A number of years ago, when reel-to-reel tape players were a big thing on the electronics market, one magnetic recording tape company, Memorex, came out with a commercial where the Queen of Jazz, Ella Fitzgerald would sing a note that would shatter a glass, while a Memorex tape recorded her voice. Later, in the commercial, they would once again show the scene of the breaking of the glass, and ask the question, “Is it live or is it Memorex?” The viewer was left asking themselves the question of who actually broke the glass, Ms. Fitzgerald or was it the recording of her voice showing the high quality of the Memorex recording tape. I’m not sure if we ever found out but if you saw the commercial, it was one that you didn’t forget.
Today, we have many items in the area of consumables that are fake. There are fake Rolex watches, fake designer handbags, fake paintings — the list is numerous. If there is a real product, you can almost bet there is also a fake product on the market too. I remember once that I bought a set of expensive golf clubs on eBay, and when I received them, I was able to discern that they were fake clubs. They looked almost like the real thing, but they were not. Like they say, “Close, but no cigar!”
In 2.Timothy 3:5, the Bible says there are those who, “have a form of godliness but deny its power….” What that means is there are people who seemingly believe the teachings of the Bible, but they are far from being a Christian. That got me to thinking that there are people in this world, even in Madison County and in London, Ohio who believe they are following correct Biblical teaching and doing what is necessary to get into Heaven but will, one day, hear the words of Jesus when He says to them, “Depart from Me you worker of iniquity. I never knew you.” How could that happen to someone who really thought they were going to go to Heaven when they died or when the Lord returned for His church?
Easy. Easy? Yes, easy. There are numerous preachers, teachers, pastors and evangelists who are preaching a fake gospel. There is the “Name it — Claim it Gospel.” Then there is the “Blab it — Grab it Gospel.” The gospel of reward, where if you sow into an evangelist’s ministry, God will bless you 100 fold. And on and on and on, the wheel of fake gospel spins. Some churches teach you can get to Heaven by being good and treating others good. Others believe if your good works outweigh your bad works, you will get into Heaven.
There are some who actually teach a works religion. Do all that you can do on earth and if you have done enough, God will let you into His Heaven. Really? Let me ask you a few questions about these fake religions. How much money do I need to send an evangelist or a TV preacher to get into Heaven? If I am not as rich as someone else, is my giving goal less than theirs? How will I know if my good works outweigh my bad works? Do I have to wait until I get to Heaven and stand before God to hear of my fate? And when will my works allow me to get into Heaven? Will God tell me or will one of His angels whisper in my ear that I have worked enough?
I’m not trying to make light of anyone’s beliefs, but I am concerned that way too many people are going to miss Heaven by about 12 inches. Yep. Twelve inches. That is the distance from your brain to your heart. Many people have what is called temporal belief which is the same belief in God that people have about George Washington being the first President of the United States. I wasn’t there to see it, but I just believe it. It’s what I have been taught. But the Bible says we have to “believe in our heart (Romans 10:9-13) that Jesus is the Son of God, and that God has raised Him from the dead. The heart represents life and when we accept Jesus into our lives and accept the free gift of eternal life, then we have come to the place where it has nothing to do with us and everything to do with Him.
Listen if your church doesn’t tell you about the necessity to be born again or they don’t teach about salvation, or being born again, run. Yes, run. As fast as you can go run. Why? Because you are being taught a fake gospel that will take you to the very gates of hell itself. You have a form of godliness, but you don’t know the power behind it. In other words, you are religious, but you are not a Christian. I can relate.
There was a time in my life I thought if anyone is going to Heaven, it’s me. I wasn’t too good and I wasn’t too bad. I was walking right down the middle of life’s highway. How could God send a person like me to Hell? Well, He doesn’t send anyone to Hell. We make the decision where we will spend our eternity. And because the answer to eternal life with God is found in His written Word, the Bible says we are without excuse if we don’t find it. I found it and I am telling you how to find it too. Are you sure where you are going to spend your eternity?
I don’t mean, “You hope so or you are counting on it.” I mean, when you lay your head down on your pillow tonight, if something were to happen to you, do you know for certain that you will spend your eternity with God in Heaven? You say that we can’t know. Who told you that? Read I. John 5:13, please. And then go ask your pastor why he has never told you this. And then say goodbye and walk out the door of that church and never go back. “If see know the truth, the truth will set you free.”
And that is Something to Think About for this week.
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Pastor Thad Gifford is the founding and lead pastor of the Crossroads Community Church, 62 E. Second St., London. He can be reached at 740-852-7800, email him at firstname.lastname@example.org, www.3C-Church.org or visit the church’s Facebook page at Crossroadslondon.