It has occurred to me recently that many new believers are leaving the church. They come in and hear a few sermons about salvation, heaven and hell, they profess their faith, get baptized and a few weeks or months later they stop attending church. When asked why they've stopped attending, they respond with many versions of the same reason: I wasn't ready for that kind of commitment. I wasn't prepared for what church really was. I guess I didn't know what I was getting into.
If you ask someone- believer or not- if they'd rather go to heaven or to hell...of course they'll say heaven. So it's like a sales job. Sell Heaven to the un-reached masses. Everyone who believes there is a heaven or hell wants to go to heaven.
But is that right? Shouldn't we be 'selling' Jesus instead? I know that sounds crass- we shouldn't be selling Jesus at all- but it's the best way I could find to get my thought across. Being a born again believer should be about Jesus and what He's already done for us, not what He's going to do for us in the future. Heaven is in the future. The cross is already here. We should be teaching new believers why they should serve Jesus for what He's already done for us, not because He's our ticket to heaven. I, personally, would love and serve Jesus even without the promise of heaven...that's just icing on the cake. I want the cake...the substance...and that's Jesus and the cross.
But that requires service, selflessness...and sacrifice. People today don't seem to understand what sacrifice is, what it means, or how to go about being sacrificial. It's not enough to say you're a Christian, to put a fish sticker on your car, to go to church each time the doors are open. Being a Christian means you have a relationship with Jesus!
How do you have a relationship with someone you can't see? How did husbands and wives nurture their relationships when one or the other was far away for years at a time back when a husband left his home country to set out across the sea in search of a new home to raise his family? They wrote letters.
The Bible is full of letters given to us by our Father in Heaven to enable us to learn about Him. They're letters from His heart about His heart...Jesus. Read the Word, spend time in prayer, build a solid relationship with the Savior...and then put it to use.
Feed the hungry, clothe the naked, house the homeless, support the widows and orphans, heal the sick, love the lost. BE JESUS to them and the only way someone can BE JESUS is by knowing who Jesus is!
Being a Christian isn't about Heaven. Being a Christian is about Jesus. Loving Him in everything we do and loving others as He loves us...Sacrificially! Be willing to love until it hurts. Be willing to give all He gave you!
Undecided seekers and new believers need to be given all the facts before making their decision. This world is getting harder by the day, falling further away from what God made it by the minute. We as the children of God need to be strong, we need to stand up and fight, we need to make our voices heard! That's no easy task in this day and age.
Don't make the choice to be a Christian just so you can go to heaven. Make the choice so you can have a relationship with Jesus today and spend the rest of your days showing Him how much you appreciate the sacrifice He already made for you. Keep your eyes on Him in the here and now and don't focus on what He's promised to give you someday because someday could be a long way off. Serve Him today.
To those of you who are established in your faith, who know what it means to have a committed relationship with Jesus, who sacrifice: Make sure that you're giving those who have not yet made a choice all the facts they need to be a real Christian. Love them like Jesus and SHOW them what it means to sacrifice.