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"Right Or Wrong Christianity"

by David Legge | Copyright © 2006 | All Rights Reserved | www.preachtheword.com

'Preach The Word'I want you to turn with me in your Bibles to Matthew's Gospel chapter 7. Douglas was singing to us about the fact that the Lord Jesus is Lord, He is Lord of all the earth; and one day when He comes again in judgement, every knee shall bow and every tongue confess that He is Lord - even those who have not recognised Him as Lord presently. The sad truth is: there are many people in the world that think that He's their Lord - but there's going to be a day of rude awakening, when they will find out that they have not really made Him Lord and Saviour of their lives as they thought. You might want to call them 'Christians' - there are so many 'Christians' in our world, but it would be very foolish and very naive, and certainly unbiblical as we'll see from the scriptures tonight, to say that all 'Christians', so-called, will be in heaven.

Where are we going to look for the real answer? Well, we're going to look not only to the Bible, but we're going to look to Jesus Christ Himself. What does He say?

The Lord Jesus bears this out in Matthew chapter 7. We'll begin to read at verse 21, just three verses down to verse 23. Jesus is speaking in His famous Sermon on the Mount, and He says: "Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven. Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? and in thy name have cast out devils? and in thy name done many wonderful works? And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity" - and we end our reading at verse 23.

What is right or wrong Christianity? Now please don't fear: I'm not going to bash any particular denominations or religious persuasions in Christendom or outside Christendom - that's not my job tonight. Besides all that, even if I was to try to do a critique of religions or denominations, or cults or persuasions in Christendom individually, well, I'd have you here for a long, long time there are so many of them! I'm not even going to begin reciting them.

Besides all that, the Bible pre-dates all of these systems and organisations. Christianity began with the Lord Jesus Christ, therefore He was before the Presbyterians, the Methodists, and the Episcopalians, and the Mormons, and the Jehovah's Witnesses, and the Roman Catholics and Protestants - He was before them all! So ignoring all present-day labels and tags that people might put on Christians to name them and categorise them, I want to ask the more important question this evening: what does the Bible teach real Christianity is? What does the Bible, specifically the Lord Jesus Christ Himself, say that Christianity is not? But I want to be even more personal than that, because I'm not wanting to talk about Christianity as a system or an institution, and wanting rather to ask the question: what a true Christian is? I want to speak personally into your life, because there's a lot of confusion about what a Christian is.

You might have heard people describing Christians as being 'good living'. They think that being a Christian is following some kind of ethical moral code

If you would ask some people in Belfast who even call themselves Christian, they would say 'Well, you're born a Christian'. Just like you're born into another land, another nation, with another culture or religion, we are born in the West in countries who call themselves Christian - and whether your persuasion is Catholic or Protestant or whatever, you're born into a Christian country, and that is what makes you a Christian. That's what some people understand a Christian to be. Then there are others who say: 'Well, you have to be baptised to be a Christian'. Whether it's sprinkled as a little child in a particular church, or whether it is as an adult being baptised in total immersion, that is what makes you a Christian. Certainly we believe that the Lord Jesus baptised people. Others will say: 'Well, you have to come to the age about 12, the rite of passage, and you are confirmed'. After you're baptised as an infant, well then you realise as you grow up if you really want this Christian faith or not, and you decide to be confirmed in your particular denomination. That's what some people understand as being what it is to have a Christian conversion.

Then there are others, and you might have heard people describing Christians as being 'good living'. They think that being a Christian is following some kind of ethical moral code. Maybe it's the ten commandments, maybe it's even the Sermon on the Mount - Matthew 5,6 and 7 - you've all heard the 'golden rule': 'Do unto others as you would have them do unto you'. People think that if you try that, and you succeed, that God in some way will call you a Christian and let you into heaven when the final day comes. Others think that it is more literal than that: following Jesus Christ, whatever that means. Not just rules and regulations, but following the way He lived, following His teaching, and trying to be like the Lord Jesus in your life and in your conduct.

