Summary: Pray this, take this class, give this much money. Christianity has been minimized to a one time prayer, an occasional Bible study, and a regular monetary donation. What did Jesus really invite us to? Radical discipleship. Radical commitment. He dindn
Intro: With Rob Bell, pastor of Mars Hill Church in Michigan and his seemingly Universalist claims that everyone will be saved. It seems more and more the Gospel message is being muddled and what it really means to be a believer is misunderstood. From the time I was young I remember hearing just pray this prayer and accept Jesus into your heart. I myself have unfortunately said that as well.
The popular verse use is Acts 2.21 which is a quotation of Joel 2.28-32 in it the living God of Israel promised to deliver them from the coming judgment if they would call on Him. We must be careful how we communicate the gospel. The demons believe that God is and tremble James tells us. They accept that He is but do not call on Him for salvation. Remember we are not simply saved from Hell we are saved for God. Simple acceptance of Jesus existence and the facts of what he did when he walked, died and rose is not what Luke, Paul, or Jesus spoke about. Calling on God is a crying out, a calling to the person of God in recognition of sin that we are in desperate need of deliverance from the sin and the judgment that will come because of our rebellion and rejection of God!! It is also crying out for the beginning of a relationship with the one who died on a cross for us. He doesn’t just want to save you He wants to share His life with you!!
Listen to what Paul tells Timothy in 2 Timothy 3.1-8 (Read)
Lovers of self heads the list because it is from this self-centered existence that all the others spring. This love has no place for the grace, forgiveness, mercy, direction or correction of God. We see that today in the teachings of those who say how can a loving God sentence people to hell. First off God did not create hell for man.
Matthew 25.41 “Then He will say to those on the left hand, ‘Depart from Me, you cursed was originally created for rebellious, into the everlasting fire prepared for the devil and his angels.” However the love of God allows you to choose your own master. Heaven is heaven because God is there. Hell is hell because God is not there.
So with all the information and miss information about what God is like and not like, about who will and will not go to heaven. Sometimes we miss what the bible is trying to communicate to us. God did all he did for His fame, for His glory, and so that if we call to Him, if we trust Him we too can share in God’s life both now and forever. So what is eternal life all about? What is the church supposed to be all about? What as a believer are we supposed to be all about?
First we are not to merely accept the information about Jesus that only makes you a historian. We are invited by the Bible not to merely accept Him but to do something that will radically, completely change your life for the best forever. Listen to the words of Jesus.
Matthew 11.28 – 29 (Read)
Jesus invites any who are weighed down religious, social, economical, or other pressures and he would give rest.
But in this look closely. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me. In the ancient times of Jesus and before when training a new animal they would yoke it or connect it to an older more experienced animal. The purpose of this was for the more experienced animal to bear the burden and guide the younger animal as they learned their task.
We are not called to accept Jesus we are called to follow Him! We accept his invitation with belief we accept His instruction with behavior. His life and teachings reveal to us the character of God. As his children we are His image bearers we are to reflect by the power of the Holy Spirit the very character of God.
Why did Paul warn Timothy about the dangerous times coming in the last days? Because he knew that many would not be following Jesus.
John 10.27 “My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me.” We follow Him because we know Him. This Hebrew idiom clearly reveals the intimacy and personal attention He gives to His sheep. The metaphor of sheep reveals that those that Know Jesus hear and obey Him. Those that know Jesus follow and imitate Him. He was a servant if we know and hear him and follow and imitate Him that will be one of our chief attributes. Revelation 14.4 believers are called His followers. “They who follow the lamb.”