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Ten Tests of Genuine Faith

Ten Tests of Genuine Faith by Paul Tautges

  1. The Test of Conscience (1 Jn 1:5-10)
  2. The Test of Obedience (1 Jn 2:3-6; 5:2-3)
  3. The Test of Worldliness (1 Jn 2:15-17; 5:4-5)
  4. The Test of Anticipation (1 Jn 3:1-3)
  5. The Test of Holiness (1 Jn 3:4-10)
  6. The Test of Love (1 Jn 3:11-18; 4:7-12)
  7. The Test of Prayer (1 Jn 3:21-22)
  8. The Test of the Holy Spirit (1 Jn 4:13)
  9. The Test of Persecution (1 Jn 3:10-13)
  10. The Test of Confessing Christ (1 Jn 4:1-5; 5:1, 10-12)

See also:

Ten Tests of True Christianity

Ten “Christians” God Will Not Allow Into Heaven

Six Signs of a False Conversion



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Do You Have An Eternal View?

Do you have a long term, eternal view when praying for others?

Do you have a long term view when sharing the gospel?

Seems like because we life in an instant society, with fast food, high speed Internet and drive up cleaners.  Instant oatmeal, microwaves and prepared meals have taken much of the work out of meal preparation.  But what effect has that had on our Christian life?  Do we expect microwave conversions? Instant acceptance of the Gospel?

I was reminded of this recently when I was discouraged about some fervent prayers I have been praying for years.  Seems there has been no change in the situations. 🙁  But then I was convicted that I had the wrong time frame view.  I wanted answers right away, I mean honestly I’ve waited years isn’t that enough?  But then these prayers aren’t the sort that have a definite deadline to them.  It isn’t like I was praying for a certain amount of money by the end of the month for a large bill.  These were more along the salvation for others line.  But that is an eternal goal!

See while it might make things easier for me and definitely would make them happier and improve their lives, the real goal is salvation.  Not just a commitment card but true lasting, eternal salvation.



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Which Category Do You Fall Into?

Have you ever seriously contemplated whether or not you are saved?

Are you sure of it?

The last category below is the most dangerous.  I pray none of you will be found to be in that category, the one referenced by this passage in Matthew.

Matthew 7:22-23 (ESV)

22 On that day many will say to me, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and cast out demons in your name, and do many mighty works in your name?’
23
And then will I declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from me, you workers of lawlessness.’

Every living person, without exception, can be assigned to one of these categories. The categories are:

1) those who are saved and know it,

2) those who are saved but do not know it,

3) those (like the man I mentioned above) who are unsaved and know it, and

4) those who are unsaved but do not know it.

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Can I Be Sure I’m Saved? (Crucial Questions Series) by R. C. Sproul


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Even Judas Served Jesus

A comment on an old post yesterday questioned whether or not Judas served Jesus.  I thought it might be helpful to share some of it here as to whether or not Judas served Jesus.  Now granted we all know Judas was not ultimately serving the Lord; however, according to all anyone could see Judas served the Lord even better than the average believer today does.  But ultimately it isn’t a matter of service but a matter of the heart.  But for the Grace of the Lord we would all be a Judas even while we serve the Lord.


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The general misconception that most Christians have about Judas is that he was noticeably different from the other disciples.  See we have a hard time seeing Judas as he was when he walked with Jesus.  Jesus chose Judas and knew what Judas was and what he would do.  However, the disciples had no clue about Judas.  Judas was an accepted member of the disciples.  Not only that, he was given an honored position by the disciples to be in charge of the moneybag.  You don’t give that job to a known thief.

John 12:6 (ESV) He said this, not because he cared about the poor, but because he was a thief, and having charge of the moneybag he used to help himself to what was put into it.

We must remember this was written after the fact of the betrayal and suicide of Judas.  Judas was not known to be stealing beforehand by the disciples or, believe me, they would have dealt with it.  These were men who argued over being at the right hand of the Lord in the kingdom.  They would have had no problem pointing out Judas if it was known what he was doing.

Remember also at the Last Supper that the disciples had no clue who was going to betray Christ.

