Last week, I talked about this man-made class and the division of the saints, the believers, and the disciples. Many in the church have falsely communicated, if not said outright, that believers receive the gift of salvation and that the disciples are either in the ministry or those looking for extra credit as overachievers. Jesus gave the Great Commission to make disciples, not subjective believers. We should know who belongs to God or the devil by their fruit, not their statement of faith or their truth.

I am giving an abstract view of the gospel so that your salvation does not rely on the cunningness of words but on the grace of God in Christ Jesus. In God's power, one is saved and not through intellectual understanding. The concrete gospel in John 3:16, Romans 10:8-10 and many other scriptures is good and leads us to the One and only Savior Jesus. But many are hearers of scriptures and not doers, so they stop with the reading of the scripture and do not do what it says to do. They think they have eternal life in the scripture they know but will not go to the Savior the scripture speaks of.

Jesus did not come to earth with a warrant and a guilty verdict of man's sinfulness. Jesus came to save, not judge. Jesus came to save those with a godly sorrow and a contrite heart. Jesus did not come to save those who have an admission of guilt but lack godly sorrow and a justification for continual sin.

Many people in prison and jails across this nation today have confessed their guilt but have no sorrow for what they did. These sinners claim their guilt, justify why, and then pay the time for the crime, waiting to get out to continue life on their terms. Like many baby Christians, they are not justified in Christ Jesus as if they never sinned but self-justified in their sin—an admission of sin but no repentance. Yes, I'm guilty of breaking the law, but I am justified in why I did it and continue it! Like the adulterer who blames his wife for cheating, my wife wasn't fulfilling her duties, so I had to go outside the covenant to meet my needs. The husband admits his guilt and then justifies it.

The church is full of believers in Jesus, guilty of unending sin, and they are justifying themselves instead of repentance—born-again, undisciplined non-disciples. You must be born-again to enter the kingdom of God. But is Born Again the starting place or the fullness of the promise?

Forgiveness is more than a blotting out of sin but a blotting out of our former selves as sinners. The removal of sin is a moment, but the removal of sinful nature is a lifetime discipline completed by Jesus at the resurrection of the dead.

In a moment, we become new creations in Christ Jesus. We receive a new heart and Spirit for spiritual understanding, but our souls and bodies are not made new. Jesus gives us a new, higher place to live. Walk in the Spirit, and you will not carry out the desires of the flesh. Our souls, emotions, thoughts, and will still carry the old sinful nature and war against the Spirit given to us at the new birth.

Becoming born again is the deposit, and discipleship is the guarantee. Forget about fire insurance and think of Saving Assurance. We are only assured as long as we stay close to Jesus. Jesus is our assurance. There is no handstamp to return in line after leaving for a while. No passport, statement of faith, or creed offers assurance. Only laying down our life in surrender, taking up your cross, and following Him gives saving assurance.

Peter and Paul are not at the door of heaven with secret riddles to answer for entrance. Jesus is the door! I spent many years evangelizing on the streets of Oklahoma City downtown, handing out sack lunches, praying with people, and encouraging those lost to enter the kingdom of God through the door of Jesus. I stopped asking people if they knew Jesus because most of the time, they would answer yes, even if it was just to get me to move on down the road.

I began asking them, does Jesus know you? Their response choked, if not wholly absent. God knows who are His own. My sheep know my voice, and they follow me. It wasn't an emotional plea to know Jesus, and it wasn't apologetics. I spoke straight to the heart of man: who is your Lord? Who claims you as their own?

Many are called, but few are chosen. Romans 1 talks about how no one is without excuse when it comes to the opportunity to humble themselves under the mighty hand of God. The natural world around us proclaims there is a God and that He is good. Even creation groans for redemption; not all will hear of their need for a Savior, only those who acknowledge it. The many called to recognize their need for a Savior and search for one.

The chosen ones are those who acknowledge their need for a continued Savior and bow their knee to Jesus. The chosen are those who surrender their life, take up their cross, and follow Jesus through.

Jesus is the author and finisher of our faith. Jesus will finish what He started if we continue following Him for transformation. Many, like the young rich ruler, throw themselves at the feet of Jesus with tears in their eyes, asking for eternal life. But given the bottom line of what it means to be genuinely saved, they walk away because of what they don't want to lose—a believer, maybe, but not a disciplined follower of Christ.

Believers, yet non-disciples, see themselves as guilty but justified for their deeds in the flesh—victims of sin rather than complicit with sin. Damsels in distress are waiting on Jesus as the white knight on the white horse to deliver them from the sinful desires of their flesh rather than be crucified with Christ and also to be raised with Christ.

On the other hand, Disciples see themselves as servants unable in and of themselves to qualify to even buckle the sandals of Jesus, much less claim His name on the deed of their life when they still claim solvency.

Disciples are not victims of sin but propagators of sin and chief of all sinners. And any good described to them is from the outside help on the inside, named Jesus! That is what it means to be born again. Outside help on the inside. If we can't help ourselves, we must look for help on the outside. When we find Jesus, He offers to help us from the inside out rather than be a fleeting outside help.

