Priorities

This is the third in the series of what it means to be a mature witness. In the first message we talked about it being necessary for a mature witness to have an understanding of the basics of the Scriptures. In the second message we talked about the mature witness being willing to suffer for the cause of Jesus Christ. In today’s message, I conclude with this thought: Jesus Christ must have first priority in the life of the mature witness.

As we go back to the opening chapters of the Scriptures dealing with creation, we read that Lord God formed man from the dust of the ground, breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, and man became a living being. He was created in the image of God, different from any other part of the creation, for he had a mind with which he could think, a will with which he could make a decision, and a soul that was immortal. Then God put Adam and Eve in the garden and told them to take care of it. Evidence is such that they took care of their bodies. However, they gave little thought to their souls, for when Satan came along and tempted them to eat of the tree of knowledge, they transgressed the laws of God, and sin entered the world. A battle has been going on since that time over the authority of man’s soul.

As a society, we try to take good care of our bodies. Critics will say we are too fat, smoke too much, overdo our drinking, or burn the candle at both ends. Those things are not good for the body. But do we take as much interest in taking care of our souls? I talk to some people who give little thought to their soul and what happens to it after death. One fellow joked, “If I can’t take everything I have with me, I’m not going to go!” Another man jokes that when he dies, he wants his wife to buy the nicest Cadillac so she can then bury him sitting at the steering wheel. He thought it was a great joke.

Be that as it may, people do not like to face the fact that their soul will live on in eternity. Therefore, we need time to be alone with God to hear his Word, and read it every day, and pray to him. This is where we get food for our soul. We need to sit as a family and let God feed us with his Word, have our devotion, and pray together.

Are you raising your children in that kind of atmosphere? After the children have gone, do you and your spouse spend time sharing the Word of God and praying together? If it is your desire to have a rich life with Jesus as your top priority, this needs to be a part of your daily living. Just as the body needs to be fed, so also the soul needs to be fed.

In today’s text, our Lord Jesus says, “For the Son of Man is going to come in his Father’s glory with his angels, and then he will reward each person according to what he has done. I tell you the truth, some who are standing here will not taste death before they see the Son of Man coming in his kingdom.”

What does it mean that we are going to be rewarded according to the place Jesus has had in our lives? Taking the Bible as a whole, there is no question that Jesus Christ says we are saved by grace through faith in Jesus Christ alone and our works have nothing to do with our salvation whatsoever. But our Lord is saying in this text that, when we stand at the entrance to heaven, God will reward each person according to what he has done. The Apostle Paul will receive a greater reward than the robber at the cross who received the promise from Christ that he would be with Jesus in paradise. The robber had lived a terrible life with no thought given to his soul; he probably did not even know that he had a soul. The Apostle Paul gave his life as Christ’s disciple. There is quite a difference between the two lives.

My belief is that those who have lived with Jesus Christ as number one priority in their lives will have extra rewards in heaven. That is what our text is about today Ð Having Jesus Christ as the number one priority in our life makes us a mature witness for the Lord Jesus Christ himself. However, the closer Jesus comes to being number one in our life now, the richer he will make it as we walk on this earth. We have a Savior who stands with us, walks with us when we are in difficulty, and guides and directs us in our darkest hours when we don’t have many weeks left on this earth. He helps us see how we are to live with our fellow men and rebukes us when we do not do what he wants (and has clearly told) us to do in his Word. He is our constant guide and our constant aide. He speaks to us in the quiet times as we are spiritually fed by the Word of God. Then we can truly sing, “Living for Jesus a life that is true, striving to please him in all that I do,” for he has made this life rich, given me Christian friends and a Christian family. What he asks from us is to give him top priority.

I once knew a man who was good and kind. I liked him, but he was just a bit different because he lived almost completely for the accumulation of wealth. If you had asked him what place Jesus Christ had in his life, he probably would have said that he was raised in a Christian home and learned what it was to believe in Jesus. He was a faithful church goer and gave the church fifty dollars a year. One time, when his church was erecting a new building, he was asked to give a few thousand dollars (he was worth several million). He gave them a hundred dollars saying that was all he could afford to give, because he could not mess up his monthly budget. “That is what you’ll get Ð take it or leave it,” was what he told them.

Not long before this man died, he moved to a nursing home where he stayed in a room with four men, because it was the cheapest room he could get. A common friend of ours went to see him one day and found him sitting there, wearing a ragged, flannel shirt, held together with a safety pin. It was a shame. Our friend wanted to rip that old shirt off him and give him a new one. However, the man would not have been comfortable with it, for the price of a new shirt would have taken away from his plan of savings; and the bigger the estate, the better it was. Sad. Sad. Sad.

