The Forgotten Gospel of Repentance
Present Beliefs Ignore The Words of Jesus
“Evangelicals have long prided themselves on a commitment to biblical Christianity, to absolute truth—convictions that, they often point out, Mainline Protestants abandoned years ago. Yet, a Pew Research poll found a slight majority of those claiming the label "evangelical" believe that many religions lead to eternal life.” Probe Ministries July 19,2008
Two primary doctrines that cannot be bent, ignored, or twisted without destroying your eternal hope is REPENTANCE and GRACE. Jesus flatly proclaims, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one can come to the Father except through me." [John 14:6 NLT] Christ warned repeatedly not to be deceived, and spelled out clearly how to be protected from such satanic lies and confusion. Today both these truths are buried under the lies of the American culture, false preachers and teachers. And more disturbing, America and the church are full of corrupted "Christians" or members claiming religious freedom to live their lives without the burden of God’s rules. We are in troubling times!
Christ’s first series of messages were completely based on repentance. By repeatedly preaching "Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand" [Matt 4:17 (NKJV)] the Lord gathered followers. The full force of His call was to everyone to “change your mind for the better, heartily amend your ways, with abhorrence of your past sins” (AMP). After gathering disciples he shifted to explaining the full weight of what this life of repentance meant. We call it the Sermon on the Mount, and Christ finished His truth with extreme warnings of great deception about this life of repentance.
Enter through the narrow gate; for wide is the gate and spacious and broad is the way that leads away to destruction, and many are those who are entering through it. 14 But the gate is narrow (contracted by pressure) and the way is straitened and compressed that leads away to life, and few are those who find it. [Matt 7:13-14 (AMP)]
“The Way” will only have a few followers, but most will take the wide and broad religious road without repentance. Who is Jesus speaking of? Does He mean the world of unbelievers verses the Christians? Or does He also mean a whole bunch of church-goers verses true believers? Active hypocrites verses born again saints? Listen carefully to His next statement. “Beware of false prophets, who come to you dressed as sheep, but inside they are devouring wolves. You will fully recognize them by their fruits.” [Matt 7:15-16 (AMP)] The nonreligious are not listening to preachers!
WARNING, WARNING, WARNING to you interested in following Christ! Sheep represent real Christians, so these are warnings about fake Christians with the appearance of sainthood but who are either knowing or unknowingly, the Christians’ enemies. And the connection between the gates is directly related to the preachers. The false preachers make a mythological way to heaven popular and easy without repentance, but the true path is blocked by their false doctrine and teaching. They are the ones causing all the issues of fewer and fewer people ending up finding THE WAY according to Jesus. Yes they are sending people to hell!
The Way of Christ is a radical call to repent and live so differently that
“… you shall be perfect, just as your Father in heaven is perfect.” [Matt 5:48 (NKJV)] Don’t get excited, this does not mean you have never sinned, but you turn from disobedience and your repentance in the present is so “complete” that your new life is gushing with righteousness (obeying God’s commands). More than the average ideas of “being religious” is demanded by Christ, as He asks “…what do you do more than others?” [Matt 5:47 (NKJV)] He would never ask someone to pray a little prayer like, “Dear, Jesus, come into my heart.” Instead Jesus preached, “If anyone desires to be My disciple, let him deny himself [disregard, lose sight of, and forget himself and his own interests] and take up his cross and follow Me [cleave steadfastly to Me, conform wholly to My example in living and, if need be, in dying, also].” [Matt 16:24 (AMP)] His narrow way differs from what most believe and many sermons preached today!
Are you His SLAVE? Only a slave has a LORD.
To make sure you understand this is the issue, listen… “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. Many will say to Me on that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in Your name and driven out demons in Your name and done many mighty works in Your name? And then I will say to them openly (publicly), I never knew you; depart from Me, you who act wickedly [disregarding My commands]. [Matt 7:21-23 (AMP)] Lots and lots of deceived people are going to be stunned at the Day of Judgment.
