Tuesday, 10 February 2009

Receiving Christ

Here are my notes from a devotion I gave at Olivet english language school last week...

'But as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, to those who believe in His name:
who were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God.'
John 1:12-13

1) Receiving Jesus requires:
a) Recognising who you are
i) Jesus is the light and we are the darkness-
We naturally hate the light:
‘The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not comprehend it’ (1:5)
‘He was in the world, and the world was made through Him, and the world did not know Him. He came to His own but His own did not receive Him’ (1:10-11)

b) Recognising Him- you need to recognise Jesus
i) He’s God- Jesus is God (1v1)
ii) Everything was made by Him (1v3)
iii) In Him was life (1v4)- Life is all about Jesus- if you don’t know Jesus you don’t have life- you haven’t experienced beauty - He came to bring abundance of life (10:10)
iv) Jesus came to earth- the word became flesh (1v10)

You need to see that Jesus is valuable
You need to see that He is wonderful and worth following whatever happens to you!

c) Relying on Him
You need to trust who He is and what He says: He gives the right to become children of God, to those who believe in His name.
Receiving Jesus is believing in Him

2) Receiving Jesus shows that God’s given birth to you. Receiving Jesus shows that God's given you life.
12 But as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, to those who believe in His name:
13 who were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God.

Were born = past tense
In these verse John makes a distinction between being 'born' and 'receiving Christ'
First: Born by the Spirit
Secondly: Receive Christ = Believe on Him

These two things might be very close together or years apart

a) Receiving Christ is your decision
This is why Peter preached at Pentecost: ‘Repent, and let every one of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins; and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.’ (Acts 2:38)

When Jesus said ‘make disciples’ part of that = ‘Get people to receive me’

We’re called to gather people- people come to Jesus by hearing the gospel and being saved

b) Being born of God was God’s decision, not yours
When you were born naturally it wasn't your decision. You only responded to the act.
You then responded with trust and love towards your parent

V13: who were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God.
i) Not of the will of man= You didn’t decide =
Something happened that you didn’t ask for

ii) Not of the will of the flesh = This birth wasn't something that your sinful nature wanted.
The flesh loves sin not Jesus

iii) Not of blood = Doesn’t come through family
Just because you’re parents are born-again doesn’t mean that you will be

This birth is a re-orientation of who you are.
It’s a change of what you:
Crave for
Cling on to
Lust after

The Spirit gives birth to you and changes your desires

Once the Spirit’s done that you choose Christ because you finds Him attractive

3) Receiving Jesus gives you ‘God-rights’
We don’t deserve anything from God.
We've all sinned-
You might say: ‘But I’m a really good person, God will have to accept me’ = Your problem is pride

You are without hope if you like to yourself- you have no rights before God
I John 1:8 ‘If we say that we have not sinned, we make Him a liar, and His word is not in us.’
Why? Because God’s character is perfectly white meaning He can see how black you are.
We are dirty with sin- you like filthy to God until Jesus comes in

So we are without rights before God because of sin- we have nothing to claim off God
Society allows you to claim goodness from them – you have civil rights – you don’t before God
But God changes that- He offers us a right- something to claim off Him- access to His goodness- it only happens if you receive Jesus
What’s the right you receive? ‘He gave the right to become children of God’

4) Receiving Jesus makes you a Child of God

God says: I will be a Father to you, And you shall be My sons and daughters, Says the LORD Almighty.” (2 Cor 16:8)

The God you’ve offended wants to be your Dad
You are His enemy and now He wants to be a good Father

All of Heaven praises Him, angels worship and say ‘Holy, holy, holy’…
And He chooses us to join them

Gal 4:3-7
‘Even so we, when we were children, were in bondage under the elements of the world. But when the fullness of the time had come, God sent forth His Son, born of a woman, born under the law, to redeem those who were under the law, that we might receive the adoption as sons.And because you are sons, God has sent forth the Spirit of His Son into your hearts crying out, “Abba, Father!” Therefore you are no longer a slave but a son, and if a son, then an heir of God through Christ.’

If you’re a son whatever you inherit what He has. We inherit God through Christ.

5) Receiving Jesus is the only way to become a Child of God
Some think that everyone is a child of God this is not true.
Everyone is an enemy of God not a child
To become a child we need to receive Jesus

Christianity teaches that Jesus exclusively saves
Islam doesn’t save- I need to say that because I care about Muslims

There are 2 ways to reject God:
Religion- doing the right thing, keeping the rules, getting proud and being damned for it in the name of God
Irreligion- rejection of God's standards

We need Jesus who kept the perfect standards of God for us. When we receive Him we receive His perfection (righteousness) this enables us to come to God and enjoy Him. The enjoyment of God is the worship that God demands from all of us forever.

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