Question: James sent me a number of questions, and a lot of them look good, and I’ll probably save them for other weeks. But this one was the first one in an email that he sent me today or yesterday. And I guess I’ll read it to you as it is. It comes from David. And he actually starts with a question: “Why does God make it so hard for His people to make it into His Kingdom?” Now. I don’t think when he uses “His people,” that David means just Christians, I think what he means, and you’ll see this as I move forward, I think it will become clear in a moment, that in his mind, God’s people is everybody. So he says, “Why does God make it so hard for His people to make it into His Kingdom? He throws most of His own people into the lake of fire forever to be tormented with no hope of getting out. I understand He gives us a way out, but I also understand it’s extremely difficult and not many will actually be able to do it. What kind of Savior is Jesus anyways? You can’t honestly tell me all you have to is believe. I understand what Scripture says in John 3:16 as well as several other verses. I don’t feel like I have to describe them to whoever reads this because you know them. What about all the other verses pertaining to the difficulty level? Why does Jesus set the standard so high that it seems that no person can complete it? God has ruined my life. Anyways, I can continue until I’m blue in the face, but nobody will read this anyhow so I’m giving up on my life. I tried to repent and I keep failing. God does not want me. God does not want me in His house. I was so happy before God came into my life. And now that He’s here, He’s broken my family apart. He’s happily broken my life apart, broken my relationship apart, taken my job away, made my family cry in fear, made my mom think she has failed me. And now she’s depressed and made me depressed. But He loves me. (obviously sarcasm) Yet He will probably happily throw me into hell if I disobey, but He loves me. I want to kill myself. God does not want His people to enter His Kingdom.”
Tim: And you know, I look at something like that… the guy took the time to send that to I’ll Be Honest. He sat down at his computer… and I look at this and obviously, “I want to kill myself.” You know whether he’s serious or not, I don’t know, and maybe we’ll never know in this lifetime. But he’s obviously miserable. He feels like it’s hopeless. You heard him. “I’ve tried to repent.” He says, “God does not want me.” He says that obviously he’s blaming God for broken family, broken life, broken relationship, lost job, family crying, mom depressed, he’s depressed. And he sees God has just happily throwing him into hell if he disobeys. “I want to kill myself.” “God does not want His people to enter His Kingdom.” He sees salvation so impossible…
I guess the reason that I felt somewhat compelled to take this one is because he obviously is not seeing things right. And that’s pretty basic to every one of us when we were lost, or if you still are, we recognize we didn’t see things right. We didn’t understand things right. And what Scripture says is we were deceived and we believed lies. And this guy obviously his mind is filled with misperceptions about God. He’s got wrong doctrine, he’s believing downright lies. And Jesus gives us the remedy for such people. This is how Jesus says it, in John 8:31, “If you abide in my word…” We need His Word. There’s truth in here. He says of His Father’s Word, “Thy Word is truth.” There’s truth in this book. And what Jesus says is this, “If you abide in my word, you’re truly My disciples,” but this is what I’m going after, If you abide in His Word, you will know the truth, and what does the truth do? It sets us free.
And if there is anything that is true about this guy, he needs freedom. He is in bondage. He is in prison. This guy is behind the bars of deception. If David is to be set free from the darkness and the despair and the deception that he’s in, he needs truth. Truth is what’s going to set him free. And he needs to be immersed in truth. Now listen to what David says, the last statement he makes: “God does not want His people to enter His Kingdom.” And that’s where I want to start with this, that just simply isn’t true. There’s no truth to that. God not only does want His people to enter His Kingdom, He guarantees that they will enter His Kingdom. I think one of the things that David is off on is who “His people” are. For one thing, God doesn’t go around calling everybody “His people.” But that’s kind of how David uses it. David is using it as, in one sense, everybody belongs to God in the fact that He’s the Creator of every single individual, but Scripture doesn’t speak about everybody on the face of the earth as being God’s people. The world speaks that way. You know, all of God’s people, and they would have us to believe that’s everybody. But, that’s not the case.
