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Normal Commitments of Everyday Christians
An understanding of authentic church membership
How many of you this morning have come to worship Christ? Worshipping Christ as a believer means you offer yourself totally and completely to Him—all of you. It is not singing praise with your mouth, but offering your entire life to Christ that is pleasing to Him. And that implies doing what He says in His Word, pursuing what He commands no matter what. So let me ask you again, how many are here to worship Christ? Then you should be ready, hungry, and desirous to obey His Word.
Sadly, most churches today do not expect attendees to fulfill God’s expectation for every true Christian in the Church. Very few Christ-followers fulfill the normal commitments of an ordinary Christian. Few members of the Body of Christ are fulfilling their responsibility to the Body of Christ. Many members of the universal Church are not proving their membership in a local church.
Many are calling themselves members, but don’t act like a member, and quite possibly may not be a member. So many attendees of churches today are sown on the body of Christ with the thread of convenience. They are barely attached, almost as if they were not really a part. At best, they are stuck on but not attached to.
It’s as if they’ve joined the track team, but never run a race. They wear the uniform, talk track, own really cool shoes, but they’ve never competed in a field event. In the Church, there are people who never join as a member.
What are the prevailing attitudes toward church membership? Many are ready to go–they see the heart of God in aligning themselves one heart one mind with the doctrine and direction of a church family in submission to a group of functioning under-shepherds. Many are agreeable, but have a difficult time finding the time to make it through a simple membership process–they just can’t seem to get it done . . . work, school, kids, movies, sports. There’s just too much to do.
Some are distracted with Christian school, home school, public sports, family, entertainment, and have little time to obey the New Testament commands God gives us to function in a local church. Others struggle joining a church–they’ll join a club, pay union dues, sign their kids up for sports, even contract a loan with a bank. But when it comes to Christ’s church, they say, “I’m already a member.” A few mock membership as wrong, defiantly opposed to any process of aligning themselves with one local church.
No matter where you’re at this morning, for the next few weeks we’re going to discover from God’s Word what it means to function as a member of a local church–not just FBC, but any church. But this will not be an easy task–why? Because not only are we saturated with errant teaching on this issue, most of us have never seen a church function biblically. We’ve never seen a church function relationally like the New Testament modeled.
It’s like trying to parent, when yours were only angry and harsh. It’s like attempting to love your spouse like Christ, when your parents were divorced and remarried four times each. Trying to enjoy what Christ has designed for you in His Church is difficult when the church examples today are rare. And though we’re passionate about seeing a New Testament model lived out here, and enjoying delightful progress at FBC, we’ve not arrived yet either.
So I’m asking you to evaluate your own life and heart, when it comes to your relationship to the local church. Beginning today and for the next few weeks, we are teaching on what it means to be one heart one mind with a local church. I’ll be teaching through our membership series. If you were here in 2007 when we taught through membership the first time, don’t panic–this series is radically different, because we’re not the same church we were back in ‘07. This is new stuff.
For all you who are members, be here to listen to how we’re different from 2007, to make sure you still want to be a member of FBC. Those who want out of membership, you’ll get an out when we’re done. Those who want to remain as members, we’ll take your silence as affirmation of your membership–you don’t have to do anything concerning membership, but we do ask you to worship Christ by applying God’s Word as it relates to Christ’s Church.
For those of you who want to become members, just make certain you’re here the next few weeks–listen, take notes, apply the sermons. Then after the series, we’ll give you an opportunity to get your interview done and you can become a member. You won’t have to listen to the MP3’s on the website.
But let me stress–this will not be easy, if we’re going to become a Spirit-led, Bible-saturated, relational loving, Christ-honoring church. Check your baggage at the door, erase your preconceived ideas, set your arguments aside just for a season, and listen to what God’s Word says–what it means to be a member of a local church. Why should you be a member of a local church? By way of introduction . . .
First Because You Need Membership
I was just in Singapore, and getting on our first bus ride. Before we got on, we saw another American who asked me a question about the bus and mentioned she was a part of the American Embassy. My heart leapt–the US Embassy! It was our nation in the midst of a foreign land. If we got in trouble, that was the place we’d try to get to. It was our home in the midst of a foreign land. It was the place where I could be recognized and protected as an American citizen.
