It’s Time for Spiritual Inventory Part 2

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

I don’t understand everything in my Bible and the secret things belong to God and there’s a lot of things I can’t explain in life but I still believe that Jesus Christ died on the cross for my sins and I still believe that he rose again the third day and I still believe that he’s at the right hand of the Father interceding for God’s people.

Amen. Hello this is Pastor Mike Sanders and this is Hope Worth Having. We’re to what God has for us as we study the Word of God. We’re gonna be in 2nd Corinthians chapter 13 and we’re gonna be studying its time for a spiritual inventory.

Now you might wonder why. Why do we need an inventory? Well just remember that God is always challenging us to evaluate our spiritual life and making sure that we’re tracking in the right direction. So let’s open our Bibles and let’s get studying together.

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 5 and as we look he says test yourselves do you not know yourselves that Jesus Christ is in you unless indeed you are disqualify you see friends here with the is 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 want to 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 the student, 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 is not made in the rain, 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… 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. 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 7 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, now 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.

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 a 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? We didn’t say, hey, just because you were baptized, well, you guys are guaranteed in. We didn’t say, hey, just because you’re in the pastor’s family, you got a fast track to heaven.

But no, just the opposite. We kept reminding them that just because you’re in the pastor’s family does not mean you get to hang onto our coattails into heaven. That God has no grandchildren. He only has children.

Can God’s people say amen to that? He only has children, and every one of us has to make a response to the gospel. We have to respond to Jesus Christ, and moms and dads, your first missionary job is not to the regions beyond.

I know you might get upset with me, but it’s true, the first missionary job is your children, and challenging them to make sure that religious activity does not save them, that they understand that, that they have to have a personal faith in Christ, and signing a card, and praying a prayer does not guarantee anything.

There has to be evidence. Here is the key to how do I know that I am truly a believer. My life has been chained. Jesus put it like this. He said, you’ll know them by their fruits. You will know them by their fruits.

And so you cannot be a pretender. You cannot be someone who says, well, I prayed a prayer, I signed a card, I went to the open door church if I’ve heard this once in this community, I have heard it a thousand times.

I rode a bus, they baptized me before I went home, and now I’m good to go, Pastor Mike. No, you’re not. You have to be born again to get to heaven, amen? You still believe that church? The psalmist said in Psalm 26, verse two, prove me, oh Lord, try me or test me, test my heart and my mind.

And the Bible teaches clearly that the evidence of God’s work in a life is the fruit of a transformed behavior. That’s what I want you to know. So I wrote down some things, this is not all encompassing, but here are some basic things if you wanna do a checkup on your spiritual life, if you’re trying to help your children, your grandchildren, if you’re trying to help a friend, if you’re mentoring someone, you are trying to help them to make sure that they are examining their life, that they are taking the test, that they are looking at their own hearts, and that they are manifesting true evidence of true faith in their life.

Are you ready? Number one, there is a new love for holiness. There is a new love for holiness in your heart. When I was an unbeliever, I’ve told you church before that I had a very potty mouth. I said things that I should not said, but I didn’t know any better, it never bothered me, but as soon as I gave my life to Jesus Christ as 11 year old boy, like a knife cutting into my heart, as soon as I cursed, it bothered.

It struck me, and the spirit of God. said, Whoa, that’s not godly. I feel bad for my pastor. Because every week I was such a mess. And I was so convicted about everything I just spent every week every Sunday at the altar.

If he gave an invitation, bam, I was there because I was so filled of conviction. I was so filled with I need to get these things corrected in my life. That’s the key is that a truly born again person loves holiness wants to be Christ like the second evidence is there is a hatred of sin.

unbelievers love to sin. They enjoy sin. They can’t wait to keep on sin in because that’s their nature. My friends, our nature, when we come to Christ, we are a new man in Christ, we are a new person in Christ.

Remember, the Bible says We are a new creature or a new creation. All things have done what, church? All things have become new. There is a hatred for sin in my heart. I am devastated. It’s not that I hate people that sin.

