Testing Our Faith

How to Test What We Believe, Whether it is Right?

2 Corinthians 13:5

May 11, 2014 AM

Pastor Craig Ledbetter

Bible Baptist Church, Ballincollig, Cork, Ireland



I.       Introduction (Matthew 7:21-23)


A.    Some serious statements from Jesus Christ Himself! Such an important thing to not overlook!

B.     You see, There are many people who will EXPECT to be walking right into heaven when they die, and yet will be stopped… NOT by Peter, or an angel at the pearly gates, but by Jesus Christ Himself!


1.      He will NOT say:


a.       “Awww, you ALMOST had it. Sorry.”

b.      “Not quite good enough”

c.       “If you only prayed more”

d.      “Go and talk with my Mother… maybe she can get you in…”

e.       Or, “Head around back and climb in through the BACK door” (as if there IS one)


2.      No! He will say, “DEPART from me, ye workers of iniquity, I NEVER KNEW YOU!”


C.    You see, some people, even MANY people think they have faith, … that basically ALL faiths are the same, leading to the same god…

D.    And they are wrong!


II.    Background


A.    What Faith Is…


1.      It is something every man woman and child desperately needs – that’s why the whole world spends a whole lot of effort trying to have faith! We all know we need it… To believe in something more than you can see, and feel and understand!

2.      Faith is NOT some lofty sounding religious words that you can repeat like a parrot


a.       “I believe in God, the Father Almighty, Creator of Heaven and earth. I believe in Jesus Christ, His only Son, our Lord, who was conceived by the Holy Spirit, born of the Virgin Mary, suffered under Pontius Pilate, was crucified, died and was buried. He descended to the dead. On the third day, He rose again…”


c.       Anybody can say those words, and even believe them with all their heart, and it not save them from a devil’s hell!

d.      Many people believe the FACTS concerning Christ. They believe that He is the Son of God and that He died on the cross for the sins of the world.

e.       But they do not TRUST Him. They do not love Him, nor are they willing to obey Him and follow Him. This is not true faith in Christ and it will NEVER bring salvation.


3.      Faith is NOT some “Name it and claim it” power – where you just tell God that you are believing for something you want, and therefore you will get it! RUBBISH

4.      Faith is NOT something you feel, or “experience”

5.      It is simply believing with all your heart what God says – no debate!


a.       Abraham had faith in Gen 12, enough that when God asked him to trust him enough to leave his family and home to go to the Promised Land, Abraham believed God!

b.      The apostle Paul said in Rom 10:9,10  That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved.  For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation. 

c.       Act 8:36,37  And as they went on their way, they came unto a certain water: and the eunuch said, See, here is water; what doth hinder me to be baptized? And Philip said, If thou believest with all thine heart, thou mayest. And he answered and said, I believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God.

d.      THAT is saving faith – life changing faith!


6.      So many people claim that they believe IN God and that it is enough for them, but they do not simply believe On Him! Faith is believing Him, trusting Him to do right, always!

7.      That’s faith!


B.     Where Does Faith Come From?


1.      There are so MANY “Faiths”

2.      They all don’t work!

3.      There is only ONE working faith – THE faith (Acts 6:7; 16:5; Galatians 2:20)


a.       Act 6:7  And the word of God increased; and the number of the disciples multiplied in Jerusalem greatly; and a great company of the priests were obedient to the faith.

b.      Act 16:5  And so were the churches established in the faith, and increased in number daily.

c.       Whose faith is the right one? Gal 2:20  I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me.


4.      And that faith is found in THIS Book (Romans 10:17)

5.      Everything we believe, comes from the pages of this Book – and only this Book!


C.     God’s Book says in 2Cor 13:5, “Examine yourselves, whether ye be in the faith; prove your own selves. Know ye not your own selves, how that Jesus Christ is in you, except ye be reprobates?


1.      See it you have faith

2.      See if you have the right faith

3.      That is what we are going to test this morning

4.      People are not often willing to do this, but it is commanded because it is of eternal importance!


III.  Message


A.    “Examine Yourselves”


1.      Before you start focusing on everyone else’s faith, start examining your own!

2.      For the first time in a long time, STOP examining everyone else around you: their hair, their outfit, their boyfriend, their money, their past, their failures, their accent… and take a good, long look at yourself!


a.       See if you really are saved, born again, fully forgiven by the grace of God!

b.      See if you really ARE following Jesus Christ, or just a Jesus of your own imagination

c.       See if your heart is right towards God

d.      Or if you are just as lost as a goat!


3.      Examine your thoughts and imaginations – do you ever catch all the things going on inside your head? Are any of them godly?

4.      Examine your words – are they the words of a Christian, or just the same old hurtful, filthy words that you have always said?

