Summary: Followers of Christ are commanded to trust Jesus everyday while non-believers are invited to surrender their whole life to Jesus.
2. BELIEVE IN ME
OBEYING EVERYTHING JESUS DEMANDED
Objective: To the disciples this message is aimed at making them understand the importance of living in faith, i.e. a day-to-day trusting and receiving life from Jesus. For the non-disciples, let this be a “come-on” enter, follow, believe invitation.
Welcome to our series of looking seriously at the demands of Jesus. The Lord Jesus demands and expects His disciples to obey these commands. These are not suggestions, or recommendations, but demands. My role as pastor is to teach you to obey these things. In our first message, we looked at repentance – that heartfelt sorrow for sin – be it an attitude, thought, or action, acknowledging that we have been wrong, and renouncing of it, and sincerely committing to completely turn away from it, and walk in obedience to Christ. This is Jesus first preaching which he repeated throughout his ministry. He told his disciples to preach the message of repentance and forgiveness of sins once they were empowered by the Holy Spirit.
There were three applications:
1. Remember the First Law of the Christian Life: GOD IS GOD AND I AM NOT
2. Active surrendering of every area of our lives to Jesus “interior castle” to be given to the Lord.
3. Practice praying the Lord’s Prayer
Let’s move to the second command or demand of Jesus. He tells people “Believe in Me.”
The first thing we observed about this command is its connection to preaching. Faith is a response to the proclaimed and heard Word of God. We do not manufacture faith. We are not born with faith. We are born with doubts, unbelief, and rebellious nature.
RO 10:16 But not all the Israelites accepted the good news. For Isaiah says, "Lord, who has believed our message?" 17 Consequently, faith comes from hearing the message, and the message is heard through the word of Christ. 18 But I ask: Did they not hear? Of course they did:
The apostle is telling us that Israel has no excuse for not having faith, because the Word has been proclaimed to them. God has come so close to them – “the word is near you; it is in your mouth and in your heart
Mark 1:14,15 (only Mark does this), records a summary of the call made by Jesus:
MK 1:14 After John was put in prison, Jesus went into Galilee, proclaiming the good news of God. 15 "The time has come," he said. "The kingdom of God is near. Repent and believe the good news!"
John the Baptizer and forerunner of Jesus and then our Lord Jesus Himself started proclaiming the new availability of God’s much longed-for, missed out kingdom – promised by the prophets as a rule of righteousness, or love, of joy, peace (Shalom), or intimacy, of forgiveness, of freedom, of healing, or God in the midst – so closed you can speak to him. John calls it “eternal life” – God is making available a “God-like-kind of life.
John made the call, as a servant of God, but now Jesus, God, in the flesh, was making this direct call. The call is dual: REPENT AND BELIEVE. To repent means first of all to see how lost we are – in sin, in relationship, in life, in practice, in thoughts, in values, in priorities, in whom we follow, in what we live for. A great part of it is the realization that we have been ruling our own lives – and that it is sinful, wrong, and out of God’s will. He calls us to give up our self-claimed rights, which are utterly wrong; He demands that we give up our “idols” – anything or anyone that keeps God ruling us, or anything that makes Jesus our second choice, or that makes Him a good alternative – give the throne up.
But repentance must be accompanied by faith – we learned of our pitiful condition, and are convinced that there is a better way; a new and better king is around and we have to make a choice: do we submit to this new king? Do we send a message of “détente” (we are not against you?); please leave us alone? Or do we request more information about this king (who is He, what kind of person is He; Is He good? Just; Fair; Does He care for His subjects; What does He want? His platform; Plans; What are His requirements? How long will He be here? How long has he been around? Do we have proof of this king’s character? Can we trust Him? Are we safe with Him? Are His laws just? Are they livable? Are they fair or one-sided?”
What kind of God; what kind of King is Jesus – Can we trust Him? This is the main question that the beloved Apostle John answers with His gospel. He writes to show why trusting Jesus as God and King is the best – there are no close seconds to trusting in this person. He presents a series of “signs” – semeia, to show what kind of king is Jesus: