It’s Time for Spiritual Inventory Part 1

Pastor Mike will be speaking on It’s Time for Spiritual Inventory Part 1. He will be reading out of 2nd Corinthians 13:5-6.

Your faith is developed as you are in your private time with God, as you are continuing to grow in your faith. But in that moment of crisis, everything that you have been preparing for, everything that you have been studying, every good work that God has been doing in your heart is finally revealed.

Hello, this is Pastor Mike Sanders from the Open Door Church, and I am welcoming you to our Hope Worth Having program, and we are grateful that you could be with us this week, and we can study the Bible together.

Today we’re going to be in 2 Corinthians chapter 13, and we are going to be learning about a spiritual inventory. It’s time for us to take a spiritual inventory and learn more about where we are at in our spiritual life.

So I want you to join me as we grab our Bible, and we begin to study together. You and I are living in an insecure world, and unexpected events can occur any moment that would change our lives forever, and we need to understand that this is a volatile world that we live in.

We live in uncertain times, but as Christians we know that God is in control, and that nothing is happening outside of His knowledge, and underneath are His everlasting arms. Sometimes people talk about the bottom dropping out.

I remind them that for us as believers the bottom never drops out, because underneath all that is going on in this world, all that is happening in our own lives are the everlasting arms of Jesus Christ.

The Bible teaches us that our lives are hidden with Christ in God, and we have absolute assurance. of our eternal salvation. The earth may shake, the mountains may fall, the stars may roll from their sockets, and the nations may collapse, but through Christ, we are eternally safe, secure, and we are a blessed people.

The Bible encourages us to draw near to Christ with full assurance of our faith. And the truth of personal assurance is taught over and over throughout the Bible. And we have this confidence as we believe in Him that His eternal salvation is forever.

And yet the Bible calls us as believers. To take an inventory. of our faith, to look at where we are at spiritually. It is profitable for Christians to take an inventory in spiritual matters in order to determine what is their relationship with God and what is their relationship with others.

When we come to our text this morning in 2 Corinthians chapter 13 verse 5 through 7, the Corinthians have been subjecting the apostle to intense scrutiny. They have been challenging him to prove that he is truly an apostle.

They have been questioning his authority. They have wondered if his ministry is legitimate and this message of salvation by grace, is it really heaven sent or is it another false teaching? The apostle uses this scrutiny and inverts it back on to the people as he calls them in verse 5 of chapter 13 to examine yourself as to whether you are in the faith.

Test yourselves. Do you not know yourselves that Jesus Christ is in you unless indeed you are disqualified? But I trust that you will know that we are not disqualified. Now I pray to God that you do no evil, not that we should appear approved, but that you should do what is honorable, though we may seem disqualified.

Really, the apostle, it moves from responding to the demands that he prove his apostleship in Christ to simply encouraging them to say you prove to me that Christ is in you you show me the evidence he is giving a call to genuine faith to the Corinthians he is reminding them of this simple truth and this is really at the heart of what he’s trying to get to is that if their faith is authentic if their true believers then they are the evidence that his message his ministry is truly sent from God or the proof of his ministry beyond all the evidences that he has already given is wrapped up in the fruit of his ministry The lives that have been changed, that have come to Christ and they have believed in Jesus Christ, and they have had their lives transformed because of their faith.

That is the true evidence of faith that we see that our lives are chained. So the Apostle simply gives us two things to consider in our spiritual inventory this morning. Number one is simply we are to examine ourselves.

We are to examine ourselves. Look again at verse five. Examine yourselves as to whether you are in the faith. Now I would think that most of us consider it wise to visit a doctor every now and then for an examination.

Maybe a checkup just to make sure everything is going well. I recently went to the eye doctor just last week, yes, and whenever I visit these doctors, they always like to ask me Bible question. And so he was rattling off all these Bible verses and wanted to know what I thought.

And I said, really doctor, I don’t know. You know, I haven’t examined those those passages of scriptures, but my goal was not to answer Bible questions, but was to get an examination of how the eyes are doing.

And my doctor does a great job because I tell him I have to be able to read the Bible up here. And you know, I got to make sure I can see properly. But we all want a clean bill of health, don’t we? We want to make sure that everything is going right.

