by Carron Lake @ www. thelightoftheword.org

Click to continue if you have understood why you are examining your faith.

Are you following the GOOD SHEPHERD that
you might receive Eternal Life?
Do you personally know HIS Word?
Are you sure you are in the LORD'S Fold
and one of His sheep?

To understand the real problem this world is facing,
test yourself with this simple illustration, to see
how it could be possible for many to be walking outside
the fellowship of God.

In explaining the parable of the Sower in the field, Jesus presented a concept to His disciples and said, "...He that soweth the good seed is the Son of man; The field is the world; the good seed are the children of the kingdom; but the tares are the children of the wicked [one]; The enemy that sowed them is the devil; the harvest is the end of the world; and the reapers are the angels. As therefore the tares are gathered and burned in the fire; so shall it be in the end of this world. The Son of man shall send forth his angels, and they shall gather out of his kingdom all things that offend, and them which do iniquity; And shall cast them into a furnace of fire: there shall be wailing and gnashing of teeth. Then shall the righteous shine forth as the sun in the kingdom of their Father. Who hath ears to hear, let him hear" (Matthew 13:37-43).

He also said, "Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven. Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? and in thy name have cast out devils? and in thy name done many wonderful works? And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity. Therefore whosoever heareth these sayings of mine, and doeth them, I will liken him unto a wise man, which built his house upon a rock:

"And the rain descended, and the floods came, and the winds blew, and beat upon that house; and it fell not: for it was founded upon a rock. And every one that heareth these sayings of mine, and doeth them not, shall be likened unto a foolish man, which built his house upon the sand: And the rain descended, and the floods came, and the winds blew, and beat upon that house; and it fell: and great was the fall of it" (Matthew 7:21-27).

From the parables that were presented to people before Him, those who had ears to hear understood, that at the coming of the Lord, the angels would be sent by the Word to gather out of HIS kingdom all things that offend and do iniquity. If at the coming of the Lord, men are not ready to receive Him, they will have no opportunity in that day to change their hearts and minds. For if they shall look forward to a third coming, hoping to be received by the Lord, they shall be greatly disappointed by their wailing and gnashing of teeth. For at the harvest time, their fruits will be fully known due to the elements that will beat against that house. No second chance as some have suggested. As the Word said, "...It is appointed unto men once to die, but after this the judgment" (Hebrews 9:27).

The Father said through HIS Word, "I am the good shepherd, and know my [sheep], and am known of mine" (John 10:14). To confirm this truth, Jesus said, "As the Father knoweth me, even so know I the Father: and I lay down my life for the sheep. And other sheep I have, which are not of this fold: them also I must bring, and they shall hear my voice; and there shall be one fold, [and] one shepherd" (John 10:15, 16).

It is the thought in the minds of some that the other sheep that Jesus refers to were in regards to the other religions of this earth. But this view is corrected by the parable of the ninety and nine that remained in the fold. Jesus said, "What man of you, having an hundred sheep, if he lose one of them, doth not leave the ninety and nine in the wilderness, and go after that which is lost, until he find it? And when he hath found [it], he layeth [it] on his shoulders, rejoicing. And when he cometh home, he calleth together [his] friends and neighbours, saying unto them, Rejoice with me; for I have found my sheep which was lost. I say unto you, that likewise joy shall be in heaven over one sinner that repenteth, more than over ninety and nine just persons, which need no repentance" (Luke 15:4-7).

From this parable, it is revealed that the one lost sheep refers not only to the sinner that is lost, but to this world, which is the fold lost in sin, separation and death. Through Paul's presentation of the gospel, it was revealed that we are blessed by the Father in Christ, "In whom we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of his grace; Wherein he hath abounded toward us in all wisdom and prudence; Having made known unto us the mystery of his will, according to his good pleasure which he hath purposed in himself: That in the dispensation of the fulness of times he might gather together in one all things in Christ, both which are in heaven, and which are on earth; [even] in him" (Ephesians 1:7-10).

The question of great importance is this, "Are we in Him?", or "Is Christ divided among many?" To understand more clearly why there are so many different religions in the world instead of just one fellowship of believers, I have presented a simple demonstration below to help you understand the problem. In addition, you will also understand the seriousness of the problem for everyone involved, and how it is possible that a person believing he or she is following the truth, or the right religion, could be disappointed in finding himself or herself outside the fellowship of God.

Do you know where you stand
in your relationship to God?

Whose will are you following?
Your will, or HIS Will?

