Tag Archives: Faith

“God Is Real”

   For children who grow up in church, it is very easy for them to view it as nothing more than a religion if they never see the evidence of God at work. This fact was brought home to our church in a very real, but positive, way this past week.

   Bro. Jackie and his wife were a dear couple in their seventies. After he had a stroke about a year and a half ago, they moved down from Illinois to live with their daughter. The stroke affected his speech and his mobility, causing him to be mostly confined to a motorized wheelchair and leaving his speech somewhat halting. Additionally, he was dealing with Parkinson’s disease and a number of other ailments.

   Over the last few months, Bro. Jackie had two or three close calls with death, going in and out of the hospital and nursing home.

   Sunday before last, he was able to be in church. It was always a pleasure to see him there. He had a million-watt smile and an obvious hunger for the Word of God. He was one of those people who could make a preacher hurt himself preaching.

   At the end of the service, he motored his way down to the altar and requested that I and the elders of the church pray for his healing according to James 5:14. I called the deacons to the front and we gathered around Bro. Jackie and prayed for God’s hand to raise our brother up.

   That night, Bro. Jackie slipped into a non-responsive state. Over the next three days his vital signs began to slip and it was obvious that the end was nearing. On Wednesday, about an hour before prayer meeting, he went home to be with the Lord. His family, as well as the church, felt a real sense that God had answered the prayer of faith and given him ultimate healing.

   This past Sunday, one of our young boys at church, age 11, approached his Sunday School teacher and told him he needed to be saved. This young man had been raised in church and had actually been baptized at an earlier age. When I talked to him about his decision, he shared with me that his earlier baptism had not been based upon a genuine profession of faith. He further testified that seeing Bro. Jackie come forward for prayer, and then seeing God take him home had convinced him without a doubt that God is real.

   Most of us have seen the staggering statistics about 85% of those church members who reach the age of 18 leave church, never to come back. Could it be that in their entire lifetime in church they have never seen God working in a manner that proved His reality? This is certainly not the fault of God as we know that He responds to faith.

   The answer to reaching our young people is not another program, trip, rally, camp, car wash or (dare I say it?) class. They need to see real faith in the lives of those who are older, real faith that produces real results from a real God.

   This song says it best, listen and be blessed.

What Must I Do To Be Saved?

This was the question that the Philippian jailer posed to Paul and Silas after the midnight earthquake in Acts 16:30. Their answer was short and simple, “Believe on the Lord, Jesus Christ and thou shalt be saved.”

I was asked by a fellow believer at my church recently, “What exactly do you think a person must believe in order to be saved?”

The content of saving faith has been a hot topic recently among some of the blogs that I frequent. The answers run the gamut of a broad spectrum of extremes, with many other positions between the two.

Believe on the Lord, Jesus Christ and thou shalt be saved.

There are two texts that I believe shed some light upon exactly what it is that we must believe in order to be saved:

  1. Romans 10:9-10, That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved. For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation.
  2. I Corinthians 15:1-4, Moreover, brethren, I declare unto you the gospel which I preached unto you, which also ye received, and wherein ye stand; by which also ye are saved, if ye keep in memory what I preached unto you, unless ye have believed in vain. For I delivered unto you first of all that which also received, how that Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures; and that he was buried and that he rose again the third day according to the scriptures.

Both Acts 16:31 and Romans 10:9-10 refer to Jesus as being “Lord”. This recognition of His lordship is where I believe we find the element of repentance imbedded in saving faith. This recognition is not a work of the flesh, but is indeed a “change of mind”, realizing that it is to Jesus that we are accountable and that it is He who holds the keys to eternity. He alone has the authority and the ability to provide salvation to those who believe. It is an awareness that we are a sinner, that we are not “okay” as we are and that we have a definite need to be forgiven of God.

When the angels announced His birth to the shepherds in Luke 2:11, they stated, “For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, which is Christ the Lord.”

His work as Savior was coupled with His lordship, even at His birth.

These texts also refer to Him by His name, Jesus. One must know in whom they are believing to be saved. Rom. 10:14, How then shall they call on him in whom they have not believed? and how shall they believe in him of whom they have not heard? and how shall they hear without a preacher? It is not enough to receive Him as a mere teacher or prophet, one must believe that He is the Son of God, receiving Him as the light of God come into the darkness of this world. (John 1:12)

These texts also refer to Jesus as “Christ”. There can be no salvation apart from a belief in what Jesus did as the “anointed one” to cover our sins. The Lamb of God, slain from the foundation of the world is the only worthy sacrifice for our redemption. It is only through the message of the cross that one understands their need of salvation. One must understand that they are a sinner in need of divine forgiveness and that Jesus has provided access to that forgiveness by His death, burial and resurrection.

If you are reading this post and have never put your faith in Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior, I would encourage you to take this step. Anyone who calls on the Lord will be saved. Come to Him in faith, believing that He is the Son of God and that He died and rose again to cover your sins and you can receive His gift of eternal life.