CHRISTIANS IN REALITY

Reading: Acts 26:9-22 & verse 28

 

INRODUCTION

 

(a) It is customary for people believing all sorts of odd things, to call themselves 'Christian'.

(b) The spectrum is amazing! Everything from, Jehovah's Witnesses,  to  Mormons, to  Christian  Scientists  to   all   sorts   of   people   suffering   from   a Christless  religiosity of one kind or another.

(c) Some time ago in a pub, a man said to me, "After all, it doesn't matter what religion we are - WE'RE ALL CHRISTIANS, AREN'T WE?"

I had to be honest with the man, and tell him quite simply, that it just was not true as far as the Bible was concerned!

(d) People have sometimes come to me, and told me in no uncertain terms  that  I am NARROW in my beliefs, and I should change with the times.

They seem totally unaware that YOU OR I HAVE NO AUTHORITY TO CHANGE, WATER  DOWN OR ADJUST THE BIBLE'S TEACHING ON THE WAY OF SALVATION!

 

POINT 1

 

(a) With all the theological jargon that's floating  around  today,  people  are becoming more and more  confused  about  where  the  dividing  line  between  a Christian and non-Christian is!

(b) Some years ago, I attended a Minister's Fraternal, and was  responsible  for giving the spiritual thought. The usual system  was  that  you  kept  away  from anything that was in any way controversial. You know the old fallacy, "Better to

concentrate on what unites us rather than what divides us!"

THE TROUBLE IS  YOU END UP WITH A WISHY WASHY COMPROMISE THAT SAYS AND MEANS NOTHING AT ALL!!

(c) I asked them straight - "WE ARE MINISTERS ENTRUSTED WITH GOD'S MESSAGE! BUT WHAT IS THAT MESSAGE. WHAT IS A TRUE CHRISTIAN???"

(d) I could not believe some of the answers I received!!

i. One minister stated that we became a Christian at INFANT BAPTISM!!

(INDEED AT ONE CORPS, A WOMAN CAME TO ME ABOUT DEDICATING HER  CHILD,  ABSOLUTELY CONVINCED THAT IF THE CHILD WAS NOT 'CHRISTENED' THEN THE CHILD'S  SOUL  WAS  IN DANGER!

No matter how much I tried to tell her, that  was  a  misconception carried through the reformation from  the  Roman  Catholic  Church,  she  seemed unconvinced!)

ii. Another minister believed it was at CONFIRMATION!!

iii. Yet another believed it came through HOLY COMMUNION!

iv. The most striking answer of all came from one minister who said,

"WHO ARE WE TO SAY WHO IS A CHRISTIAN AND WHO IS NOT??"

(e) God help the unsaved people of this world if even the clergymen do not have the spiritual insight to know what a true Christian really is!!

I said I felt it was nice to meet for coffee and a chat,  but  it  concerned  me greatly that we could have no unanimity on  what  were the  makings  of  a  true Christian!

(f) Mind you, I have been even more shocked to find some Salvationists  sounding an uncertain note about this very thing, and passing it  off  as  if  it  didn't really matter!!

My dear friends, it is a matter of ETERNAL LIFE AND ETERNAL DEATH!

(g) In 1880, Catherine Booth (wife of General William Booth) said, "All through the New Testament,  and  indeed the Bible, no truth is taught with greater force and frequency than  this,  that without a vital union of the soul with Christ, all ceremonies, creeds,  beliefs, professions, church ordinances, are sounding brass and tinkling cymbals, and all who trust in them will be deceived. This is the very essence of the Gospel!" (From the Booklet, "They Said it.")

POINT 2

 

(a) I never make any excuse for our Salvation Army Doctrines - they are  founded upon the Word of God! They are very explicit and unambiguous in what they  state regarding Salvation!

(b) Our 7th doctrine states,       

"WE BELIEVE THAT REPENTANCE TOWARDS GOD, FAITH IN OUR  LORD  JESUS  CHRIST,  AND REGENERATION BY THE HOLY SPIRIT ARE NECESSARY TO SALVATION."

(c) You will see how perfectly this doctrine fits in with our Bible Reading!

i. Verse 20 tells us we must repent reminding us of how Jesus says that  WITHOUT REPENTANCE - WE WILL PERISH! We must turn our backs upon our  sin  and  cast  it from us!

ii. Verse 18 Paul emphasises the necessity of EXERCISING FAITH! As  he  says  in Ephesians 2, "By Grace are ye saved through faith!." Needless to  say,  he  is speaking of faith IN CHRIST! Faith in  the  wrong  person  or  thing,  leads  to disaster!

iii. Verse 22 Paul tells that the transformation  or  REGENERATION  in  his  own life, was continuing "unto this day", reminding us of  the  words  of  Jesus  to Nicodemus when he said "Ye must be born again."  We must live  in  newness  of

life! We must be DIFFERENT INSIDE! We cannot live by the old standards anymore!

