Considering how things are changing inside the Church this is a valid question to ask. Many people do not understand their human nature is sinful and that one must have a spiritual birth to be forgiven and know God, their creator.
Many believe they are a Christian simply because of the fact that they go to Church or love Jesus. Paul asked the Corinthian church “Examine yourselves as to whether you are in the faith. Test yourselves. Do you not know yourselves, that Jesus Christ is in you?-- unless indeed you are disqualified.” (2 Cor. 13:5).
“Now if anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ, he is not His” Rom. 8:9).
Jesus Christ by the Holy Spirit comes and lives inside those who have received Him by the gospel. So it all points to where we understand the gospel as our means to bring us into a relationship with God. Without the understanding of the gospel you have none!
First- mankind is born in sin, unless we admit this fact we cannot come to an understanding of why Christ was crucified. Since all physically die it proves we are sinful for the Bible says the wages of sin is death. To deny this means one is not open to have the Lord work on their heart to bring them to repentance.
The Spirit of God was sent by Jesus into the world -He said, the Helper will not come to you; but if I depart, I will send Him to you. “And when He has come, He will convict the world of sin, and of righteousness, and of judgment:” of sin, because they do not believe in Me; “of righteousness, because I go to My Father and you see Me no more; “of judgment, because the ruler of this world is judged (John 16:7-11). The main ministry of the Holy Spirit is to reveal that man is a sinner and that Jesus can save them from their sin and to reject this makes judgment is inevitable.
The Cross is God’s way to bring man to Himself. Its not that we were ever obedient or searching for God, but that He came to us, He had to reveal Himself to us. He sent His Son from heaven to earth, lived a perfect life under the law that God gave man to live by and then fulfilled the complete requirements of the law by living a perfect life. He was then qualified to cleanse us from our sins by crucifixion- as the lamb of God to take away the sin of the world.
The Gospel - Christ crucified is the message preached as the only way, not a way, a choice among many. The gospel message eradicates any way of us becoming acceptable to God on our own merits. No matter how good you are your not good enough, this puts us all on equal grounds. You cannot emulate Jesus as a good teacher and follow Him on your own. You must come to Him the way He has said through His sacrifice on the cross.
Jesus’ message of the cross was essential and supreme over all of His other teachings. He spoke often about his mission - his cross. A Jesus presented without the cross is often presented by liberals so that sinners won’t be offended. The world can easily identify with Jesus as a teacher or the Church as a religion but not with the cross and its requirements about sin. The cross reminds us of our fallen nature and the only solution God gave mankind to cleanse it. Without the cross as the means for salvation, a Church becomes just another religion with teachings about a man named Jesus.
Some believe because they ask Jesus in their heart they are now a Christian, this may not necessarily be so. It will not help if they do not know who this Jesus is and why he must rule their life. If they have had no confrontation of the cross and their sin, then how have they heard the gospel to repent? The Bible says it is the power in the gospel for salvation. When Jesus taught on the seed and the four soils in Mt.13 and Mark 4 he explained that only the soil with understanding can grow and bring forth fruit. The other three soils were overcome along the way-- they did not make it to produce any fruit. The soil is mans heart the seed was the word that brought the growth.
Jesus said to one of the most well known religious leaders of his day, “you must be born again-spiritually to enter the kingdom of God. That which is born of the Spirit is spirit, John 4:24 “God is Spirit. Only God can regenerate mans fallen spirit. This is our inner nature by which we can understand, comprehend the spiritual things of God. John 6:63: ”It is the Spirit who gives life; the flesh profits nothing. The words that I speak to you are spirit, and they are life.”
We have a renewed spirit because God’s Spirit gives us life and lives within us. The Bible teaches that a man is spiritually born of (Gr. EK - out of) God. This description occurs four times in John’s epistle alone, 1 Jn. 3:9, 4:7, 5:1,4. In all the instances where the source of the new birth is mentioned, the language is EK Him, EK God, or EK Spirit. John 1:12-13, we receive Christ by believing in His name, “not born by the will of man... but of God.” His name means salvation- salvation meaning our being rescued from the consequences of our sins.
