Choosing the Only Path to Heaven

The following words of Jesus can be disturbing if not outright alarming:

Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven,
but he who does the will of My Father who is in heaven will enter.
Many will say to Me on that day, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in Your
name, and in Your name cast out demons, and in Your name perform many
miracles?’ And then I will declare to them ‘I never knew you; depart from Me,
you who practice lawlessness’.

(Matthew 7:21-23)

The people whom Jesus addresses clearly believed in Him, thought of themselves as His followers, trusted in the power of His name, and attempted to do good deeds. Yet, Jesus is basically saying that they could be destined for eternal separation from God. Jesus also warned His followers to “enter through the narrow gate; for the gate is wide and the way is broad that leads to destruction, and there are many who enter through it. For the gate is small and the way is narrow that leads to life, and there are few who find it.”[i]

We often forget that Satan and his demons recognized Jesus for who He was and even spoke to Him, and yet they were not saved.[ii]

It takes more than an intellectual belief in Jesus Christ to be truly saved. The famous theologian, C. S. Lewis, noted that many Christians seem to believe that as long as they believe in Jesus, they are safe and can live their lives as they please without fear. Lewis called such a belief nonsense and stated that “if what you call your ‘faith’ in Christ does not involve taking the slightest notice of what He says, then it is not Faith at all—not faith or trust in Him, but only intellectual acceptance of some theory about him.”[iii] Jesus stated that, “For each tree is known by its own fruit,” and then went on to ask, “Why do you call Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ and do not do what I say?”[iv]

Calling Jesus ‘Lord’ and then ignoring His teachings is what far too many Christians do. So long as there is belief in the historical Jesus and one has not murdered or raped someone, or robbed a bank, or burned a village most think they are fairly secure in their heavenly hopes. In the final analysis, however, those who do not sincerely accept Jesus’ gift of salvation and repent of their sins will not be compared on the day of judgment to Hitler, Stalin, or Mao Zedong, but against the perfection of Jesus Christ himself. Isaiah noted that we are all as one “who is unclean, and all our righteous deeds are like a filthy garment” (Isaiah 64:6). Famed theologian and pastor, Charles Haddon Spurgeon, stated:

If I meet with any man who says, “I have no need to examine myself anymore, I know I am saved, and therefore have no need to take any further care,” I would venture to say to him, “Sir, you are lost already. This strong delusion of yours has led you to believe a lie.” There are none so cautious as those who [do] possess full assurance, and there are none who have so much holy fear of sinning against God, nor who walk so tenderly and carefully as those who [actually] possess the full assurance of faith. Presumption is not assurance, though alas! Many think so. No fully assured believer will ever object to being reminded of the importance of his own salvation.[v]

When the subject of individual salvation is mentioned how many times does one hear the words, “I think I’m going to be okay”? This attitude reflects only a cursory regard for the fact that Jesus suffered horrible torture and an agonizing death upon the cross to ransom believers from their sins. The beginning of wisdom and a basic cornerstone of our theological beliefs is the fear of the Lord who demands our respect, love, faith, obedience, and sincere pursuit of His will.[vi] There is only one way to experience eternal life in heaven and that is through a genuine, serious belief in His son Jesus Christ that changes one’s life in a positive way. Too many people no longer know the God actually described in the Bible or fear and respect Him. It has been often stated that too many people worship Jesus with their lips but deny him with their lives.[vii]

Jesus came into the world to heal the rift between God and man which had existed since the fall of humanity in the garden of Eden.

Jesus Christ came as a true light to change a world that had been enveloped in darkness for too long. One of the most sublime passages in the Bible is found in John 1:9-13 ESV:

The true light, which gives light to everyone, was coming into the world. He [Jesus] came to his own, and his own people did not receive him. But to all who did receive him, who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God, who were born, not of blood nor of the will of the flesh nor of the will of man, but of God.

Jesus came to offer humanity the free gift of eternal life as children of God. To be a member of any family is an honor. To be a member of God’s family is an almost incomprehensible honor. The responsibilities of membership in a family include love, obedience, fellowship, commitment, honor, and trust. Most do not want to dishonor, shame, or embarrass the members of their family by committing behaviors deemed as sin or lawlessness by God. As beautifully stated by the Apostle Paul: “For by grace you have been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God; not as a result of works, so that no one may boast. For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand so that we would walk in them” (Ephesians 2:8-10). Good works cannot buy our salvation, but they can prove and validate one’s salvation after it has been gifted.

