What is A Personal Relationship With Christ?
Establishing the Relationship. Part 1
INTRODUCTION: This message will be in two parts. Today we will look at establishing the personal relationship with Christ. Next, week we will examine what the details of the relationship.
Christians often refer to their relationship with Jesus Christ as a personal one. We say, "Jesus is my personal Savior" or " I have received Jesus Christ as my personal Savior." We in witnessing urge people to receive the Lord Jesus as "their personal Savior."
The cults ridicule us for saying this questioning how can a man have a "personal" relationship with God? Others are greatly puzzled by the concept of having a close and personal relationship with our Creator.
I too think that many believers use the term and maybe do not understand what it truly means.
I would like us today to look at the term and the truth that it describes in hope that we will fully understand what a personal relationship with Christ Jesus is and examine our own lives to see if we truly have that relationship with our Creator.
ILLUS: How many of you know of Kenneth Starr? It would be hard to not to know who he is if you listened to news a few of years ago. He was the Special Prosecutor investigating the President. You knew that didn't you? How many of you have a personal relationship with him? Probably, no one here does, but we all know him to some degree. You might be like the biased liberal announcer on KOAL radio in Price, Utah who called Starr a "slime ball" I was listening one morning when he was talking on the radio with the lady who gives the Utah ski resort report. He mentioned Thanksgiving and ask her what she was thankful for. He then said he was thankful to living in a country where a prosecutor like Kenneth Starr, the slime ball, could have the freedom to waste 40 million dollars investigating the president of the United States. He certainly has an opinion of Mr. Starr, but I do think he wants to know him personally.
I have a fairly good idea what kind of man Mr. Starr is and what is his character from the many articles I read about him. I could claim I knew him personally because I knew a lot about him, but that would not be true would it. Just knowing a lot about him is not knowing him personally.
Often I run across people who say they are Christians and they claim to know a lot about the Lord. However, knowing a lot about the Lord does not mean one has a personal relationship with Him. I know everyone here and consider you my personal friends and we have a relationship based on friendship and acquaintance. I not only know you, I have a personal relationship with you. We do things together like worship the Lord and attend church. We fellowship together and share burdens and our prayers with each other. I have been in your home and most of you have been in mine.
ILLUS: Several times I have been in people's offices that had pictures of them posing with some President, Governor, Actor, etc. The picture implies that they know the famous person personally. If you ask them about the picture and if they know the person they might imply that they do. But suppose the picture was of the person and Governor of Utah. Suppose you were talking with someone who said they knew him personally. The person would proudly reply, "Oh, yes, we met several years ago in Cedar City, his home town." Suppose you then said, "You know I really have a problem and need to talk with him. You knowing him so well, could you call him for me and introduce me?" Well, at that point you will learn if he knew the Governor or not.
The relationship I have with you here in this church began with our meeting each other over in some of your homes and at our church. On that day we established and began a personal relationship. A personal relationship with Jesus Christ is similar, but it is so much more.
There is only one kind of relationship with the Lord and that is a personal one. Whether you are living for the Lord every day or backslidden the relationship does not change....once it is established it is eternal.
I. The Personal Relationship with Jesus Christ begins One Way and One Way Only.
A. Lets read the context of our opening verse. Hebrew 2:5-13.
1. The message of God given to us through these verse is wonderful indeed. He that sanctified and those that He sanctified are one, and "he is not ashamed to call them brethren."
2. The word "brethren" is the word "a-del-phos" and means a brother or near kinsman. It means children in the same family. It denotes a likeness in being one together.
3. 1 Peter 2:17, uses an extension of the word "Ale-phos-tes" meaning in the verse "loving the brotherhood."
a. 1 Peter 3:8, uses the word "Philadelphia" meaning "brotherly love."
b. 1 Peter 1:22, describes the love as "unfeigned" love, mean love that is not pretended, but genuine.
4. These verse give us incite into the special relationship we have in Christ and with those of Christ's family. This is certainly a personal relationship.
ILLUS: I have two brothers Arthur and Keith. We are the offspring of our father and mother. Our relationship bonds us together, because we are each the children of our parents. Our bond is that our births came from the same source. We love each other because of our common beginning.
I watched sometime ago a woman in her fifties who had been separated at birth from her sisters. The TV program had found her sisters and brought them to be reunited on TV. In truth, they were strangers. They had not seen each other for over forty years, yet I was amazed as I watched as they brought them together. What do you think they did? Sure, they hugged each other and cried almost uncontrollably. Why? They were sisters! Separation did not change the fact they were of the same blood and parents.
B. The child of God is born into the family of God by the grace of God through the sacrifice of the Lord Jesus Christ.
1. The believer's relationship was born in the love and mercy of our gracious God. He knew that man would sin and rebel against Him, yet He loved His creation and made a plan whereby a rebellious and sinful man could come into a perfect relationship with our Holy and Pure God.
