I Want To Know You

“Therefore if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creature; the old things passed away; behold, new things have come.” (2 Corinthians 5:17)

So many times we have heard the Pastor say, “If what that boy is saying is true, then I want to know you.’” If what the Pastor is saying is true, then it has been revealed to you as it was to Simon Peter, “Simon Peter answered, “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.” (Matthew 16:16) You have been convicted of a spiritual truth and been blessed by the mercy of God that your heart has been opened up to it. “And Jesus said to him, “Blessed are you, Simon Barjona, because flesh and blood did not reveal this to you, but My Father who is in heaven.” (Matthew 16:17) Unfortunately some churches lead you in a defined prayer, known as the sinner’s prayer, and then send you off on your way to live a life of bliss in the Lord. That prayer may be as this one. “Father, I know that I have broken your laws and my sins have separated me from you. I am truly sorry, and now I want to turn away from my past sinful life toward you. Please forgive me, and help me avoid sinning again. I believe that your son, Jesus Christ died for my sins, was resurrected from the dead, is alive, and hears my prayer. I invite Jesus to become the Lord of my life, to rule and reign in my heart from this day forward. Please send your Holy Spirit to help me obey You, and to do Your will for the rest of my life. In Jesus’ name I pray, Amen.” For many by the grace of God that sticks and a life is transformed, but, I have a fear that sometimes it is but a formality and the heart of the soul does not truly understand what they have prayed.

In Jesus’ Parable of the sower there was seed that fell upon rocky soil and the seed  sprang up quickly and then was choked away in time. Jesus explained in this way, “The one on whom seed was sown on the rocky places, this is the man who hears the word and immediately receives it with joy; yet he has no firm root in himself, but is only temporary, and when affliction or persecution arises because of the word, immediately he falls away.” (Matthew 13:20-21) Sometimes we get caught up in an emotional experience and flow with it but when the emotions drift away the excitement soon follows. The choice to choose Jesus to be the Lord of your life must have a deeper root than a passing emotion. The emotions change with the passing of events but the heart of a man must remain strong in his convictions for a permanent turn in life.

Calling upon the name of the Lord is not a hit or miss process, it is an eternal process and its beginning must have root in the heart. The Evangelist is but the sower of the seed of God’s Word and if it is planted in the heart of a man then it is by the grace of God that it grows and flourishes. It is a transformation from life in this world, the kingdom of darkness, (sin) to the Kingdom of Heaven. (Righteousness) It is not easy, it is not all bliss, it is a commitment, and one that we cannot walk back from but move forward in the path that Jesus has set before us. Jesus tells us that we are to count the cost of our decision and commit to seeing it through. It is, as our Lord, a life of sacrifice. “Therefore I urge you, brethren, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies a living and holy sacrifice, acceptable to God, which is your spiritual service of worship. And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you may prove what the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable and perfect.” (Romans 12:1-2)

It is not to believe in God and it is not to believe in Jesus, even the demons believe in God. “You believe that God is one. You do well; the demons also believe, and shudder.” (James 2:19) It is an intimate relationship, as a marriage, with God through His Son Jesus Christ. As with any relationship that has lasting power we have to hunger and thirst for it and desire it above all else. It is as God the Father to a child relationship, it is a brother relationship with the Son of God Jesus, and it is a relationship walking in the power of the Holy Spirit. To enter into this supreme relationship with God we must be aware of sin in our lives, God’s answer to resolve that separation that sin causes, receive the gift that God has freely given us, and commune with Him in prayer.

“In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.” (Genesis 1:1) God spoke all that exist into being by His Word with the exception of man. Man was formed by the hand of God from the dust and He breathed life into the man. “Then the LORD God formed man of dust from the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living being.” (Genesis 2:7) For that reason man has an eternal spirit and God desires a personal relationship with the spirit of men. Satan man’s evil adversary and hater of God seeks to steel, kill, and destroy man’s relationship with God. (John 10:8) Satan tempted man in the Garden of Eden and man fell into disobedience to God’s Word and broke the relationship between man and God. From that day forward man has been in bondage to sin and God in His love for man has a perfect plan for man’s redemption. God is a holy God and cannot abide with sin and for man to have a relationship with God he had to be in a righteous state. The wage of sinful living is death and God is a just God and that wage must be paid. “For the wages of sin is death.” (Romans 6:23) Man cannot enter into the Kingdom of Heaven unless that wage is paid and by God’s love for man He sent His Son into the world to pay that debt so that the relationship of man could be restored unto God. “For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life.” (John 3:16)

God loves His creation, man, but God hates the sin that man has fallen into. The wage of sin is a debt that man cannot pay and still live. There is no man that is not without sin in their life. No man is capable to live a sinless life as by our sin nature we are drawn to sinful living. “For whoever keeps the whole law and yet stumbles in one point, he has become guilty of all.” (James 2:10) Sin cannot enter into any relationship between man and God and therefore man is separated from God by sin and without a remedy is hopeless to pay the wage which is death. “For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.” (Romans 3:23)

God in His love for man came up with the perfect solution to man’s problem with sin. The answer to man’s sin problem is God’s Son Jesus who lived a perfect life here in the world that He would be the perfect sacrifice to pay the price of man’s sin. The Apostle Paul teaches from God’s Word of God’s solution for man. “For I delivered to you as of first importance what I also received, that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, and that He was buried, and that He was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures.” (1 Corinthians 15:3-4) Jesus went to the Roman cross to offer His life as payment for the sin in our lives. Jesus died on the cross to purchase a place in Heaven for mankind and offers it to men as a free gift. It is free because there is none other who could pay the high cost of sin. “But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.” (Romans 5:8)

We can receive this free gift of salvation from God if we believe in Him, and if we believe in His Son who He sent for our redemption. It is a gift from God as there is nothing that we could do to earn it, nothing that we could do to work for it, and nothing that we could pay because the cost is too high. The cost for us is our faith in Jesus Christ the Son of God for our salvation alone, as there is no other way. This is God’s gift to man and He wants man to receive it. “This is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Savior, who desires all men to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth.” (1 Timothy 2:3-4) Jesus will give eternal life to those who believe in Him and follow Him in faith.

