Sunday Sermon: ‘A Personal Relationship With Jesus Christ’

Henry Blackaby says in his study, Experiencing God, – “A love relationship with God is more important than any other single factor in your life.” Why should knowing God be more important to us than anything else? Primarily because that’s why we have been created. Study the first two chapters of the first book in the Bible, the book of Genesis, and you’ll see man walking with God. Study the last two chapters in the last book in the Bible, the book of Revelation, and you’ll find men dwelling with God. And in between those important chapters are 1187 other chapters of God’s Word that reveals to us:

  • · Our sin and need of God,
  • · The way God has made for us to be restored back to our original relationship with Him,
  • · What it means to know God and daily walk with Him, and
  • · What will happen in the end to all those who don’t.

God’s goal in our salvation is to bring us to a point to where we can know Him in a real and personal way. We often speak of a ‘personal relationship’ with Jesus Christ and the reason we call it ‘personal’ is because God knows and deals with each of us on a personal basis. Jesus said in John 10 -

“… he calleth his own sheep by name, and leadeth them. My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me: And I give unto them eternal life; and they shall never perish, neither shall any man pluck them out of my hand.”

  • · He created each of us personally and unique from everyone else.
  • · Jesus died on the cross for each of us personally.
  • · The Holy Spirit speaks to us personally about our need of salvation.
  • · We have to make a personal decision as to whether or not we will receive Christ as our Savior.
  • · If we do not, we each will have to personally stand before God and give an account of the sins we have committed.
  • · When someone receives Christ and is born again, the Spirit of God comes to dwell in them personally.
  • · And our name, that new name, that was personally given to each of us by God, is recorded in the Lamb’s Book of Life.

Salvation is a personal relationship with God. The Bible says that God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that WHOSOEVER will believe in Him, should not perish but have everlasting life. (Jn 3:16) Friend, have you ever made that personal decision and received Christ as your Lord and Savior?

I want to give you three reasons why a personal relationship with Christ is important and all three reasons can be found in the book of 1 John:

1) For the Assurance of Salvation

2) For the Joy of Fellowship

3) For the Confidence for Living

1 John 1:1 That which was from the beginning, which we have heard, which we have seen with our eyes, which we have looked upon, and our hands have handled, of the Word of life; 2 (For the life was manifested, and we have seen it, and bear witness, and shew unto you that eternal life, which was with the Father, and was manifested unto us;) 3 That which we have seen and heard declare we unto you, that ye also may have fellowship with us: and truly our fellowship is with the Father, and with his Son Jesus Christ.

I. Assurance of Salvation

Can we have assurance of salvation?

1 John 5:13  These things have I written unto you that believe on the name of the Son of God; that ye may know that ye have eternal life, and that ye may believe on the name of the Son of God.

We know exactly who John was writing to and why. He was writing to those who have believed on the name of the Son of God and he wants them to know that by doing so, they have eternal life. You can’t make it any clearer than that.

The verb “know” found here is in the Greek Perfect Tense. That’s very important and let me tell you why. The Perfect Tense indicates action that is now complete and never needed to be repeated. We can know right now with sure certainty that we have eternal life. Why? Because we have believed on the name of the Son of God.

Our certainty is not based upon what we do or have accomplished. That would be an effort to obtain by salvation by works. The Bible clearly tells us

Titus 3:5 Not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to his mercy he saved us…

Ephesians 2:8-9  For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: not of works, lest any man should boast.

Our salvation is made available to us by God’s grace which we receive through our faith in the Lord Jesus Christ. The reason faith in Jesus will save us is because scripture tells us that – “Christ died for our sins.” (1 Cor 15:3) The means of receiving His forgiveness is our faith or trust in Him.

Why is Jesus so important to our assurance? The Apostle Paul wrote, “For I know whom I have believed, and am persuaded (root meaning of word faith) that he is able to keep that which I have committed unto him against that day.” (2 Tim 1:12) Paul’s confidence was not in himself, but the Lord Jesus Christ and that Jesus was able to save him and keep him saved.

