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Examining Yourself

 "Test yourselves to see if you are in the faith; examine yourselves! Or do you not recognize this about yourselves, that Jesus Christ is in you—unless indeed you fail the test? But I trust that you will realize that we ourselves do not fail the test. Now we pray to God that you do no wrong; not that we ourselves may appear approved, but that you may do what is right, even though we may appear unapproved. For we can do nothing against the truth, but only for the truth. For we rejoice when we ourselves are weak but you are strong; this we also pray for, that you be made complete. 10 For this reason I am writing these things while absent, so that when present I need not use severity, in accordance with the authority which the Lord gave me for building up and not for tearing down."
Good Morning Beloved,
Welcome to worship this Lord's Day
We're so glad you're here
All true pastors, all faithful teachers of the Word of God, understand that they are servants of the Lord Jesus Christ, Who is the head of the church, Who brings His sovereign, divine authority to the church through the Word of God. We are called, not to decide what is relevant to preach, but to teach the people what the Word of God says, all of it, in its entirety. 

When Jesus preached, He preached with great authority and the people were amazed, they recognized His authority. There was nothing horizontal about it, it was vertical, coming from the Father. In fact, in John 7:16, Jesus said, "My teaching is not Mine, but His who sent Me." And in John 12:49, He said "For I did not speak on My own initiative, but the Father Himself who sent Me has given Me a commandment as to what to say and what to speak."
Now, I know this is not likely to be popular with a lot of so called Christians. There are a lot of questionable boundary markers for Christians. For example, if you read the obituary page, you will discover some really marvelous realities. Among them, upwards of 90% of people are going to heaven. 
People are "faithful, dedicated members of the church," despite the fact that they haven’t been in that church for decades. Though apparently their checks did however.
For years, I have preached extensively, on the failure of the modern Christian church to preach the whole gospel for salvation. Instead, so many pastors preach that you simply need to "believe in Jesus," with that being defined as making a public statement without needing to change your life, you can continue on, in the same sin that you enjoyed, prior to your "conversion." A "No obedience required" salvation. The upside, there is no feeling convicted of sin. The downside, you're not going to get through the narrow gate.
Jesus made this pretty clear in Matthew 28:27-28, when He said to His disciples, "Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age." Teaching them to observe all that I commanded you, I fail to see any discrepancy there.
In Titus 2:15, Paul said "These things speak and exhort and reprove with all authority. Let no one disregard you." The Lord demands authority in the church, and that authority is His authority passed down, through those who proclaim His Word. Ours is not a personal authority. It does not belong to us, because of ordination, oratorical ability, education, charisma, or even intellectual ability. 
Paul told the Corinthians in I Corinthians 2:1-5, "And when I came to you, brethren, I did not come with superiority of speech or of wisdom, proclaiming to you the testimony of God. For I determined to know nothing among you except Jesus Christ, and Him crucified. I was with you in weakness and in fear and in much trembling, and my message and my preaching were not in persuasive words of wisdom, but in demonstration of the Spirit and of power, so that your faith would not rest on the wisdom of men, but on the power of God."
To the dismay of many preachers today, the congregation does not come to hear the preacher speak, but God speak through the preacher. In the church, when you open your mouth, let God be heard!
Let's bow our heads in prayer.
Heavenly Father,
Father, Your Word is such rich and powerful truth, we give You thanks for it. We thank You for its clarity, and its depth, for the conviction it brings. Lord, we pray that You would call Your church to repentance, under the authority of Your Word. Bring it to bear on those called to preach the Word, to be under submission to Your headship, Your authority.

Lord, I pray, that if there are any here among us today, who are not true Christians, who stand in that dangerous gap of having been exposed to the gospel, having understood it, believing that it is true, yet have not embraced Christ as their Lord and Savior, that they would do so today. I pray for those who have been under the deceitfulness of sin, the hardness of heart, false teaching, that which leads to a more severe punishment, O' Lord, reach down and save those souls, even today, for Your glory and the sake of Christ 
In His precious name we pray, 
Amen and Amen

Today's Message: Examining Yourself

The church is the worst place for an unconverted person to be. Because you are in the most dangerous place, to take your place in the church and be apart from Christ. You're in an unsafe place. Allow me to share with you a passage from Hebrews chapter two. However, before we get into the text, the book of Hebrews, as the title indicates, was written by a group of Jews, who constituted the church. We have no clear indication who started it, who wrote the book of Hebrews. We do know that it was inspired by the Spirit of God. We do know that it was addressed to the church of converted Jews, who were genuine believers, they are mentioned throughout this epistle. However, within this church, was a group of
Jews, who had been intellectually convinced of the truth of the gospel. 
They had attended the church, at least to some degree, they had moved into social fellowship, they had heard the gospel, they had seen evidence of its truthfulness, however, they were not converted. They had not committed their faith to Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior. Throughout the book of Hebrews, this group of Jews was being warned about the seriousness of being in church, of not being a genuine believer, about being in church and not in Christ. There are a number of warnings throughout the book of Hebrews, however, we'll look only at a few, to set up our text in II Corinthians.

