Friday, July 30, 2021

Build Your Life on the Rock

“Everyone who hears these words of mine and puts them into practice is like a wise man who built his house on the rock.” - Matthew 7:21

It’s one of the most iconic buildings in the world: The Leaning Tower of Pisa. It was only supposed to take a few years to build, but five years into construction, when the builders reached the third story, the tower began to lean ever so slightly to the south. The builders tried to correct the lean by making the remaining stories shorter on the uphill side, but the extra weight of the upper stories just made the lean worse. In the 600 years after the tower was completed, it kept leaning more and more. It became clear to engineers that the tower wasn’t just leaning -- it was actually falling at a rate of one to two millimeters per year. By the late 1980s, the tower was leaning by more than 5 degrees.

Do you know why the leaning tower leans? It has a weak foundation. So, between 1990 and 2001, a team of 13 experts worked to save the tower by reinforcing its foundation with concrete.  And their best guess is that the Leaning Tower of Pisa is safe for at least another 200 years.

At the end of Jesus’ greatest sermon—the Sermon on the Mount—He asks us to inspect our spiritual foundation to determine whether or not we are fake Christians. To illustrate his point, He shares a short parable about two men who built houses on very different foundations: one on bedrock, and another on sand. As Jesus explains, everyone who hears His words and obeys them will be like the man who built on rock. When a storm came, “the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house; yet it did not fall” (v. 25). On the other hand, those who hear His words and don’t obey them are like the second, foolish man, whose house “fell with a great crash” (v. 27).

But what does it all mean? Well, remember the context. The entire Sermon on the Mount came on the heels of Jesus going from town to town and preaching this basic message: “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is near.” Within the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus calls us to turn from our sin and bring some of the best things of heaven into our corner of the world: truth, humility, peace, purity, forgiveness and love. And in the verses preceding this parable, Jesus makes it clear that many people who THINK they are on the narrow road to heaven ... aren't. Many people who THINK they are saved aren't really saved. Many people in the church are under the impression that they can call Jesus “Lord” without having to do what He says.

To break down the symbolism of this parable: You are the builder. The house is your life. The rock is obedience to Christ's teaching. The sand is anything else that you build your life upon. And the storm is the testing of your faith here on earth and also the Day of Judgment. So, to the best of my understanding, this is what Jesus is asking his listeners (and today’s readers) after they hear His teaching: “Are you going to live it out? Are you going to be a doer of My word, or are you just going to be a hearer?”

Think about it: You are building your life, and to many people, your life may look really good. You look like a follower of Christ. You talk like a follower of Christ. But sooner or later your faith in Christ is going to be tested. Following Jesus will get harder. You're going to be criticized by people around you, even by people you love and respect. Jesus will ask you to do some things you don't want to do. And He will ask you to stop doing some things that you really want to keep doing. Sooner or later, your devotion to Christ is going to be tested. And if your life isn't built on the firm foundation of obeying Jesus, your faith will crumble. Because if you are not obeying Christ as Lord, your faith has no foundation. It's not built to last. The truth is: If you're not obeying Christ, then you're a fake Christian. And sooner or later, fake Christians will jump ship when the ride gets too bumpy.

The storms of life have a way of separating real Christ followers from the fakes. And so does the Day of Judgment. One day every one of us will stand before Jesus and give an account of our life here on earth. And according to 1 Cor. 3:11-15, your life will be fed through the fire of testing. Only what you did in obedience to Christ will survive the flames. Sadly, on the Day of Judgment, many people who called themselves “Christians” will see their lives completely consumed by the flames of testing.

It doesn't matter how good your Christian life looks to those around you. God doesn't look at the outward appearance. He looks at the heart. So, on the Day of Judgment, the truth about your Christianity will be laid bare. If you built your life on anything other than the firm foundation of Jesus Christ, it will turn into a pile of rubble and ashes. But if your life is built firmly on the solid rock of obedience to Christ's teaching, you won’t just survive. You will also hear Jesus Christ speak to you those six amazing words: “Well done, good and faithful servant.”

Dane Davis is the Pastor of Impact Christian Church. Please join us for our in-person worship service Sundays at 9 a.m. at 17746 George Blvd. in Victorville. Or, join us online at 10 a.m. on the Impact Christian Church YouTube channel or Facebook page. For more information, visit

Friday, July 23, 2021

I Never Knew You

 “Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven.”
- 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.

Religious 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 churchgoers in America will not make it to heaven.

