The Church of the Last Days: Many Are Religious, But Unsaved

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 His 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 invitation.

In verse 9, the king sends out 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 clothed in his own righteousness, but will not wear the righteousness of God that come only by surrender to Christ as Savior and Lord.

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.

“I Used To Be A Believer”

Those who claimed that they once believe in Jesus, but now are no longer able; in reality, were only pretend believers, who had sought to enter in to the promises of God for eternal life, without wearing the garments of Jesus’ righteousness that God requires. True repentance means a turning away from sin and the things of this world, while acceptingJesus as Savior and Lord.

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:

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—. ~Revelation 3:17

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.

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. ~Deuteronomy 28:26

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!” ~1 Samuel 17:44

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
Mark 4:30-32
Luke 13:18-19

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.” ~Matthew 13:31-32

A second illustration of the unsaved who inhabit the Christian church of the last days, is found in the Parable of the Tares:

The Tares: The False Believers

Matthew 13:24-30, 36-43

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.” ’ ” ~Matthew 13:24-30

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

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.” ~Matthew 13:47-50

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).

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!’ ~Matthew 7:21-23

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.” ~Matthew 21:28-32

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.

God Has No Grandchildren

There are also many people in the world who were raised in a Christian home where their parents were believers in Jesus. Some had a father who was a pastor and they personally witnessed the power of the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

The problem is that these who are raised in a Christian home, often are not saved. They believe that because they were raised a Christian, they are a Christian. It is a surprise and sometimes offensive, when they learn that they are not saved.

Salvation is a personal matter between each person and God. Jesus said it clearly: “Unless you all repent, you will all be lost.”

Many people who are raised in a Christian home, know the Bible well and can quote it to others. Some teach Bible studies, have Christian websites and blogs. Although they know a great deal about Jesus, they don’t know Him personally as their Lord and Savior.

The familiar verse, John 3:16-18:

For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.

Some even quote the next verse:

For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world through Him might be saved.

Very few quite the rest of what Jesus said, and this is perhaps the most important part of the Gospel:

He who believes in Him is not condemned; but he who does not believe is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God.

The absence of the complete Gospel is seen in the religious but unsaved, when they object to a true follower of Jesus telling a person that they must repent and turn from their sins, and then come and receive Jesus and live for Him.

When this part of the Gospel is preached, the religious but unsaved, object fervently and accuse the true believer of being judgmental and condemning.

The reason that these persons object to the inclusion of, “He who believes in Him is not condemned; but he who does not believe is condemned already,” is because they have also, failed to fully committed their lives to Christ.

When we examine the lives of the religious but unsaved, we see little or no evidence of their faith in Jesus. Their social media pages are filled with their hobbies and interests, but their is no mention of their love for Jesus or sincere desire that people everywhere might be saved.

David wrote 3,000 years ago, “Let the redeemed of the Lord say so.” In other words, a person who has a true and genuine relationship with Jesus, will feel compelled to talk about their love for Jesus and desire for people to be saved.

The truly saved will never feel offended when they read the words of a true believer who warns the lost that to reject Jesus will eternally separate them from God. Anything less than this warning, along with encouragement to turn from sin to Christ, is an incomplete Gospel.

Today, churches are good at telling people about the love of God, but they leave out the Holiness of God that requires absolute surrender to God and a complete desire to turn from sin and follow Jesus with all of the heart.

It is very easy to see the true believer. They live for Jesus.

Early Christian recording artist, Keith Green was asked what his definition was for a Christian. He said, “Someone who is Bananas for Jesus.” A person that shows and speaks of their love for Jesus everywhere.

If we see a person’s life and they rarely or never mention their love for Jesus or fail to talk about the necessity of salvation in Jesus, it is difficult to know if that person has truly be born again by the Spirit of God as Jesus described in John 3:3

Jesus replied, “I tell you the truth, unless you are born again, you cannot see the Kingdom of God.”

In John chapter 14, Jesus describes the fact that when anyone places their trust in Him and receives the forgiveness of their sins and eternal life, He comes to live inside that person. God created us with a physical body but this is not the true person who exists. Our primary composition is that of spirit, which lives in a human body. It is through the body that we are able to express ourselves and communicate with other persons on earth. It is through the Spirit that God is able to communicate with us and we are able to know Him.

Prior to our salvation, the Bible describes the spirit within us as dead. Until we are born of the Spirit, we cannot know God, understand His word, and are prohibited from having a relationship with Him. Before we make a decision to trust in Jesus for our Salvation, it is impossible for us to enter heaven because our sins have separated us from Him.

At the moment of salvation, a second birth takes place that Jesus describes in John chapter 3. Jesus said that those who turn from their sins and receive Him as their Savior are “born again,” a second time, by the Spirit. It is at this point that our relationship with God is restored because all our sins are gone and there is no longer a separation between us and God.

Jesus replied, “I tell you the truth, unless you are born again, you cannot see the Kingdom of God.” “What do you mean?” exclaimed Nicodemus. “How can an old man go back into his mother’s womb and be born again?”Jesus replied, “I assure you, no one can enter the Kingdom of God without being born of water and the Spirit. Humans can reproduce only human life, but the Holy Spirit gives birth to spiritual life. ~John 3:3-6 (NLT)

Then Jesus tells Nicodemus that this second birth of the Spirit takes place when anyone realized who Jesus is and receives Him as their Savior.

For this is how God loved the world: He gave his one and only Son, so that everyone who believes in him will not perish but have eternal life. ~John 3:16 (NLT)

From this we learn that in our natural state as human beings, we cannot have a relationship with God. We cannot enter heaven because our sins have separated us. In the process of accepting that Jesus has died for us and we are sorry for our sins and are willing to turn from these sins, we can receive Jesus into our heart and at that moment, the Spirit of God causes our spirit to come alive.

If you were raised in a Christian home, have you truly and personally turned from your sins and committed fully, to follow Jesus? If you find that you don’t have a fervent desire to talk about Jesus and make Him known to the world, it is doubtful that this has taken place.

You can test this today by understanding what Jesus said:

If you love your father or mother more than you love me, you are not worthy of being mine; or if you love your son or daughter more than me, you are not worthy of being mine. If you refuse to take up your cross and follow me, you are not worthy of being mine.  If you cling to your life, you will lose it; but if you give up your life for me, you will find it. ~Matthew 10:37-39 (NLT)

If we love anything more than we love Jesus, we are not worthy of following Jesus. Our salvation requires a full and complete commitment to HIm. Jesus deserves the very best of our life because He gave everything to make our salvation possible.

Let the redeemed of the Lord, say so.


NOTES:
Descriptions of the Parables, taken From “The Parables, Prophecies, and Prayers of Jesus,” by Robert Clifton Robinson



Categories: Going to Church but unsaved

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