The setting for this text takes place on the special

sabbath which always follows The Feast of Tabernacles.

Jesus had returned to the temple and had proceeded to teach

a large crowd of people.

      A group of Pharisees interrupted His teaching by

bringing to Him a woman who had been caught in the act of

adultery.  After dealing with that situation Jesus continued

to teach and proclaimed Himself to be the Light of The

World.  He was challenged by the Pharisees and His response

was to tell them that unless they would believe in Him they

would die in their sins.  They would not make it to heaven.

He again reminded them that He was not of this world, that

He was sent from heaven to the earth and that God the Father

sent Him.  He also reminded them that God the Father was His

witness that He is who He claimed to be.  The Father bore

witness of Him through the mighty miracles which He


      John, the writer of the book, tells us at this point

that many people out of this great crowd believed on Him.

That is, they accepted the idea that He is the Christ and

that God had sent Him into the world.  That is, they, at

least, professed to believe that He is the Christ and that

God had sent Him into the world.  Note verses 30.

      In our text today, Jesus puts these professed believers

to the test.  The test is designed to show whether or not

their profession of faith is really genuine.


I.  The reason their profession of faith was tested


      The reason for giving such a test is obvious.  Some of

them were believers in word only.  Some had not really

trusted in Jesus.  Some had been caught up in the emotional

enthusiasm of this great crowd who so eagerly praised Jesus.

It is true that the Pharisees had been critical of Him, but

the great masses of people in this  crowd had been highly

enthusiastic about Him.  When Jesus claimed to be The Light

of The World and talked about God the Father sending Him

from heaven and supporting His ministry by the great

miracles which many of them had witnessed that crowd became

highly emotionally charged.  There is little doubt that many

of them, perhaps even most of them, truly believed that

Jesus is the Christ.  But under those emotional conditions

it was easy for some who did not genuinely believe in Him to

say, "Yes, that's right.  We, too, agree that He is the

Christ.  We believe that."

      We have seen this happen even in our day.  We have seen

preaching services become highly emotional and when the

invitation one or more step forward professing Jesus as

Savior and join the church.  Then somebody else come just be

cause the others had come.  It was not because they were

genuinely persuaded by the truth.  It was just that they got

emotional and mistook their emotional state for genuine

faith in Jesus.

      There may be other factors involved which help to cause

and unsaved person to make a false profession of faith.  I

have known of children being approached in a church service

by some adult who would say, "Don't you think it is about

time you joined the church?"  When a child is approached by

an adult during a highly emotional service in that manner,

the child will usually join the church whether he is saved

or not.  In my earlier ministry I knew of a woman in one

church who specialized in persuading young people to join

the church with such tactics.

      Even some preachers deliberately use great emotionalism

to persuade more people to make professions of faith under

their preaching.  I saw one evangelist in a revival meeting

walk almost to the rear of the building during an

invitation, then step down between the pews and catch a

young man by the arm and bring him down the aisle.  He got a

profession of faith, but I question whether it was genuine.

      Sometimes a family member will join the church just in

order to get some other family member off his back.  When I

lived in Jacksonville I worked with a man who was a member

of a Missionary Baptist Church.  He told me, "Harold, I know

that if I were to die, I would go straight to hell.  I knew

when I joined the church that I was not saved."  I asked

him, "Since you knew you were unsaved, why did you join the

church?"  He said, "To keep my wife from worrying about me."

He said, "I would wake up in the night and find her crying

because I was unsaved.  I joined to keep her from worrying

about me."

      For whatever reason, there are many people who join

churches unsaved.  Some few join when they know they are

lost.  But I fear that the majority think that because they

walk an aisle, join a church and get baptized that they will

make it to heaven.

      We have had people right here at Pleasant Hill to come

forward and say, "I was not saved when I joined, but I am



II.  The test which Jesus gave


      Here is the test which Jesus gave to those people to

help them determine whether they were save or lost.  V. 31,

"Then said Jesus to those Jews which believed on him, If ye

continue in my word, then are ye my disciples indeed."

