BY PASTOR T. O. BANSO
As regards salvation and walking with God, there’s no sitting on the fence. It’s either you answer the call or you reject it. It’s either you follow Jesus or you turn away from Him. If someone is not saved, the person is lost – no third option. If you’re not following Jesus, it means you’re following Satan. There is no fence to sit on! Once someone is not in heaven, there is no confusion where the person is – hell. If someone is not walking in the light, the fellow is walking in darkness. Elijah said to the backslidden Israelites, “How long are you going to sit on the fence?” (1 Kings 18:21 TM). He challenged the people to follow the LORD if He is God or follow Baal if Baal is God, but they couldn’t answer him a word.
Jesus said it clearly: “He who is not with Me is against Me, and he who does not gather with Me scatters abroad” (Matt 12:30; Luke 11:23 NKJV).
One of Jesus’ disciples, John, told Him that they (His disciples) saw someone casting out demons in His name, and they stopped him because he didn’t belong to their group – he wasn’t one of them. But Jesus said, “Do not forbid him, for he who is not against us is on our side” (Luke 9: 50 NKJV).
Everybody is already standing somewhere by his decision for Jesus or his decision not to accept Him. Some people call themselves “freethinkers” Simply put, they’re nonbelievers. They’ve already made a decision. Indecision is a decision! A decision not for Jesus is a decision against Jesus, and therefore, a decision for Satan – no neutral ground. If you’re not with Jesus, you are against Him; if you’re not gathering with Him, you’re scattering, and therefore, you’re gathering for the devil (Matt 12:30).
Where do you stand? – On the side of Jesus or on the side of the devil? This is how James 4:4 puts it: “So, you are not loyal to God! You should know that loving the world is the same as hating God. Anyone who wants to be a friend of the world becomes God’s enemy” (New Century Version).
Rise up and follow Jesus
Jesus said to Simon Peter and Andrew, “Follow me, and I will make you fishers of men” (Matt 4:19 NKJV). They immediately took a decision – no dilly-dallying. There was no fence to sit on! Verse 20 of Matt 4 says, “They immediately left their nets and followed him” (NKJV).
The same invitation was extended to the two sons of Zebedee, James and John, and their response was similar to that of Peter and Andrew. “And immediately they left the boat and their father, and followed him” (Matt 4:22 NKJV). Look at that – immediately they left the boat and their father, and followed Jesus. How decisive they were! They didn’t allow any emotional barrier; family ties didn’t stop them. They were obeying in advance what Jesus would later teach. “He who loves father or mother more than Me is not worthy of Me. And he who loves son or daughter more than Me is not worthy of Me” (Matt 10:37 NKJV).
Please compare the decision of James and John to that of someone described as one of the disciples of Jesus: “Then another of his disciples said to him, ‘Lord, let me first go and bury my father’ but Jesus said to him, ‘Follow me, and let the dead bury their own dead’” (Matt 8:21-22 NKJV).
What the disciple was actually asking for was probably a leave to go and take care of his father until he would die, not that his father had actually died. Perhaps he wanted to await his father’s death because of his share of inheritance from his father. Or perhaps because of the stigma that could be attached to his absence at his father’s burial while he was away with an itinerant teacher. We don’t really know why. But how much leave would Jesus have given him when he didn’t know how long his father would still live? The father might never die until Jesus finished his ministry! Jesus wasn’t against taking care of one’s parents. Jesus, in his teaching, condemned not taking care of one’s parents based on some tradition that nullified the commandment of God (Matt 15:3-6). Jesus called those peddling such a tradition hypocrites.
Jesus wasn’t against honouring one’s parents, which includes taking care of them and giving them money. In fact, he entrusted his own mother to a disciple to take care of shortly before his death. “Then He said to the disciple, ‘Behold your mother!’ And from that hour that disciple took her to his own home” (John 19:27 NKJV). But Jesus overruled this man’s request because the issue was more than taking care of his father.
Where do you stand?
There is no sitting on the fence. Jesus said to his disciples, “No one, having put his hand to the plow, and looking back, is fit for the kingdom of God” (Luke 9:62 NKJV). That was what Demas did. Demas was a former associate of Paul, who deserted him because of the seductions of this world. Paul said, “Demas has deserted me because he loves the things of this life and has gone to Thessalonica” (2 Tim 4:10 NLT).
Thessalonica was where things were happening then! He was deceived by the alluring things of life. Itis either you love God or you love the world – there is no third option(James 4:4). You can’t serve two masters; you can’t serve God and mammon (money) (Matt 6:24).
You can’t serve God and Satan; you must make a choice. There is no sitting on the fence. You must follow Jesus or follow the world, like Demas did and went into oblivion – his name disappeared from the pages of the Bible. Remember the Bible says not to love the world and the things in the world. You can’t love the world and love God at the same time (1 John 2:15-17).
Where do you stand? You have already taken a decision knowingly or unknowingly, but you can change your wrong decision. You can, and you should, decide for Jesus like Peter, Andrew, James and John did as we’ve seen. Mathew also called Levi took the same wise decision. He arose and followed Jesus (Matt 9:9; Mark 2:14; Luke 5:27). Many others, since Jesus ascended to heaven, have taken this right decision to accept Jesus as their Lord and Saviour. What about you?
