“Do I Really Know Christ Jesus?”
“Do not let your hearts be troubled. Trust in God; trust also in me. In my Father’s house are many rooms; if it were not so, I would have told you. I am going there to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with me that you also may be where I am. You know the way to the place where I am going.” Thomas said to him, “Lord, we don’t know where you are going, so how can we know the way?” Jesus answered, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me. If you really knew me, you would know my Father as well. From now on, you do know him.” John 14:1-7
When Gina and I were called to be full time missionaries in the USA, I was asked to preach the next Sunday after we joined a Baptist church that God used to sponsor a church plant for Filipinos. I gave my testimony of my conversion and the religious background where we came from. After the service someone approached me to say, “I thought Catholics are Christians.” When one is ignorant of the beliefs of the different religious groups, we can be misled in believing that they too have the same faith as Christians. If you ask a Filipino what is their religion most likely they will say I am a Catholic. They identify themselves with the religion they follow but not on whom they believe. A true Christian will identify himself with Christ as Christians. I believe God is drawing and will draw many Catholics to Christ but not until they are confronted with the sins that they need to repent of especially the sins that are in direct offense to God. The first two of the Ten Commandments which prohibits having other gods like Mary and the saints and the second commandment which is the making of idols to represent Jesus. God gave Moses the Law to be kept and obeyed by the children of Abraham after they entered into a covenant with God. However, they could not keep the law and remain faithful to the covenant. God knew they would fail so He provided the solution. He promised through the prophet Jeremiah that He will send a mediator of a new covenant. “The time is coming,” declares the Lord, “when I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel and with the house of Judah. It will not be like the covenant I made with their forefathers when I took them by the hand to lead them out of Egypt, because they broke my covenant, though I was a husband to them” declares the Lord. “This is the covenant I will make with the house of Israel after that time,” declares the Lord. I will put my law in their minds and write them on their hearts. I will be their God, and they will be my people. No longer will a man teach his neighbor, or a man his brother, saying, ‘Know the Lord,’ because they will all know me, from the least of them to the greatest,” declares the Lord. “For I will forgive their wickedness and will remember their sins no more.” Jer. 31:31-35
Notice that this promise was for Israel and Judah. What about us Gentiles who are not descendants of Abraham? How will God forgive us? How does the law apply to us and put it in our minds and write them on our hearts just as He promised the Jews? How many of us Gentiles before we were saved knew the Law, the Ten Commandments by heart? Ask any of your Catholic friends if they know and can recite the Ten Commandments? They can name a few but does not even know where to find it in the Bible, and neither did I before I got saved. What then is the purpose of the Law to us Gentiles? Paul explained this to the Galatian Gentiles after they became Christians. “Before this faith came, we were held prisoners by the law, locked up until faith should be revealed. So the law was put in charge to lead us to Christ that we might be justified by faith. Now that faith has come, we are no longer under the supervision of the law.” Gal. 3:23-25
Is it important then to know the Law? Absolutely. How can we know what sin is if we do not know God’s law? What if you have cancer developing in your body but do not know it. Will you have a need to see a doctor? What if you went through a physical examination and the X-ray, cat-scan or RMI found that you already have cancer what then do you need? You need a cure. In the spiritual life, we have a disease that is incurable. The Bible describes this as sin, likened to leprosy. Sin makes man unclean and no unclean thing can come into the presence of a holy God. Can we do anything by ourselves to cure us of this leprosy? Nothing. Who then can heal us of this incurable disease? Jesus Christ alone, the righteous one. Jesus never sinned while the Bible declares this of all humankind. “For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.” Rom. 3:23
All is all and that’s every one of us Jews and Gentiles alike are infected with sin just like leprosy. We are all under a curse of an incurable disease. “For it is written: “Cursed is everyone who does not continue to do everything written in the Book of the Law.” Gal. 3:10b
Who is the only one who did everything written in the Book of the Law and continued to do so? Only Jesus did. And He accomplished the will of God in sending Him down to earth to redeem God’s elect and given to Him to save. “Christ redeemed us from the curse of the law by becoming a curse for us, for it is written: “Cursed is everyone who is hung on a tree.” He redeemed us in order that the blessing given to Abraham might come to the Gentiles through Christ Jesus so that by faith we might receive the promised Holy Spirit.” Gal. 3:13-14
Christ was crucified some two thousand years ago once for all and never to be repeated again. The once for all is the payment for all the sins committed in the past, present and future sins. We are redeemed by faith in the one who can take the curse from us. Faith is the action we take after believing in Jesus who said that He is the only way and the truth and the life. Faith comes from hearing the gospel message. Faith is a gift to us by the grace of God to trust in Jesus who can save us. Even to know, believe and faith in Jesus comes from God, just as He revealed it to Peter when Jesus asked him this question. “But what about you?” he asked. “Who do you say I am?” Simon Peter answered, “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.” Jesus replied, “Blessed are you Simon son of Jonah, for this was not revealed to you by man, but by my Father in heaven.” Matt. 16:15-17
This is the greatest of all blessings, to be revealed in us the Son of the living God. We cannot know Jesus until God reveals Him to us by His grace, the grace in salvation. This is the truth how one can know Jesus Christ and be saved. “For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith – and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God – not by works, so that no one can boast.” Eph. 2:8-9
