The short answer is — NO! Do you call yourself a Christian? Why? Is it because you…
- grew up attending a church with your family?
- were “born” in that denomination? Like I was born Catholic, to Catholic parents on a Catholic island.
- aren’t Jewish, Muslim, Buddhist, or Hindu, so you must be Christian?
- attend a church every Sunday?
- attend a church every Christmas and Easter?
- grew up forced to attend a church you didn’t understand or had a bad experience, then stopped going?
- know that Jesus Christ is your personal savior and that He is the only way to get into Heaven?
I hope you answered #7. Then you are a true Christian. All others fall into the category of the ones Jesus “never knew”.
21 “Not everyone who calls out to me, ‘Lord! Lord!’ will enter the Kingdom of Heaven. Only those who actually do the will of my Father in heaven will enter. 22 On judgment day many will say to me, ‘Lord! Lord! We prophesied in your name and cast out demons in your name and performed many miracles in your name.’ 23 But I will reply, ‘I never knew you. Get away from me, you who break God’s laws.’”Matthew 7:21-23 NLT
Living in Both Worlds gets you Nowhere
I know. I tried it. I was born again in 1995, but the church I was attending didn’t really teach the truth about salvation. No one guided me. I realized that I wasn’t sure if I would be left behind at the Rapture or not. So, what did I have to lose?
However, I didn’t really repent totally of my sins, because, I kept on sinning. I continued to live in the culture of partying and having fun, even if I sort of knew it was wrong. We made a joke of it. We’d say, “You know, we really shouldn’t be doing this.”
Then someone would say, “Yeah, but it’s fun!”
We weren’t hurting anyone. But if Jesus had decided to come back right then and there, I would have been ashamed of what I was caught doing. Oh, by the way, God does see EVERYTHING that you — good and bad!
It was just as bad as when I was attending the Catholic Church as a kid and had to make up sins — yes, I lied to the priest — because I had been a good girl that week. It’s almost like it’s OK to sin as long as you go to confession on Saturday so you can go to Mass on Sunday. We’re told we’re not supposed to sin, but we’re not taught the truth. And that truth is: if you believe that Jesus Christ died for your sins, and you repent of your sins, you are guaranteed a one-way, non-stop ticket to Heaven!
Jesus is the Door and Repentance is the Key to the Kingdom of God
Even after I was baptized again — which is a way of admitting to yourself and showing the world that you choose to follow Jesus — I still found it hard to give up some worldly things. Moreover, in baptism, you choose to die to your old self and are reborn — hence the “born again” label — to a new life in Christ. At that point, too, I received the Holy Spirit in my heart.
That’s what Jesus meant when He told Nicodemus…
“I assure you, no one can enter the Kingdom of God without being born of water and the Spirit.”John 3:5 NLT
The Conviction of the Holy Spirit
However, I was trying to live with one foot in the Kingdom and one foot still on earth. But the Holy Spirit convicted me. That’s “sanctification”. I kept having this nagging feeling in my heart that what I was doing was wrong.
Just the other day, I bought a t-shirt at my church and I was short $1. The guy said, “Don’t worry about it.”
So, I said, “OK, thanks!” and I went home.
The next week, as soon as I saw him, I was nagged by the Spirit, “You know you owe the church a dollar.” Darn! I didn’t have any cash with me.
The following week, I specifically got cash and walked right up to the guy and said, “I owe you a dollar! Here.” I told him, it would bug me until I paid it. That’s the Holy Spirit.
Back in the day, I would have walked away thinking, “I just saved a dollar!” But that would have been wrong. That would have been Satan whispering in my ear, “Good for you! You saved $1!” But, I was really stealing from the church.
Satan is the Enemy
Satan’s only role in this world is to disrupt the work of the Kingdom of God. He’s a deceiver, a tempter, a thief, and a destroyer. The devil want’s us to perish. He wants as many people as he can to go to hell — and yes, hell exists!
God, on the other hand, wants to fill up Heaven!
God is not willing that anyone should perish, but that all should come to repentance.
