Obviously we must allow for God’s grace in our lives, and obviously none of us is perfect or able to live a completely sinless life as yet; that is coming though, and I believe it is coming very very soon, hence the need for a health check now! I would like you to treat this more as a Bible Study rather than just another blog, as I believe it is extremely important for all of us to check our relationship with Jesus each day.
Many of the following checklist items are ABSOLUTELY essential if we are to be considered “True Christians”, others may be debated as NON ESSENTIAL but very helpful. I shall put forward my views, but I leave you to prayerfully consider them for yourself, but please take into account the words of scripture, and do not minimise the Lord’s intent in the passage/s.
HAVE YOU BEEN BORN AGAIN? JOHN 3:3 Jesus replied, “I tell you the truth, unless you are BORN AGAIN, you CANNOT SEE the Kingdom of God.” The kingdom of God is a spiritual Kingdom, flesh and blood cannot enter a spiritual realm. JOHN 3:6 That which is born of the flesh is flesh; and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit. Many professing Christians tell us that being born again is just radical over the top nonsense. Jesus disagrees with them, He says this is essential to becoming a True Christian. (An Imperitive)
HAVE YOU ASKED THE LORD FOR SALVATION? ROMANS 10:13 “For whosoever SHALL CALL upon the name of the Lord shall be saved”. In another scripture, Jesus says “You don’t have things because you don’t ask for them”, Paraphrase of JOHN 16:24. Clearly we have to ASK God for salvation, it is not inherited through our parents, it is not an automatic thing we receive because we go to church or because we live a good life, or we married a True Christian etc. (An Imperitive)
HAVE YOU TRULY REPENTED OF ALL SIN AND TURNED AWAY FROM SIN? ACTS 3:19 “REPENT and be converted, that your sins may be BLOTTED OUT”. Right through the Bible we are taught that TRUE REPENTANCE is key to God’s forgiveness. If there is no turning away from our old sinful life, and no turning to obedience to God’s ways, there can be NO forgiveness and no salvation. (An Imperitive)
DO YOU FORGIVE THOSE WHO SIN AGAINST YOU? The Lord’s prayer asks the Father to forgive us our sins, AS WE FORGIVE those who sin against us. The word used here is DEBT (“opheilēma” something owed, a due, or morally, a fault.) But in MATTHEW 6:14 & 15 “For if you forgive other people when they sin against you, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. v 15 But if you do NOT forgive others their sins, your Father will NOT forgive your sins”. (New Living Translation.) The word used is (“paraptōma” wilful transgression: – fall, fault, offence, sin, trespass.) (An Imperitive)
ARE YOU IN A RELATIONSHIP WITH THE LORD? 2 CORINTHIANS 11:2 “For I am jealous for you with the jealousy of God himself. I promised you as a pure BRIDE to one husband—Christ”. To be engaged is to be in a relationship. & REV 22:17 “The Spirit and THE BRIDE say, “come.” The Bride is related to her Bridegroom. In the Lord’s prayer we pray, “Our FATHER who art in heaven”. A child is related to His father. Clearly if you are not part of Christ’s bride, you will NOT be part of the “Rapture” because Jesus is coming to collect His BRIDE for their Wedding. (An Imperitive)
DO YOU CONFESS JESUS BEFORE THE WORLD? MATTHEW 10: 32-33 “Whosoever therefore shall confess me before men, I will ALSO CONFESS him before my Father which is in heaven. v 33 But whosoever shall deny me before men, I will ALSO DENY him before my Father which is in heaven”. Hiding the fact that you are a Christian before your friends and workmates is actually denying Jesus Christ before them, as it means you have to agree with their talk and their actions. That is why it is written in ROMANS 10:9 that “if you confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead, you will be saved”. (An Imperitive.)
ARE YOU LED BY THE SPIRIT OF GOD, OR BY YOUR OWN DESIRES? GALATIONS 5:19-21 “When you follow the desires of your sinful nature, the results are very clear: sexual immorality, impurity, lustful pleasures, idolatry, sorcery, hostility, quarreling, jealousy, outbursts of anger, selfish ambition, dissension, division, envy, drunkenness, wild parties, and other sins like these. Let me tell you again, as I have before, that ANYONE living that sort of life WILL NOT INHERIT the Kingdom of God.” Regarding “Sexual Immorality” this term is broad and covers many sexual sins. For example ROMANS 1:26 & 27 covers ALL types of homosexuality. ROMANS 1:29 covers fornication. 2 PETER 2:14 covers adultery. All of these types of sin are covered in several different places in the Bible. 1 PETER 1:16 “For the Scriptures say, ““You MUST be holy because I am holy.”” So as Paul says, says ANYONE living that sort of life WILL NOT INHERIT the Kingdom of God.” (An Imperitive.)