And if anything needs to be corrected that we can do that and that we can make sure that we’re staying as healthy as possible. This is exactly what the apostle is challenging us all as we look at our text and as we focus on that first phrase in verse five.

examine yourselves as to whether you are in the faith you may say pastor why would I have to examine myself well first of all the scriptures teach us the scriptures teach us to examine yes we have the assurance of our faith we have the confidence of our faith no matter how crazy this world may get that we are confident that our faith is an everlasting faith but yet at the same time we walk a different track and that is that we are to examine ourselves to see if we are not only in the faith but that we are manifesting the fruits of true believers in Jesus Christ we are called to ask the question are we true Christians are we true Christians in this passage the Bible tells us to examine ourselves as to whether we are in the faith 2 Peter chapter 1 verse 10 says give diligence to make your calling an election sure.

People have been conditioned to believe that because they recited a prayer, signed a card or walked an aisle that they are saved and should never question their salvation. But you know the Bible teaches just the opposite.

That you should be looking for evidences of faith and I want you to know that all these outward things, there’s nothing wrong with praying, there’s nothing wrong with signing a card of your commitment, there’s nothing wrong with walking an aisle, please do not misunderstand me.

But if you think those things save you, that’s where you’re wrong. And it just going through the motions of those things will not bring eternal life. How is it that I know that I’m truly a believer in Jesus Christ?

That’s what we really need to examine. What is the manifestation of changes in my life that says yes, my faith is real. Now this examination is a individual responsibility that God has called each one of us to take time to examine our life.

We must walk carefully, we must walk in such a way that we are alert to our own lives and where we are at spiritually, we must watch our steps, we must make sure that we do not go astray, that we are not causing offense to our God and that we are not hindering His cause.

When we think about why should I examine my life, not only because we are commanded, but because it is essential to the victory that we can experience in our Christian life. Because that as we examine our hearts and we look at where we are at spiritually, it is through that self -examination and the power of the Spirit and through the Word of God that He is revealing things to us to help us to deal and address with problems in our life spiritually.

We have a tendency in human nature to get in a rut or to just get in a pattern and we stay there and we think as long as that is going on, that pattern is okay, then we’re okay. But the truth is that I am convinced that many times God shakes things up for the purpose to cause us to once again reevaluate.

Examine and look at things that need to be addressed in our own heart. Perhaps self -examination is a foreign concept to you. It shouldn’t be because it’s taught throughout the Scriptures. We know that before we partake of the Lord’s Supper, that the Apostle has instructed us that we are to examine himself or ourselves.

And then the Bible says, let him eat of that bread and drink of that cup. Many avoid the Lord’s Supper. They stay away from it. Why? Because they don’t want to have to take the time to examine themselves spiritually.

We live in a culture where staying busy makes it easy to not have to examine. People sometimes have a hard time sleeping unless the TV’s on or unless music is playing. And I’m not against those things.

I’m just saying that sometimes people have to have noise. People have to have activity. Why? Because that moment of silence requires reflection, requires examination. When God calls us to the Lord’s table in the church and the Bible commands it, it is not an option.

We are called to partake of the bread. We are called to drink of the cup. But the purpose is to focus our hearts on Christ and to examine our lives and make sure that we’re where God wants us to be. It’s not that any of us have ever achieved or that we have ever somehow become perfect in our faith, but rather we recognize that God is always challenging us to be stronger, closer, deeper, broader in our faith and that He is inviting each of us to look at those areas, things that He already sees.

Things that he is ready to reveal to our hearts Each of us must examine our hearts Concerning the authenticity of our faith Listen to what Spurgeon said about this very particular text Can you not bear a little self -examination?

How will you bear that God? Examination if the scales of earth tell you that you are lacking What message will the scales of heaven give you? What a great thought now, I don’t want you to be discouraged in this self -examination.

