Live your life in a way that proves you believe that Jesus is the Son of God.

 

The Son of God

Mark 8:29

 

It saddens me to see how far America has fallen; founded upon religious freedom and a strong belief in God – acknowledging that we have a Creator that has given us rights.  We say “In God We Trust” but that is just a worn out slogan that now makes a mockery of God.  America is a country that promotes self and self-will.  We want God to bless this nation as He has in the past but we know from Israel’s history God will not be mocked.  He will leave us to our own choices and the righteous will suffer along with the unrighteous.  The righteous was not salt and light in our generation – we lived and let live – but we can change that if we truly get serious about living for Jesus.

The disciples changed the world from a pagan, idol worshipping society to make a real difference in Human history which we have enjoyed.  If 11 faithful men can make a difference because they had been with Jesus (Acts 4:13) then we can change the world also if we are faithful and rely on Jesus.

 

We must start at the beginning and ask a basic question – Who is Jesus?

 

Jesus asked his disciples this question?

Mark 8:27  Jesus and his disciples went on to the villages around Caesarea Philippi. On the way he asked them, “Who do people say I am?” 28  They replied, “Some say John the Baptist; others say Elijah; and still others, one of the prophets.” 29  “But what about you?” he asked. “Who do you say I am?” Peter answered, “You are the Christ.”

 

Who do you say Jesus is?

The Son of God, the Son of Man, the Messiah, Emmanuel – God with us, God, the Anointed One, the King of kings and Lord of lords, my Savior and Lord

 

What do others say?   (Video – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6GxMJvxHsE8)

Jesus is: (What people on the street say)

An intelligent man like other prophets – who studied with Buddha (born 5th century BC)

A prophet, a moral leader

A historical figure

No different than Mohammad, Buddha, Allah – they are all the same person

(Hard to argue with that much ignorance)

Not a real person – he didn’t actually live or die

But had he lived it would be an important event in history

The Savior of the world

 

Did Jesus claim to be the way to Heaven?

Jesus respected Judaism and he would have respected Islam as a way to God also

A way – not the way – that would be offensive to other religions if he claimed to be the only way

 

What do you say?  Who is Jesus and is He the only way to Heaven?

Many think all religions lead to God but that is not what Jesus said – the Jewish leaders knew that and where offended.  People are offended by that today as well.  Jesus didn’t say He is the only way to offend people but to teach people the truth.  I don’t tell people Jesus is the only way to upset them and act like I am superior to them.  I just want to tell them the truth that Jesus taught.

Last week we saw that Jesus is the Bread of Life (John 6:35) that claim made Jesus’ followers grumble and turn away.  Jesus asked the twelve if they wanted to leave also.

 

John 6:68  Simon Peter answered him, “Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life. 69  We believe and know that you are the Holy One of God.”

 

Jesus claimed to be the only way and the disciples knew He was the only way and if we say anything different we would be misrepresenting Jesus.

 

John 14:6  Jesus answered, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.

 

Any person or religion who says you don’t have to accept Jesus is a liar.  It is only through Jesus, through His death, burial, and resurrection that we can enter into Heaven.  Jesus is the only way and that way is narrow.

People hate that Christians claim Jesus’ words as true.  I was teaching a married couple years ago and they asked if their Muslim friends would go to Hell?  They said they are such good people.  I gently shared that Jesus is the only way and anyone who did not accept Jesus would not be able to enter Heaven.  They were mad at me and they quit attending church.  Why?  Because I taught Jesus’ words.

Even so called Christians get confused about the fact that Jesus is the only way.  It would be easier to say that everyone will get to go to Heaven as long as they are seeking some kind of god or religion.  But that would make Jesus a liar.

 

Matthew 7:13  “Enter through the narrow gate. For wide is the gate and broad is the road that leads to destruction, and many enter through it. 14  But small is the gate and narrow the road that leads to life, and only a few find it.

 

We can’t preach a gospel of inclusiveness because Jesus said there are two ways – a narrow way that leads to life and a wide way that leads to destruction.  The narrow way is hard, you have to seek God (Jeremiah 29:13) and do His will.

 

Matthew 7:21  “Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only he who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. … 24  “Therefore everyone who hears these words of mine and puts them into practice is like a wise man who built his house on the rock.”

 

You can find plenty of religious scholars who will say Jesus is not the only way – you can find denominational churches that will teach the same thing.  But that is not what Jesus taught and that is not what the Apostles taught.

 

Acts 4:8  Then Peter, filled with the Holy Spirit, said to them: “Rulers and elders of the people! 9  If we are being called to account today for an act of kindness shown to a cripple and are asked how he was healed, 10  then know this, you and all the people of Israel: It is by the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, whom you crucified but whom God raised from the dead, that this man stands before you healed. 11  He is “‘the stone you builders rejected, which has become the capstone’. 12  Salvation is found in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given to men by which we must be saved.”

 

Jesus claimed to be God and He claimed He was the only way to the Father.  Read the Bible for yourself, be careful when people say Jesus is not God – whether it is an atheist, a cult, or a denominational church.

 

If Jesus is not God – If Jesus did not die for our sins – If Jesus did not resurrect from the grave we are wasting our time living a Christian life – you would be better off home asleep right now or still out partying.

 

Many say that even if God is not real and there is no Heaven that Christian’s have still lived a better life.

Better compared to what is my question.  The Apostle Paul says we should be pitied.

 

1 Corinthians 15:17  And if Christ has not been raised, your faith is futile; you are still in your sins. 18  Then those also who have fallen asleep in Christ are lost. 19  If only for this life we have hope in Christ, we are to be pitied more than all men.