Look with me once again at 1 John 1 -

1 John 1:1  That which was from the beginning, which we have heard, which we have seen with our eyes, which we have looked upon, and our hands have handled, of the Word of life; 2  (For the life was manifested, and we have seen it, and bear witness, and shew unto you that eternal life, which was with the Father, and was manifested unto us;) 3  That which we have seen and heard declare we unto you, that ye also may have fellowship with us: and truly our fellowship is with the Father, and with his Son Jesus Christ.

A. Notice that he says that Jesus is God’s Message of Eternal Life.

Jesus is the Word of Life manifested or “revealed” to us. The writer of the book of Hebrews began his great letter by declaring -

Hebrews 1:1 God, who at sundry times and in divers manners spake in time past unto the fathers by the prophets, 2  Hath in these last days spoken unto us by his Son, whom he hath appointed heir of all things, by whom also he made the worlds; 3  Who being the brightness of his glory, and the express image of his person, and upholding all things by the word of his power, when he had by himself purged our sins, sat down on the right hand of the Majesty on high;

God the Father, by sending His Son the Lord Jesus Christ to this world, has declared that we all are sinners and incapable of earning our way to heaven. By crucifying His Son on the cross, God has declared that sin must be judged. By raising His Son from the dead, God has declared that He is satisfied with Christ’s sacrifice for us. And by sending us into all the world with this gospel message, God is declaring that He so loves the world, that He gave His only begotten Son so that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life. That is quite a message. Friend, God has declared these things and He has put an exclamation point at the end of His message.

According to the writer of the book of Hebrews, Jesus has now been”appointed heir of all things”. Jesus has ‘purged’ the records clean of our sin. And Jesus is now “sitting at the right hand of the Majesty on high.” Oh my friend, don’t dare put a question mark where God has placed an exclamation point. Accept it today. Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ and thou shalt be saved!

B. Jesus is also God’s Means of Eternal Life.

John wrote – 2 …eternal life, which was with the Father, and was manifested unto us…”

Jesus is God’s means of eternal life. Romans 6:23 tells us – “For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.” Jesus said, “I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.” Peter preached in Acts 4:12, “Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved.”

Consider what Paul wrote to the Galatians -

Galatians 5:1 Stand fast therefore in the liberty wherewith Christ hath made us free, and be not entangled again with the yoke of bondage.

What was this ‘yoke of bondage’ that Paul was referring to? It was the yoke of bondage that some were trying to place on men by telling them that they had to obey the Law of Moses in order to be saved.

Galatians 5:2 Behold, I Paul say unto you, that if ye be circumcised, Christ shall profit you nothing. 3  For I testify again to every man that is circumcised, that he is a debtor to do the whole law. 4  Christ is become of no effect unto you, whosoever of you are justified by the law; ye are fallen from grace. 5  For we through the Spirit wait for the hope of righteousness by faith.

One of the most self-righteous men who ever lived was a Pharisee named Saul. Consider what he said once his eyes were opened and he accepted Christ -

Philippians 3:4  Though I might also have confidence in the flesh. If any other man thinketh that he hath whereof he might trust in the flesh, I more: 6  … touching the righteousness which is in the law, blameless.

7  But what things were gain to me, those I counted loss for Christ. 8  Yea doubtless, and I count all things but loss for the excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord: for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and do count them but dung, that I may win (gain) Christ, 9  And be found in him, not having mine own righteousness, which is of the law, but that which is through the faith of Christ, the righteousness which is of God by faith:

The Bible says four times – “the just shall live by faith.” (Hab 2:4; Rom 1:17; Gal 3:11; Heb 10:38)

John wanted his readers to have the assurance of their personal salvation. Why? Because only then could they find the -

II. Joy of Fellowship

1 John 1:4  And these things write we unto you, that your joy may be full.

God wants us to have a joyful salvation. But there are conditions to finding the kind of joy John is writing about. In the verses following, John tells us the Place of Fellowship, the People of Fellowship, the Pleasure of Fellowship, and the Purpose of Fellowship.

