• O Lord our God, other masters besides You have ruled us; But through You alone we confess Your name. [Isa 26:13 NASB]. Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me. [Mat 11:29 NASB].

True Salvation vs the modern American gospel

This is a call to come out of the modern American gospel. Seek repentance and seek a church which preaches the true Gospel of Jesus Christ. The modern American gospel preaches a message of easy grace, which is a false gospel:

  • God loves you and has a wonderful plan for your life.
  • God loves you the way you are.
  • God understands you and does not expect you to leave your sin.
  • salvation is a free gift and God requires nothing of you.
  • there is no cost to salvation.
  • salvation is obtained by saying the sinner’s prayer.
  • if you declare Jesus is Lord, you are saved.
  • to take up your cross is optional.
  • God still loves carnal Christians.
  • and on and on it goes.
  • you are valuable to God and this is why He sent His Son.
  • God is seeking relationship, not religion.
  • God needs you; some preach God needs you more than you need Him.
  • if you give your heart to Jesus, He will make your life better.
  • if you give your heart to Jesus, He will heal your hurts, your broken relationships.
  • your salvation is about you and for you.
  • if you profess to be saved, you are saved.
  • and on and on it goes.
  • they teach you how to tip your hat to God.

The modern American gospel has good sound bites; it is appealing to the flesh and they have Bible verses to back up every point. Charles Spurgeon warned us, discernment is not understanding the difference between right and wrong; it understanding the difference between what is right and what is almost right.

For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but wanting to have their ears tickled, they will accumulate for themselves teachers in accordance to their own desires, and will turn away their ears from the truth and will turn aside to myths. [2Ti 4:3-4 NASB].

Many read this passage and believe it talks of someone else; other people are deceived but not them. They do not realize, this passage talks about those who agree with and cling to the modern American gospel. This false gospel is so ingrained in our churches, most professing Christians believe it is the true gospel. But most professing Christians are not in the Word.

Jesus said if the light within you is darkness, how great is this darkness! (Mat 6:23). If you rely upon anything for wisdom, besides the Word of God, if you mix anything with the Word of God, you are relying upon darkness. It does not matter if the darkness sounds positive, it is still darkness.

MOST PROFESSING CHRISTIANS ARE NOT SAVED

The Apostle Paul warned us to examine ourself to see if we are in the faith (2Co 13:5). This is not an admonition to confirm you believe you are saved; nor is this an admonition to remember the date you think you were saved. This is a warning to look at your life through Scripture. Do you live your life in accordance with the Scripture? Do you abide in Christ and does your life bear fruit?

Most professing Christians spend so little time in the Word, they have no way of knowing if their lives accord with Scripture.

Jesus warned MANY, at the judgment, will be surprised they are not saved. If Jesus warned many who believe they are saved are NOT saved. This warning should give us concern to examine our lives.

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 cast out demons, and in Your name perform many miracles?’ And then I will declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness.’ [Mat 7:21-23 NASB].

These people believed they were saved. They went to church; they went on missions trips; they were pastors; they did great things for God. They believed what they did was an expression of their love for the Lord; that it counted for something or confirmed their eternal salvation. Jesus said, “Depart from Me, I never knew you.”

This will be the saddest of people: those who think they are saved but are not.

ABIDE IN CHRIST OR BURN IN HELL

Jesus commanded us to abide in Him. He warned we cannot see good fruit in our lives without Him, because it is He who produces this work in our lives.

I am the true vine, and My Father is the vinedresser. Every branch in Me that does not bear fruit, He takes away; and every branch that bears fruit, He prunes it so that it may bear more fruit. You are already clean because of the word which I have spoken to you. Abide in Me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself unless it abides in the vine, so neither can you unless you abide in Me. I am the vine, you are the branches; he who abides in Me and I in him, he bears much fruit, for apart from Me you can do nothing. If anyone does not abide in Me, he is thrown away as a branch and dries up; and they gather them, and cast them into the fire and they are burned. [Joh 15:1-6].

Notice, too, in this passage, there are many branches who profess to be saved but they produce no fruit and are burned in the fires of Hell. Just like Jesus said, in Matthew seven, many profess faith in Christ, many profess they are saved but they are on their way to Hell.

Were they condemned them to Hell because they failed to produce fruit? No, we have no ability to produce fruit. Jesus said we can only produce fruit as we abide in Him.