This is the only way we can know Jesus, by the revelation of God. We don’t discover Him. It is God who chooses to reveal His Son to whom He chooses to give the gift of salvation. God used the apostle Paul to reveal to us Gentiles how we can know Jesus His Son and be saved by Him, just as God did to Paul. “But when God, who set me apart from birth and called me by his grace, was pleased to reveal his Son in me so that I might preach him among the Gentiles, I did not consult any man.” Gal. 1:15-16
Is this the same way you and I have come to know Jesus? How do I know that I really know Him? By the Holy Spirit who testifies about Jesus as His witness. “For you did not receive a spirit that makes you a slave again to fear, but you received the spirit of son-ship. And by him we cry, “Abba, Father.” The Spirit himself testifies with our spirit that we are God’s children.” Rom. 8:15-16
After we are drawn by God the Father to His Son and reveal Him to us as our Redeemer and Lord we believed and by faith, imparted to us by the Holy Spirit through the gospel we received Jesus as Lord. Why did we believe? “When the Gentiles heard this, they were glad and honored the word of the Lord; and all who were appointed for eternal life believed.” Acts 13:48
Let me say this that the greatest blessing to meet the greatest need in one’s life is the salvation of one’s soul from everlasting punishment in hell. One can have all the riches in the world, fame and enjoy the pleasures the world offers in the best of health but what good is that when in the end it will be spent in eternity in hell and everlasting punishment. If God has granted you salvation there is nothing more precious and important in life than these, though you may be poor and ordinary in the eyes of men. When one really knows Jesus through a personal love relationship as Lord and Master this is what Jesus says of you. “When the Gentiles heard this, they Let me say this that the greatest At that time Jesus said, “I praise you, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, because you have hidden these things from the wise and learned, and revealed them to little children. Yes, Father, for this was your good pleasure. All things have been committed to me by my Father. No one knows the Son except the Father, and no one knows the Father except the Son and those to whom the Son chooses to reveal him.”Mat. 11:25-27
At the moment God revealed His Son to you and me and we responded in repentance and by faith received Jesus Christ into our hearts, He gave us eternal life. Repentance is a prerequisite to salvation is also by the grace of God. Anyone can be sorry for sin and confess but not repentant. True and genuine repentance comes through the conviction by the Holy Spirit of sins committed against God. “When they heard this, they had no further objections and praised God, saying, “So then, God has granted even the Gentiles repentance unto life.” Acts 11:18
So then, if you and I really know the Lord Jesus Christ, how are we to be used by God in His plan of Redemption to save those He is giving to His Son? Just as Paul was used by God to preach the gospel to the Gentiles we are to do likewise. But before we can be used effectively by God this ought to be our lifetime goal. “Now this is eternal life: that they may know you, the only true God and Jesus Christ whom you have sent.” John 17:3
This is the purpose of our church, this body of Christ, “To know Christ, and to become like Him and to make Him known.” Is it then important to know whom to make Him known? Certainly. We need to seek those who are lost. Do we know who they are and where they are in their spiritual life? Some believers are not sure who are not true Christians and thus reluctant to share the gospel for fear that they are judging. Only God is the judge but we are to discern who the unbelievers are, otherwise we will not know whom to share the gospel with and be disobedient to Christ. There are those who are obvious, like the Buddhist, Muslims etc… but there are those who claim to be but are not. Jesus warned His disciples not to be deceived. The deception here is to believe the counterfeit as true Christians. Jesus said, “Many will come in my name…” So here’s how we can know them.
1. Those who have been misled into believing that they are saved because they believed and received Jesus Christ but without repentance. They believe in once saved always saved, and so use that as an excuse to go on sinning intentionally, believing that he is already saved no matter what he does. Jesus becomes a license to sin.
2. Then there are those who preach the prosperity gospel. Come to Christ and you will be blessed. The blessing is material wealth and even good health. Their testimony of being blessed with their wealth comes from the giving of the people they have misled. Evangelists who preach Christ in big crusades then receives a collection then go away with their bounty in their private jets. No wonder they are blessed.
3. Then there are those who preach the right gospel then afterwards makes them a slave again to the law. They teach that they have to maintain their salvation by keeping the law and serving the Lord otherwise they will lose it. So if one can lose his salvation, then the Jesus they believe is unable to save completely contrary to what Scriptures says, that Christ is able to save completely those who come to God through Him. This makes Jesus not only impotent but a liar for He is not true to what He promised to do. “I give them eternal life and they shall never perish.” 4. 4.
4. Then there is the teaching of the church whose founder is Peter and salvation is by baptism, confirmation, faith in God and good works. Yet no one can claim that he is sure of going to heaven that’s why prayers are still needed to get them out of purgatory. So where is the good news the gospel that saves a sinner completely from going to hell.
These then are the belief systems of what is being taught by false prophets as warned by Jesus Himself. Those who have been misled are the ones God will draw to His Son and He is inviting those who are willing to join Him in His work of redemption to tell them the good news.
In a few days it will be Thanksgiving Day, let us not forget that the greatest and highest reason to be thankful to God for this thanksgiving and not just for a day but every day is the salvation of our soul.
Do you really know Jesus?
You may be here today and the Holy Spirit is convicting you of sin to repent and drawing you to Christ, receive God’s gift of salvation through Jesus Christ. Make that step of faith by coming to Jesus. Here is the gospel that will save you.
“Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures.” 1 Cor. 15:3-4
Come to Jesus…