2. That plan had to deal with man's sin. Sin demanded a penalty.
ILLUS: Suppose that you got mad with someone and went and stuck a knife into the tires of their car. Afterward you began to think about what you had done and you began to understand the truth that you had done something wrong. Two wrongs to not make a right. You went to the person greatly embarrassed and told them you had something to confess. You then explained that it was you who had cut their tires. You told them with deep emotion and sincere guilt that you were sorry and you begged them to forgive you for doing this bad thing against them. Supposed they were kind and gracious and said they would forgive you. That would be truly wonderful for you wouldn't it? . . . .But there is something else to consider! Who would pay for the tires. Suppose you had not even a penny to your name....how could or would you pay? The answer is that you could not pay.....yet suppose the person you harmed would say I forgive and I will pay the price.
Folks that is what God did. We have not way to pay any of the debt we owe God....not even a penny. Yet, the debt must be paid, and so Christ Jesus, God's only begotten Son, God incarnate in flesh....went to the Cross and there He paid for our sins. He paid the debt we could not pay and thus His forgiveness is verified in His sacrifice and payment.
C. Our relationship begins when we admit that we have sinned against God.
1. James 2:10 "For whosoever shall keep the whole law, and yet offend in one point, he is guilty of all." How much does God say we are guilt of? That's right all of it.
2. God is saying I will accept you as my son, as my child if you will accept me as your Savior. If you will admit that you have sinned against me, which you surely have done, and ask for forgiveness I will forgive you. You can't pay the debt you owe me or could ever make it right, but I will pay the debt...free and totally.
3. Folks this is not accepting some concept or new philosophy of life. This is personal! You must go personally to God and do business with Him heart to heart. This is not expressed in the slogans seen some years go that said "Try Jesus." These folks were we meaning...they sent a false message....there is not alternative to Jesus Christ....It Christ or Hell.....
ILLUS: One of the marks of false religion and false churches is that they make God impersonal. Some make Him to be a wrathful, ugly and selfish being, ready at a moment to smash you like a bug if you do wrong. They make God unapproachable, they take away His mercy, compassion and love. They have no concept of the God of Grace and Mercy. Their false god is one that they must by doing some ritual or moral act appease to keep from being destroyed.
Yet, the God of the Bible, is a righteous and just God, and His wrath will fall on all you reject His mercy, but He active seeks to save men from their sin. God seek us! He, Himself sacrificed Himself for our sins that we might become holy and pure even as He is pure.
D. Jesus said that "Except you repent, you shall all likewise perish."
1. It does not matter if you know His name, and know everything about His book, and go around telling everyone you know about Him, and go around talking like you talk to Him, it doesn't establish a relationship until you admit your sin and honestly repent begging God to forgive you.
2. You must accept the sacrifice that God made for you. You cannot offer anything to God to atone for your sin. It is rebellion and false pride to think that you can be good enough or offer any act or work to save you. To do so is the grossest of sins....that is to have not regard or appreciation for the Lord's suffering. To reject His sacrifice is worst that spitting in his face.
3. Folks that is where the relationship begins and salvation is accomplished.
II. The Relationship Begins with the New Birth.
A. 2 Cor. 5:17-18a "Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new. And all things are of God, who hath reconciled us to himself by Jesus Christ. . ."
B. Jesus told Nicodemus in John 3:3, " Jesus answered and said unto him, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God."
1. The new birth begins the relationship with God. It makes all things new.
2. We receive the new nature of God, the indwelling of the Holy Spirit.
C. Eph 2:19 says "Now therefore ye are no more strangers and foreigners, but fellow citizens with the saints, and of the household of God."
1. Eph 3:15 explains, "Of whom the whole family in heaven and earth is named."
2. Rom. 8:12-17. READ.
3. Note verse 17, "And if children, then heirs; heirs of God, and joint-heirs with Christ; if so be that we suffer with him, that we may be also glorified together.
4. God tells us in Rom. 9:26, "And it shall come to pass, that in the place where it was said unto them, Ye are not my people; there shall they be called the children of the living God."
D. Let me ask you a question? Does the Bible teach that those that by faith received Jesus Christ as their Lord and Savior, repent of their sins and turn to Him, have a personal relationship with God?
The answer is a resounding YES. Thank God the answer is Yes...we are the sons and daughters of God who saved us.
Note what God says about this relationship and what it means.
1. Eph 3:6 "That the Gentiles should be fellow heirs, and of the same body, and partakers of his promise in Christ by the gospel"
2. Tit 3:7 "That being justified by his grace, we should be made heirs according to the hope of eternal life."
3. James 2:5 "Hearken, my beloved brethren, Hath not God chosen the poor of this world rich in faith, and heirs of the kingdom which he hath promised to them that love him?"
4. 1 Peter 1:1-5 states, "Peter, an apostle of Jesus Christ, to the strangers scattered throughout Pontus, Galatia, Cappadocia, Asia, and Bithynia, Elect according to the foreknowledge of God the Father, through sanctification of the Spirit, unto obedience and sprinkling of the blood of Jesus Christ: Grace unto you, and peace, be multiplied. Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, which according to his abundant mercy hath begotten us again unto a lively hope by the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, To an inheritance incorruptible, and undefiled, and that fadeth not away, reserved in heaven for you, Who are kept by the power of God through faith unto salvation ready to be revealed in the last time."