What Does It Mean To Believe?

... A Short Illustration

    Once there was a man whose home caught on fire, while working in his home office. An observant neighbor, saw the flames and upon entering the house, burst into his room and shouted, "Your house is on fire!" Continuing right along with his work, the man replied, "Ok. I believe you." Soon, this man perished amidst the flames his neighbor warned him of.

    Across town, a similar event occurred. But when this man heard the warning against the flames of fire, and believed, he dashed out of his burning home with his neighbor who had warned him, ...and lived. (end illustration)

    What does it mean then to believe on the Lord Jesus Christ [Acts 16:31]? It certainly means more than a head knowledge that the man Jesus, lived about two-thousand years ago, that he died and rose again. Even the devil knows and believes that to be true [James 2:19]. What Paul was telling the Phillipian Jailer in Acts chapter 16:31, was to have faith in the Gospel of Christ Jesus and act on that faith.

The Lord Jesus taught us, about being born again-

John 3:3-5
3 Jesus answered and said unto him, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God.
4 Nicodemus saith unto him, How can a man be born when he is old? can he enter the second time into his mother's womb, and be born?
5 Jesus answered, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God.

    Upon believing His words to the point of acting on our faith, we will seek to find out the meaning of being what being born-again means, and ask Almighty God to grant that it be so in our lives [1]. If we truly believe Christ's words when He said-

Mark 1:15
And saying, The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand: repent ye, and believe the gospel.

...then we will seek to obey Jesus as Lord and repent of our sins. This comes by grace through faith, however it is important to realize ahead of time the sacrifice involved in believing on Christ to the point of forsaking the world and our own ungodly flesh. This point may be best illustrated by this rarely preached on passage of scripture, spoken by the Lord Jesus Himself-

Luke 14:25-33
25 And there went great multitudes with him: and he turned, and said unto them,
26 If any man come to me, and hate not his father, and mother, and wife, and children, and brethren, and sisters, yea, and his own life also, he cannot be my disciple.
27 And whosoever doth not bear his cross, and come after me, cannot be my disciple.
28 For which of you, intending to build a tower, sitteth not down first, and counteth the cost, whether he have sufficient to finish it?
29 Lest haply, after he hath laid the foundation, and is not able to finish it, all that behold it begin to mock him,
30 Saying, This man began to build, and was not able to finish.
31 Or what king, going to make war against another king, sitteth not down first, and consulteth whether he be able with ten thousand to meet him that cometh against him with twenty thousand?
32 Or else, while the other is yet a great way off, he sendeth an ambassage, and desireth conditions of peace.
33 So likewise, whosoever he be of you that forsaketh not all that he hath, he cannot be my disciple.

[1] The actual rebirth is of God, as He is the one who gives the miraculous gift of His Holy Spirit. In other words, it is not an act that you can accomplish by your own effort, as noone ever gives birth to themselves. However, to be Born-again *is something which you can pray to your heavenly Father for, in the name of Jesus to receive.

Back to John 3:16


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 Web Author:Michael Stevenson Updated: 12/16/2004 7:39PM