In Hebrews chapter 2, verse 1, it says, "For this reason we must pay much closer attention to what we have heard, so that we do not drift away from it." "For this reason.." is referring us back to chapter 1, to explain the reason the writer is referring to. We know that chapter 1, is all about the glory of Jesus Christ. 
Let's look at verses 1 through 4. "God, after He spoke long ago to the fathers in the prophets in many portions and in many ways, in these last days has spoken to us in His Son, whom He appointed heir of all things, through whom also He made the world. And He is the radiance of His glory and the exact representation of His nature, and upholds all things by the word of His power. When He had made purification of sins, He sat down at the right hand of the Majesty on high, having become as much better than the angels, as He has inherited a more excellent name than they."
In verse 6, "And when He again brings the firstborn into the world, He says, "And let all the angels of God worship Him."
And verse 8, "But of the Son He says, Your throne, O God, is forever and ever, And the righteous scepter is the scepter of His Kingdom."
Then in verse 13, "But to which of the angels has He ever said,Sit at My right hand, Until I make Your enemies A footstool for Your feet”?
So in chapter 2 verse 1, the writer is saying "we must pay much closer attention to what we have heard
Why? Because of who He is, because of His glory. It is He, Jesus Christ. In other words, we must pay closer attention to what we have heard, "so that we do not drift away from it." 
Hebrews 2:2, explains, that you are in grave danger, if you drift away. "For if the word spoken through angels proved unalterable, and every transgression and disobedience received a just penalty," The Word, is referring to the Old Testament, the Mosaic Law, that it was brought by angels, they brought it from God. "the angels proved unalterable", meaning it could not be changed, it could not be altered or edited.
And, "every transgression and disobedience received a just penalty," indicating that if you broke the law, if you were disobedient to the law, you were severely judged for it.
Then, in verse 3, "how will we escape if we neglect so great a salvation? After it was at the first spoken through the Lord, it was confirmed to us by those who heard," Who are they? The apostles. They had heard it from the Lord, they preached it to this group of Jews. They had heard it and believed, thus a church was formed.
Verse 4 says, not only did they hear the gospel preached, but that God bear witness to them. "God also testifying with them, both by signs and wonders and by various miracles and by gifts of the Holy Spirit according to His own will."
Those are the very things Paul mentioned in II Corinthians 12:12, as the mark of the apostles, "signs, wonders and miracles." The apostles preached, God validated their message, by the manifestation of the "gifts of the Holy Spirit," signs, wonders and miracles.
In Hebrews chapter 4, verse 14, it says "Therefore, since we have a great high priest who has passed through the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold fast our confession." And, in verse 16, "Therefore let us draw near with confidence to the throne of grace, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need."
Chapter 6 verses 1 and 2, the writer tells us "Therefore leaving the elementary teaching about the Christ, let us press on to maturity, not laying again a foundation of repentance from dead works and of faith toward God, of instruction about washings and laying on of hands, and the resurrection of the dead and eternal judgment." In other words, "You’ve got to go beyond the Old Testament talk about
repentance and dead works and faith and washings and the laying on of hands, which were done with animal sacrifices, simply just believing in the resurrection of the dead and eternal judgment. That was Old Testament teaching, you've got to move ahead, in maturity, to the fullness of the New Testament.
Then, here's the warning: "For in the case of those who have once been enlightened and have tasted of the heavenly gift and have been made partakers of the Holy Spirit, and have tasted the good word of God and the powers of the age to come"
"For in the case of those who have once been enlightened," For, or because, you have been once enlightened, meaning you understand. You understand the gospel, you understand that God came into the world in the form of Jesus Christ, that He was born in Bethlehem, of a virgin. You understand that He lived a perfect life, that He died a substitutionary death, that He died for our sins, that He rose on the third day. You understand that He ascended into heaven, is a great High Priest, will one day come again. You understand all that!

And, you "have tasted of the heavenly gift," the unspeakable gift of heaven, from God, which is Jesus Christ. You have experienced the miracles performed by Christ, you have experienced the Holy Spirit of God, you ate the food, that Jesus created from the fish and the loaves. You have witnessed the work of the Spirit of God in us, through signs, wonders and miracles. You have full understanding of that. You've seen all of that! 

