Let's Get Personal

Bible Book: Selected Passages 
Subject: Salvation; Lost, Relgious but

Let’s get personal about your relationship with Jesus Christ. In our high-tech society it is becoming increasingly easy to be impersonal. As believers in Jesus Christ we must risk getting personal with people about the most important question in the Bible. According to Dr. Warren W. Wiersbe, the question is “What do you think of Jesus?”

Allow me to get personal about your personal relationship with Jesus Christ.

I. Did you know you may believe weighty facts about Jesus and still be lost?

Jesus issues a solemn warning in Matthew 7:21-23, “Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ shall enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father in heaven. Many will say to Me in that day, ‘Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in Your name, cast out demons in Your name, and done many wonders in Your name?’ And then I will declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness!’”

Paul E. Little (1928-1975) shares “Some of our Lord's most solemn words are recorded in Matthew 7:21 when he warns his disciples, ‘Not everyone who says to me, 'Lord, Lord,' will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only he who does the will of my Father who is in heaven.’ Here Jesus talks about our relationship to him as entering the kingdom. In other places it is called the new birth. To enter this relationship is not a matter of using correct vocabulary or going through the empty motions. It involves a clear resolve to do his will. As basic as that resolve is, he does not accept us and love us because of our obedience to him. But obedience is the evidence of a true commitment to him as our Lord. The apostle John adds a helpful thought. He says that if we keep Jesus' commandments, ‘we know that we have come to know him’ (1 John 2:3). And the whole letter of James amplifies this point.”[1]

Dr. James Montgomery Boice (1938-2000) explains the following about Apollos: “Learning and fervor, though valuable gifts, are not in themselves enough for Christian workers. We must know Jesus Christ. Even knowledge of the Scriptures and skill in presenting them are not enough. I emphasize this truth because there are always people in churches who are not saved but who know a great deal. They know not only the Old Testament but the New Testament as well. If you ask them to tell the Bible stories, they are able to tell them. They can even teach them to others. But they do not know Jesus. They do not know that he died for them and that he rose again for their justification. They know his name, but they do not know him personally as their Savior and Lord. They are not his disciples.

It may be true of you. Although you may have gone to church for many years and may know a great deal about the Scriptures, the mere learning and even fervent teaching of these things is not enough. You must know Jesus Christ. To know the other is good, but you can know all that and still be lost.”[2]

Acts 18:24-28 reads, “Now a certain Jew named Apollos, born at Alexandria, an eloquent man and mighty in the Scriptures, came to Ephesus. This man had been instructed in the way of the Lord; and being fervent in spirit, he spoke and taught accurately the things of the Lord, though he knew only the baptism of John. So he began to speak boldly in the synagogue. When Aquila and Priscilla heard him, they took him aside and explained to him the way of God more accurately. And when he desired to cross to Achaia, the brethren wrote, exhorting the disciples to receive him; and when he arrived, he greatly helped those who had believed through grace; for he vigorously refuted the Jews publicly, showing from the Scriptures that Jesus is the Christ.”

James 2:14-26 reads, “What does it profit, my brethren, if someone says he has faith but does not have works? Can faith save him? If a brother or sister is naked and destitute of daily food, and one of you says to them, ‘Depart in peace, be warmed and filled,’ but you do not give them the things which are needed for the body, what does it profit? Thus also faith by itself, if it does not have works, is dead. But someone will say, ‘You have faith, and I have works.’ Show me your faith without your works, and I will show you my faith by my works. You believe that there is one God. You do well. Even the demons believe—and tremble! But do you want to know, O foolish man, that faith without works is dead? Was not Abraham our father justified by works when he offered Isaac his son on the altar? Do you see that faith was working together with his works, and by works faith was made perfect? And the Scripture was fulfilled which says, ‘Abraham believed God, and it was accounted to him for righteousness.’ And he was called the friend of God. You see then that a man is justified by works, and not by faith only. Likewise, was not Rahab the harlot also justified by works when she received the messengers and sent them out another way? For as the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without works is dead also.” Ephesians 2:8-9 reads, “For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, not of works, lest anyone should boast.” Rightly understood there is on conflict between what Paul writes and what James writes. Ephesians 2:10 reveals they agree. Here we read, “For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them.”

