The Christian church today, is filled with many who attend; listen to the sermons, sing the songs, give their tithe and offerings, yet are not saved. We see these individuals many years later when they sign registries online for those who claim to have once been saved and have followed Jesus, but now; no longer believe. Some of these person’s write books describing their many activities and years of service to the church, as evidence that they were sincere believers. In fact, Jesus described these persons as pretenders, who did all the right things, while never having a heart that was changed by the message of Jesus Gospel.
Today, we see many large churches that have thousands who attend their services. Sadly, only a very small number of the people in these churches have entered into a genuine relationship of salvation with Jesus. How do I know this? What gives me the right to make this judgement? This is what Jesus said would happen.
And Jesus answered and spoke to them again by parables and said: 2. “The kingdom of heaven is like a certain king who arranged a marriage for his son, and sent out his servants to call those who were invited to the wedding; and they were not willing to come. Again, he sent out other servants, saying, “Tell those who are invited, ‘See, I have prepared my dinner; my oxen and fatted cattle are killed, and all things are ready. Come to the wedding.” ’But they made light of it and went their ways, one to his own farm, another to his business. And the rest seized his servants, treated them spitefully, and killed them. But when the king heard about it, he was furious. And he sent out his armies, destroyed those murderers, and burned up their city. Then he said to his servants, 8. “The wedding is ready, but those who were invited were not worthy. 9 Therefore go into the highways, and as many as you find, invite to the wedding.’ So those servants went out into the highways and gathered together all whom they found, both bad and good. And the wedding hall was filled with guests. “But when the king came in to see the guests, he saw a man there who did not have on a wedding garment. So he said to him, “Friend, how did you come in here without a wedding garment?’ And he was speechless. Matthew 22:12 Then the king said to the servants, “Bind him hand and foot, take him away, and cast him into outer darkness; there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.’ “For many are called, but few are chosen.” Matthew 22:1-14
when the Son of Man comes, will He really find faith on the earth?” Luke 18:8
Jesus illustration of the pretend believer:
In Matthew chapter 22, beginning at verse 2, Jesus describes a king who arranged a marriage for His Son. In this parable, God sent out many servants to first invite the Jews to believe in Jesus as the Messiah; they rejected the offer.
Verse 8 describes these individuals who were first invited as “not worthy” of salvation. Their unworthiness was not because they were not good enough, but because they rejected the kings offer.
In verse 9, the king sends our messengers again, this time to invite everyone, the bad and the good.
Finally, the king comes into the wedding feast to see the guests, He notices a man who is there who does not have on, the proper wedding attire. The king asks this man how he came to the wedding without the correct clothing. The man is unable to give an answer.
This man is a pretend believer, who has come into the church, acted like one of those who believe in Jesus as their Savior, while He never personally made a commitment to Jesus, nor genuinely believed in Him for salvation. It is the genuine article of true saving faith that becomes our garments or righteousness that makes us worthy to enter in and be saved.
The Bible describes the clothing of those who are unsaved as “filthy rags.” The idea here is that all of our attempts at being good enough for God to accept, apart from Jesus, is nothing more that soiled and smelly clothing. When we sincerely repent of our sins and honestly receive Jesus into our heart as our Lord and Savior, He gives us new clothing of righteousness.
But we are all like an unclean thing, And all our righteousnesses are like filthy rags; We all fade as a leaf, And our iniquities, like the wind, Have taken us away. Isaiah 64:6
When we believe in Jesus for our salvation, He takes away our sins and makes us righteous.
For He made Jesus who knew no sin to be sin for us, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him. 2 Corinthians 5:21
In the book of Revelation, we see those who have been redeemed by Jesus, as wearing the white garments of the redeemed.