      Now let me call to your attention that Jesus did not

say, "If ye continue in the church, then ye are my disciples

indeed."  Rather Jesus said, "If you continue in My word,

then are ye my disciple indeed."  If one is a genuine

believer, if he has truly been saved, then he has a genuine

thirst for understanding the word of God.  He has a desire

for the truth of God.  He will not be easily led astray from

the truth of God to false teachings.  He will not be easily

offended by the truth of God.  He will rejoice in hearing

and learning the truth of God.  They will be inclined to

contend for the truth of God.  Most of all, he will have a

burning desire to be obedient to the word of God.  He will

even have a great feeling or remorse and repentance when he

becomes aware that he has been disobedient to God' word.

      Therefore, when a professed believer finds that He does

have this great thirst for Bible understanding, when He

continues to be thrilled by the great truths of God, when He

continues week after week, month after month and year after

year with this undying love for the word of God he will have

the evidence to show to himself and others that he is a true

believer and that his profession is genuine.

      On the other hand, when one finds that he does not

really enjoy listening to the word of God, when he only

tolerates God's word, he has reason to question whether or

not he is really saved.  It could be that he is merely a

worldly minded Christian, but it also could be that he has

made a false profession of faith.

      Likewise when one who has made a profession of faith is

easily persuaded away from the truth of God's word into

false teaching, then this is a pretty good indication that

he has made a false profession of faith.


III.  The vital importance of Bible truth


      It is true that one can be genuinely saved and still

mistaken on some point of doctrine.  But there are some

basic Bible truths that are absolutely essential to

salvation.  In verse 32 Jesus said, "And ye shall know the

truth, and the truth shall make you free."

      Let me put it this way.  Just because a person is

mistake about "Once saved always saved" that does not mean

that he is unsaved.  Just because one is mistaken about what

makes Scriptural baptism, that does not mean that he is

unsaved.  Just because a person is mistaken about when the

second coming of Christ will take place or who will make up

the Glory Bride, that does not mean that he is unsaved.  But

when a person is in error about the gospel and holds to a

false gospel, he is unsaved.  A false gospel will not save

anybody.  It is the true gospel that will make him free.

One must know and believe the true gospel in order to be


      There are many doctrines in the Bible in addition to the

gospel and they are all important.  There is not one

doctrine in the Bible which is unimportant.  But not all

doctrines of the Bible are essential to salvation.

      However, the true gospel is essential to salvation.  It

is absolutely essential.  No one can ever be saved without

accepting the true gospel message.

      Yet every doctrine is important to God.  If it were

unimportant to God, it would not be in the Bible.  Since it

is important to God, then it should also be important to us.

That is why every believer should zealously study the Bible.


He should earnestly seek to rightly divide the word of

truth.  He may be wrong about many things in the Bible, but

he should desire to never be wrong.  He should desire to be

right in every thing he believes concerning the Bible.


IV.  The challenge for the professed Christian today


      One of the first challenges is to make sure that he is

saved.  He can find out by taking the test.  Jesus said that

one is a genuine believer if he continues in His word.  Note

that Jesus did not say that one is a genuine believer if he

continues in the church.  A lost person can join a church

and remain an active member of that church all of his life

and still be lost when he dies.  So it is not a matter of

remaining in the church, it is a matter of remaining in the

word of God.

      One of the first questions to ask yourself is:  Have I

genuinely repented of my sin and trusted the Lord Jesus

Christ to save my soul?  If there is serious doubt about

whether you have repented and trusted Jesus as your Savior

then there is good reason to doubt that you are saved.

      A second question to ask yourself is:  Do I have a

genuine thirst for the word of God?  Do I really reading and

studying the Bible?  Do I enjoy hearing it taught and

preached or do I just tolerate it?  If you just tolerate the

preaching or teaching of God's word then there is good

reason to examine further to see if you are saved.  Are you

willing to change your mind about what you believe to agree

with what the word of God teaches?  If not, then you need to

check further to see if you are really saved.  Do you desire

to live in obedience to the teaching of the Bible?  If not,

that is a good indication that you might not be saved.  Do

you feel bad about it when you become aware that you were

disobedient to the will of God as revealed in the Bible?

Listen, if you can sin and not feel bad about it, then

something is wrong somewhere.  It just might be that you

have never been saved.




      If you are unsaved, would you like to be saved?  Are you

ready to get saved now?  Will you come and call upon Jesus

and ask Him to save you and trust Him to do so?  If so, then


      If you are saved and you need to make some move in this

service to do the will of God, then will you come?