On Sunday night we talked about choices. You must chose TODAY what you believe in (Joshua 24:15)!
And don’t waiver (James 1:6). You must chose Jesus or the gods and idols of this world.
One cannot get through life without believing in something. Even an atheist has beliefs.
For the Christian, a belief in Jesus is central to our faith. We believe that this person really came to earth, made a claim about being, not only the Son of God, but God appearing—in the flesh.
He preached some wonderful messages about what life in heaven is like and how he planned to bring it to earth.
He backed up his words with miracles that included healing people with a variety of ailments, taking a stroll across a rolling sea and raising a friend from the dead.
All of this bought him little favor with the established power class.
It landed him in big trouble which ended in his death by capital punishment.
Has it ever struck you as odd that we Christians wear crosses around our necks?
If a first century Roman would have seen this, he most likely would have been horrified.
The cross was a symbol of cruel death – a truly messy, prolonged and awful thing.
To imagine the horror a small cross around the neck would have produced in a first century Roman, picture us seeing a person wearing an electric chair or a lethal injection needle hanging from a chain.
And this brings us to the beauty of our faith: our God met death on its own terms.
As the old hymn states regarding the cross, it was: “…an emblem of suffering and shame.”
God took this awful tool of terror, changed it, and it became something beautiful, something noble.
Let’s push that metaphor a bit further…
Which of us isn’t a deeply flawed basket of sin with self-serving interests, and insatiable passions?
Some say “Not me!”
Well, allow me then to follow you around for just one day with a notepad. Let’s make a deal that you have to share every thought that crosses your mind—any covetous, lustful, homicidal, sarcastic, demeaning thoughts. I doubt you want to make that deal.
But, God knows all about this stuff. Not only does He want to forgive and forget it, but He wants to make these things less and less intense.
And here is where we see belief becoming something much more than an intellectual ascension to a few ideas.
We see belief challenging and changing our behavior. God is making room for Himself. Heaven comes into our hearts.
Isn’t it cool to know: God himself wants to live in you!
With all your warts and problems, He says “I want to make my home in you.
I love you and we will just clean this mess up as we go along.”
So, “…confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead” and you will be saved (Romans 10:9).”
We serve an amazing God!
Go give ‘em heaven,
I love you all,