That is what the Church is to every true Christian. Your home is in heaven, but the only place you’re safe and recognized as a Christian in this foreign land is to have a close relationship to your embassy on earth–the local church. Those who say, “I belong to all the embassies, while having no relationship with any one embassy,” can see the flaw in their thinking. You need to belong to, identify with, one local embassy while living in a foreign hostile land.
Second Because Membership is the Example of the Early Church
Some feel membership is intrusive, but the New Testament Church didn’t. The Early Church knew who belonged to their assemblies—3,000. In the book of Acts, they knew how many people were saved and how large the Church was. They knew where the people were from. They were shepherding the body close enough to deal with moral lapses in Acts 5. In Acts 6, they knew which widows needed their care. They knew how the Church started in various cities starting in Antioch in Acts 11, reports were given, and letters are passed back and forth.
God was growing His Church, but the apostles and elders knew who the saints were in each of them. In fact, there was no such thing as a random Christian, solo saint, or unattached believer at all. Every genuine believer was a functioning part of a local church. The genuinely saved knew each other in local churches. The lives of true Christians were oriented around other believers in local church families. Shepherds had sheep under their care, and Christians were to Hebrews 13:17, “Obey your leaders and submit to them, for they keep watch over your souls as those who will give an account.”
They knew each other enough to actually answer to God for their souls–enough to actually expel those who might sin defiantly. Everyone who came to Christ in salvation, belonging to Him, also came to the Church, belonging to each other as Christ’s.
Though foreign to the thinking of most Christians today, every Sunday Christians gathered together, no matter what. Acts 20:7, “On the first day of the week, when we were gathered together to break bread.” Hebrews 10:24 to 25 adds, “And let us consider how to stimulate one another to love and good deeds, 25 not forsaking our own assembling together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another; and all the more as you see the day drawing near.”
And when believers needed to move or minister in another city, they even gave letters of commendation to a Christian so they could easily participate in ministry through the Church in the new city. Aquila and Pricilla gave letters to Apollos to be accepted in a new region in Acts 18:27, “And when he wanted to go across to Achaia, the brethren encouraged him and wrote to the disciples to welcome him; and when he had arrived, he greatly helped those who had believed through grace.”
Paul, an apostle, addresses those in Corinth who were critical of him with a reference to letters of commendation in 2 Corinthians 3:1 and 2, “Are we beginning to commend ourselves again? Or do we need, as some, letters of commendation to you or from you? 2 You are our letter, written in our hearts, known and read by all men.”
The Early Church practiced some form of membership–they knew who was a genuine baptized and serving believer. They knew who their people were. The local church was not made up of random Sunday attenders, but people who were affirmed and functioning as members in a local church. Why else should you become a member?
Third Because Functioning as a Member Allows You to Obey God’s Word
In the New Testament, if you are a Christian, then you will want to obey the commands of Christ. And in the New Testament, there are at least 35 commands given to genuine Christians to serve their giftedness in a local church, plus . . .
GIVE your resources to the local church,
FELLOWSHIP with other believers in a local church,
BE DISCIPLED and FOLLOW THE EXAMPLE of older believers,
CARE FOR the WIDOW and ORPHAN in the local church,
SUBMIT to ELDERS of a local church,
And so many more commands that can only be fulfilled by your faithful and intimate involvement in a local assembly. Our English translations don’t help us in our individualistic culture. When we read the New Testament and see the word “you”, we think the author is talking to “me”, the individual, using a singular “you”. But what we don’t see is, in most of the New Testament epistles, God actually is writing to churches, and the “you” is plural, Texas-style, you all, “y’all are to obey these commands together.”
Spiritual warfare is primarily to be a battle for the Church, as an army of believers in Christ against Satan and his army. The verb equipping is not directed primarily at the individual Christian, but a local church body, being repaired like a net, or equipped like an army, or mended like bone of the body, all corporate pictures. So much of our individualistic culture has made its way into our thinking about the Church, when God’s plan was for you to be a part of something greater–a part of His Body. In fact, you should become a member of a local church because . . .
Fourth Because Becoming a Member Lets You Show off Christ Better
We can accomplish more for His glory together than separately. Together we can send missionaries, plant churches, care for the weak and oppressed, care for those in jail and so much more. Together we can extend help to other solid churches who are experiencing a devastating event. Together we can house and impact pastors who are seeking to establish churches in foreign lands by proclaiming the Gospel and teaching the Word.