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 17746 George Blvd. in Victorville. Or, join us online at 10 a.m. on the Impact Christian Church YouTube channel or Facebook page. For more information, visit

Friday, July 16, 2021

Know Them By Their Fruit (pt. 2)

 “By their fruit you will recognize them.”
- Matthew 7:16

In last week’s column, we looked at how to recognize a false teacher. In Matthew 7:16 and again in v. 20, Jesus tells us that we can recognize false teachers “by their fruit”—by observing the lives they live. But sometimes that’s easier said than done. Many churches are too big for us to get to know our pastor on a personal basis. And we can’t see what our church elders are doing behind closed doors. What we see on Sunday mornings looks good, but how can we know for sure whether or not our church leaders are false teachers peddling false teaching?

Well, you might not be able to see the rotten fruit in a false teacher’s personal life, but if you put in a little effort, you can see the rotten fruit in his teaching. Theologian William Barclay points out some red flags of false teaching in the church. I’ll highlight three of them.

Red Flag #1: Teaching is false if it focuses primarily on the observance of external religion. Barclay writes, “It is possible—and indeed not uncommon—to teach that religion consists of going to Church, observing the Lord’s Day, fulfilling one’s financial obligations to the Church, reading one’s Bible. A man might do all these things and be far off from being a Christian, for Christianity is an attitude of the heart to God and to man.”

So, when you’re thinking of joining a church, I encourage you to listen to a bunch of the pastor’s sermons online and attend at least a few Bible studies. If almost all of the teaching is focused on the external, and there is very little said about the sin in our hearts, that’s a red flag—because our faith is lived from the inside out. There is no excuse for any church to neglect teaching about our hearts, our souls and our spirits. That’s a sign of false teaching. That’s an indication of rotten fruit. Find another church.

Red Flag #2. Teaching is false if it focuses primarily on “Thou Shalt Nots.” As Barclay puts it, “There is a type of teacher who says to a [new] Christian: ‘From now on you will no longer go to the cinema; from now on you will no longer dance; from now on you will no longer smoke or use make-up; from now on you will never enter a theatre.’ If a man could become a Christian simply by abstaining from doing things Christianity would be a much easier religion than it is. But the whole essence of Christianity is that it does not consist in not doing things; it consists in doing things.”

Like most Christians, I don’t think followers of Christ should be dropping “F-bombs,” drinking Jack Daniels every weekend and watching every R-rated movie that hits the theaters. But there are plenty of people who never drop F-bombs, never drink hard liquor and never watch smutty movies—and they’re still headed for hell. How is that possible? It’s possible because “clean living” doesn’t save you. Jesus saves you. And Jesus only saves you if you follow Him. And following Jesus has never been primarily about what you DON’T do. It’s primarily about what you DO do: trusting Him, loving Him, and obeying Him. And here’s the kicker: As you trust, love and obey Jesus Christ, you will naturally NOT do the things that grieve His heart. You will naturally NOT do things that are sinful.

Following Christ naturally leads to NOT sinning—but it doesn’t work in reverse. NOT sinning doesn’t naturally lead to trusting, loving and obeying Christ. So, if a pastor or Bible teacher is constantly preaching “Thou shalt not” messages and is ignoring the call of Christ to trust, to love and to actively do what Jesus would do, that’s a red flag. That’s a sign of legalism and false teaching. It’s an indication of rotten fruit. Find another church.

Red Flag #3. Teaching is false if it tries to convince people that following Christ is easy. Barclay writes, “Any teaching which takes the Cross out of Christianity, any teaching which eliminates the threat from the voice of Christ, any teaching which pushes judgment into the background and makes men think lightly of sin, is false teaching.”

I get really concerned when pastors eliminate the words sin, repentance, judgment and hell from their sermons. For me, that’s a major red flag. Nobody loves a positive, uplifting message more than Jesus. But the problem is, in an attempt to be “positive” and “uplifting,” far too many pastors and teachers water down the gospel and ignore some of the most important teachings of the New Testament. And do you know what a watered-down gospel is? A watered-down gospel is no gospel at all. So, if a pastor’s teaching is always easy on your ears, easy on your conscience and makes it easy to keep living the same ol’ way you’ve been living, that’s a red flag. That’s a sign of false teaching. That’s an indication of rotten fruit. Find another church.

Some of Jesus’ teachings are really, really hard. And that narrow road to heaven is a hard road. When God’s word is faithfully preached, it doesn’t tickle your itching ears. Instead, God’s word corrects. It rebukes. And it encourages you to turn from your sin and follow Christ with all your heart, mind, soul and strength.

Dane Davis is the Pastor of Impact Christian Church. Please join us for our in-person worship service Sundays at 9 a.m. at 17746 George Blvd. in Victorville. Or, join us online at 10 a.m. on the Impact Christian Church YouTube channel or Facebook page. For more information, visit

Monday, July 12, 2021

Know Them By Their Fruit (pt. 1)

 “By their fruit you will recognize them.”
- Matthew 7:16

In November of 1978, a popular 47-year-old evangelist and pastor showed his true colors. For the prior three decades, Pastor Jones had led thousands of people to Christ and had grown churches in Indiana and California. He took a strong stand against racism. He was also very charitable and did a lot to help the homeless. On the surface, Pastor Jones appeared to be a godly pastor. But those who looked a little closer noticed some red flags. Pastor Jones cheated on his wife and justified it. He called himself “The Prophet,” and he claimed to be able to foretell the future and heal the sick.

