Daily Devotional for Tuesday April 15, 2008
Those Who Identify Themselves as Christians
"Not everyone who says to me, 'Lord, Lord,' will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only 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 drive out demons and perform many miracles?' Then I will tell them plainly, 'I never knew you. Away from me, you evildoers!' " Matthew 7:21-23
Those who identify themselves as "Christians." Oprah calls herself a Christian. So do Senators Clinton and Obama. So do millions of others. Are these people really born again Believers who have accepted Jesus Christ by faith or do they identify themselves as "Christians" because they go to a Christian church, or maybe because their parents are Christians, or simply because it is to be part of the mainstream? Perhaps there is not a more important issue we can discuss today since it has to do with the eternal souls of people.
If you ever needed to understand why our nation is in a spiritual freefall, why we now live in a culture that lives in rebellion to the Truth of God's Word, Sunday night's "Compassion Forum" aired on CNN was a classic case study. It was so instructive, the video highlights should be the foundation for every sermon preached in Bible preaching/teaching churches across the nation this Sunday. It should be used in every Sunday School class and Bible study. It should be part of the curriculum of all Bible colleges and seminaries. It was a public opportunity for the two Democratic candidates for President, Senators Hillary Clinton and Barak Hussein Obama to openly discuss their "faith." Sadly, as I watched, listened, and took careful notes, it became apparent that these two people represented the vast majority of people in this nation who identify themselves as "Christians."
A Christian, according to the Bible, is a person who has made the conscious choice to accept Jesus Christ as their Savior by faith and follow Him. Understanding how critical getting the vote of Christians is to getting elected to the Presidency, both Senators Clinton and Obama have talked extensively about their "faith" during this campaign. In all of their statements, never ONCE have I heard either of them talk about their conversion experience. For a Believer, there can be no more important moment in their life than when they got saved. Nobody who is truly born again, could ever forget that powerful moment in time when they made the decision to ask God to forgive them of their sins and give their lives to Jesus. Never ONCE, has either of these people spoken of that moment.
Instead, they speak about belonging to a church. In the Bible, people got saved and joined the church, which by definition is a community of Believers. In the year 2008, I am afraid there is a large percentage of people who are part of local churches who call themselves Christians, yet have never had a new birth experience. The movement by most old mainline denominations towards a liberal theology, coupled with the seeker and emerging church movements, have watered down the Gospel, compromised Biblical Truth, left out sin, and gravitated to a social gospel dealing with issues like poverty, world hunger, diseases, and other social issues most decent people are concerned about. This has given people who are part of these churches the false sense of security that they are Christians because they are members of a church.
BEING A MEMBER OF A CHURCH DOESN'T MAKE YOU ANY MORE A CHRISTIAN THAN STANDING ON A RUNWAY MAKES YOU AN AIRPLANE! YOU AREN'T A CHRISTIAN BECAUSE YOU ARE THE MEMBER OF A CHURCH. YOU ARE A CHRISTIAN BECAUSE YOU HAVE MADE THE CONSCIOUS DECISION TO ACCEPT JESUS CHRIST INTO YOUR HEART AND LIFE BY FAITH!
It is also apparent as you listen to these two speak about their "faith," that neither holds the Bible to be the inspired, inerrant Word of God, representing Absolute Truth and our final authority in all matters. The reason is obvious, God's Truth and what they want truth to be are at odds with each other. God's Truth says abortion is MURDER. Their truth says that it is OK to legally slaughter babies. God's Truth says marriage is between a man and a woman. Their truth allows for a perversion of God's Holy Institution of Marriage. God's Truth calls those who choose to commit the act of homosexuality a sinner. Their truth says people who choose to engage in deviant sex acts should have special rights.
(Senator John McCain, the Republican nominee, was not involved in this forum last night. However, McCain has been very uneasy talking about his "faith," though he and his family are members of North Phoenix Baptist Church, which is affiliated with the Southern Baptist Convention. Despite a solid pro-life voting record, Christians should not expect McCain, if elected, to champion or push any of the pressing spiritual issues that face our nation today. As I told you last year, whoever our next President is, is NOT going to be a friend of God or lead this nation Biblically.)
I wish you could see the emails I get every day from people who identify themselves as "Christians." I am appalled at how many deny the Truth of the Scriptures. Operating these past 20 years in the marketplace, I am used to the attacks from non-Believers, that is expected from those who have rejected Christ and the Bible. However, it is sad to see the number of people who identify themselves as "Christians," who attack me for simply sharing the Truth of God's Word. My friend, I didn't write the Bible, God did. It is His Truth, not mine., I simply proclaim that Truth. Unfortunately, many who call themselves "Christians" have rejected what God says in the Bible as the only Truth there is.