Now we want to ask the most important question, because if you were to take a survey perhaps of 10 people in Belfast, or wider, further afield in Northern Ireland or even the United Kingdom, you would probably get ten - or at least five - different answers as to what a Christian is. Where are we going to look for the real answer? Well, we're going to look not only to the Bible, but we're going to look to Jesus Christ Himself. What does He say? Well, this is perhaps, arguably, the greatest sermon - if you could say that for the Lord Jesus - that He ever preached. It's certainly got the most details for us of any of the sermons that He gave to mankind, and He, of course, was the greatest preacher that preached the greatest sermon. Here in this particular sermon, He makes what I think is perhaps the greatest heart-piercing application of all the truth that He ever left with men when He was on the earth. In His sermon He has turned from talking about false teachers to talking about false professors.

He's moving now away from talking about unsound teachers who teach a false message of the gospel, to talking about unsound hearers - people who take up the message, as we say it here, 'the wrong end of the stick'

I'm not talking about a professor in a university, I'm talking about someone who professes faith in Christ, someone who says: 'I'm a Christian' - but Jesus says they're not really a Christian, they don't fulfil what the Lord Jesus Christ, what God's word says a Christian really is. In other words, He's moving now away from talking about unsound teachers who teach a false message of the gospel, to talking about unsound hearers - people who take up the message, as we say it here, 'the wrong end of the stick'. They misunderstand what it is to be a true Christian. Now you might say: 'Well, what's the importance of all this anyway? If you just take the name of Christ, and you just follow Christ in some shape or form, surely He'll have pity on you and you'll get into heaven in the end?'. Well, the reason why it's so important is that Jesus actually teaches in the passage that we read together this evening: if you get this thing wrong, what a Christian really is, if you get it wrong now, you will have to be put right then. That's what these verses say. If you get what a Christian is wrong now, you will have to be put right then.

'When?', you might ask. 'On that day', Jesus says in verse 22. He says: 'Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? and in thy name have cast out devils? and in thy name done many wonderful works?'. 'That day', Jesus says, if you get what a Christian is wrong today, on that day you will have to be put right and it will be to your loss and your detriment. What day is it? The Bible tells us that there is a day coming that is called 'the day of judgment'. Revelation chapter 20 outlines that day, when all the dead, small and great, will rise from the grave; and they will stand before God, and the Bible says that the books will be opened - that is the book of your life - and you will be judged according to what you have done that has displeased God. On that day those who don't fulfil what it is to be a true Christian, as Christ meant it, the Bible says - and these are tragic words - that whosoever was not found in another book, the Lamb's Book of Life, was cast into a lake of fire.

What an awful day that will be. The day, Jesus says, when the secrets of all men's hearts will be disclosed. In Luke chapter 12 He said: 'For there is nothing covered', or hidden, 'that shall not be revealed; neither hid, that shall not be known'. On that day there will be many a surprise. Can you not even hear it in the tone of the words of the people Jesus is talking about in verse 22? 'Lord, Lord, have we not...', they're surprised! 'Lord, Lord, it's us, You know us! We're the Christians! We're the ones who followed You! We're the ones who took Your name! We did mighty works in Your name'. But the sad thing is, Jesus says on that day many will be surprised, because people who thought that they were great Christians, and perhaps people who the whole world thought was a great Christian, will be utterly confounded. They will find out on that day that they were not a Christian at all. The rottenness of their religion will be exposed and put to shame before the whole world, but the most tragic thing of all will be this: they will be lost, and lost forever! Jesus says to these people: 'I never knew you', and in another place He's actually quoted as saying, 'Depart from me, ye that work iniquity, into everlasting fire'.

The sad thing is, Jesus says on that day many will be surprised, because people who thought that they were great Christians, and perhaps people who the whole world thought was a great Christian, will be utterly confounded

These are serious things, and I hope you're asking yourself just now: 'Well, how can I be sure that I don't get that shock then? How can I know now that I'm really a Christian?'. Well, the simple answer to that is: take the painful verdict of God's word now. Judge yourself now so that you may not be judged. What am I talking about? Jesus is saying that it doesn't matter what you say about being a Christian, it doesn't matter what you've done in the name of Christ, it doesn't matter even what you've been for Christ - or at least you think you've been for Christ - what matters is what He will say about you on that day.