In Scripture, we find that there are those that are God’s and there are those who are not God’s. And just let me throw some verses at you. Why don’t you follow me around your Bibles? Look at John 6. I want you to turn to these, and we’re going to take some time and do a bit of a Bible study. Because if anything is evident, David has a wrong view of God. A totally wrong view of God. He doesn’t believe that God wants His people to enter His Kingdom. Look with me at John 6:39. “And this is the will of Him who sent Me.” Now, if we just look at the broader context, we know that Jesus Christ is speaking. And when He says, “this is the will of Him,” He is speaking of His Father. God the Father. This is the will of God the Father. Who sent Me – that’s Christ. God the Son. This is the Father’s will, that Christ should lose nothing of all that the Father has given to the Son. That’s speaking of the people. Now notice this: There are people in this world who the Father has given to the Son. You need to recognize that. The Father has given a people to the Son. One of the reasons that the Son of God has come is to get Himself a bride. And here’s the thing, it is the will of the Father that Christ will lose nothing of all the people that the Father has given to the Son. But what’s going to happen? But Christ is going to raise it up – the “it” is the “all.” All that have been given to the Son. Christ is going to raise them up on the last day. For this is the will of My Father, that everyone who looks on the Son and believes in Him should have eternal life. And I will raise him up on the last day.
And the thing that I want to point out here is two truths ought to hit us. One: if you are one who the Father has given to the Son, you will be raised up. You will enter the Kingdom. And how do you know who those people are? Well, verse 40 tells us that the will of the Father in verse 39 is that Jesus will lose none of God’s people. But then we know from verse 40 that it’s the will of God the Father that these people who have been given by Him to the Son will be known by the fact that they look on the Son and believe in Him. They’re the ones that have eternal life. And so, this answers that question.
How can you know God’s people? God’s people are the ones who believe on the Son. And if you believe on the Son, you can be certain of this, you’re one of the people that the Father has given to the Son. I mean you see it here. Who’s going to be raised up on the last day? You see it in verse 39, they’re the ones that the Father has given to the Son, and you see in verse 40, it’s the ones that look on the Son and believe in Him. It’s the same group. On the one hand, you see behind the scenes. God is pulling back the veil and He’s allowing us to see this transaction or this interaction between the Father and the Son, but then in verse 40, He has us looking here at what our responsibility is in all of this. And you know, what this absolutely makes us certain of is that all that the Father gives to the Son will come to believe. That’s certain. They’re going to look at the Son and believe.
Let’s go to Matthew 18:14. We could spend all day in John 6:39-40, just a little taste of glory that comes from that chapter. You ought to sit down and just be amazed. John 6 is one of the phenomenal chapters in our Bibles. It really is. There are certain chapters in the Bible that just have a density of glory. And John 6 is one of them. Now look at Matthew 18:14. (I don’t hear too many pages rustling so I think you’re all there) Matt 18:14, “So, it is not the will of My Father (this is Jesus speaking) who is in Heaven that one of these little ones should perish.” And He is very specifically speaking about Christians, one of those that are saved. And I’m not going to spend all of the time proving that because we’ve got plenty of other verses that we can look at here, but if you carefully study that – the little ones are Christians, and it is not the will of the Father Who is in Heaven that even one of those that God calls His people, His little ones should perish, one of His children. Not a single one of His children are going to perish.
Look at Luke 12:32. He says in Luke 12:32, “Fear not, little flock…” Let me ask you something, look at the verses right before this, tell me who the little flock is. Luke 12:32, Jesus says, “Fear not, little flock…” who is He speaking to? Can you see in the first 31 verses of chapter 12 anywhere where the people He is speaking to are directly identified? I’m looking for the exact identity as described anywhere in the first 31 verses of Luke 12. I’m looking for the exact identity of who He is speaking to. (in response to a comment) Are so many thousands of people specifically the little flock? What does verse 22 say? Exactly. He said to his disciples (verse 22). So as He is articulating certain truths to them, He says specifically to His disciples, “Fear not, little flock, for it is your Father’s good pleasure to give you the Kingdom.” There’s no doubt about that.
I want you to go back to Psalm 37. That answer “the saints” is right, but I was looking for specifically for them to be identified right in that context. Psalm 37:28 “For the Lord loves justice. He will not forsake His saints.” Now there’s a reference to His saints. Saints are the saved people. Saints are Christians. Saints are not Saint Benedict, Saint Thomas, Saint John. It’s the saints who are in Ephesus and are faithful. They’re the Christians. “He will not forsake His saints. They are preserved forever. But the children of the wicked shall be cut off.” But my point here is this, those who are His saints are preserved forever. The children of the wicked are cut off. Anyways, God has His saints, He has His people, and then there are the wicked, which is everyone else. There’s not a third category.