We understand what Jesus meant in his word when he said, “The love of money is the root of all evil.” Money is not evil. It can be good. Much money has been given freely by those whose hearts have made Jesus their number one priority. And many others have heard the gospel as a result of these kinds of gifts and our smaller gifts. It doesn’t matter what the amount of the gift is as long as the percentage is in tune with it, and Jesus is given top priority.

Where does Jesus fit in with my finances? What place does he have in my life?

I believe this is the message our Lord wants us to conclude with in this outline of a faithful witness. A faithful witness has knowledge of the scriptures; a faithful witness has a willingness to suffer; and a faithful witness gives top priority to Jesus Christ. In his name,

Take Up Your Cross and Follow Me

The Word of God clearly tells us that Jesus has come to give us peace, joy, the assurance of our salvation. However, today’s text also tells us to take up our cross and follow him. This can be a confusing thought. What really is persecution and suffering in our day? First-century believers were quite familiar with it, but what about in our day?

Today’s text, recorded in Matthew 16, is the second sermon on the theme, The Mature Witness. Last week we learned that we must have a good working knowledge of the holy Scriptures and the basics of Christianity. Peter gave evidence that he intellectually understood that Jesus was God when he said, “Thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God.”

Then Jesus went on to tell his disciples how he would suffer and die. Peter took him aside, however, and said “Never, Lord! This shall never happen to you!” This caused Jesus to give Peter a sharp rebuke. Jesus’ mission demanded suffering on his part, and neither Peter, nor anyone else, could take it away, for it was the will of the heavenly Father who sent Jesus into this world.

Jesus then went on to say, “If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross and follow me. For whoever wants to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for me will find it. What good will it be for a man if he gains the whole world, yet forfeits his soul? Or what can a man give in exchange for his soul?”

Jesus is laying it out for us today. Although he has talked about peace in the past, his message today is quite different. He is telling them that it costs something to be his follower. They have to take up their cross and follow him.

That is as true for us today as it was for the early Christians. But we do not always understand what it means, for we do not often suffer for the cause of Jesus Christ. I have served in the ministry for a lot of years, but have not done much suffering.

Peter did not know the suffering he would have to endure. Although he knew the Jews did not like the disciples, he did not realize that as Jesus died, so he could also die. One day Peter and John were in Jerusalem telling people that Jesus was the Christ, the Son of the living God. When the Jews heard about this, they gave Peter and John a sharp rebuke and told them not to voice this message any longer. Peter and John said to them, “Whatever you tell us is one thing, but we can only believe and do what our Heavenly Father has caused us to do.”

Later on, when Peter was telling the story of Jesus Christ, Herod realized the Apostles could cause him no end of trouble. So he decided to kill John, the brother of James. This made the Jewish people very happy, so Herod seized Peter, put him in jail, and planned to kill him as well.

As Peter sat between two guards on the eve of his execution, an angel came to him and said, “You are unshackled. Get up and go!” Peter got up and went to Mary’s house to seek comfort with other believers. He was not killed the next day. However, years later Peter died as a result of Nero the emperor killing all the Christians he could. At the end of his life, there was no question in Peter’s mind what Jesus meant when he said, “If you want to be my disciple, you must take up your cross and follow me.”

A much more recent example of suffering for Christ is Dietrick Bonhoeffer. He was born in 1906, one of eight children. His father was a psychiatrist and called himself an agnostic. The family did not go to church very often except on certain days like Christmas and Easter or perhaps to a funeral of a dear relative or friend. However, the Bonhoeffer children did get good instruction in the Word of God and learned what it is to have true Christianity at a Mennonite parochial school. Dietrick learned what it was to live in a personal relationship with the Lord Jesus.

Although Dietrick was relaxed in his faith, when he went to Union Seminary in New York and saw people moralizing their faith, he decided the best place for him on Sunday was in the Harlem ghetto where no prominent people attended. Those people knew how to really proclaim Christ as their Savior and Lord and one to be obeyed.

Bonhoeffer returned to Germany after WWI. The allies had taken away many of the German people’s freedoms, and the Weimar Republic did little to give the people the peace and strength they needed. So Adolph Hitler, realizing the people were not happy, worked hard and was fairly successful at becoming their savior. Many of the German people never had it as good before Hitler’s Nazi Party took over.

