Friday, April 13, 2018
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I was in a convenience store one night when an alert clerk made an important discovery. Someone had just handed her a bill, and she did what she was trained to do: she held it up to the light. She got this furrow in her brow and she reached for a special pen. When she marked the bill, the mark was black. When she marked another bill of the same denomination, it turned out yellow. The clerk turned to her coworker with the black-marked bill in her hand and said one word - I'll bet you guessed it - "counterfeit." Apparently, the man who gave it to her didn't realize it was counterfeit. But, looking at the bills side by side, there was no way I could tell one was counterfeit. But the light revealed that something was missing from that counterfeit that actually was printed into the real ones, and the pen confirmed it. I want to tell you, though, if you don't know how to detect the difference, the counterfeit and the real thing look the same...except one is worth absolutely nothing.
I'm Ron Hutchcraft and I want to have A Word With You today about "Making Sure It's Real."
Counterfeits are hard to detect - counterfeit money...even counterfeit Christians - people who look just like someone who really belongs to Jesus. They sound just like them, they act just like them, pretty much believe like them, but something's missing. Actually, someone is missing - Jesus. And that's the difference between an eternity in heaven and an eternity in hell.
That's the point of one of the most disturbing stories Jesus ever told, especially to us good church folk. It's in Matthew 13, beginning with verse 24. It's our word for today from the Word of God. Jesus says, "The kingdom of heaven is like a man who sowed good seed in his field...His enemy came and sowed weeds among the wheat and went away. When the wheat sprouted and formed heads, then the weeds also appeared." When the man's servants ask about the weeds, he explains that an enemy sowed them. They offer to go and pull up the weeds, but the master says, "No, because while you are pulling the weeds, you may root up the wheat with them. Let both grow together until the harvest. At that time I will tell the harvester: First collect the weeds and tie them in bundles to be burned; then gather the wheat and bring it into my barn."
Later, Jesus explained that the wheat represents those who really belong to Him; the weeds are those who look like they do but don't really. And the harvest is that Judgment Day when those who were just Christian look-a-likes will go to an awful eternity and those who really knew Him will go to be with Him in heaven forever. This is sobering stuff. That's why 2 Corinthians 13:5 says, "Examine yourselves to see whether you are in the faith; test yourselves. Do you not realize that Christ Jesus is in you - unless, of course, you fail the test?" It's important that you hold your Christianity up to the light before that day when it's too late to do it. The light may reveal that in the middle of all your Christianity, you've actually missed Christ. You've missed giving your life to Him.
You know that His death on the cross was to pay for all your sin. You know that His resurrection is the hope of your eternal life. You may have Jesus in your head, but maybe not in your heart. If there's been a time when you consciously grabbed Jesus as your only hope of being forgiven and going to heaven, then you do belong to Him. But if you don't know you did, you probably didn't, and you really need to before time runs out or your heart just turns too hard to respond.
Today, if you never have, please tell Jesus, "Lord, I know so much about You but I don't think I know You. I want to know you for real beginning right here and right now. I surrender the steering wheel of my life and I'm pinning all my hopes on you."
This could be your "Jesus day," finally the real thing. That's why you should go to our website. There are verses there, there are ways you can be sure you belong to Jesus before you hit the pillow tonight. The website is ANewStory.com. And it will be a new story for you.
See, you're so, so close to the real thing - to really belonging to the one who loves you most. Tonight, why don't you go to sleep knowing that you are His.