In verse 6, "and then have fallen away, it is impossible to renew them again to repentance, since they again crucify to themselves the Son of God and put Him to open shame." Therefore, if you reject Christ, having this full understanding, it’s impossible to be saved! You are in a very dangerous position!

In Hebrews 10:26-27, there's yet another warning. A powerful warning! "For if we go on sinning willfully after receiving the knowledge of the truth, there no longer remains a sacrifice for sins, but a terrifying expectation of judgment and the fury of a fire which will consume the adversaries."

In verse 5, chapter 13, Paul is making a provocative statement. Examine your life to see if you are in the faith. This statement flows from Paul’s discussion of how the Corinthians were trashing him. So, here, he replies; instead of accusing me, examine yourselves. Dokimazō in the Greek.
Why then, should we examine our faith? Because the Bible is replete with false belief. We can't just do what those around us do. We need to have a Biblical faith. This injunction is a clarion call to us, that the Christian faith, is not an inscrutable mystery. 

So, if one is to examine their faith, what should one look for? To find the answer, we need to look no further, than the Bible. In John 8:31-32, Jesus said ...."If you continue in My word, then you are truly disciples of Mine; and you will know the truth, and the truth will make you free."
The first thing to look for is penitence. Your attitude toward sin. Remember, Jesus Himself said, "Blessed are the poor in Spirit," those who mourn over their sin. In other words, you cannot just continue willfully sinning, and when you do fall short, you mourn over it. It deeply bothers you.
The second thing is righteousness. Do you remember that Jesus said in Matthew 5:20, "For I say to you that unless your righteousness surpasses that of the scribes and Pharisees, you will not enter the kingdom of heaven." Theirs was purely external, they did all the right outward things, ceremonies, external moral and social things, however, the righteousness the Lord looks for is internal.
The third is submission. Happily and gladly submitting to the lordship of Jesus Christ. You count the cost, you eagerly pay the price. Because nothing, nothing is more valuable than Christ's lordship in your life.
The next thing, the fourth, is obedience. Obedience. Scripture compels you to obey, the truth of God’s Word is compelling to you to obedience. You are not just a hearer of the Word, you are a do'er. You live the word of the psalmist in Psalm 119:97, "O how I love Your law! It is my meditation all the day."
Jesus said in Matthew 7:26, "Everyone who hears these words of Mine and does not act on them, will be like a foolish man who built his house on the sand." It cannot get much clearer than that!
We are to obey the teaching of Christ and not just say we have a vague "belief" in Him. 
The fifth thing is love. Love for God, love for God’s people and love of the Lord, and love of other people who are in Christ. Your life is marked by love.

I'd like to mention, that these passages are only to push us in the right general direction, they are in no way, exhaustive measures of ones faith.
Beloved, when you come to the realization of your spiritual bankruptcy, when you come mourning over your sin, when you come humbly, and when you come hungering and thirsting for righteousness, there is such a desperation, that you are willing to follow Christ, no matter what the cost.
1 John 2:15, makes this quite clear. "Do not love the world nor the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him." 
I invite all of you to ask yourselves: Do I hear the Word with eager ears, wanting so much to obey it? Do I love the Kingdom of God, and not the world? Do I love believers? Do I love the Lord? If the answer isn't "YES!", then those are the issues. 
Christ's teaching is challenging and difficult at many points. Why? Because it pushes us beyond our selfish, sinful ways. We must forgive others, even though we really want revenge. We must deny ourselves, even though we want to satisfy our fleshly desires. We must reject temptation, and sexual sin, even though we are tempted. We must love our brothers and sisters in Christ, even though they drive us crazy and we sometimes don't even like them. That's not always easy to do is it? 
OK, let's get back to our text, in verse 6, Paul says "But I trust that you will realize that we ourselves do not fail the test." In other words, if they doubted his apostleship, they would then have to doubt his message. And, if they doubted his message, they would have to doubt their own conversion. Therefore, you cannot conclude that you have been genuinely transformed, that Christ is in you, if I’m not legitimate.
Paul is making a very powerful, important statement, he is giving them a profound truth. Paul is placing the authenticity of his apostleship on the backs of the believers in Corinth. He is saying, test yourselves, or peirazō, meaning to prove, and I will either rise or fall with your self examination. Once you have done the examination of yourselves and passed the test, I trust that you will realize that we ourselves do not fail the test. If you find that you are a true Christian, then we have to be true apostles.
Paul says in verse 7, "Now we pray to God that you do no wrong; not that we ourselves may appear approved, but that you may do what is right, even though we may appear unapproved." Here, Paul is praying for their obedience.
Verse 8, "For we can do nothing against the truth, but only for the truth. Many find it to be a difficult verse to grasp. What exactly does Paul mean by that? Well, first of all, the word truth used twice in the verse, alētheia, referring to the blessed revelation of God, in the Gospel of Jesus Christ, from justification through sanctification to glorification. The whole of God's message comes through the Scriptures, therefore, if you are doing what is right, if you’re obeying the truth of God's Word, then he cannot come in with a confrontational show, some authoritative display, if you're doing what is right.