John 13:21-30 (ESV)

21 After saying these things, Jesus was troubled in his spirit, and testified, “Truly, truly, I say to you, one of you will betray me.”
22 The disciples looked at one another, uncertain of whom he spoke.
23 One of his disciples, whom Jesus loved, was reclining at table close to Jesus,
24 so Simon Peter motioned to him to ask Jesus of whom he was speaking.
25 So that disciple, leaning back against Jesus, said to him, “Lord, who is it?”
26 Jesus answered, “It is he to whom I will give this morsel of bread when I have dipped it.” So when he had dipped the morsel, he gave it to Judas, the son of Simon Iscariot.
27 Then after he had taken the morsel, Satan entered into him. Jesus said to him, “What you are going to do, do quickly.”
28 Now no one at the table knew why he said this to him.
29 Some thought that, because Judas had the moneybag, Jesus was telling him, “Buy what we need for the feast,” or that he should give something to the poor.
30 So, after receiving the morsel of bread, he immediately went out. And it was night.

Notice none of the disciples had a clue who would betray Jesus – “uncertain of whom he spoke.” Even when Jesus gave the morsel to Judas and told him to go quickly and do what he was going to do, the disciples had no clue.  The idea that Judas would betray Jesus was foreign to them just as the thought that they would deny Jesus was equally foreign.  Our hearts can and will deceive us.

We as Christians do ourselves a disservice when we think of Judas as embodying evil and being a totally selfish, self-centered evil person and the other disciples as serving Jesus.  The other disciples where totally selfish, self-centered evil people just like Judas, except for the grace of God every one of them could have done the same as Judas did.   There is nothing to separate us from being a Judas except for the Mercy and Grace of the Lord.

As a disciple of Jesus this is what Judas did:

  • He followed Jesus. (Matthew 8:21)

  • He had no home to sleep in because he followed Jesus.  (Matthew 8:18-22)

  • He listened to Jesus speaking and teaching, both public and private.  (Matthew 5:1)

  • He was with Jesus when He calmed the storm.  (Matthew 8:23-27)

  • He ate with sinners and tax collectors, just as Jesus did. (Matthew 9:10, Mark 2:15)

  • He saw Jesus heal the sick and raise the dead. (Matthew 9:18-26)

  • He was given authority over unclean spirits and to heal every disease and affliction. (Matthew 10:1)

  • He was sent out by Jesus to preach, heal the sick, raise the dead, cleanse lepers, and cast out demons. (Matthew 10:5-8)

  • Rebuked by the Pharisees. (Matthew 12:1-2, Matthew 15:2, Mark 2:23-24)

  • He helped feed the people when Jesus fed the 5,000. (Matthew 14:19)

  • He saw Jesus walking upon the sea. (Matthew 14:26)

  • He wasn’t the only disciple who complained about Mary at Bethany and the extravagance of her gift. (Matthew 26:7-9, John 12:4-6)

  • He may have participated in the first Lord’s Supper of the bread and the cup, albeit unworthily. (Luke 22:17-23)

  • Notice though that Judas was never rebuked by the Lord unlike Peter who was often rebuked.  (Mark 8:33)

Who of us have done so much?  Service is not the issue; the heart is.

Matthew 7:22-23 (ESV)

22 On that day many will say to me, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and cast out demons in your name, and do many mighty works in your name?’
23 And then will I declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from me, you workers of lawlessness.’

So see the whole point of this passage is that these rejected people truly thought they were serving the Lord.

I think it is more helpful to believers to understand that we might be doing everything seemingly “right” and serving the Lord in multitudes of ways. Yet when the final end comes be told to depart from the Lord because He doesn’t know us.

While it is true that the Bible states that we cannot serve two masters (Matthew 6:24), the Bible also states that our hearts are deceitfully wicked and will deceive us (Jeremiah 17:9).  We may deceive ourselves into thinking that we are serving the Lord when in fact we are serving ourselves or another.

Except for the Grace of God we might all turn out to be a Judas.

Those in Matthew 7:22-23 we can’t assume that those individuals have intentionally been deceptive.  That they even know they are not serving the Lord.  There are many, many individuals whose testimony points to serving the Lord in all ways possible and giving all they own to serve the Lord yet at some point the Lord opens their eyes to see that they were far from Him.

Biblical example being Paul who did all he possibly could to serve God prior to being stopped on the Damascus Road.  Paul was not putting on a show but serving at 110%.  Yet he was deceived.  It wasn’t until the Lord opened Paul’s eyes that he could see how wrong he was.

There are pastors, deacons and missionaries who can attest to the fact that they served the Lord as fully as they knew how but until the Lord opened their eyes and changed their hearts they were lost.

Here is the testimony of a preacher’s wife and missionary who did not question her salvation until years after serving on the mission field and being a pastor’s wife.  She is one of many that did have her eyes opened to the truth to see that her service was as filthy rags to the Lord.  Many, many today have not had their eyes opened to the truth yet.


