Introduction. We live in the Bible belt, and to be honest we are positioned right in the buckle of that belt. Although this isn’t an entirely bad thing it seems like it has postured most of us with head knowledge of God without that heart knowledge that comes from relationship. We have been riding the coattails of our parents and grandparents generations for far too long. It is time that we wake up and realize that the enemy has lulled us to sleep with this false religion of comfort and entitled security. I am thankful that many of you had praying grandmothers but their prayers can’t save you, only your own confession of faith in Jesus Christ can do that. You actually have to confess with your mouth and believe in your heart that Jesus Christ is Lord. If you can’t remember when or if you have ever done this I beg you in the name of Jesus to consider making that decision today, even right now.
Matthew 7:21—“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.” Just because you were raised in a church doesn’t assure your salvation. Only Jesus can assure your salvation and your profession of his name.
Everyone drops Jesus’ name like they know him but how many of you actually serve him. Jesus gave up everything for our salvation but most of us don’t even want to give up a few minutes a week for him, much less allow him to change our lifestyle into something more pleasing to him.
Hell is a real place and although my purpose isn’t to scare you into the arms of Jesus I wouldn’t be completely honest with you if I only preached about things that make you feel good. Yes Jesus loves you, Yes he died for each and every one of us but if you don’t accept that truth then you are just as dead in sin as if you never heard his name.
Many people say they believe in Jesus but if you haven’t had a transformative moment where you know that you are a new creation, then do you really believe in the Lord of Lords? Even the demons believe and tremble but most Americans don’t even believe. If you truly believed in Jesus you would follow him and let him be the Lord of your life.
Just because you go to a church doesn’t mean you are saved. I love how so many people can tell me what religious affiliation or denomination they are apart of but just because you are keeping the pews warm in some local assembly of “believers” doesn’t mean your name is written in heaven. Jesus said take up your cross and follow me that requires that you actually move outside of your comfort zone, outside of your circle of familiar faces.
We have all sinned.
Romans 3:23—For all have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God.
So if we have all sinned what does that even mean? An online dictionary defines sin as: “Something regarded as being shameful, deplorable, or utterly wrong or to commit an offense or violation.”
We seem to have this idea of sins being big or small but the reality of sin is, well sin is sin. God is a just God and because of that a liar is no different than a murderer or rapist in the eyes of God. Sin is Sin. When we violate the commands of God we become sinners. Every one of us has lied, stolen, cursed, or any number of things that displease God. No one is good, only Jesus. So many times we think that we can do enough good things to earn our way into the presence of God but the reality of it is sin is still sin and God cannot look on it. Humanity has been in a state of disrepair since we were tempted and fell in the Garden of Eden.
Jesus Died and Rose Again
Without Jesus Christ’s ultimate sacrifice on the Cross-for the sins of all humanity, we would be destined for an eternity of separation and anguish away from God. Thankfully his love for us all made a way to put us back in communication with God through the blood of Jesus Christ. God cannot look at us in a state of sin and because of that he sent his son, Jesus, to earth to be the final blood sacrifice to cleanse us of our sins. Romans 4:25 says “He was delivered over to death for our sins and was raised to life for our justification.” Jesus died the death of a criminal so that we could have access to the Father. He was beaten, spit upon, ran through with a spear and nailed to a cross to die a gruesome death so that the wrath of God would be poured out on him in an effort to give humanity another chance at having a relationship with God.
Every time we deny his sacrifice by the lives we lead we are crucifying him all over again, we are spitting in the face of Jesus Christ when we pretend as if this is just a story passed down from generation to generation. Wake up, as easily as the enemy in Genesis 3 tempted Adam and Eve, you and I are just as easily lead astray. Jesus died for each and every one of us but it is useless if you do not acknowledge it, if you don’t accept it and most of all it is useless if you don’t believe it and live it.
The Good News is, We are Forgiven
1 John 1:9 “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.”
Romans 10:9 “If you declare with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved.” Hell is a real place, but you don’t have to go there. Christ will purify us; he will make us a new creation once we accept him. There is nothing we have to do to make ourselves good enough to be in relationship with him, only humble ourselves and admit he is real, he is who he says he is and hold on to that truth. We can never do enough good things to be good enough we can never earn our way into his kingdom because our God is just. We must come to the Father through the son, it is the only way. Jesus changes us from the inside out once we accept him as our savior.
If you have never made a profession of faith in Jesus Christ I encourage you to take this opportunity to do so right now. Look at the world around you and tell me that you can honestly deny that our world is getting worse with each new day. The Lord Jesus Christ IS coming back, it is not a matter of if but when. Will you be ready? If you made that confession of faith years ago but have slipped in your walk with the Lord take this time right now to declare in the name of Jesus that he is the Lord of your life and that you would like to renew your walk with him and faith in him. Recommit your life to him and serve him with your whole heart. If you take one thing away from this today know that Jesus loved you enough to die a horrible death for you, are you ready to live your life for him?