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Today I want to speak to you about
the theme of believing Jesus.Isn’t that
what we’re called to do? Isn’t that what our faith is about?And I want to read to you from this
scripture, where one of the disciples comes to a much deeper appreciation of
who Jesus is.It’s from near the end of John’s gospel, chapter 20, verse 24.
Now Thomas (also known as Didymus), one of the Twelve,
was not with the disciples when Jesus came. So the other disciples told
him, “We have seen the Lord!” But he said to them, “Unless I see the nail marks
in his hands and put my finger where the nails were, and put my hand into his
side, I will not believe.”A week later his disciples were in the house
again, and Thomas was with them. Though the doors were locked, Jesus came and
stood among them and said, “Peace be with you!” Then he said to Thomas, “Put
your finger here; see my hands. Reach out your hand and put it into my side.
Stop doubting and believe.”
Thomas said to him, “My Lord and my
Then Jesus told him, “Because
you have seen me, you have believed;blessed are those who have not seen and yet
have believed.”Jesus performed many other signsin the presence of his disciples, which are not
recorded in this book.But these are written that you may believe that
Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God,and that by believing you may have life in his
You know, in this glorious moment for Thomas, we
see the renewal or possibly even the birth of faith.You can be sure, though Thomas had followed
Jesus for years, that from this moment on, his faith was stronger, deeper, and
more complete. His trust was now founded on a fuller comprehension on who Jesus
is. This revelation brought him joy.
This evidence of Jesus’ victory erased fear of
death and confirmed the awesome power of God at work in his Son. Thomas
believed and confessed Jesus and his life was changed eternally.
apostle John, in writing this gospel, declares it is believing in Jesus that we
have eternal life, and that this is the purpose of John’s writing.
Why is believing in Jesus so important?And what does it mean to believe in Jesus?
We’ll get a look at what that means in a few moments.But first, would you hear this beautiful song
of devotion which says,” It's so sweet to trust in Jesus” and this is sung by
Steven Chapman from his album, Deep Roots.Would you listen to it with me?
It’s sweet to trust in Jesus.It’s sweet to know that we have a
friend.And yet,why is it so important to God that we believe
in Jesus?Why is our salvation dependent
Many people believe that salvation is dependent
on works.They seem to live as though if
they just follow a few commandments and do passably well on them, that
they’llbe okay for eternal life.They believe that they only want to get what
they deserve, because they feel that they deserve a fair shot at heaven.And yet Jesus teaches that we don’t get saved
by the things we do, but by trusting in Him.That He is the source of eternal life.
Now, why is it so important to God?Jesus declares this about Himself.He says,” I am the way, the truth, and the
life”, and these three things give us some indication of why trusting in Jesus,
is such an important and necessary thing for everyone.
Jesus is the way .Jesus is the way; He’s the one that we
follow.We no longer follow a law.The law was our schoolmaster Paul says, until
Christ came.We follow Jesus.We follow His instructions.Now. some of His instructions can certainly
be codified.We each have our own way we
want to walk in. We have our own idea of what is right and wrong. Even Adam and
Eve at that first failure, were seeking to find their own knowledgeof good and evil.They wanted the knowledge of good and evil to
be theirs instead of God’s. And they went the wrong way.We also go the wrong way, and let’s face it,
most often we think we’re going the right way.We may be doing something that others consider wrong but for us in our
circumstances we think it’s right, justified.It may not be the nicest thing, but it’s the better of two evils we
sometimes say. We have all kinds of ways that we walk in, and God says those
ways lead to destruction.Yes, to
destruction!We can often see how other
peoples actions damage us and destroy us.And we can sometimes see how the things we did, hurt another person, or
caused harm to others.But what we don’t
realize is, that God who knows all things, knows that the only way to have
life.The only way to leave the path of
destruction, is to follow Jesus. Because there’s not a code that covers every
circumstance.There’s Jesus who leads us
by His Word and by His Spirit.Now some
people are happy to follow some spirit.They don’t want any words.They
don’t want any content.They just want
to follow this thing they call spirituality.Sometimes they’re speaking about nothing more than their own emotions,
or their own conscience.Sometimes
they’re thinking of the spirit of the age. The ideas of right and wrong that
have kind of filtered into them by osmosis from the environment around them.
But the spirit of God works with the testimony about Jesus.So that we know the way that we should walk
The scripture also says, and Jesus claims about
Himself, that He is the truth.The
truth.The truth is about the way we
walk.There’s atrue way to walk, and a false way to walk,
but also a truth about who we are and who God is.And Jesus being fully human, and fully
divine, tells us the truth about both humanity and God.He reveals the truth.In looking at Jesus, we see what our lives
could be.We often say to, “To err is
human, and to forgive is divine,” but Jesus is human and He does not sin.We often use our humanity as an excuse for
sin, but we need to look in a different place.It’s our sinfulness that causes us to sin.Our humanity is what we see in Jesus.And sinfulness is a denial of our humanity,
turning away from who we truly are.Sinfulness is a misunderstanding of who God is, and when we look at
Jesus, we see who God is.We see Him in
His holiness and in His love.Most of us
want to pick and choose our God.We want
to choose a nice, gentle, meek and mild God who never has anything harsh to
say.And other people want to choose a
very harsh God who has nothing but criticism for everybody.But in Jesus, we see God as He truly is.A God of love.A God of holiness. A God with the highest
standards and the greatest grace.In
fact the scriptures speak about Jesus as being full of grace and truth.
