. . . with Long Lasting Implications
MARK LESTER tapped his gavel several times. "Order. Order. The Interdenominational Scholar's Club is now officially in session. Before we begin, I have good news. As you all know, in an effort to increase our membership, which presently stands at three, we have been engaged in an aggressive five month membership drive. And so, gentlemen, I'm happy to announce that our efforts have paid off."
Mark paused and glanced around the table at the smiling faces. "I want to officially introduce our newest member, Aaron Smith."
The group burst into a round of stuffy applause. Aaron nodded in return.
"Aaron, you've already met the others. You know the rules. Our discussions tend to be informal, although they can get heated at times. The only thing we ask is that you abstain from name calling. Now, everyone, let's get down to business . . ."
Richard Yonkers, a charter member of the group, raised his hand.
"Yes, Richard?" Mark said.
"Let the minutes show that Aaron is now a member of our group."
"Yes, Richard. I'm sure that Douglas has noted it already." Mark glanced at Douglas Hoffman, another charter member, who was frowning at Richard's remark.
"Look, Richard," Douglas said. "I don't take kindly to your . . ."
"Order, order," Mark said. "Don't start, you two . . . Douglas, why don't you present today's passage for interpretation."
Douglas held up a pamphlet. "I found this one in a so-called gospel tract. It was handed to me by a member of one of those hateful denominations." Douglas gave a quick pointed glance at Richard. "The passage has Jesus saying, 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. 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? And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity. (Mat. 7:21-23)"
"What is there to interpret?" Richard said. "It sounds like they thought they were saved and going to Heaven, but were disappointed."
"WILL BE disappointed," Douglas added. "The scene takes place in the future."
"Okay, okay, whatever! What's your question?"
"That's obvious," Douglas said. "Who are they?"
"They're New Agers," Richard said, pulling out a nail trimmer. "Find another passage; something challenging."
"I think Douglas has poised a valid question," Mark said. "And I don't think they're New Agers. They refer to Christ as Lord, and they preached in His name."
"Okay, so maybe they lost their salvation," Richard insisted.
Douglas shook his head. "Jesus says, I never knew you. These people, apparently, were never saved in the first place . . . and stop trimming your nails. It's rude!"
"Look!" Richard said, "they're my nails. And I think you guys are reading too much into this."
"But that's what we're supposed to do," Mark said.
"All right, then pick a more challenging verse," Richard said, making extra noise clipping a thumb nail.
"You're just jealous," Douglas said, "because my verse is not as silly as the one you presented from Ezekiel, last week, about the flaming wheel."
"I wouldn't talk. You thought it predicted a terrorist attack on a ferris wheel in the year 2005. . ."
"Order. Order." Mark rapped his gavel. "Stick with the subject at hand."
"Okay, wise guy," Richard said, pointing his nail clipper at Douglas. "Who do you think they are?"
Douglas looked at Richard, then smiled. "I think they're Charismatics."
"WHAT? You're saying that to tweak me!"
"Jesus said they'll claim to have cast out devils. I can't think of any other group that goes around claiming that."
"What about you guys in the Exorcist?" Richard said.
"That's a movie! Stick with real life," Douglas said.
"Okay, then I think Mother Theresa is in that group also!"
"WHY YOU, SACRILEGIOUS . . ."
"Order. Order," Mark said. "Richard, I think you've gone too far."
"No I haven't. Read it! Jesus said they had, done many wonderful works."
"And what's wrong with doing good works?" Douglas asked.
"Nothing!" Richard said. "Unless you're trusting in them to get you to Heaven."
"We never claimed that. We teach salvation is by believing in Jesus Christ."
"Then why do you guys baptize babies? Huh? Explain that!"
"At least we don't babble like babies when we pray!"
"Oh, yeah? If your ministers are so mature, why can't they put on a collar straight?"
"ORDER. ORDER! All right you two; three minutes of mandatory silence."
"But, Mark, that only leaves you and the new guy!" Douglas said.
"Yeah!" Richard added. "Give us a break!"
"I'm sorry, you know the rules," Mark said. "In the meantime, I'll put my two cents in. I believe the passage is metaphorical."
Douglas and Richard looked at each other.
"What I mean is, the passage is simply an object lesson; an allegorical representation of a deeper spiritual epigram."
"What on earth are you talking about?" Richard said, crinching his eyebrows.
"Obviously," Mark explained, "you can't take the scene literally."
"Why not?" Douglas said.
"It's too negative. It's not in line with a loving God."