Charo Washer – video


Charo Washer – PDF


This is given from the perspective of having her eyes opened to the truth.  However, if you had questioned her years before she would have insisted she was serving the Lord in the best way she could and that she was saved.  She was not intentionally deceiving.  We can easily deceive ourselves and others.

That is why reading or listening to things such as the following are so helpful.  There are many walking around with deceived hearts.


Ten Tests of True Christianity


How are You Serving God


Ten “Christians” God Will Not Allow Into Heaven


Six Signs of a False Conversion


We must give the Lord our all.   But many are deceived and think they have.  That is why we are told to test ourselves.

2 Corinthians 13:5-7 (ESV)

5 Examine yourselves, to see whether you are in the faith. Test yourselves. Or do you not realize this about yourselves, that Jesus Christ is in you?—unless indeed you fail to meet the test!
6 I hope you will find out that we have not failed the test.
7 But we pray to God that you may not do wrong—not that we may appear to have met the test, but that you may do what is right, though we may seem to have failed.

We don’t know our hearts perfectly.

1 Corinthians 8:2-3 (ESV)

2 If anyone imagines that he knows something, he does not yet know as he ought to know.
3 But if anyone loves God, he is known by God.

Here in the South many, many people are serving the Lord daily by being pastors, teachers, deacons and even missionaries while the Lord doesn’t know them.  They have been deceived by someone or even by themselves into thinking they have given the Lord their all.



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Can I Be Sure I’m Saved? (Crucial Questions Series)

Can I Be Sure I’m Saved? (Crucial Questions Series) was free yesterday and I downloaded it to read it last night.  (It is no longer free. 🙁 )The subject is not really on sharing the gospel for Salvation, but is actually discussing how you can think you are saved and yet not be. It is based off of a passage in Matthew.

Matthew 7:21-23 (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.
22  On that day many will say to me, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and cast out demons in your name, and do many mighty works in your name?’
23  And then will I declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from me, you workers of lawlessness.’

It is a small booklet of 76 pages. Not to hard to read in one evening. You can buy the booklet from Ligonier for as little as $5.60. They might be helpful little books to give out as Christmas presents or for church ministry opportunities.  I didn’t find a bulk pricing, but it might be possible.

The booklet is along the lines of a couple of posts that have been on this website for years.  Useful for those times when everyone you meet says they are a Christian because they – made a profession, were baptized, are a good person, joined a church, etc.

Ten Tests of True Christianity

Ten “Christians” God Will Not Allow Into Heaven

Six Signs of a False Conversion


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Free Kindle Sproul Book

Can I Be Sure I’m Saved? (Crucial Questions Series) [Kindle Edition] R.C. Sproul – Free for a limited time

Many people in the church today are plagued by doubts about their salvation. Satan whispers that it is impossible that sinners such as they could be in a state of grace, and some churches compound the problem by teaching that it is possible for believers to lose their salvation.

But assurance of salvation is possible in this life. Indeed, as Dr. R.C. Sproul argues in this Crucial Questions booklet, it is the duty of Christians to make their calling sure (2 Peter 1:10). To help believers reach this goal, Dr. Sproul defines assurance, shows how we can get it, reveals the blessings it confers, and warns of the dangers of false assurance. Here is assistance for those who struggle to know where they stand with Jesus Christ.

{The free kindle books are available a short time, they are done sorta like a sale and end quickly so you can’t wait a couple of days to “purchase” the free book. If you don’t actually have a kindle you can get the Kindle for PC which will allow you to read kindle books for free.  There are also kindle versions for a blackberry and for an iPhone.}


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Love For the Brothers – Evidence of Salvation

Not only is love for the brothers and sisters in Christ evidence of our love for God but Love for the brethren in the church is also evidence of Salvation.  If we do not love our brothers and sisters in Christ and enjoy spending time with them then we are not in the light.

1 John 2:9-11 (ESV)

9 Whoever says he is in the light and hates his brother is still in darkness.
10 Whoever loves his brother abides in the light, and in him there is no cause for stumbling.
11 But whoever hates his brother is in the darkness and walks in the darkness, and does not know where he is going, because the darkness has blinded his eyes.

This is even more direct, those who love the brothers and sisters have passed from death unto life.

1 John 3:14-17 (ESV)

14 We know that we have passed out of death into life, because we love the brothers. Whoever does not love abides in death.
15 Everyone who hates his brother is a murderer, and you know that no murderer has eternal life abiding in him.
16 By this we know love, that he laid down his life for us, and we ought to lay down our lives for the brothers.
17 But if anyone has the world’s goods and sees his brother in need, yet closes his heart against him, how does God’s love abide in him?


