Summary: How do you know if you have only a head knowledge of Christ or are truly born again? Is there merit or value in questioning one’s salvation? The Bible gives the reason for self examination and the measures to use.
SELF-EXAMINATION: A SPIRITUAL CHECKUP
(DISCERNING HEAD KNOWLEDGE FROM HEART RELATIONSHIP)
Introduction: Recently I was asked, "How does one know whether one merely has a head knowledge of Christ or has been truly born again and has a true heart relationship with the Lord Jesus Christ?" Is there any merit or value in questioning one’s salvation? The Bible gives strong warrant for each of us to conduct self-examination of our faith. It not only gives us the reason for self-examination but also provides us with the measures for examining our profession of faith.
I. The Reason from Self Examination
A. Matthew 7:21-23 Not every one that says unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that does the will of my Father which is in heaven. Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in your name? And in your name have cast out devils? And in your name done many wonderful works? And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, you that work iniquity.
B. 2 Corinthians 13:5 NLT Examine yourselves to see if your faith is really genuine. Test yourselves. If you cannot tell that Jesus Christ is among you, it means you have failed the test.
C. Examine – peirazô – to scrutinize, try, examine / Test (Prove) – dokimazô – to discern, try, prove, refers to assaying or trying metals by the powerful action of heat
D. Distinguish from emotional decisions, head decisions, decisions of convenience, and superficial insincere decisions with that which is genuine conversion and a true heart relationship with Jesus Christ.
E. Matthew 7:20 Wherefore by their fruits you shall know them.
F. In one of Gypsy Smith’s missions a young fellow came to him, a fine character who had been put in a most prominent place in that particular mission. He was delegated to take the hand of every inquirer during the week long meeting and give the last word of advice and counsel. He filled his position from Monday to Saturday, and on Saturday evening he said to Gypsy Smith he wanted to talk with him on Sunday. Gypsy asked him what he wanted to see him about, thinking he wanted to see him about some special case. He said, "About my own soul." "Why," Gypsy asked, "what is the trouble?" He said "I am not converted; I have never been born again." He said, "My parents supposed I was a Christian and urged me to join the church, and I did so. My pastor supposed I was a Christian and I was made a Sunday School teacher and an officer in the church. Because they supposed and kept on supposing, nobody has ever looked me in the eye and said: "Harry, are you right with God?" --Gypsy Smith
1 John 5 tells us that John wrote the epistle under the leadership of the Holy Spirit to give us assurance to the reality of our salvation. The entire book of First John provides tests for evaluating the authenticity of one’s Christian experience.
II. Evidences that distinguish between head knowledge and heart knowledge of Christ.
A. The evidence of a changed life and changed desire
1. 1 John 1:6 MKJV If we say that we have fellowship with Him and walk in darkness, we lie and do not practice the truth.
2. 1 John 2:15 NKJV 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.
3. John 3:19 MKJV And this is the condemnation, that the Light has come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than the Light, because their deeds were evil.
4. When a person comes to Christ there should be a change of desires and motivation. You cannot be satisfied with the things of this world. The very word conversion means a change or transformation.
5. 1 Peter 2:9 But you are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar people; that you should show forth the praises of him who has called you out of darkness into his marvelous light:
6. II Corinthians 5:17 NKJV Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new.
7. In the song, ’The Change’ by Steven Curtis Chapman, Chapman talks about having all of the Christian gadgets T-shirts and bracelets, Bible magnets and bumper stickers, but asks ’what about The Change?’ A Believer is a new creation there will be a change.
B. The evidence of an obedient life
1. 1 John 2:3-5 MKJV And by this we know that we have known Him, if we keep His commandments. He who says, I have known Him, and does not keep His commandments, is a liar, and the truth is not in him. But whoever keeps His Word, truly in this one the love of God is perfected. By this we know that we are in Him.