But then it all turned sour. The world began to turn on Hitler, and Germany learned what it was to have real defeat. Realizing one of his worst resistance was in the church (it held up Christ as its Savior and Lord, not Hitler), Hitler went after it. On April 23, 1943, Bonhoeffer was arrested by the gestapo and sent to prison as an enemy of Hitler. There Bonhoeffer sat in a military prison, theologically trained with a doctors degree from the University of Berlin. He had traveled the world giving the best of what Jesus Christ expected from His Church, and he had remained true to the Church.

Bonhoeffer was taken by the gestapo to Flossenberg in 1945, and on April 9, only a few days before the end of WWII, he was executed by hanging. He understood what it was to take up your cross and follow Christ. He had a brilliant mind and was well trained. He could easily have gone back to Union Seminary in New York, but he wanted to be with his people, sharing the gospel of Jesus Christ to the very end and letting them know that Christ was with them, even as they suffered.

What about us? When we pick up our Bibles and read, “Take up your cross and follow me,” we experience more anxiety than in all the rest of the Scriptures.

I have lived a very comfortable life as a pastor in the church. I have lived among people who loved me, were concerned about me, and provided for me. It was a joy to watch my congregations grow. What has been my cross?

Through the years, when smaller congregations sent me a call, I sent them back. I had plenty to do where I was, and smaller churches meant less conveniences and smaller salaries. Today I have to ask myself if, by staying in a large, beautiful, comfortable church, was I not willing to take up the cross by starting all over again to try to win more people for the cause of Christ?

Peter didn’t expect the kind of suffering he experienced Ð neither did Dietrick Bonhoeffer, who came from an elite family. Dietrick’s parents, as they looked at him as a little babe in his mother’s arms, did not realize what lay ahead for him. And as he grew up and enrolled in the best universities, he never expected that kind of suffering either. However, it happened to him, and it could happen to us.

Dare we ask how long God will continue to bless America as he has? We give little thought to what he has told us to do. Although we remain faithful to the church throughout our lifetime, we never talk to anyone about Jesus as their Savior, and we give a mere pittance of our financial worth to the Church of Jesus Christ. People say that this age is different from the days when Peter and Paul lived, and we shouldn’t take anything too seriously. However, the day will come when we can suffer physical and/or mental punishment as we are asked to take up our cross and follow Jesus in order to be a true disciple of the Savior.

Peter Passed the Test

The football season is now upon us. When my wife and I lived near the high school football field, we would watch the boys as they were being taught the fundamentals of football and ran the different plays. Often times, after the first game, I remember thinking, “Well, the team has not got it all together yet, but it is still early in the season.” Soon November was here, and we could take notice of how fine these kids were playing as a team. They knew each other’s habits, and it was a great display of an athletic battle.

As I watched those teams play, I wondered from time to time if a comparison could be made between the progress of that football team and Jesus’ disciples as he tried to put them together as his team. Jesus’ team had a special assignment: to present the gospel of Jesus Christ to people around the world. That assignment was very important, for if people did not have that gospel, their lives would be torn apart and their eternity unsettled.

Our text for today is from Matthew 16, and I want to take three weeks to go over it. As we look at the first part of it today, we see the message that, in order to be a faithful witness of Jesus Christ, we must have a good working knowledge of the holy Scriptures and the basics of Christianity.

Jesus was giving his disciples some instructions when he asked, “Who do people say I am?” He wanted to see if they knew the difference between what people were saying about him and what the disciples would say about him.

“Well,” the disciples said, “some say you are John the Baptist, others say Elijah, and others still say Jeremiah.”

Then he asked them this pointed question: “Who do you say I am?”

Simon Peter answered, “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.”

Jesus was elated when he heard these words! “Blessed are you, son of Jonah, for flesh and blood has not revealed this to you, but my Father in heaven. You are Peter and upon this rock (meaning that confession), I will build my Church, and the gates of Hades will not prevail against it.”

What was it about Peter’s answer that made Jesus so happy? According to the commentators, and I concur, when Peter said, “You are the Son of the living God,” he was calling Jesus the Messiah, both God and man. Even though it was early in Jesus’ ministry, Peter understood that Jesus was the Messiah.

The Jewish people believed the coming Messiah would be a warrior. He would lead them in battle against the Romans in order that they could be independent. But nothing could be further from the truth, for Jesus came not just for the physical, but also for the spiritual. He came to lead people into a living relationship with God.

