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13. How Am I (really) Doing Spiritually?

Michael Dant
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One of the defining characteristics of the Laodicean church is self-deception about our true spiritual condition. We think that we are rich and don't realize…How can we see through the fog self-deception and recognize our true spiritual condition?

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Michael Dant

Embedded Computer Science Teacher at Southern Adventist University. 

Recorded

  • November 12, 2016
    11:30 AM
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How am I really doing spiritually my friends that is a very important question I mean really if you think about it how am I really doing spiritually under summer 262410 year old Tilly Smith and her family were enjoying an ideal like a vacation in this beautiful beach and as they were walking along the beach something was bothering. She was watching the water and it wasn't behaving normally it was behaving weird for some reason she could remember why it was bothering her and then all of a sudden hitter she had been studying about tsunamis in her school class and they had talked about the behavior of the water just before tsunami and she said all the sudden she said I know there's something wrong I know what's going to happen the tsunami and you just blurted this out and her parents were a little bit concerned as you can imagine because you know our daughter's gone off the deep end well the try to calm her down and keep on walking on this beautiful ideal that day and no indications of any problems but she was just hysterical so they had to take her back to the hotel and as they were going back you know I think the parents kind of got a little bit worried that maybe she knew what she was talking about maybe there really was a class that talked about this and that it was a real thing and so they actually just kind of mentioned it to the people at the hotel there and the hotel people took it seriously and they actually evacuated the beach just a short time later 213000 people died from that tsunami. Not one person on that beach was hurt because a 10 year old girl recognise the signs of impending doom my friend it is important that we recognise the signs of our spirit condition. Are we in the path of the tsunami are we really where we want to be spiritually where we must be spiritually. How do you know how you are doing spiritually and what do you base that the answer to that question How am I doing spiritually do you know what one of the defining characteristics of later see is. Self deception lukewarm is one of them but another one is self deception I'm rich and the need of nothing and don't realize that I'm wretched and miserable and poor blind to make it right so how can we as who has this defining characteristic of self-deception answer accurately the question How am I really doing spiritually in my surrendered How can I know Peter in one of the perhaps most beautiful proclamations in all Scripture said this even though all may fall away because of you I will never fall away even if I have to die with you I will not deny you if you had asked Peter how he was doing spiritually what would you have said Wonderful All right I will die was Jesus a few hours later he swore and cursed in the night he even knew the guy why why did Peter deny Jesus only a few hours after making this wonderful beautiful proclamation The Bible tells us why Matthew says those who had arrested Jesus took him talking to Jesus to Caiaphas the high priest who are the teachers of the law and the elders had assembled but I hate that word but Peter followed him at a distance. Those are credibly sad words Peter followed him at a distance now contrast Peter's following at a distance with John the blow disciple Where was John during this whole time he was right up there with juices he didn't care who knew that he was a disciple of Jesus he was not trying to hide it Peter was back trying to hide right. Peter follow at a distance and look at the difference in their experience Peter deny Jesus Peter had just declared that he knew not Jesus but he now realized with bitter grief how well his Lord knew him and how accurately he had heard and read his heart the falseness of which was unknown even to himself Peter did not know his own heart Peter made this beautiful proclamation and just a few hours later deny Jesus so how are you doing spiritually how am I doing spiritually how do you know how can we know these are incredibly practical questions for the Christian and you know Jesus warns us that the following at a distance is a common problem remember the story of the 4 soils there was the path soil they don't care about Jesus at all then there was the rocky soil they follow Jesus until it starts getting hot they follow Jesus but they follow it at a distance then there was the thorny soil they follow Jesus until right things distract them and push pull them away from Jesus and then there was the good soil they follow Jesus period end of story my friends the scary thing about that parable is that one 3rd only one 3rd of those who claim to follow Jesus really follow Jesus all the way right out of the 3 soils that follow Jesus only one truly follows Jesus. One 3rd follow Jesus that's pretty scary you know Jesus didn't stop there he was full of scary words Listen to this enter through the narrow gate for the gate is wide in the way is broad that leads to destruction