Examine Yourself - Paul Washer

I'm going to preach a message tonight that has angered many, many, many churchmen. It

I'm going to preach a message tonight that has angered many, many, many churchmen. It

has angered many of the older people. It has angered

many of the youth. Many of the youth that I've preached this to have become fiercely

angry, but the people that have become most angry at

hearing this message have been the parents of youth.

I have found that there is something quite amazing among parents that, if they can get

some sort of a claim out of their children that they

profess faith in Jesus Christ, they seem to hold onto that

and it gives them assurance and joy, and it seems that they're bothered any time someone

would come and question that claim. It seems we would rather hold onto a false

hope than to hear the truth.

There are many people who do not want to hear the truth because it will shake up the false

hope they have that they're going to heaven when,

indeed, they are not. There are so many people in

Christianity—American Christianity—that believe themselves right with God, that believe

themselves saved because they were told that by a preacher who should have spent more time

studying the Bible and less time preaching. I hear people all over the world—and especially

in this country—tell me that they're saved, and I

ask them how do they know that they're saved. Well, because they believe. And no one asked

them the second question: How do you know that you believe?

If we were to dismiss this congregation tonight and send everyone out to every part of this

city, we would find out that the great majority

of the people in this city believe that they believe. And

we know that's not true. If we were to go to taverns and crack houses tonight, if we

were to go to casinos anywhere in this world, we would

find people who believe that they believe. And the

question is—how can we be sure that we believe when so many people say they believe and we

know they don't. In America, we have combined two doctrines,

and we have lost both of them. There are two very important doctrines in the Christian

faith. The first one is commonly called—a name I do

not like but I will use here tonight—the security of the believer, that every person

who has truly believed in Jesus Christ is born again and

they are secure. The very God who saved them will

keep them saved----security of the believer. But there's another doctrine which we do

not hear much about. It's not just the doctrine of

security, but the doctrine of assurance. It is true that every true believer is kept by

the power of God. That's the doctrine of security, but

the doctrine of assurance is this: How can you be

assured that you're a true believer? How can you know that you are a true believer?2

I've had people tell me, "Well, I just know that I know." I tell them there's

a way that seems right unto men. It leads to death.

I've had people tell me, "Well, I know in my heart of hearts that I am saved."

The Bible says that the heart is deceitfully wicked. It goes

beyond knowledge in its wickedness. So, do you

really want to trust a mind that is faulty? Do you really want to trust a heart that can

be wicked? I've even had people tell me, "Well, I

know I'm saved because the preacher told me I'm saved."

Since when did men have such authority? And, then, the worst of all—"I know I'm saved

because I have walked with God." My dear friends, let me tell you this, if you are

not walking with God now, you can have no assurance that

you have ever been saved. We're not teaching here tonight that, if

you walk with God and you're saved and then you stop

walking with God, you lose your salvation. What we're telling you is this—we have

assurance that we have come to know Him not just because

one time we repented, but we are continuing to

repent today. It is not just that at one time we believed, but that we are continuing to

believe today. It is not just that one time we walked

with Him; we continue to walk with Him today because He who began a good work will finish

it. It says in 2nd Corinthians, chapter 13, verse

5, Paul had come to a church, many of them professing Christ, many of them walking in

carnality, and he doesn't ask them—he doesn't say

to them, "Let me ask you something. When was the time that you first asked Jesus Christ

into your heart?" He didn't even refer to their

conversion experience. He goes right to present tense

and he says this: Test yourselves—in verse 5—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. If I see someone who, let's say, for three

or four years seems to have walked with God, loved the

saints, endeavored to pray, to know the Word, to congregate with other believers, and all

of such, and then they begin to fall away gradually.

They begin to walk away. They begin to allow the

world and sin and other things into their life. They begin to enjoy the fellowship of

the wicked. I don't go to them and tell them, "You

know you're a Christian and you need to avoid

backsliding." I go to them and say, "You have made the

good profession. You have declared among many that

you are a believer, but now you are beginning to live like an unbeliever. It is very, very

possible you never knew Him, that up until this point,

it has all been a very deceiving work of the flesh,

because, if a work of God does not continue, it never was a work of God.

Now what does Paul say to this person? He says, Test yourselves. Test yourselves. Take

a test. Let me tell you something, my dear friends.

Heaven and hell, eternity and death may not be very

much a reality to you, but it most certainly is to this preacher. I could care less whether

or not your bank account is balanced or you have

self-esteem. My only thing----the only thing that

might keep me up this evening and steal sleep from my eyes is the fact that many of you

will die and go to hell.3

Test yourself! This is not just some whimsical thing. This is not just something to worry

about for a day. We're talking about eternity.

Is it well with your soul? If you test yourselves in the

light of Scripture, will you be found whole and complete, born again, kept by the power

of God? It's time to take a test and stop relying

on your emotions and stop relying on what everyone is

telling you and stop comparing yourself to other people who call themselves Christians,

because the great majority of people in America who

call themselves Christians are lost. Some leaders in the Southern Baptist Convention

have said this: If we take seriously what the

Bible says about Christianity, we would have to say that less than 10 to 15 percent of

all our membership is even saved. And don't think

that just applies to Southern Baptists. It applies to

you all. He said test yourself. Examine yourself. Not

just some light examination. Not just hear the

words of this preacher and walk out there and allow Satan to steal the Word of God from

your heart. While you're here and while Christ

is present and while the Word is preached, examine

yourself. It is a deadly thing. Sin waits outside this door. It is crouching and its

desire is to have you. While you are here and Christ is present,

examine yourself. So many times in South America, working in

the Andes Mountains, I would have to cross footbridges----gorges that you almost couldn't

see to the bottom. Test the ropes. Test the wood.