As the years went by, Pastor Jones became more and more paranoid of losing power. So, he convinced over a thousand of his church members to move with him to a compound in the middle of a jungle in Guyana, South America. And on November 18, 1978—after ordering followers to assassinate U.S. Representative Leo Ryan and several reporters who had traveled to Guyana to investigate his cult—Pastor Jim Jones ordered his church members to drink cyanide-laced Kool-Aid. Within a few short hours, 913 people died—including 304 children. That tragedy could have been avoided if Christians in that church had done what Jesus teaches us to do in Matthew 7.

In verse 15, Jesus says, “Watch out for false prophets. They come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ferocious wolves.” You see, in Jesus’ day, shepherds liked to wear sheep skin—especially during the cooler winter months. They would turn the sheep skin inside out so the fleece provided a warm inner lining, and the skin provided a water-resistant outer shell. So, when Jesus speaks of a wolf in sheep’s clothing, he isn’t warning us about someone who is pretending to be a sheep; he’s warning us about someone who is pretending to be a shepherd. He is warning us about false teachers.

But how do we recognize a false teacher? Jesus answers in verse 16, and again in verse 20: “By their fruit you will recognize them.” And in the verses in between, Jesus illustrates this point. People don’t pick grapes from thorn bushes or figs from thistles. Good trees bear good fruit and bad trees bear bad fruit. “A good tree cannot bear bad fruit, and a bad tree cannot bear good fruit” (v. 18). It’s as simple as that. You’ll never see a juicy peach growing from the end of a crispy, dried-out branch. Healthy fruit can only be produced by healthy trees. So, one of the clearest indications that a tree is healthy is if its fruit is healthy. The same holds true for Christians.

Remember that in Genesis 1, every living thing God created was created to reproduce according to its kind. Rose bushes never produce chickens. Apple trees don’t produce polar bears. Ravens don’t lay alligator eggs, and squirrels don’t give birth to elephants. And it’s the same way in the spiritual realm. If someone is a fake Christian, his or her fakeness will become apparent over time. Sooner or later, their rotten fruit will expose them.

You can’t identify a false teacher by the way he dresses, because false teachers know how to look the part. You can’t identify a false teacher by the way he speaks, because false teachers know the right words to say. In fact, many of them have a golden tongue and can captivate crowds with their words. Even the Apostle Paul ran into false teachers who were better speakers than he was. But they were luring unsuspecting Christians onto the path of destruction.

In Matthew 7:1 when Jesus said, “Do not judge, or you too will be judged,” he was driving home the point that you and I can never know or judge people’s hearts or motives. Only God can know and judge a heart. But what you and I can judge is fruit. In order to keep yourself, your family and your church on the narrow road that leads to eternal life in heaven, Jesus has called us to be fruit inspectors.

Christians, Jesus wants you to inspect the fruit of those you vote for on election day. Don’t take at face value what they say in their campaign speeches. Inspect their fruit. Parents, don’t just let anyone get close to your kids who claims to be a Christian. Inspect their fruit before you let them get close to your kids. And singles, don’t get into a serious relationship with someone who’s just telling you what you want to hear. Churches across America are filled with false Christians: young singles who claim to be believers and followers of Jesus Christ but don’t produce any spiritual fruit, because—surprise, surprise—they’re not really saved.

I also urge you to inspect your own spiritual fruit. In the early 1800s, Adoniram Judson graduated from seminary and received a call from a respected church in Boston to become its assistant pastor. His family was excited that he could live at home with them AND do ministry. But Judson shook his head and said, “God is calling me beyond the seas. To stay here, even to serve God in His ministry, I feel would be only partial obedience, and I could not be happy in that.” He followed God’s call, and Judson’s churches in Burma have made over fifty thousand converts.

Think for a moment about Judson’s words: “I could not be happy with a partial obedience.” He could have just as easily said, “I could not be happy producing only a little spiritual fruit.” It’s not enough for us just to head down the narrow road to heaven. We need good Christian mentors to help us bear as much fruit as we possibly can. Life is too short, and our God-given mission is too important, to squander our fruitfulness. We all have the potential to bear lots of fruit for God. So, choose your teachers and mentors wisely. Then go and bear fruit for the glory of God.

