Along time ago someone asked me this:
If you were accused of being a Christian would there be enough evidence to convict you?
At first, it seems like kind of a silly question since we’re not in the habit of convicting Christians in our country.
But when we look as scripture and church history we see that America is an anomaly. Throughout most eras of history standing for Christ would have meant risk of death.
As it is written, “For your sake we are being killed all the day long;”
It’s too easy to call yourself a Christian here in the US.
You can go to church, say you’re a Christian, and look just like the world and no one cares.
But that’s not what we’re called to do. We’re called to take up our crosses, suffer for Jesus, and be willing to die for him.
Jesus should change us.
Then Jesus told his disciples, “If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself
and take up his cross and follow me.
For whoever would save his life will lose it,
but whoever loses his life for my sake will find it.
For what will it profit a man if he gains the whole world and forfeits his soul?
Or what shall a man give in return for his soul?
For this is a gracious thing, when, mindful of God, one endures sorrows while suffering unjustly. For what credit is it if, when you sin and are beaten for it, you endure?
But if when you do good and suffer for it you endure,
this is a gracious thing in the sight of God.
For to this you have been called, because Christ also suffered for you,
leaving you an example, so that you might follow in his steps.
1 Peter 2:16-21
And what more shall I say?
For time would fail me to tell of
Gideon, Barak, Samson, Jephthah, of David and Samuel and the prophets—
who through faith conquered kingdoms, enforced justice, obtained promises,
stopped the mouths of lions, quenched the power of fire,
escaped the edge of the sword, were made strong out of weakness,
became mighty in war, put foreign armies to flight.
Women received back their dead by resurrection.
Some were tortured, refusing to accept release,
so that they might rise again to a better life.
Others suffered mocking and flogging, and even chains and imprisonment.
They were stoned, they were sawn in two, they were killed with the sword.
They went about in skins of sheep and goats, destitute, afflicted, mistreated—
of whom the world was not worthy—wandering about in deserts and mountains
and in dens and caves of the earth.
Those who are truly His will follow after Him with a passion and zeal that nothing –not even the powers of Satan and the combined forces of earth– can stop.
If those around you don’t think you’re crazy for Jesus, if it doesn’t seem fanatical to those who aren’t saved (or even those who claim they are), then maybe you’re not saved.
I’m not saying you’re not. That’s not my place. I can’t see your heart. Only God can.
What I’m saying is that you’d better take a look at your fruits and see if they are showing signs of faith in Christ.
A healthy tree cannot bear bad fruit, nor can a diseased tree bear good fruit.
Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire.
Thus you will recognize them by their fruits.
For this very reason, make every effort to supplement your faith with virtue,
and virtue with knowledge, and knowledge with self-control,
and self-control with steadfastness, and steadfastness with godliness,
and godliness with brotherly affection, and brotherly affection with love.
For if these qualities are yours and are increasing,
they keep you from being ineffective
or unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ.
For whoever lacks these qualities is so nearsighted that he is blind,
having forgotten that he was cleansed from his former sins.
Therefore, brothers, be all the more diligent to confirm your calling and election,
for if you practice these qualities you will never fall.
For in this way there will be richly provided for you an entrance
into the eternal kingdom of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.
2 Peter 1:5-11
“Not everyone who calls out to me, ‘Lord! Lord!’ will enter the Kingdom of Heaven.
Only those who actually do the will of my Father in heaven will enter.
Scripture is clear about the character that happens when the Holy Spirit is living in us because we’re saved.
But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness,
gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law.
The Holy Spirit convicts us of sin. If you’re not being convicted, maybe you don’t have God’s spirit living inside you.
A lot of people assume that they’re saved because they said a special prayer one time at AWANA, VBS, or Sunday School when they were 5 or 6 years old.
But, that prayer doesn’t save you. Belief saves you. The evidence of that saving faith is in how you love your life, the fruit.
For by grace you have been saved through faith.
And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God,
not a result of works, so that no one may boast.
For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works,
which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.
Many people who aren’t actually saved (because they don’t actually believe) think they’re saved and going to Heaven, because they said certain words –like a magic spell that will keep them out of Hell.
But the actual evidence of whether or not you are a Christian is how you live your life after the words are said, after VBS is over, and in the weekdays between church.
On those days, in your everyday life, is it absolutely obvious to those around you that you’re His child?
Is it evident in your home? With your family? With your friends? At work? When you’re alone?
It should be.
Those who are His children hear His voice and obey Him.
My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me.
Even if you are saved and sure of it, you should regularly examine your actions and motives to see if you’re living a life that’s honoring to God.
Whatever you do, in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus.
I want the Lord to be pleased with the life I live.
His master said to him, ‘Well done, good and faithful servant’
This is such an important topic!
If you can’t take yourself back to a specific time when you absolutely decided to follow Jesus, you might not actually be saved and going to Heaven.
Can you think of a time when you did decide to follow Him?
You might have decided to follow Him when you said a sinners prayer.
Or you might have watched a sunrise one morning and decided that the God who was wonderful enough to make that sunrise deserved your love and service.
It doesn’t matter how you came to that choice –as long as you’ve actually made.
Choose to follow Him no matter what.
Don’t let your life become a cautionary tale of how not to live for Jesus.
Don’t get caught up in the American Christian tradition that says that a few whispered words are good enough to save you, and then you can live however you please.
Don’t be deceived.
Those who aren’t absolutely for Him are against Him.
He who is not with Me is against Me.
It’s my prayer that you would know Him and grow in Him to become a wonderful witness for Him!