It’s risky talking about the typical anything in church–people are as varied as their fingerprints, voice patterns, and DNA–but once in a while, it’s safe to draw a few general conclusions. Here’s one:
The average Christian who goes forth to witness for the Lord leaves out fully one-half of the equation between God and man.
Here’s what that means.
Suppose I decide to join the New Orleans Saints football team. Their offices and facilities are not more than 2 miles from my house, so one morning, I drive down, park my car and walk inside. A guard meets me.
“I’m here,” I tell him. “It took some doing, but I finally relented. I’m ready to give myself to this team.”
Being of a suspicious bent, the guard looks me up and down and says, “What are you talking about, mister? Why are you here?”
“I’m joining the Saints,” I say. “I’ve heard by the commercials that you need the support of the community. So, I have studied up on everything–talked to people, read the books, watched some games on tape–and I am now ready to join the team.”
“Oh, you are, are you?” he says.
“Yes sir,” I announce confidently. “In fact, I want Mr. Benson (he’s the owner) to know that I trust him. I believe he’s got the good of the community at heart. And Coach Payton, well, he’s the best. I feel like I know him personally. And of course, Drew Brees, the quarterback–well, sir, it’s going to be fun working with a champion like him. This is a big day for me.”
“There is only one problem, mister,” says the security guard.
“How could there be a problem?” I ask. “I think I’ve got everything figured out.”
“All but one,” he says. “The Saints don’t want you on the team. You may know them, but they don’t know you. You may approve the owner and the coaches, but frankly, sir, that doesn’t mean squat.”
I’m crestfallen. But the guard is not through.
“Sir, you run on home now. There is no place for you here. The Saints will be on television in a few weeks and you can watch their games from home. Get you a pennant and wave it, wear the t-shirt, put a sticker on your car.”
“But you cannot join the team,” he emphasizes, as he ushers me out the door.
The question before us today, class, is this: Even if you decided that you know Jesus, trust in Jesus, and have received Jesus, how do you know that He knows you, trusts you, and receives you?
After all, if Jesus does not know you, you are not saved (Matthew 7:23).
And, if Jesus does not trust you, you are not saved (John 2:23-25).
If Jesus does not receive you, you are not saved (II Corinthians 5:17).
In explaining how to be saved, many of us have left off the entire divine side of the operation. In so doing, we may well have left a lot of people in mortal peril.