The disciples soon had to deal with some difficult teachings of Jesus. One of them was, “You must be born again.” Jesus spoke this statement to Nicodemus, who was a Pharisee and a teacher of the law. Nicodemus visited Jesus at night so he wouldn’t be seen by the Pharisees. “Lord,” he said. “We know that you are from God, for we see the miraculous things that you have done. No one could have done these things if they had not been from God.”

Jesus said to him, “No one can see the kingdom of God unless he is born again.”

Nicodemus knew the scriptures, but he had never heard anything like this before. So he asked, “Can a man enter a second time into his mother’s womb and be born?” Jesus tried to help him understand that he was talking about a spiritual birth. Far more than being a part of the kingdom of Israel, it means being a part of the kingdom God is setting up Ð a kingdom of another world. The kingdom begins here, but will continue into eternity.

This is one of the first teachings we need to learn if we want to be a great witness in the kingdom of God. Jesus Christ is not just a great teacher or religious leader; he is also the Son of God Ð God himself. If we are to be a witness of the gospel, we need to know that we can be saved only through the gospel message.

Another difficult saying from Jesus was, “I and my Father are one. He who has seen me has seen the Father.” That was a strong teaching, for the doctrine of the Trinity had not been penned at that point. What did it mean?

Jesus was both God and man. He was tempted in all points as man is tempted. Philip said to him one day, “Lord, show us the way.” The knowledge was too much for them to understand right away; they had to work their way through Jesus’ teaching.

Jesus had not only performed miracles, he also came to change people’s lives. They were to love those who hated them. Jesus invited all people to come to Him Ð “Cast all your cares upon me . . .” All these teachings were necessary to know in order to be a great witness for Jesus Christ.

And so it is with you and with me. We need to know the basics of the faith Ð man was born sinful, but Jesus Christ, the Son of God, came to earth to die on a cross and pay the price for the sins of the world. Through faith in him, we can be forgiven.

Peter’s test is our test too. That is why Jesus was so thankful Peter understood that Jesus is not just another teacher, another John the Baptist, or another prophet like Isaiah Ð He is the God/man. This is very important. If we are going to be responsible for teaching the Word of God, we must know this teaching.

When does that knowledge begin? For many who practice infant baptism, it begins at the baptismal font where God does his initiating work. Then, when that child is brought home, he must be taught about Jesus. He must be told that God came into this world in the person of Christ (and making it personal) “to die for you, Billy (or Mary). He is your Lord, your Savior.” The parents then must take the child to a church where he can hear the Law and the Gospel every Sunday. Where he can hear God’s Word say, “Because of man’s fall into sin, you were born sinful. Therefore, Jesus came to pay the price for your sins. If you will only confess them and trust him as your Savior, you will be his, and he will be yours forever.”

Then, as that child grows, he must be given good instruction in the church, during which a relationship is built between the student and the pastor. Then he can feel free to go to his pastor when the cares of this world interrupts his faith walk.

And then, as that person grows older and perhaps feels God calling him to spend his life teaching and training others in the Christian faith, he goes to a strong theological seminary that is true to the Word of God. Then he can go out as one set apart by the church to share the gospel with those who yet have to hear it.

What a blessed time it was for me to spend time with my confirmation students, telling them the story of Jesus and his love, letting them know what was in store for them if they would only trust him. They would never experience a time when Jesus is not standing by their side, assuring them that they will live with him in heaven one day. This teaching is necessary for one who is sharing the gospel.

Well, Peter passed the test! Now I ask, can you and I pass the test as far as our biblical knowledge is concerned? I don’t think all the disciples passed their test.

Next week we will talk about believing Ð not just intellectually, but also spiritually Ð that we are children of God.

Are You Elected for Salvation?

Some of Jesus’ statements are difficult to understand and have been the source of much theological discussion. One of these teachings is today’s text. We do our best, when studying difficult parts of God’s Word, sometimes coming up with different interpretations. Then we comfort ourselves by saying, “We have done our best to understand. And when we get to heaven, we know there will be no mysteries.”

The basic teachings of the Christian faith are very clear. Jesus Christ is God. The human being is the crowning work of his creation. He was created with a will to make his own choices. When Eve and Adam were tested in the garden of Eden, they decided to act contrary to the will of God, and thus sin came into this world. However, God, not willing to give up on the human being, sent his only begotten Son, the Lord Jesus Christ, into this world. Jesus suffered and died at CalvaryÔs cross and paid the price for our sins. Anyone who trusts in Christ (the bread of life), will be saved. However, if they do not trust in him, they will be lost. These things are very clear. However, some things are a bit more complex.

