Episode 1. A Decision of the Heart
Deciding to follow Jesus is a decision of the Heart. It’s a big decision. And when we think we’ve made that step, perhaps the first thing to do is to make sure we’ve actually taken that decision.
Join Berni, as he takes a look at this decision of the heart – from A Different Perspective.
For a lot of people there comes a time in their lives when they make a decision to give their lives to Jesus Christ, to become a Christian. For me it happened about 12 years ago. It was an amazing experience the day I did that, I was over the moon. But I remember thinking, “Well, so now what? I mean, what happens next? All these other Christians, they seem to know what’s going on but I don’t. Do I have to do anything differently? What’s going to happen to me?” And to tell you the truth no-body ever really answered that question “so now what?” I just kind of started going along to a Church and picked it up by osmosis. No matter where we are, whether we’re someone who has just given our life to Jesus or whether we haven’t done that yet or whether it maybe happened 50 years ago, it turns out “so now what?” Is not a bad question.
So this week and next week on the program we’re going to explore that very question. Ten programs, they’re really simple and really straight forward. Now let me make this point, I’m not doing a ten steps thing, I’m not into that, it’s not some rigid formula or some set of rules, “Well you know, you’ve just become a Christian and these are the first ten steps!” No, no, just a plain simple look at what happens and the sorts of choices we’re going to face and in making a decision to give our lives to Jesus Christ.
Today, we’re going to look at making sure that we made that decision truly in our hearts and then we’ll look at what we can expect and what we need to do to decide to put first things first, establishing a regular quiet time with God, doing a little stock take of the company we keep with other people, becoming part of Gods family, what’s this baptism thing all about, taking the dunk and the dip, becoming a giver, letting God speak to us and hanging in there for the long haul. I wish someone had done this with me. Whether you haven’t made up your mind about Jesus yet or whether you recently gave your life to Him or even if it happened a long time ago, my prayer is that over these next couple of weeks, we’ll all be blessed as we take a look at the simple basics, the pillars.
I remember when I first saw my wife Jacqui, I’d never set eyes on her before, I was preaching at a little Baptist Church that I’d first started attending and she walked in and sat down and mid sermon, mid sentence I looked out at her and I just knew in my heart this was the woman that God wanted me to marry. I hadn’t been a Christian for all that long and over the coming weeks and months we came to know each other. We had a courtship and then it became time to propose.
Well proposing is a big decision and I’m kind of a shy guy when it comes to proposing. Proposal is a life long commitment not just about some romance and courtship. It’s about becoming soul mates through thick and thin, for better or for worse, in sickness and in health. And the decision to propose to Jacqui was not one that I took lightly and the same is true in her saying yes. When you think about it, it’s a decision of faith in one another. Here’s my life partner and I’m going to put my trust in her and she in me. I thought about it a lot and ultimately it was a decision of the heart, yes I engaged my mind, I thought “Are we compatible? Are we a good match? Is this right?” But at the end of the day it was a decision of the heart, it was a deep decision.
Two thousand years ago a prison guard in the Greek city of Philippi asked a couple of his prisoners, “What do I have to do to be saved?” The prisoners were the apostle Paul and his friend Silas; they knew the answer to that. They said, “Believe in the Lord Jesus Christ and you will be saved.” You can read about it in Acts, chapter 16, verse 31 and that’s exactly what happened. That’s it, only one requirement, to believe in Jesus.
You don’t come into eternal life; you don’t come into a relationship with God by attending a particular Church. It doesn’t happen by following a particular set of rules. It’s not about dressing a certain way, talking in a certain way, it’s nothing like that. It’s believing in Jesus, who He is, what He did, the Son of God and that He died on that cross to pay for our rejection of God, our weaknesses, our failures, our blind spots, all that stuff and believing that He rose again and He’s alive today. Being saved means having the free gift of eternal life by believing in this Jesus.
The apostle Paul put it this way; you again can read about it in his letter to the Ephesians, chapter 2, verse 8. He said this, “It’s by grace that you have been saved through your faith and that’s not of your own doing, it’s a gift from God.” The decision of the heart is a personal step of faith. We can weigh it up in our heads but can I tell you something? I’m a pretty sort of a head guy, you know, I like to think things through a lot but I didn’t know everything when I gave my life to Christ. Ultimately it was a deep, personal decision I made in my heart. It’s like marriage, not just a head decision, it’s choosing a life partner, an eternal life partner and putting Him in charge of our lives, God intimately involved in every aspect of our lives.
Now there is a price to pay, there is a cost and we’re going to look at that tomorrow on the program. The decision is, do we want God to walk with us? Do we want Him to relate to us? Do we want Him to guide us? Do we want to follow Him? Yes, sometimes do we want let Him direct us? You know some people want an insurance policy kind of relationship with God just in case there might be a heaven and a hell down the track. That’s not it, it’s a deep, abiding, for always decision to make Jesus the centre of our lives.
People come up to Jesus and they said, “What do we have to do? What do we have to do? What do we have to do to get into heaven?” It’s always what we think, what do we have to do? And Jesus said, “The work of God is to believe in Me whom God sent.” It’s in John, chapter 6, verses 28 and 29.
Have you made that decision yet? I mean really deep down. I’d like to give you the opportunity to do that right now. If you want to give your life to Jesus Christ and to make that step and that hard decision, why don’t you pray this prayer with me now?
“Father God, you know each of us. You know our hearts, You know all the things we’ve done wrong, You know all our inadequacies and failures, none of that is a surprise to You God and we come to You just as we are and we put all those things at your feet and we say, Lord God we are sorry for the things we have done wrong and we want to turn away from them now and we believe that because of what Jesus Christ did on the cross, in paying for all of those things that we can have your forgiveness. We put our faith completely in Him because we know we can’t come to You in and of ourselves and Lord God, we believe that Jesus Christ rose again from the dead to give us victory, to give us eternal life. Father, I’m sorry for all the things I’ve done wrong, please forgive me in Jesus name. I want to have a new and eternal life with You for ever and ever and ever. Now Lord God, show me, show me how, show me where I need to go, lead me, be the Lord and the King of my life in Jesus Christs name I pray. Amen.”
If you’ve just prayed that prayer with me, you’ve just given your life to Jesus Christ. I really encourage you to stick with us over these next two weeks as we look at this question, ‘well, so now what?’