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Religion or Christ? - Text

   «Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven.  Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? and in thy name have cast out devils? and in thy name done many wonderful works?  And then will I profess unto them,  I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity» (Matthew 7:21-23).
   Have you been «born again,» my friend?  Will you stand with this large group Jesus calls «many» and hear this awful doom pronounced upon you?  Surely, the saddest words any people could ever hear are these, «I never knew you, depart from me, ye workers of iniquity.»  Now notice with me five things about this Scripture.

                                             IT IMPLIES THE POSSIBILITY OF BEING DECEIVED.

   «Not every one that sayeth unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven» (Vs. 21).  These people were accustomed to saying, «Lord, Lord.»  These people were expecting to go to Heaven.  I imagine that there is to be a note of disappointment in this exclamation, «Lord, Lord.»  They honestly expected to be received into the kingdom.  Yet, they were deceived of the Devil.  They were never born again.
   The Devil is the arch counterfeiter.  He has slipped a counterfeit over on many honest, upright and good people.  Sometimes the Devil slips the counterfeit of church membership over on folk.  Any saved person ought to join the church and be baptized.  But this within itself will never save the soul.  Are you depending upon your church membership?  
The Devil slips the counterfeit of morality over upon some people.  He tells them to reform their lives.  To stop drinking and cursing.        This ought to be done; but this alone will not save.  The Devil, too, slips the counterfeit of self-righteousness over on a great number of people.  He tells them that they are good within themselves.  They do not need to be born again.  
Have you, my friend, trusted anything other than Jesus and His blood to save you?  If so, you are being deceived and will be in the large number who will hear these sad words of the eternal sentence pronounced upon you.  After reading from the Word of this large number who are eternally deceived; it would do you well to look into your own soul; lest you, too, be deceived by the Devil.

                                   IT CERTIFIES THE COMMAND OF CHRIST THAT YE MUST BE BORN AGAIN​
  
   In John 3:5, «Jesus answered, «Verily, verily, I say unto you, Except a man be born again he cannot see the kingdom of God.»  Some try reformation but Jesus preached the New Birth.  Some try self-righteousness, but Jesus preached the NEW BIRTH.  What do I mean by «CERTIFY?»  I mean my text underscores, emphasizes, endorses and guarantees the command; «Ye must be born again.»  
In so many of our churches, today, the message of the NEW BIRTH has been forsaken.  We are trying to socially patch up this Hell-bound society when we ought to be trying to get people saved, to receive Christ.  
Whatever church you may belong to, you are LOST until you have the experience of the NEW BIRTH.  If we preachers could get the vision in our heart of the «many» who in the latter day will be sent to Hell even though they are good and religious; I believe we would preach more of the need of being born again.  Have you been born again?  Remember the command of Christ, «Ye must be born again.»

                                                  IT NULLIFIES ALL GOOD WORKS AS A MEANS OF SALVATION. 


     «Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy  name? and in thy name cast out devils? and in thy name done many wonderful works?» (Vs.22). 
I imagine these lost people were the hardest workers in many churches.  Notice what they say. (1) «We have prophesied.»  So much as to say, we have spoken in thy name.  We have visited the jails. We gave testimonies when the opportunity presented itself.  Yet, Jesus professes, «I never knew you». (2)  They say, «in thy name we have cast out Devils».  My friend, that makes me think in my own heart.  Here is a large crowd of people who had actually cast out Devils; yet, they were unsaved and were sent to Hell.  This ought to teach us once forever that salvation is not dependent upon good works.  I dare say, not one of you could honestly say you have power to cast out Devils.  God help us to examine our own hearts, lest, we be deceived. (3)  They reminded Jesus that in his name they had done many wonderful works.  No doubt they gave large sums of money.  They were the most faithful in their church activities.  
Yet, they were unsaved.  If there is any one lesson we ought to get from our text it is the fact that salvation is entirely of grace through faith.  «For by grace are ye saved through faith: and not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, not of the works lest any man should boast» (Ephesians 2: 8-9).

                                 IT VERIFIES THE CERTAINTY OF ETERNAL BANISHMENT FROM THE PRESENCE OF GOD.

   «...Depart from Me, ye workers of iniquity» (Vs.22). Many about us today are believing and teaching that there is no eternal Hell.  That the grave is all the Hell a lost person will ever experience.  That if there is a Hell it will not be eternal.  I am convinced that the doctrine of Hell is as definite as the doctrine of Heaven.  Hell is everlasting punishment in fire!

                                        IT AMPLIFIES THE MOST HORRIBLE WORDS EVER TO FALL UPON HUMAN EARS.

   «And then I will profess unto them, I NEVER KNEW YOU, DEPART FROM ME YE THAT WORK INIQUITY» (Vs.23).  In spite of your good works, I never knew you.  In spite of your honesty, I never knew you.  In spite of your religious fervency... 
We each have known of someone who had to receive the shocking news that they were sick unto death.  What horrible words these must be when our family doctor breaks the news: that in spite of all that medical science can do, our loved one must die.  That would be almost unbearable; but I remind you my text AMPLIFIES the most HORRIBLE words any human shall ever hear.
Words spoken to honest, upright and religious people.  People who fully expected to get to Heaven.  Yet, to have Jesus profess unto them, «I never knew you, Depart from Me...»
When you hear these words as a lost religious person  your opportunity to get saved shall be forever gone.  Then you will realize the horror of being lost for eternity without any hope.  
My friend, I trust as I bring this message to a close, at least the text has caused you to think and to ponder your condition.  If there is any doubt in your mind that all is well with your soul, I beg you to fall upon your knees now and let Jesus fully come in your heart as your personal Saviour.  To be deceived and to stand with the «many» in that day means to be forever lost and banished from the presence of God.
Why not bow your head now and pray while you have the opportunity?  «For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved» (Romans 10:14).   If you don’t know how, you might pray something like this:  «Lord Jesus, please forgive me.  I admit that I am a sinner and I could never save myself.  Please forgive me for my sin.  Thank you for dying on the cross to pay for my sins.  I need You and I am trusting You and You alone for my salvation!  Save me dear LORD!  In Jesus’ name I pray, Amen!»

 

                                                                                                                                                                  Dr Harold B Sightler

RELGION OR CHRIST? 

Tom Meador