Dr. Adrian P. Rogers (1931-2005) explains, “The faith that can't be tested can't be trusted.”[3] 2 Corinthians 13:5 reads, “Examine yourselves as to whether you are in the faith. Test yourselves. Do you not know yourselves, that Jesus Christ is in you?—unless indeed you are disqualified.” Romans 10:9-10 reads, “That if you confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead, you will be saved. For with the heart one believes unto righteousness, and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation.”

From the Preacher’s Outline and Sermon Bible we read, “The first stage in a man’s spiritual journey is to learn about Jesus. A man must learn about Jesus before he can ever learn of Jesus, before he can ever come to know Jesus personally. But once a man has learned about Jesus, it is imperative that he move on and come to know Jesus personally. The blind man could have stopped at any stage and failed in his spiritual journey.”[4]

Craig Brian Larson explains, “Athletes illustrate what it means to truly believe in a person in authority.

A high school basketball player, for example, who believes in his coach because that coach is a former NBA champion, will do whatever that coach says. He believes the coach is right. If the coach says to change his technique in his shooting motion, he will do it even if it feels awkward and initially causes him to shoot worse. If the coach says to run four miles a day or lift weights thirty minutes each day, he will do it even though it hurts. If the coach says to pass the ball more and shoot less for the sake of the team, he will accept that role.

Why? Because the athlete believes the coach knows better than he does what makes a winner. When you truly believe in a person in authority, you follow that person in complete obedience.

The athlete who does not truly believe in the coach will not fully follow. He may believe things about the coach—that he is a former NBA champion, that he is honest, that his name is Michael—but believing certain information and believing in someone's authority are two different things.

Those who believe in Jesus not only believe the facts about his deity, atoning death, and resurrection, they believe in his right to direct their lives. True believers follow.”[5]

Dr. J. Alec Motyer writes, “We have largely lost the biblical dimensions of the word ‘knowledge’ in our customary use of it. We confine it almost to 'the contents of the brain.’ The Bible would not resist this meaning, but neither would it accept it as a complete definition. First, it would add a practical dimension. Nothing is truly known unless it is being practiced in daily life, or in some way (according to its nature) allowed to control the conduct of the person concerned—‘to depart from evil is understanding’ (Job 28:28). Secondly, in knowledge between persons, to ‘know’ is to enter into the deepest personal intimacy and contact. Thus the Bible does not say that ‘Adam knew Eve’ (Gen. 4:1) because it is too shy to speak openly about sexual matters, but because this is what knowledge between persons is—deep, intimate union. Consequently, having been saved wholly and solely by Christ, Paul wants to enter into the deepest possible union with Him.”[6]


II. Did you know you may have warm feelings for Jesus and still be lost?

A sower goes out to sow the seed of the gospel. Matthew 13:20-21 reads, “But he who received the seed on stony places, this is he who hears the word and immediately receives it with joy; yet he has no root in himself, but endures only for a while. For when tribulation or persecution arises because of the word, immediately he stumbles.”

Rev. Dr. Martin Luther (1483-1546), father of the Reformation, warns:

Feelings come and feelings go,

And feelings are deceiving;

My warrant is the Word of God,

Naught else is worth believing!

Jeremiah warns that we can’t trust that “feeling in your heart”, Jeremiah 17:9-10 reads, “The heart is deceitful above all things, And desperately wicked; Who can know it? I, the Lord, search the heart, I test the mind, Even to give every man according to his ways, According to the fruit of his doings.”

