Behold, the Lord's hand is not shortened, that it cannot save; nor His ear heavy, that it cannot hear. But your iniquities ( wickedness ) have separated you from your God; and your sins have hidden His face from you, so that He will not hear. Isaiah 59:1,2
Decades ago the Rolling Stones recorded a song called "Sympathy for the Devil " and one of the lyrics read: "Pleased to meet you, hope you get my name, but whats puzzling you is the nature of my game." The nature of Satan's game is to rob, kill, and destroy by deceit, deception and lies. Make no mistake, he's the master of disaster.
One of Satan's greatest lies is to convince the church to have sympathy for the sinner and he has done a wonderful job because we not only sympathize with them, but we cater to them. Our buildings and programs are geared for the lost and yet we have watered down the gospel to the point where it has lost it's saving power.
The blood of the cross, the fact that Jesus was made sin and forsaken by God and repentance for forgiveness of sin has been totally removed from most gospel preaching. Hell and eternal damnation is almost never mentioned because after all we wouldn't want to scare the poor sinner, would we? Remember the old revivalist preacher, Jonathan Edwards and his famous sermon "Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God"? People absolutely came under such terrible conviction because they had broken God's laws and rebelled against His Son Jesus that they cried and begged for salvation.
When was the last time you saw someone actually come under Holy Ghost conviction and cry out for mercy? When was the last time you heard a gospel message that brought you or a lost person under conviction? It has probably been a long time because we try to make everyone comfortable and feel at home in our churches thinking that maybe some day they will walk the isle, bow their head and ask Jesus into their heart, which by the way is not even in the Bible.
The fact of the matter is this: the unforgiven lost sinner is an enemy of God and although God loves him and wants him to be saved, He created an eternal place of torment for him if he doesn't repent! Jesus preached the gospel to the rich young ruler and told him the cost of salvation and the lad rejected Jesus, and although grieved He knew the boy was heading for hell. We would have led the boy in a prayer he didn't really mean or understand, baptize him, and make him a deacon and put him over the finances in three years. How many in the church today do you think are lost and heading for eternal damnation? Millions?
With our consumer driven efforts to sell the lost on our brand of religion we have forfeited their souls and made them feel at home in their lost state, never wanting to offend them or upset them with something as cruel as hell! Take a poll on the streets and ask people if they are a Christian, I guarantee most will say yes, even though they don't know how they got to be one. They either joined the church, got sprinkled, got baptized, prayed a prayer or just showed up for Sunday school and signed the blue card, but in fact they are lost, dying and going into eternal damnation without Christ forever.
No rules, just right, like the slogan for Outback Steakhouse is our motto for the seeker. I don't know where the term seeker came from but it describes a potential candidate for church membership. Have you ever been to a funeral and the eulogy was so beautiful and everyone listened to the accolades and good works of the person's life, his good moral upbringing and the fact that he was a public servant, a pillar in the community, and he never missed a day of church. But what about his eternal destination? Even though he was an outstanding person, you knew in your heart he was lost and going to hell!
Salvation is the most important thing in a person's life, more than family, more than your career or education, it is the reason you are put on the planet, to find and serve God with all of your heart. God put us here so that we would fellowship with Him forever, but first you have to pass the test of life. The test of life is whether you will give up your life to follow and obey Him when He asks you to.
"For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life. "For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world through Him might be saved. "He who believes in Him is not condemned; but he who does not believe is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the Son of God. "And this is the condemnation, that the light has come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil." John 3:16-19
Just believing in Jesus is not enough in the sense that your belief will save you because Satan and the demons believe. Salvation takes place in the heart of man the instant that he cries out for mercy and repents of his sin and acknowledges Jesus as His Lord and Savior. It is no different than marrying someone, you give your heart to the person you are marrying and they in turn give their heart to you. The only two words in the wedding vows that mean anything are: I do!
Giving your heart to Jesus is not a one time deal to get your ticket punched for heaven. Salvation is an on going relationship of devotion and obedience ultimately costing you everything. In our fast food, quick fix, microwave world we want everything now, but you can't obtain a relationship with Christ at a drive through window. Salvation is a free gift from God involving great pain and sacrifice on His part, not to be taken lightly because it carries with it, eternal consequences.
Millions of unsuspecting souls have walked a church isle in an altar call promoted by some smooth preacher wanting to count his catch for the day. Every head bowed and every eye closed, the preacher would expound and then excitedly say,"There's a hand, and there's one and over there, and there's another!" There is no conviction of heart and no commitment involved, just a little prayer prayed by a lost sinner not really understanding what in the world he is doing. Then once the service is over the new so-called believer leaves the building not knowing what he did and disappears forever thinking eternal life is in the bag.
Compared to the commands of Christ to repent and become a disciple by giving up your life to follow Him, does that not seem ridiculous to walk an isle? Jesus never said, "Ask Me into your heart to become your personal savior." He said, "Take up your cross and follow Me!" Again we have stuck to our religious tradition and ignored the word of the living God so that we can fill our church buildings with brand new members and boast of our delusions of grandeur. May God have mercy on us all!
But to the wicked, God says: "What right have you to declare My statutes, or take My covenant in your mouth, seeing you hate instruction and cast My words behind you? When you saw a thief, you consented with him, and have been a partaker with adulterers. You give your mouth to evil, and your tongue frames deceit. You sit and speak against your brother; you slander your own mother's son. These things you have done, and I kept silent; you thought that I was altogether like you; but I will rebuke you, and set them in order before your eyes. "Now consider this, you who forget God, lest I tear you in pieces, and there be none to deliver: whoever offers praise glorifies Me; and to him who orders his conduct aright I will show the salvation of God." Psalms 50:16-23