I have specifically chosen today to address a major concern I have in the hearts of many who call themselves Christians. Actually, I guess I need to be more specific. This is going to those who desire to be Disciples of Jesus, and not simply “believers.” I have heard so many tell me that, yes, “I believe in Gawd.” Well really? As James stated, “You believe that there is one God. That’s fine! The demons also believe that, and they tremble with fear” (James 2:19)
You see, “believing” isn’t enough! We are called to be Disciples! And if you are going to call yourself a “Christian,” you better understand that you aren’t just claiming to be a “follower” of Christ, but also a disciple! And by saying that you are a disciple, it will define the life that you live. Just so you understand, the dictionary defines a disciple as, “Someone who follows another person or another way of life; who submits himself to the discipline (teaching) of that leader or way. (Bakers Encyclopedia of the Bible). And I have had the pleasure of meeting many Discples of Jesus, people who were committed to serving their Lord, regardless of the cost. In fact, the church I belong to is filled with folks who will lay down their honor, their livlihood and, if it is ever required, even their lives!
But in that definition from Bakers Encyclopedia of the Bible, did you notice that it says that a disciple is someone, “who submits himself to the teaching of that leader.” There are all kinds of people who call themselves Christians, but if they were perfectly honest with themselves, they could not call themselves: disciples. It is unscriptural to teach that a person can be a “Christian” and not be a disciple. This is one of the greatest failures of Christian teaching!
Even Isaiah understood this:
“I will pay attention to those
who are humble and sorry for their sins
and who tremble at my word” -Isaiah 66:2
How many of us tremble at the Word of God? Do we really live with a passion for our God — especially a passion to just be with Him? Oh, we can hear all kinds a noise in our churches — the clamor of so-called praise, singing, and joyful shouting. But do the same people who love to sing and shout and dance, loudly exclaiming the praises of God, on Sunday morning, still shouts their praise come Monday morning? Do they really have an intense glory in their private life with the Lord? When the meeting is over and they are back home with the noise and clamor of life, when there is no one there to listen except for the only One who matters, do they still have that same passion in their spirit? Are they able to exist when it is just them and the Living God?
I may as well warn you now, if you don’t absolutely relish His company now; have a hunger and thirst — a passion to be with Him more than anyone in the whole world, then I can guarantee you won’t be comfortable in heaven — because that is where we will spend all eternity in the company of the Holy One who made us. And I assure you, Eternity is an awfully long time!
Many of us believe that now, in our current lives, we may not desire with all our heart to be in the conscious presence of God, but somehow, mysteriously, once we show up in Heaven, all that will change, that we won’t have that problem any more. Some of us believe that we will be saved from a rotten devotional life once we die (and then naturally heaven!). But, as a man of God wrote centuries ago, “There is no sanctification in the grave!” (See Hebrews 9:27)
Some of us foolishly believe that although we have some evil and sin in our hearts now, Heaven is going to take care of all that. Well, forget that. There is no future redemption. Scripture clearly states, ” Why do we put our hope in some future redemption when God says, “Now is God’s acceptable time! Now is the day of salvation!!“ (II Corinthians 6:2).
Look, if this seems unfair, just know that Jesus made it clear that we need to count the cost of following Him. In fact, He said, “None of you can be My disciple who does not carefully consider the cost . . .” If you allow yourself pride and selfishness here, it doesn’t change once you get to heaven. Some of us believe, “It’s impossible to sin in heaven”? Oh really? Did you forget that Satan let pride, selfishness, and deceit rule his life, even though he had lived in heaven since the day he was first made! Hey! Heaven doesn’t take away our sins, only Jesus can take away our sins and the power of sin over our life!
Our God will never allow sin in heaven! He has prepared hell as the final dumping site for the devil — and all the sin in the universe! He will only allow what is Holy to enter through the gates. Please don’t send me angry emails until you read Revelations 21:27:
Nothing unclean, no one who does anything detestable, and no liars will ever enter it. Only those whose names are written in the lamb’s Book of Life will enter it! (Revelations 21:27)
My friends, that is why I am imploring you to understand that it is not heaven that will finally purify us . . . only the blood of Jesus can cleanse and purify us, and that must take place here and now! For without holiness, “no one shall see the Lord!” (Hebrews 12:14).
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