Are You Deceiving Yourself?

Are You Deceiving Yourself?

Self-deception is difficult to overcome. Many people do not want to hear anything that disturbs their beliefs. My duty is to preach what the Bible says, not what you wish it said. You may dislike me for pointing out the truth from God’s Word today, but I love you too much to keep the truth from you and allow you to have a false hope of going to Heaven when you are not.

For example, many people think they are going to Heaven because they say they believe in God. However, the demons definitely believe in God, but they were kicked out of Heaven!

James 2:19 You believe that God is one; you do well. Even the demons believe—and shudder!

Additionally, many people in American Christianity believe they are saved because a preacher prayed with them or performed a ceremony and told them they were saved. A preacher’s prayer or proclamation is not how we determine whether or not we are saved. We need to examine God’s Word to see whether we are in the faith.

2 Corinthians 13:5-6 Examine yourselves, to see whether you are in the faith. Test yourselves. Or do you not realize this about yourselves, that Jesus Christ is in you?—unless indeed you fail to meet the test! I hope you will find out that we have not failed the test.

Test yourself! This is not just some quirky thing. This is not something to ignore. Can you, or can anyone else, realize that Jesus Christ is in you? Test yourself in the light of Scripture to determine if you are saved, born again, and filled with the Holy Spirit, who is Christ in you.

It’s time to stop relying on your emotions and on what everyone is telling you. You must stop comparing yourself to other people who call themselves Christians, because the majority of people in America who call themselves Christians are lost! They fail the test!

I’m not going to tell you whether or not you are a Christian and going to Heaven. I’m telling you to look at what the Word of God says about a true believer, and examine yourself in light of it. And if you fail the test, throw yourself upon the mercy of God. Cry out to Him for grace to truly believe and repent until He tells you “It is finished” and you are saved.

It is unbiblical and heretical to tell people to raise their hands and “Repeat these words after me,” in order to be saved. No, you have to seek God and receive His grace to believe and to repent. A new birth from the Holy Spirit must take place in your spirit. When that happens, you are no longer the same person. The result is a continually changing life, mind, and character that conforms to Jesus Christ.

So, let’s examine ourselves in light of Scripture to see if we are saved and going to Heaven.

1 John 1:5-10 This is the message we have heard from him and proclaim to you, that God is light, and in him is no darkness at all. If we say we have fellowship with him while we walk in darkness, we lie and do not practice the truth. But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus his Son cleanses us from all sin. If we say we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. If we say we have not sinned, we make him a liar, and his word is not in us.

The term “light” refers to holiness and righteousness. God is holy and righteous. He has no sin. He cannot lie. God has no evil in Him. Evil cannot tempt Him. God disdains evil. He despises it. He’s has no fellowship with evil nor with anyone walking in the darkness of evil.

So, if we say that we have fellowship with God and yet walk in darkness without confession and repentance, we are lying. We are self-deceived!

Salvation is not sinless perfection. As we walk in the light of Jesus, our sin is exposed. When we confess it, He forgives us and cleanses us with His Blood. This leads us to repent, and this happens continually throughout our life as we fellowship with God in the Light of His Word.

The Bible teaches that even the most mature Christian is still susceptible to sin. One of the greatest evidences that a person has truly been born again (that a person is truly a child of God) is that he is sensitive to the sin in his life and he continues to confess it and repent every time the Holy Spirit convicts him.

Are you sensitive to sin? Does it lead you to confession and repentance? Do you tremble at His Word or do you excuse your sin, saying that is how you were created or, “My family is that way”? Or do you avoid reading His Word because you know it’s going to convict you?

1 John 2:3-6 And by this we know that we have come to know him, if we keep his commandments. Whoever says “I know him” but does not keep his commandments is a liar, and the truth is not in him, but whoever keeps his word, in him truly the love of God is perfected. By this we may know that we are in him: whoever says he abides in him ought to walk in the same way in which he walked.

The Bible tells us how we can know that we’re saved. Is it because our heart tells us? Because the preacher tells us? Because we completed five steps? Because we just feel it? No! The Bible 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, meaning if we keep on keeping His commandments, then we know that we have come to know Him.

