Friday, September 19, 2008
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I have two adult friends who own Princeton University sweatshirts. Al has one because he put in four challenging years there and graduated from Princeton. I ran into another friend, Dave, at the store one day and he was wearing his Princeton sweatshirt. I said, "I didn't know you went to Princeton, Dave." He informed me that he didn't attend that Ivy League school. He bought the sweatshirt at a discount store for 12 dollars! He said, "Oh, I didn't go there. I just wear the shirt!"
I'm Ron Hutchcraft, and I want to have A Word With You today about "Just Wearing the Shirt."
Jesus has a lot of folks like my friend who got his shirt at a discount store; they're just wearing His shirt. In fact, our word for today from the Word of God describes people like that. And frankly, it's pretty unsettling.
In Matthew 7:21-23 Jesus says, "Not everyone who says to me, 'Lord, Lord,' will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only he who does the will of My Father who is in heaven. Many of you will say to me on that day, 'Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and in your name drive out demons and perform many miracles?' Then I will tell them plainly, 'I never knew you. Away from me, you evildoers!'"
This is a disturbing description, because the people Jesus says He never knew are not people who are only wearing a Jesus shirt. They have like a total Christian wardrobe. They have been Christian leaders, they're experts on Jesus, they've spoken for Jesus and they've done some impressive things in His name. Jesus says those who are truly His, who will end up in heaven, will not be "everyone who says" the right things but those who do His Father's will. Which is spelled out in John 6:40, "My Father's will is that everyone who looks to the Son and believes in Him shall have eternal life." See, it's your total trust in God's Son to rescue you from your sin that gets you into heaven and nothing else. It takes more than a Christian uniform.
There may be someone listening today who says all the right words - maybe even publicly - but you've never surrendered your heart and your will to Jesus Christ. The fact that you have Christianity but you don't have Christ can be concealed until you see the Lord. Could it be that you're just wearing the shirt, but your heart is still lost?
In Luke 6:46, Jesus addresses people who apparently really do belong to Him. But He asks, "Why do you call me, 'Lord, Lord,' and do not do what I say?" Maybe your commitment to Jesus has deteriorated to being pretty much words like "Lord, Lord." My friend, Dave, had not really paid the price that goes with identification with the university. When my friend, Al, wears his shirt, it is backed up by years of sacrifice and work. Could it be that you're proud to wear a Jesus shirt, but you're not paying the price of really living consistently with Jesus first?
But by far the most important question you have to answer and answer correctly is this: "Do I really belong to Jesus? Have I really begun a relationship with Him by grabbing Him in total trust to be my Rescuer from my sin?" You see if it's only a Christian uniform, it won't make it past the throne of God on Judgment Day. You need to be sure. You need to make sure that Jesus Christ rules in your heart.
It may be hard for you to admit, but if you don't really belong to Jesus and you want to, would you tell Him that right now? "Jesus, beginning today, I really am Yours." And if you want to begin this relationship for real, I want to urge you to go visit our website at your first opportunity today. It's YoursForLife.net, and it'll walk you through how to be sure you have begun this relationship and that you truly do belong to Jesus. Or I could send you the free booklet Yours For Life if you just call for it at our toll free number. It's 877-741-1200.
I think the most chilling words Jesus will ever speak are "I never knew you," spoken to people who knew all about Him but didn't know Him. I don't ever want you to hear those words. He doesn't ever want you to hear those words. He comes to you one more time. Please, let Him in.