Jesus said John 8:43 “Why do you not
understand My speech? Because you are not able to listen to My word.” Without
understanding one cannot follow, nor can they bear fruit. It is crucial to have
understanding for the seed (the word) to germinate in good
Peter wrote ”having been born again, not of corruptible seed but incorruptible, through the word of God which lives and abides forever” (1 Peter 1:23).
You cannot repent and confess your sins without the atonement according to God. In other words, you cannot come to God without the Son of God’s work on the cross. I John 2:23: “Whoever denies the Son does not have the Father either; he who acknowledges the Son has the Father also.” I John 5:11-12:”And this is the testimony: that God has given us eternal life, and this life is in His Son. He who has the Son has life; he who does not have the Son of God does not have life.” This is obviously denied by the world’s religions and the cults. You can’t have genuine faith without repentance because you believe in the crucified savior. True belief will be followed by an action; your life must willfully turn after you understand why He went to the cross.
The Bible states it is the “preaching of the cross” that contains “the power of God” that results in salvation. There is not other way. It is by this word of faith we are saved… Paul writes in Romans 10:8-9 “But what does it say? “The word is near you, in your mouth and in your heart” (that is, the word of faith which we preach): that if you confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead, you will be saved.” In other words when we hear the gospel and it has penetrated our spirit we are able to have faith to believe and speak in agreement with it- that we are sinful and Christ died for our sins (1 Cor.15:1-4)
Jesus said I am the door- If you do not enter by the door Jesus said you are a thief and he relates this to Satan being the thief. Jn.10:1,8 My sheep hear MY voice, Jesus is the instructor we are to look to His Word. Men’s words, philosophies, teachers of the world will not nourish you. Only those who present Christ’s words give you understanding to grow in your spiritual walk to maturity. Our self must decrease for Jesus to increase. Many are in churches that are teaching human potential, positive thinking wrapped up in biblical principles for living. This has nothing to do with the gospel and is filled with unprofitable words for our spiritual growth. If we are increasing in our ways then Christ is eclipsed by self. We are choking out his word.
Too many come away from church saying: “I feel good about myself or I have a positive outlook. This is not what God’s word does. God’s word often searches the heart to expose the unknown sin hidden inside us so we can deal with it. God’s intent is to change us, not give us a boost in self- confidence. God’s word gives us hope by His promises in Him who can do far beyond what we think or ask for. This completely different than living by a positive attitude for good things to happen.
You are either a missionary or a mission field. You will be able to tell by your being influenced by other spiritual practices or your influence your friends in Christ.
Since the Lord is the one that made you, He is the only one who can satisfy you. If you drink of Jesus you won’t look to Buddha, Baha’u’llah, Mohammed or add anyone else’s teachings for Christ will be sufficient in all things.
Matt 5:6: “Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be filled.”
John 4:14: “but whoever drinks of the water that I shall give him will never thirst. But the water that I shall give him will become in him a fountain of water springing up into everlasting life.”
John 6:35 And Jesus said to them, “I am the bread of life. He who comes to Me shall never hunger, and he who believes in Me shall never thirst.”
What great promises are given to us by the overseer of our soul.
Are you learning about the Scripture in your church? To know the word is to know Christ who is the Word made flesh. Psalm 119:160: “The entirety of Your word is truth, v.162: “I rejoice at Your word as one who finds great treasure.” Are they preaching from the word in context (hopefully book by book) so that you get familiar with the word and gain understanding to grow in Christ. John 17:14: “I have given them Your word; and the world has hated them because they are not of the world, just as I am not of the world.” v:17 Sanctify them by Your truth. Your word is truth.”
1 Tim 4:6: “If you instruct the brethren in these things, you will be a good minister of Jesus Christ, nourished in the words of faith and of the good doctrine which you have carefully followed” One cannot say they believe in Christ or they follow Christ without adhering to the words of the Scripture where His words are found. It’s not Christ plus but Christ alone. He is sufficient “For in Him dwells all the fullness of the Godhead bodily; and you are complete in Him, who is the head of all principality and power” (Col. 2:9-10). Jesus Christ cannot be mixed with any other teaching. There is one God and one way to God through God’s ONLY Son- The gospel is simple and plain for all to come to Him.
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