People do not generally wake up one day and say, “I am going to be a follower of Jesus Christ.” However, in the course of that day, they cross paths with someone, or they experience something that introduces them to Jesus in a way they have never heard, seen, nor understood before. Many know about God but never really knew him, while others knew nothing of him, yet in both situations they came to know him as the Lord, Savior, Redeemer, Master and King of their life. What made the difference? The drawing and insight that comes only by the Holy Spirit.
The drawing is something that really cannot be described, but it happens from deep within. It is more than a feeling, and yet it is like nothing you’ve ever experienced before. It can take place in the mind, gut, heart, or however else you would try to describe the experience, but it is unique to the individual person. I have heard many testimonies over the years, and one thing I have come to understand is that it seems to be expressed in people’s lives differently, yet it is just as real in each individual person. One person will say, “I really didn’t feel anything. It was something I just knew that happened to me.” Another person might not be able to stop shouting, or weep uncontrollably. I’ve even seen some laugh with uncontrollable joy. It’s the same Jesus that they all experienced and followed that day, but just as our personalities are different, so can our experience of becoming a disciple / follower of Jesus Christ be different. The reason is that the Holy Spirit works in everyone’s life individually. That is why we call it many times a personal relationship with Jesus.
So I come to the point I would like to ask today, “Do you know him as a follower, which is personal, or do you just have a knowledge of him?” If you just have knowledge of him, I want to introduce you to a path you can follow to become….. a disciple /follower of Jesus. You may ask, “How would I know if the Holy Spirit is speaking to me and drawing me to be a follower?” Answer…. if you are interested in what I have just written perhaps you might need to stop at this point and just pray this simple prayer, “Holy Spirit, help me, show me, and reveal to me how to become a follower of Jesus.” So let us begin the walk down the path.
If you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and BELIEVE in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For with the heart one BELIEVES and is justified, and with the mouth one confesses and is saved. Romans 10:9-10 ESV
The thief on the cross did not say any fancy words. He simple said, “Jesus , remember me when you come into your kingdom.” Luke 23:42 ESV Jesus replied to him, “Truly , I say to you, today you will be with me in paradise.” Luke 23:43 ESV Where is the believing in this statement? It is in the heart, which represents life. I believe the heart is used to describe spiritual birth because we understand from a physical sense that without a heart, you cannot live. Always remember that how a person lives gives living proof of what’s in the heart. When you believe, you will live differently because the Holy Spirit will take up residence in your heart. (1 Corinthians 6:19 )
The confession of the mouth is simply what you believe, that has changed in your heart and is evident by the way you live. You believe Jesus is Lord not just over the world but over you and that God raised him from the dead. Without a death there would be no resurrection, and without resurrection there would be no life. Death is for the punishment and penalty of our sin, and resurrection is for the ultimate victory that conquers the power and effect of sin.
If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. If we say we have not sinned, we make him a liar, and his word is not in us. 1 John 1:9-10 ESV
When we believe that Jesus, God’s only Son, came into the world to die for our sins, we should be grieved, yet many are not. In fact today some might not understand they are sinning for they do not understand sin by definition as explained in the Bible. Then there are others who know but simple don’t care . You must ask, “Why did Jesus die?” Answer: as the result of the sin of disobedience in the garden by Adam and Eve. Every person after Adam and Eve has been conceived in sin except Jesus, who was conceived by the Holy Spirit. If you believe that Jesus died in your place for your sins, then you should confess your sins in repentance to God. Tell God you are sorry that your sin cost Him so much and ask for His forgiveness. Without exception we have all sinned. To say any different would be, as the verse states above, calling God a liar. When we all stand / kneel before him, that would not be what you would want your legacy from your short journey on earth to reflect.
And Peter said to them, “Repent and be baptized, everyone of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins, and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.” Acts 2:39 ESV
This would be my plea to everyone who has not yet become a follower of Jesus. Baptism will not save you, but it gives testimony of the death of the old man within you and resurrection of the new man within you. Baptism is one of the outward confessions of obedience towards God. Jesus showed us how important it was to do by being baptized himself. After He was baptized, the next three years before his crucifixion was a public ministry where he lived. When you say, “I will follow him,” let it be from where he started… being baptized.
What I have written above only scratches the surface of what it means to follow Jesus, but it is the place to start. Make it public concerning your decision to follow Christ and then follow him in baptism. If you don’t understand how to make it public, speak with me, and I will help you, for it is not difficult. Hopefully as a Christian / Follower of Christ you will do your best to utilize the teaching from above to lead others in the way of Christ. This is not a formula, as there are many other scriptures which can be used to help someone find the way of salvation and to become a follower of Jesus. Let me encourage you to be burdened for someone the way Jesus was burdened for you. He saved your life and made you to be a spokesperson to those that he still wants to save.
Because of His Grace ~ Pastor David