By Nathan Jones
How can one have a personal relationship with Jesus Christ?
In this "The Truth Will Set You Free" TWave Radio episode, Pastor Vic Batista of Miami's Calvary Chapel Aventura and I will evaluate 2015 so far and discuss what the Bible says we must do to make it right.
Vic Batista: Nathan, how might you share with people who don't have that hope how they can start having a relationship with Jesus Christ, even right now?
Nathan Jones: Jesus comes into our life when we accept Him as Savior. When we accept Jesus as the Son of God and repent of our sins, He in turn will forgive us for our rebellion. Rebellion is exactly what sin is. Sin isn't tangible, like you can pick it up or touch it, but it is a heart condition of rebellion against God. And, when we surrender our lives to Jesus Christ, our Savior promises to take that punishment of eternal death in Hell off of us and put it on Himself. We are free indeed when we accept Jesus as Savior.
To have a right relationship with God, all we have to do is pray from our heart something like, "Dear, Jesus, please forgive me of my sins and be my Savior."
Vic Batista: Wherever you are, even right now, you can invite the Lord to come into your heart. Then you can have that peace that surpasses all understanding. You can have the joy that other believers in Christ are experiencing today.
Nathan Jones: What a joy it is to know, what a hope it is to know, and what a comfort it is to know that Jesus Christ is coming back. The world might be tearing itself apart. Our country might be committing financial and moral suicide. Terrorists are running a muck so that we fear for our very lives, but we know that we have hope in Jesus' return at the Rapture of the Church and to live with Him forever.
This world system is so screwed up, but find comfort in knowing it will inevitably come to an end. Jesus will defeat evil and He will set up His Kingdom on this earth. And, Brothers and Sisters in Christ, we get to be part of that! First Peter 2:9 says, "For you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation a people belonging to God that you may declare the praises of Him who called you out of darkness into His wonderful light."
When we live a life without Jesus Christ, we are living in darkness. But, when we accept Jesus Christ, we can live a wonderful life full of light.
Vic Batista: I love that truth, because that's exactly what the Bible tells us in Matthew 5 over and over again. We are encouraged to be salt and light. When someone comes to know the Lord as Savior, the Holy Spirit opens up their eyes so that they can see the truth. Matthew 5:14 says:
"You are the light of the world, a city that is set on a hill cannot be hidden, nor do they light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a lampstand, and it gives light to all who are in the house. Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works and glorify your Father in heaven."
I get excited when starting out a new year by encouraging people to watch for Jesus' return and to pray for His coming. That was one of the problems with the disciples before Jesus went to the cross. He told them to pray, right, but they ended up falling asleep?
Nathan Jones: Yes, and like Jesus' first disciples, unfortunately, the daily grind of our lives can cause us to spiritually fall asleep. Our relationship with God then grows more distant and we stop going to church and we stop praying and having Christian fellowship. God seems more distant until eventually we become like an estranged spouse with the Lord. That condition is so detrimental to our spiritual health!
How can we watch and be ready for what is going on in the world, as the Bible tells us, if we are not reading the Bible? How can we grow in our relationship with Jesus Christ if we are not praying and speaking to Him regularly and reading our Bibles? How can we live a holy life if we don't know what a holy life is as the Bible teaches? So, it is extremely important that the Bible remains in place as our connection to God. A solid Christian must stay grounded in the Bible.
Vic Batista: Be like the Bereans. Take the time to dig into the Bible and study about the Lord.
Many Christians come to the end of a year and realized they've failed. Maybe you didn't reach that spiritual goal that you had set. But, there's always hope. God continually gives us new opportunities to educate and prepare ourselves to be diligent in the study of the Scriptures. That's what the Bible says in 1 Thessalonians 5, that we are to be the light, for we are not of the darkness. It is the Christian's responsibility to be Christ's light-bearers in the world.
Nathan Jones: Jesus did all the saving work on the cross. He saves us when we put our faith and trust in Him. Now is time for us to live that life of faith and hope, sharing the Gospel with other people so they too can have salvation and hope.
As bad as the world can get, remember 1 John 4:4 which says, "You dear children are from God, and overcome them because the one who is in you is greater than the one who is in the world." So, as bad as the world can get, we know that God is greater, God is stronger, He is more powerful, and when He is in our life we too can overcome the evil of this world.
Vic Batista: I love that passage, Nathan. It also reminds me of what Romans 5:8-9 says, "But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us. Much more then, having now been justified by His blood, we shall be saved from wrath through Him."
So, when it comes to God's wrath that is coming during the Tribulation, Christians can be assured that we are not going to be here to have to live through it.
Nathan Jones: Amen! Romans 8:1-2 says, "There is therefore now no condemnation," in other words, no punishment and no eternal Hell, "for those who are in Christ Jesus, because through Christ Jesus, the law of the Spirit of life set me free from the law of sin and death."
In the fourth and last part of this discussion on how to live as a Christian during this troubling 2015, we'll find our excitement!