Sunday, October 3, 2010

What is Salvation? - Part 2 Outward Signs

SCRIPTURE READING

Matthew 7:15-27
 15"Watch out for false prophets. They come to you in sheep's clothing, but inwardly they are ferocious wolves. 16By their fruit you will recognize them.

Do people pick grapes from thornbushes, or figs from thistles? 17Likewise every good tree bears good fruit, but a bad tree bears bad fruit. 18A good tree cannot bear bad fruit, and a bad tree cannot bear good fruit. 19Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire.

20Thus, by their fruit you will recognize them.

 21"Not everyone who says to me, 'Lord, Lord,' will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only he who does the will of my Father who is in heaven.

22Many will say to me on that day, 'Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and in your name drive out demons and perform many miracles?' 23Then I will tell them plainly, 'I never knew you. Away from me, you evildoers!'

 24"Therefore everyone who hears these words of mine and puts them into practice is like a wise man who built his house on the rock. 25The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house; yet it did not fall, because it had its foundation on the rock.

26But everyone who hears these words of mine and does not put them into practice is like a foolish man who built his house on sand. 27The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house, and it fell with a great crash."





INTRODUCTION

In the first part of Matthew 7, we are told not to judge others, but just a few verses later, we are told that we will know if someone is a follower of Jesus Christ or not by the things they do, their FRUIT.

Isn’t this judging??

NO.  The judging we are told not to do in the first part of this chapter is referring back to verses 25-34 of the previous chapter, which tells us not to worry about what we do or don’t have, or what someone else does or does not have.  We are not to look at this as a sign of whether or not someone is at odds with God.

Some of the most poverty stricken people in this world are closer to God than some of the most financially established.  Jesus confirms this by saying “It is easier for a camel to pass through the eye of a needle, than for a rich man to get to heaven.” (Matthew 19:24)

One of the richest men in this country, Ted Turner, is a self-proclaimed socialist and atheist.  Just because you have according to this world, does not mean you have according to God’s Word.

We cannot look at someone who is poor and say, “God must be unhappy with them that is why they are poor.”

In the same way, we cannot look at someone who is rich by worldly standards and say, “God must be pleased with him, look at how blessed he is.”

This is the broken mentality of prosperity preaching.  They teach, the closer you get to God, the more earthly-goods you will gain.

But the prosperity and richness Jesus teaches of, is not money...but something that will last far longer.  Our true riches are stored in heaven, and wait for us there.

I am blessed beyond belief, but live paycheck to paycheck.

So what is the second half of Matthew telling us to judge?

It is telling us that, we are to judge whether someone is truly a follower of Christ, by the things he does in his life, not the words he says.

This works both ways!  We can use this to know others, as well as judge ourselves.

I.                   WATCH OUT FOR WOLVES
a.      Wolves in sheep’s clothing
                                                              i.      I meet them all the time

                                                           ii.      We see them on TV and on the Internet


b.     Why watch out and judge them?
                                                              i.      For two reasons
1.      You need to know where you stand with them

2.      If they are not right, you need to share the truth of the Gospel with them, so they can have a seed for the Holy Spirit to work with

3.      All the Holy Spirit needs to work is the faith of a mustard seed...sometimes one simple verse from God’s Word is all it takes for the Holy Spirit to convert a soul!


c.      But how can you tell?
                                                              i.      By their actions, how they live...not what they say

d.     Examine Yourself!
                                                              i.      We are called to examine ourselves, always looking to see if we are on the narrow path.

                                                           ii.      Narrow paths are easy to step off if we are not diligent.


II.               NOT EVERYONE WHO CLAIMS JESUS IS OF JESUS
a.      Signs are from doing, not saying


b.     Anyone can say
                                                              i.      said they prophesied in His name

                                                           ii.      said they cast out demons in His name

                                                         iii.      said they performed miracles in His name

                                                         iv.      if it was in His name, they wouldn’t have had to SAY it

c.      Jesus simply replies...I do not know you.
                                                              i.      more specifically, “I will tell them plainly, 'I never knew you. Away from me, you evildoers!”


III.            MARK OF A SAVED FOLLOWER OF CHRIST
a.      everyone who HEARS my words
                                                              i.      Many self-proclaimed followers do not even read the bible or attend church...

b.     ...and puts {the words} them into practice
                                                              i.      It is not about saying...it is about doing them.
1.      James 1:22 “ 22But be ye doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving your own selves.”

                                                           ii.      A saved person produces Spiritual Fruit
1.      Galatians 5:22-2522 But the fruit the Holy Spirit produces is love, joy and peace. It is being patient, kind and good. It is being faithful 23 and gentle and having control of oneself. There is no law against things of that kind.

24 Those who belong to Christ Jesus have nailed their sinful nature to his cross. They don't want what their sinful nature loves and longs for.  25 Since we live by the Spirit, let us march in step with the Spirit. 26 Let us not become proud. Let us not make each other angry. Let us not want what belongs to others.




CONCLUSION

We are told in the word that, true followers of Christ, those who are “saved”, are not sayers, but doers.

And it is by our doing, how we live our lives, that we will be able to test whether we are living in our salvation (walking in the Spirit of God), or living in sin.

Jesus tells us to put His words into practice.  Practice, because God knows we cannot be perfect, but He does expect our best.

Are you producing good fruit today?  Are you taking the Word of Christ, and applying it to your life, being a doer of that word?

Or better yet, when you examine yourself and your life;

1.      Do you love others?
2.      Do you have joy and peace?
3.      Are you patient and kind with others showing them goodness?
4.      Are you faithful and gentle, and do you have self-control?

We are told that those who belong to Christ Jesus have nailed their sinful desires to the cross.  They no longer seek after what the sinful nature desires.

What are the signs one is living in his sin (unsaved)?

Galatians 5:19-21 also tells us these; What the sinful nature does is clear.
It enjoys sexual sins, impure acts and wild living.
20 It worships statues of gods. It also worships evil powers.
It is full of hatred and fighting. It is full of jealousy and fits of anger.
It is interested only in getting ahead.
It stirs up trouble. It separates people into their own little groups.
21 It wants what others have.
It gets drunk and takes part in wild parties.
It does many things of that kind. I warn you now as I did before. People who live like that will not receive God's kingdom.”

If you do not pass this test, you need to repent, confess your sin to the Lord, call on His name asking for forgiveness, and make Jesus Christ your Lord.