Matthew 13:3-9 reads, “‘Then He spoke many things to them in parables, saying: ‘Behold, a sower went out to sow. And as he sowed, some seed fell by the wayside; and the birds came and devoured them. Some fell on stony places, where they did not have much earth; and they immediately sprang up because they had no depth of earth. But when the sun was up they were scorched, and because they had no root they withered away. And some fell among thorns, and the thorns sprang up and choked them. But others fell on good ground and yielded a crop: some a hundredfold, some sixty, some thirty. He who has ears to hear, let him hear!’”

Jesus explains in Matthew 13:5-6, “Some fell on stony places, where they did not have much earth; and they immediately sprang up because they had no depth of earth. But when the sun was up they were scorched, and because they had no root they withered away.” Dr. J. Sidlow Baxter (1903-1999) reportedly said the following at a booksellers convention: “God does not do His deepest work in our shallowest part.” We must beware of an emotional response to the gospel that does not result in a volitional reception of the gospel.

In 2 Timothy 1:8-12 Paul writes, “Therefore do not be ashamed of the testimony of our Lord, nor of me His prisoner, but share with me in the sufferings for the gospel according to the power of God, who has saved us and called us with a holy calling, not according to our works, but according to His own purpose and grace which was given to us in Christ Jesus before time began, but has now been revealed by the appearing of our Savior Jesus Christ, who has abolished death and brought life and immortality to light through the gospel, to which I was appointed a preacher, an apostle, and a teacher of the Gentiles. For this reason I also suffer these things; nevertheless I am not ashamed, for I know whom I have believed and am persuaded that He is able to keep what I have committed to Him until that Day.”

Rev. Charles Haddon Spurgeon (1834-1892) expressed his concern about telling children to love Jesus rather than trust Jesus in the following way: “Many [distort the doctrine of justification by faith] when addressing children, and I notice that they generally speak to little ones about loving Jesus, and not upon believing him. This must leave a mischievous impression upon youthful minds and take them off from the true way of peace.”[7] While I believe those who tell children to love Jesus do so with the best of intentions, ironically, loving is more emotionally complex than trusting. A very young child can trust. The faith of a little child is proverbial. Matthew 18:1-6 reads, “Then Jesus called a little child to Him, set him in the midst of them, and said, ‘Assuredly, I say to you, unless you are converted and become as little children, you will by no means enter the kingdom of heaven. Therefore whoever humbles himself as this little child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven. Whoever receives one little child like this in My name receives Me. Whoever causes one of these little ones who believe in Me to sin, it would be better for him if a millstone were hung around his neck, and he were drowned in the depth of the sea.’”

Acts 16:25-34 reads, “But at midnight Paul and Silas were praying and singing hymns to God, and the prisoners were listening to them. Suddenly there was a great earthquake, so that the foundations of the prison were shaken; and immediately all the doors were opened and everyone’s chains were loosed. And the keeper of the prison, awaking from sleep and seeing the prison doors open, supposing the prisoners had fled, drew his sword and was about to kill himself. But Paul called with a loud voice, saying, ‘Do yourself no harm, for we are all here.’ Then he called for a light, ran in, and fell down trembling before Paul and Silas. And he brought them out and said, ‘Sirs, what must I do to be saved?’ So they said, ‘Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and you will be saved, you and your household.’ Then they spoke the word of the Lord to him and to all who were in his house. And he took them the same hour of the night and washed their stripes. And immediately he and all his family were baptized. Now when he had brought them into his house, he set food before them; and he rejoiced, having believed in God with all his household.”

No doubt the Philippian jailer expressed love for Jesus, but faith was the foundation of his relationship with Jesus Christ. How do you know if your love for Jesus is just an emotion or not? Jesus gives the answer in John 14:15, “If you love Me, keep My commandments.”

III. Did you know you may claim wonderful friendship with Jesus and still be lost?

As Judas approached Jesus to betray him, Matthew 26:50 records, “But Jesus said to him [Judas Iscariot], ‘Friend, why have you come?’” Jesus is citing a word from Psalm 41:9, “Even my own familiar friend in whom I trusted, Who ate my bread, Has lifted up his heel against me.” Remember, Judas Iscariot called Jesus teacher, but he never called Him Lord or master as the other apostles did. Judas was a false friend or a friend who pretends to be a friend.