(d) Any Salvationist who does not  believe such fundamental truths   as these, is most certainly in the wrong church.

(e) Any Christian who refuses to accept these basic truths of God, must re-examine what they think has made them a Christian,  and  seriously  re-assess themselves. Because, to be blunt, ─ if they are  not  a  Christian  according  to

God's 'ground rules', they are not a Christian!!

(f) Too many are Christians, only ON THE OUTSIDE!

William Booth said, "To get a man soundly saved, it was not enough  to  put  on him a new pair of breeches - to give him regular work, or even  to  give  him  a university education. These things are all outside a  man,  and  if  the  inside

remains unchanged, you have wasted your labour!" ("Darkest England and The way Out")

 

POINT 3

 

(a) It means that someone relying on their church membership to get into heaven, will quite literally end up in hell and the lake of fire!

(b) It means, that no matter what denomination or church label a person  prefers to wear, be it Church of Scotland, Baptist, Methodist,  Episcopalian,  Salvation Army or whatever: UNLESS THEY HAVE REPENTED OF THEIR SIN,  ACCEPTED  IN  SIMPLE FAITH THE LORD JESUS CHRIST AS THEIR  SAVIOUR,  BEEN  BORN  AGAIN  OF  THE  HOLY SPIRIT - UNLESS ALL OF THAT HAPPENS, THEY ARE LOST FOR ALL ETERNITY!! DAMNED!! THERE ARE NO IFS AND NO BUTS!!

(c) Let no-one be misled by the one who says, "That's the way the Officer  sees it - it's just his way!" "He's Irish!"

TOTAL AND COMPLETE RUBBISH!!

IT IS THE WAY THE WORD OF GOD SEES  IT!!  AND  IT  IS  THE  WAY  OUR  DOCTRINES PROCLAIM IT!!

(d) There cannot be any soft peddling or watering down, for it is  not  me,  BUT GOD WHO STATES IT AS A FACT! You or I will change God's Message at our peril!!

(e) Time and time again, I have been told, "YOU HOLD A VERY NARROW VIEW!"

Thank God for that, for the Bible tells me that it is THE NARROW WAY THAT  LEADS TO ETERNAL LIFE, and THE BROAD ROAD THAT LEADS TO DESTRUCTION!!

 

CONCLUSION

 

(a) "THERE IS NO OTHER NAME UNDER HEAVEN GIVEN AMONGST MEN WHEREBY WE  MUST  BE SAVED!"

(b) Perhaps there is someone here who has been living under a DELUSION - someone who has allowed the wool to be pulled over their eyes.

(c) Over and over again, the Bible states very clearly that there  is  only  ONE WAY TO HEAVEN - through He Who said "I AM THE WAY."

He waits to forgive and to make anew all who will come to Him!

(d) Perhaps there is someone else, and you've been neglecting to tell others the true Gospel, to warn them, because you've been  misled  yourself  into  thinking that if they believed whatever they do that somehow IT'LL BE ALL RIGHT ON THE NIGHT! IT  WILL NOT!!!

How would it be if the doctor in the hospital says, "This patient doesn't  know they are dying, therefore they'll be all right, and I wont  need  to  give  them this life-saving drug!" Ridiculous! I Know! But that is how many Christians view the plight of the unsaved!

(e) As I am continually reminded, everyone is entitled to believe whatever  they want - true - but it does not mean they are right - and it does not mean it will keep their soul out of hell!! WE HAVE AN OBLIGATION TO INFORM  SUCH  PEOPLE  OF THE TRUTH OF GOD AS REVEALED IN THE BIBLE!!

Let us remember that Jesus said, many will come to Him on Judgement Day and say, "Lord, Lord, we did this, that and the other in Your Name," and the Lord  will say, "Depart from me.... I never knew you!"

Often in the pubs, down through the years,  I have sung the song "Sinner Man", which reminds them of a day  of Judgement which is to come!

(f) We must stop listening to man and his stupid misconceptions!!

WE MUST SEE WHAT GOD SAYS IN HIS WORD, BELIEVE IT, AND ACT UPON IT!!

(g) The minister said, "Who are we to say whether a person is  a  Christian  or not?"

WE DEAR FRIENDS, ARE GOD'S AMBASSADORS!

WE ARE ENTRUSTED WITH HIS MESSAGE!!

(h) God says in Ezekiel 3:18,

"When I say to the wicked, 'Thou shalt surely die';  and  thou  givest  him  not warning, nor speakest to warn the wicked from his wicked way, to save his life; the same wicked man shall die in his iniquity; but his blood will I  require  at thine hand."

IF AS CHRISTIANS YOU AND I FAIL TO EFFECTIVELY GIVE THE MESSAGE -  PEOPLE  WILL PERISH!!

THEY ARE RELYING ON US! GOD IS RELYING ON US!!

 

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