The "Prince of Preachers," Charles Spurgeon, was not a stranger to spiritual sifting in his day. He once wrote of how the Bible speaks of it in the following way:
“For, lo, I will command, and I will sift the house of Israel among all nations, like as corn is sifted in a sieve, yet shall not the least grain fall upon the earth.”—Amos 9:9.
The sifting process is going on still. Wherever we go, we are still being winnowed and sifted. In all countries God’s people are being tried “like as corn is sifted in a sieve.” Sometimes the devil holds the sieve, and tosses us up and down at a great rate, with the earnest desire to get rid of us for ever. Unbelief is not slow to agitate our heart and mind with its restless fears. The world lends a willing hand at the same process, and shakes us to the right and to the left with great vigour. Worst of all, the church, so largely apostate as it is, comes in to give a more furious force to the sifting process.
Well, well! let it go on. Thus is the chaff severed from the wheat. Thus is the wheat delivered from dust and chaff. And how great is the mercy which comes to us in the text, “yet shall not the least grain fall upon the earth”! All shall be preserved that is good, true, gracious. Not one of the least of believers shall be lost, neither shall any believer lose anything worth calling a loss. We shall be so kept in the sifting that it shall be a real gain to us through Christ Jesus.1
What is amazing about Amos' text and Spurgeon's sentiments is that all who are true believers need not worry on that final day, for it is Christ who upholds the faithful. The chaff mixed in with the wheat will have long since been swished away by the sifting breeze of the winnow and the sharp slice of the divine scythe. Only those intimately acquainted by the blood of Christ will be found in His mercy--yes, from the wafting wisp of the dimly burning flax of a believer, to the ambassador for Christ on mission--all will be saved on that day.
Although we can rejoice in these facts, it is no secret that this sifting of the church is taking place right before our eyes. The true believers are making a stand and the false are on the sidelines. Self-gratification has gripped the hearts of Western civilization even to the point that many believe they do not need the Lord.
Dear church-goer, please make sure your salvation is sure. Please make sure you are in the faith. Here are a few litmus tests:
- Have you turned your heart over to Jesus? - John 1:12-13
- Do you put Him first in your life? - Col. 1:18
- Do you love the saints? - John 13:35; 1 John 4:20-21
- Do you practice lawlessness firsthand? Continually? - Matt. 13:41, 23:28; 1 John 3:4
- Do you strive to keep the commandments of Christ? Dan. 9:4; John 14:21
- Does the "Fruit of the Spirit" exude from your life? - Gal. 5:22-23; Eph. 5:8-11
- Do you actively lay up for yourselves treasure in heaven? - Matt. 6:19-21, 19:21
- Do you love the world and it's dimming glimmer more than the luster of heaven? - 1 John 2:15-16, 4:4; Matt. 6:24
- Do you consider yourself an alien in the world? - Phil. 3:20; Heb. 11:13; Eph. 2:19; 1 Pet. 2:11
These are not exhaustive and are only meant to take you to a place of consideration. It is a known fact that in the church today there are many who profess to be Christians but are only deceiving themselves. It is my sincere desire to see all believers turn fully to Jesus. Consider this: Jesus said, "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?’ And then I will declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness!’" 2 All this passage is really saying is there are many who are lying to themselves. But on that day no lie will stand even though one is proffered. We must remember, "For there is nothing hidden which will not be revealed, nor has anything been kept secret but that it should come to light."3 the Apostle Paul echoes this with, "In the day when God will judge the secrets of men by Jesus Christ, according to my gospel."4
The best time for sifting the heart and the church is now, while there is still time to repent and turn to God. For on that final day when the world stands before God, time will be spent, and salvation will no longer be available, (Rev. 20:11-15). What stops you from doing this now? What holds you back from the inheritance of eternity with Christ and life-everlasting?
1- C. H. Spurgeon, The Cheque Book of the Bank of Faith: Being Precious Promises Arranged for Daily Use with Brief Comments (New York: American Tract Society, 1893), 267.
2 - The New King James Version (Nashville: Thomas Nelson, 1982), Mt 7:22–23.
3 - Mark 4:22
4 - The New King James Version (Nashville: Thomas Nelson, 1982), Ro 2:16.