Is this a sound bridge? Examine it carefully. Why? You get out in the middle of that thing,

it breaks, you're dead. In the same way, that

salvation that you hold onto, that you trust in, it might

be like a horse's hair. When you swing out into eternity, many of you are going to swing

out on nothing stronger than a horse's hair and

when the fires of hell blast up, you'll wither and you'll

fall. Examine yourself. Take the Word of God and

what the Word of God says about a true Christian, and examine yourself in light of it. And if

you fall short of the test, repent and believe. Throw

yourself upon the mercy of God. Cry out to Him until a work is done. And that's another

thing, isn't it? A whole other sermon. Until a

work is done. This silly Christianity in America. "Repeat

these words after me." No, you might have to wait

upon God. You might have to cry out to Him until the work is done—a true work, a finished

work, a complete work. How can we take a test? How can we test our

life? How can you test yourself tonight to see

whether or not you truly are a Christian? We just have to go to the Word of God to do

that. Go to 1st John chapter 5.

First John chapter 5, verse 13. John gives us the reason in his Gospel. In John chapter

20, verse 31, he tells us why he writes his Gospel.

He writes his Gospel so that men might believe that

Jesus is the Son of God, that He's the Christ, that they might have eternal life. Why does

he write his epistle? He tells us here in 1st

John chapter 5, verse 13: These things----this epistle----I

have written to you who believe in the name of the Son of God----those of you who profess

Christ----why?----that you may know that you have eternal life.4

You want to know whether or not you're born again? Read the book of 1st John, because

the book of 1st John is made up of a series of

tests, and we're going to take those tests this evening.

And I pray to God that God gives you ears to hear.

And I want to tell you something and I want to make it very, very clear. Do not listen

to your heart. Listen to the Word of God. Do not listen

to what your daddy says about your salvation. Do not listen to what your mother says about

your salvation. Listen to the Word of God. Compare what you know about your secret life.

Now, what did I say that for? So many of you young people, you have your parents so deceived

it's unbelievable, because externally you conform to their law, but it's not your

law. It's not in your heart. And in the secret place, you know

who you are. And then some of you who are not

children, but adults, teenagers that are older that are out in the world, you go out there.

You know who you are. Your mom and dad, they do

not know. Some of you adults, church members do not know, but when you are out

there by yourself, that's the person I want you to

compare to the Word of God tonight. Not the one in here that looks pretty, not the one

in here that's got religious makeup on. No. The

one out there when no one is looking. You take that

person and compare him tonight to the Word of God and see if he stands. See if he stands.

You say, "Brother Paul, you seem quite intense tonight." How would you expect me to be

if a train----a slow-moving train was going across

our path and to see my little boy just inches from

the wheel. Would you expect for me to whisper in his ear, "Back up, boy." Would you

expect for me just to not even make a commotion,

but kind of motion with my hand? Or would you

expect me to scream out, "No-o-o-o-o-o!" How would you expect me to preach about these

things? Let's take that secret life of yours and compare it to the Word of God.

First John chapter 1, verse 5. This is the message we have heard from Him and announce

to you, that God is Light, and in Him there is no

darkness at all. What does that mean? As in all the writings

of John, he leaves things open. He leaves things

open. I believe that, as you look through this text, you will find out that there are

two things John is saying. First of all, whenever we're

talking about light, and we see this in John chapter

3, we're talking about holiness, righteousness. God is a holy God. He is a righteous God,

has no sin, no flaw, no shadow, no speck of immorality

in Him. God cannot be tempted. You can be tempted because there's still an element

of evil in you that is drawn to evil. God has no evil in

Him. Evil cannot draw Him. He disdains it. He despises it. He's holy.

But that's not, I think, John's primary meaning here. John is dealing with a group

of false teachers who basically are telling everybody

that God is a very dark and shadowy and hidden figure, and that knowledge about God is esoteric.

It is hidden and dark and only some people know it. And I believe that John is contradicting

these false prophets and he is saying this, and

you listen very carefully. This is what he is saying. He's saying God is Light. And

he means this: God has revealed to us who He is and

He has revealed to us His will. He has made it very

clear.5 Now, let me just say something about how that

would change everything in America if the media

truly believed that. What kind of God do we have in America? What is the god of the politician

in America? It's this kind of god----it's a god you can pray to, but you cannot define

who he is. It's a god you can talk about in a political

speech, but you cannot define what his will is. And

that's a good god to have. Why? Because you're no longer accountable to a god like

that. You don't know who he is and you don't know

what he wants, so you just do whatever your carnal,

wicked heart wants to do. That's a very convenient god, and that's the kind of god

some supposed Christians have.

But John counters that and he says this: No, my friend, God has told you exactly who He

is and God has told you exactly what He requires

of thee, old man. He's not a hidden god. Now,

learning that, let's go to the next verse. He says this: If we say that we have fellowship

with Him. . . . What does that mean? If we say

that we are saved is exactly what it means. If we say that we know Him, if we say that

we abide in Him. For so many years in America, because

of a certain seminary that has propagated this,

we have been taught and led to believe that 1st John is talking about the difference between

a Christian who walks in communion with God

or a Christian that does not walk in communion with God. They take this text to mean that,

if we say that we know Him, if we say that we know

Him, if we say that we know Him and yet walk in darkness, we're just a confused Christian.

That's not what this text means. What this text is saying is this: If we say

that we have fellowship with Him and yet walk in the

darkness, we lie and do not practice the truth. If we say that we are a Christian and yet

we walk in darkness, we are lying. Now, I know what's

going to happen in your heart right now. "Yeah, but you don't know my heart, Brother Paul.

I know that I know that I know that I'm saved."

I could care less, again, about your heart. Because that's not what John said. John

says, if we say that we have fellowship with God, that

we are a Christian and yet we walk in the darkness,

we are a liar. Now, what does it mean to walk in the darkness? Well, first of all, you need

to understand what darkness is. It's the opposite

of light. If we say we are a Christian and yet we

walk—now what does it mean to walk----peripateo----to walk around; a style of life. If we say we

are a Christian and yet our style of life contradicts everything God has told us about

Himself and contradicts God's will, we're a liar.

