Category Archives: Jesus Christ

Jesus Is Calling You to Follow Him

When Jesus began His ministry He had no disciples, no followers, and no-one knew Him outside of His close friends and family. He was a humble carpenter.

What He did have was a strong relationship with God and a deep understanding of scripture because of years of careful study. He preached boldly and without apology.

In Matthew 4:18-22 we see Jesus call His first disciples, who were fisherman. He connected with them immediately by using a metaphor that they could understand.

18 One day as Jesus was walking along the shore of the Sea of Galilee, he saw two brothers—Simon, also called Peter, and Andrew—throwing a net into the water, for they fished for a living. 19 Jesus called out to them, “Come, follow me, and I will show you how to fish for people!” 20 And they left their nets at once and followed him.

21 A little farther up the shore he saw two other brothers, James and John, sitting in a boat with their father, Zebedee, repairing their nets. And he called them to come, too. 22 They immediately followed him, leaving the boat and their father behind.

Jesus’ disciples responded quickly and decisively when He called. There is no indication that they, as fisherman, had any previous relationship with Jesus upon which to draw to trust Him. They did not have a full understanding of His ministry and teaching when they chose to follow Him.

The disciples had to decide to follow Jesus first… and that led them to the opportunity to spend years growing to know Him and His teaching intimately. And later, with the Holy Spirit as their helper they were formidable indeed as they spread the good news of the gospel to sometimes friendly, but often hostile audiences.

The same is true for us today. If we decide not to follow Jesus until we understand all of His word in the Bible, we will never follow Him. It is only by the bold decision to follow Him that we will study and learn more about God’s word and develop that intimate relationship with God that transforms our lives in the image of Christ.

Are you following Jesus with all your heart or are you holding something back? He is calling each of us to come to Him wholeheartedly. Do not wait until you have all the answers… follow Him today!

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Repent of Your Sins and Turn to God

After successfully overcoming temptation by Satan as documented in Matthew 4, Jesus began His public ministry.

Ever stop to think about what message was so fundamental and important that Jesus would speak about it first?  Matthew 4:17 gives that insight.

 17 From then on Jesus began to preach, “Repent of your sins and turn to God, for the Kingdom of Heaven is near.[g]

Try not to read over it too quickly. Better to dwell on it.  Scripture does not say Jesus said this once, but rather “From then on…”. Jesus started with this key message and stayed on this point through His entire ministry.

We need to follow His example throughout our lives as well. God wants us first to repent, then to turn to Him humbly and seek Him wholeheartedly.

Some people struggle with the end of this verse, “… for the Kingdom of Heaven is near.” since Jesus said it two thousand years ago. We could have a good debate on it and I look forward to sharing more on that topic another time.  However, here is practical way to consider application.

Approximately 148,000 people around the world die every day. That equates to a pace of over 50 million people a year. For each of those who perished, they no longer have a chance to repent and turn to Jesus. Those who accepted Jesus wholeheartedly before they died are with Him in heaven.  Those who did not are in hell, eternally separated from God.

The point is that time may be short for each of us. Now is the time to repent and turn to God. None of us are promised a tomorrow on this world.

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Nothing Can Separate Us from God’s Love

Understanding how much God loves us is best put in perspective in that Jesus Christ died for us, for our sin… so that we could be made right before God. Nothing can separate us from His love except if we choose to reject His offer of salvation through grace and therefore reject a right relationship with God.

Romans 8:31-39

31 What shall we say about such wonderful things as these? If God is for us, who can ever be against us? 32 Since he did not spare even his own Son but gave him up for us all, won’t he also give us everything else? 33 Who dares accuse us whom God has chosen for his own? No one—for God himself has given us right standing with himself. 34 Who then will condemn us? No one—for Christ Jesus died for us and was raised to life for us, and he is sitting in the place of honor at God’s right hand, pleading for us.

35 Can anything ever separate us from Christ’s love? Does it mean he no longer loves us if we have trouble or calamity, or are persecuted, or hungry, or destitute, or in danger, or threatened with death? 36 (As the Scriptures say, “For your sake we are killed every day; we are being slaughtered like sheep.”[o]) 37 No, despite all these things, overwhelming victory is ours through Christ, who loved us.

