I shared with some of you about the woman I met while on vacation….(tell her story)
She is not the only one so many have beliefs that are contrary to what the scripture says, you will run into them, everywhere. If you are unsure of what you believe it is easy to feel unarmed in a battle of theology. When some of the most powerful people in the land say that abortion is OK with your faith…people don’t know what the Bible says or what their faith should dictate
For the next three weeks I want us to sure up the basics. The notes are something you can keep that you can go back to reference and if you ever have questions, please feel free to ask me or one of the other Pastors or elders.
So let’s begin our journey this morning. We are going to school! Please understand, this is the light version!
We need to remember that being a Christian is about following Christ and what we believe about Him.
- Who is Jesus?
Jesus is God! He is one part of the Trinity (which we will talk about later), Jesus made it very clear to the Pharisees, that should have understood the scripture better that He is God.
The Father and I are one.”
31 Once again the people picked up stones to kill him. 32 Jesus said, “At my Father’s direction I have done many good works. For which one are you going to stone me?”
33 They replied, “We’re stoning you not for any good work, but for blasphemy! You, a mere man, claim to be God.”
Jesus answered, “I tell you the truth, before Abraham was even born, I AM!” 59 At that point they picked up stones to throw at him. But Jesus was hidden from them and left the Temple.
The miracles he did, opening blind eyes, calming the storm, feeding the masses and many others should have said to the Pharisees that Jesus is indeed God. Joseph of Arimathea, Nicodemus and some others got it but most didn’t.
Another way we can see that Jesus is God…
John 20:28 “My Lord and my God!” Thomas exclaimed.
Jesus didn’t deny or correct Thomas in his proclamation of His deity!
As a true believer we must believe some essentials about Jesus…
- He is the Son of God and equal with God
Luke 22:70; Mark 3:11; Philippians 2: 5-11; John 1:49 I need us to understand all of these but especially these passages from John 1: 1-5, 14
In the beginning the Word already existed. The Word was with God, and the Word was God. 2 He existed in the beginning with God. 3 God created everything through him, and nothing was created except through him. 4 The Word gave life to everything that was created, and his life brought light to everyone. 5 The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness can never extinguish it.
Who is “the Word?”
14 So the Word became human and made his home among us. He was full of unfailing love and faithfulness. And we have seen his glory, the glory of the Father’s one and only Son.
- Jesus lived a perfect sinless life
John 8:29, Hebrews 4:15
This High Priest of ours understands our weaknesses, for he faced all of the same testings we do, yet he did not sin.
If Jesus sinned then He can not be God and can not be the perfect sacrifice for our sins which leads us to our next point about Jesus
- Jesus was crucified to pay the penalty for our sins
Matthew 26:28; 1 Corinthians 15: 3,4
I passed on to you what was most important and what had also been passed on to me. Christ died for our sins, just as the Scriptures said. 4 He was buried, and he was raised from the dead on the third day, just as the Scriptures said.
If Jesus did not die on the cross then he did not take on our sins, we are then still under the old covenant trying to work to be good enough to make it into heaven, which does not work. If He did not die on the cross then he did not rise again!
Which leads us to the next point about Jesus that we must believe…
- Jesus rose from the dead
Mark 16:6; Luke 24:46
And he (Jesus talking to them in the upper room, after His resurrection) said, “Yes, it was written long ago that the Messiah would suffer and die and rise from the dead on the third day.
Please feel free to read Psalm 2, Isaiah 52:13-53:12 to give you a little more idea of the fulfillment of prophecy from 700 years earlier.
Paul explains in 1 Corinthians 15 that if Jesus did not rise from the dead that our faith is useless.
Next something all Christians must believe – Salvation by grace.
Many cults, religions, and even some denominations that call themselves Christian build their salvation, based on their own work, their own goodness. This is where many people get messed up also believing there are making it to heaven because they are a “good person”
As I mentioned earlier Jesus paid the penalty for our sin by dying on the cross. Christianity is not so much about being a religion as it is a relationship that has been restored to God, not because of what we do or can do but what Jesus did! We still do good works, obey the commandments, and Jesus’ commands not because we are afraid of losing our salvation but because we want people to see God in us, letting our light shine that all may see our good works and glorify our Father who is in heaven but our salvation is secure because of what Jesus did and his grace for us.
God saved you by his grace when you believed. And you can’t take credit for this; it is a gift from God. 9 Salvation is not a reward for the good things we have done, so none of us can boast about it. 10 For we are God’s masterpiece. He has created us anew in Christ Jesus, so we can do the good things he planned for us long ago.
We can’t add or take away from what Christ did on the cross as full payment for our sin! But once again, we obey His commands, do good works because the world needs to see our faith and trust in Him and see Jesus in us.
Being a good person doesn’t get you into heaven, only believing that you are a sinner in need of a savior and that Jesus paid the complete price for your salvation and relationship with the Father.
To wrap up today because I know some of you your head is hurting but we have to know and understand all of this…
Jesus did not come into the world to start another religion. There were already plenty of religions (Acts 17: 22-23), including Judaism, which had begun as a relationship with Almighty God but had deteriorated into another religious system on par with idol worship (Matthew 15:8,9). Jesus came to bear witness to the truth (John 18:37), to seek and to save the lost—those separated from God by their sin (Luke 19:10) and to “give his life as a ransom for many”(Mark 10:41-45).
Biblically speaking, Christians are those who are forgiven of their sins and who have entered a personal relationship with Almighty God through faith in Jesus Christ (Ephesians 2:8,9 as we read earlier) and also Romans 10:9,10.
If you openly declare that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. 10 For it is by believing in your heart that you are made right with God, and it is by openly declaring your faith that you are saved.
These are the basics of what we believe….let me ask you, is this what you believe? As I shared with the woman in the outer banks this is not my opinion but mostly Jesus’ own words. It is what he declared as to what we must believe….if you are a good person good, but that is not getting you in to heaven you must choose to believe and live what Jesus said…today is your day to start to believe come to the altar and allow someone to pray with you so you can start your new life with Jesus out right