Today I want to talk about a serious condition that exist in the body of Christ. It is the condition some call, saved and stuck. What does this mean?
Saved and Stuck; a condition where a person is truly born-again and then waits to die to go to heaven or begins waiting on the second coming of the Lord. In the meantime this person is dedicated to going to church, reading their Bible, studying doctrines of their specific domination and ready to defend them at any cost. Very religious in nature.
At first, you might be scratching your head and wondering what is wrong with this? These are perfect things we do as Christians. You might be asking yourself, Has this guy lost his mind?
So where is the problem with this? Let me explain this from my own experience.
June 10, 1985, I met God personally. I met Him face to face and heard in His audible voice. Later through a 12 step group, I met some Christians who took me to bible studies and one night after a Revival Meeting, I got saved, born-again. Following this I got baptized and started going to church (3 times a week), bible studies and learning all my new beliefs. (Salvation, predestination, second coming of the Lord, eternal security etc, etc, etc.)
Still not following me? I became a good Christian, I became the youth leader and my friends knew how much I studied the Word of God. I got the name Mr. Bible (no joke). I was devoted to my church, was their every time the doors opened. I was reaching people for Christ and having weekly Bible studies in my home.
So what is wrong with all this???
What I was not telling people, even though I appreciated the Lord and his blessing of salvation. I hated living the Christian life. Just like the old story of; how to boil a frog? Put him in cold water and slowly turn up the heat. So was my life as a Christian, slowly becoming a religious burden.
Life in Pennsylvania was hard. I owned my own business, money was tight and so was life’s problems. The joy of salvation was gone. I used to scoff at the bible verses in Matthew 11:30 when preached: My yoke is easy and my burden is light. I did not have a clue why Jesus would even say such a thing like this. Life was not easy and my burden were heavy.
I would never admit this to anyone. I put on my Christian face, (fake smile) and knew the language of church.( How you doing Dennis? “I doing fine and God is good.” I am blessed! If God blessed me anymore I wouldn´t know what to do.)
Deep down life had no zest, I was on autopilot. Worked 6 days a week doing hardwood floors, church twice on Sunday,taught youth group on Wednesday night and also taught a bible study on Friday night. I would read my bible and have daily devotionals.
To be honest I had not a clue what was wrong with me! Nor would I even admit what I felt. I was living the perfect Christian life or was I? To be honest, I was saved and stuck!
This condition in not new by any means. It is written about in the Gospels. It existed for hundreds of years in the Old Testament. Jesus had to deal harshly with this while on earth. We may not have recognized it in the bible. But the Pharisees and Sadducees were contaminated with this condition. A religious life dedicated to God with traditions, rules and a way of life. Void of any relationship with God. More concerned with doctrines, rules and tradition. Void of love for God or the people, he sent them to minister to. Think about it, the Son of God stood right in front of them, did miracles like no other and still because of this condition. They missed out on their Messiah and him crucified.
In the New Testament, Jesus talks to the Church of Ephesus:
Revelation 2:1-5, The Loveless Church
“To the angel of the church of Ephesus write, ‘These things says He who holds the seven stars in His right hand, who walks in the midst of the seven golden lampstands: 2 “I know your works, your labor, your patience, and that you cannot bear those who are evil. And you have tested those who say they are apostles and are not, and have found them liars;3 and you have persevered and have patience, and have labored for My name’s sake and have not become weary. 4 Nevertheless I have this against you, that you have left your first love. 5 Remember therefore from where you have fallen; repent and do the first works, or else I will come to you quickly and remove your lampstand from its place—unless you repent.
The church in Ephesus was doing all the right Christian things but one. They no longer had a loving and intimate relationship with Jesus.
One day at Bible College I got the answer I was seeking. Even though I left my domination and moved to Colorado Springs. I had not shaken it entirely.
The answers are simple. I found mine in the previous verse (Revelation 2) and in John 17:3
And this is eternal life, that they may know You, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom You have sent.
The problem is started at the beginning of our Christian life. When we have people come to receive Jesus as Lord and Savior, it always with the promise when you except him, you get to go to Heaven. I am right or wrong? When we offer salvation, we say “except Jesus and you can go to heaven”! Plain and simple we offer folks “fire insurance” keep yourself from going to hell!
You still might be saying, “What wrong with that?” Look at it, Receive Jesus now and later when you die, 5, 10, 50 years later you can go to heaven. What then comes in between? Our answer is “Church life”, the things I described earlier in this blog. For a lot of us, we go to work for Jesus. We move from having an intimate relationship to becoming employees.
What does the bible say in John 17:3; this is eternal life, that they may know; the word “know”, used here is also used also in Genesis 4:1 And Adam knew his wife Eve and she conceived, and bare Cain. This is the same word use John 17:3. God want us to know, that eternal life is an intimate, close, face to face loving, personal relationship with Christ NOW. Not in some distance future when we die.
