I live in America.
Back when my grandparents were young, being a patriot also meant being a Christian.
Nowadays, there are adults my age who never heard the Gospel… in America.
I want to blame Hollywood. I want to blame public schools. I even want to blame politics.
Yet, the blame isn’t on them.
The church is at fault.
At some point, churches became social clubs or cults or both.
Barely any Americans believe in Jesus Christ as a member of the Triune God.
Millennials, my generation, are the interesting batch. There’s a great chunk of us hungry for God and many think they found Jesus, but sadly, following the desires of our flesh found a counterfeit Jesus instead of the real deal.
The internet doesn’t help, but then again, the internet does help! What I mean is that there are some great YouTubers out there exposing false doctrine and sharing the Gospel and ensuring people truly are following Jesus.
As a kid, I would listen to my grandma talk about her incredibly hard life, filled with chronic health issues and abuse and the persecution of being a Jew by heritage and a Christian by faith, and the way she spun a story about Jesus made me covet the faith she had. This made me think that I needed some sort of awesome testimony to share the power and impact of Jesus with the Gospel.
In elementary school, I was diagnosed with slow reading comprehension, which was just putting words to my disdain of reading. And though I heard in Sunday School it was important to read our Bibles, every time I tried to read it on my own, the ancient names of people and places was too hard for me, and I would get too frustrated to keep reading. I took to praying to Jesus quickly and talking to Him every night as I stared up at the ceiling above my bed. Though deep in the back of my mind, I wasn’t sure if God was real or not. I often wondered if I was nutso, and that maybe God was a figment of my mind and I just wasted my time night after night talking to the air.
A spiritual tragedy: a child in America never enjoyed her Bible reading time, when there were indigenous groups (and still are) unreached with the Gospel. Millions of spiritual tragedies occur on the daily in America amongst those that claim to be Christians, by the simple fact many that claim to know Christ don’t read the Bible… and how can you know someone by not getting to know them?
The Bible, as I best understand, was inspired by the Holy Spirit (breath of God), and penned by chosen, selected men of God (2 Timothy 3:16-17). The scripture that supports this fact also says the Word should be studied so we all can be equipped to share Jesus with people. If a Christian never reads a Bible, can we say they’re a Christian?
Now, I get that the Disciples of Jesus didn’t have a Bible, but they knew Jesus, they spent three years with Him in ministry. I get the early church didn’t have Bibles, but many were converted Jews and already knew the Old Testament. Paul and other Apostles were sending out letters to churches that met in homes, which meant the early church was getting the word, just in chunks. Of course, the early church too were vessels for the Lord through the Holy Spirit, but let’s face it, that was probably because the Bible wasn’t compiled yet.
There’s a false teacher out there today who is mega popular and super rich with a fantastically talented heretical worship band that believes and teaches miracles will make the skeptic or the unbeliever suddenly believe in Jesus. That isn’t true, not even in the Bible.
The Pharisees thought Jesus was casting out devils by the power of Satan (Matthew 12:15-32, verses 22-27 specifically).
People in Nazareth chased Jesus out of town when they heard of all His miracle-working (Luke 4:14-30).
And one that shocks me the most, is when Jesus delivered the man with legion in him and let legion possess nearby pigs and the pigs stampeded into the water and drowned. The people were angry and mobbed Jesus and His Disciples to leave town (Matthew 8:28-9:1, Mark 5:1-21; Luke 8:26-40).
The fact is, people will hear of a miracle and still not ever believe in Jesus and choose Him as Lord and Savior.
We have to remember or we must learn that even the demons believe in God, they just don’t serve Him (James 2:19).
An evangelistic tool to manipulate people into following Jesus is one that I struggle using:
“If you’re right that there is no God and Jesus isn’t the only way to God, it doesn’t matter because I have lived a good life being good to people and I’ll die happy. If I’m right, and you’re wrong, you’ll burn in hell for all eternity.”
There is SO MUCH wrong with saying that!!!
First of all, no one is good. Even Jesus said no one is good but God (Mark 10:18). Secondly, what futile life is promoting and being willing to die for something that is a hoax. Thirdly, why gamble with someone’s soul using any seed of reasonable doubt like a lawyer?
Another thing, people hate the reality of hell, some are fooled into thinking hell would be a party and heaven would be boring, but that just shows no one reads the Bible. Therefore, when you bring up hell, you better be presenting the Gospel to rightly contrast the depravity of hell. Mentioning hell and comparing it to your life is gravely flawed. You’re not a perfect human. Your life may not be ideal for someone.
Scripture says that Jesus was the Word made flesh (John 1:14). That Jesus is God. The only truthful account we have of Jesus we can rely on is found in the Word– the Bible. Reading the Bible is a spiritual experience as Melissa Dougherty (YouTuber) would say.
There are several reasons NOT to follow Jesus.
- There’s the great question to ask: is God real? (Yes, Isaiah 44:6-8)
- Then if you believe in God, is He the God presented through the Bible? (Read the Bible.)
- If He is the God of the Bible, can the Bible be trusted? (Secular historians account of Jesus Nazareth… hmm…)
- Since the Bible can be trusted because it is verified by SO MANY SOURCES MORE THAN ANY OTHER HOLY TEXT, which translation should read for study? Doesn’t something get lost in translation? The ESV is fairly solid but then some YouTubers are like KJV only-folks, which is best again? (I like the ESV, KJV is okay, NIV be careful with.)
- So Christian isn’t a Catholic, but what denomination of Christianity isn’t a cult: Mormons, Jehovah Witnesses, Quiver-Full Baptists, Pentecostals, Seventh-Day Adventists, Word-of-Faith, Universalists, Oneness Apostolic Folks, etc…? (Yep, I said Pentecostalism is a cult.)