Now here's what the Lord Jesus prophesied that He would say of many who call themselves Christians on that day. Here's the first thing I want to leave with you: He will say to them, 'You may have the right terminology, but I don't know you'. 'You might have the right terminology, but I don't know you' - what am I talking about? Well they say the right words: 'Lord, Lord', they use this word 'prophesy' which is a tremendously spiritual and religious word. They claim to have cast out demons in Jesus' name, they claim to have done many mighty works - the literal word means 'miracles', and is actually used of the miracles that Jesus performed in His life. So here's a group of people who are using all the right language - but Jesus was so familiar with people like that in His life, because there were those who tried to trip Him up on occasion, called the Pharisees and the Scribes, the religious leaders of the day. Jesus spoke of them: 'This people draw near to me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me. They honour me with their language, but their hearts are far away from me'.

One paraphrase of this verse, verse 22, goes like this: 'Not all who sound religious are really godly people'! 'Not all who sound religious are really godly people. They may refer to me as 'Lord', but they still won't get heaven'. Now don't you think for one moment that everybody in Ulster who calls themselves a Christian is a Christian. Sure everybody that dies, if you look down the obituaries in the Belfast Telegraph, has died in Christ - 'God's garden smells sweeter for the roses that have now ascended to Him'. Everybody's saved if you were to believe people's words! If you believed everything that was prayed or said in a church in Northern Ireland today as to be proof that those people were Christians, well we all would be confounded and proved wrong - terminology does not make you a Christian.

A preacher on one occasion called Jack van Empe was preaching the gospel and staying in a very, very humble home. The man who was looking after him was a man who had been on skid row, and he was converted by the grace of God, he found Christ. He brought the preacher into his home, and he showed him the little humble room where he'd be staying, and he told them that he could spend time with the Lord there and get the messages for each night as he would preach the good news of the Gospel. So Jack van Empe began to pray, seeking God for what to preach each night, and then suddenly he heard a little voice from behind him, and it went like this: 'You must be born again'. He turned round only to see a parrot, and this parrot was repeating what this man that had been on skid row and had been gloriously converted had been going around the house saying: 'You must be born again', quoting verses, and this parrot began to repeat it. Jack van Empe, all of a sudden, got the message for that particular evening. He said: 'This is what I'm going to preach on, I'm going to preach on 'Parakeet Christianity'' - people who have all the language, say all the right things, but haven't got the life. How many people are like that? Have a form of godliness, but deny the power thereof - they say their prayers, they know how to answer the minister when the minister asks them do they have faith in God. Maybe the minister is evangelical enough to say: 'Are you saved? Do you know you're going to heaven?', and they know all the right words and the right phrases, they just trot off their tongue because they've known them from Sunday School - but Jesus says that knowing the right terminology does not mean that you will be in heaven!

These aren't dead liberals, these are people that believe that God can still do mighty things. But do you know something? Their right theology did not save their soul

He goes on and He says that to have the right theology does not mean that you will be in heaven. You know what theology is, the study of God and doctrine, and what people believe. Well, if you look at what these people will say on that day of judgment, you see that they're very orthodox and sound in what they believe. They believe in the deity of Christ - you see, to call Jesus 'Lord' as they do, means that you believe that He is not only the Son of God, but God manifest in flesh, God the Son. Not everybody believes that, but they should, because that's what Jesus claimed, that's what the Bible teaches - these people believed that. They talk about prophesying, they talk about casting out devils, they talk about miracles, these people not only believe that Jesus is God's Son and God the Son, but they believe in the supernatural, they believe in miracles! These aren't dead liberals, these are people that believe that God can still do mighty things. But do you know something? Their right theology did not save their soul.

Now don't misunderstand me, it's important to believe the right thing, and it is important to use the right terminology - Romans 10:9 and 10 tell us: 'If thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved'. But you've got to understand that when the Bible talks about confessing with your mouth and believing in your heart, it's not talking about a mere intellectual assent or a verbal confession. Theological truths, and ticking down a list of boxes about what you believe and what you don't believe will get no one into heaven! The right terminology will not save you, the right theology will not save you. Theological truths will save no one!

