Most of us masquerading as Christians today will not inherit the promise of heaven.
In 2000, Reinhard Bonnke held an epic crusade in Lagos where he used combine-harvesters to reap souls. Over one million people accepted Jesus as their Lord and Saviour in one day. At that rate of success, it would take Reinhard less than six months to evangelize the whole of Nigeria.
Reinhard clearly had his eyes on the Guinness Book of World Records. He made each new-convert fill a form and had those forms carefully-tabulated. He then announced the result to “shock and awe” the world.
But are all those newfangled Christians going to end up in heaven? Jesus says not: “They may refer to me as ‘Lord,’ but still won’t get to heaven. For the decisive question is whether they obey my Father in heaven” (Matthew 7:21).
I live in Lagos, a city of at least fifteen million people. If in one day, one-fifteenth of all Lagosians become Christians, Reinhard should not have to declare it to me statistically from Germany. I should know about it here in Lagos.
Only 120 Christians revolutionised Jerusalem at the Pentecost. They could not be missed. But Reinhard’s celebrated one million new-converts immediately disappeared into thin air. Beyond their data-records at his Christ for All Nations, few people in Lagos were even aware of their existence. Unlike the woman with the alabaster box, they failed to change the atmosphere in the city as life remained as dog-eat-dog as before.
Jesus says: “The way to identify a tree or a person is by the kind of fruit produced” (Matthew 7:20). Surely, if such a large number of people had been truly converted, there would have been discernible change.
The truth is that many who “give their life to Christ” at crusades and church-services actually do nothing of the sort. We get caught up in the hoopla, go through the motions and, afterwards, forget all about it. Paul says: “With the mouth confession is made unto salvation” (Romans 10:10). But Jesus says: “These people draw near to me with their mouth, and honor me with their lips, but their heart is far from me” (Matthew 15:8).
From the first time the gospel was preached, the result has been the same; people have refused to listen. Jesus’ word of prophecy says men will hear the gospel, but still be unable to receive its health and healing (Matthew13:13-15).
God’s word has always been rejected and will always be rejected. For 120 years, Noah preached a gospel of salvation. Nevertheless, only eight people were saved from the Flood. Similarly, Lot preached to the citizens of Sodom and Gomorrah; but only he and his two daughters were saved. Even his wife perished. Moses also preached a gospel of salvation. A mixed-multitude of 600,000 men (not counting the women) left Egypt with him; yet only two entered into the Promised Land. Pastor Moses himself did not make it.
Today, the pride of life of a pastor is the size of his church. The bigger the congregation, the more successful the pastor is alleged to be. Evangelists are quick to proclaim the number of people who attend our crusades. Old records are broken and new ones set. But this preoccupation with numbers is all about men and not about God. God is not a God of the multitude. He is a God of the few (Judges 7:2-7).
The messages that promote large congregations and attract huge crowds are not those inclined to lead men into the kingdom. Crowd-pulling messages deal primarily with prosperity, breakthroughs and showers of blessing; they don’t address sin, righteousness and the carrying of crosses. Sadly, there are very few Jeremiahs and John the Baptists in the churches of today given to call sinners to repentance.
According to prophecy, most of us masquerading as Christians today will not inherit the promise of heaven. Jesus says definitively: “Many are called, but few are chosen” (Matthew 22:14). Isaiah maintains the number of people saved will be so few a child can count them (Isaiah 10:17-19).
Who then will be saved? Only a remnant, declares Isaiah: “The remnant will return, the remnant of Jacob, to the Mighty God. For though your people, O Israel, be as the sand of the sea, a remnant of them will return” (Isaiah 10:21-22).
Though the number of so-called Christians is as the sand of the sea, only a remnant shall be saved. Though the churches are packed chock-full of people, only a remnant shall be saved. Though millions answer altar-calls and “give their lives to Christ;” only a remnant will make it to heaven. Only a few will make it.
Now here is the billion-dollar question. Are you and I going to be counted among that small number?