Now I’m going to test you here. Nahum 1:7 Nahum is in the minor prophets. You might find it relatively close to the small little minor prophet of Micah. Nahum. The minor prophets are all lined up right before Matthew. Nahum 1:7, “The Lord is good, a stronghold in the day of trouble, He knows those who take refuge in Him.” This is the picture of God knowing. It doesn’t mean that He doesn’t know those who don’t take refuge in Him. But He knows these people in a special way. You know what I mean by that? In Matthew 7, when He tells the wicked, the lawless, to depart from Him, “I never knew you.” I never knew you.
You see, Matthew 7:23, why don’t you turn there? He knows those who take refuge in Him. But in Matthew 7:23, He says to a lot of religious people, and you see these religious people throughout Matthew 7, but you can see in Matthew 7:22 what these people are doing. They’re religious. In Matthew 7:23, He tells them depart, He says “I never knew you.” You see, God knows those that are His own. God knows those who take refuge in Him. They are His saints. They are His little ones. And it is His good pleasure to give them the Kingdom. And He is going to give them the Kingdom. And Jesus Christ is going to raise them up on the last day. That is the will of the Father. We know them because they look to the Son and they believe in Him. And they will be raised up in the last day.
Over against those who do not believe on the Lord Jesus Christ. It’s said to them, no matter how religious they were, and look how religious they were. They were casting out demons, they were prophesying, they were doing all sorts of incredible things, they were doing many mighty works, they were saying, “Lord, Lord,” they used the Lord. And look how many times it says “in the name of.” They were casting out demons in His name. They were prophesying in His name. They were doing many mighty works in His name. They called him, “Lord, Lord,” but He said in the end “I never knew you.” Look at 2nd Timothy 2:19 You have 1 and 2 Thessalonians and 1 and 2 Timothy. 2 Timothy 2:19, “But God’s firm foundation stands bearing this seal, ‘The Lord knows those who are His.”
My point is this, David was using “His people” to cover everybody, and he was saying “Why does God make it so hard for His people to make it into His Kingdom?” “He throws most of His own people into the lake of fire forever to be tormented with no hope of getting out. God does not want His people to enter His Kingdom.” Those are statements this guy was making. It’s just not true. God knows who His own are. They are His saints. They are those who take refuge in Him. They are those that have looked to the Son and the Son is going to raise them up at the last day. They are going to inherit the Kingdom. It is the Father’s good pleasure that they do so. It is the will of the Father that Christ raise them up. God the Father knows His own. He knows those that take refuge in Him.
First Corinthians 8:3 says this – if you’re in 2nd Timothy, you can go back towards the front of your Bible just a little bit. 1 Corinthians, couched right between Romans and 2 Corinthians. 1 Cor 8:3 Here’s another trademark of the Christian, it’s that they love God. And this is what we’re told, “If anyone loves God, he’s known by God.” If you love God, God knows it. But it isn’t just that God has a knowledge. “He is known by God.” Well, think about it, when Jesus told people to depart, He said “I never knew you.”
Does that mean that Jesus didn’t know who they were? “Depart from Me, I never knew you.” It’s knowing in an intimate way. That’s the idea here. It doesn’t mean that God doesn’t know the facts about them. It means God never had an intimate, close relationship with them. It means they never trusted Him. They never loved Him, and He never loved them. Romans 8:28. This works right off “if anyone loves God (1 Cor 8:3) he is known by God.” Here in Romans 8:28, it’s a very well known verse, but you have to think about the implications of this verse. Romans 8:28, “We know that for those who love God…” Remember 1 Cor 8:3 says that “if anyone loves God, he is known by God,” Here, all those that love God, we know this about it, all things work together for good for those who love God, for those who are called according to His purpose, but they’re the same ones that love God. Here’s the thing, everything works together for good – for their good. God certainly isn’t going to cast one of them into hell because that’s not for their good. God is going to work every single thing out for their good for those that love Him.