We did a study on world religions, and each religion has its confession. We studied Islam on one particular evening, and to become a Muslim one of the first steps is to recite what is called the Sha'hadda, which says there is one God who is Allah, and he has only one prophet that is Mohammed. If you recite that, meaning it in your heart intellectually, and meaning it in belief and faith, you become a Muslim. Well, Christianity is not like that, Christianity is more than just vainly repeating something, Jesus warned in this sermon about 'using vain repetitions as the heathen do'. There's something more to it than praying the Lord's Prayer that Christians do in many of our churches. Maybe you recite the Apostles' Creed, or the Nicene Creed - and those are great orthodox doctrinal creeds of the Christian church, but they will not save you reciting them! Saying the 'Hail Mary' or the 'Our Father' will not make any difference to you getting into heaven if they're only words, and if it's only right theology.

Now I don't want any confessions as to who watched the wedding yesterday on television, but yesterday at the wedding of Charles and Camilla they recited this prayer - and there was a big thing made of it, that they were going to pray a prayer of penitence. They didn't tell you that all Anglicans pray this prayer practically every Sunday, I think, I stand to be corrected - but they quoted this: 'We acknowledge and bewail our manifold sins and wickedness, which we, from time to time, most grievously have committed, by thought, word and deed, against thy Divine Majesty, provoking most justly thy wrath and indignation against us. We do earnestly repent and are heartily sorry for these misdoings; the remembrance of them is grievous unto us; the burden of them is intolerable'. Now if every Anglican, including Charles and Camilla, find it intolerable and repent - though there is a lack of restitution, it would seem - the fact of the matter is they would all be saved. Every Anglican communicant would be in heaven! But they are only words, sadly, to many folk. They lack meaning.

You see, correct terminology and correct theology mean nothing if that's all it is

You see, correct terminology and correct theology mean nothing if that's all it is. In the book of James the apostle said this: 'Thou believest that there is one God; thou doest well: the devils also believe, and tremble'. Did you catch that? You believe there's one God, you maybe believe in Jesus Christ - that's very good, James says, but the devils even believe that and they tremble. You're not going to suggest, his inference is, that those devils are going to heaven? Sure, when the Lord Jesus was going around performing His miracles, the devils also came out of many people crying out and saying: 'Thou art Christ, the Son of God', for they knew the He was Christ. Those devils weren't saved, were they?

You say: 'Well then, what makes it real? I believe in my head that Jesus is who He said He was. I believe He can save me and died for me, and I want to enter into this salvation. What does it mean to really be saved, to get beyond terminology and theology to conversion, and to know that I'm on my way to heaven?'. Well, it's simple, it's in 1 Corinthians 12:3, where Paul says: 'No man can say that Jesus is the Lord, but by the Holy Ghost', the Holy Spirit. Now what does that mean? You might say: 'These people said Jesus was Lord, but they didn't get to heaven', but they didn't really own Him as Lord. That's what Paul is saying: no man can own Jesus as Lord and Saviour of their life, except the Holy Spirit does that work within them. The missing element in these people's lives was that they professed faith in Christ, but the Holy Spirit had never done a regenerating, renewing, life-giving work in their heart.

Now you say: 'What is that?'. It is simply the change that Christ makes when He comes into your life. Paul described it as 'old things passing away'. Those things in your life that you can't get a hold of, a grip of, those habitual sins, those things that you wish, perhaps, you couldn't do or wouldn't do, but you always fall into that trap of doing them - those things can be taken away, and you can be given a new nature that is actually the nature of God in Christ, and you can be changed! That happens at every true conversion! At least, that's what the Bible teaches. Yes, you must come as you are, you can't change yourself now by yourself, you can't strip yourself of all your sin and unrighteousness, you must come as you are - but the Bible teaches that if you come as you are and the Spirit of God does that work in your heart as you put your faith and trust in Him alone, you will not stay as you are. You will be changed.

It must be with your whole life, you're coming to Christ with your sin and allowing Him to change you, and you're making Him your Lord!

