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“Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord! Lord!’ shall enter the Kingdom of Heaven, but he who does the will of My Father in Heaven” (Matthew 7:21 MKJV).
Millions profess to be born again by the Spirit of God. Millions say, “Jesus is Lord,” and claim to walk, or want to walk, with Him. Building after building, and organization after organization, is raised up “in the Name of Jesus.” There is no lack of words and works, allegedly for His glory. But what about the reality?
You say you are a Christian. You say you love the Lord, that you want to magnify His Name, and that you want Him to be manifest in your life. Well! Are you prepared to die? Are you prepared to give up your job, your home, your family, your church, your comforts, and your securities? Are you prepared to be rejected, despised, and alienated by all those you’ve cherished, both family and friends?
Are you prepared to forsake what you believe for what is true and take up the cross?
Are you prepared to relinquish all rights to yourself, to live in uncertainty of a paycheck, vocation, relationship, home, and anything in this world? Are you prepared to be different and to identify with others who are rejected and despised by society, institutions, and the wealthy and respectable citizens and authorities of this world? Are you prepared to stop talking and “knowing” and consider that you may not know as much as you think of what it means to identify with Jesus Christ in this world that lies in wickedness?
Are you prepared to forsake what you believe for what is true, to vacate your comfortable pew and take up the cross? If you haven’t had to do these things, you haven’t been His.
In Martin Luther’s day and for many previous dark centuries, to profess Christ outside the Roman Catholic Church meant loss of property, rights, family, and life itself. In John Wesley’s day, believers outside the Church of England faced deadly persecution for their faith. Many lost their possessions, freedom, and lives. But what does it take to be a Lutheran or a Methodist today? Nothing but the mouthing of a few words and perhaps signing a membership. It’s the same for most organized churches bearing Christ’s Name.
Anabaptists once died for their faith. Today, their descendants are accepted by the world, though they practice separatism in various degrees. Pentecostals were once despised as “of the Devil,” but now they are accepted by, and flow with, the world. That’s because all these are of the world, not of the Kingdom of God. It’s not that they were true because they were once persecuted for professing Christ. Many are persecuted, not because they’re His, but because they’re different, because they refuse to conform to mainstream Christendom.
Whether of God or not, there’s a price to pay for being different. If you’re paying no price, it’s because you conform to the domain of the prince of this world. You’re no trouble for Satan. If you’re paying the price of rejection by the world, however, are you paying it because Christ in you is hated, or because you’re merely different?
Paul wrote Timothy, “All that live godly in Christ Jesus shall suffer persecution” (2 Timothy 3:12). There are both the fruitful and unfruitful kinds of persecution. Have you suffered persecution for His righteousness’ sake, for the Name of the Lord, or for your righteousness’ sake because you’ve been religious, thus provoking people to naturally reject you?
It’s no different today from all the days of the Bible and thereafter. Things haven’t changed. If you don’t see the things that happened to them happening to you, then you’re with the world and will surely perish with the world, unless you repent.
What price have you paid to walk with the Lord?
Satan’s ministers go out as ministers preaching righteousness, handing out tracts, speaking peace.
You say you have faith. Even devils have faith:
“You believe that there is one God, you do well; even the demons believe and tremble” (James 2:19 MKJV).
(Read Devils Also Believe in God.)
Where does that leave you?
You say you have works in His Name. What about this?:
Matthew 7:21-23 MKJV
(21) “Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord! Lord!’ shall enter the Kingdom of Heaven, but he who does the will of My Father in Heaven.
(22) Many will say to Me in that day, ‘Lord! Lord! Did we not prophesy in Your Name, and through Your Name throw out demons, and through Your Name do many wonderful works?’
(23) And then I will say to them, ‘I never knew you! Depart from Me, those working lawlessness!’”
Satan’s ministers go out as ministers preaching righteousness, “witnessing” in the Name of the Lord Jesus, handing out tracts, feeding the poor, speaking peace:
2 Corinthians 11:13-15 MKJV
(13) For such ones are false apostles, deceitful workers, transforming themselves into the apostles of Christ.
(14) Did not even Satan marvelously transform himself into an angel of light?
(15) Therefore it is no great thing if his ministers also transform themselves as ministers of righteousness, whose end shall be according to their works.
Where does that leave you?
You say that you go to church and read your Bible. Satan’s children do all that and more.
You say God is your Father. Others have said the same:
John 8:39-43 MKJV
(39) They answered and said to Him, “Abraham is our father.” Jesus answered them, “If you were Abraham’s children, you would do the works of Abraham.
(40) But now you seek to kill Me, a man who has told you the truth which I have heard beside God; this Abraham did not do.
