|How many are headed to heaven? How can you make a difference?|
Some church leaders think even a smaller percent are true disciples
The venerable J Vernon McGee makes the point that of those who come forward on any given Sunday to accept Jesus Christ as Lord, only 10% were genuine conversions. McGee points out that in his discussions with other church leaders at the time (1970's?), the number might even be smaller, even as low as 3%. His point was made during his exposition on the parable of the sowers in Matthew 13.
We all know the story. Some seed (Word of God) fell by the wayside and was taken away by birds (demons). Some fell on a rocky place with little soil, sprung up fast, then withered and died under the scorching sun. Some young plants were overtaken by thorns and choked out. And some on fertile soil that prospered and bore much fruit.
Whenever I hear a sermon preached on this passage or read it during my quiet time, I admit to taking an inventory. I deeply desire to go to heaven. I look forward to meeting Jesus and Old Testament saints and others who will be there. I'm so curious to see what the next great chapter looks like. Am I saved? Do I have a deep certainty that Jesus will say "Well done, thy good and faithful servant," on my arrival, and not, "I never knew you."
Certainly you must take that same inventory of your spiritual life from time-to-time. Am I fruitful. Do I show evidence of having Jesus in me. Do I have a personal relationship with Him. Am I pursuing holiness. Am I surrendered. Am I doing the work of making disciples (helping saved Christians to become true disciples).
J Vernon McGee and others say that only those seeds which took root in fertile soil are heaven bound. He and others say that the parable teaches that this would be 25%. I don't think the parable says that at all. It merely says some.
On the first day of law school, the dean will say, "look to your right and to your left. In 3 years two of you will no longer be here." If you look to your right and to your left, is it possible that 2 or 3 or 4 or 5 of those on your right and left won't be part of your praise team in heaven?
Commonly, this type of "lesson" would end with an admonition that you get your disciplines in order, get on your knees and repent, get back to church, improve your prayer life, read the Bible more, and so on. All of those are good ideas. But I think those works will grow out of the right heart. What is a right heart:
- Love God
- Love Others
- Give Up Everything
- Die to Self
- Take Up Your Cross
- Obey Jesus
- Go and Make Disciples
So where are you on this circle of life? You'll need to jump on somewhere. Will it start with being
more disciplined, or start with a tearful, face down period of repentance of having too little faith and being to consumed with the things of the world. Or will it start with loving someone you haven't been able to love, forgiving someone you haven't been able to forgive, or finally giving up some idol that has you prisoner.
Tell me your story in the discussion section below. Then you might want to check out the book I've written that goes deeper into this discussion about choices. God Called - He Needs Your Decision! is available at Amazon.