Why does following Jesus matter to me?
Maybe you're reading this because you want to improve your spirituality. Maybe you want to overcome negative patterns in your life that are destroying you and your relationships. Or maybe you want to be certain you'll go to Heaven when you die. Many people seek spirituality because deep inside we all have a sense that there is a higher power that provides answers to life's questions - and we hope that power can help us improve our lives.
Here's some Good News
The good news is that there is indeed a Higher Power, He does have the answers, and He will not just improve our lives, but will transform them!
God our Creator has placed a sense of His existence in all of us. Why? Because God loves us and His plan from the beginning of time was for us to commune with Him... to have a relationship in which we would live in His presence and He could share His blessings with us.
But man chose (and chooses) to sin. Sin, by the way, is not a list of actions to avoid; sin is choosing to value our own direction, plans, or sense of morality above God's. For Adam and Eve, sin was the act of willfully choosing to do something different than what God had instructed. And everyone ever born has sinned, with one exception: Jesus Christ.
How Jesus Changes Everything
The word, "gospel," comes from the Greek term euangelion, meaning, "good news." The good news is that, through Jesus, God has given us a way to repair the broken relationship that sin creates between us and Himself; a way to know for certain that when we die we will spend eternity with Him in Heaven.
Why is this good news? For one thing, when we die, the Bible teaches that our souls are immediately present in one of two places - Heaven or Hell. There is no lingering as a ghost, no purgatory or space where we wait while our friends and loved ones pray for our souls. Heaven is described as a place of never-ending joy and rejoicing in the presence of God; Hell as a place of never-ending torment and suffering. God does not want anyone, ever, to spend eternity in Hell, but as a holy God He will not tolerate the presence of sin, and we are sinful.
The good news, or gospel, is that God provided a solution for us through Jesus Christ, who died for our sins and was then raised from the dead. Jesus said, "I am the way, the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father (God) except through me." (John 14:6). It's critically important to understand that there are not "many ways to get to heaven." Everyone's path through this life is different, so there are infinite pathways to the end of life. But Jesus makes it clear that there is only one way to spend eternity in Heaven, and that is through Him.
Romans 3:23: For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.
To restore the broken relationship with God one must first realize that he or she is totally estranged from Him, separated by a sinful nature. This estrangement is sometimes referred to as being, "lost." The Bible is very clear that ALL have sinned.
Romans 6:23: For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.
Sin has a price. Sin separates us from being in the presence of a holy God, which is why Heaven is not open to a sinner without some way to pay that price... a way to pay the debt caused by sin.
Romans 5:8: But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.
It is our nature to sin, but God still loves us and wants our relationship with Him to be restored... something we could never accomplish on our own. To provide a remedy, God sent His only Son, Jesus, to live a sinless life and to then die on a cross on our behalf. After three days, God raised Jesus from the dead, demonstrating that even death has no power over God.
Romans 10:9: If you declare with your mouth, "Jesus is Lord," and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved.
All that God asks is that you believe Jesus is the way of salvation, repent of your sins, and make Him the Lord of your life. The idea of making Jesus your "Lord" is about making your own desires and ambitions secondary to His.
Romans 10:13: ...for, "Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved."
The way we call upon Him is through prayer - a prayer like this:
“Dear Lord Jesus, I know that I am a sinner. I also know that you died on the cross for my sins and that you were raised up from the dead. I turn from self and sin and trust you to be my Savior and Lord. Take control of my life and help me to follow your ways. Thank you, Lord, for hearing my prayer and saving my soul. In Jesus name, Amen.”
Praying a prayer like this is just the beginning - the start of a lifetime of steps that will lead you closer and closer to God. Once a person has made Jesus the Lord of their life, the Bible teaches that he or she should:
1. Be baptized. Baptism is a symbolic portrayal of us burying our old selves and being raised to a new life in Christ. This is why we refer to Christians as "born again." If you would like to speak to someone about baptism or schedule a time to be baptized, please contact the church office at (972) 838-2277.
2. Become a disciple of Jesus. Being a Christian is a lifelong quest to know Jesus better and to learn to live life the way He taught, which includes fellowship with other believers, studying and applying the Bible, and learning how to serve Him with our lives.
Jesus said "...I have come that they might have life, and have it to the full." (John 10:10). At First Melissa, our mission is to help you learn how to find fullness and joy in following Him. For more, scroll back up this page and find the menu with additional "next steps."
If you have questions about becoming a Christian, or if you have just made the decision to accept Christ as Savior, please contact us at - we would love to help.