PEOPLE WHO CHOOSE TO LIVE IN REBELLION TO GOD, HAVE TO DENY THE BIBLE REPRESENTS THE ONLY TRUTH THERE IS, SINCE IT CONFLICTS WITH WHAT THEY WANT THE TRUTH TO BE!!! NO CHURCH DETERMINES WHAT TRUTH IS, NO INDIVIDUAL DETERMINES WHAT TRUTH IS, GOD HAS ALREADY DETERMINED WHAT TRUTH IS AND GIVEN IT TO US IN THE BIBLE!!!
This next point is so critical, so please read carefully. You CANNOT be a true follower of Jesus Christ and deny the Truth of the Bible. Let me say that one more time, since this is the most important point I will ever make to you. You CANNOT be a true follower of Jesus Christ and deny the Truth of the Bible. It is inconsistent to say, " I am a Christian," yet live in rebellion to the Bible. How can a church claim to be a Christian church, yet operate in rebellion to the Bible? How can a pastor claim to be a Christian pastor, yet operate in rebellion to the Bible? How can a person claim to be a Christian, yet hold beliefs in opposition to the Bible?
Now the great paradox that perplexes so many can be easily explained. How can there be more churches than ever before, more people who identify themselves as Christians than ever before, more ministries of every kind than ever before, more Christian media, music, and publishing than ever before, yet our nation is in spiritual freefall and our culture in a spiritual abyss? A large percentage of churches have rejected the Bible as their only Truth, a large percentage of people who call themselves Christians have never been saved are don't accept the Bible as Truth, and the vast majority of ministries, Christian media, music, and publishers have abandoned the marketplace to preach to and market to people who call themselves Christians.
THE MARKETPLACE HAS BEEN ABANDONED AND SATAN OPERATES THERE VIRTUALLY UNOPPOSED. MOST CHURCHES AND THOSE WHO IDENTIFY THEMSELVES AS CHRISTIANS ARE NOT GUIDED BY GOD'S TRUTH IN THE BIBLE, BUT BY THE LIES OF SATAN THAT THE WORLD LIVES BY.
Forty years ago the battle lines were clearly drawn. It was the people of God versus those who chose to follow satan. Now in the year 2008, satan has infiltrated the church and the greatest enemies of God are operating from within the four walls of the church. We have allowed that to happen by compromising the Absolute Truths of the Bible to attract more people . We have abandoned the Gospel, the power unto salvation, to try and trick people into becoming followers of Christ. We have created a Christian subculture God never intended because it is safe and profitable. In the meantime, too many churches have become a mockery of the faith, and worst of all, too many people are sitting in church pews each Sunday with the false sense of security that they are gong to Heaven when they die by virtue of their church membership.
I love you and care about you so much. Pray for Senator's Clinton and Obama. Only Jesus can save Hillary, not her Methodist Church. Only Jesus can save Barak, not the good works his church may do. Neither of them are going to Heaven by being members of their respective churches. They will only get to heaven the same way anyone will get there, but giving their heart and life to Jesus by faith. Pray for all those people who have been deceived into thinking that they are Christians because they attend church. Attending a church doesn't make you a Christians, faith in Jesus Christ makes you a Christian. Pray for those churches and pastors who have not compromised the Absolute Truth of the Bible and for those who truly have accepted Christ as their Savior by faith.
Now, like never before, it is time for the true church to rise up and people who have given their hearts and lives to Jesus by faith to step up. We have sat back and been silent for too long. We are living in the last days, Jesus is coming at any moment, there is one last great harvest of souls to be won for Christ. The Internet has made it possible to reach billions of people around the world each day. While the true churches are helping their people grow in their faith and equipping them for the work of the ministry, we will help lead the charge to bring God's Truth to this lost world and help mobilize an army of God's warriors in these last days as we take our stand for Christ.
I have to be honest with you, I see more fruit and more results preaching to and reaching those who have thoroughly rejected God, His Son, and the Bible. Most of them eventually come to a place where they recognize they are a sinner and need a Savior. I would be more welcome and have better success preaching outside a bar on a Saturday night than in the pulpit of a huge percentage of "Christian churches" in this nation! It is very difficult to reach those who have been deceived into thinking that they are a Christian because they are a member in a local church. They have bought into the lies of satan that they are good people, they try to follow the core teachings of Jesus, and all of that makes them a Christian. Sadly, they have rejected the fact the Bible is our only source of Truth there is, adopting their truth from a variety of sources other than God's Word. This describes a large percentage and growing number of people who identify themselves as a Christian today.