Friday, June 29, 2018
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Usually, the only way we know a musical artist we like is through listening to their CD or maybe watching their music video. We've come a long way from Grandma's old 78 RPM records. In fact, someone's listening and saying, "What's a record?" But there's something much better than either the audio or video recording of a great musician. It's called going to their concert where you can actually see them and hear them live in person. There's nothing like the live concert.
I'm Ron Hutchcraft and I want to have A Word With You today about "Nice Ways to Miss God."
If you can see a musician in person, or better yet, if you have a chance to meet that person, why would you just settle for something they've made like a recording? Sadly, many a person in their search for spiritual answers has made a tragic mistake like that. They've gotten all involved with something God made or a religion that represents Him, but they've missed meeting Him in person!
In Mark 12:34, which is our word for today from the Word of God, Jesus made a sobering statement about what I would call a spiritual "near miss." The man He said it to had a lot of Bible knowledge and spiritual understanding but he didn't have a personal commitment to Jesus. Jesus said, "You are not far from the kingdom of God." Almost there, but not in. That means there will be people who came very close to doing what they must do in order to get to heaven. But like a man who misses his airplane flight by only seconds, they still won't get there. If Jesus were to appear to you personally where you are today, I wonder if He might say those same words to you, "You're not far from the kingdom of God. But you're not in."
Maybe you've found your spiritual experience in creation: the mountains, the ocean, the universe. That's good, but that's not God. God talks about that in Romans 1. "Since the creation of the world God's invisible qualities-His eternal power and divine nature-have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that men are without excuse. For although they knew God, they neither glorified Him as God nor gave thanks to Him, but their thinking became futile..." See, that's what happens when you stop at what God made and you don't go on to a personal relationship with the God who made it! If you think what He's produced is impressive, wait until you meet Him!
Or maybe you've gotten as close to Jesus as a religion that's about Him. But your church, your religion, is just a representation of the One that you need to know personally; it's only an introduction to Him. Religion can be a very nice way to miss God. If you think your religion does something for you, well wait until you meet the One the religion is just representing! Jesus said, "I am the way, the truth and the life. No one can come to the Father except through Me" (John 14:6). It's Jesus that gets you to heaven, not Christianity. And one of the greatest spiritual dangers in the world is to put your trust in a Christian religion or a Christian belief and miss putting your trust in Jesus himself.
And today I've just got to believe He's inviting someone who's listening to finally experience the real thing-an eternal love relationship with Jesus himself. It's not practicing a religion. It's responding to His love with total trust, responding with all your heart to His pouring out all His life for you when He died on the cross to take your place. He absorbed all of God's punishment for your sin there. Responding to this Rescuer from heaven who blew the doors off His grave on Easter morning. That's what begins a relationship; it's not enough just to know He did those things, any more than it would be enough for a drowning person to know that a lifeguard could save him. You've got to grab Him; you've got to hold onto Him as your only hope.
For all your spirituality and all your religion, the hole in your heart is still empty because the missing person in your life is Jesus. The Bible says you "...were made by Him and for Him" (Colossians 1:16). This is the day you can finally have Him in your soul! Tell Him, "Jesus, I'm yours." He promised that upon your invitation, He's coming into your heart.
Look, if you want to be sure you have begun a relationship with Him; you want to know how to do that, would you go to our website today. It's ANewStory.com.
Your lifelong search for meaning, for love, for God, do you know where it ends? It ends at the feet of Jesus, and it's time to come home.