This is two days worth. I will let you chew on this for today and tomorrow.
I want to continue with this small but powerful word “IF” and put it in the form of a question. The question is; what if we don’t? As you saw yesterday scripture makes it very clear that this word “if” has great expectations both good and bad. If you do, this will happen and if you don’t, this will happen. As you saw in all the scripture verses, this is obviously important for us to adhere to. So why do so many ignore this small word “if”? I believe the answer lies in the deception that is in the church today and perpetuated by false teachings. I find myself astonished at how many well-known teachers, preachers and evangelists there are touting false teaching and how many believe them. They propagate these teachings by teaching more on the subject of God’s love for us and not on the subject of our love for God. They distort the message by saying God loves us no matter what. They teach John 14:23 Jesus replied, My Father will love them, and we will come to them and make our home with them.” But they leave out the first part “Anyone who loves me will obey my teaching.” And John 14:24 Anyone who does not love me will not obey my teaching. These words you hear are not my own; they belong to the Father who sent me.” John 15:14 You are my friends if you do what I command.”
They are not carrying out the great commission “teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you” which, means if we love him, we would obey Him. They deceive people by selling an easy believism gospel and never teach the true cost of following Jesus Christ because it would offend too many and they might leave. They usually do not answer the question what if you don’t follow wholeheartedly. That used to be called fire and brimstone preaching. Yes some are angry preachers but fire and brimstone preaching includes talking about hell also not just heaven and you don’t have to be angry to preach this way. People don’t like this because they don’t like the question; What happens if? Scripture makes it clear that the love of God for His people is never the issue but our obedience to Him is always the concern. There are many dangerous presumptions like I go to church therefore I am a Christian. If you are a Christian you are the church so it is not something you go to. The building is not the church. Going to church on Sunday is a gathering of believers, which is part of it but not all of it. Many Christians have trouble with an hour let alone seven days a week. In no way does your weekly attendance make you a Christian. There are also dangerous doctrines out there but this one is one of the most deceptive. It is taught that “once you are saved, you are always saved” or “once in grace, always in grace”. Now having said this is dangerous it is also true. Now you are confused. Let me explain. True salvation means you are saved by the blood of the lamb, the wrath of God satisfied and now you live according to the gospel of Jesus Christ, dying to yourself and loving the Lord God with all your heart, soul, mind and strength and your neighbour as yourself, no enemy will stand against you and every place where you set your foot will be yours and I will be with you always. This is the promise of the Promised Land. I do believe that “if” you live for him you can never be defeated. I personally believe the enemy cannot come between God and I in my obedience. But here is where this becomes a deceptive teaching. Disobedience changes the story. I know what you are thinking, what is wrong with what I said? The answer is simple as that is not what is being taught nor is the question “what if you don’t” being asked, as it is not needed if you believe once saved always saved. What is being taught is that when someone in VBS or Sunday night service or if they are at an evangelistic service and they sign a card and commit their life to Jesus Christ they are saved and filled with the Holy Spirit. From that point on no matter what, they are Christians and nothing can stand against them and now never can they loose their salvation. Again I believe it is possible to live victoriously and be blameless at the return of our saviour but the truth of the matter is this is not happening as we have angered God in our disobedience. They are not teaching to remain by obeying so many people are not working out their salvation nor are they making sure they are following the word of God, because they think it doesn’t matter how they live from this point on as they are in! So many are starting their journey with faulty teaching.
In order for this life-changing salvation to take place we must have God shining his face on us and the Holy Spirit must be poured out upon us. We know this is not happening because there is very little power in the church nor does it look like the gospels or the book of Acts. I do believe we will see once again people saved and on fire right out of the gate, if can use that phrase. Picture a race-car at the starting line. So what is happening? People are simply signing a card, joining a church and attending on Sundays but in reality their lives are not transformed nor is the old gone and the new come. They are the same people except they now have a membership at Club El Engaño (deception and delusion) in far to many cases and they are enjoying the lukewarm temperatures of its beaches and pools. The deception comes in this false sense of security. I will tell you right now very few will admit this and the ones who do will turn from their wicked ways but those are few. When God’s face shines on us once again and we are truly submitted to Jesus we will see true salvation and transformation. 2 Corinthians 5:17 “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: The old has gone, the new is here!” Many teach they are still sinners after salvation. How confusing is that? Luke 14:25 “Large crowds were traveling with Jesus, and turning to them he said: 26 “If anyone comes to me and does not hate father and mother, wife and children, brothers and sisters—yes, even their own life—such a person cannot be my disciple. 27 And whoever does not carry their cross and follow me cannot be my disciple.” In the church today we have large crowds who refuse to carry their crosses. Not only that they don’t even know they have to. I do believe though there is a remnant of the faithful who are seeking.
