Your Most Important Relationship
By: Dr. Steven C. Riser
Text: John 10:10b and 17:3
How you feel about life often boils down to how you feel about your relationships. We are designed for relationships. When our relationships are balanced and healthy, life is good. But, too often, we ignore the most important relationship – our spiritual connection with God.
I. You were created in the image of God – created with value and worth
God knows what best and God wants best – He wants your life to count. Did you know that God loves you and wants to have a personal relationship with you?
- God created you: Psalm 139:13-14 says, “For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother’s womb. I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well.”
- God loves you: John 3:16 says, “For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.”
- God wants you to know Him: John 17:3 says, “Now this is eternal life: that they may know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom you have sent.”
Why is it that so many people do not have a close personal relationship with God?
II. Our sin keeps us from having a personal relationship with God
- What is sin? James 4:17 – “Knowing what is right to do and then not doing it.” Sin involves our selfish attitude of ignoring and rejecting God as well as our selfish actions. Man was created to have fellowship with God but, because of his own stubborn self-will, he chose to go his own independent way and fellowship with God was broken. This self-will, characterized by an attitude of active rebellion or passive indifference, is an evidence of what the Bible calls sin. Sin means to miss God’s best and we have all fallen short of God’s desirous will for our lives.
- Who has sinned? Romans 3:23 – “all have sinned and fall short of the [God’s holy standard] Man is sinful and separated from God, so we cannot know Him personally or experience His love. We have a natural desire to be independent, to be master of our own lives. Isaiah 53:6 says, “We all, like sheep, have gone astray, each of us has turned to his own way…”
- What happens when we sin? Isaiah 59:2, “But the trouble is that your sins have cut you off from God; your sins have hidden his face from you, so that he will not hear.” Romans 6:23a – “For the wages of sin is death” Sin causes a gap between God and us. Death which means eternal separation from God, is the penalty of our sin (2 Thess.1:8, 9). God is holy and man is sinful and a great gulf or chasm separates the two. All our efforts to bridge the chasm have failed.
What is the solution to our separation from God?
III. Only through Christ can you have a personal relationship with God
- Why Jesus Christ? John 14:6 – Jesus said, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.” Only a sinless substitute could serve as an acceptable sacrifice. It is only through Jesus Christ that we can have a personal saving relationship with God (1 Tim.2:5; cf. also Acts 4:12).
- Why did Jesus Christ have to die? 1 Peter 3:18: “For Christ died for sins once for all, the righteous for the unrighteous, to bring you to God.” Jesus died to pay the penalty for our sins so that we might be forgiven. While we were still sinners, He died in our place (Rom. 5: 8).
- Why did Christ rise from the dead? Christ rose from the dead to prove that He could give us eternal life: 1 Cor. 15:3-6, “For what I received I passed on to you as of first importance: that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures, he appeared to more than five hundred of the brothers at the same time.”
How can you begin your personal relationship with God?
IV. You must personally respond by trusting Christ as Savior and Lord
- You respond by trusting Christ. Ephesians2:8-9 – “Because of His kindness you have been saved through trusting Christ and even trusting is not of yourselves; it too is a gift from God.” Salvation is not a reward for the good we have done, so none of us can take any credit for it.
- You respond by turning to God from your sin. Acts 3:19 – “Now change your mind and attitude toward God and turn to Him so He can cleanse away your sins.”
- You respond by receiving Christ. John 1:12-13 – “Yet to all who received him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God – children born not of natural descent, nor of human decision or a husband’s will, but born of God.”
What does receiving Christ mean? (Rev.3:20)
- Turning to God and away from your sinful, selfish way of living. (Repentance)
- Inviting Christ to come into your life and trusting him to forgive your sin. (Savior)
- Acknowledging Christ as Lord and allowing Him to direct your life. (Lordship)
Receiving Jesus Christ is not just mental assent to the truth of the gospel. Receiving Jesus Christ is not just an emotional experience – although it may be that. Receiving Jesus Christ is a whole soul’s trust in God and in His Word as true. Receiving Jesus Christ is trusting Him with your mind, heart and will.
