So. What’s it gonna take?

To make you happy. What do you really NEED to feel content?

If you ONLY  had, what? , then you’d be happy.

A certain amount of money? A beautiful or handsome spouse that loves you ? A baby? A fast car? A new house? New iPhone 1000? A long vacation? Retirement? Your ideal career? College? A perfect body? Beautiful hair? Good health? Your beloved one to come back from the grave? A friend? Mental peace? To win that race or that game?

Well, those are all nice things and I wouldn’t mind having a few of those myself. But there is only one way to be content, happy, and at peace, and it doesn’t involve buying anything. In fact, it’s a free gift!

I hope you’ll take it. My friend and Savior and Lord, Jesus Christ, is offering it today to those who will accept it. The only catch is you have to admit that you need it and say that you want it and that you are ready to have your life changed by Him.

You can read all about in his book, The Bible. Look in the Gospel of John.

What? You already know about Jesus and that he died for sinners so that we can have freedom from the power of sin and death? But you don’t think that’s a big deal? Then you, my friend, have been tricked. The penalty for rejecting God’s son is death and eternal separation from God! And even before you die, you are living in slavery to the power of Satan to manipulate, use, and destroy your life. He will appeal to all of your sinful desires, tell you that they are going to bring you happiness, and then watch you go down in flames. He will tell you it’s okay to cheat on your wife, and then triumph when your life is in ruins. He will encourage you to destroy your body with addictions and leave you to suffer the guilt. He will tell you that no one loves or likes you, so just kill yourself! He will tell you that everyone else has it better than you, feed your anger and envy, and watch as you waste your life seeking revenge. Satan wants to destroy God’s people.

What will eternal separation from God be like? Even worse than your worst experience on earth!  It will be tormenting! It will be absolute evil. Darkness. Total lack of anything good. No comfort. No mercy. No relief. Forever. It will be all the bad things in the world, but without any of the good things that God so mercifully gives us on earth until Judgment Day. No sunshine. No love. No beauty. No friends. No water for thirst. No healing from pain. No food for hunger. No rest from exhaustion. Forever.

Why would a loving God turn his back on the people he created and let them suffer like that? His son was tortured and murdered, nailed to a cross after being beaten almost to death. While he was gone from his body, he conquered the power of death and then he came back to life. He did this for us so that we can live with him in his kingdom later and so that we can be free from Satan’s power over us right now! And yet, there are those who do not think they are sinners, or they don’t care, or they don’t even believe in sin, God, or an afterlife. They are condemned to this eternal punishment because they have rejected Jesus. Of all the sins, this is the worst one. God will forgive you for everything but that. He can forgive your lies, your adultery, your cheating, your abuse, your selfishness, violence, etc. , if you ask him. That is why Jesus died. So your sins could be washed away, wiped clean, forever erased from your account! Even future sins.  You can be as clean as freshly fallen snow.

Are you worried that you will have to ‘give up’ too much? Become a weird, religious fanatic? Go to church every day? Give all your money to the church? Become a missionary in some foreign land? Do you love your sin too much? Would you rather live in sin now and go to Hell later,  than surrender to Jesus? Do you think you are ‘a good person’ ? Do you worry people will think you’re not sophisticated because you believe in ‘religion’? Don’t worry! Those things will not matter to you after you trust him, are born again, become like a child in faith and begin to follow Jesus with the power of the Holy Spirit. It may take a little time to let go of some old habits and there will be temptations, but He will help you to overcome in his power, in his name. You are not giving up anything that can really make you happy. Those are earthly things. The longer you follow Jesus, the closer you will get to him and the more content you will become.

Following Jesus is not the same as being ‘religious’. You are saved from eternal punishment by Jesus, not by going to church, following rituals, giving money to churches or missionaries or preachers, confessing to priests, following a certain diet, yoga, or meditation, or any other thing that YOU try to do to earn your way into God’s kingdom. You can’t do it. You need the free gift of salvation that Jesus already died to purchase for you. You were like a slave and Jesus bought you. You were like a condemned criminal and he took your place on the cross. You owed an immeasurable price for you sins and he paid it.

What about those of you suffering from anxiety and depression? Let go of trying to make yourself happy! Accept that you can’t . Ask Jesus for help. Trust that He will help you become whole. Many times that anxiety is rooted in fear of not being good enough. Or it can be caused by being hurt by people who were supposed to love you and care for you. Or it can be caused by guilt because you know you are doing things that are wrong. Or it may be a metabolic disorder that you were born with that causes you to have low moods or anxious energy. In any of those situations, you can find peace with Jesus. You can learn to trust that he loves you, is there for you, and forgives you. He is there when you are scared and when you are sad. He is your best friend at all times. He will never ask you to hurt yourself, lie to you, desert you, or laugh at you. He will lead you into a new life . You can trust him, one day at a time, even when bad things happen in your life. He does not make life on earth perfect or easy , but he will help you through it.

Call on him today.  Just say, Lord , I need you! I know I do. Please forgive me. I want to belong to you. Then Trust him to do it! After that, you pay close attention because the devil may send you extra difficulties and temptations. That is your opportunity to pray and ask God to help you and give you guidance. Read your Bible and find a group of mature Christians that can help you grow in your faith. Beware of any group that tells you anything that is different from what the Bible teaches! There are many false teachers out there who seek to destroy new Christians and lead then astray. Ask God to lead you to a Christian church or Bible study group. Ask him to protect you from pride and false teachings. These two things are dangerous traps for new believers.

Remember, you didn’t do anything to deserve or earn this free gift of salvation! Jesus did it all for you because he loves you! You have nothing to boast about. Let your heart and mind be full of gratitude daily, no matter what life throws at you. That is where you will find TRUE HAPPINESS! And good news, you can’t lose this salvation. And you don’t owe him anything other than faith in him. True faith will produce fruits of righteousness, but that is not something you do to earn salvation. So trust him, day by day, praying for help, reading the Bible, and growing in your knowledge of him and in faith. God bless you and welcome to the family!

And by the way, you don’t have to start acting all religious or sell all your belongings or become super volunteer at the church. Let God guide you into the life he has planned for you. Don’t try to force it under your own wisdom and power, it won’t work. If you feel stressed and worried that you aren’t doing enough for God, you’re probably doing too much. He brings rest and peace, not more anxiety and fear. 🙂

Dear friends, let us love one another, for love comes from God. Everyone who loves has been born of God and knows God. Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love. This is how God showed his love among us: He sent his one and only Son into the world that we might live through him. 10 This is love: not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins. 11 Dear friends, since God so loved us, we also ought to love one another. 12 No one has ever seen God;but if we love one another, God lives in us and his love is made complete in us.

13 This is how we know that we live in him and he in us: He has given us of his Spirit. 14 And we have seen and testifythat the Father has sent his Son to be the Savior of the world. 15 If anyone acknowledges that Jesus is the Son of God, God lives in them and they in God. 16 And so we know and rely on the love God has for us.

God is love. Whoever lives in love lives in God, and God in them. 17 This is how love is made complete among us so that we will have confidence on the day of judgment: In this world we are like Jesus. 18 There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment. The one who fears is not made perfect in love.

19 We love because he first loved us. 20 Whoever claims to love God yet hates a brother or sister is a liar. For whoever does not love their brother and sister, whom they have seen, cannot love God, whom they have not seen. 21 And he has given us this command: Anyone who loves God must also love their brother and sister.

 

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8 comments

  1. Amen! Of course, given that I’m preaching through John, with John 11:27-44 up this Sunday, I’m a bit biased.

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