The Greatest Deception
“Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven; but he who does the will of My Father who is in heaven. Many will say to Me on that day, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in Your name, and in Your name cast out demons, and in Your name perform many miracles?’ And then I will declare to them, ‘I never knew you; DEPART FROM ME, YOU WHO PRACTICE LAWLESSNESS.’” Matthew 7:21-23
Do you remember when Simon Cowell was on American Idol? He was the judge who made the show very interesting as he was not bashful about telling people the unadulterated truth. No doubt, Mr. Cowell could use a lesson or two on basic human kindness, but he was rarely off when it came to assessing talent.
During the audition portion of the show, you would often hear Simon asking a particularly bad singer, “Have people told you that you can sing?” The answer would invariably be an enthusiastic YES! Simon would curtly reply, “Well, they lied to you.” And worst part of it all was the bad singer believed the lie.
BELIEVING THE GREATEST LIE
You know what the greatest lie is that so many people believe? It is simply this: I think I’m a Christian and will do okay when I stand before God because I have done some good things in my life … and I believe in God and Jesus … and I went to church … and I was baptized … and God answered a prayer or two of mine … and God protected me when I was in that car wreck … and blah, blah, blah.
Multitudes of people deceive themselves and lie to themselves, thinking they are something – a true Christian – when they are not. Jesus said “many” will be there at the judgment deceived and denied.
I was counseling a man the other day who claimed to be a Christian. In the course of our conversation, I asked him to tell me how and when he came to know Christ. He described how God had blessed him this way and that way, and how he went to church. I told him that was nice, but it didn’t answer the question. I said, “Have you ever really made a conscious decision to repent of sin and receive Jesus Christ as Savior and Lord? If so, when and how did that happen?” He sheepishly said, “Well, I don’t think I’ve ever done that.”
THE DISTANCE IS ONLY 18”
Someone has well said that the distance between heaven and hell is only 18” – the distance between your head and your heart. Listen, the devil believes in Jesus in his head, and he is going to spend eternity in hell. The doorway to heaven is through the heart. “If you believe in your heart … you shall be saved; for with the heart man believes resulting in righteousness …” (Romans 10:9-10).
When you believe in your heart, you entrust your heart and life to Jesus, the One who died and rose again for you. The moment you do that, you are born again as the Holy Spirit of God comes to live inside of you … and your life is changed forever.
Has that ever happened to you? Be totally honest here. Don’t fudge or hedge or equivocate here. The stakes are too high. If you are believing you are “okay” when you know deep down you have never truly been born again, you are believing a lie, and that lie is going to cost you for all eternity.
Did it register with you what Jesus said in Matthew 7 to those religious people who had done so much in His name? “I never knew you; depart from Me.”
THE REST OF THE STORY
Back to the counseling appointment … I asked the man I was counseling who realized he had never really met Christ, “Would you like to meet Him and become a true Christian? We can pray right now?” His answer was a swift and pleading, “Yes, I would like to do that right now.” And we prayed this prayer:
Dear God, I know that I am a sinner and can’t save myself. But Jesus, I believe You are God in the flesh who loves me and died and rose again for me. I ask you to come into my heart, to forgive all my sins, and to make me the person You want me to be. And I promise to follow You all the days of my life.”
And my friend prayed that prayer from his heart … and was born again. The same can happen to you!
Don’t go through life believing a lie. Don’t risk your eternity on some good works you have done. Remember, you are not saved by your sweat; you are saved by His blood. Put your faith in Jesus and Jesus alone. You’ll be so glad you did, today and for all eternity.
Pastor Jeff Schreve
From His Heart Ministries
Jeff Schreve is Senior Pastor of First Baptist Church in Texarkana, Texas. He and his wife Debbie have been married for over 20 years and are blessed with three wonderful girls. Jeff began From His Heart Ministries, a radio and television ministry, in January of 2005. This ministry is completely listener/viewer supported. It continues only through the faithful and generous gifts of people like you. Pastor Jeff takes no salary from this ministry. All gifts go to further the broadcast.