Everybody believes in something. What is it that you believe in? And how much do you really believe in it? It is very easy to think you believe when there is no risk involved. It is more difficult to truly believe when you risk losing something very important.
James 2:19(HCSB)19 You believe that God is one; you do well. The demons also believe—and they shudder.
The demons believe in God, even Satan himself believes there is a God, but in their rebellion and disobedience they were kicked out of Heaven.
2 Corinthians 5:20(HCSB)20 Therefore, we are ambassadors for Christ, certain that God is appealing through us. We plead on Christ’s behalf, “Be reconciled to God.” This tells us where we stand in relation to the world.
In Ephesians 2:19(HCSB)19 So then you are no longer foreigners and strangers, but fellow citizens with the saints, and members of God’s household,, We are no longer citizens of this world and since we belong to God; since we are citizens of heaven working as ambassadors here on earth; we need to focus more on God and less on the world, but to do so, we need to make sure that we really believe in God, and not just think we do.
In John 1:7(HCSB)He came as a witness to testify about the light, so that all might believe through him., we are told that Jesus came so that all men might believe. That is how we believe; through Jesus Christ. Without Jesus there is no belief.
That is confirmed in John 20:31(HCSB)But these are written so that you may believe Jesus is the Messiah, the Son of God, and by believing you may have life in His name., when it says that by believing in Jesus Christ, one may have life in His name.
In order to be a real Christian, and in order to receive eternal life, we must be real believers. We must have a burning in our hearts to be with Jesus; to know more about Him; and to know Him more. If we claim we have Jesus but our actions prove otherwise, are we actually saved? If we claim to be saved but we act just like the world are we truly saved?
Paul tells us in 2 Corinthians 13:5(ESV) “examine yourselves as to whether you are in the faith.” We are to test ourselves to be sure that Jesus is truly our Savior and the Holy Spirit is truly in us. If He is, we can in no way lose the salvation Christ has obtained for us Romans 8:38-39(ESV)38 For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, 39 nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord. If He’s not, then perhaps the Holy Spirit is convicting us of sin and prompting us to repent and be reconciled to God through Christ. The assurance of our salvation comes from the knowledge that once we are in Christ, we are eternally secure. But genuine saving faith is evidenced by its works (James 2:14-26) and the fruit of the Spirit within us.
Galatians 5:22-24(ESV)22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law. 24 And those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires.
I would like to clarify some “Facebook Theologians” and their posts. See anything can sound great out of context. example Matthew 4:9(NLT) “I will give it all to you,” he said, “if you will kneel down and worship me.”
Sounds great until you realize who said it and the context it was said in.
Matthew 4:8-10(ESV)8 Again, the devil took him to a very high mountain and showed him all the kingdoms of the world and their glory. 9 And he said to him, “All these I will give you, if you will fall down and worship me.” 10 Then Jesus said to him, “Be gone, Satan! For it is written,“‘You shall worship the Lord your God and him only shall you serve.’
So in context of a very popular scripture,
John 3:16-21(ESV)16 “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life. 17 For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him. 18 Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only Son of God. 19 And this is the judgment: the light has come into the world, and people loved the darkness rather than the light because their works were evil. 20 For everyone who does wicked things hates the light and does not come to the light, lest his works should be exposed. 21 But whoever does what is true comes to the light, so that it may be clearly seen that his works have been carried out in God.”
Paul reiterated this in 2 Corinthians 6:14-18 (ESV)Do not be unequally yoked with unbelievers. For what partnership has righteousness with lawlessness? Or what fellowship has light with darkness? 15 What accord has Christ with Belial?[b] Or what portion does a believer share with an unbeliever? 16 What agreement has the temple of God with idols? For we are the temple of the living God; as God said,“I will make my dwelling among them and walk among them, and I will be their God, and they shall be my people. 17 Therefore go out from their midst, and be separate from them, says the Lord, and touch no unclean thing; then I will welcome you, 18 and I will be a father to you, and you shall be sons and daughters to me, says the Lord Almighty.”
Remember when Peter told Jesus that he would follow him into death if necessary?Luke 22:33-34(HCSB)33 “Lord,” he told Him, “I’m ready to go with You both to prison and to death!”
