What is means to have a relationship with God / Jesus
By Victor Gee
3 main points:
- The NATURE of a relationship with God
- The BLESSING that comes with the relationship
- The EXPECTATION that comes with the relationship
Embracing Christianity = Embracing Jesus Christ
And because Jesus is a Person, embracing Christianity is embracing a Relationship.
And like any relationship, in order to grow it, there are some general principles that apply
~ spend time
~ make effort
~ and consistency
Imagine a newly wed couple, after getting married, deciding to spend their lives apart (No evening strolls on the beach, no romantic candle light dinners, no watching movies together, etc…) it doesn’t take long before the relationship grows cold and apart!
Eg: Story – when my oldest sister met her then boy friend. She fell madly in love with him.
I am not saying as a guy, you treat God like a lovely girl, OR if you are a girl…you treat God like He is a big tough guy. That would be humanizing God and in the process losing the respect and reverent awe that is due God. But these principles can still apply without compromising God’s sovereignty. So in order for your relationship with God to continue to grow, are you:
~ spending time with Him?
~ making an effort to nurture this relationship?
~ being consistent, or working towards consistency, in your relationship with Him?
You have to understand one thing: having a relationship with God is not about you being perfect. To begin with…you were a wretched being, saved by His grace. You repent and turn from your old sinful ways…there’s a saying that goes: it’s not about perfection but rather it is about direction.
Now when it comes to having a strong relationship with Jesus, there is a wonderful example in the New Testament from which we can all learn. This example comes from someone within Jesus’ inner circle. Jesus spent time with all kinds of people but out of the multitudes, there were the 12, and of the 12 there was an inner circle of 3. And of the inner 3, there was this one particular disciple who was given a special description. He was the disciple ‘whom Jesus loved’ (A description that was never given to any other disciples). As if that statement is not enough, it was repeated 4 times over! And this was none other than John the disciple.
Eg: Let me give you an example to establish this fact. John 19:26 & 27 - only John of all the disciples was there when Jesus was on the Cross. And Jesus hands his mom over to John and said to him…my mom is now your mom. And John took Jesus’ mom into his home.
The 3 points I would like to share with you today come from John 15.
15:15 > I no longer call you servants, …but instead…I call you friends.
See also Exodus 33:11 about Moses, & James 2:23 / Isaiah 41:8 about Abraham.
Point: Christianity is the only major religion in the entire world where the Creator actually wants a relationship with his creation. He allows us to call him Abba Father. In fact, he wants us to call him our dad. This is a privilege only found in Christianity.
15:11 > I have told you this so that my joy may be in you and that your joy may be complete.
In order to explain the word joy, I am going to use the word “happy” by way of comparison.
Happy vs Joy
Happy: Hebrew word ‘asher’ (Genesis 30:1-13, Deuteronomy 24:5) Joy: James 1:2 (Consider it pure joy when you face trials of many kinds)
Point: Happiness is dependent on things that happen around us but joy on the other hand is not dependent on external events but rather it is a deep assurance in knowing that our God is with us & in control even though our surrounding is suggesting otherwise.
Eg: Paul in Philippians 4 (A life that is content even though in prison!) / Nehemiah 8:10 For the joy of the LORD is my strength.
15:10 > If you keep my commandments, you will abide in my love.
Analogy of GOD vs DOG (both are still men’s best friendbut difference is: God (He’s in charge) Dog (You are incharge)cf: John 14:15 / 1 John2:3
Eg: Commandment (Great Commission Matthew 28:19)
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(** Additional notes)
The bond or closeness between John and Jesus is seen in John’s writing. Although it was people that wrote the New Testament under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, God allows for their experience, knowledge, personality and linguistic ability to spill into the way they wrote. In John’s case, it is his relationship with Jesus that spills over into his writings.
There’s one word in particular that John uses a lot. It’s the Greek word called ‘meno’. See, meno when translated into English can have a number of synonyms (permanent, remain, stay, abide, dwell, etc up to 8 or 9 different English words). And usually it is the context in which the sentence sits that will decide which English word best expresses its meaning. But out of those 8 or 9 English words, they basically fall into 3 categories.
No.1 – Locality
No.2 – Situational
No.3 – Relational
Out of 119 times meno is used in the NT, 39 times was relational and with the remaining 80 times divided between locality and situational. And out of the 39 times, 38 of those were found in the book of John. (Because I believe it reflects the intimacy John had with Jesus)
One of the Scriptures is John 15:4. It says ‘Abide in me, and I will abide in you’. Logically speaking, does it mean if we don’t abide in Christ, He is not going to abide in us? The answer is yes and no. No, because the day you accepted Christ and decided to follow him, His Spirit lives in you. Yes, because like any relationship, if it is not nurtured, it will grow cold and stale. You see that in some Christians. They claim to be Christians, but when they are outside of church, you can’t even tell if they are Christians or not. They don’t get excited about Christ, the gospel, no passion for the kingdom of God etc…