It’s To Be Expected, Part 3

As I sit here in my office, I really didn’t think that my blog post “It’s To Be Expected” would end up being more than one post! But, Glory be to God, it has, and I hope that through it, God works in one’s soul.

There are many things that are to be expected in the lives of those with unregenerate hearts as well as those with regenerated hearts. However, what I want to briefly bring to light here is the issue of a false sense of eternal security, or, more plainly put, the problem that is people who think they are saved but aren’t.

Matthew 25:31–46 (ESV)
The Final Judgment
31 “When the Son of Man comes in his glory, and all the angels with him, then he will sit on his glorious throne. 32 Before him will be gathered all the nations, and he will separate people one from another as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats. 33 And he will place the sheep on his right, but the goats on the left. 34 Then the King will say to those on his right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world. 35 For I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me drink, I was a stranger and you welcomed me, 36 I was naked and you clothed me, I was sick and you visited me, I was in prison and you came to me.’ 37 Then the righteous will answer him, saying, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you drink? 38 And when did we see you a stranger and welcome you, or naked and clothe you? 39 And when did we see you sick or in prison and visit you?’ 40 And the King will answer them, ‘Truly, I say to you, as you did it to one of the least of these my brothers, you did it to me.’

41 “Then he will say to those on his left, ‘Depart from me, you cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels. 42 For I was hungry and you gave me no food, I was thirsty and you gave me no drink, 43 I was a stranger and you did not welcome me, naked and you did not clothe me, sick and in prison and you did not visit me.’ 44 Then they also will answer, saying, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry or thirsty or a stranger or naked or sick or in prison, and did not minister to you?’ 45 Then he will answer them, saying, ‘Truly, I say to you, as you did not do it to one of the least of these, you did not do it to me.’ 46 And these will go away into eternal punishment, but the righteous into eternal life.”

This problem is a serious problem, and Jesus Himself even said that the people who go the way of destruction are many, and those who go the way of life are few:

Matthew 7:13–14 (ESV)

13 “Enter by the narrow gate. For the gate is wide and the way is easy that leads to destruction, and those who enter by it are many. 14 For the gate is narrow and the way is hard that leads to life, and those who find it are few.

So, as we share the gospel, we need to focus more on people understanding that Jesus is who He says He is and that Jesus did exactly what He said He would do, and what it was prophesied that He would do throughout the Old Testament. We need to focus on this instead of focusing on getting someone to repeat a prayer, for salvation is not a prayer, it is the saving knowledge of Jesus Christ, who He is and what He has done. I can get anyone to say a prayer, but, that prayer doesn’t save anyone.

My Pastor’s wife put together a wonderful composition for our VBS workers(I will get an electronic copy of this and post it here in the comments within the next day or two). This peace she wrote is largely quotations from John Piper and David Platt on ministering to children, addressing this very issue. So many VBS’s share the gospel and then try to get kids to understand the face value, not the true value, and then repeat a prayer. What is needed with children, and adults, is to create an environment of learning who Jesus is and what Jesus did. Then salvation will come to those who’s hearts are changed by this information, which is also called “The Gospel” or “The Good News of Jesus”.

There are so many people out there that have said prayer and been baptized and, as a result, feel that they are saved and they take it for granted. They feel that they are covered by grace and the perseverance of the saints, or, “once saved, always saved.” However, in the dark reality of things, they aren’t saved because they have never known or experienced the saving knowledge of Jesus Christ.

And, as it is stated in title of this blog post, this is to be expected, and Pastor’s and church leaders all know this of the many members in their churches. There are millions of “Christians” who grace the pews of churches, attending, tithing, and serving faithfully, who, when they die in this life, will end up in hell rather than heaven, where they think they are going. How do I know this? I, for many years, strongly believe that I was among that group of people, having a false sense of security and salvation.

When I was a teenager, I knew what the Gospel was and the basics of what Jesus did, and, making a long story short, after a family tragedy, I was visited by some youth and a leader from my church and they went over a track with me and I prayed a prayer and accepted Jesus as my Lord and Savior. And it was good. And, for all purposes, I felt I was saved. I went on missions trips. I was active within the church ministries. I firmly believe that God may have used me, in His sovereignty, to change lives(not by my doing, though, by Christ’s). However, it hasn’t really been until recently, and when I say “recently” I mean the last few years of my life, that I have grown as a Christian. After hearing a message by Paul Washer than many dub “The Most Shocking Message”(which you can listen to by clicking HERE), God really laid it on my heart that I may not have been a Christian until much more recently, rather than when I said that prayer back in 1996. I don’t know for sure, though, however, I am sure of my salvation now, and that is a wonderful feeling.

Remember, in ministry, it’s to be expected to come across those who firmly believe they are saved who aren’t. We need to pray for wisdom and discernment in this area, especially if we are confronted with having to directly address this issue with a person. It is difficult because those who believe they are saved are usually the most blinded, in my experience, to the very Gospel itself.

Some resources mentioned in this post:
Paul Washer’s Most Shocking Youth Message

David Platt on witnessing to children

John Piper – The Gospel Saves Kids

 And, once again, when I get an electronic copy of what my pastor’s wife wrote, I will post it here.