and there are many who enter through it for the gate is small and the way is narrow that leads to life and there are few who find it but they kind of frighten you a little bit like really While many will go to Broadway only a few find the narrow way pretty scary Well here's some more scary words to say it was preaching and this guy came up to him I don't know what Jesus was preaching at that moment but this guy came up to me asked this question he said Lord are there just a few who are being saved maybe this was the Sermon on the Mount and he had just heard Jesus say only a few would find it I don't know but for some reason this guy says really Lord are there just a few who are being saved and what does Jesus say does he say oh don't worry about it don't get out of a tight about this just you know do the best you can you'll be fine that would Jesus said no he said something really frightening Strive to enter through the narrow door for many I tell you will seek to enter and will not be able let me ask you a question about the statement these people that are not entering Is it because they don't care know they're seeking to enter they're trying to enter they want to enter but they're not able to enter that's pretty frightening I don't know about you many will say to me on that day Jesus said Lord Lord did we not prophesied in your name and in your name drive out demons and pour before many miracles then I will tell them plainly I never knew you away from me you evildoers my friends this is perhaps the most frightening verse in all Scripture because here is a group of people who sincerely believe that God will when Jesus comes again that he will open their his arms to them and say Well done good and faithful servant when in reality Jesus will say I never knew you away from me you evil doers is not scary. These guys were casting out demons and performing miracles in Jesus' name and Jesus said I never knew you away from me you evil doers it is important that we understand this question How am I doing spiritually it's critically important Did you notice in these verses that we've been looking at how many times the word many is used many into the Broadway many seek to enter Heaven and are not able to many will mistakenly say Lord Lord. And Ellen White has their own many story or. Statement she says it is a solemn statement that I make to the church that not one in 20 whose names are registered on the church books are prepared to close their earthly history and would be as verily without God and without hope in the world as the common sinner Wow that's pretty scary too isn't it not one in 20 whose names are registered on the church books are any better off in terms of their spiritual condition then the common center Wow Do you see the now why important why it's so important that we can answer this question How am I really doing spiritually because the defining characteristic of late a C.E.O. of one of the defining characteristics is self-deception how can we see through this fog of self deception and recognize our true spiritual condition that's what we need to talk about today OK So let me tell share with you a story kids are like the story I was vacuuming in my lab at Southern avenues university and I was using this new vacuum cleaner I'd never used before and as I was vacuuming. I was after a while doubting that it was really doing a very good job because I would see these same yellow red or green specks that I had just vacuumed up they had moved but they were still there and so I asked myself I wonder is this vacuum cleaners really working. So. I felt underneath it you know to see if the role was spinning Yeah responding to some airflow under there says OK well it is probably working I'm just expecting a little bit too much of this vacuum cleaner because you know the lab floor is pretty bad it's got wired all kind of bad stuff on it so I just kept on vacuum a little bit but the more I vacuum the more convinced I became that this thing was not really picking up anything which is shuffling it all around. So I said How in the world am I going to know if it's working or not. So I came up with a solution this is an engineer solution I turned off the vacuum cleaner it the vacuum cleaner I was using had a clear plastic case like that on the front I turned out the back and cleaner I opened it up and looked inside and took a mental snapshot of the dust that was in there and then I put the lid back on and I vacuum for a while and I took it back off again looked out again the idea was I want to see if there's any more dust than it was before I want to see things changed right well the test was inconclusive I really couldn't see a whole lot of new dust but in how much dust would you expect to see in a couple minutes a vacuum How long do you have to vacuum before you actually see a new accumulation of dust in there so I was no better off than when I started at that point I also realized that there was a filter inside that clear plastic case I says oh maybe the filter needs cleaning and sure enough I took the filter out and there was a like a quarter inch of very fine dust around the whole filter so I took it over to the dustbin and I went boom it was a mistake right dust everywhere my face it way so I cleaned out the filter and tell was nice and white beautiful filter I put it in confident now that this thing was going to work beautifully but again it wasn't working it didn't seem to be working I couldn't tell but I wanted to know I really wanted to know if this