That's what it means. That's what this text is saying. It's as

clear as a bell. Now, listen to me. Listen to me. I'm going

to tell you again. Look at this, in verse 6. If we say

that we have fellowship with Him----if we say that we are Christian and yet we walk—we

lead a style of life----in the darkness, we lead

a style of life that contradicts the attributes and the nature

of God, what God has told us about Himself, our style of life reflects nothing of God's

character, and our style of life totally contradicts

what God has said to be His will, then we are a liar when

we say we are a Christian. We've got to understand this. Do you have

ears? You've got to understand it. There are so

many people walking around. You can see them. It is like a fog over their heads. That is

why religion is so dangerous. All these silly

little boys out here preaching that, if you repeat a prayer,6

you're going to heaven and the moment they pronounce that upon a person, it is like a

fog comes over them. But it's time to cut through

that fog with a deeper, greater light. And that is the

Word of God. My dear friend, listen to me. John is saying

that, if you say you're a Christian and yet your style

of life, the way you are, does not reflect His character and the things you do go against

His will as a style of life, he's telling you you

are a liar when you say you're a Christian. Now, let's go on. Here's the next test.

Verse 8. If we say that we have no sin, we are deceiving

ourselves and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, He is faithful and righteous

to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.

Now, he said, if we say we have no sin, we are deceiving ourselves and the truth is not

in us. There have been strains of Christianity or

marginal Christianity down through the history of the

church that believed in sinless perfection. Well, the Bible doesn't teach that. The

Bible teaches that even the most mature, the most godly

Christian is still susceptible to sin. What this is teaching us is this. One of the

greatest evidences that a person has truly been born

again, that a person is truly a child of God is that they will be sensitive to the sin

in their life and they will be led to repentance and confession

of that sin. Isn't it amazing—and most pastors, when

I preach this, they smile. They know exactly what I'm

talking about. Whenever I'm preaching in a church and there is a move of God and a

move of God with regard to sin, I find it amazing

that, when people start breaking and in American churches somebody is coming forward and praying,

I think it is quite amazing that it is always the most godly, most devoted, most spiritual

people coming forward, weeping over their sin and

it is always the most carnal, godless, hateful, spiteful, wicked church members that sit back

there, cold as a stone, as though they were perfect.

What you are seeing is the difference between the

lost and the saved in the congregation. A true Christian is sensitive to sin. Sensitive

to sin. Sensitive to sin. Let me ask you a question.

When was the last time you wept over your sin? That's frightening. When was the last

time you were broken over your sin? That's frightening.

Some of you don't even know what I'm talking about. When we are a child of God, God guards

us. He talks about his jealous love for Israel. Is

it not greater for the church? Does God guard you?

I can remember my great love for books in seminary, and I went to the bookstore there

in seminary to buy a book with a friend of mine,

and there were only two volumes left. There were

two and there were two of us. I pulled out the first volume, and I love books, and there

was a little tear on one of the pages. I swapped

books with him. I gave him that book and pulled out

the other one. We go to the counter. We buy our books. I go home the whole time as though

I had murdered a man—as though I had murdered

a man. And, finally, praying, having to call him

up, saying, "I've got to talk to you." "Well, what is it? You can tell me over

the phone."7 "No, I can't tell you over the phone.

I have got to meet you face to face." And then go before

him, weeping, and ask forgiveness. Why? Because I'm pious? No. Because God guards his

children. I see Christians, and it's amazing to me. . . ."Brother Paul, come and preach

for us. We want revival." And yet, before they come

to the meetings and after the meetings they go

home and sit in front of a television and watch all that filth. And they're not even

sensitive to the sin of it.

Are you sensitive to sin? Does it lead you to confession? Now, let me ask you, some of

you here, here's something you need to understand.

Just recently a man that I know was found in

grievous, grievous sin, and someone said, "How did a man like him fall into sin?"

And I said, "He didn't fall into sin. No man falls into sin. He slid there like

everyone else." Let me ask you—because some of you may be

Christians and you need to hear a warning. Are

you sliding into sin? Are you starting to do things now, gradually, gradually, that

you would not have thought of doing a month ago? And little

by little by little, you know what's going to

happen? You keep going, and it'll be evidence you're lost. If God pulls you back, it'll

be evidence you're saved.

You say, "Oh, Brother Paul, but you don't know me." I don't need to know you. I

know the Word of God, and I know it's the same for

every individual.

Are you sensitive to sin? I want to read a passage to you just quickly. Just listen.

It's one of my--to me it's one of the most blessed

passages in all of Scripture. Let me ask you, is this your attitude? Has it ever been your

attitude? God says, For my hand made all these things,

thus all these things came into being, declares the

Lord, but to this one I will look, to him who is humble and contrite of spirit and trembles

at my word. Do you tremble at His Word or do you

look for loopholes around it? Do you excuse your

sin? Do you avoid the Word now because you know it's going to talk to you and talk

about you? People come to me all the time and say, "Brother

Paul, I have a new relationship with God." And I go to 1st John, chapter 1, verse 8.

I say, "Do you have a new relationship with sin?

Because, if you don't have a new relationship with sin, you don't have a new relationship

with God." Are you sensitive to sin?

Now, third test. It's found in verse 3 of chapter 2. By this we know that we have come

to know Him, if we keep His commandments. Now, listen

to this. The one who says, "I have come to know Him," and does not keep His commandments,

is a liar, and the truth is not in him. Now, let's look at this test—by this we know

that we have come to know Him. You know, in America----I tell you what, I was talking

to a Scotsman awhile back in Peru, and he said, "You

Americans, your theology is 3,000 miles wide and a half inch deep." He's right.

