IT'S ALL ABOUT JESUS
Jesus. Do you know him? Do you really know him? A lot has been said about who Jesus is. Perhaps you’ve watched “The Passion of the Christ,” or you remember stories from your childhood Sunday School class, or you’ve heard friends talk about him, or watched a TV preacher talk about him. Much has been written and said about him, but who is he really ?
If we’re going to really understand who Jesus is, we have to cut through all the noise about him, and go directly to the source. What did he say about himself? Who did he say he was? The Bible records Jesus’ teachings in the New Testament books of Matthew, Mark, Luke, John, and Acts.
At Horizon, we’re all about Jesus, and encouraging people to follow Jesus with their whole heart. It is our prayer, that you will be open to what the Bible says about Jesus, and that you might choose to begin to follow Jesus yourself.
Jesus’ life and teaching show us the way to live a life that honors God. But He didn’t just stop at good teaching, and a moral life. Jesus had the audacity to say that he was the ONLY way to having a relationship with God.
Why is Jesus the only way to God? Why not other religions, or being a good person? Because Jesus was the only way God made for us to have relationship with Him. We’ve all sinned. We’ve come up short against God’s standard. The Bible tells us that the punishment for that sin is death and separation from God. Jesus is the only way, because Jesus is the only son of God, the only person both fully man and fully God, and the only one who could pay the death penalty for humanity’s sin. God the Father sacrificed his own son so that our debt would be paid. That makes Jesus the one way to God.
Truth isn’t relative. People talk about “their truth” or “your truth” as if truth changes from one perspective to the next. But Jesus, being perfect as God’s only son, defined truth. Every word he said is true. Jesus himself is truth. The Bible calls Jesus the “Word,” meaning he is actual voice and authority of God. The Word put on flesh and bone and lived among us. So, not only are his teachings true, but he himself is truth.
As the voice of truth, he tells us that we all have sinned. He teaches that He’s the only way to God. And he reveals the brokenness of our world and how we can make a difference.
So when it comes down to my opinion or Jesus’ teachings, he is truth. If our culture’s views are in contrast to Jesus’ words, Jesus is truth. His words, his teachings, his very life are the definition of truth.
The best, most fulfilling, most satisfying life is found only in following Jesus. There are a lot of things out there that promise you a better life, better friends, better relationships, more fun, and more success. In the end, many of these things leave us empty and dissatisfied. Jesus said he came to give life, and life to the full!
Jesus never promised his followers that life would be perfect or easy. In fact, he said we’d have troubles in this life. But when we follow his teachings and live our lives completely for him, there is a joy, a peace, a satisfaction that is so fulfilling, it can get us through even the tough spots.
WHY SHOULD JESUS MATTER TO ME?
Look around at this broken world. It wasn’t always this way. God intended for us to have a relationship with Him. But our sin separated us from God. Jesus knew no sin and willingly gave his life as a sacrifice to pay our debt of sin. But the story doesn’t end there. Jesus rose from the dead, conquering death and sin once and for all. It’s because of his victory over sin and death, that our debt has been paid and we can once again experience a relationship with the Living God.
Having a relationship with God, through Jesus, is the fulfillment of the longing in our hearts. He brings love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, gentleness, and self-control. He guides us in truth. His Spirit helps us live a life that represents Him. This life is the fullest life possible. And on top of all we experience by knowing Jesus in this life, we also receive eternity with Him in Heaven.
HOW DO I BEGIN A RELATIONSHIP WITH JESUS?
According to the Bible, in the book of Romans, chapter 10 and verse 9: “If you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved.” You can begin today by saying the prayer listed below (believe in your heart), and let someone know that you chose to begin a relationship with Jesus today (confess with your mouth). Then, get connected with a Bible-believing church that will help you connect with other believers and encourage you in your new faith.
If you’d like to pray to receive Jesus and begin following Him today, pray this prayer:
“Jesus, I believe You are the Son of God. I believe that you came to earth, lived a perfect life and died on a cross so that I could have eternal life. Please forgive all my sins. I want to follow You with my whole life now. Please fill me with Your Holy Spirit and direct my steps. In Jesus’ name, Amen.”
If you prayed that prayer, tell someone about it. Share what led you to this decision, and why you chose to begin a relationship with Jesus. You don’t have to have all the answers, just share your experience. If you’d like to share your decision with someone at Horizon who can help you with your next steps, please contact us right away!
Now that you’ve chosen to follow Jesus, it’s really important that you get connected with other Christ followers who will encourage you and help you grow in your faith. When you join us at church this Sunday, we’d love to meet you. Drop by the Next Steps table or talk to one of our pastors or volunteers. Please be sure to check out our Life Groups where we meet in small groups in homes to connect, pray, and share life together. We also have resources available for you to learn more about Jesus. If you’d like, we’d love to connect you with someone to help guide you through these materials and encourage you in your new faith.