12 “What do you think? If a man owns a hundred sheep, and one of them wanders away, will he not leave the ninety-nine on the hills and go to look for the one that wandered off? 13 And if he finds it, truly I tell you, he is happier about that one sheep than about the ninety-nine that did not wander off. 14 In the same way your Father in heaven is not willing that any of these little ones should perish.Matthew 18:12-14 NIV
The Holy Spirit helps us Develop Discernment
Every follower of Jesus receives the gifts of revelation and discernment. And every believer needs to use them in today’s world!
Developing discernment means being able to determine what is right or wrong in any given situation.
It’s about bringing the Kingdom of God to uphold truth in the time and place in which you live.
Revelation, you’ll see as you read the Bible daily, is getting an “ah-ha” moment when you truly understand what it says. No one has to interpret it for you. That’s the Holy Spirit’s job! However you, can turn to Bible lessons in the free apps like YouVersion and ThroughTheWord.
Foundational Kingdom Basics
The basic building blocks of a Godly Kingdom life are:
- Authentic faith
- Godly core values
- Walking in Christ’s authority
- Walking in community
- Powerful proclamations
To embody each of these parts, we must receive—and give—wisdom from above that is beyond our years.
Two Kinds of Wisdom
13 Who is wise and understanding among you? Let them show it by their good life, by deeds done in the humility that comes from wisdom. 14 But if you harbor bitter envy and selfish ambition in your hearts, do not boast about it or deny the truth. 15 Such “wisdom” does not come down from heaven but is earthly, unspiritual, demonic. 16 For where you have envy and selfish ambition, there you find disorder and every evil practice.
17 But the wisdom that comes from heaven is first of all pure; then peace-loving, considerate, submissive, full of mercy and good fruit, impartial and sincere. 18 Peacemakers who sow in peace reap a harvest of righteousness.James 3:13-18 NIV
Is Jesus in YOUR Heart?
Christ’s kingdom is a spiritual kingdom in the hearts of people.
One day the Pharisees asked Jesus, “When will the Kingdom of God come?” Jesus replied, “The Kingdom of God can’t be detected by visible signs. You won’t be able to say, ‘Here it is!’ or ‘It’s over there!’ For the Kingdom of God is already among you.”Luke 17:20-21 NLT
Is He in YOUR Heart? No? Are you not sure? You need to invite Him in! He’s knocking! Let Him in! Jesus said…
20 “Look! I stand at the door and knock. If you hear my voice and open the door, I will come in, and we will share a meal together as friends. 21 Those who are victorious will sit with me on my throne, just as I was victorious and sat with my Father on his throne.
22 “Anyone with ears to hear must listen to the Spirit and understand what he is saying to the churches.”Revelation 3:20-22 NLT
Are you listening? Are you paying attention? Do you get it?
In conclusion, you can easily keep going the wrong way or you can go the ONLY way — THROUGH JESUS!
One glorious day, Jesus will return to fully establish His kingdom rule on earth. What you believe about that significantly influences your faith. Accordingly, it determines the way you live. We must live “In the world” not “of the world”. Furthermore, the only way to do that is to have Jesus in your heart and read the Bible daily — feed on the Word of God.
Believe. Repent. Be Baptized. Receive the Holy Spirit.
- Believe — have Faith — that Jesus is the Christ and He died taking your sins away forever.
- Repent of your sins — stop sinning! Do a complete 180 in your life and surrender your life to Him.
- Be Baptized — show the world and yourself that you have died to your old life and are born again in Christ.
- Receive the Holy Spirit in your heart.
Pray this prayer humbly and wholeheartedly…
“Dear Lord Jesus, I know I am a sinner. I believe You died for my sins. Please forgive me. Right now, I turn from my sins and open the door of my heart and my life to you. I confess You as my personal Lord and Savior. I will follow you for the rest of my life. Thank You, Jesus, for saving me. In Jesus’ name, Amen.”
Next Steps in Your New Walk with Jesus…
- Start reading the Bible daily to get to know God. If you don’t have one, I recommend the YouVersion, Bible.app and Through the Word app — both are free and have a lot of great Bible studies.
- Pray every day. Talk to God. Ask the Holy Spirit to guide you daily.
- Find and join a Bible-believing church — preferably a non-denominational one and be baptized!
Jesus Christ is coming back soon! Are you ready?
Soli Deo Gloria — To God Alone Be the Glory!