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Lord, Don't You Remember Me
by Carl Parnell 
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Many of America’s Christian churches are “superficial” in what their doctrines purport. According to the Merriam Webster Dictionary, superficial means “presenting only an appearance without substance or significance.” This can vividly be seen in Mark 4:1-8, when Jesus tells the story about planting seeds and Mark 4:14-20, when Jesus interprets the story for His disciples. In verses 1-8, Jesus said,

1 Again Jesus began teaching by the lake. A great crowd gathered around him, so he sat down in a boat near the shore. All the people stayed on the shore close to the water.

2 Jesus taught them many things, using stories.

3 He said, “Listen! A farmer went out to plant his seed.

4 While he was planting, some seed fell by the road, and the birds came and ate it up.

5 Some seed fell on rocky ground where there wasn’t much dirt. That seed grew very fast, because the ground was not deep.

6 But when the sun rose, the plants dried up because they did not have deep roots.

7 Some other seed fell among thorny weeds, which grew and choked the good plants. So those plants did not produce a crop.

8 Some other seed fell on good ground and began to grow. It got taller and produced a crop. Some plants made thirty times more, some made sixty times more, and some made a hundred times more.”

Then, in verses 14-20, Jesus said,

14 The farmer is like a person who plants God’s message in people.

15 Sometimes the teaching falls on the road. This is like the people who hear the teaching of God, but Satan quickly comes and takes away the teaching that was planted in them.

16 Others are like the seed planted on rocky ground. They hear the teaching and quickly accept it with joy.

17 But since they don’t allow the teaching to go deep into their lives, they keep it only a short time. When trouble or persecution comes because of the teaching they accepted, they quickly give up.

18 Others are like the seed planted among the thorny weeds. They hear the teaching,

19 but the worries of this life, the temptation of wealth, and many other evil desires keep the teaching from growing and producing fruit in their lives.

20 Others are like the seed planted in the good ground. They hear the teaching and accept it. Then they grow and produce fruit—sometimes thirty times more, sometimes sixty times more, and sometimes a hundred times more.

Therefore, as is indicative in the parable about the sower of the seed, many Christians have a superficial spiritual experience. They hear the word of God, but they let Satan take away the seed of truth away because it is not planted in deep spiritual soil. Others do not permit the Truth of God to be established deep in the recesses of their hearts. As a result, they give it up too quickly. Also, some Christians who hear the Truth of God but permit the cares of life to keep them from growing spiritually, which prevents them from getting closer to God. Ultimately, some Christians accept the Truth of God and grow spiritual fruit in the garden of their lives. Unfortunately, too many postmodern Christians in America never permit the Truth of God to be well-established in their lives or simply give up when the cares of life keep them from selling out to God and Jesus Christ. In other words, too many Christians never develop a spiritual root system that grows deep into the soil of God’s Truth. Inevitably, they dry up and die spiritually on the inside. However, on the outside, they still play the Superficial Christian Game in their local congregations throughout the United States.

But, what is the Superficial Christian Game? The Superficial Christian Game is a game that can be played by ministers and or members of their respective congregations. The number one rule that is the key to playing the Superficial Christian Game is found in II Timothy 3:5. It states that in the future, and the future is here now, ministers and or members of their congregations would “have a form of godliness, but would deny the power of God.” The second main rule in playing the Superficial Christian Game is that all messages preached in America’s Christian churches should promote a social gospel (redistribution of wealth) or a political gospel (liberal agenda in the federal government), instead of the gospel of the “Good News” of the Lord Jesus Christ, whereby men and women may be saved from an eternity in Hell. The third main rule in playing the Superficial Christian Game is that ministers should promote doctrines in their churches that are contrary to the Holy Word of God, such as abortion, homosexuality, and same-sex marriage. The fourth main rule in playing the Superficial Christian Game is that all messages preached should be handed down from the church hierarchy, instead of prayed down from the throne room of God Almighty, which means they would be cold and formalistic messages. Finally, the fifth main rule in playing the Superficial Christian Game is that ministers and their congregations must remain speechless about the federal government’s attempt to turn America into a godless, socialistic nation where Christians would become second-rate, persecuted citizens, which unfortunately has already begun.

Now, let’s look in God’s Word to understand how He views those who play the Superficial Christian Game. The scriptures in Matthew 7:21-23 express God and Jesus’ viewpoint toward Superficial Christians. Their viewpoints state that:

21 Not everyone that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven.

22 Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? And in thy name have cast out devils? And in thy name done many wonderful works?

23 And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity.

Therefore, in these scriptures, Jesus Christ Himself explicitly expresses that Superficial Christians shall not enter into Heaven. But, what are five characteristics of Superficial Christians. First, they merely profess that they know Jesus with their lips but fail to realize that they must believe with their hearts. Romans 10:9 states, “That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved.” As a result, mere profession with the mouth is not enough to obtain salvation. There must be a born-again experience within the heart, not just confession with the mouth. According to David J. Stewart (Jesus Is Savior.com),

It is with the heart that we believe on the Lord Jesus Christ to be saved. The confession of the mouth can only follow the believing of the heart. It is the believing of the heart that makes us righteous in God’s eyes because of Christ’s righteousness which is applied to our record. If we believe on Christ in our heart but fail to confess Him to men with our mouth, we are still saved. Why? Because it is “with the heart” that a person believeth unto righteousness. The very fact that a mute person cannot confess Christ audibly is proof that God doesn't require it as part of saving-faith. Salvation is of the heart. We are saved by believing on Christ.

Second, Superficial Christians believe that salvation is obtained by a works experience, but, in actuality, a person must have a faith relationship with Jesus Christ. As stated in Galatians 2:16, “Nevertheless knowing that a man is not justified by the works of the Law but through faith in Christ Jesus, even we have believed in Christ Jesus, that we may be justified by faith in Christ, and not by the works of the Law; since by the works of the Law shall no flesh be justified.” This idea that faith in Jesus trumps work experience also appears in Ephesians 2:9. Paul the Apostle said, “Not of works, lest any man should boast.” Also, in Romans: 4:5, Paul stated, “But to the one who does not work, but believes in Him who justifies the ungodly, his faith is reckoned as righteousness.”

However, throughout the world, too many people, famous and otherwise, mistakenly have assumed that their works will take them to Heaven. One such Superficial Christian was Martin Luther, the founder and leader of the Protestant Reformation. He was convinced early in his life that by doing things for God he would earn eternal salvation. He attempted to do all the works that the Catholic Church required of him to do in order to obtain salvation. However, he never truly felt that God had forgiven him of all his sins. As a result, he continually did things, such as going without sleep and fasting, in order to merit salvation. But, these things did no good; they just hurt his health. Then, in 1515, while preparing for lectures on the Book of Romans, he finally found the solution to his spiritual dilemma. The solution was found tucked away in Romans 1:16-17. It reads, “For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ: for it is the power of God unto salvation to everyone that believeth; to the Jew first, and also to the Greek. For therein is the righteousness of God revealed from faith to faith: as it is written, The just shall live by faith.” Therefore, from then on, Martin Luther taught that salvation was a free gift of God’s grace, unmerited favor, paid for by His Son Jesus Christ on the Cross of Calvary, but the recipient must accept it by faith In Christ Alone, not by mere profession and or good deeds.

Third, too many Superficial Christians have associated churchgoing as another way to obtain salvation. However, even though Christians should go to church, it in itself will not save a person from their sins. Fellowship with like believers at church is great, but worshipping God and Jesus Christ and accepting God’s Plan of Salvation through Jesus Christ is much more important. As stated by Mr. Stewart,

So many people today have churchianity without Christianity. The world's churches are filled with religious people who are woefully ignorant of the truth of God's Word. Their minds have been filled with religious ideas and Biblical stories; but they've never personally come to God as a filthy, dirty, rotten, guilty sinner in need of salvation. It is only when we repent, by owning up to God that we are as vile a sinner as He has declared us to be in His holy Word, and place our faith in the blood sacrifice of Jesus Christ to wash away our sins, believing that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, that we are born-again anew.

Therefore, if Superficial Christians think that going to church equates with salvation and an eternal home in Heaven, he or she is absolutely and totally incorrect. This is just a trick of Satan. As long as people think that they will go to Heaven just because they go to church, Satan will achieve his most devious plot, which is to deceive millions of people in their quest for true, Christ-centered salvation.