Here is something I'd like for you to think about: Today, do we settle for rejoicing when someone is saved and baptized or do we expect more for them? It is a source of great joy for us. However, it is not a source of much else. Think about that! We hope they will grow in faith, we hope they will mature in faith, we hope they will read their Bible and that's about it... We don't actually do anything about it, do we? I believe, that we should push one another toward spiritual growth. We should encourage each other in the faith.

In verse 9, Paul says "For we rejoice when we ourselves are weak but you are strong; this we also pray for, that you be made complete." He is praying for their integrity, and this really reaches the pinnacle of faith. That it has the courage to conquer and struggle. That no enemy is too great. He is praying for their wholeness, their completeness. It is the Greek word katartizo. Which basically means to put in place, to put in order, to restore. Paul is essentially praying, that your thoughts, your words, your belief system, and your actions all are one, in perfect harmony. 
In verse 10, Paul says "For this reason I am writing these things while absent, so that when present I need not use severity, in accordance with the authority which the Lord gave me for building up and not for tearing down." Here Paul is saying its far better to be rebuked in this letter, so that when I come for my third visit, I can use the authority, which the Lord gave me, for edification, for building up, not for tearing down. That when present I need not use severity, please guys, just deal with these issues, so that my third visit will not be like the second, which was sad, and so painful for me.
Paul is less concerned about what they are saying about him than he is about their spiritual growth. Beloved, that is the true heart of a pastor, the true man of God.
In Closing...
We hear a great deal about "wholeness" in the church today. They represent to you a certain kind of "Christian testimony or Christian life." However, when you watch them for a while, they do something or say something that is completely out of sync, uncharacteristic of a Christian, it's not consistent with the Christian Life. That is the lack of spiritual integrity! Anytime a believer breeches that "wholeness," of what they profess to believe, what they claim to be, what they say that you are, that's a lack of integrity.

In Colossians 1:28-29, Paul gives us a view, a summary of his ministry. "We proclaim Him, admonishing every man and teaching every man with all wisdom, so that we may present every man complete in Christ. For this purpose also I labor, striving according to His power, which mightily works within me."
In Galatians 4:19, he conveys the same idea "My children, with whom I am again in labor until Christ is formed in you." In labor, Paul is saying I am in pain, I am agonizing, until Christ is formed in you.

I can't speak for you, but I understand just what Paul is saying here. As a father, is my heart, my passion for my sons, not simply a pattern of obedience but moving forward in that obedience, toward spiritual wholeness, in every aspect of their life that the Word of God touches. That's a fathers greatest joy, is to see that integrity come together, when they transfer that obedience in fear to an obedience out of their love for Christ.

As parents, what’s best for our children, might not always be stuff that the kids are readily thankful for in that moment. Maybe it's doing chores. It might be saying, "Yes, sir." It might be in the form of some kind of punishment for misbehavior. 
However, we know those things are good for them, in the long run. The parents’ goal is not to give the children what they want, but to give them what they need, in order for them to grow up to be well-functioning adults. One of the worst things a parent can do, is just blindly give their children everything they want. We guide our children, pushing them to excel academically, to become the best they can be. 
Why do we not push one another in the modern church to grow spiritually? Because we have become a individualistic society, concerned with self. 

I find it disheartening, that we're on a journey together, we're a community of faith, yet the reality is, in most churches, it's each person, walking alone. This is more of a reflection of our society, of the world, than of God's Kingdom. We have been "dumbed down," to an empty faith, where belief in Jesus Christ, no longer means that you are following Him. But a "belief" that simply means a cursory mental assent to His existence.
I believe there is change needed in the typical job description of today's church. The days of pastor's interacting with his people are quickly fleeting. Pastors need the encouragement, care, and concern from the congregation, furthermore, the congregation needs the care, concern and encouragement from their pastor.
May it be so....

And now may the Lord bless you and keep you;

the Lord make His face shine upon you,
And be gracious to you;

The Lord lift up His countenance upon you,
And give you peace.

Now and forever, in Jesus' name

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The Brian Monzon Ministries



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