The Believers and the Disciples



“Not everyone one that saith unto me (Jesus); Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; BUT HE THAT DOETH THE WILL OF MY FATHER which is in heaven.” (Mathew 7:21) This has been a puzzling statement because ministers have always pleaded to their listeners that all one needs to do in order to be saved is just call on the Lord. Evidently, salvation is not always this easy because it has much to do with the attitude of our intention. I do not believe that Christ does not give eternal life and save whosoever chooses to accept Him, but rather it must be something that is done correctly on the receiving end. This divine process is not just a small matter but could become the most devastating misunderstanding in someone’s life. For the Lord to reveal such a statement there is a definite message that He is trying to expose so that no one becomes deceived in their comprehension of what God requires in the born-again experience. There are many that have responded to an alter call but have lived as though they did not know Christ at all. I have come to the conclusion that IF we are truly saved, we will accomplish our destiny that He has planned for us because this is “doing” the will of our heavenly Father. For those who just believe that His Word is true but for some reason He never enters into their heart, it can be said that this failure to become an heir of promise is what makes the difference between being saved or lost. For example in first Corinthians we read about how important it is to have and express love and if we do NOT have God’s love within us then we do NOT have anything. This must be interpreted (as difficult as it is to admit) as not being saved and not going to heaven. In other words, we can do a lot of wonderful deeds and be a decent, friendly, giving person but if we do not have the spirit, attributes, character, fruits and nature of Christ within us – we are bankrupt, empty and lost. “Many will say unto me in that day, Lord, Lord have we not prophesied in your name? And in your name have cast out devils? And in your name have done many wonderful works? And then I (Jesus) will profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, you that work iniquity.” (Mathew 7:22-23) These leaders were literally preaching God’s Word and exercising spiritual authority over demons and yet something was terribly wrong! How could these people be lost? Obviously they thought things were one way when they were another. Somehow in the midst of their religious knowledge they missed God completely. They thought they were leading the way and doing the right things but evidently were terribly deceived and not an HEIR of the redemption bloodline.

I want to look closer at verse 23 and notice something. First, it is very interesting that Jesus said “I never knew you” because we know that God “knows” everyone whether they are saved or lost. I believe the word “know” here is much deeper than Him knowing their heart, I believe the “knew” He was referring to is connected with the bond of marriage that is associated with the deepest human intimacy. It is common within the Old Testament that the Hebrew term “knew” was used when explaining that a man and wife had made love when it was referring to a woman becoming pregnant. For example, “And Adam KNEW Eve his wife; and she conceived, and bare Cain, and said, I have gotten a man from the Lord.” (Genesis 4: 1) The point I am making is how crucial it is that we enter into the holy vow of blood covenant with Christ and become sealed as a genuine creation of His grace. I am afraid that many who presume they are redeemed do not have a genuine experience of God’s presence to COMPARE with what they have come to know as an emotional religious feeling. Even reading the Bible will not automatically save us because some scholars have spent their life gathering knowledge but have never asked God to save them. A few have even spent most of their life trying to dis-prove His Word. Yes, it is wonderful to read the Bible every day because God’s Word is alive and is the power unto salvation for all who will receive it into their heart, but if the motive is for anything other than to love God more deeply and to do His will – our religion is in vain. The last part of verse 23 is another sobering statement where Jesus tells these deceived individuals to leave His presence which I cannot imagine such a sense of failure and discouragement. But to even go further, we notice that He condemns and accuses them of being involved in sin. Not only is He rejecting them on the grounds of not being born-again, but He is actually declaring that they were entangled with darkness and being driven with a carnal imagination. One idea is that maybe they were working in the “name of God” to promote their own popularity or financial gain. Maybe they were caught up in the praises and glory from others and were puffed up with pride from being successful. Whatever the reasons that caused them to be insincere the question we must ask is that whether or not a person within their conscience actually knows deep down if they believe that what they are doing is true? To answer our question we can see that after death and even in the judgment these souls are still trying to argue and justify their actions. As Lucifer was deceived while working for God in heaven, we can tremble with reverential fear as we also observe the power of deception within those who live their life in the arrogant, aggressive blindness of religion. “Wherefore lay apart all filthiness and superfluity of naughtiness, and receive with meekness the engrafted Word, which is able to save your souls.” (James 1: 21)

When The Son of God walked the earth, He had large crowds that followed Him. We know that He was a perfect teacher, made provisions for their needs and performed some of the greatest miracles ever seen. However, allow me to ask you a question; were all of these witnesses His disciples? I believe we can safely say the answer is no. Why? Because discipleship is much more than watching or knowing about someone! There are reasons why people are committed and likewise why they do NOT care about things and we can generally agree that most of the individuals that listened and observed Christ were curious as a “spectator” the same way we would be if an evangelist came to our church. There is no doubt they felt and witnessed the power of God but at the end of the day most of them went home and carried on with their normal routines. I say “most” because I do believe there were some that not only understood His message but actually responded to it. The ones who received Christ as their Lord were eternally changed and I am convinced they devoted their lives to His gospel but there were others that were just not willing to follow His message all the way. I must emphasize the noticeable difference between someone who believes in Christ – and someone who abides in Christ – the same is true with those who know what the Word says and those who believe it enough to obey it! Selah. In the parable of the sower we see that God’s Word is not always guaranteed to germinate. It is alive and able to grow but will not “force” itself – it depends on the condition of the heart and mind and to be more specific, the willingness of the person to “allow” it to grow. The amount of our independence that we are willing to surrender has a direct influence on how much of God’s Word we will allow to develop within our life. The “good ground” is a heart that has decided to “drop their nets” and follow Jesus. Just what does this mean? How can I stop living and start following Jesus? We have it wrong. He is not asking anyone to stop living – He is waiting for someone who desires to “start” living. Selah. Let us continue.

