Welcome to the Kingdom of Heaven

Who Will Be Saved According to Jesus

Who Will Be Saved According to Jesus?

Have you ever been approached by a religious person and asked, "Are you saved?" Or, "When were you saved?" I find it very annoying.

The worst answer to give is that you hope you are saved. Then they want to pounce on you for not having a specific date when you were saved.

These same people believe once saved, always saved, so they’re not concerned about truly obeying Jesus. Oh, they might have an outward show of righteousness - they quit drinking alcohol and dancing. Now they go to church every Sunday. But inwardly, they are still far from the Kingdom.

These pushy churchgoers kept me away from God and His Kingdom for many years. I didn’t want to be like them or near them.

Paul and the other apostles wrote about being saved, but today we want to examine what Jesus taught about being saved.

Some people who think they are saved are still very much walking in the ways of the world. Their heart is not really with Jesus. Maybe they secretly decided they want to do the minimum to avoid the wrath of God. They fear the idea of facing judgement, and the Lake of Fire scares them. So they have said the Sinner's Prayer and are hoping that will be enough. But is it?

Some church leaders make it too easy to be saved - just come forward after an emotional appeal and claim Jesus as your personal Savior. Others make it too hard - with long lists of do’s and don’ts that seem impossible to accomplish. But what did Jesus say about being saved?

The word "saved" first appears in the Gospels at Matthew 10:22 when Jesus sends the apostles out to preach the Kingdom of Heaven:

"All will hate you for your allegiance to me; but the man who holds out to the end will be saved." (NEB)

From this verse we know that Jesus is talking about those who have started obeying Jesus and forsaking the world. A follower of Christ feels hatred from everyone - family, neighbors, church leaders, and law enforcers. But Jesus says if you endure faithfully until the end, you will be saved.

At Matthew 19:25, we find the disciples listening to Jesus and being exceedingly amazed saying, "Who then can be saved?" What did Jesus say that shocked his disciples?

Jesus was talking with the rich young man:

"All these [commands] I have kept," said the young man. "What do I still lack?"

Jesus told him, "If you want to be perfect, go, sell your possessions and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow Me."

When the young man heard this, he went away in sorrow, because he had great wealth.

Then Jesus said to His disciples, "Truly I tell you, it is hard for a rich man to enter the kingdom of heaven. Again I tell you, it is easier for a camel to pass through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God."

When the disciples heard this, they were greatly astonished and asked, "Who then can be saved?"

Jesus looked at them and said, "With man this is impossible, but with God all things are possible."

People are afraid to sell what they have, thinking they will wind up homeless and penniless for the rest of their lives. But that’s not what Jesus says. He encourages us by saying that everyone who leaves families and houses for His sake will receive many times more in this life and in the one to come, life everlasting.

“Look,” Peter replied, “we have left everything to follow You. What then will there be for us?”

Jesus said to them, . . . everyone who has left houses or brothers or sisters or father or mother or wife or children or fields for the sake of My name will receive a hundredfold and will inherit eternal life. But many who are first will be last, and the last will be first. Matthew 19:20-30

These two themes about being saved are also repeated in the Gospels of Mark and Luke. First, anyone who is rich can hardly enter the Kingdom of Heaven and, second, whoever endures until the end will be saved. (Mark 10:26, Mark 13:13, Luke 18:26)

The fact that we, like the apostles, are shocked that we need to divest of our material riches to enter the Kingdom shows how much of the world is in us. We think like the world that wealth is good and necessary. We need to be cleansed out of this worldly way of thinking and put on the mind of Christ.

At Mark 16:15 Jesus commissions his disciples:

"Go into all the world and preach the gospel to every creature. He who believes and is baptized will be saved; but he who does not believe will be condemned."

What does it mean to believe? If you truly believe what Jesus taught, you will act.

Let’s say someone rushes into your office and says an active shooter is on the loose. If you believe his report, you will take action, running for your life, or hiding. If you say you believe the messenger, but just sit in your chair watching a video, you do not believe him, regardless of what you say with your mouth.

