Hell's Best Kept Secret (about committing to Christ for the right reasons)


#1

Hello everyone,

I read a sermon today, and it really made an impression on my. It is called "Hell’s Best Kept Secret), and gave a compelling reasoning behind why over 80% of people who made a decision to commit to Jesus seem to fall away. It talked about how they do it expecting the wrong things.

To briefly state an analogy used in this sermon, it discussed two men on a plane who were given parachutes. One was told to put on the parachute because it would improve the quality of his flight–he decided to give it a try, and after the discomfort and burden of wearing it, and after other passengers lauged at and ridiculed him, he took it off. The second passenger was told that he would have to jump out of the plane, and the parachute would protect him from the end of the flight–he did just that, and despite the discomfort, and despite others laughing at him, he was glad to keep it on because he knew what was to come. Basically, too many people are being lead to Christ by hopes for a better life, rather than by looking to death (the “jumping from the plane”) and what we are saved from afterwards. When people commit to Christ because of the latter, they are more likely to endure.

It was given by an evangelical, but I believe it has a powerful message for all who struggle with following Christ–and leading others to Him–in this fallen world.

Here is the link–you can read it, watch it, or listen to it. :slight_smile:
livingwaters.com/listenwatch.shtml

Blessings to all!


#2

Interesting. Thanks for the link. I think that many people pray believing they will see quick results. However God likes to reveal and do things in His time - which can be painfully sloooowwwww for us.

No quick gratification then leads to disappointment, and eventually giving up. That is why one of the gifts of the Holy Spirit is perseverance.

But what we really need the perseverance for is to finish the race - like St. Paul. It’s all in finishing the race and preparing for the end of the flight.

Thanks, Jay.


#3

I’ve never seen a Scripture passage that suggests that Christ suffered and died to make us happy in this life. On the contrary, many passages indicate that we should expect troubles and persecutions, and, in fact, that we should rejoice in it. That is because our joy is supposed to be in the Good News, the Gospel and not in material comfort.

You are right Jay, most people look to God as the “great Santa in the sky” and view all suffering as evil. As many of the saints in the Catholic Church have taught us, and as my own life has proven to me, suffering should bring us closer to God, sanctify us, and remind us that this is not our home. So many people avoid even thinking of death out of fear, even many Christians, and yet if we are mindful of our mortality and the certainty of death, it can even become a grace that drives us daily into the arms of Christ.

Blessings


#4

[quote=JimO]I’ve never seen a Scripture passage that suggests that Christ suffered and died to make us happy in this life. On the contrary, many passages indicate that we should expect troubles and persecutions, and, in fact, that we should rejoice in it. That is because our joy is supposed to be in the Good News, the Gospel and not in material comfort.
[/quote]

Precisely! That is why it is nothing short of a tragedy that it is being preached so often.

Blessings!


#5

[quote=jrabs]But what we really need the perseverance for is to finish the race - like St. Paul. It’s all in finishing the race and preparing for the end of the flight.
[/quote]

Amen! No amount of ridicule or hardship will seperate us from Jesus if we hold on to the fact that he is saving us from eternal consequences, and let go of the myth that he gives us immediate blessings.

:slight_smile:


#6

I’m guessing that those who ascribe to the “wealth and health/name it and claim it/blab it and grab it” gospel so popular today would beg to differ with this. Which is why that type of thinking is so popular–if you don’t get what you feel God should give you, you are told you don’t have enough faith, or you end up turning your back on God because he’s a liar. It doesn’t get any more mercenary than that.


#7

Athletes make me chuckle-they praise Christ when they score a touchdown or win a race,what do they do when they drop a ball or lose a game though? then u find out about all the extra-marital affairs these guys have!!By the way God don’t mind that starving child in India we have to make sure Terrell Owens gets a touchdown today-he has been scoring brownie points for proclaiming my name to the media-Give me a break!!!


#8

[quote=alekzander]Athletes make me chuckle-they praise Christ when they score a touchdown or win a race,what do they do when they drop a ball or lose a game though?
[/quote]

Reminds me of an old joke I heard again recently:

A priest and a rabbi go to a boxing match. The two boxers climb into the ring. In the few minutes before the fight starts, one of the boxers does the Sign of the Cross.

The rabbi turns to the priest and asks, “What does that mean?”

The priest replies, “If he can’t box, not a damn thing.”

– Mark L. Chance.


#9

[quote=mlchance]The rabbi turns to the priest and asks, “What does that mean?”

The priest replies, “If he can’t box, not a damn thing.”