Awhile back (2011) in my blog I wrote this similar message “The modern church seems to be so good at the unchanged. Yes it is good at getting people in the door, but what really is happening. There is a lot of talk about making disciples and even the busy work of the process but what really is a disciple of Jesus Christ. Usually people spend a lot of time discipling people into their church, not discipling people to be Christ-like. Where is the narrow gate? O, don’t get me wrong, the narrow gate has nothing to do with legalism, dress codes etc. Narrow is Christ-like. We have people flocking to churches but what really is happening. Does the church look anything like the New Testament church? Does it look like anything in Acts? Signs and wonders and miracles should be the normal part of the day. Do the deaf hear, the blind see and do the lame walk? I am amazed at who people are following these days, copying their churches after or for that matter their lives. None of these things are happening but yet people flock.”
I borrowed this term from a paper by Keith Drury – “They come for the show but refuse to grow” called the “unconverted converted, or the 'secular Christian”. Here is what he had to say. “Our people are converted in every way except their mind-set, life-style, and values.' Even after we have gotten people 'converted,' many still act and think about the same as they did before they were converted. What got converted? Just because they come for the show, does not mean they are willing to grow... or be faithful to their spouse... or tithe. It's probably the fastest-growing class of Christians in the last decade or so. These folk claim to be saved, but don't let religion cramp their style. They are consumers, breezing through churches as they would a salad bar, picking and choosing what appeals to them, leaving the rest alone. They generally select the positive, helpful, pleasant benefits of the gospel and leave behind any painful, sacrificial, cross-carrying, judgment aspects. They are a shallow bunch but they are a happy lot. They appear to have the best of both worlds. At least in this life.” This still describes the church and it is getting worse. Again I ask; what happens if we don’t? These people are lukewarm and we know what happens to them but they think they are okay.
Yes they have been converted into a teaching but not to the gospel of Jesus Christ. Jesus said, Matthew 23:15 “Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You travel over land and sea to win a single convert, and when you have succeeded, you make them twice as much a child of hell as you are.” This deceptive teaching is creating a false security that is causing people not to fear God. This teaching is worldwide. Remember just because you have been a member of church for a day or 80 years does not give you the security needed to enter the kingdom of God. Security comes from loving God with all your heart, soul, and mind and obeying him. The part that humours me with this type of teaching is they get backed into a corner when they are asked why their converts are not living for God even after they made the commitment and were converted and why they are still the same after they were baptized and on video saying I am follower of Jesus Christ. Now they are stuck, so they dig deep into their profound theology and make this astonishing statement. And like a little child they come back with, they were never saved in the first place. Wow that is profound but at the same time it is ludicrous. The true answer is they chose not to remain in Him or give up the world or follow the word of God but that goes against their thinking so they have to say they were never saved. So sad! I would tend to agree in our day they were never saved but only because the teaching today in the church is so watered down anyone can get in. This is the case of bad theology. They were just like Matthew 13:3 “A farmer went out to sow his seed. 4 As he was scattering the seed, some fell along the path, and the birds came and ate it up. 5 Some fell on rocky places, where it did not have much soil. It sprang up quickly, because the soil was shallow. 6 But when the sun came up, the plants were scorched, and they withered because they had no root. 7 Other seed fell among thorns, which grew up and choked the plants. 8 Still other seed fell on good soil, where it produced a crop—a hundred, sixty or thirty times what was sown. 9 Whoever has ears, let them hear.” So after the farmer notices the seeds did not grow so he says to himself they must not have been seeds in the first place.
Now just so you don’t think I am just picking on the Calvinist and Cessationists, we can say the same for the others who believe in the second work of grace (Holiness movement/ Armenian). If this was the case we should be seeing Pentecost happening over and over again but it is not. Some call this entire sanctification, perfection or baptism of the Holy Spirit. The Pentecostals, who I feel have been duped when it comes to tongues, say the sign of this baptism is speaking in tongues but again if that were happening, it would look like Pentecost but instead you have people babbling and clanging. Yes they say they are or at least think they are speaking in tongues but they do not know and it usually leads to nothing, nor is there any power. If it was the same as Pentecost there would be power. I have seen people falling on their backs speaking in tongues and they get up unchanged and do it again the next week. It is not God. In other Armenian traditions they are huge proponents of entire sanctification but again no power. The funny part is they don’t know what to do with it nor is it happening anyway. The strange part is they do not seem to be trying to figure out why. Very few can even explain it. Sure when the pastor fills out the monthly report, attendance yep; salvations? baptisms yep / maybe; entire sanctification –HUH? Yes I am mocking this but this is not a matter to be taken lightly. Jesus said in Mark 16:17 And these signs will accompany those who believe: Could it be we are the same as the disciples? “14 He rebuked them for their lack of faith and their stubborn refusal to believe those who had seen him after he had risen.” We need to be very careful here as when Jesus left he sent the Holy Spirit and we do not want to grieve Him. In this case the problem is the people they are trying to get sanctified should get truly saved first.