But even greater than that, we can show off Christ better together than we can separately. As each one of us functions as a member empowered by the Spirit to serve others with our giftedness, we show off Christ in a far greater way than we ever could on our own. Isn’t that what Paul means in 1 Corinthians 12:27, “Now you are Christ’s body, and individually members of it.” And Ephesians 4:16, “From whom the whole body, being fitted and held together by what every joint supplies, according to the proper working of each individual part, causes the growth of the body for the building up of itself in love.”
We will see Christ and those who visit us will also see Christ in a greater way, a clearer way, a more powerful way if we were all functioning members of His Body. There are so many more reasons why you should be a member . . .
To demonstrate submission to elders
To protect the church from doctrinal error
To preserve the unity of the church
To assure us that our children, students and adults are being taught and modeled truth in various ministries
To motivate a healthy biblical direction for our church family
To protect the purity of the church from defiant sin
To enjoy the one heart one mind fellowship of a family under the headship of Christ and the authority of the Word of God
But let me summarize it this way–we desire our membership would be the normal commitment of an everyday Christian. Therefore, in order to accomplish this goal, we say that our membership process has three purposes. At FBC the purpose of our membership is threefold.
ONE To clearly articulate the direction and doctrine of FBC to anyone. Key word: INFORMATION
Many people have joined us since the beginning of FBC, and when people want to know what we are all about–what we believe and where we’re going as a church, our membership process helps them know us better and to understand the Groom’s desire for His Bride.
TWO To educate believers to understand a normal Christian commitment to a local church. Key word: COMMITMENT
We believe membership in any church should never go beyond the expectations Jesus places on any Christian in any true church. Therefore our membership process is designed to re-articulate the head’s normal expectation for the Body members. We want to know what Jesus expects of each of us as a member of His Church expressed in a local church. We want our membership expectations to reflect the Lord’s expectations for any normal Christian—period.
THREE To protect the unity of FBC in providing a ministry covenant for all teachers, mentors and leaders. Key word: UNITY
Information I, Commitment C, Unity U ICU member
Because the Lord desires His Church Body to be one heart and one mind, with elders and congregation working in true harmony–and because many believers come to us from different church traditions, with different theological views and approaches to the Bible. And because we live in times filled with the deadly combination of controversial issues, cultural individualism, theological controversy, interpretative confusion and biblical ignorance, and because the elders have a responsibility to protect the unity of this church body. The elders have wisely chosen membership–one heart one mind as a means to protect the unity of our church.
Membership at Faith is simply designed to be an agreement of trust to support the doctrine and direction of our church—period. In other words, membership allows us to individually grow in our understanding of God’s Word, while protecting the unity of our church, give assurance to parents that their children will not be taught error, allowing adults and students alike to minister in areas of great spiritual responsibility like RMG’s, on campus, in discipleship without smothering controls or lording oversight.
Every real believer is a member of the universal Church (which is only used four times in the New Testament), but every real believer will want to be a member of a local church. All of you were born into the human race, but each of you belong to a family. As a genuine Christian, all of you are a part of Christ, but each of you belong to an expression of His Body called the local church.
No football player merely belongs to the NFL, but doesn’t play on a specific team. And no Christian belongs to the universal Church who does not play out his gifts in a specific local church. Floating believers are either in sin, or not genuine believers at all.
So then what are some distinctives of normal Christianity? What are the normal commitments of an everyday Christian? What does it mean to be a part of Christ’s family—the Body, His Bride? To whet your appetite, by way of introduction, let me highlight a few . . .
#1 To Follow Christ from the Heart in Salvation
Becoming a Christian is not merely a decision but a direction. No one decides to go on vacation to San Francisco without getting in a car and heading north. Apart from some weird circumstance, if you don’t get on the road, often it means you really didn’t decide to go in the first place. If you truly decide to go, you’ll start heading in the right direction. No one decides to follow Christ without walking with Christ toward heaven. If you don’t walk with Christ apart from some weird exception, you probably didn’t decide to follow Christ in the first place.
Jesus reminds us, His true sheep are those who follow Him. John 10:27, “My sheep hear My voice, and I know them, and they follow Me.” And Matthew 10:38, “And he who does not take his cross and follow after Me is not worthy of Me.” And Jesus expects His Church to be filled with His followers–people who want to do what He says in the Bible, people who want to know Christ, obey Christ, love Christ and enjoy Christ. They hunger and thirst after His ways. They want to be in tune with Jesus, which results in being in tune with each other.
