To him all the prophets bear witness that every one who believes in him receives forgiveness of sins through his name.” Acts 10:43
And they said, “Believe in the Lord Jesus, and you will be saved, you and your household.” Acts 16:31
From these verses the fundamentalist churches have constructed a false doctrine of “asking Jesus into your heart.” Belief is just that belief, there is nothing to be done beyond that. The “act” of “asking Jesus into your heart” is somehow sufficient for salvation. However this prayer is nowhere in the Scriptures. It is the work of man, and as such is no different, than any other penance that is the creation of men. We can do nothing to be saved, it is a free gift from God.
However because the teaching of this easy believism is so prevalent in the post modern fundamentalist churches there needs to be a change in our language. The concept of “belief” has been so abused that it no longer carries any real meaning, and the warning that demons believe is lost.
You believe that God is one; you do well. Even the demons believe — and shudder. James 2:19
It is incumbent on us to change our language and tell people that they must FOLLOW Jesus. He must be Lord and King of ours and their lives.
“Let all the house of Israel therefore know assuredly that God has made him both Lord and Christ, this Jesus whom you crucified.” Acts 2:36
What does it mean or look like to FOLLOW Jesus?
19 And he said to them, “Follow me, and I will make you fishers of men.” 20 Immediately they left their nets and followed him. Matt. 4:19-20
Those that followed, are fishers of men. If our chief proposes in life is something other than spreading the Gospel, we are not following.
And whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him. Col. 3:17
If what we are doing does not glorify God, then we need to find something else to do. We have left the strait and narrow path and need to find our way back. We have a job it is to Go and Make Disciples.
And he said to them, “Go into all the world and preach the gospel to the whole creation.” Mark 16:15
There is a cost to following and it can be very hard.
But Jesus said to him, “Follow me, and leave the dead to bury their own dead.” Matt. 8:22
This is Jewish hyperbole, and many have misunderstood that Messiah was telling the man to abandon old or ill parents. The real meaning of His word are that those that do not or will not follow, are in fact already dead. There is no point in staying among the dead, for the dead cannot hear the message of the Gospel. We are not to waste time begging people who will not follow to follow.
And if any one will not receive you or listen to your words, shake off the dust from your feet as you leave that house or town. Matt. 10:14
Sometimes we do follow for our own benefit. But even as these two beg for mercy, they seem to be the only ones who understood that He is the Son of David.
And as Jesus passed on from there, two blind men followed him, crying aloud, “Have mercy on us, Son of David.” Matt. 9:27
Another misunderstood passage. Mostly because people see “saved” or ‘salvation” even where it is not so stated. Jesus says if you want to be “perfect” which is an impossible task. He man’s imperfection was his love of money and position.
21 Jesus said to him, “If you would be perfect, go, sell what you possess and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come, follow me.” . . . 27 Then Peter said in reply, “Lo, we have left everything and followed you. What then shall we have?” 28 Jesus said to them, “Truly, I say to you, in the new world, when the Son of man shall sit on his glorious throne, you who have followed me will also sit on twelve thrones, judging the twelve tribes of Israel. Matt. 19:21, 27-28
Then our Lord allows Peter to get away with a half truth. He claims to have given up everything, however we know that his boats and nets where still there and being kept in working order, so one can only conclude that his business was still running. [John 21:3]
Who are the true followers? According to Messiah it can be anyone.
38 John said to him, “Teacher, we saw a man casting out demons in your name, and we forbade him, because he was not following us.” 39 But Jesus said, “Do not forbid him; for no one who does a mighty work in my name will be able soon after to speak evil of me. 40 For he that is not against us is for us. 41 For truly, I say to you, whoever gives you a cup of water to drink because you bear the name of Christ, will by no means lose his reward. Mark 9:38-41
So even offering a cup of cold water is an indication that one is a follower.
We have created too many Simon Magnuses. [Act 8:9-14 and Justin Martyr’s First Apology Chapter XXVI.—Magicians not trusted by Christians.] These evil men preach health and wealth, and that God can be bribed with a tithe. They buy and sell religious positions for personal gain and profit. The only ones who get wealthy are they themselves as they sell their religion to ignorant people who never seem to ask where the tithe money is going, or where the commandments say they should go. We are admonished not to follow these strangers.
4 When he has brought out all his own, he goes before them, and the sheep follow him, for they know his voice. 5 A stranger they will not follow, but they will flee from him, for they do not know the voice of strangers.” . . . 27 My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me; John 10:4-5, 27
When we meet those that are following false teachings, there seems a deep laziness inside them a desire to turn the responsibility of the faith over to someone else. Their condition is to be lamented. However we are admonished not to worry about others faith, we are to follow alone if necessary. We can’t fix other peoples faith. We can only fix our own, through prayer and the study of the Word. We must continue to only follow the true shepherd and never listen to the stranger.
Jesus said to him, “If it is my will that he remain until I come, what is that to you? Follow me!” John 21:22
One way to know the strangers from true believers are that those who follow or abide in the Lord, keep His commandments.
. . . but showing steadfast love to thousands of those who love me and keep my commandments. Deut. 5:10
“If you love me, you will keep my commandments. John 14:15
He who has my commandments and keeps them, he it is who loves me; and he who loves me will be loved by my Father, and I will love him and manifest myself to him.” John 14:21
If you keep my commandments, you will abide in my love, just as I have kept my Father’s commandments and abide in his love. John 15:10