34 “I tell you, Peter,” He said, “the rooster will not crow today until[i] you deny three times that you know Me!” A few verses later, we see where Peter denied Jesus three times. He thought he believed, but when he was pushed, he collapsed like a house of straw. And we cannot have faith unless we really believe.
We have a natural tendency to run away before we commit. We see that all the time with people who say they are Christians, but will not go to anybody and tell them about Jesus. I truly believe that being non-committal towards Jesus is a sin. If we don’t know Him here, He has promised to not know us there. He told his disciples that following Him comes at a great price.
Luke 14:25-33(ESV)25 Now great crowds accompanied him, and he turned and said to them, 26 “If anyone comes to me and does not hate his own father and mother and wife and children and brothers and sisters, yes, and even his own life, he cannot be my disciple. 27 Whoever does not bear his own cross and come after me cannot be my disciple. 28 For which of you, desiring to build a tower, does not first sit down and count the cost, whether he has enough to complete it? 29 Otherwise, when he has laid a foundation and is not able to finish, all who see it begin to mock him, 30 saying, ‘This man began to build and was not able to finish.’ 31 Or what king, going out to encounter another king in war, will not sit down first and deliberate whether he is able with ten thousand to meet him who comes against him with twenty thousand? 32 And if not, while the other is yet a great way off, he sends a delegation and asks for terms of peace. 33 So therefore, any one of you who does not renounce all that he has cannot be my disciple.
Many people have fashioned idols that keep them from fully giving themselves to the Lord. Anything that we put in front of our relationship with God is an idol. Jesus states this when He says “if anyone comes to me and does not hate” He is meaning even if you put your family before me then you are not worthy to follow me. How many time especially around the holidays we see people not coming to church because “Family is in town” The best thing you can do with your family is bring them to church. What better way to spend time with your family than at church with your church family and they can be introduced to one another. Never compromise your stances because of family. People don’t want to “push” their faith on anyone, but is that truly loving someone? or Are you being scared of what they may think of you? Now many people may say well not coming to church doesn’t mean I compromised my relationship with Jesus.
However, the Bible has no concept of individual spirituality – that is Christianity is not something personal that has nothing to do with anyone else. That is a very modern way of thinking. We can see it in the above passage, the way the man expresses his trust in Jesus is that shifts his allegiances to Jesus’ kingdom. He sees that Jesus is the true king and joins his kingdom, he joins a group of people – those ruled by Jesus the king.
If you are a Christian, then you are a member of God’s church. You are a member of the body of Christ. and for a body to function correctly it has to have all its parts/member doing their part. Ephesians 4:15-16(HCSB)15 But speaking the truth in love, let us grow in every way into Him who is the head—Christ. 16 From Him the whole body, fitted and knit together by every supporting ligament, promotes the growth of the body for building up itself in love by the proper working of each individual part.
The church is now your family, and they are God’s gift to us in living Christian lives. We see this in Romans 8:28-30(HCSB)28 We know that all things work together for the good of those who love God: those who are called according to His purpose. 29 For those He foreknew He also predestined to be conformed to the image of His Son, so that He would be the firstborn among many brothers. 30 And those He predestined, He also called; and those He called, He also justified; and those He justified, He also glorified. Those who are saved are saved so that Jesus would be the big brother of many brothers. God is in the business of making a family. While most people, at least those who do not irrationally deny the existence of God, would claim that all are “children of God,” the Bible reveals quite a different truth. We are all His creations and under His authority and Lordship and will all be judged by Him, but being a child of God and having the right to truly call Him “Abba Father” is something that only born-again Christians are able to do
John 1:12-13(HCSB)But to all who did receive Him, He gave them the right to be children of God, to those who believe in His name,13 who were born, not of blood, or of the will of the flesh, or of the will of man, but of God.
