Sunday, October 6, 2019

Jesus and Nicodemus: How can a man be born twice?

Have you ever hung out with a friend late into the night, maybe sitting out on the porch, or chilling in the living room, or out on a boat on the water, and just talked real talk about life, and deep thoughts, and where you wanna go in life? It can be so refreshing when we sit down with a trusted friend, have some coffee, or go fishing, and just talk about life, our dreams, our hurts, our goals, and what we long for in our hearts.

Friendship is so important in our day and age when we go so fast, and get so busy. We don’t seem to value friendship too much today. Especially with men. Men don’t seem to get together too much, just as friends, to spend time, talk, and do things together. Why is that? And if you don’t have any friends guys, then whose got your back when times get hard? It can be the same with women, women don’t spend a lot of time with other women, but how badly do we need those friendships? We need them very badly.

In our scripture today Nicodemus, this leader in society, meets at night with Jesus. And they talk deep. They have real fellowship. And Nicodemus leaves having learned some things that will change his life forever.

Nicodemus has heard all about Jesus. He’s heard that Jesus has been doing miracles and healing people. And he realizes that there is something special about Jesus. Jesus is different from everybody else. He can’t quite place what is going on, but he asks to meet with Jesus so he can learn more.

So Jesus sits down with Nicodemus, they’re hanging out, having a good time, and they get into that mindset where they start talking deep.

Nicodemus says to Jesus, ““Teacher, we know that you are a teacher sent from God. No one can do these miraculous signs that you do unless they have God’s help.”

3 Jesus answered, “I assure you, everyone must be born again. Anyone who is not born again cannot be in God’s kingdom.”

Nicodemus didn’t quite understand what he meant.

4 Nicodemus said, “How can a man who is already old be born again? Can he go back into his mother’s womb and be born a second time?”

Now when I was born, it was pretty bad. My mom was in labor for hours and hours and hours. And the doctors actually forgot about her, because she had been in labor so long. When they finally realized where she was, they realized they had to do a C-section, because my head was stuck inside my mother. I was already born once by my mom and dad, I don’t wanna have to do that again.

So Jesus tries to explain what he means to Nicodemus.

5 Jesus answered, “Believe me when I say that everyone must be born from water(that’s the first birth) and the Spirit(that’s the second birth). Anyone who is not born from water and the Spirit cannot enter God’s kingdom. 6 The only life people get from their human parents is physical. But the new life that the Spirit gives a person is spiritual. 7 Don’t be surprised that I told you, ‘You must be born again.’ 8 The wind blows wherever it wants to. You hear it, but you don’t know where it is coming from or where it is going. It is the same with everyone who is born from the Spirit.”

Jesus refers to our first birth as born from water. What happens that is the sign that the woman is about to give birth? Her water breaks. After your mom’s water broke, then you were born. Amazing, when you think about it. The fact that a woman’s body is made to produce another life. It’s a miracle in itself.

But then Jesus refers to being born of the Spirit. So I was born 34 years ago, in 1985, when my moms water broke. But in 2013 I was born of the Spirit. I believed in Jesus, at one of those church services in 2013, and truly believed that Jesus was my savior, and so I was at that moment born again by the Holy Spirit. I was born a second time of the Spirit.

And I changed. My whole life changed. I got clean from weed pills and dxm. I quit smoking and drinking. I stopped sleeping around, and started worshiping God. I was born again.

But Jesus also says that “the wind blows wherever it wants to. You hear it, but you don’t know where its coming or going.” And that’s really true. We can’t see the wind. But we can hear it when it blows against the trees, or whips past us when we walk along the road. And it’s the same way with the spiritual birth.

We don’t really know who is born again by Jesus. There isn’t really anything physical that I can 100% tell if you are born again. You don’t get a halo over your head that tells me yes that person is born of the Spirit, born again. The same way the wind blows and we can’t see it, its the same with people who are born of the Spirit, we don’t know who they and aren’t. We can’t see any physical change.

