Breaking Free from the Illusion of Salvation

I was not only raised in a good church, I was a good kid. I walked the aisle, attended youth group, went to conferences, memorized verses, and even help lead a youth ministry – but I didn't know Jesus. I hadn't truly experienced the life-changing power of God. 

Yes, we can be so close and yet so far away from saving faith. The illusion of salvation is so blinding that no one is beyond the reach of its deception. Jesus says that preachers, demon casters, and even Christian workers can claim the name of God...and not be his kids.

Matthew 7:21-23 21 “Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. On that day many will say to me, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and cast out demons in your name, and do many mighty works in your name?’ And then will I declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from me, you workers of lawlessness.’

Here’s what this means for us practically:

  1. Don't make "getting to church" the goal for your kids. Settle for nothing less than "their life transformed by the power of Christ".
  2. Look at how God describes and defines new life (Soak in Gospel of John).
  3. Resist trying to convince yourself that spiritual activity equals spiritual life.
  4. Pray for spiritual clarity and freedom from deception. We can pray this, for ourselves and those we love.
  5. Never stand in judgment over someone's salvation, that's God's job. But do hold high a biblical vision for the power of the gospel.

God bless you in this season. May the life of Christ transform you and those you love!

MUCH

It's to God's glory that YOU bear much fruit – your gifting being used powerfully, your character growing in stature, your light shining brightly – God getting the glory and you getting the joy!

Below is a message I gave last week at Harvest Naperville. I hope it challenges and encourages you. If you've ever wondered why you are not bearing MUCH fruit – wonder no more.

Four Words That Will Change You

The good news of Jesus and the result of God touching our life isn't just some wimpy platitude – It will change you or wasn't the real deal. For too many the reality and power of salvation is illusive because they've settled for intellectual assent but the power of the gospel has never touched their soul. Many have walked isles but not yet walked with God. This doesn't have to be the case.

Take a listen to some of the clearest evidence of what happens when authentic change happens. When God touches a heart and turns a life, it comes "not only in word, but in power and in the Holy Spirit and with full conviction". This is how each of us can have assurance of salvation...to know "that he has chosen you". I Thessalonians 1:4-5

Yes, we can be so close and yet so far away from saving faith. The illusion of salvation is so blinding that no one is beyond the reach of its deception. Jesus says that preachers, demon casters, and even Christian workers can claim the name of God...and not be his kids. Matthew 7:21-23

It's no accident that, just following those stone sobering words by Jesus, a leper (one that was filthy and believed to suffering from his sin) approached him. He simply said "Lord, make me clean". The answer for our lostness, deception, and powerless life is to confess the uncleanliness of our soul and trust Jesus to touch it and turn it. Let him! Matthew 8:1-3

What Jesus Did For Us All

Life is a battle and the stakes are high. Recognizing that we are broken and in need of help is the best thing that could happen to any of us. The truth is that self reliance and pride are the enemies of real life. When we have a moment of clarity we're then ready for the deepest and most important questions of life.

If you're uncertain about where you stand with God, this will help clear things up. God's passion and power to save people from their sin and tangled brokenness is truly amazing. Let God speak into your heart and soul. Let him remind you of his goodness or maybe you can taste it for the first time. 

Please Say It..."God, Make Me Clean"

The good news and the result of God touching our life just isn't wimpy. But for too many the reality and power of salvation is illusive because they've settled for intellectual assent but the power of the gospel has never touched their soul. Many have walked isles but not yet walked with God. This doesn't have to be the case.

Take a listen to some of the clearest evidence of what happens when authentic change happens. When God touches a heart and turns a life, it comes "not only in word, but in power and in the Holy Spirit and with full conviction". This is how each of us can have assurance of salvation...to know "that he has chosen you". I Thessalonians 1:4-5

Yes, we can be so close and yet so far away from saving faith. The illusion of salvation is so blinding that no one is beyond the reach of its deception. Jesus says that preachers, demon casters, and even Christian workers can claim the name of God...and not be his kids. Matthew 7:21-23

It's no accident that, just following those stone sobering words by Jesus, a leper (one that was filthy and believed to suffering from his sin) approached him. He simply said "Lord, make me clean". The answer for our lostness, deception, and powerless life is to confess the uncleanliness of our soul and trust Jesus to touch it and turn it. Let him! Matthew 8:1-3

Make Sure, You Are Leaky

Guest Blogger - Jim Strietlemeier

Last week, a seven years old boy, in my Sunday School class said “I want to make sure I’m saved.” It was the end of class. We had been working through memorizing the names of the books of the Bible. Our teaching was about Joseph and the coat of many colors. I wondered what had spurred the question. This young man has a particularly Biblical name. But up until the question about salvation, I thought his name was the only bit of Bible he knew. He and I worked through the Romans explanation of salvation. He already believed that God had raised Jesus from the dead. He confessed that Jesus was Lord. He seemed to have a clear enough understanding of the concepts. So clear, that I could tell him “if these things are true, you are saved!” I took him to the lady who brought him to church. She brings lots of kids to church, as do all our leaders. I found out that he and his brother had gotten into so much trouble that they were not welcome in another church. Of course he was worried about his salvation.

This is the case for all of us who know the Lord. We receive Christ. We grow in our knowledge and relationship with the Lord. We learn more of His Word. We begin to live the abundant life. We are filled with the Holy Spirit. We have prayed the prayers. Then we find our feet dirty from living in the world. Sin has intruded into our fellowship with the Lord and we feel a need to make sure that we are in Christ. The Apostle Peter tells us to make our calling and election sure. We are people who should be in the habit of confessing our sins to each other and especially to God, so that the faithful and just One will forgive us our sins and cleanse us from all unrighteousness. For those who attempt to keep short accounts with the Lord, we can agree with DL Moody, the best known evangelist of the eighteen hundreds. He answered about the filling of the Holy Spirit, “I need a continual infilling, because I leak.” We all must agree with the Apostle Paul, “Oh Wretched man that I am who will deliver me from the body of this death? But thanks be to God, Who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.”

The victorious life is one of moment by moment submission to God. But when sin stands in the way of the deep parts of walking with Christ, then we feel like that seven year old in my Sunday School class. Yet we have an answer. Make sure you are in the faith. Look to Jesus, the author and finisher our our faith. Then press forward with the confidence of a seven year old. And know that unless you change and become like a little child, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven.

Romans 10:9-10, John 10:10, 13:1-17, James 5, I John 1:9, II Peter 1:10, I Thessalonians 5:19, Romans 7:24,

Hebrews 12:2, Matthew 18:2-4

Read more of Jim's blogs, go to Richinfaith.org