So we have problems in both because the truth is we are not seeing the gospel in the life of the church. So we have to ask the question; what happens if we do not believe? One of the answers is we loose the power that is available to us and the enemy advances against us. Yesterday we saw what happens if we do not but most will ignore that and keep going in their ignorance and obstinately refuse to accept the word of God and be transformed. Unbelief always leads to defeat no matter how slick the presentation is. Scripture is very clear on this. I usually focus on healings, miracles, signs, wonders when I talk about power but we need power for salvation also, which is why we do not have many life-changing transformations. This is why there are so many unconverted Christians. That by the way is impossible. The church is filled with the crowds who refuse to believe and so be saved. 1 Corinthians 15:2 By this gospel you are saved, if you hold firmly to the word I preached to you. Otherwise, you have believed in vain. If the whole counsel is not being preached how can people be saved. Acts 16:31 “Sirs, what must I do to be saved?” 31 They replied, “Believe in the Lord Jesus, and you will be saved—you and your household.” 32 Then they spoke the word of the Lord to him and to all the others in his house.” We must teach the word of the Lord again. 2 Thessalonians 2 “They perish because they refused to love the truth and so be saved. 11 For this reason God sends them a powerful delusion so that they will believe the lie 12 and so that all will be condemned who have not believed the truth but have delighted in wickedness.” If we do not accept the truth we will be under delusion.
So now we have churches full of unconverted Christians who think they will be safe and secure “and they love it this way”. How many so far have died thinking they were a Christian, only to find out too late that faulty teaching has deceived them because they never checked the word of God. Yes the leadership is at fault but in the end you are responsible to check and listen to the Holy Spirit. I know most do not want to think about this, myself included but if there is only a remnant in the church today how many church attenders have been lost to deception in the church. Luke 16:25 “But Abraham replied, ‘Son, remember that in your lifetime you received your good things, while Lazarus received bad things, but now he is comforted here and you are in agony. 26 And besides all this, between us and you a great chasm has been set in place, so that those who want to go from here to you cannot, nor can anyone cross over from there to us.’ 27 “He answered, ‘Then I beg you, father, send Lazarus to my family, 28 for I have five brothers. Let him warn them, so that they will not also come to this place of torment.’ 29 “Abraham replied, ‘They have Moses and the Prophets; let them listen to them.’ 30 “‘No, father Abraham,’ he said, ‘but if someone from the dead goes to them, they will repent.’ 31 “He said to him, ‘If they do not listen to Moses and the Prophets, they will not be convinced even if someone rises from the dead.” We have the complete word of God, the Holy Spirit and still people refuse to believe the word of God. Sure lots of people will believe the lies and false teaching but very few will search for the narrow gate.
So having said all this, another answer to the question “What If We Don’t” is hell. There are going to be many so called Christians who were deceived and now on their way to hell because they refuse to believe. On Sunday I was hoping we would replace our so-called security with the fear of the Lord. These questions what if we do not believe and what if we do not remain in him should lead us to fear God, but will we. One of the most memorized verses is John 3:16 but what about the rest of it. John 3:16 “For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. 17 For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him. 18 Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe stands condemned already because they have not believed in the name of God’s one and only Son. 19 This is the verdict: Light has come into the world, but people loved darkness instead of light because their deeds were evil. 20 Everyone who does evil hates the light, and will not come into the light for fear that their deeds will be exposed. 21 But whoever lives by the truth comes into the light, so that it may be seen plainly that what they have done has been done in the sight of God.”
We cannot call ourselves Christians and not live by and follow his word. If your church does not look the gospels or the book of Acts, save yourself and get out. But if you see your church striving to be like Christ and willing to turn from their wicked ways in repentance and humility then join together and call for revival but the modern church cannot stay the same. Ask God to give you discernment because almost every church will tell you they are on the right path. A church that is desiring to follow God will stop everything they are doing and repent and it will be very visible and vocal with the necessary actions that go with repentance. There is a heavy price to pay if you ignore the question “what if you don’t!”