Connecting with God

BElieve

Our greatest desire at Christ Community Church is that you come to know God through Jesus Christ in a personal, dynamic, life-changing way.  If you are truly searching for the God who created you, loves you and whose passionate desire is for you to know Him, this page was written to assist you in doing just that.   Many of the verses that follow are taken from a letter in the Bible called Romans.  This guide is also referred to as the “Roman Road to Salvation.”  We hope that walking this road you’ll discover and receive the life that is meant especially for you.

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Romans 3:10 “As it is written, there is none righteous, not even one…”

It’s kind of tough sometimes to think that none, zip, NO ONE is good or “righteous.”  Some may actually take offense at this, because many of us probably think we’re pretty good, but if we look at God’s standards to understand this verse, we might better understand why this is so.

Why might we look into God’s law?  Because as the writer in the New Testament letter, Romans, says, “the law was the only way I could learn what sin meant.  I would never have known what it means to want to take something belonging to someone else if the law had not said, ‘You must not want to take your neighbor’s things.’” Romans 7:7

Just as we use a ruler to measure length, and an odometer to measure distance, let’s use God’s law to meaure our goodness.  Willing now to give it a shot?  Great, let’s start . . .

First, let me ask you this: what if someone asked you if you’d ever stolen something?  I have it firmly planted in my memory banks stealing a nickel off our neighbor’s bathroom counter when I was 4.  Was I ashamed when my mom made me return it to our neighbor.  But a nickel?  Big deal you might ask, but even at 4 years old I had a heart of deception, taking something and hiding the truth of what I had done.  I knew it was wrong, but I did it anyways.

So, the question is . . . What do you call someone who steals something?  If you said, “thief” you’re right.  Have you ever stolen something, regardless of its size or value? (If so, strike commandment #8).

How about lying?  Have you ever lied?  You’re right, who hasn’t?  Big lies, little lies, white lies…it’s all the same, holding truth and deceiving someone to believe otherwise. (Strike #9)

What about murder?  True, not too many people can claim they’ve done this (and if they have, they’re probably lying about it!)  But the Bible says, “Everyone who hates his brother is a murderer…” (I John 3:15)  Ever feel such anger and hate in your heart you wished you could kill somebody?  (Strike for #6)

Here’s one most of us hear everyday (and may use without even thinking of it).  Ever use God’s name as a cuss word?  Seems to be the norm in many vocabularies.  (Strike #3)

Eye-opening, huh?  Even after just 4 of 10 commandments, we can get a better look at how our heart measures up…and there are 6 more commandments to go!

And if that’s not enough, here’s the clincher: God’s Word even says that if we’ve faulted on JUST ONE of His commandments, then we’re guilty of ALL:  “For whoever keeps the whole law and yet stumbles at just one point is guilty of breaking all of it.” (James 2:10)

So the other 7 commandments you ask?  Here’s the whole ”list of 10″.  How do you measure up?

1) Put God as #1 in your life…ALWAYS, EVERY DAY, and THROUGH EVERY BREATH . . . (I certainly haven’t done this.  What are your thoughts on this one?)

2) Don’t put anything in place of God (which includes your spouse, kids, MONEY).

3) Don’t say God’s name as a cuss word (very serious to the one who’s given us life).

4) Keep one day out of the week to honor God.

5) Honor and respect your parents (what were you like, or are you like, as a teenager).

6) Don’t murder (as mentioned above, includes not hating someone).

7) Don’t cheat on your spouse. (One of those heart issues like murder since Jesus says, “But I tell you that anyone who looks at a woman lustfully has already committed adultery with her in his heart.)

8) Don’t steal (people have God’s protection to keep what He’s provided to them).

9) Don’t lie (and not telling the whole truth is close at hand).

10) Don’t desire what others have (be content with the things you’ve been given—possessions, body type, personality, life situation).

It’s a tough list, but if we’re honest (remember, no lying) we’d have to say we’ve definitely missed it on a few.  Which shows . . .

Romans 3:23 “For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.”

. . . going through that list of 10 shows this to be true.  At this point, if you’re feeling bad . . . that’s good!  Huh?  Because that means God is working on your heart to show you how hopeless we are without Him and how desperate we are for His help.   Between God’s Holiness, and our sins (or perhaps more easitly understood as “violations” or “crimes”) we need assistance here.  Romans 2:4 tells us it’s God’s kindness that leads us to repentance (one of those fancier words that basically means “to turn around.”)  So it’s God’s kindness that helps us to turn around, i.e. to turn our direction from the self-sufficient, self-absorbed road we’re traveling to head in God’s direction.

