Sunday, June 8, 2014

Don't Get Born Again Just Because You Fear Hell

Most preachers preach on being born again as an antidote to hell so sinners can still enjoy their usual sinful lives after "accepting" Christ. This supposedly spares them from hell and assures them of heaven. That's why the term "saved sinners" has become popular.

Churches today are manned by them and laugh at the idea of being saved saints instead. No such thing as saved saints, or those who have repented totally of sins and live in them no longer. They hate the idea and insist nothing can be possible except being saved sinners. No one is perfect and salvation doesn't make you one either, they add.

So they've been preaching like that and people naturally like it--getting saved and still retaining the world, too. You don't have to lose anything. It's like asking people, "Who wants to get $1 million?" Of course, they'd all grab the challenge like crazy. Getting "saved" like that is so much fun and it's been easy building mega ministries and planting churches with that. You see them with their "happy," massive and modern buildings and "growing" ministries, and they have touching testimonies to share, too. A friend of mine was once impressed by all these until one day he was voted into position in a church and saw everything behind the scene.

Actually, I have several friends who were shocked to see what actually happened in some churches behind the masks of happy, massive, and growing. Initially, they saw how church programs were executed to a tee--everything was heavenly when they watched worship presentations, seeing worship leaders and their teams perform well on stage. But when they became part of the whole process, they discovered secrets that put the church at par with what's going on in the world. They couldn't believe it--adultery, extra marital sex and pregnancy, back-biting, dirty politics, stealing, corruption, injustice, partiality, rebellion, kicking out the pastor, and things like that.

But many church folks call this "normal" because no one's perfect anyway. The church is designed for sinners, they insist. And don't focus on that--looking for a perfect church is a waste of time. There isn't any. Just concentrate on planting and growing churches.

No perfect church? Really? I know one that is--the glorious, radiant church of Jesus Christ in Ephesians 5. It is without spot or wrinkle or any other blemish. God will never lie. If He says church should be like that, then it's possible.

But why are all these happening? Normal? Whatever happened to Christ's glorious church? Some smart theologians say the glorious church will happen once rapture comes when "we shall all be changed, in the wink of an eye." Then believers in sin will suddenly be transformed, holy and pure, whether they like it or not. In the meantime, they can go on sinning. God understands them. They're saved by grace, anyway.

I believe in eternal life and eternal security, all by grace through faith. But these are for folks who genuinely received Jesus and truly understand what that means.

The culprit in all this tragic church condition is wrong evangelism motive. Evangelism has gone capitalistic--to get more members to up church income. They don't care a hoot about God's designs for the church--"until we all reach unity in the faith...attaining to the whole measure of the fullness of Christ" [Ephesians 4.13]. All they care is to up their denominational membership with people active in church helping them achieve their goals. It's not for Kingdom building. Denominations will never result to "until we all reach unity in the faith." Denominations have been here for centuries and yet not even an inkling of unity in the faith has happened.

How united does God want us all? Jesus said "complete unity," as the Father and Son are one [John 17].

True Evangelism 

True evangelism builds the glorious church which in turn builds God's Kingdom on earth. People should receive Christ and fully surrender their lives to him, "giving up everything" to follow Jesus. Evangelism should be done in such a way that people understand what receiving Christ is all about. It's not just a way of escaping man's sure destiny to hell due to sin. It's definitely more than that! It's a life of total obedience, being in the Word deeply, living a holy life, and getting daily power from the Holy Spirit to win in the spirit realms.

In short, it's entering a covenant with God. You don't share Jesus as their escape from hell and then later on, when they have received Christ, tell them about other things they should know about relationship with Him. That's something close to blackmail. Right at the start, you should lay everything out clearly so they'd know exactly what they're about to enter. They're about to enter a different life, something out of this world. And this life is not optional. They have to change. My Jesus said, "Unless you change, you can never enter the Kingdom of God." And this means a change that enables you to live His LIFE on earth.

I always do this during evangelism. I tell them they will have to carry their own crosses and follow Christ. They are to become a totally new creation, the old is gone. They are to die with Christ so that they no longer live but Christ is to live in them. And all these are going to be painful, with lots of hardships. I give them consolation by saying all these are by grace and through the strength of the Holy Spirit in them. It's not through their own efforts. Finally, I ask them, "Are you now willing to receive Christ and live out His life daily, in holiness?"

Naturally, I get few positive responses. Anyway, I'm not in a rat race of who has the biggest mega church. These few converts to Christ understand that they have to be deep in the Word daily, manifest the fruit and need to be seriously involved in a Jesus discipleship all their lives where they do nothing except submit, obey, and be "completely humble and gentle" [Ephesians 4.2] as they genuinely grow in Christ and soon disciple others for Him.

Those who reject surely know how serious the born-again Christian life is. Receiving Christ is a life commitment, not just some light church denominational thing where all you have to do is confess sins, be sorry for them, and then "accept" Christ. Then start looking nice and friendly, getting active, studying to get smart with the bible, and giving your tithes and offering. Never mind if you have the genuine fruit or not, as long as you can memorize the verse were it's found--and you have lots of members in your "growing" church.

I meet lots of church folks of the type depicted above who grow old nicely and actively in church (even get awards) but never grew in Christ. Often you discover later that they have deep hatred for this guy and that guy, they belittle people (especially those who are poor), mistreat fellowmen, look down on them, have a bias against those who are not of their denomination, easily angered, show favoritism, are difficult persons to deal with, know almost nothing about the bible except what they get from their denominations, things like that. In short, they claim to be born again but are still rotten in character, even if they have been in church more than 10 years. Ridiculous.

Don't get born again just because you fear hell. More so, get born again because you have fallen deeply in love with Christ and ardently desire to live his very own LIFE now!

Genuine born again happens like this: You are dead in sins, and then you hear the Word and faith comes by hearing the Word. Faith starts building in you, though you're not yet born again. A struggle happens within you--because Life suddenly begins to light you up and death refuses to be kicked out. You begin to ardently desire to get Jesus into your life and decide to surrender to Him, because you also realize you can never do it on your own.

You want to know Jesus deeper personally--and all these have so very little to do with fearing hell. Yes, you know salvation in Christ saves you from hell, but you received Him not just for that but most especially for who He is and what you can be in Him. I know this to be true because this was exactly what happened to me on September 05, 1980 at 8pm, and it's all according to the Word of God.