As disciples of Christ we are called to a narrow way. For Christ declared:
13 “Enter by the narrow gate; for wide is the gate and broad is the way that leads to destruction, and there are many who go in by it. 14 Because narrow is the gate and difficult is the way which leads to life, and there are few who find it. (Mat. 7:13-14)
And it is by this narrow gate and our humility that we will be judged. Yes none of us are perfect in ourselves, but still there is a narrow gate we are called to strive through. But in fact it seems difficult. But as we go forth and find peace in Christ, some of those presumed difficulties become easy burdens. For Christ also said:
28 Come to Me, all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. 29 Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. 30 For My yoke is easy and My burden is light.” (Mat. 11:28-30)
But Christ is not a hypocrite, so this to me is just one of perspective in regard to what is easy or difficult. For once we learn from Christ, then the difficulty becomes less of a burden or no burden at all.
With this foundation laid in Christ can we move forward to discern who is of Christ and who isn’t? Who is our brother or sister in Christ? For it is certain that not all who say they are Christian or call on the name of Christ, truly are saved by His Blood.
15 “Beware of false prophets, who come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ravenous wolves. 16 You will know them by their fruits. Do men gather grapes from thornbushes or figs from thistles? 17 Even so, every good tree bears good fruit, but a bad tree bears bad fruit. 18 A good tree cannot bear bad fruit, nor can a bad tree bear good fruit. 19 Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. 20 Therefore by their fruits you will know them.
21 “Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ shall enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father in heaven. 22 Many will say to Me in that day, ‘Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in Your name, cast out demons in Your name, and done many wonders in Your name?’ 23 And then I will declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness!’ (Mat. 7:15-23)
In my Bible there is a break between versuses 20 & 21. But truly verses 15 through 23 are related and run the complete thought together. But what is Christ saying? He is saying to watch what a person says and does. Even if they know Scripture well. For even satan used Scripture on his own behalf. We have an example when he tempted Christ.
5 Then the devil took Him up into the holy city, set Him on the pinnacle of the temple, 6 and said to Him, “If You are the Son of God, throw Yourself down. For it is written:
‘He shall give His angels charge over you,’
‘In their hands they shall bear you up,
Lest you dash your foot against a stone.’”
7 Jesus said to him, “It is written again, ‘You shall not tempt the Lord your God.’” (Mat. 4:5-7)
So then what? We know Christ wasn’t just talking about big name pastors in mega churches who will profane the name of Christ, but also various individuals on the internet and in real life, both of reputation and lowly in stature. But through Paul the Holy Spirit spoke the fruits of the Spirit that our walk in Christ may be evident to others. What are these fruits of the Spirit?
22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness, self-control. Against such there is no law. 24 And those who are Christ’s have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires. 25 If we live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit. 26 Let us not become conceited, provoking one another, envying one another.
But Paul also contrasts the fruits against the works of the flesh.
19 Now the works of the flesh are evident, which are: adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lewdness, 20 idolatry, sorcery, hatred, contentions, jealousies, outbursts of wrath, selfish ambitions, dissensions, heresies, 21 envy, murders, drunkenness, revelries, and the like; of which I tell you beforehand, just as I also told you in time past, that those who practice such things will not inherit the kingdom of God. (Gal 5:19-21)
I now want to apply this lesson to the assembling of ourselves together. Seeking Christ alone within the assembly. Knowing that none of us walk perfectly, but that we can find enough evidence of a true brother if he is putting Christ first above all things, displaying fruits of the Spirit on a consistent basis. But if someone doesn’t follow the teachings of Christ through the Gospels and the apostles in a consistent way, then doubts about a persons salvation can form. In fact if someone can’t confirm basic tenets of the Faith, then that person worships another Jesus and is in dire need of the True Christ. In such a case it would be proper to spend time ministering to lead them to Christ. Even to someone who has claimed the name of Christ for many years. Let us then examine our walk before Christ in light of the Truth of Scripture so that we can be accounted worthy of our Salvation.
I, therefore, the prisoner of the Lord, beseech you to walk worthy of the calling with which you were called, 2 with all lowliness and gentleness, with longsuffering, bearing with one another in love, 3 endeavoring to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace. (Eph. 4:1-3)