It’s not that I am just this antagonistic person who every time I see someone sin, that I’m mad and angry and obnoxious toward them. But in my heart, I am grieved over sin in my own heart. Remember the man who Jesus talked about, he came into the temple and he stood before God at the altar and he said, God, I’m glad that I’m not like that guy.

He does all these things, but look at all the wonderful things I do, God. I’m glad I’m not like him. But what was the poor sinner doing? He was over here on his knees, could not even lift his head to God.

And he said, oh God, forgive me. I am wretched. I am miserable. I have failed you. I have sinned against you. And here’s what Jesus said. That guy over there, who cannot stand the sin that’s in his own heart, he is justified.

Because God forgives people who own their sin. God forgives people who say, woe is me. He does not forgive people who walk around and say, well, look what’s wrong with them and look what’s wrong with that person.

And why won’t they do that? No friends. We look at our own hearts and we have a new hatred of sin. Here’s another one. Now this is gonna be a tough year. Are you guys ready? A love for people. All these, you can do your own research, but simply suffice it to say, First John teaches us, we know we have passed from death unto life because we have a life.

love for the brethren. Now God’s people can be difficult and God’s people can be troubling, but there is a love in our hearts for God’s people. And sometimes that love has to be worked on, and sometimes it has to develop and it has to grow, and you cannot let it wane that God puts in your heart.

I did not care where people spent their eternal destination before I was a Christian, but when I became a Christian and I heard my pastor teach, he taught that we should love sinners and that we should try to win sinners to Christ and that we should try to reach out.

He revealed in my heart that there is a love that God has put within me, but not only for sinners, a love for God’s people. I mean, I’m telling you that when I got saved and the bus driver said, but Mike, he said, Mike.

He said, we have church Sunday night. Mike, do you wanna come? I said, man, you guys do this twice. This is awesome. I was so excited to be with God’s people. I was so excited to connect with them. I was so excited to be a part.

After church, many times my Sunday school teacher and her husband would say, come on over to me, my brother, and my sister and say, let’s have hot dogs and hamburgers and go swimming with the kids. And it was just great to be around Christians.

It was so thrilling and it was so exciting for us. There was a love in our heart to learn, to grow. This is the evidence. Here’s another one. We talked already a little bit about it. But there is a practical righteousness and obedience in your heart.

There is a practical righteousness and obedience. Remember, if you love God, you’ll obey God that there is a desire. It’s not that when I get saved, I obey 100%. But my obedience is growing. And the more I learn, the more I wanna obey.

I’m not defiant. I’m not argumentative. I’m not fighting with God. If God says it, I believe it. And if he says, Mike, this is wrong, then I’m like, okay, it’s wrong. I’m gonna give it up. If he says, this is right, then I’m like, okay, it’s right.

I wanna do that, God. That’s how a true believer is. They wanna obey God. A .W. Tozer said this, the Lord will not save those whom he cannot command. You don’t get to say, hey, I signed a card, but I’m gonna go out here and live like the devil.

And people say, well, what about what the Bible says? You need to get rid of this and you need to change that. And you need to be a transformed life and you need to strive for Christ’s likeness. And they say, no, I don’t want any of that.

I just wanna know that I’m going to heaven. I just needed a little fire insurance. That’s not what salvation is, okay? Salvation is not just getting people to pray a prayer. And then they go out and live like the devil.

Salvation is full surrender to God. And if you’re truly born… again you want to obey God next one very quickly a continuous faithfulness marks the redeemed a continuous faithfulness to God and his people is a mark of a true believer listen to 1st John 2 19 they went out from us but they were not of us or if they had been of us they would have continued with us but they went out that they might be made manifest that none of them were of us the endurance of your faith is a manifestation of the authenticity of your faith the great preacher Adrian Rogers once said the faith that fizzles in the end was flawed from the beginning and time and time again people say what happened to so -and -so What happened to this person?

