdom?  Verse 7.  They are merciful, they are pure in heart, they are peacemakers, they are persecuted, they are reviled. 

You want to know something, if you come to Christ, broken, contrite, mourning, hungering and thirsting after righteousness, and by the way that’s the only way to come, I don’t believe anybody is every a Christian who doesn’t repent of sin.  You may have made a decision years ago.  That wasn’t your salvation if it didn’t involve this.  And years later maybe you came back to the Lord broken over your sin, that’s the moment it became real, that’s the moment you entered the kingdom.  And you’ll live that way the rest of your life, loving righteousness and hating sin.  One of the characteristics of a Christian is when he sins he despises that thing.  He hates it; it’s not what he wants.  It’s the sin that in him…is in him that does that, and he hates it.  And when you come on those terms the Lord makes you merciful, and He makes you pure in heart, and a peacemaker.  And you try to live like that in the world and they will never be able to stand you. 

So what happens?  In verse 10, you get persecuted; verse 11, you get reviled.  You get all kinds of things said against you falsely.  But that’s all right, be happy.  Why?  Because you’re a kingdom citizen.  Now the first thing I want you to see then is if you're really a Christian you come on these terms, mourning over sin.  Now the second thing about it, examine yourself.  If you are a Christian, not only will the entrance to the kingdom be on this condition, but your testimony will be different too.  And that’s what He goes into in verse 13.  You're the salt of the earth.  And then in verse 14, you're the light of the world. 

Now listen to what I’m going to say, If you are really a Christian your testimony will be clearly decisively and easily distinguishable from the rest of the world.  That’s what He’s saying, You see the world is like decaying meat; it’s rotting.  And you know salt is a preservative, and we are here in the world to preserve the decadence and the destruction of the world.  That’s why the tribulation is so horrible; when the church is gone the salt is out.  And we are here to preserve this thing, and we are distinguished from the world.  We are a preserving agency in the midst of a decadent and decaying civilization.  And we are to be a light set on a hill and we are to be salt that has its savor.  In other words, He’s saying, not only if you are a Christian do you come in the right way, but you are going to have a testimony that is easily and clearly distinguishable from the rest of the world. 

What about your testimony?  Is it very evident to everybody around you that you are different, or do you do what everybody else does?  Are you right in the flow of life with everybody else?  When you became a Christian did it change things about your life?  If it didn’t, then it didn’t happen.  It didn’t happen.  Our Lord goes further.  He says another thing that will characterize one as His child of the kingdom is obedience.  Verse 17, “Do you think I came to destroy the law?  Do you think I came to set aside the prophets?  No, to fulfill it.  In fact not one jot or one title shall ever pass from this law, and I say to you whoever therefore shall break off of the least commandments and shall teach men so, he shall be called least in the kingdom of heaven, but whosoever shall do and teach them, the same shall be called great in the kingdom of heaven.”  And then He goes on to say your righteousness better exceed that of the Scribes and the Pharisees. 

The point is this.  If you're truly saved you'll be obedient.  You’ll be obedient.  There’ll be acts of obedience.  The law of God will be something you long for.  Again, Romans 7, Paul longed to do the law of God, he hungered to do the law of God, he delighted in the law of God, he loved the law of God, even though sin was always tugging at him.  So examine yourself.  Are you really saved?  Did you come in mourning over your sin?  Did you come in broken over your evil heart?  Examine yourself.  Are you clearly, distinguishable from the rest of the world?  Examine yourself.  Are you obeying God?  Is the great hunger of your heart to do that which is his will?  He goes further; if you have really been converted you'll think different.  That’s right.  He talks about right thinking in verse 21 and following.  You see the Jews would do the outside stuff.  They just couldn’t handle the inner thing.  And so the Lord says to them, “You heard you shouldn’t kill, and whoever would kill would be in danger of judgment.”  But He says I want to go a step further and take it inside and say you shouldn't even have bad thoughts in your heart against somebody.

In other words a child of My kingdom is not somebody who is a non-murderer.  It’s somebody who inside His heart doesn’t desire to hurt anybody, and He pushes the whole thing inside.  If you're really a child of the kingdom you're going to have a different heart.  Ezekiel 36, the Lord says when you become redeemed He takes out the stony heart, the heart of obstinance, and He puts in a heart of flesh, a new heart.  And further, He says in verse 27, “You heard it said you should not commit adultery.”  But let Me take it inside, you shouldn’t even want to.  You shouldn’t look at anybody that way; you shouldn’t think that thought. 

