Thursday, March 13, 2014

Your only hope

Bush River Church, est. 1771
When I was seven years old, Mr. Thomas Daum, the pastor at Bush River Baptist Church, came to see me. I had been asking a lot of questions about the Lord and salvation, and my folks felt it was time I talked with the pastor. He sat in a straight back chair in the den and asked me a long list of questions while I sat on the hearth and answered them. 

I don’t remember the questions, but I knew one important thing.
Confess my sins and submit myself to Jesus and go to Heaven or reject Jesus and spend eternity in hell. It was a no-brainer for me. I knew Jesus loved me and died on the cross for my sins, and I had a burden on me to ask him to forgive me of my sinfulness. I wanted to turn my life over to Jesus Christ and make him my Lord, my King, my Boss. Hell was my most effective evangelist to draw me to Christ. When I knew my sin would bring punishment on me forever, I wanted to know the way to be saved.
The bottom line here is that you can cruise on through life, taking care of yourself and your responsibilities, doing your thing, providing for your family, paying your bills and your taxes, building up a decent retirement, keeping your reputation clean and your credit score high, minding your own business, living life.
But if do not come to a place of realizing that you have offended God with your sin, if you do not renounce and turn away from your sin, if you do not submit yourself to Christ Jesus alone as the Controller and Lord of your life, when you die, you will immediately and forever find yourself in a state of miserable punishment. You will find yourself in hell (Isaiah 34:10), and at the Last Judgment, you will be set aside for eternal existence in a second death in the Lake of Fire (Revelation 20). 

You can be a decent person and end up in hell. You can be a good person and end up in hell. You can serve on the boards of civic organizations and end up in hell. You can walk an aisle and talk to a preacher and end up in hell. You can come to an altar and cry a little bit and end up in hell. You can wade in the water and be baptized and end up in hell. You can teach Sunday School for 30 years and end up in hell. You can be a deacon and end up in hell. You can head up WMU or Baptist Men or be in the choir and end up in hell. You can be a missionary or a pastor and end up in hell. You can sit in a church for 75 years, faithfully serving every Sunday and Wednesday, and end up in hell.
None of it is any value if you do not take care of the most important thing. You must ask forgiveness of your sins and submit yourself to Jesus Christ as your Lord. It is your only hope. Going through religious motions means nothing. Being ‘almost’ a Christian is the same as not being a Christian at all. Being 90% a Christian is the same as not being one. Being 99% a Christian is the same as not being one. Only by admitting you have offended God by your behavior and submitting yourself to His Kingship over your life can you be 100% all in.

So, honestly, where do you stand?