Guides 2 Jesus . . .
–God has given us several guides to lead us to the living, resurrected Jesus Christ. Our purpose is not to put our primary focus on these guides, but to let them lead us to God’s goal for us — a daily relationship of following and obeying Jesus. These guides can only lead us to Christ in conjunction with the Holy Spirit:
1) The written Word of God (we call the Bible);
2) The declaration of the living Word (we call preaching or teaching; which is often informal and can be done anywhere and by any Christ-follower);
3) The testimony of people who have encountered and been transformed by the living Jesus;
4) Ekklesia (God-gatherings where the living, Jesus is allowed to actually demonstrate His real presence and power).
–Here are some examples:
1) A rebellious, skeptic named Augustine, in the summer of 386, at the age of 31, opened up a Bible scroll and read the first thing he saw: “Let us behave decently, as in the daytime, not in carousing and drunkenness, not in sexual immorality and debauchery, not in dissension and jealousy. Rather, clothe yourselves with the Lord Jesus Christ, and do not think about how to gratify the desires of the flesh.” At that moment, the living Jesus became real to Augustine and transformed His life. He became one of the greatest leaders in the history of the church.
2) An Anglican minister who had never met Christ visited a church meeting on May 24th 1738 and heard someone declaring the living Word. John Wesley describes what happened: “While he was describing the change which God works in the heart through faith in Christ, I felt my heart strangely warmed. I felt I did trust in Christ, Christ alone for salvation; and an assurance was given me that He had taken away my sins, even mine, and saved me from the law of sin and death.” Wesley was transformed by the living Jesus and went on to inspire and lead a worldwide spiritual awakening that continues to impact the world in the 21st Century.
3) I was an agnostic and walked into a campus meeting in college. As I heard two different guys testify about how the living Jesus changed their lives, I could tell they had something that I didn’t have and suddenly Jesus became more real to me than the physical world and 45 years later I’m still passionate about His daily presence in my life.
4) A Hindu visited our ekklesia style church in Nashville, The Salvation Army Berry Street, and then started regularly attending while still attend the Hindu temple in Nashville. After about a year, he told me that the love and power he saw demonstrated in the open sharing and ministry in the Sunday meetings had convinced Him of the reality of the living Jesus and changed his life. He turned away from Hinduism and is now a passionate Christ-follower and Bible-reader.