When the great Pharisee and “ruler of the Jews,” Nicodemus, approached Jesus to learn more about Jesus’ teachings, Jesus told him that he (Nicodemus) must be born again if he hoped to see the kingdom of God (John 3:3). Jesus stated, “That which is born of the flesh is flesh, and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit (John 3:6). Jesus was referring to the Holy Spirit which seals the hearts of all true believers when they accept Jesus as their Savior through His sacrifice on the cross and resurrection from the dead. The great theologian, William Barclay, described the process thus:

To be born again is to be changed in such a way that it can be described only as rebirth and re-creation. The change comes when we love Jesus and allow him into our hearts. Then we are forgiven for the past and armed by the Spirit for the future; then we can truly accept the will of God. And then we become citizens of the kingdom; then we become sons of God; then we enter into eternal life, which is the very life of God.[viii]

With respect to the Holy Spirit, Jesus also stated that as, “The wind blows where it wishes and you hear the sound of it, but do not know where it comes from or where it is going; so is everyone who is born of the Spirit” (John 3:8). Not everyone who says that they believe in the historical Jesus will necessarily be sealed by the Holy Spirit for the Holy Spirit looks into one’s heart. One cannot call down the Holy Spirit with righteous deeds in order to buy salvation; one has to have a repentant heart and depend upon the grace of Jesus Christ.[ix]

There is a difference between believing in Jesus and actually accepting Him with a humble and contrite heart.[x]

The Apostle Paul noted that, “All have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God” (Romans 3:23). Everyone has a weakness in their heart that should not be there, and God knows what it is. He will help us root it out if we will accept His offer to bring us into the heavenly family through belief in Jesus and turning from our earthly sins and obsessions. Jesus responds to those who know that they need the salvation He offers (Luke 5:31-32). It is these people whom the Holy Spirit indwells and seals their salvation. Jesus stretches forth His hand and invites us to, “Come to Me, all who are weary and heavy-laden, and I will give you rest. Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For My yoke is easy and My burden is light” (Matthew 11:28-30).

Jesus did not come for the proud who were confident of their salvation. He came for those who were so aware of their need for salvation that they could humble themselves with the simple heartfelt faith of a child and accept His gift of eternal life through faith in Him alone rather than faith in any works or supposed righteousness they might think they have to offer (Mathew 18:3-4). C. S. Lewis famously stated that, “As long as you are proud you cannot know God.”[xi] Jesus accepts the sort of people who seek the relationship with Him that He came to earth to restore.

In the New Testament, Christians knew when a person was truly saved by the fact that the Holy Spirit came upon him or her.[xii] For example, when the Apostle Peter preached the Gospel to the Roman centurion, Cornelius, Peter was criticized by some of the strict messianic Jews in Jerusalem for sharing the Word with an uncircumcised Gentile. When Peter explained that the Holy Spirit had fallen upon Cornelius, and those gathered with him, before he (Peter) had even finished his sermon, those who had criticized Peter immediately accepted that God had “granted to the Gentiles the repentance that leads to life” (Acts 11:17-18). In fact, before this powerful demonstration of the Holy Spirit accepting Cornelius and his house, it had not occurred to early Jewish believers that Jesus had come to save believing Gentiles as well as believing Jews.

One proof of the Holy Spirit’s presence is the positive change He makes in people. Charles Stanley describes the Holy Spirit as a change agent citing the miraculous change made in the life of Saul by converting him from an angry man bent upon destroying Christianity into the Apostle Paul  the greatest evangelist of all time.[xiii] When asked how he knew that he had become a Christian, Josh McDowell (the author of the book, More than a Carpenter), replied, “It has changed my life. It is this transformation that assures me of the validity of my conversion (see footnote).”[xiv] William Barclay summed it up thusly:

We may not understand how the Spirit works; but the effect of the Spirit on the lives of men is there for all to see. The unanswerable argument for Christianity is the Christian life. No man can disregard a faith which is able to make bad men good.[xv]

As to whether this miraculous transformation of the Holy Spirit has taken place, Jesus reminded us repeatedly that a tree is known by the fruit it produces. Those who are truly saved begin to bear positive fruit rather than negative fruit.