These people burned in Hell did not abide in Him because they were not saved. They thought they were saved; they said the sinner’s prayer; they confessed Jesus as Lord; they went to church; they led home Bible studies; they went on short term missions trips; some were pastors and missionaries; they did great things for God, but they were not saved.

If we are truly saved, we will desire Christ. In John chapter six, Jesus said we will desire Him like our bodies crave food and drink. These people believed they were saved but they had little time for Christ.

Some people substitute recovery groups for time with Christ. They falsely believe they can continue to toy with their sin and they identify with their sin. They have not abandoned their sin to follow Christ. Jesus command is go and sin no more.

Therefore if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creature; the old things passed away; behold, new things have come. [2Co 5:17].

Those in recovery group may desire to be free from their bondage to sin and they may desire camaraderie and companionship, but they do not have time to spend with Christ and beg for His mercy. They are not willing to walk in this new life, abiding in Christ. And there are plenty of professing Christians who value psychology more than Scripture, willing to encourage them in their sin. The modern American gospel will pat them on the back on their way to Hell.

ENTER THROUGH THE NARROW GATE

The modern American gospel is the wide gate, which leads to destruction. Jesus warned us to enter through the narrow gate, which leads to life (Mat 7:13-14). Jesus said only a few will find it. Seek out the narrow gate; don’t go with the flow of the modern American gospel. Jesus said, “Only those who do the will of My Father, will be saved.” [Mat 7:21].

What is it to do the will of the Father? John the Baptist said those who believe and obey will be saved.

He who believes in the Son has eternal life; but he who does not obey the Son will not see life, but the wrath of God abides on him. [John 3:36].

John the Baptist equated believing with obedience, in that, he specifically noted unbelief to be the same as disobedience. Notice, John said those who do not believe REMAIN under God’s wrath. The modern American gospel says, “God loves you and has a wonderful plan for your life.” If God’s Word is true, the modern American gospel is false.

Furthermore, the modern American gospel says God is looking for relationship. The Apostle John said WE ALREADY HAVE A RELATIONSHIP with God: if we believe, WE ARE SAVED to eternal life with Him; if we disobey, WE REMAIN UNDER HIS WRATH.

The Bible further commands us to leave our sin and follow Christ (1Jo 1:5-9). Jesus Christ commands us to abide in Him (Joh 15:1-6). This is religion: we have relationship and we are called to religion, to true religion. If God’s Word is true, the modern American gospel is false.

The writer of the Hebrews expressed the same view as John the Baptist regarding believing and obedience.

And to whom did He swear that they would not enter His rest, but to those who were disobedient? So we see that they were not able to enter because of unbelief. [Heb 3:18-19].

“But,” you say, “to turn from our sin is legalism!”

The Bible is about Jesus Christ. It is the story of mans’ sin and how God brought redemption to man through His Son. God gave us the Law, which is a declaration of His holiness, but man is unable to reach it. Therefore, the purpose of the Law is to lead man to repentance and seek God’s mercy.

Now we know that whatever the Law says, it speaks to those who are under the Law, so that every mouth may be closed and all the world may become accountable to God; because by the works of the Law no flesh will be justified in His sight; for through the Law comes the knowledge of sin. [Rom 3:19-20].

Therefore the Law has become our tutor to lead us to Christ, so that we may be justified by faith. [Gal 3:24].

If we are truly repentant, if we are truly saved, we will turn from our sin; we will have NO desire to remain in our sin. We will abandon our sinful lifestyles and we will not toy with our sins or keep favorite sins. Contrary to the modern American gospel, God does not “understand” us and wink at our sin. Sin is what we once were, but now we are new creations in Christ Jesus; the old life has passed away (2Co 5:17).

And you were dead in your trespasses and sins, in which you formerly walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, of the spirit that is now working in the sons of disobedience. Among them we too all formerly lived in the lusts of our flesh, indulging the desires of the flesh and of the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, even as the rest. But God, being rich in mercy, because of His great love with which He loved us, even when we were dead in our transgressions, made us alive together with Christ. [Eph 2:1-5].

For it is because of these things that the wrath of God will come upon the sons of disobedience, and in them you also once walked, when you were living in them. [Col 3:6-7].

Does repentance and turning from sin save us? No. We are saved by faith in Jesus Christ. But if we are truly saved, God will work in us good works and we will follow our sin no more.

