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Believing..... July 19, 2020

For I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power of salvation to everyone who believes. Romans 1:16a ESV

What does it mean to believe in Jesus? The phrase, “believe in Jesus” is often used when leading someone to know Jesus as Savior and Lord, but again .... what does it mean to believe in Jesus? You have often heard me say, “What you believe, will determine how you live,” and it is important to remember this as we answer this question. First, let me remind you what it is not. It’s not having the knowledge that God exists. The demons have a knowledge of God, and they tremble. (James 2:19) Knowledge does not give you an inside track with God. Having a knowledge of God is a starting point to believe in Jesus, but knowledge does not make you a Christian. Believing in Jesus is believing the Bible and who it reveals him to be. When you believe unto salvation, you then become a disciple that is identified as one who follows him. In fact the person who calls themselves a Christian would better describe themselves as a disciple of Jesus. The title Christian is only used three times in the Bible. (Acts 11:26..Acts 26:28 ..and 1 Peter 4:16 ) The title disciple is used over 200 times in referring to a person as a follower of their teacher. Let me give you some some important things to remember in answering what it means to believe in Jesus.

The Gospel: The word gospel means good news, and this word describes the whole purpose for which Jesus came. John the Baptist, when seeing Jesus approaching, said this, Behold the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world.” John 1:29b ESV It is imperative to believe, as taught in the Bible, that Jesus was God’s Son, born of a virgin, and that he never sinned. This is what makes the gospel the gospel- Jesus doing what we could never do by overcoming sin in the flesh and being God’s perfect Lamb to die for our sins. God so loved us that he was willing to give his own Son to die in our place so that we might live. (John 3:16) A person who believes in Jesus will not be ashamed of the gospel by which they have been saved. The person who believes will not make excuse for their sin, but will confess it and recognize it to be what it is... rebellion against the Holy God and creator of all things.

Salvation: JESUS. And there is salvation in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved. Acts 4:12 ESV The definition of salvation is this: the preservation or deliverance from harm, ruin, or loss. We are saved by God through his Son Jesus from exactly that ... harm, ruin, and loss. Sin causes all three, and only Jesus’s death, burial, and resurrection from the grave provides the wonderful truth that we are saved from all three.

Believing: Believing is not just something you say; it is something you do. It takes faith to believe God and the truth of the gospel of Jesus. I can say “I believe according to the map that highway 49 will take me from Fort Smith to Fayetteville,” but until I believe it enough to travel the road, I’ve only told you what I believe. Jesus is the vehicle and the Bible is our road map revealing the way of the gospel and salvation. However, it is when we believe by faith, that we travel the gospel road and experience salvation. It is believing in Jesus that will change your direction in life. If a person says he believes but continues to travel the road to sin, he is going in the wrong direction. Jesus will never lead someone in the way of sin but always in the way of righteousness. To believe as a disciple is to follow the path in which he leads, and it will never be in the way of sin. What you believe will determine the direction you take in life.... harm, ruin and loss.... or... the way, the truth, and the life.

Application: What direction in life are you going? If you are going in the wrong direction, how would you know? The Bible, God’s word to everyone, is the road map to heaven. If you read it, it will show you the way, but it is not until you travel it, so to speak, that you will begin your journey to your home in heaven. A person, by faith, will need to follow it as the way, not a way. Most importantly the vehicle in which we travel is Christ alone. You may not know from which point to begin, so allow me to help.

Gospel: God’s...Only...Son...Provides...Eternal...Life!!! This is where you begin—with Jesus. Jesus said concerning himself, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life, No one comes to the Father except through me.” John 14:6 ESV You will never understand the good news of the gospel until you know and believe Jesus. Jesus is not.... a way... he is... THE WAY. Seek him as the way!!!

Salvation: You recognize your need to be saved from harm, ruin, and loss caused by sin. When you recognize this, then you ask for forgiveness, repent, and place your life in God’s control to do what only He can do... Save You!!!!

Believe: This is when you don’t just know about the road, but you travel the road. It is not talking about knowing about Jesus, it is following his direction ... or better said, being his disciple. Depending upon the days, weeks, or years that God gives to you, this will be a life-long journey towards your heavenly home.

Believe in the gospel.... Believe in salvation..... BELIEVE!!!!!!

Because of His Grace ~ Pastor David