I posted this comment on Twitter this morning:
Coming to Christ is like walking on water: you can't come unless He tells you.(Matt 14:28-29; John 6:44)#fb
I just wanted to reflect on it in more than 140 characters this time.
Coming to Christ is easy and simple, let this be said - its as easy as a wolf becoming a sheep, a dead man coming back to life, or a man walking on water to get to His destination. Here are just four scenarios that I see in scripture that describe the salvation experience. In one word, Ill summarize these experiences before I expound upon them - Supernatural. Impossible for men, but just another day in the life for God.
1) Coming to Christ is like walking on water.
Immediately he made the disciples get into the boat and go before him to the other side, while he dismissed the crowds. 23And after he had dismissed the crowds, he went up on the mountain by himself to pray. When evening came, he was there alone, 24but the boat by this time was a long way from the land, beaten by the waves, for the wind was against them. 25And in the fourth watch of the night he came to them, walking on the sea. 26But when the disciples saw him walking on the sea,they were terrified, and said, "It is a ghost!" and they cried out in fear. 27But immediately Jesus spoke to them, saying, "Take heart; it is I. Do not be afraid."
28And Peter answered him, "Lord, if it is you, command me to come to you on the water." 29He said, "Come." So Peter got out of the boat and walked on the water and came to Jesus. 30But when he saw the wind, he was afraid, and beginning to sink he cried out,"Lord, save me." 31Jesus immediately reached out his hand and took hold of him, saying to him, "O you of little faith, why did you doubt?" 32And when they got into the boat, the wind ceased. 33And those in the boat worshiped him, saying, "Truly you are the Son of God."
This is a story many are familiar with; The disciples are in a boat, Jesus is on a mountain praying, Jesus comes down from the mountain - takes a walk on water, approaches the disciples: they're afraid. Jesus tells them its going to be ok. Peter calls out to Jesus, because he still isn't convinced that this is Him. Peter's inquiring mind along with the rest of the disciples' had to be in utter shock in seeing this person walking on water, so because this "ghost" says He's Jesus, Peter calls out to his beloved Master, "Lord, if its You, command me to come to you on the water." Well, Why didn't Peter just walk out there? He couldn't.
Application: We are like Peter- on our own, we CANNOT come to Jesus when He is standing in the middle of the lake. Why? It is impossible . Any man attempting to walk on water will sink because He has nothing to hold him up. Likewise, we are sinners, who cannot come to Jesus on our own because the weight of our sins will drown us in a sea of God's wrath and if we try to justify ourselves on our own merit and if we have nothing to sustain us, namely grace, then we will sink and eternally perish. For man, it is impossible to walk on water. For sinners, it is impossible to please God.
2) Coming to Christ is like being raised from the dead.
Then Jesus, deeply moved again, came to the tomb. It was a cave, and a stone lay against it. 39Jesus said, "Take away the stone." Martha, the sister of the dead man, said to him, "Lord, by this time there will be an odor, for he has been dead four days." 40Jesus said to her, "Did I not tell you that if you believed you would see the glory of God?" 41So they took away the stone. And Jesus lifted up his eyes and said, "Father, I thank you that you have heard me. 42 I knew that you always hear me, but I said this on account of the people standing around, that they may believe that you sent me." 43When he had said these things, he cried out with a loud voice, "Lazarus, come out." 44 The man who had died came out, his hands and feet bound with linen strips, and his face wrapped with a cloth. Jesus said to them, "Unbind him, and let him go."
Another familiar story. Lazarus. He dies, is dead for 4 days, and Jesus gives a command to this dead man to "Come". Well, Why didn't Lazarus just get up and tell a weeping Jesus that he had decided that he wanted to live again?Why didn't Lazarus tell Jesus that "I am ready to be alive again now, Jesus! Come on over to my tomb and raise me!" Why didn't Lazarus do this? Simple. Dead men are dead. Dead men don't do anything. They CANNOT get up and tell anyone anything. They CANNOT decide that they want to be raised to life. You go to a graveyard and it is impossible for those dead corpses to get up and live again.
Application: Ephesians 2:1-3 "And you were dead in the trespasses and sins in which you once walked, following the course of this world, following the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that is now at work in the sons of disobedience— among whom we all once lived in the passions of our flesh, carrying out the desires of the body and the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, like the rest of mankind."
Naturally dead men don't do anything pertaining to life. Spiritually dead men don't do anything pertaining to Life. A naturally dead man cant obey any commands given to him. Likewise the spiritually dead man cant obey any commands given to him - hints: "sons of disobedience".
Without resuscitation a dead man cant live. Without regeneration, a spiritually dead man cant live.
3) Coming to Christ is like being born................again.
Jesus answered him, "Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born again he cannot see the kingdom of God." Nicodemus said to him, "How can a man be born when he is old? Can he enter a second time into his mother’s womb and be born?" Jesus answered, "Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born of water and the Spirit, he cannot enter the kingdom of God.
