By Pat Fraher
In preparation for our upcoming Referees Embracing Faith Conference, where this year's focus is 'Salvation: A gift and a call', we are doing some serious thinking about salvation. We are studying five different aspects of salvation, and doing some critical, honest thinking about where each of us stand.
In week one, we reflected on just how aware we really are of what God did for us by sending his only son Jesus to be sacrificed in our place.
In week two, we examined salvation through the metaphor of a courtroom, with each one of us as the defendant, and Jesus as our defense attorney,
In week three, we discussed the question, "how do you become saved?"
In week four, we looked deeper at what it means to be 'in Christ'.
This week, we conclude our series by asking a question. Do you have a relationship with Jesus; do you know Him, or do you know about him? There is a critical difference here, which we will unpack.
To set up today's message, please watch this short video clip: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TiQxi4ruoz8
You say that you believe in Jesus Christ, but the imperative question is, what is your belief based on? Is it from what you were taught as a kid, or acknowledging the historical facts of His existence? Or Is it from establishing a relationship with Him?
There’s a big difference between knowing about Christ, and knowing Christ intimately. Jesus reminds us that merely professing Him as Lord isn’t sufficient for entering heaven.
In Matthew 7:21-23, Jesus says “Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. Many will say to me on that day, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name and in your name drive out demons and in your name perform many miracles?’ Then I will tell them plainly, ‘I never knew you. Away from me, you evildoers!’
You can know a lot about Christ, even do a lot of things for Christ, but do you know Christ? Jesus wants to know you intimately.
God has always been pretty clear that He wants to be put first in people’s lives. The very first of the Ten Commandments says, “I am the Lord your God ... You shall not have any gods before me.” (Excerpt from Exodus 20: 2-3) If that wasn’t clear enough, God says in both Exodus and Deuteronomy that “I, the Lord your God, am a jealous God”. Those are his words, not mine. God said that He does not change, and He wants to be first in your life.
How do we put God and his Son first? The Greatest Commandment gives us the key: “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.” (Matthew 22:37) Do you pursue God and his Son with everything you have? Where do you spend your time and treasure? Is it making money, working out, or watching sports? Matthew 6:24 says “...You cannot serve both God and money.” Paul gives us advice in Colossians 3:2 “Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things.”
These are reminders to value God, and pursue Him above all else.
What is the most important thing in your life? A lot of people say family but believe it or not, even family can become an idol. In Matthew 10:37, Jesus says, “anyone who loves their father or mother more than me is not worthy of me; anyone who loves their son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me.” Jesus wants to be your first love.
Remember what Jesus said, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.”
As with cultivating any relationship, or falling in love with someone, you must spend time with that person. So take the time to get to know Jesus, and your belief will come from that relationship. Then you will believe in Him versus believing about Him.
REF Conference is NEXT SATURDAY, August 17! Advanced registration is available now ( https://www.sportsofficialssurrendered.org/events-1/referees-embracing-faith-conference-2019.) Registration will also be available at the doors, which open at 8:15 AM, in advance of our 9:00 AM start time.
The first 200 people through the doors of Prasco Laboratories on the morning of August 17 will receive a free REF Conference 2019 t-shirt, courtesy of Prasco, and lunch will be provided by Chick-fil-A.