BUT DIDN’T I??
I got this title from a sermon I heard Gary Mainer give and his subject is certainly worthy of thought, as many people will find themselves under this familiar umbrella. Jesus tells us in Matthew 7:21 (ESV), “Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven.’ The human perception of entering the gates of Heaven has turned from living God’s established ways to the idea of claiming to know Jesus will be enough to override our humanism, therefore, ensuring our excuses will be sterilized of sin thus guaranteeing our entry into His kingdom. A not-so-fun fact: far too many have bought into man’s idea of the one-and-done approach to salvation. One prayer, one confession, one forgiveness, and you’re set for life. It seems, that not many people ever actually understand what and why is supposed to take place in surrendering all to Jesus and why repenting of their sinful past and giving up those sinful habits are important. Sadly, many will miss Jesus, because Christians tell them that once saved always saved, hence when living for Jesus becomes overwhelming, believing that they have nothing to lose they take the easy out. A quote from my late pastor on the one-and-done approach, “many believe they are going to heaven because they bought fire insurance with a simple prayer thus preventing their burning in Hell’s fire!” You may want to speak with Jesus on this subject to see where you’re at.
Jesus warns of this in Matthew 7:22 (ESV), ‘On that day many will say to me, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and cast out demons in your name, and do many mighty works in your name?’ We all shall find ourselves standing at the gates with many pleading, Lord: But Didn’t I? But Didn’t I? But didn’t I? Look at this very carefully, these people actually did the work of Christ and were judged to be unfit. For many seeking rewards will be given remembrances of every time God asked us to do something and we didn’t or every time we should have prayed, and we didn’t, or how God wanted a relationship with us, but we didn’t, to name a few from the endless of didn’t. And I’m sure you can see that God’s list of things we didn’t do could easily far exceed those we did. However, this is not the point Jesus is making, He doesn’t need us for our works! He desires a one-on-one relationship with each of us! God wants a good old fashion, “sit down a spell and visit for a while” time from us. Jesus says in Matthew 7:23 (ESV), ‘And then will I declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from me, you workers of lawlessness.” There was no relationship! The people in verse twenty-two knew why they did these works, but they never desired “to get to know” whom they did them for.
Early in my Christian walk, I came to understand that one will never come into the presence of Jesus and walk away without change! One of my greatest fears is change, but that doesn’t keep it from happening. God is truth and One can be assured of finding change inside the truth! In finding the truth, we can develop an insatiable desire to know more truth in seeking more change. Truth is like God in that it cannot change or be changed! Yes, it can be covered up with lies but the truth remains truth underneath all the garbage, and through a relationship with Jesus, we can find the truth about ourselves. The argument I usually hear on this is, if God knows everything then He knows me, to which I can’t argue; however, it’s not nor has it been about God knowing you, it’s about you knowing God, to get to know the real you. He wants us to know Him! Heart to heart; love to love; and truth to truth! This process eliminates the need for those “But Didn’t I’s” as Jesus explains in John 17:3 (ESV), And this is eternal life, that they know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom you have sent. A personal relationship with Jesus is the only ticket to enter the gates of heaven. May we that chose a relationship with God, gather inside those gates rejoicing in God’s love!
Lord, I pray that you will lay John 15:4 (ESV) on our hearts, Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit by itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in me. Allow us to envision the relationship of the limb with that of the vine, as the limb becomes full, green, and flourishes from the life-giving power of the vine, and the longer they remain attached the greater and stronger the bond between. Lord, I pray this be true of all who say they know you. May we all choose to develop, strengthen, and have a beautiful one-on-one forever with you! Amen
HAVE A BLESSED WEEK BY BEING A BLESSING TO OTHERS!