A. The Place of Fellowship

1 John 1:5  This then is the message which we have heard of him, and declare unto you, that God is light, and in him is no darkness at all. 6  If we say that we have fellowship with him, and walk in darkness, we lie, and do not the truth: 7  But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship one with another, and the blood of Jesus Christ his Son cleanseth us from all sin.

The place of fellowship is in God’s light. To declare that God is light is to declare that He is holy and absolutely pure. Darkness in the Bible often refers to sin. God does not dwell in darkness nor does He have fellowship with darkness. To have fellowship with God we must come to where He is at and we must dwell there. That place is in the light of holiness. What will coming to this light do to us? First of all, it will expose our sins and secondly it will enable us to see the truth.

1. Expose Our Sins

8  If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us.

Someone can’t be saved and find the joy of fellowship with God until they come to the point of admitting that they are a sinner. Jesus said to the Pharisees -

Mark 2:17 They that are whole have no need of the physician, but they that are sick: I came not to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance.

Jesus was not saying that there are some who are spiritually whole and in no need of healing; otherwise He would not have died for the sins of the world. The Bible says -

Romans 3:23 For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God;

Romans 3:10  As it is written, There is none righteous, no, not one: 11 There is none that understandeth, there is none that seeketh after God.12  They are all gone out of the way, they are together become unprofitable; there is none that doeth good, no, not one.

2. Enable us to see truth

1 John 1:8  If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. 9  If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.

The light of God’s holiness reveals the darkness of our sins and points us to His way of salvation – faith in the Lord Jesus Christ.

10  If we say that we have not sinned, we make him a liar, and his word is not in us.

a. The People of Fellowship

1 John 1:6 If we say that we have fellowship with him, and walk in darkness, we lie, and do not the truth: 7  But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship one with another, and the blood of Jesus Christ his Son cleanseth us from all sin.

Who are the people of fellowship? They are those who are walking the light of God’s truth. Their sins are revealed and they confess them and the Bible tells us that the ‘blood of Jesus continously cleanses them.’

b. The Pleasure of Fellowship

What is the pleasure of fellowship? It is the pleasure of knowing that all of their sins are under the blood of Christ and that they are completely forgiven. The most horrible thing that could happen would be for me not to be able to confess my sins and receive forgiveness. My greatest pleasure and richest gain is knowing that I am clothed in the righteousness of Christ. According to Romans 8:15 and Galatians 4:6, through faith in Jesus we can become the sons and daughters of God and now call God ‘Abba’ which means ‘daddy.’

1 John 3:1   Behold, what manner of love the Father hath bestowed upon us, that we should be called the sons of God: therefore the world knoweth us not, because it knew him not. 2  Beloved, now are we the sons of God, and it doth not yet appear what we shall be: but we know that, when he shall appear, we shall be like him; for we shall see him as he is. 3  And every man that hath this hope in him purifieth himself, even as he is pure.

Some might ask, “Does that hope mean that we hope that we will be saved?” It can’t mean that because right before it John declared – “Now are we the sons of God.” What then is that hope? Is it the promise that when Jesus shall appear, our Lord and Savior, we shall be like Him. Paul describes this change in 1 Corinthians 15:51-57. Concerning the Pleasure of Fellowship, John teaches us that it produces a fullness of joy. I don’t know about you but I can’t think of anything that brings me more joy than to know that Jesus Christ is coming for me to snatch me away from this old sin-cursed world and to escort me to a place He has prepared for me!

c. The Purpose of Fellowship

We might ask, “What is the purpose for this fellowship with our personal Savior?” Others might answer, “pleasure or fullness of joy.” Indeed that is true, but God has another purpose that we need to consider. Notice once again what John teaches us in 1 John 3:3  And every man that hath this hope in him purifieth himself, even as he is pure.