Like many of you have been coming to dinner church faithfully for 3 months now, but I still don’t know truly which of you are born again Christians, and which of you are still not there yet. And it’s OK if you’re not there that. This stuff takes time. I didn’t get it right away. But I kept showing up week in and week out, and eventually it started to make sense. So that’s OK.

So Jesus tells Nicodemus all this, and 9 Nicodemus asked, “How is all this possible?”

10 Jesus said, “You are an important teacher of Israel, and you still don’t understand these things? 11 The truth is, we talk about what we know. We tell about what we have seen. But you people don’t accept what we tell you. 12 I have told you about things here on earth, but you do not believe me. So I’m sure you will not believe me if I tell you about heavenly things! 13 The only one who has ever gone up to heaven is the one who came down from heaven—the Son of Man.

You know what’s really interesting about what Jesus says here? He doesn’t say “I” he says “We” testify. Jesus is not alone, God the Father, and the God the Spirit are with Him. Remember how we’ve talked about the fact that God is a trinity, three separate persons, but one true God, God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit. They all were there when Jesus spoke to Nicodemus. And the same is true if you are a Christian. The Trinity is always with you when you’re a follower of Jesus. Living inside you.

Nicodemus didn’t understand and he comments how the people of Israel didn’t want to believe him. They didn’t want to listen or understand. They figured that it was too hard to understand, or it didn’t make sense, or it was’t for them.

And I’m sure some of you think that. Well, I’m just a farmer. I’m not smart enough to understand that. I’m just a homeless lady, I’m just a trucker, or an alcoholic, or I just like big trucks and mudding, and parties, this can’t be for me. Right?

Wrong! This is for you. This is for everyday, average people. This is for hurting people, lost people, sinning people, people who are salt of the Earth types. Jesus is for you. It’s not too hard. It’s not too complicated. It’s not just out of reach. It’s right here, and Jesus is calling you to Him. It’s for you, yes, even you.

Trust me. I didn’t get it either. I didn’t understand. I didn’t want it. But it’s the best thing ever. Jesus Christ is everything. And you can have Him. Just receive Him. Start with that much. Jesus you are my savior. Simple, believe in Him. Believe Jesus is who He said He is. God come to save you.

So in closing today, we see that just after this encounter, we see the most quoted part of the Bible: where it says: 16 Yes, God loved the world so much that he gave his only Son, so that everyone who believes in him would not be lost but have eternal life. 17 God sent his Son into the world. He did not send him to judge the world guilty, but to save the world through him. 18 People who believe in God’s Son are not judged guilty. But people who do not believe are already judged, because they have not believed in God’s only Son.

Saturday, October 5, 2019

What in the World is going on in Modern Christianity?

What in the world is going on here?  What sort of mass madness has taken hold of us over the last 20 years?  It seems like so much has changed.  So much has gone down hill so fast.  So many firm foundations have rotted away.  And so many are coming out to speak about it, including recently Joshua Harris and the song writer from Hillsong.

But this is only the latest evidences of a descending roll from prior unity.  We once generally held to an understanding, throughout Christianity that we're on the same team, we have shared beliefs, and we're going to work, if not together, at least separately toward similar goals.  But we've seen that change a great deal.  We often speak of western Christianity as a conjunction of evangelicalism, mainline protestantism, and Catholicism.  But in the past ten years we've seen the group we affectionately consider to be mainline protestantism, that center-left coalition suddenly wax wildly apostate.  And of course the central issue they've placed at the center of their apostasy, their departure from biblical truth, is the issue of LGBTQ.  That's the direction they went around 2010-2013, and have continued along those lines, for the most part.  There are always exceptions, but there it is.  And we've seen that develop over the last ten years, since the original departure, into a new central ideological framework: social justice ideology, which conjoins critical theory with militant political activism, merging the two under the exceedingly tipsy banner of Christian justice work.  Of course Christian justice work is a wise and good thing, but the ideologies taken, are simply secular social theories, that form the nexus of a political ideology, and a political agenda often referred to as progressivism.  Essentially this path, from my viewpoint, simply turns these churches into outposts for the propagation of progressive ideology dressed up in Christian language.  The social justice mandate becomes the central focus, and Jesus and the gospel are tagged on to the side to give credibility to the social justice warrior gospel of hatred, division, racism masked in fighting against racism, and the tearing down of the larger society due to perceived systemic injustices.  And not only has this new gospel taken hold of mainline protestantism but there are forces within evangelicalism that are being seduced by this battle-cry as well.