"Then how do you explain God's behavior in the Old Testament?" Richard said.
"That's metaphoric, too."
"THE WHOLE THING? You're an idiot!"
"Order. Order! No name calling. Besides, you're supposed to be quiet."
"Hah!" Douglas chimed in. "How can you expect a long-haired, babbling fool to stay quiet?"
"That's right, why don't you display some holiness for a change."
"Order . . . !" Mark rapped his gavel.
"Oh yeah? Well, if your ministers are such good guys, why do they wear black?"
"ORDER . . . !"
"That's the second time you've been sacrilegious, YOU . . ."
"ORDER. ORDER. ORDER!" Mark's gavel broke at the handle.
Aaron finally raised his hand.
"Look!" Douglas said. "The new guy wants to say something. Who do you think is right, Aaron? Me or Richard?"
"Both. There will be a lot of denominations standing before Christ that day. A lot of people who think they're saved will be in for a shock."
"Look, Aaron," Richard said, placing his hand on Aaron's shoulder. "I realize you're green.
After all, it took the three of us a whole year to get to this level." The others proudly smiled. "But, how can someone who cast out devils not be saved? This passage is not as straight forward as you think . . ."
"But, the Bible warns, in 2 Cor. 11:14, that, Satan himself is transformed into an angel of light." Aaron said. "You shouldn't underestimate his power of deception."
"But how do you explain the ones who said, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name?" Douglas said. "The devil doesn't go around preaching in Christ's name."
"Why not?" Aaron said. "The Bible says, Satan himself is transformed into an angel of light. Therefore it is no great thing if his ministers also be transformed as the ministers of righteousness; whose end shall be according to their works. (2 Cor. 11:14-15)"
Douglas and Richard shook their heads in disagreement.
"Why is it so hard for you to conceive that they could have been fooled?" Aaron said.
"Because," Richard said, "God made salvation too simple to trip over; all you have to do is believe on Christ as your Saviour."
"Then why don't any of these people remind Christ of that? Why do they automatically tell Him what they DID, rather than what they BELIEVED? Why do they seem to be trusting in anything other than Him as Saviour. What they should be saying is, Lord, Lord, didn't I repent and trust you alone as Saviour? Isn't that what you promised as my only means of salvation? Why didn't they say that? Obviously, they were trusting in the wrong things to save them. That's why Christ says at the end of their claims, And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity. (Mat. 7:21-23)"
The other three thought for a few moments. Douglas finally broke the silence. "I think Aaron has an interesting observation. Although I tend to lean more towards Mark's theory."
"I think we should continue this next week," Richard said. "For now, I say we reconsider Aaron's membership . . . at least until he shows more scholarly prowess."
"I second the motion," Mark said. "Sorry, Aaron. Of course, you understand we can't refund your membership fee." Mark lifted one half of his broken gavel. "MEETING ADJOURNED!"
Dear Reader, The Bible says: "if righteousness come by the law, then Christ is dead in vain."
(Gal. 2:21) Think about it, if you could earn your way into Heaven then Christ died for nothing. However, His death was not in vain, it served an important purpose. It provided a reconciliation to God that was not possible any other way. Here's why:
The Bible teaches that, "your iniquities [SINS] have separated between you and your God, and your sins have hid his face from you, that he will not hear." (Isa. 59:2) "For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God;" (Rom. 3:23). And there is a price to pay for having sinned before God, and that price is death. "For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord." (Rom. 6:23)
"and without shedding of blood [DEATH] is no remission [FORGIVENESS]." (Heb. 9:22)
Of course, this means that BAPTISM cannot pay for your sins since no one dies while getting baptized, nor can CONFIRMATION, COMMUNION, KEEPING THE TEN COMMANDMENTS, CHURCH MEMBERSHIP, SELF-RIGHTEOUSNESS, or GOOD DEEDS. Anything other than death CANNOT and WILL NOT pay for any of your sins. That's why:
"Christ died for our sins" (1 Cor. 15:3).
He paid the price. He died in our place and if we don't put our trust in His death to save us,
Jesus warned that: "ye shall die in your sins: for if ye believe not that I am he," (John 8:24). And that means eternity in the Lake of Fire (Rev. 20:15). To claim what Christ has done on the cross for you, you must REPENT. That means: change your mind, and agree with what you have just read from the Bible and place all your trust in Jesus Christ, and Him alone, to save you. So "if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus [i.e. REPENT], and shalt believe in thine heart [TRUST] that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved" (Rom. 10:9).
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