You might say: 'How do I know? How do I know that what I'm experiencing just now is more than terminology, is more than mere theology? How do I know that the Holy Spirit is working with me like that?'. Here are two ways: one, conviction, that you feel that you're a sinner, and you can't stand being a sinner any longer, and you want something to happen to change you from a life of sin to a life of righteousness before God. That will move from a conviction to a repentance, for the Bible says that type of godly sorrow leads to repentance not to be repented of - what does that mean? You turn from your sin and you don't turn back to it!

Do you start to loathe and hate your sin? Do you start to realise - and maybe it's you at this very point - that you have no hope in this life, or in the life to come? You've no assurance, you just want rid of this awful feeling of guilt in your heart and life, this empty void that is there - you want it to be filled by some meaning, something that really satisfies. My friend, that is a good sign that the Spirit of God is working with you, and if you are obedient to God's word you will be saved - but make sure it's not just lip service, make sure it's not some kind of intellectual assent to a doctrine. It must be with your whole life, you're coming to Christ with your sin and allowing Him to change you, and you're making Him your Lord!

You can have right terminology and not be saved. You can have right theology and not be saved. You can have a right amount of sincerity and not be saved. These people said 'Lord, Lord' - they said 'Lord' twice. You might say: 'So what?'. Well, that repetition suggests to me that they really felt genuine about Him as Lord: 'Lord, Lord!'. It even shows fervency and an urgency, they were expecting the Lord to reply to their cry, because it was them that were crying. But all the evidence here in these verses is that all the sincerity in the world amounts to nothing!

Let me illustrate it to you like this: I could sincerely believe that I'm Spiderman, and I could try and climb up that wall, but it wouldn't be long till not only did I sincerely believe and be sincerely wrong, but I'd be sincerely sore as I fell to the ground - and maybe other people in the congregation would be able to testify to that fact as I landed on them. It doesn't matter what I sincerely believe, the fact is I am not Spiderman - and let me go a step further: I wonder, if I did climb the wall, would you believe me then that I was Spiderman? Maybe some of you would! But the fact of the matter is: these people effectively climbed the wall - they prophesied, they cast out demons, they did mighty works, they showed a demonstration of some power or other, but yet they weren't converted Jesus said. They were sincere to the point of being able to do mighty works, but Jesus is saying that sincerity for truth is all that really matters.

They were sincere to the point of being able to do mighty works, but Jesus is saying that sincerity for truth is all that really matters

They thought their sincerity could be attested by their preaching, by the delivering of demons from people, by the displaying of God's power in miracles - and the Lord didn't deny that they actually did these things, and even did them in His own name. It wouldn't be the first time that had happened! The Egyptians in the Old Testament counterfeited the miracles of Moses. In Acts 19 we find the sons of Sceva trying to cast out devils in Jesus' name, and the devils overcame them because they weren't converted themselves. In the book of the Revelation we read of a false prophet who will come into this world, and he will mimic the power of God in great signs and wonders - but none of them will be in heaven, because a display of supernatural power is not proof of Christianity!

A right use of terminology doesn't make you a Christian. A right understanding of theology doesn't make you a Christian. A right sincerity, and showing that sincerity in great works, does not make you a Christian. You say: 'What makes me a Christian?'. Verse 21: 'but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven'. Notice Jesus didn't say: 'He that does the work of my Father which is in heaven', and they were caught up in the works, in the preaching, in the miracles, in the casting out of demons. They were caught up in the works they did for God, and the words they spoke for God, but they didn't realise that they weren't doing the will of God. 'What is the will of God?', you say - it's not just calling yourself a Christian, or using Christian words, it's not just understanding or assenting to Christian theology, it's not just doing Christian works, whether they even be supernatural works if that be possible.

