INTRO: When God called Moses to lead the children of Israel out of Egyptian slavery, Moses was concerned that the people would not believe God had sent him. The point of my reminding you of this is simple. It really would make a difference what the children of Israel believed about Moses! Was he the deliverer, or not? When Jesus came into this world, what would, indeed, what did, people believe about Him. From the gospels records it is evident that there was a wide range of beliefs concerning Him. More to the point, there is a wide range of beliefs about Jesus in our own time. And what people believe about Jesus determines their behavior about and toward Him. Folks, it does really matter what you believe about Jesus.
I. FROM THE GOSPEL RECORDS...
A. Some believed He was a great deceiver - Mt 27:62,63
B. Some believed He was insane - Jno 10:19,20
C. Some believed He was a good man - Jno 7:12
D. Some believed He had come to have an earthly reign - Jno 6:15
E. Some believed He was a prophet - Mt 16:13,14
F. Some believed He was the Messiah - Jno 1:40,41
II. IT REALLY DOES MATTER THAT YOU BELIEVE...
A. Jesus is Deity
1. Jno 1:1-3,14 - this is most assuredly the claim of the Bible
2. Jno 8:56-58 with Ex 3:14 - Jesus claimed that He is Deity
3. Col 2:9 - ...the fulness of the Godhead bodily(Godhead is from a word meaning Deity ... not merely Divine!)
4. if you believe anything less than this about Jesus, then He must be totally irrelevant to you ... nothing else I will say will mean much to you
B. Jesus is the only begotten Son of God
1. Jno 3:16 - some translations have omitted begotten - how sad
2. one can only wonder if the objective is to minimize Jesus Deity
3. some would have Him be divine ... but not Deity
4. the text, however, is so very clear - only begotten is truly there!
5. Lk 1:34,35 - the language is unambiguous ... there is no human father
6. Gal 4:4,5 - ...God sent forth his Son...
C. Jesus did perform incredible miracles
1. Jno 20:30,31 - the miracles were a declaration of His Sonship
2. Acts 2:22 - the miracles were not hidden, not secret, not questionable
3. He turned water into wine; He walked on water; He healed diseases; He gave sight to the blind; He raised the dead; He stilled storms on the sea
4. even His enemies acknowledged His miracles! cf. Jno 11:47
D. Jesus is the Savior
1. Lk 2:10,11,28-32 - ...a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord
2. Mt 1:21 - ...he shall save his people from their sins
3. Jno 4:39-42 - these people had been anticipating the coming Messiah (v. 25) - and are convinced that Jesus is He ... the Saviour of the world
4. if you cannot believe this, you are depriving yourself of the only Saviour there will be - Acts 4:10-12
E. Jesus is the atoning sacrifice for sin
1. 1 Jno 4:10 - propitiation - atonement
2. Jno 1:29 with Rev 5:5,6 - the atoning sacrifice!
3. 2 Cor 5:21 - the Lamb of God bore our sins
4. but listen to Heb 10:12,26 - if you cannot believe that Jesus is the atoning sacrifice for your sins, you have not hope ... there is no other sacrifice
F. Jesus is risen - the tomb could not hold him!
1. 1 Cor 15:3-8 - eyewitnesses testified to this wonderful fact
2. the apostle does not say that it was rumored that Jesus was raised - he reports that a vast multitude of people saw Him
3. skeptics have advanced all sorts of alternative theories
4. but none of the theories holds water under scrutiny - Jesus is risen
CLOSE: It really does matter that you believe these things about Jesus. And if you believe them, you must act on your belief. In Acts 2 the risen Jesus was proclaimed to a throng of people. And they believed what they heard. But that was not enough - Acts 2:37,38. So, what did these instructed people do? Acts 2:41 - they acted on their belief in order to claim the atonement! Will you?
Cecil A. Hutson
July 10, 2005
You Must Hear the Gospel
You must hear the gospel and then understand and recognize that you are lost without Jesus Christ no matter who you are and no matter what your background is. The Bible tells us that “all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God.” (Romans 3:23) Before you can be saved, you must understand that you are lost and that the only way to be saved is by obedience to the gospel of Jesus Christ. (2 Thessalonians 1:8) Jesus said, “I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.” (John 14:6) “Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved.” (Acts 4:12) "So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God." (Romans 10:17)
You Must Believe
You must believe and have faith in God because “without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him.” (Hebrews 11:6) But neither belief alone nor faith alone is sufficient to save. (James 2:19; James 2:24; Matthew 7:21)
You Must Repent
You must repent of your sins. (Acts 3:19) But repentance alone is not enough. The so-called “Sinner’s Prayer” that you hear so much about today from denominational preachers does not appear anywhere in the Bible. Indeed, nowhere in the Bible was anyone ever told to pray the “Sinner’s Prayer” to be saved. By contrast, there are numerous examples showing that prayer alone does not save. Saul, for example, prayed following his meeting with Jesus on the road to Damascus (Acts 9:11), but Saul was still in his sins when Ananias met him three days later (Acts 22:16). Cornelius prayed to God always, and yet there was something else he needed to do to be saved (Acts 10:2, 6, 33, 48). If prayer alone did not save Saul or Cornelius, prayer alone will not save you. You must obey the gospel. (2 Thess. 1:8)
You Must Confess
You must confess that Jesus Christ is the Son of God. (Romans 10:9-10) Note that you do NOT need to make Jesus “Lord of your life.” Why? Because Jesus is already Lord of your life whether or not you have obeyed his gospel. Indeed, we obey him, not to make him Lord, but because he already is Lord. (Acts 2:36) Also, no one in the Bible was ever told to just “accept Jesus as your personal savior.” We must confess that Jesus is the Son of God, but, as with faith and repentance, confession alone does not save. (Matthew 7:21)
You Must Be Baptized
Having believed, repented, and confessed that Jesus is the Son of God, you must be baptized for the remission of your sins. (Acts 2:38) It is at this point (and not before) that your sins are forgiven. (Acts 22:16) It is impossible to proclaim the gospel of Jesus Christ without teaching the absolute necessity of baptism for salvation. (Acts 8:35-36; Romans 6:3-4; 1 Peter 3:21) Anyone who responds to the question in Acts 2:37 with an answer that contradicts Acts 2:38 is NOT proclaiming the gospel of Jesus Christ!
You Must Be Faithful Unto Death
Once you are saved, God adds you to his church and writes your name in the Book of Life. (Acts 2:47; Philippians 4:3) To continue in God’s grace, you must continue to serve God faithfully until death. Unless they remain faithful, those who are in God’s grace will fall from grace, and those whose names are in the Book of Life will have their names blotted out of that book. (Revelation 2:10; Revelation 3:5; Galatians 5:4)