For by grace you have been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God; not as a result of works, so that no one may boast. For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand so that we would walk in them. [Eph 2:8-10].

THIS IS THE WORK OF GOD

The Jews believed they needed to do something to participate in their salvation. They falsely believed they followed the Law. They asked Jesus, “What shall we do, so that we may work the works of God?” Instead of telling the people what they need to do for God, Jesus told the people what the work God does in man looks like. He said “This is the work of God, that you believe in Him whom He has sent.” [Joh 6:28-29]. The salvation of man is entirely the work of God.

No man can save himself and there is no work we can do to help God in this endeavor. Our hearts are rebellious and our natural condition is a bond servant to sin (Rom 6:16). In the story of the lost sheep (Mat 18:12-14; Luk 15:3-7), the Shepherd seeks the lost sheep; the sheep is not looking for the Shepherd. The modern American gospel says we need seeker-sensitive churches. The Bible tells us no on seeks after God (Rom 3:10-18). If God’s Word is true, the modern American gospel is false.

So, if no one seeks after God, how can we be saved? The Bible tells us, if we are saved, God chose us in Christ Jesus before the creation of the world; we were chosen for God’s purposes (Eph 1:4-11). The Bible tells us not everyone was chosen for salvation; some were chosen for destruction (Rom 9:11-23). These are difficult passages for the natural man to accept.

In my early walk, I was offended to think I did not choose God. It bothered me the decision could be God’s, because I was sure He would never choose me; but I was confident I would choose Him. However, the more I was in the Word, the more the Lord opened my eyes and He revealed the deceitfulness of my heart. Then, I understood, left to myself, I would never have chosen God. The more I understand this, the more I am overwhelmingly thankful God chose me.

Theology is difficult and we often try to bring it down to logic, reason or human understanding. When we do this, we compromise the Word. In Romans chapter nine the question is asked, if it is God who chooses and some are chosen for life, while others are chosen for destruction, “Why does He still find fault? For who resists His will?” [v19]. The Apostle Paul returns the answer, “Who are you, O man, who answers back to God? The thing molded will not say to the molder, ‘Why did you make me like this,’ will it?” [v20]. When Scripture is hard, it is not for us to question God nor water down His Word. We must take Him at His Word.

Man makes his plans but God directs his steps (Pro 16:9). Even kings, God channels them like waterways or rivers (Pro 21:1). God established all our days before one of them came to be (Psa 139:16); this includes everything we were going to do, each day. God is in full control of our lives, yet man is responsible for everything he does. We are responsible for every sin we commit. This, too, is a hard thing to understand and a hard thing for sinful man to accept. We should have the attitude of Jeremiah. He understood this and he begged for God’s mercy.

I know, O Lord, that a man’s way is not in himself, Nor is it in a man who walks to direct his steps. Correct me, O Lord, but with justice; Not with Your anger, or You will bring me to nothing. [Jer 10:23-24].

Jesus said no one comes to Him unless the Father draw him (Joh 6:44). If you feel this drawing to Christ, it is your responsibility to receive Him (Joh 1:12). But if you receive Him, it was not your own doing; it was not of your will but it was God’s will (Joh 1:13). Jesus said, “the flesh is no help at all.” [Joh 6:63].

Jesus said we must be born again (Joh 3:3). To be born or born again can only be accomplished by God. When you were born, was it by your decision? Did you choose to be male or female? Did you choose your parents? So, too, when God made you born again, it was not your decision; you had nothing to do with it.

Furthermore, Ephesians 2:8-9 says we are saved by grace through faith in Christ. It was not by anything we have done, nothing, not even the decision we think we made, LEST ANY MAN SHOULD BOAST.

GOD’S GLORY IN SALVATION

When we say things like, “I gave my heart to Jesus” or “I made a decision for Christ,” we defame God. We take the glory which belongs to God upon ourselves. Christ died for us while we were yet sinners; while we were powerless to help ourselves and enemies of God (Rom 5:6,8,10). We were slaves to sin (Joh 8:34; Rom 6). Who do we think we are to claim we had anything to do with our salvation; that we could even help God in bringing us to Him?

For You have done for us all our works. [Isa 26:12].

For My own sake, for My own sake, I do it, for how should My name be profaned? My glory I will not give to another. [Isa 48:11].

