Lesson 11 Believing On Jesus Christ

The jailer at Philippi asked, “What must I do to be saved?” The apostle Paul answered, “Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved” (Acts 16:30-31). But what does it mean to believe on the Lord Jesus Christ?

Many people have strange ideas on this crucial subject. Here are some common, unbiblical examples: people say, “I believe”

1. Because they acknowledge that Jesus lived and died here on earth;

2. Because they admire the morals and ethics of Jesus;

3. Because they joined a religious group;

4. Because they pray to God;

5. Because they repeated a prayer, doctrinal statement or formula.

Is this believing in Christ the Bible way? Does this kind of belief change peoples lives? Does it give solid assurance of going to heaven?

What is Faith?

What is it to believe on Christ? Biblical faith has been defined as including the ideas of trust, personal confidence, persuasion and reliance. We say, “I believe in that person.” It is opposed to doubt. It is not being gullible or naive. Faith has the following elements:

1. Faith Has an Object.

Faith is in someone or something. For Christians, this someone is a Living Person, the Lord Jesus Christ (Acts 20:21). “This is the work of God, that ye believe on Him Whom He hath sent” (John 6:29). The Lord Jesus asked the blind man, “Dost thou believe on the Son of God?” (John 9:35). The thief on the cross, to enter Paradise, had only to believe on Jesus (Luke 23:42-43). This belief was the heart of the Gospel message (Acts 8:35-37; 1 John 5:13). It is not how much, but in whom we believe. Faith receives Him (John 1:12).

2. Faith Necessitates Content.

We must hear the Word of the Gospel and believe it (Acts 15:7). The Corinthians were saved when Paul preached the Gospel to them. That Gospel, which is “the full Gospel,” is carefully defined in 1 Corinthians 15:1-4. Christ died for our sins, was buried and rose again, all according to the Scriptures. Trusting Christ comes after hearing the Gospel, called the Word of Truth (Ephesians 1:13). This Gospel is so precious and vital that any man or angel who alters it is under a curse (Galatians 1:6-9).

3. Faith Has a Basis.

That basis is the Word of God (1 Thessalonians 2:13; Romans 10:17). Christian faith has as its object what is called “the witness of God” in the Scriptures (1 John 5:9). Faith accepts God’s truth (1 Thessalonians 2:13) and believes that God is true, though every man may be a liar (Romans 3:3-4). We are not “leaping into the dark,” exercising blind faith, or trusting in our emotions. We believe and rely upon God’s Word.

4. Faith Brings About Action.

We may have the idea that faith is merely a mental agreement with a certain statement, but that is not so. Notice the action words in the following: people came to Jesus, fell down before Him and obeyed His Word; He told a man to stretch forth his hand (Matthew 12:13); He told another to take up his bed (Matthew 9:6); He commanded another to wash in a certain pool of water (John 9:7). Repeatedly He called for action.

Abraham is the model of a man who believed God. When Genesis 12:1-4, Acts 7:2-3 and Hebrews 11:8 are compared, it will be seen that he heard God’s Word and responded by leaving his home town without knowing where God would lead him. This believing response clearly demonstrated his faith.

The faith that saves is a faith that produces action. Saving faith has never been merely a passive, mental assent to historical facts. Any so-called “faith” which has not works is a “dead faith.” When a person truly believes in Christ the result will be a life of good works. (See James 2:14-26 where saving faith and “dead faith” are contrasted.) Saving faith is more than “believing that” the facts about Christ and His death are true. We “believe in/on” the Son of God, being committed personally to Him.

Examples of Faith

The Scriptures are filled with examples of faith. The eleventh chapter of Hebrews has been called the “Honor Roll of Faith” because it lists some outstanding men and women who had faith. Review these and mark the actions taken in their steps of faith.

Two other examples may be cited. The first is the faith of the centurion in Matthew 8:5-10. The centurion believed that Christ could heal his servant by merely saying the word. The other is the faith of the woman of Canaan (Matthew 15:22-28). She pleaded that the Lord would deliver her daughter from demons. Her faith was humble and persistent.

