Do you remember when Simon Cowell was on American Idol? He was the judge who made the show very interesting as he was not bashful about telling people the brutal truth. No doubt, Mr. Cowell could use a lesson or two on basic human kindness, but he was rarely off when it came to assessing talent.
During the audition portion of the show, you would often hear Simon asking a particularly bad singer, “Have people told you that you can sing?” The answer would invariably be an enthusiastic, "Yes!" Simon would curtly reply, “Well, they lied to you.” (Ouch!) The worst part of it all was the bad singer believed the lie.
“Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven; but he who does the will of My Father who is in heaven. Many will say to Me on that day, ‘Lord, Lord,did we not prophesy in Your name, and in Your name cast out demons, and in Your name perform many miracles?’ And then I will declare to them, ‘I never knew you; DEPART FROM ME, YOU WHO PRACTICE LAWLESSNESS.’” Matthew 7:21-23
BELIEVING THE GREATEST LIE
Do you know what the greatest lie is that multitudes of people wholeheartedly believe? It is the lie that says, "I think I’m a Christian and will do okay when I stand before God because I have done some good things in my life … and I believe in God and Jesus … and I went to church … and I was baptized … and God answered a prayer or two of mine … and God protected me when I was in that car wreck … and blah, blah, blah."
Untold millions of people deceive themselves and lie to themselves, thinking they are truly saved when the reality is they are not. Jesus said “many” will stand at the Great White Throne Judgment hearing those terrible words, "Depart from Me."
I was counseling a man one day who claimed to be a Christian. In the course of our conversation, I asked him to tell me how and when he came to know Christ. He described how God had blessed him this way and that way, and how he went to church. I told him that was nice, but it didn’t answer the question. I said, “Have you ever really made a conscious decision to repent of sin and receive Jesus Christ as Savior and Lord? If so, when and how did that happen?” He sheepishly said, “Well, I don’t think I’ve ever done that.”
THE DISTANCE IS ONLY 18”
Someone has well said that the distance between heaven and hell is only 18”–the distance between your head and your heart. Listen, the devil believes in Jesus in his head, and he is going to spend eternity in hell. The doorway to heaven is through the heart. “If you believe in your heart … you shall be saved; for with the heart man believes resulting in righteousness ....” (Romans 10:9-10).
When you believe in your heart, you entrust your heart and life to Jesus, the One who died and rose again for you. The moment you truly repent and believe, you are born again as the Holy Spirit of God comes to reside in your heart and change your life forever.
So the big question is this: Have you ever been born again? Be totally honest here. Don’t fudge or hedge or equivocate. The stakes are too high. If you are believing you are “okay” when you know deep down you have never truly put your full faith and trust in Christ alone, you are believing a lie ... and that lie will cost you for all eternity.
THE REST OF THE STORY
Let's get back to the counseling appointment. Once the man admitted that He had never received Christ as Savior and Lord, I asked him, “Would you like to meet Jesus and become a true Christian? We can pray right now?” His answer was a swift and pleading, “Yes, I would like to do that right now.” And we prayed this prayer:
Dear God, I know that I am a sinner, and I can’t save myself. But Jesus, I believe You are God in the flesh who loves me and died and rose again for me. I ask you to come into my heart, to forgive all my sins, and to make me the person You want me to be. I surrender my all to you and promise to follow You all the days of my life.”
My friend prayed that prayer from his heart, and he was born again. The same can happen to you, too!
Don’t go through life believing a lie. Don’t risk your eternity on some good works you have done. Remember, you are not saved by your sweat; you are saved by His blood. Put your faith in Jesus and Jesus alone. It will make all the difference in the world for today and for all eternity.
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Can you explain why being 'born again' matters?