Sunday, October 28, 2012

Christianity is not a religion……

Jesus replied, “I have already told you, and you don’t believe me. The proof is the work I do in my Father’s name.   But you don’t believe me because you are not my sheep.    My sheep listen to my voice; I know them, and they follow me.              John 10:25-27 NLT

Jesus told Nicodemus, "Except a man be born again he cannot see the Kingdom of God."

What do you mean born again?  Simply to receive Jesus Christ and allow God to make of you a new creation, born eternally into the family of God.  Nicodemus came to Jesus and he had a lot to commend, he was a religious man, he was THE teacher in Israel......THE teacher.

But Jesus looked at Nicodemus as if to say, ‘you have done everything there is to do religiously, Nicodemus, now forget it all, go back and be a baby, and be born all over.’  It wasn't enough to take another step; he had to start from the beginning.

Matthew 10:32, "Whosoever therefore shall confess Me before men, him will I confess before My Father."  If you're not willingly and openly proclaiming Christ here, then He will not openly proclaim you there.  Instead He says, "I never knew you."

Now we come to one of the most important concepts in all of Scripture, the word "know."  This is a very important concept.   What does it mean for God to know somebody and not to know someone else?  Now we know it does not mean that He's not aware of someone.  We know it does not mean He's saying I don't know who you are. Not at all, He knows who everyone is.  He's got everyone's hair on their head numbered.  He knows when a sparrow falls.  He knows everything there is to know as far as awareness is concerned.

Well then what is He saying when He says I never knew you?  II Timothy 2:19 gives us the key because it says this, "The Lord knows them that are His."

Now what does that mean?  The word "know" in Scripture implies a unique love relationship.  In Amos 3:2 God says, "Israel only have I known."  Now is Israel the only nation God knew about?   No, He knew about everyone. What was He saying? He was saying with Israel I have an intimate relationship.

We have an intimate love relationship with God, it's a fantastic thing.  And it's illustrated beautifully for us in the words of John where he points out the fantastic truth of this relationship by recording the words of Jesus; John 10:14 “I am the Good Shepherd,"  and...”I know My sheep."   

Now in your mind substitute the word “love” for every time the word "know" comes up.  I'm going to write it with the word “love” instead of the word “know”; "I am the Good Shepherd and love My sheep and they love Me.  As the Father loves Me, even so I love the Father and I lay down My life for His sheep."

 Look at verse 27, "My sheep hear My voice and I love them and they follow Me and I give unto them eternal life and they shall never perish, neither shall any man pluck them out of My hand.  My Father who gave them to Me is greater than all and no man is able to pluck them out of My hand.  I and My Father are one."

Do you see the beauty of the love relationship we have with Jesus?

Do you see the intimacy of it?

In Romans 11 the Apostle Paul says, "God has not set aside His people Israel whom He foreknew."  God has a predetermined love relationship with you if you're a Christian.  

Did you know that you were in Christ before you were ever created?  In the counsel of God it was foreordained by God's sovereign act of His will that you should be a child of God.

You have a predetermined love relationship with God, just like Israel did and does. When God says I know My sheep, when Christ says I know who you are, that means you and I have an intimate love relationship with Him.

But to those who do not have that love relationship, He says, "I never knew you." They had no such relationship as a sheep and a shepherd, as a bride and a bridegroom.

To be outside that special love relationship is to suffer for He says, "Depart from Me."  The saddest three words in the Bible.

What a tragedy.  Nothing is sadder than that.  The harsh words in Matthew 25:41 again reiterated, "Depart from Me, ye cursed, into everlasting fire prepared for the devil and his angels."

How sad it is that the final picture of judgment is a picture of sadness.  The final picture of judgment in the Bible is a tragedy, as the unbelieving of all the ages are brought before God, Jesus Christ reiterates the condition for the Kingdom, to do the will of God.

Christianity is not a formality.

Christianity in the modern term is not a religion it is a personal love relationship with Jesus Christ.

Do you have that love relationship with Jesus?



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