No other name

no other name

 

Several weeks ago, our student ministry was going thru this series called the: “Jesus Dilemma.” The whole series was surrounded around this idea that every person who has ever lived, is living, and will live will have to come to a conclusion about who Jesus will be for them. Everyone will have to decide how to deal with this Jesus dilemma in this life or face an eternity of darkness and separation. We spent three weeks looking at a conversation between Jesus and his disciples all centered around Jesus going to a place in which he would prepare for his followers. In this conversation, Jesus makes a profound statement that has lead to a movement never before seen in this world. Jesus makes this claim to all who would listen that only a certain way, truth, and life would lead someone to the father.
 
His way…
His truth…
His life…
 
 
There would be no other way for anyone to get to the father. No matter how much they prayed, no matter how good they were, no matter how much money they gave, no matter how many gods they served…Jesus’ way, truth, and life would be the only way by which anyone would see and get to spend the rest of forever with the father. 
 
You have to understand that for Jesus to make a claim this big, this monumental, this outlandish was for in his day a death sentence. He was going against the cultural normalcy at that time. No one before him and no one after him would ever claim to have such profound, earth shattering power and authority like that again. And the disciples…
 
They got it…
They believed it…
They taught it…
They lived it…
 
 
I mention that moment to tell you about another moment…
 
I have the honor of serving at my current church as the student pastor. I get to live my passion of pointing middle & high school students to the relentless unending love of Jesus. I also have the privilege of serving on the teaching rotation and speaking about this particular way, truth, and life that Jesus proclaimed to hundreds of people each week. With this honor comes the responsibility to not only live in the way, truth, and life of Jesus, but to also speak, share, teach this way, truth, and life of Jesus to all who would listen. With this responsibility to teach the ways of Jesus, is the call to teach it in all of it’s fullness. There is no half or thirds to the Jesus way, there is only the whole way of Jesus. 
 
You can’t follow Jesus half the time…
You can’t love Jesus a third of the time…
You can’t teach a quarter of His truth…
 
So in telling you about a previous series that our student ministry was in with the Jesus Dilemma, and telling you about a conversation between Jesus and his disciples about him going to a place to prepare a spot for them if they will follow his way, believe in his truth, and live his life, I must tell you about a recent development within a certain religious organization…
 
Recently, the powers that be within this religious organization gathered together to debate, wrestle, and vote on this idea of changing some of the language in their organizational confessions (the statement of faith in which this organization believes in). This idea involved several controversial topics which is at the forefront of the national church body as a whole. This meeting centered around the idea that in order to become more welcoming to all people no matter race, nationality, and sexual orientation, the organizations confessional language needed to be changed so that when two people, regardless of gender wanted to get married in one of the churches that belonged to this organization, the confessions would not hinder or forbid it. This also lead to a change in the confessional language to allow someone who participates in same-sex relationships to serve as a pastor within the church. 
 
There is a small amount of joy in knowing that the church I currently serve at has decided to not follow the new change in the language. However, my joy is only small in nature, because I know that others will not follow suit. For many others, this is a great thing, the church is finally becoming open-minded and non-judgmental. Many see this as a victory for the equality movement.
 
This development leads me to another moment…
 
Several years ago, one of my favorite speakers and lead pastor, Dr. Hayes Wicker of First Baptist Church Naples, FL said to a room full of people during his message…”You will need to believe in something, you will need to have faith in something. Because if you don’t stand for something, you will fall for anything.” That statement has always resonated with me thru-out the years since…
 
We will all gravitate to something…
We all need to have faith in something…
We all need to believe in something…
 
Without our gravitation to something whole, without our faith in something sustainable, without our belief in something thats withstood the test of time, we will undoubtedly succumb to the darkness and separation this world creates. We can not be backed into a corner and be forced to accept a cultural change to this way, truth, and life of Jesus in order to please the masses. We must take a stand for what Jesus stood for. We must take a stand for what Jesus cared about. We must take a stand for what Jesus died for…our lives. 
 
These moments have lead me to take a fresh look at what I stand for. Being a follower of Jesus calls us to wrestle with and mediate on his words. Being a follower of Jesus calls us to seek fresh new ways to convey his love to others without compromising his divine truth.
 