ARE YOU DOING GOD’S WILL, OR YOUR OWN? MATTHEW 7:21 “Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord! Lord!’ will enter the Kingdom of Heaven. Only those WHO DO the WILL OF MY FATHER in heaven will enter.” Jesus was addressing those who are using (or abusing perhaps,) God’s power to cast out demons, heal the sick etc. to build their own kingdoms, thereby making themselves immensely rich, and bringing glory to themselves. Thus instead of bringing glory to GOD, they have amassed wealth and glory to themselves. According to Jesus, “Doing God’s will” is (An Imperitive.)
DOES THE HOLY SPIRIT DWELL IN YOU? 1 CORINTHIANS 3:16 “Do you not know that you are the TEMPLE OF GOD and the Spirit of God DWELLS in YOU?” When we are BORN AGAIN it is the Holy Spirit who enters our heart to complete the work of salvation, changing us from death to life. EPHESIANS 2:1 “And you who were dead in trespasses and sins, He made alive,” BECAUSE ROMANS 8:11 “The Spirit of God, who raised Jesus from the dead lives in you…..” SO – No Holy Spirit living in you, no spiritual life – no salvation! (An Imperitive.)
DO YOU ABIDE IN JESUS AND DOES HE ABIDE IN YOU? JOHN 15:6 “If a man abide NOT in me, he is CAST FORTH as a branch, and is withered; and men gather them, and cast them into the fire, and they are burned”. ROMANS 8:10 “And if Christ abides in you, the body is DEAD because of sin, but the Spirit is ALIVE because of righteousness.” Basically if we are not living in Jesus, (JOHN 1:1 “In the beginning was the Word…….)” So if we are not living in God’s Son / The Word, then God’s Son / The Word cannot bear spiritual fruit in our lives, so we will be cast out. (An Imperitive.)
IS YOUR LIFE PRODUCING THE FRUIT OF GODLINESS ? JOHN 15:4 “REMAIN in me, and I WILL remain in you. A branch cannot produce fruit if it is severed from the vine, and you CANNOT be fruitful unless you REMAIN in me.” Same reason as is given above for abiding in Christ. (An Imperitive.)
DO YOU LOVE THIS WORLD? 1 JOHN 2:15 “LOVE NOT THE WORLD, neither the things that are in the world. If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him.” & JAMES 4:4 tells us that “the friendship of the world is ENMITY with God?” This present world belongs (temporarily) to Satan, but not for much longer. Rev 11:15 “Then the seventh angel sounded: And there were loud voices in heaven, saying, “The kingdoms of this world have become the kingdoms of our Lord and of His Christ, and He shall reign forever and ever!” Do not love Satan’s world. (An Imperitive.)
WOULD YOU BE PREPARED TO DIE FOR JESUS RATHER THAN DENY HIM AS YOUR LORD? MATTHEW 16:24 “Jesus said unto his disciples, If anyone will come after me, let him deny HIMSELF, AND take up HIS CROSS, and follow me.” REVELATION 12:11 “And they overcame him by the blood of the Lamb and by the word of their testimony, and they did not love their lives to the death.” Jesus is looking for OVERCOMERS, Satan is looking for UNDERTAKERS. Deny Jesus, and Jesus will DENY YOU, as seen above in the section “Do you confess Jesus” (An Imperitive.)
DO YOU LOVE THE LORD MORE THAN YOU LOVE YOUR OWN FAMILY? MATTHEW 10:37 “If you love your father or mother MORE than you love me, you are NOT WORTHY of being mine; or if you love your son or daughter MORE than me, you are NOT WORTHY of being mine.” If we love our family, or our girl friends or boy friends more than Jesus, they can often influence us away from the Lord to live in the world and become part of the world. We see this all too often, and it is so sad. To me to be NOT WORTHY of belonging to Jesus, means we have missed the mark. I think this one has to be – (An Imperitive.)
DO YOU LOVE THE LORD YOUR GOD? MATTHEW 22:37 “Jesus said to him, You shall LOVE the LORD your GOD with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind. This is the first COMMANDMENT.“ If you do not love God, you are immediately out of His will. You will not obey or respect Him, you will not read His Word, you will not have any meaningful RELATIONSHIP with Him. (An Imperitive.)