And the one on whom seed was sown on the good soil, this is the man who hears the word and understands it; who indeed bears fruit and brings forth, some a hundredfold, some sixty, and some thirty.

(Matthew 13:23)

When people have truly accepted Jesus Christ and been sealed by the Holy Spirit, it is not uncommon to see them slowly turn from addiction to drugs, alcohol, pornography, violence, all forms of sexual sin, character defects such as angry tempers, and other violations of God’s moral law. They seem to simply lose their taste for behaviors that now shame their new faith.

By this the children of God and the children of the devil are obvious: anyone who does not practice righteousness is not of God, nor the one who does not love his brother. For this is the message you have heard from the beginning, that we should love one another.[xvi]

Thus, we are brought back to Jesus’ often repeated admonition that “each tree is known by its own fruit.”[xvii] We must remember that it was individuals who had been changed by the power of the Holy Spirit who first created hospitals and orphanages for the care of the average citizen. The Christianization of the Roman Empire eventually put an end to Rome’s bloody gladiatorial sports and games. It was Christians who spearheaded the effort to abolish slavery in the countries of the West and tried to eradicate it in Muslim countries. It was Christians that popularized the concept of the unique worth and value of every human being regardless of status in society. Today, it is Christians who work tirelessly and endure the calumny of the secular world in an effort to end abortion. It is also mostly Christian countries that rush aid and assistance to disaster sites throughout the world.

The power of Christianity to change people in positive ways has had an enormous impact for good upon the entire world. The Christian does not do good works to be saved since that is God’s gift through one’s acceptance of Jesus as one’s Savior. One no longer does good works out of fear, but out of love and gratitude because he or she has received the mercy of salvation.[xviii] Good works, and the attempt to follow God’s moral laws for life within His will, are not additional requirements for salvation. Good works and the attempt to live a moral life as defined by God are simply proofs that salvation has already occurred through the grace and blood of Jesus Christ. There is a new moral consciousness of the things in life that are right and good to do.

Salvation requires that we repent of our sins, turn from them, and try to become better people.[xix] God wants us to become the sort of people He originally created us to be before the fall in the garden of Eden.

Jesus commanded that we “be perfect, as your heavenly Father is perfect.”[xx] This means that, although God has granted forgiveness as a free gift of grace through repentance and belief in Jesus, He is still Holy and cannot approve evil or look with favor upon wickedness.[xxi] For this reason Jesus requires that we be born again and begin the lifelong process of sanctification as we try to become more like our role model, Jesus.  Assuming the spiritual mantle of Christianity is a serious commitment. With upfront honesty, Jesus invites His followers to calculate the cost of this journey into holiness that will last for the rest of their lives and beyond.[xxii]

This journey or rebirth will involve renouncing those immoral behaviors defined by God as sin in the Bible, and this will be a difficult choice for many. Jesus knows that there will be mistakes, lapses, and stumbles on this journey because everyone will occasionally sin throughout their lives despite their best efforts. However, so long as the believer is sincere of heart and trying to improve, the Holy Spirit will lift those who do stumble to their feet as often as it takes to get them across the finish line to eternal life. C. S. Lewis states that through this process of regeneration or transformation God will turn the believer “into a new little Christ” and that this process of “putting on Christ” to learn how to become a real son of God is “the whole of Christianity.”[xxiii]

God actually expects believers to become Christians, and this is not a burdensome expectation.

Jesus came that we “may have life and have it abundantly” (John 10:10). People who earnestly try to stay within the guardrails of God’s moral and ethical teachings generally have healthier, more abundant, and successful lives. God is not trying to make life joyless with His moral commandments; He is trying to save us from the heartbreak that immoral and unethical behaviors bring upon us. The great pastor, Adrian Rogers, once said, “When God says, ‘Thou shall not,’ He is just saying please don’t hurt yourself.”