God Almighty is sovereign over the affairs of man: great men and small men; huge achievements and small, insignificant actions. God is sovereign and everything happens for His purposes (Job 42:2; Isa 46:9-10; 55:11; Rom 8:28; Eph 1:11). The modern American gospel says salvation is about you. The Bible tells us salvation is about God. If God’s Word is true, the modern American gospel is false.

From eternity past, Christ was with and part of the Trinity of God. The Father, the Son, the Holy Spirit were in perfect fellowship; perfect union; perfect love. God needed nothing. Neither creation nor salvation were devised to satisfy any need God lacked.

Think about this: in the difficult passage of Romans nine, in the discussion of God creating some people for eternal life and others for eternal destruction, the Apostle Paul wrote:

What if God, although willing to demonstrate His wrath and to make His power known, endured with much patience vessels of wrath prepared for destruction? And He did so to make known the riches of His glory upon vessels of mercy, which He prepared beforehand for glory. . . [Rom 9:22-23].

This passage gives us a glimpse of why God created man. He did not create man because He was lonely. He created man so He could display His wrath. He brought salvation so He could display His mercy. The book of The Revelation gives us a big picture of His wrath and mercy; and if we understand this, we see God is revealing to us His glory.

the Lord alone will be exalted in that day. [Isa 2:11].

My friend, the Bible says God commands all men everywhere to repent (Act 17:30). If you don’t repent, you are part of His wrath; if you do repent, you are part of His mercy. But do not be deceived, salvation is not about you.

For by Him all things were created, both in the heavens and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities—all things have been created through Him and for Him. [Col 1:16].

The Bible tells the story of many covenants between God and man. But there is a covenant greater and higher than all covenants, which all the other covenants point to. God made a covenant with Himself; it is a covenant which transcends time. Hebrews 13:20 speaks of the blood of the eternal covenant. The Bible doesn’t tell us much about the eternal covenant, but it does tell us:

  1. The Father promised the Son a dominion (Psa 110:1-2; Isa 9:6-7).
  2. The Father promised the Son a bride (Joh 3:29; Rev 19:6-9).
  3. The Son would have to face the ridicule of the nations He would rule (Psa 2).
  4. The Son would have to die for His bride (Eph 5:25).
  5. The Son would become a man and He would forever be fully God and fully man (Joh 1:1; Col 2:9; Heb 2:14-18).

The covenants point man’s attention away from himself and toward God; namely His Son, Jesus Christ. It is a dangerous thing to bring God down to man (Rom 10:6); to make Him into our image as if He is one of us. There is no man or god like Almighty God (1Ki 8:23; 2Ch 14:11; Isa 6:3; Rev 4:8). God alone is holy (Rev 15:3-4). The modern American gospel has made god in our own image; it has made God to be like us; to satisfy us.

. . .you thought that I was one like yourself . . . [Psa 50:21].

Salvation is of God from beginning to end; He draws us (Joh 6:44); He authorizes our salvation (Joh 6:65); He opens our hearts to receive Him: “It is the Spirit who gives life, the flesh is no help at all.” [Joh 6:63].

Jesus praised the Father as He looked forward to the day when the Father would display the glory of His Son to all those who followed Him (Joh 17:24). Our salvation is about the glory of God.

ABANDON YOUR SIN AND FOLLOW CHRIST

When we practice grace as a reason to stay in our sin, when we believe God accepts us as a carnal Christian, we trample on the blood of Jesus (Heb 10:29). Jesus said we must take up our cross and follow Him (Mat 16:24-26; Luk 9:23; 14:27). This is not the next level in salvation. If we do not take up our cross and follow Christ, we are not saved.

Christ commanded us to abide in Him, to be in the Word and bearing fruit (Mat 7:16-20; Joh 8:31-32; 15:1-6). The purpose of our lives, the purpose of our salvation is to give glory to God, LEST ANY MAN SHOULD BOAST.

Why would God, who loved His Son, send Him to die to satisfy His wrath and take pleasure in crushing Him, if it was His will for us to remain in our sin? or if it was His will to make our lives better? He saved us for Himself.

Beware, my friend, you are not deceived by the modern American gospel. The Apostle James warned if believing is just knowing a truth and accepting it as truth, the demons do that; they believe in Jesus Christ, but they cannot be saved (Jam 2:19). Unless you take up your cross and follow Christ; unless you obey Him as King, Lord and Master, you cannot be saved.

