My Dear Friends~
There have always been difference of beliefs and styles of worship or dedication in the Christian Church. Many of these differences are unimportant. Some of them, however, are critical.
Jesus made clear in His teachings that there would be self-proclaimed Christians who didn't really know Him. Matthew 7: 21-23 says:
"Not everyone who says to Me: Lord, Lord, shall enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of my Father in heaven. Many will say to me on that day, 'Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in Your name, cast out demons in Your name, and done many wonders in Your name?' And then I will declare to them, 'I never knew you, depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness!'"
It is critical to realize the Jesus is not speaking of the atheist here. Nor is He speaking to those of other faiths who follow false gods. He is speaking to those who profess to know Him.
How can we be sure that He is not speaking to us? How can I know that my faith is genuine?
Saving faith in Christ does not hinge on what church you attend. You do not have to be a Baptist, Pentecostal, or Catholic to be saved. The Bible does not teach it. As a matter of fact, you can attend any one of these denominations and still be lost in sin.
Saving faith is Jesus comes only when we come to a place of humility before God. The Bible says that our righteousness is like "filthy rags" compared to the righteousness of Christ. We can spend our lives serving others and giving to charities and still be lost. That is all works.
"Not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to His mercy He saved us." Titus 3:5
When we recognize that we are sinners and there is nothing we can do to redeem ourselves, we then begin to see our need for a Redeemer. It is at that point, when we realize that we have nothing to give to God, that his work of grace can begin in us.
This past Sunday, our preacher preached a sermon on Hebrews chapter 4. It was all about "Entering into God's rest." For many years, I believed in Christ, but I did not have that rest. I found out later in life that belief was not enough. Today, I am trusting only in Christ's atoning work on the cross to save me. I don't trust in the fact the I go to a Baptist church. I don't trust in the fact that I read my Bible and take my kids to church. I do not trust in the fact that we listen to Christian music only. I do not trust in the fact that I was baptized or confirmed into a certain denomination. This is not what the Bible teaches.
If you are trusting in your own goodness or works to bring you to God, then you are on the wrong path. I would be delighted to talk with you more and explain how you can know Jesus rather than just knowing about Him. You too, can enter into God's rest. Rest from trying to be good enough. Rest from trying to save yourself. Rest in Jesus.
"Come to Me all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest."