Summary: There is a need for a ’right’ belief in the life of the believer to re-awaken our passion for Christ
In the last verse from our reading today from John 11:1-45 we read “Many of the people who were with Mary believed in Jesus when they saw this happen.” (John 1:45 NLT) The question I would like to ask this morning is, where did that believe take them? Remember how near we are to Good Friday, where were they? Where did that believe take them?
And I would like us to ask ourselves, why do we believe? What do we believe? And where does that believe take us? And I would dare to suggest that the answer to the last question is nowhere because believing in Jesus, in and by itself does not take us anywhere
The epistles are written to believers, Paul is writing to the believers in Rome and he says to them “So letting your sinful nature control your mind leads to death.” (Romans 8:6 NLT) Paul is saying this to those who have believed, who have seen God’s glory, who are the church in Rome “letting your sinful nature control your mind leads to death” (Romans 8:6 NLT) surely they should know that shouldn’t they? I think what Paul is saying is, your belief won’t save you if your belief is not the right belief.
Think about it, believing is easy, believing in something that we see happen, believing in something which we see works, believing in the good things that God does in our lives, all that is easy. That kind of believing is an intellectual acceptance of the evidence before our eyes.
It is easy for you to believe that I exist, you can see me, you can hear me, if you came up you could touch me. But our faith requires that we take this a step further. I’m sure many of you can say to me that your belief is specific, that you believe that Jesus is the son of God, and I have to ask, so what? Satan Believes that Jesus Christ is the son of God; satan knows that Jesus Christ is the son of God
In the last week I read an article by Larry Moyer, in the Sermon Central newsletter, about the need for the sinner’s prayer. The article says “The word “believe” means to trust. Acknowledging that I am a sinner, I must come to God recognizing that his son took the punishment for my sins and rose again, and trust in Christ alone to save me.”
Our belief needs to go beyond who Jesus is to what He has done for us, because we couldn’t do it for ourselves. Most of those who witnessed the raising of Lazarus would never forget it; the Bible says they believed in Jesus. They believed that Jesus had power, they believed that Jesus could raise someone from the dead, but they walked away because they could not believe that this person who could raise someone from the dead was, and is, the son of God, and that his death was necessary for their salvation. Because they could not see beyond their belief in their traditions and believed that the fulfilment of the law was all that was need for them to be saved.
The writer of the article went on to say, “A person who deeply impacted my life with the clarity of the Gospel said, ‘The message behind the Gospel is: “Be satisfied with the thing that satisfies God.”
Only when I am satisfied that his Son’s death and that death alone accomplished my salvation, am I eternally His. Only when we acknowledge to God, ‘If you cannot take me to heaven, I am going to hell. You and you alone are my only way to eternal life.’ only then have we grasped the truth of what Jesus has done for us, then we are as certain of heaven as though we are already there.’
And Paul is saying to some in the church in Rome, you haven’t got it have you? You’ve heard the gospel and you say you believe and you’re going through the motions of that belief, in your mind you believe but your life does not bear witness, your life is not producing fruit and “letting your sinful nature control your mind leads to death”, that’s quite unequivocal. But letting the Spirit control your mind leads to life and peace. For the sinful nature is always hostile to God. It never did obey God’s laws, and it never will. That’s why those who are still under the control of their sinful nature can never please God.” (Romans 8:7 NLT)
Paul isn’t speaking to everyone but Paul knows that God will convict the ones who need convicting, and to the other he says, “But you are not controlled by your sinful nature. You are controlled by the Spirit if you have the Spirit of God living in you. And Christ lives within you, so even though your body will die because of sin, the Spirit gives you life because you have been made right with God. The Spirit of God, who raised Jesus from the dead, lives in you. And just as God raised Christ Jesus from the dead, he will give life to your mortal bodies by this same Spirit living within you.” (Romans 8:9-11 NLT)