thing was working or not but I could not tell. How do you know if a vacuum cleaner is working. Well it's not always as easy as it seems I mean it is hard to find out how a vacuum cleaner is working how do you know if your spiritual life is working right you can't answer the easy question how do you answer the hard question well at that point I decide to get really radical I took out my screwdriver to this is a lab I do have tools right so I took out the screwdriver and I actually disconnected the hose from the bottom head and when I did that I noticed was a clog the dirt there and so I pulled it out and it was another clog another clock and in fact I had to get a wire with a hook on it and put it in there and has pulled a big huge clot of dirt out of there had been jammed packed in there so tightly there's no way that back and clear could've worked. Then when I put it back together and it did still work when put back together which is nice when I put it back together turned it on you'll never believe what happened the clear plastic case the dust in there started swirling like a like a tornado I didn't know it was supposed to do that if I'd only know this vacuum cleaner did that I could have told you right away that it wasn't working if only I had known the signs of a working vacuum cleaner there must be a spiritual implication there somewhere. If only I had known the signs you know my friends there are signposts on the broad road there are signposts on the narrow way we need to recognize those signs those signs can help us know what road we're on it's critically important not just for vacuum cleaners but for the Christian life to be able to recognize the signs the Bible says test yourselves to see if you are in the faith Examine yourselves or do you not recognize this about yourself the Jesus Christ is in New last what unless you fail the test OK Good news we can test ourselves. Jesus said to. Peter do you love me. And L.-Y. says that this heart searching question was necessary in the case of Peter and it's necessary in our case she says the work of restoration can never be thorough unless the root of evil are reached so this testing is an important part of our lives test yourselves except the problem is only God can do it search me O. God and know my heart try me and know my anxious thoughts and see if there be any hurtful way in me and lead me in the everlasting way yes we must test ourselves but we have to have God's help only God can do it only we can let him no matter what it is in the Christian life only God can do it only we can let him our constant prayer must be examined me oh Lord and try me test my mind and my heart so we need to look at the signs to know what Rober on but be careful there are some false signposts on the road and we need to talk about those very quickly fall find posts purify your soul from all unclean things my way this is not all in white speaking this was found in the luggage of a Air Disaster Victim. Purify your soul from all unclean things completely forget something called this world or this life the time for play is over and the serious time is upon us how much time have we wasted in our lives should we take advantage of these last hour to offer good deeds and obedience to God is all we need he is the best to rely upon and action for the sake of Christ a god is better than all of what is in this world if God gives you victory do and can be you and if you betrays you who can give you victory without him so the faithful put their trust in God is not a beautiful statement that was written by Muhammad who was one of the terrorists who drove a plane into the World Trade Centers that was part of his training manual for his terrorists so the 1st fault sign is 0 for God Did you know as zeal for God is not a sign of your relationship with gun did you know that. If you don't believe me ask Saul before he was converted you think he had zeal for God Yes he was persecuting God's people for God's sake and thinking he was doing God's will yes he had lot of zeal but he was sincerely mistaken his relationship has serious issues he had been converted and that was the problem the 2nd false sign that we need to be careful about is feelings my friend's feelings have their place God has given us emotions for a very good reason one of them is not to tell us what our true spiritual condition is that's not what feelings are for feelings are not trustworthy because feelings are often based on circumstances they're also based on what you eat the night before they're often based on who you talk to and what you say and what you do that based on circumstances. Ellen White tells about some who profess to love Jesus and who shed tears as they read the story of the cross and yet they hated those who loved his appearing and shut them out of the churches we cannot trust our feelings feelings for Christ are not necessarily indicators are true relationship with him that's kind of scary human emotions are powerful tools but they are not a tool to help us know our relationship with Jesus many L Y tells us to look for a special change to take place in their feelings this they term conversion over this error thousands have stumbled to ruin not under the standing the expression You must be born again my friend that describes me I thought I was converted because I had this special high spiritual high when I was young and she says that many thousands thousands have stumbled to ruin and I was one of those thousands but fortunately God got me before I stumbled