Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Sinners in the hands of a confused church, Part 4

Losing salvation?

This is an ongoing debate among Christian circles and has been for some time. But why is this question so important to us? From my experience, this question has become deceivingly spiritual sounding question springing from a very carnal concern. Actually, “Can I lose my salvation?” is usually more correctly translated “How much can I get away with and still not go to hell?” The question presupposes that a believer is living or at least dabbling in the world. People who are following Jesus are not concerned with such questions.

So, my simple answer to this deeply debated question. “I trust Jesus” I don’t understand his salvation. But I do know that if I seek him I will find him, I do know that if I endure to the end I will be saved, I do know that he loves me and has a plan for my life. I do know that the world only offers death. So I choose Jesus! I may stumble, I may fall, but I get back up and strive towards him. He is my only hope in this mess. The world offers temporary joys, I will pass. I want Jesus! If you and I live like this, we don’t have to worry about ‘losing our salvation.’ Ultimately it is all in his hands anyway, so trust him and live a life worthy of the calling you received.

What should we do then?

Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age." --matthew 28:19-20

Jesus sent the church into the world with the task of proclaiming Him, and making disciples! To make a disciple is hard work, it is time consuming, it is heartbreaking, and it is frustrating. But it is what we were commanded to do.

Converting people to Christianity by helping them to work out the sin equation is not making a disciple. Making a disciple requires you teaching by example, living your lives together, and sharing your struggles and victories. It took Jesus 3 years to disciple 12 men to the point where they were truly committed to him, and even then one betrayed him and when trouble came they scattered. Years of frustration with their bickering, years of heartbreak when Judas hid things in his heart and eventually fell away, but you also see the victory of these men taking his message and changing the world after he left. That is the power of disciples.

Telling people to say a prayer and then sit in a pew the rest of their lives and give a tithe is a bastardized version of Jesus command and his plan for his church. It is a sickness and the very reason the church has become powerless in the world today.

So how do we proclaim this good news (that is Jesus) to the world? First, BE the church! If we live body life in the church the way that it is set out in scripture, the world will stand up and take notice again. They do not take us seriously now because we have become a joke, a simple religion. We must become Jesus followers again.

Second, we must be his witnesses everywhere (Acts 1:8) Testifying to WHO HE IS everywhere we go. This could take the form of sharing the stories of his time on earth, sharing his teachings, proclaiming him as lord in the public arena, sharing his riches with your friends, family and even strangers. This should come from the overflow of our being. We do not need to be trained to do this; we just need to know him.

And Finally, DO NOT BE ASHAMED! (Romans 1:16; 2 Tim 1:8) But be prepared! The true gospel is dangerous. If we begin to tell people the full gospel instead of the watered down version, you will offend many. You will be hated because you will not compromise and water it down for people. You could be ostracized, ignored, persecuted, beaten or even killed. Jesus himself warned us that they would hate us like they hated him. That bears the question though, if the gospel that we are proclaiming has lost its edge, if it has been watered down and no longer offends, is it still the gospel?

Am I still saved?

Okay, don’t panic. I am not saying that if you came to Christ through a sinner’s prayer or the roman road that you are not a believer. I am just saying you didn’t receive the best presentation of the gospel. Here is the question. Where is your hope? Have you sold everything you own to buy this pearl of great price (Matt 13:45)? Have you put all your eggs in his basket? If Jesus is your reason for living, then you have found salvation IN JESUS.

However, If you said a prayer years ago and ‘asked to receive Jesus as your savior’ but you live your life for yourself and your desires. Then you may be in trouble. As I have visited churches in the states over the years, I would say most “christians” fall into this category. They are chasing the American dream, they are trying to fulfill their desires and enjoy life. But they have abandoned the call of God upon the Church. They have never truly understood what it means to be in Christ. They just said a prayer so that they get to go to heaven, and they go to a holy building and hear a priest tell them lofty things to appease God and stay in his good graces.

I have heard this, “He has received Jesus as his savior, he just hasn’t made Him Lord.” This is complete garbage; you cannot have one without the other. Jesus is your everything or He is your nothing. Salvation is simple (it is found in Jesus) but it is hard ( you have to die).


being said...

word on the street is that comments are not working so i posted this to test it out.

Teresa said...

"bastardized version of Jesus"...We should clear up why the there is a need for such a strong methaphor toward us believer. We have or are making an illegitimate approach toward becoming adopted by Christ.

In Paul's letter to the Ephesians this is our only means of adoption:
How we praise God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly realms because we belong to Christ. Long ago, even before he made the world, God loved us & chose us in Christ to be holy & without fault in his eyes. His unchanging plan has always been to adopt us in to his own family by bringing us to himself thru Christ. And This Gave Him Great Pleasure!

Leah B. said...

Yeah, before, I'd tried to comment and it wasn't working, so it looks like this will work. I wholeheartedly agree with the majority of what you shared in this post, and feel it's right on and fully in line with the Word. There's one point that I disagree with. You made the statement that someone who received Christ by reciting the sinner's prayer or through the Roman Road did not receive the best presentation of the gospel. I don't think you can't make that blanket statement. I did decide to follow Christ and said the sinner's prayer at that time, but it was in response to a very truthful, bold message from my youth pastor, who was speaking of Jesus' response to the teachers of the law and Pharisses in Matthew 23. He called them hypocrites and white-washed tombs and I realized I was one of those, and in response to that, I chose that night to follow Christ and respond to Him as my Lord, and I recited the sinner's prayer (though who's to say when the Holy Spirit actually entered my heart). So, I don't think you can make the statement that someone who says the sinner's prayer necessarily received a poor presentation of the gospel. Does that make sense?

being said...

Leah, it sounds to me like the presentation of the gospel you received was not the sinners prayer but the passage from Matthew 23...I just went and re-read Matthew 23. You definately got a good presentation of what it means to be a member of the kingdom. I can see where what you read could be misleading. Thanks for pointing it out and helping me make everything better understood.

Teresa said...

I too was shared the Romans road at that pivitol moment, it made sense to me...because:
I had spent years hearing the Word go out. I lived around and among many Christ centered believers.
All of this context together made the Romans passages make sense.

But compare & contrast when Peter preached at Pentecost & Paul in Athens.
Peter could use Abraham & King David in his speech the Jews knew these accounts of such men to lead them to Christ.

Paul in contrast had to start 'In the beginning' and setup who Christ was from the beginning to lead them in any direction.

Therefore the generations & people groups today do not have or care not of the knowledge of Christ. Can you really start in the middle of Matthew/Romans with these folks at a dead start?
Not the best approach start like Paul's example 'In the beginning'!