Preaching (split off from Kelly blog) [Trollville]
CONFESSIONS OF A CHRISTIAN
I came here to tell you about Jesus Christ. Why? Because of what He has done for me in my life. He came down from Heaven and gave me a new life. My old life was filled with emptiness, loneliness, anger, and sin. I was suicidal most of the time. Then Christ changed me. And now, I am thankful to be alive.
I did not come here to force anything upon you. I didn't come to harm you, hurt you, or try to change you. I couldn't change you even if I wanted because who am I? I don't want to control you or force you to be like me. Why be like me? I am not a good person. I came here with good news. It is like a child who rides a roller coaster for the first time. She goes to her friend and says, "That was awesome. You have got to try it. Come on, it's the best." I don't wish or desire anything bad for you. I just wanted to tell you something that I believe will do you good.
I just wanted to tell you about Jesus Christ. He is God. He loves all people and wants to have a loving relationship with Him. He wants to engage in people's lives and live with them. He wants to be their loving Father to care for them and help them. He wants to be God--Master, King, and Lord.
You see, unlike other gods, Jesus Christ came down from Heaven to earth. He became like one of us. He suffered what we suffer. He was tempted as we are tempted. He lived like one of us. He did this to reveal God. Humanity did not, and many still don't, know God. In the very beginning, they were separated from God. Because of this, they were far from the truth about God. They had created false ideas, images, and philosophies about God. Humans created religion to replace God. And so, Jesus came to show people, "Look at me. This is who God is."
I wanted to tell you that God is true and He loves you. Jesus showed and demonstrated this. Whoever came to Him, He helped them. He healed people. He loved people. He then died for people. He gave His life willingly as a gift. He offered it to us. He said, "Here I am, take me." And we, in our sinful state, killed Him.
We killed God. Humans nailed Him to a cross. Jesus did not kill Himself. And certainly, God did not kill Himself. Rather, God allowed this to happen to show us something. He wanted to show us what we had become. We had become sinful. So sinful, in fact, that we would kill Him. He wanted to show us that something was wrong with us.
You see, in the beginning, God created humankind. We were perfect. We were not perfect alone. God looked at Adam when he was alone and said, "This is not good." Humanity was created for love. We were created for community. We were created to share ourselves with others and God. Once Eve was created and there was a loving community, then God was pleased. We were created to love God and to love one another. At this point, all was fine and well.
However, the question becomes, how can anyone love God if they are forced? Love is not forced. If Adam and Eve were to truly have the freedom to love God, they must also have the freedom to leave God. And so, God gave them that choice. There were two trees. One was a tree of separation from God. The other was a tree of life with God. The story goes, Adam and Eve chose to be separated from God. And then God blocked off the way to the tree of life.
This was their choice. God did not influence it or decide it for them. Rather, He gave them responsibility and accountabilty. He gave them the choice. And He continues to give us this choice even to this day. God does not force Himself on anyone.
I confess to you, that I cannot give you proof of God. No one can except for God. Why? Because God doesn't want to force Himself on anyone. What good would that do if God showed up one day and said, "Love me!" Would we do it? Of course not.
You see, when Adam and Eve sinned, two very important things happened that explain what happened to humanity. One, we were separated from God. He lives in Heaven. We live on earth. There is a great divide. God is no longer active in our lives. He has left us alone. We are free to kill, war, and do horrible things that hurt God. Secondly, Adam and Eve had been infected with sin. God had created them a certain way. They had changed. It would be like creating a sculpture and once you were done, the sculpture decided to change itself. It didn't want to be what you created. It wanted to be something else. This means that humanity is not what God has intended us to be. We were not meant to die, not meant to do bad things, not meant to hurt, and not meant to live in restricted to earth. We were meant for something more. And we feel this in our lives everyday.
So, from there, God was a distant God. He didn't play much role. And what little He did play was always as an angry God. He claimed a small people for Himself. Gave them the Ten Commandments. He tried to establish a relationship. In a sense, God was saying, "If you are going to live in my house, you need to follow my rules."