(41) You do the deeds of your father.” Then they said to Him, “We are not born of fornication; we have one Father, even God.”
(42) Jesus said to them, “If God were your Father, you would love Me, for I went forth and came from God; for I did not come of Myself, but He sent Me.
(43) Why do you not know My speech? Because you cannot hear My Word.”
You say you’ve had a salvation experience. Satan’s children claim the same:
Acts 8:12-13 MKJV
(12) But when they believed Philip preaching the gospel, the things concerning the Kingdom of God and the Name of Jesus Christ, they were baptized, both men and women.
(13) Then Simon himself believed also, and being baptized, he continued with Philip. And seeing miracles and mighty works happening, he was amazed. …
Acts 8:18-23 MKJV
(18) And when Simon saw that the Holy Spirit was given through laying on of the apostles’ hands, he offered them money,
(19) saying, “Give me this power also, that on whomever I lay hands, he may receive the Holy Spirit.”
(20) But Peter said to him, “May your silver perish with you, because you have thought that the gift of God may be purchased with money.
(21) You have neither part nor lot in this matter, for your heart is not right in the sight of God.
(22) Therefore repent of this wickedness of yours, and pray God if perhaps the thought of your heart may be forgiven you.
(23) For I see that you are in the gall of bitterness and in the bond of iniquity.”
You say you don’t drink or smoke, and that you go to church and read your Bible. Satan’s children do all that and more. They also fast and pray and give tithes and alms. Where does that leave you?
So you’ve memorized a thousand verses or whole books of Scripture. Some Muslims memorize the entire Quran! Knowledge puffs up (1 Corinthians 8:1).
You may say you’ve suffered the loss of all things. So have Buddhists, Communists, Baha’is, Catholics, Mormons, JW’s, Moonies, and many others. Where does that leave you?
Have you discerned between good and evil, between false brethren and true? Have you found false prophets to be many indeed, being within the camp, and the true being extremely few, outside the camp?
Hebrews 13:12-14 KJV
(12) Wherefore Jesus also, that He might sanctify the people with His Own blood, suffered without the gate.
(13) Let us go forth therefore unto Him without the camp, bearing His reproach.
(14) For here have we no continuing city, but we seek one to come.
If you haven’t made it outside the gate and camp, you’ve never been His.
Do you believe Christianity to be one “happy” way on earth? If so, you’ve tasted neither the fires nor the death, which are the lot of every person who takes up the cross and follows Him.
How do you suppose to be the Lord’s when you haven’t had to die? Haven’t you heard only dead men can be His?
Matthew 16:24-25 MKJV
(24) Then Jesus said to His disciples, “If anyone desires to come after Me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow Me.
(25) For whoever desires to save his life shall lose it, and whoever desires to lose his life for My sake shall find it.”
All in Christ are called to the cross and alienation, persecution, and hatred by the world.
Are you among the sons of correction? Has He severely rebuked and chastened you?
Hebrews 12:4-8 MKJV
(4) You have not yet resisted unto blood, striving against sin.
(5) And you have forgotten the exhortation that speaks to you as to sons, “My son, despise not the chastening of the Lord, nor faint when you are rebuked by Him;
(6) for whom the Lord loves He chastens, and He scourges every son whom He receives.”
(7) If you endure chastening, God deals with you as with sons, for what son is he whom the father does not chasten?
(8) But if you are without chastisement, of which all are partakers, then you are bastards and not sons.
You say, “We aren’t all called to the same lifestyle.” While one in Christ may be a farmer and another a businessman, all are called to the cross and alienation, persecution, and hatred by the world:
John 15:18-19 MKJV
(18) “If the world hates you, you know that it hated Me before it hated you.
(19) If you were of the world, the world would love its own. But because you are not of the world, but I have chosen you out of the world, therefore the world hates you.”
Matthew 10:34-39 MKJV
(34) “Do not think that I have come to bring peace on earth. I did not come to send peace, but a sword.
(35) For I have come to set a man against his father, and the daughter against her mother, and the daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law.
(36) And a man’s foes shall be those of his own household.
(37) He who loves father or mother more than Me is not worthy of Me. And he who loves son or daughter more than Me is not worthy of Me.
(38) And he who does not take up his cross and follow Me is not worthy of Me.
(39) He who finds his life shall lose it. And he who loses his life for My sake shall find it.”
You say you’ve suffered tribulation. Bills are piling up; the car is broken down; the boss was angry with you for no reason; the children are sick. Are those the tribulations the Scriptures speak of? Do these prove you’re His? Do not those in the world suffer the same things and worse? Are they His? These things could well indicate you aren’t His:
“He who believes on the Son has everlasting life, and he who does not believe the Son shall not see life, but the wrath of God abides upon him” (John 3:36 MKJV).
