Today’s WMD was written by my wife.
The Altar Call
Many will say to me on that day ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and in your name cast out demons and perform many miracles?‘ Then I will tell them plainly, ‘I never knew you, away from me you evildoers!’ — Matthew 7:22-23
It appears that there is a certain theme that I keep running into and it has bothered me when I think of people that fit into this category. The theme is that there are people dying who think that they are Christians and are not. For some years, I think I probably fell into this category. I recently heard Gresham Barrett give his testimony, and it is one of the most powerful ones that I have heard. He talked about how he grew up in church and has been an active member of different churches throughout his life. He is now in his mid-fifties and a few years ago, he truly accepted the Lord into his life and was baptized as a public acknowledgement of burying his old ways and now living his life for the Lord. The courage that it takes for a person who has gone to church their whole life to be able to admit that and go around testifying about it amazed me. The one thing that resounded with me during his testimony was this thought. He said that through the years during the altar call and when the opportunity to pray the sinner’s prayer was given, he would always say the prayer just to make sure that he was okay. Now during an altar call, he is praying for other people to accept Christ as their Savior.
I have heard people comment that they are just not sure if they were truly saved. I have been asked “how can I truly know?” Well, I used to give my ideas of how I know, but I now think you should ask yourself this question during the altar call: “What I am doing?” For many years, I was praying for myself, asking for forgiveness once again. Then one day, I do not know when, that changed and now I am praying for others to accept Jesus into their lives. But here is the very scary part for me when I think back, there was a certain amount of time during an altar call when I was looking at my watch, counting the verses in the song to see how soon it would be over, thinking about what I was going to do in 15 minutes, instead of praying for myself or for anyone else. Those were the years when I was “playing church”. Those are the people that I worry about the most. That is a very dangerous place to be. You are dependent on your ability to do the right thing, act like you’ve got it all together in front of everyone else, living to please yourself, and not having a heart to see lost people find the Savior. Unfortunately, I know some people reading this are in this situation. You will read this part and it will irritate you that you were called out. You will convince yourself that you are not “playing church” and that you are okay. I want you to please take a good look at yourself and check to see what you are doing the next time the altar call is given.
Matthew 7:15-20 talks about good fruit and bad fruit. Every person that has lived has produced both good and bad fruit. If your faith hasn’t changed you, then your faith hasn’t saved you. I am not talking about struggling with certain sins that seem to keep coming up. We all have areas that we must constantly work on; that is where grace and mercy come into the plan. I am talking about struggling less over the years with that particular sin and then moving on to tackle others. Are you able to display good fruit such as love, joy, peace, kindness, faithfulness, gentleness, or self-control? Or, are you displaying more of impurity, jealousy, fits of rage, self-indulgence, and envy?
If you have been going through the motions of going to church and trying to be a good person but you cannot say that you actually remember ever asking Jesus to come into your life and live through you, please make that right. Your righteous acts cannot save you, only the forgiveness of sins by your Heavenly Father can. If you are not sure what kind of fruit you are producing, this is tough, but ask someone you trust to give it to you straight.
If you need to make things right with God, take this opportunity to commit your life to His plan. Tell him that you have sin in your life that needs to be forgiven. Believe and trust that He alone can save you and not the good things that you do trying to earn that salvation. And finally, you need to have the courage to tell someone that from this day forward, you know that you are a Christian. Be willing to have the courage of one that sat in church for most of his life letting others believe that he was a true Christian. Please let someone that you love know that if something were to happen to you today, that you are forgiven, saved, and that you will certainly see them for all of eternity in Heaven.