And finally, Jesus is the life.We may not realize it, but spiritually, we
start life dead.Yes, dead. Not just
spiritually injured, but dead.We need a
knew life in us.The life, the
biological life that is in us, and the life of our identity, of our soul, our
spirit, that is a temporal life.It’s a
life that has no eternal future until it is re-newed and given a new creation
through Jesus Christ.It’s not this body
that’s going to enter into eternal life.It’s a glorified body given by God.And it’s not this person unchanged at the heart. It’s going to be
someone transformed by the living work of Jesus Christ in us.In fact, Paul goes so far to say that the
life we live is not our own, but Christ lives in us, that we don’t nearly need
to live a better life, we need to receive a better life.It’s absolutely vital that we understand that
we need Jesus.We need to believe in
Him. It’s very important, and we can believe and trust in Him because He has
shown His love towards us.
And here’s a song, a very familiar song written by Joseph Scrivens, and
sung in celebration of hymns.This song is called, What a Friend We Have In Jesus.
What a friend we have in Jesus. That’s a
beautiful hymn written by a man who knew what it was to have doubt and darkness
in his life, and he found Jesus as a friend who helped him through all those
times.And that comes to the question,
of what does it mean to believe in Jesus?What does it mean to put your faith in Jesus?
So often we think of believing as just believing
that something is true.You know.You believe that the earth revolves around
the sun.O yes. I believe that.Do you believe that the sky is blue?Oh yes, I believe that. I know that. Belief
is sometimes just about knowledge in our language, and sure enough, to believe
in Jesus is knowing Him. You’ve got to know Him to believe in Him.You cannot believe in what you do not know.
You have to have some understanding about what it is you’re putting your trust
in.To believe that Jesus is Lord.To believe that Jesus is the Son of God.These are good things.In fact, one of the barriers that I find in
evangelism, especially in places that are very full with the knowledge of
Jesus, is that many people do believe that Jesus is Lord. They do believe that
He is the Son of God.They do believe
that He was born of Mary, and that He rose from the dead.They believe all these facts about
Jesus,but somethings lacking.They think that just by knowing a few facts, that
they are saved.
Scripture says, in a rather startling verse,
that the devil believes these things and trembles.Think about that.The devil knows very well that Jesus is the
Son of God.The devil knows very well
that he is eternally begotten of the Father. that He is the victor over death
and sin.The devil knows he’s
defeated.He knows all the facts of scriptures,
and yet is he saved by that knowledge?No. No, to believe purely as knowledge does not save. It needs to be
something more.Now this isn’t a modern
problem. This has been the nature of understanding faith from the
beginning.In fact, we understand that
the early church described faith in three aspects. In the aspect of
knowledge.In the aspect of trust. And
in the aspect of acceptance.And so
sometimes we’ll see the scriptures say in place of believing in Jesus, it’ll
say receive Jesus.Receiving has to do
with acceptance.And other places it
will say, put your faith in Jesus.And
faith has to do with trusting.Now we
can’t trust what we don’t know, but we can know something and not trust it.
People know who their leaders are in government, but there are certainly people
who don’t trust those leaders in government.There are who know the environment around them, but they’re scared or
paranoid about that environment because they feel that something’s out of
place.We can know things and not trust
in those things.
There was an illustration of a tightrope walker
who walked across a high line, and he went across and back and forth, and the
people were really pleased with his performance. And then he got a wheel barrow
and he wheeled the wheelbarrow across the line and everybody clapped and
applauded for him.And then he put about
200 pounds of stuff into the wheelbarrow, and wheeled that across the line, and
everybody applauded for that.And then
he said, “Do you believe that I could carry a person across this line in this
wheel barrow?”, and the people said, “Yes we can see that you can do anything.”
Well, then he said, “ Jump in the wheelbarrow”.Do you think anybody did?They
had a knowledge but they didn’t have a trust, and frankly I’m not sure I would
have jumped into that wheelbarrow either.
But the question is, knowing what you know about
Jesus, do you trust Him? Are you willing to let Him teach you how to walk,
instead of walking in your own way.To
believe in Him as Lord, means believing that He has the right to direct your
life.There’s a song I love that says,
Yes Lord, Yes Lord, Yes, Yes Lord.But
you know, it would be so odd to hear a song say no lord, no lord, no, no Lord.You can’t say no to a Lord.The Lord that you accept as Lord, is the Lord
that you actually follow.And Jesus says
this over and over again in His teachings.Like the teaching of the two men who build houses, one on rock and one
on sand. And He says the foolish man who built his house on sand and whose
house was washed away, was the man who heard what Jesus had to say, thought it
was wise, but didn’t put it into practice. He didn’t actually trust in
Jesus.He didn’t actually trust that
these words were right and true and worth doing.Now we aren’t saved by our works.But trust leads us to do the things that
Jesus calls us to do.If we find
ourselves not doing the things Jesus calls us to do, then we need to learn to
trust Him more. We need to pray that we wouldtrust Him more.We need to come
before Him humbly, and confess that we need to trust Him more.