5.      Examine your attitudes – take your spiritual temperature!

6.      Examine your appetites – what you live for; what tickles your fancy.

7.      Examine your heart, your loves

8.      Examine your worship

9.      Examine your commitment

10.  This is a normal thing for someone claiming to be a Christian!!!


a.       1Co 11:28  But let a man examine himself, and so let him eat of that bread, and drink of that cup.

b.      Jas 1:22-25  But be ye doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving your own selves. For if any be a hearer of the word, and not a doer, he is like unto a man beholding his natural face in a glass: For he beholdeth himself, and goeth his way, and straightway forgetteth what manner of man he was. But whoso looketh into the perfect law of liberty, and continueth therein, he being not a forgetful hearer, but a doer of the work, this man shall be blessed in his deed.

c.       Luk 23:13,14  And Pilate, when he had called together the chief priests and the rulers and the people, Said unto them, Ye have brought this man unto me, as one that perverteth the people: and, behold, I, having examined him before you, have found no fault in this man touching those things whereof ye accuse him:


11.  And, allow GOD to examine you to see if you are for real (Psalm 26:2)


a.       Psa 26:2  Examine me, O LORD, and prove me; try my reins and my heart.


12.  Don’t look for perfection, but look for something to be there that is of GOD, and not of this world. If no one else notices anything different about you, at least YOU should notice something different – something peculiar about you now that are turned to God and asked Him to save your soul!


B.     “Whether ye be in the faith”


1.      Paul is talking about being solidly in THE faith


a.       Like two gears, SOLIDLY connecting – not just barely touching

b.      Ever tried to drive, and the gears just wouldn’t get solidly engaged?

c.       A lot of Christians are like that!


2.      Having sound, real, solid, unfeigned faith (Titus 1:13)

3.      It is expected that a believer should CONTINUE in the faith (Acts 14:22; Col 1:23)

4.      Check and see if you are still doing right, years after getting saved!

5.      Yes, you can get out of and back into faith – it is called backsliding – but don’t count on always getting back in! God will chasten you when you back off from following Jesus!

6.      If you “have gotten out” and don’t care that you have, then maybe you never were ever in!!!


C.    “Prove your own selves”


1.      There is such a large portion of FALSE BELIEVERS out there!

2.      Prove yourself as a believer in Jesus Christ! A believer of this Book!

3.      The world is hearing many people everywhere on TV and in sports claiming to be Christians. You hear even politicians claiming it. And I am glad!

4.      But everyone knows that SAYING IT is not the same as BEING IT! So PROVE you are a born again child of God!


a.       It would be like someone coming into a stadium, and saying they are a professional football player. And yet no one recognises him. So they tell him, “prove it!” And so he then commences to manage and kick and drive the ball like a master down the field right over the head of the goalie and into the goal. And everyone agrees, Yep, he’s a football player!

b.      It would be like someone showing up late night at an overworked A&E and claiming to be a doctor, and that he would like to help. Well, what do you THINK everyone on that floor would say??? Hmmm? “Prove it!” And then he proves it!


5.      If you claim to be a Christian, a Christ-follower, then you should have no problem proving it!!! Amen?


D.    “Know ye not your own selves, how that Jesus Christ is in you?”


1.      Either Jesus Christ, the Lord of heaven, is IN you, or He is not!

2.      And most assuredly, He is IN a believer


a.       Gal 4:4-6  But when the fulness of the time was come, God sent forth his Son, made of a woman, made under the law, To redeem them that were under the law, that we might receive the adoption of sons.  And because ye are sons, God hath sent forth the Spirit of his Son into your hearts, crying, Abba, Father.

b.      Col 1:27  To whom God would make known what is the riches of the glory of this mystery among the Gentiles; which is Christ in you, the hope of glory:

c.       Gal 2:20  I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me.

d.      Eph 3:16  That he would grant you, according to the riches of his glory, to be strengthened with might by his Spirit in the inner man;

e.       Eph 3:17  That Christ may dwell in your hearts by faith; that ye, being rooted and grounded in love,


3.      So… If Jesus is IN you, somebody should be able to tell it!

4.      You can’t hide a city set on a hill – there is LIGHT there! You cannot hide HIM!


E.      “Except ye be reprobates?”


1.      Tit 1:16  They profess that they know God; but in works they deny him, being abominable, and disobedient, and unto every good work reprobate.

2.      Reprobate means: Unproven, Unacceptable, Rejected, Not enduring testing

3.      In other words, see if you are the real deal, or only a fraud!

4.      And it is proven by the false life you are living, and the unwillingness to do the will of God!

5.      It’s a serious concern! That there are running around a whole load of people saying “Lord, Lord” and yet not doing what Jesus said do! And yet they believe with all their heart they should be able to walk straight into eternity – into the very presence of Almighty God!


F.     Some Thoughts


1.      There are so many things that do NOT prove you are saved or lost…

2.      You sinning does not disprove that you are in the faith or not

3.      You NOT sinning does not prove that you are in the faith

4.      You feeling good does not prove you are in the faith

5.      You feeling bad, depressed, defeated does not prove you are not in the faith

6.      Your riches and successes do not prove you are heaven bound

7.      Your failures and poverty do not prove you are lost!

8.      Your baptism does not prove you are in the faith

9.      You NOT being baptized does not prove that you are not in the faith

10.  The fact that you backslide, does not prove you are not in the faith


a.       2Ti 2:11  It is a faithful saying: For if we be dead with him, we shall also live with him:

b.      2Ti 2:12  If we suffer, we shall also reign with him: if we deny him, he also will deny us

c.       2Ti 2:13  If we believe not, yet he abideth faithful: he cannot deny himself.