According to today’s text, Jesus says, “No one can come to me unless the Father who sent me draws him . . .” What does Jesus mean by this? Are not all persons drawn? If not, how can we say God so loved the world that he gave his only begotten Son?

Jesus created us in his image. This means that we have a mind with which we can say no to God. We all agree that no one can come to God unless the Father draws him. But they can also turn away from God and go their own way. Eve turned away from God in the Garden of Eden, and millions of us do it in our own way. The Bible says very clearly that the reason for rejection is simply that the person has turned his back on Jesus.

According to today’s text, we are lifted up by the Father. During this past month, I attended a funeral for a person who was very committed and highly accepted in our community. After the service, as we were standing around a bit, a man who had been in one of my confirmation classes, came up to me. He said that after he left home, he drifted from the faith and was no longer in a living relationship with God. Then he said, “Maybe I’d better come back.” Is there still hope for him? You better believe there is. The Heavenly Father is bringing him back. He was among those whom Jesus had lifted up. He has a place in heaven, and God will bring him back.

That’s what it means to be predestined. God is never done with us. He chose us from the very beginning and he continues to work with us through the power of the Holy Spirit. Until we draw our last breath, we are able, by God’s grace, to come back, but we must receive Him. This is where the conflict comes.

C. S. Lewis was a great writer of the Christian faith. He was highly trained in literature and languages, and he taught at both Cambridge and Oxford. Tom Wright tells the story of C. S. Lewis coming to Christ. Lewis was being interviewed by a Christian journalist who had been seeking material for an article on decision. The journalist tried his hardest to get Lewis to tell when he made his decision for Jesus. But the closest Lewis would come was to say that God brought him into his arms. “God has closed in on me, and he brought me through difficult times until I knew I was his.”

This noted scholar was not willing to subjectively say he made a decision for Jesus Christ. The closest he would come was to say, “God closed in on me. He brought me through difficult times until I was his.” From the beginning God predestined C. S. Lewis, and all along the way the Holy Spirit worked in his heart even as Lewis walked away. This is quite close to a predestinarian position.

I believe Martin Luther said it correctly when he wrote the meaning to the third article in his catechism: “I believe that I cannot, by my own reason or strength, believe in Jesus Christ, my Lord, or come to him. But the Holy Spirit has called me through the Gospel . . .” I believe that at the beginning, I was chosen by God. The power of the Holy Spirit worked through the Word of God in my life until I came to the day when I said, “Jesus, you are my Savior and my Lord.”

Apply this teaching to a mother who has five children. Three are very committed to the Lord Jesus; two do not want him and have rejected the Church. They refuse to go to church, no matter how much she pleads and begs. Can they be won for the Lord Jesus? A predestinarian in true fashion would say that, if you are elected, you are going to be saved. God will not let you get away. If you are not elected, there is no sense trying.

What about the eternal welfare of the people who are not elected? It is an important question that warrants discussion. I don’t know if we dare say we have come up with an answer. However, God is in the midst of all of this. God gives us a simpler message in John 3:16: “For God so loved the world that he gave his only begotten Son . . .” He also gives us the words of our text, which talk about Jesus being the living bread that came down from heaven. “This bread is my flesh, which I will give for the life of the world.” These words caused sharp theological discussions, even among the Jews. We pray God’s Word is clear and we can know, beyond all doubt, that we are his forever.

Before coming in to tape today, I asked a lady, “Do you believe you have the assurance of your salvation?”

“Yes, I do,” she said.

“Do you believe God walks with you while you are here?”

“Yes, I do.”

“Do you believe he’s gone to prepare a heavenly home for you?”

“Yes, I do.”

“Well then let me ask you, were you predestined or elected out of eternity long before you were born?”

And she said, “I don’t know.”

This is what we have talked about today. We may not understand it now, but we trust Christ. The Jews had a great deal of difficulty receiving this message. Most people cannot believe that if we are not elected then we are not chosen for salvation, for this is not a God of love.

We can glory in this Ð the chosen by him Ð we are elected for all eternity.

Just Give Me Jesus

When we observe thinking or behaviors that fall outside of what we consider the norm, we sometimes label it as weird. For example, I saw a headline today that said, “Woman arrested for attempting to break into jail.” That struck me as rather odd.

Maybe you’ve had an experience that really catches you off guard and the circumstances are peculiar. Or perhaps you read something that is totally foreign to your way of thinking. You find yourself puzzled by it and say, “That’s kind of weird.”

