First Baptist Church
Monday, March 14, 2016
Loving God, Loving Others
If you are not already a Christian, I hope that you have come to the realization that God is in control of this world! As much as we would like to think so, we are not in control -- not even of our own lives! Also, strive as we will, the truth is that we will never find true peace outside of Jesus Christ. Oh sure, we might have a lot of fun doing things our own way -- for a time. But inevitably we reach that point where we know that "something is missing." We only need to look at all the famous people that have committed suicide to realize that fame and fortune do not equal fulfillment!
The reason that we can never find happiness through anything that the world offers is because we have a "God-shaped" void inside us. We were created by God specifically to have fellowship with Him; that is an intrinsic need within our very beings! God loves us and wants us to have this fellowship with Him -- but we have a problem! When Adam and Eve rebelled against God, and listened to the lie of Satan, they destroyed the innocence of man. We could no longer enjoy the perfect union with God, because sin had come between us!
You see, God is a loving God; but He is also a holy and righteous God. Because He is holy and perfect, He chooses not to have any sin in His presence. Since mankind has fallen into sin, we cannot be in the presence of God! For man, this would be an insurmountable problem. But for God, nothing is impossible; He created the answer to this problem.
John 3:16-18 "For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish, but have eternal life. "For God did not send the Son into the world to judge the world, but that the world should be saved through Him. "He who believes in Him is not judged; he who does not believe has been judged already, because he has not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God.
God loved us so much, that He allowed His son, Jesus Christ, to die on the cross for our sins! Jesus Christ came to earth born of a virgin -- He did not come through normal human conception, because if He had He too would have been born into sin. Jesus lived a sin-free life. This qualified Him to be the perfect, unblemished sacrifice required by God. When Jesus died on that cross, His blood paid the penalty for our sins -- for my sin, and for your sin! By believing these facts, we can have eternal life, and be guaranteed to live forever with Jesus Christ.
While talking to the Pharisee, Nicodemus, Jesus told him something very important for us to understand:
John 3:1-7 Now there was a man of the Pharisees, named Nicodemus, a ruler of the Jews; this man came to Him by night, and said to Him, "Rabbi, we know that You have come from God as a teacher; for no one can do these signs that You do unless God is with him." Jesus answered and said to him, "Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God." Nicodemus said to Him, "How can a man be born when he is old? He cannot enter a second time into his mother's womb and be born, can he?" Jesus answered, "Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born of water and the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of
God. "That which is born of the flesh is flesh, and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit. "Do not marvel that I said to you, 'You must be born again.'
Jesus clearly said "you must be born again." Unless a person is "born again" he cannot spend eternity with Jesus. This is what is called "being saved." It is called that because when we accept Jesus Christ as our Lord and Savior, we are "saved" from our sins.
Many people in the world have claimed many different ways to come to God. Some think that all they need to do is "believe in God" and they will be guaranteed to spend eternity with Him. The Bible tells us there is a problem with that belief:
2:19 You believe in God. You do well; the demons also believe, and shudder.
Even the demons of Hell believe in God. Further, they believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God. They believe that Jesus Christ was born of a virgin, lived a sin-free life, and died on the cross for the sins of mankind. They believe all those things, and yet they will not spend eternity in Heaven. There must be something more!
Some folks believe that if they work hard enough, or belong to the right church, they will go to Heaven. But the Bible says:
Ephesians 2:8-9 For by grace you have been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God; not as a result of works, that no one should boast.
The Bible tells us that the only way we can be saved is as a free gift from God. We can do absolutely nothing to earn it or deserve it; we can only receive it as a gift.
Some folks believe that it doesn't matter what religion you follow. They say that "even though we are following different paths, we are all going to the same place." But Jesus said:
John 14:6 "I am the way, and the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father, but through Me."
There are not many paths leading to Heaven -- there is only one. Jesus did not say "I am one of the ways." He did not even say "I am the best way." He said "I am the way." This is the only way; there is no other.
Maybe right now you are saying to yourself something like this. I am a pretty good person. I never deliberately try to hurt anyone. I do a lot of good deeds. Compared to a lot of people, I'm pretty darn good. That should get me to Heaven! I ask you to remember what I said earlier -- God is perfect and holy. Because of that, He will not have any sin in His presence. Being pretty good is not good enough. To go to Heaven, you would have to be perfect. The Bible tells us that none of us are perfect.
3:23 For all have sinned, and fall short of the glory of God.
It goes on to tell us what the result of being a sinner will be.
6:23 The wages of sin is death.
When the Bible speaks of death, it is referring to an eternal separation from God. But that verse goes on to say "but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord!" Later in the book of Romans we read:
Romans 10:9-10 that if you confess with your mouth Jesus as Lord, and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you shall be saved; for with the heart man believes, resulting in righteousness, and with the mouth he confesses, resulting in salvation.
We have looked at several of the things people believe that will not allow you to be saved (or born again). Let's look now at what you do need to do. It's as simple as A - B - C!
A Acknowledge that you are a sinner. Admit that there is nothing you can do personally to change that fact. Have a sincere desire in your heart to turn away from your sinful lifestyle - that is called "repenting."
B Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ. Believe those historical facts that we talked about. Believe that Jesus was born of a virgin, lived a sin-free life, and died on the cross to make atonement for our sins. Believe that Jesus Christ is indeed the Son of God!
C Confess your sins -- both personally to God, and also before men. Jesus said if you will confess Me before men, I will confess you before My Father who is in Heaven. But if you deny Me before men (by not making a public statement that He is Lord), I will deny you before My Father who is in Heaven (Matthew
If you believe these facts and are ready to take these three steps, then I ask you to read the following as a prayer to God:
Lord Jesus, I know I am a sinner. I know that you died on the cross to take care of my sins. I no longer want to live this sinful life, but I know that I cannot change in my own power. I ask you, Lord Jesus, to take over my life. I ask you to become both my Savior and my Lord. I accept Your free gift of salvation, and turn my life completely over to You. Thank you, Jesus, for saving me!
My friend, if you prayed this prayer, and truly meant it in your heart, then you have just been saved! You are now guaranteed that you will spend eternity in Heaven with Jesus Christ. There is absolutely nothing anybody or anything can do to take that away from you!
If you truly meant this prayer in your heart, you will have a desire to learn more. It is vital that you find a Bible-believing, Bible-teaching church family. You will want to publicly proclaim your new birth by being baptized, and by becoming a member of a local church. We pray that you may decide to unite here with us at First Baptist. But whether it is with us or with someone else, please do understand the importance of getting into a good church home.
May God richly bless you in your new life, and may you serve Him with all of your heart!