Dr. Kenneth O. Gangel (1935-2009) writes, “How many religious people are lost in sight of home? How many people attend church with regularity, join congregations, participate in denominational activities, and yet have never been born again? How many thousands of people may be wandering in the desert all around the promised land, some unsaved, others believers who have never entered into the spiritual rest of Canaan? I’ve often thought that Judas represents the classic example of how close a person can get to Jesus Christ and still be lost. He was a public worshiper, an esteemed follower, and even a church treasurer—but he was lost.”[8]

Dr. Warren W. Wiersbe writes, “Judas was motivated and energized by Satan (John 13:2, 27), for he never was a true believer in Jesus Christ. His sins had never been cleansed by the Lord (John 13:10-11), and he had never believed and received eternal life (John 6:64-71). Yet none of the other Apostles had the least suspicion that Judas was a traitor. We have every reason to believe that Judas had been given the same authority as the other men and that he had preached the same message and performed the same miracles. It shows how close a person can come to God's kingdom and still be lost (Matt. 7:21-29).”[9]

Proverbs 18:24 reads, “A man who has friends must himself be friendly, But there is a friend who sticks closer than a brother.” Sir W. Robertson Nicoll (1851-1923) shares this comment, “It is a blessed thing to know Jesus Christ, the Friend who sticketh closer than a brother.”[10] Remember, just because you sing “What a Friend We Have in Jesus” written by Joseph M. Scriven in 1855 or some chorus declaring a similar sentiment does not make it so. Note the terms of friendship with Jesus. He said, “You are My friends if you do whatever I command you. No longer do I call you servants, for a servant does not know what his master is doing; but I have called you friends, for all things that I heard from My Father I have made known to you” (John 15:14-15). Note the link between lordship and friendship. To deny His lordship is to miss His friendship!

Jesus said, “But why do you call Me ‘Lord, Lord,’ and not do the things which I say?” (Luke 6:46).
1 Corinthians 12:3 reads, “Therefore I make known to you that no one speaking by the Spirit of God calls Jesus accursed, and no one can say that Jesus is Lord except by the Holy Spirit.” Romans 8:9b reads, “Now if anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ, he is not His.” It is amazing how many people who lack a genuine relationship with Jesus, claim His friendship.


Dr. Vance Havner (1901-1986) writes, “There is much going on among young people today that is encouraging. I am having better response from youth than at any time in my ministry. Many are young people, like all the rest of us, can be deceived and Satan is the master deceiver. The devil is not fighting religion. He is too smart for that. He is producing a counterfeit Christianity so much like the real one that good Christians are afraid to speak out against it.”[11]

Dr. A. W. Tozer (1897-1963) writes, “I hope that God can burn this frightful fact into our souls—the truth that men and women can be respectable and religious and prayerful and careful and eager and ask the right questions and talk about religion—and still be lost!”[12]

Will you have eternal rejoicing or eternal regret? Allow me to encourage you to repent of your sin and place your faith in the Lord Jesus Christ, the One who died and rose from the grave to provide eternal life.

The Navigators (a ministry promoting discipleship and evangelism) have used this motto for over 75 years: “To Know Christ and to make Him Known”®, other Christian groups use this as a mission statement summary.

Dr. Warren W. Wiersbe writes, “The knowledge of Christ (v. 8). This means much more than knowledge about Christ, because Paul had that kind of historical information before he was saved. To ‘know Christ’ means to have a personal relationship with Him through faith. It is this experience that Jesus mentions in John 17:3. You and I know about many people, even people who lived centuries ago, but we know personally very few. ‘Christianity is Christ.’ Salvation is knowing Him in a personal way.”[13]

Dr. Vance Havner (1901-1986) writes, “But there is here a warning not to resist too long the gospel call. Just as every day one goes barefoot the feet become more toughened, so it is with the soul that tramples daily the grace of God.

