I Believe! Don’t I?July 26, 2018
Seeing God EverywhereAugust 9, 2018
Last week I may have shocked some of you with my opening statement:
“I live in the South. It is where I joyfully live and move and have my being. Just about everyone I know here believes Jesus is the Son of God. And about 95% of them are going to Hell.”
If I offended, you please know you would be offended by Jesus as well. He said it first. I am only putting a quantity to his blunt statement:
“Then Jesus went through the towns and villages, teaching as he made his way to Jerusalem. Someone asked him, “Lord, are only a few people going to be saved?”
His answer: “Only a few.” (Luke 13:22-30 and Matthew 7:13-14)
Perhaps read them both?
“Only a few” lines up with my observations over these past 22 years. We started 721 Ministries because we felt compelled to proclaim Jesus’ warnings in the above passages. Before 721’s inception, I was teaching young adult Sunday School classes every Sunday at 15 different churches around South Carolina.
The couples in attendance were all really nice “Christian” men and women. The ladies were for the most part tuned in, listening and some even taking notes. The men? Not so much. They were bored, distracted by all the details of their busy lives swirling around in their heads.
Only they were not Christians; they were Churchians. They were not following Christ; they were following church.
They did not come to Sunday School to get a lecture from me about pursuing Jesus – they came because it was what they were supposed to do. It was Sunday morning in the South. You go to church. If you have children, you get them to Sunday School, so you might as well go, too. What would your friends think of you if you didn’t?
My heart cried out inside. These men were doing what they thought they were supposed to be doing. No one was telling them “there’s more.” They were the audience Jesus was warning in the above Luke and Matthew passages.
One Sunday morning I was teaching the ‘grown-ups’ class at a church: the elders and deacons and older patriarchs and matriarchs of this church. I explained what I did in last week’s Putting Green: that “believe” in the Scriptures actually means so much more than simply accepting as true a set of facts about Jesus.
A 75-year-old friend approached me after the class – he actually chased me down, somewhat breathlessly. He exclaimed, “I’ve never heard anything like that before. I’ve been in this church my entire life. I have based my salvation on the Romans 10:9 passage:
“If you declare with your mouth, ‘Jesus is Lord,’ and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved.”
“Are you telling me I’m missing it?”
After that day, and for years later, this friend, his name was Sam also, said to me, “I was on a fast track to Hell, and I didn’t have a clue. No one had ever told me there was more to “believe” than just believe. I thank the Lord daily that someone was willing to offend an entire Sunday School class so I could hear the true Gospel.”
Please, I take no pleasure in offending anyone, but do please hear this: If I offended you last week, you are quite likely in the same place as my friend Sam was.
Will you set aside your offense and surrender to Jesus?