On the Day of Pentecost many were convicted of the truth during the preaching of the Apostles as the word of the Spirit drove into their hearts. “Now when they heard this, they were pierced to the heart, and said to Peter and the rest of the apostles, “Brethren, what shall we do?” (Acts 2:37) Becoming a follower of Jesus can be done anywhere. It is not a pulpit thing, not an altar thing, and not a formality of prayer. God who sees the heat of a man knows what the intentions are, knows the motives, and knows the truth of a soul. It is a personal commitment to following Jesus in faith and obey His commandments. Say what you believe in the language of your heart and God will hear what you say. What must we do to be saved? The Apostle Peter tells us, “Peter said to them, “Repent, and each of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins; and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.” (Acts 2:38)

Confess the sins you are convicted of and those which you do not know the Lord will reveal in time. Confession is important to any relationship and it is the only way to start a relationship with God. If you are overwhelmed just say “Lord I am a sinner.” This is a true statement and God knows what you have done and He will create in you a clean heart. (Psalm 51:10) Hide nothing as God knows the truth of you and holding back will only harm you. “He who conceals his transgressions will not prosper, But he who confesses and forsakes them will find compassion.” (Proverbs 28:13)

Confession is not a revelation to God but may be a revelation to yourself. Confession must be followed by asking that God will forgive your transgressions. I have always thought and believe that there is no reason for a soul to rest in Hell as the price for their sin has been paid in full. People go to Hell because they will not confess and ask for forgiveness for their sins. To be forgiven is a simple as asking for forgiveness. “If we confess our sins, He is faithful and righteous to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” (1 John 1:9)

We have lived a life in sinful behavior. It is not easy to change that behavior overnight but we must go through the repentance process. It tales power to overcome the flaming darts of Satan’s temptation and that power is in the One who has overcome, Jesus. We must ask Jesus to come into our life and take charge, take the throne of our life, and rule over us. “That He would grant you, according to the riches of His glory, to be strengthened with power through His Spirit in the inner man.” (Ephesians 3:16) We are asking Jesus to come into our life and be our Lord and Savior. When we receive Jesus we receive His Spirit dwelling within us and He is the power of the universe and there is none greater. “I will ask the Father, and He will give you another Helper, that He may be with you forever; that is the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it does not see Him or know Him, but you know Him because He abides with you and will be in you.” (John14:16-17) There is no other name by which we can be saved from the wage of sin, there is no other way that we can receive the Kingdom of Heaven, and there is no other way that we can see God. “Jesus said to him, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father but through Me.” (John 14:6)

The first thing we want to do when we receive such a great joy in our spirits is to share the good news with our loved ones. We want to tell them that we have been freed from our bondage to sin and we want to let them know that they can be free too. We have confessed to God Almighty, what then is it to confess to men? “That if you confess with your mouth Jesus as Lord, and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved; for with the heart a person believes, resulting in righteousness, and with the mouth he confesses, resulting in salvation.” (Romans 10:9-10)

As in any relationship we want to know more about the person we have been joined with. One of the best ways to learn of Jesus and His Father is to read His Word. Jesus is the Word of God. (John 1:1) We are babes in Christ but we desire to grow into spiritual maturity. We want to leave the milk barn and receive the meat of His truth. We do this by studying His Word. “So faith comes from hearing, and hearing by the word of Christ.” (Romans 10:17)

When I found my first love all I wanted to do was to listen and talk and lean everything about that person. That is what praying is, a divine conversation with God through Jesus. I want to learn and I’ll ask Him to teach me, I want to serve and I’ll ask Him to equip me, and I want to follow and I’ll ask Him to lead me. “Whatever you ask in My name, that will I do, so that the Father may be glorified in the Son. If you ask Me anything in My name, I will do it.” (John 14:13)

We are now a child of God and we should want to meet our brothers and sisters in the faith. There is much to learn from their experience as all have gone through struggles and there is much wisdom in their walk with the Lord. I want to be lifted and I want to lift and being with my Church family is the proving ground to be equipped for the work of the Kingdom. “And let us consider how to stimulate one another to love and good deeds, not forsaking our own assembling together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another; and all the more as you see the day drawing near.” (Hebrews 10:24-25)

The salvation that we have receive is made new by the sacrifice of Jesus and the power of the Holy Spirit. There will be trials, there will be tribulations, there will be sacrifice, and there will be abundant life here and in eternity. Praise the Lord! “He saved us, not on the basis of deeds which we have done in righteousness, but according to His mercy, by the washing of regeneration and renewing by the Holy Spirit, whom He poured out upon us richly through Jesus Christ our Savior, so that being justified by His grace we would be made heirs according to the hope of eternal life.” (Titus 3:5-7)

Thomas N Kirkpatrick

First Baptist Church of Durant, September 13, 2016

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