[/quote]

LOL. I love it! Good point about how a relationship with Jesus isn’t about earthly rewards or success.

Reminds me of another story I heard. Two men were discussion baptism, and whether it had to be submersion or if sprinkling would suffice. This discussion fell turned into an argument, and a third man who was listening to the argument stepped in and said “I don’t know whether you must be sprinkled or submersed, but I do know that if you don’t know Jesus you just get wet.”

Good post! :slight_smile:


#10

That is what brought me back into a practicing faith. I was on the road to atheism when I was blessed to be told a first hand account of confrontation with the demonic by an old personal friend who had gone from CINO to pius. The story made my head swim (very unusual for me). I became very affected by the story and the statement made at the end. “The devils best weapon is to make you think he doesn’t exist.” Affected me so much because I knew that the existence of the devil (and hell) changed everything. Things were no longer safe!

For me this was a life changing message!

Jim


#11

Fidelis wrote:

I’m guessing that those who ascribe to the “wealth and health/name it and claim it/blab it and grab it” gospel so popular today would beg to differ with this. Which is why that type of thinking is so popular–if you don’t get what you feel God should give you, you are told you don’t have enough faith, or you end up turning your back on God because he’s a liar. It doesn’t get any more mercenary than that.

As someone who trusts in Jesus completely I agree that the above stated thinking must be an abomination to Him. There are a couple of courses being offered out there and even some Catholic churches are starting to use them; the “Alpha” course and the “Purpose Driven” garbage are in many of the churches, catholic and protestant. This stuff all promotes the prosperity, faith movements. It is garbage and personally, I will have nothing to do with any of it. It’s all part of the ecumenical movement that is going on today.


#12

[quote=New Heart]Fidelis wrote:
even some Catholic churches are starting to use them; the “Alpha” course and the “Purpose Driven” garbage are in many of the churches, catholic and protestant. This stuff all promotes the prosperity, faith movements. It is garbage and personally, I will have nothing to do with any of it. It’s all part of the ecumenical movement that is going on today.
[/quote]

I have no info on Purpose Driven life, but we give the Alpha program at our parish in English and Spanish twice a year, followed by Touching Jesus through the Church, and have found the Alpha videos by Nicky Gumbel, an Anglican minister who is a pastor of a Church in England, to be very orthodox presentations of the Apostles Creed, doctrine accepted by all mainstream Christian denominations. It is not intended to teach the finer points of dogma that divide protestant and CAtholic, it is intended as primary evangelization,–initial proclamation of the gospel–to those who are unbaptized or unchurched. We have found it to be a great evangelization tool. Those who wish - about 2/3 of those who complete Alpha go on to Touching Jesus, which covers the sacraments, liturgy, Mary and the saints, what is distinctively Catholic.


#13

All you have to do is read scripture,look at Christ’s life,that was a life of hardships-people calling him crazy,mocking him,all the traveling,hardly any money,then to top it all off a very PAINFUL crucifixion-My problems are nothing compared to Christ’s hardships.He truely did know our sorrows.So when people see these preachers leave a revival meeting or some bible seminar in a rolls royce,shouldn’t that get them thinking???


#14

“The devils best weapon is to make you think he doesn’t exist.”

Amen to that! I’m reading C.S. Lewis, The Screwtape Letters again, for the 3rd time, and for all who haven’t read the book, that is precisely the premise. Being lulled by the satisfaction one receives from the secular world leads one to believe he “isn’t so bad” and “after all, Jesus understands” to which disbelief of Satan and his minions follows. Which is exactly what they want.


#15

It was always my understanding that the closer we become to Jesus we will walk His walk in this life. Most our Saints and mystics did not live in a health/wealth mode. They emulated Our Lord as best as any human could. I will take their example as a lamp post before a greed kinda of spirituality. I will not be lead into error.

This is why The Prayer of Jabez is so popular. I’ll take Dark Night of the Soul anytime and the Spiritual Exercises of St Igantius…

Blessings,
Shoshana smileys.smileycentral.com/cat/8/8_2_62.gif


#16

[quote=Jay74]Hello everyone,

I read a sermon today, and it really made an impression on my. It is called "Hell’s Best Kept Secret), and gave a compelling reasoning behind why over 80% of people who made a decision to commit to Jesus seem to fall away. It talked about how they do it expecting the wrong things.

It was given by an evangelical, but I believe it has a powerful message for all who struggle with following Christ–and leading others to Him–in this fallen world.

Here is the link–you can read it, watch it, or listen to it. :slight_smile:
livingwaters.com/listenwatch.shtml

Blessings to all!
[/quote]

whatever happened to Once Saved Always Saved, which I was under the impression is a hallmark of the born-again view of justification held by evangelicals.


