YOU ARE ABOUT TO WITNESS A DECISION THAT
WILL END IN TRAGEDY . . .
HIS NAME IS JOHN DOE-- an average guy, who works hard, doesn't
cheat anyone, treats his family well, knows how to have clean fun, and
believes in God. He's not what you call religious, although that is
about to change.
John has been visiting a church that teaches a lot about Jesus Christ. A friend
invited him one day, and John, always willing to try something new, decided to
go along. At first he was cautious, somewhat apprehensive, taking a seat on the
However, the things John heard peaked his interest. Neither was the church as
"fanatical" as he feared it might be. The Christians there were pretty "average
Joes" themselves. They were friendly, kind, and loving, but not obnoxious about
their beliefs. They didn't go around wearing their doctrine on their sleeves, trying
to wipe it off on everyone they met.
One day . . .
"Hello, John?" The Pastor extended his hand as he greeted John into his
office. "You said you wanted to meet."
"Yes sir," John said, finding a chair. "I want to give my heart to Jesus. I've
been coming for three weeks now. I think it's about time I did the right thing."
"A wise choice." The Pastor smiled, pulling his chair alongside John's.
"Before we pray, do you have any questions? Anything you don't quite
"No. I know what to do . . . There's no sense of purpose to my life. I just
work, go home, work, go home, . . . you know."
The Pastor nodded. "We've all been there."
"I've also made some mistakes," John continued. "I really believe Jesus
can help me; give me some direction--"
"I think you're ready, John. Let's pray . . ."
Maybe you can relate to what John just did. Perhaps you've been there yourself.
Oh, the circumstances might have been different. Maybe you invited Christ into
your heart because things had really gone wrong in your life and you needed "a
healing" of sorts. The reasons why people call on Christ are as different as the
But, you know . . . that's precisely why
John's life will end in tragedy . . .
LIKE JOHN DOE, many have sought out Christ for THE WRONG REASONS.
That's not to say that Jesus Christ can't provide direction and solve a person's
earthly problems. But, that's not the primary reason why Christ died on the cross.
Jesus said: "For the Son of man is come to seek and TO SAVE that which was lost"
(Luke 19:10). Anyone who calls upon Christ should do so because they realize they are
a lost, hell-deserving sinner in NEED OF A SAVIOUR, and that Jesus Christ is their
John Doe's biggest problem is not that he has no sense of direction or meaningful purpose
in life. Neither is his biggest problem financial, marital, or health related. His real problem
is a spiritual one. He is an unrepentant sinner in need of a Saviour. He needs to be born
again or else he will REMAIN lost and on the road to Hell. Any earthly problems he may
have are nothing compared to the
prospects of spending eternity in
To illustrate how trivial and
insignificant the problems of this
world really are, Jesus said:
"Wherefore if thy hand or thy foot
offend thee, cut them off, and cast
them from thee: it is better for
thee to enter into life halt or
maimed, rather than having two
hands or two feet to be cast into
everlasting fire. (9)And if thine eye
offend thee, pluck it out, and cast
it from thee: it is better for thee to
enter into life with one eye, rather
than having two eyes to be cast
into hell fire." Mat. 18:8-9
What about John Doe's pastor?Some may wonder why John Doe's pastor
didn't catch John's misguided motive and avoid
a tragedy? There could be a number of reasons,
but whichever the case, Jesus warned about,
"blind leaders of the blind. And if the blind
lead the blind, BOTH shall fall into the
ditch" (Mat. 15:14).
Often the minister himself may have come
to Christ for the wrong reasons. Usually,
however, it boils down to his lack of
repentance. Repentance is simply not preached
much anymore for fear that "it might offend."
But John the Baptist preached it even though
it cost him his head. And in Jesus's case, it
meant going to the cross . . .
Like John Doe, many have called upon Christ, seeking only solutions for the problems they
have in the here and now. They are "shortsighted," only viewing Christ as the perfect
"guidance counselor" and not the Lord and Saviour of their lost, hell-deserving, hell-
bound souls! Tragically, they went to Christ seeking help but not forgiveness and therefore
THEY WERE NEVER FORGIVEN. They are still lost and on the road to Hell.
