Essentials, Respond to Jesus (audio file for download)
Essentials: Responding To Jesus.
This week concludes our study of the essentials of the Christian Faith. While this has not been totally exhaustive explanation of all that we believe as Christians, I hope that it has brought each of us more clarity about what it is we mean when we read our affirmation of faith every week. I hope that Lord has been drawing each of us to a deeper understanding of what he has done for us in giving us His word, and sending us His son.
This has all been based out of the Affirmation of Faith that we say each Sunday. Lets Read it together…
Today what I hope to do is tie all of this stuff together.
The big idea that I hope to express to you is this: Everyone needs to respond to Jesus.
We have been talking a lot during this series about what we believe. These are things that we as Christians hold onto and cherish, and care deeply about. But what I want to convey to each and every person here this morning is that we can say we believe a truth, and still live as though we do not. Now this plays out all the time in many areas of life. Let me ask you some questions: Do you believe that it is dangerous to text and drive? Ok, Who still does it, even a little? Who believed that you were invincible when you were younger? What convinced you that you weren’t? You see I am convinced that we are at a turning point in our nation’s history. Until recently it was more accepted to ascribe to the beliefs of Christians than pretty much anything else. However, we are coming up on a time when Christians are more widely persecuted in the public forum than they have before. It wasn’t long ago that Henry Dawkins, one of the most popular and outspoken atheists of our time told the crowd of like minded people that when they encountered people of faith, specifically Christians that they should ridicule them. This comment was met with laughter and cheers. Now, this may be somewhat new for us here in the states, but Christians from the beginning have been driven to the point of having to decide between following Christ and being unpopular at best, and often giving up their lives. I wonder how soon we will be at that place in our day. However, wether we get to that point in our lifetimes or not, each of us make daily decisions based on our beliefs about Jesus. Now there is something that we need to understand about our faith and our tendencies as fallen people. We are prone to forget. If anything is a testimony to that fact it is that women who have been through labor and delivery will have any desire to do it again. If a woman can go through nine months of nausea, vomiting, weight gain, bloating, discomfort, labor, delivery, and then 4-14 months of sleepless nights, you would think that would be enough for her. But for some reason, many mothers will willingly subject themselves to that process again. Why? Because they forgot! We are prone to forget.
Non-Christians Need to respond to Jesus for the first time. The moment you realize that you are a fallen image bearer of God that needs Jesus, it is an amazing gift. That is the first time the Gospel breaks through and you see that amazing sight that the God of the universe put on human flesh and became fully God and fully man so that He might take upon Himself the punishment that you deserve. When you recognize that your sin nature is not something you can overcome by yourself, you repent of your sins and you trust in the work of Christ for your acceptance into the Kingdom of God, you are saved. Now, this happens for people who have never heard about Jesus before, and it happens for people who have heard about Jesus their entire lives. Responding to Jesus does not mean coming to church. It is giving up on the hopes of cleaning yourself up and fixing your own life. It is asking Jesus to take your broken life and make it new. Responding to Jesus has more to do with trusting in His work, and less to do with doing anything on your own. You see, the fact of the matter is that there are churches all over the world today that are full of people singing the Praises of Jesus, but trying to please Him on their own, or they are paying lip service to Christ, all the while living like He is not the king of the universe like He truly is. They may ascribe to a statement about Jesus, but their lives don’t look anything different from those they work, or play with.
If you are an unbeliever here, let me ask you to respond to Jesus today.
New believers need to keep responding to Jesus.
SO, what do people do when they have accepted Jesus as their savior and have placed all their trust in Him for their salvation. they have grasped the fact that He took their sin upon Himself and gave them His spotless record for their own. What next? Well, these people need to keep responding to Jesus. When people first come to faith in Christ, they are confronted with a whole array of things that remind them of past patterns and mindsets. They have many things that they may be called to give up as habits, or functional saviors. They are prone to falling back into the trap of performance, and trying to focus mainly on their behavior as their basis of acceptance from God. What they need to do in that case is remember that all their sin was placed on Jesus on the Cross, and that they are a new creation already. That the work of God is accomplished for sure, not maybe. They need to keep responding to Jesus by still trusting in His work on their behalf, keep letting Him take over more and more of your life.
Old believers need to keep on keeping on responding to Jesus.
And what if you have been a follower of Christ for a long time. So long that you almost cant remember what life was like before you were saved. You have trusted in Christ for so long that your life very closely resembles Christ. You have learned to manage your sin in such a way that it is never exposed to the outside world. You have accomplished so much for Jesus that you are looking for the next level of spirituality. What do you need to do? You need to keep on keeping on responding to Jesus. You see, the truth of the matter is that no matter how long you have been a Christian, there is still work that He is doing on you. The tough part for us is that the farther along you are in your walk, its not that you are more Holy, but really, we get better at playing the game. Our sins are less visible to those around us and go deeper in to the heart. The longer you hang out with Christians the better you get at playing the game, learning the language and managing your behavior. But the truth of the matter is this, no matter how much you grow in your relationship with God, you need him no less now than you did the day you were saved.
How do we respond to Jesus? Repentance: the first response. Prayer, study of His Word, Fellowship with His people. In a word, Worship.
Have you responded to Jesus? Have you accepted His atoning death on your behalf?Have you repented of your sin and trusted in His work for you? Or are you still trying to earn your way to Him, or living like you are your own god.
Are you responding to Jesus?
Are you sill responding to Jesus?