There IS a Difference

All Scripture references are taken from the HCSB unless otherwise noted.

Ignorance is NOT bliss as some may believe. There are people within your circle of friends and/or acquaintances who wish you would go away and often times dismiss you and me because of our antiquated Christian demeanor. Please do not get me wrong, for I do not feel less than or feel bad about myself for I know who and Whose I am. Therefore, I am not ‘bad-mouthing’ anyone when I speak. I am not ‘belly-aching’ or whatever other explanations might be given. What I do want to say here is best explained by Paul in Romans 1:14-17,  “I am obligated both to Greeks and barbarians, both to the wise and the foolish. 15 So I am eager to preach the good news to you also who are in Rome. 16 For I am not ashamed of the gospel, because it is God’s power for salvation to everyone who believes, first to the Jew, and also to the Greek. 17 For in it God’s righteousness is revealed from faith to faith, just as it is written: The righteous will live by faith.” What I have to say to anyone is the same truth spoken by every biblical writer although I may not say it the same way.

“Beware of false prophets who come to you in sheep’s clothing but inwardly are ravaging wolves. 16 You’ll recognize them by their fruit. Are grapes gathered from thornbushes or figs from thistles? 17 In the same way, every good tree produces good fruit, but a bad tree produces bad fruit. 18 A good tree can’t produce bad fruit; neither can a bad tree produce good fruit. 19 Every tree that doesn’t produce good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. 20 So you’ll recognize them by their fruit. 21 “Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord!’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only the one who does the will of My Father in heaven.’” Matthew 7:15-23.

The question remains the same as does the answer. “Every tree that doesn’t produce good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire.” v. 19. The Word of God is quite clear concerning those who refuse the message of the Gospel, they will burn in Hell. Paul writes, “Don’t you know that the unrighteous will not inherit God’s kingdom? Do not be deceived: No sexually immoral people, idolaters, adulterers, or anyone practicing homosexuality, 10 no thieves, greedy people, drunkards, verbally abusive people, or swindlers will inherit God’s kingdom.” 1 Corinthians 6:9-10. Paul does not mix words with us, does he?

There Are Questions to Be Answered

Many do raise questions about what Paul writes and about things that Jesus has said. “I know Christians who are liars, immoral, adulterers and worse. Will they go to Hell?” The better question is, “Are these folks Christians?” The Word of God is clear and the answer is “No, they are not Christians.” They may want you to think so and very well may have themselves convinced of being Christians. However, the Scriptures are very clear concerning what it means to be a Follower of Jesus Christ. There is much more to being a Believer than praying to receive Christ as Savior and knowing Him as Lord. We will all be surprised on Judgment Day.

Yes, those ‘Christians’ who lead lives not professing the precious Name of Jesus Christ will go to Hell because they do know the Savior as Lord. No, these folks are NOT born-again Believers and Followers of Jesus Christ for they are known by the fruit demonstrated in their daily lives.

The Words of Jesus Are Telling

Take a look at what Jesus says, “every good tree produces good fruit, but a bad tree produces bad fruit. A good tree can’t produce bad fruit; neither can a bad tree produce good fruit. Every tree that doesn’t produce good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. So you’ll recognize them by their fruit.” Vv. 17-19. Often times people who question us about why we are ‘judging’ those around us by saying ‘this person or that person is not a Christian’ must recognize that we are judging no one. Jesus gives a very vivid description of people who have chosen not to take up his cross and follow Jesus. The end result is that those who deny Him will be cast into the Lake of Fire as described in Revelation 20:13-15, “Then the sea gave up its dead, and Death and Hades gave up their dead; all were judged according to their works. 14 Death and Hades were thrown into the lake of fire. This is the second death, the lake of fire. 15 And anyone not found written in the book of life was thrown into the lake of fire.” Why are they cast into the fire? Because their names are “not found written in the Book of Life.” Simple enough.

Beware of Evil-Doers

Bad trees cannot produce good fruit just as clearly as good trees cannot produce bad fruit. Christians do not live unrighteously. They simply do not and Jesus said this, “Beware of false prophets who come to you in sheep’s clothing but inwardly are ravaging wolves. You’ll recognize them by their fruit.” For those who will use the accusation that they “know Christians who live like ‘such and such’” are really talking about people who are not Christians. Simple enough. And we are judging no one for, indeed, these are known by the lives they live. They are not examples of Christ because they do not belong to Him. They are wolves wearing the clothing of sheep. They are liars and the Truth is NOT in them Jesus is not a part of who they are.

Jesus is Lord.

 

About Bob Williford

Conservative Southern Baptist pastor, missionary, and personal evangelist. An avid supporter of Texas Tech Athletics. Enjoy oil painting, writing and woodworking. My wife, children, and grandchildren are my joy. Reading and writing are great for relaxing......
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