Now that is some serious things to think about.

If you are not part of a local church body, why not?

No church is perfect, if it was you or I couldn’t join. 🙂

However, while finding a good church is very difficult at times and in some areas, it is not impossible.  (see the sidebar on the website for church locating links)  It is easy to claim you love the brothers but you don’t feel the need to worship with the brothers corporately, yet try that excuse in other relationships. You love your spouse but don’t feel the need to live as a family.  You love your parents but don’t feel the need to visit with them.   Real love means we desire to visit and be with each other as much as possible.  There is no excuse for not worshiping together with believers.  If we, as a society, drive an hour or two for a sports activity surely we can do the same, if needed, for worshiping with fellow believers.



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Mercy Owed to None – J.I. Packer

“[God] shows his freedom and lordship by discriminating between sinners, causing some to hear the gospel while others do not hear it, and moving some of those who hear it to repentance while leaving others in their unbelief, thus teaching his saints that he owes mercy to none and that it is entirely of his grace, not at all through their own effort, that they themselves have found life.”

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J.I. Packer, Knowing God

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Men Chosen By God

All it takes is just reading the Bible to see that God choose people, not just Israel or the church.

Abraham in Genesis – God chose him and spoke to him.  Abraham did nothing to deserve his calling.  Abraham was chosen.

Nehemiah 9:7 (ESV) You are the Lord, the God who chose Abram and brought him out of Ur of the Chaldeans and gave him the name Abraham.

Israel was chosen by God not because they chose God, nor because of any good in them but because God chose them and loved them.

Deuteronomy 7:6-8 (ESV)
6 “For you are a people holy to the Lord your God. The Lord your God has chosen you to be a people for his treasured possession, out of all the peoples who are on the face of the earth.
7 It was not because you were more in number than any other people that the Lord set his love on you and chose you, for you were the fewest of all peoples,
8 but it is because the Lord loves you and is keeping the oath that he swore to your fathers, that the Lord has brought you out with a mighty hand and redeemed you from the house of slavery, from the hand of Pharaoh king of Egypt.

Jacob was chosen while Esau was rejected.

Romans 9:13 (ESV) As it is written, “Jacob I loved, but Esau I hated.”

Psalms 135:4 (ESV) For the Lord has chosen Jacob for himself, Israel as his own possession.

Isaiah 41:8-10 (ESV)
8 But you, Israel, my servant, Jacob, whom I have chosen, the offspring of Abraham, my friend;
9 you whom I took from the ends of the earth, and called from its farthest corners, saying to you, “You are my servant, I have chosen you and not cast you off”;
10 fear not, for I am with you; be not dismayed, for I am your God; I will strengthen you, I will help you, I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.

David was chosen by God.  Not just the people of Israel, but God says one chosen out of the people and then specifically names David, not just the Seed of David.

Psalms 89:3-4 (ESV)
3 You have said, “I have made a covenant with my chosen one; I have sworn to David my servant:
4 ‘I will establish your offspring forever, and build your throne for all generations.’ ” Selah

Psalms 89:19-21 (ESV)
19 Of old you spoke in a vision to your godly one, and said: “I have granted help to one who is mighty; I have exalted one chosen from the people.
20 I have found David, my servant; with my holy oil I have anointed him,
21 so that my hand shall be established with him; my arm also shall strengthen him.

Psalms 78:70-71 (ESV)
70 He chose David his servant and took him from the sheepfolds;
71 from following the nursing ewes he brought him to shepherd Jacob his people, Israel his inheritance.

Solomon was chosen by God.

1 Chronicles 28:6 (ESV) He said to me, ‘It is Solomon your son who shall build my house and my courts, for I have chosen him to be my son, and I will be his father.

Zerubbabel was chosen.

Haggai 2:23 (ESV) On that day, declares the Lord of hosts, I will take you, O Zerubbabel my servant, the son of Shealtiel, declares the Lord, and make you like a signet ring, for I have chosen you, declares the Lord of hosts.”

Rufus was chosen.

Romans 16:13 (ESV) Greet Rufus, chosen in the Lord; also his mother, who has been a mother to me as well.

Paul was chosen.

Acts 22:14 (ESV) And he said, ‘The God of our fathers appointed you to know his will, to see the Righteous One and to hear a voice from his mouth;

Acts 22:14 (KJV) And he said, The God of our fathers hath chosen thee, that thou shouldest know his will, and see that Just One, and shouldest hear the voice of his mouth.