At our wedding there were over 400 people–lots of pastors, John MacArthur, professional musicians, special friends and guests. But there was only one person I even remember talking to, focusing on, and thinking about—Jean-almost-Mueller. And even though all her friends were there, there was only one person Jean was focused on besides Christ—me. And that’s how it is in the true Church–a consuming love relationship between us, the bride, and our glorious groom, Jesus.
After our wedding, Jean and I didn’t go our separate ways–after the reception I didn’t say, “See ya’, Honey, I’ll get in touch when I have a need.” No, we began a lifelong love relationship together, and that is what it is like when you seek to marry Christ–you begin a lifelong love relationship of growing together until you get to be together forever in perfection. This is not radical–this is a normal expectation of every true member of a local church, to follow Christ from the heart. But Jesus has other expectations for His children in the Church.
#2 To Publicly Identify with Christ in Baptism
Jesus showed us by His own example, through His great commission command and by the example and teaching of the Early Church, that the first step of obedience of a true Christian is to be baptized. The word baptism means to dip under water or immerse–baptism means immersion. Every baptism in the Bible was by immersion, symbolizing our identification with Christ’s death and burial under the water, and His resurrection from the dead, up from the water to a whole new life in Christ.
By being baptized, you are publicly declaring you’re in union with Christ’s death, burial and resurrection. When I baptize a person, I take them, put them under the water, leave them there three days, and then I bring them up (just seeing if you’re listening). Jesus taught baptism, and the Early Church baptized by immersion. Speaking of baptizing the Corinthian Christians, Paul said in 1 Corinthians 1:16, ”Now I did baptize also the household of Stephanas; beyond that, I do not know whether I baptized any other.”
Baptism doesn’t make you a believer–it shows you already believe. Baptism does not save you–only Christ can save you. Baptism is like a wedding ring–it’s the outward symbol of the commitment you made in your heart. When I stood up in front of an audience and said, “I do,” and made a commitment to my wife, I made a commitment in my heart. The commitment in my heart makes me married. But my wife gave me a ring, an outward symbol of an inward commitment. If I lost this ring, I’d still be married. What this is is an outward reminder of an inward commitment.
Baptism is the wedding ring of the Christian life. It shows to the world what is already in your heart. It also shows who you belong to–Christ and His Church. Baptism demonstrates you and I are true believers. Acts 18:8 says, “Many of the people who heard Him believed and were baptized.” In the New Testament, believing and baptism were always put together.
First John 2:3 says, “We know that we have come to know Him, if we obey His commands.” We know we’re believers if we obey His commands, and the very first command of Christ is to be baptized as a symbol to the world that we really know Christ. If you are a believer, mature enough to independently follow Christ, even if your parents or spouse turned away from Him (that’s usually older than 12), if you have not been baptized by immersion, or if you were baptized as a non-Christian and now you know you’re a true Christian who follows Christ, get baptized. Take the first step of obedience, no matter how old you are, or how long you have been a Christian.
There is no shame in obedience. Friends, through weird providential circumstances, I was baptized as a pastor, but I couldn’t wait to get immersed. Don’t delay to obey. Christ expects all His children to identify with Him and with His Church, and confess Him before men in baptism. As Matthew 10:32 to 33 say, “Everyone therefore who shall confess Me before men, I will also confess him before My Father who is in heaven. 33 But whoever shall deny Me before men, I will also deny him before My Father who is in heaven.” What else does Christ want from His members?
#3 To Remember Christ’s Work, Evaluate Your Heart and Remain Unified with the Church through Communion
What is Communion? It’s a simple meal symbolizing a significant truth. The breaking and eating of bread commemorates Jesus’ crucified body, and drinking from a cup of wine or juice remembers the blood He shed, remembering His death for our sins. It is a quiet, reflective, hopeful and celebrative time. What does our Lord want us to think about during the Lord’s Supper? I have three pronouns you must remember as a member.
First Remember OUR unity
When you come to the communion table, you must not forget, as a local church we’re to be one, unified. There is to be no sin between you and another, no division, no unresolved hurt. Out of necessity, we use little crackers or bread chunks to celebrate the body of Christ at communion, but the Early Church used one loaf of bread. They broke it to show not only Christ’s body broken for us, but to remind us we are all one–from one loaf one body, that is Christ’s. We’re to be right, and get right with one another before we partake.
