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Some who have become followers of Jesus have begun to mistakenly believe that once they have given their lives to the LORD, they can now live however they may please. They think that they will be in heaven just like all other believers one day, so they do not see a point in trying to live for Jesus or do any mission work. They would never dare put their life at risk doing something to promote the Gospel. This belief is bleeding into our churches. And many churches never even go out into their communities to reach the lost for the LORD. (Matthew 24:14; 28:19-20; Acts 1:8) We are comfortable coming to church on Sunday morning in our nice, clean clothes with the perfect A/C flowing through our nicely remodeled modern sanctuary. We would be cowering away from anything that may involve dirty work, communicating with those very different from us, or sharing Jesus outside of the safety of the church walls. I mean, we believe in Jesus, so we are good, and there is no need to strain ourselves to reach anyone else for Him, right?
There are two significant issues with this line of thinking. The first is that if we are indeed followers of Jesus, we should live as a new creation. God’s Word tells us that if we are found in Christ, we are a new creation; the old has passed away, and behold He is making all things new. (2 Corinthians 5:17, NKJV) We cannot live according to the flesh if His Spirit has saved us. Many today ignore the fact that without repentance, there is no salvation. Unless we seriously evaluated our lives, realized that we are sinful, and asked Jesus to forgive us of our sins with the heart that we will do the best we can to live for Him for the rest of eternity, then we are not followers of Jesus. Repentance means that we actively choose to turn away from the things of this world and begin to live for Jesus in all we do. If we said a prayer but our hearts were never changed to start living by the Word of God; then, our hearts have not been cleansed by the blood of Jesus, and we are still living according to the flesh. Look at what God’s Word says just before verse 17, “He died for all, that those who live should live no longer for themselves, but for Him who died for them and rose again.” (2 Corinthians 5: 15, NKJV) We need to reflect upon our lives and evaluate if we are living for ourselves or the King of kings. If we cannot without a doubt say that our lives have changed after accepting Jesus as our Savior, then we have to ask ourselves the tougher question, did we actually ask Jesus into our hearts, or did we just say a prayer with a selfish heart?
“Be diligent to present yourself approved to God, a worked who does not need to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.” (2 Timothy 2:15, NKJV)
The second major issue with this line of thinking is that if we ignore God’s call on our hearts to reach those around us and in the world for Him, then when we get to heaven, we will be disappointed with the lack of treasures we will receive. Jesus talks about this when He says, “Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal; but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.” (Matthew 6:19-21, NKJV) See, if we live for ourselves here on earth, we may attain many earthly titles, awards, and recognitions, but when we pass away, not a single one of those things will be carried with us. We may build the most prominent church or have the most electric worship team, but one day that building will no longer be there, and the earth will be void of people. The only treasures that are enteral are those waiting in heaven for us. I believe the way we attain these treasure are by doing the will of God here on earth. This means we get out of our comfort zones and start to be a living sacrifice for Jesus. This means we reach out to those He’s calling us to, stand up for His truth, and help the hurting, and through this, the more treasures we will also attain for ourselves when we get to heaven. Treasures could also be referring to our role in heaven. Jesus could also be informing us that the ones that submit to Him the most and serve Him to the highest degree will also hold the higher roles in heaven. So, we have to ask ourselves, “What treasure are we storing up for ourselves today, and if we passed away tonight, what kind of role would Jesus see that we deserve in heaven?”