In other words, a citizen of the kingdom is different.  And when somebody says, “Well, I’m a Christian.  I just have problems in that area,” and they continue to be an adulterer or continue to be a fornicator or continue to be a homosexual or continue in some kind of thing like that, I always go to I Corinthians 6 and say those kind of people do not inherit the kingdom of heaven.  You didn’t come to Christ on His terms.  You came on yours, and they don’t make it.  Until you’re broken and shattered over those things, until you weep yourself to tears and crawl into His kingdom mourning for righteousness you’ll never know what true redemption is.

Further than right thinking, He says if you are really a child of the kingdom you’ll have right words, not only thinking right but talking right.  And in verse 33, He talks about that.  He goes on to talk about perjuring, and about swearing and about your communication should be yea, yea and nay, nay.  In other words it’s going to come out right, because “out of the abundance of the heart – ” what? – “the mouth speaks.  And so our Lord is saying, if your life is set to hunger after righteousness it’ll result in obedience.  And obedience means you’ve got right thinking going on, and when you open your mouth right words will come out.  And when you act, verse 38, and following right deeds will be the result.  You won’t retaliate instead you will be kind and if somebody asks you for one you'll will give them two.  In verse 43 you’ll love your neighbor.  And then down further you will even love your enemy.  You’ll even love tax collectors.  In fact in verse 48, He says this is the whole idea, be like God, He loves His enemies. 

Do you see the point?  Prove yourself.  Don’t tell me you are a Christian because five years ago you walked an isle.  Don’t tell me you are a Christian because once you signed a card.  Don’t try to tell God you're a Christian because you went forward in a meeting, you went into a prayer room, you talked to a counselor, and don't tell yourself you are a Christian because some counselor told you you were a Christian, because he didn’t know either.  The worst thing you can do to somebody is to talk to them about Christ and when they’ve prayed a prayer and verbally invited Christ into their life then to sit there and assure them they are really saved, because you don’t have any idea whether they are.  That’s the Holy Spirit’s work.  He’s the one who grants assurance.  And He grants it by the inward testimony, Romans 8, and by the outer exhibit of works that prove it, because faith without works is what?  Dead.

You know one of the legacies that we’ve had from the kind of evangelism that has gone on in our country is that we believe salvation is attached to a decision.  But the assurance of salvation has nothing to do with the decision in the past.  It has to do with what’s going on in the present.  Jesus put it this way in John 8, “If you continue in My word then you're my real disciples.”  It’s always continuance; it’s always present tense.  So our Lord says, If you are really a child of the kingdom you come in the right way, mourning over sin, and your life is totally different, distinguishable from the world.  And you are characterized by obedience, right thinking, right talking, right doing.

He goes even further.  Right motives, the right kind of religious expression.  The right kind of worship we might call it.  When you worship God, in chapter 6, it’s real, it’s not like the phonies who blow a trumpet and come and pray to make a parade.  He talks about the hypocrites whose religion is phony.  Yours is real, and when you pray you pray right.  You pray, Our Father, who art in heaven, Hallowed be Thy name.  He’s saying if something has really changed in your life your religion isn’t phony.  It’s real.  Your prayers aren’t like the prayers of the phonies; they are real prayers.  And your fasting isn’t the fasting of public display.  It’s the fasting of the closet that no one ever knows about.

So He says, you obey, you are going to have right thinking, right words, right acts, right worship, and right relations, too.  You are not going to love money, verse 19 of chapter 6, and I’m just talking you through the whole thing here.  He says you're not going to lay up for yourselves treasures on earth.  You're not going to get hung up in serving money because you can’t serve God and money.  Don’t say you are a servant of God when your whole life is bent on getting money.  Those two are incompatible.  You’re trying to be a friend of the world and a friend of God, and you can’t.  If you are a friend of the world you’re the enemy of God.  If you love the world the love of the Father is not in you.  He’s saying citizens of My kingdom have a right relation to money.

Then in verse 25 through 34, He says, in Chapter 6, they have a right relation to material things.  They are not always concerned about what they wear or what they eat or where they should sleep because they know God will take care of that.  God handles all of that.  Verse 31, “Why would you be anxious saying what will we eat or what will we drink or with what would we be clothed?  That’s what the heathens seek after.  If you are a child of My kingdom you know God the Father takes care of that.”  And so you’d have a right relation to money and to material things and you would even have a right relation to people, Chapter 7 says.  You wouldn’t be running around misjudging people.  You wouldn’t be going around trying to play pious when you’ve got problems in your own life.  So you see the Lord is really laying down some basic things, isn’t He. 