Of course this is only one of many problems we face today.  The next concern is of course the well noted and explored reality that evangelicals, mainline protestants and Catholics, though claiming a Christian worldview, do not actually hold particularly Christian worldviews, and do not regularly attend church services either.  The decline of a biblical understanding of the world around us as Christians has led to luke-warm Christianity.  We've seen a decline in church attendance.  And we've seen a message being watered down whether in the pulpit or in the music played in the churches.  Will historians exploring the rubble of what had once been western civilization compare hymns and sermon preached and written a hundred years ago with hymns and sermons prepared today and indicate with shock and surprise that the more recent works are entirely inferior to those produced in the past?  It seems quite possible.  With the advent of internet culture, and the interesting affect of cultural characters rising to the top, we see Christians who gather great popularity, but then later fall in disgrace, or renounce their Christianity, or some aspect of their lifestyle is revealed to not accurately display the logical outworkings of biblical Christianity.  This is not particularly surprising, but it is of note given the influence of these leaders.  We've seen one after another dropping to scandals, including James Macdonald and Bill Hybels.  Perhaps God is revealing these things to us, so that we are not led astray.

It is certain that we are living in the last days. But then again so were Paul and Peter, the end days are simply the recognition that Jesus Christ will return very soon.  And I believe it's more likely than ever that Jesus Christ will return, to rule and reign on this Earth.  We have to live that way.  We have to really live that way.  

So often in my past I've taken God's instructions, his commands in the scriptures as suggestions, or nice ideas, but didn't really take it particularly seriously.  The time for that is over.  It is time to take God's word seriously, and live it carefully.  We've seen such an antinomianism take over in the churches of our day and age, where it's just "believe in Jesus." And that's all.  One and done. Once saved always saved.  And it's a lie, and a snare, and it's deadly dangerous to those who love Jesus to think in those terms.  We must repent, and believe.  We must give our whole lives and whole hearts to Jesus.  We must live by God's commands, believing in Jesus yes, but also living in holiness, and repenting daily, and paying our tithes diligently, and witnessing about Jesus to our friends and neighbors.  This isn't a game.  And we have to take it seriously.  I take it deathly seriously, because I know what it's like to walk in darkness.  And I've seen a great light.

The theology of our day and age is pathetic, not all of it, but some of it, the foolish concept, in which they try to paint you into a corner, by saying that if you consider anything but believing in Jesus as the message of the Bible then you're trying to "add to your salvation."  It's nonsense, and this sort of false dilemma where repentance it pitted against belief in Jesus is found nowhere in the scriptures.  But to say we must repent, and witness to our faith, and pay our tithes, and live in holiness, are biblical New Testament instructions, they are not "adding works to our salvation."  We are saved by the blood of Jesus. And we wear his righteousness as our perfect white robe.  But we also have duties as Christians that we must fulfill, commands from the scriptures, from the New Testament, and they must be lived out.  And if we don't, we are in danger of the fires of hell.  This is clear in the scriptures. Don't let anyone try to paint you into a corner with the false dilemma of faith vs. repentance.  They are one in the same, united in the equation of salvation, always held together by the scriptures as how we must respond to Jesus.  