On one occasion some of these religious people came to the Lord Jesus in John 6 and said: 'What shall we do that we might work the works of God?'. In other words, you could put it: 'What is the will of my Father which is in heaven?'. Jesus answered and said unto them: 'This is the work of God: that ye believe on him who he has sent' - that ye believe on Him who He has sent. Who did God send? God sent Jesus. What's the great work that God wants all of us to do? It's not prophesying, it's not casting out demons, it's not doing miracles, it's not doing anything in the name of Christ or for Christ, it is actually to trust Christ and Christ alone for your salvation, to believe on Him! Augustus Montague Toplady, a hymn writer, put it like this in that famous, it's called the Cowboy hymn, 'Rock of Ages':

'Not the labours of my hands
Could fulfil Thy law's demands;
Could my zeal no respite know,
Could my tears forever flow,
All for sin could not atone;
Thou must save, and Thou alone'.

He went on in the third verse to say:

'Nothing in my hands I bring,
Simply to the cross I cling;
Naked, come to Thee for dress;
Helpless, look to Thee for grace;
Foul, I to the fountain fly;
Wash me, Saviour, or I die'.

To do the will of Christ's Father which is in heaven is to realise that you can't save yourself, to realise that - whatever terminology you use, even if it be right, whatever theology you believe in, whatever sincerity you display, even if it's in great works - it doesn't mean anything in the sight of God, because a Bible Christian is a Christian according to Jesus, and a Christian according to Jesus is a person who comes as a little child with nothing, just looking for God's forgiveness and God's mercy. Ephesians 2:8 and 9 says: 'By grace are ye saved through faith', that means it's a gift, it's not something you can earn, it's not something you can buy, it's not something you can work for or work up in your heart - it's something that you must receive by simple faith. The sad thing is this: because, although they had the right terminology, the right theology, a right display of sincerity, they had a wrong testimony before the Lord Jesus Christ. He spoke to them on this last day and said: 'I never knew you'. Do you know what that means? Many who profess to have Christ now will be cast into hell then!

Although they had the right terminology, the right theology, a right display of sincerity, they had a wrong testimony before the Lord Jesus Christ

So what is important is not what you profess about Christ here and now, but what He will testify of you on that day. What would He testify of you? I don't care what your language is, what your beliefs are, how sincere you are - Jesus says, it literally means: 'I will say to them publicly, 'You have never been mine''. Just as you have maybe professed Christ publicly, He is going to profess one day of those who have talked about Him, thought about Him, maybe even in some type of belief held onto Him, but have never really been converted by the grace and the Spirit of God, He will disown them publicly! Those who have used His name freely, yet imagine this awful thought: your name will be unknown to Him.

'I don't know you', and on that day you will be found to have broken the third commandment: 'Thou shalt not take the name of thy Lord God in vain'. We think of that as swearing, and it is partly, but it means taking the name of God and Christ and not really being a believer - and God says that the Lord will not hold him guiltless that taketh His name in vain. If you have called him 'Lord', and never submitted to His Lordship, if it has been all lip and no life, you will be lost! You will have the wrong testimony of Christ, He will say: 'I never knew you'. You will also have the wrong destiny, He will say: 'Depart from me', and that is that lake of fire that is eternal torment for all those who will not believe in Christ, the Way.

Finally He tells us that the reason for this is because these people have the wrong security, they have the wrong security. Jesus says: 'Depart from me, ye that work iniquity'. You say: 'How could you call prophesying and casting out devils and doing miracles iniquity?'. Here's how you can: God says all the right things that we do, if we are without Christ, in His sight they are filthy rags. We have no righteousness of our own, God is the only holy one, and if we are to be holy in His sight we must have His holiness. That's why He sent His Son, that's why Jesus died on the cross, took our sin, your sin as well, bled and died and was punished for it - why? So that He might give you the righteousness of God, so that you might go to be with God one day.

What's your security in? Is it in your works? Is it in your words? Is it in your beliefs in the mind?

What's your security in? Is it in your works? Is it in your words? Is it in your beliefs in the mind? My friend, at the end of this sermon the Lord Jesus told the parable of a wise man and a foolish man. Both of them built houses, the foolish man built his house on the sand, but the wise man built his house on the rock. Jesus said: 'The man that built his house on a rock is the one who built his life on what I said, my will and the will of my Father. The one who built his house on the sand is the one who ignored my will, and perhaps built their life on works, their own righteousness, what they are, what they say, what they do'. Jesus said that all of a sudden one day the storms came, and it was the house on the rock that stood fast. The other house was destroyed, and the storm speaks of judgment My friend, the judgment day is coming! Only those who have built their life on Christ will stand firm.

