You’re here because you would like to become a disciple of Jesus. Welcome! We are so very excited for you. First I’m going to tell you a story so you know who Jesus is. Then I’ll tell you how to begin following him.
Jesus is the Son of God, who existed eternally with God the Father. God the Father and His Son, Jesus had created the world in love and had put Adam and Eve, their precious creations who were made in their very own imagine, to take charge of the earth and care for it. But then something extremely sad happened. Adam and Eve gave up their authority to take charge of the earth and handed it over to a terrible enemy, called Satan.
God promised that Adam and Eve would have a descendant who would crush the head of the enemy. So, Eve had children, and they had children, and they had children. And they were 0waiting for the Deliverer to be born who would rescue us all from the tyranny of Satan.
While they were waiting, Father God kept giving his children opportunity to learn his heart of love towards them, and also to learn that they could not fix this problem on their own. God was revealing to them that this problem was not just an external issue — Satan, and a messed up world. The problem was an internal problem — hearts full of hatred, envy, self-righteousness, and every kind of evil. God’s children promised over and over to follow him, but they over and over again resorted to murder, theft, and worship of idols. Many of them became self-righteous and thought they could fix the problem just by following their many rules that they added to God’s Law he had given to reveal his heart, but even if they could obey externally they could not fix the disease inside — the envy, contempt, self-righteousness, and hatred that inevitably spilled out time and time again in outward deeds that brought more pain to the earth.
The need for a Deliverer was absolutely dire. The eternal Son of God, Jesus, came as a human baby and was born of the Virgin Mary. He lived a perfect life — following all of the requirements of the Law in our place, and then he died on the cross to take the punishment for our sin. Jesus then rose again on the 3rd day, proving that He is triumphant over the enemy Satan, even triumphant over death itself. Now all who believe in Jesus Christ have the promise that they too will come back to life and get to reign forever in heaven with Jesus.
Of course, a huge question remains. If Jesus came and did all that — then why is there still sin in the world? Why is Satan still causing problems?
I’m sure there are many answers to this, but the one I am going to focus on now brings us full circle with how the story began. God created this earth and wanted mankind to take charge of it and take care of it. Jesus didn’t just whip in here and zap everything into order and then beam us all up to heaven because then none of us would learn how to do the very thing we were all created for from the very beginning — to reign over the earth. So when Jesus came, although he is God, and he was STILL fully God during his ministry on earth, he chose to live like we would. He walked around on two feet, got hot and thirsty, cried, became severely hungry, took naps, became tempted by Satan, and experienced the deaths of close family members and friends. But during his entire life he was showing us how, as regular human beings with earthly limitations, we could literally walk on water, feed 5000 with 1 little boy’s lunch, calm a storm, heal people of diseases, and deliver people from demons — all in the power of the same Holy Spirit who lives inside of all of those who believe in Jesus. In short, Jesus was teaching us how to battle against the enemy and take charge over the earth again. Jesus is now working through his body — the Church (those of us who are disciples of Jesus) to bring all of his enemies under his feet. We get to be a part of that. And then someday, after all his enemies are completely defeated, Jesus is going to literally bring heaven down to earth. We’ll reign with Jesus over earth and heaven will be here. So being a disciple of Jesus is learning to follow him day after day, learning how to fight spiritual battles with him beside us and before us and within us, and learning how to reign here on earth with him. It’s an extremely exciting thing to be a part of — absolutely nothing compares!
So that’s the story. The question is, how do you be a part of it? And, what about the problem inside of us all that I talked about? How do we take care of that?
“The righteousness of God through faith in Jesus Christ for all who believe. For there is no distinction; for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, and are justified by his grace as a gift through the redemption that in in Christ Jesus, whom God put forward as a propitiation by his blood, to be received by faith.” (Romans 3:22-25a)
After Adam and Eve fell in the Garden of Eden, all mankind is born with this sin in our hearts that hurts ourselves, hurts those around us, and hurts the earth. And no matter how hard we try, we can’t get rid of it on our own. We really need righteousness. God actually GIVES us his righteousness as a gift! It’s incredible! The way we access this promise is through faith in Jesus Christ — it’s a promise for all who believe. This salvation is a gift of pure grace from God — it is not something we earn. If you believe that Jesus the Messiah is God and therefore Lord of your life, died on the cross to pay for your sins, gives you his righteousness, and came back to life, then this promise is for you. God has forgiven you of your sins and declares you justified or “not guilty”. It’s a gift for you.
What’s next? Following Jesus is a lifelong commitment, and it’s something that we grow in every day. Every single day is an opportunity to practice living life in his strength and power, practice being alive towards him and dead towards sin, practice learning how to hear him and learn his heart, and practice how to fight spiritual battles beside him. It’s an amazing adventure!
You’ll want to surround yourself with other people who love Jesus too and are deeply committed to following him. They’ll keep you focused on what’s most important. You will especially need that in these crazy days. It may feel easy to get distracted with all that is going on, so you need good friends to keep your eyes on Jesus and help you remember to keep asking what HE’S doing rather than being afraid by what the enemy may be trying to do. One thing that is absolutely crucial is to get yourself a Bible and read it daily. In fact, in Joshua which is a physical picture of how to do spiritual battles (now we fight NOT with flesh and blood but with spiritual forces), God told Joshua when he was getting ready to start an epic battle to meditate on God’s Word every morning and every evening in order to have good success. It’s that important! (Check out 3 Lessons About Spiritual Warfare from Joshua 1 to learn more). Genesis and then Exodus is a good place to start, because that gives you the beginning of the story. Another really good book in the Bible to read is the Gospel of John. It’s a detailed account of Jesus’ life and teachings, and it has simple concepts to understand (but then again, the simple concepts have incredible depth so you’ll get to keep discovering more throughout your entire life!). The Bible Project is a really good way to start learning truths about God and his Word. https://www.youtube.com/user/jointhebibleproject
If you’ve just believed in Jesus and are now a disciple of his, congratulations! You’re part of the family — a child of the Father, brother to Jesus, and you have many brothers and sisters in Jesus. We love you and we are so very glad you are here! Please leave us a comment and let us know about this exciting time in your life so we can be praying for you.
In “Three Lessons in Spiritual Warfare from Joshua 1”, we talked about how crucial it is to know the Father’s heart before entering warfare. Since we are fighting the battle that he has already won, of course it is imperative that we know what things are on the Father’s heart and go after those things. … Continue reading Don’t Back Down
When we watch the news and consider what is going on around us, it is easy to start feeling fearful. That fear leads us to look for “good guys” and “bad guys” that we can either trust in or blame so that we can regain some inner peace. It’s so easy to fall into the … Continue reading To Those Who Go Down to Egypt for Help and Rely on Horses
We owe it to the generations coming after us to do everything we can to leave them a world that is more like heaven than the world we inherited. Sometimes by looking at the news, it feels like that is not happening. I’m here to give perspective on the big picture view of what is … Continue reading Three Lessons in Spiritual Warfare from Joshua 1
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