Now let’s jump to John 10:27. Jesus really drives the truth home here. John 10:27 (Matthew, Mark, Luke and John) John 10:27, He says, “My sheep hear My voice,” and here it is again, “I know them.” You see, Matthew 7:23, “I never knew you.” But here? Jesus says when it comes to My sheep, He says “I know them,” and “they follow Me.” Always. My sheep, they hear My voice. I know them. Unlike those people that get cast away in the end who He doesn’t know. “And they follow Me.” And notice this, “I give them eternal life.” You can’t go to hell and lose life. Hell, the lake of fire, is death. That’s eternal death. You can’t lose eternal life. Because it’s eternal. He says of all of His sheep, they follow Him. He says of all of His sheep, He knows them. And He says of all of His sheep, they have eternal life. They’re going to enter the Kingdom. They never perish. No one ever snatches them out of My hand. My Father who has given them to Me is greater than all, and no one is able to snatch them out of my Father’s hand. It’s just impossible. Does God want His people to perish? Is it true what he says? God does not want His people to enter His Kingdom? This is so far from the truth. Notice this, 10:26 of John, “You do not believe, because you’re not among My sheep.”
Do you see the issue? If you don’t believe, it’s not because you’re one of His people who is going to be prevented by God from entering His Kingdom. If you don’t believe on Christ, you don’t belong to the sheep. You’re not one of His. Turn back to John 8:47. Jesus says something very similar to what we just saw in John 10:26. In John 8:47, notice this, “whoever is of God.” Guess what? As soon as you hear that, “whoever is of God” He’s describing a category of people. That ought to immediately lead us to a conclusion that there’s another group of people. In fact, He’s going to tell us about another group of people, right in this very verse. “Whoever is of God…” which means that there’s another group who is not of God.
Notice this, “whoever is of God hears the words of God. The reason why you do not hear them is that you are not of God.” See the two categories? Of God, not of God. Known by Christ; I never knew you, not known by Christ. Those who love God, those who don’t. Those who believe in Christ, those who don’t. And if you’re in the one category, My little flock, My little ones, they’re going to be raised up on the last day. They’re not going to perish, they have eternal life. It’s God the Father’s good pleasure to give them the Kingdom. This just isn’t true what David says here.
Now, think about this, here’s something he says again, I’m going to go on to another point, “You can’t honestly tell me all you have to do is believe. I understand what Scripture says in John 3:16 as well as several other verses. I don’t feel I have to describe them to whoever reads this because you know them. What about all the other verses pertaining to the difficulty level? Why did Jesus set the standard so high that it seems no person can complete it? God has ruined my life. Ok, well let me tell you about one of those other verses. He assumes that we know them. Aside from John 3:16, I suspect that Ephesians 2:8,9 are extremely well known. Let’s turn there. “You can’t honestly tell me all you have to do is believe.” That’s what David is saying. And we know John 3:16, we know that it says, “if you believe on the Son, that you’ll not perish, you’ll have eternal life.” Look at Eph 2:8, “For by grace you have been saved through faith, and this is not your own doing.” Notice that? By grace you have been saved. Grace. You don’t merit it. It’s gracious. God powerfully gives it to you and you don’t deserve it. By grace, you’ve been saved, through faith. It’s by grace, but it’s as we believe – that’s how it’s imparted to us. And this is not your own doing, it’s the gift of God. God does this. God saves us. God brings the salvation to us.
And it happens when we trust Jesus Christ and what He did, dying that bloody death on that cross. It’s not a result of our works. It’s a result of the works that Jesus Christ did. Not a result of our works, so that no one may boast. You see where the boasting is, it’s boasting in your own works, but it’s not there. It’s not a result of works so that no one may boast. In other words, when you get saved, you can’t boast in yourself. Your boasting is in the Lord only. Now notice this, many like to forget verse 10. “For we are His workmanship…” That’s like a craftsman taking a piece of wood and whittling into something, carving it. It’s like a potter taking the clay. We’ve got a craftsman. It’s like a craftsman in a workshop. We are God’s workmanship. He’s crafting us. He creates us “in Christ Jesus,” notice this, “for good works which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them.”
Now, do you see how works made their way into these verses? I thought we were told in verse 9 that we are saved through faith, not a result of works. That’s true. I get saved, not because of anything that I do, but notice this, once you get saved by grace, through faith, suddenly God goes to work on you to do what in you? Well, to make you a worker of good works. You are His workmanship, which means He goes to work on you after you have believed on the Lord Jesus Christ by faith, totally saved by the grace of God. Not by your own works. His grace extended to you, as you trust what His Son has done to merit your salvation. And God goes to work on you to create you being a worker of good. That’s what He does. God goes to work on us. Powerfully making us into a good works machine. That’s how they fit in. You see good works are always a result of the fact that we’ve been saved by grace through faith. You see faith will always act upon what it believes. It will always go to work. It always does.