These people rested in their mighty works, whereas they needed to rest in the mighty work, the work that the Lord Jesus Christ did at Calvary, the work when He rose again from the dead. My friend, He can do a work in your heart tonight.

Count Nicolaus Ludwig von Zinzendorf in the 1700s was a Count of Saxony in Germany, and one evening he visited the public gallery in Dusseldorf, and he saw Steinberg's great painting of the crucifixion of the Lord Jesus Christ. At that moment he was confronted with life's great crisis: what will I do with this Man, Christ? His heart was pierced by the words of the inscription underneath the picture, they burned into his very soul. They went like this: 'All this I did for thee, what hast thou done for me?'. He was overcome by the love of Christ, and straightaway he resolved in his heart to serve only Christ. After that his life's motto was to be: 'I have but one passion, that is He, and only He!'. Nicolaus von Zinzendorf served the Lord mightily and was the beginning of the modern missionary movement in the whole of the world - but do you know something? No matter what great works he did for Christ, no matter what great words he said about Christ, no matter what intellectual beliefs and ideas he had about Christ, he knew that his security was not in those things. So he wrote this hymn, it goes like this, I want you to listen very carefully - this is where his eternal salvation rested:

'Jesus, Thy blood and righteousness
My beauty are, my glorious dress' - talking of the judgement day:
'Midst flaming worlds, in these arrayed
With joy shall I lift up my head.

Bold shall I stand in that great day,
For who aught to my charge shall lay?
Fully absolved through these I am,
From sin and fear, from guilt and shame.

When from the dust of death I rise
To claim my mansion in the skies,
E'en then, this shall be all my plea:
Jesus hath lived and died for me.

Jesus, be endless praise to Thee,
Whose boundless mercy hath for me,
For me, and all Thy hands have made,
An everlasting ransom paid.

O, let the dead now hear His voice,
Now bid Thy banished ones rejoice,
Their beauty this, their glorious dress:
Jesus, Thy blood and righteousness'.

He knew that the only way to get into heaven was putting faith, nothing more, nothing less, in the Saviour that died for him, the Saviour that rose for him, and the Saviour who has promised: 'To those who receive me, I will give you the power to become a child of God' - not the words, or the thoughts, or the works, but the power to change and transform your life! Do you know that power?

Jesus has died, He's alive, He's able to save those who come to Him by faith. All you need to do, from your heart, is say: 'Lord, I forsake my sin, I'm willing to turn from it, give me the power to leave it. I'm willing to turn from it, save me now. I know that Jesus died for me, and that's all that will get me to heaven and take my sins away. Save me now, be my Lord, change my life, fit me with Your righteousness'. If you do that from your own heart sincerely to the Lord, by faith, He will hear you.

Let us pray, but please, I ask you, don't leave tonight especially if God has been speaking to your heart, don't leave without sorting this matter out. Father, we thank Thee for the wonderful provision the Lord Jesus has made for us all at Calvary, the precious blood that cleanses every stain, the deepest dyed sin that any of us could ever commit can be washed away white as snow in that precious blood. Lord, would You bring some soul to the realisation that terminology, theology and sincerity won't matter - all that matters is the testimony of Christ of us. We pray that none will ever lift their eyes in that awful destination of hell, because their security was not in Christ but in themselves, or in the church, or in a religious system. Lord, we pray tonight, may someone build their life this evening on the Rock, the Rock of ages cleft for me, and may they hide themselves in Thee. Amen.

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Transcribed by:
Andrew Watkins,
Preach The Word.
April 2006
www.preachtheword.com

This sermon was delivered at The Iron Hall Evangelical Church in Belfast, Northern Ireland, by Pastor David Legge. It was transcribed from the recording, titled "Right Or Wrong Christianity" - Transcribed by Andrew Watkins, Preach The Word.

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