LEARN MORE ABOUT JESUS
If you want to learn more about Jesus, the Bible is the best place to start. The following are some parts of the Bible that speak of Jesus. If you want to dig deeper, we encourage you to start reading the Gospels of Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John and the book of Romans.
Also, we encourage you to visit Horizon. You can connect with pastors and leaders who will help answer your questions and get you plugged into a Life Group where you will grow to be more like Jesus as you learn more about him.
Jesus was there at the beginning of creation. One of the many names the Bible calls Jesus is “the Word.” Jesus is the literal embodiment of God. God took on human form when Jesus entered the world. John 1:1 says it this way, “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.” Verse 14 says, “So the Word became human and made his home among us.” God the Father. God the Son. God the Holy Spirit. Three in one, also known as the trinity.
We were made to be in relationship with God. When man broke that relationship by sinning, Jesus came to fix it. Jesus left heaven and became a man. He remained fully God but was then also fully man. He dealt with all the same things we do: temptation, loneliness, pain, grief, hunger. He lived perfectly, without sin, always doing what was right and remaining pure. He showed us that it is possible, with God’s help, to live for God. He is our example.
Jesus paid the price for our sins, so Satan, the enemy of our souls, has no power over us. We were prisoners, but now we’re set free. Jesus lived a perfect life in this imperfect world. He willingly laid down His life, but death could not hold Him. He rose from the dead and is now with the Father in heaven, waiting for us to join Him forever. No one else did what Jesus was able to do – therefore no one else is able to give us eternal life. It is through Jesus alone that we can be saved. But it’s up to us to receive the gift.
Romans 8:34 tells us that Jesus is praying for us. God didn’t leave us unprotected in a wicked world. He will be back to rule the earth, but until that time, we are reminded in Ephesians 6:12 that we’re not fighting against mankind, we’re fighting unseen, but very real, evil forces. The good news is God has given us everything we need to live life God’s way (2 Peter 1:3.) His Word gives us examples to draw from (2 Timothy 3:16.) And Ephesians 6:11-17 tells us about the armor we have at our disposal to fight the enemy.
When Jesus returned to heaven, the Holy Spirit came to us. He lives in the hearts of those who have asked Jesus to be their Savior. An amazing thing happens as we spend time with God, He begins to change us to be more like Him. Soon we find ourselves wanting the same things God wants. That’s what the scripture means when it says he will grant us the desires of our hearts. His Spirit is within us leading us and guiding us (Isaiah 30:21.)
Many have tried living life their own way with less than stellar results. For many of us that’s what drew us to Jesus in the first place. “I can’t do this, God, help!” The good news is He’s not only willing to help, He is able to help. We get to trade burnout, disappointment and frustration for joy, hope, and peace. As we give our lives to Jesus, we can trust in His love for us. He is the same yesterday as He is today and will be forever. We can count on Him. We can trust that His Word is true. He never fails.
Jesus says we are his friends when we do the things He tells us to do. (John 15:14-15) He’s let us in on what He’s heard from the Father – think of that, we’re His confidants. When you choose to live your life for God, you can be assured that He is completely on your side, but that doesn’t mean life will be easy. In fact, Jesus told us in John 16:33, “…In the world you will have trouble, but be of good cheer, I’ve overcome the world.” What Jesus was saying was, you’re not in heaven yet. While you’re here, I’ve got things for you to do. But don’t worry, you’re not alone. I’ll be here to comfort you and help you. Just stay close to me.
Jesus not only loves you, He understands you. He knows how you were knit together in your mother’s womb. He made you the way you are for a reason. Ask Him to show you how He wants to use you. Fulfillment comes when you walk the path He’s laid out for you.
We are told to live by faith (Romans 1:17). That means we aren’t always going to see how something is going to work out. But as you journey with Jesus, you’ll gain experience to pull from — times when you could not imagine how God was going to work something out, and yet He did. Another good way to bolster your faith is by reading accounts from the Bible where God intervened on mankind’s behalf. Staying connected with other believers is a great way to hear how God has come through for others. He loves you just as much as he loves any of his children!
We are told to not stop meeting together as some are in the habit of doing (Hebrews 10:25.) That implies that our habit should be going to church. That includes congregational worship in church services and small group gatherings, like Horizon’s LIFEgroups. God knows that good things happen when His people gather together, namely He joins them. Matthew 18:20 says, “For where two or more come together in my name, there am I with them.”
When we are focusing on our problems and circumstances, we are consumed by what we see. We are “downcast” and lose hope. God has a better way. Jesus is the lifter of our heads. Look up and over your problems. When our focus is on Him, and we remember how “big” He is, our troubles begin to dim. The truth is, nothing is too difficult for God. So ask Him to give you His perspective and peace will follow.