Where do you find yourself today? Which is true of you? Can you say: 1) I don’t have and I don’t want to have a personal relationship with God through Christ. 2) I don’t have, but I would like to have a personal relationship with God through Christ. 3) I do have a saving, personal relationship with God through Christ.
Where would you like to be? In the Kingdom of Self or the Kingdom of God? Do you know how to get from the Kingdom of Self to the Kingdom of God? You can begin your personal relationship with God by receiving Jesus Christ by faith. You can express your faith or trust in Christ through praying a prayer such as this:
- Lord Jesus, I know that I am a sinner and that I do not deserve eternal life. But I believe that you died for my sin and rose from the grave in order to purchase a place in heaven for me. I repent of my sins and I ask you for your forgiveness. I place my trust in you alone for my salvation and I accept your free gift of eternal life. I ask you to come into my life and make me the person that you want me to be. I trust you to take charge of my life and I ask that I might experience the power of your Spirit that I might share this faith, love, joy and peace with others. In Jesus name I pray. Amen.
Can you say this to God and mean it? If you can and you sincerely mean it, then Jesus Christ will come into your life, forgive your sin and give you eternal life, just as He promised He would do. But that’s just the beginning! (2 Cor. 5:17)
V. Faith begins a permanent, positive, personal relationship with Christ
- 1. God commits Himself to you – God grants us the following assurances from His Word:
- a) He assures us: if we ask Him to come into our life He will (Rev. 3:20; Gal.2:20). John 14:20 – “On that day you will realize that I am in my Father, and you are in me, and I am in you.”
- b) He assures us that He will never leave us or forsake us. Hebrews 13:5b – God has said, “Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you.”
- c) He assures us that He completely forgives our sins. Colossians 2:13 – “When you were dead in your sins…God made you alive with Christ. He forgave us all our sins.”
- d) He assures us that if He is in us we have eternal life. 1 John 5:13 – I write these things to you who believe in the name of the Son of God so that you may know that you have eternal life.
- e) He assures us the power of His Spirit in order to live in a way pleasing to Him. Galatians 5:25 – “Let us follow the Holy Spirit’s leading in every part of our lives.”
- 2. You commit yourself to God – in Colossians 2:6-7 the Bible says, “And now just as you trusted Christ to save you, trust Him too, for each day’s problems;…See that you go on growing in the Lord, and become spiritually strong and vigorous.”
VI. In your relationship with God, do not depend upon your feelings
No matter how you feel, God always remains committed to His children. The promises of God’s Word are as good as gold. As we place our faith in the truth of God’s Word our feeling will follow. Good feelings may come and go but God’s love for us and His promises of forgiveness remain constant.
How can we keep growing and going in our personal relationship with God?
- Go to God daily in prayer. Philippians 4:6-7 – Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.
- Read the Bible every day. 2 Timothy 3:14-17 – But as for you, continue in what you have learned and have become convinced of, because you know those from whom you learned it, and how from infancy you have known the holy Scriptures, which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus. All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the man of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work.
- Obey God moment by moment (John 14:21). Luke 6:46-48 – Why do you call me, Lord, Lord, and do not do what I say? I will show you what he is like who comes to me and hears my words and puts them into practice. He is like a man building a house, who dug down deep and laid the foundation on rock. When a flood came, the torrent struck that house but could not shake it, because it was well built.
- Worship God in a regular basis. Hebrews 10:24-25 – And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds. Let us not give up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but let us encourage one another – and all the more as you see the Day approaching.
- Tell others what Jesus means to you. 1 Peter 3:15-16 – But in your hearts set apart Christ as Lord. Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect, keeping a clear conscience, so that those who speak maliciously against your good behavior in Christ may be ashamed of their slander.
- Let the Holy Spirit direct and empower your life. John 14:26 – But the Counselor, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you all things and will remind you of everything I have said to you.
Now you can share your most important relationship – “It is God Himself who has made us what we are and given us new lives from Christ Jesus; and long ages ago he planned that we should spend our lives in helping others” (Eph. 2:10).