When would you prefer to find out
the answers to these questions?
Before He returns, or after He returns?

Through the servant John, the Word said, "Blessed and holy [is] he that hath part in the first resurrection: on such the second death hath no power, but they shall be priests of God and of Christ, and shall reign with him a thousand years" (Revelation 20:6).

If we fail to receive the blessing by faith, of being apart of the first resurrection at Christ second coming, we will also fail to receive HIS Power to overcome the second death. As a result, Eternal Life will not be granted to those who choose to wait for a third coming of the Lord. For at the end of the thousand years, all who rejected the blessing of the LORD will be destroyed. Wouldn't it be safer for us to know where we stand with God before He returns? No man on earth has the ability of himself to tell you where you stand with God. Only God HIMSELF can reveal to you through His Word where you stand with Him, that you might follow HIS Will and be with Him in HIS Kingdom. To do this, we must continue to check with the Word to see if we are in the faith.

For this reason, Paul said, "Examine yourselves, whether ye be in the faith; prove your own selves. Know ye not your own selves, how that Jesus Christ is in you, except ye be reprobates?" (2 Corinthians 13:5)

In seeking to help us to understand the seriousness of our condition, or the lack of our understanding, the Word said through his servant David, "There is a way which seemeth right unto a man, but the end thereof [are] the ways of death" (Proverb 14:12).
Again He said through His servant, "There is a way that seemeth right unto a man, but the end thereof [are] the ways of death" (Proverb 16:25).

The choices we make in this world may at times appear to be good choices, but sometimes even our best-laid plans could fall through leaving us in a state of disappointment. In like manner, by following our inclinations instead of the Counsel of the LORD that we might one day be in heaven with the Father, we could find ourselves being greatly disappointed for not walking in the Light of HIS Word.

For Jesus said, "Let not your heart be troubled: ye believe in God, believe also in me. In my Father's house are many mansions: if [it were] not [so], I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you unto myself; that where I am, [there] ye may be also. And whither I go ye know, and the way ye know. Thomas saith unto him, Lord, we know not whither thou goest; and how can we know the way? Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me" (John 14:1-6).

In that day, which could be anytime, He shall return to receive those who believe the Father by following HIS Word. It would also be too late to change the minds and hearts for those who accepted not the Fathers will to follow HIS Word. But for the person who shall trust in the LORD with his whole heart, the Word says, "All the ways of a man [are] clean in his own eyes; but the LORD weigheth the spirits. Commit thy works unto the LORD, and thy thoughts shall be established" (Proverbs 16:2, 3).

From this verse of Scripture, the instruction is clear. We must commit our works unto the LORD and HE shall establish, or make clear our thoughts by the Word HE has revealed.

ABOUT THE TEST
"This is just an Illustration of your faith"

Because of the advice, or the incorrect counsel given to our first parents, we find ourselves in this condition of separation, darkness and death. If the deceiver is still at work in deceiving mankind, how would you know if you have not been deceived by him in the things that you believe? There are hundreds of religions in this world, and each one is proclaiming that it has the true religion of God. But only one will be accepted by God as being His Fold.

As Paul said in his letter to the church, " There is one body, and one Spirit, even as ye are called in one hope of your calling; One Lord, one faith, one baptism, One God and Father of all, who is above all, and through all, and in you all. But unto every one of us is given grace according to the measure of the gift of Christ" (Ephesians 4:4-7).

This demonstration will help you to test your ability in discerning by faith the correct path to follow. All you have to do to pass this test, is follow the simple directions given by the Bridegroom to the correct location. If you can accomplish this simple task you will have passed this test. However, in testing your ability to accomplish this task, you will also learn whether or not you are able to discern and trust in the guide that is given, or to rely on yourself or the advice of others to guide you? Can you trust yourself or the advice of others to guide you to the right location?

Although the advice given by others, or the advice you give yourself might be helpful, at times it may lead you astray. So be careful. The only person that you can really trust in this demonstration is the one who gives you the directions to each location. Compare any advice you might receive to the directions you are to follow. This is the complete test. I hope that from this test of faith, you will learn to build your faith on the True Bridegroom and Guide to the Father that by relying on Him, He might guide you into fellowship with the Father.

--- DISCLAIMER ---
By failing or passing this test, the result will in no-way cause you to
be excluded or included on the books of heaven. This is just a test
to help you understand the seriousness of our choices in following
or not following the Truth. If we fail here in taking this test, we can
try again, but in reality, if we fail with God, we fail for all eternity.

To begin the test, click
here to view a copy of the Map,