Are you aware that sometimes our sins, as believers, turn people away from Christ and from salvation? The things we do without a thought or while taking the grace for granted are actually great hindrances to evangelism and to salvation. Well, this morning, our sin as believers was one of the reasons that someone gave for not considering giving her life to Christ.
“...Jesus declared, “I tell you the truth, no-one can see the kingdom of God unless he is born again” (John 3:3).
Even if I love evangelizing, people do not always receive me with open arms. In fact, sometimes people border on insolence when I open my mouth to request that they give their lives to Christ.
In respect of the above, I needed to buy something this morning. Therefore, as I was walking to work, I noticed a tiny shop that I had never noticed before. It was one of those shops that one can only describe using the term ‘struggling’; so feeling compassionate for the woman inside I decided to support her business. After I had bought what I wanted, I asked her if she is born-again and she said that she is not. However, I noticed a change in her body language indicating her sudden defensiveness. Well, that did not stop me so I told her that one would only make it to heaven if he or she is born-again. It was the wrong thing to say...according to her.
She then started a tirade of how born-again people think they are so righteous and that that is why she cannot give her life to Christ. I could tell she was Catholic even before she loudly and proudly declared it and she said that GOD knows us all and that she would never give her life to Christ.
You see, according to her even if we believers ‘pretend’ to be righteous we carry out so many unrighteous deeds and then hide behind salvation. I did not even deny that. I told her that even though a born-again person may sin that shouldn’t stop her from giving her life to Christ. However, she was so engrossed in listening to her own nasty remarks about born-again people fueled by her justification that her current religion is the best place to be that her deaf ears rebuked the sweet words of salvation. Seeing that I was getting nowhere with her, I felt sorry for her, blessed her, and excused myself. As I walked away, I could hear her continue her side of the conversation. You must realize that she was alone in the shop...
“He said to them, “Go into all the world and preach the good news to all creation” (Mark 16:15).
Although I was sadder when I walked away from her shop than I had been when I walked in, it was a bittersweet feeling - I was sad but I was also happy. I was so sad that she failed to see the freedom in and of salvation. I was also sad that she refused to take hold of the gift of salvation yet secured her hold on the religion that she had put in Christ’s place. I was also saddened by the fact that she insisted on focusing on all the nasty things that born-again people do instead of focusing on the goodness of GOD. Nonetheless, I was happy that I had at least evangelized to yet another soul and that GOD had opened the ‘Zion’s file’ while I preached about His Son and recorded what I had done. You see, for me I had done my part – I had fulfilled the great commission by preaching the gospel of JESUS CHRIST! The rest was up to her.
As I continued to think about it, I pitied all those souls out there who are held in bondage because of the mistakes that believers make. I pitied them because if they continued looking at the mistakes of others, they shall would fail to get to heaven. You see, even if I tread carefully lest I fall, I cannot promise that I will not fall. However, if I do fall, I will realize that I have fallen and I will feel extremely bad about it instead of justifying myself. I will then look up to GOD, confess my sin and ask Him to forgive me. I will not flippantly use the grace, donning a carefree attitude that I can sin as much as I want because the grace is sufficient...However, because I have given my life to Christ, I endeavor to love what He loves and hate what He hates which makes me more secure against sinning.
The reason why most refuse to give their lives to Christ is that they think that we condemn them by preaching the gospel of salvation to them. Therefore, they justify themselves and hold on tight to whatever it is that they have put in the place of Christ.
Without being too complicated about this, salvation is putting Christ first in your life. It is taking what you call ‘religion’, putting it down and picking up the true ‘religion’ – CHRIST. I do not care what religion you are inclined to, if does not have the word Pentecostal or born-again in it, you have taken a name and put it in place of Christ. If you have not confessed Christ as your personal Savior and asked Him to come and live in your life, you are not born-again regardless of whether you believe that He is the Son of GOD. If you have not purposed to lay aside those sins that you committed before you gave your life to Christ, then you have repented your sin but still hold on to it. If you do not feel remorseful when you are verbally abusive or when you are sexually immoral, among other things, then you are not truly born-again...born of the Spirit of GOD. Salvation is a relationship with GOD - you choose Him over everything else and determine to relate with Him. You believe, in your heart, and confess with your mouth that JESUS is the Son of GOD and that He died and rose again. You believe that as He died, you too die to your sins and live in Him. I did not argue with that woman in the shop about the sins that we believers make sometimes because we do fall. However, that is not how it is supposed to be. If we indeed have Christ, we should not sin but in the event that we do, we should be remorseful for having wronged the one we love! You do not give your life to Christ because you will not sin but because you are supposed to give it to Him – you are required to. All the other religions that believe in Christ but that have not confessed Him as their personal Savior have invited Him to their living rooms but have not let Him into the rest of their house.
“and repentance and forgiveness of sins will be preached in his name to all nations” (Luke 24:47).
Today, I do not promise you that I will not fall because I may but I promise you that I will try not to fall but that when I do fall I will not be down for long!
When you do give your life to Christ, you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit as well - He will help you along. The Holy Spirit is our Helper and He helps us in our relationship with Christ. He convicts us of sin that we are about to commit as well as that that we have committed already. He also encourages us to confess and repent of that sin and turn back to GOD. You must realize that we do not walk alone in this journey of salvation. GOD carries us through it and helps us do the right thing. You see Christ called it the repentance and remission of sin! This means that we repent of sin and ensure that we sin no more!
If you are born-again and are living your life flippantly by sinning and not feeling remorseful about it or by not turning away from it, I would like you to know that you are giving Christ a bad name. You are the reason some souls out there will never give their lives to Christ. Consequently, I urge you to stop doing all you are doing that does not glorify GOD. Repent and turn from that sin right now.
We all like acclaim and being cheered on but we must also be accountable first to GOD but to those who have cheered us on. If you are in any sort of leadership, and I would like you to know that we all are in some way, boldly declare your sin to all and ask them to forgive you after you have done so with GOD. Tell them that what you did was not right and that you ask for their forgiveness.
However, if you are reading this but are not born-again, I ask you to give your life to Christ not because those of us who have are without sin but because it is required of you. If you give your life to Christ, you do so in order to go to heaven.
Dear GOD, I confess that I have sometimes been a bad example to those I lead. I repent of all the things that I have done that have led souls away from you instead of towards you. Please forgive me.
I have sometimes also been flippant about my sinfulness taking the grace for granted. Please forgive me. I now ask you to cleanse me and make me whole again. Holy Spirit, please help me never to sin again and when I do, please convict me of that sin and help me repent and turn from it completely.
Lord JESUS, I believe that you are the Son of GOD and that you died for me on the Cross and rose again. I confess that not confessing you as my personal Savior, makes me a sinner by default. Please forgive me. I now release all my sin, habits and the religion that I have always put in your place. I enthrone you in my life as the King of my life, all my thoughts, plans, and actions. Hide me under your precious blood so that I am secure in salvation and so that I do not fall or turn away from you. Give me the grace to be exemplary to all those around me but also to those I am in leadership over so that I can point them to you instead of away from you. In JESUS’ name, I have prayed, amen.