38 And I am convinced that nothing can ever separate us from God’s love. Neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons,[p] neither our fears for today nor our worries about tomorrow—not even the powers of hell can separate us from God’s love. 39 No power in the sky above or in the earth below—indeed, nothing in all creation will ever be able to separate us from the love of God that is revealed in Christ Jesus our Lord.

 Nothing can separate us from the overwhelming love God has for each of us, unless we turn our backs on God and choose not to accept Him. All we have to do is to come before God with humility, ask His forgiveness through grace, repent of our sinful nature, and seek God wholeheartedly as we ask Jesus to be lord of our life.

If you have not done this in your life… now is a great time to do it.  Take a few moments to come humbly before God. He is always available with no waiting required.

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There is still time to repent and turn to Jesus

In Matthew 20:1-16, Jesus helps us to understand what the kingdom of heaven is like and what God is like.

20 “For the Kingdom of Heaven is like the landowner who went out early one morning to hire workers for his vineyard. He agreed to pay the normal daily wage and sent them out to work.

“At nine o’clock in the morning he was passing through the marketplace and saw some people standing around doing nothing. So he hired them, telling them he would pay them whatever was right at the end of the day. So they went to work in the vineyard. At noon and again at three o’clock he did the same thing.

“At five o’clock that afternoon he was in town again and saw some more people standing around. He asked them, ‘Why haven’t you been working today?’

“They replied, ‘Because no one hired us.’

“The landowner told them, ‘Then go out and join the others in my vineyard.’

“That evening he told the foreman to call the workers in and pay them, beginning with the last workers first. When those hired at five o’clock were paid, each received a full day’s wage. 10 When those hired first came to get their pay, they assumed they would receive more. But they, too, were paid a day’s wage. 11 When they received their pay, they protested to the owner, 12 ‘Those people worked only one hour, and yet you’ve paid them just as much as you paid us who worked all day in the scorching heat.’

13 “He answered one of them, ‘Friend, I haven’t been unfair! Didn’t you agree to work all day for the usual wage? 14 Take your money and go. I wanted to pay this last worker the same as you. 15 Is it against the law for me to do what I want with my money? Should you be jealous because I am kind to others?’

16 “So those who are last now will be first then, and those who are first will be last.”

God is so different from the world that many struggle with this passage. They read it on the surface and agree with the workers who came early in the day. They say it is unfair that all workers get paid the same wages. Many even miss the point that Jesus is telling us about salvation, not people working in a vineyard.

I am glad God is not “fair” in the eyes of the world. “Fair” means I should have eternal separation from God due to my sinful nature. “Fair” means that Jesus should not have died for my sins so that I could be reconciled to God. And I am very thankful that the lost people of this world have as much time as possible … until they die… to accept Jesus as Lord and Savior. Then we can rejoice together for each person that is saved, even in their final moments.

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Salvation Through Faith in Jesus Christ

Romans 10 provides valuable insight into salvation.  I encourage everyone to click the link and read the entire chapter.

If you openly declare that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. 10 For it is by believing in your heart that you are made right with God, and it is by openly declaring your faith that you are saved. 11 As the Scriptures tell us, “Anyone who trusts in him will never be disgraced.”[e] 12 Jew and Gentile[f] are the same in this respect. They have the same Lord, who gives generously to all who call on him. 13 For “Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.”[g]

14 But how can they call on him to save them unless they believe in him? And how can they believe in him if they have never heard about him? And how can they hear about him unless someone tells them? 15 And how will anyone go and tell them without being sent? That is why the Scriptures say, “How beautiful are the feet of messengers who bring good news!”[h]

It sounds almost too easy, but most of the world is missing it. If we truly believe in our heart God raised Jesus from the dead we should be driven to several natural next steps.

  • Change our lives. Turn away from our selfish focus on what is comfortable and acceptable. Be transformed to serve and obey Jesus even when facing those who would mock or persecute us.
  • Openly declare that Jesus is Lord. In this way we also become the messengers to bring the good news to others!

If we as Christians are quiet and blend in with the world, then we are like a lamp which provides no light… what is the point?