In his commentary on Matthew 7:21 famed theologian, D. A. Carson, states that, “The determinative factor regarding who enters the kingdom is obedience to the Father’s will.”[xxiv] John the Baptist affirmed, “He who believes in the Son has eternal life; but he who does not obey the Son will not see life, but the wrath of God abides on him” (John 3:36). This expectation of obedience to God’s moral law is the sticking point for those who may believe in the historical Jesus, but still find themselves going through the wide and easy gate that leads to destruction. Charles Haddon Spurgeon attributed this to the fact, “we are all fond of evil, and run after it greedily.”[xxv] Salvation involves a resolve to repudiate our past sins and turn from them. Spurgeon notes that those who love their sins often do not care for this aspect of salvation. Many are so accustomed to the tolerance of their sins in our corrupt culture that they no longer deem them very sinful, hence the probable truth of Andrew Womack’s admonition that “If you never bump into the devil, it is because you are both headed in the same direction.” The great evangelist, George Whitefield, believed that the assumption that God would tolerate one’s sins was a fatal error:

Alas! How many does Satan lead captive at his will, by flattering them, that they shall not surely die. That hell [s] torments will not be eternal. That God is all mercy. That he therefore will not punish a few years sin with an eternity of misery. But Eve found God as good as his word. And so will all they who go on in sin, under a false hope that they shall not surely die.[xxvi]

God’s Word is indeed absolute truth and the path He has laid out for salvation together with his moral laws can never safely be ignored.[xxvii] If a pastor, church, or denomination tells you that the Holy Spirit has brought new revelations excusing or condoning sins forbidden in the Bible run, do not walk, to the nearest exit and find a biblically grounded church. The Holy Spirit, as one third of the triune Godhead, never contradicts God the Father, Jesus Christ, Himself, or the Scriptures He inspired.[xxviii] The Holy Spirit convicts of sin, He does not authorize sin (John 16:8-11). The Apostle Paul was also firm and unwavering that those who continue the sins of their pre-Christian lifestyles will not inherit the kingdom of God.[xxix] It is worth noting that the list of sins that Paul includes to illustrate his grave warning includes ever popular sins such as fornication, adultery, and homosexuality which are now tolerated by broad swaths of our modern, secular, semi-pagan society.

“If most Christians today were arrested for being Christian, the prosecutor wouldn’t be able to find enough evidence to get a conviction.” Andrew Womack

When God looks down upon the earth today, He can no doubt see little difference between many of those who claim to be Christians and those who make no such claim. One reason for this is that many contemporary churches no longer preach sin or clearly define what it is. One reason many present-day ministers fear to preach about sin and the Ten Commandments[xxx] is that they know their churches are likely to contain significant numbers of individuals who may be addicted to alcohol, drugs, pornography. fornication, adultery, homosexuality, and all manner of other sins. They fear to offend, and there is little stomach for enforcing church discipline even though the Apostle Paul clearly expected the church to make certain that the behavior of church members conformed to biblical ethical and moral standards as well as the teachings of Jesus Christ.[xxxi] This timidity of the liberal or faint-hearted clergy, however, misses the glorious point of the salvation offered by Jesus. Everyone has sinned, but through Jesus all can be freed and forgiven of the bondage sin places upon us. Preaching on the subjects that God has defined as sin in the Bible permits people to recognize sin, avoid it, and seek the forgiveness of Jesus Christ when they stumble.

Many pastors have found they have an easier life and can avoid controversy when they refrain from preaching the difficult parts of the Bible such as what God the Father and Jesus really said about sin, heaven, and hell. Yet, it was the understanding of these subjects when they were part of most peoples’ Christian worldview that kept streets safe, elections honest, and the abuse of governmental power within limits. A general obedience to God’s moral laws makes all aspects of society a more prosperous, orderly, wholesome, and safe place in which to live. When the Founders of our nation crafted a society of unique freedom, self-reliance, and liberty, they envisioned a wide and continued acceptance of Judeo-Christian ideals, morality, ethics, and voluntary self-discipline regardless of individual religious beliefs. It was John Adams who stated, “Our Constitution was made only for a moral and religious people. It is wholly inadequate to the government of any other.”[xxxii] The clergy of that time was in wholehearted agreement with such sentiments and reinforced them in their pulpits. Unlike many pastors today, they realized that the values and morality of the prevailing culture should spring from God’s Holy Scriptures and the pulpits of the Judeo-Christian church rather than elsewhere. When God’s law is discarded, the devil with his terror and chaos “prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour” as we see today (See,1 Peter 5:8).