all the way down are you converted How do you know and what do you base the answer to that question. How can you prove that you were converted Well my friends we talked about some thought signs there are also some true signs Let's look now at the true signs that can help us to recognize our true spiritual condition many Ellen White tells us profess to be on the Lord's side but they are not by what means shall we determine whose side we are on there is a question we've been asking we probably started right here right. By what means shall we determine whose side we are on the ready for this this is the answer drum roll please who has the heart with whom our thoughts upon whom do we love to converse and she goes on who has our warmest affections in our best energies if we are on the Lord's side our thoughts are with him in our sweetest thoughts are of him we have no friendship with the world we have consecrated all that we have an arc to him we long to bear his image breathe his spirit do His will and please Him in all things. So we've been asking the wrong question the question is not how my doing spiritually The question is who really has my heart. Who really has my heart and the reason why that's a little bit of a difficult question is because we've read this verse the heart is more deceitful than all else and desperately sick who can understand it so who has your heart how do you know so we're little bit farther ahead but we're not there yet because we have a deceitful heart you know that those Lord Lord Christians did you know that when you say somebody in the in the Hebrew culture when you say Lord Lord when you say a person's name twice that is an indication of special intimacy with them and that happens quite a bit through the Bible. When the Lord spoke to Abraham at Mt Mariah when he was ready to plunge a knife in his son's heart how did he stop him he said Abraham Abraham when God said said to Jacob I want you to go in and go to Israel he called him in a dream which is Jacob Jacob. Compared to Moses when he was called the burning bush Moses Moses or Samuel remember that Samuel Samuel is called twice and then of course there is David's cry of agony Absalom Absalom you know and then of Jesus when he was on the cross What do you say My God my God Right when you repeat a person's name twice that is a a symbol of intimacy with that person these Lord Lord Christians really believe they had an intimate relationship with Jesus they thought that God had their heart but the heart is the sept of a month of above all things who can understand it. Who has my heart who has your heart how can we know. Jesus says the wind blows where wishes and you hear the sound of it but do not know where it comes from and where it is going so is everyone who is born of the spirit here we're starting to find the key to how to know about our true spiritual condition the Holy Spirit is invisible so how do you know if the Holy Spirit is living in you can you see the Holy Spirit no you can't but you can see the effects of the Holy Spirit you can see the wind but you can see the effects of the wind. The same way in the Christian life while the wind is an is is itself invisible it produces affects that are seen and felt so the work of the Spirit upon the soul will reveal itself how in every act of Him who has felt its saving power my friends we can know our spiritual condition by the effects of the Holy Spirit working in our lives like the love and joy and peace and patience and kindness and goodness and faithful and gentle and self-control that are the fruits of the spirit those who have the Holy Spirit well in them have the fruits of the spirit right we can't trust our feelings but we can trust the evidences of God's work in us and through us. To know Jesus requires a change of heart we are told no one converted person in his natural state of depravity love Christ a love of Jesus the 1st result of conversion the proof of this love she goes on is given if you love me keep my commandments it turns out that spirit inspired spirit motivated obedience is the surest sign of our spiritual condition the obedience that the Holy Spirit produces in and through us is the sign of our true spiritual condition we were just talking about this unintentional sin and intentional sin thing this is where this becomes extremely practical because if God is giving us victory over the intentional sins that is a proof that he is working powerfully in our lives and if he's not giving us victory then we need to worry we need to be concerned about where we are in our surrender experience John says no one who abides in him since no one who sins has seen him or knows him when we know God as it is our privilege to know him well my Says our life will be a life of what continual obedience. We recognize our conversion by the power of the Holy Spirit working in us to deny our self to choose God's choices over ome. These are the true Symes intangible terms by this we know that we have come to know him how if we keep His commandments but whoever keeps his word in him the love of God has been truly perfected by this we know that we are in Him keeps going and the one who keeps his commandments abides in him and he in him and we know by this that he abides in us by the Spirit whom he has given us little children let us not love with Word or with tongue but indeed in truth we will know by this that we are of the truth and will sure our heart before Him see how many times obedience is related to this this true sign