Many church folks have developed coping methods to mask the fact they really don’t know what being born again means. They are, literally, dying of embarrassment. I don’t care how long you’ve been a church member. I don’t care what board you’re the chairman of. I don’t care who you’re married to or how important you think you are in your church or community. If you do not know Jesus Christ in the pardoning of your sins, you are lost. If you don’t know, for sure, that you are born again, let’s go over how this is actually done. Take these few minutes, close the door, and let’s get real with God. Don’t let this moment pass you by. Don’t die of embarrassment.
that you are born again, let’s go over how this is actually
done. Take these few minutes, close the door, and let’s get real
with God. Don’t let this moment pass you by. Don’t die of
embarrassment. All the back-room stuff at churches lends the
suspicion that coming to know the Lord is difficult or
complicated or time consuming. It is, in fact, none of those
things. God is less concerned about your church membership than
He is about your connection to Him. He wants to know you and to
walk with you and to be in your life. When we talk about
“accepting Jesus,” what we actually mean is acknowledging Him
and allowing Him to enter our heart and our mind and our
conscious. It really is this simple:
For God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, so that everyone who believes in him will not perish but have eternal life. God did not send his Son into the world to condemn it, but to save it. There is no judgment awaiting those who trust him. But those who do not trust him have already been judged for not believing in the only Son of God. —John 3:16-18
Acknowledge You Are A Sinner
...No one can ever be made right in God's sight by doing what
his law commands. For the more we know God's law, the clearer it
becomes that we aren't obeying it. But now God has shown us a
different way of being right in his sight – not by obeying the
law but by the way promised in the Scriptures long ago. We are
made right in God's sight when we trust in Jesus Christ to take
away our sins. And we all can be saved in this same way, no
matter who we are or what we have done. For all have sinned; all
fall short of God's glorious standard. Yet now God in his
gracious kindness declares us not guilty. He has done this
through Christ Jesus, who has freed us by taking away our sins.
For God sent Jesus to take the punishment for our sins and to
satisfy God's anger against us. We are made right with God when
we believe that Jesus shed his blood, sacrificing his life for
us. —Romans 3:20-25 [NLT]
This is tough for most of us to do. Most people I know have an awful time admitting when they’re wrong, but you can’t lie to God. Sin, literally, means “error.” Sin separates us from God because God is without sin (or error). You are not perfect. That’s all this means. You’ve done wrong, and you are likely burdened with habits and addictions that you can’t break on your own.
You probably also have things you don’t want to give up. This is the main reason people drag their heels about church, about Jesus. They like doing what they’re doing, and they feel like they have to change their habit, drop their boyfriend, stop drinking, stop smoking, stop partying, etc.
None of that is true. Jesus said we should come to Him exactly as we are [Matt 11:28]. He doesn’t ask you to stop going to the club or to stop having sex or to stop smoking herb or stop cussing or stop gambling. None of that interests Him. He wants a relationship with you. If you’d just allow Him the chance to know you, allow yourself the chance to know Him—that’s all he wants for now.
The truth is, if we could change, if we could, on our own, drop those habits or stop seeing that person, most of us would do it. But, in ourselves, most of us simply are not strong enough to make those changes.
I’ve heard a lot of people say they’ll “get saved” when the get older, but they want to party now. Or they’ll “get saved” after they change this or that about themselves. Most of these people will never know God, will never make it. They’re like the man who insisted on returning home to bury his father before following Jesus [Matt 8:21]. Jesus doesn’t ask us to tidy up our lives before coming to Him. All he wants is to know us, just as we are. Partying, smoking, sleeping around—don’t worry about that. Just let Him in.
What I’ve discovered is, the more I know God, the more I talk to Him and the more I meditate on His word, the less desire I have to do things that do not please Him. All that stuff you’re worried about? Don’t sweat it. Just relax and let God do His job. In time, as your relationship develops, God will inevitably give you a hunger for Him, a desire to please Him, and those things you’re clinging to now will suddenly seem less important.
This process is often called sanctification. Sanctified simply means “set apart” for God’s purpose. Look, when you go to a gym, the more you work out, the more your body craves working out. The more you trust God, the more God you want in your life. The more God you have in your life, the more of these things will work themselves out.
We hear people talk about being “saved, sanctified, and filled with the Holy Ghost.” Most people who say that don't actually know what any of that means. They speak of being "sanctified” as though it was a done deal, like paint sealant on your car. Sanctification is a process, an ongoing purging of things in your life that do not please God. It is never complete because we will not be perfect, the Bible tells us, until Christ receives us unto Himself.
Don't let anybody sell you that they're perfect or that they've done everything they need to do. Nobody's perfect. Nobody is totally without sin. we're all in the struggle, and we're all learning as we go.
Don’t worry about what you’ve done or what you’re doing or who you’re with or what your addicted to. Just let Him in.
For God can use sorrow in our lives to help us turn away from
sin and seek salvation. We will never regret that kind of
sorrow. But sorrow without repentance is the kind that results
in death. —2 Corinthians 7:10
If we say we have no sin, we are only fooling ourselves and refusing to accept the truth. But if we confess our sins to him, he is faithful and just to forgive us and to cleanse us from every wrong. —I John 1:8-9 [NLT]
This is tough for people as well. Repenting simply means apologizing and promising to do better. None of us are perfect. None of us live perfect lives. But the key to salvation through Jesus is saying you’re sorry for your sin and telling God you want to change. Note this is different from actually changing. If you could actually change yourself, you wouldn’t need God. By repenting, you are saying that you are sorry for your sin, and that you want to turn away from it. You are acknowledging you need God’s help to do that.
Invite Christ In
Look! Here I stand at the door and knock. If you hear me calling
and open the door, I will come in, and we will share a meal as
friends. —Revelation 3:20 [NLT]
...although the world was made through him, the world didn't recognize him when he came. Even in his own land and among his own people, he was not accepted. But to all who believed him and accepted him, he gave the right to become children of God. They are reborn! This is not a physical birth resulting from human passion or plan – this rebirth comes from God. —John 1:10-13 [NLT]
Don’t skip this part. God never forces Himself on anyone. Most people think God holds a gun to our heads: do what I say or go to hell. That’s not quite right. It’s more about free choice: it’s all up to you. You can either accept God in your life or reject Him and do things your own way. By rejecting Him, you are saying you don’t want to be with Him, and God never forces Himself on us.
In this context, Hell is less of a punishment than it is a choice. A choice to dwell in the presence of God, or a choice not to. There is only one place, in all of Creation, where God has withdrawn Himself, His omnipresence. That is a place God created not for you or me, not for humans at all. It is a place created for spirits who rebelled against God and denied His holiness. By rejecting God, you are choosing to be apart from Him. There’s only one place in all of existence where that is possible—Hell.
God doesn’t send you to Hell, you send you there, by choosing to reject God’s holiness.
Until you actually ask Christ to forgive you, until you actually invite him in and welcome Him into your Life, He will remain outside [Rev 3:20]. He will not interfere. He will not make a nuisance of Himself. It’s up to you to invite Him in. CONTINUED