Blessed Are They Who Believe

Dear Brethren,

Do you believe in Jesus Christ?  You might say, "Well, of course I believe in Jesus Christ."  The problem with that question is that practically every one of a billion people around the earth, who consider themselves "Christians," would answer that question the exact same way, "Well, of course, I believe in Jesus Christ."  Let me ask you another question:  What is the difference between your belief and the belief of all the world?  This is a very important question for us in the Church of God as we approach the Feast of Pentecost.  Obviously, there must be two different kinds of belief.  What is the difference between our belief and that of the world?

First of all, let's understand that "belief," per se, is not sufficient for salvation.   However, the world says that if you just believe on the name of the Lord, you will be saved, and they quote these following verses for their proof:  "Be it known unto you all, and to all the people of Israel, that by the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, whom ye crucified, whom God raised from the dead, even by him doth this man stand here before you whole... Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved." (Acts 4:10-12)  " It shall come to pass, that whosoever shall call on the name of the Lord shall be saved."   (Acts 2:21)

Is salvation, then, merely a matter of believing?  No, Satan and the devils believe – that is not good enough!  "A man may say, You have faith, and I have works: shew me thy faith without thy works, and I will shew thee my faith by my works. You believe that there is one God; thou doest well: the devils also believe, and tremble."   (James 2:18-19)

Here is the answer.  Without God's Holy Spirit, it is impossible for anyone to believe God.  It is God's Holy Spirit that opens our minds to know God.  Repentance and baptism are necessary, as is obedience to God.  These require the interaction of God's Holy Spirit because God grants repentance and faith (Acts 11:18, Ephesians 2:8).  We cannot overcome sin without the Spirit of God.  The unconverted disciples of Jesus Christ could not believe in His resurrection because it took place before the first Pentecost and the out-pouring of God's Spirit.  "When the disciples had heard that Jesus was alive, and had been seen of Mary Magdalene, they believed not."   (Mark 16:11)

The world cannot believe without God's Holy Spirit.  They believe in an historical Jesus.   They believe in a Jesus of Christmas and Easter.  But, they do not believe in the Jesus of the Bible who was led throughout His entire life by the Spirit of God. "Even the Spirit of truth; which the world cannot receive, because it seeth it not, neither knoweth of it: but ye know of it; for it dwelleth with you, and shall be in you."   (John 14:17)

Without God's Holy Spirit, Peter denied Jesus Christ three times in quick succession.  But, there was a tremendous change in Peter after he received God's Spirit on that first Pentecost.  "Then Peter said unto them, Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of Holy Spirit.  For the promise is unto you, and to your children, and to all that are afar off, even as many as the Lord our God shall call.  And with many other words did he testify and exhort, saying, Save yourselves from this untoward generation. Then they that gladly received his word were baptized: and the same day there were added unto them about three thousand souls."  (Acts 2:38-41)  Peter was clearly a different man after receiving God's Holy Spirit.

Brethren, we too, cannot believe in Jesus Christ without God’s Holy Spirit.  Jesus said, "Blessed are they that have not seen, and yet have believed. " (John 20:29)


Sermon:  "Blessed Are They Who Believe"