So, what is going on after all in modern Christianity? Why so much chaos? I would answer: So what? So what if there is so much trouble in the Christian world of the west?  The same was true 2,000 years ago in the early church. There were constant problems.  So be it.  Let those who are wicked, continue to be wicked, and let those who are faithful, continue to be faithful. We ultimately can't control how others live. But we can control how we live.  We can and should influence people. And we do everyday, when we share our faith (which is much more than just living it out).  It's a good start to live it out, and vital, but we must open our mouths and speak the truth of Jesus.  Often times we try to comfort ourselves in our silence by saying "the way we live speaks for itself."  It does show someone that something is different about you, but you must also share the gospel, the word of Jesus. It is by hearing that people believe and are saved, not by your example alone.  I'm so, so, so tired of the foolish saying falsely attributed to St. Francis Assissi, "Preach the gospel at all times and if necessary use words."  That is such a foolish saying.  There is no gospel without words.  Jesus was and is the word of life.  As Peter said to Jesus,"To whom would we go? You speak the words of eternal life."  Now imagine if Jesus only did miracles and healed people.  Certainly it would've been impressive, but they wouldn't have had the word of Christ,the words of Jesus that bring life.  They wouldn't know the gospel.  They would just wonder why Jesus did such nice things.  Speak the gospel, live it too, but don't just live it, speak it also. 

Could this time we live in be the great falling away spoken of in the end times? Could it be the time that is spoken of in 2nd Timothy 3:2 People will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boastful, proud, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy...?" Could it be the time that it says "they went out from us, because they were not of us?" 1st John 2:19. Maybe so. Perhaps these symptoms are universal to the time of the church age, in which we live. But something feels different. Then again I'm sure they felt that way in Nazi Germany during the rise of Hitler. I'm sure they felt that way during the time of Mao Zedung in China's history. I'm sure Richard Wurmbrand thought something similar when communists infiltrated and took over the government of his home country of Romania. Only God knows when the end will come.  But I truly believe it is much sooner than we think.  Jesus Christ will return, I know this for a fact, and I'm working hard to make sure I am ready, and so should you. We must be awaiting his return, with eyes open, carefully considering how we should live, for the days are evil.

Truly the days are evil. We think we're so enlightened in our day and age.  But what will future generations say, when they consider the hundreds of millions of unborn babies murdered quietly in the abortion mills, while we apathetically carry on with our days sipping java and giggling about the latest trends?  Will they ask in classrooms, "But teacher, how could they have been so careless with so many being killed?"  I imagine that they will ask those questions, much like we wonder how so many could follow Hitler into genocide and world war.  And the answer is in part, the common people didn't really know what was going on.  And I don't suppose we do either.  

I've noticed many Christians I know, are more influenced by Netflix than the Bible.  They're more influenced by CNN and MSNBC than Jesus Christ.  They're more prone to consider the latest reality show, or football game than the majesty of God or his coming kingdom.  They're more prone to evangelize for an essential oils pyramid scheme, evangelize for the gospel of Jesus Christ.  More motivated for romance and money, than to live by God's word and live in holiness.  How sad it is to see so many living this way.  We're not as much Christians anymore are we? We're employees, students, movie goers, consumers, and tech-junkies with occasional secondary thoughts and ideas along vaguely Christian lines. Don't be that. Be a real Christian. Be 100% sold out for Jesus, with laser-focus on Jesus, seeing the world in truly Christian terms. 

But I write all these words for one simple purpose, to tell you this: Don't be led astray by them. Don't fall into the trap of thinking you can live with one foot in the world and one foot in Christianity.  Don't ignore the conviction of the Holy Spirit telling you to live differently from the world, and even the other people in your church.  Live a truly holy set apart lifestyle, even if people in your church make fun of you. Find others in your town, online, wherever, who hold to the full gospel, to true holiness, to excitement and energy in sharing the gospel and living out what they preach. Give tithes and offerings regularly even if no one else does, off the gross of your income, not the net.  Study the word diligently, not just the feel good verses that modern preachers focus on, and they only ever preach the feel good verses, and never the hard ones, woe to them, they've rejected the word of God, and created an idol that is pleasing to their ears and their hearers ears. Don't let that be you.  