But you see, a parent doesn't give rules just to control a child. The rules are given for child's good. And God gave His commandments for our good. The only problem is that they are restrictive. They keep us away from love. They don't help us to love. Rules and laws don't change a person. They just hinder them.
Laws tell us what we should be doing. Obviously, we should be obeying the Ten Commandments. However, we don't. Instead, we find them burdensome. They stop us from having fun and doing what we want. Well, this only proves one thing. Something is wrong with us. Why do we want to do ungodly things? Why is our desire to hurt God rather than love Him? It is because of sin. Adam and Eve had been filled with sin. This sin then transferred down through all humanity. And now, we all suffer from it.
God knew we had a problem. And He made a way to give us a cure. This cure is Jesus Christ. He encompasses all we need. He came to give us life--a new life with God. His whole goal was to bring reconciliation. To re-establish contact with God. Because of sin, there is a great divide. A child isn't born with a knowledge of God. No one knows God. Rather, we live apart from God. But in Jesus, we can have a new relationship with God. Christ can change us and give us new life.
Many have heard this message and know this. This is nothing new for many Americans. Jesus Christ died for our sins. He died on the cross making amends to bring forgiveness. I am sure you have heard this.
What many people don't know is that Jesus Christ did more and is offering more than just forgiveness. Jesus Christ was raised back to life. He then ascended to heaven. He went back to His throne as God. He is now offering a new life to everyone on earth. He is offering a loving relationship.
You see, the greatest commandment God gave is this: Love the Lord your God with all your heart, mind, body, and soul. What God desires is our love. He wants us to love Him.
You can't force love. God didn't give the commandment to force us into loving Him. That alone is a contradiction. He gave the command to show us what He wanted from us. However, it is in Jesus Christ that God showed us His love. In Jesus, we have forgiveness. We can know we are forgiven. It is in Jesus we can know God.
Jesus is offering to change our heart. He can take the deepest part of our soul and transform it. He can make us new and give us a new spirit. In doing this, He reveals God to us, and then we know God in truth. Jesus becomes our personal proof that God is loving, true, and real.
Rather than depend on external proof, God puts the proof right into us. This proof comes with joy, peace, hope, and love. It is also comes with confidence. We can know God in truth. We don't have to look for God, play guessing games, or rely on ourselves. Rather, we depend on God who helps us to know Him.
You see, faith is not about believing in the existence of God. We should know God. Anyone who claims to know God and doubts His existence is a lair. You never doubt the existence of someone you love. Faith is about trust. A husband is called unfaithful when he cheats on his wife, not when he doubts his wife's existence.
We are called to faith in Jesus Christ. This is very specific. We can't have faith in any god. There are many false religions, ideas, philosophies, idols---false gods. And we have seen what happens when a person places their trust in these. Horrible evils have been done. But Jesus Christ, the man who died for us and the one who ascended to Heaven, is the God we must have faith in. We must trust that He is the one He claimed to be. We must trust that He can help us. We must trust that He will forgive us. And if we do trust Him, we must pray to Him and ask Him to forgive us. We must seek Him and turn to Him.
God wants to reveal Himself. He wants our love. But He isn't going to force anyone. First, there needs to be reconciliation. We need to be forgiven for our sins. We can be forgiven by going to Jesus in prayer and asking Him to forgive us. Secondly, we need God revealed to us. This happens when Jesus Christ comes down from Heaven and puts His Spirit into us. In this way, love is made complete. The person becomes united with Jesus. God is always with them.
I tell you this because I have experienced. I have met Jesus Christ. I know Him in truth, not because of some preacher or some book. I know God because He lives with me.
That is what I want to tell you. I want you to know there is something more out there. Jesus Christ is a loving God who wants to be your God. He is proof. But I can't give you proof. Only Jesus can reveal God.
"No one knows who the Son is except the Father, and no one knows who the Father is except the Son and those to whom the Son chooses to reveal him." (Luke 10:22)
If you want to know God, you need Jesus Christ.
Otherwise, if you are really not interested, then I'll leave you alone. I am not interested in forcing anything on anyone.