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The greatest among you should be like a servant

As the disciples sat at dinner with Jesus celebrating Passover in what has now become known as the Last Supper they began to argue about who would become greatest among them.

Jesus told them, “In this world the kings and great men lord it over their people, yet they are called ‘friends of the people’. But among you it will be different. Those who are the greatest among you should take the lowest rank, and the leader should be like a servant.

Who is more important, the one who sits at the table or the one who serves? The one who sits at the table, of course. But not here! For I am among you as one who serves.”

 

Jesus “walked the talk” throughout His time of ministry on earth. He spent His time among us teaching, healing, serving and then dying for us … not creating comfort and luxury for Himself. We should remember this aspect of leadership when we choose our local or national leaders and even when we act as leaders in our communities or families.

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Not enough faith to reject Jesus…

Scientists, detectives, juries in courts of law… and the rest of us with every day common sense follow where the evidence leads when we want to understand something. Whether we want to know about who committed a crime or who took cookies from the cookie jar the approach is the same. Look for clues and follow the evidence. Witnesses are very helpful in any investigation!

The death and resurrection of Jesus Christ has substantial evidence and eye witness testimony confirming the validity of the Biblical events. We do not have to “take it on faith”, but rather seek to understand the evidence and let it lead you to the most probable conclusion.

Jesus was a well known and recognizable person by the time He was crucified. People recognized Him. Crowds listened to Him. He was publically executed in broad daylight in a brutal way with many witnesses. There were well trained guards at the tomb to keep disciples from taking His body. Even amongst those who reject Jesus none can reasonably argue against the fact that Jesus’ tomb was empty on the third day.

“During the forty days after his crucifixion, he appeared to the apostles from time to time, and he proved to them in many ways that he was actually alive. And he talked to them about the Kingdom of God.”  [Acts 1:3 NLT]

 These same disciples would face brutal treatment and execution (except John who was exiled to Patmos) and to the end they never changed their mind or testimony that Jesus Christ was God. They were certainly convinced!

Scripture goes on to document that Jesus appeared to many more than just His closest disciples after He rose from the dead.

After evaluating the evidence I realize it takes more of a leap of faith to reject Jesus as our Lord and Savior than to accept Him.

The following books are good reads and add much more detail to empower us to really understand the evidence.

The Third Day by Hank Hanegraaff

Christianity on Trial  by Mark Lanier

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Don’t wait for a sign!

Many of us know someone who has embraced the idea that they will accept Jesus when He gives them a sign. Others who may have accepted Jesus are waiting for a sign before they tell others boldly about Him.

This can be a trap! The truth is that God has already given us many signs and miracles. They are well documented in the Bible. If we wait for Him to send another sign before we accept Him or before we choose to share the good news of the gospel with others… it may be too late for us and for those we love.

In Luke 16:19-31 [NLT] Jesus tells us about Lazarus and a rich man.  Lazarus is a poor man who despite much hardship in his life accepted God. The rich man despite much luxury and worldly gain  rejected God. They both die and the rich man finds himself in hell, but able to see Lazarus in heaven.  He realizes it is too late for him and immediately thinks of those he loves…

“Then the rich man said, ‘Please, Father Abraham, at least send him [Lazarus] to my father’s home. For I have five brothers, and I want him to warn them so they don’t end up in this place of torment.’ But Abraham said, ‘Moses and the prophets have warned them. Your brothers can read what they wrote.’ The rich man replied, ‘No, Father Abraham! But if someone is sent to them from the dead, then they will repent of their sins and turn to God.’ But Abraham said, ‘If they won’t listen to Moses and the prophets, they won’t listen even if someone rises from the dead.’

Jesus Himself died for us and has risen from the dead. He was a public, recognizable figure. He was publically brutalized with many witnesses and executed in broad daylight for all to see . After rising on the third day he was witnessed by hundreds of people over several weeks moving about in good health. All of this is well documented.

Sadly most of the world and even most of those that have heard about Jesus Christ do not accept Him as Lord and Savior, even though He died and rose again to come back and tell us.

Don’t miss the opportunity to accept Jesus as your savior, to share Him with those you know, and to share the Good News even with those you don’t know as you interact with them in your daily walk.

 

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