Jesus

Most of the people who come to S Mary’s church building on a Sunday morning are committed — people who come Sunday after Sunday for years — but what are we committed to? I think there is a real danger of committing ourselves to a particular building, a particular group of friends, a particular form of words or even a particular role in the worship. I want to spend some weeks thinking about what we should be committed to as Christians: I am going to preach on five things I think we should be committed to over five Sundays. I want this to be the beginning of a discussion, not the end: I would like you to think and pray seriously about what I say and come back and tell me what you come up with.

The five things I am going to preach about begin with J, E, S, U and S, to spell ‘Jesus’. Jesus is also the first of the five things I think we should be committed to. I hope you can tell that I think Jesus is the most important.

Jesus is a real person. If I said that Jesus was born in fifth century China and made his living as a farmer I would simply be wrong. The most important question about anything we say about Jesus is not how it makes us feel or how popular it is but whether it is true or false. How do we find out the truth about Jesus? More on that when I talk about Scripture in two weeks, because the bible is the best source we have for what Jesus is actually like. But the most basic claim that Christians have always made is that Jesus is Lord and he rose from the dead (Romans 10:9). We have to ask, is that true or false?

The truth about Jesus is an important question. If what the bible says is true — Jesus is the way to life (Matthew 10:32,33; Mark 8:35; Luke 10:16; John 11:25,26) — then accepting him as Lord is the best thing we can ever do and rejecting his Lordship is the worst. If what the bible says — what Christians have always said — about Jesus is true then it is literally a matter of life and death (Matthew 7:13,14).

If we commit ourselves to Jesus then we accept him as Lord over everything. In each area of our lives, the question is, as Humpty Dumpty told Alice, ‘Who is to be the master?’ It’s him or me. If there’s a part of my life — money, sex, work, drink, whatever — that I am withholding from Jesus, not letting him rule those habits and decisions, not seeking his will in that area, then I am rejecting his Lordship over that part of my life. If what the bible says about Jesus is true it is the most important truth there is and there is no excuse for rejecting his Lordship. If it is false, then Christianity is a pitiful waste (1 Corinthians 15:19).

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