Our Gospel here is pathetic. Our evangelism borderlines on heresy. How do you know that

you came to know Him? If you go to most pastors

in this city right now and you say to them, "I

don't know whether or not I'm saved," this is the question they'll ask you: "Was

there ever a8 point in time in your life when you prayed

and asked Jesus to come into your heart?" If you say

yes, they'll go, "Were you sincere?" If you say, "I think so," they'll say,

"Then you're saved and you need to stop the devil from bothering

you." There's not a biblical bone in their brains.

Look what the Bible says. How can you know that you're saved? How can you know it?

Look what he says. By this we know that we have

come to know Him. Because our heart tells us?

Because the preacher tells us? Because we just feel it? Look what he says. By this we

know that we have come to know Him, if we keep His commandments.

And that keep there is in present tense, as well as many of the other things

here in this text. And what he's saying is, if we keep

on keeping His commandments, we know that we know Him, if we persevere in His

commandments, we know that we know Him. And then he goes on and says, the one who

is opposite doesn't know Him. Now, I want you to

look at something for a moment. What does it mean to keep His commandments? Does it

mean to walk in sinless perfection? No. Again,

it is a style of life. If we were to take your life out and

film it every day 24 hours a day, would we see a style of life that desired to know God's

commandments, desired to obey them, was growing in victory in obedience, and was also broken

when it didn't obey, would we see that in your life?

You say, "Well, I've kept the commandments before." You forget what he's saying.

If you keep on keeping ... perseverance. Why perseverance?

Because of the promises of God. He who began a good work in you will finish it, and

if the work isn't finished, He didn't do it.

Is your lifestyle marked by a keen interest in God's commandments and a desire to obey

them? Again, someone comes to me and says, "Brother

Paul, I have a new relationship with God." And I tell them, "Do you have a new relationship

with sin? Because, if you don't have a new relationship with sin, you don't have a

new relationship with God." And then I ask, "If you've

got a new relationship with God, well, tell me, do you have a new relationship with His

commands? Do you have a new relationship with his Word? Because, if you don't have a new

relationship with His Word, you don't have a new relationship with him."

Now look at verse 4. The one who says, "I have come to know Him," and does not keep

His commandments, is a liar, and the truth is

not in him. If you've been in any kind of meetings,

especially among people who consider themselves to be super spiritual and vocal about it,

I mean, meetings will get going and the preacher

will start preaching or the music will get rolling,

and someone will jump up and say, "Oh, hallelujah, He's my Savior. Hallelujah, I know Him."

That's exactly what John is talking about right here. The one who jumps up in the middle

of the meeting and says "I know I've come to

know Him," but does not keep his commandments is a

liar. He's a liar. Now, again, look at this from the context.

John is the apostle of love.

Paul was known for his great mind, but I think John was known for

his great love, and, yet, this humble, broken apostle

is laying down the verdict. You are a liar. It's an amazing thing, isn't it.9

Now, it goes on. Let's go to another test. Verse 6 of chapter 2. The one who says he

abides in Him ought himself to walk in the same manner

as He walked. The Christian ought to walk as

Jesus walked, and you say, "Brother Paul, you've gone too far now. Who can walk like

Jesus walked?"

Let me give you an illustration to try to explain to you what I mean. When I was a little

boy, my father was a very big man, very smart man,

and like all little boys, I wanted to be just like him.

Now, up north, we raised cattle and raised quarterhorses. We'd get big snows and my

dad would come into my room at five in the morning,

even when I was a little boy, and say, "Paul boy, get

up. No rest for the wicked." And when he said, "Get up," you got up.

And we would walk out there in the snow, and the one thing I can always remember doing

is—my father would take these big strides and leave these footprints in the snow. Now,

I wanted to walk like my dad walked, and so I would

try to stretch my legs out and put my foot in his

footprint, and I would stretch my legs out. Now, you can imagine, I was stretching out

farther than I could ever go. You can imagine I looked

ridiculous, and you can imagine I fell down, but

you will also know by looking at that picture that the greatest desire in my heart was to

walk like he walked. You could tell, looking at that

little boy, he wanted to be like his dad even though

sometimes he didn't look anything like him. Let me ask you. What's the greatest desire

in your heart? Is your great desire to walk like He

walked? To be like He was? Is that your great desire? Are you seeking to put your foot in

his footprints? Listen to me, man. Listen to me,

woman, because, if you're not, be afraid. A

reporter came up to me one time, and he said, "Why are you telling people to be afraid

all the time?"

I said, "Because they ought to be afraid." Again, this is the test. This is the exam.

If I were to look at your life, if I were to film the whole

thing, would I see since the supposed day of your

conversion this desire to walk like Him, or do you desire to walk like everybody else?

Do you desire to walk like the world and act like

the world and talk like the world and fellowship with

the world? Do you identify with the world? Or is it Jesus? Is it Jesus?

We're not talking about whether or not you need to rededicate your life tonight. We're

talking about whether or not you need to get saved.

Now, let's go on. The next test. Verse 9 of chapter 2. The one

who says he is in the Light and yet hates his

brother is in the darkness until now. The one who loves his brother abides in the Light

and there is no cause for stumbling in him. But the

one who hates his brother is in the darkness and

walks in the darkness, and does not know where he

is going because the darkness has

blinded his eyes. Now, brother here is not referring to the

poor, even though we ought to love the poor. It's not

referring to someone of another race. I always thought that was a quite stupid statement

anyway because there's no more than one race, folks.

It's called human. Unless you've got a Martian

tucked into your pocket somewhere, there's only one race. We're to love people of all

different colors and cultures and all that. We know

that. But that's not what he's talking about here.10

When he says brother, he's talking about believers. If you say that you know God and

yet you do not love other believers in a real and

practical way and desire fellowship with them, you're

lost. Now, let me give you an example. Remember when Jesus said, I was in prison; you did

not visit me. I was hungry; you did not feed me;

I was naked; you did not clothe me. And guys who

do prison ministries will always use that verse saying, We need to go into the prisons.