I don’t want you to feel overwhelmed I don’t want you to analyze till you paralyze. I don’t want you to break down melt down and fall apart I want you to know that God is able to help us in the midst of our Examination just as you go to a physician the goal is not your demise but the goal is your health and so it is that as we are spiritually examine our life and saying where am I at spiritually what fruit am I showing what areas of my life do I need to change you have a wonderful Savior who is able to assist you and strengthen you to not only have the courage to confront what needs to be changed but to give you the ability to change in your life and the key is that we not only need a desire but we need the skills to be able to change and we find ourselves sometimes that we are limited in our desires that the flesh begins to dominate our hearts and that we don’t have that will that desire to be willing to say God do a work in me and change me Lord change me God can put that in your heart you pray I pray we call upon God together and we say Lord change my heart Lord change my desires give me a passion to want to examine my heart and to realize that it is a great spiritual discipline and that it is something that you have commanded and called me to do and then Lord help me when those things are brought to my attention that you want me to change help me help me to do it help me to obey you help me to give up what I need to give up and to embrace what I need to embrace help me to accomplish the great goal of being more like Jesus Christ now the second thing that I want you to see this morning is that the scripture calls us to test ourselves.

So again, and we come back to verse five, and as we look, he says, “‘Test yourselves. “‘Do you not know yourselves, “‘that Jesus Christ is in you? “‘Unless indeed you are disqualified.'” You see, friends, here, what the apostle was helping them to understand that if their own faith was true, that in fact, his apostleship is true.

Because if the Spirit of God is living in them and he is transforming their lives, then they truly have experienced the true ministry of Jesus Christ through the apostle as an ambassador unto them, as a messenger unto them.

But here he calls us not only to examine, but to test. Now let’s think about that. How many of you remember those days when you were in the classroom? I mean, don’t you wanna go back to the classroom?

How many of you would like to take another test? We don’t like that, do we? But listen, God wants us to take tests. God wants us to take a test. You think about your teacher, whenever your teacher tested you, why did the teacher test you?

The teacher tested you to see where you are at. To understand what did you learn? What did you comprehend? What really stuck with you? What did you study for? What did you prepare for? What are you working on?

That is what the test does. It reveals to the teacher where you’re at. But listen, not only does it reveal to the teacher where you’re at, but it reveals to you. It reveals to the student a self -awareness of where they are at, what they need to work on, what they have to get better at.

And so it is that spiritually, this is what God is doing to us, is that as he is calling us to test ourselves, he wants us to get to that point where not only that we can reveal to him where we are at, but that we can reveal to ourselves where we are at.

So many Christians are not really alert to where they’re at spiritually. They are not aware of the vulnerabilities of their own faith and the weaknesses of their faith. And then a crisis comes in their life, and when that crisis hits, their faith is tested, and they are fully exposed on areas of where they should have been working on.

You see, someone once said that a champion, a champion is not made in the ring. but only discovered and So it is in our Christian faith. It’s not in the practice of life. It’s not living our life That is discovering our faith, but rather it is the revealing of our faith It is the revealing of where we’re at spiritually your faith is developed as you are in your private time with God as you are continuing to grow in your faith and learning and Studying and developing and understanding what God teaches us but in that moment of crisis Everything that you have been preparing for Everything that you have been studying every good work that God has been doing in your heart is finally revealed And exposed I Want you to take your Bible and go to Psalm 139 if you will this morning Go to Psalm 139 for me Psalm 139.

I want you to look at verse 23 And 24, here is the prayer of David as he, again, is asking God to test him. He says in Psalm 139, verse 23 and 24, search me, O God. I want you to think there for a second.

When is the last time you weren’t asking God for something that you could receive, but that you were asking God to search you? The Bible says, search me, O God, and know my heart. Try me or test me and know my anxieties.

And see if there is any wicked way in me and lead me in the way everlasting. What I want you to see here is that you will note in verse 24, lead me in the way of everlasting. The eternal way of God. Lead me in that way.

You cannot know where you’re going until you know where you’re at. You know that to be true because when you’re headed out on a vacation trip, you punch in those numbers into your little GPS wherever it’s at.

And you got to know where you’re going and you got to know where you’re at. And if you don’t know where you’re at, it doesn’t matter how many times you put where you want to go. It’s not going to know how to get you there.

And so it is that there is an importance in our life that we say, Lord, where am I at? Search my heart. Test me, Lord. Know my heart and know my anxieties, the things that are worrying me, the things that are causing me to be so troubled in my heart.