No, the tribulation of God is an inner one, an agonizing of soul before Him, a bitter view of oneself, with emptiness and longing for reality not of this world; this tribulation involves a breaking of the spirit, and more.
“The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit; a broken and a contrite heart, O God, You will not despise” (Psalms 51:17 MKJV).
If you rejoice when they do evil to you because of Christ in you, you’re His. Otherwise, you’re not.
What does the Lord say about the walk of faith?
“Blessed are the poor in spirit: for theirs is the Kingdom of Heaven” (Matthew 5:3).
What does it mean to be poor in spirit? Let us see….
“Blessed are they that mourn: for they shall be comforted” (Matthew 5:4).
The world mourns unto death. It isn’t enough to mourn or to be greatly displeased about one’s circumstances. Many turn to suicide and drugs for that very reason. One must be open to more….
“Blessed are the meek: for they shall inherit the earth” (Matthew 5:5).
So in addition to mourning, one must learn to be meek (humble). But is it enough to be meek? Are there not many such in the world, who don’t seem interested in the things of God? We need the meekness that seeks after God.
“Blessed are they which do hunger and thirst after righteousness: for they shall be filled” (Matthew 5:6).
Shall we be filled if we aren’t prepared to walk in that righteousness and humility toward others and do unto others as we would have others do unto us? Many cry, “We want order, peace, justice, and prosperity,” yet lack compassion for others. So….
“Blessed are the merciful: for they shall obtain mercy” (Matthew 5:7).
But are you sure to be His by being merciful? Is it enough? What is your motive?
“Blessed are the pure in heart: for they shall see God” (Matthew 5:8).
When you have not only been empty and known so, but deplored your state, being open to more, learned humility, hungered and thirsted after righteousness, and ministered right to others with a pure heart, then and only then shall you see God. At this point, you are a peacemaker.
“Blessed are the peacemakers: for they shall be called the children of God” (Matthew 5:9).
As such, do you hope to be loved and accepted? Will you receive thanks of men? No, so don’t look for rewards from men or this world:
“Blessed are they which are persecuted for righteousness’ sake: for theirs is the Kingdom of Heaven. Blessed are you, when men shall revile you, and persecute you, and shall say all manner of evil against you falsely for My sake. Rejoice, and be exceeding glad: for great is your reward in Heaven: for so persecuted they the prophets which were before you” (Matthew 5:10-12).
You’ll be hated and despised and rejected, as He was, because now you are His, not the world’s. The Kingdom of Heaven is yours, in you and you in it. And here is a sign to show you are His… if instead of pouting, being angry, retaliating, arguing, rationalizing, justifying, and avenging yourself, you rejoice and are extremely happy when they do evil to you because of Christ in you, you’re His. Otherwise, you’re not.
This persecution or rejection won’t last for only a relatively short time. As you walk, the world will constantly hate you. If it doesn’t mind you too much now, it could well be there’s nothing much to mind.
There’s life for those who die in Him. There’s salvation for those who overcome to the end.
I don’t say that while you’re His, you won’t cry, be sad, angry, despondent, or even despair outwardly. The apostle Paul knew such hours, years into His ministry:
“For, indeed, coming into Macedonia, our flesh had no rest, but being troubled in every way, with fightings on the outside, and fears on the inside. But He Who comforts the lowly comforted us by the coming of Titus” (2 Corinthians 7:5-6 MKJV).
Within, however, your spirit will rejoice. There will be a joy truly unspeakable, something that can’t be expressed in any way outwardly, because you walk in fellowship with the Lord. He is your comfort, joy, and reward. You are no longer poor and mourning, but rich and full of peace and joy and righteousness. And though your outward man perishes, your inner man is renewed daily.
There’s life for those who die in Him. There’s all for those who forsake all. There’s salvation for those who overcome to the end.
“He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches. To him who overcomes I will give to eat of the Tree of Life, which is in the midst of the Paradise of God” (Revelation 2:7 MKJV).
The race mustn’t be attempted only; it must be won. There’s no middle ground. Judge yourselves, you who profess Christ. Examine yourselves whether you be in the faith, lest you take upon yourselves the Name of the Lord in vain and are not held guiltless:
“Examine yourselves, whether you are in the faith, prove your own selves. Do you not know your own selves, that Jesus Christ is in you, unless you are reprobates?” (2 Corinthians 13:5 MKJV)
“You shall not take the Name of the LORD your God in vain. For the LORD will not hold him guiltless that takes His Name in vain” (Exodus 20:7 MKJV).