What does it mean to keep His commandments? Does it mean to walk in sinless perfection? No. Again, it is a life-style. If you were to view a film of your life, would you see a life-style that desires to know God’s commandments, desires to obey them, is growing in obedience, and is also broken with godly sorrow when it doesn’t obey? Would anyone else viewing that film, see that kind of faith in your life?

These verses say the one who says, “I know Him,” and does not keep His commandments, is a liar, and the truth is not in him. Examine yourself. Which verse describes you?

Do you need help deciding? Then look at the verse, “By this we may know that we are in him: whoever says he abides in him ought to walk in the same way in which he walked.”

Since the day of your conversion, have you desired to walk like Jesus, or do you still desire to walk like everyone else? Be honest, don’t deceive yourself. Do you desire to act like the world and talk like the world and fellowship with the world—or do you identify with Jesus and desire to act like Him, talk like Him, and fellowship with Him?

1 John 2:15-17 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. For all that is in the world—the desires of the flesh and the desires of the eyes and pride of life—is not from the Father but is from the world. And the world is passing away along with its desires, but whoever does the will of God abides forever.

This world is passing away. If you’re living for it, you’re foolish. It is the one who does the will of God who abides forever. What are you pursuing—God’s will or the world?

Jesus said in Mark 8:36, “What good is it for a man to gain the whole world, yet forfeit his soul?”

Another test is found in 1 John 2:28-29 And now, little children, abide in him, so that when he appears we may have confidence and not shrink from him in shame at his coming. If you know that he is righteous, you may be sure that everyone who practices righteousness has been born of him.

Are you abiding in Jesus by practicing righteousness? Are you practicing God’s wisdom, God’s Word, God’s precepts?

God’s Word touches every aspect of our lives. Yet many, who claim to be Christians, seldom read it! There’s something in there for every area of our life, and we need to discover what that is and conform our lives to it. If you think that is a burden or it is too hard to understand, then you are lost, because the Bible says the commandments of God, for a believer, are not hard to understand nor a burden. They’re a joy!

Psalm 119:162 I rejoice at your word like one who finds great spoil. (a great treasure!)

The Bible is not a poetry book. It’s not a history book. It is your life. Jesus is called the Word of God. Abiding in Him includes abiding in His Word. We need to live in It, and It needs to live in us. Therefore, read It and heed It!

To simplify His Word, Jesus summed up all that is written in the Law and by the prophets by reducing them to two commandments.

Matthew 22:37-39 And he said to him, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the great and first commandment. And a second is like it: You shall love your neighbor as yourself.

Don’t ignore that little word “all”. If you do, you will deceive yourself. Do you love Jesus with all your heart? What do you think about most? That’s what you love the most.

1 John 3:3-8 And everyone who thus hopes in him purifies himself as he is pure. Everyone who makes a practice of sinning also practices lawlessness; sin is lawlessness. You know that he appeared in order to take away sins, and in him there is no sin. No one who abides in him keeps on sinning; no one who keeps on sinning has either seen him or known him. Little children, let no one deceive you. Whoever practices righteousness is righteous, as he is righteous. Whoever makes a practice of sinning is of the devil, for the devil has been sinning from the beginning.

Our hope is built on Jesus Christ and His purity. Therefore, if Christ abides in us, we desire to be pure as He is pure and we seek His grace to stop sinning. That grace teaches us to say “No” to all unrighteousness (Titus 2:11-12).

We realize that all believers will unintentionally sin, but there is a difference between a believer who sins, confesses their sin, undergoes the discipline of the Lord, but goes on to greater purity, than someone who keeps on sinning as a lifestyle. If you deny or excuse your sin and continue to practice sin, the Word of God says you are not a child of God, but one of the devil.

1 Corinthians 6:9-10 Do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor homosexuals, nor sodomites, nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners will inherit the kingdom of God.

Regardless of what the world says, this is the truth. Do not be deceived! Those who practice sin are not going to inherit the Kingdom of God!

Here is another test question, “Have you received the Holy Spirit since you believed?” This is a critical question because in John 3:5 Jesus said, “I tell you the truth, no one can enter the Kingdom of God unless one is born of water and the Spirit.”

