Have YOU MET JESUS?
You've heard about Jesus. You've heard he's one of the most influential men who ever lived, but you're not sure what the big deal is. Maybe you've met somebody who claims to follow him. Maybe you've been to church before. But have you really met Jesus? Have you allowed him to speak to you on his own terms? The best way to meet Jesus is to read one of the Gospels in the Bible, especially the book of John or Mark. The Gospels present Jesus as he really is. Here, we've provided an introduction to Jesus, starting with his own words..
... I am the way (John 14.6)
One of life's biggest questions is "Why I am here?" "What's the meaning of it all?" The Bible says that these questions are natural, because we have lost our original purpose. The God who created the whole universe also created us, and he created us to be with him forever (Genesis 1-2). But we rejected God as our creator, and chose to follow our own desires (Genesis 3). This is called sin, and sin separates us from God. So the question is, how do we find our way back to God?
Jesus says "I am the way back to God." Jesus, who is the Son of God himself, made it possible for us to come back to God through his death on the cross. Jesus makes it possible to for us to restore the relationship with God we were made for. That's our purpose, and Jesus provides a way back.
Do you want to know the way to God? Meet Jesus.
... I am the truth (John 14.6)
Many of us live our lives seeking the truth. We've searched here and there and everywhere, but nothing truly satisfies. Many of us have settled on the decision that truth is relative, your truth is your truth, my truth is my truth.
Jesus, on the other hand, says "I am the truth." The Bible says that Jesus is the "Word made flesh," (John 1.14), which means that Jesus is truth in human form. Everything that he does and everything that he says is perfect truth, because he is the perfect representation of God. Though some truth can be found in other philosophies and worldviews, all truth is tested against Jesus, who is Truth himself.
Do you want to know what is true? Meet Jesus.
... I am the life (John 14.6)
Do you feel like something is missing in your life? Maybe you enjoy what the world has to offer, but it still doesn't feel like enough? Advertisements and entertainment fill us with images of the good life, and while these things can be fun for awhile, the Bible recognizes that in the end these things are temporary and empty (see the Biblical book of Ecclesiastes for more on this).
What's missing? Jesus is missing. Jesus says "I am the life," and he says that he has come to bring life to the fullest (John 10.10). Sometimes Jesus is presented as a killjoy, but those who truly know him know that he alone can bring a fulfilling life - which makes sense, because he created it! God wants us to be everything that he made us to be, and he wants us to have that kind of life not only for this lifetime but forever! John 3.16 says that "God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him will not perish but have eternal life."
Do you want to have true and lasting life? Meet Jesus.
... The time is fulfilled, and the Kingdom of God is at hand; repent and believe in the good news (Mark 1.15)
Why did Jesus come? He came to bring the Kingdom of God through his life, death, resurrection, and ascension back to God. In other words, he came to restore what we lost when we rejected God and our relationship with God was broken. This called "the Gospel" or the good news.
What is the Good News Jesus taught?
1. God created us to be with Him
The Good News begins with God, who has always been. He has always existed, and He has always existed exactly as He is now. If this seems confusing, it's because He's beyond what anyone can fully comprehend.
In the beginning, God created everything good. There was no sickness, disease or sadness. Everything lived in harmony, and everything lived in harmony with God.
2. We rejected God and turned away from Him, and our relationship with God was broken.
Unfortunately, humanity rebelled against the God who created and loved them. Instead of listening to God, we chose to listen to his enemy Satan, who is a liar and a deceiver. Because we rejected God, sin entered into the world and into every human heart. Everything is now distorted and broken. Everyone is guilty before a perfect and holy God. We are dead in our sins and separated from God.
But wait, this sounds like bad news!
And it is, until Jesus enters the picture.
In Jesus, God provides a rescue for us.
3. God provides a rescue through Jesus Christ
From the moment humanity turned away from God, God made a plan to rescue us from our sins (Genesis 3.15). He promised that one day, a human would come to destroy evil and to restore our relationship with God. The whole Old Testament points towards this rescuer.
