Jesus: "But who do you say I am?"

Chris Bruynzeel

What follows is wordy--I recognize that.  However, being that this is the most important issue in life and eternity, I wanted to be as clear as possible without being too long.  So, I thank you for taking the time to read this and for your understanding!


The single most important decision you will ever make--indeed, with eternal consequence--is believing in and following Jesus Christ--or not.


Jesus Christ is a real Man who made a huge, unprecedented impact on the world, and continues to do so.  It seems crazy to me that a Man like Him should have this kind of influence.  


Here's why I say that... 


He was a relatively unknown Jewish carpenter from the little country of Israel which was under the domination of the Roman Empire some 2000 years ago.  His birth story sounds almost made up.  He grew up in a family of no status, in a small village. Yet, as an adult He burst on the scene for a short time. If you lived in Israel or nearby, you knew of this Man.


He taught with authority and insight, confounding the leading religious elite of the time.  He performed healings that couldn't be explained away or dismissed even by His opponents. He claimed to be long-awaited for Messiah (the Christ--annointed One, the promised King-to-come of the Jews--from the line of David, to restore the Kingdom).


The crowds flocked to Him to see if He was the Messiah.  The religious leaders came to evaluate.  Some became His devoted followers.


But this Jesus only had a three year ministry. One cut short by death on a Roman cross, being accused by the Jewish leaders and indicted by the Roman governor.


How did this happen? Was it because He was some kind of revolutionary that made the Romans uneasy? Or a heretic that incited the Jewish leaders to turn against Him?


Yes, He was revolutionary but not in a overthrow-the-government kind of way.

Yes, He made claims that the Jewish leaders called blasphemy.


His craziest claim--the one that led to His execution--was to being the Son of God--equal with God, eternally existing, and the only way to be saved.


And…here’s where He sets Himself apart from all other “religious” leaders of history. He proved He was God and the Only way for forgiveness and eternal life. He proved it several ways—by claiming to forgive sins (& doing a miracle to back up His claim—see the paralytic of Luke 5:17-26); by raising Lazarus from the dead—see John 11); and, ultimately He said He would prove He was God by rising from the dead—see Matthew 28; Mark 10:32-34; Romans 1:4; 1Cor 15:3-11; etc).


Famous author CS Lewis in his book, "Mere Christianity" said this, 

“I am trying here to prevent anyone saying the really foolish thing that people often say about Him: I’m ready to accept Jesus as a great moral teacher, but I don’t accept his claim to be God. That is the one thing we must not say. A man who was merely a man and said the sort of things Jesus said would not be a great moral teacher. He would either be a lunatic — on the level with the man who says he is a poached egg — or else he would be the Devil of Hell. You must make your choice. Either this man was, and is, the Son of God, or else a madman or something worse. You can shut him up for a fool, you can spit at him and kill him as a demon or you can fall at his feet and call him Lord and God, but let us not come with any patronizing nonsense about his being a great human teacher. He has not left that open to us. He did not intend to.”


So...the bottom line is, "Who do you say this Jesus is?"  What will you do with His claims? What do you do with this Man who changed the world?


This is critical.  Will you believe in Him and follow Him as the Lord, as the Savior, as the only Way, Truth and Life, the only way to the Father, to eternal life...or not?


If yes, praise God! Read on to know how you can be saved.


If not, please reconsider.  If you have questions or doubts, that's fine. But don't let that be an excuse to put off thinking about this.  


Please contact us--we'd love to talk and answer questions.

Simple Picture...

One-Verse Evangelism

There are many "plans" or steps to salvation.  My favorite in keeping it simple is called one-verse evangelism by the Navigators (see link) where Romans 6:23 is used to lay it all out.


For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.


First, before we look at the wonders of God's provision of salvation through Jesus Christ, let me throw out a couple caveats:


1. Knowing Who Jesus is, or praying a "formula" doesn't "save you".  It is not like buying a lifetime membership to a club where you pay the fee and get the card to get you "in."