Fourth, too many Superficial Christians have associated paying tithes or giving money to the church as another way to obtain salvation. However, as stated earlier, a person cannot buy salvation from one’s sin or a home in Heaven, like you would in the mountains or near a beach. In fact, in reference to Martin Luther again, one of the main reasons that he began the Protestant Reformation was over the sale of indulgences (a certificate that released a person from all his sins). Albert of Brandenburg hired Johann Tetzel, a Dominican friar, to sell indulgences throughout Germany. Half of the money would go to Albert to pay for a new position that he had bought in the Catholic Church. The other half of the money would go to Pope Leo X in order to construct a new cathedral in Rome to honor St. Peter. Of course, Martin Luther condemned these unholy actions when he posted his Ninety-five Theses, grievances against the Catholic Church, on the door of the Wittenberg Church on October 31, 1517. As a result, he was excommunicated from the Catholic Church, but he was totally correct in his attack on the purchasing of salvation.

However, today Superficial Christians attempt to do the same thing but in a totally different manner. Instead of buying indulgences, they just attempt to pay the most tithes in a church to insure that they go to Heaven without a personal relationship with the Lord Jesus Christ. In fact, Paul states in Acts 2:21 “that whosoever shall call on the name of the Lord shall be saved.” Of course, nothing was said about whosoever gives the largest amount of money to the church shall be saved. Therefore, no one can buy their way into Heaven, since it requires a personal, heart-felt born-again experience. Ultimately, any person who says that he or she obtained salvation simply by giving large amounts of money to his or her church would only have a counterfeit salvation, a salvation that has no earthly or heavenly value.

Finally, too many Superficial Christians have equated their involvement in weekly ritualistic services at their churches with a personal, Christ-centered relationship with God the Father and His Son Jesus Christ. But, in reality, attending church on a regular basis, paying tithes, singing three or four songs, listening to the pastor preach, and then saying a three-minute prayer at the altar is no better off than any other person who did not ask forgiveness for their sins. Also, the observance of different ordinances that many churches perform on a regular basis would not equate to salvation. As important as the Communion and Water Baptism is to the total life of a Christian, the observance of these ordinances is just an outward sign of what a Christian says he or she has in their heart, the Lord Jesus Christ. However, if the Lord Jesus Christ is not living on the inside of the person who takes the sacraments of the church, he or she cannot get “Brownie Points” for participating in the sacraments of the church. In fact, the Bible warns people about taking part in the sacrament of Holy Communion if they are not holy and righteous on the inside. As stated in I Corinthians 11:28-30, the Apostle Paul said,

28 But let a man examine himself, and so let him eat of that bread, and drink of that cup.

29 For he that eateth and drinketh unworthily, eateth and drinketh damnation to himself, not discerning the Lord's body.

30 For this cause many are weak and sickly among you, and many sleep.

Therefore, Christians should be participants of the sacraments of the church, but, they should be entered into with a holy awe and with a right mind and a right heart. However, taking the sacraments or ordinances without a right mind and a right heart, can lead to serious consequences from God. As stated in verse 30, as a result of taking Communion without a pure spiritual heart, many sleep, which is interpreted as death. As is obvious, it is a serious offense in the Eyes of God for Superficial Christians to make a mockery of His Holy Communion, which He said to do in Remembrance of the Lord Jesus Christ.

In conclusion, the Superficial Christian in America’s Postmodern Christian Church is a Christian in Name Only, that is, he or she “talks the talk,” but does not necessarily “walk the walk.” As a result, Superficial Christians treat their churches as social clubs more so than “salvation stations,” where lost sinners can come to a saving knowledge of the Lord Jesus Christ. Therefore, the works that they do in the Kingdom of God come from a prideful heart, instead of a heart of dedicated love that comes only from a personal relationship with the Lord Jesus Christ. This is the reason that God addressed those who play the Superficial Christian Game that was discussed earlier with disdain when once again He said in Matthew 7: 21-23,

21 Not everyone that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven.

22 Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? And in thy name have cast out devils? And in thy name done many wonderful works?

23 And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity.

Therefore, it is extremely important that those who accept the Lord Jesus Christ as their savior do not make a game out of it. Salvation requires a personal relationship with Jesus Christ, not a series of religious obligations. Unfortunately, religious obligations and ordinances might make a person appear to be holy, but only the confession of the mouth and the believing of the heart can insure that a person’s name is written in the Lambs Book of Life and that he or she does not find out too late that God the Father does not remember his or her name. Ultimately, as stated in Mark 7:6, “He answered and said unto them, Well hath Esaias prophesied of you hypocrites, as it is written, This people honoureth me with their lips, but their heart is far from me.”

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