- Bethel Worship, Hillsong, Passion, Phil Wickham, Contemporary Christian Music, Christian Rap is all like amazing and is better than secular music only because it mentions Jesus all the time and doesn’t make one think about sinful things, but then these YouTubers say all the Christian Music that feels good to listen to, and made by certain ministries, has bad theology and shouldn’t be listened to? (Thinking about making my own worship music, honestly.) All the acceptable worship is lame and boring, but it pleases God?
- Then this huge church is great but no one outside their cliques know each other. This smaller church is cool because the Pastor knows everyone by name but all the people gossip about each other and meddles in each other’s business! (No comment.)
- Also, a lot of Christians are hypocrites. (Even me sometimes until a friend points it out, I repent, I think.)
- Don’t exclude the many moments to contend for the faith on social media, or at work and people mock the believer or turn in their attitude toward the believer. (Hasn’t happened in a minute, I must be doing-it wrong?)
- Losing friends over faith.
- Losing connections with family members over faith.
- Staying single because settling for a lukewarm mate is not an option.
- Finding a solid church.
- The added high calling of believing and following Jesus.
- No, it doesn’t require perfection, it requires something harder– dying to self.
The list goes on in different ways for different believers.
This is mine.
Yet, I have one GREAT reason to follow. It’s the same single best reason for every Christian. I heard the Gospel and was graced to believe it. Honestly, I didn’t believe it a-whole-lot as a kid, but I was asked if I wanted Jesus to be my Savior and I said yes somehow bewilderedly knowing in that moment I was no longer the same seconds earlier.
It wasn’t until I was 17 that I fully believed God, Jesus, the Holy Spirit and the Bible were the real deal. I would love to tell you the testimony, but it isn’t as important as the following:
Everyone is born a sinner (Job 5:7). Yes, those adorable babies are born a sinner destined for hell (don’t ask me whether or not children go to heaven, I don’t know right now, honestly). The wages of sin is death (Romans 6:23). Death after this life is residing in hell. Jesus compared hell to a pit of burning trash– gehenna- in His day (Luke 12:5 one of 12 places mentions “hell” in the New Testament). God showed humanity their sin through the Mosaic Law (Exodus, Leviticus, Deuteronomy, and Numbers). To a lot of people the Mosaic Law (The Ten Commandments) make God look like a tyrant and impossible to please. However, the only one subject to follow the Mosaic Law were Jews and they were the ones God chose to bring forth the Messiah– the Anointed One who would deliver all of humanity from the evil slavemaster of sin. And that Messiah, that Savior, is Jesus born of a virgin, fully God and fully human, who lived a sinless life and who died on a cross as a perfect sacrifice for our sins– past, present, and future. Three days later, Jesus rose from the grave to give us eternal life. Forty days later, He ascended into Heaven. When we believe that Jesus was and is who He says He is because the Holy Spirit attests to us that is so, repent for being a sinner, ask God to forgive you through Jesus. Then confess Jeus is your Lord and (eventually) be baptized to boldly state before all that we believe in and agree to serve the Lord Christ Jesus until you die and if you must, you will die for Him. Believing the Gospel, which I just told you, we become Born-Again and we become sealed with the Holy Spirit and we are granted eternal life and we become a new creature in Christ Jesus (Matthew, Mark, Luke, John). We don’t get to escape the shell we are prone to sin in, but we daily die to self as the Holy Spirit leads and convicts us, shaping us to meet the measure Christ set for us in scripture, through His life, death, and resurrection. And because we love Jesus, we obey His commandments which is to love God, love people, spread the Gospel and make more disciples (New Testament).
The best way to be convinced of this, if you’re not already by reading what I wrote above, is by reading the Bible. Hop on Google, type in the Gospel of John, and start reading… Go on YouTube and watch a sermon from a sound Bible Teacher or Evangelist (Paul Washer – click to watch, Chris Rosenbrough, Voddie Baucham, Mike Winger, Costi Hinn, etc.). Listen to the Word. Or even better, if you know a Christian, treat them to coffee or dinner and ask them about Jesus and let them explain the basics or answer questions you might have. Buy a copy of “Mere Christianity” on Amazon, and read it. Seek out God through the resources He provided. Don’t just sit in a room and think, “2 + 2 = 5”, “I think therefore I am”, or “I came from stardust” and wonder if God is real or not. Don’t be foolish and think you have time to figure out if God is real or not. Hopefully, you don’t face death tomorrow but if you do, if you’re able to, repent from being a sinner with your final thoughts and beg for Christ’s forgiveness, and ask to be with God when you enter eternity. Trust me, you’ll be better off for it.
If you once heard the Disciples of Jesus made it all up and you’re more inclined to believe that lie is true, I once heard an apologist (someone who defends Christianity like an activist for Christ Jesus) say that people usually do things for money, sex, or power. All the Apostles (11 were Disciples of Jesus, 1 replaced Judas, and 1 was uniquely Paul who used to go by Saul) with the exception of one, were killed for following Jesus and sharing the Gospel. They didn’t get filthy rich from sharing the Gospel, and talking about Jesus the Messiah wasn’t getting them laid or any advancements in government.
Jesus said a man was willing to lay his life down for his friends. His followers, his Disciples made Apostles were willing to die for Jesus because they knew Him. They called Him friend.
Jesus is to be our Savior, our Lord, our Brother, our Friend, and our God– He is the Beginning and the End. He is One with God the Father and the Holy Spirit, Three Persons, same Essence that is One.
If you live in America, and refuse to believe the Gospel. I’m sorry the church failed you. Because, in America, where you are free to believe whatever you want and face little to no persecution for it… you have every reason to freely believe in the Gospel.