The blessed hope is the promise of Christ’s return and our being completely transformed into His image. According to Romans 8, our bodies are still waiting for redemption which will occur at the Rapture and Resurrection of the Saints. And so, with eager anticipation, we along with creation ‘groan’ for that day. But until then, this hope, this promise, this great expectation, prompts us to seek to live a pure life; a life that is pleasing to Christ. The reason we desire to live a holy life is not to gain salvation, but because salvation is already ours and out of gratitude to God, we study His Word and seek to apply it to our lives so that we may walk in obedience before Him. Oh the joy of walking with the Lord! A dear saint named John Sammis understood this and he wrote these words -

When we walk with the Lord in the light of his word,
What a glory he sheds on our way!
While we do his good will, He abides with us still,
And with all who will trust and obey.

Trust and obey, for there’s no other way
To be happy in Jesus, but to trust and obey.

III. Confidence for Living

God wants us to have confidence as His children; not confidence in ourselves, but confidence in His love and will for our lives. How do we find such confidence?

1 John 5:11   And this is the record, that God hath given to us eternal life, and this life is in his Son. 12  He that hath the Son hath life; and he that hath not the Son of God hath not life. 13  These things have I written unto you that believe on the name of the Son of God; that ye may know that ye have eternal life, and that ye may believe on the name of the Son of God. 14  And this is the confidence that we have in him, that, if we ask any thing according to his will, he heareth us: 15  And if we know that he hear us, whatsoever we ask, we know that we have the petitions that we desired of him.

Note, our confidence begins with the assurance of salvation. If we have received the Lord Jesus Christ as our personal Savior, scripture says – “now” are we the sons and daughters of God. (1 John 3:1-3) Once our relationship with God has been restored, God begins a process of renewing our mind so that we may approve what is the good and acceptable and perfect will of God. (Rom 12:1-2) How does God do this? He does so by sending His Spirit to dwell within us to teach us and to guide us. (1 Cor 2:6-16) The Bible says that the Spirit teaches us by ‘comparing spiritual things with spiritual things.’ What does this mean? Consider what Paul wrote to young Timothy -

2 Timothy 3:15-17 NLT You have been taught the holy Scriptures from childhood, and they have given you the wisdom to receive the salvation that comes by trusting in Christ Jesus. All Scripture is inspired by God and is useful to teach us what is true and to make us realize what is wrong in our lives. It corrects us when we are wrong and teaches us to do what is right. God uses it to prepare and equip his people to do every good work.

The Spirit of God takes the Word of God and reveals to us to the Will of God. And according to John, this process puts us in a place where we can have great confidence concerning our prayers and doing the will of God. When we know the will of God, we pray the will of God and therefore we receive the will of God.

Conclusion

Dear friend, do you have assurance of your salvation? In what or in whom are you trusting – yourself and your ability to follow certain rules that will make you righteous? If that is your confidence, then you are no better off than the Pharisees of Jesus’ day. As Paul wrote to the Galatians who were being swayed to try to live by the Law – “Christ is become of no effect unto you, whosoever of you are justified by the law; ye are fallen from grace.” (Gal 5:4) But if you will put your trust in Jesus Christ to be your Savior, He will save you and make you a child of God today.

1 John 5:11  And this is the record, that God hath given to us eternal life, and this life is in his Son. 12  He that hath the Son hath life; and he that hath not the Son of God hath not life. 13  These things have I written unto you that believe on the name of the Son of God; that ye may know that ye have eternal life, and that ye may believe on the name of the Son of God.

If you are unsure of your salvation, pray this prayer with me -

Dear Jesus,

I confess that I am a sinner in need of salvation. I believe that You died on the cross for my sins. I believe that You are the only way to heaven and that I cannot earn my way there by my good works. I am convinced in my heart that You died for me and I am asking you to forgive me of my sins and to save me. You are my Lord and my Savior. In Your name I pray Lord Jesus. Amen

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