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OUTREACH and MISSIONS

KNOWING JESUS

It’s pretty cool when you realize that you’re not the only one with questions. You have your own beliefs and ideas, but how can you know what’s real or true? Even people in the church, people who are Christians, have questions. But many of those who go by the name of Jesus Christ have, in fact, experienced something profoundly real. They talk about a RELATIONSHIP they have with Christ.

Being a Christian is not about church, and it’s not about being perfect. It’s about acknowledging God’s unconditional love and receiving it.

Christians believe God made his love known to humanity most excellently in sending a Savior, Jesus, who died sacrificially for us, for forgiveness and so we could have eternal life after we die.

Being a Christian is all about believing in the death and resurrection of Jesus, and being in a vital and real relationship with Him by inviting Him into your heart and your life.

Here's How It Works

Long ago God had a special relationship of trust, a covenant, with His people, the people of Israel. He would be their God, and they would live in obedience to Him. Through the years the people repeatedly broke their covenant with God, disobeying God, and God would constantly have to renew His relationship with them.

So God decided to do something new. His prophets said to the people that God would send a Savior who would free them from their sin (disobedience) once and for all, and not just for them, but for everyone in the world who would receive the Savior.

Jesus was born into the world and fulfilled prophecies concerning His birth, His life and work, His suffering and death, and finally, His being raised up from death to live again. Jesus, the Son of God, entered into human flesh and became a man to die as a sacrifice for sin – the sin of the whole world.

The fact that God would do this demonstrates that God is not an arrogant and vengeful god, but a god who is characterized by profound LOVE for the people of His creation. Jesus said himself, “God LOVED the world so much that He gave his only son, so that whoever believes in him would have eternal life. For God did not send the Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world might be saved through him.” (John 3:16-17)

So What’s The Problem?

You are personally loved by the One who made you and everything that exists! That’s the good news. The bad news is the human condition the Bible calls SIN – that part of us that’s in everybody which is in opposition to God. Sin is not just bad things we do. Sin is a condition of the soul that often results in thoughts and actions that are contrary to God’s will.

The really bad news, according to the Bible, is that sin creates “a separation” between us and God – a spiritual chasm that prevents us from being in a right relationship with God. People often sense in their spirit that something is wrong. They know that something important is missing from their lives. Many struggle to identify it and fill the void, perhaps by “going to church”, or by doing kind and generous things for others. Some try to satisfy this inner yearning by making money and buying things. Others begin to explore their “spirituality” and experiment with various religious philosophies and mystical practices – none of which fill the void.

The problem is, none of these “answers” have anything to do with RELATIONSHIP to God, and none of them deal adequately with sin. Because sin is A CONDITION of the soul, not even doing good things can bridge the spiritual chasm caused by sin.

God knew it was up to Him to make a bridge. The problem of sin had to be dealt with once and for all. So Jesus came. Jesus said he came, “not to be served but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.” (Mark 10:45)

Here’s What The Bible Tells Us:

"God is light; In Him there is no darkness at all.

If we claim to have fellowship with Him yet walk in the darkness,

we lie and do not live by the truth.

But if we walk in the light, as He is in the light, we have fellowship with one another,

and the blood of Jesus, His Son, purifies us from all sin.

If we claim to be without sin, we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us.

If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins

and purify us from all unrighteousness."

(1 John 1:5-9)

What Can I Do?

  • Start with prayer. Use your own words, but somehow tell God that you’ve needed Him in your life and that you are sorry for your sin. Tell God that you want to be forgiven. Express your trust in Jesus as your Savior. You might still have many questions. That’s OK. Jesus said our faith only has to be like that of a little child; simple child-like trust. Place your trust in Jesus that He died for you.
  • Invite Jesus into your life as your Lord and Savior. Jesus said, “Here I am! I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come into him.” (Revelation 3:20) Again, you can use your own words, but pray along these lines: “Jesus, I know you died for me. I thank you for your love. Come into my heart and my life. Jesus, I receive you as my Lord and Savior.”
  • Tell a Christian friend that you committed your life to Christ. And find a church where you can begin to learn what it means to worship Jesus. Try several churches until you find one where you are comfortable. You will need the encouragement and instruction that you can find in a community of believers. God never intended Christianity to be a solo act. It doesn’t work.
  • God has given you a new life in Christ. It’s important now to spend time reading the instruction manual. Get a modern language Bible. The New International Version is a good translation. There are Christian bookstores in most larger towns where a sales person can help you choose an appropriate Bible. Tell the sales person you are a new Christian.
  • Begin your reading one of the gospels in the Bible – Matthew, Mark, Luke or John. They each tell the story of Jesus from their own perspective. Be open and trusting in God as you read. The Holy Spirit will bring the words to life in you.

    Some passages may seem hard to understand. A few might even trouble you the first time you read them. Be patient. The so-called “hard sayings” of the Bible typically have simple explanations that you can learn about in a Bible study group or by reading a Bible commentary.

    Be ready for God’s Word and the Spirit to change you. “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come.” (2 Corinthians 5:17) "He saved us through the washing of rebirth and renewal of the Holy Spirit, whom he poured out on us generously through Jesus Christ our Savior.” (Titus 3:5-6) God wants to bring your heart and your life into conformity with His will. And He will do that as, more and more, you surrender to Christ all the various aspects of your life. It’s an exciting adventure that has ultimate meaning!

    Peace be with you.

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