It was a hot day in June when I laced up my tennis shoes to go for an afternoon run in a nearby subdivision. And it was while running, God provided such amazing truth during the next hour! Truth that He knew I needed, for myself and for those I have been praying for so fervently.
He wanted me to pray correctly for them, and now in His providentially timing, He wanted me to know the truth on certain matters.
There were things I had doctrinally wrong – (had been taught all my life and I genuinely thought was true) – and in just one hour of having my undivided attention …
the Lord wanted me to know the truth so that I could not only live the truth, but pray the truth for others.
I simply logged into the Grace to You website as I typically do when I run. Instead of music, I really enjoy listening to preaching from godly men theologians who I have come to highly respect for the past several years. Dr. John MacArthur is one of them, and as I logged into GTY and went to the “sermons” category, it was two messages that grabbed my attention because of how they were titled –
I started into my run with Part 1 playing, and had to listen to Part 2 as soon as I got home. He explained so much divine truth in that one 2-part message that I took my notebook and pulled up the transcripts to these messages to record all the Scripture he used and to underline his key points.
I hope you will take some time to listen to both parts of this dynamic message – here is an excerpt from the series:
“When Jesus says at the day of judgment to the person making an empty profession, “I never knew you,” He is saying, “We never had a relationship of any kind.” You may have respect for their claim of interest in Christ. You may have respect for the fact that they talk about Jesus, they talk about Him as Lord. You may have respect for a certain measure of orthodoxy. You may have respect for the fervency that is exhibited in their public devotion. You may see people like this singing hymns or even performing hymns and songs of testimony to Christ. You may have respect for some who can actually preach, some who claim to cast out demons, some who claim to do miracles.
Back in verse 13, Jesus said, “Enter by the narrow gate; for the gate is wide, the way is broad that leads to destruction; many are those who enter by it. For the gate is small and the way is narrow that leads to life, and few are those who find it.” They didn’t come by the narrow gate. They didn’t come with an attitude of repentance. They didn’t come knowing they were sinners. They didn’t come stripped bare. They didn’t come naked, destitute, hungering and thirsting for righteousness with that Beatitude attitude.
It’s a scary thing to think about this, folks. It’s a frightening thing to think about, that there are going to be people cast into hell who have spent a great portion of their life giving testimony to their faith in Jesus Christ. But they’re only empty words. Show me your life. So you have the professors and the possessors. You have the false claimants and the true claimants, but both look alike. And the stunning thing about this illustration is that you really can’t tell the difference on the surface. Both appear the same. That is to say, we’re talking to people who belong to the visible church.
We’re talking to people who have been exposed to Scripture, “They have heard the sayings of Mine.” They attend meetings, they attend preaching, they go to Bible study; they may attend a Christian college, they may end up in a seminary; they may read Christian books. On the surface they look like everybody else who is a true Christian, and the foundation is not visible. The real question here then is not whether they have heard the gospel, it’s not about whether they’ve heard the teaching of Christ, but, “What do they do about it genuinely?” It’s not just that they have heard the teaching about Christ, they’ve actually done it, done ministry in His name.
You know, I agree with Arthur Pink who once said, “There are some who say they are saved before they ever have any sense they are lost.” And it’s almost against the rules now to give someone an overwhelming sense that they are lost, to drive them down deep into the ugliness of their own heart, the wretchedness of their own sin. But the wise are not in a hurry, they want to make sure that what they’re doing is the real thing. There are many who would claim Christ as Lord who have no thought of what that means. In fact, strangely but truly, there are many people who confess Jesus as Lord and don’t think that means He’s in charge.” – JohnMacArthur