Following Jesus by David Nelson
Many of us have ideas about who Jesus was from going to church, or from our family, TV preachers, movies about Jesus, reading the Bible or other books, etc.
The most important thing is that even though He died, the Bible teaches that He arose from the grave (Easter Sunday), talked with the disciples for many days after that and then went back to heaven (where He had come from). As the disciples saw Him ascend into the air and into the clouds He said to them as He was going, “In like manner (coming down from the clouds) I will come back again at the end of the world.”
Then, from the 1st century even to today, people have made a decision to start following Jesus, and they seem to change and turn into a new person with new goals and a new life. Sometimes their experience lasts and sometimes you see some turn back to their old ways in time. All of us have known or heard of someone who was a heavy duty sinner and then it seems miraculously they become a Christian and really become a changed person.
So, is Jesus really alive? Does He really come into a person’s life and make them new? This is also like asking, is there really a God, is there a heaven or hell, is there any religion that has real truth that can put us in touch with God?
Someone might say, all religions have good in pointing us toward God, God could be many things to many people, and you have your own personal beliefs that hopefully will “get you through.” But there is still a spiritual hunger that nags at us (that God created in us) that makes us keep wondering and sometimes searching.
Below are some statements that Jesus made that are recorded in the Bible. You must decide, did He say these things, was He sent from God, did He come from heaven to earth to tell us who God is and that He came to save us from our sins and from going in the wrong direction? When we read what Jesus said, are we really struck that we are hearing truth that we need?
- I have come that you might have life and have it more abundantly.
- Peace I give to you, not as the world gives, give I unto you.
- I am the way, the truth, and the life, no one comes to the Father (God) except by Me.
- These things I have spoken to you, that my joy may remain in you, and that your joy may be full.
- If anyone desires to come after Me, he must deny himself, take up his cross daily and follow Me.
- Most assuredly, I say to you, I am the door of the sheep. All who ever came before Me are thieves and robbers but the sheep did not hear them. I am the door. If anyone enters by Me, he will be saved, and will go in and out and find pasture.
- My sheep hear My voice and I know them and they follow Me. And I give them eternal life and they shall never perish….For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.
- He who has my commandments and keeps them it is he who loves Me. And he who loves me will be loved by My Father and I will love him and manifest Myself to him.
- He who has seen Me has seen the Father (God). I do not speak on My own authority but the Father in me does the works (and speaks the words).
- Go into all the world and preach the gospel (the good news) to every creature.
- He who believes and is baptized will be saved, but he who does not believe will be condemned. For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world but that the world through Him might be saved. He who believes in Him is not condemned but he who does not believe is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God. And this is the condemnation, that the light has come to the world and men loved darkness rather than light because their deeds were evil. For everyone practicing evil hates the light and does not come to the light lest his deeds should be exposed. But he who does the truth comes to the light that his deeds may be clearly seen that they have been done in God.
So, with all these sayings of Jesus in the Bible we might say, “Sure, I believe in Jesus, I’m a Christian. I’m not that bad. At least I hope I’m good enough to make it to heaven and not bad enough to go to hell.”
But here is the thing. We must make a decision about becoming a Christian and that means that deciding whether we will be following Jesus and be His disciple (student). We must give ourselves over to Jesus, ask Him to forgive our sins and help us to walk His path. (that is why Jesus came to earth, to die on the cross and shed His blood to forgive all our sins). We must decide to ask Him to come into our lives, change us, and teach us how to follow Him. There is a gate we must enter (accepting Jesus as our Lord and Savior), and there is a path we must begin to walk as a changed person. When we are following Jesus, He lives in us, He changes our desires and our direction in life to become His disciple and to learn to be like Him.
The Holy Spirit and Jesus must come into your life and make you a new creation. Unless you are born of the Spirit (born again) you cannot enter the kingdom of God.
So, are you following Jesus? Are you born again, are you a new creation, do you know Jesus as your Lord and Savior? Do you know if you died today or Jesus was to return to the earth today that you would be with Him forever in heaven as a forgiven, blood-washed child of God? Do you know you have eternal life and you are going to heaven? Maybe you think you can’t know these things but the Word says that you can.
- I Jn. 1:3-6 says, Now by this we know that we know Him, if we keep His commandments. He who says, “I know Him” and does not keep His commandments is a liar and the truth is not in him. But whoever keeps His word truly the love of God is perfected in him. By this we know that we are in Him. He who says he abides in Him ought himself also to walk just as Jesus walked. This doesn't mean we are perfect all at once but a great change has come into our lives and we know that we know Him in our hearts.
- 1 Jn. 5:12,13 says, He who has the Son has life; he who does not have the Son of God does not have life. These things I have written to you who believe in the name of the Son of God that you may know that you have eternal life and that you may continue to believe in the name of the Son of God.
Do you have the Son of God in your life today?
If not, or if you are not sure, please pray this prayer with me or any prayer that expresses your desire to know Jesus: Dear Lord, please forgive me. I feel that I don’t know you, but at this time I am touched in my heart and I want to know you. I believe in you. Please come into my life and make me a new creation. Forgive all my sins and mistakes of the past, wash me clean, and give me strength to live this new life. Thank you for your blood that was shed for me on the cross of Calvary. Come into me, guide me, show me the path ahead that you want me to go. And forgive me if I should falter in the future. I give my life to you. Give me the peace, joy and salvation my heart longs for. In Jesus name I pray. Amen.
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