The misguided but popular concept that all people are children of God and can truthfully call Him “Abba Father” is simply not true. Just as children do not choose to be adopted or choose who will adopt them, neither do Christians choose to become children of God. Instead, God chooses them. He predestines them “to adoption as sons by Jesus Christ to Himself, according to the good pleasure of His will”, having been chosen by God from “before the foundation of the world” Ephesians 1:4-6(HCSB)4 For He chose us in Him, before the foundation of the world, to be holy and blameless in His sight. In love 5 He predestined us to be adopted through Jesus Christ for Himself, according to His favor and will, 6 to the praise of His glorious grace that He favored us with in the Beloved.
Ok, now for those of us who do not believe in predestination, I say to you how choses a child at the adoption agency? Does the child chose the Father? or does the father chose the child?
The benefits of being adopted children of God are many. Becoming a child of God is the highest privilege and honor that can be imagined. Because of it we have a new relationship with God and a new standing before Him. He deals with His children differently than He deals with the rest of the world. Being a child of God, adopted “through faith in Christ Jesus” is the source for our hope, the security of our future and the motivation to “walk worthy of the calling with which you were called” Ephesians 4:1(HCSB)Therefore I, the prisoner for the Lord, urge you to walk worthy of the calling you have received,. Being children of the King of Kings and Lord of Lords calls us to a higher standard, a different way of life and a greater hope.
Hebrews 12:5-7(HCSB)5 And you have forgotten the exhortation that addresses you as sons: My son, do not take the Lord’s discipline lightly or faint when you are reproved by Him,6 for the Lord disciplines the one He loves and punishes every son He receives.7 Endure suffering as discipline: God is dealing with you as sons. For what son is there that a father does not discipline?
Because of that new relationship, Christians may sin, but they cannot be comfortable or content living a life of habitual, ongoing sin. If people are living a life enslaved to sin and are comfortable in that sin and without the discipline of God upon them, then we know they are “illegitimate and not sons” Hebrews 12:8(HCSB)8 But if you are without discipline—which all receive—then you are illegitimate children and not sons. In other words, they are unbelievers.
The Christian life was never meant to be lived solo, God has gifted each member of his church to serve one another, you can’t do that solo. This can also be seen in the fact that most of the instructions for Christians are done in the plural, there are very few (if any) instructions to individuals. It is near impossible to live a Christian life alone, it runs counter to everything God has done for us. However, some people can’t help but live alone. The thief on the cross could not join a church, he had no choice; but where we have a choice, we really should become a part of God’s church.
It’s like someone who gets married, but never moves in with their husband. It is true that you can be married without living together. But a real marriage involves relationship. Becoming a Christian means being a part of God’s family.
That is the same with your relationship to Jesus. Many people want to be able to be called a christian but don’t want to do what Jesus called us to do.Many people only want the benefits of Christ without the worldly consequences of following Jesus. Isn’t that what Peter did on the night they arrested Jesus?
Luke 22:54-62(HCSB)54 They seized Him, led Him away, and brought Him into the high priest’s house. Meanwhile Peter was following at a distance. 55 They lit a fire in the middle of the courtyard and sat down together, and Peter sat among them. 56 When a servant saw him sitting in the firelight, and looked closely at him, she said, “This man was with Him too.”
57 But he denied it: “Woman, I don’t know Him!”
58 After a little while, someone else saw him and said, “You’re one of them too!”
“Man, I am not!” Peter said.
59 About an hour later, another kept insisting, “This man was certainly with Him, since he’s also a Galilean.”
60 But Peter said, “Man, I don’t know what you’re talking about!” Immediately, while he was still speaking, a rooster crowed. 61 Then the Lord turned and looked at Peter. So Peter remembered the word of the Lord, how He had said to him, “Before the rooster crows today, you will deny Me three times.” 62 And he went outside and wept bitterly.
See Peter wanted the “benefits” of following Christ, but did not want to have to deal with the earthly consequences of following Christ. He followed and made bold statements until he was faced with actual persecution. Most of us deny Christ with hardly any persecution. We give in to temptation, we give in to worldly desires, we make idols, we serve Christ only when it is convenient for us. But when we actually have to sacrifice something then we put off Christ and put on our old man.
Romans 10:9(HCSB)9 If you confess with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved.
We must believe in Him, and we must confess Him. And, if we confess Jesus is our Lord, and that we have Him in our hearts, doesn’t it make sense that we would also be striving to do what He wants us to do?