Matthew 7:21-23, Mark 7:6, Mark 8:34-38, Titus 1:6, James 3:14,1 John 2:9,1 John 3:18
Summary: Following Jesus is an all-or-nothing proposal, and far too many so-called “believers” are riding the fence, playing a game, or trying to look devout when their character shows otherwise. Either follow and obey Him or be honest in your unbelief and leave.
In today’s social setup, especially here in America, the prevailing philosophy seems to be, “I want it, and I want it NOW!” Young people are crying out for this at a pace that is bordering on the ridiculous, petty, and unrealistic. I do not see even the slightest awareness in most of them of a desire to work hard, establish sound and rational goals, and persevere through the rough waters of life to make something of themselves rather than letting some grunion in the political or media spectrum tell them what they have to do or pound into their heads the idea that they are somehow “oppressed,” “violated,” underprivileged” or that they have to take things by force and usher in some kind of national chaos to get their way, casualties notwithstanding.
Commitment and responsibility are becoming, like religious belief in this nation, less admirable and desirable as the days progress. People do not want to take the time and effort to think through and establish an independent frame of mind that just might be more worthwhile than being content with mediocrity and indifference towards life and purpose. People want “stuff,” not substance. To even consider someone else’s needs or feelings seems to be a lost cause. When someone, regardless of age, income, nationality, or other factor, starts to declare that “it’s all about them,” it is really about the sin nature that we all possess and love to coddle. And God hates it, regardless of what you think, feel, or say.
If you are offended by this bluntness on my part, I say with all kindness, “I don’t care.” The truth of human nature has to be presented in one way or another, and I will not sugarcoat or try to explain away the blatant evil nature we have that loves wickedness, deceit, cheating, selfishness, vanity, and self-love at the expense of your soul.
Self-centeredness and egotism have crept into the modern church like a cancer, where the desire to “plant a seed of blessing and prosperity” on one’s part takes precedence over a hunger for holiness and a desire to imitate and follow Jesus no matter the cost or hardship. The late Keith Green produced a song entitled “Asleep in the Light,” where he admonished his fellow Christians for crying out for constant blessings on their behalf while the world is spiraling down into eternal darkness. We play a game of “Sanctification” on Sundays, but we act like the world the rest of the week.
A.W. Tozer called out for Christians to be holy in conduct and be examples of what Jesus wants from those who claim to follow Him. Playing a part where one looks “blessed and highly favored” but is just as spiritually poor as the garden variety pagan neighbor is doing nothing but driving people away from the open arms of a loving Savior who offers comfort and rest for their weary souls (Matthew 11:28-30). If we are honest in our relationship with Jesus, we are all guilty of two-faced behavior and speech one or more times in our lives, and it must be dealt with in prayer, repentance, and renewal of our hearts towards Him. Our fallow ground needs to be broken up every so often for the seeds of God’s Word and direction to take root and grow in us (Jeremiah 4:3).
We cannot allow ourselves to be led by the world or our flesh as the days draw nearer for the LORD’S return. We who are spiritual (Galatians 6:1-5) need to take our eyes off of ourselves, our desires, our wants, and to instead re-engage in intercessory prayer, self-denial, godly behavior, and renew our reverence and worship of the Sovereign LORD God Almighty.
Look at Mark 8:34-38, the main verses of this message, and see that the Lord Jesus makes demands of everyone who is sick and tired of their sins, who no longer want to bear wounded hearts that have endured varied levels of emotional, physical, and mental hell, who now want to be free, forgiven, and made new. He demands that we die to self-centeredness, to get our minds and eyes off of our own little world and our “I” disease. We are to focus on Him and take up the instrument of death to the flesh, namely the cross (Romans 6:6).
We are not our own when we give our lives to the Lordship of Jesus Christ (1 Corinthians 6:20). He owns us from that moment on and can do with us as He wishes for His glory. If we are serious about being a real Christian, then get this point into your system – He is on the throne of your life from now on. You need to abdicate and hand over the crown to Him. He made you (Genesis 1:26; John 1:1-4; Colossians 1:16-18). Don’t you think He knows what is best for you?
Discipleship, the real and authentic act of following Jesus wholeheartedly, also means that you will have rough days ahead because of your faith in Him (2 Timothy 3:12). You will be hassled, harassed, treated unfairly, and fired from your job for being a Christian. Millions of your brethren over the centuries have gone to their deaths for following Jesus. Even today, Christians are being isolated, forced out of their churches, imprisoned, fined by the local authorities, slandered, and that is here in America. It is far worse in other nations, and it will not get better as the time for Jesus’ return approaches. Jesus promised that to the apostles (Matthew 24:9; Mark 13:9; Luke 21:12), and if the Rapture is later than we expect, you, my friend, will not be exempt. You had better be ready. If the Lord Jesus had to endure hardship, then we will have it as well.
In this late hour, you dare not keep playing some pious game or pretending to be a Christian when you know otherwise. If you feel that following Jesus is not worth the trouble and you are ready to walk away and deny Him, you never knew Him in the first place and are subject to eternal doom (2 Timothy 4:10; Hebrews 6:4-6; 1 John 2:19). Just like Judas, you are a devil (John 6:70-71). If this makes you angry, then I strongly suggest you evaluate where you really stand with the Lord Jesus right here and now. Examine yourself to see whether you are really in the faith (Philippians 2:12) before the Spirit gives you over to your sins (Romans 1:28-32) and you will not care about it.
As the days pass, it will be more dangerous to admit that you are a follower of Jesus Christ, and we might have to pay a severe price. However, it is persecution that grows the church (just read the book of Acts) and separates the wheat from the weeds (Matthew 3:12, 13:26). Even now, we are seeing people whom we once thought were solid in their faith embrace causes and ideologies that clearly go against Scripture and the person and work of the Lord Jesus Christ. We read of more and more pastors and Christian “celebrities” openly denying their faith and declaring themselves atheists, agnostics, or leaving the ministry altogether and becoming bitter critics of Christianity.
The LORD is beginning to separate the sheep from the goats (Matthew 25:31-46), and there will be, unfortunately, many so-called “believers” who will be cast aside by the Lord Jesus at the Final Judgment (Matthew 7:21-23) and condemned for being frauds and pretenders.
I urge you today that if you have not truly placed your faith in the Lord Jesus Christ alone for salvation (Acts 4:12, 16:31), do so TODAY. Confess your sins, repent, and turn to Him. He awaits you with open arms and a love that no one in this world can ever imitate or surpass. Let your faith in Jesus be real and authentic, and be that disciple who walks the walk and talks the talk. Bow before Him and let Him make you a new creation.
“When Jesus calls a man, He bids him to come and die.” – Dietrich Bonhoeffer (1906-1945) from his book The Cost of Discipleship. He was a German pastor who stood against Hitler, and for it, ended his life as a prisoner in a concentration camp. He walked the walk.
Join me for “The Reality City Daily Review” weekday mornings at 10:00 CST on YouTube (USA). It will then be posted on Facebook and on my website. My main area of discussion will be on the basics of the Christian faith but will also deal with prophetic issues and other topics as the Lord impresses upon me to handle.