Theme: Salvation message
Rebekah: A lost person who is miserable but open and seeking
Susan: A Christian who is counseling her to salvation
R: Oh, I am so empty, so hopeless, and so miserable! Everyone around me is annoying. Everything is going wrong. My life is out of my control, and I keep making mistakes that make things even worse.
S: It sounds like you need Jesus. Can I tell you about him?
R: I already know about Him. He is the Son of God, he died on the cross for my sins, and he rose again from the dead. It doesn’t help. I went to chuch all my life.
S: That’s great that you know about Jesus, but you know, knowing about Jesus is different from knowing Him.
R: What do you mean?
S: You might know about Barak Obama, but you can’t call him on the phone and talk to him about your personal problems and know that he cares or expect him do something about it. Lots of people know about Jesus, but they don’t have that personal relationship with him. When I came to know Him personally, He changed my life.
R: Okay, that makes sense. What do I need to do differently? I mean, what have I done wrong? I did everything I could. I went to church.
S: Going to church doesn’t make you a Christian any more than going in the garage makes you a car. When Jesus died on the cross, He shed His blood for your sins so that you could be forgiven.
R: You know, that’s the thing I don’t get. How does the blood of a guy who died 2,000 years ago have anything to do with me?
S: Well, let’s go back to the beginning of time to answer that question. God created the world and placed Adam and Eve in the garden of Eden. He gave them a command: “Don’t eat of the tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil. If you do, you will surely die.” In other words, if you disobey, you will pay for it with your blood. Adam and Eve disobeyed, and now they owed God their blood. All their descendants committed sin, too. You’re included in that. You owe God your blood. You deserve to die for the sins you have committed. When Jesus died and shed His blood, He offered himself in your place. God is willing to accept His sacrifice on your behalf—His blood for yours.
R: That’s cool…so does that just automatically happen to me?
S: No, God’s word says, “The just shall live by faith.” It also says, “Without faith it is impossible to please God.” Jesus said, “This is the work of God, that you believe on Him whom He hath sent.” Your job is to have faith. “Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ and thou shalt be saved.”
R: [shrugs] I do believe.
S: There’s a difference between Biblical faith and checking off a mental True/False test in your head. Many people can spout off the correct answers. Jesus was the Son of God: True. Jesus died for my sins: True. Jesus rose from the dead on the third day: True. That’s mental assent, but it’s not Biblical faith.
R: Then what does faith mean?
S: Faith means abandoning all hope in yourself that you will ever do anything good, and placing all of your trust, hope, and dependence on Jesus. You give every part of your life to him. You turn from your way of doing things and make Him the Master. You trust Him to do what you could never do—not just obtain forgiveness of your sins from God, not just get a home in heaven someday, but you look to him and believe that He can enable you to overcome sin. You surrender. You let go of your way of doing things. You invite Him to come in and change you.
R: Ha. My track record is so bad, I’ll never be any different.
S: Well, see there? You don’t really believe. You are looking within yourself for the solution. You have tapped into all of your inner resources and have come up empty. That doesn’t matter. Jesus lived out a perfect life while He was here on earth. When you invite Him to come in, He can live out His life through you. But you must look to Him and believe Him to do it.
R: That sounds like wishful thinking to me.
S: It would be wishful thinking if it wasn’t based on the Word of God. But God cannot lie. His promises are trustworthy. You can depend on His Word. What He has revealed to us in Scripture is the truth. He offers Jesus to anyone who will believe on Him, not just to leave us miserable on earth and then take us to heaven when we die, but to change us, enable us, and empower us to live out His commands while we are here on earth. Admittedly, His commands are impossible for us to carry out. That’s why we need Him to live in us and carry them out through us.
R: Does the Bible really say all that?
S: Galatians 2:20 says, “I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me.”
Romans 8:11 says, “But if the Spirit of him that raised up Jesus from the dead dwell in you, he that raised up Christ from the dead shall also quicken your mortal bodies by his Spirit that dwelleth in you.”
There are many other passages that teach this truth in depth, but the fact of the matter is, God offers you His own Son. Jesus offers to come and indwell you with His Spirit (the Holy Spirit), and His power becomes available to you to live out a holy life.
R: Well, I certainly know I can’t trust myself to get anywhere. I want Him to do it for me. I don’t know how it works, though.
S: You believe Him. You come to Him by faith. That’s your job. You believe, and He works. Believe that He can do this, believe that He will, and believe that it is available personally for you. He said so, and it’s the truth. Invite Him to come into your life and change you, and surrender the control of your life over to Him. “The just shall live by faith.” You don’t just say “I believe” and then go on and forget about it. You live each day trusting in Him to do His work in you.
R: Ah. Well, that’s amazing if He can actually…work…in me…like…my life would be a stage for divine action?
S: That’s exactly it.
R: I’ve never seen it happen before, but if He’s God, He can do anything He wants, right?
S: He sure can. Why don’t you tell Him right now that you trust Him to do this?
R: OK. Um, Jesus? I’m in a mess, and I know I’ve done it all wrong. I know I’ll keep on doing it wrong and I can’t depend on myself. Help me to believe—I believe in you, but I want to believe in the way that actually means something and gets somewhere. I offer myself to you. I’m backing off. I’m letting go of the control of my life. You can take it. I want to know you, not just know about you, but know you personally. Will you come to live in me? Will you do God-sized things in my life? Thank you, God. Amen.