This "salvation" is amazing in that it is free. But since He is God, He calls for all of you.  Following Him is a decision to give every area of your life to Him. It will cost you your all.  It is a whole new way of life of following, obeying, living like Jesus.


2. Salvation is only the beginning of whole new journey.   A journey of growing & changing over time--getting rid of your old sinful habits and putting on new godly ways of living and thinking.  You can't earn your way to heaven by "obeying/doing" (salvation is a free gift, accepted by faith), but if your faith is real, it will produce a real difference--fruit--in your life.  


I want to make sure that you know up-front what you are getting yourself into. This decision to follow is life-changing, both now and into eternity.


Okay...on to the essentials of Salvation.

*what follows is from the link above and modified a bit. Also, it will help to look at the accompanying illustration (words, cross, etc)


Romans 6:23 For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.


"All you need is contained in this single passage. 



Wages

How would you feel if your boss refused to pay you the wages that were due to you? The answer, of course, is that you would want justice—in this case, the wages you had worked for. Deep down, we all know that it is only right that we get what we deserve. 


Similarly, we earn “wages” from God for how we have lived our lives.

 


Sin

What do you think when you hear this word? 

Sin is more an attitude than an action. It can be either actively fighting God or as simple as excluding Him from our lives. 


Has God ever seemed far away?

If you say "Yes," well, that's one of the things sin does—it makes God seem far away. 

Sin does exactly that: creating a huge gap, chasm between God and us (see illustration)



Death

What thoughts come to mind at this word? 

Death in the Bible always means some kind of separation—in its most basic sense, separation from life. Because God is the author of life, a spiritual death simply means separation from Him.  


The consequence of separation from God is not another sort of heaven, but a place of suffering called Hell, for eternity.  This is harsh, but that is the reality laid out by Jesus Himself.  Indeed, this issue concerning Jesus has the greatest consequences. There is no decision more critical.



BUT

I love this simple conjunction--this three-letter word makes all the difference! This word is important because it means that a sharp contrast in ideas is coming. What we have just looked at is the bad news; what comes next is the truly Good News.



Gift

If wages are what a person earns, then what is a gift?

Remember that though every gift is free for the person receiving it, someone (the Giver) still has to purchase it.



of God

It is important to note that gift being highlighted in this passage is free. It is from God Himself. It's so special that no one else can give it. 


How do you feel when someone gives you a special gift?



Eternal Life

How would you define these words?

Notice the contrast (see illustration): one side of the cliff, death, with the other side, eternal life. 


What is the opposite of separation from God?



Christ Jesus

In the illustration "Jesus Christ" is written so His Name creates a bridge between the two cliffs. 


Please seriously consider this: that just as every gift has a unique giver, only Jesus Christ can give the gift of eternal life.



Trust

Notice that this word (Trust) is over the bridge in the illustration. 

A true friend is a friend you can trust. Jesus is offering to be a true friend to you. 

All you have to do is admit that you are responsible for your sin—either of fighting against God or excluding Him from your life. 


Trusting Jesus means believing that He has power to forgive us for rejecting God and that He will wash us clean from all that we have done wrong in life. 



So What?

At this point, what is your decision?  

What do you think of this gap between you and God due to your sin?

What do you think of Jesus and all that He offers? 

Do you want to start a relationship with God that will last forever?

Do you want to "cross that bridge"--the bridge being Jesus Christ--the only Way, Truth and Life? (John 14:6)


If you say "Yes," I invite you to pray a short prayer in your own words, asking Jesus to forgive you and make you new.


Let's finish this by remembering that this simple illustration shows what God is like: Someone who really cares about people—especially you. 


I invite you to read all about it in the Bible.  The Gospel of John is a great place to start. Please contact us at The Bridge Church Moorpark so we can help you along the way--answering questions, getting you plugged into a community of other followers of Jesus Christ (even if you haven't made a decision to follow Him, yet--we want to help you find answers and the forgiveness, hope and eternal life in Jesus Christ!).