Paul proves this in his instruction about communion in 1 Corinthians 11. And Jesus is really pointed in Matthew 5:23 to 24, “If therefore you are presenting your offering at the altar, and there remember that your brother has something against you, leave your offering there before the altar, and go your way; first be reconciled to your brother, and then come and present your offering.”
God knows we run from confrontation and relational difficulty. Many weak believers run to another church when it gets tense with another Christian–I hope they don’t take communion, because communion commands us to be right with one another as far as it depends upon you. So God commands us to come to the Lord’s Table–if we don’t, we disobey. But when we come, we can’t partake with unresolved sin issues continuing in our hearts toward others. If we do, we disobey and will be disciplined by God. So our Lord lovingly forces us to maintain genuine unity from the heart. Why else communion?
Second Remember HIS sacrifice
Jesus knows as our memory fades, our spiritual confidence wanes, our worship dims, our boldness dries up, our wonder at the love of Christ dulls, and our hearts grow cold, our souls dry up and before we know it we’re living beneath our privilege and position—we’re weak! Communion is the time to remember what Jesus did for you, to remember His great love for you–to remember He shed His blood, His broken body in order to die for your sins, for you! And finally,
Third Remember YOUR heart
OUR unity, HIS sacrifice and YOUR heart 1 Corinthians 11:28 to 30, “Let a man examine himself…29 For he who eats and drinks, eats and drinks judgment to himself, if he does not judge the body rightly. 30 For this reason many among you are weak and sick, and a number sleep.”
God commands us to test our own hearts at communion. Each of us is to ask God this—“Lord, reveal anything in my life that does not please you.” Confess all known sin. Baptism is the first and one-time reminder of our identification with Jesus Christ, and communion is the regular reminder for all true believers who are filled with the Spirit. Until Jesus comes again, we are to remember His death and resurrection with the symbolic ordinance of the Lord’s Supper. The Lord desires this for each of His children, thus it’s part of the expectation of every true member of the body of Christ. Jesus also expects us . . .
#4 To Offer Ourselves to Him in Worship
Matthew 6:33 speaks to us, “Seek first His kingdom and His righteousness; and all these things shall be added to you.” Christ is to be our first love, above spouse and children. Christ is to be our greatest passion, above work or duty. John tells us in His Gospel that the Lord seeks true worshipers, and Romans tells us what that worship looks like.
You know it well, Romans 12:1, after describing all that the Lord did for us in Romans chapters 1 to 11, verse 1 of chapter 12 describes our response in worship. Romans 12:1, ”Therefore I urge you, brethren, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies a living and holy sacrifice, acceptable to God, which is your spiritual service of worship.” Living sacrifice means you are all in. You are alive, but you die to your will and your desires for Him–all of you for all of Him.
Stop calling singing praise “worship”. Worship is you offering all of you to Christ for all He did. Wanna feel good while you sing? Offer yourself fully to Christ! When we gather for worship, we give Him all of us. In song, we sing with our all, all of us giving ourselves to Him. Though we give some at offering time, we tell Him it’s all His. In prayer, we express our thanks for what He did. In the Word, we listen as obedient children seeking to please Him.
True worship is you and I seeking to have everything in our lives honor Christ, follow Christ, serve Christ, be about Christ. You haven’t worshipped Christ on a Sunday if you sing with tears in your eyes, then go out on the patio and gossip. You haven’t worshipped Christ if you’re zealous in prayer, yet continue to remain unforgiving towards a person in the Body. A living sacrifice means not your will but His be done. A living sacrifice means everything according to Your Word. A living sacrifice describes someone desiring to be dependently obedient to Christ in everything, with everyone. And that is a reasonable response to what Christ did for you. And we do this together, as the Bride of Christ in love with the Groom, as the Body of Christ, following our Head.
#5 To Serve the Body with Your Giftedness
You know 1 Peter 4:10 to 11, “As each one has received a special gift, employ it in serving one another as good stewards of the manifold grace of God. 11 Whoever speaks, is to do so as one who is speaking the utterances of God; whoever serves is to do so as one who is serving by the strength which God supplies; so that in all things God may be glorified through Jesus Christ, to whom belongs the glory and dominion forever and ever. Amen.”
