I heard a sobering message Sunday about how to determine if you have what God requires for entry into heaven. It was a powerful message with a loving and bold delivery. I would like to share the notes I took while Ken Freeman spoke.
Examine yourselves, whether ye be in the faith; prove your own selves. (II Corinthian 13:5a)
I’m going to give you a faith test. God doesn’t grade on a curve. He grades on the cross. You can give your time, tithe, talents, etc., but God wants you….your heart. If I am behaving like an unbeliever, maybe I am an unbeliever. If I have been redeemed, then I need to act like it. Failed means disqualified. When it comes to going to heaven, you either are or you are not.
Matthew 7:21-23 is a scary passage. Jesus said,
Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven. Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? and in thy name have cast out devils? and in thy name done many wonderful works? And then shall I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity.
What is missing in these people’s lives? It is clear that they thought they knew Jesus and would go to heaven. It is obvious that they believed in God. But James 2:19 says,
Thou believest that there is one God; thou doest well: the devils also believe, and tremble.
So just believing there is a God isn’t enough. But they were trying to work for God. They even cast out demons and did many good works. That is note worthy. What was missing?
If I claim to know God and be a Christ follower then 5 things must have happened.
1- The Holy Spirit should have initiated my salvation.
The Holy Spirit has to be involved in the saving of a soul. Jesus said in John 6:44,
No man come to me, except the Father which hath sent me draw him: and I will raise him up at the last day.
In John 16:1-8 Jesus said it was necessary that He leave so that He could send the Holy Spirit to the believers. Jesus said the Holy Spirit would reprove (convict) the world of sin, and of righteousness, and of judgment. Many people later begin to doubt their salvation because they stop obeying God’s word or quit working for God. But we can’t effectively “do” for God without the Holy Spirit’s help.
2- You have to realize you are lost.
Being lost means without a Saviour, unable to help myself, and spiritually ruined. There are a lot of unbelievers who are better people than Christians. They are moral. But Romans 3:10, 23 says,
As it is written, There is none righteous, no, not one: For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God.
3- You have to have saving faith.
The Spirit itself beareth witness with our spirit, that we are the children of God. (Romans 8:16)
If we make sin a habit and regularly practice sin and aren’t convicted of that, we are not saved.
But without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him. (Hebrews 11:6)
God gives us faith to believe.
For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast. For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them. (Ephesians 2:8-10)
When there is true saving faith, there will be…
- A change of mind. We will think differently.
- A change of direction. We won’t walk (live) as the world does.
- A change of purpose. Our reason for living will be for God…not ourselves.
4- Without repentance there is no salvation.
If there ain’t no fruit, there ain’t no root. Jesus said we would be able to know who the believers are by their fruit. (Matthew 7:16) Paul told the Corinthians in 7:10
For godly sorrow worketh repentance to salvation not to be repented of: but the sorrow of the world worketh death.
A worldly sorrow is when we are just sad or ashamed of getting caught in our sin. When there is a godly sorrow, it will cause us to ask forgiveness and we will hate that sin and turn from it.
5- Not guilty. Forgiven forever.
He hath not dealt with us after our sins; nor rewarded us according to our iniquities. For as the heaven is high above the earth, so great is his mercy toward them that fear him. As far as the east is from the west, so far hath he removed our transgressions from us. (Psalm 103:10-12)
Him hath God exalted with his right hand to be a Prince and a Savior, for to give repentance to Israel, and forgiveness of sins, (Acts 5:31)
Did you pass the test? Did you get 4 out of 5? If you don’t have all 5, you fail. Most people get hung up on 1 and 4. They make a decision to accept Christ, but the Holy Spirit is not involved. They know the truth in their head, but they aren’t convicted in their heart. Or they are convicted in their heart of their sin and need for a Savior while they believe Jesus came and died for them, but there is no repentance. There is no turning from their sin and self-will to an act of obedience to God and His will.
The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked: who can know it? (Jeremiah 17:3)
We can’t trust our gut feelings. We must obey the rules of the One who is doing the judging. Let us examine ourselves to see where we truly stand with God.
Keep looking up,