By J. W. Hiebert
The most soul searching question that can be asked of a person is: "Where will you be for all eternity?" Many people are being challenged but it seems that this world is full of deaf ears and dead hearts. Millions of religious followers have believed that church membership is enough. Are they right? Well meaning people believe there is security in their religion's doctrine, even if what is being taught is not biblical. Is it only a matter of doing the best we can? Not at all. Let’s look at 3 biblical truths:
I. RELIGION CAN'T SAVE YOU.
Religion is man's attempt to reform in order to be good enough to get into heaven. Religion holds to an external appearance of godliness. It looks like the real thing but it is not. Paul, writing to Timothy says, "... having a form of godliness, but denying the power thereof from such, turn away." 2 Tim. 3:5. Through religious form man has been taught that "all are sinners." Therefore, they are no worse off than anyone else. But that's not all there is to it. Romans 3:23 says, “For all have sinned and come short of the glory of God.” To fall short of God's glory is to fall behind in such a fashion as to lose the race. We've lost out with God. We stand as condemned sinners in Adam because we have offended a Holy God. It is too light to say, "Well, we are all in the same boat." Yes, but, the boat is sinking. It is a serious and personal problem. Christ made it a very personal problem in Luke 19:10. He said, "For the Son of man is come to seek and to save that which was lost." Are you lost?? Why is it that Scripture has so little effect upon a world of religious training? Because it is always easier to believe in something than in someone. Do you believe in Jesus the Son of God? Your answer will likely be yes. James 2:19 says, "Thou believest that there is one God; thou doest well: the devils also believe, and tremble." Nearly every one will agree that the Devil and his crowd are not saved. Dear friend let me ask you, "Have you ever known a time in your life when you were lost, hell-bound, and a condemned sinner without help or hope?" A lost sinner is an enemy of God, and if death should befall the lost sinner he is cast forever into the Hell of the Bible. What is your answer? Many have said they really cannot remember a time when they were lost sinners. If that is your answer then you have a real problem. In Matt. 9:12-13 Jesus says, “... They that be whole need not a physician, but they that are sick.” The hoax of infant sprinkling has given false assurance to millions who have said they have never been lost. They feel secure in the sprinkling and confirmation of their religion. Matt. 9: 13 goes on, “... for I am not come to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance.” Do not miss the importance of Christ's call to lost sinners.
Those who believe their church doctrine will stand up for them on that judgment day before the great white throne will see only the ashes of religious works and training. Eph. 2:9, “Not of works, lest any man should boast.” Men are boasting about a so-called regeneration by the sprinkling of water, but it will not stand the test of that judgment.
II. YOU NEED TO REPENT OF THE SINFULNESS OF YOUR HEART
Why do we need to repent? God tells us that we have broken HIS LAWS in Adam and personally as well. In so doing, we have alienated ourselves from Him as enemies. The command is given in Mark 1:15, "... repent ye, and believe the gospel." It is a direct command from the God of Heaven to repent! Still we say, "We'll just trust our church; we're all right; we haven't done anyone any harm." "I don't beat my wife or kick my dog." So man feels pretty safe, but have you repented??? Acts 3:19, "Repent... and be converted..." Luke 13:3, "... except ye repent ye shall all likewise perish." It is not what we think but rather what God says. It is by His STANDARD, the Word of God, that we will be judged. It is our sinfulness in Adam that brought the fall of man and offended God. That offence can only be taken away by the blood of Christ. ONLY a blood sacrifice would satisfy the righteous demands of a Holy God. Not water sprinkling, nor communion, nor confirmation, but it took the once for all payment of the shed blood on Calvary. God will accept nothing else in its place today. Heb. 5:9, "And being made perfect, he became the author of eternal salvation unto all them that obey him."
We need to recognize our sinfulness and REPENT. You see, it is important, for we will either be in heaven or hell for all eternity. John 5:28-29, "Marvel not at this: for the hour is coming, in the which all that are in the graves shall hear his voice, and shall come forth..." Even the grave will not keep you from meeting your judge. To repent means to change your mind and to recognize your lost hopeless state before God without Christ as your personal Saviour. It is to humble yourself and to ask for the forgiveness of your sinfulness. Without repentance -- no salvation, and without heart knowledge of our lost condition it is impossible to repent. Heb. 9:27, "And as it is appointed unto men once to die, but after this the judgment." Acts 17:30, "And the times of this ignorance God winked at, but now commandeth all men every where to repent: because he hath appointed a day, in the which he will judge the world in righteousness by that man whom he hath ordained; whereof he hath given assurance unto all men, in that he hath raised him from the dead." THE COMMAND IS THAT ALL MEN EVERYWHERE ARE TO REPENT!
III. BELIEVE THE GOSPEL
What is the gospel?? In Mark 1:15 we are given a command, “... believe the gospel.” Many religious people go to hear their pastor or their priest faithfully and never come to know what the gospel is. If we were to ask you, what would you say? Many have told this preacher that they do not know or are not sure, and yet claim to be receiving the gospel message.
Rom. 1:16, "For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ: for it is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth; to the Jew first, and also to the Greek." Is it then not vital that we know and believe the gospel?
My friend, if you want this salvation that God freely offers through the shed blood of His Son, then you must come as every other person that is saved has come. Acts 20:21, "... repentance toward God, and faith toward our Lord Jesus Christ." You're going to have to come God's way, not the way you think.
Paul states in I Cor. 15:1, "Moreover, brethren, I declare unto you the gospel which I preached unto you, which also ye have received, and wherein ye stand..." It is the same gospel that man must hear today and receive to be saved. I Cor. 15:3-4, “For I delivered unto you first of all that which I also received, how that Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures; And that he was buried, and that he rose again the third day according to the scriptures.” It is not just believing some old story about some person called Jesus. It is believing the scriptural account of the fall of man, our great need to be saved, and God sending the sacrifice in our place by His own Son, as the Bible verifies. It is the placing of our trust in the sufficiency of that shed blood to take away the offence of our sinfulness against God. When we believe and receive the Son, we become BORN AGAIN, having a new birth, by which a poor, lost, guilty, hell-deserving sinner receives a pardon, a stay of execution. That execution has been placed on the Son and then we no longer are under the wrath of God. So, you see, we can be free from the judgment of the condemnation of the eternal lake of fire.
John 1: 12, "But as many as received Him, to them gave He power (authority) to become the Sons of God..." What a change of direction -- to be changed from a child of the devil to a child of God.
I beg of you today, if you have never before known a time when you were lost in sin, listen to these words of Rom. 3:19, "Now we know that what things soever the law saith, it saith to them who are under the law: THAT EVERY MOUTH MAY BE STOPPED, AND ALL THE WORLD MAY BECOME GUILTY BEFORE GOD." Recognize yourself to be in the group, the ALL, the GUILTY ones, REPENT and BELIEVE the Gospel of the Bible and receive the forgiveness of sins and eternal life.
James 4:6, "... God resisteth the proud, but giveth grace to the humble." James 4:10, "Humble yourselves in the sight of the Lord, and he shall lift you up."
It is humbling to admit that we've been wrong, and are wrong, both before God and man.
The offer is for all to come that labor and are heavy laden and Christ will give you rest. Come and trust Him Today!
For further information contact:
GRACE BAPTIST CHURCH
2611 PULASKI PIKE
HUNTSVILLE, ALABAMA 35810