Believing that you are going to heaven does not mean you get there. There are confused people in the hospital who think they are George Washington or a host of other famous people, but it does not make it so. And get this, sincerely believing you are a Christian and being able to heal sick people in Jesus’ name proves nothing. Not my words, but Christ’s. Speaking in tongues or performing other miraculous signs does not guarantee you are a believer, let alone spirit filled. Not my words, but Christ's. Cast out demons so what. You can still go to hell. Listen, the one and only sign that you are reborn by God’s Spirit is to obey God’s law. Your Creator said, “But I will reply, ‘I never knew you. Get away from me, you who break God’s laws.’” [Matt 7:23 (NLT)]
Hypocrites can’t obey! They will scream for love, understanding and a broader mindset.
This idea of obedience is too narrow minded to them. Surrendering to the complete control of the Lord Jesus is out of the question. Yes they want to go to heaven. They think religious freedom from the restricting life of the do’s and don’ts of God’s Word is what God saved them from. But the Bible insists; “Don’t you realize that you become the slave of whatever you choose to obey? You can be a slave to sin, which leads to death, or you can choose to obey God, which leads to righteous living.” [Romans 6:16 (NLT)]
Notice the change repentance brings to the saint. “And having been set free from sin, you became slaves of righteousness. I speak in human terms because of the weakness of your flesh. For just as you presented your members as slaves of uncleanness, and of lawlessness leading to more lawlessness, so now present your members as slaves of righteousness for holiness. For when you were slaves of sin, you were free in regard to righteousness.” [Romans 6:18-20 (NKJV)] You are a slave to God or sin, and the hypocrite always sides with freedom from God’s laws, but the saint wants freedom from sin. Why would God help us rebel against Him and disobey His commands?
Great numbers believe they are Christians and great numbers (many) enter through the wide gate of a phony Christianity every day.
If they think they are Christians they go
to churches. If they preach and evangelize they are leaders and form
movements and denominations. Since they do such exciting things they get
noticed and gain big followings. They get on television and radio,
publish books, and gather in big conventions. Christ says he will
disappoint great numbers of people that He never knew, even though they
really thought they knew Him. They believed in him, thought they were
following Him, and were actively serving Him. But their sincere faith
never resulted in a relationship with God even though they experienced
miracles, fought satanic forces and gained victories for Jesus. That is what Jesus said!
Could unrepentant people fill the churches and serve Jesus?
The Apostle Paul knew it would happen! “You should know this, Timothy, that in the last days there will be very difficult times. For people will love only themselves and their money. They will be boastful and proud, scoffing at God, disobedient to their parents, and ungrateful. They will consider nothing sacred. They will be unloving and unforgiving; they will slander others and have no self-control. They will be cruel and hate what is good. They will betray their friends, be reckless, be puffed up with pride, and love pleasure rather than God. They will act religious, but they will reject the power that could make them godly. Stay away from people like that!” [2 Tim 3:1-5 (NLT)]
It does not say they will be liars, thieves or murderers, but self-centered rule breakers who do what they like. Many hypocrites will live outside the organized church and in disobedience to Christ condemn and judge His church. Oh yea, but many others will be religious church goers, but have the same wrong fruit, and won’t repent and become self denying disciples either. “For [although] they hold a form of piety (true religion), they deny and reject and are strangers to the power of it [their conduct belies the genuineness of their profession].” [2 Tim 3:5 (AMP)] True grace is the power they reject, but before we get ahead of ourselves, let’s finish.
“You will know them by their fruits.” They are driven to church to get solutions for their out of control lives. They come to hear preacher after preacher that will help them feel assured they are going to heaven, better their marriages, find them comfort, and get the good life. As they focus on what pleases them they need God to increase their happiness. “They will appear to have a godly life” [2 Tim 3:5 (GW)]. It will be difficult to discern who is really a Christian, and if anyone questions them, an outcry of “you don’t love, stop judging, you are arrogant and evil to speak like that.” But as usual they speak against the Bible they claim to follow because it orders us to do the very opposite. “It isn’t my responsibility to judge outsiders, but it certainly is your responsibility to judge those inside the church who are sinning. God will judge those on the outside; but as the Scriptures say, ‘You must remove the evil person from among you.’” [1 Cor 5:12-13 (NLT)]
They will be so excited about their faith they will draw lots of people into their denominations and churches. “Some of these men go into homes and mislead weak-minded women who are burdened with sins and led by all kinds of desires. These women are always studying but are never able to recognize the truth. As Jannes and Jambres opposed Moses, so these men oppose the truth. Their minds are corrupt, and the faith they teach is counterfeit.” [2 Tim 3:6-8 (GW)] These two magicians copied Moses’ miracles to deceive everyone and prove their religion was equal to his. And this “Christian” deception will be known for miraculous power to prove it is authentic, even though it is the counterfeit way of Jesus. “But evil people and phony preachers will go from bad to worse as they mislead people and are themselves misled.” [2 Tim 3:13 (GW)]
Paul warns that the time prior to Christ’s real return to earth will be known because the church will be full of great spiritual deception. “Let no one deceive or beguile you in any way, for that day will not come except the apostasy comes first [unless the predicted great falling away of those who have professed to be Christians has come]” [2 Thess 2:3 (AMP)].
