Are You Ready to Follow Jesus?

Time is running out to make that jump!

I’m sure you all know John 3:16… “For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only son, Jesus, so that all who believe in him shall not perish, but have everlasting life.” Maybe you’re thinking, OK, Jesus saves, I get it. But what does he save me from? Where was this Savior when I needed him, and why didn’t God stop all those bad things from happening to me?

God was there, and he’s here too, with you right now. I know you’ve heard that voice inside, the one that says “Wait! Stop! Don’t do it!” But people tune it out, they choose not to listen. Many people turn their backs on God and choose to go their own way. And the terrible crimes that happen are a perfect example of someone who chose to go their own way. The truth is, God DOES hold back evil, all day long… millions horrible things that we aren’t even aware of! Satan wanted to destroy you a thousand times and a thousand ways today, before you even woke up this morning!

God doesn’t make bad things happen, that’s Satan's job. Sometimes God allows bad things to happen for his special purposes, and if we seek him, we learn how to trust him and experience the supernatural peace he gives us, even while we’re suffering. How else would we know how big and powerful our God is, if we didn't experience how hopeless something is without Him? The only way someone is capable of horrible crimes is if they deliberately, and completely, ignore God.

God is always good, and all good things come from him. God is always fair. The Bible says, “Good people pass away; the righteous often die before their time... No one seems to understand that God is protecting them from the evil to come.” (Isaiah 57:1) No one could be sad in heaven. In fact, they would be sorry for us because they’d be happy and safe in the full presence of God, and we’re still here in this sick, broken world, only seeing half the picture!

Let’s say YOU died right now. Would you go to heaven? Most people think, “Well, I’m a good person and I never killed anyone. Of course I will go to heaven!”. Romans 2:1 says: "You may think you can condemn such people, but you are just as bad, and you have no excuse! When you say they are wicked and should be punished, you are condemning yourself, for you who judge others do these very same things.".

"But I say, if you are even angry with someone, you are subject to judgment! If you call someone an idiot, you are in danger of being brought before the court. And if you curse someone, you are in danger of the fires of hell." (Matthew 5:22)

Let me ask you something: have you ever told a lie? (If you don’t say yes, you’re lying right now haha!) Of course, we all have. So what is the name for someone who tells a lie? A liar. Ever stole anything? Even one little thing… a pen or a piece of candy? A song off the internet? Took a customer from a coworker? Took credit for something great that you didn't do? OK we all have stolen something. What’s the name for someone who steals things? A thief.

Whether it was just one time, or a million times, we all did it. There will not be a scale held up to see if our good outweighs the bad... it's a ONE or a ZERO. Absolute YES or definite NO. Sincerely, by our own admission, we can confess we’ve been liars and thieves at some time in our lives! (Feeling bad? Don't leave yet, there's good news coming!)

According to God’s rules, if we break even one little part of His law, we’re guilty. Even though we didn’t commit what we consider to be a big crime, like murder, we are still guilty in some way. In order for God to be good, fair and just, he has to punish all sinners who break the rules. Romans 3:10, 16-18 says; "no one is good, not even one, destruction and misery always follow them. They don’t know where to find peace. They have no fear of God at all.". All of us will be judged after we leave this earth. So if we put our faith in our own goodness to get us into heaven, we’re in big trouble! You cannot rely on your good outweighing your bad. This is not how God judges us; this is how we judge ourselves.

Does this mean we have to start perfectly obeying the 10 Commandments? Even God knows that's impossible for us. "Obviously, the law applies to those to whom it was given, for its purpose is to keep people from having excuses, and to show that the entire world is guilty before God. For no one can ever be made right with God by doing what the law commands. The law simply shows us how sinful we are." (Romans 3:19-20)

"For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life through Christ Jesus our Lord." (Romans 6:23) It is a GIFT, meaning we cannot earn it or do anything to deserve it. He gives it freely, through Jesus. In John 14:6, Jesus says: “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one can come to the Father except through me.".