We wrestle…
We meditate…
We seek…
We love…
We stand…
We believe…
 
My journey to looking and finding fresh new ways to the truths I believe in has lead me back to the beginning. It has lead me back to the basics. It has lead me back to what I’ve always believed…
 
I believe in God our Father:
The creator of the universe who doesn’t have a beginning or an end. I believe that He is the first entity of the triune Godhead. The sacred scriptures tell us that He was there in the beginning of all things and that only thru him, did all things come into existence. I believe that God our Father is with us, for us, and ahead of us. I believe that God our Father is an onward God, always moving us forward, always resonating within us and radiating from us. I believe that God our Father is perfect, holy, without any blemish or brokenness. I believe that He is glorious, He is grace, He is truth, He is love. I believe that in his love, He created humanity for His enjoyment. I believe that God our Father created man and then created women for the enjoyment and life long partnership with each other. I believe that God our Father provided a guide for humanity to draw closer to him thru Christ the son which is found in the sacred, inerrant scriptures. 
 
 
I believe in Christ the Son:
The savior of the world by which there is no other name the world can be saved by. I believe he is the second entity of the triune Godhead. I believe he was present with God our Father at the creation of all things. The follower John describes Christ the Son in this way: “In the beginning was the word, and the word was with God, and the word was God. In him, all things were created through him, and nothing was made without him.” I believe he was God in the flesh, born of a virgin birth, sent to be the savior of the world. I believe he was the light of men and his light was the only light that could shine in the darkness of this world and not be overcome by it. I believe in the resurrected Christ. I believe that after being nailed to a wooden cross-like pole, Christ the Son was placed in a guarded tomb only to be risen to life in three days. I believe that Christ the Son has the power and authority that God our Father has given him and that all nations and every tongue will confess him as LORD and every knee will bow in his presence. I believe Christ the Son is love, grace, & truth. I believe he desired that all would come to know him and follow him. I believe that there is no other way then thru Christ the Son that our salvation comes from.  
 
 
I believe in the Holy Spirit:
The helper whom God our Father sent after Christ the Son to teach us all things and brings remembrance to all things Christ the Son taught us. I believe the spirit is the third entity of the triune Godhead. I believe the spirit is God our Father and Christ the Son within us as we place our hope, trust, and faith in Christ the Son. I believe the spirit guides us in the ways of Christ the Son to love, have compassion, feel convicted, show grace, extend hope, and speak truth in this world. I believe the spirit gives us abilities to aid in the process of pointing others to Christ the Son in all things and in all ways with exception to speaking in tongues and the gift of healing which was used to show the power and authority of Christ the Son in the age of the apostles. 
 
 
I believe in the Resurrection:
On the third day, the stone was rolled away and there inside the tomb was no one to be found. I believe that in the Garden of Eden, God our Father unveiled the redemptive means by which He would rescue His creation from darkness and separation. I believe that Christ the Son left his perfect union with God our Father and the Holy Spirit to be the payment of brokenness and to take the wrath owed to this world by descending to us and resided among us. I believe that all of humanity participated in the crucifixion of Christ the Son, in the process of nailing him to the cross, in the mocking of him. I believe that he was placed in a tomb to be left to rot, but after three day, had risen from the dead and appeared over 500 times to the disciples and other believers. I believe that this resurrection created the bridge humanity needed in order to reconnect to the creator. This monumental event ended the age of separation thereby connecting what once was lost and now is found. I believe that it is only thru this resurrection do we have redemption and restoration in Christ the Son. 
 
 
I believe in humanity’s rise & salvation
God our Father’s perfect creation separated from its creator in an act of defiance will again be found perfect in the eyes of its creator. I believe in humanity’s rise in Christ. It is only thru the blood, death, burial, resurrection, and life of Jesus in which humanity can again be connected to its creator, God our Father. The writer of the book Acts states, “There is salvation in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which me must be saved.” I believe that salvation equates to spending the rest of forever in the presence of God our Father, Christ the Son, and the Holy Spirit. I believe that when a person repents of their former life, confesses Christ the Son as Lord, and commits to a new life in Christ, he/she is thereby united with God our Father thru the blood of Christ the Son. I believe that salvation is assured in a believer of Christ and that nothing can change the eternal destination of a person who is in Christ. 
 
 
I believe in life eternal
Salvation in Christ is forever and the connection to the creator is everlasting. I believe that followers of Christ the Son will live an eternal life in the presence of the creator. I believe that there will be no end to this state of living regardless of our destination (with Christ or separated). 
 
 
 
This and much more can be summed up in one everlasting, unending, enduring phrase: I believe in the name of Jesus!
 
May you believe in God our Father…
May you believe in Christ the Son…
May you believe in the Holy Spirit…
May you believe in a God who is three in one…
May you believe in the Resurrection…
May you believe in the rise of humanity…
May you believe in salvation…
May you believe in life eternal…
 

And may you know deep down that you serve a God who is with us, for us, and ahead of us. 
 

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