Follow Jesus

Do you know Jesus? This question is at the heart of Christianity. Yes, it is a religion; but more than this it is a relationship–a relationship with the God who created everything with a word, his son Jesus who came to rescue us from the bad things we do, and his Spirit who gives life and lives within his followers.

Below is a brief summary of the Bible’s story about Jesus, us, and our need for him. Following this you will find some more information about Jesus and what it means to be his follower.

creationThe Story of Bible–God and Us
One: In the beginning (Creation)
The Bible says in the beginning God created all things, and it was good…

God himself is all-powerful, all-knowing, infinite, perfect, pure, and good.  He created us, human beings, in his image to reflect his nature and goodness to the world around us.

People are God’s special creation.  He made us to be in perfect relationships, at peace with others and forever enjoying our friendships and families, and forever enjoying him.

Author John Piper says, “The chief end of mankind is to glorify God by enjoying him forever.”  Meaning, our purpose is to know and love God, make God known, and find true happiness in God.

See: Genesis 1-2; and “Desiring God” by John Piper

fallTwo: “Did God actually say?” (Rebellion, The Fall)
All things were good at creation, but all things did not remain good.  Genesis 3 tells the story of how corruption, decay, and death came into the world.

When God put the first humans in a beautiful garden from which to rule over and cultivate the earth in his image, he gave them one “do not” command—eat from any tree you wish, but do not eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil.  He warned if they did they would die.

They heard Satan, the enemy of God and his people, question God’s word. Then refusing to listen to God, they ate and brought into the world broken relationships, spiritual and physical death, as well as guilt and shame—judgments of a good and just God.  We call refusing God “sin.”  We sin anytime we disobey him or refuse to believe him.

The Bible says all of us have sinned, and the wages of sin is death (Romans 3:23 & 6:23).  An aspect of this death is facing the judgment of God in eternity as his enemies.

redemptionThree: Jesus died for our sins… (Rescue, Forgiveness and hope)
Since our sin causes corruption, decay, and death, and since it brings us under the judgment of God…we have a problem.  We need a way to make things right, we need forgiveness, but we cannot do this on our own (Isaiah 64:6, Ephesians 2:1-3).

Not only is God good and just, he is also merciful and loving.

John 3:16 says that God loved us enough to send his own Son, Jesus, to die on our behalf. Jesus also rose from the grave to conquer death for us.  This is the hope we have.

For our sake, God made Jesus to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.—2 Corinthians 5:21

Jesus is our salvation.  He lived the perfect life we could not and died in our place for our sin.  By faith in him and a commitment to turn from our sins (repent) and follow Jesus as Lord, we have his perfection, God forgives our sins, and we receive his Spirit.

restorationFour: All things new (Restoration, Hope for now; hope for eternity)
Our hope does not end with God’s forgiveness of our sins.  Rather this is merely the beginning.  Read Revelation 21 & 22 sometime.  God paints for us a picture of an eternity with him where there is no pain, sorrow, or death.

It is a perfect creation forever spent enjoying God, enjoy our relationships with other followers of Jesus, and reigning with him (Revelation 22:5)—all because of Jesus’ death and resurrection from the grave.

The Bible says our bodies will be raised from the dead and made perfect when Jesus returns.  And these things are not just hopes for the future, but they impact our lives today.

True followers of Jesus, anticipating the wonderful things to come, seek to make the world better and more beautiful today by using our resources and talents to honor God, to love other people, and to tell others about Jesus and his sacrifice.  (Romans 12, 1 Corinthians 12).

Conclusion: What now?
Faced with what the Bible says about God, our sin, and our need for Jesus you have a choice—either you can continue to walk in your own ways apart from Jesus, or you can turn to follow Jesus.

Jesus gives us true life and true hope for this life and for eternity to come.  When we commit to turn from our sin and follow him, he also gives us the Holy Spirit.  The Spirit lives in us bringing us all the benefits of Jesus’ death and resurrection, gifting us to serve others, and helping us honor God.

Following Jesus also means we belong to his eternal church and should belong to a local church.  So find a good church to be involved in, and talk to the pastors there about how to be a church member.

A video similar to this presentation is available via viewthestory.com

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(all images from pixabay.com)

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