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Posts Tagged ‘Sinner’s Prayer’

It’s heartbreaking to me seeing all the posts and listening to people talk about how they’d die for their faith in Christ, yet…. they choose sin over Jesus every day in the way they talk, treat people, what they watch on tv, read in books, post on Facebook, the jokes they enjoy, and the way they spend their time (“I’m too busy to read my Bible or pray or spread the Gospel… that Candy Crush Saga is so time consuming ya know!”).

As John McArthur wrote – “True repentance and faith in Christ denies the usual depraved longings of the human will.”
Or go straight to our Savior, Jesus Christ Himself, and see what He has to say…

“Do not think that I came to bring peace on earth; I did not come to bring peace but a sword.  For I came to set a man against his father, and a daughter against her mother, and a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law; and a man’s enemies will be the members of his household.  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.  And he who does not take his cross and follow after Me is not worthy of Me.  He who has found his life will lose it, and he who has lost his life for My sake will find it.”  Jesus in Matthew 10:34-39 NASB

Folks… He is pretty clear on what He expects of us.  Don’t allow yourself to be fooled by false teachers and there are plenty of them out there!  Nothing is more important.  Nothing.

I share this because there was a time when I thought (was just positive) that I was in the “good” with Jesus, but I wasn’t taking up a stick for Him, never mind a cross.  I was living in sin, doing what I pleased while saying I loved Him.  I was lying to myself and Satan was loving it.  It’s Satan’s goal to keep us deceived.  Some of Satan’s greatest weapons are preachers and people that sit in churches each week thinking they’re okay and leaving the impression with others that they’re okay.  The Bible clearly states to KNOW FOR YOURSELF. Once you’ve heard the gospel message, you will be held accountable.

Please.  Get this right.

We never know what tomorrow will bring, or if we’ll get another chance.   Don’t break His heart by not taking His gift and living for Him.

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I saw this posted on Facebook today and simply had to share.  Please share this with others too.  So many people think that because they prayed a little prayer as a child (or even as an adult) that they are “saved” and Heaven bound, regardless of how they live.  After all, we’re all saved by Grace, right?  It’s not about our “works”, right?  Jesus did it all, didn’t He?  Therefore, don’t JUDGE!  Cause, well… that’s wrong ya know.    We’ve all heard it.

Listen folks, the Bible is clear about this and everyone should take it very seriously.  1st John 3:7-10 states clearly : Dear children, do not let anyone lead you astray.  The one who does what is right is righteous, just as he is righteous.  The one who does what is sinful is of the devil, because the devil has been sinning from the beginning.  The reason the Son of God appeared  was to destroy the devil’s work.  No one who is born of God will continue to sin, because God’s seed remains in them; they cannot go on sinning, because they have been born of God.  This is how we know who the children of God are and who the children of the devil are; Anyone who does not do what is right is not God’s child, nor is anyone who does not love their brother and sister.  

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Quotes 089

WHY JESUS DOESN’T WANT YOU TO “ASK HIM INTO YOUR HEART”

I’ll never forget it. I was in middle school. All around me were other middle school kids crying. Hardly anyone was standing. It was a powerful moment—so much so that even now when I think about it a range of emotions come over me. Where was I? I was at a youth camp. It was the last night where everyone “asked Jesus into their heart.” Mercy Me’s “I Can Only Imagine” was playing while the camp speaker asked all the kids to bow their heads and close their eyes. He would then say, “ok whoever wants to receive Jesus repeat after me….”

Sound familiar?

Have you ever asked Jesus into your heart?

Now first let me say this—I am not arguing in this blog that Jesus doesn’t save through this method (because He clearly does). Also, John 1:12 would suggest we do need to receive Jesus in some way or another. But my question is why has it become so mechanical? So forced? So calculated? Receiving the grace of Jesus is a beautiful thing. We tell people it is free (which it is), but we forget to tell them it will cost them their life (which it will). I’m humbly submitting that this might be the main thing contributing to our lethargic, apathetic, and consumer based Christianity that’s plaguing our nation right now.

Doesn’t it haunt you that this “prayer” is never uttered in the New Testament?

Have you ever asked yourself why?

Doesn’t it haunt you that people never made a “decision” but rather gave up all they had to follow Jesus?

Why is the life we are calling people to, so different from what the original disciples called them to?

When I first became a Christian about 4 years ago, the church I went to would give an “invitation” at the end of every sermon. It was very similar to the experience above. He would have people bow their heads and close their eyes, and “accept Jesus into their heart.” He would then usually say something like “I see your hand, God sees your heart.” I think about 15 people would get saved every service. At this time they were probably a 3,000+ person church with multiple campuses in a tiny town. I remember thinking after about a year, that if 15 people were getting “saved” a service in a town of around 20,000 this city should be upside down for Jesus. But Monday through Saturday nothing seemed much different. Why? Also why do they bow their heads and close their eyes? I struggled with the fact that if someone can’t proclaim Jesus is Lord and that their heart has been changed by His grace in the safest of all places—a church full of people who already love Jesus!—then do we really think they would proclaim Him boldly out in the world, where He’s hated?