Lord, is there any wicked way in me? I want to tell you something about change. You cannot change what you will not confront. and you cannot confront what you will not acknowledge. So many people are living in denial in their life.

They have addictions in their life. They have problems in their life. They have bad habits in their life. They have patterns in their life that are destructive to not only themselves but their relationships to other people and until they’re willing to acknowledge that and say, Lord, what is wrong in my heart?

Bring it to my attention so I can confess it, so I can deal with it, so I can confront it, and so I can change, and so it is in my spiritual life. God is calling us to test ourselves in his Sermon on the Mount.

Jesus warned that some people mistakenly think that they are going to heaven. That because of their religious activity, because of their good works, that somehow they were going to heaven. But Jesus reminded them in Matthew chapter seven in verse 21 through 23, that not everyone who says to me, Lord, Lord, will enter into the kingdom of heaven.

Not everyone who says, hey, Lord, we did all these wonderful things in your name. Look at our long list of activities. Look how busy we were for you. Look how much we accomplished for you. Jesus said that he’ll look at them and say, depart from me, ye that work iniquity.

Think about that. All that religious activity and Jesus called it iniquity. All that busyness for God and Jesus called it iniquity. All that religious fervor and activity. Jesus calls it iniquity, why?

Because when you do the right thing with the wrong heart, it is iniquity before God. It is hypocrisy. It is pretending to be something that you are not. And that’s why Jesus calls us to look within our hearts.

That’s why in the Sermon on the Mount in Matthew chapter five, Jesus over and over confronts the ideas, the philosophies of the Jews, the religious elite of that day. And they would simply say, well, we didn’t do it.

And Jesus said, if you thought it, you’re guilty. If it’s in your heart, you’re guilty. We never murdered our brother, but you in your heart murdered him. We never hated people in the sense that we lashed out on them.

But Jesus said, in your heart, if you did, you’re guilty. And again, that’s the point. What God cares most about each and every one of us is our hearts. He is more concerned where we are at spiritually than our busyness for God.

that I believe we are created under good works. I believe we should stay busy for Jesus Christ. I believe we should be always abounding in the work of the Lord, but not until we have first examined our hearts and looked where we are at spiritually.

It’s important for all of us to realize that we are qualified for heaven, not through good works, not because we teach a class, not because we watch the nursery, not because of church attendance, but we are qualified to go to heaven purely based upon the sacrificial death and resurrection of Jesus Christ.

Our salvation is not in our religious activity, but our salvation is in the great work of Jesus on the cross through the resurrection, and He has made it possible for each and every one of us to have an eternal home.

with Jesus Christ and so we are not working to earn points with God we are not working that we might enter in to the pearly gates we are not working so that we can impress God we are not here this morning because we want to feather in our cap towards God but rather we are here because we love God because we are thankful to God and we want to obey Him and Jesus said if you love me you will obey me and here’s the height of love towards God it is not an emotional experience it’s not a tear that you shed and none of those things are bad or wrong I’m just saying that the height of showing love to God is simply this obedience to God what it is if you love me Jesus said obey me and so out of love we gather out of love we serve out of love for our great Savior we reach out and the key question we have to ask ourselves is have we truly committed our life to Jesus Christ by faith are we truly trusting in His grace alone for eternal salvation and if that is all true what are the evidences of new life in me and I’d like you to consider this and I want you to know that as Terry and I were raising our children at home that this was always one of the topic of discussions and that is what is the evidence that you would be found guilty in the court of law of being a believer now these principles we’re learning about a spiritual inventory are designed to give us the tools to help us properly evaluate our spiritual life.

Now if you have been looking at your spiritual life and realize that you’re not a true believer, you really do not manifest a true faith in Jesus Christ. Well we invite you now to take this moment to repent of your sins and to believe in the Lord Jesus Christ and to trust Him as your Savior.

And the Bible tells us that whoever calls on the name of the Lord shall be saved. So I pray that that will be true in your life. Remember that every Sunday we’re streaming live on our website, our YouTube channel, and our Facebook.

Now we’re never here to replace the church. We want you to know we’re here to supplement your faith and to encourage you in your walk with Christ. And I hope you’ll take advantage of that. This is Pastor Mike Sanders reminding you that in Christ there is hope worth having.

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