G.     “What Proves You Are IN the Faith?”


1.      Jesus IN you proves it!

2.      And He only gets in you when you RECEIVE Him (John 1:10-12)

3.      If Jesus Christ is what makes a person a Christian, then nothing else affects it at all!

4.      Your once-off, heart cry to God to save you from sins’ penalty, that you came to understand you deserved! (Rom 6:23)

5.      Your belief that He will save you simply because you believed enough to ask Him to (Romans 10:8-13)!


a.       Rom 10:8  But what saith it? The word is nigh thee, even in thy mouth, and in thy heart: that is, the word of faith, which we preach;

b.      Rom 10:9  That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved.

c.       Rom 10:10  For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation.

d.      Rom 10:11  For the scripture saith, Whosoever believeth on him shall not be ashamed.

e.       Rom 10:12  For there is no difference between the Jew and the Greek: for the same Lord over all is rich unto all that call upon him.

f.       Rom 10:13  For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.


6.      Now you know why I spend so much time trying to get people to just believe God enough to ask Him to save them! To “Call upon His name!”

7.      And then there are some supernatural results (fruits) of having a faith that saves:


a.       Hunger like a newborn baby – for the word of God 1Peter 2:2  As newborn babes, desire the sincere milk of the word, that ye may grow thereby:

b.      A desire to be just like Jesus – not like anyone else

c.       A new attitude about your own sin (not the sins of others, as awful as they may be), but your OWN sins (Romans 7:22-24)!


1)      Rom 7:22  For I delight in the law of God after the inward man:

2)      Rom 7:23  But I see another law in my members, warring against the law of my mind, and bringing me into captivity to the law of sin which is in my members.

3)      Rom 7:24  O wretched man that I am! who shall deliver me from the body of this death?


d.      Chastening by God when you do sin (Heb 12)

e.       Spiritual Growth and godly changes in your life – even the small ones

f.       A love for the family of God! 1John 3:14  We know that we have passed from death unto life, because we love the brethren. He that loveth not his brother abideth in death.


IV. Invitation


A.    This whole message, has been a challenge – to examine yourself


1.      To take your heart, your attitude, your thoughts, your FAITH, and see if they show signs of life – spiritual life!

2.      To see if you are actually, and solidly IN THE FAITH!


B.     Do a test - Answer these questions, honestly, truthfully


1.      Was there ever a time when you knew you were a sinner, and as a sinner you would never make it to heaven?

2.      Good!

3.      Next question… Was there ever a time when you learned that Jesus DIED for sinners so that they could be forgiven AT HIS EXPENSE?


a.       Maybe someone told you that you must be born again!

b.      Or someone handed you a Gospel leaflet that explained how to be saved

c.       Or maybe you came out to a church like this one, and heard the clear words of Scripture as it explained why Jesus died, and who He actually died for!


4.      Next question… Was there ever a time when you dropped to your knees, or fell on your face before God Almighty, and cried out in fear of hell, and asked Him in simple, child-like faith, to save your soul? To make you His forgiven child?

5.      If not, then today is a good day to get saved!

6.      Last question… Have you seen any fruit from that decision to follow Jesus Christ? If not, then you need to get some fruit – start growing – stop putting off the right and necessary things that will help you grow


a.       Like Sunday night Church

b.      Like Wednesday evening prayer and Bible Study

c.       Like daily reading your Bible through

d.      Like praying every morning, about everything

e.       Like going out and being a witness of God’s saving grace to this dark and dying world!


V.    How to be saved (Acts 16:27-32)


A.    It starts with you AS you are…


1.      Act 16:27  And the keeper of the prison awaking out of his sleep, and seeing the prison doors open, he drew out his sword, and would have killed himself, supposing that the prisoners had been fled.


B.     Someone has to interrupt your life with some good news


1.      Act 16:28 But Paul cried with a loud voice, saying, Do thyself no harm: for we are all here.


C.    You need to do whatever is necessary to hear what GOD says about your soul


1.      Act 16:29  Then he called for a light, and sprang in, and came trembling, and fell down before Paul and Silas,

2.      It is called repentance


a.       Fear the judgment of God

b.      Dump your old religion, and your pride, and self-righteousness

c.       And look for a real Saviour!


D.    You need to WANT to be saved from your sins and the punishment for them


1.      Act 16:30  And brought them out, and said, Sirs, what must I do to be saved?


E.     All you need to do at that point is, BELIEVE ON THE LORD JESUS CHRIST


1.      Act 16:31  And they said, Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved, and thy house.

2.      Eph 2:8,9  For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast.


F.     And it is right then, instantly, you are saved by God’s grace and kindness and forgiveness

G.    And then you get right into learning this Book – the word of the Lord


1.      Act 16:32  And they spake unto him the word of the Lord, and to all that were in his house.