The Gospel April 1, 2018 (Easter)
I’ve been asked many questions about my spiritual life:
1. Have you prayed to receive Jesus?
2. Did you get saved?
3. Are you a Christian?
4. Do you go to church?
5. Have you walked the church aisle to the altar?
6. If you were to die tonight, are you sure you would go to heaven?
7. If you were standing before Jesus and he asked you, why should I let you into heaven? What would you say?
These are all good questions. I want to ask you a question today. Do you love Jesus? Yes, even you big tough guys who never say it, do you love Jesus? I think it’s great if you walked the aisle of the church one day and maybe even became a member of a church, but what I really want to ask you today is do you walk the walk? Are you a follower of Jesus? Do you love Jesus? Here are some basic ways to know if you love someone:
1. You think about them a lot!
2. You care about what they say and think.
3. You would do anything for them.
4. You want to be with them all the time…you never get enough!!
5. You are 100% committed to them!
6. You talk to/with them all the time, you share everything!
How to know if you follow someone:
1. You read their stuff. (common modern understanding)
2. You know who they are and what they stand for.
3. You look to see where they are going and you go there too.
4. You are willing to put everything else aside to be like this Jesus you are following.
Acts 2:14-41 This is the first recorded sermon preached after Jesus’s death, resurrection, and ascension. Who was listening? Mostly religious people who lived in Jerusalem or were there on a religious pilgrimage. These were people who cared about their religion and probably had plenty of head knowledge. So, Peter stood up and cleared the air and began to preach. He knew these people needed to understand who Jesus is and what he has done:
1. Jesus is the promise fulfilled of salvation for all people. Salvation from a corrupt generation (religiosity, phariseeism)
2. Jesus is the center of God’s sovereign plan. Despite anything humankind or the devil himself attempts, God’s perfect will has, is, and will be done.
3. Jesus was raised from the dead! Twenty-seven years later Paul writes these words to the church in Corinth. (ICor. 15:1-8) Example: Charles Colson
4. Jesus is Lord and Messiah. The Messiah is the ideal King anointed and empowered by God to rescue his people and establish His righteous Kingdom.
When Peter finished this part of his sermon, the Bible says that the people were cut to the heart! Head knowledge had penetrated the hard heart of people who had heard it all since childhood. This is the work of Holy Spirit!!!
Belief and love always lead us to action!!! What must we do?!?! REPENT! These people knew that there were three words for repent in the Hebrew texts and yet there was no confusion here. They knew that people like John the Baptist had come preparing the way for Jesus by preaching repentance. Matthew 3:7-10
Change your mind and change your direction!!! They knew that what Peter was saying was to turn away from sin and turn to Jesus (Acts 3:19). This is a radical act that God calls on every follower of Jesus to live out in our lives not just once, but on a daily basis. Repentance marks the life of a believer. I also know that anyone who is truly saved knows it and has assurance (not insurance) of their eternal condition.
Belief without repentance is religiosity…religious posturing. Repentance without belief is simply emotionalism. Even the demons believe (James 2:19) “The Gospel message does not allow for someone to obtain salvation simply by intellectually believing that Jesus is the Son of God without repenting of sins and turning to live for him.”
Repent is an action word, just as is baptism!
So, let me ask you a question: Do you walk the walk? Do you believe that Jesus is who he says he is and that he has done what the Bible says he has done? Have you repented of your sins and made the radical turn to follow Jesus? Are you following Jesus now? Do you love Jesus? Peter had this question asked of him by Jesus himself!!
Let me invite you to take a step in the direction of following Jesus. A prayer is a good beginning but it is not the end! Following Jesus is a lifelong endeavor!