There are two kinds of people in the world… lost and saved. Which are you?
What’s the difference between the two?
· The difference has to do with the “sin gap”…and on which side of the divide you find yourself.
· Lost people are separated from God because of their sin…
o Lost people “have sinned and come up short of the glory of God” Romans 3:23
· Saved people have surrendered their lives to Jesus, are forgiven of their sinfulness, (bridged the gap) and are thus in relationship with God.
Why does this matter?
· It’s a matter of life and death (in this life and into eternity)
· The difference is staggering in its significance
Let me go a little deeper…
· A Saved person believes or has faith in Jesus (that’s how they get from there to here)
· The saved have surrendered their lives to Jesus.
· The saved have had their sins forgiven through Jesus death and resurrection.
· The saved are in relationship with God / adopted as children of God
· The saved have a new identity:
o The saved “…share in God’s divine nature”. 2 Peter 1:4
o filled with the Holy Spirit
· The lost do not have faith in Jesus
· The lost have NOT surrendered their lives to him
· Therefore their sins are NOT forgiven
· The lost are “…separated from the life of God…” Ephesians 4:18
Ironically most lost people do not realize they are lost…
· 75% would tell you that they have some kind of faith…some kind of identity with Jesus
o Some kind of church affiliation (most of the time marginal)
§ Catholic or Baptist or Methodist or whatever
o Some kind of “growing up” religion (heritage)
o Intellectual belief in Jesus.
o Or…just American and think that makes them Christian. It doesn’t
· Could this be you? I believe many of you are misguided, misinformed and mistaken. And that is quite dangerous because this is a matter of life and death.
Oh, and this lostness in America is actually getting worse. Especially the younger you get because of the widening of the credibility gap.
· To many the Bible, the church, faith and especially Christians are just not credible.
Side note: Back in the fall we spent a good deal of time on this and I asked us all to consider 1 person who might be lost and focus our attention on them. How are you doing with your “1”?
O.K. Let’s get back to the matter at hand…there are two kinds of people…lost and saved…which one are you?
· It’s essential you figure that out! Life and death!
We’re going to help you determine which you are and be very clear on how to cross the great divide. Here it is in a nutshell…
Everyone who calls on the name of the LORD will be saved. But how can they call on him to save them unless they believe in him? Romans 10:13 (NLT)
Here is a very simple way to say it…
To be saved you must believe.
Believe…. It’s simple …but then again it isn’t….because that word is, at best, misunderstood and trivialized and even mocked…some people even hate the thought of it.
· Some think it is equivalent to religious
· Some think it is an intellectual thing – related to doctrines – or rational truths
· Some people think it is a bad thing:
“I’d rather have a mind opened by wonder than closed by belief.”
So belief has lost its luster. Yet…there is no getting around it… belief in Jesus is a matter of life and death. It is the game changer.
So, we’re not going to mess around…we’re going to do the deepest dive we’ve ever done on the concept of belief.
· 8 straight weeks in the one book of the bible that nearly fixates on the word – the Gospel of John.
John 1 page ______
· Gospel = godspel (old English) = translated from Greek meaning the same thing.
o Good news…the life and work of Jesus and the kingdom of God.
· There are 4 gospels - Matthew, Mark and Luke which are similar in style and content and John which is very different
o Matthew, Mark and Luke are more or less the same stories written in a historical event-by-event style geared toward different audiences.
§ purpose – capture the story so the next generation never forgets
· Gospel of John is very different than the other gospel accounts
o 90% of John not found in the others
o It was written much later.
o Less about the historical story line and more about the essence of Jesus, his teachings and the essence of faith.
o Why? several generations later false teachings were starting to pop up. And people were questioning the divinity of Jesus and the need for belief in him.
· John was written by the most loved of Jesus disciples (his closest friend)
o He also wrote 3 letters… 1-3 John
o The Revelation
o Finally, his last writing … this Gospel.
· John makes no bones about why he wrote it: I wrote this “that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that by believing you may have life in his name.” John 20:31
o I wrote this biography to help you know how to believe.
So…we’re going to let John help us understand belief!
Let’s jump in…
1 In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. 2 He was in the beginning with God. 3 All things came into being through Him, and apart from Him nothing came into being that has come into being. 4 In Him was life, and the life was the Light of men. 5 The Light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not comprehend it. John 1:1-5
Note: He is working hard to clarify just who Jesus was.
10 He was in the world, and the world was made through Him, and the world did not know Him. 11 He came to His own, and those who were His own did not receive Him. 12 But as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, even to those who believe in His name, John 1:10-12
…so there it is right at the very top of his account he gets right after this key concept of belief…
But as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, even to those who believe in His name. John 1:12
You can actually reconstruct the sentence this way… As many as received Him, to those who believe in His name, He gave the right to become children of God. John 1:12
OK then…what does it mean to believe?
Now, pay attention…you need to decide if you believe in Jesus! Remember, this is a matter of life and death!
· you may “get it” today…I hope you do!
· and IF you do…there is a way to seal that deal!...you can be baptized!
Belief means to open your life to Jesus and allow him access to your soul.
· That’s the implication of “receiving him”
· Receiving is NOT like receiving a pass or a gift but more like receiving a guest!
· NOTE: Vs. 11…he came to his own and they did not “receive him” (probably a reference to how many reacted to Jesus)
When you receive someone into your home you allow them access to your most private space.
· they see your lifestyle, they see your stuff, they see your cleanliness or lack of it
· it is a form of surrender…OK…this is me!
That’s how it is with Jesus which is interesting because in the Revelation John records Jesus saying these words…'Behold, I stand at the door and knock; if anyone hears My voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and will dine with him, and he with Me. Revelation 3:20…receive me!
To believe in Jesus is to surrender your life to him.
2nd interesting description most people would not see but John’s original readers would have noticed right away. Look again at the phrase “…to those who believe in His name…” it actually says …to those who believe into his name…
· That’s strange…why? Why did John use that preposition …it doesn’t make sense especially in English.
· First – his name = his character = his life = his authority…it was an acknowledgement of buying into his authority over the one who believes.
· But why “into” …maybe this will help… VIDEO
o that was a leap of faith…of complete surrender
o it was a leap that might have cost her life…it was complete surrender.
Belief “into” is a leap into belonging and relationship and his authority … it is complete and there is no half way. It is like stepping from one reality into a completely other reality.
Are you ready for that? The time has come!
To believe in Jesus is to surrender your life to him.
· to allow him complete access – for him to enter into all of who you are
· and for you to leap into all of who he is.
The result” you will be saved.
It’s time to dive in…this is a matter of life and death…it is time to believe into Jesus!