The dream of many people in the churches is to drop their doctrines and unite into one happy family but this will only lead to the finale of Satan when, “…the man of lawlessness (sin) is revealed, who is the son of doom (of perdition), Who opposes and exalts himself so proudly and insolently against and over all that is called God or that is worshiped, [even to his actually] taking his seat in the temple of God, proclaiming that he himself is God. Do you not recollect that when I was still with you, I told you these things?” [2 Thess 2:3-5 (AMP)] The warnings from God have been made from the beginning of the church, but today fall on deaf ears. These are difficult times.
The second generation of Christians understood. They produced a study book that was widely used in their churches. They wrote…
For in the last days false prophets and seducers shall be multiplied, and the sheep shall be turned into wolves, and love shall be turned into hate; 4 and because iniquity [lawlessness] aboundeth they shall hate each other, and persecute each other, and deliver each other up; and then shall the Deceiver of the world appear as the Son of God, and shall do signs and wonders, and the earth shall be delivered into his hands; and he shall do unlawful things, such as have never happened since the beginning of the world. — The Didache Chapter 16
It’s easy as 1, 2, 3. Flood the church with false preachers, and then pour out fake Holy Spirit power to deceive. Then flood the churches with a false gospel without repentance and slowly fill the churches with wolves disguised as sheep. Then fill hell full of church people. Satan deceived Adam and Eve and has never stopped throughout history lying to men. Don’t think this is true, or some overblown idea of mine?
Then why did Jesus say, “However, when the Son of Man comes, will He find faith on the earth?” [Luke 18:8]
“But I fear, lest somehow, as the serpent deceived Eve by his craftiness, so your minds may be corrupted from the simplicity that is in Christ. For if he who comes preaches another Jesus whom we have not preached, or if you receive a different spirit which you have not received, or a different gospel which you have not accepted--you may well put up with it!” [2 Cor 11:3-4 (NKJV)]
“A time will come when people will not listen to accurate teachings. Instead, they will follow their own desires and surround themselves with teachers who tell them what they want to hear. People will refuse to listen to the truth and turn to myths.” [2 Tim 4:3-4 (GW)]
It’s simple. Sin left all of us guilty, destroyed and estranged from God. The ancient Jews wanted to please God but always failed. God sent prophets and gave promises of a future day when things would change. “And I will give them one heart [a new heart] and I will put a new spirit within them; and I will take the stony [unnaturally hardened] heart out of their flesh, and will give them a heart of flesh [sensitive and responsive to the touch of their God]…” [Ezek 11:19 (AMP)]
What is this? What does it mean? “Cast away from you all your transgressions by which you have transgressed against Me, and make you a new mind and heart and a new spirit.” [Ezek 18:31 (AMP)] REPENT that is the message!
The true miraculous change God promised us was clear. “A new heart will I give you and a new spirit will I put within you, and I will take away the stony heart out of your flesh and give you a heart of flesh. And I will put my Spirit within you and cause you to walk in My statutes, and you shall heed My ordinances and do them.” [Ezek 36:26-27 (AMP)] The truth is simple! Jesus. His salvation radically changes people, and the fruit of their lives is plain, not like the phony believers without repentance. By their fruit you will know them. The fakes “practice lawlessness!” [Matt 7:23 (NKJV)] "Therefore whoever hears these sayings of Mine, and does them, I will liken him to a wise man who built his house on the rock: and the rain descended, the floods came, and the winds blew and beat on that house; and it did not fall, for it was founded on the rock.” [Matt 7:24-25 (NKJV)] It comes down to do and don’t after all, what a surprise. When you are born again you receive the power to obey God, without Him, you CANNOT obey God. The fruit proves everything!