#17

This, in a nutshell, is what I got out of the sermon:

  1. Don’t use “life enhancement” as a message to win people to Christ. He didn’t die to give us a better life in this world; in fact, he warned that we may be persecuted on this earth. If people “try” Jesus because they want a better life, they may not persevere through the ridicule.

  2. Don’t use “fire and brimstone” to scare people into commitment. While it is acceptable to preach on Hell, as Jesus did, and people certainly should fear Hell and consequences of sin, if people come to Jesus through fear alone they may not have gratitude for what he did–they may see God as mean or a tyrant.

  3. Do let people know that they are sinners, the consequences of sin is death in the next life, and that Jesus died to pay the penalty for their sins. As in the sermon, the man who was given the parachute to improve his flight (“life enhancement”) took it off when he was ridiculed (it wasn’t what he thought he was getting); however, the man who put it on because he knew he would have to jump (that is, die) kept it on and endured the ridicule, remaining grateful that he know he would be saved from the jump (as we are saved from the punishment of our sins).

Thank you to everyone for reading this. I still cant’ get over how much this sermon meant to me. I’m shameful to say that I stopped going to church for a few years because it was too hard (I thought my life would be easier)–I had the wrong idea of what it was. Now, despite being hard at times, I see it as a blessing because I know one day I’ll pass from this world to the next–and i’m grateful that I can do that with Jesus, rather than without him. Looking at what salvation really is, rather than what I hoped it would do for my worldly life, I know I must endure–and I love Jesus for what he did for us.

Blessings to all.


#18

[quote=puzzleannie]whatever happened to Once Saved Always Saved, which I was under the impression is a hallmark of the born-again view of justification held by evangelicals.
[/quote]

It is a very common belief among evangelicals. Whether or not the preacher in this sermon believe it is not know to me–if he does believe it, his point in the sermon is that many are coming to Christ to improve their worldly life rather than to have forgiveness of sins and eternal life.

I doubt the “once saved always saved” believe–after all, a gift doesn’t mean you can’t throw it away. I’m not too troubled by it though, since most I know that hold that belief are very kind–and if they hold it and continue to serve, they are serving out of gratitude.

For some, I fear it is a license to do whatever they want thinking grace will abide–and even evangelicals who believe in once saved always saved reject that, since they realize that works are the fruits of faith.

I’ll look up some references and post them for you if you are interested. :slight_smile:


#19

[quote=Jay74]This, in a nutshell, is what I got out of the sermon:

  1. Don’t use “life enhancement” as a message to win people to Christ. He didn’t die to give us a better life in this world; in fact, he warned that we may be persecuted on this earth. If people “try” Jesus because they want a better life, they may not persevere through the ridicule.

  2. Don’t use “fire and brimstone” to scare people into commitment. While it is acceptable to preach on Hell, as Jesus did, and people certainly should fear Hell and consequences of sin, if people come to Jesus through fear alone they may not have gratitude for what he did–they may see God as mean or a tyrant.

  3. Do let people know that they are sinners, the consequences of sin is death in the next life, and that Jesus died to pay the penalty for their sins. As in the sermon, the man who was given the parachute to improve his flight (“life enhancement”) took it off when he was ridiculed (it wasn’t what he thought he was getting); however, the man who put it on because he knew he would have to jump (that is, die) kept it on and endured the ridicule, remaining grateful that he know he would be saved from the jump (as we are saved from the punishment of our sins).

Thank you to everyone for reading this. I still cant’ get over how much this sermon meant to me. I’m shameful to say that I stopped going to church for a few years because it was too hard (I thought my life would be easier)–I had the wrong idea of what it was. Now, despite being hard at times, I see it as a blessing because I know one day I’ll pass from this world to the next–and i’m grateful that I can do that with Jesus, rather than without him. Looking at what salvation really is, rather than what I hoped it would do for my worldly life, I know I must endure–and I love Jesus for what he did for us.

Blessings to all.
[/quote]


God bless you Jay and have a holy Christmas! smileys.smileycentral.com/cat/8/8_2_85v.gif smileys.smileycentral.com/cat/17/17_1_12v.gif

Blessings,
Shoshana smileys.smileycentral.com/cat/8/8_2_62.gif


#20

just like to point out that ecumenical efforts are encouraged both by our pope, and by our Lord. our pope has endorsed many strategies toward true ecumenism throughout his papacy, and Jesus prayed that we would be one, as He and the Father are One.

may we all work and pray for unity in the body of Christ.


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