Sound Teaching

This is the teaching site of the West Side church of Christ in Fort Worth, TX. Unless otherwise indicated, all materials were written and prepared by Stan Cox

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Examine Yourselves – Are You Saved?

It is an unfortunate truth that many are deceived in their belief that they are saved. While they may sincerely believe such to be true, their view is based upon their own subjective feelings in the matter, rather than the objective reality that they have satisfied the requirements given by the Holy Spirit in scripture.

Others may be unsure of their standing before God. This can be beneficial if it brings a careful examination of their faith before Him. However, constant questioning can undermine the faith, bring anxiety and unhappiness, and have a negative affect on the spiritual growth of the Christian. With this in mind, we ask the following questions as a means to “Examine yourselves as to whether you are in the faith” (2 Corinthians 13:5).

Did you truly believe in Jesus Christ? Apollos was a mighty proclaimer of the gospel. We are told in Acts 18 that he, “vigorously refuted the Jews publicly, showing from the Scriptures that Jesus is the Christ” (vs. 28). This is the fundamental truth that all men must accept in order to be saved. Jesus is the Christ, the anointed of God. He came to earth as a man, and lived a perfect life. He was the perfect candidate to die on the cross for our sins. He is the Son of God, our Savior and Lord. This you must believe. “But without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him” (Hebrews 11:6). You are not saved if you have not truly believed that Jesus Christ is the Son of the living God.

Did you truly repent? The apostle Paul referred to a “sorrow of the world [that] produces death” (2 Corinthians 7:10). Too often such sorrow is presented as a proof of repentance. One apologizes after he gets caught in sin, embarrassed by the revelation of his indiscretions. Another is plagued by guilt, but finds no strength or determination to make amends and turn to righteousness. Judas Iscariot is an example of such a one. Rather than repent of his sin in betraying the Lord, “he cast down the pieces of silver in the temple, and departed, and went and hanged himself” (Matthew 27:5). Paul explained that true repentance is shown in total vindication, when a man becomes indignant at his own guilt, and determines to prove to God and man that he has changed (cf. 2 Corinthians 7:11). True repentance comes when a man separates himself from sin and its influences, and makes the sacrifices necessary to be a bondservant of Jesus Christ. “I tell you, no; but unless you repent you will all likewise perish” (Luke 13:3). You are not saved if you have not truly repented of the sins you have committed against your God.

Were you truly baptized? There is no power in the water itself. True baptism, as stated by Peter is not a cleansing of the “filth of the flesh” (1 Peter 3:21). H2O does not have magical properties to wash away sins. In order for immersion in water to “wash away your sins” (cf. Acts 22:16), certain things must be present. First, baptism must be in response to the saving gospel. It is an outgrowth of true faith. Those who preach another gospel preach a message that does not have the power to save. Second, baptism must follow the proper procedure. The term, in the Greek, refers to an immersion. The definition follows the Biblical examples (cf. John 3:23; Acts 8:38-39) as well as the Biblical figure (cf. Romans 6:3-4). While men have introduced the innovations of pouring or sprinkling water on the heads of men and infants, true baptism is the immersion of a believer in water for the remission of his sins (cf. Acts 2:38). Put simply, such baptism is “in the name of the Lord” (cf. Acts 10:48). This is not a profession made upon the head of a supplicant, but an active effort to do all in accord with His will. You are not saved if you have not responded in faith to the precious gospel by being immersed in water for the remission of your sins.

The wise man once wrote, “He who trusts in his own heart is a fool, But whoever walks wisely will be delivered” (Proverbs 28:26). One who leans on his own understanding may think himself to be saved when he is not. The man who has conformed himself to God’s will is the one who has walked wisely. He can have assurance that — if his heart is right with God, and he is living a circumspect life in service to the Lord — he has the hope of heaven. Have you believed the precious gospel of our Lord? In response to it have you turned away from your sins and embraced your service to Jesus? Have you been baptized? Do you continue to live righteously before Him? Then you are saved!