Being saved cannot be reduced to making a profession of faith. Declaring “Jesus is Lord” will not save you. Jesus often confronted believers, telling them they were not saved. On one occasion, He asked the believers, “Why do you call Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ and do not do what I say?” [Luk 6:46]. A profession of faith will not save you.

Therefore having overlooked the times of ignorance, God is now declaring to men that all people everywhere should repent, because He has fixed a day in which He will judge the world in righteousness through a Man whom He has appointed, having furnished proof to all men by raising Him from the dead. [Act 17:30-31].

God commands all men to repent. Jesus is not some kind, compassionate mentor as the modern American gospel would have you believe. He is the Judge. Jesus said if you do not believe, which means to obey, you are CONDEMNED ALREADY (Joh 3:18). Do not be deceived; you must repent and obey.

The heart exercises of one who has been awakened by the Spirit of God: First, there is a sense of need, a realization of my nothingness and emptiness. Second, there is a judging of self, a consciousness of my guilt, and a sorrowing over my lost condition. Third, there is a cessation of seeking to justify myself before God, an abandonment of all pretenses to personal merit, and a taking of my place in the dust before God. The eye of the soul is turned away from self toward God for a very special reason: there is a longing after righteousness that I urgently need but know I do not possess. [Arthur Pink; The Beatitudes].

How can you tell the difference between a church which preaches the modern American gospel and one which preaches the Gospel of Jesus Christ?

  • the modern American gospel preaches psychology, morality and positive mental attitudes and some pastors may throw in a verse or two to back them up. Some people falsely believe their pastor preaches the Word, because He shares a verse or two.
  • the Gospel of Jesus Christ is the whole Bible and is best taught verse-by-verse, doctrine-by doctrine, teaching the people to be in the Word and apply the Word of God to their lives.
  • the modern American gospel is a message of encouragement, wherever you are in life and regardless your sinful lifestyle.
  • the Gospel of Jesus Christ is a continual conviction, requiring constant repentance and change in our lives.

We come to church to worship God in song and sermon. In song, it is the words not the music which gives Him praise. It is not the bands nor the light show which gives Him praise. If the words of the music do not agree with Scripture, they are not a praise to God. On the contrary, we are creating God in our own image. Through music, many create a god who is pleasing to the flesh.

If you leave church uplifted by some emotional songs you sang over and over, while raising your hands toward heaven and if you are further uplifted by the encouraging words of the preacher but have not been challenged to get in the Word and conform your life to it, my friend, examine yourself by the Word of God, because you might not be saved. The modern American gospel is false and leading people to Hell, with a pat on the back and a smile on the face.

Test yourselves to see if you are in the faith; examine yourselves! Or do you not recognize this about yourselves, that Jesus Christ is in you—unless indeed you fail the test? [2Co 13:5].

Are we living the Word? Even the Apostle Paul was concerned for his own obedience to the Scriptures.

but I discipline my body and make it my slave, so that, after I have preached to others, I myself will not be disqualified. [1Co 9:27].

Paul warns us to “work out your salvation with fear and trembling.” [Php 2:12]. But he reminds us, this is not of ourselves, “for it is God who is at work in you, both to will and to work for His good pleasure.” [Php 2:13].

“When we ask, ‘Is Christ your Lord?’ we do not inquire, ‘Do you believe in the Godhead of Jesus of Nazareth?’ The demons do that (Mat 8:28-29) and yet perish notwithstanding! You may be firmly convinced of the deity of Christ and yet be in your sins. You may speak of Him with the utmost reverence, accord Him, His divine titles in your prayers and yet be unsaved. You may abominate those who traduce His person and deny His divinity and yet have no spiritual love for Him at all.

“When we ask, ‘Is Christ your Lord?’ we mean, does He in very deed occupy the throne of your heart and does He actually rule over your life? “We have turned everyone to his own way” (Isa 53:6) describes the course which we all follow by nature. Before conversion every soul lives to please self. Of old it was written, “every man did that which was right in his own eyes,” and why? “In those days there was no King in Israel” (Jdg 21:25). Ah! that is the point we desire to make clear to the reader. Until Christ becomes your King (1Ti 1:17; Rev 15:3), until you bow to His scepter, until His will becomes the rule of your life, self dominates and thus Christ is disowned.” [Arthur Pink, “Is Christ Your Lord?”].

Keep the faith.

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