John Barnett Discover the Book Daily Devotional
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Discover the Book - Apr. 2, 2009

  • 2009 Apr 02

Do You Have a Personal Relationship with Jesus?

The most important question you will ever be asked to answer is the question –

“Do You Have a Personal Relationship With Jesus Christ?”

This week as I stood in line buying food to feed 60 hungry servants working at the church, the man behind the counter looked at the tax-exempt paper and said, Tulsa Bible Church? What do you think of that movie [The Passion]?” I answered (as I am learning to since the awareness of the Name of Jesus, and His death is all around us, more than ever in my lifetime) – “it makes me want to be sure that I have a personal relationship with Him.”

I told him that the movie starts with a verse declaring that Christ was dying for sins. That theme is repeated several times throughout the movie. And so I said, that movie made me examine whether I had a personal relationship with Jesus the One who died for my sins.

Then he said something that I had hoped for, “Am I supposed to have a relationship with Jesus? I am a Catholic, do we do that?” And of course that led to a perfect opportunity to express to him a verbal witness of Christ's death for sin and an explanation of how to get that relationship started. Simply stated I shared my testimony that I have a relationship with Jesus Christ by believing that Jesus absorbed God’s wrath for my sin on the Cross, and repenting of my sin.

I left him reading intently a Gospel tract. So as I asked him, how is YOUR relationship with Jesus? Do you have one? Are you sure of that relationship? Do you understand what that relationship really means to God and to you?

That is what we have come to as we continue in the Gospel by Mark.

Mark 3.31-35 Then His brothers and His mother came, and standing outside they sent to Him, calling Him. 32 And a multitude was sitting around Him; and they said to Him, “Look, Your mother and Your brothers are outside seeking You.” But He answered them, saying, Who is My mother, or My brothers?34 And He looked around in a circle at those who sat about Him, and said, “Here are My mother and My brothers! 35 For whoever does the will of God is My brother and My sister and mother.

First our text reminds us that as believers we sometimes are “STANDING OUTSIDE” of what Jesus is trying to do – aren’t we? For just a moment think of what a graphic picture this is.

Jesus’ family was standing outside calling Jesus away from his work. They believed they were helping, not hindering. They did not realize how they were blocking Jesus’ mission. None of us would consciously block Jesus’ efforts, yet we become thoughtless of him when we pursue only our own interests and needs:

  • We desire interesting and uplifting companions. He wants to include the unfortunate, disabled, and sick.
  • We desire to get to know those who will help us get ahead. He loves the poor, the disenfranchised, the foreigner.
  • We desire to get to know those we enjoy on a more intimate basis. He intends to reach all the people of the world, the millions who as yet still have not heard.
  • We desire the comfort of family and selected friends. He desires everyone to be in his family .

Next, our text this morning shows the wonders and the dangers of a relationship with Jesus. The wonders are immense, briefly God offers to each of us and to the entire world the incredible closeness of relationship that would be like growing up in Christ's family as children in a home in Nazareth. We can have the same closeness that James and Jude had, that the disciples had, that Paul, Peter, Daniel, Moses and David had. All simply by faith in HIM.

What Are the Dangers Taught by Jesus in These Verses?

These dangers are immense; we see them in the text. They are the danger of over familiarity with Jesus (that was his mother’s problem); the danger of a lack of faith in Jesus Christ (that was his brothers’ problem); and trusting in a physical relationship instead of a spiritual relationship (that was both Mary and the brothers’ problem).

  • It is dangerous when you think that acquaintance can take the place of experience. The brothers of Jesus grew up with Him (Matthew 13.55) and they were completely used to being around Him. They just had never personally believed in Him as their sin bearer. They grew up with Him and never received Him.
  • That is the danger of church attendance. After a while you can’t tell who is really who because everyone is so well acquainted with everything.
  • That is the danger of every new generation of children into homes where the parents are believers. Each new generation much personally become sons and daughters of God. God has no grandchildren – His children’s children. No we must each receive Him by personal faith into Jesus – not through our parents or friend’s faith, but by our faith in His gracious gift.
  • Do you have a personal relationship with Jesus? Have you asked Him to absorb the wrath of God against your sins. When God forgives He does so because the righteous requirement for punishment of those sins has been met. Has Jesus taken your sins upon Himself?
  • If you are not absolutely sure you are in Christ's family – won’t you make sure today? Right where you sit bow your heart before Jesus, lay your own will and way at His crucified feet and say to Him – not my will but Thine be done. I ask for you to take away MY SINS. I believe You gave Yourself for ME. By faith I take your gift of salvation.
  • It is dangerous when you think that you have a physical basis for coming to Jesus. Mary was Christ's mother, his four named brothers were half-brothers – but no physical relationship by default causes anyone to have a closer place, better access, and so on. No one enters Christ's family by physical birth (like his brothers) but by spiritual birth (those seated around Him). No one is a believer/Christian because they are an American, or because their parents are believers, or because you have always been in church – no it is only if Christ is IN you because you have believed and repented.
  • No water baptism can give you a relationship with Jesus. John said, “But to as many as receive Him” (John 1.12)
  • No church membership can give you a relationship with Jesus. Paul said, “Not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to His mercy He saved us” (Titus 3.5)
  • No amount of good doing can give you a relationship with Jesus. Paul said, “For by grace you have been saved through faith” (Ephesians 2.8-9)

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