They fizzled out. It’s not that they have to be in our church, but if they’re in church, they should be among God’s people, they should be growing, they should be serving, they should belong to be what God wants them to be.

And wherever that might be, that’s wonderful. God has many wonderful churches that preach the Bible, preach the gospel, because there’s many different types of people, and so I’m cool with all that. But what I’m saying is that you can’t say, hey, I’m okay with God, but I’m gonna leave the faith, and I’m gonna have nothing to do with Jesus, and nothing to do with God.

And I know we have doubts, and I know we have questions, and I know we have struggles, and I get all that, but that does not in any way cause us to not believe. Listen, I don’t understand everything about how a car turns on or how medicine happens and how it works in your body.

I don’t understand all the dynamics of all that they’re doing. They sent this little robot to Mars. I don’t understand it, but it doesn’t shake me to believe it, and so it is. I don’t understand everything in my Bible.

I don’t understand every verse, and the secret things belong to God, and there’s a lot of things I can’t explain in life, but I still believe that Jesus Christ died on the cross for my sins, and I still believe that he rose again the third day, and I still believe that he’s at the right hand of the Father, interceding for God’s people, amen.

Yeah, I know it’s early, but we gotta get pumped up here. Now, again, another thing about endurance is the Bible says, here’s what Jesus said in John 8 .31. So Jesus was saying to those Jews who had believed him, if you continue, if you continue, if you continue in my word, then you are truly disciples of mine.

The continuance of your faith is the evidence that your faith is real. That’s what I’m trying to say to you this morning. Another one I put down is a separation from the world. It really comes down to this church that our loves change when we become a believer.

1 John is a letter written to take a test on whether your faith is real or not. And what he says is this, love God, love people. He tells us to do that and he defines that for us. He helps us say, you know, look, you can’t say you love your brother, but you won’t help your brother.

He defines it all for us. Same thing with God. But then he says don’t love in chapter 2 of 1 John, do not love the world nor the things that are in the world. That is the distinction of a believer, is that our love is for God, our love is for people, and we do not love the world, nor do we chase after the things of the world, nor do we want to be like the world.

We’re okay with being different, we’re okay with being distinct, we’re okay that people look at us and say, what’s wrong with them? What’s wrong with us? We have the spirit of God living in us. What’s wrong with us?

Jesus Christ has saved us from our sins. What’s wrong with us is that we have a disdain for the things of this world. We find the world not satisfying. We find the things of the world as being anemic and unsatisfying, but we find that the cause of Christ is our passion.

The cause of Christ is our focus, and loving Jesus and loving people is our heart, and this becomes the concept of understanding what it means to be separated from the world. We think separation from the world means that we don’t run down to the bars anymore, or that we dress a certain way, absolutely not.

That’s a misnomer about what it means to be separate from the world. What it means to be separate from the world is that I no longer want to be like the world. I don’t want to think like them. I don’t want to act like them.

I don’t want to be motivated by them, nor motivated like them, but rather my passion, my focus, my ambition is Christ. To live is what, church? To live is Christ. That is what we are. So these are just a few, and I leave you with this question as we conclude in prayer.

Are you prepared to let God examine you and test you? and show you where you’re really at spiritually. The Bible says that we’re to examine ourselves. We not only examine ourselves before we partake of the Lord’s Supper, but we’re called to regularly examine ourself and see if we are in the faith.

Now, you might question why that would be true, that God would want us to examine ourselves because we need to make sure that we’re reflecting the fruits of not only the spirit, but we are reflecting the true characteristics of a believer in Jesus Christ.

And this evaluation helps us to see areas that we need to grow. And so that’s the purpose of the Apostle Paul, is that he’s just wanting the believers to continue to grow in their faith and to be stronger.

Now, we wanna encourage you to check out our YouTube channel and just go into YouTube and type in hope worth having and subscribe. to our channel and you’ll get alerts and notifications of when we upload new material and be encouraged and strengthened in your faith.

This is Pastor Mike Sanders reminding you that in Christ there is hope worth having. you

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