There is no sitting on the fence, you either follow Jesus or you continue to follow Satan, which everybody following Jesus now actually did before coming to Jesus.
John 12:42-43 tells us how some people responded to Jesus Christ, but didn’t come out openly to identify with him because of the fear of the Pharisees. “Many people, including some of the Jewish leaders, believed in him. But they wouldn’t admit it to anyone because of their fear that the Pharisees would expel them from the synagogue. For they loved human praise more than the praise of God” (NLT).
Is there someone you’re so afraid of that you can’t openly declare your faith in Jesus? Is there someone’s praise you value so much that you can’t openly identify with Jesus? Hear what Jesus said about that: “If anyone acknowledges me publicly here on earth, I will openly acknowledge that person before my Father in heaven. But if anyone denies me here on earth, I will deny that person before my Father in heaven” (Matt 10:32-33 NLT).
It is true that openly identifying with Jesus or openly declaring your faith in Him might bring some persecution. Jesus did not hide this truth from us. He said it very clearly in Matt 10:17-26: “But beware of men, for they will deliver you up to councils and scourge you in their synagogues. You will be brought before governors and kings for My sake, as a testimony to them and to the Gentiles. But when they deliver you up, do not worry about how or what you should speak. For it will be given to you in that hour what you should speak; for it is not you who speak, but the Spirit of your Father who speaks in you. ‘Now brother will deliver up brother to death, and a father his child; and children will rise up against parents and cause them to be put to death. And you will be hated by all for My name’s sake. But he who endures to the end will be saved. When they persecute you in this city, flee to another. For assuredly, I say to you, you will not have gone through the cities of Israel before the Son of Man comes. ‘A disciple is not above his teacher, nor a servant above his master. It is enough for a disciple that he be like his teacher, and a servant like his master. If they have called the master of the house Beelzebub, how much more will they call those of his household! Therefore do not fear them. For there is nothing covered that will not be revealed, and hidden that will not be known’” (NKJV).
However, there is nothing to fear. Eternity with God is of more value than any earthly comfort. Jesus said, “All who are victorious will be clothed in white. I will never erase their names from the Book of Life, but I will announce before my Father and his angels that they are mine” (Rev 3:5 NLT).
Every sinner has cast his or her vote for Satan; he or she is on the side of the devil. Whether he is aware of that or not is not the issue. Deliverance for such sinners comes when they respond to the message of the cross and the power of the cross delivers them from the bondage and servitude of Satan (Col 1:13-14).Deliverance from Satan and sin, and the attendant problems doesn’t come by rejecting the gospel or claiming to be sitting on the fence. No fence to sit on. Even those who claim to be born again, but are lukewarm, neither hot or cold, the LORD shall vomit out of His mouth (Rev 3:15-16). There is no sitting on the fence.
Now is the day of salvation (2 Cor 6:2b). You must decide for Jesus or reject Him. The psalmist says in Ps 119:113, “I hate those who are undecided about you, but my choice is clear — I love your law” (NLT). Someone undecided about Jesus has already decided for the devil by his indecision. Make your choice clear; decide for Jesus now – later may be too late.
Joshua’s choice was clear. He said, “But as for me and my house, we will serve the LORD” (Josh 24:15b NKJV). It is either life or death – no third option, no sitting on the fence. Satan is death; Jesus is life. So choose life. “Forsake foolishness and live, and go in the way of understanding” (Prov 9:6 NKJV).
Conclusion: God is not interested in the death of sinners. He has no pleasure in their death. What He desires is their repentance (Ezek 18:32). He wants every sinner to repent and come to Jesus, the Saviour of the world. Repent today. You might have heard the gospel of Jesus Christ prior to reading this message; I present Jesus to you again. Decide for Jesus. No sitting on the fence! Give your life to Jesus.
If you are not born again, you need to give your life to Jesus now. I urge you to take the following steps: *Admit you are a sinner and you cannot save yourself and repent of your sins. *Confess Jesus as your Lord and Saviour. *Renounce your past way of life – your relationship with the devil and his works. *Invite Jesus into your life. *As a mark of seriousness to mature in the faith, start attending a Bible-believing and Bible-teaching church. There they will teach you how to grow in the Kingdom of God.
Kindly say this prayer now: O Lord God, I come unto you today. I know I am a sinner and I cannot save myself. I believe that Jesus is the Son of God who died on the cross to save me and resurrected the third day. I repent of my sins and confess Jesus as my Lord and Saviour. I surrender my life to Jesus now and invite Him into my heart. By this prayer, I know I am saved. Thank you, Jesus, for saving me and making me a child of God.
I believe you have said this prayer from your heart. Congratulations! You will need to join a Bible believing and Bible teaching church in your area where they will teach you how to live your new life in Christ Jesus. I pray that you flourish like the palm tree and grow like the cedar of Lebanon. May you grow into Christ in all things and become all God wants you to be. I will be glad to hear from you. The LORD be with you.
T. O. Banso is the President, Cedar Ministry International, Abuja, Nigeria.
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