Last month a father and son were kicked out of a Nebraska-Iowa state football game. They had done all the right things. They had bought the tickets, they had great seats. They showed up, took there seats and started watching the game. After a little bit, they were kicked out. The tickets they had purchased were counterfeit. They had trusted in the wrong tickets to get them to the game.
In my last post I mentioned a verse which should trouble us all. In Matt 7:21-23, we see that not everyone who names the name of Christ will enter heaven. For too long, Christians, myself included, have preached a 'ticket to heaven gospel'. As long as someone got their ticket punched, we felt we were doing our job.
We would have vast evangelistic campaigns and pat ourselves on the back for the number of people who 'believed' in Jesus. Large amounts of money were spent on getting these people to buy a ticket, because then at least they would be saved from hell. Yeah us.
Then we are hit by Matt 7:21-23. What do we do with this? In John 3:16, we see what seems to contradict this. I guarantee, these people who are turned away from heaven, claimed to believe in Christ, or else why would they be there? So what is the answer to this apparent dichotomy?
Christ gives us part of the answer, and then we see the rest in James. In Luke 18:18-23, we have a better picture of what Jesus is all about. Jesus is not about buying a ticket to heaven, he is about radically transforming lives. In this passage he is asking the rich man to be transformed into a new life. A radical new life where he gives away all his riches. Salvation is about Lordship, is it about submission, it is about putting him on the throne of your life.
We see even more in Luke 14:26, here Christ states that our love and devotion to him must be so strong, by comparison we hate our families. Does that sound like ticket purchasing to you? Does that sound like being 'scared into heaven' to you? Certainly does not to me.
In James 2:14-25, we see a more clear picture of what that faith looks like. True faith will transform you. It you believe in Jesus and everything he has to say in His Word, you will be transformed. Why? Because you are a new creation.
Why Do we sell tickets?
So why do we sell tickets? Why do we rejoice when our children pray a simple prayer with no change demonstrated in their lives? (again, I am preaching to myself here, if anyone else benefits, all the better)
Personally, I believe it is because many of us are ticket holders as well. We bought our ticket and are just waiting for the rapture. We may condemn a few things of the world along the way, but that is about it. We volunteer teaching Sunday School. We bring meals to the potluck, and we feel safe. We do not like verses likeMatt 7:21-23, it is too challenging to our belief system. Since this is the paradigm we function under, we replicate it when we share.
We can only share the truth we know and believe ourselves. Did you ever wonder why when you read Acts there is such a difference between that church and the American church?
My friends, it is time you tear up your counterfeit ticket, and be transformed. It is time to forget about being safe, and be sanctified. Do something radical for Christ today. Christ was a radical in his time. Early disciples were radicals. God calls us to be radical, not to conform to this world. Maybe this is why the road to destruction is so broad, who wants to be a radical?