We are living in exciting times for the growth of the Church. There is no doubt about that. Large churches are growing all around the United States, adding 1,000s to worship Jesus on Sunday morning. In 2008, an American evangelical denomination reported that 2.5 million decisions were made for Christ. Yet, with all the excitement about the contemporary church in the United States, it seems that the statistics are revealing a darker side.
An American Barna group study found that 45 percent of those who profess to be born-again Christians believe that gambling is morally acceptable. 41 percent also think the Bible, Koran, and the book of Mormon are all different interpretations of the same spiritual truth–despite the book’s vastly contradictory teachings on truth, salvation, the nature of God, and the afterlife. Is there something wrong with this picture? Jesus warned us that in the last days, many false prophets and religions will appear and deceive many people (Matt. 24:11).
The darker statistics continue. Almost half of professing U.S. Christians believe that living with someone of the opposite sex before marriage is morally permissible–despite the Bible’s prohibition against it. Promise Keepers, an organization for men and women devoted to maintaining sexual purity, found that 53 percent visit porn sites every week. More alarming, an internet survey of 6,000 Pastors conducted in 2002 found that 30 percent of pastors had viewed internet porn in the last 30 days.
The Bible says in 1 Corinthians, “No sexually immoral person will enter the Kingdom of Heaven?” Is that you today? Are you letting a harlot visit you through the television or computer screen? Are you flirting with a co-worker in the office who is not your spouse? Are you reading fictional Romance, even Christian ones, that are distracting you from your own husband? If so, remember Proverbs 5:
“For the lips of the adulterous woman drip honey, and her speech is smoother than oil; but in the end she is bitter as gall, sharp as a double-edged sword. Her feet go down to death; her steps lead straight to the grave. She gives no thought to the way of life; her paths wander aimlessly, but she does not know it.”
Think for a moment about these sobering facts and figures. Here we have millions of “believers” who profess Jesus as Lord, and yet their theological understanding, ethical views, and daily lives are evidence they don’t know God. The shocking fact is that these statistics are not based on the unbelieving world–It’s not the culture outside of the walls of the church; it’s talking about the people sitting in the pews and at the pulpit. That means some people who are reading this message might possibly be the ones described in Matthew 7:21-22, who don’t enter Heaven, but are cast into Hell.
“Not everyone who says to me Lord, Lord, will enter the Kingdom of Heaven, but He who does the will of my Father who is in heaven will enter. Many will say to me on that day, Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name and in your name drive out demons and in your name perform many miracles? And Jesus will declare to them, “I never knew you, depart from me, you who practice lawlessness.”
Think about how seemingly spiritual people can be and still not make it to heaven. They called Jesus Lord, they weren’t ashamed to prophesy or cast out demons. These people seem to be more spiritual than the average churchgoer, and yet they will be rejected on the day of Judgment by the Lord Jesus Christ.
What is the solution? Examine yourselves to see whether you are in the faith ( 2 Cor. 13:5). Are you producing fruit or are you an empty branch? The fruits of the spirit are: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. Do these virtues describe you? Are you trusting in Christ? If not, then critically analyze whether you have been born again.
You are not saved by doing good works, but your good works help you identify whether God’s spirit is in you. James said, “Faith without works is dead.” Let me make it clear that we are saved by grace through faith. It’s a free gift from God, not of works, lest any of us boast about our spiritual maturity. All of us have sinned and we fall short of the glory of God. With that all said, it’s still important to be honest about your relationship with God. If it’s not there, then you should repent, for the Kingdom of God is at hand. Seek the Lord now, while He may be found.