All genuine Christians have been gifted by God–look at verse10. That giftedness is only intended for service to the body of Christ. It is our way of putting Christ on display in a special way, so when we’re all faithful to serve Him, God is glorified in a great way. You are gifted the moment you are born again, and the expectation of God for every Christian is to serve in His Church. And we show off Christ when each of us and all of us serve His Body, functioning together like a well trained athlete.
Most churches look like a misshapen, physically challenged body, instead of that of an athlete that is strong and coordinated. God help us to start functioning the way God designed. Part of that is due to another normal commitment of everyday Christians.
#6 To Submit to an Eldership Like a Child Does to a Father
Jesus designed His Church to be a fellowship, a flock and a family. It’s not a democratic design, but one head–the Lord Jesus Christ. And Christ manifests His authority through His Word. And in each local family, through a plurality of chosen men, men who have proven to be spiritual fathers in their own homes, showing them ready to be spiritual fathers in His family, the local church.
Elders are so integral to the local church that a gathering is not a true church unless it has a plurality of elders who are chosen by God, with a heart to shepherd, protect, disciple, train, lead, and care for the church family together as one, in unanimity. The true church is never led by one man, but if it is to be led by Christ it must be a plurality of under-shepherds who function as one under the Great Shepherd. Men, who like a godly father, are mature enough to be an example for the family to follow.
As Hebrews 13:7 and 17 state, “Remember those who led you, who spoke the word of God to you; and considering the result of their conduct, imitate their faith. 17 Obey your leaders, and submit to them; for they keep watch over your souls, as those who will give an account. Let them do this with joy and not with grief, for this would be unprofitable for you.” First Thessalonians 5:12 and 13 add, ”We request of you, brethren, that you appreciate those who diligently labor among you, and have charge over you in the Lord and give you instruction, 13 and that you esteem them very highly in love because of their work.”
The church is led by a team of qualified elders, who each function in the Body according to their gifts, seeking the will of Christ for His Church. I use my gift of preaching, leadership and passion for training, and each elder does what they are gifted to do. And though we are all different, we seek the one will of Christ for His Church. We don’t want what I want, or JP wants, or Rod, or Robert—and especially what Shawn wants or the elder nominees, but we seek what the Lord wants. And we believe the Lord leads us in unanimity. I’ve never labored with better elders, and more trustworthy men–I am honestly baffled when people go elsewhere. We are blessed.
There is much more I can say–which is what the preacher says when he runs out of material. I could go on and on and on. But I could, but won’t–if you have questions, write ‘em down on your response card . . . any question. And make certain you’re here in the next few weeks–don’t miss a Sunday, it will be juicy! Meaning theologically meaty and challenging–really! There are more commitments of normal Christianity, but that is all we have time for. But please do this . . .
ONE PRAY about becoming a member of FBC
We ask nothing of you that Jesus does not ask. There is greater power when all of us together are pulling at the oars with one heart and mind. The accountability is good for you, and the process will cause you to love Christ all the more. How can you sign a contract with a secular bank, but not agree to follow God’s Word with other genuine believers?
TWO Remember, almost everyone is WELCOME at FBC, even if you don’t become a member
If you’re hurting, struggling, asking difficult questions, searching, a non-Christian, bothered by a doctrinal position, battling with a sin issue that just won’t go away, or you see that FBC isn’t perfect–you are welcome here. But, if you seek to divide this body, undermine the leadership, continually grumble, gossip, or be critical, or choose to live in defiance of God’s Word, you’re not welcome here.
God tells us in 1 Corinthians 12:25, “There may be no division in the body, but the members should have the same care for one another.” And Titus 3:10 says, “Reject a factious man after a first and second warning.” FBC is for imperfect struggling sinners who are seeking Christ. FBC is for saints who want to please Christ, even when we don’t. FBC is not for the divisive–if you’re offended by that, great!
THREE ONLY Christ can make you a member of His Body, a part of His Bride, a child in His family and a heaven bound Christian
John 14:6, “Jesus said I am the way, and the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father, but through Me.” Today in America we have thousands of people living what I call a self-defined Christianity where they have determined the terms of what it means to go to heaven. Get this–you’ll only get into heaven through God’s path, detailed in His Word. Only surrendering your life to Jesus Christ can save you. As Jesus said in Matthew 16:24, “Jesus said to His disciples, ‘If anyone wishes to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow Me.’”
Die to self, give up your independence, and turn from your sin, your way, to depend on Christ and His cross alone. Let’s pray.