How to Come to Christ

When we come to Christ, a number of things are involved:

1. The Spirit Has Convicted Us of Sin (John 16:8-11).

We acknowledge our sinnership to God (Luke 15:18; Luke 18:13-14).

2. We Repent of Our Sins (Luke 13:3; Acts 3:19; 17:30; 20:21).

We desire to change by turning from our sins to Christ.

3. There is Knowledge of the Gospel.

We must believe it to be saved (Acts 15:7-9; 1 Corinthians 15:1-4). The heart of that message is the Lord Jesus Christ.

4. We Believe God’s Word (Mark 4:20; John 5:24).

5. We Receive God’s Son by Faith (John 1:12; 1 John 5:12-13) and Become His Follower (John 10:4-5,27).

6. As a Result We Confess Him Before Others (Matthew 10:32; Luke 12:8; Romans 10:9).

Saving faith rests its whole weight upon the Lord Jesus Christ and His finished work. Faith is the instrument, the means, and the channel through which the grace of God flows. It is not the source of salvation, not an act of merit, not a moral excellence which makes one worthy. It is the empty hand that accepts what God freely offers. Vengeance is upon those who obey not the Gospel (2 Thessalonians 1:8).

Faith gives all the glory to God. It can be exercised by all classes of persons of varying ages, positions and intelligence. It is universally available. False faith may name the name of Christ and do mighty works, but the Lord will expose and reject imposters (Matthew 7:21-23; Luke 13:28), for these are tares among the wheat (Matthew 13:24-30). True faith will manifest a change of life (Hebrews 6:9-10). True believers obey the Word of God (1 John 2:4-5), love fellow believers (1 John 3:14), do good works (Ephesians 2:10), practice righteousness (1 John 3:7, 10; Ephesians 4:22-24) and do not practice sin (1 John 3:9-10; Galatians 5:19-21).

Have you believed on the Lord Jesus Christ?

Study Guide Believing On Jesus Christ

The most important issue in time or eternity for every human being is whether we will be forever with God or separated from Him. Carefully think through the following:

1. I can be sure I am saved because (select one)

a. I prayed a prayer to ask Jesus to come into my heart.

b. God has answered many of my prayers.

c. I have given up my old way of life.

d. I now read the Bible and attend church.

e. none of these.

2. Saving faith is (select one)

a. agreeing with what the Bible says.

b. believing in God with all my heart.

c. believing that spiritual or religious things are essential.

d. believing that Jesus lived and died and was history’s greatest person.

e. none of the above.

3. Define saving faith in your own words.

4. What did the “good thief” believe (Luke 23:39-43)?

5. List the three basic points of the Gospel in 1 Corinthians 15:1-4 and place a check mark beside the one that was/is most difficult for you to believe.

a.

b.

c.

6. Paraphrase (rewrite in your own words) 1 John 5:9.

Do you fully accept this witness? Explain.

7. What was the evidence of true faith in the woman of Canaan in Matthew 15:22-28? Would you take the same position before the Lord Jesus?

8. In what way have you personally known or acted upon the following verses?

Luke 13:3

Luke 18:13-14

John 16:7-9

Romans 10:9-10

Ephesians 1:13

Revelation 3:20

9. What do you say? In what areas do you still have questions about what it means to believe in Jesus?

If you died today and stood before God, and He asked you, “Why should I let you into My heaven?” what would you say?

10. What do others say? Contact at least three people this week and ask them the following questions. You may wish to say something like the following:

“I’m involved in a Bible Survey here in (name city). Could you help me by sharing your opinion on three important questions? (1) One often hears the expression ‘believe in Jesus Christ.’ Do you think to ‘believe’ in Christ means more than mental assent to certain facts about Him and His life? (2) What do you think real belief is? (3) Do you think it is possible for people to trust God about everyday matters and not trust Him for their eternal future? Thank you so much for your help. Would you like for me to mail/e-mail you a copy of the survey results? Thank you.”

Record their names and addresses on the 3x5 cards provided by the class leader. Record the answers on the back, indicating if survey results are desired. Then return the cards next class meeting. Results of the survey will be tabulated by the class leader and mailed to each person indicating an interest.