Paul brought up the same question in Acts 19:1-7 And it happened that while Apollos was at Corinth, Paul passed through the inland country and came to Ephesus. There he found some disciples. And he said to them, “Did you receive the Holy Spirit when you believed?” And they said, “No, we have not even heard that there is a Holy Spirit.” And he said, “Into what then were you baptized?” They said, “Into John’s baptism.” And Paul said, “John baptized with the baptism of repentance, telling the people to believe in the one who was to come after him, that is, Jesus.” On hearing this, they were baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus. And when Paul had laid his hands on them, the Holy Spirit came on them, and they began speaking in tongues and prophesying. There were about twelve men in all.

Likewise, the apostle John states in 1 John 4:13 By this we know that we abide in him and he in us, because he has given us of his Spirit.

How do we know if we have been given the Holy Spirit? Is it because we were baptized and someone told us that was it?

The Holy Spirit is God in us. If we abide in Him and He is abiding (living) in us, we will know we have received the Holy Spirit because we experience His conviction, direction, and the transformation of our character. He produces the fruit of the Holy Spirit in our lives and gives us grace to die to our fleshly desires every day.

Galatians 5:22-24 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law. And those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires.

Do these Scriptures describe you? If not, ask your Father in Heaven to fill you with His Spirit.

Luke 11:13 If you then, who are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will the heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to those who ask him!

God’s Word is revealing, isn’t it? Does it make you angry, or does it make you feel like your Father in Heaven has lovingly told you some precious truth to prepare you for Heaven and for His work as an ambassador of Christ on earth?

The mere fact that you struggle with loving Jesus with all your heart, that you look at your own life and you realize you’re not as righteous as you should be, and it bothers you, is evidence that you’ve come to know Him. The Holy Spirit is speaking to you, working on you, convicting you of sin, righteousness, and judgment. He is gradually transforming you into the image of Christ from one degree of glory to another (2 Corinthians 3:18). By these intimate experiences, you can know that you are walking in the light and fellowshipping with Jesus and He will lead you home to Heaven.

Self-deception blinds the persons who live in habitual sin, who love the world, who just have Jesus as a little accessory in their life, and believe they are going to Heaven because they went through a religious ceremony or recited a prayer. The Holy Spirit does not abide in them, but they believe they are just as good as everyone else—and better than most. Jesus will say to those deceived persons, “I never knew you. Depart from me you worker of iniquity”. (Matthew 7:23)

Jesus is not an accessory that you add to your life. He is Life. He’s the very source of life. He who has the Son of God has life. He who does not have the Son of God abiding in Him has nothing.

1 John 5:12 Whoever has the Son has life; whoever does not have the Son of God does not have life.

Can you honestly say you know Jesus, the Son of God, is abiding in you by the Holy Spirit, and He is your life, your way of life, and the love of your life?

If not, today is the day to change that. Perhaps the Holy Spirit has shown you through God’s Word how you can love Jesus more, how you can become more like Him, how to walk closer to Him in the light, and what darkness needs to be expelled from your life. If so, ask the Father to give you His grace to repent of all sin and to fill you with the Holy Spirit.

If you are feeling conviction that you have never made Jesus Christ your Lord and Savior, today is the day of your salvation. Don’t put it off. God is giving you grace and faith today to be saved.

Acts 2:37-39 Now when they heard this they were cut to the heart, and said to Peter and the rest of the apostles, “Brothers, what shall we do?” And Peter said to them, “Repent and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins, and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. For the promise is for you and for your children and for all who are far off, everyone whom the Lord our God calls to himself.”

Therefore, if you realize you are a sinner on your way to Hell, believe in Jesus, the Son of God, who atoned for your sin on the cross and rose from the dead. Confess your sin to the Father and ask Him for grace to repent. Then come forward and publicly confess your faith in Jesus Christ and we will arrange for you to follow Jesus in baptism.

Baptism signifies a death to your old life and the birth of a new life conceived of the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit will lead you to walk in the light with the Lord and He will keep you from self-deception.