Galatians 1:15-16 (ESV)
15 But when he who had set me apart before I was born, and who called me by his grace,
16 was pleased to reveal his Son to me, in order that I might preach him among the Gentiles, I did not immediately consult with anyone;


So why is it such a stretch for some to believe that God calls, elects, or chooses people?  Doesn’t seem to be able to be any plainer than this:

John 15:16-19 (ESV)
16 You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you that you should go and bear fruit and that your fruit should abide, so that whatever you ask the Father in my name, he may give it to you.
17 These things I command you, so that you will love one another.
18 “If the world hates you, know that it has hated me before it hated you.
19 If you were of the world, the world would love you as its own; but because you are not of the world, but I chose you out of the world, therefore the world hates you.

Whom does this refer to but to you?




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Comfort for Christian Parents of Unconverted Children – Jim Elliff

All Christian parents wish that God would show us something to do that would secure our child’s salvation, and then “we’ll do it with all our might” because we love our child so much. Yet, God has not made salvation the effect of somebody else’s faith; our son or daughter must come to Christ on his or her own. John shows us that all Christians are born into God’s family “not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, [that is, somebody else’s will] but of God.” (John 1:13)

Although salvation is the work of God and not something that we can do for our child, there is hope. Consider the following:

1. A true burden in prayer for your child is a gift from God. A persistent burden may indicate that God intends to give your child eternal life because authentic prayer always begins with God. Though we cannot be absolutely certain that we know all that God is doing, we should be optimistic if the burden continues.

2. The miracle of the new birth is no less possible to God if our child is attentive to Him or running away from Him. Our child is like all other children when it comes to God’s grace. He is dead spiritually whether he is in church or not, whether he listened well to the truths we tried to teach him or did not, whether he has some interest in God now or has none at all. He may be converted in the pig pen or the pew and we do not know in this case what is preferred by God.

3. God does hear our prayers. Though God has taught us that He chooses all who are His before the foundation of the world, He also taught us that we should pray, and not only pray, but expect the answer to our prayers. It is true that God is sovereign and it is just as true that He answers prayer. In fact, He could not answer prayer if He were not in control of all things.

4. We may have hope because of God’s election of those who will come to Him. Every child is on his way to hell unless God stops him. God’s election is our friend. We would have no hope for our child’s salvation without it, because no child would turn to Christ if left in the state of depravity (Romans 3:9-11). But given God’s election of people for Himself, we can be encouraged.

5. Your child has some clear knowledge of what it means to be a true Christian. The Spirit certainly may bring this to bear at any time if this is His chosen method. Though it is no less a miracle for a knowledgeable child to be converted than a child with little knowledge; God always uses the gospel seed in every conversion.

6. Your own disobedience in the past will not ultimately keep your child from becoming a believer. It is pointless to berate yourself for any wrong behavior on your part as if it were the reason your child is without Christ. This does not mean that we as parents should not repent and do better, and even admit wrong to our children. But the reason your child is without Christ is related to his or her own sin. Every parent is sinful and inconsistent. This has never been a barrier to God if He desires to save your child. Illustrations abound of children who come from far less godly families who are nonetheless converted to Christ. In fact, this may have been the case in your own experience.

7. Some children may need the experience of being away from parental care in order to face up to their own need for Christ. The sense of need for many may be discovered only in the context of difficulties. We should not be surprised if it takes some solo flying before a child learns that he or she really needs another as his pilot.

8. Remember that there are lots of people who have come to appreciate their history prior to coming to Christ. I’m not saying that these people would not have wanted conversion earlier, but that the pain of the their pre-conversion history has left them with compassion, understanding, knowledge, testimony, and a burden that they would perhaps not have had any other way. They’ve seen God’s wisdom in the timing of their conversion. This may well be so with your child. Paul said that there was a reason he was chosen to be converted even though he was a murderer, blasphemer and violent aggressor—so that people will see and have hope that God can save anyone.

9. You cannot save your child yourself no matter how hard you try. You are in a position of trust alone. This is good because it is the only way to please God (Heb. 11:6). Your rest in God, while simultaneously praying to the God who answers prayer, will be an encouragement to others in the same situation It will also help you respond to your child more positively, and will make your life far more joyful than your anxiety ever could.

10. Finally, remember that God has a purpose in all He does. We will one day rejoice that God has done a perfect job of ruling His universe. When we acknowledge this and put God even above our children, we will actually demonstrate to our child the way a Christian is to live.



*Read an expanded version of this article by clicking here.

Copyright © 2003 Jim Elliff Permission granted for not-for-sale reproduction in exact form including copyright. Other uses require written permission.

www.BulletinInserts.org


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