Finally, Faith is about receiving and accepting
Jesus.And that’s even more than just
acceptance.Faith is rejoicing in
Jesus.Being glad that Jesus is
Lord.Listen to Thomas’s words as He
exclaims,” my Lord and My God”, he’s filled with joy that Jesus is alive. That
He’s victor over sin and death.That He
is God Himself and he’s standing in the presence of the awesome glory.That’s rejoicing.To know that Jesus has called us to a new
life, even though that life may sometimes be hard, is a cause for rejoicing for
Well, that’s the beginning of what it is to
trust in Jesus, and as we grow in trust we grow in the knowledge of Jesus, we
grow in trusting Him more, and we grow in joy as we rejoice in Him.
Let’s pray together that we might trust Him
Almighty God, teach us to trust you.Let us put our full faith in you.Lord, for those who have never put their faith in you
before, Lord we ask that you would come and accept their faith in you.Give them faith and receive them into your
eternal life and your kingdom.And for
us who havebelieved you before, we pray
that we might trust you more. We pray this in Jesus name, Amen.
- Rev. Brian
Andrew's ChristianCommunity, Rockland,
This talk is a shortened version
of a sermon I gave at the church I serve at, Church of the Messiah. I am
preaching through all of the Gospel of Luke. The series is entitled,
"Luke: Jesus for Pagans and Skeptics."
15 When one of those who reclined at table with him
heard these things, he said to him, “Blessed is everyone who will eat bread in
the kingdom of God!” 16 But he said to him, “A man once gave a
great banquet and invited many. 17 And at the time for the
banquet he sent his servant[a] to say
to those who had been invited, ‘Come, for everything is now ready.’ 18 But
they all alike began to make excuses. The first said to him, ‘I have bought a
field, and I must go out and see it. Please have me excused.’ 19 And
another said, ‘I have bought five yoke of oxen, and I go to examine them.
Please have me excused.’ 20 And another said, ‘I have married a
wife, and therefore I cannot come.’ 21 So the servant came and
reported these things to his master. Then the master of the house became angry
and said to his servant, ‘Go out quickly to the streets and lanes of the city,
and bring in the poor and crippled and blind and lame.’ 22 And
the servant said, ‘Sir, what you commanded has been done, and still there is
room.’ 23 And the master said to the servant, ‘Go out to the
highways and hedges and compel people to come in, that my house may be filled. 24 For
I tell you,[b] none of
those men who were invited shall taste my banquet.’”
The Cost of Discipleship
25 Now great crowds accompanied him, and he turned and
said to them, 26 “If anyone comes to me and does not hate his
own father and mother and wife and children and brothers and sisters, yes, and
even his own life, he cannot be my disciple. 27 Whoever does
not bear his own cross and come after me cannot be my disciple. 28 For
which of you, desiring to build a tower, does not first sit down and count the
cost, whether he has enough to complete it? 29 Otherwise, when
he has laid a foundation and is not able to finish, all who see it begin to
mock him, 30 saying, ‘This man began to build and was not able
to finish.’ 31 Or what king, going out to encounter another
king in war, will not sit down first and deliberate whether he is able with ten
thousand to meet him who comes against him with twenty thousand? 32 And
if not, while the other is yet a great way off, he sends a delegation and asks
for terms of peace. 33 So therefore, any one of you who does
not renounce all that he has cannot be my disciple.
Salt Without Taste Is Worthless
34 “Salt is good, but if salt has lost its taste, how
shall its saltiness be restored? 35 It is of no use either for
the soil or for the manure pile. It is thrown away. He who has ears to hear,
let him hear.”
1. The living God Himself invites
me into His presence for a feast of great food, great conversation and great
2. Only the living God can save
me. I cannot save myself - but I can damn myself.
3. Jesus' death upon the cross is
God's provision for me to become His child. To have faith in Jesus is to enter
into an eternal relationship with Him, which by grace, will change me.
4. Jesus invites me to count the
cost of trusting Him, and the cost of saying "No", AND then, after
counting the cost, He desires me to say "Yes" to Him.
The power of God, through His grace,
love and mercy comes into you … by you entering into a relationship with Jesus.
That will re-order your desires
and will re-order all of your relationships, and so, Jesus intensifies what is
involved in coming to follow Him.
thank you, so much, for Jesus. Thank you for what He did for us on the cross.
Thank you that you love us. Thank you that you call us to be in your presence
for great food, for great conversation, and for great companionship.
help us to put our trust and faith in Jesus, that He might be our Saviour and