He’s saying you want to know whether you are a Christian.  How did you come to Christ?  Did you come just saying “Hey Jesus, if You can give me a happy life I’ll take it.”  How would you like to have a happy life?  How would you like to have an abundant life?  I have a wonderful plan for your life.  Want to know something?  God has a terrible, wretched, ghastly plan for your life, apart from Christ, and you only come to Him on His terms, not yours.  So you come broken and contrite, shattered over your sinfulness, and He changes you immediately, and gives you a new heart and you're different.  You’re salt and you’re light and you’re on a hill and the world can see, and you’re distinguishable if you're really a Christian.  And your life is characterized by a hunger for righteousness, which means you are going to want to obey more than you want anything else.  And that’s going to result in right thinking and right talking and right acting and right kind of worship, and right kind of relationships.  And you know and immediately somebody says, “Well, who can ever live like that?”  Good.  I’m glad you got to that point.  Because you can’t.  You want to know something.  That’s all impossible.

I can illustrate it to you by looking at Matthew 19.  Mathew 19, verse 23, Jesus had just talked to the rich man, the rich young ruler, told him to go sell everything he had and give it to the poor, and then come and follow Him.  And the rich loved his money more than he loved Jesus so he took his money and walked away.  Now watch what Jesus says.  “Verily I say unto you that a rich man shall with difficulty enter into the kingdom of heaven.  And again I say to you – ” Now listen to this statement – “it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a right man to enter into the kingdom of God.”  Now let me ask you something, can a camel go through the eye of a needle?  You say, “Well, you don’t understand, that’s the needle Gate.”  That’s not the needle Gate.  That is exactly what it means.  It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than a rich man to be saved. 

You say, “That’s impossible.”  That’s exactly what the Lord waited you to conclude.  Verse 25, “When His disciples heard it, they were exceedingly amazed – ” Now, if He’d have been talking about some needle gate, they wouldn't have been amazed – “and they said, ‘Who then can be saved?’ ”  They knew He was saying a rich man can’t be saved.  That’s what He was saying.  Jesus beheld them and said unto them, I think you got the message boys, “With men this is – ” what? – “impossible.  With God all things are possible. 

What was He saying?  Just this.  The standard is impossible.  Nobody, no time could ever be saved, but with God it’s possible.  Do you see what He’s trying to say.  We don’t have the resources on our own.  We can’t do it.  And that’s why you’ve got to be ready to strip that baggage off and cast yourself on the mercy of God, and the rich man wasn’t willing to do it.  He was willing to climb on the religious bandwagon carrying his luggage of materialism, and he couldn’t get on with it.  It was like trying to go through the eye of a needle with a hump-backed camel, Impossible.  That’s the whole point.  The only way anybody ever enters the kingdom is when he realizes he can’t, and strips himself naked and arrives back at Matthew 5:3 broken in spirit and mourning and hungering and thirsting for a righteousness which is absolutely impossible for him to ever attain. 

You say, “But most people don’t want to meet those conditions.”  You’re right.  Most people want to go to heaven their way.  So they want to get on with all their crud.  They're like a guy going on a trip with four bags.  Here’s worldliness, sin, Satan, and self, and they’re going to get on.  And they're saying, “Jesus, I want the happiness you are going to give me.  I want to say out of hell.  Here I come.”  There’s a road for them by the way, go back to Matthew 7:13 and let me show you.  Matthew 7:13.  Now you see the disciples at this time along with the multitude are probably saying to themselves, “Boy with these kind of standards whoever gets on?  Whoever gets saved?  Whoever qualifies?  Listen to this, “Enter in at the narrow gate for wide is the gate, broad is the way that leadeth to destruction.”  And watch this one.  “Many there be who go in that way.”  Why?  You can go in there with all your baggage; it’s a wide gate.  This huge thing, you just take all the garbage you want on there.  All your works and self-righteousness, and “I’ll do it my way, and I want Jesus, but I want the other stuff too.”

Like the guy who was saying he was a singer in Las Vegas.  And then he got saved and then he continued to be a singer in Las Vegas.  That seems to me like you are trying to get on the narrow gate with a pile of baggage.  You know the narrow gate and the wide gate are different in that sense.  Verse 14, “Narrow is the gate and hard is the way which leads to life, and few there be that find it.”  Listen, it’s a hard way.  And the word literally means a compressed way.  You can’t juggle all that garbage on that way.  In the first place you can’t get through the narrow gate.  Have you ever tried to take four suitcases through a turnstile?  Can’t do it.  It can’t be done see.  You can’t get in that way.  You gotta drop all the garbage, you gotta come in stripped bare and naked.