Nicodemus, a Pharisee - highly skilled and trained in the law, one of the most esteemed leaders of his day, comes to Jesus at night....its funny how he had so many compliments and much flattery for Jesus at night, but remained dead silent during the day. Nicodemus approaches Jesus and pretty much admits that both he and his comrades believe He is sent from God. Jesus destroys all of Nicodemus' flattery (no matter how genuine his intentions were) by telling him "You just need to start all over"...more bluntly "Unless you are born all again, you CANNOT enter the Kingdom of Heaven." Why does Jesus say that unless you're BORN (something you have no control over) then you cannot see the kingdom....How am I supposed to be born again if I didn't determine my birth the first time? Simple. You cant.You don't. You're birth THIS time is not determined by you, just like your birth last time (physical birth) was not determined by you.
But to all who did receive him,who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God, who were born, not of blood nor of the will of the flesh nor of the will of man, but of God.
1 Peter 1:23
Being born again, not of corruptible seed, but of incorruptible, by the word of God, which liveth and abideth for ever.
So how do I know if Ive been born again? Well,How do you know that you were born the first time? You're alive!!You may not remember the event of your birth taking place, but you know youre alive, you see the effects of being alive working in you, you are clearly made in the likeness of your parents, you're not dead because you respond to the things around you. You grow, you age, etc.
Born again? well, you're spiritually alive! You have a new heart given by Him, a new spirit given by Him. You are created in the likeness of Him in righteousness and true holiness.You respond to the things of Him - His words, His love, His grace. You grow in righteousness and in grace. Do you believe on His name? Have you received His testimony - that He is the Son of God who died in your place-for you? If yes, then this is proof that He has displayed His power in bestowing the privilege of adoption - He has MADE you a child of God. The wind of the Spirit blew where it willed and you may not remember the day or time, or what you were doing when it happend, but you know beyond a shadow of a doubt that "He called me, He spoke to Me, God did something in me!" and the evidence of that "something" in you is that you have been changed.
4) Coming to Christ is like a healing from the incurable.....
One man was there who had been an invalid for thirty-eight years.When Jesus saw him lying there and knew that he had already been there a long time, he said to him, "Do you want to be healed?" The sick man answered him, "Sir, I have no one to put me into the pool when the water is stirred up, and while I am going another steps down before me." Jesus said to him, "Get up, take up your bed, and walk." And at once the man was healed, and he took up his bed and walked. Now that day was the Sabbath.
And behold, a woman who had suffered from a discharge of blood for twelve years came up behind him and touched the fringe of his garment, for she said to herself, "If I only touch his garment, I will be made well." Jesus turned, and seeing her he said, "Take heart, daughter; your faith has made you well." And instantly the woman was made well.
And behold, some people brought to him a paralytic, lying on a bed. And when Jesus saw their faith, he said to the paralytic, "Take heart, my son; your sins are forgiven." But that you may know that the Son of Man has authority on earth to forgive sins" --he then said to the paralytic--"Rise, pick up your bed and go home." And he rose and went home.
And as he entered a village, he was met by ten lepers, who stood at a distance and lifted up their voices, saying, "Jesus, Master, have mercy on us." When he saw them he said to them, "Go and show yourselves to the priests." And as they went they were cleansed.
Having said these things, he spat on the ground and made mud with the saliva. Then he anointed the man's eyes with the mud and said to him, "Go, wash in the pool of Siloam" (which means Sent). So he went and washed and came back seeing.
After money spent, years in pain and affliction, left hopeless because no man can cure their diseases - many of them outcasts, here is One who heals instantly- One who does something instantaneously that was impossible for any of them, much more any man to do...heal. He does what was impossible to do.
Sin, in scripture, is related to death - our transgressions related to sickness and corrosion and diseases that eat away. Just as no physician can cure the incurable, no man can extinguish the disease of sin from either himself or others. Sin is the most incurable disease known to man, and it will always be - because men in their own physical and mental strength can never solve or cure an issue that's spiritual. That is why a man's external works will not save him because the real issue lies within.
Coming to Christ is like walking on water, being raised from the dead, being born all over again, and being healed from a disease that is incurable....it will not happen unless He acts first. He gives the command to come, He gives life to the dead- so they might come, He births through the working of the Spirit, and He commands the lame to walk, the blind to see, and the lepers to be clean when they had no power to do so of themselves. Matthew 19:26 says ""With man this is impossible, but with God all things are possible." He declares this truth again in John 6:44 in saying that "No one can come to me unless the Father who sent me draws him. And I will raise him up on the last day." With men, left to themselves, it would be impossible to please God, it would be impossible to ever see heaven, and it would be impossible to ever be saved, but God helps those who absolutely CANNOT help themselves and this is called: GRACE - not merely an offer of a helping hand, not just a motion of goodness twoards your direction ....but the saving of one who has thrown themselves over the cliff of sin, falling headlong to destruction and hell, and is rescued by the arms of an Almighty Savior for no reason whatsoever in themselves, but only because He is gracious in saving those who willfully sought to destroy themselves.
Thank God for the Impossible.....