I could write an endless book on the topic of Tim’s message last night. I am sure others of you can too if you’re willing to share. I have blogged several times about the topic of a relationship or lack thereof with Jesus. Last night I went back and read some and laughed at how much I have changed in a year…not that it was funny…just that even as recent as a year ago God was (and is still) shaping my beliefs and thoughts on salvation. And how in the course of months my opinion on salvation changed from a “simply walk the aisle and pray the prayer and believe in God” view to a “believing in Jesus as Savior and clinging to Him in a personal relationship” view. It is amazing the more you seek Him the more He will show you. He knows you can’t handle much at once…so He starts you slow.
Jer 33:3 “Call to me and I will answer you and I will tell you great and unsearchable things you do not know”.
Are you calling Him? Are you seeking Him? Do you know the difference in a Good Bible Study Girl and A Woman after God’s Own Heart? Honestly even after I became Bible Study obsessed…I still didn’t get the relationship thing for quite some time. And I still daily have new ah-ha moments when relationship info becomes apparent and I think “dang I am slow”!!!! Relationship is what it is all about…a relationship with Jesus first and then with others.
You see I had buried myself in some untruths orchestrated by the enemy. Some of them I even thought were scriptural. Until I learned to compare EVERYTHING against God’s infallible word for TRUTH…I was mixed up and believing in a salvation that I truly did not posses! That is how satan wins. He confuses you into not knowing what you believe and why you believe it. He gets you so hung up on the ceremony and the pomp and circumstance that you MISS the billboard and the clear writing on the wall. You don’t hear Jesus because you are listening for a trumpet that will split the eastern sky…but until the rapture…mostly Jesus whispers. Only we are so busy “doing” life and even “doing” church that we don’t hear Him whispering.
Two of the biggest lies satan sold me included:
1) You only need to believe in God to be saved. I can never remember a time in my life that I did not believe God existed. But now I know that it is not JUST believing in God that matters…it is believing in Jesus, His one and only Son who came to earth perfect and blameless and lived perfectly and blamelessly without sin and was crucified on a cross for my sins that he knew would happen and that He arose on the 3rd day and ascended into heaven to prepare a place for me!! Believing in God is ½ of the Truth...I think people miss that obvious point!
example a) satan believes in God; James 2:19 “You believe that there is one God, good! Even the demons believe that…and shudder!”
example b) the Pharisees believed in God but did not recognize Jesus as the Lamb; Matthew 23:13 “Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You shut the door of the kingdom of heaven in people’s faces. You yourselves do not enter, nor will you let those enter who are trying to.”
2) Praying the sinner’s prayer is all you need to do to get to heaven. I think you have to have a heart change after you pray that prayer or repeating the words is worthless and just ceremonial. If you do not leave an encounter with God CHANGED…you probably did not really encounter Him (thanks Henry Blackaby for sharing this statement!). And I think that includes the sinner’s prayer.
example a) Matthew 7:21 “Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven.”
example b) John 10:26-28 26 “but you do not believe because you are not my sheep. 27 My sheep listen to my voice; I know them, and they follow me. 28 I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish; no one will snatch them out of my hand. “
You can’t hear Him and do His will if you do not open your heart and have Him CONSTANTLY abide in it. Without a heart change I think you are not His sheep.
I share all this to encourage you…if you are doubtful about salvation…seek counsel from a pastor. You MUST know that you know that you know where your eternity will be spent. I am convinced there might be a church full of Kristy Gardner’s sitting in the seats thinking that Tim was preaching to someone else last night when in fact he was preaching to that Kristy Gardner and she is too hung up in herself and her life to realize she needs a personal intimate relationship with Jesus. It is so easy to think someone else needs to hear a specific sermon worse than our “plank in the eye” selves need to hear it…amen?
If you don't mind...anonymously (or if you don't care publicly...but I like anonymous better on this topic though) post a comment if you have struggled through this issue. Briefly tell us if you are still struggling and we can pray for you. Do you doubt your eternity or are you secure in knowing it is in heaven?
PS - Did you sign up for Discipleship Training yet?????? You'd better!!!