I know that these messages go out to a mixed audience, each individual is at a different stage in their spiritual journey. I would not presume to know how you live your spiritual lives. Only the One who created you knows that. But, I do have some questions for you. WHO IS JESUS CHRIST TO YOU? Whenever you speak His Name, what does it represent to you personally? Is He Lord of all that your life represents, or is He just another one of your other relationships? Do you get to Him when you can because that’s the religious thing to do? Do you know Him or about Him? Where do you stand on His principles? Do you hunger for the One the Bible calls “your first love?” Revelation 2:4, or could you take Him or leave Him? I could ask a million questions, but the only one that matters is the one the Father cares about. What is your relationship with His Son? John 3:3-21 (please read)
There is a level of intimacy that Jesus desires to have with His followers that will never be found in religion or a religious experience. It will never be found by faithfully going to church/temple/synagogue or mass. It’s only found in Him, personally. Most people equate going to “church” with having a relationship with Jesus. But it’s much more than that. Some equate their vast Bible or religious knowledge, with a personal relationship with Jesus, it isn’t that either. I’ll share briefly with you what the Bible definition of a relationship with Jesus Christ looks like.
The first step toward a personal relationship with God is acknowledging His Son and the personal sacrifice He made on the cross for our redemption. The Bible teaches: Without the shedding of blood there’s no remission of sins. (Hebrews 9:22) The penalty for sin is death. We cannot redeem ourselves so God sent His Son to die in our place so we, in Christ Jesus would be redeemed: John 3:16-17. To fully grasp this text you’ll need to read from verse 1 of John 3. We must admit that we are sinners in need of a Savior. No other religion has a Savior who can redeem them satisfactorily in the eyes of Creator God. And no other religion can boast of an empty tomb! Hallelujah to the Lamb!
The next step in a personal relationship with Jesus is acceptance. You’ll need to accept His finished work. There are no acts of service that you can perform to earn your salvation or acceptance in Christ Jesus. No amount of fasting or praying, even though those things should be an outward expression of an inward change. See James 2. Here’s another misconception. Water baptism( total immersion, that’s the way Jesus did it) doesn’t save or imply a personal relationship with Jesus, even though it should. Doing works in Jesus Name doesn’t even make the cut. (See Matthew 7:21-23)
Ephesians 2:4-9-But because of His great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions; it is by grace you have been saved. And God raised us up with Christ and seated us with Him in the heavenly realms in Christ Jesus. In order that in the coming ages He might show the incomparable riches of His grace, expressed in His kindness to us in Christ Jesus. For it is by GRACE you have been saved, through faith; and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God, not by WORKS, so that no one can boast.
Accepting the fact that you cannot earn your way into heaven is a crucial step in a personal relationship with Jesus. We were all subject to God’s wrath.(Ephesians 2:3) None of us were good enough, morally or spiritually. Doesn’t matter your pedigree or lack thereof. According to Romans 3:23 “ALL have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.” Acknowledging that you had no part to play in your redemption is key. Every good thing you can do in your power equals nothing in comparison to Jesus-He did it all!
The next step to a personal relationship with Jesus is: Submission. Oh my goodness I can hear the groans. Submission to His way of living His life through submitted vessels. Jesus said these words, and I know folks are always asking “what would Jesus do?” Well this is what Jesus said He did.
John 5:19 Jesus gave them this answer: “Very truly I tell you, the Son can do nothing by Himself; He can do only what He sees His Father doing, because whatever the Father does the Son also does.” John 12:49; For I did not speak on my own, but the Father who sent Me commanded me to say all that I have spoken. Is that total submission or what? Society has warped our view of that word. Abusive relationships have further tainted our view of that word. But in Jesus Christ it’s the most liberating thing to do. Wait! Wait! I hear the Holy Spirit adding this verse in Hebrews 5:8-9- Son though He was, He learned obedience from what He suffered and once made perfect, He became the source of eternal salvation for all who obey Him.
Wait! what? He learned obedience. If God in the flesh, submitted to lowering Himself to die for a crime He didn’t commit ( Philippians 2:1-8) What’s our problem? We think submission to His will is asking too much? The problem with us is, we want Jesus/heaven on our terms. So what would/did Jesus do? He submitted. I’m telling you I didn’t understand liberation until I came to Jesus. I’ve never been more free in my life. I’m free to do whatever I want, but I don’t want to! He’s shown me a better way. My body is His temple, therefore; I can no longer use it for my own gratification. I can’t say what I want or do what I want if He’s Lord. I need permission. Jesus said “ I only say and do what I see My Father say and do.” You read it right? I’m speaking about relationship not religion.
Religion is packed with bondage disguising itself as freedom. Do this but not that, eat this but not that, go here but not there, say this but not that. Wear this but not that. Fast this way not that. Drink this but not that. Read this, not that. You can’t visit any other church they’re not a part of our denomination. I’m exhausted. I thought we were supposed to be the “BODY “ of Christ? They do all this but still, these folks have a jacked up heart whilst keeping religious rules. (Jeremiah 17:9)
Jesus said “Come unto Me, all who labor and are heavy laden and I will give you rest. Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For My yoke is easy and my burden is light.” Matthew 11:28-30
That, my friends, is submitting to FREEDOM! He was speaking to people who were being burdened by religion. Do you remember our last study of the Pharisaic spirit? Their relationship with God was based purely on works. And Jesus wanted no part of it. If you can accomplish salvation by your own effort, then the cross was pure fiction.
Listen to this: Salvation is found in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given to mankind by which we must be saved. Acts 4:12. And these verses:
Therefore God exalted Him(Jesus) to the highest place and gave Him the Name that is above every name, that at the Name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth (the dead) , and every tongue acknowledge that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father. Philippians 2:9-11. Sounds like God pretty much settled how this salvation/relationship thing should go down don’t you think?
It would require me doing another mini series to get to all the intimate details. But I’m sure you’ve gotten the picture. I’d be more than happy to discuss this topic more in depth with anyone who is desirous of moving from religion to relationship. But the main points have been covered. By an act of your will and submission to His way of doing and being, you open yourself up to a limitless supply of resources only He can provide. He’s given us His Word and His Holy Spirit, to guide us in our quest for Him. He’s left no stone unturned. He’s moved heaven and earth for just you. Yes! Jesus Christ came just for you. He’s a God who comes near. Intimacy is His first middle and last Name. He’s waiting for the whosoever will. Is that you by any chance? I pray so. Because you, my friends, according to Jesus, were worth dying for. Listen, and I’ll close with this;
Fixing our eyes on Jesus,the Pioneer and Perfecter of our faith. For the joy set before Him(we were that joy) He endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. Consider Him who endured such opposition from sinners (us), so that you will not grow weary and lose heart. Hebrews 12:2-3. Wow! Did you get that? He did that for us, not because we deserved it, but because He wanted to reconcile what was separated in the Garden. An intimate glorious fellowship with our Creator. No, He wasn’t reconciling us to religion but relationship. A relationship that is based on faith alone.
Father in the precious and highly exalted Name of Jesus. I thank you for loving me unconditionally through Your Son Jesus. I desire to transition from a life of works to a life of submission to your will for me. Your plans are so much better than anything I could desire for myself. You gave your all for me, now I give my all to you. I acknowledge You in all my ways so that you will direct my path as you promised in Proverbs 3. In Jesus Name I pray. Amen 🙏
“Whoever believes in the Son has eternal life, but whoever rejects the Son will not see life, for God’s wrath remains on them.” John 3:36
Written by permission of the Holy Spirit.