of our spiritual condition my father glorified by this that you bear much fruit and so prove to be my disciples but prove yourselves doers of the word not merely hears who deliver delude themselves over and over again the Bible tells us that the true sign on the narrow way of our our experience with Jesus is the power of the Holy Spirit to give us victory over sin intentional sin I'm talking about when we can resist the devil and the devil flees from us consistently we know that we have submitted because that only happens when you submit that's the sign of our true spiritual condition. Several years after my conversion I was walking in front of my house and I was asking myself in a very interesting question I was asking myself Mike why do you do this why do you live this life that you're living I mean this is a great life you know but it's really hard itself tonight self sacrifice and why are you doing it why are you eating healthfully as you know how why are you eating the things you really want to eat I ask myself this question to be very honest of myself I ask myself why am I not watching the movies that I crave so much. You know and God didn't take away all my cravings immediately you know that one of my doing all these things that I don't want to do and the I myself all the things I do want to do why am I doing it well I didn't have an answer for myself I said I hoped that it was because I love God and want to please and that's what I wanted I didn't really feel that I love God necessarily that passionately that I would be willing to do that for him but I couldn't ask and I couldn't answer that question well almost a year later I was thinking the same question again and all of sudden the answer just popped into my head I knew exactly I knew now why I was living this self-denying life it was because it is God who is at work in you both to will and to do it in other words God had actually. Given me what he had promised to give me he had promised to give me motivation to do it and the ability to do it and I was surprised because I'm not used to God getting his way in my life God had promised to work me both are willing to do it and now he was working in me both the will to do it and I was surprised by that oh Me of Little Faith yes it really works when we give God our life he does incredible things stuper natural things our lives and we shouldn't be surprised conversion really works God really does work on us both to will and to do even against our own desires for does God of the work and you look to 13 both to will and to work for His good pleasure. Righteousness is right doing and it is by their deeds that all will be judged our characters are revealed by what by what we do our characters are revealed by what we do the works show whether the faith is genuine in another place he writes here by we know that we know him we keep His commandments this is the genuine evidence of conversion whatever our profession it amount to nothing unless Christ is revealed in works of righteousness. In another place she says obedience the service and allegiance of love is the truest sign of discipleship is then credible obedience the service and allegiance of love in other words this is Spirit inspired spirit enabled love motivated obedience this is not fair say it will be demons this is the true sign of discipleship in other words my friends this is good news you and I can know what path we're on you and I can know if we're truly surrendered because when we submit ourselves to God we resist the devil and he flees from us when we don't submit ourselves to God we resist the devil only last interface how can we really know how we're doing spiritually by the signs in obedience to service an allegiance of love is the true sign of discipleship So how are we doing how are you doing how can you know this I believe is the answer The Bible tells us by this we know by this we know. When we obey his commandments when by the supernatural power of God we consistently give got our choices when he gives us consistent power over these intentional known bad choices we can truly say it's got to be the Holy Spirit because I can't do this we can truly say that God is willing and able and ready to give us consistent victory over every known bad choice in our lives over every intentional sin and anything short of that is not full surrender does God have your heart how do you know do you love His Will you love to do His will is the power of the Holy Spirit working powerfully in you to do His will consistently that's the abundant life that God has for each of us by this we know let's pray. Heavenly Father Think you that we can know our true spiritual condition. And Father if we're not of that place yet grant that we will not get discouraged Grant Heavenly Father that we will cling to you no matter how far we are away from you right now grant that we will say Lord this is what I want I want this consistent victory over known chose and send Father thank you thank you so much that we can come to you that the you that we can be your own fortress. That you can work supernaturally in our lives to make us impregnable. To yourself saying. We thank you for these blessings in Jesus' name amen this media was brought to you by audio verse a website dedicated to spreading God's word through free sermon audio and much more if you would like to know more about audio verse if you would like to listen to more sermon leader Visit W W W audio verse or.

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