There is a time I know not when, a place I know not where,

Which marks the destiny of men to heaven or despair;

There is a line by us not seen which crosses every path,

The hidden boundary between God's patience and His wrath.

How long may man go on in sin, how long will God forbear,

Where does hope end and where begin the confines of despair?

One answer from the sky is sent, ye who from God depart,

While it is called ‘today’ repent and harden not your heart.”[14]

Do you have a personal relationship with Jesus Christ? When it comes to your personal relationship with Jesus Christ as Savoir and Lord— let’s get personal.

[1]Paul E. Little, How to Give Away Your Faith, expanded by updated by Marie Little, (Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press, 1966), 37, Database © 2007 WORDsearch Corp.

[2]James Montgomery Boice, Boice Expositional Commentary - An Expositional Commentary – Acts, (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Book House, 1997), 317, Database © 2007 WORDsearch Bible Corp.

[3]Adrian Rogers, “Learning to Endure,” Sermon Notes, (James 1:2-12, 5:7-8).

[4]The Preacher's Outline & Sermon Bible – John. (Chattanooga, TN: Leadership Ministries Worldwide / Alpha-Omega Ministries, Inc., 1991), Database © 2013 WORDsearch.

[5]750 Engaging Illustrations for Preachers, Teachers and Writers from Craig Brian Larson & Leadership Journal “Belief,” (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Book House, 2007), 36, Database © 2008 WORDsearch Corp.

[6]J. A Motyer, Philippians Studies, (Chicago, IL: InterVarsity Press, 1966), 132-133.

[7]Charles H. Spurgeon, Lectures to My Students, Vol. 2, (London: Passmore and Alabaster, 1889), 270.

[8]Holman Old Testament Commentary, ed. Max Anders, Kenneth O. Gangel, Joshua, (Nashville, TN: Broadman & Holman Publishers, 2002), 56, Database © 2013 WORDsearch.

[9]Warren W. Wiersbe, The Bible Exposition Commentary – New Testament, Volume 1, (Luke 22:1-13), (Wheaton, IL: Victor Books, 2001) 264, Database © 2007 WORDsearch Corp.

[10]The Expositor's Dictionary of Texts, Containing Outlines, Expositions, and Illustrations of Bible Texts, With Full References to the Best Homiletic Literature, ed. Sir W. Robertson Nicoll, and Jane T. Stoddart with the co-operation of the Rev. James Moffatt, Volume 1, Part 1: Genesis through Proverbs, Database © 2008 WORDsearch Corp.

[11]Vance Havner, Playing Marbles with Diamonds, (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Book House, 1985), 89-90.

[12]A. W. Tozer, Who Put Jesus on the Cross: Twelve Messages on Well-Known and Favorite Bible Texts, (Harrisburg, PA: Christian Publications, 1975), 55.

[13]Warren W. Wiersbe, The Bible Exposition Commentary – New Testament, Volume 2, (Wheaton, IL: Victor Books, 2001), 86, Database © 2007 WORDsearch Corp.

[14]Reflections on the Gospels: Devotional Thoughts from the Pen of Vance Havner, comp. Michael C. Catt, Part 2, Reflections on the Gospel of Mark, (Fort Washington, PA: Christian Literature Crusade, 2006) , 118.

By Dr. Franklin L. Kirksey, pastor First Baptist Church of Spanish Fort 30775 Jay Drive Spanish Fort, Alabama 36527

Author of Don’t Miss the Revival! Messages for Revival and Spiritual Awakening from Isaiah and

Sound Biblical Preaching: Giving the Bible a Voice [Both available on Amazon.com in hardcover, paperback and eBook]

http://www.amazon.com/Dont-Miss-Revival-Spiritual-Awakening/dp/1462735428 & http://www.amazon.com/Sound-Biblical-Preaching-Giving-Bible/dp/1594577684 / fkirksey@bellsouth.net / (251) 626-6210

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