Summary: There needs to be a difference in our lives when we come to faith. What does that look like?
There are many titles that are used today to describe people who believe in Jesus. When we think of someone who believes that Jesus said who he said he was, did what he said he did, and will do finish the work that we see in Revelation, those people are know by many names.
* follower or Jesus Christ
* a believer
All of these titles speak of one thing. It says that the person you are speaking of has decided in their own heart, they have made a choice for themselves for something different than this world have you do.
You see that everything that this world is about, everything they say, everything they think, everything they strive for, is for their own personal gain. To live in this world and be in this world, means that you are only thinking of yourself. You are only thinking of how can I be better. How can I be more comfortable? How can get more for me.
But the Bible tells us what is truly important. In Romans 12 the scripture tells us not to be “conformed to the world.” Not to be shaped. Not to be molded. Because if you allow yourself to let the world shape and mold you, at the end of your life you will see that your time on earth has been a waste.
The second part of that verse from Romans 12 gives us the direction we should go. What I love about the Bible is that when it tells us something not to do that will not please God, it shows us something to do that will please God. Romans 12 first says “Do not be conformed to this world…but be transformed by the renewing of your mind,”
When you learn something new in school, your mind is renewed. On the first day of class when you sat down and began to listen to your teacher talk about something you did not know of, never heard of, or even considered, it was all new to you. You didn’t understand. But as your teacher began to show you a new idea, maybe it was a way to complete a math equation, and it was how to properly build a sentence structure, but after the teacher taught you this new principle, now you understood. And after learning this, after seeing this, you could work your way through this Math equation. Your thoughts are different, you understand the math equation. This is what the scripture is saying to those of us you believe in Jesus Christ. There was a time when we did not understand, but because of the drawing of the Holy Spirit, and your acceptance to follow Jesus, now we do. Our minds have been renewed. We should no longer be conformed, but we are transformed.
And to be transformed by the renewing of our minds means to believe in Jesus.
Believe. That word is such a tough one. Did you know that there are many people who believe there is a God, but they will die and go to hell? Did you know that there are many people who believe that Jesus was God’s son, but will die and go to hell? There may be people you go to school with who believe this, maybe even some of your brothers or sisters here today that when their life is over, you will not see in heaven. You may say, how can you say that! They are here in church, singing the songs, giving in the offering, they are part of the Bible Studies every week here, for sure, they are going to heaven.
But I would say to you, all of those things are important, and I am so glad that you are part of those. But this is what it comes down to, knowing about Jesus, and knowing Jesus are two different things.
James writes in his letter (James 2:19) “You believe that God is one; you do well. Even the demons believe—and shudder.”
James is reminding these Jewish people something that they already know. As a Jewish person in that day they were very familiar with the passage from Deuteronomy 6:4-5 “Hear O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one. You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might.”
James is saying it is not enough to know of him. It is not enough to know that he walked this earth 2000 years ago, healed some people, turned water into wine, turned a few fishes and some bread into enough to feed 5000, it is not enough to know him in history, you need to know him in the now. And my prayer is that we never look at this book as a book of what happened back then, but we look at this book as instruction for right now. We look to Jesus as help, need, refuge, Savior, hope, and the very thing that is most important to us right now!