I want to continue discussing false converts. I call them wide gate converts because, instead of entering in the narrow gate of salvation by grace, through faith, without works, they enter in through the wide gate of religion.
We need to be sure when we lead someone to the Lord, that he fully understands what salvation is. Salvation is not by works, it is by the work that Jesus Christ did on the cross. They need to understand that just praying a prayer doesn’t get them to Heaven. Some sell the prayer like an abracadabra or magic words that somehow save a person.
For a person to be truly saved they must understand their sin, God’s holiness, and His wrath poured out against sinners for their sin. Just praying a prayer will not save anyone.
Telling people they are saved because they prayed a prayer can actually inoculate them against the truth. When someone gives them a clear presentation of the Gospel, including God’s wrath against sin and Christ’s death to pay our debt, and tells them to pray and ask God to forgive their sin, they will say “I’ve already done that.” The truth is, they prayed before they had any understanding of why they needed salvation, and the true consequences of their sin.
We need to be sure we are doing God’s work, and not the Devil’s, in leading them through the wide gate. The gate of religion has all of the glitter, but only the gate of true salvation will save.
I don’t want to cast doubt on anyone’s salvation, but it behoves all of us to check out salvation and make sure it is real.
Examine yourselves, whether ye be in the faith; prove your own selves. Know ye not your own selves, how that Jesus Christ is in you, except ye be reprobates? (2 Corinthians 13:5)
Yesterday we looked at the proof of salvation and saw that it is a changed life. Christ works in the lives of those who are truly saved, and it makes a difference that can be seen.
And hereby we know that we are of the truth, and shall assure our hearts before him. (1 John 3:19)
We have assurance when we are the children of God. We can point to things that have changed since our salvation. The fruit that comes from being a new creature in Christ comes from the inside. It is not something we have to work at so we will look like a Christian, it flows from a changed heart.
But whoso hath this world’s good, and seeth his brother have need, and shutteth up his bowels [of compassion] from him, how dwelleth the love of God in him? (1 John 3:17)
If we don’t have compassion for someone in need, the love of God is not in us.
My little children, let us not love in word, neither in tongue; but in deed and in truth. (1 John 3:18)
Our deeds confirm our words. When we say we are a child of God, our deeds will give evidence to that fact.
Wherefore the rather, brethren, give diligence to make your calling and election sure: for if ye do these things, ye shall never fall: (2 Peter 1:10)
I am not going to argue over Calvinism here, but if you are truly one of the elect, you are saved. This verse tells us to make sure that we are part of the elect.
Sadly, some have an artificial salvation, thinking they are entering in by the narrow gate that leads to life, but they weren’t taught correctly and they went through the wide gate. This artificial salvation is very deceptive because it looks like the right thing on the outside, but the inside has not been changed. They think they are saved because they have said a prayer, an abracadabra, and are now a child of God. They do their religious things so others think they are saved.
Matthew Chapter 7 poses a big problem for us because it tells us that many will say they have done many works in the name of Christ, and He will say to them, depart from me, I never knew you.
Every tree that bringeth not forth good fruit is hewn down, and cast into the fire. (Matthew 7:19)
If spiritual fruit is not produced in your life, if the fruit is not the real thing, you will be cut down and cast into the fire.
My in-laws used to be missionaries in France. One of the places they lived was next to an almond tree orchard, or what ever they are called. There are two types of almond trees, sweet and bitter. For most of the year the trees look identical. The only time of the year that you can see an outward difference, is when the trees are in bloom. The color of the flowers is different. Other than the week or two when they are in bloom, there is no way to see the difference. The fruit they produce looks exactly the same as well. When the harvest comes, and you taste the fruit, you will find out whether it was a sweet or a bitter almond tree.
The wide gate convert might look exactly like the narrow gate convert. Remember the wheat and the tares? You can’t really tell the difference until the harvest.
The point is, check out your salvation to make sure it is true. You don’t want to reach the end of your life and find out, like those in Matthew Chapter 7, that you were a wide gate convert. Check your fruit against the Scriptures.
If you find that you are not the real thing, humble yourself, repent and turn to God. Don’t be afraid of what people may think, eternity is too important. It doesn’t matter what position you hold in your church, this is too important to get wrong. It is the difference between Heaven and Hell.
I have had people in our church. like our treasurer, and even a missionary wife, realize that they were lost and come to Christ. The missionary wife was in tears all day one Sunday. She finally admitted that for 20 years she always had doubts about her salvation. She didn’t understand when she was a child, but everyone told her that she was a Christian because she prayed the sinners prayer. She was baptized and lived her life doing what Christians are supposed to do. She came to the point where she could not live with it anymore. She humbled herself and called upon Christ for salvation. No one rebuked her, we all rejoiced as the angels in Heaven rejoice when someone gets saved.
What is causing these false converts? I believe we are making two mistakes. The first is the preaching of a life-enhancement gospel. The second is the preaching of easy prayerism. We will cover this more tomorrow.
I have no doubt that all who are making these mistakes have good intentions. They mean well, and their motives are right, but their actions are wrong because they have been misguided themselves. Those who are preaching a life-enhancement and an easy prayerism gospel just want to see as many as possible saved.
Many, if not most, of you are soundly saved, but not everyone is. I want to put out an appeal to all of you to check out your salvation.
I am convinced that there are many in our churches who are false converts. If this were not so we would see more godliness in the lives of church members. Our churches would have more power.
We need to be sure that the Gospel is taught correctly. People need to be God’s converts, not our converts.
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