"He who believes and is baptized will be saved." First you believe, then you are baptized. To baptize means to purify or cleanse spiritually. Most people just think about water baptism when they hear this command. But it is not so much the ritual of water baptism that matters. What makes the difference is whether the heart is purified.

You may or may not choose to be baptized in water. But if you start obeying Jesus, you will most certainly be baptized by the fires of persecution. We are baptized with the Holy Ghost and with fire to purify and cleanse our spirit.

What truly matters is dying to the old ways of living in the world, ditching worldly ideas and lusts, letting go of all that we hold dear - corporate job, material assets, unbelieving family. And start living by faith, taking up the cross, and enduring until the end.

Someone asked Jesus if only a few people would be saved:

And He said to them, Strive to enter through the narrow gate, for many, I say to you, will seek to enter and will not be able. When once the Master of the house has risen up and shut the door, and you begin to stand outside and knock at the door, saying, ‘Lord, Lord, open for us,’ and He will answer and say to you, ‘I do not know you, where you are from,’ then you will begin to say, ‘We ate and drank in Your presence, and You taught in our streets.’

But He will say, ‘I tell you I do not know you, where you are from. Depart from Me, all you workers of iniquity.’ There will be weeping and gnashing of teeth, when you see Abraham and Isaac and Jacob and all the prophets in the kingdom of God, and yourselves thrust out. They will come from the east and the west, from the north and the south, and sit down in the kingdom of God. And indeed there are last who will be first, and there are first who will be last. Luke 13:23-30

If you are still a respectable member of your family and society - people generally think well of you - you have probably not taken those steps to follow Jesus - for His followers are hated because of their allegiance to another king, another government, another lifestyle.

John the apostle, records Jesus saying, "These things I say, that you may be saved." (John 5:34)

What were those things? Earlier in the chapter, Jesus said:

Most assuredly, I say to you, he who hears My word and believes in Him who sent Me has everlasting life, and shall not come into judgment, but has passed from death into life. John 5:24

And then at verse 18:

He who believes in Him is not condemned; but he who does not believe is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God.

And this is the condemnation, that the light has come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil. For everyone practicing evil hates the light and does not come to the light, lest his deeds should be exposed. But he who does the truth comes to the light, that his deeds may be clearly seen, that they have been done in God. John 3:18-21

Notice Jesus is talking about deeds - those practicing evil do not want their deeds exposed. But those who do the truth come to the light, that their deeds may be seen that they have been done in God. Our beliefs are shown by our deeds. Without deeds, where is the fruit of what we believe?

Jesus tells us that if we enter the door through Him, we will be saved.

"Most assuredly, I say to you, I am the door of the sheep. All who ever came before Me are thieves and robbers, but the sheep did not hear them. I am the door. If anyone enters by Me, he will be saved, and will go in and out and find pasture. The thief does not come except to steal, and to kill, and to destroy. I have come that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly." John 10:7-10

So when you consider what you must do to be saved, work out your salvation with fear and trembling. Do you think you can believe whatever you want to believe?

If you want the truth, Jesus is worth ditching everything for. If you can’t see it, the god of this world is blinding you.

Jesus wants 100 percent of you. Not just Sundays and Wednesday nights. Following Jesus is not a hobby that you do in your free time, while maintaining your status in the world. No, if you want to be saved, you have to start over and leave behind what you had gained in this world. And you must endure until the end.

This is a hard decision. Not one to be taken lightly. And the decision means being despised by everyone who is still partaking with the world. Don’t take a chance on this most critical issue of being saved from eternal damnation.

Therefore, as the Holy Spirit says:

"Today, if you will hear His voice, Do not harden your hearts as in the rebellion." Hebrews 3:7-8

Is not the hope of eternal life worth whatever we must suffer?

Blessed is the man who perseveres under trial, because when he has stood the test, he will receive the crown of life that God has promised to those who love Him. James 1:12

And finally Jesus says:

For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved. John 3:17

May His Kingdom come on earth as it is in Heaven.

Wake up and repent. The Kingdom of Heaven is at hand.