Be different. Be holy. Wait carefully for the return of Jesus. Study the word of God.  Don't give up. Even if every person in your church is a luke-warm apostate with pride flag t-shirts on.  Keep following God fully, even if you have to do it alone. Because ultimately when you stand before God to give an account for your life, it will be between you and God, no one else.  God be with you.  And don't give up. If you're reading these words, you're the only hope of the church in these last days.  I know you have little strength, but you have kept the word of Christ and have not rejected His name.  God has prepared a place for us, and He will make those who mock us, ridicule us, and shame us to fall down at our feet and declare that God has loved us.  Soon the Lord Jesus Christ will come and set up His kingdom, until then, come Lord Jesus. Amen. 

Wednesday, October 2, 2019

A Mental Health Moment: Depression, Anxiety, and Hopelessness, even Suicide

It’s cunning in it’s power, persistent and draining. It saps our zest for life and eats away at our well-being. Toughness and strength seem to little avail against it’s power. Upon waking in the morning many battle it tooth and nail. In the depths of night we find ourselves wide awake. Errant thoughts come and go, and sleep stubbornly refuses to come. A sinking feeling holds us from within. The future seems like too much to take, and the past seems like a dream. Each day begins a new battle to hold onto hope, love, and joy.

For many in our high-paced society, this is their daily struggle, as they deal with the various forms and manifestations of mental health issues. Whether it be depression, anxiety, sleep problems, or panic attacks, or issues like schizophrenia or bipolar disorder, many in our society deal with it everyday.

The head of the psychology department at the University of Pennsylvania committed suicide on September 10th of this month, leaping from the 17th floor of a building. He was an expert in the area of mental health and particularly in the area of resilience.

On September 9th 2019 associate pastor Jarrid Wilson committed suicide at the age of 30. He was a pastor at Harvest Christian Fellowship, a megachurch, and a mental health advocate who cofounded Anthem of Hope a Christian mental health organization.

Sometimes we may be tempted to think that we have all the answers, based on our psychological knowledge, or even our religious understanding, but often life’s circumstances defy our ability to understand the depths of the pain and suffering of humanity.

Depression, anxiety, self-harm, and suicidal thoughts are everyday concerns for people in the world, in the United States, and in Owosso, Michigan. How can we address these issues as a community? How can we help those who are struggling with mental health problems? What can be done to heal?

First of all, if anyone reading these words is currently struggling with these issues, please remember one thing: You are not alone. Others have these same problems, and there is hope for a better future. Please don’t give up, and keep seeking for healing, hope, and truth.

Secondly, if you have ever struggled with mental health problems in the past, and you’re in a better place now, recognize that you have a testimony, a story you can share with others to help bring them hope and healing. The word of God speaks of the wounded healer, the one who has been hurt, and healed, and who then goes and helps others to heal from those same struggles.

Thirdly, how can we find real expressions of community? Often times we can so isolate ourselves that we become an island of one. And one person alone is not a safe place for someone struggling with depression. We need others, even when we just want to be alone, we have to find ways to connect with others. Join a group that does things together in the community. Join a church or religious fellowship, or a Bible study.

Fourthly, often times when the pain in our minds become so strong, we look to self-medicate. We begin using drugs, alcohol, cigarettes, and other substances to numb away the pain. Or we go from relationship to relationship, or one night stand to one night stand, distracting ourselves from the problems we face. Or we self-harm, through cutting, or reckless behavior, or even shopping sprees or starting fights to drive off the pain and numb ourselves. But this approach simply brings about more pain and destruction in our lives, and makes the inner problems worse not better. Please, seek a better road for healing.

Fifthly, if need be we should seek out a doctor or therapist who we can work with to take medication or engage in therapy sessions to find healing. And don’t be afraid to reach out to a local pastor or priest, and seek advice and guidance from spiritual leaders. Often times many of our hurts, habits, and hang ups go back to struggles we’ve had in our lives. If you haven’t ever done so, consider writing out your story, as honestly as possible, then sharing it with someone else, and seek to understand and heal from what you’ve gone through. Pray over the words you’ve written, and ask God to heal you within. Then take the pages you’ve written and burn them, as a declaration of departure from past hurts, by moving into a new future.