He who overcomes shall be clothed in white garments, and I will not blot out his name from the Book of Life; but I will confess his name before My Father and before His angels. Revelation 3:5
The man who tried to enter the wedding of the king’s Son, did not have on the garments of righteousness that are required for salvation. The reason that he had nothing to say, is that those who seek to be accepted by God, apart from Jesus sacrifice for their sins, will stand silent before God at the day of Judgement (Revelation 20:11). When John sees Jesus in heaven in chapter one of the book of Revelation, he fell at his feet as if he were dead.
And when I saw Him, I fell at His feet as dead. But He laid His right hand on me, saying to me, “Do not be afraid; I am the First and the Last. Revelation 1:17
Those who reject Jesus as their Savior and later appear before the throne of God, will know that they are guilty and that they did not do what God had required; therefore, they will not be able to offer a valid excuse to God for their rejection of Jesus as their Savior.
Claims of “once saved,” are false
Those who claimed that they once believe in Jesus, but now are no longer able; in reality, they were only pretend believers, who had sought to enter in to the promises of God for eternal life, without wearing the garments that God requires: True repentance and acceptance of Jesus as their Savior.
It is not true that these individuals were once saved, but found reasons to not believe, and therefore no longer follow Jesus. They were not saved in the first place. Time and frustration with trying to live a Christian life, apart from the indwelling of the Holy Spirit, caused them to give up and stop pretending.
In the Parable of the Mustard Seed, the primary focus is not the size of the seed but the results of its growth. Under normal circumstances, a mustard seed does not grow into a tree. Most of these tiny seeds increase in size only large enough to become a bush. The fact that this seed is described by Jesus as becoming a tree large enough for the birds of the air to nest upon its branches means that something unnatural has occurred.
The lukewarm church of the last days is described by Jesus in the Book of Revelation, in startling terms:
Revelation 3:17 Because you say, “I am rich, have become wealthy, and have need of nothing”—and do not know that you are wretched, miserable, poor, blind, and naked—
The mega churches of today are rich and have many entertaining programs that attract thousands to their services. Sadly, they often lack spiritual depth and the intended purpose of the church—to make disciples of Jesus Christ. Many reside in these large churches, thinking that they are saved without ever coming to a heartfelt repentance for their sins and a sincere turning to Jesus Christ as the Lord of their life. They nest in the branches of these abnormally fast growing trees, but they do not know Jesus by the experience of repentance and salvation.
The term “the birds of the air come and nest in its branches,” is a common phrase from the Bible that is used to illustrate the presence of evil. These members are the false believers in the church that Jesus depicted in the parable of the Tares, described in Matthew 13:24-30, 36-43.
Deuteronomy 28:26 Your carcasses shall be food for all the birds of the air and the beasts of the earth, and no one shall frighten them away.
1 Samuel 17:44 And the Philistine said to David, “Come to me, and I will give your flesh to the birds of the air and the beasts of the field!”
The church of the last days is marked by many who attend but are not saved—those who nest in the branches of the church but do not come into genuine salvation. These unsaved, leave the church and write books claiming to be former believers in Jesus Christ who can “no longer believe” because of the supposed “contradictions” they found in following Jesus and believing the Bible. The truth is: these individuals never were saved; therefore, they did not understand the truth of salvation and could not continue with Jesus.
The Mustard Seed
Matthew 13:31-32 Another parable He put forth to them, saying: “The kingdom of heaven is like a mustard seed, which a man took and sowed in his field, which indeed is the least of all the seeds; but when it is grown it is greater than the herbs and becomes a tree, so that the birds of the air come and nest in its branches.”
