Genuine Faith

1 Peter 1:8 Whom having not seen, ye love; in whom, though now ye see him not, yet believing, ye rejoice with joy unspeakable and full of glory:
1 Peter 1:9 Receiving the end of your faith, even the salvation of your souls. ( KJV )

For some the KJV is hard to understand so the same verses in the New American Standard Bible reads as such

1 Peter 1:8    and though you have not seen Him, you love Him, and though you do not see Him now, but believe in Him, you greatly rejoice with joy inexpressible and full of glory,
1 Peter 1:9    obtaining as the outcome of your faith the salvation of your souls. ( NASB )

Years ago there was a song "To know know know him is to love love him and I do"   I love Jesus
Let me ask you a very personal question, do you love Jesus? Do you know Him? Yet although we love Him have any of us here seen Jesus?

There seems to be a mystery here. How can we love someone we have not seen? How did we, or can we develop this love for Jesus?
When Jesus asked who the disciples thought He was,  "Simon Peter answered and said, Thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God"

Matt. 16:17 And Jesus answered and said unto him, Blessed art thou, Simon Barjona: for flesh and blood hath not revealed it unto thee, but my Father which is in heaven.

 We could tell someone a 1000 times who Jesus is but until God moves the information from the head to the heart all it is is head knowledge. The Father in heaven has to reveal  the knowledge of who Jesus actually is to our hearts.

You remember Toni's testimony  she knew about God, she knew about Jesus, but she did not know Him.

I know for a fact that God  uses His Word, both the written and the living Word and the testimonies of Christians to build faith in the hearer's heart so they might believe in who Jesus is.

Revelation 12:11 And they overcame him by the blood of the Lamb, and by the word of their testimony; and they loved not their lives unto the death.

Ed's testimony I was not raised as a Christian, but I was raised with Christian principals.
True Christianity is not defined by actions, places, or memberships, but by the relationship one has with Jesus.
True Christianity is not a religion, Christianity is a way of life.... Jesus is that Way.
( John 14:6 Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.)
When I enlisted into the military, I was listed as a Christian.
Toni and I are chaplains at the hospital here in Dickson. When we go in they give us a list of the patients and it is listed there if the patient has declared what religion he or she is; maybe a Baptist, Methodist, Church of Christ, Church of God or even Buddhist, Hindu or Muslim. That is a declaration of the group they want to be associated with. It does not tell how good of a Baptist etc that person is it is just a declaration.
There have been some that say they are a Christian because of country, family ties or church fellowship.
I considered myself a Baptist because my mother was a Baptist so I thought that made me a Christian.
When I got out of the service we had 2 young boys and felt we needed to be in church and live good Christian lives.
We joined a Baptist church like one might join a club, there was no salvation involved in my heart. I was even baptized, We even became Sunday school teachers for toddlers.
As I look back to that time now, I realize there was no change in my life like 2 Cor.5:17. If I had died or had gotten killed at that time I would have spent eternity with Satan in that lake of fire that God prepared for him and his demons.
I was just a member of a Baptist club and not part of the Body of Christ.
That club membership did not keep me from drinking and getting drunk, it didn't deliver me from the evil and lust of the flesh nor did it provide eternal life for me.
I believe someone, I don't really know who, started praying for us .
I believe it was those prayers that made me miserable for 6 months.
We had moved to a new town.
Now we could have another new start and with 3 boys now.
I would only have peace went I was reading a Bible, sometimes for long periods of time.
I wanted to go to church but Sunday was sleep late day right, there was always an excuse.
One Sunday I got up and went by myself.
There, in a little Church I felt peace and love.
Eventually our whole family started going and enjoying the love and peace.
The gospel was preached at that Church. The preacher was a Godly man, true love was felt in that little Church.
I enjoyed motorcycles and would take a deserted road home from work.
This deserted road was in northern Ill. some say right in tornado alley.
I was in the most deserted spot on the road when a storm hit, the thunder had no delay from the flash till the crack of thunder. Lighting was hitting trees all around me it seemed.
I just knew and accepted that death was eminent, there was no shelter and I was experiencing fear as I had never felt before.
I cried out to God. I don't know the words I used.
I do know I was sorry for my sins and was willing to turn from my sins.
I was turning to and trusting  the only hope I had, Jesus Christ.
I felt in my heart I could only trust Jesus not myself.
Perhaps the sermons I had been hearing were finally having effect.
My prayer to God was not a prayer of getting me out of this problem but was a prayer to give me eternal life
Some people promise to turn over a new leaf, Repentance is more than that.
I renounced my sin.
I turned from sin and turned to Jesus as my only hope.
I placed all my faith on Jesus
Right there a greater peace, assurance and love over flowed me.
Minutes before I was afraid of death, now I was welcoming it because I was fully persuaded of my future with Jesus.
I climbed a hill and was wanting fire from heaven to take me home.
The storm was no more and I felt a message in my heart, He had a job for me to do.
My life was changed from that time on.
I had not earned that salvation.
Romans 6:23 For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.

I stopped living for Satan and his wages and accepted the gift of God.... eternal life through Jesus Christ my Lord

Eph.2:.8 For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God:
Eph.2:9 Not of works, lest any man should boast.

That was not the end of  my story.
It was the beginning of my story.We had moved to a new town.

John 10:10 The thief cometh not, but for to steal, and to kill, and to destroy: I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly.

I was saved in the spring of 1972. There have been many good times but I was not promised a life above problems. I was promised help, comfort, love,His presence.
I was told by His Word:
I'm an overcomer
1 John 4:4 Ye are of God, little children, and have overcome them: because greater is he that is in you, than he that is in the world.
I have a lawyer
1 John 2:1 My little children, these things write I unto you, that ye sin not. And if any man sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous:
We have a Saviour
1 John 4:14 And we have seen and do testify that the Father sent the Son to be the Saviour of the world.
We have a high priest
Heb.4:14 Seeing then that we have a great high priest, that is passed into the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold fast our profession.
Heb.4:15 For we have not an high priest which cannot be touched with the feeling of our infirmities; but was in all points tempted like as we are, yet without sin.
Heb.4:16 Let us therefore come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need.

Earlier I asked you if  you loved Jesus and did you know Him.

Now I have another important question, is it real?
Toni knew about God.
I was a Church member.
I listen to the Preaching and read my Bible.
       Yet we were still lost.

Have you turned from sin turning to Jesus?
Have you asked Him to forgive you?
Have you invited Him to be your Lord and Saviour?

You can right now.

I want to pray a prayer.
I invite you to pray along with me from the heart.
Jesus knows our hearts.
You can pray out loud or silently, maybe pray a prayer for someone you know.

Lord Jesus

I admit that I am a sinner. I have done many things that don’t please you. I have lived my life for myself. I am sorry and I repent. I ask you to forgive me. I believe that you died on the cross for me, to save me. You did what I could not do for myself. I come to you now and ask you to save me and take control of my life, I give it to you. Help me to live every day in a way that pleases you. I love you, Lord Jesus, and by faith I accept your forgiveness and salvation. I thank you that I will spend all eternity with you.