In conclusion, if you are struggling today, there is a road forward. And if you’ve been through the battle, you have an opportunity to help others. How can we as a community support those with mental health problems? How can we help those who are near the edge and thinking of ending it all? It’s a bigger problem than we might realize. Ultimately, we have to find a way to do our part in helping others fight these battles, if we can. There is still hope, even when lives are lost, and people give up, there is always hope for a better future. 

Monday, September 30, 2019

The 7 I Am Statements of Jesus

Today we’re going to talk about the 7 I Am statements of Jesus in John. The 7 “I Am” Statements of Jesus are a great way to build in your mind a framework of who jesus is and what his position as our “savior” really means. I’d encourage you to memorize one or more of these “I am” statements. And recite them in your prayers to God. And recite them to yourself when your struggling or in need.

What comes into our minds when we think about Jesus is the most important thing about us. That’s what A.W. Tozer a great Christian pastor said. And it’s true. Everything hinges on our relationship with Jesus Christ.

1. Jesus said, “I am the bread of life.”

In John Chapter 6:35 It says: 35 Then Jesus declared, “I am the bread of life. Whoever comes to me will never go hungry, and whoever believes in me will never be thirsty.

Therefore according to the word Jesus is our sustainer.

He provides for all our needs. Which is why we have food to eat and water to drink. That’s why I always thank God before I eat any meal. I encourage you to do the same. So many people, even Christians don’t pray before their meals. And I think to myself, what are they doing! God has given us such abundant food in this country, yet we don’t thank Him? Are we so entitled, and so snotty to think that we deserve all this abundance? We don’t deserve anything. We receive what God gives us.

Jesus loves us. He is our bread of life. Whoever comes to Jesus will never go hungry or thirsty. Jesus indicates how we should live in response to this gift: Live to do God’s will, and not our own wills. That’s what Jesus did. He did the Father’s will perfectly. We are called to do the same, to live as God wants us to live.

2. Jesus said I am the light of the world. Jesus is our illuminator

From John chapter 8 verse 12: “12 Again Jesus spoke to them, saying, “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will not walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.”

What a mysterious saying. What did Jesus mean by this, to say he is the light of the world? I think several factors play into this. First, the word of God says that Jesus actually holds reality together. In this way, Jesus is the light of the world, in that he guides reality. Yet we get another clue about light and darkness earlier in the book of John, in chapter three it says:

John 3:20-21 (NIV) says: 20 Everyone who does evil hates the light, and will not come into the light for fear that their deeds will be exposed. 21 But whoever lives by the truth comes into the light, so that it may be seen plainly that what they have done has been done in the sight of God.

So we who choose to follow Jesus, step from the darkness into the light. The darkness is a place of hiding, of fleeing from god. We hide the evil we do, and refuse to accept that God is real and that we are accountable to Him. But those of who follow Jesus, are willing to admit, yes we do everything in the presence and sight of God, we step into the light, and say yes, I am under God’s light, I choose to show that what I do is done before God.

3. Jesus said I am the gate.
John 10:7-16 says: “I tell you the truth, I am the gate for the sheep. 8 All who came before me were thieves and robbers. But the true sheep did not listen to them. 9 Yes, I am the gate. Those who come in through me will be saved. They will come and go freely and will find good pastures. 10 The thief’s purpose is to steal and kill and destroy. My purpose is to give them a rich and satisfying life.

Jesus said again and again, “I’m telling you the truth.” Not my truth, not a truth, not one of many truths, but the truth. I love that about Jesus. I so desperately want to know the truth about this messed up, yet beautiful mysterious world we live in. Jesus gives me the truth. It isn’t always easy to hear, but at least it’s the truth.

The lie of the world this relates to is self-sufficiency. The world tells us, the television, which I like to call the “tell lie vision” tells us we have to do it ourselves. Me, me, me! What I want! I deserve it. It’s all about looking to ourselves and our aspirations and our dreams and our goals. That isn’t what we’re called to. We’re called to look to Jesus, and enter through him. Not our own opinions. Look to Jesus and the word of God, and embrace those views, they are the truth.