Today’s culture has become brutally woke and ever ready to cancel someone for holding views deemed politically incorrect. For this reason, many ministers have opted to stick to bland sermonettes, marriages, and funerals and avoid the difficult moral issues raised in the Bible. Being a minister is a difficult calling and requires courage and a steadfast commitment to the principles and teachings of the Judeo-Christian faith even in the face of persecution. Perhaps this is why James cautioned, “Let not many of you become teachers, my brethren, knowing that as such we will incur a stricter judgment” (James 3:1).

An old adage states that the journey of a thousand miles begins with the first step. To restore  moral awareness in the Church, our nation, and society, it is of vital importance that ministers once again begin to faithfully educate their congregations about the Bible’s definition of sin and its other moral and ethical teachings. Since most people rarely read the Bible, it is up to the clergy of the traditional Judeo-Christian faith to teach them about God’s definition of sin and stimulate their interest in learning more about their Faith by reading the Bible. There is no better place to begin than the Apostle Peter’s brave words spoken of Jesus Christ in times that were also dangerous: “And there is salvation in no one else; for there is no other name under heaven that has been given among men by which we must be saved” (Acts 4:12).

Ministers must remind their congregations that as Christians they have been left on earth, rather than being taken immediately to heaven, to be positive examples for the truth of the Christian faith versus the false teachings of the world.

Christians are supposed to do what they can within their spheres of influence to make the world a brighter and better place. The Holy Spirit gives everyone different gifts, but each believer receives a gift that can be used to the glory of God. Not everyone can be a famous evangelist like Billy Graham or a famous missionary like Eric Liddell, but the Bible does demand that we stand and hold firm to the teachings of our Judeo-Christian faith.[xxxiii] At the very least, in the privacy of the voting booth, a faithful Christian should never vote for a candidate or party that despises God the Father, Jesus Christ, and the authority of the Bible. When we knowingly vote for enemies of the Christian faith and its moral and ethical teachings, we take upon ourselves the sins such candidates commit against the Christian faith while in office. Do we suppose that God no longer needs followers to “build up the wall and stand in the gap before [Him] so that [He] does not have to destroy the land” (Ezekiel 22:29-30)? Every Christian, regardless of economic or social status, can find a way to do his or her part to support the values of the Christian faith and leave the world a better place than when they found it.

Dark forces throughout our culture and even within many Christian denominations are constantly and powerfully seeking to undermine and discredit the truth of God’s Holy Word and the doctrines of the traditional, orthodox, Christian church. Most people are now strangers to the Bible, so they study those they know to be Christians instead. When they see Christian seminaries, theologians, ministers, and congregations going along with the sins clearly forbidden by God, and now celebrated by contemporary culture, it discredits everything for which the Christian is supposed to stand. The first century Christians suffered martyr’s deaths rather than compromise the principles of their faith, because the prospect of going home to be with Jesus in heaven was real for them.

Our secular, humanistic, God-ignoring culture has been much more successful over the past century in evangelizing the Judeo-Christian church with its secular beliefs than the church has been at evangelizing the world with the values of the Judeo-Christian Bible. Many ministers consider themselves conservative guardians of the traditional Judeo-Chistian faith because they do not endorse or celebrate, in their pulpits, modern progressive heresies, apostasies, and false teachings.[xxxiv] Such ministers often forget that, if the mission of the Church is to be fulfilled, the error of such progressive, liberal, false teachings must be actively and clearly preached. If not, their congregations will continue to drift, with the prevailing non-Christian culture, through the wide, and easy gate that leads to destruction.[xxxv] This secular drift of entire Christian denominations toward acceptance of things specifically forbidden in Scripture is changing the face of both Christianity and our American society in extremely negative ways. This corrosive, negative societal drift away from traditional Christianity has already changed the face of Christianity in Western Europe together with European culture with potentially disastrous consequences for the future of Western civilization.

The defense of the Judeo-Christian faith and the timeless, absolute truth of its ethical and moral teachings is one of the Christian church’s most essential functions.