Many people would think the idea of there being a difference in a believer and a disciple would be silly. The masses generally think that “you’re OK, I’m OK” in God’s sight and that most everyone that lives a decent life will make it to heaven. The character of God has been correctly portrayed as someone who is filled with love and mercy and most humans have developed unmentioned security that takes for granted the concept of God being very understanding and lenient. I was trying to explain to someone the other day about how simple it is to ask Jesus into our heart but at the same time emphasizing the monumental, life-changing effect this will have on the individual. This person said they felt the “pulling” on their conscience (which I knew was the Holy Spirit convicting them) but in all honesty this person was not warming up to the idea of surrendering their will. They believed that God was going to take all of the good things in their life into consideration and that in the end they were convinced that everything would be OK. The plan was to “by-pass” the event of Calvary and just operate on the points or grading system of deeds. Of course we know that no matter how intelligent or business minded we are, there are no special deals with God. In fact, when we meet with God especially within the salvation process, we must not treat Him like He is just another man. God is so magnificent and holy that He demands respect! If we try to bargain with Him or think that we are somehow deceiving Him, He will move away quietly and not respond at all. Being saved is not what many people think it is and sadly this is why many who believe they are God’s children are not. We respond to Him in brokenness and humility AFTER He has approached us. “We love Him because He first loved us.” (I John 4:19) If He did not go after us with His gospel, we would never give Him the time of day. “No man can come to Me, except the Father which has sent Me DRAW HIM: and I will Raise him up at the last day.” (John: 6: 44) If someone is under conviction it is not just because another human relayed the message of God to them – it is because the super-natural power of the Lord pierced their heart and is knocking on the door of their soul. When someone opens the door of their life and welcomes Christ in to become their Lord and Savior, God literally comes in to live within them and become a permanent resident that controls, directs, leads, influences, disciplines, blesses, fills and empowers them as His disciple according to His Word and His perfect will. There is a huge difference between a believer and a disciple that is possessed! Selah.

The devil believes in God and knows that God is who He says He is. Satan knows God’s Word and is very familiar with all of the stories, doctrines and teachings because he was literally there with every one of them. I am saying today that memorizing Bible verses and hanging them on our wall will not save us! Going to church will not save us! Giving to the poor will not save us! Being a good spouse and a good parent will not save us! The Pharisees memorized entire books of the Bible and did not know God at all. Look at the masses of people today who rub their rosary beads or the millions that bow down toward the east and pray 7 times per day thinking that God will accept their ideas and rituals. If a religious act or ceremony could redeem our soul – then why did Jesus die on the cross? What about the differences between Christians that pray and worship God daily in Spirit and truth and others that have never studied, witnessed or prayed? Allow me to ask, in your views of Christianity, do you still feel there is a difference between the talkers and the walkers or are you persuaded that all “believers” are the same?

I realize that when we are discussing about people becoming “born-again” that we are referring to individuals that are being born into God’s family. I know that in the natural realm, whenever a child is conceived there is nothing that can happen which would cause that baby to NOT be the child of that mother and I am not sure if there would be anything to “reverse” this blood-line when it comes to the spiritual dimension either. I realize that many believe our salvation and “right-standing” with God depends on what we do and I can agree to some extent that our obedience is connected to our awareness. But, thank God He replaces our righteousness with His righteousness and makes us acceptable through the grace of His blood. Our righteousness is like filthy rags as we cannot redeem ourselves! Only the blood of Jesus can be sprinkled on the mercy seat and has the power and authority to forgive our sin. It is not my intent with this message to discuss “once saved always saved” but I can confirm my positive views about eternal security. I believe that IF we are abiding in His Spirit, there is nothing or no one that can “steal us” or change our spiritual identification. It seems that it is not so much as someone “losing” their salvation as much as it is they never had it! For example, we see another clear verse to help us understand the difference between someone that is radically in love with God and those who just think they are. “Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world. If any man loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him.” (I John 2:15) The key word here is “love” and is connected to worship like unto an idol. It is alright to have material things but it is wrong to fall in love with them and allow them to control us. The remnant disciples of God are learning to let go of this world and to embrace Jesus and Him alone. In conclusion, for those who say they are God’s children yet live like the heathen, I am convinced these souls are deceived and probably lost. Since their spiritual eyes have never been opened they cannot discern what they have never had. Selah. Deception is difficult enough for those who have been enlightened but for those who are still walking in dark, it is a case of just not recognizing the difference. Amen.

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