Now think with me here, and I’m not going to have you turn to this one, I am going to have you turn to James 2, you can go ahead and turn there in fact. But I want you to think about this. While you’re turning there, hopefully you’re all there by now. James 2. James follows that big book of Hebrews. But in Luke 6, our Lord says this, “Why do you call me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ and not do what I tell you?” Now think with me, here’s the Lord Jesus Christ, and He’s looking at some people. Those people call Him Lord. Why do you call somebody Lord? Well, you believe they’re Lord, right? But here’s the difference between true faith and false faith… here’s the difference between saving faith and non-saving faith.
You see, what you say you believe will give itself away by what you do. When I was a young believer, I would hear the story, and maybe some of you have heard this before, Craig and I heard this story numbers of times, but it’s the idea of some guy had a tight rope stretched across the street between two buildings, and he would ask the crowd, “Do you think I can walk across this?” “Oh yeah, we think you can do it.” And he walked across there with one of those poles. And then he said, “Do you think I can walk across there with a wheelbarrow?” “Yeah, ok, we think you can do it.” And he did. He walked across that rope with a wheelbarrow. He said, “Do you think I can walk across there with a wheelbarrow with somebody in it?” Well, what are you going to answer? If you say, “Yeah, I believe you can do it,” but you’re so full of doubts that if he says, “ok, you believe I can do it – you get in the wheelbarrow.” You see, that’s what saving faith is like. Because our Lord Jesus Christ is going to put that faith to the test.
And the whole thing is here, He says to people, “you call Me ‘Lord, Lord.'” That’s just like the people in the crowd, “yeah, yeah, you’re a tightrope walker, who can do it with a wheelbarrow with somebody in it.” Well, you call me a tightrope walker, but you won’t get in the wheelbarrow. You see, that’s exactly what Jesus is saying. He’s saying, “you call Me ‘Lord, Lord,’ and then you don’t do what I say?” What does it mean to be Lord? Doesn’t that mean to be Master? Are you telling me that you believe I’m Master and then you won’t do what I tell you to do? You see, this is the difference between saving faith and non-saving faith. We will always act on what we truly believe, at the deepest level, what we believe influences the decisions we make in life. Guaranteed.
And this is what James hits on. Look at James 2:14. It says this, “What good is it, my brothers, if someone says he has faith, but does not have works.” You see works will always flow from faith. Why? For one, like we saw in Ephesians 2:10, because where there’s faith, God will always go to work crafting you. You are His workmanship. He’s creating in you all these good works. But it’s not just because God assures us that He does that. There’s a closer connection even than just the fact that we believe and then God produces these works. The fact is that the faith itself will manifest itself by works that are consistent with that faith. Those are the kind of works God produces in us. It’s the kind that are consistent with trusting Christ. And here’s the thing, can we call God Jehovah Jireh? Think with me here. What does Jehovah Jireh mean? God my Provider. Ok. When was He called Jehovah Jireh? When did God provide? Mount Moriah, right? When Isaac was being offered by Abraham. God provided a sacrifice. God provides. And we can go around and we can tout that. God provides. And then God says, “there’s somebody over there that has a need. Give to it.” Well, Lord, if I give to it, I’m going to kind of run out of money. How am I going to eat next week? Does God not say to us that He knows our needs before we ask? Does He not say to us don’t worry about tomorrow? Aren’t the issues we have to deal with sufficient for today? See this is where our faith is tested. Oh, I know they have a need, but if I give to them, I may not be able to eat next week.