However, to turn around isn’t enough . . . it’s a great start, but just turning towards God isn’t all we need any more then telling a judge that we’re really, really sorry for a traffic violation.  As in a courtroom trial and conviction, there’s a fine to pay.  And the big spiritual “fine” we pay by doing things “our way” and not following the “list of 10″ above is . . . ugh!  Duh, duh, duh . . . DEATH.  Certainly, not something we like to think about, but even as we do, you probably have friends and loved ones that come to mind.  Actually it’s good to think about these people and to think about death.  The author of Ecclesiastes wrote about this being a good thing when he said, “It is better to go to a house of mourning than to go to a house of feasting, for death is the destiny of every man; the living should take this to heart.” (7:2)

Romans 6:23 “For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.”

So let’s take this to heart realizing that the one guarantee in life is that everyone is going to die…that’s 100% of the human population will face this reality someday (not a promising statistic for sure).  However, remember our example of a courtroom trial and a fine that needs to be paid for a conviction?  The bad news is that you’re incapable, I’m incapable, we’re ALL incapable of paying the price of the “ticket” any more than the majority of us could pay a violation for a two million dollar traffic offence (if there were such a thing, but I use this for simplicity sake).  Our bank account would just come up short, as does our ‘spiritual bank’ account.

But the good news is that it can be paid, and there is someone who’s paid it for us.  Keep reading . . .

Romans 5:8 “But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.”

Yep, here is the good news of Easter!  God knew we couldn’t pay the fine . . . But He could.  And He did!  Think of yourself standing before a judge (a judge, if he’s good – as God is good - has to follow through with the requirements of the law) who is about to slam the gavel down declaring you “guilty of charge” because you couldn’t pay that two-million dollar fine.

But just at that moment you’re standing there speechless and without excuse, someone swings wide the doors to the court room and shouts, “Wait! I can pay!”  And he boldly approaches the bench with a briefcase containing the required two-million dollars!  How would you feel towards someone if they were to do that for you?  Angry, bitter, resentful?  Hardly, we’d be grateful forever with our life!

Well, this is exactly what Jesus did for us, and gratefulness ought to be our very reaction . . . lifetime gratefulness.  We can’t pay the hefty fine, but He could, and He did!  He took the judgement and penalty of our crimes by willingly going to and dying on the cross for each one of us.  He stepped in at that crucial moment and said, “Wait!  I can pay!  Don’t judge (say your name here), judge me!  Let me suffer the consequences, let me pay the fine!”  His shed blood and death allows us the bridge to meet God.  Because Jesus paid the price for ALL our wrongdoings, we are able to freely approach God, and He with us.

Romans 10:9-10 “If you confess with your mouth Jesus as Lord, and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you shall be saved; for with the heart man believes, resulting in righteousness, and with the mouth confesses, resulting in salvation.”

And here lies the power of the Chirstian faith . . . yes, Jesus died, but death could not hold Him down, and three days later he rose from the dead.  And because He lives, so will we!

Yet “knowing” (like just turning towards God) that Jesus died on the cross as payment for all our violations and rose from the dead is actually NOT ENOUGH.  We have to take just ONE FINAL STEP . . .  We each have to personally trust and claim that Jesus paid the price for our own sins and rose inspite of it on our behalf.  And that’s it!  Just as Jesus stated two-thousand years ago, “It is finished.”  PAYMENT PAID IN FULL!

Some find it beneficial to speak a prayer asking God to forgive them and confess that they now believe that Jesus died and rose for them.  Others just admit this silently in their heart, while others just know that God has become central in their life.  God knows your heart even better than you do, so don’t get tangled up with words . . . just lay your heart open to His and let God lead you as you confess your need for Him.

Finally, tell someone.  And if you need someone to tell, call us!  Prayerfully, our office will be open when you call, but if not, keep trying.

Romans 10:13 “For whosoever will call upon the name of the Lord will be saved.”

And here you have it.  By calling on God and accepting HIS payment though Jesus Christ, you are free from having to pay the penalty and are made new in God’s sight.

“Therefore if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creature; the old things passed away; behold, new things have come.”  (2 Corinthians 5:17)

So if you have read and followed this guide . . .

Welcome to the Family of God!

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