Well, we need to go into prisons but that verse doesn't

really have anything to do with that unless there's

Christians in there. What this verse is talking about, and I learned

it quite well in Peru and in other third-world countries. In some third-world countries----my

friend, listen to me—you get thrown into jail, you

will starve to death unless every day somebody from the outside brings you food. You will.

They do not provide food for you. You will die. Now, let's say that someone is thrown

in prison, not for being an assassin or a thief,

but they're thrown in prison in the time of the apostles

for being a Christian. They're locked away in there. Now, they're going to die, they're

going to starve to death unless somebody else brings

them food. Now, that presents a problem because the authorities know anybody that brings this

guy food has to be a Christian. And so the one

who goes to take him food is in danger of being thrown in prison himself. That's what

Jesus is talking about—a love so great that you would

risk your own life to care for other brothers and

sisters in Christ. Now, listen to me. Do you love to be with

people who love to be with and talk about and

worship and serve God? Or would you rather be with people who have nothing to do with

God? Because you are demonstrating what you are.

Like I said, I was raised on a farm. You do not

see the chickens over there having a good time with the pigs. Chickens hang with chickens.

Pigs do their own thing. It's their nature. You say, "Well, I'm a believer but, man,

all my friends are, you know, they're. . . ."

Yeah, I know. They're lost. Do you love other Christians? "Well, I,

you know, I, I come to church." Big deal. The devil comes to church. What

do you do when you get here? What do you do outside it? Because the church isn't this

tent. It's not that building, it's the people. How many

Christians are you serving? How many Christians are you reading the Bible with? How many

Christians are you praying for? How many Christians are you loving? How many . . . .

I've got a dear friend in my church back home, and he know I'm here in Texas for

a little while. He's adopted my mother. He's cleaning

up her place; he's mowing her yard; he's doing all sort

of things. Why? She's a believer, and because of the will of God, her son's being sent

to Texas so he is taking over. That's what I mean.

That's what I mean. I've had both my hips replaced because my

bones are degenerating. You know how they got

replaced? I was a missionary. I didn't have a dime. How am I going to get implants? How

am I going to be operated on? A man in Austin,

Texas----Steven Whitlock, III----a young guy, 32

years old, but a brilliant man. He walks into his Sunday school class one day at a church

there in Austin, Texas. He hears people praying about

a missionary who can hardly walk up in the Andes Mountains.11

He goes, "Give me his name." He called me. He said, "Come. Come to Austin. I'm

getting the ticket. I'm getting the doctors. I'm getting

everything. Your hips are taken care of." That's

what I'm talking about. I was walking through the jungles one time, high jungles, in

Departmento Amazonas in Peru during the war with the Sendero Luminoso. We were in a place

the military wouldn't go, and we were lost----me and another brother. And we were traveling

through the night in the darkness. We had smuggled ourselves up there in the back of

grain trucks, and we were going to preach in the

place because the believers were just depressed and

torn apart and didn't know what to do and everyone's making fun of them. We knew we

had to go in there.

So we would get lost, and we're going through the jungle and, finally, we come upon this

village. We walk in there. We don't know where to go. We don't know where to spend

the night. We know that the terrorists can be

absolutely everywhere . We know we could be a dead

man, and Paco walks up to this person out on the streets, like almost midnight, and

he goes, "Á Hermanos por acá,"----Are there brothers

through here? And someone said, "That old lady over

there"----an old Nazarene woman. We knock on the door, and I said, "Soy pastor."

She grabs both of us, pulls us in, shuts the door behind us, sticks us down in the basement,

goes out, kills a chicken, fries up some yucca,

everything you can imagine. She's feeding us. She's

taking care of us. She's housing us. Could she get in trouble? Yes, she could.

And then you say, "Oh, I'm a Christian because I go to church." You've got to

be kidding me. That's love? To you? You need a new definition.

You say, "Brother Paul, you're using satire." Read the prophets. They did the same. Some

of this Christianity floating around America

is worthy of making fun of, and it ought to be exposed.

Do you love the people of God? You know, who are you with? Someone asked me, "How did

you know----young guys always ask me, "How did you know that Charo, your wife, was the

woman for you?" I said, "Real easy. I wanted to be with

her." "How'd you know you loved her?"

"I just wanted to be with her." How do you know you love them? You just want

to be with them and talk about Jesus. Talk about Jesus. Do you love?

Now, let's go on. There's much more here, but we need to continue on. I want to go through

another test. Chapter 2, verse 15. Do not love the world or the things in the world.

If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is

not in him. What is the world? Everything in this fallen

age that contradicts the attributes and will of God.

Everything that does not come forth from God and goes back to God in worship. That's

the world. You say, "Well, I love secular music."

Let me just share something with you. I don't12 care. I'm not going there. This is what

I'm going to tell you. It doesn't matter to me whether

it's secular or Christian. My question is—what's being said in those words? Because if what's

being said in those words contradicts the will of God, you're violating His will,

and you're loving it.

And the adults here are probably going, "Amen." Okay, let's talk about your television.

You watch things. You expect God to move? You

love those. You love their jokes, their off-color jokes, their humor. You find yourself laughing

in wickedness. And then you want God to move in your family and move in your life. Do you

love the world? My dear friends, yesterday I was

nine years old; today I am 43. Tomorrow I will be 90. Life is a vapor. It is fleeting.

Everything will die. All will pass away. We are to love

the things of God, the things that are eternal, and

one of the signs of a Christian is that they are not entrapped or enslaved to the things

of this present evil age, but they are set free to

see Christ in His glory and follow Him and follow hard

after him. Christ! I was preaching at a university thing about

a year and a half ago, and I noticed that everyone was

seated and it was about two minutes before it was all to begin. All of a sudden at a

side door in the auditorium, probably a group of 30, 40

beautiful girls come walking in and just kind of

walked down the front there and sat down in all the seats. I mean, it was designed for

them to showcase what they were. I looked at all of

them, and I said, "Young women," I said, "let me

give you a little bit of advice. I can see. I'm a man. Many of you are very, very, very,

very beautiful. One day all of you are going to

be terribly, terribly ugly." It's true. To the wind with your money.