Wait a minute, nothing is free. You know the saying, "Freedom isn't free", and it's true. Here’s the good news: Jesus took your punishment for you. He was the sacrifice. He paid for your sins. It’s already been paid in full on the cross, because you are so loved and precious to him, and nothing you’ve done is going to change that. He wants all of us to be with him for eternity. So how do we get this free gift? It's this simple: believe that He died on the cross to pay that price, rose from the dead, and then commit to following Him. Will you accept this free gift?

He doesn’t force us to love and obey him because that would be slavery, not true love! God does not rejoice when the wicked perish, He would like for everyone to be saved, but He lets us choose if we want to be with him for eternity or not. Remember, this life isn’t all there is.

Have you ever wondered if religion is man made, and if many of these churches and organizations just want our money? Yes, unfortunately, some of them do. 2 Peter 2:3 says: "In their greed they will make up clever lies to get hold of your money. But God condemned them long ago, and their destruction will not be delayed." If you don't know of a trustworthy church, you can instead meet with friends to study and discuss the Bible. Do not let corruption of this world keep you from having a real relationship with the real, living Jesus.

Many people will say they’re Christian but do their actions prove it? Did you know that many people who claim to be Christians can still end up in hell? God doesn’t save people for being religious. God never saved anyone for acting like they’re perfect and pretending like they obeyed all the Ten Commandments, or for being certain that their good outweighs their bad. Was that your belief? God doesn't work that way. We can not save ourselves, it’s Jesus who saves us! If we believe Him, then we must follow Him.

Jesus says in John 15:12-17: "This is my commandment: Love each other in the same way I have loved you. There is no greater love than to lay down one’s life for one’s friends. You are my friends if you do what I command. I no longer call you slaves, because a master doesn’t confide in his slaves. Now you are my friends, since I have told you everything the Father told me. You didn’t choose me. I chose you. I appointed you to go and produce lasting fruit (kindness, forgiveness, love), so that the Father will give you whatever you ask for, using my name. This is my command: Love each other.". Remember, He chose you FIRST. You just have to say "YES" to the Lord, "Yes, and I will follow you."!

God declares us innocent the moment we put our trust in Jesus, no matter what you’ve done. It doesn’t mean we start acting perfect, it means we stop ignoring God when he says “Wait! Don’t do it!” If someone’s in a true relationship with Jesus Christ, listening to his voice and obeying his commands, it will show in their kindness and in their actions. God doesn’t give us rules to make us miserable; He gives us abundant joy and power for living, right now, in this lifetime! He helps us through it all. Hard times will come, but people who trust in Jesus have hope. True hope. We don’t pretend that bad things never happen. We suffer just as deeply as anyone, but as we suffer, our hope grows in Jesus. He gives us supernatural peace and joy even while we’re suffering. He gives us wisdom and comfort when we need it. It’s a comfort that’s so wonderful, no words can describe it. Do you want that today?

Do you want total assurance that if you died tonight, you will have peace with God and go to heaven? All you have to do is say this simple prayer from you heart:

“Dear Heavenly Father, I admit I am a sinner. Thank you for sending Jesus to die for my sins, to take MY punishment which I deserved. I believe he rose from the dead, and is alive and active today. From this day on, please help me be a true follower of Jesus. Amen!”.

If you said this prayer and meant it from your heart, you are saved! When you put your faith in Jesus, you become born again! Now get to know him by reading the Bible. A good place to start is the book of John. You can pray to God about anything, anytime you want. God speaks in many ways, sometimes through dreams, or songs that pop in your head, sometimes he speaks through a memory, or another person. Jesus is very close to you and always available whenever you need him. He is very near to those with broken hearts. No prayer is considered too dumb or too small. He’s your new best friend! It’s very important to get connected with other believers who would be happy to pray for you and encourage you. God bless you!

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