Now I want you to notice something.  The broad way that goes to destruction is not the road to hell, no.  People…this isn’t people piling on the road to hell.  This is the road to heaven, only it’s the wrong road.  They think it goes to heaven.  They are all getting on the Jesus road.  This is the broad road.  You don’t have to drop anything, you don’t have to live any different, you don’t have to think any different, you don’t have to do anything.  All you have to do is say I made a decision.  Or I was baptized, I walked an isle, I went forward, I signed a card when I was a child.  My mother helped me.  And you can just get all your garbage and pile right on.  Only thing is it’s a broad road that leads to destruction.  The sad part of it is many are on it, many.  And narrow is the gate, and the only way you can get through is to drop your sin, Satan, self, and the world.  And hard or compressed is the way which leads to life, and few there be that find it.

Listen.  In Grace Church there are those few, but there are those many, too, who are on the wrong road.  You are on that road and you’ve got all your worldliness, all your self-righteousness, all that other garbage.  You’ve never cut the cord with the world, you’ve never cut the cord with your evil lifestyle, you’ve never changed your own self-righteous approach to God.  You still think it’s good works and you’re going to make it.  And I’ll tell you're on the broad road and you are going to come up some day to the very portal of heaven, and like John Bunyan says, “find out there’s an entrance to Hell from the portals of heaven.”  And you want to know something.  Lots of people get on that way because it’s easy, and there’s a lot of people selling tickets to it.  Do you know that? 

In fact it talks about them in the next section.  “Beware of false prophets,” verse 15 says.  What are they doing?  They're trying to get you on the broad road.  They're trying to get you on the easy way.  You don’t have to change anything.  Just jump on and take Jesus, see.  But do you know what’s going to happen when you get to the end of that road?  Verse 21 tells us.  “Not everyone that saith unto me Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom, but he that doeth the will of My Father, who is in heaven.  Many will say to Me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in Thy name?  And in Thy name cast out demons, and in Thy name done many wonderful works?”  Can’t you see, this is, the whole mob, on the road, the broad road, You see the word, “many,” in verse 13.  Many are in that way.  And then in verse 22, and when many finally arrive they say Lord, Lord, have we not done all these things?”

We’re the gang from the church down there, Lord, we were involved in the deliverance ministry.  We were preaching.  We did wonderful works.  “And I will profess unto them, I never knew you; depart from me, ye workers of iniquity,” They're going to say Lord, Lord.”  You see there are going to be a lot of people who don’t find out till the end they are on the wrong road.  And I guess that’s why I’m telling you what I’m telling you.  You can’t do this.  I mean, don’t lull yourself to sleep.  Few there be that find it because few were willing to get on on God’s terms, see.  And then He gives an illustration to close.

Now if you want to know how this works, He says, let me tell you a story about a wise man, verse 24, who built his house on a rock.  The rain descended and the floods came and the winds blew and beat upon that house, and it fell not, for it was founded on a rock.  Now there’s a guy who came on God’s terms, And he was on the rock and he built his house.  He built that house on the rock and it stood, verse 26, “Everyone that heareth these sayings of mine, and doeth them not ­– ” this is the disobedience – “shall likened unto a foolish man, who built his house upon the sand.”

Listen, this guy built just as beautiful a house.  Boy, his religion looks great.  Great sides, great windows great walls, roof is super, Fabulous religious house.  “Oh, we’ve prophesied and cast out demons.  We've done…Oh Lord, Lord look what we’ve done.  Only thing is he never got in on God’s terms so the foundation was sand, and when the rain descended and the floods came and the winds blew and beat on the house, it fell and great was the fall.  You see what He’s saying.  What a disaster to come to the moment of judgment and have the rude awakening that the only thing waiting for you is Hell, because you never came on God’s terms.  And so I repeat to you, beloved, examine yourselves, whether you are in the faith; prove yourselves.  These are God’s conditions. 

Let’s bow our heads.  I’m reminded of the words of Isaac Watts:  “How helpless guilty nature lies, unconscious of its load; The heart unchanged can never rise to happiness and God.  The will perverse, the passions blind in paths of ruin stray, Reason debased can never find the safe, the narrow way.  Can ought beneath a power Divine the stubborn will subdue, ‘Tis Thine, Almighty Savior, Thine, to form the heart anew.  0 change these wretched hearts of ours and give them life divine, Then shall our passions and our powers, Almighty Lord, be Thine.”

Father, we call on you to change us.  For anyone in our midst this morning who is counting upon a salvation that is invalid, may they be shaken out of such confidence.  Shatter such assurance.  Drive them to the place of penitence, that they may come on your terms, saying goodbye to self and sin and Satan and the world, to embrace Your holiness, without which no man shall see You.  So, Father, dismiss us with your grace and mercy.  Thank you for our time of worship today.  We look forward to sharing again tonight in the joy of the testimony of those who have been given a new heart.  We pray in Christ’s name.  And everyone said Amen.




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