What about baby Christians and carnal Christians, you ask? If I were a Christian lawyer like the Pharisees, the Sadducees, and the scribes in Jesus' day, I would give you scriptures you could claim as your right to eternal life without submitting to Jesus as Lord. But since I am not a Christian lawyer and do not represent mankind but called as an ambassador of Jesus Christ, I must inform you of the abstract gospel. Not the intellectual knowledge gospel that we need to live a disciplined life in Christ but the gospel that surpasses our knowledge of Him, that He knows us by name and our works.

A gospel where the love of God is shed abroad in our hearts to love our family, friends, and enemies. A love for God that is not decreased but increased as we obey Him, not hearers only as believers but doers as disciples. A believer is satisfied with yesterday's manna. A disciple has an ever-increasing hunger for the things of God and His righteousness. Do babies not have a hunger and thirst that cannot be satisfied? So, when you talk about baby Christians, are you talking about carnal Christians going through the least amount of transformation possible to make it into the kingdom of God? Or are you talking about the baby Christian who wakes up hungry for the whole counsel of the Word of God at all hours? Anticipation for the next gathering of the fellowship of disciples seeking God and His kingdom in deed and truth.

Can you still be considered a baby Christian after being born again ten, twenty, thirty, or forty years ago? Can you still be considered a baby Christian when you have no fruit to verify whose child you are, God or the devil? I understand the sincere milk of God is good for baby Christians before they can eat the meat of God's work at His table, which is doing the will of the Father. But I see way too many baby Christians who are lactose intolerant. They do not desire the sincere milk of God nor the meat of God. Many don't even come to the table of fellowship anymore. They are as carnal as ever, if not more, before the new birth. They bear no fruit or resemblance to the one who gave birth to them.

Jesus gave a parable of a fig tree that hadn't borne any fruit in its first three years and said that it must be dug up and cast out not to take the nutrients of the trees that were bearing fruit. However, an intercessor got involved and pleaded that judgment be delayed for one more year to see if the tree would bear fruit with the addition of manure for growth and maturity.

Under the law of the Old Testament, a fruit tree would bear uneatable fruit in the third year, like many new baby Christians. The fourth year was to bear holy fruit unto the Lord. But in the fifth year, there was fruit to be eaten by all.

How long can you remain a baby Christian before being plucked up and tossed out of the garden? I believe Jesus gave us a principle in the fig tree story. An authentic Christian should show resemblance or fruit to Christ in the first three to five years. Maturity can be delayed, but aging will not be delayed. And we can age out without ever coming to maturity.

The born-again one-time experience is to give us outside help on the inside. If you are born again, you have the Spirit of Truth on the inside, leading you into all truth. Even with the lack of Bible-based solid churches, born-again believers will have a hunger that can only be satisfied by the unleavened Word of God. Baby Christians are misled and neglected by churches that do not point to the holy scriptures as the infallible word of God or encourage daily disciplines of a true disciple of Jesus.

I believe many baby Christians had a legitimate experience with Jesus. They experienced the mediation of Jesus and the power of God of being made new with a new heart and new Spirit. I also believe that it is God's intention for all to be disciples of Christ, bearing much fruit and proving that we are of Him. And the longer baby Christians remain babies, the more likely they will never deliver the fruit of God and ultimately be cast out of the garden because they had a form of holiness but denied the power of God to be changed from glory to glory.

Jesus cursed another fig tree for having leaves but no fruit to satisfy His hunger. Jesus then proceeded to the temple with the same curse to clean out the moneychangers who bore the foliage of being from God but had no fruit to feed the hungry. It is disappointing to see a Christian from a far-off only to get close and see that they bear no fruit in season, much less out of season as a disciple of Jesus does.

There is good cause for me to believe that you experienced new life decades ago. You became born again. You have an affection for Jesus but are not grounded in His love to stand and, having done all, stand with Him in trials and tribulations. It is not too late to bear the fruit of that experience if you surrender all to Jesus. Stop pleading guilty. Jesus is not looking for our sorry-not-sorry admission but your lifetime submission. Stop justifying your lifelong sin. If you repent, Jesus will justify you as if you have never sinned. No one who follows Jesus as Lord gets an exemption from the repentance of sin. Repent and turn to God.

The kindness of God leads to repentance, in which the angels rejoice over one sinner who repents. Jesus gave Jezebel time to repent, but she did not. Noah's generation received 120 years to repent, and only eight people were saved. Israel was given ten chances to repent and enter into the promises of God. Only two of that generation and those under twenty years old at the start did so. Each man is given one to die and then face judgment. How many years or chances you get, I don't know. I know that you are called to be a disciple of Jesus and to bear much fruit in your life as a resemblance of your Father in heaven. Jesus is knocking on your door. Jesus is at the Father's right hand, making intersession for you as He did for that fig tree that bore no fruit. Now realize your life is about to be knee-high in manure if you agree with the vinedresser of the garden. Life as a disciple is tough on the flesh, but you will never feel more alive in Christ when fully surrendered.

You may be asking if I am saying that born-again believers without fruit of repentance and works of righteousness are going to hell, not heaven. My response whenever I'm asked if so and so is saved. My answer is I have not been given the authority or responsibility to divide the sheep from the goats, wheat from the tares, or good fish from the bad fish. I have been given authority and the responsibility to rightly divide the Word of God as a good steward of the oracles of God.

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