A second illustration of the unsaved who inhabit the Christian church of the last days, is found in the Parable of the Tares:
Matthew 13:24-30, 36-43
Matthew 13:24-30 Another parable He put forth to them, saying: “The kingdom of heaven is like a man who sowed good seed in his field; but while men slept, his enemy came and sowed tares among the wheat and went his way. But when the grain had sprouted and produced a crop, then the tares also appeared. So the servants of the owner came and said to him, ‘Sir, did you not sow good seed in your field? How then does it have tares?’ He said to them, ‘An enemy has done this.’ The servants said to him, ‘Do you want us then to go and gather them up?’ But he said, ‘No, lest while you gather up the tares you also uproot the wheat with them. Let both grow together until the harvest, and at the time of harvest I will say to the reapers, “First gather together the tares and bind them in bundles to burn them, but gather the wheat into my barn.” ’ ”
Within the church, there will be pretend believers. These false followers of Jesus are placed in the church by satan. The certainty of their commitment to Christ cannot correctly be discerned by the other members in the church. Struggles with sin and ongoing failures are not necessarily an indication of a false or insincere commitment to Christ. It is not the place of the church members to uproot these supposedly false believers, but to love them and allow the Lord, at His return, to determine whether they are genuine or not. Jesus alone will have the right to tear out these Tares or Weeds and burn them.
Jesus describes those who go to church, hear the message about Jesus–but do not receive Him, in the Parable of the Net
Matthew 13:47-50 “Again, the kingdom of heaven is like a dragnet that was cast into the sea and gathered some of every kind, which, when it was full, they drew to shore; and they sat down and gathered the good into vessels, but threw the bad away. So it will be at the end of the age. The angels will come forth, separate the wicked from among the just, and cast them into the furnace of fire. There will be wailing and gnashing of teeth.”
This parable is similar to the parable of the Wheat and the Tares. During the present age in which the Holy Spirit is gathering a bride for Jesus, who is His church, many come into the net but not all are saved. There are always those who come into the church, sit in the chairs, listen to the messages, do good works, and even profess that they are saved. In reality, these individuals never developed a heartfelt desire to repent of their sins and come to Jesus for their salvation. These people know who Jesus is, and have heard the message of salvation and what is required, but they never took the steps necessary to be saved (repentance and surrender).
Matthew 7:21-23 “Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ shall enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father in heaven. Many will say to Me in that day, ‘Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in Your name, cast out demons in Your name, and done many wonders in Your name?’ And then I will declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness!’
Jesus illustrated two types of people who come into His church, by the Parable of the “Two Sons.”
The Two Sons
Matthew 21:28-32 “But what do you think? A man had two sons, and he came to the first and said, ‘Son, go, work today in my vineyard.’ He answered and said, ‘I will not,’ but afterward he regretted it and went. Then he came to the second and said likewise. And he answered and said, ‘I go, sir,’ but he did not go. Which of the two did the will of his father?” They said to Him, “The first.” Jesus said to them, “Assuredly, I say to you that tax collectors and harlots enter the kingdom of God before you. For John came to you in the way of righteousness, and you did not believe him; but tax collectors and harlots believed him; and when you saw it, you did not afterward relent and believe him.”
The tax collectors and sinners were the first group who would not serve Jesus at first, but later changed their minds. The second group are the Scribes and the Pharisees, the religious leaders of Israel, who claimed to be serving God, but were only serving their own selfish ambitions.
This is both a wonderful and a terrible parable. If you have ever rejected Jesus in your life but then later changed your mind and decided to receive Him, He will accept you. On the other hand, if you eagerly accepted Jesus’ offer to be the Lord and Savior of your life and then later choose not to continue following Him, it will be almost impossible to restore you again to a faith that can save you. We must abide continuously with Jesus if we truly want to be saved. It is not enough to confess that we know Jesus, but then disingenuously live our lives for Him. There will be many on the final day of their judgement who will believe that they are saved, whom Jesus will proclaim I never knew you. In other words, He never had a close and personal relationship with these people. Many people confess Jesus as their Savior, but they will not allow Him to be Lord of their life. True salvation occurs when a person follows and serves Jesus as both the Savior of their sins and the Lord of their life, while abiding with Jesus their entire life. When the last breath is breathed and the final deed is done, only those who have obeyed the gospel and have sincerely received Jesus as Lord and Savior will be saved.