John 3:1-7 (NIV) Now there was a Pharisee, a man named Nicodemus who was a member of the Jewish ruling council. He came to Jesus at night and said, “Rabbi, we know that you are a teacher who has come from God. For no one could perform the signs you are doing if God were not with him.” Jesus replied, “Very truly I tell you, no one can see the kingdom of God unless they are born again.” “How can someone be born when they are old?” Nicodemus asked. “Surely they cannot enter a second time into their mother’s womb to be born!” Jesus answered, “Very truly I tell you, no one can enter the kingdom of God unless they are born of water and the Spirit. Flesh gives birth to flesh, but the Spirit gives birth to spirit. You should not be surprised at my saying, ‘You must be born again.’”
Sunday night I had the awesome privilege of sharing the way of salvation with a young lady. When I asked her if she would like to ask Jesus to come into her heart, be her savior and make Him her Lord, she instantly responded, “Yes!” To hear her invite Jesus into her heart is the sweetest words I have ever heard spoken. I had asked the friend who brought her to church if she would like to pray the sinner’s prayer with her. The young lady was not certain what I was asking her to do. This has resonated in my thoughts ever since. Have we forgotten the way down the Roman Road? Nicodemus was a Pharisee. He was a very religious man who served God with his life. It was his career was among the highest Jewish rulers. Yet, in the darkness of night, he came to Jesus. The tugging on his heart too much to overcome. He had to ask Jesus what was missing. Jesus told Nicodemus, “You must be born again.”
We all experience a natural birth of water. Just before having a baby, the mother’s water will break and the baby is forced from the sanctuary of her womb into the waiting world. Of greater importance is spiritual birth, when the Spirit of the Living God makes His Home in our heart. No one can enter the Kingdom of God unless they have made their way through both of these births. Birth of flesh and birth of Spirit. Do we truly know how to be born again? Do you remember when you gave your heart to Jesus? Did you ask Him to be your Savior and Lord? I asked Jesus to be my Savior and Lord in July 1976. Though I immediately accepted Him as Savior, it would take me more than 23 years to work on the Lord part. His Grace was and is sufficient for me. It is important that we understand and know that this important step is complete in our life so we do not become deceived by religion or rites of passage that make it seem like there is some other way to God other than through His Son, Jesus Christ.
John 14:6 (NIV) Jesus answered, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.
I know a young woman who grew up in a denomination that relies heavily on their relationship with God but did not acknowledge Jesus Christ as the way to the Father. For years, she could not connect with God and couldn’t understand why? Her life was marked by many things that the “church” and “God” could not overcome. She was a good person but did not understand godliness. She was attending a funeral of a friend’s child…yes a funeral of a child…when Jesus came to her with this verse. She asked Jesus to be her Savior and made Him her Lord. The dramatic results of faith in her life are undeniable. Her family restored. She married her one true love. She has been delivered and healed of major mental illness. She has been filled with the Holy Spirit but the difference in her life was one thing…one name…that single moment when she asked Jesus Christ to be her Savior and Lord. He is the Way. He is the Only Way to be right with God the Father again. We cannot skip this valuable step even when offered an easier way.
Romans 1:20-21 (NIV) For since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualities—his eternal power and divine nature—have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that people are without excuse. For although they knew God, they neither glorified him as God nor gave thanks to him, but their thinking became futile and their foolish hearts were darkened.
Can you indulge me just for a moment? Will you walk the Roman Road with me once again? One can never be too sure that faith is secure unless you know this way and have walked it. We must acknowledge that God is the Creator of everything accepting our humble position in His Created Order according to His Plan. If there is no God or even one true God then there is no need for a Savior. We need Jesus. He is the Only Way that we can achieve right standing or righteousness with the Father. Do you believe in God?
Romans 3:22-25 (NIV) This righteousness is given through faith in Jesus Christ to all who believe. There is no difference between Jew and Gentile, for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, and all are justified freely by his grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus.
We must realize that no matter how good we are or at least try to be that we all are sinners. We have all fallen short of God’s Glorious Standard of Living and desperately need a Savior. The Grace of God given through His Son, Jesus allows us to have the same potential “just as if” we had never sinned. That is what justification is all about. Sin put a death sentence on our life. It is a debt that I cannot pay.
Romans 5:6-8 (NIV)You see, at just the right time, when we were still powerless, Christ died for the ungodly. Very rarely will anyone die for a righteous person, though for a good person someone might possibly dare to die. But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.
God gave us a way to be forgiven of our sins. There is only One Way – His Name is Jesus. Has anyone thrown themselves in front of a runaway car for you? Has someone taken a bullet aimed right at you? Do you know of anyone who has given up their own life just to preserve yours? Not many people can say that of another person? Yet, Jesus did. He saw your potential and worth and died just for you. If there was not another person in this world, He still would have died for you. He showed us His Love by giving us the potential for life through His Death.
Romans 6:23 (NIV) For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.
