Not Everyone is Welcome

Yesterday I preached from Matthew 7:21-23. That is a passage that always grabs my attention when I read it. The bottom line of the passage is that Jesus says that not everyone is welcome in His kingdom of heaven. Many church-goers will find themselves excluded. Why? Primarily because they skipped first base in their pursuit of a home in heaven. Rather than starting with a relationship with God through Jesus, they went straight to church membership and "good works" which they decided on themselves.
The scriptures are very clear that the starting point (first base) is recognizing that one is separated from God because of sin; confessing and repenting of that sin (turning from self & sin to the Savior) and receiving Jesus as Lord of their life. I told a group of leaders just yesterday that I found it maddening that it was harder to join the Kiwanis Club than most Baptist Churches. When I preached in Russia several years ago, those who responded to the altar call were asked to come to the microphone and publicly declare why they had come forward. I wonder how that would fly in most American churches? Have we made it too easy for people to slip into membership and a false sense that everything is OK between them and God?
Don't know about you, but I would much rather hear Jesus say, "Well done good and faithful servant, enter into the joy of My Kingdom." than to hear Him say, "Depart from Me, I never knew you." I'm assured of the former response because I know that I have touched first base. How about you?


Susan said…
Thank you for going back to the basics of the gospel, with the "easy believism" in our evangelical churches, I feel there are a great percentage of the membership that haven't counted the cost. I wish our churches would understand that the verse that says "if we confess with our mouth that Jesus Christ is Lord" in its historical context, we would find the confession meant life or death for the individual, would we be willing to claim Him as Lord if we had a sword to our throat. Jesus' first words "repent and believe." Thanks for continuing to teach the truth!!!
Susan Woods

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