Old time religion use to write hymns like “so when we gather at that river” and “in the sweet bye and bye”. No, No, No, Jesus goes not want us to know him when we get to heaven. He wants relationship with us now, the here and now. I tell people if you do not know Jesus here, if you do not have a relationship here, an intimate personal one. You will not have it there in the “sweet bye and bye”.
When you die and do not have the relationship here, you will not be “dealing with the man upstairs” or some might say, “I will deal with my afterlife when I get there.”
When you die, Your decision is already made by you! If your life is void of Jesus here, when you die it will be void of Jesus there! If you have decided you will have nothing to do with God here, it will be the same there. Hell is simply a place where there is no trace of God. His presence, His blessing, His virtues are not there. You told him in this life, you do not want anything to do with him or his church. So in the next life, you will get your wish. If you replace Jesus salvation with your own personal goodness or your good works you will miss out on his forgiveness. You told God you want to do it your way. God does not send you to Hell, you do. The decision is yours.
God died for you, paid for all your sins, removed your debt you owe, so you can have an open relationship with him. Have intimacy with him here and now. You do not have to be afraid of His judgment. Because of what Jesus did. You have been judged already. You been declared righteous in the sight of God when you received salvation. Jesus has erased all your sin debt. He paid it all, not just so you can go to heaven. He want to know you here and now. To direct your life and help you in this life. He wants to have a loving relationship with you now. This is why the church of Jesus Christ is called the “bride of Christ”. We are His bride!
There are so many benefits to having this relationship with Jesus here and now. One it will keep you from what I described as my early life in the church. A dead traditional lifestyle. It will keep you from becoming a doctrine Nazi, who just pushes religion down people’s throat. Instead your life will make people asked you what is going on inside of you. They will want to know Jesus, because of what they see in your life. They will wonder how you do the things you do, how you show up for life with a different attitude and perspective. How you succeed when everyone is failing and panicking.
An Example from today
Here is an example of what I am talking about. As I was writing this blog outside on this nice spring day. An afternoon thunderstorm rolled in. It was nothing big, I thought! Few dark clouds and light rain. All of sudden the Holy Spirit began speaking to me. Go inside. I ignored Him at first. A second time, I heard the Spirit of God say take your computer and tablet inside now. Once again I kept writing this blog. And then I heard Now! So when He speaks this many times. I moved. As soon as I got inside, it began to hail golf ball and marble sized hail all over where I was sitting. It came on so strong and suddenly if I had not moved my computer and maybe my tablet would have been ruined.
You see, I woke up this morning, went outside and said hello to Jesus. I spent my first hour with Him. Having coffee and asking what to write this blog on. This is where I got the theme to write this. It is from Jesus himself. So when I was writing completely concentrating on this article. That still small voice came to me, warning me of some serious stuff was about to happen. In the picture above is where I was sitting writing this article and in just 30 seconds later, it was covered with hail. This is what it is like to have a one and one personal relationship with my Lord. For a lack of a better term. He has my back. He watches over me. Guides me.
How do you think I spent the last five years in one of Guatemala’s most violent neighborhood? Living open where so many others have been shot and killed for so much less. I am not saying, some have not come to kill me, they have but Jesus has always protected me. He always guides me. Speaks to me. He is the King of my life and this ministry. He tells me when to come and when to go. I always feel like I am in his arms today. No more dry religion. Not more being a Pharisee. A doctrinal Nazi, not debating every doctrine in the book. It is not about that anymore. It is about being in love with my King, my Savior and as the Bible also states; My Brother. We are family! They wrote a song with that title. That what Jesus is to me today. He is here, right now. I can feel him. I can also hear him. He is as real to me as any physical human being. Not a myth or some believe system. He is alive and directing my every step.
Would you like to receive Jesus today?
Just let him know you want to meet him. Be ready to repent (turn away) from your lifestyle and asked him to forgive all your sins. Tell him, you want to have this pardon because He died on the cross to pay it all. Then rose again so you can have eternal life right here and now.
If you don´t believe. Just asked him with an open heart to show himself to you. He will! If you approach him with a desire to know him like I did 30 years ago. He will reveal himself to you. Most people want to see and then they will believe. They want proof. I was like that. Unless I see, I will not believe. Then I began to open my heart and willing to believe. Jesus meet me where I was at.
When I was unbeliever, I could not see God anywhere. Once I meet him, I can see Him everywhere. In nature, in people and in me. I can hear him talk and I can sense His presence. It is truly a wonderful walk I have with Him. People asked me why I believe in the Bible. It an easy answer. I personally know the author! Jesus.