“Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom
- Matthew 7:21
When all is said and done, the most important thing we ever do in life is to share the gospel. The most important thing that we can do is tell people the truth—that every human being will live forever in one of two places: either in heaven or in hell. The good news is, there is a way to heaven that is guaranteed. And that way is Jesus Christ.
In eternity we will have fully functioning minds and bodies. Those who are in heaven will fully perceive every bit of joy and peace and comfort and love. And those who are in hell will fully perceive every bit of pain, agony, shame and regret. The Bible teaches us that hell is a place of eternal torment that God has prepared for the devil and his demons. We're okay with that, aren't we? The devil and his demons deserve what's coming to them. And so do Adolf Hitler, Osama bin Laden, murderers, rapists and child molesters. Right?
We look at the most vile criminals in human history and say to ourselves, “They deserve to go to hell!” But in Matthew 7, Jesus warns us that it’s not only murderers, rapists and Satan worshipers who will go to hell. Many professed CHRISTIANS will go to hell also. In verse 23, Jesus says that many Christians who stand before Him on Judgment Day will hear seven of the most horrifying, spine-chilling words in the Bible: “I never knew you. Away from Me.”
How is this possible? To understand, let’s take a look at 3 hard-hitting truths about the narrow road to heaven.
Heaven Truth #1: Confessing Christ as Lord and Savior won't get you to heaven, no matter how often you do it. Jesus says in v. 21, “Not everyone who says to me, 'Lord, Lord,' will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only he who does the will of my Father who is in heaven.” As important as confessing Christ is, if there is no faith in Christ and no transformed life, there is no salvation—no matter how many times you parrot the words, “Jesus is the Christ and the Son of the living God.” Atheists can parrot those same words. Demons routinely parrot those words.
Perhaps James says it best in James 2:14 & 26: “What good is it, my brothers, if a man claims to have faith but has no deeds? Can such faith save him?... As the body without spirit is dead, so faith without deeds is dead.” James could just as easily have said, “Confession without deeds is dead.” If you're simply confessing Christ with you mouth, but not confessing Him with your actions, your confession is empty and useless.
Heaven Truth #2: An emotional response to Christ won't get you to heaven, no matter how amazing it feels. Jesus says in Matthew 7:22, “Many will say to me on that day, 'Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in Your name, and in Your name drive out demons and perform many miracles?” There are several truths about the road to heaven that we can extrapolate from this verse. But one of these truths is this: Emotions and enthusiasm won't get you there.
This should frighten a lot of church-goin' folk who are convinced they are saved. One of the trends in modern-day worship services is to produce very emotional worship services. The music and the lights and feverish pitch of the sermon are all designed to draw out an emotional response. Now, emotional worship services CAN be a wonderful thing … if God is in it. But church leaders have to be careful not to manufacture emotional responses to the Gospel that are a mile wide but only an inch deep. Emotions are a terrible indicator of whether you're going to heaven or hell. Emotions come and go. Emotions are up, down and all around. So, they're a terrible indicator of whether or not you're really saved.
Heaven Truth #3: Religious acts won't get you to heaven, no matter how impressive they look. Of these three heavenly truths, this one is the hardest for many of us to comprehend. Jesus doesn't point out three simple religious acts that fake Christians can easily do, like going to church, memorizing the Lord's Prayer or singing in the choir. Jesus identifies three really big and impressive acts: prophesying in Jesus' name, performing exorcisms in Jesus' name, and healing others in Jesus' name. This is the kind of stuff that will knock your socks off. But remember this. Judas Iscariot was one of Jesus' chosen 12 apostles, and Jesus gave all 12 of them power and authority to drive out demons, cure diseases and heal the sick. Judas Iscariot did ALL of those wonderful, powerful “Christian” things—and after all of that, he still went to hell.
acts won't get you to heaven, no matter how impressive they look. Tithing won't
get you to heaven, even if you’re the biggest tither in the church. Baptism
won't get you to heaven, even if you were baptized by Billy Graham himself.
Praying for the sick, volunteering at the food bank and handing out gospel
tracts are NO guarantees of your salvation. Sadly, many of the most religious
Real Christianity boils down to three things: Trust God, love God and obey God while abiding in a personal relationship with God. Only a true follower of Christ will aim to do these three things every day—whether we're at church, at home, at work or at WalMart. Whether we're around Christians or nonChristians. Whether our obedience to Christ is applauded or hated. If you’re the real deal, you will trust God, love God and obey God every day until you reach the end of the narrow road and Jesus calls you home to heaven.
Dane Davis is the Pastor
of Impact Christian Church. Please join us for our in-person worship service Sundays at 9 a.m. at
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