 T. S. Eliot warned that, “the world will constantly confuse the right with the expedient” unless the Church is resolute in its definition of what is wrong.[xxxvi] Most of the Christian church in America and the countries of the West has not been resolute in its definition of what is wrong for a very long time. It is often forgotten that it is almighty God, not mankind, who defines truth, sin, justice, and the rules for life within His will. God’s teachings and commentary for these rules are found in the Old and New Testaments of the Judeo-Christian Bible. As we learned from the martyr, John Huss (Jan Hus), and Martin Luther, church councils, synods, ministers, the Pope, or even kings or dictators do not have the power to alter or change God’s Word. God does not change his commandments and definitions of right and wrong to satisfy the shifting tides of contemporary morality.

While one should always seek a good Bible-believing, Bible-preaching church for the wealth of Christian knowledge, experience, and fellowship it brings into one’s life, one really does not need a minister or theologian to read, enjoy, and understand the Bible. In fact, in today’s world, it can be dangerous to rely solely upon any minister, theologian, denomination or church for one’s Christian education without independently verifying it with one’s own Bible study. In most cases, a plain reading of Scripture gives a more accurate picture of God’s intent than the twisted interpretations coming out of many liberal pulpits and seminaries. For centuries attorneys have responded to attempts to explain away the plain meaning of legal documents by simply replying that, “A paper writing says what it says.” This is one of the main reasons that important matters are reduced to writing.

There is no better way to arm oneself against false teaching than familiarizing oneself with what the Bible really says. Fortunately, there are many modern English translations of the Bible that are easy to read and understand such as the New American Standard Bible NASB, The New King James Bible NKJV, The English Standard Version of the Bible ESV, The Modern English Version Bible MEV, and many others. Modern study Bibles in each of the translations just mentioned such as those by David Jeremiah, Charles F. Stanley, D. James Kennedy, Charles C. Ryrie, and many others are filled with a wealth of interesting and useful explanations and information.

What people are when Christ returns [or when they die] is what they will be forever, whether evil or holy. People’s responses to the Word become an inseparable part of their character.[xxxvii]

God created each of us with free will. We are largely free to choose the path we will take in life. We can read the Bible’s timeless wisdom and accept God’s free gift of salvation and eternal life through Jesus Christ, or we can choose the way of Cain and try to fashion our own way to approach a god that exists only in our imagination. We can choose to be a goat or a sheep with the consequences of that choice.[xxxviii] On the day of judgement, we can stand sparkling before God washed clean by the blood of Jesus Christ, or we can stand before God with our souls still tarnished by the grime, muck, and visible marks of the sins we have committed in life. We can choose to be children of light or children of darkness.[xxxix] We can be serpents in the garden of life bringing hate, or we can be lambs bringing love. We can choose to use people, or we can choose to help people. We can be builders, or we can be destroyers. We can be a force for the good, the right, and the true or we can be a force for evil. Each of us will be given opportunities to advance the Enemy’s agenda of darkness, evil and death, or God’s plan for light, goodness, and eternal life.

The decisions we make in this life will determine whether we join the majority entering through the wide, broad, and easy gate that leads to eternal destruction or whether we are part of the minority that enters through the small, narrow gate that leads to eternal life. The world’s many false religions, teachings, creeds, and philosophies can be found by those who seek the wide, broad, and easy gate, but that path does not lead to heaven. Jesus warned that He is “the way, and the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father but through Me” (John 14:6). We are not to be like the buffalo that often mindlessly follow the herd as it stampedes toward the cliff (See, Exodus 23:2). We are to pay attention and expend the time and effort necessary to locate the small, narrow gate that leads to Jesus Christ through whom we ascend those glorious steps of light into heaven.

Most Scripture references are taken from the New American Standard Bible©, Copyright©1960, 1962,1963,1968,1971,1972,1973,1975,1977, 1995, by The Lockman Foundation. Used by permission.

[i] Matthew 7:13-14; See also, Luke 13:22-28.

[ii] Matthew 4:11; Luke 4:2-13; Mark 1:23-25, 34; 3:11-12; 5:2-13; Luke 8:27-39; James 2:19-20.

