I want to talk to you today about Losing Out. Losing Out means that you didn’t win, Losing Out can mean that you didn’t even enter the race. Some people lose out when they forget to attend an interview for a job and then they don’t get hired. Some people lose out when they get to the store but the store is closed.
But losing out with God can have eternal consequences. Many Christians think that it is enough to say that you believe in Jesus Christ and then you are automatically going to heaven no matter what you do, or no matter what you don’t do. But that is not the case.
Jesus made it very clear in at least two places in the New Testament that there will be those people who think they are going to heaven but when they get to heaven God will not allow them in.
Once place is when Jesus talks about the sheep and goats. Jesus is making a comparison between sheep and goats and is saying that sheep are the good, gentle and obedient people of God, and that the goats are the independent, high spirit people who want to do what they want to do, and have what they want to have. The sheep want to follow God, the goats wants to follow their own stubborn, independent will.
“Then the King will turn to those on the left and say, ‘Away with you, you cursed ones, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his demons.[d] 42 For I was hungry, and you didn’t feed me. I was thirsty, and you didn’t give me a drink. 43 I was a stranger, and you didn’t invite me into your home. I was naked, and you didn’t give me clothing. I was sick and in prison, and you didn’t visit me.’
44 “Then they will reply, ‘Lord, when did we ever see you hungry or thirsty or a stranger or naked or sick or in prison, and not help you?’
45 “And he will answer, ‘I tell you the truth, when you refused to help the least of these my brothers and sisters, you were refusing to help me.’
46 “And they will go away into eternal punishment, but the righteous will go into eternal life.”
So you see, those who thought they were Christians just because they said so did not go to heaven because they did not do what Jesus wanted them to do.
Another part in the Bible that talks about people going to hell who said they were Christians is in Matthew chapter 7. Jesus says:
“Not everyone who calls out to me, ‘Lord! Lord!’ will enter the Kingdom of Heaven. Only those who actually do the will of my Father in heaven will enter. 22 On judgment day many will say to me, ‘Lord! Lord! We prophesied in your name and cast out demons in your name and performed many miracles in your name. 23 But I will reply, ‘I never knew you. Get away from me, you who break God’s laws.”
So you see, as a Christian you need to do things and act like a Christian, you need to follow Jesus and help the poor and the oppressed; you have to have Jesus in your heart and serve others, even if it means you will be persecuted and die.
It is better for you to be persecuted and go to heaven, than to try and save yourself from trouble and go to hell.
Maybe you think that you are rich and you have too much to lose and that’s why you don’t want to follow Jesus or change your lifestyle for God. Maybe you think your Somali culture is very valuable; maybe you think your clan and family mean more to you than the people of God; maybe you think the rules and regulations of your Somali society means more to you than what is written in the Bible.
For these and other reasons, maybe you think you are rich and following Jesus is just not worth it. Well there are many people like that. The riches of this world have eaten away at their faith, and it is possible to lose your faith and to lose your salvation.
Paul says: Cling to your faith in Christ, and keep your conscience clear. For some people have deliberately violated their consciences; as a result, their faith has been shipwrecked.
Many Christians, if they continue to do what in their hearts they know is the wrong thing to do, like stay away from Church, stay away from other Christians, stay away for living for God, may eventually end up like someone whose faith has been shipwrecked.
“What else must I do?”
21Jesus told him, “If you want to be perfect, go and sell all your possessions and give the money to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me.”
22But when the young man heard this, he went away sad, for he had many possessions.
23Then Jesus said to his disciples, “I tell you the truth, it is very hard for a rich person to enter the Kingdom of Heaven. 24 I’ll say it again—it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich person to enter the Kingdom of God!”
Jesus is telling us that what we think we have that makes us rich is in fact the very thing that is keeping us away from Him and from doing God’s will. Whatever is in our heart that we think we need, we want, we can’t live without, that is the very think that is blocking us for living a full life for God. And in fact may be the very thing that will keep us on the outside of the doors of heaven.