November 21, 2017

Pastoral Nuggets: Saving the Saved

Brother-Aaron-236x300I had lunch last week with my friend, Todd Pruitt.  Todd heads up the area chapter of the Fellowship of Christian Athletes.  (And by the way, he’s doing a fine job!)

As we were conversing and enjoying our lunch, Todd lamented that too much of his time was devoted to trying to save saved people instead of lost people.

Now, I know by now you think Todd and I both are nuts! What do we mean by this saving saved folks business? Hear me out. Here’s Todd’s point: Everybody is a Christian.

Nobody is lost and on his way to hell anymore. If you don’t believe it – just ask ‘em. The point being that the church no longer does a very good job making people realize the depravity and “lostness” of their Spiritual condition.

Oh!  We’re good at motivating people by telling them how much God loves them and how He wants to prosper them.

We’re good at consoling their bruised egos by reminding them that they are somebody in Jesus (And indeed we are somebody in Jesus!) and that if they will just believe and behave a certain way, they will be blessed and successful. We’re good at adjusting our worship styles to draw a crowd. We excel at fundraising.

We’re good at sending our members across the globe to do mission work. We’re good at social ministries. And we even have preachers who have mastered the art of always preaching with a smile on their face and being a ray of sunshine into somebody’s messed-up world. (Which has its place!)

However, we stink at making people realize their “lostness!”  For many years I have said that it is impossible for somebody to be saved until they first realize they are lost!

It’s amazing to me that a person can live his entire life for the devil – can give no indication that he knows Jesus as his Savior, and when he dies somebody will say, “Well, heaven got a new angel.” No it didn’t!  First, angels are beings created by God.

We do not become angels when we die!  Secondly, only saved folks (Christians) go to heaven. Period!

Herein is the problem – everybody thinks he’s a Christian. If you don’t believe me, ask somebody if he is a Christian. Then ask him why he thinks he’ll go to heaven when he dies.

You’ll get answers like: Well, I live a good life. I don’t hurt anybody. I provide for my family. I give to the poor. I try to live by the Ten Commandments. I live a more Godly life than most church folks I know. I was baptized and joined the church when I was a young person. I was christened as a child. I attend church regularly. I tithe! And on & on I could go.

The only problem is – none of those things will get you into heaven! The Bible teaches that there is none righteous and that all have sinned and come short of the glory of God. It also teaches that the wages of sin is death and after death comes the judgment. And at the judgment man reaps his eternal reward – heaven or hell.

Jesus also stated that no man could come to the Father except by Him. (Note: There is no big scale in heaven measuring our good works versus the sins we’ve committed!) It is our acceptance of the gift of salvation Jesus provided at Calvary that saves our wretched souls.

This doesn’t occur because of a prayer we prayed, a creed we recite every week, or the partaking of the Lord’s Supper.  It occurs when a person admits he is a sinner, believes Jesus is the only hope he has, commits his life to Him (Salvation is evidenced by a lifestyle change!) and becomes His disciple.

Now, I realize I’ve probably upset some of you.  However, before you run me up the flagpole, do me a favor.  Read the following scriptures.  You just may come away with a different point of view:  Romans 3:10-12 and 23, Romans 6:23,  Romans 5:8, Romans 10:9-10 and 13, Romans 5:1, Romans 8:1, and Romans 8:38-39.

And if God convicts you that you’re not really a believer/Christian/saved, then as humbly as you know how, in your own words, confess your sins and ask Him to forgive you of them and invite Him into your life as your personal Savior.   Then start living your life for Him!

It’s a sad indictment upon Christianity that church evangelism has changed from saving the lost – to saving the saved!

 

Brother Aaron

 

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