To the wind with your beauty. To the wind with your

wealth. It will not remain. The only thing that remains is the glories of Christ. Death

is a present reality. You say, "Oh, how do you

know? You're not that old." My brother died. My father died in my arms.

I preached the funeral of my sister. I know about

death. And I know that it could come to some of you before I finish snapping these fingers.

You say, "Brother Paul, you're trying to scare

me." You have discerned correctly. Love the world? You love to listen to the

very things that nailed your supposed Master to the

tree? Come off of it, man. Become a hellion, give yourself to demons, run wild, but don't

come in here saying you're a believer and playing

that game. You want to dance with the devil, then

dance all night long, but don't come in here dancing with Christ for a moment and

then go back out there and share your love. We're talking

about loyalty. Love the world that nailed Christ to

a tree? Many of you, just by professing faith in Christ,

you crucify again the Son of God. You need to

realize something. This is the Christ. This is the Son of God. This is the Lord of Glory.

Isn't it amazing that we're going to have believers

from China, believers from Northern Nigeria that

have died as martyrs, dragged through the desert behind camels, some of them skinned

alive, but they would not deny Jesus. And here's all

these American Christians standing beside them that

couldn't even find enough of anything inside them to even attend church on Sunday morning.

Does anybody have a problem with that?13 One man can be skinned alive and not deny

Christ, and the other denies him in the smallest of

things. And yet, they're all born again? I think not, my friend. I think not. Do you

love the world? Look at verse 16. For all that is in

the world, the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the

eyes, and the [boastful] pride of life. . . . It is not from the Father, but from the

world. Sometimes I'll get seminary students, and

they've all got this great idea that they're going to go

out and do something for God. So, I'll stand before them and I'll say, "Okay, I want

everybody to breathe in." They all breathe in. I say,

"Breathe out." They breathe out. I say, "Theologically, from where did that breath

come?" They say, "From God."

I say, "Okay, you can't breathe on your own. Now, what are you going to do for God?"

The lust of the flesh, the pride of body. We live today

basically in the Roman Empire; can't you see that?

We have around us an empire of flesh and muscle and beauty and hair, and it will all rot in

the tomb. Rot in the tomb. The wealth and the

glamour and the glitter and all the things in which

people are investing their lives will all rot, but the one who does the will of God

will abide forever.

I look at my life right now. I'm middle-aged, and I think sometimes back. I think what if

I was not a Christian. What would be my attitude

now? Think about it. I'm 43. The days of my

strength are over. The days of my beauty—they're over. The days of wonder and dreams about

what my life is going to be—they're over. What's left for me? Just to grow older,

more tired, and die. And yet, here I am now, a Christian.

What does it mean? By God's grace, 22 years have not been wasted. In a meager, trifling

sort of way, maybe, but truly in a way, they have

been given to Christ and now the years ahead of me.

And you know what? I'm a boy of God. You're not a man of God till you're about 65. I

see men of God still alive and those that have

gone on before me. I listen to those old men at 85 and

90, barely can stand up in a pulpit and begin to speak and just glory all around them. And

I say, "Lord, is that's what's waiting me?"

I hear about the saints that are about to cross over and their eyes fly open and they

just cry out, "Glory, glory!" Lord, is that waiting

for me? It's going to get better. Just going to get better.

You say, "Well, your candle's going to be put out." Yes, my candle's going to

be put out only because the sun's coming up. This world

is passing away and I can tell you biblically that, if

you're living for it, you're an absolute fool. But the one who does the will of God

abides forever. And for those of you who are young,

oh, what a precious opportunity now to serve the

Lord. Now to serve Him. Many that were called and used mightily of

God were called as children in the Bible. Don't you

see that? How old was this Samuel when he began to hear the voice of God? You say, "Oh,

I must wait." No, you must not wait. Seek

Him now. Seek Him hard. If you seek Him hard, he

will let Himself be found by you.14 It goes on. Verse 19. They went out from us,

but they were not really of us, for, if they had been

of us, they would have remained with us; but they went out so that it would be shown that

they all are not of us.

Now, this does not mean, if someone leaves our church and goes to another, that they're

not a Christian; that's not what that means. What

it's talking about is this. The true Christian who has

entered into Biblical historical Christianity and then leaves, might go into some new stuff,

new Christianity, new teachings----they're

rampant; they're everywhere; every wind is

offered----leaves what is known as basic historic Christianity to go follow after some

new stuff that has very little to do with Scripture

and nothing to do with Biblical history. They've gone out

from us. They don't remain in the body. Or someone who comes in and they might be

with the group, you know, with the church, with the

fellowship, with the congregation for six months or a

year and then they depart and they stay departed and they don't go to another fellowship.

What does that mean? They went out from us. And

what is it showing? They never were of us. Because once you're in Christianity, you

stay in Christianity because He who brought you in

keeps you in. It wasn't Noah who shut that door behind himself on that boat. It was God.

I hear so many people that will say, "Oh, if I just make it to heaven, I'll be secure.

If I just make it to heaven, I'll be secure." Knowing

that, then where was the devil when he fell? It's not

heaven that's going to make you secure, my friend. It's being in Christ that makes

you secure. It goes on. Another test, verse 22, chapter

2. Who is the liar but

the one who denies that Jesus is the Christ? This is the antichrist, the one

who denies the Father and the Son. Whoever denies

the Son does not have the Father; the one who confesses the Son has the Father also.

The true Christian is going to embrace the fullness of the person of Jesus Christ. Now,

many of you are saying, yes, that is true. They are

going to believe that Jesus is God in the flesh. Yes,

that's true. They're going to believe that God became man, that He was a real man.