Wait. Didn’t you call Him Jehovah Jireh? Didn’t you? I mean, that’s like calling Him Lord. Are we going to call Him by these titles and then not act on them? I mean, brethren, this is real life. This is faith. And what David is asking here, well he’s more like claiming, he’s making these declarations that it’s not by faith only. “Why is it so hard?” Well, listen. Why is it so hard? It isn’t because we’re saved some other way than by faith. It’s because the hardness is continuing down this path of trusting the Lord no matter what comes at us. Do you not remember it’s called the good fight of faith? We fight a good fight. The battle is to keep believing Jesus all the way to the end. Listen. “What good is it, my brothers, if someone says he has faith but does not have works? Can that faith save him?” [No] Because it’s not true faith. What kind of faith is that that says, “Lord, Lord,” but then you don’t do what He says? Are you saying you really believe? No. It’s cheap. People flippantly throw around the fact that they believe all sorts of things all the time. But when they’re really put to it… you ought to be able to give away all that you have if you see somebody in need and trust that the Lord’s going to provide for you. Because the Lord promises. The Lord promises to richly supply all of our needs. He does. And He tells us not to be anxious for today. Does He not know that we need to eat? And to be clothed? Does He not know about our needs? He does. You say, if we really say we believe that we ought not to be anxious about these things. If we really believe that He wants us to meet the needs of others, and He’s promised that if we take care of the stranger or the imprisoned or whoever they are, the needy, that we’re going to cry and He’s going to say, “Here I am.” That’s what Isaiah 58 says. We can read those things.
Brethren, do you just sit down and have your devotions in the Bible and read those words and then you can go out and they don’t affect how you live? You see, we believe God’s promises or we don’t. And you can say you believe them, but if you’re not willing to cast your weight on them, it’s not true, it’s not real. And that’s what we’re being told here. Can that faith save him? No. Is there a faith that doesn’t save? Well, you better believe it. Look down at James 2:17. “So also faith by itself, if it does not have works, it’s dead. Someone will say, ‘you have faith and I have works, show me your faith apart from your works, I’ll show you my faith by my works.'” He says, look, you believe some basic facts about God. You believe God is one. Well, you do well. But the demons believe. I mean, they have that kind of faith. They at least have enough reasonable fear that they shudder. But it’s certainly not saving faith. I mean our faith is no better than demon faith if there isn’t works. Do you want to be shown, you foolish person, that faith apart from works is useless? Was not Abraham our father justified by works when he offered up his son Isaac on the altar? You see, that’s what faith does. Do you know what he believed? God had told him, Abraham, it’s going to be through Isaac that I’m going to bring all these promises that I promised you – through him. And you know what? When God told him to take him up on that mountain and sacrifice him, Abraham believed that God was still going to use Isaac to bring all these blessings to the nations like God promised. You know what Scripture says that he believed? He believed in the God who raised people from the dead! Every appearance is, he believed he was going to actually drive that knife through his son and God was going to raise him from the dead. That’s what he believed. Because he knew God was going to answer those promises. He knew it. Now he didn’t know how God was going to work it out, but he knew it. Even if God had to raise Isaac from the dead. He knew that it was going to come to pass. His faith did not waiver. So, verse 23 says Scripture was fulfilled that says Abraham believed God and it was counted to him as righteousness. You see, when we believe in God, it’s counted, it’s imputed to us as righteousness. But only when it’s what kind of faith? The kind of faith that so believes God that it will cast its whole weight on Him. Don’t talk about faith – don’t think your faith is going to be saving faith if that faith does not lead you to cast yourself on the promises of God to actually live according to what you say that you believe. Look, why is it so hard? Is the Christian life so hard because we’re actually saved by a different way? No.
Now turn to 1 Peter. If you’re in James, all you have to do is go to the next book, 1 Peter. Chapter 1. Look at verse 6. You see, the trials in life are not meant to make us believe we must earn heaven. The trials test our faith. Do you know what trials do? They test what we believe most. Notice 1 Peter 1:6 “In this you rejoice, though now for a little while if necessary you’ve been grieved by various trials, so that the tested genuineness of your faith, more precious than gold that perishes, though it is tested by fire, may be found to result in praise and glory and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ. Why do we have to suffer? It tests the genuineness of your faith.
