Summary: When you face Jesus you must decide whether or not you will receive as Lord and make Him your Master.
Do you ever find it interesting, concerning some people who claim faith in the same Lord that you do? If you were to ask them, "If you die today, are you going to heaven?" they would say, "Yes." Yet, there’s so much difference in the level of commitment, such a vast difference in the way they live out the faith they claim to have in Christ.
Several years ago when it was safer to do this, a man picked up a hitchhiking serviceman in Florida. When the young sailor got in the car, he said, "Forgive me. I’m hungover. I’ve got a bad headache. I’ve been drinking all week." He began to brag about his sexual escapades over the weekend, and the man driving the car began to pray, "Lord, help me share Jesus with him." He began to witness to the sailor, and the sailor stopped him and said, "Oh, I’m a Christian." The man said, "You’re a Christian?" The sailor said, "Oh, yes. When I was ten years old, I accepted Christ, and our pastor said if we accept Christ, we’d go to heaven. I accepted Christ then." The driver of the car asked, "Do you ever tell anybody about Christ?" He said, "No." "Do you ever read the Bible?" "No." "Do you ever pray?" "Only when I’m in trouble." "Do you ever go to church?" "No." The man said, "Tell me, just what did you accept about Christ? You didn’t accept His way. You didn’t accept His Word. You didn’t accept His work. You didn’t accept the way He feels about other people. You didn’t accept how He feels about your body as a temple of God. Just what did you accept about Christ?"
Now contrast that with one the story of another man. He owned a liquor store. One day, the liquor store owner met the Jesus. He poured all of his inventory down the drain. That’s called disposing of your liquid assets. And he owed a lot of money on some of that. He worked for along time paying off that debt. He started another business ... a roadside hot dog stand. After a few years, he was owner, CEO, and president of one of the largest moving and storage companies in that part of the country. He drove with an open Bible in the seat of his car and looked for people to pick up so he could tell them about Jesus. As you came into his office, you would always see an open Bible. His first word to you was a witness of what God had done for him and what God could do for you, too, through Jesus Christ. He was never ordained as a minister. He was ordained as a deacon. He loved the church and served as chairman of deacons at one time. He did everything he could to honor Jesus with the days of his life.
What’s the difference? Why the difference?
On Which Side Of Easter Have You Met Christ?
I think the answer is Easter and on which side of Easter you met and followed Christ. I believe there’s an answer in a man called James, one of the people of Easter. Previously in 1 Corinthians 15 it talks about how Paul brought the Corinthian church back together. He said, READ 15:1-8 Who was this James? He’s the only unbeliever that Christ appeared to after He came out of the grave. He is the first convert after the resurrection. James became the most prominent believer of the New Testament church. If you and I had lived in the first century, we would have known more about James than we know about Paul, Peter, or John. James was a leader of the church.
In Acts 12, there had been a prayer meeting. Simon Peter had been captured and put in prison. They were having a prayer meeting, praying that Peter would be released, and as they were praying, Peter knocked on the door. Rhoda went to the door and saw that it was Peter, and she went back and told the people, "Peter’s standing at the door." They said, "No, he can’t be. He’s in jail." They were praying for his release, but they couldn’t believe it was going to happen.
When she went back to tell Peter, he said, "Go tell James that I’m free."
In Acts 15, the church is having its first dispute. There are people saying, "In order to be saved, you accept Christ. Then you must submit to the Jewish rituals." Others were saying, "No, the only thing you must do to be a Christian is commit your life to the Lord Jesus Christ. He is the totality of salvation."
They called the Jerusalem Council. Those leaders of the first century church came and argued those points, and James was in charge of that meeting. He was the one who wrote the statement that was adopted unanimously by that meeting, saying, "Christ and Christ alone is salvation, and in Him and Him only can you find the salvation you need."