Choosing to remain sinners will result in our death. If we repent of our sins and ask Jesus to be our Savior and Lord, we are given Eternal life. (Period) This is a definitive statement. If we turn from our sin to receive Him as Savior and honor Him as Lord by giving up our way to follow His Ways – we will live forever with Jesus. It is important not to overlook this important process. To ask Jesus to save us but not make Him our Lord shows a lack of love and intent. We want to live but not for Him if our only thought is saving ourselves. It is pursuing a lifelong relationship as Lord that establishes us as the Bride of Christ. We need a Savior. We make Him our Lord by choice.
Romans 10:9-10(NIV) If you declare with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you profess your faith and are saved.
If we confess with our mouth, you have to say it. Speak it and believe it in your heart for salvation to be relative. You cannot just whisper some words with a preacher at an altar with no intent of claiming it. Have you ever fallen in love? You tell everyone about the one who makes your heart happy. So what about the One who saved your soul releasing God’s Full Potential in your life again? If you believe, you will say it.
Romans 10:13 (NIV) “Everyone who calls on the Name of the Lord will be saved.”
We are rounding the bend and our journey down this road almost complete. Are you with me so far? Salvation is complete when we ask Jesus to be our Savior. When we decide to repent from our sins which means turning from them and choosing His Way of Life. It doesn’t mean that we will not stumble or fall along the way but it does mean that we are following Jesus. Grace is not a safety net for the world but a refuge for the righteous. Salvation is not found in serving God. It is not what happens when we come to the altar or become covered in goosebumps. The Way to God is simple and straightforward. EVERYONE who calls on the Name of the Lord will be saved. There are no other religious rites or formulas. Just call on the Name of the Lord and you will be saved.
Romans 11:36 (NIV) For from him and through him and for him are all things. To him be the glory forever! Amen.
We made it. This is the place of decision. It is the place where we determine in our hearts to make Jesus Christ Lord of our life every day. Or we can decide to continue in our own way? Have you ever asked Jesus to be your Savior and Lord? It is easy to get wrapped up in “moments” and “experiences”. Without Jesus Christ in our hearts, we can do good things but not be Children of God. You are given the Holy Spirit immediately by accepting this open invitation. He comes to live in us as evidence of our heart surrender to the Lord but it may takes days, months, and even years before spiritual fruit is produced. There is also the Baptism of Fire associated with the Holy Spirit. This is all independent of the heart changing and life giving decision to make Jesus Savior and Lord. This is the foundation of all those other things that we associate with spiritual growth and maturity. If we do not have Jesus, we have nothing at all.
John 3:16-21 (NIV) For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him. Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe stands condemned already because they have not believed in the name of God’s one and only Son. This is the verdict: Light has come into the world, but people loved darkness instead of light because their deeds were evil. Everyone who does evil hates the light, and will not come into the light for fear that their deeds will be exposed. But whoever lives by the truth comes into the light, so that it may be seen plainly that what they have done has been done in the sight of God.
I have been a believer for a long time. I was moved by the Holy Spirit to received Christ as my Savior and Lord. Over the course of my childhood, the Spirit of God inside of me kept me through many situations and protected me. As a young adult, I had a deep longing and desire to serve the Lord in full-time ministry that abruptly ended when I wandered into the wilderness. Many years went by before I rededicated my life to Jesus Christ and went on to receive the Baptism of the Holy Spirit which brought me full circle. I have experienced the instantaneous deliverance and miraculous healing of God. I have also walked it over years that seemed endless. I have seen demons rebuked from people and the Power of God come over others in some mysterious ways. In all my life, the most profound moment has been times like Sunday night to watch someone encounter the Love of Jesus for the very first time. To see their face when they realized how much God loves them and then choosing to accept His Love.
The Church is in a diversified state. Many different doctrines and ways of worshipping the Lord. Some like it fast others slow. Some long and others short, sweet and to the point. The bottom line is that there is only One Way back to God and that is His Son, Jesus. For a moment, can we stop looking at all the things that make us different and grab hold of the One who longs to make us into a vast and wonderful Kingdom? The One who died so we would all be saved and restored? His Name is Jesus. There is no other name. Do you know the Lord? Have you literally asked Him to be Your Savior and Lord? It doesn’t matter if you are a pastor, teacher, leader, usher, deacon or elder in your church today – I bind and rebuke the spirit of fear in Jesus Name. It is okay to pray it again if you are not sure but just be sure that you have called on His Great Name. Grace allows us to find the way back into His Love. We all were lost but can be saved!
Ephesians 2:8-9 (NIV) For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God— not by works, so that no one can boast.
Lord, have mercy on me for I know that I am a sinner. I believe in you, God and that Your Word is true. I believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of the Living God and that He died on the Cross so that I may be forgiven of my sins and have eternal life. I know that without Jesus in my heart my life is meaningless. I believe in my heart that you, Lord God, raised Jesus from the dead. Please Jesus forgive me for every sin that I have ever committed or done in my heart. Jesus, please come into my heart and be my Lord and Savior. I give my life to you and ask you to take control from this moment on. I do my best to live each day for you! In the Name of Jesus I pray. AMEN!