God requires your everything. . .
When you look at what I will call Christian ‘non-believers’, they can be divided into maybe 3 different classes:
Those who have never heard the Gospel
Those who have heard the Gospel and have rejected it
Those who have heard the Gospel, and have accepted a portion of it, but not all of it.
As an atheist, I fell into the second category. My knowledge of Christian doctrine, was very imperfect, but I rejected it all. I rejected the very existence of God.
I thought myself a good man, and in some ways I was. I was kind to animals. At various times, I was kind to people. If Jackie and I saw a homeless person walking down the street, it was not uncommon for us to pull over and give them $20. I held these memories of my goodness in my mind, when judging myself.
Looking at me from the outside, I appeared to have everything all together. I had a good job, a pretty wife, a nice home, a nice car. . . I was clean shaven. . . I read good books. . . I could speak with a degree of knowledge on a variety of subjects. . . .Yes. . . It looked as if I had it all together.
I judged myself good, because of the little good things I did. I judged myself better than Christians, because I did my good deeds without the promise of or reward of heaven for doing them. In my mind my doing good for its own sake outshone a Christian's doing good in order to go to heaven . . but. . . but. . . but. . . I completely ignored the blackness within me, and to focused only on my good.
I ignored the times I stole. I ignored the people I cheated. . .I ignored the lies I told. . . I ignored the promises I broke. . . I ignored my drunkeness. . . I ignored my immorality. Yes, I thought I was a good person, but I was not.
There was no hope for me. I had rejected God, and I had no excuse. If I had died in that day, I don’t know that I would have been all that surprised to hear the judgement of God. It did not take much, for me to see what a fool I had been. When God opened my eyes to my wickedness I immediately saw my sin. I once was blind, but now I see. . .
There are many others today who believe in good standing with God, who consider themselves Christians and yet who will be shocked on the day of judgement to find that they too. . . just the same as the unbelievers, have fallen short of the requirements of eternal life in heaven.
They have been taught and have accepted a lie. Many churches today espouse the doctrine of easy believism. Just accept Jesus Christ as your Savior and you are assured of going to heaven. I actually heard a man say to a group at the jail, I know that you are drug dealers, drunks, wife beaters, child molesters, murderers, and rapists, and I know that you will continue to sell drugs, get drunk, hit your wives, molest children, etc. etc. etc. but now that you have accepted Jesus you are 100% sure of going to heaven.
REALLY???? What a cruel joke that is. What a surprise is in store for those who bought that lie. Christianity is all about being transformed. . . being reborn. . . being remade as a new creature in Christ, and not about continuing in your ways of sin.
Jesus is clearly saying here that even people who were doing ministry in His name, and yet continued breaking His commandments will go to hell. They thought that the good that they did somehow gave them a free pass on the sin in their lives.
Jesus was not casual, and to be like HIm is not to be casual either. I've had people tell me that I’m going way overboard with my religion. . . The things I won’t do. . . The things I won’t watch. . .The places I won’t go for my relationship with God, I’m told that I go way overboard, but what did Jesus say???
Does Jesus sound casual here? The flesh must be overcome at any cost, even to the plucking out of your eye or the chopping off of your hand, rather than to commit sin. Watching a movie with nudity in it, is designed to create thoughts of lust within the viewers. Jesus states here that those thoughts of lust are the same as committing the act of adultery, and that anything which leads you into sin must be removed from your life.
There is no such thing as casual Christianity or lukewarm Christianity. There is no such thing as part-time Christianity. . . There is no Christianity cafeteria plan. You cannot be fooled into thinking that you can pick and choose what you will follow and what you will not follow.
Again Jesus speaking:
Luke warmness will not work. . .casualness will not work. Don’t bother. Give up the pretense, rather than to try to fool yourself with Christianity in name only. There is no Christian cafeteria plan. We are not walking through a doctrinal cafeteria line, taking the mashed potatoes, and rejecting the brussel sprouts. The doctrine of Jesus is to be taken in it’s entirety. You need to be baptized in Jesus name. You need to be filled with the Spirit of God. You need to live a righteous and holy life. You need to follow the word of God.
but this is not an onerous task.
The apostle John writes:
For all it appears from the outside looking at the Christian walk, this task of obeying His commandments is not a heavy task. As an atheist, to me the Christian life looked to be the most utterly boring way of living that I could imagine. No drinking. . . no gambling. . . no smoking. . .no drugs. . .forcing myself to go to boring church each Sunday.
But the reality is just the opposite, this way of life is head and shoulders above any other. I remember the pain, and misery and sickness and shame of my drunken days. I remember the tension, and anger and meanness. . . I remember my unforgiveness and bitterness. I remember the lying. . . the hatred within me. I would hold a grudge for months, if not years when I thought I had been wronged.
His burden truly is light. There is peace to be found here. There is joy, and strength, and happiness beyond anything the world has to offer. Being filled with God's Spirit is indescribable joy. I still remember that day almost 15 years ago now.
It was about 2 months after coming to God. . . about 1 month after being baptized in Jesus name. There was an evangelist preaching at Life Tabernacle. In church over the couple of months I had attended Life Tabernacle, I had seen others around me speak in tongues, as they prayed or worshiped, but truthfully I thought they were faking it. I didn't believe in it, but that evening, in spite of my unbelief, I went down to the front of the church at the altar call, and the evangelist, Keith Mendenhall came over and prayed with me.
My hands were raised in the air, as I called out to God. When Reverend Mendenhall placed his hands on my head, the most incredible, most glorious thing occurred, I found myself speaking out in a language which I did not understand. I was filled with the most wonderful feeling of joy, and happiness. I tell you. . . I smiled for almost two weeks. It was amazing. It changed me completely. To this day, I can remember. . .I can see my old thoughts. . . my old ways of thinking hanging like cobwebs in the corners of my mind, but I had been reborn. . . a new creature in Christ.
Do not take comfort and be deceived by what you see in the world around you. The world has largely abandoned respect for God and His Laws, but there will be a day of reckoning.
Again Jesus speaking:
It is not self-righteousness happiness with which I view the world. . . It is horror, and sorrow, and fear I feel for my friends, my family, my neighbors. . .
This evangelism. . . this telling of people about God and the good news of Jesus sacrifice for our salvation. . . I have heard it described as one beggar telling another where he found bread. . . I found bread. . . I found rich sustenance. . .and I want to share it with you. . .
There is no comparison, my old life to the life I have found with Jesus. I implore you. . . Open your heart to Him. . . Seek Him with everything you have. . . and find treasure beyond counting. . .
I love You God. . .
I love You my God. . .
Thank You for everything You have done for me. . .
Thank You for forgiving my past foolishness. . .
Thank You for loving me. . .