By Pastor Donald Parker
The Bible tells us in Acts 2:24 “God raised Him from the dead, freeing Him from the agony of death, because it was impossible for death to keep its hold on Him.” Do you believe that Jesus rose from the dead? How you answer this most important question determines whether or not you are truly a Christian. What does it mean to believe in the risen Savior, Jesus Christ?
Most Americans say they believe in Jesus but not everyone who claims to be a believer in Jesus Christ is a true believer. In fact, Jesus said this in Matthew 7:21, “Not everyone who calls out to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven.” What He’s saying is, not everyone who talks about heaven belongs to God’s Kingdom.
People are in one of three places regarding their belief in Jesus. They are undecided or earthly minded believers or true believers. Allow me to explain.
The undecided are those who are putting off making a decision about Jesus. Maybe they had a bad experience with someone who claimed to be a Christ follower but were not. Maybe they were raised in a home where religion was not important. Whatever the reason, they have not made a decision. This person assumes that there will be a future time when they can get right with God. I must warn you though, we are not promised tomorrow.
Earthly minded believers are those who know about Jesus but they don’t know Him in a personal way. They live self-centered lives. They do not desire to know what Jesus told us in the Bible because they want to do things their own way. They have not submitted themselves to the Lordship of Jesus Christ.
A true believer in Jesus Christ has a personal relationship with Him and they live out their belief. People who believe in the risen Savior act like it. They follow the teachings Jesus set forth in the Bible. While they are not perfect, because no one is perfect except Jesus; they believe that the risen Jesus is God’s son and they live the way He told us to. Jesus said in Matthew 7:24, “Anyone who listens to my teaching and follows it is wise, like a person who builds a house on solid rock” God created you because He loves you and He wants to have a personal relationship with you. You matter to God! The moment you confess your need for a Savior and give your life to Jesus, you begin a personal relationship with Him. Just as you devote time and energy into a relationship with a spouse or a child or a friend, you need to devote time and energy to grow your relationship with Jesus. Thru prayer, Bible study and the fellowship of other believers you will grow closer to Jesus. Colossians 2:6 “So then, just as you received Christ Jesus as Lord, continue to live your lives in him” The word “live” literally means walk, step by step, day by day. You start your personal relationship with Jesus by putting your faith in Him, and then you live your life following and trusting Him.
Jesus rose from the grave to prove who He is. He is our risen Savior! What it means to be a true believer in Jesus has nothing to do with what church you belong to. It’s not about religion. It’s about a relationship. A personal relationship with Jesus is what it means to be a true believer. What about you? Are you a true believer? You can settle this today. Just pray something like this “Father God, I confess that I am a sinner and I am in desperate need of a Savior, I believe that Jesus is Your Son, that He was crucified for my sin and that He was raised from the dead. I commit my life to You, Jesus. I want to walk with You every day for the rest of my life and spend eternity in a perfect place called Heaven.” If you sincerely prayed that simple prayer, welcome to the family of God! If you do not have a church family, we would like to invite you to join us at First Baptist Church, a place to belong.