[iii] C. S. Lewis, Mere Christianity (New York: HarperCollins Publishers, 2001),148; See also, Dr. Robert Jeffress, “How Firm Is Your Foundation” Jesus’ Favorite Stories. The Parables of Our Lord (2018 Pathway to Victory, A Ministry of First Baptist Church of Dallas, Texas).

[iv] Luke 6:44,46.

[v] Spurgeon, Charles Haddon, “Your Own Salvation,” in Spurgeon’s Sermons (Massachusetts: Hendrickson Publishers Marketing, LLC, 2019 [1883]), Vol. 9-10: 48.

[vi] Proverbs 9:10; Psalm 111:10; Job 28:28.

[vii] See, Matthew 15:8-9; See also, Titus 1:16.

[viii] William Barclay, The Gospel of John, rev. ed. (Philadelphia: The Westminster Press, 1975) vol. 1, p.130.

[ix] See, Henry, Matthew, “An Exposition, With Practical Observations, Of the Gospel, According to St. John.” in Matthew Henry’s Commentary on the Whole Bible, New Modern Edition (Peabody, Massachusetts: Hendrickson Publishers, LLC, 2021 [1706]), Vol.5: 713.

[x] Isaiah 57:15; Psalms 51:17.

[xi] C. S. Lewis, Mere Christianity, 124.

[xii] Acts 2:38; 10:44-47; 11:17-18; Ephesians 1:13-14; Romans 8: 9; 2 Corinthians 1:21-22; Romans 8:16.

[xiii] Charles F. Stanley, The Spirit-Filled Life (Nashville, Tennessee: Nelson Books, 1995, 2014), 74.

[xiv] Josh McDowell and Sean McDowell, More Than a Carpenter (Josh McDowell Ministry, 1977, 2005, 2009, previously published by Tyndale House publishers),161. McDowell stated that for him the change was not immediate, but within six to eighteen months, he knew his life was changed. His restlessness was replaced by mental peace, his had temper was healed, and he was cleansed of his hatred for his alcoholic father and that hatred was replaced with love. His father was so impacted by his son’s transformation that he accepted Jesus as his savior. His father’s transformation was immediate. He never touched another alcoholic drink again. McDowell stated that he could come to only one conclusion:” a relationship with Jesus Christ changes lives.”

[xv] William Barclay, The Gospel of John, vol. 1, 132.

[xvi] 1 John 3:10-11.

[xvii] Luke 6:43-45; Matthew 7: 16-20; 12:33-37.

[xviii] James 2: 13-26.

[xix] Matthew 4:17; Mark 1:15, 6:12; Luke 5:31-32, 13:5; Matthew 3:8; Luke 15:7, 24:47; Acts 2:38, 3:19, 17:30; Ezekiel 14:6; Romans 2:5-6; 1John 1:5-10; Isaiah 55:6-7. See also, Dennis Ayers, The Beginning of Wisdom (Little Elm, TX: eLectio Publishing, LLC, 2022 [2017]), 68.

[xx] Matthew 5:48; See also, Leviticus 19:2.

[xxi] Habakkuk 1:13; See also, Hebrews 6:4-8; 10:26-31; Matthew 13:19-23.

[xxii] Luke 14: 27-33; See also, Matthew 16:24-27.

[xxiii] C. S. Lewis, Mere Christianity, 193-195,

[xxiv] Carson, D. A., “Matthew.” In Matthew and Mark. Vol. 9 of The Expositor’s Bible Commentary, rev. ed., edited by Tremper Longman III and David E. Garland, p. 229. (Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 2012).

[xxv] Spurgeon, Charles Haddon, “Your Own Salvation,” p., 36.

[xxvi] Whitefield, George, “The Seed of the Woman and the Seed of the Serpent,” in The Sermons of George Whitefield, edited by Lee Gatiss, (Wheaton, Illinois: Crossway, 2012 [1742]), Vol.1:49.

[xxvii] John 17:17; 14:6; Book of Common Prayer, Articles of Religion VII; Westminster Confession of Faith [1647], Chapter 19, Section 5; London Baptist Confession of Faith of 1689, Chapter 19, Paragraph 5.

