Your Part to Play in Salvation

One of the most common questions that I receive in relation to the Gospel of Grace, is “so you’re saying that I have nothing to do; no part to play?” – and I understand that reaction. The Gospel of Grace in Christ is completely opposite to the typical message of religion, which says that we must constantly work hard, struggle and strive to earn redemption, please God, serve Him, and even work to love Him! Whereas the Gospel of Grace testifies that Jesus has done the work, made the final sacrifice, and we simply receive what He has done as a free gift.

Having said that, I do want to address this question and clear up any confusion, because you do have a part to play… though it might not be what you expect. So join me today as we examine what your part in the Gospel of Grace in Christ, actually is.

The Backwards Mentality of Religion

I had a conversation with a gentlemen once who asked me what I did [for a job] – and I told him that I was a Gospel minister – to which he paused awkwardly, and then said “Oh, I’m not religious”. So I chuckled and said, “That’s okay neither am I!” – after that we each went our separate ways.

It wasn’t until three days later, that we met again and he said to me in a puzzled voice: “What did you mean, when you said that you weren’t religious?!”.

You see, religion is not at all the same thing, as having a relationship, a union with Christ. And sometimes I think that we use the words and say these phrases, but haven’t really stopped to consider what they mean, or what the implications of them are.

It may also surprise you to hear that a great number of Christians also do not understand these differences. And so we are going to explore this today, and look at how the mentality of religion, is actually quite backwards to the truth of the Gospel of Christ taught in the scripture. And right-away I need to mention that when I say “backwards mentality” – I am not using that term as slang for stupid or unintelligent; not at all…

What I am saying, is that there is a religious mentality among many Christians, that is actually 180 degrees opposite to what the scriptures actually teach, and what the Gospel of Christ actually says. And this is what we will be exploring (and exposing) in today’s study.

Living Through the Relationship

Most of us have heard the phrase before that “Christianity is not a religion, but a relationship”. It has become a somewhat cliché catch-phrase, or something clever and witty to say. Many people say it, many people hear it, and nod in agreement,, but their relationship is really empty on the inside of them; and I am speaking of believers when I say that. And please understand that I am not saying that in a judgmental way and certainly not in a condemning way. I am going to be completely open and honest right up-front that my intention today in this study is to encourage you in your personal relationship with Jesus and how to live every day through that relationship, because really that’s the only way to live.

I have encountered a vast number of people in my time, who will readily claim to have a personal relationship with Jesus because it is expected of them to say that. It’s the “proper Christian response” but inside they are desperately hurting and empty and their spirit is starving because they honestly don’t know how to have a personal relationship with Jesus. So, these people walk around empty, but too afraid of the ridicule of those around them to actually admit that they don’t understand, and suffer in ignorance. In many churches today, Jesus has been reduced to nothing more than a Fire Net that saves you from going to hell when you die and that is it. Yet He is so very much more, and He came to give you much more as well. He’s didn’t come to just be merely a Fire Net, He came to give you Himself, and to enable you to live through Him, and this personal relationship is what we will be studying today.

Remember the Love of God Always

When you hear the word “God” spoken, what is the first thing that comes to mind? For many, it is terms like “all powerful”, “ruler”, “judge”, “creator” and it is certainly true that God is indeed all of these things. Yet He is so much more. One of the more popular cliché statements used in our current culture is that Christianity is not about religion, but about relationship… and while that is absolutely true, for many of us, the truth of that statement is lost in our daily lives.

For many people the relationship with God does not progress beyond the basic “Christian behaviors” and rituals that most people perform because it is what they think a good Christian is supposed to do. I’ve spoken with people time and time again who are not actually living out of a true relationship with Jesus, but out of rituals and traditions that are empty and unfulfilling. And they flounder around – many of them their entire life, searching for something that they don’t even know exactly what, because they can sense something is missing but they have not made the connection, that what is missing is the foundation of a real relationship with Jesus Christ. This is what we will be studying today.

Jesus Comes to You

You may have heard it said before that Christianity is different than all the religions of the world. It is a true statement, but do you know why it is true? One of the ways that Christianity is fundamentally different is that in all the religions of the world, man is reaching for God; either through good works, or other forms of self-effort in an attempt to attain an elevated status.

This is not so with Christianity. Now unfortunately, Christianity (and the message of Jesus Christ) has been vastly misrepresented by pastors and leaders who have twisted the message into one of self-effort and works, but this is not the message that God originally gave. So today we will be exploring how in reality, it is not man that reaches for God, but how He actually reaches for us, and as we see this, it will not only strengthen our faith, but draw us closer to Him as well.

Where is Jesus?

The title of today’s study is a question… one of the most important questions to ever be asked. In Christian-circles today, you may find yourself asking this question more often than you might realize at first; but when properly utilized, this question can open our eyes to see truths that we may not otherwise see, and help guide us to where God is leading; allow me to explain…

The question “Where is Jesus?” is not signifying the departure of Jesus, but rather His absence from modern day Christianity, as utterly ironic as that may be. This absence is not because Jesus chooses to be absent, but because believers have removed Him from His role as head and center-focus of the church, and people are for-the-most-part, oblivious to it.

That’s why in this study today, we are going to be examining exactly how this phenomenon is occurring, and how we can re-center and re-focus our lives on Jesus, the one Solid Rock and Foundation upon which everything else can be built, and how this question of “Where is Jesus?” can actually save us a lot of time and problems.