DO YOU LOVE YOUR NEIGHBOUR AS YOURSELF? MATTHEW 22:39 “And the second command is like the first: ‘LOVE your neighbor THE SAME AS you love yourself.” WHY? MATTHEW 22:40 (Because) “ALL of the law and the writings of the prophets ARE SUMMED UP in these two commands.” So the same thing applies as to loving God. (An Imperitive.)
DO YOU LOVE ONE ANOTHER? JOHN 13:34 & 35 “So now I am giving you A NEW COMMANDMENT: – LOVE EACH OTHER, just as I have loved you, you should love each other. v35 Your love for one another will PROVE to the world that you are my disciples.” In other words, it is our love for each other that is the proof that we are indeed TRUE CHRISTIANS. (An Imperitive.)
DO YOU LOVE YOUR ENEMIES? MATTHEW 5:44 “I say to you, LOVE YOUR ENEMIES, bless those who curse you, do GOOD to those who hate you, and pray for those who spitefully use you and persecute you”. Again this LOVE is the proof of our love for, and obedience to God. (An Imperitive.)
HAVE YOU BEEN BAPTISED IN WATER? ACTS 2:38 “Then Peter said unto them, Repent, and BE BAPTIZED every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins.” Peter thinks it is essential for the remission of sins. MARK 16:16 Jesus says “He who believes and is baptized will be saved…………” Even although it is not mentioned in every text concerning getting saved, I believe baptism is the confession mentioned in ROMANS 10:10 ” ……. and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation.”
When we get baptised, we confess to the world that Jesus is our Saviour. We need to understand that when we get baptised, we are saying to the world; “as a Christian, my old sinful nature is dead, now I am burying it, and when I come up out of the water/grave I am confessing that my new nature, is led and guided by the Holy Spirit which God exchanged for my old nature when I became a Christian”.
Even Jesus felt it necessary to get baptised, MATTHEW 3:16 “When He had been baptized, Jesus came up immediately from the water; and behold, the heavens were opened to Him, and He saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove and alighting upon Him.” So we could say this was Jesus’ baptism in water, and it was followed by the Holy Spirit coming upon Him, as seen in ACTS 2:4 when the Holy Spirit came upon the disciples. When we understand this, we understand why it is (An Imperitive.)
HAVE YOU BEEN BAPTISED IN THE HOLY SPIRIT? In ACTS 1 verse 4 Jesus commands His disciples not to leave Jerusalem, but to “TARRY” for the promise of the Father. In ACTS 1:8 Jesus tell them WHY “But you shall receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be witnesses to Me in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth.” Christians who have never experienced the POWER of the Holy Spirit coming UPON them, will nearly always struggle to witness for Jesus, and many will fall away, as we can see in the world today. As the command came from Jesus Himself, I believe I would mark this as (An Imperitive for the best.) ( A NON ESSENTIAL but very helpful) as the very least.”
DO YOU LONG FOR THE RETURN OF JESUS AND LOOK FOR HIS RETURN EACH DAY? 2 TIMOTHY 4:8 “Henceforth there is laid up for me a crown of RIGHTEOUSNESS, which the Lord, the righteous judge, shall give me at that day: and not to me only, but unto all them also that LOVE his appearing.” Does this imply that only those who long for Jesus to come will receive the crown of righteousness? It seems to be so in this verse. Surely True Christians who truly love Him would strive to receive a crown of righteousness? & 2 PETER 3:12 indicates that we should be “LOOKING FORWARD to the day of God and HURRYING it along…………..” Are we looking forward to the day? True Christians should be. How long do we want to live in Satan’s territory, “This world is NOT my home, I’m just a passing through”, you could say that we are living in enemy territory, our enemy being Satan is bombing us from all sides daily with the filth of this world? So as Peter says we should be hurrying that day along, but HOW? “Thy kingdom come, thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven”. I believe prayer is the answer, The Lord’s prayer is a request, is it not? This could be debated as being NON ESSENTIAL but very helpful. Finally, let us remember the words of Jesus to the Churches in REVELATION 3:3 “…………..Therefore if you will not watch, I will come upon you as a thief, and you will not know what hour I will come upon you.”
So we can see that to be a True Christian there is a lot more to it than just saying I believe that Jesus is God’s Son, and that He died for my sins, please God forgive me my sins, and I ask Jesus to come into my heart and be my saviour, Amen. That is merely the first step, there are many more steps which are imperatives, and which must be taken before we reach our goal.