Monday, September 8, 2014

Ministry Monday - How Do You Know?

Below is the intro of a discussion I had with my youth group. It occurs to me that this vital question often gets left unanswered as youth pastors can be tempted to be satisfied with teens showing up each week and being involved.

I have, at times, hoped that enough positive peer pressure and enough Bible would miraculously soak in by way of osmosis, that just by being a part of my program would change a teen's life. To be sure, being a part can change a person's life, but it's not automatic, and it shouldn't be assumed.

Make sure you know!

Have you ever wondered if you're really saved? (Saved is such a churchy word. We use saved in other areas of life, i.e. you found my iPhone, I'm saved. But when we use it in church, it takes on a higher level of importance.)

So have you ever wondered? Because you've been raised on this perhaps, or you just started attending a youth group or a church, and you just kind of assumed we handed get-out-of-Hell-free cards. (See me afterwards if you still need one…)

Because this is not an answer you want to get wrong. You can imagine that standing before God, after you've died, might not be the best time to find out you had it all wrong. Can you picture telling God that you had this mental checklist of what it takes to get into Heaven? Well, you see, God, I uhhh, sort of thought it kinda worked like this… That's not the time you want to see Him laugh. Or facepalm. Or just shake His head while pointing His finger away.

The Bible says this is a possibility.

21 “Not everyone who calls out to me, ‘Lord! Lord!’ will enter the Kingdom of Heaven. Only those who actually do the will of my Father in heaven will enter. 22 On judgment day many will say to me, ‘Lord! Lord! We prophesied in your name and cast out demons in your name and performed many miracles in your name.’ 23 But I will reply, ‘I never knew you. Get away from me, you who break God’s laws.’ ~Matthew 7

Awk-ward! This is the ultimate in facials that you don't want to receive. I can remember, back in high school, seeing the girl I had a crush on, wave to me. I would walk over, confident that my dreams had finally come true. Reality would slap me in the face when I would hear another cute girl behind me, suddenly knowing my crush was not waving at me. Like George McFly, I would mumble something and slink away. People would laugh and I'd hold it together, until I cried myself to sleep that night.

As bad as that was, it would be nothing to having that happen at the Pearly Gates. Replace the hot girl with Jesus and my sad high school reputation for your eternal destination and you suddenly understand that this is a very important question.

So how does anyone know they're saved?

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