By Peggy Toolen
Matthew 4:18-22 (NIV)
As Jesus was walking beside the Sea of Galilee, and saw two brothers, Simon called Peter and his brother Andrew. They were casting a net into the lake, for they were fishermen. “Come follow me,” Jesus said, “and I will send you out to fish for people.” At once they left their nets and followed him.
Going on from there he saw two other brothers, James the son of Zebedee and his brother John. They were in a boat with their father Zebedee preparing nets. Jesus called them, and immediately they left their nets and their father and followed him.
What does it really mean to follow Jesus? What does it mean to be “Saved”?
Does it mean we are simply saved from going to Hell? Saved from the horrible ending when the world comes to an end? Or are we saved with purpose that God has for us.
In the days of Jesus when he said to each of the disciples, “come follow me” what were they choosing to do? They walked away from the normal lives they had been living to follow Jesus. At first they didn’t really even know Jesus and as they got to know him they became more like him. By the time Jesus left to go back to Heaven they were so much like him that they even had his power and were doing the same things he had been doing.
In the end when Jesus comes back for his people there will be those who never chose to know him, or never chose to follow him or be “Saved”. What will happen to these people?
The bible tells us that even the ones who have died already will be raised from the dead to be judged. Those who do know Jesus will be caught up in the air with him and be taken away to the kingdom of God also known as heaven, to live eternally. And those who don’t know Jesus will stay on the earth to be burned up with Satan and his demons never to live again. God will then create a new earth and the “Saved” will live there with God forever.
The word, “Saved” appears 104 times in the King James Version of the bible. The word refers to God saving people from their enemies. What enemies are we being saved from today? We are being saved from Satan and his demons. First of all we are being saved from Satan during our life on earth and then saved from dying a horrible second death on the Earth with Satan and his demons.
During our lives on the Earth if we seek God for everything in our lives we will find that he is faithful to save us from Satan’s attacks on us daily. By submitting our lives to Jesus we belong to him and Satan can not touch us as long as we stay faithful to the Lord. In the end, of course, we will be saved by being caught up in the air with Jesus as the earth begins to destruct. But is this all there is to being “saved”?
When people pray a simple prayer to be saved and claim that Jesus is their Lord and savior, what does this actually mean? We know now that Jesus saves us so that makes him our savior but what is a Lord? The word Lord is a word used in the old days that means boss. So when you choose to make Jesus the Lord and Savior of your life you in essence are saying I want Jesus to tell me how to live my life. I want Him to tell me where to go and what to do. You more or less become his servant.
I know people who have prayed this prayer but they continue to be their own boss in their lives. They don’t pray asking Jesus what he wants of them in their lives. They don’t search the Word of God to see what he has to say about anything, they just continue to live the same life they always lived with a few changes such as going to church on Sundays and maybe changing some of their language and other small changes. But being a servant of God is much more than this and if we live our lives as servants to him and do as he asks, we will find he gives us power in our lives that most people don’t have.
2 Timothy 3:5(NIV)Having a form of godliness but denying its power.
Prayer becomes an exciting thing when you learn that God hears you and answers your prayers but if your life isn’t really lived in submission to God as his servant, then you won’t see this kind of power in your prayers. I lived this way for many years but now by asking the Holy Spirit to teach me, I’m beginning to see this wonderful power of prayer!
John 15:17(NIV) says “If you remain in me and my words remain in you, ask whatever you wish and it will be done for you.”
There’s a condition here to getting your prayers answered. The condition is to remain in Jesus and his words remain in you. How do we do this? First in order for his words to remain in you, you must read his word and soak it in. The bible is God’s will, it’s how he speaks to us. Before you pray about something search God’s word about your situation and find scriptures about it and you will know God’s will for that situation.
2 Timothy 3:16-17 (NIV) All scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the servant of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work.
When God sent his Son to the earth to save us from sin and death he had a plan in mind. He sent Jesus to show us how to be servants and then Jesus sent the first disciples out to do exactly what he had been teaching them. To those who accepted Jesus’ call to be servants were given the Holy Spirit who gave them power to cast out demons, heal the sick and preach the gospel. Jesus returned to Heaven with the Father and left the rest of the work up to those who believed in God’s plan and submitted to him and receive the Holy Spirit with power. Our job is to gather the ones who will believe and follow Jesus example until we have gathered as many as possible for the Day of Judgment. From the beginning when Adam and Eve sinned this has been God’s plan.
Mark 16:15-18 (NIV)
He said to them, “Go into the entire world and preach the gospel to all creation. Whoever believes and is baptized will be saved, but whoever does not believe will be condemned. And these signs will accompany those who believe: In my name they will drive out demons; they will speak in new tongues; they will pick up snakes with their hands; and when they drink deadly poison, it will not hurt them at all; they will place their hands on sick people, and they will get well.”
Saying a simple prayer and saying “Whew, I’m saved from hell,” is not what it’s all about. If we get it for ourselves then don’t share it with others; that’s selfish. Selfishness is the opposite of Love. And we have been called to love God and others. To love God and others we must become servants. We must obey our Lord by doing as he did and draw other’s to Him. Yes, you are saved from your sins and the horrible second death by that simple prayer of faith but if the first disciples had sat down and said “Whew, I’m saved,” and not shared this truth with other’s where would we be today? If we truly love Jesus we have to continue his work that’s why he calls us the body of Christ. We are the body with the same power Jesus had on the earth that is meant to do the same work he was doing when he was here.
How do we receive this kind of power in our lives? We must pray and seek God with all our hearts. When the first disciples were filled with the Holy Spirit they were in the upper room praying and seeking God and it suddenly came upon them and they were filled with the same power of God that Jesus had. If we want the Power of God in our life so that we can over come Satan in our own lives as well as in the lives of other’s which will cause them to want to follow Jesus too; we have to pray and seek for God. When he sees we are serious about doing his will, He will give us the same power of the Holy Spirit that Jesus and his first disciples had. The Holy Spirit wasn’t given to us to just hang on to, He was given to us to share!
2 Timothy 3:1-5 (NIV) But mark this: There will be terrible times in the last days. People will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boastful, proud, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy, without love, unforgiving, slanderous, without self-control, brutal, not lovers of the good, treacherous, rash, conceited, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God— having a form of godliness but denying its power. Have nothing to do with such people.
Notice verse 5 says having a form of godliness but denying its power. How many people do we know who call themselves Christians and even seem to try to live godly lives but have no power in their prayers? I don’t know about you but I want power in my prayers. I want to be able to tell people about Jesus in a bold way and lay hands on the sick and they recover. I want the Holy Spirit working in my life the way Jesus said it would for those who believe! Jesus’ disciples didn’t have this power right off the bat. They had to be taught but eventually they were doing all the same things Jesus had been doing; preaching with boldness, casting out demons and healing the sick. I want to be a TRUE follower of Christ not just a form of godliness but denying its power. My prayer is that we seek the Word of God and ask for the Holy Spirit to work in us the way he did in the early followers of Christ! We need this in the last days! We can look on the news and the movies now days and see every one of those kinds of people described in 2 Timothy! This is the last day! Don’t just be prepared for yourself for Jesus’ return but help other’s be prepared too! Be a TRUE follower of Christ!