Dane Davis is the Pastor of Impact Christian Church. Please join us for our in-person worship service Sundays at 9 a.m. at 17746 George Blvd. in Victorville. Or, join us online at 10 a.m. on the Impact Christian Church YouTube channel or Facebook page. For more information, visit

Wednesday, July 7, 2021

The Narrow Way

 “Small is the gate and narrow the road that leads to life, and only a few find it.”
- Matthew 7:14

I love a good poem. And one of my favorite poets of all time is Robert Frost. In 1915, Frost wrote one of his most beloved poems, “The Road Not Taken.” He actually wrote it as a joke to tease his friend Edward Thomas about his indecisiveness. But most people who read the poem, including me, take it as a clarion call to choose the right path in the life—the path that most people don’t take. The poem ends: “Two roads diverged in a wood, and I—I took the one less traveled by—And that has made all the difference.”

We make decisions every day—minor ones, such as what to eat for breakfast, and major ones, such as who to marry and how many children to have. But no decision is as important as the one Jesus highlights in Matthew 7:13-14: “Enter through the narrow gate. For wide is the gate and broad is the road that leads to destruction, and many enter through it. But small is the gate and narrow the road that leads to life, and only a few find it.” Jesus makes it clear we all stand at a spiritual crossroads, and there are two paths in front of us. The first path is wide and well-traveled. It’s the path that most people take, and it leads to eternal destruction. In other words, the wide path leads to hell. The second path is narrow, bumpy and less-traveled. It’s the path that only a few people take, and it leads to eternal life. In other words, the narrow path leads to heaven.

What’s the difference between these two roads? Bible scholar William Barclay points out four differences:

Difference #1: The narrow road is the HARD road; the wide road is the EASY road. Anyone who tells you that following Christ is easy is lying to you. I’ll tell you what’s easy: Going with the flow, following the crowd—doing what everybody else around you is doing. It’s the path of least resistance, and it’s so, so easy. But following Jesus on the narrow path to heaven is never easy. It’s a battle to keep our big mouths shut. It’s a battle to be patient. It’s a battle to get rid of our anger and resentment, to put others’ needs above our own and to keep our priorities straight. But if you go with the flow, you’ll go to HELL Going with the majority will never get you to HEAVEN. Walking through the small gate and traveling the narrow road to heaven is really, really hard. But Jesus says, “Travel that road anyway.”

Difference #2: The narrow road is the LONG road; the wide road is the SHORT road. Traveling the wide road to destruction not only is easy, it’s short. In fact, it’s so short that you’re already there. The Bible makes it clear that you and I are already dead in our sins. We’re not on our way to destruction. We’re already there! The shortest road in the world is the road to hell. We don’t need to exert an ounce of effort to get there, because we’ve already made our reservation. But the road to heaven is a long road. As Christians, we may have come a long way in our faith, but we still have a long way to go. But as hard as it is to follow Christ well over the long haul, it is so, so worth it.

Difference #3: The narrow road is the DISCIPLINED road; the wide road is the UNDISCIPLINED road. Nothing great is ever achieved without discipline. But untold millions of men and women have squandered their lives by being undisciplined and lazy. If you sleep too much and work too little, guess which road you’re most likely on? If you feed your face more than you feed your spirit, guess which road you’re most likely on? The wide road to hell is easy, short and lazy. The narrow road to heaven is hard and long and requires discipline.

Difference #4: The narrow road is the THOUGHTFUL road; the wide road is the THOUGHTLESS road. It requires no thinking at all to go to hell, does it? You don’t have to think about what’s right or wrong. You don’t have to think about what’s moral or immoral. You don’t have to think about whether God approves or disapproves or your words, your actions or your priorities. You don’t have to think at all to go to hell—just do whatever the “hell” you feel like doing! But if you don’t want to go to hell, there’s no way around it: You’re going to have to think. We live in a time when far too many people fail to consider the long-term consequences of their actions. Too many addicts get behind the wheel of a car without considering that their stupidity will end up killing someone. Married men and women have affairs without considering that their selfishness will tear their family apart. Too many singles have sex with anyone they date without considering that their lack of self-control will lead to unplanned pregnancy, STDs, sterility or possibly even cancer. Far too many people live for the moment and will spend the rest of eternity regretting it.

In Matthew 7:13-14 Jesus throws down the gauntlet and says, “Choose, people! Choose one or the other. Option #1 is the wide road to hell. The wide road is easy, short, undisciplined and thoughtless. Option #2 is the narrow road to heaven. The narrow road is hard, long and requires discipline and thought. The choice is yours. But you MUST choose.”

I hope and pray that you join me in saying, “To hell with the easy road, the short road, the undisciplined road, the lazy road!” I pray that you will choose the road less traveled—because that will make all the difference, both now and for eternity.

Dane Davis is the Pastor of Impact Christian Church. Please join us for our in-person worship service Sundays at 9 a.m. at 17746 George Blvd. in Victorville. Or, join us online at 10 a.m. on the Impact Christian Church YouTube channel or Facebook page. For more information, visit