Let me clarify though before my email inbox fills up with not so happy Christians defending this method. I don’t care how you preach the gospel, as long as its the gospel that’s actually being preached. Is the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus the focus? Is there blood? Is there cross? Is there persecution? 2nd Timothy 3:12 says all who seek to follow Jesus will face persecution. Too many times we proclaim “your best life now”, instead of a rugged cross. If they are being called to more than a stirred heart, but called to an abandoned life, then by all means do it. But, people aren’t being called to die for the sake of God’s glory and His mission, then I’d be careful to call it the true message of Jesus.

Jesus isn’t after people “accepting Him into their hearts” He is after people boldly giving up all they have and following Him by faith, death, and suffering.

Nothing makes me tremble more at night then knowing there are millions of people (most likely in churches) who don’t know Jesus at all, and are being led to hell under the pretense that they are “good to go” because they prayed a prayer. In fact the main reason they stay distant from Jesus is that they think they’ve already “taken care of that.” The truth is, if a boulder dropped on top of you, you’d look different after the fact. Why is it then that supposedly when the most glorious, holy, amazing, and beautiful infinite God of the universe “drops” on us we don’t look any different? You are saved by grace, but real grace changes you.
Is that you? Do you actually know Him?

I’m not asking do you struggle or wrestle (you should) but I’m asking do you know Him? Do you love Him? Do you want more of Him? Even if you are struggling, if you can answer yes to those questions, you are in a safe place. But, if you are simply clinging to something you did years ago, but you have zero intimacy with your Creator, I’d tread softly.

From now on what do you say we….

Stop asking Jesus into our heart, and start asking Jesus to change our heart.

Stop receiving Jesus, and start following Jesus

Stop raising our hand for Jesus, and start raising our obedience for Jesus.

“Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross daily and follow me. For whoever wants to save their life will lose it, but whoever loses their life for me will save it. What good is it for someone to gain the whole world, and yet lose or forfeit their very self?”
Luke 9:24-25

Link to the original post below:

http://jeffbethke.com/why-jesus-doesnt-want-you-to-ask-him-into-your-heart/

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I saw this picture posted on Facebook and it really grabbed my attention.

This can be oh so hard… the world, and especially the culture of today, calls for us to compromise, to live in the gray areas we try to create for ourselves.  We try to rationalize our own known sin because we WANT to do it.  Then we attempt to assuage our guilt by getting self righteous and looking at others and their sins to make ourselves feel better. “Well, I’m not so bad cause look at So n So and what they’re doing! At least I’m not doing THAT!”  Doesn’t matter, never did.  God sees absolutely ALL OF IT – even what we may not see for ourselves quite yet. The Bible tells us in James 1:5-8If you need wisdom, ask our generous God, and He will give it to you.  He will not rebuke you for asking. But when you ask Him, be sure your faith is in God alone.  Do not waver, for a person with divided loyalty is as unsettled as a wave of the sea that is blown and tossed by the wind. Such people should not expect to receive anything from the Lord. Their loyalty is divided between God and the world, and they are unstable in everything they do.   You can’t live with one foot in with the “world” and one foot in with God.  It just doesn’t work that way, as the Lord is clearly telling us here in James.

It is of utmost importance that we get something straight and sooner, rather than later.  Jesus didn’t suffer and die so we could continue in our sins, doing whatever pleases us.  Far from it.  Don’t take my word for it though! Please don’t!  God’s own Word, the very book He gave to us in order for us to learn all we can about Him and from Him – The Bible – explains it to us quite well.

In Matthew 18:3 we are told by Jesus Himself – “I tell you the truth, unless you turn from your sins and become like little children, you will never get into the Kingdom of Heaven.”   Jesus isn’t mincing words here.  Turn from your sins and become like little children (innocent) OR you will NEVER get into the Kingdom of Heaven.  We may not like it, it may seem harsh, but regardless, He’s pretty clear.  Jesus also tells us in Matthew 18:7-9 “So if your hand or foot causes you to sin, cut it off and throw it away. It’s better to enter eternal life with only one hand or one foot than to be thrown into eternal fire with both of your hands and feet.  And if your eye causes you to sin, gouge it out and throw it away.  It’s better to enter eternal life with only one eye than to have two eyes and be thrown into the fire of hell.”   According to Jesus, we are better off if we cut off limbs and gouge out our very eyes, than we are if we sin.  That’s a pretty clear statement regarding sin!  Another statement Jesus made that tells is as plainly as possible is Matthew 7: 21-23 “Not everyone who calls out to me, ‘Lord! Lord!’ will enter the Kingdom of Heaven.  Only those who actually do the will of my Father in heaven will enter.  On judgment day many  will say to me, ‘Lord! Lord!  We prophesied in your name and cast out demons in your name and performed many miracles in your name.’ But I will reply, ‘I never knew you. Get away from me, you who break God’s laws.”  That folks, is a dramatic and clear statement and no one can deny after reading it that turning from sin and obeying God’s laws is something Jesus wants and expects us to do. 

