Committing to Follow Jesus Wherever He Leads
The Basics of the Gospel
The gospel can be summed up as follows:
- God is in sovereign, wise, and benevolent, yet we refuse to live according to his instruction
- That refusal separates us from God, yet God still wants us to be citizens of his kingdom
- Jesus is the way, the truth, and the life to which we must commit, yet we too often trust our own wit and wisdom or place our trust in people and systems incapable of overcoming death
- Through faith we accept that Jesus is Lord, set aside our old way of life, and learn to live as Jesus trusting God’s ways fully even when trust leads to suffering or death.
- In Christ, we learn to love God with all we are and have and to love our neighbors even those we would consider enemies.
- As God’s people wait together for God to make all things news, we seek to speak and live in a manner that points people to Jesus
- We often fail and must confess our shortcomings and sins, because we have no fear of the truth even when the truth is inconvenient.
- Having dedicated our lives to Jesus, we live lives of gratitude, service, and sacrifice because we are part of an unshakeable kingdom that frees us to worship and obey the Lord without reserve or regret.
First, talk to God in prayer. Admit that you have been living your life apart from him and denying him his proper place as Creator and King. Commit to turning from that way of life by believing in Jesus, accepting God’s forgiveness, and walking in a newness of life.
Second, find a local church where you can be baptized and learn to observe all God’s instructions. We recommend churches that hold to the Apostle’s or Nicene creed and have a strong commitment to discipleship. You can normally read a church’s doctrinal statement on their website, as well as finding contact information for pastors or elders who you can contact.
Third, take the initiative to learn on your own. You can do this by seeking out someone trustworthy to help you grow in your faith, as well as by reading the scriptures and other books. You can begin reading the scriptures with “The Uncomplicated Gospel” resource available when you sign up for our email list.
A Gospel Story
The Bible tells a story about God and his history with his creation. God’s sovereignty, wisdom, and benevolence are on display in Genesis 1:1-2:3 as he calls forth an ordered world from chaos that was well-suited to allow humans and the rest of creation flourish.
Despite God’s goodness, humankind came to see the paradise God had provided as a prison. In Genesis 3:1-7, we watch as the serpent’s deception and humanity’s lust for more lead them to doubt God’s goodness. They come to believe that God has not placed them in the midst of a beautiful, peaceful garden for their good, but to keep them from challenging him. God, they believe, does not want them to flourish.
Choosing to disobey God, humanity seeks to establish a new world order based on human wit and wisdom. That order denies humanity the opportunity to do what we were created to do: reflect God’s glory in creation as women and men made in his image. When humanity rebelled against God and chose not to observe his instruction, we sought our own glory.
Once humanity doubted and denied God humanity became lost in a chaotic world. God’s wisdom was, at best, only partially understood. All of us lost our bearings in the world. We no longer understand how to live as part of God’s creation. By dismissing God, we created disorder. We became incapable of fixing a broken world and ignorant of and resistant to God’s ways. We lost our bearings and diminished our sense of what it means to flourish as humans.
Throughout history, God has moved to help humanity. His deep allegiance to his creation is on display every time we choose to dismiss his instruction and to follow our own path. God has not given up on us.
He desires for us to recognize that we are trapped in a vicious cycle. Our initial desire was to decide what was good and what is evil. We wanted to determine our own destiny and shape the world in our image. Yet, in doing so, we created chaos and suffering. We separated ourselves from God. Now, we seek to fix the world we have broken on our own. . .apart from God. That is the vicious cycle. We keep trying to fix the world and ourselves through our own efforts, but we never will.
To rescue us from ourselves and the deception that hides God from us, God sent Jesus to show us a new way to live. Jesus trusted God fully. He trusted him even when doing so meant suffering and dying on the cross. In Jesus we have a picture of what it means to participate in the world in a new way. Jesus not only taught the truth, he demonstrated how to b
e human in a broken world. Jesus’s resurrection and ascension into heaven vindicate and verify the life Jesus led. They legitimize the paradigm his life provided, pointing the way for us to live differently in the world.
Jesus’s life, death, resurrection, and ascension also demonstrated God’s victory over sin. Sin is the state we find ourselves in and the actions we commit instead of trusting and obeying God. For us to be freed from sin, which leads to death, God sacrificed his own Son so that in him we would find redemption from our sinful state. When we believe in Jesus, we are freed from sin and from its ultimate effects.
As we believe and trust in Jesus, we dedicate ourselves to living in the world according to the obedience of faith. In other words, we cannot believe in Jesus and expect to go on living as we always have. Believing in Jesus means that we so reorient our lives that we no longer walk by sight, but by faith. We are not driven by our own plans or limited to our own power. Instead, we walk differently in the world because we walk in God’s presence.
Dedicating your life to Christ requires that you believe he is the Son of God who conquered sin death for us. The life he lived is the sort that leads to resurrection and to life in God’s presence. It will restore not only humanity, but all of creation. Believing in Jesus means that you commit to setting aside your old way of being in the world and learning the teachings of Jesus so that you increasingly become more like him.