What convinced me to follow Jesus.
I trusted Christ when I was young and understood what Christ had done for me at some level, but at that time I did not understand the character of God very well and was stagnant.
One of the main reasons I was not growing in my faith was that I did not know the character of God. When suffering or joy came, I did not turn to the Lord. I just existed and tried to accomplish it on my own. Now I am convinced every sin in our lives can be traced back to a lie we believe about the character of God.
When I was a senior in highschool my best friend was killed in a car accident. At that point, God shook my foundations. Two men entered my life to disciple me and immediately my life was altered.
Five Reasons to Follow Jesus:
One of reason I believe in Jesus is He was NOT a good teacher.
John 10:27-30 “My sheep listen to my voice; I know them, and they follow me. I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish; no one will snatch them out of my hand. My Father, who has given them to me, is greater than all; no one can snatch them out of my Father’s hand. I and the Father are one.”
A good teacher teaches people good stuff. He does not come to earth and say “I am God.”
Other worldviews will tell you that Jesus never explicitly claimed to be God. These verses prove that to be false.
“Again his Jewish opponents picked up stones to stone him, but Jesus said to them, “I have shown you many good works from the Father. For which of these do you stone me?”
“We are not stoning you for any good work,” they replied, “but for blasphemy, because you, a mere man, claim to be God.”
“Jesus said to them, “Truly, truly, I say to you, before Abraham was born, I am.””
Remember when Moses saw the burning bush? God reveals Himself to Moses and says “I AM who I AM.”
More than twenty times in the book of John, Jesus begins a claim with the title “I AM.”
Jesus was making a claim that shook the foundations of the Pharisee’s belief.
John 1:1-5 “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. All things came into being through Him, and apart from Him nothing came into being that has come into being. In Him was life, and the life was the Light of men. The Light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not comprehend it.”
This passage does not explicitly use Jesus’ name, but John 1:14 gives us a clue to the identity of the Word.
John 1:14 “And the Word became flesh, and dwelt among us, and we saw His glory, glory as of the only begotten from the Father, full of grace and truth.”
Who is the Word? Jesus.
Who is the Truth? Jesus.
Now read John 1:1-4 again and replace “the Word” with Jesus.
Jesus is claiming to be with God, to be God, and to be with Him in the beginning.
Jesus is not claiming to be a good teacher. He is claiming to be so much more. With Jesus we have 3 options. Jesus is a Liar (claiming to be God when He is not), a Lunatic (thinking He is God when He is not), or Lord… (exactly who He says He is).
Most cultures see man as good. I think the Bible is the only book that honestly deals with man as he truly is spiritually.
As you understand the character of God more and more, your view of self becomes less and less.
Romans 1:16-17 “For I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes, to the Jew first and also to the Greek. For in it the righteousness of God is revealed from faith to faith; as it is written, “But the righteous man shall live by faith.”
Every other world religion man can always find his way to God, but that worldview falls apart when we see what the Bible says about the condition of man.
In Christianity God reveals His righteousness to us. God rescues His own from certain death.
III. The Bible
If this book is truly from God, it should have supernatural elements.
The number of Old Testament prophecies fulfilled by Jesus in the New Testament is 220-300+. Scientists and mathematicians claim that seven prophecies are impossible to be fulfilled by one man.
Man wouldn’t write the Bible if he could, and couldn’t write the Bible if he would. We would come up with a god that was a cross between Batman and Superman, and he would give us a checklist of three things we have to do to get to heaven, or five things as we see in some popular religious systems.
2. Unexplainable continuity of the Bible
1 Peter 1:20-21 “But know this first of all, that no prophecy of Scripture is a matter of one’s own interpretation, for no prophecy was ever made by an act of human will, but men moved by the Holy Spirit spoke from God.”
39 men from all over the world and all different professions wrote a book that cannot be proven wrong! This is impossible!
Many of the characters and events of the Old Testament foreshadow future events surrounding Christ’s first and second coming.
Romans 5:12 “ Nevertheless death reigned from Adam until Moses, even over those who had not sinned in the likeness of the offense of Adam, who is a type of Him who was to come.” (emphasis added)
-This type is a picture or foreshadowing.
-This means that Adam is a type of Christ. But Adam fell, and with him, we fell.
Joseph also is a typology of Christ
-beloved by his father and rejected by the Jews
-goes to the Gentiles
-stores up bread to give Gentiles life
-Jews come to Egypt and are grafted in with the Gentiles
Abraham is another example. He takes his only son Isaac up the same hill that Jesus climbs with His cross. Isaac carries the wood he will be sacrificed on up the hill just like Jesus.
Passover: an innocent lamb is sacrificed for the people so they would not die. Jesus, the true Passover Lamb, later is sacrificed to atone for His people on the night of Passover.
IV. Other worldviews
Christianity is the only religion that has an answer for suffering – a reason for why bad things happen.
Romans 5:1-5 “Therefore, having been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom also we have obtained our introduction by faith into this grace in which we stand; and we exult in hope of the glory of God. And not only this, but we also exult in our tribulations, knowing that tribulation brings about perseverance; and perseverance, proven character; and proven character, hope; and hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out within our hearts through the Holy Spirit who was given to us.”
This hope is already accomplished! We are simply waiting for it’s fulfillment.
All religions and worldviews tested against science, manuscript evidence, and reality come up short.
V. How God has changed my life
If you understand the character of God and know Him, He is going to take you places you never dreamed possible.
I was on the fast track to success in the business world, but God started stirring other desires in me. I started praying with my dad for forty days about my future and twenty days in I got a phone call saying, “We want you to move to Branson to help start the Kanakuk Institute, and we can’t pay you. Will you give up your job and come join us?”
I said, “Okay, God, Yes.”
September 1st, 2001, I moved to Branson. September 11, 2001 happened ten days later. I got engaged September 21st,married April 6th, and my first paycheck came the middle of June. We were married for two months without a paycheck, but He is on the throne. He is the King of 1,000 hills.
God can take you places you never imagined. Are you willing to follow Jesus at all costs? Do you know the Savior? Do you know the God that I am talking about? When He calls you to China, will you say “Alright… I’ll go.”
See beyond yourself for just a moment and trust in the Savior that hung on the cross for you and gave us the Bible that we might know His character; that we might trust Him with all of our hearts.
Let’s be a body of believers that says “I’m all in. I want to be a part of something greater than myself” and God will prove Himself in your life in undeniable ways.
Chad Hampsch is the Vice President of the Kanakuk Institute and graduate of Greenville College.