4. Jesus said I am the good shepherd.
John 10:11-14 (NLT) says,“I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd sacrifices his life for the sheep. 12 A hired hand will run when he sees a wolf coming. He will abandon the sheep because they don’t belong to him and he isn’t their shepherd. And so the wolf attacks them and scatters the flock. 13 The hired hand runs away because he’s working only for the money and doesn’t really care about the sheep.14 “I am the good shepherd; I know my own sheep, and they know me,

Not only is Jesus our gate of entry, our doorway to salvation, Jesus also goes along with us on the journey. It’s kind of like Lord of the Rings, the heroes go on their quest, and Gandalf comes with. That’s what Jesus does for us. He comes with us, and protects us on the journey of life.

5. Jesus said I am the resurrection and the life.
John 11:25-27 says: 25 Jesus said to her, “I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in Me, though he may die, he shall live. 26 And whoever lives and believes in Me shall never die. Do you believe this?”

27 She said to Him, “Yes, Lord, I believe that You are the Christ, the Son of God, who is to come into the world.”

We all know the historical event of Mary and Martha. Their brother died. And Jesus came, and raised Lazarus from the dead. Why did Jesus do this? What was the meaning of this event?

One of the worst things about life is that we grow old and die. In fact it’s so normal, that we don’t even hardly think about it. We just assume that we grow up, then start getting wrinkly, then eventually we die.

Jesus is the only one who can deal with this issue of death. And fundamentally at the core of the gospel is that Jesus Christ tells us that if we believe in him we can live forever.

6. Jesus said I am the way, the truth, and the life.

John 14:1-7 says: “Don’t let your hearts be troubled. Trust in God, and trust also in me. 2 There is more than enough room in my Father’s home. If this were not so, would I have told you that I am going to prepare a place for you? 3 When everything is ready, I will come and get you, so that you will always be with me where I am. 4 And you know the way to where I am going.”

5 “No, we don’t know, Lord,” Thomas said. “We have no idea where you are going, so how can we know the way?”

6 Jesus told him, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one can come to the Father except through me. 7 If you had really known me, you would know who my Father is. From now on, you do know him and have seen him!”

Jesus is so awesome. He says, dude, Thomas, I am the way. Come through me, I’m your God. You’ve been with me all this time. Thomas didn’t get it. Many of us struggle to “get it” too I think. But we can come to understand these things. If we’re diligent about pursuing Jesus.

7. Jesus said I am the true vine.
In the final I am statement of Jesus, the 7th Jesus is saying, “remain with me.” Don’t get lost, you’ve got to stay connected to me. He says:

John 15:1-4: “I am the true grapevine, and my Father is the gardener. 2 He cuts off every branch of mine that doesn’t produce fruit, and he prunes the branches that do bear fruit so they will produce even more. 3 You have already been pruned and purified by the message I have given you. 4 Remain in me, and I will remain in you. For a branch cannot produce fruit if it is severed from the vine, and you cannot be fruitful unless you remain in me.

I urge you, cling to the Bible as if your life depended on it, because it does. Cling to prayer, because communication is the beating heart of our relationship with God. If we aren’t doing this two simple things, we aren’t a Christian, we’re nobody. If we stay plugged into Jesus, then we’re gonna do great things.

So let me present the gospel to you. If you believe three simple things, and insist in your mind that they are true, then you will be saved:

1. Jesus is God and man and lived perfectly, never sinned.

2. Jesus our savior died on the cross paying the debt you owned for the sins you’ve done over your life.

3. Jesus resurrected from the dead and is alive right now in heaven and he is coming again. We believe that through Jesus resurrection we are given new life as well, we are born again by the Holy Spirit.

Believe in your heart, and testify with your mouth. Very simple.

So: Who do you say that Jesus is? I say He is my Lord. I hope you’ll join me. 

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