Sobering Thoughts 6

Mat 7:13 “Enter through the narrow gate; for the gate is wide and the way is broad that leads to destruction, and there are many who enter through it. 14 “For the gate is small and the way is narrow that leads to life, and there are few who find it.

Matthew 7:21 “Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father who is in heaven will enter. 22 “Many will say to Me on that day, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in Your name, and in Your name cast out demons, and in Your name perform many miracles?’ 23 “And then I will declare to them, ‘I never knew you; DEPART FROM ME, YOU WHO PRACTICE LAWLESSNESS.’ 24 “Therefore everyone who hears these words of Mine and acts on them, may be compared to a wise man who built his house on the rock. 25 “And the rain fell, and the floods came, and the winds blew and slammed against that house; and yet it did not fall, for it had been founded on the rock. 26 “Everyone who hears these words of Mine and does not act on them, will be like a foolish man who built his house on the sand. 27 “The rain fell, and the floods came, and the winds blew and slammed against that house; and it fell– and great was its fall.”

There are very many in the world who are almost and yet but almost Christians…The young man in the gospel is an eminent proof of this truth. There you read of one who came to Christ to learn of Him the way to heaven. “Good Master, what good thing shall I do, that I may have eternal life?” Our Lord Christ tells him, “If thou will enter into life, keep the commandments”; and, when Christ tells him which, he answers, “Lord, all these I have kept from my youth up, what lack I yet?”

Now, see how far this man went.
1. He obeyed, he not only heard the commands of God, but he kept them; now, the Scripture says, “Blessed is he that hears the Word of God and keeps it.”
2. He obeyed universally; not this or that command, but both this and that. He did not halve it with God, or pick and choose which were easiest to be done and leave the rest. No, but he obeys all. “All these things have I kept.”
3. He obeyed constantly; not in a fit of zeal only, but in a continual series of duty. His goodness was not like Ephraim’s, “like the morning dew, that passes away.” No, “All these things have I kept from my youth up.”
4. He professed his desire to know and do more, to perfect that which was lacking of his obedience;, and, therefore he goes to Christ to instruct him in his duty. “Master, what lack I yet?” Now, would you not think that this was a good man? Alas, how few go thus far! And yet, as far as he went, he went not far enough. He was almost and yet but almost a Christian, for he was an unsound hypocrite. He forsook Christ at last and cleaved to his lust. This, then, is a full proof of the doctrine [There are very many in the world who are almost and yet but almost Christians].                                                   (Matthew Meade, The Almost Christian Discovered, International Outreach)

The young man (Rich young ruler) could stand for many in our day. He was trained to keep the moral law. He was trained to be polite. Apparently he was fervent in some way and was very religious. He was concerned about eternal things. We can imagine that a man like that in our day would attend church every time the doors were open and would be busy and active in the activities of the local church. We can imagine a man like that as being on councils of the church and even an elder. We can imagine a man like that being the pastor. We can imagine a man like that being a denominational leader. However, his man was at best almost a Christian.

Scripture takes this man who was so given to external obedience and holds him up as a man who was so close in one sense and yet so far away in another. In appearance this man was all that glittered, but in his heart he was a selfish man who held on to his riches. In his heart he was a man who preferred the externals of religion to the heart issues that Christ spoke of. He was willing to go a long way in external obedience, but he was not willing to go far down the road in terms of his heart. It appears that he was unwilling to seek humility and lowliness in the presence of God. He wanted to rule his own life rather than bow to Christ. He wanted to trust in his riches (a form of self-sufficiency) rather than look to Christ alone. He preferred his works to the free-grace of God.

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