Multitudes of people who expect to go to Heaven will go to a Hell of torment. Thousands of "good" people, "moral" people, church members, even church workers - yes, and, alas, even prophets, priests and preachers - will find themselves lost when they expected to be saved, condemned when they expected approval, cast out of Heaven when they expected to be received into eternal bliss. That is the explicit meaning of the words of our Lord quoted above.
Newspaper columns sometimes carry stories of "Life's Most Embarrassing Moment," but nothing in life could ever bring the horrible humiliation, disappointment and blame that is here described and awaiting multitudes who think they are safe but lost. They claim salvation; they shall receive damnation. They are self-satisfied under a delusion, a false refuge ; before Jesus Christ they will be horrified to hear that He never knew them.
Mark you, this is not a warning that people should beware lest they lose salvation. Jesus did not say He would turn against those He once knew, that He would reject those He once knew, that He would reject those He had once accepted. Rather, to multitudes of professing righteous people He solemnly warns that He will be compelled to say to them, "I never knew you. You never were saved; you never were born again."
Many of those who say, "Lord, Lord," will never enter the kingdom of Heaven. Many of those who have done wonderful deeds, even claiming to have done them in Jesus' name, will fail to be received in Heaven. They are professors without possession. They are church members, perhaps, but not Christians. They are reformed but not reborn. They have lamps but no oil. They are dwelling under the delusion that they are all right when really they have wicked hearts covered with sin and dwell under the wrath of Almighty God!
Many Preachers, Church Workers, Many Who Have Successfully Cast Out Devils, Many Who Call Jesus "Lord," Will Yet Wake Up in Hell!How terrible is this warning to those who have prophesied, to those who have really preached and taught and worked in Jesus' name! Yet the dear Saviour will be compelled to say to them, "I never knew you"! - Preachers who really got people converted, workers who literally cast out devils, some who actually spoke in Jesus' name - not modernists, not heathen people, but many of those who actually called Jesus "Lord," - will be barred from the kingdom of Heaven and will hear Jesus say, "I never knew you; depart from me, ye that work iniquity"!
Doubtless Judas worked miracles in Jesus' name. Doubtless he, like other apostles, preached the Gospel and had people saved. He was sent out with the rest of the twelve to preach and heal and cast out devils (Matt l0). He was a preacher, a prophet, an apostle, a worker in Jesus' name, a church member. He was religious, but he was lost and he went to Hell. I beg you, however religious you are, MAKE SURE YOU ARE SAVED!
In the same seventh chapter of Matthew, read verses 13 and 14:
"Enter ye in at the strait gate: for wide is the gate: and broad is the way, that leadeth to destruction, and many there be which go in thereat: Because strait is the gate and narrow is the way, which leadeth unto life, and few there be that find it."
Here is a startling and sad truth. In the words of Jesus Christ, more people are going to Hell than are going to Heaven. More people are lost than are saved. It is a narrow road with a strait gate that leads into life, and few there be that find it. But it is a broad road and wide gate that leads to destruction and many go in thereat, says Jesus. According to our Saviour, relatively few people out of the millions of earth will be in Heaven. A majority of the people in the world are poor, lost, deceived, deluded, and condemned sinners, bound for Hell.
People sometimes say, concerning different denominations or churches, "We are just going to Heaven by different roads." But that is not true. Jesus said that there is only one road to Heaven, and that a very narrow one, and the gate is strait, or narrow. There is only one way to Heaven. Many who say, "Lord, Lord," will not get to Heaven, but only those that do the will of the Father as regards the plan of salvation. Those who take His plan of salvation are saved by His blood. Those who depend upon their good deeds, their morals, their church membership or ceremonies or feeling or experiences are on the broad road that leads to destruction, and at death or at the second coming of Christ they face the tragic awakening when Christ will tell them, "I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity."
Most of the population of the earth have a hope of some kind. Most claim some kind of religion. Many are Catholics, or Jews, or Protestants. Many have hope in the philosophies of Buddhism or Hinduism. Many seek a sense of security in their doctrines of morality, Unitarianism or evolution. Many, like so-called Christian Scientists, say there is no such thing as sin. Multitudes deny that there is a Hell. Uncounted millions depend upon some religious ceremony to save them, while millions of others count upon a life of good deeds and morality to keep them from the wrath of God. But according to the plain words of Jesus Christ, the great majority of the human race live under a false hope and will die rejected by Christ and will be tormented in flames as workers of iniquity who never knew Christ as a personal Saviour!
As kindly and tenderly as I know how, I urge every reader to make sure of his salvation. Millions who claim to be saved are lost. You may be one of them. Millions of church members are unconverted, unregenerated sinners living under the wrath of God. Perhaps you are one of them. In Hell today there are countless millions of good Methodists, or faithful Presbyterians, or orthodox Baptists - orthodox in doctrine, baptized or confirmed, respected members of churches who have gone to the place of despair, never having been truly saved. No doubt many Lutherans, Episcopalians, Seventh-Day Adventists, Catholics, Christian Scientists, and Disciples or Church of Christ people, or those of many other faiths, definitely have missed the Way, have had a false hope and are now in torment. Some of them read their Bibles, attended church regularly, gave to the poor, gave their tithes, observed fast days, went to confessional, perhaps, or attended prayer meetings. Doubtless many were faithful in "church work." But these found, when they came to face Christ, that He would not receive them, that they were in His sight workers of iniquity, and so commanded to depart into everlasting shame and torment! I tell you now, and solemnly that this is a serious matter, and that if you do not know that you are saved, you had better make sure about the question today.
Remember that even Judas Iscariot, an apostle of Jesus Christ, died a lost man and went "to his own place" (Acts 1:25).
By Evangelist John R. Rice (1895 - 1980)
(I will be posting segments of this sermon little by little)
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