When the time was right, God finally provided this rescuer, and it turned out to be God himself! In Jesus Christ, the Son of God became a human in order to rescue humanity from their sin. He lived a perfect, sinless life because we couldn't. He died on the cross, taking the punishment we deserved for our sins. And then he rose from the dead, proving that death couldn't hold him, and proving that death can't hold us either if we believe in Him. Then, 40 days later, Jesus returned to heaven to resume his reign as the ruler of the universe. Right now, he is King over all things!
The life, death, resurrection and ascension of Jesus make it possible for us to restore our relationship with God. Through faith in Jesus, our sins are forgiven and we receive eternal life, to be with God forever!
4. God will fully restore all things
This life is not the end of the story. God, who created everything good in the beginning, will restore everything to be the way it was meant to be. In fact, things will be even better than we could imagine.
Jesus Christ will return again to bring a new heaven and a new earth. These new heavens and new earth will be a perfect place with no more pain or suffering or evil, and God will live with his people forever (Rev. 21.1-4). That's right - forever. If you put your hope in Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior, your life - good, fulfilling, life-as-it-was-always-meant-to-be life - will never end. This is the good news that Jesus taught!
I want this life! What should I do next?
If the good news of Jesus has spoken to you, you can receive eternal life through Jesus Christ right now! Here are your next steps:
1. Admit that you are a sinner and that you need God
The first step is to admit to God that you are a sinner. Like every other human on earth, you have chosen your own way rather than God's way. Your sin has broken your relationship with God and you cannot restore it. You need God to save you. Ask him to forgive your sins - he will! (1 John 1.9 - If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness)
2. Trust in Jesus Christ for your salvation
Jesus came into the world to save sinners - and he wants to save you! All you need to do to receive this salvation is put your trust in him - trust that he died to pay for your sins, that he is risen from the dead, and that he lives right now, ruling over the universe! He has done all of these things to restore your relationship with God. Turn to him.
3. Accept that salvation is a free gift from God - there's nothing you have to do to earn it!
One of the biggest lies of most religions is that we have to do something to earn our salvation, but that is not the teaching of Jesus. God offers eternal life as a free gift because of his love for you. Jesus died so that this life would be free for you - all you have to do is receive it!
4. Invite Jesus to be the Lord of your life
Receiving salvation demands that we not only recognize Jesus as our Savior, but also as the Lord. He rules over the universe, now invite him to rule over your life. When you allow Jesus to be the Lord of your life, you should expect a change - he wants you to be like him! Although this will be a life-long process, he will give you his Holy Spirit to transform you from a sinner to a saint!
5. Pray to receive Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior
If you want to take these steps, here is a simple prayer you can pray to God right now (prayer is simply talking to God):
"Lord Jesus, I need you. I admit that I am a sinner and only you can save me. Thank you for dying on the cross for my sins. I open the door of my life and receive you as my Savior and Lord. Thank you for forgiving my sins and giving me eternal life. Take control of my life - I acknowledge that you are the King of the universe, and I want you to be the King of my heart. Make me the kind of person you want me to be."
Does this prayer express the desire of your heart? If it does, pray it right now. Trust that Jesus will listen, and he will come into your life right now, as he promised.
6. Tell a Pastor or trusted Christian friend about your choice to follow Jesus
If you have taken this step of faith and prayed this prayer, let somebody know! Contact a trusted Christian friend, or you can always contact one of our Pastors, Pastor Jeff or Pastor Isaiah, and let them know so they can follow up with you. Heaven rejoices when one sinner accepts Jesus as Lord (Luke 15.7), and so will we! We look forward to hearing from you and helping you out in your new journey of faith.
7. Receive the promises of God
The moment you trust Jesus Christ, you become a child of God and his Holy Spirit begins to live inside of you. You have become a part of his story. The more you grow in your relationship with God, the more of his story you will begin to see and understand in your life. All of your sin, past and future, is forgiven, and you now find total acceptance before him. When you begin this relationship, Jesus promises to be with you through all the ups and downs and in the joys and difficulties of this life. He loves you with an everlasting, unchanging love. And not only has he promised eternal life, but he came so that you could also experience purpose, fulfillment, and freedom in this life. Praise God for what he's done in your life!