Yes, that's true, but that's not all it means to embrace

the fullness of Christ's person. This silly little stuff

going around in America today that you can receive Jesus as Savior and not Lord is absolutely

absurd. The fullness of His person you believe in, you receive, you embrace. All of it.

Jesus is Savior. Jesus is Lord. Jesus is Prophet, Priest, and King. Jesus is the only prophet

who ever walked on this earth. Jesus is the only

King. Jesus is the only true Priest. Jesus is, again,

the only true Wise Man. Let me ask you, do you believe that? All right, how much are

you going to His Word to find His wisdom? Do you

believe He's King? How much are you going to

His Word to find His law? Do you believe He's Prophet and He knows about your latter days?

Then how much are you going to the Word to settle those latter days through your own

obedience? Now, finally, look in verse 29 of chapter

2. If you know that He is righteous, you know that

everyone who practices righteousness is born of God. Now what is righteousness? Everything

that conforms. Everything that conforms to the nature and law of God.

Do you practice righteousness? If we were to look at your life, are you practicing God's

law? Are you practicing God's wisdom, God's

Word, God's precepts? Are you? Is it a practice in15

your life, or are you departing from it? Does it have nothing to do----absolutely nothing

to do with you?

In Matthew chapter 7, Jesus says, Depart from me you who practice lawlessness. That's

one of the most terrifying statements in the Bible

for American Christianity because basically what He's

saying is this: Depart from me those of you who claim to be my disciples and yet you lived

as though I never gave you a law to obey. I just

described most of what's called the church in

America today. "I'm a disciple." What's your relationship

to His Word? "I know Him." What's your relationship

to His Word? Are you seeking to know His wisdom, His precepts,

His commands, and to practice them? Is it a

part of your life? Now, let me tell you something, something----I think legalism is death.

Let me tell you that. I think it is. I think it's

death. But I want to tell you something. The Bible tells us

what we can think about and what we cannot think about. Do you know those commands? And

are you practicing them? The Bible tells us what we ought to watch and we should not watch.

Do you know those commands? Do you care? Are you practicing them?

The Bible tells us—now, listen to me—the Bible tells us what we can wear and not wear.

You say, "Oh boy, here he goes." No, listen

to me. I'm not talking about defining every last----crossing every T, dotting every

I, that you can't wear this. It is telling us this. Whatever

you put on your body better be decent. It better be decent and it ought to enhance the

beauty God's already given you. I look around today

and see what people are wearing, and it reminds me of the Communist countries I've preached

in right after their liberation. One thing about a communist country, the communists

come in Eastern Europe filled with all these little brick roads and beautiful little

stone houses and everything. The communists come in

and tear it all down, put in pavement and these ugly concrete blocks, and make everybody—they

take beauty and destroy it. Look at fashion today. Look at it. It's not conformed to

the will of God. God wants His people to be beautiful.

It's a God that also means modest and decent. But

He wants them beautiful. He wants them full of life, full of color. He wants them to be

a beautiful people, but what do we see? Grunge,

dressed in black, hanging over like this. I mean,

it's unbelievable. In a way, I think it's really, really good because, I mean, a man

who's godly no longer will have much temptation. The girls

are trying to look as ugly as possible. I mean,

that's not what God wants. Let me just—I know I'm kind of—I don't

have much time to preach to you, so I'm going to use

a shotgun approach here. Girls and guys, let me give you a thing that my wife uses, and

it's really, really good. It's this. If your

clothing is a frame for your face, it's of God. If your

clothing brings attention to your face from which the glory of God should be shining,

it's of God. If your clothing is a frame for your body,

it is sensual and God hates it.16 Now, I know they're kind of pretty broad

guidelines, but there they are. It doesn't mean you

have to dress like a Puritan and put buckles on your shoes or anything like that, but those

are the guidelines. Right there.

Righteousness. And why am I saying this? Because the Bible touches every aspect of our lives.

There's something in there for every area of our life, and what we need to do is discover

what that is and conform our lives to it. And you

say, "Oh, what a burden." You're lost, because the

Bible says the commandments of God for a Christian are not a burden; they're a joy. They're

a joy.

Verse 3 of chapter 3. Everyone who has this hope fixed on Him purifies himself, just as

He is pure. Now, look at this. What is it talking

about? The hope for the second coming of Jesus Christ. Everybody now reading these Left Behind

books—the only thing left behind in the Left

Behind series was the Bible. But everybody's excited. You know----"I believe in the

Second Coming." "I believe Jesus is going to

come." "I believe in all this stuff." Okay, we'll see

whether you believe it or not, because it says in verse 3, Everyone who has this hope—what

does he do?—purifies himself, just as he is pure.

Now, here's something Christian. It's just going to blow your mind. You know, we

are told to purify ourselves, and some of you guys need

to hear this who are really, really theological. Not

only has God sanctified us in Christ; he calls us to strive to be holy. He calls us to purify

ourselves. Let me ask you a question. Could I sit down with you right now and you talk

to me—we're all alone—you talk to me about

the ways in which you are seeking to purify yourself? Can you?

Going into the book of Hebrews, could you sit down with me right now and we could open

it up, and I say, "Just share with me how this

affects your life." Could you sit down with me right now

and explain to me the ways in which you're striving after holiness? Do you see? Do you

see? This Bible is not poetry. It's not just

little maxims that are cute. It is your life. It is your life.

Everyone who has this hope—that hopes in Him—how do we know that we really hope in

Him? Because we're seeking to make ourselves

pure. We're seeking—we're striving after holiness.

We're striving after holiness. We really are. Are you striving after holiness?

My mom—she's almost 77, and she raised most of us kids by herself because my dad

died. Tough lady. She's Croatian. Her parents

came over through Ellis Island. She went through the

depression. She's a tough lady. She's from Detroit. It makes her mean. She'll

sit there sometimes----I'll be over there. I'll

go over to her house, pass by there before I go to the office in

the morning, she'll be over the Word. I'll look up at her and she'll just be broken.