If you go to 1 Peter 4:12, just over a few chapters, “Beloved, do not be surprised at the fiery trial when it comes upon you to test you.” Notice that. Fiery trials test us, as though something strange were happening to you. It’s not strange. You should expect it. Why? Here’s why: God is glorified when you cling to Him when it gets tough. You know why? Because it says, when it’s tough, think, when it gets hard. Real hard. And you still keep clinging to Christ. Do you know what it says? I want Christ more than I want comfort. I want Christ more than I want ease. Because if you’re in this just for what you can get out of it, when things get tough, you drop out. I mean isn’t that Luke 8 says, don’t turn there, just listen, the parable of the soils in Luke’s account, it says the ones on the rock are those, who when they hear the Word, they receive it with joy. You know we have all sorts of people that hear the Gospel, they receive it with joy, but these have no root. They believe for awhile, but in time of testing, fall away. Why do people fall away in time of testing? It’s too hard. If that’s what it takes to believe on the Lord Jesus Christ and get saved, and I have to keep believing Him and trusting Him through this difficulty? I’m out of here. Throw in the towel. I want out. This is too tough. Because you see when you want Christ more than anything else, you will keep clinging to Him no matter how hard it gets. You see, it’s the trials – why do you call Me ‘Lord, Lord,’ and not do the things I say?
Now think about this. I look at Him and I say, “You are Lord.” That means I’m following You. That means You tell me what to do. And Your Word, You guide me. May Your Word be a lamp unto my feet. You are Lord. I’m not Lord. I’ve been bought with a price. Ok. Follow Me. That’s what He says. Follow Me. But He also says this, He says we need to die. We need to deny ourselves and carry our cross.
And it means this, when it gets tough – I mean real tough, do we still say, “You’re Lord?” Because you know what? When you’re in the heat of the fire, and you still believe He’s Lord, you still obey. When you’re in the heat of the fire, and you still love Him most of all, you will endure the hardship. Why? Because you’re not in it for the ease and you’re not in it for the cushy lifestyle that you get out of it. You’re in it because you want Christ. You want the eternal life that He offers. And that eternal life is to know Him. You want Him. You want to be with Him in Paradise. You want to dwell with Him forever. You want to behold Him face to face. When you want that more than ease itself, you will endure the hardships. And God is greatly glorified, would you not be? If you had somebody that loved you, and things got a little bit hard, and they hit the road? What does that say about their love for you? But if it got real hard, if somebody marries you and it gets real hard, real hard – as hard as it can get and they stay with you, what does that say about their love? You see, that’s why God is so glorified by this. He tests our faith.
And so, anyway, I’ll just end with this. Listen to what David says: “Why does God make it so hard for His people to make it into His Kingdom?” When he says “so hard,” yeah, God promises through much tribulation, we will enter the Kingdom, but not so hard that His people can’t enter. Why? Because He saves them. He’s promised them eternal life. But “why does God make it so hard for His people to make it into His Kingdom? He throws most of His own people into the lake of fire forever to be tormented with no hope of getting out. I understand He gives us a way out, but I also understand it’s extremely difficult and that not many will actually be able to do it. Do you know why it’s so difficult? Because most people will sell Christ for 30 pieces of silver.
That’s why. C.S. Lewis said it like this: He said, talking about those that were on this voyage to Aslan’s land, he says, do you think it will be had for a song? Just like, do we think it’s cheap? Most people will sell Christ at a price. That’s why it’s so difficult. Because most people love other things more. It’s got to do with what they love. If you will truly be saved by the Lord Jesus Christ, He will save you. He said, “I also understand it’s extremely difficult, not many will actually be able to do it. What kind of Savior is Jesus anyways?”
And I would just end with this, I thought, “You know, what kind of Savior is Jesus anyway?” And I thought, what kind is He? He’s the kind of Savior that actually would die for His enemies. And I know you’ve heard that, but just hear that afresh. Who dies for their enemies? I mean, that’s what Paul’s arguing. Some people for a good person, they might perchance lay down their life for somebody like that, but who lays down their life for their enemies? That’s the kind of Savior we have. You want to know the kind of Savior we have? We have the kind of Savior who as God actually became man to endure all the sufferings, I mean all these hardships that David is talking about here, do you know He came? His family thought He was crazy. His friends defected. You think things were hard? His own Father forsook Him. We have the kind of Savior Who became a man that He might suffer all the ways we suffer to make Himself a sympathetic high priest. I got to thinking, what kind of Savior do we have?