[xxviii] Dennis Ayers, The Beginning of Wisdom, 58-60; Michael Youssef, Saving Christianity (Carol Stream, Illinois: Tyndale House Publishers, 2020). 170.

[xxix] 1 Corinthians 6:9-11; Galatians 5:19-26; Ephesians 5:3-6; Romans 6:1-2; 11-16.

[xxx] The Ten Commandments (Exodus 20:1-17): Then God spoke all these words, saying, “I am the Lord your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of slavery”  (1) You shall have no other Gods before Me. (2) You shall not make for yourselves an idol, or any likeness of what is in heaven above or on the earth beneath or in the water under the earth. “You shall not worship them or serve them; for I, the Lord your God, am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers on the children, on the third and fourth generations of those who hate me, but showing lovingkindness to thousands, to those who love Me and keep my commandments. (3) You shall not take the name of the Lord your God in vain, for the Lord will not leave him unpunished who takes His name in vain. (4) Remember the sabbath day, to keep it holy. “Six days you shall labor and do all your work, but the seventh day is a sabbath of the Lord your God; {in it} you shall not do any work, you or your son or your daughter, your male or your female servant or your cattle or your sojourner who stays with you. “For in six days the Lord made the heavens and the earth, the sea and all that is in them, and rested on the seventh day; therefore, the Lord blessed the sabbath day and made it holy. (5) Honor your father and your mother, that your days may be prolonged in the land which the Lord your God give you. (6) You shall not murder. (7) You shall not commit adultery. (8) You shall not steal. (9) You shall not bear false witness against your neighbor. (10)  You shall not covet your neighbor’s house; you shall not covet your neighbor’s wife or his male servant or his female servant or his ox or his donkey or anything that belongs to your neighbor. 

[xxxi] 1 Corinthians 5:1-13; See also, Matthew 18:15-17.

[xxxii] Letter to the Officers of the First Brigade of the Third Division of the Militia of Massachusetts, October 11, 1798, John Adams, vol. 9 (Letters and State Papers 1799-1810) [1854], ed. Charles Francis Adams. Online Library of Liberty.

[xxxiii] 1 Corinthians 15:2; 16:13; Galatians 5:1; Ephesians 6:13-14; Philippians 4:1; 1 Thessalonians 3:8; Hebrews 4:14; Revelation 3:3, 11.

[xxxiv] Such as the belief that the Bible is no longer reliable or essential; the belief that the Holy Spirit constantly brings new revelations that contradict God the Father, Jesus Christ, Scripture, and Himself; social justice over Biblical justice; socialism/ Marxism; and gay/transgender acceptance (both of which are expressly forbidden in both the Old and New Testaments).

[xxxv] Matthew 7: 13-14.

[xxxvi] T. S. Eliot, Christianity & Culture, (Lexington, KY: A Harvest Book, Harcourt, Inc., 2014 [1948, 1939]),76.

[xxxvii] The David Jeremiah ESV Study Bible (2019 David Jeremiah, Inc, Worthy, a division of Hachette Book Group, Inc, New York), p. 1821 (note 22:11).

[xxxviii] But when the Son of Man comes in His glory, and all the angels with Him, then He will sit on His glorious throne. All the nations will be gathered before Him; and He will separate them from one another, as the shepherd separates the sheep from the goats; and He will put the sheep on His right and the goats on the left. Then the King will say to those on His right, ‘Come, you who are blessed of My Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world, ‘For I was hungry, and you gave Me something to eat; I was thirsty, and you gave Me something to drink; I was a stranger, and you invited Me in; naked and you clothed Me; I was sick, and you visited Me; I was in prison and you came to Me.’ Then the righteous will answer Him, ‘Lord, when did we see You hungry, and feed you, or thirsty, and give You something to drink? And when did we see You a stranger, and invite You in, or naked, and clothe You? When did we see You sick, or in prison, and come to You? The King will answer and say to them, ‘Truly I say to you, to the extent that you did it to one of these brothers of Mine, even the least of them, you did it to Me.’ Then He will also say to those on His left, ‘Depart from Me, accursed ones, into the eternal fire which has been prepared for the devil and his angels;

[xxxix] John 8:12, 12:36; 1 Thessalonians 5:5-8; Matthew 5:16; Romans 8:14.