In Matthew 16:24-27 we’re told – “If any of you wants to be my follower, you must turn from your selfish ways, take up your cross, and follow me.  If you try to hang on to your life, you will lose it. But if you give up your life for my sake, you will save it.  And what do you benefit if you gain the whole world but lose your own soul?  Is anything worth more than your soul?  For the Son of Man will come with his angels in the glory of his Father and will judge all people according to their deeds.”  The very definition of a Christian is to be a follower of Christ.  Jesus tells us to be one of His followers we must give up everything for Him. 

It’s heartbreaking, as well as quite terrifying, to me that for so many years I believed various things I was told about Jesus.  Things like:  Jesus is LOVING so He’ll not send me to Hell as long as I believe He’s saved me.  All you need to do is say the “Sinner’s Prayer” and then you’re Heaven bound no matter how you’re living.  You can’t “earn” salvation, so don’t worry about your sins.  Only God can “change” you, so just “believe you’re saved” and don’t try to change anything because that would be “works” and no one can “earn salvation” since it is a gift.  It sure was nice thinking I could say a simple little two minute prayer and then I could carry on living as if nothing happened and will still enter Heaven!  Were I to have died, it wouldn’t have been “nice” at all. My life and the way I lived proved only that Jesus wasn’t Lord of my life at all, thanks, in part, to my believing false teachers, but also thanks to the fact that I enjoyed some of my sins and didn’t want to give them up.

The Bible warns us of false teachings. Matthew 7:15-16“Beware of false prophets who come disguised as harmless sheep but are really vicious wolves.   You can identify them by their fruit, that is, by the way they act.  Can you pick grapes from thorn bushes, or figs from thistles?”

Please do not misunderstand me.  I’m not suggesting that we work for our salvation at all.  It is a free gift, no doubt about that.  However, where I messed up for many years, and where many others appear to be messing up, is in taking advantage.  Thinking that since Jesus paid for our sins with His very death, that it was okay to continue in sin – known sin, and to not fully love Him.

To truly love Jesus means to put Him first in our lives, as the Bible clearly tells us to, and I didn’t do that for a long time.  Oh, I had all sorts of convenient excuses…. “I’m busy and don’t have time to read my Bible cause I just have so much going on right now, I don’t like going to church, it’s full of hypocrites, well I’m only human so sure I’m gonna make mistakes, and no one is perfect except Jesus, but it’s okay cause Jesus died for me.”  There were plenty others too, but you get the point.  Jesus tells us in Matthew 23: 37- 38“You must love the Lord your God with all your heart, all your soul, and with all your mind. This is the first and greatest commandment”  Again, Jesus is clear in His teachings.  Put God first in your heart, in your soul, and in your mind. He doesn’t tell us to put God first, but only if it’s not going to interfere with your other plans, wants, or desires.  I can’t find Jesus saying that anywhere in the Bible!  

To truly love Jesus and put Him first in our lives means we’re to turn from sin and to do as God’s Word tells us.   James 1:22- 25 tells us – But don’t just listen to God’s Word.  You must do what it says. Otherwise you are only fooling yourselves. For if you listen to the Word and don’t obey, it is like glancing at your face in a mirror.  You see yourself, walk away, and forget what you look like.  But if you look carefully into the perfect law that sets you free, and if you do what it says and don’t forget what you heard, then God will bless you for doing it.  

To live a Godly life instead of a worldly life can be hard, of that there is no doubt, but God will help us.  In Galatians 5:16-25 we are told: So I say, let the Holy Spirit guide your lives.  Then you won’t be doing what your sinful nature craves.  The sinful nature wants to do evil, which is just the opposite of what the Spirit wants. And the Spirit gives us desires that are the opposite of what the sinful nature desires.  These two forces are constantly fighting each other, so you are not free to carry out your good intentions. But when you are directed by the Spirit, you are not under obligation to the law of Moses.  When you follow the desires of your sinful nature, the results are very clear: sexual immorality, impurity, lustful pleasures, idolatry, sorcery, hostility, quarreling, jealously, outbursts of anger, selfish ambition, dissension, division, envy, drunkenness, wild parties, and other sins like these.  Let me tell you again, as I have before, that anyone living that sort of life will not inherit the Kingdom of God.  But the Holy Spirit produces this kind of fruit in our lives: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self control. There is no law against these things!  Those who belong to Christ Jesus have nailed the passions and desires of their sinful nature to His cross and crucified them there. Since we are living by the Spirit, let us follow the Spirit’s leading in every part of our lives.  

Yes, let’s do that.  With the Holy Spirit’s help, we can.  Amen!

I am so thankful that the Lord chose to keep after me until my eyes were opened to what is  real instead of leaving me to die in my sins.  Now, I seek Him daily and am more in love and alive than ever before in my life.  Giving it all up for Him isn’t like losing anything at all, it’s more like gaining everything and then some.  I am thankful to know Him and blessed by His amazing love.

You know what?  He loves YOU too!

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