She was saved when she was ten. She'll look up at

me with tears in her eyes and say, "I am just so

unholy. I am just—I just found—look at this verse. God's telling me my mouth, my

tongue—I spoke out of turn the other night. I've

got to go back and ask my sister to forgive me."

I'm going, "Oh, mom." She says, "Sometime I don't even think

I'm saved."17 I said, "Mom, this is the evidence that

you are." All these years of walking with Christ and yet,

still there, striving to be holy. Yes, resting in the finished work of Christ, yes, but striving

to be holy, to be righteous. Everyone who has this

hope is going to do that. Now, he says, verse 4, Everyone who practices

sin also practices lawlessness; and sin is lawlessness. What does that mean? I'll tell

you what it means. He's trying to show you how

horrible sin is, because we really don't get it. I love what Watson says in A BODY

OF DIVINITY. He's always saying this, he goes, "You

have not sinned against an inferior prince. You've not

sinned against a small mayor from a small village. You have sinned against the Lord

of Glory, the King of Kings, the Lord of Lords. You

know not what you've done. " Imagine this. Here stands God on the day of

creation. He looks at stars that could swallow up a

thousand of our suns. He looks at them and He says, "All you stars, move yourself to

this place and start in this order and move in a circle,

and move exactly as I tell you until I give you another

word." And they all obey him. He says, "Planets, pick yourself up and

whirl. Make this formation at My command until I give

you another word." He looks at mountains and he says, "Be lifted up," and they

obey Him. He tells valleys, "Be cast down," and they

obey Him. He looks at the sea and says, "You will come

this far," and the sea obeys, and then He looks at you and says, "Come." And you

go, "No!" Look at the horrid, wretchedness of sin, the

vulgarity, the prostitution of sin. It is a horrid thing,

not something to be trifled with. As I said, it is a beast, and it is waiting at the door,

and its desire is to have you. And anyone who practices

sin practices outright, open, clenched-fisted rebellion against the Lord of Glory.

Now, it's here. We all realize that the Bible's already taught us that believers

will sin, but there is a difference between a believer who sins,

confesses their sin, and going on to greater holy,

being disciplined of the Lord but going on to greater holiness, and someone who just

out and out practices sin as a habitual lifestyle.

Verse 5. You know that He appeared in order to take away sins; and in Him there is no

sin. He appeared to take away the very sin that many

people relish and love. Verse 6. No one who abides in Him sins; no

one who sins has seen Him or knows Him. Again, it's talking about a style of life, of practicing

sin. Little children, make sure no one deceives you.

Now, I'm telling you this. Little children, adults, make sure no one deceives you. Make

sure some pastor doesn't deceive you, make sure

your momma doesn't deceive you, your dad doesn't

deceive you, or some well-meaning carnal Christian does not deceive you. He says, Little

children, make sure no one deceives you; the one who practices righteousness is righteous,

just as He is righteous; the one who practices

sin is of the devil; for the devil has sinned from the

beginning. You practice sin as a habitual lifestyle?

You love what you can get away with? My friend, you're of the devil.18

Now, let's go back to verse 12 of the final chapter, chapter 5. The last test. There's

many more, but we don't have time this evening. He

who has the Son has life; he who does not have the Son

of God does not have life. My hope is built on nothing less than Jesus. Jesus. You know,

it's almost absurd to ask this question. We've actually come to believe in American

Christianity that you can be Christian and Jesus not be all

the world to you. Do you love Jesus? What do you think about

most? What do you think about most? I know men who love the ministry more than they love

Jesus. I know men who love the Bible more than

they love Jesus.

What do you think about most? Because that's what you love.

Now, my dear friend, listen to me. I've got to make a stop here, correct a few things.

There are some struggling believers here tonight that

need to realize something. Again, we are not talking

about sinless perfection. We are not saying that, if you're a true Christian, Christ

will always be at the forefront of your thoughts. We're

not saying, if you're a true Christian, you are always

going to be practicing righteousness. Again, what we're talking about is a style of life

and a struggle. I tell my mother, "Mom, the greatest

evidence that you're a Christian is the fact that

right now you're in the Word and God's pointing out to you your sin."

The mere fact some of you need to hear this. The mere fact that you struggle with the fact

that you don't love Him enough is evidence that

you're a believer. The mere fact that you look at

your own life and you realize you're not as holy or righteous as you want to be and

it bothers you is evidence that you've come to know him.

What I'm preaching against tonight is the person

who lives in habitual sin, who loves the world and all these different things, or a person

sliding in that direction, or a person who just—"Yes,

Jesus is a little accessory onto my life." The warning

is for that person. You know, I hear these preachers today and

they'll preach and they'll go, "Man, you've got it

all." I've heard them give this kind of invitation. "Man, you've got it all. You've

got a wonderful, beautiful family; you've got

your health; you've got a wonderful job and all these

things. You just lack one more thing to make your life complete. You lack Jesus."

Makes me want to vomit. My friend, He who has the Son has life; he who does not have

the Son has nothing. All your wealth, all your health,

all your relations, everything you have is dung if

Jesus is not Lord and Savior and Passion of your life. He's not an accessory that you

add on to an already great life. He is Life. That's

why He meant, you know, You drink my blood, you eat

my flesh. What was He talking about? He's not some accessory. He's the very source

of your life. Is he yours? Is he yours?

Let's pray. Father, we come before You in the name of

Your Son. And, Lord, this has been long and hard,

but I felt a measure of grace in it, Lord, and I pray, I pray, dear Lord, that You would

work in the hearts of people that You would save, that

You would convert; and that, Lord, even some of

Your people who may have been sliding into the things of the world, that this has been

used as discipline to turn them; to others, Lord,

who believe themselves saved, that this has been used to

show them they are not saved; and to struggling believers, that it has been used to show them19

that assuredly they are believers. God, use Your Word to do many more things than what

we could ever think or believe. In Jesus' name.



Expressions / Collocations