Go back and examine John Doe's profession of faith. Consider the reason he called upon
Christ. Many, like John Doe, have asked Christ to "come into their hearts" with the attitude
that Christ is primarily there to help them live a better life. But the fact is, Christ first and
foremost died on the cross to give us eternal life--to save you and me from Hell!
Friend, what about you? Have you called upon Christ, perhaps for the wrong reason?
The Bible says "EXAMINE YOURSELVES, WHETHER YE BE IN THE FAITH."
2 Cor. 13:5
Ask yourself: Did I call upon Christ for Salvation? Did I see myself as a lost, hell-
deserving, hell-bound sinner, and threw myself at God's mercy saying, "God be merciful
to me a sinner" (Luke 18:13)? Did I come to Him as a broken sinner, seeking forgiveness?
Did I come to Jesus because I needed a Saviour, or because I needed "a problem solver"?
Did I see myself as truly lost? Not the way John Doe defined lost, as in "Lost in the woods
without a compass," but LOST as in "I'm on my way to Hell and I can practically feel the
flames as I hang by the thread of a heartbeat over the dark, bottomless pit where Christ
said, Their worm dieth not, and THE FIRE IS NOT QUENCHED. Mark 9:44"
Your reason and motive for reaching out to Christ means the difference between TRUE
REPENTANCE and no repentance. And Jesus warned: "EXCEPT YE REPENT, YE
SHALL ALL LIKEWISE PERISH." Luke 13:3
Repentance is a change of mind that says, I am willing to forsake the known sin
in my life and submit to Christ, making Him my Lord as well as my Saviour.
The key words here are FORSAKE and SUBMIT. Christ expects the repentant sinner to
forsake their known sin and submit to Him as their LORD as well as Saviour. Jesus said:
"So likewise, whosoever he be of you that FORSAKETH NOT ALL that he hath, HE
CANNOT BE MY DISCIPLE." Luke 14:33
True repentance is a change of mind that results in a change of direction from following
the world and your own self-will to following Christ. That is why Jesus also said: "If any
man will come after me, LET HIM DENY HIMSELF, and take up his cross daily,
AND FOLLOW ME." Luke 9:23
Ask yourself: What did I forsake when I called upon Christ? Did I realize I could not hang
on to any of my sinful practices? Was sin even an issue? Did I submit to Christ as my Lord?
Did I repent? Or was my experience closer to that of John Doe's, where repentance wasn't
even addressed? Did I merely want Jesus Christ to help me live my life according to MY
LIFESTYLE, as opposed to submitting to HIS WILL? Was I seeking not to change the way
I live, but to merely become more successful at it through God's help?
Finally, let's look at the tragic end of John Doe's life. John died one day, and on the Day of
Judgment found himself before Jesus Christ. Of course, John was horribly shocked, having
assumed most of his life he was saved. And in a final act of desperation, John, along with
many others like him, tried to argue his case. Jesus prophetically tells us what John will say
as he comes to the very end of his tragic life: "Not every one that saith unto me, Lord,
Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father
which is in heaven [i.e. REPENTS]. (22)Many will say to me in that day, Lord,
Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? and in thy name have cast out devils? and
in thy name done many wonderful works? (23)And then will I profess unto them, I
never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity." Matt. 7:21-23
IF you were to die today, are you 100% SURE
you would go to Heaven? The Bible says
YOU CAN BE SURE (1 John 5:13).
BUT FIRST, you must realize that what keeps you from going to Heaven are your sins, because:
"...your iniquities [sins] have separated between you and your God," Isaiah 59:2.
In fact, in God's eyes YOU ARE A SINNER: "For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God;" Romans 3:23.
SECONDLY, you must realize that there is NOTHING you can do to save yourself and earn Heaven: "For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast." Eph. 2:8-9 Baptism, good deeds, church membership, self-righteousness are all examples of good works that cannot save you, because: "Not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to his mercy he [Christ] saved us," Titus 3:5.
THE ONLY WAY you can get saved is through Jesus Christ. He said: "I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me." (John 14:6) THAT'S WHY: "...while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us." (Rom. 5:8-9)
THEREFORE: You must REPENT (change your mind); admit that you are a Hell deserving sinner and can't save yourself. And call upon Christ, and Him alone, to save you. "if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus [REPENT], and shalt believe in thine heart [TRUST] that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved." Romans 10:9
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