I want to take this guy David and say, Behold Him… Looking out over Jerusalem as He literally, it says He wept, but it’s the word for wail. He wailed over them! Jerusalem, Jerusalem… that’s the kind of Savior that we have. We have the kind of Savior that wept over those who rejected Him, a city full of people. We have the kind of Savior who could – think about how early in the Gospels, in the synoptic Gospels we have the account where the leper came to Him. I mean, just disgusting, vile, leprous, unclean. “Lord, if You will…” He didn’t just come right out and ask Him, “Please, heal me.” He said, “If You will, You can make me clean.” You know what it says? Jesus was moved with pity. That’s the kind of Savior we have. He said “I will. Be clean.” He healed him on the spot.
We have the kind of Savior who graciously, I think of Matthew 11, who graciously invites men to find rest in Him. That’s the kind of Savior we have. We have the kind of Savior Who can look at His disciples and say, You know what? I could ask My Father to send legions of angels and deliver Me from this whole deal. Do you recognize that all the way to the cross, all the way to the scourging, all the way to the mockery, all the way to the spitting, all the way to being buffeted about the head and having His beard pulled out, all the way to carrying that cross, all the way to the crucifixion, all the way to being forsaken by His Father.
Do you realize Jesus Christ had a way out? All He had to do was give the word and He was out of there. Do you know that’s what He said? That’s what He said. I could call upon My Father to send a legion of angels, and this whole band of people that came out to get us, like Jesus even needed that! He said, “who are you looking for?” They all fell down. Jesus could give the word and no one could have even come close to Him. We have the kind of Savior that willingly went to the cross, to shed His blood for His enemies. We have that kind – we have the kind Who was willing to be forsaken. Do you recognize what He did? We have the kind of Savior that looked the wrath of God square in the eyes, and said I will take that cup and put it to my lips, that He might ransom His people.
We have the kind of Savior… who could be denied by Peter, and He didn’t deny Peter. He actually exalted Peter to feed His sheep. That’s the kind of Savior we have. We have the kind of Savior that can overlook the faults of His people. “They have kept Your Word.” What is that? They’re fighting about who is going to be the greatest. We have the kind of Savior Who… you think about the adulteress that was brought to Him, or the woman that had five husbands and the man she was with… Jesus is just shedding abundant mercy on them. We have the kind of Savior Who can look out over the people and see them as sheep without a shepherd. We can see Him not even wanting to send them home, lest they faint in the way. Have them sit down, you guys feed them.
And we have the kind of Savior Who – you guys know it, I’m always amazed by it, we have the kind of Savior who actually goes to a wedding and He turns water into wine. That’s the kind of Savior we have. We have a Savior that saves people who are willing to be saved the way He saves. He’s willing to save them to the uttermost. Do you know what David’s problem is? David doesn’t want to be saved by Jesus Christ the way Jesus saves. He doesn’t want to surrender to this Savior.
The thing David needs to recognize is he probably has eaten today. And the sun came up out of the east and actually shined on him. The world didn’t swallow him up after having an attitude like this? David needs to go read the book of Job. And Job was a righteous man. He did not accuse God and find fault with God near the way that David has. And when God broke forth, Job, where were you when I created? Where were you when I did this? And when I did that? David needs to tremble before this God. Because he has received so much mercy. He has received so many blessings for which he obviously is showing no gratitude. And the very fact that God continues to give him life and breath, he should fall down and thank this God who he’s nigh unto cursing. If he had what he deserves, he would find out very quickly just how many blessings he has. And if he would go to Jesus Christ to find rest, his problem is he’s trying to save himself, his problem is that God isn’t jumping through hoops for him.
And look, Jesus never promised that we would be delivered from problems. Jesus did not come into this world to deliver us from problems. He came to save His people from their sins. And in fact, promised us, your problems just start the day you meet Him. He says, I’m going to bring a sword. Don’t think I’ve come to bring peace on this earth. I came to bring a sword. What kind of Savior is Jesus anyway? What a question! Oh, if he could only know the Lord Jesus Christ the way the Lord has revealed Himself to so many of us. What a Savior we have! We’ve got the kind of Savior that really saves! That’s the kind we have! We have the kind Who, when He gets a sinner in the palm of His hand, He doesn’t loosen His grip. He keeps them all the way to the end. That’s the kind of Savior we have. We’ve got us a real Savior. We’ve got a Savior indeed.
Father, I pray that You would have mercy on this man David. And I pray it in Christ’s name. I pray it for Christ’s sake. I pray that we in this room might one day find that this man David is there in glory, a trophy to the kind of Savior that Jesus Christ really is. I pray it in His name, Amen.