 

If Jesus is not God was Stephen better off?  He was stoned to death (Acts 7:59).

If Jesus is not God was James better off?  He was executed (Acts 12:2).

If Jesus is not God was Paul better off?  He suffered greatly (2 Corinthians 11:23-29).

 

2 Corinthians 11:23  Are they servants of Christ? … I have worked much harder, been in prison more frequently, been flogged more severely, and been exposed to death again and again. 24  Five times I received from the Jews the forty lashes minus one. 25  Three times I was beaten with rods, once I was stoned, three times I was shipwrecked,

 

How hard have you worked for the Gospel of Jesus?

Ever been in prison or beaten for preaching the gospel?

Ever faced hardships and been in danger as you spread the gospel?

 

American Christianity is easy.  Maybe too easy and as a result we get lazy.

 

Living the Christian life is not easy and is not better than living a pagan life.  Christ calls us to surrender and follow Him.  The Christian will suffer, the Christian will sacrifice.  If you think that the Christian life is better then you are not really living the Christian life.

 

Peter understood the hardship

Luke 18:28  Peter said to him, “We have left all we had to follow you!”

 

Have you left all to follow Jesus?  If you haven’t are you really following Jesus?

 

Because Jesus is God the Christian life is better – Listen to what Jesus told Peter.

Luke 18:29  “I tell you the truth, no one who has left home or wife or brothers or parents or children for the sake of the kingdom of God 30  will fail to receive many times as much in this age and, in the age to come, eternal life.”

 

What I am trying to say is that if we claim to believe that Jesus is the Son of God then we better live what we believe.

 

If Jesus is God and He is – If Jesus did die to forgive our sins and He did – If Jesus did resurrect from the grave and He did then we are right where we must be; living for Him and worshipping Him.

 

Jesus told the disciples if they follow Him they will receive Eternal Life – we have the same promise.

 

So how do we live for Him and worship Him?  It is not just one hour on Sunday mornings, it is our whole life, 24/7/365, twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week, 365 days a year; there is no vacation from living for Jesus.  Why would we want to?

The road that does not lead to Heaven is full of destruction – who wants that?

Satan makes it seem exciting but sin destroys, rebellion causes pain – you know that first hand.

 

Romans 12:1  Therefore, I urge you, brothers, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God–this is your spiritual act of worship.

 

Jesus asks you, “Who do you say I am?”

Your answer has eternal consequences.  But it is not just what you say but how you live.

 

Right after Peter proclaims that Jesus is the Christ Jesus teaches the crowd.

 

Mark 8:34 … “If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross and follow me.

 

If you say that Jesus is the Christ the son of the living God Jesus has the same message for you.

If we believe who He is then we must deny ourselves and take up our cross.

 

Deny self and take up our cross

Too often we don’t deny ourselves

Denying ourselves means we become a servant like Jesus.

Jesus came to serve not to be served

Mark 10:42  Jesus called them together and said, …”43 Instead, whoever wants to become great among you must be your servant, 44  and whoever wants to be first must be slave of all. 45  For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.”

 

Jesus gave up His will to serve us by dying on the cross.

Luke 14:33  In the same way, any of you who does not give up everything he has cannot be my disciple.

 

We must give up self if we are a disciple of Jesus.

Galatians 2:20  I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.

 

 

What does that look like?

We can’t be ashamed of Jesus and His word no matter what names people call us or how they persecute us.

Mark 8:36  What good is it for a man to gain the whole world, yet forfeit his soul? … 38  If anyone is ashamed of me and my words in this adulterous and sinful generation, the Son of Man will be ashamed of him when he comes in his Father’s glory with the holy angels.”

 

Being a disciple of Jesus is not for your comfort and entertainment – we are to go and share the truth of Jesus with a lost and dying world.  That will be dangerous and messy.

 

Deny yourself and your wishes and pleasures and minister to others.  Coming to church for an hour is not letting Christ live in you.

 

In a very basic way denying yourself means serving others even in menial ways.  Sacrificing sleep and time and money to serve Christ’s church and His people.  Sacrificing sleep and time and money reaching out to those who do not know Him.

 

Not having time to serve the Lord means you are not denying yourself.  I don’t have time to _________.  You fill in the blank.  You don’t have time to teach a Bible class, mow the yard, or pull the weeds.

You don’t have time to send a card, make a phone call, or give a hug.

Let’s be real – for the last few years we have to beg people to help mow the church yard, beg people to teach a Sunday School class or Bible Study, we have to beg people to work at the fair tent.  WHY?

 

Because everyone is too busy not denying themselves of what they want and need to do.

It is true that 20% of the people in the church do 80% of the work.

It is also true the 20% of the people give 80% of the money to fund the ministry of the Lord’s work.

It is not much different here – that means 80% of the people aren’t even getting close to denying themselves because I know the 20% aren’t denying themselves like they could.

 

Will you look in the mirror and ask yourself a simple question.

Am I denying myself and taking up my cross to follow Jesus?

Christian you say you believe that Jesus is the Son of God

Do your actions back up your words?

 

It doesn’t matter what I think – it matters what Jesus thinks

Peter said we have left all to follow you, can you say the same thing?

You are not accountable to me – you are accountable to Jesus.

He wants us to follow Him; that is why He came and died on the cross.

 

Because of what He did for us is why we should be willing to serve Him.

Are you willing?

Maybe you first have to acknowledge that Jesus is the Son of God

Will you come and surrender your life to Him – thanking Him for saving you from your sin and preparing a room for you in Heaven?