Well, Christianity’s answer to how a person enters into a right relationship with God can seem weird to some people. Human logic and wisdom would answer that question by telling us to do something. Get going. Make it right.

We pick up sayings along the way, and sometimes we actually find ourselves living by them and teaching them to our kids.

“You get what you deserve.”

“If it’s to be, it’s up to me.”

“Get moving.”

“There’s no such thing as a free lunch.”

With those sorts of things rolling around in our minds, it’s easy to carry them into our thinking about God. We reason that we must do something to be right with God, then he’ll love us forever. Some people believe that with all their heart. But then one has to wonder when they’ve done enough. It’s like being a salesman with a quota, but never knowing what that quota is.

But what about scripture that says, “All have fallen short of God’s glory?” and Jesus’ words, “Be perfect as your Father in heaven is perfect”? This kind of reasoning leaves one in a real conundrum.

So how do you get right with God?

Paul was a man who bought into the thinking that a religious life is one of doing much for God. He was extreme in his lifestyle and very confident that he was right with God because of all of his doing. Then one day Paul had a personal encounter with the risen Jesus on a road outside of Damascus. This encounter really shook him, both physically and spiritually, and things were never the same with him after that.

As Paul began his new life with Jesus, he discovered a very different answer to the age- old question about getting right with God. He learned that getting right with God wasn’t about what Paul had done; it was really about Jesus and what He’d done. So Paul started sharing that discovery with people all over the place as he overflowed with joy. As he started pointing people in this new direction, many others also became as excited as he was. Congregations of believers started popping up all over Asia Minor, and they rejoiced in this new answer to that old question.

However, some people in the church felt Paul’s message just seemed too easy. So they started telling Paul’s followers more needed to be done than just believing in Jesus as their Savior. They had to keep the Jewish laws of circumcision as well. When people in the church heard these veterans of the faith say this, they became confused. It seemed so logical and made good common sense that you get what you deserve. Surely there is something that we must do to earn salvation.

This scenario still happens today in the Church of Jesus. Every now and then someone comes along, a so called “expert,” who’s had a revelation of a new and improved faith. Jesus is fine, but add this on. You might call him a kind of Jesus-plusser. Their ideas sound right, people are intrigued, and some even buy into them. Something in us needs to feel in control, so we believe we must work to accomplish our goals. We don’t want to feel beholden to anyone.

Well, when Paul heard about the confusion in the churches, he wrote a number of letters to encourage the people to stay the course with what he had taught them. A portion of one is today’s text and what I would call the testimony of a recovered doer. Paul said, Listen, if anyone has a reason to be confident in the flesh (confident in doing), it’s me. Look at my bloodlines. I am a Hebrew of Hebrews. Look at all that I have done for God; what zeal I have for God! Look at how good and perfect my life looked according to living by the rules. I’ve been there. I’ve played that game. I’ve done that! And now I know Jesus who taught me that doing doesn’t work. All my doing is nothing more than a pile of rubbish and no good for anything. I am taking Jesus at his word and not going back. I want the righteousness he gives through faith in him. I want to spend the rest of my days knowing my wonderful Jesus, serving him, even suffering for him. That’s how sold I am on Jesus! And I am confident that I will rise with him someday.

Doing? I’ve been there, done that. Just give me Jesus.

Being in a right relationship with God comes only through faith in his Son Jesus Christ and trusting in what God has done for you through Jesus at the cross.

My dear friends, it has all been done for you at the cross. We enter into a saving relationship with God by humbly placing our trust in Jesus Christ, the Son of God.

These days it’s still easy to get caught up in thinking about what’s going to happen on the day we die. What if we haven’t lived a very good life? After all, we’re just human beings. We like to think we are in control of things. Satan wants us to move us away from the only One who can give us life and put us in a right relationship with God Ð Jesus Christ.

How does one get right with God? Through Jesus Christ alone.

There is a great difference between the Christian faith and other religions of this world. Other faiths answer the question of how to get into a right relationship with God with this word: D – O. Do this, do that; then God will love you. But the Christian’s answer to that question is spelled, D – O – N – E. It’s all been done for you at the cross by the Son of God who paid for your sins. Trust in what he’s done for you.

Righteousness is not a wage to be earned, but a gift to be received by placing one’s faith in Jesus Christ. Stick with that. Trust in Christ. May your motto in life be, just give me Jesus. Just give me Jesus.

How does one get into a right relationship with God? Just give me Jesus. You can bet the farm on that one.